Can You Cook an Egg in the Dishwasher?

I had a reader ask if you can poach an egg in a dishwasher. It’s an interesting cooking hack and the answer isn’t obvious.

In theory, it should be possible. Eggs held at 140—144°F / 60—62.5°C for long enough will begin to set; this is the concept behind sous vide cooking. Here’s the chart for this from the second edition of Cooking for Geeks:

Egg Temperature Chart from Cooking for Geeks

Dishwashers have heating elements and can get hot enough. In practice, though? It is doable—others have pulled it off. But the directions call for adding boiling hot water, and while an awesome breakfast party trick, I wanted to see if a straight-up attempt would work, using the high-heat cycle of the dishwasher I have on hand.

I’d be curious for others to try this and let me know what results you get!

Beer Mile: Four Beers, Four Laps—Why?!

This last weekend, a friend of mine invited us to her friend’s “Beer Mile.” Four cans of beer, four laps, one mile—for one Why did I think that was a good idea? experience.

I opted to watch instead, and used it as an opportunity to play with iMovie. I’m impressed at how much easier video work has become in the last few years!

Instead of Thanksgiving cooking tips (cook the turkey breast separate from the turkey legs!) or sharing more about the new second edition of Cooking for Geeks, I present: Beer Mile.

How I Made a 500 Pound Donut for Food Network

Jeff Potter and Team Greenspan's Monster Donut on Monster Kitchen

Yes, that’s a monster donut being hoisted around by a crane…
There are some things in life one never expects to do, and one of them is making a giant donut for a TV show for Food Network. This is the story of how I ended up doing exactly that. (Television, as I’ve written before, is a very, very weird place.)

Last fall, while on book tour for my book Cooking for Geeks, I received a call from a casting agent who was looking for a “food science geek” for “a network that deals with food” (*cough* Food Network *cough*). They were creating a show about two chefs who get into crazy bets with each other and calling it Monster Kitchen. Upon accepting the challenge, each chef would head back to their respective kitchens and, with the help of a pastry chef and a food geek, attempt to pull off the challenge.

It’s a fun spin on a reality TV competition with the potential of getting a MythBusters / Food Detectives-like angle on what’s happening scientifically. The exciting bit for me is to get people to think scientifically in the kitchen. Not sure how to make a giant donut? Break it down: can you make a one foot donut? What works at that scale, and what fails?

Continue reading How I Made a 500 Pound Donut for Food Network

Cupcake Cars

Seriously? Neiman Marcus and… Burning Man?

Neiman Marcus sells Cupcake Cars

See Burning Man Photos, Neiman Marcus catalog page.

What I want to know: who actually buys these things (at $25k a muffin). Sure sure, it’s brilliant marketing by NM to get press, but I want to know: is there actually someone on the face of the planet (or, well, anywhere else) who actually buys one of these through NM?

Cotton Candy Gun (Prototype)

The fine fellows (and gals) of the Awesome Foundation selected Josh Gordonson as this month’s recipient. Josh is working on a Cotton Candy gun that will shot, well, a stream of cotton candy… Josh, where do I sign up?!

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Overclocked Ovens

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PyroCeram on the left; HB II glass (“heat barrier II” – glass treated with a IR reflective coating) on the right.

I am now the proud owner of one tricked-out oven. Some tinkering with the lock mechanism, a hundred bucks and one sheet of PyroCeram later, and my oven now reaches a blistering 900F.

Why would I want to take my oven to 900F? To make the perfect pizza! I had a fantastic phone interview yesterday with a geek-turned-chef, Jeff Varasano, who’s thought about pizza way more than anyone else this side of the Atlantic. Take a look at his extensive write-up to get an idea of what I mean by “extensive”:

Oh, and if you’re wondering “What’s PyroCeram?” — it’s a high-heat, thermal-shock resistant glass-like substance that was used in the 50’s to coat missile nosecones and is now used for industrial furnace “view panels”. It’s rated to 1400F, unlike the “normal” glass used (HBII – “heat barrier II” – IR reflective coating), so shouldn’t crack or break in my oven. In testing the “perfect” pizza recipe, I “broke” the glass in my oven door: thermal shock from cold air (or a drop of cold tomato sauce?) hitting it while the oven was at 900F. Definitely not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

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