Monday, April 30, 2012

Why I Love A Good Apple

There are many great foods in the world. As a professional chef, of course I love food. I love cooking it just as much as I love eating it. Nothing gives me as much of a thrill as preparing a great meal for the people I love. I've heard it said many times that chefs must have a hard time choosing a favorite meal. For me, that has never been the case. From the time I was a young girl up until now I have loved a good apple more than any other food.

I guess one of the biggest reasons that I love an apple is because of all of the childhood memories I have that include apples. My grandparents lived on a large apple orchard farm, so every summer my siblings and I would spend a few weeks with them and enjoy endless hours of wandering through the apple orchards. We would play hide and go seek until we couldn't stand it any longer and we would sit underneath apple trees for hours and tell stories and laugh as only children can laugh.

When we visited our grandma during apple harvest we would get to pick our own apples for apple pies. This was the best. After a long days work of picking we would roll up our sleeves in the kitchen and work alongside grandma to make her special apple pies. My love for cooking started in that kitchen with my grandmother right along with my taste for a good apple. She taught us from the beginning how to tell when an apple was just right for picking and then again when it was just right for eating. Unlike many families, we always ate our apples cold out of the refrigerator. Grandma always said that there was nothing as good as a cold apple and I've grown up to agree.

Sometimes, when grandma was feeling especially generous, she would allow us to toss a dash of cinnamon and sugar onto our apple slices. We loved this treat. Apples were not only healthy for us (as she reminded us constantly) but they also tasted as good as most desserts.

As a chef, and now that I'm raising my own children, I remain convinced that there is no food quite like the apple. It seems to be the perfect fruit and frankly I'd say it is the perfect food all together. I try to eat an apple a day no matter what, and I've been encouraging my kids to start doing the same. I even took them to a local apple orchard to let them pick their own apples.

Who Says Vegetables Have To Be Boring?

Eat your veggies - especially your lettuce. But don't confine yourself to iceberg lettuce or salads! Darker greens have about the same number of calories and carbs -very low! - but pack a lot more punch in the vitamins and other nutrient categories. By substituting radicchio, watercress, escarole or spinach for the iceberg lettuce, you add vitamin C, riboflavin’s, manganese and other essential vitamins that aren't present in lettuce. Try them braised, steamed or grilled for something a little different from the usual salad.

Here are some recipes for greens that will tickle your taste buds and make your heart happy!

Wilted Spinach Salad:

The onions take on a natural sweetness that contrasts with the tangy yogurt and the bite of the spinach. A family favorite that's low in calories and high in important nutrients.

Here’s what you need:

2 cups spinach leaves
1 medium onion peeled, sliced
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Sauté onions in olive oil till transparent. Add spinach and toss in pan to coat with oil until leaves are barely wilted. Stir in yogurt while the spinach is still warm. Eat hot or cold. Only 50 calories per serving!

With this recipe, you’ll get: protein, calcium, vitamin c, manganese, iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, beta carotene, vitamin K, ALA

Grilled Radicchio:

Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce add spice to heart-healthy radicchio without adding much in the way of calories.

1 head radicchio
1 tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
A splash of Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients except radicchio in small bowl. Cut head of radicchio in 1/4 inch slices. Brush cut side with marinade mixture. Grill over hot coals till browned. Only 25 calories per serving!

With this recipe, you’ll get: magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin E, foliate, vitamin K, beta carotene,

Spinach, Mushroom & Anchovy Salad:

Anchovies are one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids AND they're low in calories. Simple to fix and delicious for dinner, on its own, or with a bowl of chunky pasta.

6 cups spinach leaves, loosely packed
1 2 oz can anchovies in oil
10-12 small mushrooms
Juice of 1 lemon

Wash and dry spinach. Drain anchovy oil into sauté pan and warm. Add anchovies and gently stir over heat till anchovies are dissolved in oil. Slice mushrooms thickly and add to anchovy oil, sautéing till browned. Add spinach, tossing with oil and anchovies till just wilted. Spritz with squeezed lemon. Only 50 calories per serving!

With this recipe, you’ll get: magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin E, foliate, vitamin K, beta carotene, niacin, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, omega 3 fatty acids, riboflavin, and calcium

Walnut & Raisin Greens:

Get even more essential fatty acids and antioxidants in this great tasting warm salad.

6 cups greens, loosely packed (spinach, collard, turnip will all work well)
2 tbs. walnut oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Chop greens and place in shallow bowl. Heat walnut oil slowly over low heat. Mash garlic cloves and sauté in walnut oil till soft and browned. Add raisins and toss, and then add walnuts and heat through. Pour over greens and toss to coat well. Only 150 calories per serving!

With this recipe, you’ll get: magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin E, foliate, vitamin K, beta carotene, niacin, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, omega 3 fatty acids, riboflavin, and calcium.

Whisk It All Out! – An Overall Guide to Whiskey

Unless you’re one of the few nice people around who hasn’t even savored a drop of liquor in their whole lives, chances are that you’re at least marginally familiar of the drink whiskey. Whiskey – which is also spelled by other without the letter E – is the name used for a wide variety of delicious and distilled liquors that are produced from grains and later on aged in oak casts. Due to its grain content, a lot of people believe that whiskey is a good type of liquor to drink. In fact, there are numerous couples both in the United States and Europe who prefer to feed their babies whiskey rather than milk or water.

Whisk It that Way: How to Drink Whiskey

In the old days, Puritans had a very specific etiquette when it comes to drinking whiskey. For them, whiskey must be purely enjoyed from a tulip-shaped glass with a dash of still water. The addition of still water is necessary to maximize the uniquely delicious aroma of whiskey. Keep in mind that ice actually mutes rather than strengthens the aroma of whiskey.

Examples of whiskey-containing cocktails are the Manhattan, Whiskey Sour, Irish coffee and the very much simple ginger ale for people who are not used to drinking whiskey or any liquor for that matter.

How Do You Whisk It: The Different Kinds of Whiskey

The type of grain used in a certain mixture is usually the sole differentiating factor for the various kinds of whiskey available in the market today.

Scotch Whiskey – these drinks are usually distilled twice and aged for at least three years

Irish Whiskey – whiskey of this type would have to undergo distillation thrice and then spend at least four years in oak casts before it can be considered “drinkable”

American Straight Whiskey – these drinks require the use of a mash bill containing at least 51% or anything less than 80% of a single grain. The aging process must take place in new barrels made from American white oak that are charred prior to use.

Malt Whiskey – this term is only used for whiskeys made from 100% malted barley and nothing else. A single-malt whiskey on the other hand is exclusively produced by just one distillery and is the most expensive type of whiskey that’s out in the market. Its one-distillery production makes it taste highly distinguishable from other malted whiskeys.

Pure Pot Still Whiskey – a kind of Irish whiskey, pure pot still whiskey is produced mainly by combining malted and unmalted barley.

Blended Whiskey – this is the name used to describe whiskies of different kinds that are blended together and contains straight whiskey as well as neutral spirits; its production process permits distilleries to preserve quite a consistent flavor and mellower than single-malt whiskeys.

Places to Whisk It: Significant Geographical Locations in the History of Whiskey Production

Scotland – Although all types of whiskey are made in Scotland, their favorite type of whiskey would be single-malt Scotches. Scottish people also prefer to call whiskeys as “whisky”. Well-known Scottish brands of whiskey would be Glenmorangie, Chivas Regal and Glenlivet.

United States – The producers of whiskeys such as Bourbon, Tennesee and even the home brewed whiskey version called Moonshine, North America is also fond of calling Scotch whiskeys simply as “Scotch”. Jim Beam Black Label and Jack Daniels are examples of Popular American brands of whiskey.

Ireland – Because of their triple distillation and 4 year aging process, Irish whiskeys are acclaimed for their extra smoothness and flavorful taste. Famous Irish whiskey brands would be Connemara and Tullamore Dew.

Where Do the Pizza Toppings Belong?

In the pizza industry, there has been many a conflict over how to make the best and most perfect pizza. Debates over the subject include what type of crust to use, the type of pizza sauce, type of toppings and even the type of cheese that makes the best pizza pie. From New York Style to Chicago Style to California Style, differences in technique are what make the Pizza World go around. Another one of those pizza arguments is where on the pizza the toppings should go. It is debatable that toppings under the sauce look better or worse than toppings above the sauce and cheese. There is even an issue over which one tastes better.

Chicago Style pizza is a recipe steeped in tradition. This deep-dish style pizza goes against the traditional grain of most of the other pizza recipes in the U.S. Instead of placing the toppings you choose on the top of the pizza sauce and cheeses, the sliced mozzarella cheese is placed in a layer on the crust, which is placed in the bottom of a deep-dish pizza pan. On top of the mozzarella cheese is placed the toppings of choice, such as Italian sausage, onions, green peppers, and mushrooms. The next layer is the sauce, which is the top layer. To many people who are not from Chicago or familiar with this style of pizza, this is something that is brand new. It may even seem backward to those who live elsewhere in the country and are used to another style of pizza. Many people say that Chicago Style is the best because it helps to keep the crust crispy because the sauce is on top, and not directly on the crust, making it soggy.

This other type of pizza places the sauce on the crust, shredded cheese layered above the sauce, and the toppings scattered above the cheese. This is what most people in the United States think of when they think of pizza. Many people don’t even know of a different way of making pizza. Some say Americans love the tradition of sauce directly on the crust.

While the theory of the "best" pizza is definitely up to the individual and personal preference, arguments over whose style is the "best" is an ongoing battle in the pizza universe. The argument will never be settled between the die-hards from their respective regions. But, the good news is, that the United States has become more and more open-minded when it comes to food. The real winners in this debate are the ones who eat a little bit of both types of pizza. The real winners realize that there is no best, only different. Every once in a while, treat your senses to something out of the ordinary. If you are used to Chicago Style and the toppings beneath the sauce, check out a new thing and have some New York Style or California Style pizza. The same goes for you New Yorkers and others. If you are always having the same old toppings-on-the-top pizza, go crazy and try some Chicago Style pizza. Open your palate up to the unique taste of something extraordinary.

When to Use High Heat on Your Barbecue

Its a mystery how some people seem to have the knack for for barbecuing how they always seem to get everything exactly spot on and not like the rest of us who end up burning the sausages. Believe it or not, there is technique involved other than just using the force.

One of the main secrets to knowing how to cook a mouth watering meal on your barbecue is knowing when to use high and low heat.

When it comes to barbecuing you could have heard cooks refer to "sealing in the juices" and you may have even tried to attempt this technique yourself, but as with everything if you do not know what you are doing then you are doomed to fail. If you watch the way the best cooks do a barbecue they cook their veg and steaks on a high heat to sear the outside before slow cooking this is a very effective method of sealing in the juices

This method should be used for foods that are to be partly cooked through such as a medium rare steak. However if you are cooking food like ribs or burgers that have to be cooked right the way through it is advisable you use a low heat to prevent any sort food poisoning.

This is better explained when it is better understood how the process actually works, as the meat is heated, the cells and the fibers of the meat tense up, squeezing out much of the juices. So if you only want to lightly cook the meat then searing it will help to seal in the juices by quickly cooking the outside. But be careful not to cook on a high heat for to long, or the inner layers will cook too quickly, vaporizing all of your precious and tasty juices.

When you are using high heat, the rule of thumb is to cook on each side for a maximum of five minutes each side. After ten minutes, anything that you’re cooking should be moved aside to a medium heat so that it can finish cooking at that lower temperature.

Remember, when it comes to high heat, practice makes perfect, and the perfect is well worth the practice!

What To Look For When Purchasing A Fruit Basket

Fruit baskets are excellent gifts for all occasions. Whether you choose to purchase a fruit basket for a birthday, holiday, or any day, the receiver will surely enjoy the beautifully packaged basket of goodies. When looking for a fruit basket for a friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbor, consider the contents carefully, as well as the size and overall appearance.

The first thing to look for when purchasing a fruit basket is the fruit itself. What type of fruit does the basket contain? If you are buying a fruit basket for a specific party, keep their preferences in mind. Also, if anyone has an allergy to a specific type of fruit or food, these items should be avoided. Finally, if you are planning to ship the gift basket, consider how well the basket’s contents will handle shipping. Keep in mind, more fragile fruits—especially berries—may not be the best choice, since they can possibly be crushed while the basket is in transit.

Secondly, consider the size of the basket. If you are sending a fruit basket to a large family, then send a large basket. However, if you are sending a basket to an individual, carefully consider the size and the amount of fruit the basket contains. Far too often, lovely fruit baskets are sent to individuals who simply cannot consume the contents of the basket before the fruit spoils. Instead, consider a mixture of fruit with nuts, candies, and other goodies that have a longer shelf life.

Thirdly, look to the recipient to determine his or her tastes. College students are the perfect recipients for fruit baskets, since they are most likely tempted to stray from healthier foods and indulge in junk food. If fruits and other healthier fare is located within arms reach, your student is more likely to consume a better diet. Also, individuals who are just moving to an area or find themselves in a new home appreciate fruit baskets, since the contents can be used to fill the refrigerator or cupboard that was previously empty. The elderly also enjoy fruit baskets, since the gift can be consumed and enjoyed instead of another gift that will serve to clutter or sit in disuse.

Finally, look at the basket itself. Consider giving a fruit basket that uses a creative container that the recipient can use after the contents have been consumed. More and more these days, traditional baskets are being replaced with clever packaging ideas, like boxes, bags, pots, bowls, or any other lovely container that can be reused with ease. Also, keep in mind the space constraints of the recipient’s office or home. Fruit baskets are a popular gift for college students, especially around examination time, but keep in mind that a large, extravagant fruit basket may very well overwhelm a tiny dormitory room.

For whatever reason, a fruit basket is the perfect gift. Although today’s gift baskets contain a good deal more than the simple apples and oranges of yesterday’s baskets, the thought is still the same. Strive to find baskets with unique contents that will tickle the fancy of the recipient, but will still provide him or her with foods and snacks that are health oriented. The gift of a fruit basket is one that requires a bit more thought than simply sending a gift card or monetary gift, and is guaranteed to be used at the end of the day. If you are in the market for a fruit basket, know that there are endless varieties and options out there, so everyone is sure to find a basket that suits the recipient’s every need.

What to Drink on the Zone Diet?

The <b>Zone Diet</b> is founded on the idea of eating a balanced ratio of carbohydrate, protein and fat. By eating in the ratio of 40/30/30, meaning 40 percent carbohydrate and 30 percent each of protein and fat, the idea is that your metabolism is impacted to run at its most efficient level. The diet also emphasizes getting the right amounts of fruit, vegetables and lean sources of protein. The right combination of foods results in an increased metabolism and weight loss. Designing meals that meet these requirements can be tricky, but the program offers a range of ideas. You can also purchase cookbooks with recipes intended for the followers of the diet as well. But some people still wonder what they are <b>allowed to drink</b> when following the diet.

You can still drink <b>juice</b> and either <b>low fat or skim milk</b>, as long as you count the calories and grams of protein, fat and carbohydrates. But since our bodies are made mostly of water, <b>water is the recommended drink</b>. The health benefits of drinking enough water cannot be underestimated. Water helps to flush toxins out of the body, it keeps the cells and metabolism supplies with the water needed to work properly and it quenches thirst better than any other fluid you can ingest. The Zone Diet guidelines require that followers drink at least sixty-four ounces (or eight cups) of fluid every day. If you are one of the many people who simply don't like the taste of water, there are other options for you.

You can add a <b>squeeze of lemon</b>, lime or orange to your water to give it a little bit of extra flavor. Or, you can purchase bottled waters that have a slightly fruity flavoring to them so that they taste more like a seltzer than plain water. Pour them in a glass full of ice for a refreshing beverage. It's important, however, to <b>read the labels</b>, even for water. Since the Zone Diet guidelines require you to limit sugar and carbohydrates, you don't want to take in sugar unknowingly. Carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go and refill it whenever it gets empty. Soon enough you can change your habit of drinking soda, tea or juice, especially when you see the good results in your weight loss efforts.

If you are a <b>coffee</b> or <b>tea</b> drinker, you will need to make some changes as well. The Zone Diet guidelines instruct you to eliminate caffeine from your diet. This change can be difficult and cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches. It might be a good idea to gradually start eliminating caffeine from your diet in the weeks before you begin following the Zone Diet guidelines. Decaffeinated coffee or tea will let you still enjoy the taste of coffee or tea without the caffeine. The same is true of sodas. Regular sodas should be completely eliminated. They simply have too much sugar. Diet sodas come in enough different flavors that you should be able to find one that you like. However, you do need to switch to decaffeinated versions in order to improve your chances of success on the program.

<b>Alcohol</b> is one other beverage that will have to be limited or eliminated. There have been some studies that have shown that moderate alcohol consumption can actually have some positive effects on your health, particularly your heart. If you are currently drinking alcohol as part of a program to protect your cardiovascular health, you shouldn't stop without discussing it with a health professional first. However, the Zone Diet doesn't require that you totally eliminate all alcohol from your routine, just that you limit it to occasional use. There's no reason that you can't continue to enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time. Just keep in mind that the more beverages that you replace with water, the more good you are doing for your body and the faster you are likely to see weight loss success.

What is Wine - An Introduction to wine

<p><B>What is wine exactly?</B>
<p>Wine has been around the world for over 7000 years and is made from just 2 basic ingredients, yeast and grape juice. By far the majority
of all wine is made from the juice of the grape, although some wines do use the skin, this mainly colour the wine( rose for example).

<p><B>How is wine made?</B>
<p>Yeast is the main ingredient needed for fermentation yeast is what transforms the grapes into wine. Just as a point of intrest, there are actually wild yeast spores just beign carried all of the place by the wind and to make wine you just need an open container of grape juice patients and time.
The result however, wouldnt be very pleasant to taste.

<p>There are a number of different strains of yeasts, numbering somewhere in 1000's and the types being used to make wine have been
designed for this sole purpose.
So yeast is actually a living organism that feeds off of sugars in the grape juice in a process called fermentation.

<p>When fermenting, yeast spores increase in numbers exponentially, this happens until the sugar content has been consumed.
During this fermentation process, the sugars are converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

<p>There are various different flavors the yeast will lend to the finished wine product, the temperature when fermentation takes place,
the particular strain of yeast used s well as a few other things.

<p>When all of the fermentable sugars have been exausted the yeast then falls to the bottom of the container where the fermentation process starts.
The wine is removed, leaving the yeast, and is trasferred to another container to mature to await bottling.

What is Organic Food?

Authors of The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter

Using the label "organic" to distinguish one tomato from another is a big stretch from the word's original meaning, for until the middle of the twentieth century it simply meant something living or derived from living matter. In that sense, the idea of an "inorganic tomato" is a contradiction in terms, unless it is, say, a tomato-shaped glass ornament. With very few exceptions -- salt is one -- all our food is "organic" no matter how it is produced.

The specific sense of "organic" we use when we speak of "organic food" today traces back to 1942, when J. I. Rodale launched a magazine called Organic Gardening. Nowadays Rodale is hailed as a pioneer, but then he was often derided as a crank and a throwback to obsolete ways of farming. He advocated maintaining soil fertility and stability by putting organic matter -- animal manure or compost -- back into the soil rather than relying on the "inorganic," or synthetic, fertilizers that were then widely seen as the modern way to go. So in Rodale's usage, it was the fertilizers, and from them, the farming methods, rather than the food, that were organic, and the concern was primarily with the soil, not with issues like biodiversity or animal welfare. But the meaning of "organic farming" soon parted company from Rodale's original narrow distinction between fertilizers. Varying definitions spun out of control as different associations of "organic farmers" tried to set standards in accordance with their own values. Some wanted to stick with a narrow definition in terms of what you could and could not put on the soil, the crops, or the animals. Others wanted to include an entire way of life, including healthy living, an equitable form of distribution, concern for wildlife, and so on. Among organizations of organic farmers around the world, the broader view prevailed. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements settled on this definition:

Organic agriculture is an agricultural system that promotes environmentally, socially, and economically sound production of food, fiber, timber, etc. In this system, soil fertility is seen as the key to successful production. Working with the natural properties of plants, animals, and the landscape, organic farmers aim to optimize quality in all aspects of agriculture and the environment.

Such a definition does not, however, lend itself to being reduced to a label that can be put on products to show that they were produced organically. Without specific standards that could be encapsulated in a label, consumers were often unsure what the various "organic" labels used by different associations and producers really meant.

In 1990, the U.S. Congress decided to clear up the confusion by authorizing the Department of Agriculture to establish legally enforceable "USDA Organic" standards and a certification scheme so that consumers could be confident that their food really had been produced in accordance with the standards. That led, in 2002, to a set of standards that most people in organic farming considered a reasonable compromise among the various views of what organic farming is all about. Crops must be grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, and most synthetic pesticides and all herbicides are also banned, although biological and botanical methods of control can be used. Soil fertility is to be maintained by the use of animal and plant waste (but not sewage sludge, which can contain toxic heavy metals), crop rotation, and growing "cover crops" like clover between other crops. (Cover crops are plowed into the soil to restore nitrogen and organic matter.) Animals used for meat, eggs, or milk must eat organic grains or other organic food and must not be given growth hormones or antibiotics. (Sick or injured animals may be treated with antibiotics, but then their meat, milk, or eggs cannot be sold as organic.) Organically raised animals must have access to the outdoors, including access to pasture for ruminants. Neither plants nor animals can be the product of genetic engineering, and organic food cannot be irradiated.

Reprinted from: The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason © 2006 Peter Singer and Jim Mason. (May 2006; $25.95US/$34.95CAN; 1-57954-889-X) Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling (800) 848-4735 or visit their website at

Peter Singer is a professor of bioethics at Princeton University's Center for Human Values. He first became well known internationally after the publication of Animal Liberation in 1975. In 2005, Time magazine named him one of the world's 100 most influential people.

Jim Mason is the coauthor of Animal Factories (with Peter Singer) and the author of An Unnatural Order: Why We Are Destroying the Planet and Each Other, which John Robbins, author of the best-selling Diet for a New America, calls "a wonderful and important book." He is also an attorney and the fifth generation of a Missouri farming family.

What Fruits To Add To A Fruit Basket

If you want to give a unique gift that is guarantee to be used an enjoyed by the recipient, consider a fruit basket. Fruit baskets are fabulous ways to provide your friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker, or client with a delicious—and healthy—treat that looks like a million bucks, but is actually budget friendly. When looking a fruit basket, you can either choose to purchase one pre-made or make your own to save you some of your hard-earned cash. Regardless where you get your fruit basket, carefully consider the contents and personalize the gift to the recipient.

The most important thing about a fruit basket is indeed the fruit itself. When looking for what fruits to add to a fruit basket, consider these popular options:

• Apples: This hearty fruit is a fruit basket favorite. Most everyone loves an apple, so you do not have to worry about less adventurous tastes avoiding the goodies. Also, apples tend to travel or ship well and have a long shelf life, so you do not have to worry about the fruit in your basket arriving spoiled or crushed.

• Pears: Like apples, pears are another fruit basket favorite. However, due to the more delicate nature of the pear, they may need a bit more protection—especially if the basket is to be shipped. Most pears are purchased in some protective covering, usually either a plastic container or foam wrapping, so consider leaving this protection in place when assembling your fruit basket.

• Citrus: Oranges, grapefruits, nectarines, tangerines, and clementines are perennial favorites in a fruit basket. In addition to adding a fantastic color, these sweet treats are favored by most individuals. However, keep in mind that some citrus, mainly oranges and grapefruits, are large in size and heavy in weight. If you plan on adding many of these juicy delights, ensure your basket is of the appropriate size to handle the fruit.

• Pineapples: Usually, the thought of fruit baskets and pineapples go hand in hand, as these elaborate fruits add a tremendous punch to the baskets appearance. Before you throw in a pineapple “just because,” consider also purchasing a pineapple cutting, a small, inexpensive device that will allow your guest to enjoy the delicious meat of the fruit.

• Grapes and Berries: More delicate fruit, including grapes and berries, should be added judiciously. Since these fruits generally do not ship well, you should reconsider adding these fruits to baskets going great distances. In addition to their fragility, these fruits do not have a long shelf life, meaning they can potentially be spoiled upon arrival of the gift.

• Unique Fruits: Depending on the type of basket you are assembling, you may decide to include unique fruits. Usually tropical in nature, consider adding kiwi, star fruit, plantains, and even coconuts if the recipient will enjoy this more unusual fare.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What are the Essentials of High Quality Loose LeafTea?

Demand for high quality loose leaf tea is experiencing strong growth and for those interested in high quality loose tea, more information will aid in decision making. Critical elements in the process include:

     Source of the Tea

     Manufacturing Processes

     Purchasing, Quality Control and Customer Service

Source of the Tea

All tea comes from the plant Camellia sinensis but there is where the similarity between high quality loose leaf tea and other, lesser quality ends. From the time the tea leaves are plucked until the time the consumer tastes the brew, a number of critical events affect the tea experience.

High quality loose leaf teas are carefully selected as only the finest of these rare orthodox teas, which are processed slowly and hand-crafted with extreme care.

Tea, like wine, is harvested and processed into the final product on the grounds of the garden or estate. The taste and quality of any tea varietal depends upon the specific growing conditions. Factors such as altitude, climate, soil, weather, and plucking season all affect the final product.

To produce just one pound of quality loose leaf tea, it takes approximately 3,000 hand plucked leaves. Only the most tender leaves and young buds are selected. After the leaves are picked, the precise art of tea making begins.

Manufacturing Processes

Tea is manufactured by two different processes.

Most ordinary tea is machine processed by the C.T.C. method (crush, tear, curl). The resulting small, broken pieces are used in tea bags or iced tea concentrates. Less than 2% of the world's tea is of superior quality, hand-processed in the classic, time-honored method known as orthodox manufacture.

High quality suppliers are dedicated to offering outstanding, whole-leaf teas of the greatest quality and finesse. Whole-leaf varietals retain the subtle nuances of flavor so prized by discriminating palates throughout the centuries. The highest quality loose teas are hand-plucked and meticulously crafted to enhance leaf character, aroma, color, clarity, body, complexity, and above all, flavor. Connoisseurs will find no soggy paper tea bags and no trendy herbals from high quality loose tea suppliers; only real tea from the Camellia Sinensis bush. And, of course, only the finest.

Purchasing, Quality Control and Customer Service

Access to high quality loose leaf tea is the final element. Most loose leaf teas are not available in retail outlets. Nevertheless, quality tea is easily available through e-commerce outlets on the internet.

Increasingly e-commerce over the internet has proven to be an efficient and easy way to purchase quality products and those e-commerce sites that are customer friendly also offer convenient and low cost home delivery. Loose leaf tea is ideally suited to e-commerce because it is light and easy to transport.

When evaluating e-commerce sites, the consumer should consider those sites that are interactive, easy to use and offer rich features such as auto shipping, multiple destination shipments, gift shipments and delivery flexibility.

The loose leaf tea experience is all about quality and quality does not end with manufacturing. Those suppliers that are truly dedicated to quality will maintain quality control over each shipment received from the producing tea garden.

Since almost all quality loose leaf tea comes from other countries such as China, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and others, choose a supplier who cups or tastes each shipment before acceptance. This measure of quality control will guarantee consistent quality but most loose leaf tea suppliers skip this important step. Check with a potential supplier to determine their cupping commitment.

In addition to quality control, customer service is a critical element in the loose tea relationship. Since the purchase of high quality loose tea tends to be a long term relationship, consideration of the needs of the customer and customer satisfaction is paramount.

The best suppliers have a culture of customer service, open lines of communication to customer service personnel and solicit feedback from customers as a way to maintain consistent quality.

WaSa's fresh take on sushi

It's 7:30 on a Tuesday night, and 20 people are waiting to get into WaSa Sushi and Japanese Restaurant.

Good sign.

They're chatting happily outside in the winter chill of a shopping center parking lot in Irvine, Orange County, Calif. No grousing about the wait, just lots of chatter about the dining experience that awaits.

Another good sign.

Businessman Bronnie Lee and chef James Hamamori have a hit with their ``new generation'' sushi houses in Irvine and Newport Beach. They're places that stand out in Orange County's crowded sushi world. (The pair are also behind restaurants with the WaSa name in Rancho Santa Margarita and Laguna Niguel).

For fans, it's the novelty of what Hamamori's doing with sushi and other Japanese fare that defines the appeal. And for some detractors who sampled the food with me, it's the novelty of what he's doing with sushi and other Japanese fare.

That novelty comes to life with the ``WaSa Treasures,'' a list of 16 plates that take two-piece sushi servings and fuse them with sharp, saucy flavors. That is melded with a tradition-stocked sushi bar and a host of intriguing cold and hot appetizers and dinner entrees.

That Tuesday night, I grabbed four of the treasures at carry-out and hustled them home. I loved all four -- ahi tuna in wasabi sour cream, smoked salmon with ginger sauce, seared yellowtail with jalapeño and seared jumbo scallop with tangy miso. The sauces were light, just touching on the essence of the raw fish, a zesty punch to my palate. I never even opened my little take-out portion of wasabi and soy sauce.

My wife, who is no fan of sauces on any food, turned thumbs down. She just objected to the sauces, on principle.

The same thing happened when I took three colleagues to lunch two weeks later. One is a relative sushi newcomer, one an aficionado, the third a devotee. I'm somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

We sat at the bamboo sushi bar and settled into the cool room, which is painted in pastels and decorated in a hip, West L.A. style.

``Nice room,'' said the aficionado, who is a designer. When our first course arrived, she hummed ``nice presentation,'' in approval.

``Wow,'' the newcomer said, after biting into the seared yellowtail with jalapeño. The other two nodded in agreement, their mouths full. More full-mouthed murmurs of approval for the ahi tuna with wasabi sour cream.

``This is fantastic, a great place for people who are a little unsure of sushi,'' the newcomer gushed.

And that set the devotee on a mission to see if the traditional sushi menu could stand up to her exacting standards.

She tried the salmon skin roll (baked salmon skin, cucumber, radish, bonito flakes, $3.75), pronouncing it ``not bad'' while the others bit in and exclaimed, ``Oh, yeah!''

The lobster roll (steamed lobster, smelt egg, avocado, asparagus and mayo wrapped in soy paper) was too bland for her taste.

We took a side trip to the spicy tuna tartar when we spied a waitress carrying an order to another table.

The mound of raw tuna is piled into a tower, topped with avocado and a spicy sauce, all set on a banana leaf.

It was gorgeous, and we admired it on the plate for a full beat before we dove in.

``I'm not sharing this,'' the newcomer blurted out, though he had no choice. The aficionado and the devotee agreed: It was the best.

After a few more exotic wanderings, the devotee wrapped up with kaki -- an oyster shooter -- and said that it, too, was not bad -- a compliment.

We all agreed that WaSa was a lively, fun place and that the sushi and other offerings ranged from interesting at worst to fantastic at best.

That's what Lee was shooting for when he opened the first WaSa in the Irvine Market Place shopping center in 2001. He'd spent more than a decade as an accountant. But he also put himself through California State University, Long Beach, working in his cousin's restaurant. Then, he spent two years moonlighting as a minimum-wage sushi apprentice, including time working for Hamamori at O Sushi in Brea.

Hamamori worked his way up and through the Los Angeles sushi scene before Lee lured him to Irvine, then Newport Beach.

``There was just nothing like what we do going on in Orange County,'' said Lee, an Irvine resident. ``We brought the West L.A. style to O.C. -- the sauces, the presentation, the whole visual side.''

After opening a small, traditional-sized sushi bar in Irvine, they added a tonier take in the Newport Bluffs shopping center in 2003. More upscale presentation, and prices.

But it's the sauces and the style that they're most proud of.

``We're adding another layer of flavor,'' Lee said.

It's just what WaSa's fans love.

Video Poker: Why Do People Like It

Yesterday, I was having a pint at my local bar when I noticed a small guy in a dark suit. Sitting to the far-right corner of the bar and away from all of us, this short man was crouched over a glowing video poker screen. Huh?

It was just a few months back that casinos all over the world and especially in Las Vegas were removing poker, baccarat and blackjack tables and adding more and more slot machines instead. But then something peculiar took place. Casino owners and employees noticed that one corner of the machines was more crowded than the rest. A short examination revealed that the games allocated to the slot section was none other than video poker. So why are so many interested players preferring video poker?

Here, I will try and answer some of the more practical reasons why this has happened and will happen even more and more:

1) The Odds: While slot machines offer odds that are pretty difficult to win on (and by that I mean the real big bucks), video poker machines are much easier when it comes to accumulating a large sum because it is somewhat based (even though loosely) on poker. This makes each player think that it is based on his skill more than just on luck.

2) More Choice: By this I am not referring to the pick of different slot machines, but rather to the fact that you have the choice of selecting the row to play with it whereas in slots, you have no real control after you press the button or pull the lever. It is not a secret that the principle of both these two games is to try and hit the money jackpot whether it is by getting the appropriate numbers or symbols aligned or whether it is by getting a royal poker flush. To do this in video poker, you have to pick from a number of five-hand cards.

3) Sitting Out: When playing at a slot machine, you have to play each and every time. If you want to stop, you have to clear the machine so that someone else can get a try. But this is not the case when playing video poker. This game allows you to simply sit out a round or two and then continue whenever you feel like.

4) Higher Money Ratio: Because of the chance that you can sit out any round where your cards are not any good. You have a bigger chance making an overall profit out of the time you spent playing at the casino whether it is an <a href="">online casino</a> or a land one or even whether it is just a small machine in the local diner or bar or regional gas station.

5) It is also said in many video poker circles and plenty of other articles around the web that the statistics of hitting higher paying options while playing video poker are higher in comparison to playing video slot machines.

Not withstanding all of the above reasons, the fact that poker is very popular and slot machines too only leads me to assume that a game combining the two will be greatly appreciated by any player of either of the two games but more so by those who enjoy the drone of the machine.

Video Poker: How to Play the Game

If you are looking for a fun and challenging alternative to playing slot machines, video poker is the game for you. Instead of simply pulling the machine handle and hoping that you will be lucky enough to meet a row of identical icons, in video poker your moves would rule whether you win or lose. Moreover, the house edge in video poker is much lower than at slots.

Playing video poker is similar to playing draw poker on a slot machine. It enables you to enjoy the action of poker without having to face other players who may be more experienced and skilled than you are. In addition, in video poker, there are no dealers, no rakes, no bluffing, no cheating; it is all about you and your poker skills.

How to Play Video Poker:
There are several variations to video poker. Some of the video poker variations are played with standard 52 card decks while others are played with additional wild cards. All the variations are based on the traditional card game of poker. Therefore, a basic knowledge of poker hand ranking is necessary.

You start by choosing the coin value you wish to play and then pick the number of coins that you want to bet. Afterwards, you click on deal and five cards will appear on your screen. You can discard some or all of the cards and replace them with new ones. After pressing hold on the cards you wish to keep, you push the deal button and the machine replaces your discarded cards with new ones.

The outcome of the second draw determines whether you win or lose. Each video poker machine displays its payout table, which details the number of coins the machine pays for each five card poker hand. The payout table differs from one video poker variation to the other and so is the minimum hand that qualifies for a payout.

Video poker odds are the same as in regular card poker. A 52 card deck produces more than 2.5 million hand combination. Each video poker machine is set by a random number generator, which simulates the probabilities of drawing any of the poker hand combinations. While in regular card poker, the casino ensure its profits by collecting a rake, in video poker the casino ensure its profits by setting each machine pay table differently.

Video Poker Tips:
1) Learn the basics of draw poker before you start playing video poker at <a href="">online casinos</a> or at a casino nearby.
2) Know the machine payout of the table you have decided to play at by selecting the machine that offers the highest return.
3) Adjust your strategy to the  specific video poker variation you intend to play.
4) Use a mathematical strategy to play the game correctly.
5) Do not keep cards that cannot be used to form a winning hand.
6) Hold on to any pair instead of keeping a high card.
7) Keep any pair rather than draw into a straight or a flush.
8) Practice playing online video poker in a play money mode.

Viajar por placer

El periodo de viajar en avión no es la experiencia que mas disfrute. Cargar con la valija, pagar el pasaje, la sensación de encierro en el avión entre otras son los negativos de viajar. Sin embargo llegar al lugar de destino es tal recompensa que lo mencionado anteriormente deja de ser relevante.

La posibilidad de conocer nuevos horizontes es siempre un lujo que no todos pueden utilizar. Es sin duda una de mis actividades favoritas, sino la más favorita. Poder conocer otras culturas, nuevas comidas, idiomas, paisajes, negocios, restaurantes, en fin, viajar es para mi muy enriquecedor.

Si decides viajar solo, verdaderamente tiene sus ventajas. Permanentemente tienes la posibilidad de conocer alguien interesante en el avión, charlar con el pasajero a tu lado, o tropezarte con algún amigo de un amigo que se encuentra viajando en el mismo momento.

Viajar asimismo ofrece la posibilidad de desconectarse de los problemas que lo atormentan diariamente. Claro que a pesar de que uno se aleja los problemas no desaparecen, pero desde ya que puedes mirarlos con otra perspectiva y te darás cuenta que lo que lo que veías tan negro quizás es un poco gris!

Mi viaje favorito fue el que hice a Paris con mi mejor amiga. Allí, estuvimos viviendo en la zona de Le Mare, en donde por las noches salíamos a algún boliche de moda y por el día hacíamos turismo absoluto. Desde Notre Dame a Monmatre, hay un sinfín de lugares para recorrer en la ciudad.

Si eliges Europa como destino, es recomendable ir durante primavera o verano y no en invierno, ya que el frió clima y la oscuridad de la tarde no te benefician para caminar y pasear. Sin embargo en la mayoría de los lugares de Europa encontraras calefacción central para no sufrir tanto.

Hay infinidad de lugares para recorrer y viajar. Si decides ir a Italia tienes una variedad culinaria para todos los gustos. Las pastas y pizzas son increibles, y sus paisajes no dejan nada que desear!
En España, Barcelona es la ciudad turística y más cosmopolita; por otro lado Madrid tiene un estilo elegante y sofisticado.
 Siempre y cuando viajes con algún compañero o compañera que tengan un estilo e idea similar al tuyo del viaje, buena energía y estén abiertos a nuevas experiencias, te aseguro que te divertirás.

Si te encuentras en un momento de tu vida donde te sientes presionado o estresado, por trabajo, estudio, familia o lo que sea y buscas un escape rápido y certero viajar es la mejor solución. Te abriga la mente, te rejuveneceré el espíritu y volverás con nuevas historias y experiencias para contar!

Vessia Ristorante makes you feel at home

The reasons we keep coming back to Vessia Ristorante in Irvine (in Orange County, Calif.) are pretty simple.

The food, the service, the room.

It's a special place, but not in that big, showy, ``special occasion'' way. Vessia is casual charm, warm hospitality and reliably tasty servings.

We've shared many meals here over the past five years. When my wife and I moved back to Orange County in 2000, we spent our first New Year's Eve with pasta and piped-in Italian music. Another night, we brought friends, and I devoured the serpintina alla Barese ($22.50) -- thin, not- too-sweet sausage served with grilled polenta and spinach.

It seemed like the perfect place to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday, so we reserved the attached patio. A dozen of us lingered over pastas, fresh coffee and a hazelnut cake. As a joke, I planted a tiara on my mother's head. On the way out the door many hours later, our waiter, our busboy, manager Ismael Ayala and owner Franco Vessia formed a gauntlet of sorts, hugging her, kissing her hand, treating her like a queen.

We've come for more birthdays, for a get-out-of-the- house-the-day-after-Christmas dinner, and, as a special treat, I brought my mother in for lunch last month after a tough doctor's appointment.

It was my first lunch there, and it confirmed what I'd read in almost every mention of Vessia: It's a power-broker's palace by day. By profession and hobby, Mom and I are eavesdroppers, so it was a treat to be seated among name- droppers going on about local and state politics.

Our spying ended when our lunches arrived. Mom had one of the specials, grigliata mista ($23.95). Generous portions of shrimp and chunks of fish lolled in a light wine and butter sauce, surrounded by spinach and artichokes. My salmon ($23.95) was grilled expertly with herbs and served with vegetables and potatoes. We could have opted for a less expensive lunch -- a wide array of sandwiches ($9.95) and salads ($9.25) and pastas ($9.95) -- but it was a special meal, after all.

By nightfall, it's a family place.

The menu ranges from pizzas (from $11.50) to more sophisticated fish and meat specials (in the mid-$20s).

One recent night I met my wife and nearly 2-year-old son for dinner, but we were filled with a bit of trepidation.

Sure, Vessia is more casual than its white tablecloths would indicate. Still, a 2-year-old boy can test your definition of ``casual.''

Not to worry, our waiter told my wife while she waited for me to arrive. ``He'll be fine; he can be himself.'' As he was, with few ill effects.

Our meal wasn't the best we've had here. My cuscinetto ($19.95) -- skinless chicken breast rolled with prosciutto and asparagus stalks and topped with cheese -- was dry, as if it had been prepared as a lunch special and sat all day. My wife's fish special ($23.95) was grilled salmon, and it was fine, though the lemon-caper sauce was too tart.

One miss won't stop us from coming back, and that's where the rest of the mix comes in.

You can feel owner Franco Vessia's hand -- sometimes, quite literally -- guiding you as you step in from the frenzy of a shopping-center parking lot. (The center is undergoing extensive renovations, and the road leading directly to the restaurant is temporarily closed.)

As you round the small lobby, traverse the snappy little bar and light into one of the earth-toned booths or tables, you look up to an open kitchen.

It's contemporary, casual, comforting. A light aroma of roasting garlic flows into the room.

``I've tried to establish a neighborhood restaurant, a place where people feel comfortable,'' Vessia said between the lunch and dinner rushes earlier this week.

``We tell our people to always recognize the regulars, and for people who aren't regulars, treat them like they are, so they become one.''

He has a few tricks he's picked up along a restaurateur route that began when he and his mother cooked at a small trattoria in a Chicago suburb. After it closed, he worked for Hyatt, which transferred him to Los Angeles in 1981. He did more time in corporate restaurants, at a Harry's Bar, since closed, in Century City, before eventually moving to Irvine to open Prego.

After a dozen years, he jumped to open his own house in a spot where previous restaurants had mixed luck over the years.

He and chef Gino Buonanoce worked with Vessia's mom to develop recipes to highlight Italy's regional cuisines.

He joined the Chamber of Commerce and made friends among the politicians and the administrators at City Hall. He opened his bar on Mondays to let locals be ``bartender for a night'' -- the little stories and photos on the Web site are a laugh.

He works the room.

``I know when people go out, they want to go to a place where they feel comfortable, like they're a part of something,'' he said.

Varieties Of Gourmet Olives

The history of olives and olive oil can be traced back to at the least biblical times. When the waters of the great flood subsided and Noah sent forth a dove it was an olive leaf she returned carrying in her mouth. It is known that as long as 6000 years ago olive oil was used as fuel in lamps. Maybe it was this olive oil that created such a beautiful Genie for Major Anthony Nelson to rescue in the popular television sitcom I Dream of Genie.

Today in modern grocery stores there are dozens of gourmet olives widely available. Gone are the days of canned black olives and green olives with pimentos as the only choices. For those of us who remember the days of opening a can of black olives and placing one on each finger then systematically biting them off here is the new olive.

Nicoises: Is a earthy rich olive commonly used in salad. The curing of this olive in red-wine vinegar gives it a distinctive taste.

Green olives with herbs de Provence: This vibrant citrus flavored olive is a delightful blend of herbs de Provence spices and large green olives. It is an excellent choice to use in surf dishes and with sweet spices.

Mount Athos green with Sicilian herbs: This is a second olive that utilizes herbs to dominate the pallet. Rosemary, garlic, mustard seed, and red pepper flakes give this olive a spicy appeal.

Mount Athos green stuffed with garlic: For a modern twist on the martini this olive is an excellent choice. It is stuffed with rich flavorful garlic and lends itself well to pizza as well as martinis.

Mount Athos green olives with sun-dried tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes give this heavy olive an intense flavor that is sophisticated and ideal for snacking.

Sun-dried olives: The drying of this olive gives it a rich flavor that blends wonderfully in sauces for serving over pasta.

Kalamatas: A tangy black olive cured in red-wine vinegar that can be from Italy or California. The California variety is denoted with a 'c' spelling rather than a 'k'.

Alfonsos: This robust winey tasting olive is soft and similar to the kalamata. It is a popular choice in antipasto salads.

Halkididis: Very similar in flavor to the kalamatas this olive is excellent blended with cream cheese and garlic for a flavorful dip.

Lucques: This meaty buttery olive contains pits but is still a wonderful choice with provolone cheese and bruchetta.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Vancouver Restaurants

Vancouver is the largest city in Western Canada, and third largest in Canada. Located at the southwestern corner of the coastal province of British Columbia. It is well known for its majestic natural beauty, as it is nestled between the coastal mountains and the Pacific ocean. It is frequently ranked as one of the "best cities to live in" and is certainly a beautiful destination to visit.

While Vancouver is a comparatively young city, at just over 100 years, its history begins long before. The indigenous peoples (First Nations) have lived in the area for thousands of years, and Vancouver's namesake Captain George Vancouver sailed through the First Narrows in 1792. The first settlement on the downtown peninsula was Granville, located on the spot of today's Gastown. In the year of Canada's confederation a saloon was built on this site and gave birth to a small shantytown of bars and stores adjacent to the original mill on the south shore of what is now the city's harbour. A seemingly endless supply of high quality lumber was logged and sold through the ports of Gastown and Moodyville, across the inlet. Some of trees were gigantic beams which were was shipped to China to construct Beijing's Imperial Palace), and one account maintains that the world's windjammer fleets could not have been built without the trees of Burrard Inlet. Vancouver proper was signed into existence in 1886. The first City Hall was little more than a hand painted sign nailed to a wooden tent post. The arrival of the transcontinental railway a few years later spurred growth even more and by 1892 the area had over 20,000 residents; eighteen years later this figure was over 100,000.

Factor in constant growth every year since (many in the double digits), and Greater Vancouver today is Canada's largest metropolitan area west of Toronto with well over 2,000,000 residents, roughly half of British Columbia's population as a whole. It is also the fastest growing part of Canada. Greater Vancouver is one of the most ethnically diverse metropolitan areas in the world and is home to the second largest Chinatown in the world.

The city truly arrived in 1986 when Vancouver "hosted the world" with the Expo 86 World Fair. Media attention from around the world was consistently positive, and many considered it the most successful World's Fair to date. Vancouver has been awarded the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and this event will no doubt cast Vancouver into the world spotlight once again. It will be the largest city ever to host the winter games, and interestingly, the only city at sea level to host them.

Vancouver is perhaps best known for its scenic beauty, and the opportunities afforded by its natural environment. Vancouver is one of those rare places where you can ski in the mountains, windsurf in the ocean, and play a round of golf all in the same day. Surrounded by water on three sides, and crowned by the North Shore mountains, Vancouver is a great destination in itself, as well a a great starting point for discovering the area's many outdoor activities.

Vancouver is a major sea port on the Pacific Ocean, and a base for many Alaska Cruise Ships in the summer.

Landmarks/Points of Interest

Canada Place Venture over to the cruise boats ready to depart and you can converse with the lucky passengers about to embark on 'inside passage' tours through Alaska. CP has an IMAX theatre as well. CP is located adjacent to the Pan Pacific Hotel.

The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is the first full-sized classical Chinese garden outside China. It is located in China town on the edge of downtown Vancouver.

International Buddhist Temple is the most authentic example of traditional palatial Chinese architecture in North America. It is an edifice straight out of the Chinese past, as it resembles any authentic temple that can be found along the banks of the Yangtze River, where one of the world's oldest civilizations originated. Come explore traditional Chinese art, culture, and the Buddhist philosophy inside this magnificent place. Free admission.

University of British Columbia This Campus has streets lined with trees and stretching over an area encompassing a small city, the UBC campus offers much to see and much to do. You can attend free lectures, relax at clothes-optional Wreck Beach [18], or see a show at the Chan Centre for Performing Arts [19]. The UBC Libraries form the second largest library collection in all of Canada (second only to University of Toronto). A must for cash-strapped visitors: UBC often hosts free events, such as seminars, theatrical performances or student concerts.

Granville Island is Vancouver's famous public market. Along with the large market there are also numorus local art galleries, restaurants and even a brewery.

Gastown is Vancouver's historic district, there are many tourist shops, restaurants and pubs in this area. This is also where Storyeum is located.

To know more in details about "Vancouver Restaurants", visit this site:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Understanding technology Post-harvesting

When it comes to processing perishable crops, what is done to the crops the moment they are uprooted from the ground determines the final quality of the said crop, to a very large extent. As the name suggests, the act of processing the crop ( Dusting, sorting, cleaning and packing the crops) after the harvest, is called Post harvesting. It becomes a critical part in processing perishable food crops because these crops have a tendency to deteriorate from the moment they are uprooted from the farms. Processed food items, fresh farm produce or whatever it is that the crop ought to be sold for, the out put of the post harvesting technology largely determines the caliber of the processed food crop.
Though it might seem like an obvious thing to do post harvesting the crop, it is still a difficult task to be achieved  either due to lack of awareness or due to the lack of infrastructure. Post harvest usually consists of cleaning up of the crops, removing moisture and bringing down the pace of the chemical reactions that usually occur then. These chemical reactions can also occur, in some cases, when two crops are stored together, given a particular temperature. To avoid this and also to streamline the post harvesting operations a lot of expensive equipment has to be put in place like complicated sorting, packing, storing and facilities for moving perishable crops about in storage areas are duly put in place, more so,if we are talking about a fully functional industrial size which comes equipped with conveyor belts for moving these crops around, cold-storage facilities,atmosphere-controllable storage equipment and advanced sorting and harvesting machinery.
The above mentioned sophisticated equipment, coupled with state-of-the-art technology managed efficiently with superbly trained staff should be able to battle with the time constrained challenge of being able to produce the best quality output, especially with regards to the perishable food crops and hence becomes an important element in the food processing chain.

Be it your home garden which delivers some kind of perishables or an industrial unit, a few things have to be considered carefully and attended to. Firstly, the crops need to be culled    (removal of damaged crop elements). Secondly, the perishables need to be cooled immediately and maintained at that temperature to avoid further possible degradation of crops and finally, the crops have to be handled expertly and with care.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Turkey Cooking

Turkey Cooking Times Oven

Make sure the turkey is fully thawed as microwave thawing followed by microwave cooking crates uneven cooking. Safe storage, handling, cooking methods, and approximate cooking times for chicken. Cooking time can be reduced by as much as 30 minutes to an hour compared to traditional roasting timetable. Oven Cooking Bag Method Preparing a turkey in an oven cooking bag can be a safe and a delicious alternative to the traditional roasting method. Paper Bag Method This method involves placing the turkey in a large brown paper bag, the type used in grocery stores, and cooking the bird at a very low temperature. Pour off the wonderfully flavourful cooking liquid that accumulates in the bottom of the pan and use it for a side dish of dressing. Many variables can affect the roasting time of the whole bird: A partially frozen bird requires longer cooking.

Turkey Cooking Temperature

Cooking time may vary depending on temperature of the fire, wind and outdoor air temperature. When preparing turkey, use the chart of turkey cooking times below as a guide to how much time to cook the turkey. Plug in electric smoker or ignite charcoal about 30 minutes before cooking. To stop the meat drying out, baste it every 30 minutes during cooking. Instant read thermometers have plastic heads and cannot go into the oven while the turkey is cooking. Cooking time takes longer for a stuffed turkey. Tip: Cover your turkey with foil during cooking and uncover for the last 30 minutes to brown the skin. This is a much more assured way to achieve a proper kill of the vegetative bacteria as opposed to cooking the bird uncovered. Decisions about turkey size, cooking method, fresh or frozen, and other factors all come up in the weeks before the holidays. Cooking times will vary depending on wind, weather, altitude and type of equipment. It will allow you to check the internal temperature of the turkey while it is cooking. Allow ample space for the bag to expand during cooking so that it does not touch the top or sides of the oven or it will melt. Paper Bag Method This method involves placing the turkey in a large brown paper bag, the type used in grocery stores, and cooking the bird at a very low temperature. The use of a foil tent for the entire time can slow cooking.

Cooking Thanksgiving Turkey

I dusted the turkey and sprayed it with olive oil, no basting while cooking. The issue with a large bird is that the internal temperatures might be much different from the surface temperatures and cause uneven cooking and dryness (especially at the breast). No more overcooking while waiting for the stuffing to reach safe temperatures. As I was killing on Wednesday and cooking on Thursday, the turkey never even got chilled thoroughly. Are you a busy person who just never got around to learning the basics of cooking? I now recommend limiting using this method for cooking turkey to turkeys of 20 lbs. It is true that stuffing will increase the cooking time. By reducing the overall cooking time, you get a cooler kitchen and energy savings. Many variables come into play when cooking a turkey. Whatever happened to the old timey way of cooking the bird slowly and for a long time?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trends in Recipes and Cooking: Local with a Global Twist

Our society's growing consciousness about the impact of our actions on the planet's health and well-being is being felt in the kitchen. Increasingly, the trend in recipes and cooking revolves around finding ingredients that are produced locally. Home cooks are recognizing that fruit and vegetables grown in other states and other countries gobble up energy to package and transport them to market. This leaves a big carbon footprint - a consequence that a growing number of families wish to avoid.

As a result, shoppers are seeking out fresh food and produce that is locally grown. For some, this means regularly visiting farmers markets; for others, it means inquiring about the source of fresh food at the grocery store. Many others have the desire to take steps toward finding recipes and cooking with fresh produce and other ingredients, but aren't sure where to begin.

Thank goodness for the Internet! For those ready to take the first steps, there is an abundance of information available on the Web. Armed with this information, shoppers can learn how to buy fresh produce, discover the types of produce that are in season, read articles about fresh food, and find recipes to prepare everything from delectable fresh fish, seafood, and meat dishes to delicious vegetable courses and dessert treats.

Moreover, home cooks are discovering that cooking with locally grown fresh foods opens the door to a world of cuisines - literally. Today's recipes and cooking trends put a global twist on fresh ingredients. If you're in the mood for Asian food, for example, you don't have to dine out. Instead, you can use the Web to research Asian food culture and find recipes that are easy to make at home. Likewise, resources for French food, German food, Italian food, and Mexican food are only a few mouse clicks away.

Vegetarians and those who are health-conscious are truly embracing these recipes and cooking trends. In the past several years, natural and organic foods have been finding their way onto grocery store shelves, and stores that specialize in fresh and natural foods are now a staple in virtually every city. Whether you adhere to a raw food diet or are simply trying to cut back on butter or sugar, you can more easily find the foods that you need.

At its best, cooking is an adventure. It's fun to experiment with different herbs and spices, and to prepare your favorite foods in a new way. Combining local, fresh foods with global recipes and cooking techniques is a great way to keep your cuisine interesting and tasty.

No one would argue that eating only locally grown foods can be a challenge. After all, it would be difficult to find fresh fish and seafood if you live in the desert, or unearth a source for locally churned butter if you live in a fishing village. Just keep in mind that perfection needn't be the goal; even incremental changes in the way we think and shop will help the planet. And, with the plethora of information about recipes and cooking that is available on the Web, putting a global twist on local ingredients can put the adventure back in dining!

Toxin In Your Drink

toxins, poisoning, health and medical
People are always reminded to refrain from consuming too much sodas and softdrinks because they contain lots of sugar and can cause tooth decay. But never because they contain benzene. Benzene is a byproduct and chemical present in the atmosphere where there is presence of concentrated chemical pollutants. Benzene presence in softdrinks had been confirmed by a team of doctors in a research facility in Australia. This now posed a new barrage of health and medical concerns and debates.

A spokesperson from the FSANZ (Australia's food board) confirmed benzene presence of the said substance and proceeded to outline and allay the health and medical fears the results posed. According to the FSANZ, benzene is formed when the ascorbic acid in the beverage reacts with the food additives used for the soda. However, the resulting benzene is very low and at negligible amounts. The agency also eliminated the risk of poisoning and health problems that could be caused by benzene presence. FSANZ asserted that a person would have to consume over 20 liters of softdrink to reach the amount taken in from polluted air. But they also emphasized that benzene, in any form, is undesirable in food and drinks. The agency also assured the public that they are indeed working with softdrink manufacturers to further reduce the amount of possible benzene formation.

Despite the assurance of the FSANZ, a toxic specialist, Kathy Hughes expressed disappointment over the response of the FSANZ. According to her, it does not matter whether the benzene concentration is negligible or not, but the fact that it is in there and it is significant enough to be detected, should alert health and medical professionals. It is also imperative that consumption of softdrinks found with benzene should be stopped or else limited to adults since benzene can stunt the growth of the mental and physical faculties of children. She also stressed the significance of the surprising result of the combination of two relatively harmless substances: additives and ascorbic acid. She asserted that if two harmless and common substances used in food preparation resulted in a toxin, there could be much worse amounts in products that used the substances in higher concentrations. She called on to the FSANZ to reinforce more stringent measures not only on the finished products, but also on the substances used to make them. This is important to detect and stop possible toxin formation.

Lastly, perhaps it is better to limit intake of processed foods and beverages to ensure that less chemicals enter and pollute the body systems. Food safety should be a top priority for consumers and manufacturers alike. It is also wise to act on anything that raise health and medical problems immediately to avoid further complications.

Top 8 des Bonnes Raisons de Jouer au

Lors de multiples discussions, il en est ressorti que ce qui motive une personne a jouer de plus en plus au casino et autres jeux d'argent est son rapport a la vie.
Pour ces dernieres, la vie elle meme est un jeu. Respirer est un jeu,sortir hors de chez soi est un jeu, bref, meme le quotidien est un jeu. mais le casino, quant a lui, nous offre des sensations uniques car les paris ne sont, contrairement aux mouvemet quotidiens,bases que sur le fruit du hasard. Le casino procure a l'homme une montee d'adrenaline hors norme. Le risque est donc plus fort.

Ainsi, de cette etude. il en est ressorti les resultats suivants:

Le temps des vacances:

Ces 10 dernieres annees, Las Vegas est devenue l'endroit populaire pour jouer en famille car a la mise en place de systeme de resort et d'attractions familiales.

Pour gagner et devenir riche :

De toutes personnes interviewées ces personnes sont les plus representatives du phenomene. Elles sont venues au casino avec l'espoir de devenir riches et de pouvoir changer le cours de leur destin.

Problèmes d'argent :

Rejoint l'idee precedente. Beaucoup  semble croire qu'ils peuvent regler leurs problèmes d'argent en jouant. Or, il y a aussi de forte chance, si madame chance n'est pas la, qu'elles engrangent d'avantages de pertes et de problemes si elles ne peuvent gerer leurs jeux et leurs mises.

Salle de Mariage:

Pour certains, se rendre au casino est l'endroit ideal pour celebrer son mariage. Un peu comme dans une eglise quoi. Et de preference a Las Vegas ou Salt Lake City. Leurs salles deviennent a la mode pour ce genre d'evenement en raison de leur prix rentable, l'originalite de leur hall d'accueil et l'espace de la salle pouvant accueillir grand nombre d'invites.

Leurs revenus.

Pour certains, le casino est comme un metier. Certains y passent toute leur journee pour pouvoir remporter une sorte de "salaire" plus ou moins eleve d'ici la fin du mois.

Pour trouver l'ame soeur:

Vous n'imagineriez pas le nombre de personnes celibataires se rendant en casino lors de parties de celibataires, uniquement dns l'espoir de trouver l'ame soeur et pourtant. Grand nombre de personnes interrogees y ont mentionne ce desir.

Pour fuir de chez soi :

La majorite des personnes interrogees ayant repondu pour sortir de chez soi sont essentiellement des gens de la gente masculine, tous maries depuis plus de 10 ans et peres de famille. Ces derniers se rendent generalement au casino en moyenne une fois par mois pendant quelques heures avant de rentrer.

Pour le plaisir :

Ces personnes auraient eu la bonne reponse. Toutefois, j'ai du mal a croire que cette categorie, qui devrait apparaitre en premiere place, ne se trouve au final qu'au bas de la liste. En effet, jouer au casino devrait etre avant tout une partie de plaisir. Integrer une ambiance hors pair d'un casino reel, avoir des boissons gratuites et ameliorer leur techniques de jeux, telles sont leurs principales preoccupations.

The Wonder Of Chinese Green Tea In Today’s Society

Have you tasted Chinese green tea? As you all know, green tea is the most popular types of Chinese tea. Many people, not only Chinese, consider it as the best drink for sultry summers. The main reason for this claim is the fact that green tea is cool and fights off inflammation.  Many have even claimed that it relieves fever.

Actually, the health benefits of Chinese green tea have been known throughout the world. The Chinese have known about these medicinal benefits since ancient times, as they have been using green tea to treat everything from headaches to depression. A writer named Nadine Taylor in her book Green Tea: The Natural Secret for a Healthier Life mentioned that green tea has been used as a medicine in China for at least 4,000 years.

These days, numerous scientific researches conducted both in Asia and the West is providing hard evidences for the health benefits long associated with drinking green tea. To mention, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study in 1994, indicating that drinking Chinese green tea lowers the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly 60 percent. Also, it was reported by the researches of the University of Purdue just recently that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells.

There are other medical conditions to which drinking green tea is reputed to be beneficial.  To sum up, these conditions include cancer, cardiovascular disease, infection, rheumatoid arthritis, impaired immune function, and even high cholesterol levels.

What Makes Green Tea Special?

The top secret of Chinese green tea lies in the fact that it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly the said epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is basically an anti-oxidant that has the power to fight and kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissue in the body.  Studies also revealed that this anti-oxidant has been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and hampering the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter benefit takes on added importance for the fact that the formation of abnormal blood clots, medically known as thrombosis, is the main factor that causes stroke and heart attacks.

Furthermore, the effects of Chinese green tea and the “French Paradox” were highly associated.  Researches were in the first place puzzled by the fact that despite consuming a diet rich in fat, the French have a less incidence of heart disease than Americans. The primary answer was found to lie in red wine, which contains resveratrol. Resveratrol is as polyphenol that restricts the negative effects of smoking as well as a fatty diet. However, in 1997, a certain study reported that EGCG is twice as powerful as resveratrol. And, this somehow explains the lower rate of heart disease among Chinese men even though approximately 70 percent are smokers.

Other Benefits

New evidences that reveal the other benefits of Chinese green tea are now emerging. One of those is the claim that Chinese green tea can help dieters. Researches found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more fats than those given only a placebo and caffeine.

Chinese green tea is also said to prevent tooth decay. Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also fight the bacteria that cause dental plague.

Today, several skin preparations containing green tea, from deodorants to creams, are also starting to appear on the market. This is for the reason that Chinese green tea is found out to be powerful in fighting bacteria that cause skin imperfections.

The Top Quality Information For Counter Stools And Bar Stools

Counter stools will come in 2 different fashions either very basic and practical stools or elaborate and imaginative designs. Both of these bar stool designs are good in any home kitchen or restaurant counters. What ever style you want comes down to your fondness for that design of bar stool and of course the décor of the surroundings are a vital criteria.

The most basic of bar stools have padded seats with no back rests; they are also made from varnished or unvarnished wood and have 4 legs with 2 sections of interlocking wooden beams for leg support. This basic design has been in circulation for over 500 years and is now used in homes, bars, and restaurants that want a traditional country look.

For those of you who want to find counter stools that have a more elegant and artistic design, there are stacks of options to choose from. These types of bar stools usually have back rests and favour metal over wood. The most popular styles of metal bar stools are wrought iron and brushed aluminium with swivel motion and padded seats.

Counter stools are only ever found to have a height range between 20 and 24 inches. Counter stools are generally smaller that standard bar stool, it is for this reason that counter stools are mostly used in diners, cafes and kitchen counters. Other advantages for these counter stools is that your kids can make use them in a game room, watching TV, or doing homework at the counter or when you have friends over

As with every other type of bar stool out there, you will absolutely no hassles in find many different styles and designs of counter stools. When thinking about shopping for such stools searching online with prove to produce far better results, but you need to find the good sites like that have the best selection and good prices that give a good description of the product.

If you expect heavy use, one tip is to concentrate on stools that have durable seat materials. Heavy fabric or thick vinyls are good choices. Moreover, you may want to get counter stools that have thick cushions for maximum comfort. It's also a good idea to look for counter stools with legs made of a durable material, like stainless steel or varnished hardwood. You want long-lasting, tough stools that will stand up to abuse over many years.

The Story of Tea Drinking

The story of tea begins over four and a half thousand years ago. According to Chinese mythology, in 2737 BC the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung, scholar and herbalist, was sitting beneath a tree while his servant boiled drinking water. A leaf from the tree dropped into the water and Shen Nung decided to try the brew. The tree was a wild tea tree.

From the earliest times tea was renowned for its properties as a healthy, refreshing drink. By the third century AD many stories were being told and some written about tea and the benefits of tea drinking, but it was not until the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 906 AD) that tea became China's national drink and the word ch'a was used to describe tea.

Tea drinking has been practiced throughout the world for hundreds of years. From the imperial court of ancient China to the Russian tea room, from the Japanese tea ceremony to British village tea shops, the soothing, healing and invigorating effects of tea have been appreciated and understood by many peoples.

Tea is a naturally refreshing drink and taken on its own it has no calories, so it's the perfect drink to keep you looking good and feeling fit. When taken with milk, four cups of tea a day can provide you with significant amounts of the following nutrients: approximately 17% of the recommended intake for calcium, 5% for zinc, 22% for Vitamin B2, 5% for folic acid, and Vitamins B1 and B6.

A cup of tea is also a good source of manganese, which is essential for general physical development, and potassium which helps to maintain your body's fluid balance.

The Secret Components of Cigars

Cigars are comprised of surprisingly few component parts.  Unlike cigarettes, which usually have filters, two different kinds and colors of paper, and filler ingredients other than tobacco, cigars are all tobacco.  What makes one cigar so different from another is the type of tobacco, where it’s grown, when the leaves are picked, how the picked leaves are cured and fermented, and how the finished leaves are cut and rolled.  Because cigars are made in so many parts of the world, there is a diverse range of product, as you’d expect.


The outermost layer of cigars is called the wrapper.  It is made from the widest part of the tobacco leaves, and it has a big impact on the cigar’s flavor and aroma.  Cigar wrappers vary in color, and because the wrapper color is what is most visible, cigars are often described by the wrapper color.  Here is a list, from lightest to darkest:

*  Double Claro:  very light color (sometimes with a green tinge); color comes from leaves that are picked while still immature and cured quickly.

*  Claro:  light-brown or yellowish-brown color, which is the result of tobacco plants grown predominantly in shade.

*  Natural:  light-brown or brown.

*  Colorado Claro:  medium-brown; most often associated with Cuban or Dominican Republic tobacco.

*  Colorado (or Rosado):  reddish-brown.

*  Maduro:  dark-brown; very popular color among serious connoisseurs of cigars.

*  Oscuro:  very dark-brown to oily black; typically exudes a pungent aroma and deeper flavor.


Cigars are composed mostly of whats known as filler tobacco.  Cigars can have filler comprised of three basic types:  Seco, Volado, and Ligero.  Cigars with Seco filler are drier and have a lighter flavor.  Volado filler produces a mid-range of flavor.  Ligero is the darkest, oiliest filler, producing cigars with lots of bold flavors and aromatic smoke.

One reason to choose thicker cigars (Churchills or Double Coronas, for example) is that these cigars obviously have more room for filler tobacco.  This gives the cigar maker the ability to add blends of Seco, Volado, and Ligero varieties.  You will find that these bigger cigars generally produce more varied and complex flavor combinations.

Filler is either whats known as long or short.  Long filler in cigars is comprised of whole tobacco leaves, whereas short filler contains a chopped mixture of leaves (sometimes just the leaves), stems, and other plant materials.  In most cases, cigars with long filler are of superior quality.


Many low-end cigars only use wrappers and fillers.  But the better quality cigars youll find on the market use another component binders.  Binders are an intermediate layer of more elastic tobacco leaves that help cigars hold the filler material together in a more cohesive manner.  The best cigars have binders that also add another complementary flavor to enhance the overall smoking experience.

The Origin Scotch and Irish Whiskey

The origin of Irish whisky is a little cloudy, no one is actually sure when it was 1st created, it is summised that brewing started sometime in the 12th century.

Irish whisky is barley, malt whisky made in Ireland. Irish whisky resembles Scotch whiskey in that its ingredients and formulation is slightly different.

Note that Irish whisky is written differently.Peat is almost never used when malting Irish whisky, resulting in a whisky with a smoother, sweeter flavour. In most Irish whiskys, the smoky, earthy flavors of Scotch are absent.

Common wisdom says that the Irish invented whisky, but it is speculated that the Scots perfected it. Both claims are open to doubt, if "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," then "perfection is on the tongue of the glassholder." In other words it is a question of taste. The word whisky comes from the Irish Gaelic term "uisce beatha" which translates as "water of life" ("uisce" is pronounced ish-ka).

There are fewer distilleries of Irish whisky than there are distillers of Scotch. Economic difficulties in the last couple of centuries have led to great number of mergers and closures.

Currently there are only three distilleries operating in the whole of Ireland (although each produces a number of different whiskies.) Irish whisky, like Scotch, comes in several forms. Like Scotch whisky, there is single malt, (100% malted barley and grain whisky.

Grain whisky is much lighter and more neutral in flavor than single malt and is almost never bottled as a single grain. It is instead used to blend with single malt to produce a lighter blended whisky.

Unique to Irish whisky distilling and something that the scotch have never followed on, is pure pot still whisky (100% barley, both malted and unmalted, distilled in a pot still). The "green" unmalted barley gives the pure pot still whisky a spicy, unique Irish quality. Like single malt, pure pot still is sold as such or blended with grain whisky.

Irish whisky is believed to be one of the earliest distilled beverages in Europe, dating to the mid-12th century). The Old Bushmills Distillery also lays claim to being the oldest licensed distillery in the world since gaining a license in 1608.

The McWorkout

McDonalds, the most notorious proprietor of French fries, fried burgers and fried, well, just about everything else, has come a long way since the popular film Super Size Me, exposed the horrors of the high-fat diet and forced the Ronald to remove the "super sized" options from his fat-induced menu.

Ever since the film grossed over $28,548,087 worldwide, the red-haired clown has had a gaping whole is his clogged heart – even though the folks at McDonald’s Corporate deny that the removal of "super size" menu options was in any way a reaction to the film – sure! It’s true, McDonald’s has gone a long, and even possibly broken a sweat in attempts to resurrect its fryer-soaked image. Now they’re attempting to encourage the burger-eating sect by plugging into their gaming systems.

I was really glad to hear about McDonald’s new offering, the new Go Active Happy Meal for Adults. On my site,, I always try to offer my readers realistic healthy fast food options for when they’re on the go. This adult happy meal goes a long way in encouraging McDonald’s clientele - which let’s face it, often leaves something to be desired in the fitness category.

The Go Active Happy Meal for Adults, will be available for PlayStation 2, Xbox and PCs starting on April 25 until May 22, and will feature 1 of 4 exclusive Yourself Fitness DVDs each week, plus a bottle of Dasani water or medium/large beverage, and any of the following premium Mickey D’s salads:

California Cobb Salad (with grilled or crispy chicken) – features plump grape tomatoes, carrots, bleu cheese, smoky bacon and eggs all on a bed of crisp mixed greens. Opt for no cheese, light dressing and grilled chicken for a healthier alternative.

Caesar Salad (with grilled or crispy chicken) – enjoy bust-in-your-mouth grape tomatoes, parmesan cheese, carrot and crunchy croutons on a bed of fresh greens. Again, say no to the cheese, and opt for a light dressing and grilled chicken for a lower fat meal.

Bacon Ranch Salad (with grilled or crispy chicken) – a mêlée of fresh mixed greens, shaved carrot, grape tomatoes, hickory bacon sprinkled with jack and cheddar cheeses. To make this a lower fat meal, ask for no cheese, light dressing and grilled chicken on your salad.

Each 15-minute Yourself Fitness DVD features Maya, a virtual personal trainer, who leads viewers through a one-on-one workout that focuses on one of the following:

•    Relaxing Yoga
•    Calorie-Shedding Cardio
•    Toning Resistance Training
•    Ab-Defining Core Training

The Many Uses Of Adjustable Swivel Bar Stools

When you think of bar stools, the first stools that might come to mind are wooden bar stools, kitchen bar stools, or adjustable swivel bar stools. Many of you out there thinking of buying bar stools usually only have a one tracked mind when you see a bar stool. A bar stools can be multifunctional and not for the way it was primarily designed. Here are some examples of using one type of bar stool for other purposes; this will often end up a better fit.

Artists using bar stools are built to seat painters, sculptors, and architects as they ply there trade. These types of bar stools are manufactured with adjustable height gauges to accommodate any size of artist. Unlike standard bar or counter stools, these stools are not designed to be fully sat in, but instead for a mixture of sitting and standing. They allow for a lot of changing between standing and leaning when into there work.

Now, imagine this a busy cook in their kitchen at home. Cooking often entails 1st mixing and preparing the ingredients, then baking or roasting. This takes a lot of standing up and sitting down, working at one place, then moving to get more ingredients or make sure something in the oven is cooking well. Wouldn't an adjustable swivel bar stool be a perfect match for this kind of action?

Now think of bar stools that are mainly manufactured for use at bar counters, breakfast bars, game halls, or high restaurant tables. This type of adjustable bar stool can also be used in your living room with more traditional pieces of furniture like designer chairs or a plush sofa and also don’t take up to much room.

Finally, folding stools are extremely versatile. Made primarily to be lightweight aluminium for carrying to isolated places, they are used by painters looking to canvas pleasant pastoral scenes. They are also favourites among hikers, campers, and anglers, those people who would be constantly on the move in the open country side and like to rest, make camp or fish.

These stools have multiple uses, from parties in the garden, where transitory seating is needed, to being used in your hobby shop or garage. They can sit lower than other types of stools, so reaching things closer to the ground is more fitting.

The Maligned Potato: Respect At Last?

Ah, the poor, maligned potato! Beaten up by dieters (especially the low-carb variety), nutritionists and other experts as being "ok in moderation", the potato may at long last be gaining some respect in the scientific community.

From an article in Science Daily ("Transgenic Potato Confers Immunity: Vegetables Or Fruit Could Replace Vaccine And Needles"), we find that the potato could be used to help keep us health.

We quote from the article:

"Transgenic potatoes engineered to generate an immune response to E.coli infection have passed their first test in human beings. In the May issue of the journal Nature Medicine, Carol Tacket, MD, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and colleagues report successful results of their first human clinical trial of the transgenic vegetablesdeveloped at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, affiliated with Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Fed to healthy human volunteers at the University of Maryland Center for Vaccine Development, potatoes genetically engineered to contain a gene from the E.coli bacteria produced antibodies in the blood and in the mucosal lining of the intestines. Volunteers who ate garden-variety potatoes in the randomized, double-blind trial showed no immune response.

"It is truly remarkable to think that you could eat a potato that has an extra protein and produce antibodies against a bacterial pathogen," Tacket remarks, "but that is exactly what happened." She calls transgenic plants "a new strategy for development of safe and inexpensive vaccines against diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis B. Oral vaccines in edible plants offer hope of a more practical means of implementing universal vaccination programs for the developing world.""

The article goes on to say that the testers were all volunteers who tolerated the potatoes well with no other problems.

Could this be an answer to helping rid third world countries of certain diseases and maladies?

Who know...more research will follow but the initial reports are encouraging.

Take that, Adkins.

The Joy Of Summer Sweet Corn

Summer is coming, and one of the most anticipated treats is the delight of enjoying a fresh ear of sweet corn brushed with melted butter. Corn on the cob is delicious, but there’s more than one way to serve fresh corn. Along with the corn harvest comes a big variety of other vegetables and dishes.

When you cut the corn from the cob, the possibilities for preparing corn are endless. You can add it to bread to make a wonderful spoon bread recipe, or a great Southern favorite, corn pudding. Corn combines well with other summer vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers and onions. The secret to a great dish is to use the freshest corn available. The less time that passes between the garden and the finished recipe the better.

When you’re selecting corn, choose ears with tight, green husks and tender milky looking kernels that are evenly spaced on the ear and firm enough to puncture if you squeeze it a little. If you’re not going to be preparing your corn immediately after you get it home, then buy it with the husks and put it in the refrigerator to prevent the sugar in the corn from turning to starch and tasting less than sweet. If your recipe calls only for kernels of corn, remember that two average size ears will usually give you about one cup of corn kernels.

Here’s a delicious summer corn recipe to try out this year.

Corn and Tomato Casserole

8 slices bacon, cut in half
2 c soft breadcrumbs
2 c peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes
1 med green pepper, chopped
3 c fresh corn cut from cob
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp pepper
¼ c butter, melted

Place half of bacon in a shallow 2 qt casserole, and top with 1 c breadcrumbs. Layer half of tomatoes, green pepper, and corn over breadcrumbs; sprinkle with half of salt, sugar and pepper. Repeat layers of the veggies and seasoning. Combine the melted butter and remaining 1 c breadcrumbs, stirring well; spoon evenly over casserole. Top with remaining bacon; bake at 375 F for 40-45 minutes. Serves 8.