Odin Brewery, Seattle: The science behind their beer

A brewer is a chef. It takes knowledge of your ingredients and skills with your equipment to create a fabulous feast. Same goes for beer brewing. You must know your tools, your ingredients, and the science behind their reactions and interactions. Nick Heppenstall, head brewer of Odin Brewery in Seattle, Washington has perfected this science into a tasty art-form of craftsman beers.

With a background in biochemistry, Nick heads up the recipes for all beers coming out of Odin Brewery. His mission is to brew a beer that pairs perfectly with the right kinds of food, and to do this, the beer must have the right density levels of water to sugars, a balanced pH level of acids, and a comfortable temperature with the right carbonation.

“Consistency is my first priority. I believe in keeping things simple. If I can do something simple and good, it’s easier for me to make it better.”

Water, grains and the essential hop flowers are key ingredients to crafting a fine brew; three ingredients combined into a myriad of concoctions to intensify certain aspects of flavor.  Next add nutmeg, orange peel, extra sugar, or a compound called amylase to discover sweet palettes, higher alcohol percentage or a drier taste.

“My experience in microbiology has been absolutely valuable to my understanding of brewing beer. Anyone who want’s to brew good beer should study microbiology.”

“Beer Fest is a great movie, but I prefer Strange Brew!”

Bloglink:  http://cameronkarsten.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/photo-essay-odin-brewery-seattle-wa-pt-i/

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Jason Grant: When colors really matter

Spring ushers us into the wonderful world of flowers and a time to just get out of the winter slumber. Yes, it is also a time to consider painting and now is the best time to plan. I said plan, because the best time to paint would be when the weather is warm and you can open the windows to allow the smell to quickly go out of the house. Stephanie, my quintessential assistant cannot wait to redo her apartment. Consider this: paint is the cheapest approach to changing the mood of your place. Visit a paint store and get suggestions. I find the guys in the paint store always ready to help. They even have really, tiny small bottles of samples that sell for like $3.99 and its worth it. So, you love the color? Go back and order a quart or a gallon.


Sydney based Super stylist “Mr” Jason Grant has teamed up with Australian paint company Murobond to create a limited edition paint collection.

His first collection “welcome to my wonderland” has a distinct winter feeling, incorporating moody blues cool greys warm neutrals and understated hits of colour.


Taking inspiration from the everyday and the colors of nature (living in close proximity to Australia’s best known beach “Mr” Jason Grant loves its landscape in winter just as much as he does in summer).

“The collaboration is a dream come true as I “LOVE TO PAINT”

design-dautore link:

Guilt-free Snack

  By: Miyuki Nelson <||>  Sometimes, I really want something sweet. Luckily, hubby and I don’t keep any ice cream in the house. Or candy, really, other than the candy he got me for Valentine’s, or the occasional dark chocolate bar. We try not to keep those kinds of tempting things in the house, because of course, we’ll be more apt to eat them. However, I really had a craving for something sweet, but as we’re both trying to lose a little holiday (and before?) weight, I didn’t want to bake a bad choice.

So guilt-free mini cupcakes it is! My mom actually sent me this recipe, which I tried immediately last year and loved. I had to hunt for it tonight, since I forgot the temperature and length of time these need to bake. I’m gonna type it here, for me to find another time, and also, in case you’d like to try it out. It’s so easy. And so good.

  • 1 box of cake mix, any flavor (it’s even more guilt-free if you use sugar free cake mixes)
  • 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree

Okay, that’s all you need. And a muffin pan, of course. I really like and would recommend the mini muffin pan. 24 little cakes to enjoy at leisure? Yes, please!

So, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and then spray the pan with non-stick spray. My favorite is the one that’s made for baking and has flour in the spray. It’s super awesome. Now, mix up the cake mix with the pumpkin. The texture’s going to be a little stickier than usual cake mix batter, and that’s fine. I also use a mini ice cream scoop to plop heaping scoops of batter into each cupcake hole. Slot? You know what I mean. Then, place the pan in the oven and set it for 20 minutes. It smells so yummy.

When the oven dinged, Kane jumped up in excitement. Earlier in the evening, I baked up a tray full of his peanut butter and parsley cookies, and I squealed,”Your cookies!” when they were done. In his puppy excitement, he thought it was his cookies being done all over again. Oh dear. It was too funny.

The ones I’ve made tonight are the Pillsbury Sugar-Free Devil’s Food cake with the pumpkin, but I also really love the Sugar-Free Yellow cake, and I add a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of vanilla extract into the batter while mixing. Yum.

I guess truthfully, these aren’t totally guilt-free, but they’re a heck of a lot better than having real cupcakes with piles of icing on ‘em. Make some and try them—you won’t regret it!

Tagged dessert, little cakes, mini muffin pan, sugar free cake

Bloglink: http://miyukinelson.wordpress.com/


Oh, My Gulay!

Architect Rey Seneres lives in beautiful New Jersey with wife Arlene and shares with us his album which he titled, Oh, My Gulay! Who would not be charmed by this market place scenes that exemplifies the best of our gulay back home especially now that it is summer. Vegetables and fruits will be bountiful. Thanks to Rey and Arlene!


Eggplants and Ampalaya (Bittermell0ns)


A well stocked Sari-Sari store with fresh produce and other items.


Garlic, cassava and yams.


Arlene delights at the fresh produce!


Tomatoes and more!


Malunggay (Balunggay) and Bokchoi.


String Beans and more.


Alogbate, and who said “Munggo?” . . . . heaven!

FB Shares

Ideas, postcards and tips shared by Facebook friends. Thanks to all of you!

Today: March 18, 2012 from Yolanda Malicse, Berlin

Think of the many plastic hangers we throw away! This idea is so cool.


The cutest postcard of the day: Via Laurette Piculin


From Grace Panes-Alivio of San Jose, CA:  We didnt know we could use them this way!

Featured Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elginevidente/6855070941/in/photostream/

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Filipino Party Food Planning

So you’re planning a little get-together for your friends, and you’ve got a mental list of foods to serve and people to invite. If you think planning a party is that simple, you’re in for a surprise. For one thing, there’s no such thing as a ‘little get-together’ when you’re in the Philippines. Filipinos love a good party, and they’ll go great lengths to have a feast every chance they get.

Unfortunately, we’re a bit less enthusiastic about putting the party together. How do you know which foods to serve, or how to go about making them? No worries—Filipino parties are really quite simple, even if they’re always bigger than expected. Filipino cuisine is very diverse, so you won’t run out of choices, and as long as there’s lots of food, your guests will be more than happy.

Unconvinced? Here are some useful Filipino food planning tips you can use for your next get-together.

Plan in courses

Ever been to a party where there was too much dessert but not enough of the main course? It’s a common mistake among party planners—they’ll make a quick list of foods they like and then run to the grocery store. Avoid this mistake by planning the entire meal by course. Do you want to serve appetizers or go straight to the main course? How many desserts do you need? If you have more than two main dishes, you don’t need a lot of appetizers. You can serve a variety of Filipino desserts recipes or prepare one large dessert, such as a pie or cake.

Mind the time

If your party is in midmorning or late afternoon, you don’t need a full-course meal because your guests will just have eaten. Instead of heavy Filipino food recipes, serve a range of different appetizers or finger foods. Not only is it more convenient, it also allows them to mingle while enjoying your meal. Be sure to add variety, as people can get tired of one dish fairly quickly.

People’s appetites change with the time of day, so plan accordingly as well. About 10 appetizers per person per hour is appropriate for lunch parties. People are generally hungriest during dinner hour, so if you’re holding the party then, have at least 14 munchies per person. If you’re hosting in the afternoon, you’ll need about half as much.

Don’t serve it all at once

There are few things worse than running out of food when you’re hosting a party. Of course, the safest way out is to overestimate—besides, you can always use the leftovers for next week’s meals. But what if you’re on a tight budget? The best alternative is to portion each course. For example, you can serve appetizers first, the main courses next, and dessert last. Don’t put out all of your food at once. When everyone has eaten, fill up your table with all the courses. That way, when they’re all full, they can simply go back to the table and pick their favorites.

Overbuy the drinks

You can get away with making just enough food, but it’s best to play safe when it comes to beverages. You never know how much your guests will want to drink. To save money without going cheap, prepare a nice punch or a few decent cocktails and stock up on cheaper drinks like beer, juice and soda. Get creative by mixing your own drinks—there are several low-cost Filipino recipes for party beverages. If you’re buying mixers, get them in smaller bottles so you don’t waste the unfinished bottles.

During the party, serve the fancy drinks first, then get out the canned or bottled drinks when everyone’s had their fill. That way, everyone can try the cocktails and freshen up with the drink of their choice later on. Keep the drinks in an ice box. Be sure to stock lots of ice—about one pound per person—for outdoor or morning parties.

Prepare take-home containers

When the party’s over, a lot of your guests will want to take home some of your leftovers. Don’t go scrambling around for spare containers, which most likely won’t be returned anyway. When shopping for the party, pick up a pack of food bags or disposable plates. Give them to your guests when they want to take home some food. It’s more convenient for both parties—you don’t risk losing your best plates, and they can stuff the food in their bags instead of carrying a large platter all the way home.

Enjoy the many articles and recipes at: http://www.streetdirectory.com/food_editorials/cooking/festive_recipes/filipino_food_party_planning.html

Banana Blossoms/Bananas


Banana Blossoms are considered vegetable in some cultures. In the Philippines, they are made into ensaladas in the Ilonggo-speaking regions and included in stews in Bisayan speaking regions. In the northern part, particularly Luzon, they are not too common to be included in the vegetable dish.

Early Culitvation
Southeast Asian farmers first domesticated bananas. Recent archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence at Kuk Swamp in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea suggests that banana cultivation there goes back to at least 5000 BCE, and possibly to 8000 BCE. It is likely that other species were later and independently domesticated elsewhere in southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is the region of primary diversity of the banana. Areas of secondary diversity are found in Africa, indicating a long history of banana cultivation in the region.
It is likely, however, that bananas were brought at least to Madagascar if not to the East African coast during the phase of Malagasy colonization of the island from South East Asia c. 400 CE.
The Buddhist story Vessantara Jataka briefly mentions the banana, the king Vessantara has found a banana tree (among some other fruit trees) in the jungle, that bear bananas the size of an elephant’s tusk.
The banana may have been present in isolated locations of the Middle East on the eve of Islam. There is some textual evidence that the prophet Muhammad was familiar with bananas. The spread of Islam was followed by far-reaching diffusion. There are numerous references to it in Islamic texts (such as poems and hadiths) beginning in the 9th century. By the 10th century the banana appears in texts from Palestine and Egypt. From there it diffused into north Africa and Muslim Iberia. During the medieval ages, bananas from Granada were considered among the best in the Arab world.[21] In 650, Islamic conquerors brought the banana to Palestine. Today, banana consumption increases significantly in Islamic countries during Ramadan, the month of daylight fasting.
Bananas were introduced to the Americas by Portuguese sailors who brought the fruits from West Africa in the 16th century. The word banana is of West African origin, from the Wolof language, and passed into English via Spanish or Portuguese.
FB share photo by: Lito Yan Torrico http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150587514480870&set=o.196258413790494&type=1&theater

Ripening
Export bananas are picked green, and ripen in special rooms upon arrival in the destination country. These rooms are air-tight and filled with ethylene gas to induce ripening. The vivid yellow color normally associated with supermarket bananas is in fact a side effect of the artificial ripening process. Flavor and texture are also affected by ripening temperature. Bananas are refrigerated to between 13.5 and 15 °C (56 and 59 °F) during transport. At lower temperatures, ripening permanently stalls, and turns the bananas gray as cell walls break down. The skin of ripe bananas quickly blackens in the 4 °C (39 °F) environment of a domestic refrigerator, although the fruit inside remains unaffected.

Storage and Transport
Bananas must be transported over long distances from the tropics to world markets. To obtain maximum shelf life, harvest comes before the fruit is mature. The fruit requires careful handling, rapid transport to ports, cooling, and refrigerated shipping. The goal is to prevent the bananas from producing their natural ripening agent, ethylene. This technology allows storage and transport for 3–4 weeks at 13 °C (55 °F). On arrival, bananas are held at about 17 °C (63 °F) and treated with a low concentration of ethylene. After a few days, the fruit begins to ripen and is distributed for final sale. Unripe bananas can not be held in home refrigerators because they suffer from the cold. Ripe bananas can be held for a few days at home. If bananas are too green, they can be put in a brown paper bag with an apple or tomato overnight to speed up the ripening process. _ Wikipedia

FB share photo by Lito Yan Torrico  |  http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150587514480870&set=o.196258413790494&type=1&theater

Hello Kitchen Lovers!

Hello and Welcome!  <||>  The kitchen is the “Grand Central Station” in a home that encourages the togetherness of the family. Some families have long traditions of keeping the family together because of the bonding and support that all happened in the family kitchen.

This is where Lola and apo bonded together, in the same token that mother and daughter, mother and son did before. As we continue to lead busy lives and when it seems that work never ends; the peace and the creative demands of the kitchen and recipes takes that one person who loves the kitchen to a new level.  So let’s explore and share recipes and stories as we go along. Follow us and let us hear from you.

Make. Eat. Simple. . . . the ways of our life.

Feature Image: Flicker  http://www.flickr.com/photos/rovingisydney/4932055484/

Okra: Africa’s Gift to the World

Okra, Lady’s Fingers

Encyclopedia Britannica
(Hibiscus, or Abelmoschus, esculentus), herbaceous, hairy, annual plant of the mallow family (Malvaceae). It is native to the tropics of the Eastern Hemisphere and is widely cultivated or naturalized in the tropics and subtropics of the Western Hemisphere for its edible fruit. The leaves are heart-shaped and three- to five-lobed; the flowers are yellow with a crimson centre. The fruit or pod, hairy at the base, is a tapering, 10-angled capsule, 10–25 cm (4–10 inches) in length (except in the dwarf varieties), that contains numerous oval, dark-coloured seeds. Only the tender, unripe fruit is eaten. It may be prepared like asparagus, sauteed, or pickled, and it is also an ingredient in various stews and in the gumbos of the southern United States; the large amount of mucilage (gelatinous substance) it contains makes it useful as a thickener for broths and soups. The fruit is grown on a large scale in the vicinity of Istanbul. In some countries the seeds are used as a substitute for coffee. The leaves and immature fruit long have been popular in the East for use in poultices to relieve pain.

Okra provides three food products: pods, leaves, and seeds. All have dietary value. Half a cup of the cooked pods, for instance, provides nearly 10 percent of the recommended levels of vitamin B6 and folic acid, not to mention fair amounts of vitamins A and C. The leaves contain protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. The seeds are potentially a good source of an especially nutritious protein, rich in tryptophan and having adequate levels of the nutritionally vital sulfur-containing amino acids. Okra protein thus complements and fulfills that of cereal grains and legumes, not to mention of root crops.

It is widely believed that Okra came into the Americas with the slave ships from West Africa. Either it was introduced by the slavers or brought secretly by the slaves continue to baffle historians and researchers. Okra was quickly accepted by the native Caribbean people into their diet.

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Okra, A Summer Flower And Vegetable

The Orlando Sentinel
Many vegetables are being moved out of the back yard and into the front-yard flower gardens. And why not, if they produce attractive plants and eye-catching flowers and fruits? Such is the case with okra. Even if you don’t like okra, you have to love the colorful yellow blooms. Don’t be surprised if they resemble cotton, hollyhocks or hibiscus because they are all in the same family. When the flowers fade, okra offers interesting rocket-shaped edible pods. Most are bright green in color, but some are reddish.
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Okra’s role in Southern cooking

eatTV.com

Okra, the food thought to be the most emblematic of Southern cooking is often misunderstood outside of the South.  A heat-loving, tropical annual from the hibiscus family, the pods must be picked within a few days or they will quickly lignify and become inedible.  As long as the pods are continuously picked, the plant will continue to bloom until the weather cools off, making it a particularly rewarding plant to grow.  Throughout the South, okra can be found pickled or fried.  During the Civil War, its seeds were even used as a coffee substitute when coffee was unavailable because of the Northern Blockade.
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It’s Not Fair What They Say About Okra

By KAY RENTSCHLER

Okra and tomatoes are a classic match in the South. They come of age at the same time. They stew together and smother together. When okra is fried, a sliced tomato stands by.

Okra figures so prominently in the legacy of Southern cooking that it is difficult for Southerners to imagine summers without it. (Every last county in Georgia grows it, said Mr. Donck, an organic grower, who sends his produce to Atlanta restaurants.) Though okra makes its way into fields above the Mason-Dixon line (and to farmers’ markets up north come August), it is a treasure Southerners have pretty much kept to themselves.

Kamansi: A wonder fruit?

Kamansi / Seeded Breadfruit

Kamansi or Seeded Breadfruit (Artocarpus camansi) is very closely related to but not the same as Rimas or Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis). I didn’t know that so maybe some of you didn’t either. Kamansi has sharper points on its skin, more like a jackfruit (another close relative) while Rimas has a flatter outer skin. Kamansi has soft seeds and Rimas has no seeds. I spied these unusual little Kamansi from an organic vegetable seller that I frequent and decided they looked too interesting to pass up. I brought home three small Kamansi and hoped that the cook had heard of these before… she had, good Boholana that she is, Kamansi and Rimas grew in abundance in her native Bohol. Kamansi are believed to be native to Papua New Guinea and possibly Indonesia and the Philippines.

When I was still a single digit (years, not fingers) kid I used to go with my mom to her ancestral home in the boonies of Bohol (4+ hours in a jeep to get there from Tagbilaran on a dusty coastal road but on a map it is just 80 kilometers!) and once ensconced there, we had to visit all of our relatives who then proceeded to whip out their finest snack of fried breadfruit locally called Kolo (not Rimas) with latik (a sugary sweet dip). As yummy as that was, having it 7 times in a row as we progressed down the main street at a languid late afternoon pace was enough to make me want to scream at the top of my lungs that breadfruit in fact gave me seizures that resulted in lesions that were contagious and unsightly. Then the next day we would have to do the other side of the street! Needless to say, I never ate breadfruit again for another 20 or so years.

Back at home, the cook peeled the skin of the small Kamansi (which she felt were picked too young by the way) to expose the whitish pulp and seeds. Boiled in a little water to cook the pulp, she added coconut milk, onions and ginger. Served as a vegetable, it was a bit like unripe jackfruit but softer and mushier. I didn’t particularly like it but it wasn’t bad. Maybe I just haven’t gotten over my breadfruit phobia just yet. At PHP50 for 3 pieces, this makes a very economical “vegetable” dish out of the Kamansi fruit. Sources: Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables by Elizabeth Schneider; Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson.

by Marketman: Enjoy the many stories about our Philippine recipes and fruits. Link: http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/kamansi-seeded-breadfruit

Tel Aviv: Green Leaf Soup

By: Kabc  <||>  Now that Winter is (finally) coming to an end, I’m committed to cleanse my body and get ready for Spring. After months of heavy eating and comfort food, its a relief to have a fresh, light, and lemony soup made with homemade broth that is packed with leafy greens and vitamins. Looking for an inspirational detox dish that will jump-start your body’s spring cleaning? You’ve come to the right place. This soup is simple, quick and easy.

Here in Israel, its difficult to come across a large selection of leafy greens. I can always find baby spinach and swiss chard, but I still can’t find kale, or collard greens anywhere (not even at the farmer’s market). For that reason I added broccolini to the soup, because it is actually a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale. If these leafy greens are more accessible to you, I would definitely add regular spinach instead of baby, and add 1/2 a bunch of collard greens. Along with the greens I added a turkey drumstick, leeks, garlic, cubed celery root, lemon juice and garnished with sliced scallions and toasted pine nuts.

What You’ll Need:

2 TBS. Olive Oil

2  Leeks (chopped)

4 Garlic Cloves (thinly sliced)

2 Celery Root bulbs (cubed)

8 C. Filtered Water

1 Turkey Drumstick

2 bunches of Broccolini

4 C. Spinach (baby or regular)

1 bunch of Swiss Chard

1 TBS. fresh Lemon Juice

2 TBS. Pine Nuts (toasted)

Scallions (to taste)

S&P (to taste)

METHOD

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, season with S&P. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and then cubed celery root. After about 2 minutes add filtered water and turkey drumstick. Bring to a bowl, reduce to simmer and allow broth to cook between 30-45 minutes. Remove drumstick (remove meat from bone, and chop into pieces, and add to individual soup bowls, or save for a different purpose.) Add broccolini and cook for 10 minutes. Add greens, and lemon juice and cook for another 5 minutes. Divide among bowls, season with freshly ground S&P, sliced scallions and toasted pine nuts.
Bloglink:  http://kabcphotography.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/green-superfood-soup/

About K.abc :::  http://kabcphotography.wordpress.com/about/about-me/

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