Dec 082011
 
 Posted by at 14:32 Uncategorized Comments Off on Convert a Chest Freezer to a Kegerator for Under $20 [DIY]

Convert a Chest Freezer to a Kegerator for Under $20Kegerators can be a great way to keep beer on tap in the house, but they’re expensive to build or purchase, which is why Instructables user MrBippers put together a guide to converting a chest freezer to a kegerator for just $20.

The real trick here is that this guide uses a cheap, custom installed temperature controller. It turns out, hacking in your own can save you quite a bit of money, and it doesn’t seem to take too much to do yourself. MrBippers’ version doesn’t have the front side tap like we’ve seen with other instructions and instead has a picnic tap connected directly on the inside, but for $20, it’s hard to complain. If a kegerator isn’t your thing, you can also convert it into a fermenter. You can find the full guide over on Instructables.

Convert a chest freezer to kegerator or fermenter for $20 | Instructables

from Lifehacker http://lifehacker.com/5866231/convert-a-chest-freezer-to-a-kegerator-for-unde…

Dec 072011
 
 Posted by at 21:02 Uncategorized Comments Off on Dinner Tonight: Homesick Texan’s Migas

20111205-127355-dinner-tonight-homesick-texan-migas.jpg

I go through a fair number of corn tortillas; you’d think Iwould attempt migas more often. When I found myself with a truly inordinate number of tortillas last week, it was finally time to make this Tex-Mex specialty of fried corn tortilla strips and eggs.

This barebones recipe from the Homesick Texan is an excellent place to start. Author Lisa Fain recommends all kinds of additions once you get the technique down.

The tortillas are cut into strips, then fried in a little oil. Once some diced onion and jalape??o are cooked, the strips are added back to the pan, along with whisked eggs and half-and-half. When the eggs set, a big handful of cheese is sprinkled on. It melts, while also crisping up on the sides, and pulling the whole dish together. Cilantro is a nice garnish, and salsa is absolutely essential. Also, refried beans help make this a full meal.

Get the Recipe

Homesick Texan’s Migas ??

Get the Recipe!

from Serious Eats http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/12/dinner-tonight-homesick-texans-migas.html?…

Dec 072011
 
 Posted by at 20:46 Uncategorized Comments Off on Google+ Update Brings High Res Photo Upload, Ability To +1 Comments, And More

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Android’s Google+ app got a big update today, bringing several handy new features to the mobile version of Google’s social networking venture. The update allows users to upload high-res photos, +1 photos and comments, add videos to instant upload, and more, while also bringing several unspecified bug fixes.

shot_Dec_07_2011_0??shot_Dec_07_2011_2

Here’s the full list of updates, from the Android Market’s Google+ listing:

  • Search
  • +1 photos
  • +1 comments
  • High resolution photo upload support
  • See if someone’s online and currently typing in Messenger conversations
  • Start Messenger conversations by just entering a phone number

Official Android Police t-shirts are now on sale, with over 25 designs to call yours.

Done With This Post? You Might Also Like These:

Google+ Update Brings High Res Photo Upload, Ability To +1 Comments, And More was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

from Android News, Apps, Games, Phones, Tablets – Android Police http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/12/07/google-update-brings-high-res-photo-u…

Dec 062011
 
 Posted by at 22:02 Uncategorized Comments Off on Serious Eats’ Corned Beef Hash

From Recipes

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Canned corned beef hash is the kind of food that you’re only really happy to see if you find yourself stranded someplace, like say, a desert island or in the middle of the barren stretch of wilderness. We’re assuming that if you find yourself in one of those places, that canned hash is going to taste pretty great, but barring extreme circumstances, not so much.

Today we’ve got a Corned Beef Hash recipe for you courtesy of the Serious Eats book that we want to eat pretty much anytime???yes, even on a desert island.

For this recipe Kenji has taken the hash staples (cubed corned beef and diced potatoes) and added poblano chile, a sizable squirt of ketchup or chile sauce, and runny yolked eggs that nestle right into the pan. It’s a one-dish morning wonder that covers all of your breakfast bases: salty meaty, runny eggs, and crispy potatoes.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Serious Eats to give away this week.

Adapted from Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are by Ed Levine and The Serious Eats Team. Copyright ?? 2011. Published by Clarkson Potter. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

Ingredients

serves 4, active time 25 minutes, total time 25 minutes

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into a 1/2-inch dice (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 pound fully cooked corned beef (about 1 pound raw, simmered for 3 hours until fork-tender), shredded into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into medium dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 poblano chile, cut into medium dice (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup or chili sauce (for spicier hash)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Frank???s)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs

Procedures

  1. Melt the butter in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until the foaming -subsides. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until they are tender and light golden brown, about 12 minutes total. Add the cooked corned beef, onion, and poblano, and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the ketchup or chili sauce and hot sauce, stir to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  2. Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, gently pack the potatoes and hash into the pan, creating a smooth top. Raise the heat to high and cook undisturbed until the bottom layer is deep brown, about 3 minutes. Using the spatula, lift the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and stir into the upper layers. Repack the skillet and repeat three or four times, until the entire skillet is full of well-browned potatoes, about 10 minutes total. Reduce the heat to low.

  3. Make four indentations in the surface of the hash and break an egg into each one. Season with salt and pepper, cover the pan, and cook until the eggs are barely set, about 5 minutes. Bring the skillet to a trivet on the table, and serve immediately.

from Serious Eats http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/12/serious-eats-corned-beef-hash-reci…

Dec 062011
 
 Posted by at 17:32 Uncategorized Comments Off on Pre-Sliced Meat, Name-Brand Spices, and Other Overpriced Items You Should Avoid at the Grocery [Saving Money]

Pre-Sliced Meat, Name-Brand Spices, and Other Overpriced Items You Should Avoid at the GroceryBeing picky at the grocery store can save you lots of money. Personal finance blog Wise Bread has rounded up the 8 most marked up items at the grocery: Foods to keep out of your cart so you can save more.

Some of the items listed may be alright to buy if you strategically use grocery coupons, but others are so highly marked up that you should either not buy them or look for other places to pick them up.

For example, cubed or preslided meat, according to consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch, is often marked up more than 60%; lesser cuts of meat, like ones used for stews, are marked up as high as 300%. Look at buying these in bulk from Costco, Woroch advises, or only buy these if they’re marked down (shopping late in the evening can help).

Another example is name-brand spices, which are marked up nearly 97%. Alternative places to look for these spices, the article suggests, are natural food stores, drugstores, and discount stores.

Hit up the article for the full list of the most marked up items at the grocery. Got any tips for what’s best to avoid at the supermarket? You know where to post them.

Photo by Licorice Medusa.

8 Overpriced Grocery Items to Skip | Wise Bread

from Lifehacker http://lifehacker.com/5865514/pre+sliced-meat-name+brand-spices-and-other-ove…

Dec 062011
 
 Posted by at 17:17 Uncategorized Comments Off on Leave your kids alone: a free-range parenting journey

Writing in Boston Magazine, Katherine Ozment recounts how she went from hovering over her kids to keep them from harm to adopting a hands-off regime that let them take risks and play on their own. I had dinner last night with my writing-collaborator Benjamin Rosenbaum and he said he saw his duty as a parent as “preventing damage,” not “preventing pain” — pain (emotional and physical) teaches us a lot, and parents need to allow some measure of it in their kids’ lives to help them learn important lessons, but a parent also should intervene to prevent pain from giving rise to damage. Knowing the difference is tricky — of course.

My heart sank. How times had changed. I still remember the time my two older brothers built an igloo in our front yard. It had a domed roof and arched entrance, and they strung an overhead work lamp from the ceiling and laid out a small rug so we could all sit in it for hours. Witnessing my children???s paltry fort-making skills, I thought, Is this what our kids will remember of winter ??? digging little holes in the snow as their mother hovered nearby? Where has the childhood I once knew gone?

In my nine years as a parent, I???ve followed the rules, protocols, and cultural cues that have promised to churn out well-rounded, happy, successful children. I???ve psychoanalyzed my kids??? behavior, supervised an avalanche of activities, and photo-documented their day-to-day existence as if I were a wildlife photographer on the Serengeti. I do my utmost to develop their minds and build up their confidence, while at the same time living with the constant low-level fear that bad things will happen to them. But lately, I???ve begun to wonder if, by becoming so attuned to their every need and so controlling of their every move, I???ve somehow played a small part in changing the very nature of their childhood.

I know that if I continue on this path, not only will my kids never have the wherewithal to build an igloo after a snowstorm, they won???t even have the freedom or imagination to try. Watching them play halfheartedly in their meager little forts, I knew I had to change.

Welcome to the Age of Overparenting(via Free Range Kids)

(Image: My Snow Fort, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from kmonojo’s photostream)

from Boing Boing http://boingboing.net/2011/12/06/leave-your-kids-alone-a-free.html?utm_source…

Dec 062011
 
 Posted by at 14:47 Uncategorized Comments Off on The Food Lab: How to Make All-Belly Porchetta, the Ultimate Holiday Roast

VIEW SLIDESHOW: The Food Lab: How to Make All-Belly Porchetta, the Ultimate Holiday Roast

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

It’s time for another round of The Food Lab. Got a suggestion for an upcoming topic? Email Kenji here, and he’ll do his best to answer your queries in a future post. Become a fan of The Food Lab on Facebook or follow it on Twitter for play-by-plays on future kitchen tests and recipe experiments.

Does anyone else feel like porchetta???the Italian roast of slow-roasted fennel-scented juicy pork surrounded with crisp, crackling skin???is appearing everywhere these days? Not that I’m complaining. As far as I’m concerned, the more slow-cooked pork in my life, the better. Indeed, my goal is to get a porchetta on every table in America this year (and perhaps some beyond our borders as well). I’m counting on you all to help me achieve my vision of a United States of Porkdom.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider topping your holiday table with a porchetta roast:

  1. It’s delicious. Easily more delicious than turkey, pretty much definitely more delicious than prime rib, and arguably better than leg of lamb. (Don’t even mention veggie loaf).
  2. It looks awesome. Other roasts can be imposing in the center of the table, but none are as geometrically perfect, so easy to carve, and as breathtakingly covered in crackly skin. This geometric symmetry, by the way, makes for easy, even cooking. No awkward thin regions that overcook or thick regions that stay raw in the center.
  3. It helps avoid fights. Holidays can be a bit trying for the old family, especially when you’re fighting over dark meat or light meat or who gets to gnaw on the rib bones. With porchetta, every single slice is exactly the same, by which I mean perfect.
  4. It’s forgiving. Accidentally overcook red meat or poultry and it’ll be so dry you might as well serve the gravy-soaked contents of your paper recycling bin to your guests. Overcook porchetta and… wait, that’s right, you pretty much can’t overcook porchetta.
  5. It’s inexpensive. Pork belly might cost you about $10 per pound???at a fancy butcher. More likely you’ll find it for $4-5/pound, at least a quarter the cost of a well-marbled prime rib. Want an aged prime rib? You must have some deep, deep pockets.
  6. Leftover porchetta sandwiches are freakin’ awesome. That’s all there is to say about that one.

Convinced yet? Read on, my friends.

What Is Porchetta?

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Traditional porchetta is made by butchering a hog such that the boned out loin is still attached to the boned out belly. This meat is then carefully salted and rubbed with a garlic, herb, and spice mixture that features plenty of fennel and black pepper along with traditional ingredients like crushed red pepper, citrus zest, and rosemary, sage, and other piney-scented herbs (you can, of course, vary this mixture to suit your own tastes). By then carefully rolling the two together, you end up with a single perfectly cylindrical roast with the fatty belly surrounding the lean loin, all covered in a layer of skin.

As the rolled porchetta rests, the salt slowly penetrates into the meat, dissolving the muscle protein myosin and altering its structure so that it’s able to retain moisture more effectively as well as giving it a slightly bouncier, more resilient texture (think sausage or ham, not rubber ball). As the pork is subsequently roasted, the fatty belly portion rich in juices and connective tissues ostensibly helps keep the relatively dry loin moist.

But we all know that this isn’t really how cooking works. All the fat in the world surrounding a lean, tightly textured muscle like a pork loin will not help keep it moist if you cook it past 150??F or so.

On the other hand, belly, with its extensive network of connective tissue and abundant fat content, needs to be cooked to at least 160??F for a couple of hours in order for that tissue to slowly break down and for some of the fat to render.

So why do traditional porchetta recipes call for both belly and loin? My guess is that at the time porchetta was invented, hogs hand’t yet been bred to have large, lean loins and thus there wasn’t as big a distinction between the belly and loin sections. Both would have had plenty of fat and connective tissue, making both parts totally tasty even when cooked to a higher temperature.

We, on the other hand, need a better solution, so here’s one: discard the loin and go for an all-belly porchetta instead. We all know that pork belly???the same cut that the magnificence that is bacon comes from???is the king of pork cuts, and that pork is the king of meats, and that meats are the masters of the universe.

This makes eating an all-belly porchetta somewhat akin to consuming an aromatic, crispy, salty slab of awesome seasoned with He-Man. Or something like that. You get the picture.

20111204-porchetta-11-500px.jpg

Tracking down a single, intact belly shouldn’t actually be too difficult. Far easier than, say, finding a whole Suckling Pig. What you want is a whole, boneless, rind-on belly with the rib meat still attached. This should weigh in at around 12 to 15 pounds or so. Your butcher should be able to order one for you easily, or if you live near a chinatown, take a stroll into one of the butchers there???most likely they’ve got pork bellies in stock. Special thanks to Pat LaFrieda for providing us with our raw testing materials.

Once you’ve got your belly, everything else is a piece of cake, just give yourself enough time to execute. Assembling the porchetta itself should take no more than an hour, and once assembled, you can wrap it in plastic and store it in the fridge for up to three days (so long as the belly was quite fresh when you got it). It’ll actually improve with age as the salt works its way through the meat.

By the way, if you roast your porchetta in a roasting pan, some par-boiled potatoes added to the pan about two hours into cooking would not be a bad idea. If not, make sure to save the fat for roasting potatoes later on.

Got questions? Take a quick peep through the slideshow for a step-by-step walkthrough of the process.

Still got questions? Fire away in the comments!

Get the Recipe

All-Belly Porchetta! ??

from Serious Eats http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/12/the-food-lab-how-to-make-all-belly-porchet…