Tag Archives: kitchen

The Coolest Kitchen from the International Consumer Electronics Show

Jetsons via Hanna-Barbera

The toasters really did tweet at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
The ovens downloaded recipes, the refrigerators were on Facebook, and the dishwashers chatted with the washing machines about the hot water.
The kitchen of the future is here, and can be summed up in one word: connected.
You talk to your appliances, they communicate with each other and the outside world.

The LG ThinQ refrigerator has a smart food monitor that texts you updates when you run out of groceries. It recognizes each family member through voice-recognition software and suggests dishes appropriate to each diet. The refrigerator can cue the ThinQ oven to the appropriate cooking time and temperature, and the oven will text you when it’s preheated and completed the cooking cycle.

The app-enabled Samsung refrigerator tracks the expiration dates of groceries and will soon be upgraded with an e-commerce app that will allow you to shop for food straight from a screen on the front of the fridge. For now, the LCD monitor can be used to stream TV and Facebook or download recipes.

You can ring up the internet-connected Jura-Capresso coffeemaker from your smartphone to start brewing before you even get out of bed. It stores individual preferences for coffee strength, water amount, temperature, and milk-frothing steam.

There are features to appeal to the tech-geek inside us, but the real smartness of the appliances fits into the broader conversation around the connected home and overall home management. Connected appliances can minimize down-time and waste by running their own performance diagnostics, and they can connect to the manufacturer for repairs and upgrades. They can tap into signals from power companies and use the data to adapt their cycles to optimize energy usage and shift their energy consumption to off-peak times.

Smarten up your old appliances.
There are devices out there that let you create your own connected home without replacing your old appliances.

The Wifi-connected Twine is loaded with temperature, pressure, moisture, current, RFID, and motion sensors. It knows when the refrigerator door is opened and closed, when the ice maker is jammed, and when your oven thermostat needs recalibration; and it can report on status via emails and tweets.

Remember the Clapper? Belkin’s WeMo is the 21st century version of ‘clap on, clap off.’ You plug in any appliance that has an on-off switch and control or schedule its operations via smartphone or tablet computer.

The connected home is not exactly the futuristic utopia of The Jetsons, where a hungry Jane pushes a few buttons on the food-a-rac-a-cycle and there’s dinner for four. But we’re getting closer.

 

 

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Snooping in Other People’s Pantries

Almedahls vintage pantry tea towel

It’s been said that the eyes are the window to the soul.
Nonsense. The true window to the soul is the pantry.

Every pantry tells a story.

Pantries are as individual as fingerprints. They reflect history and aspirations, politics and pocketbooks. They are links to the past and road maps to our dreams. They are the show we put on for guests and they can harbor our deepest secrets.

Pantries can be treasure troves of exotica or wastelands of deprivation. They can speak of careful planning or organized chaos. They can remind us that we are overscheduled or underpaid. And sometimes they just scream Take out the recycling!

Pantries are the place where dreams meet reality.

The online world is ripe with opportunities for a culinary peeping Tom. The best of these is a photo series, now in its fith year, called Other People’s Pantries.

Hosted on the blog The Perfect Pantry, each week a different guest blogger showcases their own pantry in photographs and text. We have peered inside of converted broom closets in tiny urban kitchens, hand-hewn shelving in log cabins, and lavishly outfitted pantry extravaganzas in grandiose homes. We have been to kitchens in nearly every state and about a dozen countries. Can by can, spice by spice, each pantry tells the story of a cook, a home, a life.

If you’re game, Other People’s Pantries is currently soliciting submissions for new pantries to feature.

Want to snoop some more?

Diane Sawyer prefers Miracle Whip to mayonnaise. Bobby Flay like to mix hot sauce into his Greek yogurt. Rachel Ray bakes with cake mixes. Celebrity  secrets are revealed in Stock Your Pantry Like the Stars.

A dieting wife and mother; a restaurant critic; a 20-something ethical vegetarian; a newly-divorced middle-aged man; the Montreal Gazette dissects the shopping and eating habits of this eclectic group of home cooks in its series Shop, Cook, Eat, Drink.

What Your Groceries Say About You looks at the secret language of grocery purchases, from Jimmy Dean’s dough-wrapped frozen sausages (“I will eat anything on a stick,”) to canned Reddi Whip (“There’s an 87% chance I’m using this for sex.”)

 

 

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Your Plate is Making You Fat

image via Beard Crumbs

It turns out that portion control is just an optical illusion.
The size and shape, even the color of dishes and glasses have a huge effect on how much we eat and drink. We pour larger drinks into short, wide glasses, and put big servings on big plates. When the food coordinates with the plate’s color, we load up even more.

Did you think it was your appetite and willpower determining choices?
We face an average of 226 food-related choices in a day, but we exercise conscious decision-making in only around 15 of them. The other 200 or so daily food choices are essentially mindless decisions. You’ll finish any sized hamburger just because you always eat a whole hamburger, grab a doughnut because someone brought a box into the office, and help yourself to seconds because the bowl is right there.

Size matters.
Fifty years ago, the standard dinner plate had a 9 inch diameter. Today, it’s most likely to be 12 inches, and we tend to calibrate our appetites to what’s on the plate instead of what our bodies tell us.

Color matters too.
Portions appear smaller when the food blends with the plate color. You’re likely to eat more spaghetti with marinara sauce on a red plate and cornbread on a yellow one. White and blue plates tend to provide the best contrast for portion control; researchers say red and gold are the worst. Even the tablecloth color can shape portion perceptions.

It’s impossible to avoid the environmental cues that encourage us to eat, but recognizing them is a step in the right direction.

 

 

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New Uses for Microwaves

Happy microwave via Chazzyllama

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, but I’d cast my vote for convenience.

Take the microwave oven.
It’s entirely redundant in our kitchens. It does nothing more than duplicate cooking processes that are nearly always better-performed by other appliances. Yet every one of us has one. Why? Because it’s convenient. It’s quicker, easier, and usually requires less cleanup than other cooking methods.

Most of us use our microwaves to defrost, reheat, and boil water. But why stop there? With a little know-how, we can do so much more with our microwaves.

Make skinny potato chips: Lay thin potato slices in a single layer on a plate. Season (salt, pepper, vinegar- whatever you like). Microwave for about 5 minutes until they reach the desired point of brown and crispy done-ness.

Soften brown sugar: Microwave the package of brown sugar on high for 15-30 seconds. Voila!

Dry fresh herbs or grated citrus peels: Spread herbs or peels on a paper towel. Microwave for 1-2 minutes or until dried, stirring every 30 seconds. Cook another 1-2 minutes for thicker peels and herbs.

Freshen soggy peanuts: Spread in a baking dish and microwave, uncovered, on high for 3 minutes per cup. They’ll crisp up as they cool.

Make scratch chocolate pudding: Mix 1/3 c. cornstarch, 1/4 c. cocoa powder, 1/2 c. sugar, pinch of salt, and 2 1/4 c. milk. Cook for 2 minutes and stir. 2 more minutes and stir. 2 more minutes and stir in 1 t. vanilla and 2 T. butter. Let stand for about 5 minutes until it’s pudding-thick.

Get twice as much juice from a lemon: Give it 30 seconds in the microwave and then roll it around a few times on the counter. Double juice.

Roast a whole head of garlic: Put a whole, unpeeled bulb of garlic on a paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute, turn it upside down and give it another minute. The soft, roasted cloves will squeeze right out.

Need some melted chocolate for a recipe? Snip the corner off of a bag of chips. Microwave for 20 seconds and knead the bag to mix. Keep repeating in 20 second increments (you’ll need a potholder as it heats up) until fully melted. Squeeze the chocolate out of the cut corner for a completely bowl-less, spoon-less experience.

Cook corn on the cob right in its husk: Put unshucked ears of corn on damp paper towel. You can microwave 4 or so at a time, adding a little under 2 minutes cooking time for each ear. Let the corn stand for 5 minutes before serving. The husks and silk will slip off easily.

Ripen an avocado: Microwave an avocado on medium for 2 minutes. Turn over, and microwave for 1 minute more.

Make a little cake in a mug: Coat the mug with nonstick spray. Add to the mug 4 T.  flour, 9 T. hot chocolate mix, and a pinch of salt. Give a stir and add an egg, 3 T. water, and 3 T. oil.  Mix it up well and microwave for 3 minutes. It will rise to alarming heights and then settle back into the mug. It’s not the best chocolate cake you ever tasted, but not-the-best is better than no chocolate cake.

Read Gigabiting’s Kitchen Hacks for many more kitchen shortcuts and helpful tips.

 

 


 

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The New Recyclables

image via Living, etc.

Yogurt containers into toothbrushes, Cheetos bags into CD cases.
While you were dutifully rinsing out tuna cans and bundling newspapers, recycling kept moving forward.

Specialized recyclers have sprung up to handle everything imaginable— or unimaginable in some cases: broken crayons, used dentures, old sports trophies, even sex toys. The kitchen is particularly fertile ground for recycling. Following are kitchen items that you’ll probably be surprised to learn are recyclable.

Hershey’s Kisses
Those little bitty foil wrappers sure add up. Around 80 million chocolate Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped every day. That’s enough aluminum foil to cover nearly 40 football fields. Instead of tossing it out, toss it into the bin with aluminum cans.

Corks
We like our chocolate and our wine. 13 billion natural wine corks are sold each year. Get mailing instructions or find a local cork drop-off location on the websites for recyclers ReCORK and  Yemm & Hart. Used corks can  find new life as placemats, shoe footbeds, flooring, and other building materials.

Cooking oil
I hope you know not to pour used cooking oil down the drain. It’s the number one cause of clogs, so clearly a lot of people are pouring it out. Whatever you’ve been doing,  you might be surprised to learn that your used oil can be recycled into biofuel. Check Earth911 for a nearby recycling location.

Packaging and more
Terracycle accepts the previously non-recyclable and turns them into products like clipboards and backpacks. Terracycle accepts:

  • Drink pouches (like Capri Sun) and single-brew coffee pouches (like Flavia)
  • Single-serve treat packaging (granola bars, cookie, gum, and candy bar wrappers)
  • Lunch kits (like Lunchables)
  • Chip bags
  • diapers
  • toothpaste tubes
  • small electronics

Produce stickers
Barry Snyder doesn’t recycle but will upcycle all those little stickers that come on supermarket produce, turning them into mosaic homages to well-known works of art. Visit Stickerman Produce Art to check out his work and for sticker shipping details.

Kitchen appliances
Remodeling a kitchen, or even just replacing the old toaster— use the Steel Recycling Institute’s location finder to pass along old appliances large and small.

If your unwanted items still have some life in them, get them into the hands of people who can use them. Sell them or offer them up as giveaways on Freecycle, Craigslist, Throwplace, and iReuse.com.


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Modernist Thanksgiving, Anyone?

Modernist cuisine is one of the glories of the 21st Century.
By borrowing from the laboratory, pioneering chefs have blown through the established boundaries of cooking, upending centuries of culinary tradition. They’ve refined and deepened our understanding of techniques and ingredients, astounding us with new and intensified flavors and textures. But can we please keep it out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving?

You don’t want to mess with Thanksgiving.
It’s our most traditional and food-centric holiday. For most families, the food traditions are inviolable—swap out the creamed onions for butternut squash and you’ll never hear the end of it from someone claiming to wait all year for those damned onions.

Call me old-fashioned, but I want my gravy thickened with roux rather than hydrocolloids, and please hold the alginate spherification when you cook my cranberries. This is not a day when my senses should be stunned.

Trading cast iron pans for the rotor-stator homogenizer
The modernist Thanksgiving kitchen is a sterile, precise environment. Cooking is reduced to the often soundless, odorless elements of physics and chemistry. Vacuum-sealed bags of deconstructed turkey swim silently in their sous-vide bath, and the beep of a digital touch pad signals the centrifuge cycle of the sweet potatoes. You’re not just hands-off;  you’re in protective gear.

Gone is the cacophony of rattling pans, the sizzle of fat, and the tangle of smells that fill the house. Gone too is the romance of cooking—the creative imprecision of a dash of this and a splash of that; the blast of heat when you open the oven door to baste the turkey; the hand-cramping satisfaction of mashing an enormous pot of potatoes into submission.

On November 25th, let’s put away the autoclaves and cryo-guns, and bring on the tradition.

Read about the ground-breaking text Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, in Gigabiting’s The Biggest, Greatest, Most Revolutionary Cookbook Ever. No kidding.

 

 

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6 Condiments You Really Should Get to Know

In the beginning there was ketchup.

Ketchup has reigned supreme for nearly 200 years. At its peak, it was found in 97% of U.S. households.
But global influences have perked up our palates. There’s a big world of flavor out there. Clear out some space in the pantry and push aside the ketchup bottle in your refrigerator. It’s time to make room in your kitchen and your cooking repertoire for six new condiments.

Sriracha, oh how I love thee. Squeezed on vegetables, drizzled over noodles, mixed into dressings, dips, and sauces; a moderately spicy chili base with a healthy garlic kick, Sriracha is a condiment chameleon. It transcends cuisines and national boundaries meshing equally well with dishes from Asia, Latin America, and the American South. It rivals ketchup as a tabletop catch-all.

 

Fish sauce requires a leap of faith. Comprised largely from fermented anchovies, on its own it is potent and smelly. Use it judiciously as a dipping sauce or an ingredient in curries, casseroles, and stir fries. The flavor is pure magic.

Chimichurri sauce can be green or red (with added tomatoes or peppers). It’s primarily a blend of parsley, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and pepper flakes, with different spices added to suit the dish. It’s used as a marinade and as a sauce, mostly with grilled meats. It’s popular throughout South and Central America; especially in Argentina where they know a thing or two about grilling meats.

Doesn’t this look familiar? Canned tahini has been found on supermarket shelves in the kosher aisle forever. A creamy paste made from sesame seeds, tahini is most closely associated with the Middle East, where it is a familiar ingredient in hummus, falafel, and eggplant dishes. Tahini has the consistency of peanut butter but with a milder taste, and adds nutty richness as a sandwich spread, salad dressing, and dessert ingredient.

Harissa is a chili sauce that appears on every North African table; sometimes in every course at every meal in all kinds of dishes. To my taste, a little goes a long way: a dab added to stews, sandwich spreads, soups, and sauces adds a distinctively tart, fiery finish. It is available in cans and jars, but for me, the little tube, as shown, is plenty.

Cook Moroccan food without preserved lemon and it just doesn’t taste Moroccan. These are lemons that have been essentially pickled in their own juices along with salt and some spices like cloves, coriander, pepper, and cinnamon. Maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but whatever the preserved lemons are added to take on complexity and a kind of exoticness. Beans or vegetables, sauces and salsas, dips and desserts will all have a little Moroccan je ne sais quoi.

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You’re So Wrong! Food Myths and Misconceptions

Adding salt won’t make the water boil any faster, you can take mayonnaise on a picnic, and go ahead and swallow that gum—it doesn’t take any longer to digest than anything else you might eat.

Let’s face it, sometimes common wisdom isn’t all that wise.
Then there are those infernal enemies of truth—of course I’m speaking of tweets, like buttons, and repostings. They carry the misinformation to the masses, and the next thing you know you’ve got yourself a new food mythology.

Let’s separate the facts from the fiction, the science from the silliness.
We’re going to look at those myths and misconceptions, and settle this once and for all.

myth: Add salt to water to make it boil faster.
reality: Salt actually raises the boiling point, so salted water takes longer to boil. It’s moot anyway since it takes way more salt than what gets added to a pasta pot to have that effect. Just add salt because it will make the pasta taste better.

myth: Sushi means raw fish.
reality: Sushi refers to the vinegared rice. Sashimi comes closer in meaning, since the ingredients are always raw, but it’s still not accurate.

 

myth: A craving is your body telling you it needs something.
reality: Our bodies can tell us physically when we lack a certain nutrient, but specific food cravings are strictly emotional.

 

myth: Alcohol burns off in cooking.
reality: Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, so it evaporates more quickly in cooking. But even after an hour of simmering, 25% of the alcohol remains, and 10% after two hours.

 

myth: There are negative-calorie foods that use more energy to eat than what’s contained in the food itself.
reality: The mere act of existence burns about 62 calories an hour, so in that sense, you can eat very low-cal foods and come out ahead. But chewing and digesting even a tough food like celery won’t bump up the hourly calorie burn enough to compensate for the added calories.

myth: You can’t bring sandwiches containing mayonnaise on a picnic.
reality: Commercial mayo has a high acid level and actually acts as a preservative for other ingredients. The turkey on a sandwich or the tuna in the tuna salad are more likely culprits when it comes to food-borne illnesses.

myth: Slice into rare beef and you get bloody juices.
reality: Nearly all blood is removed from meat during slaughter. Even when it’s served ‘bloody rare,’ you’re only seeing water and beef  proteins.

 

myth: The avocado pit in a bowl of guacamole will keep it from turning brown.
reality: There is no special magic to the pit. The browning is just natural oxidation from exposure to air, and the pit is big enough to block some air from reaching the dip. Try saran wrap and you’ll cover more area.

Myths, legends, misconceptions, polite fictions, old wives’ tales….
They’re the lessons o f old-school chefs, the ‘wisdom’ passed from mothers to daughter; whatever you want to call them, there are plenty more out there, and now they’ve gone viral.

 

 

 

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These Foods Will Outlive You

This is not about Twinkies. Or Christmas fruitcake, circa 2004. Or leftovers that wear out their welcome. Forget what you think you know about spoilage, shelf-life, and expiration dates.

This is a list of foods that never go bad. You don’t toss them when you clean out the pantry, remodel your kitchen, or move to another city. In fact you’ll be long gone, but that box of brown sugar will live on.

The sweeteners

White, brown, or powdered, sugar never goes bad. Bacteria can’t feed on sugar, so it will never spoil. Corn syrup is also a keeper, but we’re not fans of the stuff. Honey, with its own antibacterial properties, has been famous for its longevity ever since centuries-old honey pots were unearthed from ancient Egyptian tombs, and found to be perfectly edible. Maple syrup has a surprisingly limited shelf life of just a year or so, but who knew you could freeze maple syrup indefinitely?!

The carbs

Unless you’re wild about gravy, that tin of cornstarch could be the last one you’ll ever buy, since it never goes bad. All of the white rice varieties, like jasmine, arborio, and basmati, will keep forever; the higher oil content of brown rice makes those varieties prone to spoilage. Wild rice is another food that will outlast you, even though it’s not a rice at all, but is an edible grass.

The condiments

Salt—kosher, iodized, from the sea, or chiseled from mines—it never goes bad. Its resistance to bacterial growth makes it handy as a preservative for other foods. Like salt, vinegar is also used to extend the shelf life of other foods, and is, in a pure state without added flavorings, eternally self-preserving. Vanilla (the extract, not the beans) doesn’t just last forever; it actually improves with age. The cheaper, artificial extract is no bargain when you consider the cost to replace it every few years when its flavor fades. Spring for the good stuff and your grandchildren will still be baking with it.

Heat, light, moisture, air, and pests; these are the enemies. Keep them away from your pantry, and you can keep these foods forever.

When in doubt, check with the keep it or toss it query bar at Still Tasty.

 

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Not Such Top Chefs: Who’s making the real dough?

Celebrity chefs are big business.
They syndicate their own TV shows, command seven figure cookbook advances, and lend their names to endorse everything from ovens mitts to spaghetti sauce. A speaking engagement or cooking demo might net them upward of $50,000 for a few hours’ time, and investors line up to partner with them as they expand their restaurant empires into vacation hot spots from the Bahamas to Las Vegas.

What about the guy behind the stove at your corner bistro?
There’s no legion of fans swooning over his cooking on the Food Network—he just wants to impress the restaurant critic in the local paper and get a few good plugs in Yelp. He lives and dies by the table turn on a Friday night and the wholesale price of hanger steak.

Away from the spotlight, most chefs toil away in their kitchen clogs and baseball caps in semi-anonymity. They’re paid better than teachers, not as well as doctors, and probably not enough to afford them dinners out at restaurants as nice as theirs.

Here’s the skinny on who makes what in the kitchen.
Data comes from the culinary arts salary guide at AllCulinarySchools.com and the annual salary survey conducted by StarChefs.com. There can be significant differences between restaurant types and locations— salaries are all given as national averages.

Chef/Owner: $85,685
The dual role comes with the most creative freedom, but demands a double dose of pluck and fortitude and the ability to walk the line between craft and commerce, all while holding up both ends.

Executive Chef: $79,402
The kitchen’s top dog (absent an owner who cooks), the role tends to be more executive than chef, with hours spent on planning, costing, and ordering functions.

Sous Chef: $42,266
How’s that for a drop— little more than half their bosses’ salaries, and they’re the real workhorses. Sous chefs usually have the kitchen’s longest work day and its most brutal pace. See the one working through the staff meal? That would be the sous chef.

Pastry Chef: $48,861
Yeah, they don’t get the big bucks, or even their due, but then again, they only use their knives to cut through butter.

[image via MSN.

 

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It’s Organic. But What About the Packaging?

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It’s not a question of whether packaging components will leach into your food. It’s only a question of how much.

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When 28 million boxes of Kellogg’s cereal were recalled last summer, it gave us something new to worry about.
The problem wasn’t with the Froot Loops and Corn Pops (well, no more than the usual problems we have with over-processed, over-sugared breakfast cereals), but with the cereal boxes.

You know the slick, weirdly waxy-feeling liner bag inside of cereal boxes? That’s not wax. It’s plastic that has been impregnated with preservatives derived from oil and coal tar, and they leach into the cereal as it sits on the shelf. The incident highlighted gaps in the FDA’s chemical approval system and its lack of oversight when it comes to the safety of food packaging. […]

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Breakfast Breakthroughs

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The Rube Goldberg-esque automated breakfast cooking machine is a pop culture staple.
The comically convoluted gadgets are like shorthand for mad scientist. Think of Doc Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy; the father/inventor in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; even Pee Wee Herman got one in his Big Adventure. Toast, coffee, juice, and eggs at the push of a button is the holy grail of kitchen technology. Here are some recent kitchen innovations that take us a few steps closer to that reality.

 

The Cuisinart Egg Cooker handles up to seven eggs at a time. It hulks futuristically on your countertop where it boils or poaches to the precise consistency.

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http://www.ipmart.com/contents/products/P57000/57710/extra_pic/NostalgiaElectrics_Dough-Nu-Matic_DON-100.jpg The Dough-Nu-Matic automatically forms, fries, and drains mini-doughnuts in under a minute. It drops the finished doughnuts into a receptacle at the end, but you’ll be tempted to position your gaping yaw directly beneath.
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Is there any better way to wake up than to the sizzle and smell of bacon? Before bed, you slide frozen bacon strips into the cooking drawer of the Wake n’ Bacon alarm clock/bacon cooker. The 10 minutes cooking time is better than a snooze button.
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http://blog.gadgethelpline.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/chefstack.jpg If you’ve ever tried to make pancakes for a crowd, you’ll appreciate the ChefStack. It’s a fully automated pancake maker that can crank out a flapjack every 18 seconds—that’s right, 180 pancakes per hour.
It’s only 3 functions but we’re getting close with the toaster oven-hot plate-coffee maker combination that is the Maxi-Matic EBK-200 Elite Cuisine 3-in-1 Breakfast Station 4-Cup Coffee Maker.
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See the modern-day Rube Goldbergs who took a Craigslist curb alert’s-worth of castoffs and spare parts to create an all-chain reaction breakfast-maker. It scrambles eggs, juices oranges, brews coffee, makes toast, and plates the whole thing up with jam, meat, and cheese. A single push of a button sends an egg rolling from a chicken cage down a chute and onto a hot plate where it breaks and cooks.  Simultaneously, a coffee grinder is dropping freshly ground beans into a cup while water boils, oranges are squeezed into a juice glass, and a loaf of bread rides on a conveyor belt for slicing and then drops into a toaster. When it pops, the toast moves to a butter and jam paint roller. The toast and scrambled egg drop onto a plate on a sliding tray where they are joined by juice and coffee. Voila, breakfast!
View the video here.
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The Biggest, Greatest, Most Revolutionary Cookbook Ever. No kidding.

image via Modernist Cuisine.

We love the antics of the rich and eccentric.

They build castles and amusement parks, buy exotic islands and sports teams, run for public office, and book travel on spaceships. Now we have billionaire Nathan Myhrvold, developer of Windows software, former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft, and author of a self-published, six-volume, 2,400-page, 48-pound, $625 cookbook.

As you would expect from the man who Stephen Hawking turns to for help with quantum theories of gravity, this is no ordinary cookbook. In the words of the book’s website, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking “is des­tined to rein­vent cook­ing.” Heady stuff, indeed. […]

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Got Milk? How About the Not Milks?

Calvin and Hobbes comic via United Feature Syndicate

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Got milk?
Gotten milk recently?
It’s no easy feat. The dairy case seems awfully crowded these days.
Soy milk, the dairy alternative, has been joined by a slew of soy alternatives. Now you’ll find milk made from nut varieties, grains, and even law-skirting hemp seeds. […]

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Architecture for the Taste Buds

SpaghettiPipette Rigate

Bow Ties, FarfalleReginette

LasagnaCavatappi

Pasta is a marvel of geometry and construction.

It’s architecture for the taste buds. Long or short, thick or thin, smooth or ridged; each shape is a unique construction of form and consistency designed to capture and absorb sauce differently. The classic pairings—linguine with clams, spaghetti and meatballs, cavatelli and broccoli—have persisted in the Italian culinary repertoire because of their ideal expressions of taste. It’s what the Chinese call kou gan: the harmonious interplay beyond flavor that we translate as mouth-feel.   […]

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Lazy Food

image via BBC News

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Fast food for slow cooks.

Have you looked around the supermarket lately? The garlic has been peeled, the pineapples have their cores removed, and the onions are already chopped. There are pre-cooked slices of bacon and shrink-wrapped potatoes— washed and poked and ready to bake.

The ease and convenience are undeniable, as is the waste: a minimally-packaged, shelf-stable food is transformed into a product that is now encased in plastic and requires refrigeration. It has lost nutrients and gained preservatives, and its price has risen exponentially. […]

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Is the Garlic Press a Tool of the Devil?

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The great kitchen divide.

Cooks of the world, pick a side. Will it be the press or the knife? Do you extrude or do you mince?

The argument:

The garlic press is a one-trick pony.

No one wants a space-squandering uni-tasker in the kitchen. But a garlic press can press more than just garlic: try it to crack peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds; press out the skinless flesh of olives, capers, anchovies, and canned chipotles; or use it to press small quantities of onion or shallot juice. […]

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Grow Your Own White House Garden

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You can’t get any more local than your own kitchen garden.

Already popular with anyone with a hankering for freshness, superior taste, good health and nutrition, and saving money— which pretty much includes everyone— interest in kitchen gardens really took off when Michelle Obama oversaw the planting of the first White House vegetables since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden during World War II. Even Queen Elizabeth II succumbed to the ‘Michelle factor’ ordering a yard bed for Buckingham Palace. […]

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Here’s the Scoop: Home Ice Cream Makers

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Of course you should make your own ice cream.

It’s fresher than what you’ll buy, with no artificial flavors, stabilizers, or weird freezer taste. You control the ingredients: high-fat or low, dairy or not, honey-sweetened or sugar; and you can stretch your creativity with flavors and add-ins. […]

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8 Great Microwave Tricks


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They say that necessity is the mother of invention, but I’d cast my vote for convenience.

When it comes to convenience, it’s tough to top the microwave oven. It is entirely redundant in our kitchens. It does nothing more than duplicate cooking processes that are nearly always better-performed by other appliances, yet 95% of us have one. […]

Posted in appliances + gadgets, cook + dine | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments
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