Picking and eating fresh fruit can be a fun and energizing traditional activity. However, without much effort you can elevate your fruit consumption to another level!
To liven up any party consider turning fruit into a delicious rich soup or gazpacho. Use a modernist technique and turn the soup into funky spheres. Another great way to amaze your friends is to add surprising texture to food by forming gel cubes; it's simple with the addition of a modernist ingredient such as agar. By using a whipping siphon, you can make a fruit foam dessert or a cocktail topper.
Infusions are another interesting alternative to do with fruit. You can infuse any liquid such as alcohol, vinegar, oil or water with fruit, or infuse a fruit (or other food) with flavoring agents. An infusion can be achieved through a slower traditional method, or faster with a whipping siphon or a sous vide process.
The options of dressing up fruit are endless and only limited by your imagination. The following are our top recipes and articles for making interesting and unique fruit dishes and treats!
Sometimes I am up for a light snack that will hold me over until dinner time. This mixture of sous vided peaches and blue cheese always does the trick. I was originally unsure of the flavor combination but once I tried it together I was won over. This salad works best in the height of peach season, though sometimes I eat them all before I get around to actually cooking them!
Heating peaches with sous vide softens them up slightly, resulting in a tender snack. Adding some bourbon and cinnamon to the bag infuses them with rich flavor, which some chopped almonds, molasses and fresh mint rounds out.
Fruit compotes, jams, and marmalades are real easy to make with sous vide. Simply put some fruit, with any pits or inedible skin removed, into a bag with some sugar and acid then cook it up to an hour or two and you are good to go.
This soup is easy to put together, highlights the flavors of
strawberries, and is light and refreshing. Xanthan gum helps hold it together and traps the bubbles created from pureeing it, keeping it a little frothy.
In this recipe the pressure cooking of the plantains caramelizes them, ratcheting up the sweetness and adding more depth of flavor. Then simply puree them with dark rum and place them on crostini for a great snack!
Lemon confit, or preserved lemon, is a popular ingredient in Moroccan cuisines and is great for adding a little brightness to a dish. It traditionally takes several months, but using a sous vide machine speeds up the process to about an hour!
Like this chocolate whipped cream with berries dessert, sometimes the most impressive dishes to my guests are the easiest ones to make. In addition this combination is unforgettable when served warm on cake, brownies or ice cream!
Versawhip and xanthan gum combine to make light
foams that are a great way to add texture to dishes.
It's a great topping for desserts and ice creams or can
even be eaten as an amuse bouche between dishes.
For a PB and J dessert worthy of a party, I make a home-made cashew butter to replace the peanut butter and then turn some fresh raspberries into a flavorful fluid gel for the jelly. I serve it with a sliver of dark chocolate for richness and a lemon twist to add brightness. When served open face it better highlights the flavors.
I really like how the halibut goes with the sweet and tart citrus pudding. This is a simple dish but one that is full of subtle flavors. The orange and lemon help complement the halibut and the basil adds just a hint of spice to it.
For these fun and flavorful party desserts I make a gelled ravioli from bananas and cream and fill them with Nutella. Just top them off with some shaved chocolate and mint leaves or serve them with ice cream - either way it is a crowd pleaser!
The combination of apples and pork are a classic pairing in Irish cooking. For this recipe, I roast apples and use the modernist ingredient of agar to turn them into a fun pudding topper for pork. By sous vide cooking the pork, you can consistently serve an extra moist and tender meat entree.
Infused vinegars are a great way to add subtle flavors to vinaigrettes and sauces. When making your own sous vide can compress the infusion process into a matter of hours instead of week or months. I like to use this refreshing raspberry vinaigrette on spinach salad or as a sauce on white fish.
This family favorite summer recipe tops a flavorful, tender sous vided hanger steak with fresh peach salsa. When using sous vide, a convenient hands-off cooking method to prepare this underutilized cut of meat, you have even more time for relaxation. The salsa is simple to prepare and really highlights the flavor of the peaches while still complementing the steak.
The star of most of my parties is meat and this blackberry-peach wrapped sous vided pork offering is no exception! It makes a fun presentation besides the additional sweetness and flavor from roasting the fruit complements the pork perfectly.
This recipe makes fresh cantaloupe and honeydew melons into a simple flavorful soup, then turns it into little spheres that my guests can pop into their mouths. By using a modernist spherification technique and the modernist ingredients of calcium lactate and sodium alginate, you too can make a fun take on this favorite summer food!
Banana chips are easy to make and taste so much better than the store brands. This recipe uses a standard dehydrator to make these great garnishes for desserts or as a base for crostini-like dishes. The cinnamon gives these banana chips some additional heat and flavor - Yum!
By using the basic modernist ingredient of xanthan gum this recipe turns tuna into an upscale party favorite for any gathering. I serve the tuna squares with a pickled pear relish and an Asian accent sauce for a pop of flavor.
Tequila has a bad reputation as a party drink but you can tame it if you replace the shots with this sophisticated cocktail. The paloma is a traditional Mexican cocktail and is much more common than a margarita south of the border. It is usually made with tequila and a grapefruit soda, such as squirt, served over ice, and is both easy to make and delicious.
When watermelon is in season it's hard to resist. For some parties you need nothing more than to slice it and hand it out with paper towels for people to scarf down. However, sometimes you want something a little more refined and that's where this recipe comes in.
Sweet green grapes are another favorite snack of mine and they're a great party food because most people really like them. For this more upscale dish I turn them into a sweet, fizzy soup. The xanthan gum helps hold the particles in suspension and the carbonation effect adds a pleasant tingle and tang to it.
These cocktail cubes are a fun way to entertain your guests. They are rum infused strawberries encased in a daiquiri cube. When you bite into them the cube starts off with a sweet and tart flavor followed up by the kick of the rum-infused strawberries.
This modernist recipe is a refreshing take on blueberry lemonade that changes the ubiquitous summer drink into a modernist creation your friends will love. It is a light blueberry froth dispensed on top of a glass of lemonade. The blueberry foam slowly filters into the drink, changing the flavor of the lemonade the longer you drink it. It is a quick recipe to make and is a great way to elevate a common drink.
While the most common and well-known use of a whipping siphon is to create foams you can also use it to infuse liquids and to carbonate liquids. In this modernist recipe, I carbonate the water in watermelon to make a fizzy salad. It's a unique way to present an easy summer dish.
One of my favorite spring dishes is shortcakes with fresh fruits or berries. The other day I decided to take advantage of some great looking berries and made a variety of shortcakes. To make them more modern, and to work on some recipes for my upcoming book, I used some whipping siphon foams and agar agar fruit gels.
Summer isn't exactly apple season, but at both farmer's markets and grocery stores many varieties are available year-round. Here in Central California we've had quite a bit of cool weather from late May through June and into July. For me, cool weather means comfort food, and baked apples fall right into that category.
One of the most interesting things in molecular gastronomy is spherification. Spherification is basically a process that seals a liquid in a jelly like membrane. There are several ways to accomplish this but in this article we will focus on the method of reverse spherification using calcium lactate and sodium alginate. When the calcium and the sodium alginate come in contact they form a membrane, encapsulating anything inside of it.
These agar gel cubes are a great way to add a unique visual style to a dish, as well as creating little bursts of papaya. You could use a similar agar recipe to gel many different liquids, depending on the dish you are creating.
Summer is upon us and my thoughts have turned to berries, and cherries, and luscious stone fruits. I love to combine the sweetest fruit of the season with a simple yet elegant sauce such as Italian zabaglione (or sabayon, as it is known in France).
I am crazy for the sweet-tart, floral flavor of passion fruit. Although my garden produces just about every kind of fruit, it's a few degrees too cold during the winter months in Carmel Valley to grow this divine tropical fruit. I know, because I've tried and failed on two occasions.
Pears are one of my least loved fruits when eaten out of hand, but when they're poached in butter, sugar, vanilla, and spice, well, that's another story. Normally, you immerse the pears in a flavorful liquid, such as wine or sugar syrup, and cook them on the stove top. Then, after they're poached, the cooking liquid needs to be reduced to concentrate its flavors.
Gels are a very common technique in modernist cooking. This modernist recipe uses the gelling properties of agar agar to make papaya noodles. These agar agar noodles are a great addition to a several different dishes and are an easy way to add a touch of flair.
For this sous vide recipe I decided to use country style ribs and paired them with sweet apples and an orzo salad. The ribs come out super tender but still nice and moist and the apples add a great hit of sweetness to them.
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