The end-times are upon us (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
Here's a cute idea from CHOW and Chris Rochelle for baking chocolate cakes in campfire coals, using scooped-out orange peels as molds:
Cut the tops off about 10 oranges and scoop out the pulp. Fill the oranges three-quarters of the way with chocolate cake batter (cake mix works fine), then put the orange tops back on and wrap each orange in aluminum foil. Place directly onto the smoldering coals of the campfire, avoiding any intense flames, and cook for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice.
I've had sorbet served in an orange and pate served in an orange (AKA "meat fruit). Both were delicious. You could probably do a whole meal inside of citrus peels.
Eat Your Heart Out Bakers, home to some of the weirdest confections in my weird world, have unveiled a line of anatomically correct macaroons. Because of reasons. If you have to ask, you'll never om nom nom nom.
Fills me with joy how all the uber talented EYHO bakers continue to push the limits of creative baking. Case in point being these incredible heart macarons which Miss Insomnia Tulip created using different coloured batters. Hell yeah of course they will be on sale at EYHO…
A Japanese point-of-sale system has the native cunning to recognize baked goods of its own accord, a surprisingly tricky computer vision problem:
Brain Corporation has developed a system that can individually identify all kinds of baked goods on a tray, in just one second. A trial has started at a Tokyo bakery store.
This technology was co-developed with the University of Hyogo. This is the world's first trial of such a system in actual work at a cash register.
Uber, a spunky startup that's made a name for itself by using mobile devices to hook up people with rolling stock -- starting with an app that let idle limo drivers in San Francisco know about people who couldn't get a cab due to the city's notoriously dysfunctional taxi regulations -- has a great new stunt. They're giving ice-cream truck drivers and people who want ice-cream the ability to understand each others' needs: if you're willing to buy five or more ice-creams, you can signal that and nearby truck-drivers will see and respond to your desire. The service is available in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Washington DC.
* You can request ice cream by selecting the ‘ice cream cone icon’ in your Uber app.
* Set the location where you want the ice cream truck to show up and tap ‘request ice cream delivery here.’
* You’ll receive an ETA and be able to communicate with the driver.
* The ice cream truck will deliver five ice creams (you will have the option to order more when the truck arrives).
* We’ll bill your credit card card on file $12 for each bundle you order and hook you up with some sweet Uber swag.
The McDonald's sponsorship deal at the Security Games in London meant that Olympic workers are not allowed to buy chips (AKA fries) unless they come with fish. A chorus of complaints from site workers has led to a relaxation of the sponsorship terms so that workers (but not visitors) can buy their chips from the vendor of their choice, even if they're not served with fish.
From The Guardian's Robert Booth:
It all results from one of the stranger twists of Olympic planning. McDonald's sponsorship deal included the exclusive right to sell chips in and around Olympic venues. Other caterers had negotiated special rights to serve chips with fish – but not chips on their own, or with anything else.
Cue frustrated scenes at the lunch counter in the ceremonies catering area where staff were toiling over the staging for Danny Boyle's 27 July opening extravaganza. "Please understand this is not the decision of the staff who are serving up your meals who, given the choice, would gladly give it to you, however they are not allowed to," read a notice pinned up by staff. "Please do not give the staff grief, this will only lead to us removing fish and chips completely."
"It's sorted," said a spokesman for Locog. "We have spoken to McDonald's about it."
But the embargo will hold in other areas. That means no chips with anything other than fish anywhere else in the park unless spectators dine at McDonald's.
I know a couple of people on the lighting and automation crew at the Security Games and they report that there's a mass lunchtime exodus from the site by its workers every day as they troop off to find anything to eat that isn't McDonald's.
(Image: Big Mac meal with Chocolate Shake, Fillet-O-Fish, Chicken McNuggets - McDonalds, Hume Hwy AUD16.80, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from avlxyz's photostream)
Click Clack Gorilla's "ode to spaghettieis" celebrates a German ice-cream dish that looks like spaghetti Bolognese. The noodles are extruded white ice-cream. It was invented in 1969, and remains popular.
It really looks like spaghetti, doesn’t it? I imagine that it is made using a machine much like the one that came with the Play Dough restaurant set I had as a child. (Yep, it is, says the internet. Shops use a fancy automatic press, and you can make it at home with any old noodle press.) I’ve never tried it myself, but I’m willing to bet that it’s as much fun to make as it is to eat. A heap of noodle-shaped vanilla ice cream on a bed of whipped cream and covered in strawberry sauce and coconut chips (or nut chips)? Yum.
But the whimsy doesn’t stop there. Oh no! There are other varieties. Carbonara (with a brownish liquor sauce and nuts), and oh crap I can’t remember the rest (I was at the ice cream shop a couple of hours ago, but I’m going to have to call breastfeeding brain on this one). Just take my word for it. It’s a theme with a number of amusing variations.
When Spaghettieis and I met, we fell in love instantly. It was tasty, it was novel, it was cheap (2 DM to the dollar in those days), and it was responsible for at least half of the ten pounds I gained during our month-long high school exchange. I ate it every chance I got, which turned out to be every day during our final week in Krefeld. But the pounds melted back off once I was out of the land of noodle ice cream and sandwiches for breakfast. Did I say yum?
Wikipedia's "Generic citrus sodas" lists 27 (as of this writing) generic equivalents to Mountain Dew/Mello Yello/Sun Drop. "In deference to Mountain Dew's leading position in the market for citrus sodas, most brands of generic citrus soda have the word 'Mountain' in their names." Read aloud in a rush, they're a kind of tone-poem about marketing, dental caries, and caffeine shakes.
1 Citrus Drop/Citrus Drop Xtreme
2 Citrus Pop
3 Heee Haw
4 Hillbilly Holler
5 Kountry Mist
6 Mountain Breeze
7 Mountain Drops
8 Mountain Explosion
9 Mountain Frost
10 Mountain Fury
11 Mountain Holler
12 Mountain Lightning
13 Mountain Lion
14 Mountain Maze
15 Mountain Mellow
16 Mountain Mist
17 Mountain Moondrops
18 Mountain Roar
19 Mountain Rush
20 Mountain Splash
21 Mountain W
22 Mountain Wave
23 Mountain Yeller
24 Mountain Rush
25 Mt. Chill
27 Rocky Mist
Generic citrus sodas (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
A1 Concepts "Let's Pizza" vending machines are robots that scratch-bake pizzas in three minutes, to order. In this video, the Let's Pizza is demonstrated by a model (made extra weird by dubbing from some unknown language) in the world's most painful looking stilettos, who stresses again and again how hygienic the machine is, producing pizzas "untouched by human hands" and "in a human-free environment." Your robo-pizza is thus prepared "with a guarantee of total hygiene." The dubbing, the rubegoldbergian gadgetry and the strange, squeamish emphasis on hygiene (as though pizza from a mere human kitchen comes covered in boogers, stray pubic hairs and a thin film of DNA) combine to make this the greatest product demo of all time, ever, in the history of the universe.
The brainchild of Italian entrepreneur Claudio Torghel, the machine will be distributed by A1 Concepts, based out of the Netherlands. It's expected to hit our shores later this year, according to the industry website Pizza Marketplace. The company is expected to set up its U.S. headquarters in Atlanta.
Just what America needs: Pizza vending machines (Thanks, Gimlet_eye!)
Miss Cakehead sends us these "Incredible and gross chicken feet cake pops created for the Evil Cake Shop by Miss Insomnia Tulip."
The feet are made from vanilla & raspberry cake, triple dipped in white chocolate with the pop hand painted to resemble a boiled chicken foot; the chicken dipping sauce pop (top) covered with coloured piping gel; the battered chicken foot pop is covered with the dipping sauce and crushed citrus sprinkles to resemble batter. Ruddy amazing Yorkshire based baking talent and a really innovative cake pop design to boot.
AKMA Adam sez, "After three years of living in Glasgow, we couldn't miss the opportunity to return to Cozy Noodle in Evanston -- our favourite restaurant here, where we used to live. We love the food and service, but the thing that sets Cozy apart is its vertiginously happy-mutant decor. The dining room was busy tonight, but I managed a few photos of the collections of Pez dispensers, Beanie Babies, licesnse plates, joke signs, bobbleheads, old-time radios, robots, lunch boxes, and fruit cans. No trip to Evanston will be complete without checking out Cozy's coections. And ask for the Chicken Rama (they'll substitute tofu for the chicken, if you're a vegetarian as I am. Mmmmmmmm!)"
Saipancakes, who normally makes astounding pancakes like the ones above, had a rather spectacular pancakefail (right), prompting him to inaugurate an ugly pancake contest: "Rules: 1. It must be mostly pancake batter, and cooked like a pancake; 2. You (or someone) must eat it. You have until Saturday, May 19, to send me a photo of your creation. Winner will be chosen by my 4-year-old son. Honorable mentions will also be included on the site. Send your photo(s), title, and explanation to..."
The Salon Professionnel du Chocolat's Fujisan is a candle made of chocolate. As it burns down, it oozes molten chocolate onto the cake in which it is mounted. I imagine this would require a lot of patience on the part of the dessert-eater, but it might make a cool centerpiece that the host lights up just before clearing the main course plates.
FUJISAN plays with 2 inescapable elements of birthdays: the candle and the chocolate cake. The idea is to revisit the "fondant au chocolat" by using the candle to obtain the warm heart of the cake. Planted in the biscuit, the chocolate candle melts little by little it and fills the "crater" of the cake. So, the time of a song, the fondant gets ready under our eyes.
The Flickr stream of Jason Liebig -- previously featured for his sticker and packaging photos -- is a good place to go for some bloated, semi-sickened post-Easter-sweets perusal. His "Easter"-tagged candy wrappers include groovy 1960s Life Savers holiday packaging, 1970s Fuzzy Bunny packaging, and an extraordinary 1978 Rodda Candy Company ad (pictured here). All of them are available at very high rez (the one pictured here can be had at 4962 px wide!). I love Liebig's feed of odd candy packaging and ephemera, and was moved by his "collector heartbreak" story about the troubles of shipping rare old paper through the US mail.
In the Boing Boing store, a bubblegum-based label-writer. Feed it with any standard bubblegum tape, and stamp your message into it before you begin your chewy chewing for choosy chewers.
UK chancellor George Osborne was confronted on his government's decision to charge value-added tax (VAT) on hot take-away food like pasties. Labour MP John Mann asked Osborne when he'd last had a pasty from Gregg's, a chain of bakeries. Osborne couldn't recall. But PM David Cameron was ready for the question when it next arose at a press conference, stating "I think the last one I bought was from the West Cornwall Pasty Company. I seem to remember I was in Leeds station at the time and the choice was whether to have one of their small ones or one of their large ones. I have got a feeling I opted for the large one, and very good it was too."
The West Cornwall Pasty Company outlet at Leeds station has been gone for two years; there was another pasty baker there, the Cornish Bakehouse, but it closed last week. Patrick Wintour and Martin Wainwright explain in the Guardian:
Despite U-turns on most things this week, Downing Street stuck to its line and insisted that the prime minister had eaten a pasty at Leeds station, but the date was unclear, and possibly the purveyors had not been West Cornwall Pasty Company.
This was just as well, since Gavin Williams, the ungrateful boss of David Cameron's favourite pasty-makers, was not interested in Cameron's endorsement of his product. He wanted "clarity and leadership" from the prime minister.
But clarity is a rare commodity in this area, since it seems a pasty can avoid VAT if it is served cold at the counter and then warmed elsewhere in the shop.
If you can make homemade corn syrup, you can make homemade marshmallows. If you can make homemade marshmallows, you can make homemade Lucky Charms marshmallows. If you can do that, you are become death, destroyer of worlds.
That said, making homemade Lucky Charms is not for everyone.
You can read that sentence as a warning or as a challenge to be one of the few who are up to the task. I will never make them again. That's not because they turned out poorly. No, quite the opposite - they were amazing! However, homemade Lucky Charms were so labor-intensive that both Jonathan and I are still recovering - we have blisters on our thumbs from continuous pressing on cookie cutters (Jonathan had to take over after my fingers hurt so much that I couldn't cut anymore).
At ABV in New York, you can order a $17 Foie Gras Fluffernutter, a Wonderbread sandwich that combines peanut butter, marshmallow fluff, and foie gras. Evidently a dessert, it's topped with hazelnut crumble and sour apple.
Bethany Nixon's husband claims to have found the exact proportions of peppermint extract, green food dye, and vanilla ice-cream to reproduce the seasonal McDonald's Shamrock Shake year round. This will certainly come in handy for those out-of-season snake infestations!
Dan is one of those people that run out the door to get a Shamrock Shake the day they are back at McDonald’s. You too? Well, today my husband created his own version in our kitchen, and I thought I’d share his recipe with you. Now both of you can have that minty goodness without ever leaving home & all year long!
Americans rejoice! Chocolatier Paul A Young's chocopornoholic recipe book Adventures with Chocolate is out in the USA, in mouth watering goodness. I reviewed the book in 2009 when it was released in 2009, and for those who've missed it, I've included it below. Paul was good enough to supply some images from the book for an accompanying gallery as well. This is my favorite chocolate in the world, and the recipe book is pretty much edibly good.
Adventures with Chocolate: 80 sensational recipe is chocolate genius Paul A. Young's first foray into cook-books, and, like his wonderful shops in London, it's playful, inspiring, delicious and surprising.
Young's gifted touch with truffles, brownies and drinking chocolate have made his Islington store a fixture in our orbit around London. My wife's pregnancy was eased with his sea-salt caramels; we celebrated the birth with kalamansi truffles. The baby practically melted when she first tried a crumb of his cherry brownie. I am visited by Paul's chocolate in my dreams. I have been conditioned to start salivating when I reach the end of Camden Passage, and by the time I reach the shop, I need a bib to catch the dribble.
And here are all of Paul's secrets, laid bare in a superbly designed and printed book whose pornographically chocolated pages make you want to surreptitiously taste them (I tasted them. Tasted like clay-coated heavy paper stock). Paul's recipes are easy to follow and are equal parts inspirational (he makes it clear enough that even ham-fisted me believes that I can make them) and aspirational (in reality, it's a lot more likely that I'll just pop in on the Camden Passage shop and buy another box). And his essay on how he became a chocolatier, as well as his essays on buying and preparing chocolate, are sensational.
And truth be told, there are some recipes here I'd like to try for a special occasion: the savory chocolate recipes, if only because Paul doesn't actually sell these in the shop and I want to find out what a honey-cured bacon, Stilton and chocolate sandwich tastes like, or sip some cocoa-bean infused vodka, or try a salted black-olive bar with 600g of Ghanian tempered 68% dark chocolate.
When Kraft introduced Oreos to China in 1996, it was only moderately successful. They revisited the cookie with a lot of market research and came up with a bunch of different chapes, fillings, colors and recipes, eventually choosing several, providing that they preserved the "Oreo experience" of twisting the cookie apart, licking the frosting and dunking it. They sold it with "emotional advertising" in which children showed their parents the "American way" of eating Oreos and the cookies became a success.
They started to ask other provocative questions.
Why does an Oreo have to be black and white? Davis sent us an Oreo with green tea filling. Another had a bright orange center divided between mango and orange flavor.
And why should an Oreo be round? They developed Oreos shaped like straws. In China, you can buy a long rectangular Oreo wafer, the length of your index finger.
Impossible to twist apart, but Davis points out that it makes it easier to dunk in milk.
Here's a recipe for using up your leftover Champagne: combine it with corn syrup and gelatin and make champagne marshmallows.
When you’re not feeling especially celebratory, make these with any sparkling wine or even beer (for a whole different animal!). If you’d rather just make a plain ol’ marshmallow, check out that recipe here. Leave the vanilla out to let the champagne flavor shine through, or use it to soften the champagne’s tartness. If you like the idea of “champagne and roses,” whip in a little rose flower water at the end of mixing, with or without the vanilla.
La Receta de la Felicidad, a Spanish-language site, has Sandeea Cocina's great little HOWTO for baking brownies inside blown eggshells. You make a hole in the shell with a corkscrew, stand the shell up in a muffin tin with tin-foil supports, and fill the egg with brownie batter using a piping bag and bake (make sure to leave room in the egg to allow for cakeular expansion!). My mom used to make me Jello-filled hollow eggs, but this is a whole 'nother level of egg-hacking.
Tim Chartier, an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Davidson College, has a series of ingenious and delicious methods for illustrating fundamental concepts from calculus using chocolates. I had a brilliant calculus teacher, Alvin Anson, but I think a little chocolate would have improved even his techniques:
Where’s the chocolate? Rather than shading a square, we will place a milk chocolate chip on a square we would have colored red and a white chocolate chip on a region that would have been white. To begin, the six by six grid on the left becomes the chocolate chip mosaic we see on the right, which uses 14 white chocolate of the total 36 chips. So, our estimate of π is 2.4444. We are off by about 0.697.
Next, we move to an 11 by 11 grid of chocolate chips. If you count carefully, we use 83 milk chocolate chips of the 121 total. This gives us an estimate of 2.7438 for π, which correlates to an error of about 0.378.
Finally, with the help of public school teachers in my seminar Math through Popular Culture for the Charlotte Teachers Institute, we placed chocolate chips on a 54 by 54 grid. In the end, we used 2232 milk chocolate chips giving an estimate of 3.0617 having an error of 0.0799.
Stephany Aulenback tried out a recipe for "Chemical Apple Pie," a beloved science experiment that uses cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) to trick the human tongue into tasting apples, though no apples are, in fact, used in the pie. The pie tasted pretty good, and Aulenback unearthed a lot of interesting history of the dish:
Further searching revealed that it is an even older recipe than that, dating back at least to the mid 1800s. Recipes for it have been found in the Confederate Receipt Book in 1863 and Mrs. B. C. Whiting's How We Cook In Los Angeles (1894) in which she referred to it as "California Pioneer Apple Pie, 1852" (if you follow that link, choose Mock Apple Pie from the menu on left). It's certainly easy to imagine that, historically, apples were difficult to come by out of season, at the end of a long journey across the prairies, or in an poorly supplied army camp. (As Mrs. Whiting is quoted saying, "The deception was most complete and readily accepted. Apples at this early date were a dollar a pound, and we young people all craved a piece of Mother's apple pie to appease our homesick feelings.") Presumably crackers—or the cracker-like foods of the time—kept better, and one sometimes needed to dream up new, more interesting ways to force oneself to ingest them yet again.
Apparently, the Nabisco company appropriated the recipe in the 1935 when they printed it on the boxes of their fancy new Ritz crackers; today, most people who are familiar with Mock Apple Pie associate it with Ritz. You can still find the recipe on their site, where they warn you to watch your serving size. Probably because of the calorie and fat content, not the muscle toxin.
From Cryptocurium, the confectioner who brought you Chocothulhu and the Lovecraft Lollipops, comes these Candy Crystal Skulls: "Each skull measures 3 1/2 inches long by 2 1/2 inches tall (about the size of a baseball) and is made of solid hard candy. Each has also been mystery flavored with six different flavor possibilities.The skull pictured has been dyed an ethereal green however custom color requests are welcome as always."
From the Smithsonian's daily snapshot, a summery history of the Good Humor truck: "His first candy invention was the Jolly Boy Sucker, a lollipop on a stick. While working in his ice cream parlor, Burt created his own recipe for a smooth chocolate coating that would be compatible with ice cream. His daughter Ruth performed the first taste test. Although it tasted good, Ruth thought it was too messy to eat. To solve this problem, Burt took the advice of his son, Harry Jr., who suggested freezing wooden sticks used for the Jolly Boy Sucker into the ice cream as handles. He named his new creation the Good Humor bar, capitalizing on the belief that a person's "humor" or outlook on life was related to the humor of the palate. Burt immediately sent the patent to Washington, D.C. "
Starshipminivan sez, "Finally, the promise of Portal has been fulfilled. These cupcakes are not a lie and you don't even have to listen to GlaDOS, just bake, decorate, and consume these mini flavor marvels. Perhaps the cake is a lie but the cupcake is at least a half-truth. These rich, moist cupcakes, topped with frosting and chocolate, are delicious mini replicas of the black forest cake seen in Portal. You'll be in heaven but 'still alive' after eating one." The Cupcake is Not a Lie: Portal Cupcakes (Thanks, starshipminivan!)