Category Archives: Play with your food

The MarshMallowMatic

Marshmallowmatic

Introducing the MarshMallowMatic: the world’s first dedicated CNC marshmallow toasting machine— capable of custom marking and toasting of marshmallows under robotic control.

The MarshMallowMatic is built from a special, modified version of our Ostrich Eggbot kit, fitted with a compact oxy-fuel torch:

Marshmallowmatic

The oxy-fuel torch can produce a 1″ (2.5 cm) long flame, with temperature in excess of 5000 °F (2760 °C).  “And wow, can it toast marshmallows!”

MarshmallowmaticMarshmallowmatic

Drink Making Unit 2.1

DMU 2.1 - 19
DMU 2.1 - 15

While we are better known for other types of art robots (like the Eggbot and now the WaterColorBot), we have also been involved with cocktail robotics for the past few years.

After a half-dozen cocktail robotics event over the past couple of years, we’ve had a chance to refit our famous bar-bot, Drink Making Unit 2.0, with a few well-earned upgrades.  Read on for the gory details!

Continue reading Drink Making Unit 2.1

Peach Chutney

Untitled

Here’s how to make a variant on our plum chutney, tailored for the creamy sweetness of peaches.

We’ve reduced the overall quantity of fruit and sugar to get a higher spice concentration. The cayenne and ginger are increased to make it even spicier. Pepper flakes are added both for flavor, and for pretty flecks of color against the pale peach pieces. We also added cloves for a little more depth of flavor.

The peaches are not peeled, both to get more peach flavor and for the color the skins add. Wash well or peel (blanching makes peeling easier) if the provenance of your peaches is unknown and you’re concerned about pesticides.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups cut up pieces of peaches, pits removed, skins (optionally) left on
  • 2 lemons, cut into small pieces, seeds removed
  • juice from 3 more lemons
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated (a microplane works great)
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 10-12 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups sugar

Put everything except the sugar into a sauce pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit starts to soften, about 10-15 minutes.

Add sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens to a consistency you like (20 minutes to an hour). Remove cinnamon stick after cooking.

Untitled

You can also follow your favorite canning procedure for longer term storage. Makes about 3 pints.

Play with your food: How to Make Sconic Sections

Sconic Sections

The conic sections are the four classic geometric curves that can occur at the intersection between a cone and a plane: the circleellipseparabola, and hyperbola.

The scone is a classic single-serving quick bread that is often served with breakfast or tea.

And, at the intersection of the two, we present something entirely new, delightfully educational, and remarkably tasty: Sconic Sections.

Sconic Sections: Circle Sconic Sections: Ellipse
Sconic Sections: Parabola Sconic Sections: Hyperbola

In what follows, we’ll show you how to bake cone-shaped scones, to slice them into plane geometric curves, and to highlight those curves by selective application of toppings.  We’ll also discuss some of the methods that didn’t work so well, as we refined our methods for making these.

Onwards, towards parabolic preserves and hyperbolic Nutella!

Continue reading Play with your food: How to Make Sconic Sections

How to Make Sweet Kaffir Lime Liqueur

Untitled

Here’s how to make an exotic kaffir lime based variation on Limoncello.  Limoncello is a sweet Italian liqueur made with lemon-peel infused vodka (or grain alcohol) and simple syrup.  Our variation adds a exotic twist to a fantastic summer treat.

Untitled

Kaffir lime leaves are one of the signature flavors of Thai food. They’re often available at asian grocery stores in small bunches, but the trees are also available at some nurseries. When they first leaf out, the young double-lobed leaves are purplish, tender, and very spicy. The flavor of kaffir lime is a distinct citrus flavor, as different from lime as lemon, orange, and grapefruit are from one another. The kaffir lime tree also produces fruit (wrinkly little spherical green lime), and the zest of that fruit contains the same flavor as the leaves.  However, it’s generally easier to obtain the leaves, as they are found more commonly in Thai cooking.

Untitled

As the leaves mature to green, they mellow in flavor and begin to toughen. We usually pick them when they’ve just turned bright green, but are still tender.

Making Limoncello is a straightforward (but slightly lengthy) process of adding lemon zest to vodka or other neutral strong spirits, waiting several weeks, and then adding simple syrup and waiting a bit more. Our favorite Limoncello recipe served as a starting point of this variation. We also found a forum discussing the idea of using Kaffir limes, which gave us a starting point in terms of the number of leaves to use.

Untitled

Step 1: Add 20 washed and dried leaves in a one-liter bottle of good quality vodka. (Our favorites are Polish or Austrian potato vodkas like Monopolowa and Luksosawa.)

A common and traditional variation is to use straight grain alcohol that allows you to use a shorter infusing period. However, following the GIGO principle, we’ve generally found that starting with a drinkable input results in a more drinkable output.

Set the bottle it in the back of a cupboard and forget about it for about a month. If you happen to see it on occasion, shake it a bit and open it to see how it smells. You’ll want to make Thai food.

Untitled

After a few weeks, the leaves will have leached their favor (and a hint of their color) into the vodka.

Step 2: Dissolve 1 3/4 cups sugar completely in 2 1/2 cups water. Microwaving it in a glass measuring cup for a couple of minutes will typically get it warm enough to dissolve.

Step 3: Thoroughly cool the simple syrup, to at least room temperature. (It’s okay to leave it in the fridge overnight.) If it is not fully cooled, it can result in an opaque final product.

Step 4: Pour the infused vodka and the simple syrup into a larger bottle (or multiple small ones), discarding the leaves.

Most variations on this kind of recipe suggest waiting a few days after making it “for it to mellow,” although you may not be able to resist trying it first.

Untitled

Cheers!