Allen Hemberger, Alinea
Allen Hemberger, Alinea

Clear Pumpkin Pie Mixes Seasonal Comfort With Molecular Gastronomy

Allen Hemberger, Alinea
Allen Hemberger, Alinea

Some home cooks can’t tweak their Thanksgiving pumpkin pie recipe without their family members accusing them of sacrilege. But at Alinea in Chicago, chefs are nixing the dessert’s distinctive orange filling altogether. As Vogue reports, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant is serving up a version of the fall staple that’s perfectly clear.

The miniature slice of see-through pumpkin pie shares a few similarities with the traditional dish. It’s built on a pie crust foundation and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. But the content of the pie itself, which would normally be a rich orange-brown color, is a made from transparent gelatin. The true magic of the dish comes when you taste it: The course evokes that same warm, nostalgic experience as a slice of pumpkin pie that grandma would make.

That’s because the bite actually has pumpkin in it, even if you can’t see it. To create the dish, Alinea executive chef Mike Bagale and chef de cuisine Simon Davies prepare a “pumpkin pie stock” by making a conventional pumpkin filling, mixing it with water, and distilling the liquid in a rotary evaporator. This process gives them condensation that’s “basically pure aroma,” Bagale told Vogue. After seasoning the concentrated liquid and setting it in clear gelatin, the chefs have a bizarre-looking dessert that is, in essence, pumpkin pie.

Presenting familiar flavors in innovative packages is nothing out of the ordinary for Alinea. Opened by chef Grant Achatz in 2005, the restaurant has included on its menu helium balloons, interactive potato soup, and edible works of art painted directly on diners’ tables. To try the newest viral creation to come out of the kitchen, you must be willing to shell out a couple hundred bucks for the full tasting menu. Suddenly your family’s pumpkin pie recipe may not sound so boring after all.

[h/t Vogue]

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Bibo Barmaid
Bibo Barmaid Is Like a Keurig for Cocktails—and You Can Buy It Now
Bibo Barmaid
Bibo Barmaid

To make great-tasting cocktails at home, you could take a bartending class, or you could just buy a fancy gadget that does all the work for you. Imbibers interested in the hands-off approach should check out Bibo Barmaid, a cocktail maker that works like a Keurig machine for booze.

According to Supercall, all you need to turn the Bibo Barmaid system into your personal mixologist is a pouch of liquor and a pouch of cocktail flavoring. Bibo's liquor options include vodka, whiskey, rum, and agave spirit (think tequila), which can be paired with flavors like cucumber melon, rum punch, appletini, margarita, tangerine paloma, and mai tai.

After choosing your liquor and flavor packets, insert them into the machine, press the button, and watch as it dilutes the mixture and pours a perfect single portion of your favorite drink into your glass—no muddlers or bar spoons required.

Making cocktails at home usually means investing in a lot of equipment and ingredients, which isn't always worth it if you're preparing a drink for just yourself or you and a friend. With Bibo, whipping up a cocktail isn't much harder than pouring yourself a glass of wine.

Bibo Barmaid is now available on Amazon for $240, and cocktail mixes are available on Bibo's website starting at $35 for 18 pouches. The company is working on rolling out its liquor pouches in liquor stores and other alcohol retailers across the U.S.

[h/t Supercall]

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iStock
An Eco-Friendly Startup Is Converting Banana Peels Into Fabric for Clothes
iStock
iStock

A new startup has found a unique way to tackle pollution while simultaneously supporting sustainable fashion. Circular Systems, a “clean-tech new materials company,” is transforming banana byproducts, pineapple leaves, sugarcane bark, and flax and hemp stalk into natural fabrics, according to Fast Company.

These five crops alone meet more than twice the global demand for fibers, and the conversion process provides farmers with an additional revenue stream, according to the company’s website. Fashion brands like H&M and Levi’s are already in talks with Circular Systems to incorporate some of these sustainable fibers into their clothes.

Additionally, Circular Systems recycles used clothing to make new fibers, and another technology called Orbital spins those textile scraps and crop byproducts together to create a durable type of yarn.

People eat about 100 billion bananas per year globally, resulting in 270 million tons of discarded peels. (Americans alone consume 3.2 billion pounds of bananas annually.) Although peels are biodegradable, they emit methane—a greenhouse gas—during decomposition. Crop burning, on the other hand, is even worse because it causes significant air pollution.

As Fast Company points out, using leaves and bark to create clothing may seem pretty groundbreaking, but 97 percent of the fibers used in clothes in 1960 were natural. Today, that figure is only 35 percent.

However, Circular Systems has joined a growing number of fashion brands and textile companies that are seeking out sustainable alternatives. Gucci has started incorporating a biodegradable material into some of its sunglasses, Bolt Threads invented a material made from mushroom filaments, and pineapple “leather” has been around for a couple of years now.

[h/t Fast Company]

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