Posts Tagged ‘April Fools’

01st April
2012
written by scott

pink slime burger

Pink slime is so hot right now – it’s in fast food joints, at supermarkets, and even in our elementary schools.  But, pink slime is so much better when it’s homemade!  Once you taste a fresh pink slime hamburger, you’ll never be satisfied with the drive-through version again. Grinding our own pink slime is also a great way to tailor the ammonia content to your particular taste, whether you prefer tangy and solvent, or mild and corrosive.

For this burger, I used the left over beef trimmings that I had been saving for compost. They were aged one week at room temperature and had just started to take on the terroir of my compost bin. You can use store-bought ammonia, but if you happen to be (or know) a cat owner, I highly recommend using feline-produced ammonia. It provides a sharper, more vibrant flavor that you can only get from fresh, local sources. I recommend using cat litter that has been sitting for 30 days.  Sift out the solid waste (because it would be disgusting if any fecal matter got near your burger patty) and reserve the litter granules – they contain the precious ammonium hydroxide we’re after. Blend the litter granules into a fine puree, then pass them through a chinois or coffee filter. Combine the aromatic litter liquid with the beef trimmings and feed through a masticating juicer or a pasta maker with a spaghetti die attached.  Form the extruded meat into circular patties and cook on a grill, or sous vide before deep frying for a perfectly brown crust.

I like to keep the rest of my burger pretty simple – a Kaiser roll or a brioche bun, an American cheese slice, some heirloom tomato, and plenty of ketchup to mask the other flavors.  Enjoy at your next backyard barbeque, or any old day of the week!

[The photo above was obviously inspired by Ryan Matthew Smith’s iconic hamburger photo from Modernist Cuisine. Thanks for the inspiration and the tips, Ryan!]

[and happy April Fool’s day.]

01st April
2011
written by scott

easyvide

As you might know, I’ve been working on sous vide machine designs for a little over a year now.  I’m happy to announce today that I’ve finally got a model ready for sale: the Easy-Vide Sous Vide Water Oven for Kids! 

I discovered that children are currently the biggest untapped market for kitchen technology, and in order to make sous vide cooking pervasive in the future, we need to educate the next generation of chefs and home cooks.  I created the Easy-Vide to be the simplest, easiest and most fun way to teach kids about sous vide.

Features:

  • Screw in the light bulb (included), fill the basin with water, and pug in the power cord. 
  • No pesky temperature settings to remember.  The water bath is heated by the light bulb – it’s that simple!
  • Works for all types of foods including steak, chicken, fish, and even vegetables!
  • Kids will love searing their favorite snacks with the included Mini Blowtorch

I’m still in negotiations with several retailers, so check back soon for pricing and availability.  The Easy-Vide promises to be the must-have toy for the aspiring cook in your family!

01st April
2011
written by scott

modernist cuisine secret

Nathan Myhrvold’s presentation on the Modernist Cuisine book is loaded with astonishing facts and figures: over 2400 pages, 46 lbs., 4 pounds of ink… the list goes on.  But, he leaves out a great deal of the behind-the-scenes facts about  the book and the process of its creation.  As we enter early April, just under a month after the first copies shipped, we are finally uncovering details of the real story behind Modernist Cuisine.  Below are a a few little-known facts that I was able to gather from members of the kitchen team who have asked to remain nameless.

  1. The working title of the book was How to Boil Distilled Water At Sea Level Using A Conductive Heat Source and a Wet Bulb Thermometer.  It was later changed to Modernist Cuisine to conserve ink.
  2. A month before the book went to print, the team decided to cut a 6th volume that described  the physiology of the human body’s digestive process.
  3. As lifelong fan of hidden clues and puzzle-solving, Nathan has placed a secret clue inside the printed pages of book 5. If you cut off the book in half vertically down the exact center and view each half from the side, the interior edge of the stacked pages reveals the recipe for Three-Course Dinner Chewing Gum.
  4. The book originally included a recipe for Coca Cola, which the Modernist Cuisine team reverse-engineered using a mass spectrograph. However, efforts to recreate an edible aluminum can were problematic, and the recipe was ultimately discarded.
  5. The iconic “cutaway” photos in the book were actually created using a prototype device that resembles a light saber.  Intellectual Ventures has several working “light sabers” which it uses for testing defenses against (according to a research assistant) “pests significantly larger than a mosquito”. 
  6. During the book’s production, photographer Ryan Matthew Smith was asked to leave a Seattle restaurant after connecting a fiber optic strobe flash to his cell phone camera and tossing his meal in the air.  Ultimately, the restaurant owner apologized and asked to purchase the photo.
  7. One of the more famous recipes in the book is the Modernist Hamburger, which requires over 30 total hours and a bowl of liquid nitrogen to create.  Unfortunately, the team decided to exclude their recipe for “2 AM Mini Hamburgers”, which was inspired during the teams extensive experiments with methods of smoking herbs.
  8. The recipes in the book have clearly undergone rigorous testing.  However, the extent of the tests is often greater than we realize.  For example, one member of the culinary team spent four days measuring the number of licks it takes to get to the tootsie roll center of a Tootsie Pop.  He concluded, applying the central limit theorem, that the number is three.
  9. Although it is true that the genesis of the book was Nathan’s desire to understand sous vide cooking, it is not widely known that Nathan turned to sous vide because his microwave had broken and he needed a reliable way to reheat frozen taquitos.
  10. If you were to sum the cooking time for all of the recipes (not including parametric variations) included in the books, the result would be 8 years, 2 months, 15 days and 9 hours.  However, the book was completed in fewer than seven years, leading some to conclude that Nathan Myhrvold has secretly developed a time machine.

I hope these facts have given you an inside look at the creation of Modernist Cuisine.  And, as always, happy April fool’s day.