How to Carve Pumpkins with A Laser

Laser Pumpkin Carving

I’m a huge geek, and I love carving pumpkins.  So, when I found out that I had access to a 30W CO2 cutting laser, there was only one thing that came to mind: laser-carved pumpkins.  Every October, I spend a few weeks in the lab working on new techniques for perfecting my laser pumpkins.  Below is a research paper I wrote detailing the process.  It might be a little dry, but the results are, well, scary!  And, in case you haven’t seen the results, here are my laser-carved creations from the past few years.

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Review: The Counter

burger  I was thrilled to hear that a new burger place was opening its doors (and my mouth) in Ballard.  As a foodie, one of my favorite friendly debates is “Who makes the best burger in Seattle?”  Everyone has their preferences, from a $1.40 Dick’s cheeseburger to Spring Hill’s $17 1/2 lb. masterpiece, and all the meat sandwiches that fall between.  And although we may never agree on who flips the best beef, I’d like to add one more name into the conversation: The Counter.

I won’t go so far as to proclaim that The Counter makes the best burger in Seattle, but damned if they shouldn’t be on the ballot. 

Although I was dismayed to discover that The Counter is a chain (from California, no less!), I was very impressed with the Seattleishness of their menu and concept.  First, they start with 100% natural, hormone and antibiotic-free beef from Meyer Company Ranch.  This is exactly the right foundation for a burger joint: great beef.  It let’s you ask questions like, “Would you like your burger pink with a warm center?” instead of “Do you mind that we’re going to incinerate your dinner meat because we’re too cheap and/or careless to buy beef that’s safely edible?”  And, although being choosy about your cattle farm may still be ahead of its time, anyone can appreciate that quality beef just tastes better. 

Broiled Honey-Glazed Spiced Figs

honey-broiled spiced fig copy 
The first signs of Fall have arrived: the mornings are crisp and overcast, the slutty mannequins at the costume shop on Denny are dressed as pirates, and figs are plentiful and cheap.  Fresh figs are one of the most versatile Fall fruits around, and also one of the most delicious.  Baked, grilled, or, in this case, broiled, they’re kinda hard to screw up.  For this preparation, we’re glazing sliced figs with honey and spices – feel free to substitute whatever smells good to you (try Chinese Five Spice) – then broiling until the honey caramelizes.

Makes: 1 dozen sweet Fall treats
Total kitchen time: 15 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 12 fresh figs
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  1. Preheat your broiler and set the top rack as close to the heating element as possible. 
  2. Rinse the figs and pat dry.  Cut off stems (optional, but the stems aren’t edible).  Slice figs in half lengthwise, from stem to root.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl (measurements are approximate – do what looks/smells/tastes good to you).
  4. Lay the figs, cut side up, on a lined baking sheet.  Drizzle the cut side of the figs with honey.  Sprinkle over the spice mixture.
  5. Broil on the top rack until the honey bubbles and just begins to brown, about 10 minutes.  Note: watch the figs closely – cooking time will vary from oven to oven.  Alternately, you can place the figs cut side down on a hot grill for about 10 seconds.
  6. Remove from heat and serve. 

These broiled figs are dying to be slathered with mascarpone or tossed with green beans, goat cheese and bacon for a beautiful fall side dish.  Or, just eat them as-is for an afternoon snack or super-easy hors d’oeuvre!

Broiled Honey-Glazed Spiced Figs on Foodista