I’ve always been fascinated by puffed foods. Maybe it’s because our brains are hardwired to enjoy crunchy snacks… maybe it’s because Snap, Crackle and Pop were sending subliminal messages when I was a kid. In this video, I explain the science of puffing and show you a simple one you can make at home: puffed rice crisps.

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5 hour energy hypermelon

This may be the most dangerous food I’ve ever created. I came up with the idea near the end of a very long day of work, when delirium had set in and all of my ideas were at their most absurd. But, in the morning, the idea still lingered with me, so, despite my sense of impending moral conflict, I present Hypermelon.

Hypermelon is melon that has been vacuum infused with an energy drink. Strong vacuum pressure causes the cellular structure of the melon to change, and when atmospheric pressure is returned, the melon sucks up a proportionally large amount of any surrounding liquid. In these experiments, I infused watermelon with 5 Hour Energy and Sugar-Free Redbull. It’s pretty easy to extend the recipe to Rockstar Energy Drinks or other high-caffeine beverages. The watermelon helps to mask the semimedicinal flavor of the energy drink, making consumption of those beverages even more dangerous.

redbull energy hypermelon

Here’s a short video showing the vacuum infusion process. As you can see, the watermelon sucks up quite a bit of liquid. In fact, it only takes 200g of watermelon to absorb an entire 5 Hour Energy.

Watermelon being vacuum compressed in a pool of Redbull

I encourage you to exercise caution when making hypermelon. This shit is no joke.

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cryopoached coconut puff copy

Jethro and I were asked to create a dish with “wow factor” for a group of scientists for an upcoming event.  We wanted to craft a bite that’s first and foremost delicious, but also illustrates some of the hallmarks of modernist cooking: textural transformation, surprise, and use of unconventional techniques to refine and reinterpret something traditional.  It also had to be practical and economical, since we’ll be serving nearly 200 people in two hours.  This meant quick plating time, low portion cost, and minimal prep.  After some brainstorming, we decided that a cryopoached (liquid nitrogen-frozen) puff would fit the bill.  Jethro had already made the Fat Duck’s Cryopoached Green Tea Sour (which I recognized from Modernist Cuisine), but we wanted to make a version that was our own, and frankly, one that was simpler and cheaper.

I knew from prior experience that coconut milk foams nicely through a whipping siphon – I use it as a garnish for MC’s caramelized carrot soup.  Jeth and I came up with a list of complimentary flavors, including licorice and lime.  We combined coconut milk with a shot of absinthe, which made a delicious puff.  However, the strong licorice flavor of absinthe turns a lot of folks off, so we decided it wouldn’t be a crowd pleaser.  But coconut and lime?  Who wouldn’t love that.  And, for a little color and flavor contrast, we dusted the tops with ground, freeze-dried strawberries.  

cryopoached coconut puff open copy

When cryopoached properly, the “meringue” has a crunchy exterior shell that gives way to a light, foamy interior.  But, within a second of being in your mouth, the whole thing melts into liquid – the sensation all but forces a smile!  We got the best textural results when we poached the meringues for 20 seconds, flipping once, then letting it rest 10 seconds before eating.

Makes: a lot
Total kitchen time: 20 minutes
Special equipment required: liquid nitrogen, whipping siphon





Thai Kitchen coconut milk



  1. Combine all ingredients in a whipping siphon. Attach the top of the siphon and shake to mix well.
  2. Prepare a medium bowl of liquid nitrogen.
  3. Charge the siphon with 2 cartridges of nitrous dioxide.
  4. To serve, dispense a small ball of the meringue base onto a spoon.  Drop in the liquid nitrogen.  Poach, turning constantly until frozen on the outside but still soft on the inside, about 20 seconds. 




Vanilla extract



Lime juice



Iota carrageenan






Freeze dried strawberry, powdered

as needed

5.       Dust over the frozen meringues and serve immediately.

Also, an important safety note: DON’T LICK THE SPOON!  Any metal or dense materials that come in contact with the liquid nitrogen will get cold and stay cold – cold enough to burn your skin and freeze your tongue like a flagpole in a snowstorm.  As a gentleman and a friend, I’m choosing not to post the picture of Jethro’s “lesson” in thermodynamics, but let’s just say that the spoon now has more taste buds than he does. 

*Thanks to Mr. Eric Rivera for the carrageenan tip!

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