Food TV Celeb Alton Brown & PopSci on Tour

Food Network Superstar and TASTE HALL OF FAME‘s Alton Brown has a new tour, and part of it is based on food and science.

Alton Brown’s first food hack (he prefers the term “hacking” over “inventing”) took place during season one of his Food Network show Good Eats, when he made a fish smoker out of a cardboard box. Naturally, since then he can count the staff of Popular Science Magazine a part of his large and loyal fan base.

He invited PopSci to his secret workshop, where they made carbonated chocolate ice cream in 10 seconds, used lights to cook a pizza in three minutes, and answered a few questions about his favorite hacks, affirming that everyone’s home has a lab (the kitchen!), and why it’s a good idea to take apart the lawnmower.

Mega Bake
If you’ve ever played with an EZ-Bake Oven, you’re familiar with the concept of cooking with the heat produced by a light. Alton’s Mega Bake takes the concept to a whole new level, using 54 one-thousand-watt lights to get the oven to over 600 degrees.

Brown used it on the Edible Inevitable tour to make pizzas in under three minutes, and showed us how he does it.

For more related to this topic, here are a few of our picks:


Cocktail School: The Martini recipe

TasteTV visits Piacere restaurant to see how to make a classic martini cocktail

For more related to making great martinis and cocktails, here are a few of our picks:

REVIEW: Root Vegetable Gratin Starter by Williams-Sonoma

When we saw the root vegetable gratin starter from Williams-Sonoma we decided to give it a try.

Pumpkin-Spiced Hot Buttered Rum

Parallel 38’s Hot Buttered Rum Is Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

The fall weather is rolling in, which means it’s time to swap out those refreshingly fruity cocktails for something warm and comforting! For the second season in a row, Charlottesville, VA restaurant Parallel 38 is serving up an extra decadent Hot Buttered Rum that guests have been dreaming about ever since they first sampled their first sip last year.

Hot Buttered Rum

Created by chef/owner Justin Ross, the creamy concoction is bursting with the flavors of fall including notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. With ingredients like vanilla ice cream, brown sugar and butter, this is the perfect finish to a savory meal at the small plates eatery (many guests opt for the Hot Buttered Rum in lieu of a dessert course.)

Hot Buttered Rum


1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne

2 Tablespoons Allspice Berries

1 Quart Vanilla Ice Cream (Softened)

3⁄4 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar

3⁄4 Cup Brown Sugar (firmly packed)

1 Pound Unsalted Butter (cut into small pieces; 8 – 10)

Dark Rum

Boiling Water

Directions for Butter Batter:

Crush nutmeg pods with a towel and mallet. Place crushed nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon into a spice grinder and grind into a coarse powder. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and evenly distribute the coarse spice mixture, tossing for 20 seconds or until smoke appears. Remove from heat and continue to toss to cool. Repeat this process 3 times. Add heavy cream, ice cream, ginger and cayenne to the toasted spice pan. Bring the mixture to a boil then stir in the sugar and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and immediately stir in the butter cubes 2 to 3 at a time. Wait to add next round of butter until previous batch has dissolved. When the butter has all dissolved remove the mixture from the heat. If you are going to use all the batter now; the batter is ready to use. If you want to save some of the batter for later use, place the batter in a bowl and set over a larger bowl of ice and stir occasionally until the batter reaches room temperature. Place in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Directions for the Cocktail:

In a mug combine 2 oz. of dark rum, the Butter Batter and boiling water. Stir and serve immediately with a spoon.

NOTE: P38’s Hot Buttered Rum can be frozen and served at a later date.

Once the batter reaches room temperature, pour the batter into silicone ice cube trays or measure out 3-ounce quantities & store in individual freezer bags. To serve, place 3 batter cubes or 3 ounces of batter with an equal amount of water in a saucepan over medium high heat. When the mixture boils, pour in into a coffee mug, add the rum and stir.

About Parallel 38: Located at 2055 Bond St. in Charlottesville, VA Parallel 38 (P38) is a Mediterranean style restaurant whose menu is inspired by the world’s most iconic food and wine regions (Alicante in Spain, Italy’s Calabria, the Greek Ionian Islands, Napa Valley and Charlottesville) – all of which sit along the 38th parallel. The eatery offers a contemporary and casual environment that encourages guests to explore the unique flavors found within these temperate regions. The restaurant’s interior features a large soapstone bar, a sweeping chalkboard mural and artist-design light scheme. A cozy lounge area with reclaimed factory cart seating is ideal for enjoying a cocktail with friends while a custom 12-food walnut table is perfect for dining with a large group. The menu, which changes seasonally, consists of small plates that are ideal for sharing,



Quick Homemade Pickles

homemade-pickles-photo 4

One day you may be like us, and just wake up and decide you’re going to pickle something.

You’ve never done it before, but you have seen enough cookbooks in the stores on the topic, and have heard enough experts on food radio to inspire you.

On the other hand, you don’t have weeks to get the project done, and you certainly don’t want food poisoning.

Fortunately, there are quick pickle recipes which bring satisfaction within a few hours. These are what we tried, much to our glee.

Since we didn’t want to invest too much money in this possibly failing endeavor, we used what was already available and in stock. This means essentially some cucumbers, some carrots, and some green peppers. Plus, some ginger and some onions.

The biggest choices we had to make came down to what to store the pickles in, and which flavor of vinegar to use.

For containers we had choices between small mason jars and Tupperware. Being fairly ambivalent, and not knowing which would be better, we used both.

For vinegar we had a choice between regular and apple. Again, we chose both.

homemade-pickles-photo 1

We can say immediately that there is a difference between apple and regular vinegar when it comes to pickles. From this experience it appears that the apple vinegar is much more subtle and slightly sweeter. That may sound appealing to some, but if you want that really sour or tart pickle experience then you should probably go with the regular vinegar.

Some recipes also say you should blanche or pre-cook the carrots. We did not. They are as crunchy and hard as regular carrots. Except these are full of pickle flavor.

Some recipes also may try to get you to remove the seeds from the cucumbers for pickling. Not us! That soft interior in the pickle is fantastic and full of flavor.

Some morsels of ginger in the mix do add a little spicy kick — which is fun — and it is not a bad idea to go overboard with this ingredient.

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Please keep in mind, this is a recommended recipe, but you can change it based on your own taste preferences

2/3 Cup of Vinegar (white, apple or rice wine)
1/3 cup of water
1 Tbs of Sugar
1 Tbs of Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

Optional spices (literally, a dash): Mint, mustard seed, peppercorn, dill

How many vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, onions, green peppers, etc.)? It’s up to you, but to start you should keep it small, like around 5-8, basically whatever is going to fit in your jar. Slice them or dice them.

  1. Add ingredients together in bowl and stir. No need to heat up.
  2. Add vegetables to a mason jar (any size)
  3. Add liquid until jar almost filled (make sure to cover all the vegetable)
  4. You may also add 3-4 morsels of sliced ginger or garlic (peeled) to the mix to add some kick.
  5. Seal jar, and shake it to mix well.
  6. Place in refrigerator
  7. Let sit for 3-12 hours, the longer the better.
  8. Keeps for about 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator, if they last that long.By the way, Bon Appetit Magazine says you can avoid these 7 mistakes and your quick pickles will be awesome.