Direct from the Engine Room; Cooking With Power Tools

Via. Captain Hops

 It's been a while since I did a really Steampunk post, and I've been thinking a lot about all the different ways that someone can "Steam up" a menu, something we've talked about before.  Normally, I take a soft eclectic approach, and tend to think in terms of, say, and airship galley, going from port to port across the globe.  Someone like Aaron over at Steampunk Cookery takes a much more classical approach:  modern updates on popular Victorian and Gilded Age food.  Another potential way is by influencing aesthetics, such as reducing plastics or investing in interesting gadgets

Today, I want to go somewhere a little different with the concept; using normal tools most people already have, but in food preparation.  I see this as the engine room approach, like a bunch of guys together in the belly of whatever monstrous contraption they're payed to run.  If done right, this could also be a great show for dinner guests, though, especially where fire is involved. 

Before I get into ideas, though, I'm going to stress two things:

1)  Be Careful! Even in experienced hands, many power tools can lead to accidents.  Wear appropriate gear, and if you're young, or haven't dealt with tools much, conscript the help of someone who has more experience.

2)  Clean Your Kit!  Using dirty tools to make something you're going to eat is a bad plan!  New tools, or ones that have been scrupulously cleaned, please!

Now, on to ideas!
Rosemary Stuffed Lamb Bone from Ideas in Food

There is a lot of stuff out there for  The most obvious one is stuffing things, whether they be apples or zucchini. Easy about mixing bread dough?

More insane blowtorchery at Essential Ingredient
Another very popular tool to utilize is the Blowtorch.   This is one that looks particularly fun to my little pyro heart.  Amy Scattergood of The Daily Dish raves about using one for everything caramelizing sugar on pie or brulee (like one of the little ones designed for chefs), to roasting red peppers or making impressive fruit desserts on warm summer nights. She says:

You can also provide some last-minute color to a roast or gratin, quickly heat the bottom of a metal bowl to keep a frosting or meringue from breaking, or warm a chilled springform pan for quick release. (I got this trick from Spago pastry chef Sherry Yard, who does this for cheesecakes.) 

 What about using the heat of an engine to cook?  In one episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman, the concept is referred to as "muffler meat":

As Zimmerman notes, these gentlemen are using a specially built box to safely cook their food.  Other sources have instructions, though, for basic cooking(as always, be careful), and under the slightly more dignified title of Engine Cooking, this concept even has it's own Wiki page, with even more useful links. 

Some approaches I found, on the other hand, were purely decorative, or seemed to be more for the sake of doing it then actually being more useful or convenient.  Spindle-turned root vegetables or using a mini orbital sander to grate nutmeg fit in this category for me.  At that point, the earthy quality that makes this sort of thing appealing to me is gone.

On that note, I leave you Carrot Cake--with power tools!


Post a Comment