the strategist

This Viennese Gadget Can Instantly Whip Cream, Pickle Cucumbers, and Carbonate Juice

Photo courtesy of iSi

We asked chef Elise Kornack, she of the Michelin-starred Carroll Gardens restaurant Take Root, what her favorite kitchen appliance is. Here’s what she told us:

I first encountered the iSi cream whipper, which is from this Viennese company founded in the 1800s, when I was making whipped cream at a pastry station at one of my first jobs — it’s just a canister that you put a liquid in that you want to aerate or carbonate. Charge it once by screwing in a nitrous-oxide canister to the top, wait until you hear the canister make a “pop” sound, and it’s ready to go.

When I first used it, I thought it was awesome that the iSi could make whipped cream right off the bat. A few years later, when I was working at Aquavit, I figured out it could do more than that: We were making a hollandaise but wanted it to be very airy and to hold a significant shape, so one of us just threw the finished sauce into the canister, and it ended up coming out as this really beautiful, light hollandaise, kind of like an egg custard. So we started to play with a bunch of other ways you could aerate a sauce, and saw that you can use the iSi container to concentrate flavors and processes into a shorter number of steps and get better quality. You can make a light fruit mousse out of just fruit purée (no cream or eggs), or a vinaigrette that’s frothier and has a stronger taste. You can even quickly pickle or marinate vegetables in it — drop in cucumbers, a little bit of vinegar, and some spices and herbs; charge it once; and they will marinate and become all wilty and beautiful. You can also carbonate any juice into soda without a SodaStream: Add the liquid, charge the canister, and you’re done. It’s God’s gift to the universe. It’s also just a fun thing to have around. As told to Priya Krishna.

Buy it: $80 at Amazon

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The Coolest Kitchen Gadget Is the iSi Cream Whipper