Recent e-mails and comments have spawned questions about what tools we use to create froths and arrange the purees pictured in our photographs. These are two inexpensive tools that we use daily to help create these effects.
The first is simply a baby offset spatula. The first time we used it to spread tuile batter on a sheet tray we knew that it was destined to be used for plating. Simply place a spoonful of your sauce or puree on the places and then drag the spatula through it to spread it on the plate. A damp linen napkin can be a helpful tool to clean the plate as you are mastering the process, to sharpen lines if you don't like the free-form effect, and to clean the rim of thumbprints before heading to the table.
The second tool is wonderful for emulsifying both hot and cold liquids. It is the Bonjour Caffe Froth. Be careful as there are imitators that do not work, but this one is fabulous. It's battery operated, so you do not need to worry about cords, easy to clean, and easy to operate. If you want a really stable froth you can use a few granules of lecithin as a stabilizer to get your creation to the table intact. The last great benefit to this frother is that unlike an immersion blender, it can work with very small amounts of liquid. Pictured here are a few tablespoons of apple cider blended in a coffee cup.