This $800 Countertop Pizza Oven Could Help You Break Your Delivery Habit

Breville
Breville

Some meals are worth making in your own kitchen, but homemade pizza is a hard sell. Without a blazing hot oven, it's difficult to make a pie that lives up to what you'd get at your neighborhood slice joint. If you can't have a Neapolitan-style stone oven installed in your home, this countertop device spotted by Fast Company may be the next best thing for home cooks.

The Pizzaiolo (also the Italian term for "pizza maker") is an oven that's specifically designed to cook pizza. It heats up to 750°F, which is the temperature professionals used to achieve a perfectly crisp, chewy crust in their restaurants. Instead of a wood fire, the Pizzaiolo uses 1800 watts of power to heat various parts of the pizza individually, with a pizza stone charring the bottom and an integrated heat shield reflecting heat away from the center and toward the crust—simulating a human pizzaiolo rotating the pie as it cooks.

Unlike a rustic brick oven, the Pizzaiolo isn't finicky. You can program it to cook whatever style pizza you've prepared, whether it's pan pizza, New York style, Neapolitan, or anything else. The oven is fast, producing perfectly-cooked pizzas in just two minutes. (After reaching such high temperatures, it does take about 15 minutes to cool down.)

Making pizzeria-style pizza at home isn't cheap—one Pizzaiolo will cost you nearly $800. But the high price tag may be worth it to pizza-lovers looking to break their takeout addiction. According to one recent survey, the average American spends $2443 a year on takeout and restaurant meals.

You can order the Pizzaiolo online or find it at William Sonoma.

[h/t Fast Company]

Scientists Built a LEGO 'Electrospinner' to Improve the Texture of Lab-Grown Meat

iStock.com/Ekaterina79
iStock.com/Ekaterina79

A group of food scientists who are working to create lab-grown meat have found inspiration in an unlikely source: LEGOs. According to Food & Wine, researchers from Pennsylvania State University and the University of Alabama used LEGO components to create a device capable of improving the texture of the meat they were cultivating. Their findings were recently published in the journal Food Hydrocolloids.

Any protein that comes from “stem or stem-like animal cells” that are cultured in a lab can be considered lab-grown meat, according to Penn State. While lab-grown meat can be labeled a meat substitute because it requires far fewer animals for its production, it remains to be seen whether vegans and vegetarians will be willing to eat it.

Lab-grown meat is still very much in the development stages, and scientists are working on ways to improve the texture. Because cultured muscle cells don’t have any particular structure when they grow, the meat generally comes out resembling ground beef. That’s fine if you’re hoping to make more humane tacos, but it presents a challenge when trying to create, say, a lab-grown steak.

This is where the toy bricks came in. Researchers used LEGO Power Functions to create an electrospinning device that was capable of turning starch fibers into a structured meat “scaffold.” The plastic pieces were ideal because they weren’t conductive, which was crucial because the researchers were working with water and ethanol.

Unlike scaffolds that produce plastic fibers for biomedical purposes, the LEGO device was capable of spinning corn-derived fibers. In other words, what's going into the meat is entirely edible. “The idea is we could make a nice, edible, clean scaffold for our clean meat,” Gregory Ziegler, a Penn State professor and director of graduate studies at the university's Department of Food Science, told Food & Wine.

Scientists are now looking for ways to improve their equipment in order to churn out larger amounts of starch scaffolds.

[h/t Food & Wine]

This Macaroni and Cheese Meatball Recipe Is Easy Enough to Make in a Dorm Room

iStock.com/LauriPatterson
iStock.com/LauriPatterson

It's hard to make creative meals when you're working out of a dorm "kitchen," but Daniel Holzman, the chef/co-owner of The Meatball Shop in New York City, proves that college students don't need to limit themselves to energy drinks and instant ramen noodles. Using just a coffee maker and a toaster oven, he's found a way to prepare an easy recipe for macaroni and cheese meatballs.

The video below is the fourth episode of "The College Try," a new series from Food & Wine and Spoon University that challenges chefs to create meals using dorm equipment and ingredients. Holzman starts by "brewing" his macaroni in a coffee maker. Once the pasta is cooked, he stirs in one tablespoon of butter and transfers it to a plate. To start making the cheese sauce, he adds two cups of milk and two tablespoons of butter to the coffee pot before retuning it to the warm burner.

Holzman prepares the meatballs by mixing ground beef, breadcrumbs, cheddar cheese, salt, and the cooked macaroni in a bowl. After he shapes the meat mixture into 2-inch balls, he bakes them in a toaster oven preheated to 450°F for 12 minutes.

The last step is the sauce. The chef whisks a packet of cheese powder from a box of macaroni and cheese into the milk and uses that as the base for his plate of meatballs. In about half an hour, he makes a meal that looks a lot better than what you can find in most college dining halls.

From microwaved omelets to mug cakes, here are some more cooking hacks for dorm life.

[h/t Spoon University]

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