Molecular Gastronomy: Tarragon Oil Foam

It’s been a long time since we’ve shared one of our molecular gastronomy recipes. While some applications require special equipment and/or training, with a few simple ingredients (and an unconventional ingredient or two from Amazon) you can take your presentation up a few notches with molecular gastronomy at home!

With everyone dutifully following shelter-at-home policies, we think right now is the perfect time to up your plating game so you’re ready and waiting once we can all throw dinner parties again. Don’t be a stress baker – put all that creative energy into something with a little more panache!

This recipe is admittedly for the intermediate modernist cooking enthusiast, as it requires the use of a whipping siphon in addition to purchasing food-grade glycerin flakes. However, don’t let this scare you off – it isn’t difficult, it just requires an extra tool. Think of a whipping siphon as the DIY version of a Ready Whip can. And yes, they sell both whipping siphons and food-grade glycerin flakes on Amazon.

We’d also like to encourage everyone to remain thoughtful about their usage of foam. Try to think of ways the foam will enhance the food you’re pairing it with as opposed to adding foam for the sake of foaming. There are certainly standalone foams, but that is a topic for a different day.

This tarragon oil specifically is great for salads, grilled veggies, or as a lovely garnish on soups (particularly gazpacho).

Feel free to experiment with different herbs and flavors as well! Add a basil foam in place of a dollop of pesto or a chive foam with your omelet! The possibilities are endless.

Tarragon Oil 

1 cup tarragon 

1 cup grapeseed oil or other neutral oil 

Blend tarragon and oil on high in blender. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

Tarragon Oil Foam 

100g tarragon oil

5g glycerin flakes 

Pour oil and glycerin in a small pot and stir until mixture reaches 140 degrees. Remove from heat and stir until glycerin is completely dissolved. Pour into a container and refrigerate until completely cool. The oil will be thick once cool. Pour mixture into the ISI chamber of a whipping siphon. Charge the siphon with one to two NO2 chargers depending on the desired foam outcome.

This method can be used with any oil and any combination of flavors. The ratio just needs to be 5% glycerin of the weight of the oil you want to use and the glycerin needs to be heated to 140 degrees.

If all this molecular gastronomy talk has you reminiscing on your last fine dining experience, now might be a good time to remember that The Austin Artisan’s meal delivery services and dinner parties can be ordered to enjoy at home any day of the week!

Eat Like a Billionaire (Without Spending a Fortune)

When you think about eating like a billionaire, what kind of images do you conjure in your mind? French wine, foie gras and olive oil dust? Escargot and ice cream with flecks of 14-karat gold? In other words, food that seems too far out of reach?

Well, I have a little secret to tell you… eating like a celebrity or CEO actually has nothing to do with money (or whether or not you can source snails). It has to do with creating an experience—and knowing a few key culinary tricks. As a chef, my mission is to redefine the way people think about food, because (to quote myself) it can set the tone, create the mood and evoke an emotion.

Despite what many believe about Personal Chefs, I actually don’t have a single client who brings in the billions. But my clients surely eat like they do! There’s an art to elevating and enjoying your food, which is accessible for everyone.

Your creativity is actually what enhances a meal and makes you feel like a star! So if you want to eat like a billionaire, here are some ways you can do it without spending a fortune:

Grow Fresh Herbs: Take an ordinary salad. Then add fresh basil and tomatoes from your garden. It totally enlivens the flavors. Grill up a steak and then prepare a simple Basil-Mint Chimichurri to transform a weeknight meal into a fine-dining experience. I’m telling you, it’s all about the right herbs. Read more about Why I Keep an Herb Garden here.

Learn About Sauces: There’s a reason you’re taught to prepare Mother Sauces in culinary school. The 5 French Mother Sauces are the foundation for all other sauces—they also help you raise the bar. Think eggs. Then think eggs with hollandaise sauce. Think lasagna. Then think Northern-style lasagna with béchamel sauce. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it?

Experiment With Science: Remember that Olive Oil Dust I mentioned? Well, it only contains 3 ingredients! Sometimes, adding that element of shock and awe is easier than you think. So in addition to sauces and herbs, create a masterful meal with Molecular Gastronomy. Click to get my Olive Oil Dust and Lemon Air recipes.

Set the table: How many of you pull out the paper plates and huddle around the TV? Okay, that’s fun when you’re watching a football game, but see how it feels to set your table with plates, forks, knives and cloth (eco-friendly) napkins. You may even want to pull out the Waterford glasses or champagne flutes that have been collecting dust since your wedding. Might as well use them! Not sure which fork goes where? Check out this blog post on How to Set a Table.

Shut off the TV: Like I said, grub and a game is one thing, but eating in front of the TV night after night distracts from the meal. So do phones, laptops and leftover work. Carve out at least 30-45 minutes of electronic-free time to eat, chew and savor each and every bite. You’ll be amazed at how differently you taste and digest your meals when you’re paying attention to them.

Ready to roll up your sleeves? The Austin Artisan Cooking Classes are coming soon, featuring Private Demonstrations, Interactive Cooking Classes and Cooking Competitions. From fine-dining recipes to mystery baskets, we’ll show you how the pros do it! Perfect for individuals, small groups and corporate team building. Contact us for more information.

Molecular Gastronomy: Lemon Air

How do you make an ordinary dinner a memorable one? I think about this a lot. When planning menus, The Austin Artisans aren’t just interested in feeding people; we’re interested in providing an experience.

I’ve been exploring the world of molecular gastronomy, because it offers a new platform for plating and presenting meals. But it’s not just about aesthetics; the right application can serve to enhance the flavor profile of a dish.

My Lemon Air recipe adds just the right balance of brightness to any meal that would benefit from a pop of citrus. It’s specifically delicious on seared scallops, roasted chicken and fresh oysters. We dolloped it on our Squid Ink Pasta and it was superb. Admittedly, the “oohs and aahs” it received at our Supper Club were music to my chef ears.

While molecular gastronomy may seem intimidating, many recipes (like this one) are easier than you think. With only 3 ingredients, and no lab equipment required, you might as well give it a try. If you want to learn a little more about molecular gastronomy, check out this blog post before getting started.

Lemon Air

All It Takes

350 grams fresh lemon juice
250 grams water
3 grams soy lecithin

Let’s Get Cooking

  1. Thoroughly mix all 3 ingredients in a large container.
  2. Holding a hand mixer just below the surface, mix the liquid so that foam begins to form on the top.
  3. Once you have at least an inch of foam, let it sit for 2 minutes.
  4. With a slotted spoon, skim the foam off the top and place it on your dish.
  5. Serve immediately.

Chef Hack: The juice, water, and lecithin mixture can be made a day ahead of time. Create the foam just before serving.

April Meal Deal:*

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