About Kevin Liu

Kevin Liu is a hopeless food geek obsessed with bacon, kale, and cocktails (but not usually all at once). You can follow him at @kevinkliu. Kevin is an editor at Science Fare.
Author Archive | Kevin Liu

Tidbits: modernist chicken and waffles, sharp knives, and perfumery meets cooking

flickr user annieo76

Inspiration

  • Have you ever wondered how much work can be put into chicken and waffles? Here’s the answer. Spoiler: think crystallized maple shaped into a waffle shell, filled with liquid waffle mix. Get the idea?
  • This one was forwarded by one of our friends: ever wonder how humans learned to cook? Anthropology and archaeology (hey, that’s science too!) seek to find out. Amazon
  • I’ve been excited by the idea of combining perfumery with cooking for a while, and it looks like a perfumer has picked up on the idea and brought a product to market. I hope this is just the beginning of a new dimension in food and drink!

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Tidbits: booze in space, microwave sponge cake, dry ice slushies, and behind the scenes at Modernist Cuisine HQ

space food

flickr user marco gomes

Food and Space

  • “Imagine having to shop for a family’s three-year supply of groceries all at once and having enough meals planned in advance for that length of time.” That’s what happens when you plan food for a trip to Mars.
  • America’s Test Kitchen Radio interviewed Mary Roach about the finer points of designing food for space travel. Also: apparently NASA was working on astronaut booze, but some joyless bureaucrat decided it was a frivolous waste of taxpayer money, and it was nixed. Dangit!

Inspiration

Geeky

Gear and Hacks

Nutrition

Tidbits: more tortillas, lobster murder, and torched ice cream

Ross's tortilla test from gastronomer.org

This week, following my piece on the weird science of ice, we hit the most views per day we’ve ever gotten! Probably due in no small part to the following tweet:

But that’s not the most exciting thing that happened this week. Ross Goldenberg from GASTRONOMER.org was inspired by our own Kevin Miklasz’s earlier work on homemade tortilla chips and did some tortilla chip experiments of his own. What secrets did he come up with? Well, in short, that water does make a difference. We’re really enjoying this chain of articles – look out for more tortilla exploration to come. Continue Reading →

The weird science of ice and how to make “Premium Ice” at home

beautiful, clear ice

Update 2/27/13: Like this post? Check out the 250-page, 65-recipe book that came from this research.

I was inspired to post it here by a reader named Andrew, who sent us an e-mail recently asking how to make fancy crystal-clear ice cubes at home. He’d tried everything from using distilled water to sonication, but never got the perfect cubes he envisioned.

Andrew’s not the only one – a whole bunch of folks have tried to make clear ice cubes at home that can match up to the “premium” ones available through companies like Kold-Draft, which are often used in high-end bars and restaurants. I’ve tried all the methods over the course of the last year and figured out what really works. No esoteric equipment required. Continue Reading →

Recipe: homemade meal-replacement bars for about $1

cranberry coconut beef bar

Almost a year ago, I wrote about how to make no-bake protein bars for $0.87. When I did that recipe, I realized that even “protein” bars are mostly sugar and should really only be eaten right before or after a workout, not as a meal replacement.

My wife works in a hospital and rarely has time to eat properly, so I developed this recipe as a healthy option she can carry around in a pocket.

I tried a few different variations before this recipe, but unfortunately found that anything that used a green leafy vegetable like kale or spinach ended up smelling and tasting like sulfur. Coconut and cranberries were good nutrition-rich substitutes.

Coconut-Cranberry Beef Bars

Makes about 16 bars.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs 85/15 ground beef (or leaner)
  • 8.5 oz (by mass) sweetened coconut flakes
  • 8.5 oz  (by mass) dried cranberries
  • 15 – 30g salt (0.5-1 tbsp)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and mix well with hands. Spread evenly onto a large, lipped baking sheet (like this). Dehydrate in a 180F oven for 8 hours. Halfway through, you will want to pour out the fat and juices that render out. To get better drying, when you drain the juices, also move the mass onto a cooling rack suspended on the baking sheet. Allow to cool and cut into 16 equal bars.

Store in a sealed plastic bag in a cool, dark place, ideally with a few dessicant packs. Should keep indefinitely, but toss them in the freezer if you’re concerned about it.

Notes

- Make sure no condensation forms on the inside of the bag during storage. If any does, you haven’t dehydrated the bars enough. Toss them back in the oven.

Nutrition Facts

These numbers are rough estimates, calculated through Wolfram Alpha. There should be less fat and more sugar in the finished product, as some of the beef fat will render off and Wolfram Alpha only has information for unsweetened coconut meat.

Everyone has different thoughts on what “healthy” means. Personally, I enjoy the blog of Robb Wolf because he dives deep into the science behind most of his recommendations. Feel free to customize this recipe to fit your nutritional needs.

Cost

  • Ground beef: $3.50/lb = $0.22/oz = $0.66/bar
  • Coconut:  $0.40/oz = $0.21/bar
  • Cranberries: $0.47/oz = $0.25

Total: $1.12/bar

Have you ever made meal replacement bars at home?

Tidbits: how memory affects taste, cheap sous vide, and perfect iced coffee

Scott Heimendinger receiving an egg to the face

via seattlefoodgeek and Modernist Cuisine/The Cooking Lab, LLC

Here’s why blogging is great. Both our own Kevin Miklasz and similarly awesome food blogger Matthew Kayahara wrote about tortillas this week. Kevin wrote about frying tortilla chips and Matthew wrote about making his own from scratch. Check out the comments on both articles to see the ideas we generated together.

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Tidbits: modernist ingredients explained, fancy kitchens explored

This week we released my article on working toward the perfect ratio for lemonade. We’ve also made some changes to the design of the site so that it’s more user-friendly. Next week, look out for an article about frying tortillas.

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Hacking Flavor Combinations to find the Perfect Lemonade Ratio

lemonade

flickr user lara604

We do a lot of experiments with food on this blog. Which is why I actually find it kind of shocking that none of us has written about making lemonade before. Journals like Food Quality and Preference and Perception & Psychophysics, or Physiology and Behavior are rife with scientists spending time making lemonade.

Well – sort of. Continue Reading →

Tidbits: dish soap cocktails, seeking the perfect tomato, and fun with melons

via the drinkfactory blog

This week we released Naveen’s article on how to recreate the unique sauces of Alinea’s table-plated dessert. Next week, look out for a post from yours truly about the perfect ratio for lemonade, just in time for the summer heat! Continue Reading →

Tidbits: cook bacon with science, gluing together new cuts of steak, and a hack for lettuce

flickr user photofarmer

We’re planning some changes here at Science Fare in the next few weeks. For those of you who follow the RSS feed, apologies in advance for any growing pains! Now on to this week’s news – Continue Reading →