Archive for January, 2012

26
Jan
12

Honey Wheat Bread

regular white bread recipe, instead 1 cup wheat flour, 1 egg, some salt and just honey for sweetening , yeast of course.

Dark crust, medium crumb, sweet bread

honeywheatbread

26
Jan
12

Cranberry Wheat Coffee Buns

For a different type of pastry, try wheat.

Modified from Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Ring, Hodgson Mills

prepare 1/2 recipe of dough (or full recipe if preferred)coffebuns1

  roll out the dough in a rectangle and spread with butter, brown sugar, dust with cinnamon and sprinkle with course ground all spice and some grated unsweetened chocolate. Spread out some unsweetened cranberries (cook and mashed cranberries, cooled). Roll up dough and slice into rolls, place on cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees till done. Serve with coffee.

 

IMG_1801

 

small recipe can be baked in a toaster oven

 

IMG_1803

26
Jan
12

Robusta coffee cookies

IMG_1860

 

Once and awhile a batch of cookies is baked for snacks and packed for lunch and breaks.

I don’t like real sweet cookies, so I omitted the icing. Nuts, raisins etc are a good addition

and coffee/chocolate flavor a plus!

The Robusta give a different tone to the flavor versus regular coffee

coffeecokies

if you can’t read my writing

cream sugar with 1/2 cup shortening, add 1 egg, mix well (with kitchen aid mixer w/ paddle).

Sift flour for 2 cups measure, and add the following:

1/2 teaspoon baking soda,

1/4 teaspoon salt,

1 teaspoon baking powder

about 1 teaspoon ground cloves (or less if fresh ground)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (maybe 1/4),

about 1 teaspoon fine grind coffee (may be less if you are not familiar with the taste of Indian Robusta, preferred for a different flavor)

about 1 teaspoon fine grind cocoa nibs or cocoa powder to taste

Resift all dry ingredients together.

Add dry ingredients alternately to the sugar/shorting mix with 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee.

Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and some grated un sweetened chocolate less than an ounce, or more if preferred.

Add more flour if mixture is thin to obtain a consistency of frosting.

For ease of sheeting cookies, fill a pastry bag without a tip and pipe on prepared cookie sheet or drop with a table spoon.

about 13 minutes @ a 375- 400 degree oven for a slightly soft cookie, they will firm slightly when cool.

They can be iced if preferred, I left mine plain. about 3 dozen or less depending on size.

adapted from supermarketguru.com

IMG_1858

22
Jan
12

Potage Parmentier

This morning and afternoon a pot of soup base was prepared, A version of Potato and onion (or leeks) soup. This was the first time I made a soup such as this.  The original recipe is from Julia Child and was posted on http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/leek-or-onion-and-potato-soup. After checking my cookbooks I found the expanded and updated recipe for Potage Parmentier from Child.  There was some misgivings about making this soup as the thought of just boiling up some potatoes and onions wouldn’t result in much of a soup.  Using the slicing side of a four sided grater the slicing of the peeled onions and potatoes was quick. I add a bit  of stock,  but the recipe from Child warns that you should use water to let the flavor of the vegetables show through. So on it simmered for at least an hour and a half. It tasted bland. I pureed it in an electric blender and with some seasoning of salt it finally gained my acceptance ! Voila ! It’s good alone, but I plan on using it as a base and adding broccoli etc.  I have other recipes in queue which I will publish later.

22
Jan
12

apple- America-and-a-squeezed-middle-class

This is mostly a food blog , but sometimes a tech article I read on-line sparks my attention.

and now the news from the current political elections is un-escapable for the most part

 How U.S. Lost Out on IPhone Work

NY Times, Business Day ,The Economy

By CHARLES DUHIGG and KEITH BRADSHER
Published: January 21, 2012

my comments:

Asia is the leader of large scale manufacturing. This

article focuses on the electronics industry.

notes:

“Companies once felt an obligation to support American

workers, even when it wasn’t the best financial choice,”

said Betsey Stevenson, the chief economist at the Labor

Department until last September. “That’s disappeared.

Profits and efficiency have trumped generosity.”


(a)this was creating jobs for the sake of creating jobs.

 

    "…a current Apple executive said. “We don’t have an

obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only

obligation is making the best product possible.”
(b)this is  focusing on making a product, not influenced by political distractions

    "For technology companies, the cost of labor is

minimal compared with the expense of buying parts and

managing supply chains that bring together components

and services from hundreds of companies. For Mr. Cook,

the focus on Asia “came down to two things,” said one

former high-ranking Apple executive. Factories in Asia

“can scale up and down faster” and “Asian supply chains

have surpassed what’s in the U.S.” The result is that

“we can’t compete at this point,” the executive said. "

    "Another critical advantage for Apple was that China

provided engineers at a scale the United States could

not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about

8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and

guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually

involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s

analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine

months to find that many qualified engineers in the

United States. In China, it took 15 days. "
(c)Other countries are set up demographically and geographically to make efficient use of manufacturing

supply chains and labor for mass production in shorter time spans. They have the resources and control

mastered.

 

Other governments support and motivate a national pride towards production and manufacturing versus individual

financial gain (very debatable) and have the qualified work force ready.   Some governments are better at a

growing a service economy.

It seems that Asia is the only place to build fast moving (changing technology) products in great numbers at a price that makes

them affordable.

What does that leave us, the U.S. ? In the technical field; programming? software development?

So here is a follow up question , if you will: Multiple choice, no correct answer(s) at this time

What is the United States better suited at producing?
What ones will grow or shrink or remain the same?
(a) legal professionals
(b) Doctors
(c) political parties/ politicians
(d) health care systems
(e) financial/credit systems
(f) welfare systems
(g) an up to date infrastructure
(h) discourse
(i) non-profit organizations and exemptions(too many to list)
(j) Research and development
(k) Political Action Committees
(l) an affordable education system
(m) a chaotic tax code (AKA red tape)
(n) regulations
(o) benefit packages
(n) small businesses/manufacturing
(p) artistic expression
(q) agriculture
(r) defense/law enforcement

(s) computer programming/servicing/software development

add your own

I’m  poking fun at the USA, this is who we are. A diverse culture. Asia has it’s problems too, and no telling where they will be after 15-20 years.

No doubt though that hobbies should be encouraged as they were in past. They are the first step in education of the trades.

Have they been displaced by dismissing them as nonsense as they have no social redeeming value? Personally speaking, a home with out a work bench is not a home.

21
Jan
12

The Kodak Moment that didn’t develop (yet)

http://business.time.com/2012/01/20/in-kodak-bankruptcy-another-casualty-of-the-digital-revolution/#ixzz1jynCGLwu

 

 

There have been many articles posted on the internet about the filing of Bankruptcy by Kodak, I have read a few and here are some of my comments:

   WHY?

  • too iconic, “Kodak” was always associated with photographic film technology, at least to the average consumer.
  • businesses that don’t take into account the value of internet feedback and it’s ability to bypass the word of mouth recommendations to buy a product. For instance a purchase decision influenced by online reviews rather a recommendation of a friend or family member. The ability through on-line social networking to get the opinions of experts and many users to weigh a decision BOTH on a purchase and a business practice (bank fees)
  • Realize that if a current product,  a sale, or a service can be digitized, (audio,video, text) and accessed by a internet connection,creation and/or distribution can be radically altered and time lines shrunk. Example : books, E-readers, personal publishing, movie streaming, downloading audio. The On-demand generation ?

 

In the same realm, here an article about big box retailers:

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2012/01/sears_and_kmart_how_the_great_recession_may_have_killed_big_box_chains_forever_.html

Will the following increase, decrease, or remain the same?

  • Ordering or receiving a product to your door by the internet (or even by mail order or phone) vs. a Brick and Mortar  purchase. 
  • A consumer custom designs  a product or service to his/her preference via computer and internet.
15
Jan
12

dessert

scanned imageclementines

15
Jan
12

Kitchen Garden

This year I brought in some of the containers from the garden so i could continue growing herbs for kitchen use. I had some under counter lights  (florescent) my daughter had gotten from a give way on Craig’s List and mounted one under my kitchen cabinet. It gives ample lighting during the day and the temperature stays around 70-75 degrees. Now I recently planted more herbs with the existing ones and they have started to sprout. I’m keeping my fingers crossed as herbs are sometimes difficult to start, for me that is, and that they continue to flourish.

IMG_1798

(L-R)  sage is still going strong, it’s flavorful and it has been trimmed and keeps sprouting leaves. The Oregano grows more slowly and each trimming brings new growth. The Parsley is being brought back to full growth as there was little of it left after being outside.

With this on the counter I’m more likely to use fresh herbs with everything. Now before a meal trim some, place in small containers, and set them on the table. Your family and friends can use them to season as you would with salt and pepper.

Great with side dishes such as mashed potatoes, pasta, rice etc. Serve bread with dinner ?  Alongside a plate of olive oil for dipping bread, herbs will give bread a new taste alternative and/or compliment butter.

15
Jan
12

Coffee Seminar

 

Source: Volume 2 Winter Issue No. 11

Engwall’s Journal, A newsletter for Coffee Connoisseurs, January 1988 

This is an article from a  pamphlet that was included when coffee was purchased from  Gevalia Kaffe.

This describes taste sensations using a pyramid diagram and terms used to define the mouth feel of coffee .

gevalia

15
Jan
12

Walkman E464

Note: I haven’t anything to compare this to other than the Creative ZEN as a portable storage mobile device  and don’t use ITunes or a smart phone.

One of the gifts that I had a choice to receive, through an awards program with my employer for 10 years service, was a Sony Walkman. The Creative 5 gig mp3 player I previously used did not want to hold a charge despite having replaced the battery.  I liked all the features and capabilities of the Creative Zen player but I couldn’t pass up a chance for this free replacement.

walkmane464

The Walkman NWZ-E464 is not what considered state of the art, no touch screen or even WI-FI capabilities but It does have video playback  and color screen (320×240) something the Zen (gray scale LCD) did not. The accompanying software is loaded on the player so no disk/CD is included. It’s not necessary to use the Media GO software as the Walkman shows up on Win XP once It’s connected by the supplied USB  data/charging cable.

s_18500_03               The Media Go is another playlist manager import/export styled software suited for the Walkman.  The Sony Media go software has an analytical feature called SensME Channels which I didn’t use at first. In addition to the usual ability  to bookmark and index songs\video by playlist the SensMe analyses songs according to a “12 Tone Analysis” and places them in one (or more than one) SensMe channels.

 

List of channels

Channel    Description

[Morning]  Plays music for various times of the day.

[Daytime]

[Evening]

[Night]

[Midnight]

(These automatically change with the time)

[Shuffle All]  Plays all songs in random order.

[Energetic]  Plays up-tempo and high-energy music.

[Relax]  Plays calm and relaxing music.

[Upbeat] Plays cheerful and uplifting music.

[Mellow] Plays soft and slow-tempo music.

[Lounge] Plays jazz and easy listening music.

[Emotional]Plays ballads.

[Dance] Plays rhythm, rap and R & B music.

[Extreme] Plays loud and powerful music.

With a 8 gig capacity this type of analysis can be useful to divide up your music if you don’t want to manually place every song in a playlist or edit the properties of each selection. Media Go analytics gives you a Tempo and Mood rating for each song.

mediogo

The software does have the ability to sync with Gracenote media database if you are  connected to the internet to download track information if you want and album graphics covers if you don’t want to manually enter the info. There are many fields in the database properties where you can enter much information. It’s also possible to import and manually add lyrics for a Karaoke style playback option.

The Walkman also has an FM Radio tuner, a voice recorder function, sleep and alarm timer,and many settings for each function. One function I miss from the Zen is the ability to directly record from the FM radio tuner which allowed you to create your own mix file from recorded audio from the FM Tuner. (back in the day we used cassette recorders and the like to record audio from the radio\records\TV  and made mix tapes “for our own personal use”)  Now with software such as Sound Engine, Audacity, etc. it’s all done digitally. A recorded sound/video file can be edited on your computer, leaving out the commercials, then exported  from your computer and stored on the Walkman, if you prefer the small screen and need portable video.

The supplied Ear buds, come with small medium and large adapters to use according to the size of your ears.

The sound quality, is only as good as the source, and the Walkman E464 supports many file types and bit rate and sampling  settings. The Media Go software can rip CDs. With the maximum bit rate and sampling settings the sound is as good as it gets. Of course if you have the proper cable and stereo amplification equipment you can use the Walkman as a source and hear your tunes through traditional speakers. Even though the ear buds give you decent sound, in my opinion, nothing can replicate the sensation  and sound of speakers moving air and the feel of the low end of frequencies, and the  heterodyning caused by room acoustics . Over the years I have used earphones when private listening or music monitoring was required, but with the shrinking size of portable media devices it would be impractical to carry around earphones (Koss pro4a) with the Walkman. Earphones and ear buds give a totally different sound by my standards, the acoustics are totally different. Since no one carries boom boxes any more it’s a trade of having all your music with you in such a small package. Ear buds are OK, I’ll have to get used to them, and if you wear hearing  protection at your job having ear buds for listening is something else you have to jam in your ears.

Having been looking frequently for a replacement to the Zen player and it being on the back burner, the Walkman fits the bill and the price was right! I can slip it in my pocket with the ear buds easily and the battery life is excellent so far.

(update, device lost)




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