Of Sustainability, Food and Cars

I had a lot of fun thinking about the theme of sustainability as I sketched out menu ideas and it got me thinking about my approach to food in general terms. To me, one of the most important aspects of sustainability is about making use of what you have around you, sometimes in creative ways. For example, clean-out-the-fridge omelettes are one of my favourite things to make. As an extension of this, rather than letting by-products go to waste, perhaps they can be re-purposed? With food, this might be something as simple as making a dish with beet or turnip greens in addition to preparing and serving the more commonly consumed root portion of the vegetable. The same concept is at the heart of the myriad efforts Ford is making towards incorporating sustainability into its production; the company is working hard with both farmers and scientists to find ways to use non-consumable biomaterials like rice hulls and tomato skins, to name just two.

As I was creating the menu for the breakfast, I also spent time thinking about how I didn’t want to simply include ingredients to tick them off a list. Rather, I wanted to apply some of the same principles as Ford, which is to look at creative ways to incorporate items you might not expect to find on your breakfast menu (or in your car) and present them in effective and appealing ways. I also included primarily gluten-free and dairy-free dishes as well a few locally-sourced foods (despite it being April), because I believe ecological protection and safeguarding human health – things Ford does with the safety and emissions aspects of its vehicles – are also key elements of sustainability.

ford

Curious to know more about the ways Ford is using biomaterials? Here’s a quick recap:

Currently used in production:

  • Soy-based foam is used for all seat cushions and back plus 85% of headrests
  • Coconut coir made from the fruit’s husks is used in the trunk mats of some vehicles
  • A new composite plastic material reinforced with rice hulls (by-product of rice grains) is used in the wire harness of the Ford F-150
  • Wheat straw-reinforced plastic is used in the storage bins of the Ford Flex – the world’s first application of this material
  • Cellulose-reinforced plastic is being used to replace fibreglass reinforcement in the centre console of the Lincoln MKX. The cellulose fibres in this composite come from sustainably grown and harvested trees and related by-products.

Would you like to eat a car?

This entry was posted in Food.

How to Sharpen a Knife

sharpening a knifeToday I’m going to show you how to sharpen a knife using a whetstone. First of all, a whetstone isn’t a wet stone – contrary to the way some people use these things, you really don’t want to get it wet.

Sharpening the Knife on an Angle

The important thing when sharpening a knife on a whetstone is keeping the right angle relative to the stone. The angle that we’re going for is about 20-22 degrees – the way you can kind of eyeball is, if this is 90 – straight up and down – and 45 is about half of that, 22 or so is about another half of that, somewhere down there. You can buy a lot of really fancy, hi-tech angle guides for your knife to help you keep that angle. But there’s also a very hi-tech device here that will accomplish the same thing, and it is your quarter-inch binder clip. All you do is just clip it on there like that, and that will kind of help you keep that angle straight.

Sharpening the Knife on the Whetstone

Once you’ve established that angle, imagine that you are just trying to slice a very thin layer off of the top of that stone. You could do this about a hundred times – it takes a lot of strokes. But, the benefit is that you don’t have to take it to a knife sharpener, you save a little bit of money, you do it yourself, and you definitely feel a sense of accomplishment afterwards. It’s a little bit MacGyverish. If you can sharpen your own knives, you’re definitely somebody that won’t get voted off the island.

Sharpen the Knife’s Opposite Side

We’re then just going to flip it over and do the same thing on this side – you can see it’s a little trickier with the other motion. Once we’ve finished with the coarse grit, which grinds away a lot of metal, we’re then going to flip it over to the fine grit, which is a lot smoother and will grind away less, but it will create a much finer edge on the knife. And so we’re just going to do the same thing here – okay, that’s the idea with that.

Knife Sharpening With a Honing Steel

This is a good technique for a beginner using a honing steel, because you’re always sharpening away from you as opposed to… if you should slip this way, oops, right? If you just stick it with the tip down on your, whether it’s your cutting board or it’s this mat here, and just hold it steady like that. Take the blade and, again – you want that same 20 degree angle with your honing steel – and, as you’re pulling it toward you, you’re also drawing it down the length of the steel. Unlike with the whetstone, this really doesn’t take that many strokes – it should really just take a few. And, we’re going to do it on the other side.

Now, the last thing to remember is – because we’ve just ground off all kinds of little, tiny metal filings as well as possibly little bits of stone – it’s important to wash this thing off and dry it really well before you start to prepare your food because then otherwise you end up with little metal filings in your BLT, and that’s not very good. And that’s how you sharpen a knife with a whetstone.

This entry was posted in Knives.

Best three espresso machines review

espressoThese days, instead of waiting in line of your favorite coffee shops, you can simply produce a high quality coffee from the comfort of your own kitchen. Espresso machines are the latest way to make a great tasting, top quality coffee, anytime you want.
There is a simplicity and elegance in the espresso making. There is no other coffee drink that is so truthful and honest, that doesn’t need brands, milk or any other flavor shots to taste good. Espresso is all about the technique. And if the idea of roasting and grinding coffee bean and preparing your own coffee in the morning sounds great to you, than please keep reading because I will present you my honest opinion about some of the best espresso machines that are available on the crowded market today.

So lets start my espresso machine review with:

Cuisinart DCC-3200 Coffeemaker
The Cuisinart DCC-3200 coffee maker is fully loaded with features. It has settings for brew strength, to choose regular or strong coffee flavor. keep hot temperature and one to four cups options. The Cuisinart DCC model is very durable, made of stainless steel. It’s 17 inches tall but with a relatively small footprint on the countertop. However, this model does not make real espresso.

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
This magnificent espresso machine focuses on producing best tasting espressos through speed. It goes from beans to brew in less than one minute. This Breville espresso maker is one of the top rated espresso machines in the market nowadays. It has a many different grind settings to choose from, including fine and coarse. It simply is a great machine that will make you feel like a professional. However, at first it might be hard to get the correct settings if your skills are at the beginner level.

Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker
This eye-catching espresso machine has some superb espresso making abilities. It is very easy to use and very small, so it doesn’t take up much space on the counter. However, it also has a small water tank and you will be refilling it frequently.

This entry was posted in Coffee.

Get This Salad Into Your Holiday Menu

Pulling together dinner is similar. I rifle through the fridge to see what elements add up to a main dish. Imagination unfolds: leftover chicken becomes enchiladas, a package of ground turkey transforms into chili. Once I have the center-of-the-plate sorted out, then it’s all about the sides. And sides are key, since that’s where the bulk of the vegetables at our table tend to reside. But I get stuck sometimes. Just like getting dressed, accessorizing can be the hardest part.

As we roll into what I consider the “season of sides,” starting off with Thanksgiving, Choosing Sides couldn’t come at a better time (hello, hostess gifts!). Consider, for example, this Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Pistachio Salad, which is the perfect counterpoint to the heaviness of typical holiday menus.
As for the perfect counterpoint to typical holiday outfits? If only there were a new resource for that too.
Anyone?

Sweet, ripe, and vibrant orange persimmons are a soft, satiny bed for a colorful tangle of greens adorned with shiny ruby pomegranate and peridot-hued pistachio bits. Fennel’s earthy anise notes weave through all the flavors, which are perfect accompaniments to the most popular tastes and textures on a holiday buffet. Pomegranate molasses is a reduction of pomegranate juice and is available bottled in Middle Eastern groceries, gourmet markets and some supermarket ethnic food aisles. It is supremely tart with a sweet finish. It’s used widely in desserts but it really shines on the savory side of the menu.

Click here for the Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Pistachio Salad Recipe

Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Pistachio Salad

This entry was posted in Food.

Don’t get confused with the huge collection of rice cooker

rice (3)

Now-a-days cooking rice does not require a lot of skills. All you need to do is follow some simple instructions. It is time-saving, energy-saving and easy to cook rice in a rice cooker. Rice can be easily mixed with a variety of dishes and gives different taste with different dishes. So thanks to these modern cookers, they have made life easier. All you have to do is press the button and remaining work like cooking, steaming, stewing, reheating and even complicated things like setting time for reheating will be done by the cooker itself. There are huge varieties rice cooker available in the market.

In this huge collection of rice cooker now-a-days, there a few typical rice cookers. They are:

  • Basic traditional rice cooker
  • Advanced rice cooker and fuzzy logic rice cooker
  • Induction heating rice cooker
  • Large or small rice cooker

While buying a rice cooker you need to concentrate on many things other than price and brand. They are:

  • Look for the cooker which has best rice cooking abilities –

Select a cooker which is able to handle any hard work in your kitchen. It should be time-saving so that you can utilize your this time in other work also. Check the cooking ability while purchasing it. The recommended time is usually fifteen minutes. And make sure it satisfies your needs as well. (Read: Favourite and the least favourite rice cookers)

  • A cooker with an amazing design and scrupulous outline –

Everyone will want a cooker with an amazing design. But selecting a cooker which is not very beautiful, but can save space for the owner is worth buying. Sometimes beautiful cookers might only decorate your kitchen and not do your job well. So be careful when you buy it.

  • Protection while cooking –

You can buy a cooker which will indicate the user when the cooking cycle has been done. Buy a cooker which has a control panel easy to read and has separate buttons.

  • A cooker which can cook a variety of food –

The more amazing features the cooker has, the more appropriate it is. Select a cooker with as many possibilities as possible. The inner of the cooker must be good so that you can cook a lot food like cakes, steaming vegetables, soup and so on. So select a rice cooker which has the ability to prepare expanded cuisine.

  • Easy to preserve –

It is probable that the cooker will be used every day. You will have to clean it and maintain it every time. So buy a cooker which is easy to tidy up, maintain and is kitchen friendly.

Information from http://www.inventores-aai.org/tips-to-buy-a-rice-cooker

More reading:

Never Underestimate the Power of A Rice Cooker

This entry was posted in Cooking.

Espresso making: Finding the perfect machine

espresso-sayingToday, espresso is totally the new moonshine. But these delicious concoctions don’t have to run though slipshop copper stills or ferment in claw foot tubs. Instead, amateur and professional baristas alike have been using incredibly beautiful (and completely legal) kitchen countertop machinery to whip out high grade espresso people all over the world are willing to pay a premium for.

When trying to enter the field of espresso making, finding the perfect machine and espresso shot puller has become harder than ever. Whether if you’re looking for an old school machine that dates back to the early 20th century or an entry model that any human being on the face of this earth can make, making a decision is quite intimidating. But don’t get discouraged because the perfect machine for you is out there and it’s waiting to be forever united with you for the tenure of your espresso making days.

Below, we went ahead and created a simple espresso machine buying guide to help you find the ideal machine that will find it’s home on your kitchen countertop for years to come.

There are four main categories of espresso machines – super automatic, manual, full auto, and semi auto. Whether if you’re looking to truly put in a lot of effort to make the perfect espresso shot for your caffe lattes and flat whites, or if you just want to push a single button and have an espresso made for you almost instantly, you’ll be sure to find a machine that meets your needs.

So with that being said, here are all the espresso machine categories listed from difficult to use to easy.

Manual Espresso Machines

Manual espresso machine are really old machines that have been recently restored for use. These machines are very complicated to use and have many variables that you must control throughout the whole process of pulling espresso shots. For example, manual espresso machines that maintain constant water pressure on their own by pushing the water through the coffee manually, which can ultimately affect the consistency and quality of your coffee. Plus you also can’t control when to start or stop the pumps. As a result, you should definitely only use this manual espresso machine if your an experience home based barista.

good-espresso

Super Automatic Espresso Machines

These super automatic espresso machines contains all the bells and whistles that simplifies the espresso making process into one step – pressing a button. These super automatic espresso machines contain built in grinding mechanics as well as other adjustable settings. These machines can sometimes even make other drinks instead of espresso shots including caffe lattes, cappuccinos, and more. Using a super auto espresso machine will take away the artistic and creative aspects of espresso shot pulling, thus making it more of an easy task, than an art form that requires great skill. Continue reading

When it comes to making espresso you really get what you pay for. As the price goes up, you are paying for better and more consistent temperatures and pressure which will always produce a much better espresso shot. Some espresso lovers swear that any machine under $1000 can never product enough pressure or power to create high quality espresso but luckily for you (and your wallet) this isn’t true. That being said, it is important to understand that not all machines are made equal and extremely cheap machines will never produce quality espresso.

Many of the cheapest models are really moka pots in disguise. Moka pots look similar to a standard kettle and use steam to brew concentrated drip coffee. Unfortunately, they are incapable of brewing the thick, creamy, and delicious espresso that you are looking for.
If you are working on a budget don’t worry, machines come with a wide variety of different features and capacities so you can easily find a high quality machine within your budget.

No matter what machine you choose it is important to pick only high quality machines. This is the most difficult part of choosing an espresso machine and this guide will help you sort through the junk to find the best espresso machine for you without sacrificing the quality. (Shared: http://cremaking.com)

This entry was posted in Coffee.

What is the Best Cookware for You

cookware setThere are certain things you need to consider when choosing cookware. These include:

Heat conductivity – Some metals are better heat conductors than others. For instance, copper is a particularly good heat conductor whereas stainless steel is not. What this means in terms of cookware is that the better the heat conductivity the better and the more evenly your food will cook. It also means that when you turn the heat up or down the copper cookware will react a lot quicker to the temperature change than stainless steel cookware.

Price – The amount you pay for your cookware will most likely be a determining factor in what you end up buying. The rule of thumb with cookware is to buy the best you can afford.

Durability – Some types of cookware will maintain their good looks and last longer than others. Stainless steel is considered to be one of the best in this respect.

Reactivity – Some metals react with certain foods. Aluminum for instance has a tendency to react with tomato and other acidic dishes. This means that your food can actually absorb some of the metal, so take care with your cookware choices and ensure that you are aware of the reactivity of each product.

Maintenance – If you would prefer to not to have to shine your cookware every night just to keep it looking good then you will need to consider the amount of maintenance required to keep it in tip-top shape. Copper and cast iron cookware generally require quite a bit of work to keep it looking pristine whilst stainless steel is normally a little easier to look after.

Making the final decision on whether you want stainless steel, cast iron, copper or aluminium is really a personal decision based on how much time you spend cooking, your expertise in the kitchen and your budget.

For all round flexibility, usability, and price, stainless steel cookware would be at the top of the list. When you consider the advantages it beats the others hands down. However it does have one big drawback in that it doesn’t conduct heat well and if you are concerned about having evenly cooked foods then heat conduction is important.

The solution to this is clad cookware. This style of cookware is made up of multiple layers of different metals. So, when shopping, look for stainless steel cookware with a layer of copper or aluminium sandwiched in the base. Stainless steel cookware with a copper base is generally more expensive than cookware with an aluminium base, but it does have the advantage of better heat conduction.

Take your time when choosing cookware, buy the best cookware you can afford, and follow the manufacturers instructions on looking after your pots and pans and you will be rewarded with years of good service and an enjoyable cooking experience.

Think about what pieces of cookware you need before setting out to the shops. There is no point in buying a 20 piece set if you will only end up using a few pieces.

Buying a cookware set is usually a lot cheaper than buying piece by piece. But again if you are not going to use all the pieces then really consider if a set is worth the money.

Buy the best you can buy for your money.

Read more here.

This entry was posted in Cooking.

The Most Recommended Espresso Machines in 2016

In 2016, the popularity of espresso machine is increased. Even more, people prefer super automatic model to the common espresso machines. Super automatic espresso machine can also be called as a super easy espresso machine because it is very easy to use with the automatic system and can brew espresso very fast. However, you have to find the best super automatic espresso machine 2016 so that you will get the best quality. It comes from various brands and also divided into some categories.

urban-coffee
The Most Recommended Brands of Super Automatic Espresso Machine in 2016
If you want to get the best quality espresso machine, there are some brands that are recommended for you to choose. One of them is SAECO. Besides that, you can also prioritize buying a super automatic espresso machine with Breville brand. DeLonghi can also be a good option for you. Then, Gaggia also belongs to the best espresso machine brands. Other recommended brands are Nespresso, KitchenAid, and Jura. So, if you are looking for the best super automatic espresso machine in 2016, you have to prioritize those brands above.

There are many super espresso machines that are sold in 2016. So, you have to compare them and choose the best one. One of the best options that you need to consider is SAECO Philips Xelsis Evo. It is very modern with one touch system and sophisticated features. One of the most interesting features offered is the personalized profile. This feature allows you to set your own personalized user. So, it can identify your preference when you want to drink the espresso coffee. The auto frothing system can also pour the milk & coffee rightly.

If you are looking for a super automatic espresso machine with best value, Breville Barista Espress Espresso machine becomes a good choice. Compared to the other super automatic espresso machines, it has one of the greatest retailers. It has the best value because it offers the great quality. You will find the satisfying offers in all aspects including the appearance, design, machine, taste, etc. Therefore, it is reasonable if this becomes the best super automatic espresso maker in 2016. (The full article here)
Breville BES840XL The Infuser Espresso Machine

Breville’s the Infuser Espresso Machine is one of my favorite deals in this category and I say that because it comes equipped with an array of features that any serious espresso drinker will appreciate and enjoy on a daily basis for a really reasonable price.

Coming in at 17 lbs and 10.2” x 12.5” x 13.2” inches in size, the machine is similar in weight and size to most other machines and will fit comfortably on your kitchen countertop, island, or coffee bar.

This Infuser comes with several state of the art features to make delicious espresso: a pre-infusion function, which applies low water pressure at the beginning of extraction, to expand the ground coffee beans gently, ensuring even, complete extraction, a 1600W thermocoil heating system with an integrated stainless-steel water coil, which controls the water temperature with a great deal of accuracy to keep within the ideal 195-200 degree range.

It also has an auto-purge function, which automatically adjusts water temperature after steaming, ensuring that the espresso is extracted at the optimal temperature. It comes standard with an Italian pump with 15-bar pressure, which helps facilitate full flavor extraction and volumetric control with preset, manual override or re-programmable volumes.

These features are great for espresso drinkers with a little more knowledge than a rookie, who prefers to have a little more control over the process. This machine can be simplified through it’s automated processes, but if you want to brew espresso using a more hands-on experience, on this list the Infuser is definitely the machine you should seriously consider.

Source:  Espresso Perfecto

More posts:

This entry was posted in Coffee.

Some of Shun Knives’ Best Santoku Knives

I love santoku knives. They’re practical, useful workhorses in the kitchen, great for all kinds of chopping, dicing, slicing, you name it. It’s second to the chef knife. I love Shun knives. They are beautiful, extremely sharp and perfect for cutting effortlessly.

Shun Hiro Santoku Knife
shun hiro santoku

“If you’re cooking with a mediocre knife, you don’t know what you’re missing until you use one that’s really top-notch. It’s a whole different game. Shun makes some of the highest-quality cutlery, and its new Hiro Santoku will have you slicing like a pro.

This 7-inch blade is not for the casual cook. At $350, it’s definitely an investment, but if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you’ll find it worthwhile. All of Shun’s knives are handmade in Japan, with design that is optimized for speed and sharpness. Formed for comfort and agility, the handle feels like it was custom-fitted for you. If you could lust after something you use to dice tomatoes, this would be it. But it’s actually several knives rolled into one; it can chop and slice, and it works as a cleaver as well.

This heavy-duty piece of metal was also built to last, with a steel core and 65 outer layers that alternate between nickel and stainless steel. Though most seasoned chefs usually get very technical with separate blades for different tasks, If you’re only going to buy one knife, this should be it.” – Gizmodo

Shun Premier Santoku Knife
shun premier santoku

“Like almost everyone who buys this kind of implement, I have many examples of quality cutlery including Wusthof, Henckels, Shun, and Kyocera as well as assorted Chinese and German examples. As this was a birthday present for myself, I wanted something really special. I was first attracted to the Ken Onion Santoku and then to the Shun Premier 8 inch chef’s knife. The Ken Onion design is obviously beautiful, but I found its balance awkward and its handle surprisingly small and uncomfortable. It came down to the Premier Chef’s Knife and the Premier Santoku. It was a very close call, but I found the santoku to have a slightly better balance. The hammered finish on top of the blade is not just attractive, it effectively releases thin slices from the side of the blade as you work. The handle is also very distinctive and beautiful, slightly bulkier and more contoured than the Classic Shun and providing excellent comfort and control.

In my judgment, the Premier Shun santoku is just about a perfect chef’s knife. Is beautifully made for practical use. As a bonus it is simply beautiful to look at. I have plans already to buy a slicing knife in the Premier line.

Highly recommended…” – Amazon reviewer

This entry was posted in Knives.

Dinner Recipes for the Week

Here’s a collection of great dinner recipes for next week!

Sweet potato shepherd’s pie

This shepherd’s pie is a great example of how you can easily veg up normal dishes. By adding extra veg to every day food you are more likely to get your kids to eat the blooming’ stuff!

Sweet potato shepherd's pie

Click here for the recipe by Well Worn Whisk.

Slow Cooker Lentils with Coconut & Pomegranates

What’s there not to love about a meal that involves minimal prep and cooks itself all day long freeing you from your dinner shackles to allow for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…

Slow Cooker Lentils with Coconut & Pomegranates

Click here for the recipe by Dinner A Love Story.

Austin-Inspired Grill-Seared Flank Steak with Smoked Almond Greens Pesto and Smoked Salt

I love a flank steak for weeknight cooking. It’s cheap. You serve it sliced so it goes a long way. And it takes about 10 minutes to cook – on the grill, under the broiler, in a skillet. Whatever.

Austin-Inspired Grill-Seared Flank Steak

Click here for the recipe by French Revolution Food.

Lamb Chops with Feta and Olives

A marinade with red wine vinegar and lemon juice quickly tenderizes flavorful lamb shoulder chops. Feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red onion and lemon zest add even more flavor.

Lamb Chops with Feta and Olives

Recipe here.

Simple Artichoke, Pesto and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

These quesadillas are packed with 3 of my favorite things: artichokes (canned, cause we’re talking EASY here, folks), pesto, and goat cheese. I’ve recently found that buying the log of goat cheese and crumbling it yourself results in a WAY creamier texture than the pre-crumbled stuff. It’s great for these quesadillas, because the cheese melts into those artichoke heart nooks and crannies. Mmmmmm yes.

Simple Artichoke, Pesto and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Recipe by Veggie and the Beast Feast.

This entry was posted in Cooking.