Salad with three different flavored oil droplets (photos #1 and #4 courtesy Matthew Kenney Cuisine).  Vegetables with a mushroom sauce swirl (photo courtesy Wassail | NYC).  The most elegant way to serve gravy (photo courtesy Strip House | Las Vegas).  A fancy way to serve ice cream or sorbet, with a chopped pistachio nuts.  Garnish your drinks, too (Chocolate Martini photo courtesy Scrumpdillyicious).
The same plastic squeeze bottles used to serve ketchup at some casual spots can also be used to create glamorous accents—dots, swirls, zigzags—on your everyday foods as well as special occasion fare.
All you need are inexpensive squeeze bottles.
You can keep them in the fridge, ready to do a maple syrup zigzag over French toast, flavored olive oil droplets in soups or on plates, raspberry purée for desserts, or anything else you want to dot, squiggle, swirl or zigzag .
There’s no limit: sweet or savory, foods or beverages.
Beverages, including cocktails, can get the special lift. Just use a thicker sauce (e.g. chocolate syrup) on the inside of the glass and let it set a bit before adding the liquid.
Dessert sauces and honey
Gravy and jus
Other oils: basil, chili, mustard, etc.
Purées and coulis
Etc., etc., etc.
SQUEEZE BOTTLE DO’S & DONT’S
BUY smaller (6-8 ounces), thinner squeeze bottles. While bigger may seem better, you need to control the flow with a bottle what best fits in your grip.
PLAN not just the flavors, but the colors. The garnish needs to pop against both the food and the plate. For example, you won’t see a balsamic garnish on a red plate; and it won’t look too great next to brown meats.
USE additional garnishes as you like, such as fresh herbs, spices or berries (see our article on Garnish Glamour). Just don’t turn the plate into an overdone art project.
Check out the many videos on YouTube for inspiration and more complex techniques.
USE this as an opportunity to create new flavor combinations. Test them first in the normal way, before you add blue cheese dressing swirls to a sausage plate.
OVER-DO it. Start with smaller amounts first, before you decide to cover an entire plate with polka dots.
1. What are you cooking next? Pick your garnish and make a different design for everyone. Even a ham sandwich can be served with mustard and mayonnaise polka dots or swirls.
2. Try different flavors with different foods. Maybe that ham sandwich would like a zigzag of sriracha mayo and a drizzle of honey mustard.
3. Don’t forget the soup. We love it with a few droplets of flavored olive oil, or a swirl of Greek yogurt or sour cream.
4. Plan your matches. If this is new for you, it will take you longer to decide on the sauce than create the designs. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for spontaneity. Just grab that bottle of ranch dressing, pour it into the squeeze bottle and garnish away!
A squeeze bottle makes all of this easy.
Designs don’t have to be perfect swirls or zigs.
Whatever you start with will be just fine.
You’re going to have a lot of fun with this!