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Ecclectic flavors match stunning presentations from a NY-based design/chef duo

Taking catering in a new direction is Pinch Food Design, a NYC-based catering company specializing in both presentation and culinary innovation that’s guaranteed to surprise and delight. Founded by industry veterans Tj Girard (head designer) and Bob Spiegel (head chef), the two work together seamlessly to make Pinch’s creations both pleasing to the pallet and the eye. A short while ago some of the CH team was invited to their Chelsea HQ to see and taste what the creative team has been working on lately. The following are four of our favorite appetizers and an in-depth look at one of Chef Bob’s finest works of culinary art.

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As a perfect example of Pinch’s focus on design, the serving dish has been cleverly created to use cabinet knobs to present the basil crusted filet mignon. Topped with shallot marmalade and tiny popover pastry, each bite sized piece is an absolute delight.

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What may be the most interesting appetizer that we sampled, this falafel adaptation was fun and flavorful. The pressed pita chips act as the ultimate vessel for the red olive, hummus, cucumber pickle and of course falafel meat. Pleasantly surprised with its canny taste, the moist little towers won the team over instantly.

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Drizzled in mustard oil and port, the chanterelle broccoli rabe sausage is literally balanced with a delicate piece of pequillo toast. Secured on both ends by Pinch’s custom toothpick design, the two sides to the appetizer play well off each other, allowing the holder to follow the savory sausage with a complimentary crunch.

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For dessert Pinch keeps its patrons on their feet with their suspension pastry galettes. The copper structure holds light and flaky pastries by free swinging hooks, allowing each piece to be picked by hand. Adding to the seasonal selection of peach, fig, berry, pear and strawberry rhubarb pastries are copper bowls of cinnamon, chocolate and regular whipped cream for dipping. These were hands down our favorite and the most creative way to serve dessert that we’ve come across yet.

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After a great deal of negotiations and bargaining we persuaded Chef Bob to give up the secret recipe for his amazing mini spaghetti and meatball appetizer. These were unlike any appetizers we’ve ever seen, and obviously worth a closer look. More on the recipe and his essential preparation techniques as told by the inventor himself after the jump.

Spaghetti Roll

3 Cloves Garlic, sliced thin

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cups canned Plum Tomatoes, pureed with juices

1 cup tomato paste

Salt

Pepper

1/2 pound Angel hair pasta

Parmigiano-Reggiano, whole, not grated

Meatballs, rolled the size of a dime, recipe follows

Lightly brown garlic in oil, add the tomato puree, cook for 20 minutes until emulsified. Take out 2 tablespoons of the sauce and set aside for finishing later. Add the tomato paste and cook on a low flame. The key here is to cook this for a lot longer than you think, as the goal is to evaporate all the liquid, but not compromise the flavor. This is what makes the 'glue', the key to the whole dish. Meanwhile, cook the angel hair in salted water until al dente, strain—do not rinse off the starch—and add the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

With tongs or rubber gloves, pull out some of the dressed angel hair pasta. Place it on some plastic wrap and roll tubes about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate these for an hour or two until the pasta is set. The angel hair will continue to absorb the sauce and not be as al dente, this creates the illusion in your mouth as when you cut the pasta it feels more al dente than it is.

To serve, cut the pasta rolls 3/4 inch thick, lay them next to each other and microwave for 15 seconds. On a separate cutting board, micro plane the parmigiano, stack back up the angel hair roll and liberally roll the round sides in the parmigiano.

Meatballs

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tablespoon flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1/2 cup, toasted breadcrumbs

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

1 large egg

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

salt

pepper

Combine the beef and pork in a large bowl. Then add all the rest of the ingredients and mix well until the olive oil is completely absorbed. It may seem like a lot of olive oil, but this is what give the hors d’oeuvres its moistness. Refrigerate and roll into dime sized balls.

Sear the little meatballs in olive oil and finish with the reserved tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper. Spoon the meatball and some sauce on top of the pasta roll, micro plane some more cheese on top. Serve while still warm.


Source: Cool Hunting
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3D has become an industry buzzword du jour. Tack that little epithet onto a consumer-facing product and voila!, you get to charge higher prices for its virtual premium. Well, it looks like a bunch of folks across the pond caught on and decided to throw a little cocoa powder into the mix. Funded by the Research Councils UK’s Digital Economy program with oversight by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, as well as being led by the University of Exeter, the University of Brunel and software developer Delcam — talk about too many cooks — the tech that previously brought metal and plastic products to life is getting a chocoholic makeover. Using specially designed temperature and heating controls, the printer takes uploaded 3D CAD designs and turns them into the stuff of your sweet toothed dreams. Although you won’t be seeing this printer at a boutique near you, there are plans for a made-to-order retail site that’ll let you contribute homemade creations or modify someone else’s. We understand if this gets your Valentine’s anticipating heart all aflutter, but please don’t make any actual chocolate hearts — that’s just gross.

Chocolate printer makes 3D molds of your edible visions originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 06 Jul 2011 03:16:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Inhabitat  |  sourceEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council  | Email this | Comments

Source: Engadget
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An all natural “supercandy” ups your game with its performance-driven ingredients
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Recognizing that most people think about candy first and nutrition second, the just-announced line of SNAP Infusion Supercandy seeks to provide snackers with both. Each biodegradable package of candy contains a daily dose of B vitamins, antioxidants and electrolytes delivered via patented “SNAP bead” microcapsules.

There’s no pretense that these are “health” food; the creators wanted to make candy, but candy that was healthier than most. SNAP’s launching with five classic candy varieties: gum, tarts, caramels, gummies and jelly beans. Each is naturally flavored, colored and sweetened. There’s no HFCS and no trans fats. And while they still pack a calorie punch, it’s around half that of most similar treats.

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SNAP is the latest project of Andover, MA-based husband and wife team Eric and Andrea Stoll, well-known personalities in the athletic industry. Eric previously worked as the Marketing Director of Finnish running brand Karhu, while Andrea had senior roles at both Converse Sport and Vans. This experience helped them form the concept, marketing strategy, design and packaging for the product.

SNAP will be available in August 2011 for around $2 a pack at sports stores and natural food markets across the USA. It will also be available online at Amazon and the SNAP site.


Source: Cool Hunting
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Blow your top with chocolates designed to mimic volcanoes
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If you’re looking for an unusual chocolate experience look no further than Icelandic product designer Brynhildur Pálsdóttir's Chocolate Mountains. Brynhildur created the molds and worked with Iceland’s premier chocolatier Hafliði Ragnarsson to develop and produce the complex confections. Each of the four multi-layered mountains is an edible model of a real geological structure, which Pálsdóttir details in adorably informative graphics.

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The Jökull chocolate represents Iceland's glaciers with white chocolate coating a dark chocolate and is filled with caramel “magma” and white coconut chocolate. Another oozing confection, the Eldborg milk chocolate (pictured at top) made with almonds, nut biscuit and caramel, is modeled after a lava ring crater that is “very rare outside of Iceland.”

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Drangar dark chocolate (below) is deliciously comprised of macadamia nuts and sugar-roasted coffee beans. Pálsdóttir explains that the stacks form when a cape erodes, and then over time they disappear as well—just like the chocolate once you have a bite.

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Filed with pistachio cream, pistachios and Icelandic tonka pepper, the Stapi dark chocolate is covered in white chocolate at the top, symbolizing its distinct volcano form.

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A chocolate this great deserves equally impressive packaging. Brynhildur designed these triangular boxes, which are similar in concept to the Microchips— box, another Icelandic product— that unfolds to reveal local information and drawings.

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The chocolate mountains currently sell from Mosfellsbakarí shops in Reykjavik and nearby Mosfellsbær. You can also contact Brynhildur directly, brynhildurp [at] simnet.is.


Source: Cool Hunting
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Nespresso introduces a machine small enough for desks and colorful “capsule” cups
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For no-fuss espresso, Nespresso’s straightforward operation and effortless cleanup make their machines the maker of choice for many homes and offices. The Swiss company recently made it even easier to get a fresh brew in just seconds with its Pixie machine, a compact version of the CitiZ that comes in six colors.

Its tiny footprint (just over a foot long) means its small enough to sit on a desk, and an improved heating system takes just 25 seconds to warm up. All that, and the Pixie is supremely energy-efficient too, using 40% less power than other makers like it. (Check out our complete guide to prosumer espresso here.)

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Perhaps even more appealing than the Pixie, Nespresso launched a collection of insulated cups designed to look like their essential espresso capsule. The cups come in two sizes and a rainbow of colors, and (unlike other Nespresso accessories) are free of obvious Nespresso branding.

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The Pixie currently sells exclusively from Williams-Sonoma in the U.S. for $250, but will sell through the Nespresso site later this spring, when the cups ($30 for a set of two) will be available as well.


Source: Cool Hunting
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Japan’s insatiable hunger for Monster Hunter can only be cured with … actual food, inspired by Monster Hunter. Chain restaurant Anrakun is preparing a special menu of four dishes inspired by Capcom’s multiplayer hack ‘n slash, including a “cow bone” (pictured left) and boney sausages (pictured right). These delicacies are not cheap, going for 609 yen each (~$7.38).

These limited-time promotions are quite common in Japan, creating a niche kind of tourism. We’re guilty of taking part as well, having gone so far as to review Monster Hunter-branded ramen.

Source: Joystiq
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The world of sky-high restaurants just got a new summit. At.mosphere, is a restaurant 1,350 feet in the sky, on the 122nd floor of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The new restaurant unseats the revolving 360 Restaurant in Toronto’s CN Tower which previously had the honor.

The new restaurant has two separate areas, lounge and grill. The restaurant can host over 210 guests total. It has a large arrival lobby, main dining floor, private dining rooms and display cooking stations.

Diners enter through Burj Khalifa’s Corporate Suites lobby and exit via the express elevator on Level 123 to face a two-story glass atrium. A flight of cantilevered staircases lead them to the arrival lobby where they can enjoy panoramic views of the city. The restaurant features mahogany walls and ceilings, Adam Tihany furnishings, and floors of cafe au lait limestone and hand-tufted carpet.

Arabian Business reports that diners will be charged a minimum of AED450 ($122) a head. Those booking the private dining area will pay at least AED650 ($176.90) per guest. Afternoon tea costs nearly $100 (AED350) and for drinks and snacks in the lounge area guests are required to spend AED200 ($54.45) per head. The restaurant was booked solid for the first couple days.

Source: Luxist
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Mmm, cake — no other confectionery can match its range, be it in the form of birthday, wedding, or bundt. But we never expected to see it integrated with a pico projector. Yet that’s exactly what the imagineers at Disney seem to be planning according to a US patent application lovingly titled “Projector systems and methods for producing digitally augmented interactive cakes and other food products.” The application includes a set of hilarious illustrations depicting over-sized cameras projecting images and video onto the surface of baked goods in order to promote storytelling and / or interactivity that is unique and individualized. Disney envisions images mapped to the 3D topography of the cake allowing it to sense, for example, when a slice is in the process of being cut (initiating a sword fight with Captain Hook) or removed (water rushes in to fill the void). While we doubt that you’ll find these in the aisles of your local Best Buy grocer anytime soon, you might want to check for availability the next time that you book a birthday party at a Disneyland resort. Something tells us that these could be a hit with the youngins.

Gallery: Disney’s plans for ‘interactive cakes’ revealed in patent application

Disney’s plan for ‘interactive cakes’ revealed in patent application originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 20 Dec 2010 14:07:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink About Projectors  |  sourceStitch Kingdom  | Email this | Comments

Source: Engadget
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The latest China quality merchandise to be the cause of scandal is soy sauce made from human hair.

Chinese newspapers have been reporting with disgust that the manager of a Shandong province food company has admitted that “In small scale factories we have been making soy sauce out of human hair as a cost control measure.”

A worker familiar with the practice explains:

“Soy sauce is made by fermentation, but at small scale places they skip the fermentation and use amino acids extracted from human hair as part of the process instead. There are villages where they collect human hair for this.”

He goes on:

“I was working at a factory in Hebei province before – there they added salt and amino acids to caramel coloured water, and mixed it all with dirty water to make soy sauce. At the place where they extracted the amino acids they had lots of human hair and animal fur stored, it was quite sickening.

They also made vinegar by adding acetic acid to caramel coloured water. The village had any number of places making soy sauce, but the villagers there would only ever buy vinegar and soy sauce from famous brands.”

Soy sauce is normally made by fermenting soy beans. A more modern low-cost method (which tastes quite different and has been found to introduce carcinogens) utilises acid-hydrolyzed vegetable proteins to skip the lengthy fermentation process entirely – it is likely a variation of this process is being described here.

Another worker explains similar shortcuts being used to make vinegar (which is also normally the product of fermentation):

“At small factories making vinegar they would take pure acetic acid [a highly corrosive acid normally used in industrial applications] and just add it to water to make the vinegar.

At the decent places they would use food-quality acid intended for this purpose, but at the more unscrupulous outfits they would just use [highly impure] industrial grade acetic acid instead.”

Although such claims might ordinarily attract scepticism, as the practice of making cooking oil out of sewage is already well documented, these claims sadly take on an air of depressing credibility – in fact soy sauce made from hair and fur has been reported since at least 2004, and evidently no progress has been made in stamping out the practice.

Pictures from a 2004 report:

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With Chinese food products now sold the world over, frequently as an unlabelled part of other dishes, it seems the only protection much of the world has from being poisoned by reckless Chinese businesses is the hope that these nightmare products are never exported.

Source: Sankaku Complex
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Why, it’s another robot-themed hotpot restaurant! This time we’re looking at Jinan — once famous for demolishing a whole stash of illegal arcade machines — up in north China, where a ballsy robotics manufacturer started trialling a robot-themed eatery. While there are still human chefs working back in the kitchen, some near-hundred customers will be served by six robots (about ¥40,000 or $6,000 each to build) that follow a white line to seat diners and deliver dishes. Oh, and don't expect any slapstick comedy here — these bland-looking droids will only stop if you dare stand in front of them. You’ll have to hurry up, though, as this venue closes in about 16 days; but for those who can’t make it, we’ve got a video right after the break.

Continue reading Chinese hotpot restaurant gets robot waiters, may soon be serving droids as well (video)

Chinese hotpot restaurant gets robot waiters, may soon be serving droids as well (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 09 Dec 2010 09:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Dvice  |  sourceiQilu, Xinhuanet  | Email this | Comments

Source: Engadget
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