Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Coffee in Space

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti drinks coffee in the Cupola, the new Zero-G Cup!
Coffee in Space

When you think of the types of food and beverages that astronauts consume, you probably imagine dehydrated fruits, freeze-dried ice cream, and juice sealed in shiny foil bags. But astronauts recently added a new, more earthly item to their menu; authentic Italian espresso.

On April 20th, a new piece of highly-specialized equipment was added to the ISS. Argotec, an Italian engineering firm known for innovations in space cuisine, teamed up with Italian coffee company Lavazza to create the first espresso capsule machine to work in microgravity. Aptly named “ISSpresso”, the 40 lb espresso machine, which was delivered to the ISS by the SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule, was a much appreciated addition to the ISS by the astronauts aboard.



“Italian coffee is a beverage without borders” said Giuseppe Lavazza, Vice President of Lavazza, “and we have been thinking about taking the espresso into space for some time.” 
While it may not seem like a huge scientific advancement to some, a lot had to be learned about the behavior of fluid dynamics in low-gravity environments in order for the ISSpresso to work correctly and safely. This information can be used to create improved plumbing and cooling systems and even fuel tanks for the ISS or future space stations.

Any knowledgable coffee drinker know that part of the experience of drinking coffee is the aroma. Taste and smell go hand in hand, so drinking authentic Italian espresso through a straw out of a vacuum sealed bag just doesn’t seem right.

The Zero-G Cup
Photo Courtesy: Mark Weisloge
That’s why the Zero-G cup has been invented. You might think that the liquid contents of a cup in space would not be easily contained and would float out of the cup, but in reality it’s the opposite that occurs. Without gravity acting on the liquid, coffee tends to stick to the inner surface of a standard coffee mug due to surface tension forces. It would be nearly impossible to drink an entire cup of coffee or tea without gravity, and the drink would sit at the bottom of the cup. To fight this, the Zero-G cup has a creased edge that whips the beverage up towards the spout. When a connection is made between the cup and the lips, the drink is free to flow into the mouth, and every last drop can be enjoyed. Currently on the space station, there are 6 Zero-G cups specifically designed for espresso shots, and more can easily be 3D printed if needed.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Food Recipe of the Day: Chocolate Orange Mousse

Chocolate Orange Mousse
Used in this recipe:

Chocolate Orange Mousse

Ingredients:


- 2 cups (480 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 2 pieces (4 g) orange peel
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) chocolate sauce

Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix 40-ounce container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Turn the dial to 1 and slowly increase speed to 10.
  3. Blend for 35 to 40 seconds or until desired consistency is reached.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Food Recipe of the Day: Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce
Used in this Recipe:

Turkey Meatballs with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce

Ingredients:

- 1 pound ground turkey
- Handful basil, chopped
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
- 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 6 basil leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, combine turkey, basil, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion and Parmesan. Mix until thoroughly combined. With your hands, form the mixture into balls 3 inches in diameter.

Heat olive oil in the oval wide Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the meatballs until brown on all sides. Once browned, transfer the pan to the oven and bake 20 – 25 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the meatballs reads 165 F. Return the pan to the stovetop and remove the meatballs.

Begin the sauce by sauteing garlic and shallot until fragrant and translucent. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, basil and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Stir in olive oil. Return meatballs to sauce and heat through.

Serve with chopped basil and freshly grated Parmesan.

Drink Recipe of the Day: Hotpresso

Hotpresso
Used in this Recipe:

Hotpresso

Ingredients:


- 45 ml espresso
- 500 ml whipping cream
- 80 ml chocolate syrup
- 10 ml chocolate sauce
- 1 drop of Tabasco
- A little cocoa powder
- Whipped cream maker

Directions:
  1. Put the whipping cream and chocolate syrup into the whipped cream maker.
  2. Tightly close the whipped cream maker, shake it and insert the cartridge.
  3. Vigorously shake the whipped cream maker 8-10 times and refrigerate until needed.
  4. Add the chocolate sauce to a small glass until the base is well covered and add a drop of Tabasco on top.
  5. Prepare an espresso in the same glass.
  6. Use the whipped cream maker to add the chocolate cream topping to the espresso.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Drink Recipe of the Day: Ice Breaker

Ice Breaker
Used in this Recipe:

Ice Breaker

Ingredients:


- 25 ml ristretto
- 20 ml Appenzell 9050 cream liqueur
- Whipping cream
- Cinnamon
- Chocolate sauce or cocoa powder

Directions:
  1. Pour the cream liqueur into a glass.
  2. Prepare the ristretto in a separate cup or glass.
  3. Pour the ristretto into the glass slowly to prevent the two ingredients from mixing.
  4. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks and add a little cinnamon.
  5. Top the drink with the cream mixture.
  6. Decorate with chocolate sauce or cocoa powder

Food Recipe of the Day: Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie
Used in this Recipe:

Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients:

- 3 cups (720 ml) evaporated 2% milk
- 1 cup (240 ml) egg substitute
- ½ cup (120 ml) honey
- 3 ½ cups (1.1 kg) cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 (9-inch) (23 cm) unbaked whole wheat pie shells

Directions:
  1. Heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Place milk, large egg substitute, honey, sweet potatoes, salt, ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
  3. Select Variable 1.
  4. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 4 or 5.
  5. Blend for 15 to 20 seconds or until smooth.
  6. Pour into three 9-inch (23 cm) unbaked pie shells.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C). Bake for 40 minutes.
  8. Filling will be soft but firms up as it sets and cools. Chill and serve.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Food Recipe of the Day: Quick Beef and Broccoli

Quick Beef and Broccoli
Used in this Recipe:

Quick Beef and Broccoli

Ingredients:


- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup regular or low sodium soy sauce
- 2 cups hot cooked white rice
- 1 pound stir-fry beef
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, total
- 1 pound fresh broccoli florets (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

Directions:

Combine cornstarch, orange juice and soy sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

Place a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Coat with 1 teaspoon oil and add the beef. Stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove beef from wok and set aside. Add remaining teaspoon oil and broccoli to skillet and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add green onions, garlic and red pepper flakes, if desired, and stir-fry 1 minute more. Add cornstarch mixture, bring to a boil and stir for about 1 minute, until thick and bubbly. Serve with the rice.