Archive for ‘food’ category

The Raisin Has Ruined the Oatmeal Cookie

This evening, my wife baked an epic batch of oatmeal cookies. Let me explain why they were so good: there were no raisins in sight. The raisin has plagued the oatmeal cookie like a parasite, stifling its untapped potential as a (if not the) premier baked good of our generation.

Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, a raisin is nothing more than a shriveled grape. And its inclusion here just oozes controversy. Like a concerted front against the oatmeal farmers (?) of the world. “How do we ruin the oatmeal cookie? We’ll add dried, shriveled, rubbery fruit to it. Good. It’s settled then”.

It’s why we don’t see oatmeal cookies more often, and it’s also why the oatmeal cookie isn’t as popular as other, non-fruit-bearing treats. Smart bakers will often utilize the “chocolate chip switch”, swapping chocolate chips for raisins. Brilliant. The recipe adjustment might have done more harm than good however, due to the visual similarity between chocolate chips and raisins when they’re sitting in the finished cookie. I can never be sure whether they’re chocolate chips or raisins, and there’s no way I’m taking the chance. It’s now preferred to substitute peanut butter or butterscotch chips to avoid confusion.

Bottom line is this: leave out the raisins and start enojying a pretty darn good (if under-appreciated) cookie.

Wine as a Work Enhancer

While sitting on an endless stack of work over the past few months, I’ve slowly discovered ways in which to make myself more productive. Or, if not more productive, then at least making the time tick by as pleasurable as possible.

wine corksOne trick when working into the evening hours that’s been successful, is to work with a glass of red wine within arms reach. I’ve slowly been warming up to wine these days, and have found it to be somewhat of a work enhancer. Beer, on the other hand, seems to be more of a work detractor. Where beer fills me up, makes me sleepy and generally slow (sometimes the intended effect), wine does the opposite — waking me up in a sense. I can’t/don’t do this every night of course, and maybe that’s why I think it works so well, particularly in the design phase of a project.

Warning: drink too much wine, and your designs could end up looking like this.

I don’t mean to endorse the consumption of alcohol to improve workflow, yet I’m sharing this as a tip that’s works for me. I imagine everyone has a different work enhancer — or several to mix up throughout the week. Hopefully it’s a) something legal and b) not bad for your health. The wine could either be considered either bad or good (for lowering cholesterol!).

A scientific explanation for why wine helps, I don’t have. Most wine drinkers know that it has a tendency to make people a bit more chatty than usual. I suppose channeling this chatty energy is what assists the workflow, since there’s no one there to chat with. That, or it just tastes good.

If you’re not into wine, go see the excellent film Sideways. This will help. If you are into wine, what’s your favorite bottle? Mine of the moment: Trinitas Zinfindel (the red stuff, not the white, fake stuff).

Alton Brown is Cool

Alton Brown‘s television show, “Good Eats“, is not only my favorite cooking show (sure, I have many)–but also one of my favorite TV shows in general. The guy is a genius at explaining superior cooking techniques in a way that’s entertaining–even humorous.

And he even has a weblog. I love this quote from a post of a few weeks back (he needs permalinks):

We are fat and sick and dying because we have handed a basic, fundamental and intimate function of life over to corporations.

He’s referring to the movie Supersize Me, a fascinating documentary about a guy who eats nothing but McDonalds for 30 days straight. The results are of course… interesting.

Also recommended is Alton’s Sodium Chloride Containment Unit. You know… for keeping your kosher salt in.

Black Pepper and Other Notes

I put black pepper on just about everthing. Pasta, soup, salad, pizza — you name it. I love the stuff. Especially that of the freshly ground variety, expertly cracked by one of my prized possessions — a cherry mill by drum stick manufacturer Vic Firth. So you could also say that I like black pepper.

I wonder though, if there are adverse effects to ingesting large quantities of the spice. Plenty of studies have been done I’m sure — and perhaps I don’t want to know their outcomes. I’m sure it can’t be any worse than a few cups of coffee a day (of which I drink none).

Other Notes

  • It’s merely April and I’ve already had the worst sunburn of recent memory.
  • Had the pleasure of meeting up with Ethan and the visitng Dunstan this past weekend where we were greeted by a large fish on the sidewalk of a Boston pub.
  • For a recent project, I used a modified version of Brad Choate’s wonderful tip for Doing your whole site with MT. After seeing how easy it is, I’m going to start using this method more often (using the Category field to automatically create folders and files). Each entry becomes an editable web page, with all the available fields to plug into a single template. I should write this up someday. Too lazy right now.
  • The new version of iTunes is worth checking out.
  • Shaun Inman’s Inman Flash Replacement technique (IFR) is fascinating and promising. And further adds more reason for me to get a handle on Flash.
  • Keith sparked a very informative thread over at Asterisk* regarding the pros and cons to using XHTML Strict vs. Transitional
  • I’m happy to hear that The Sydney Morning Herald redesigned using web standards. Congrats to Peter Ottery and team.
  • And lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed Hellboy, going into it knowing really nothing of the comic. Ron Perlman was fantastic (and surprisingly funny — although maybe the character has a dry wit in the comic book as well).

Sign My Grill, Won’t You?

We had some family over for lunch last weekend and I dug out the giant George Foreman grill that we purchased to skirt around the issue of outdoor cooking on a third-floor deck.
A signed grillLast Fourth of July, I had everyone sign the grill, right alongside George’s decorative signature. It just seemed right at the time — and something I’d like to turn into a yearly tradition.
However, now that we have a house and a first floor deck and no rules — I simply must get a charcoal grill. You just can’t beat the flavor of charcoal, and no matter how convenient a gas grill is, it just doesn’t quite match up.
So the George Foreman will be saved for rainy days, and for ceremonial signings only. Perhaps someday I will place it for sale on eBay. I could say that the grill had been signed by twenty of the most famous grillers in the history of grilling. And you should be so lucky as to gaze at their penmanship while frying meat from both sides — on an angle, so as to catch the fat that drips into the companion “drip tray”.
Ah, the wonders of the George Foreman grill.

Mexican Beer

beer bottle
Beer.

I’ve found a new favorite Mexican beer. Pacifico is certainly a better alternative to Corona, with, well… an actual flavor.

The few times I’ve had it have been in Mexican restaraunts, although I have spotted it at the liquor store (or “package store” — a term I still don’t fully understand) recently.

It’s a pilsner style beer, with a nice bite and champagne-like qualities. I’m having one now! Actually no, I’m not. But I’m sure I will soon enough — and any time I need to put out the fire of a habañero, or while fiddling with markup.

What’s your favorite beer?