IBM Researchers cook up innovation with the Science of Cooking

Recipes from the labs

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Yorktown Heights, NY, USA - 02 Dec 2003: While you may find a recipe for Catfish Gumbo in Emeril Lagasse's cookbook, if you really want a BAM!, you'll check out the latest cookbook to hit the streets -- it has three different recipes for making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, instructions on how to bake cookies on the dashboard of your car and an eclectic mix of cuisines from cultures around the world.

The cookbook comes from some unlikely authors -- the recipes were culled from the 3,000 IBM Research scientists and engineers who normally spend their days manipulating atoms for nano-scaled computer chips of the future, calculating mathematical algorithms for better business processes and building the world's fastest supercomputer for cancer research.

In the spirit of cooking up ideas for innovation, more than 200 scientists and engineers from IBM Research's eight labs in six countries submitted 257 recipe ideas for IBM's Science of Cooking cookbook. Inspired by IBM's Innovation Days, a week long event which encouraged IBMers to share ideas on how they get inspired to innovate. Cooking, music, art and volunteering were just a few of the ways that inspired the IBMers.

The cookbook was given to IBM's 3,000 researchers around the world and is available for purchase by other IBMers for $5. Proceeds of the book will support IBM's On Demand Community initiative, a worldwide program to make it easy for IBMers to become active at volunteering in their local communities. At this time, copies are not available for sale for the general public, but here is a sampling of recipes from the cookbook:

Liquid-Nitrogen Ice Cream

Recipe Notes:
This is a great demonstration for school classes. The ice cream freezes in just a few minutes instead of the usual half hour for home freezers. This recipe is from my days as a Girl Scout camp counselor with adaptations from the article, "I scream, you scream ... - a new twist on the liquid-nitrogen demonstrations" by Brian P. Coppola, James W. Hovick and Douglas S. Daniels in the Journal of Chemical Education 71(12), 1080 (1994). Use extreme caution, only trained professionals should handle liquid nitrogen.

Ingredients List:

Recipe Directions:
Mix the can of sweetened condensed milk, milk and the pudding mix for about 2 minutes. Stir in the half and half. Keep refrigerated until ready to freeze.

Pour about 1 qt. of the pudding mixture into a large metal pan. Add the liquid-nitrogen in small portions (about 1 c at a time) and stir until it stops smoking and you get to the desired consistency. Be sure to use a metal pan and wooden spoons when freezing because plastic may shatter. Please refer to additional safety measures, noted in the other variations submitted.

Auto-Magically Sun-Kissed Cookies

Recipe Notes:
When I told my officemates at the University of Minnesota that I would be interning in Austin, TX, they recanted an urban legend about office workers baking cookies in their automobiles in the summer heat. I thought this sounded ludicrous, especially coming from a troupe of Minnesotans who think 80 degrees is a heat wave. I had to try it myself.

Ingredients List:

Recipe Directions:
Watch the weather forecast. If the weather is predicted to be sunny and above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, proceed. If clouds or cool temperatures are predicted, try this recipe another day.

Before leaving home in the morning, place ready-to-bake cookies on a cookie sheet. If you do not have a cookie sheet (which is typically the case for interns, such as myself), tin foil works just as well. Do not use wax paper. (Trust me, I learned the hard way to not use wax paper!) Upon arriving at work, park your vehicle in an open area of the parking lot. For best results, position your vehicle with the front bumper facing South. Avoid parking near trees or other objects which may shade your vehicle as the sun moves across the sky. Position cookies on the dashboard of your vehicle. The cookie sheet or tin foil will get very hot, so you may want to lay a dish towel or blanket under the cookie sheet to prevent damage to your dashboard. Exit your vehicle. Go to your desk. Achieve greatness all morning. At lunchtime, return to your vehicle. You should have a wonderfully aromatic vehicle and a lunchtime snack of freshly baked cookies waiting for you on your dashboard. To my astonishment, baking cookies in your automobile really works! At least in Austin, in the summertime. I invite you to try this recipe yourself, in your locale. This recipe also works great as an automotive air freshener. Since trying this recipe, I have never again purchased a hang-from-your-rear-view cardboard pine tree!

Curry in a Hurry (Curried Mushrooms)

Recipe Notes:
"Curry in a Hurry". Mushrooms are eaten around the world in many ways. Curried mushrooms are a real delight.

Ingredients List:

Recipe Directions:
In a large pan add 3 spoons of oil and chopped onion, ginger, sliced pepper, garam masala and let it simmer a couple of minutes. Then add drained potatoes, mushrooms, salt (to your liking), cover the pan and let it simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat or until potatoes are done. Add remaining ingredients and let it simmer ten to fifteen minutes over medium heat. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rice or bread of your choice.

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