Yes, even California kitties are into wheat grass.
Just some boats passing by…
Apple has passed Microsoft to become the largest tech company in terms of market capitalization. This is quite a remarkable feat considering that Apple commands about 6% of the operating system market compared to Microsoft’s 90%. Besides the fact that both Microsoft and Apple produce operating systems, in reality, they are very different companies.
If one delves into the numbers, it becomes very clear that Apple has ridden to the top on success in the mobile space and media – in particular, the iPhone, iPod, and iTunes – not on traditional computers or operating systems. It’s still too early to see what impact the iPad will have on their bottom line, but based on history, one can expect it to be substantial.
For most of their lives, Apple has primarily been a hardware manufacturer while Microsoft had been primarily a software manufacturer. Sure, Microsoft does manufacture hardware, but it’s primarily to support the software side of the business and Apple does manufacture software as well, but it’s primarily to support the hardware side of the businesses.
However, in the last few years, Apple has quietly crept into the software side of the equation with almost nobody noticing. No, they’re not going head to head with Microsoft, rather, they have become a software pimp.
Things are changing in a big way for Apple.
A bit of advice to Steve Jobs and the Cupertino Kids – watch your back.
Since cooking is a passion of mine, I thought I would start a series of posts on what I believe are must have kitchen tools. Cooking, like any avocation one pursues seriously, requires the right tools for the job. This brings me to the subject of today’s post: The Rice Cooker.
Besides the stove, this is probably the most used cooking device in my kitchen. A good rice cooker is indispensable for a number of reasons:
- It saves you from having to constantly watch the stove allowing you to focus on preparing other parts of the meal – set it and forget it.
- A good rice cooker allows you to make many different types and styles of rice.
- It cooks much more than rice.
- A good rice cooker will adjust the cooking method based on the ambient temperature and humidity to make perfect rice.
- Good rice cookers have a timer function that lets you set the time you want the contents to be completed by.
- It will keep the rice warm all day without the rice loosing its texture and fluffiness.
There are a couple of drawbacks to a rice cooker, especially the better ones:
- They can be expensive. More features and capacity equals more cost.
- They can take up a bit of counter space.
Most of the better rice cookers come with retractable cords and a handle so they can be easily taken out of and stored in a cabinet, but when in use they still need a bit of counter space.
Depending on what you like to cook, you may not need all of the features on a given rice cooker. Being that I enjoy making Japanese food, a rice cooker with a sushi rice setting was a must have. While thinking about it, I figured I might as well get one that can do porridge and steel cut oats as well. And since I was going to be making breakfast foods with it, I might as well get one that has a timer so breakfast is ready when I wake up. Capacity is another consideration.
I am a huge fan of Zojirushi products. In my opinion they make the best rice cookers in the world. Being that I lived alone before I met my fiancé, I settled on a 3 cup capacity rice cooker – the Zojirushi NS-LAC05. It has settings for white rice, sushi rice, porridge, brown rice, and quick cooking. Typically, even when having company over for a meal or sushi, making 3 cups of rice is plenty for but all the largest dinner parties.
Another wonderful thing about this rice cooker is the timer. Before going to bed, you can set the timer to have oatmeal ready for you when you wake up. The timer does not function as you would expect a regular timer to work like – at least on Zojirushi cookers – it does not start cook at that time, rather, the food is done cooking at that time. Add the ingredients, set the timer, and at precisely at the time you set, whatever you are preparing will be done to perfection.
Steel-cut Oats for One in the Zojirushi NS-LAC05:
- 1/2 cup steel cut oats – measured using the measuring cup that came with the rice cooker.
- 1 1/2 cups cold water – measured using the measuring cup that came with the rice cooker.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Optional – 1/4 cup strawberries, blueberries, or any fruit you like.
Add all the ingredients, set the timer, and wake up to the smell of a delicious breakfast.
Perfect Saffron Rice in the Zojirushi NS-LAC05:
- 0.4 grams saffron
- 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice – measured using the measuring cup that came with the rice cooker.
- 2 1/3 cups of chicken broth – measured using the measuring cup that came with the rice cooker.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon melted butter
In microwave safe bowl, add the chicken broth and saffron. Mix thoroughly. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Wash the rice 2 or 3 times with cold water. Put in the rice cooker. Add the salt, butter and chicken broth/saffron mix to the rice. Stir and hit start.
When done, let the rice rest 15 minutes before opening the rice cooker.
Serve and enjoy!
Char siu, oh how I love thee!
Over the last few years, I have become addicted to BBQed pork loin done char siu style. While there are many good recipes for the glaze out there, I have found that I really like the Noh brand char siu glaze. Sure, it’s cheating a little to use a prepared mix, but the flavor is so good it’s hard to argue against it.
I like to start with two loins and mix up two packages of the glaze using double the recommended amount of water. Next I place the loins and the glaze mix in a Foodsaver container and vacuum out all the air. Into the fridge they go for at least 24 hours – preferably for 48 hours. After they are done marinating, bring them out in the container and bring it up to room temperature. While they are warming up, mix up a fresh package of the glaze using 1.5 times as much water as recommended. Once the grill is heated up to between 350 and 375 degrees, place each loin over the charcoal directly and give it a good sear turning them every 2 minutes. Once you have a few blackened bits on them, move them away from the direct heat and brush them with the glaze. Allow the grill to cool down to between 300 and 350 degrees and put the cover on the grill. Turn them every 5 to 7 minutes and brush them with the glaze and re-cover the grill. Keep an eye on the heat, you want to keep the temperature between 300 and 350 degrees. It should take somewhere between 40 and 60 minutes for the internal temperature to reach 150 degrees depending on the size of the loins. DO NOT OVER COOK! After taking them off the grill, allow them to rest for at least 5 minutes.Being the simple man I am, I tend to serve the meat with white jasmine rice. The flavors compliment each other well and as an added bonus it’s a very healthy meal.Enjoy!
What does one say on Memorial Day that does not sound clichéd or hollow?
How do you put into words the deep gratitude, sadness, and respect that one feels for all who have given and will give their lives in defense of freedom and liberty?
As I sit here thinking of all the fathers, sons, mothers and daughters who have given so much of themselves so that a silly man can sit in front of his computer and try to write something enlightened and profound, all I can muster is a humble thank you.
Thank you, each an every one of you. You are not forgotten.
Yes, I too have fallen for the Caturday meme. How can I resist such cuteness?
UPDATED 6 July 2010: WRGprettyPhoto 1.1 - contains minor bug fixes and reliability improvements - Download WRGprettyPhoto.1.1.zip – 3.72kb.
When I decided to adopt BlogEngine.NET as my primary website publishing platform, I knew there might be a few issues with the scripts I had been using on my old site. As I began testing, I discovered, much to my chagrin, that one of my favorite scripts – Lightbox 2 – did not work with BlogEngine.NET.
I looked through both sets of code and decided that rewriting the code to use a different function name was just too much work and would complicate upgrading either set of scripts.
For some reason, the extension failed to work for me. I am not sure why it did not work, but it just did not. By this point I was set on using prettyPhoto so I manually set it up and got it working. It was at this point that I sadly realized I would no longer be able to use Live Writer’s built in Lightbox 2 editing support due to the different tag names used by prettyPhoto and the lack of the reference to the Lightbox 2 library on the site.
This got me thinking, why not write a prettyPhoto extension that not only “tricks” Live Writer into enabling support for Lightbox 2 but also works with that support in a smart way to enable prettyPhoto to use it. And while at at it, why not make it smart enough to only load the prettyPhoto library and the jQuery library only when needed?
After reading the BlogEngine.NET extension developer documentation, I jumped right in and after a few hours of learning, coding, and testing, I had my new extension completed: WRGprettyPhoto 1.0.
Download WRGprettyPhoto.1.1.zip – 3.72kb
- Enables and works with Lightbox 2 support in Windows Live Writer.
- Saves bandwidth by only referencing the prettyPhoto script when needed.
- Optionally saves bandwidth by only referencing the jQuery script library when needed.
- Complete control over the appearance of prettyPhoto from within the extension settings without ever needing to write code.
- Download prettyPhoto (minimized version recommended) and extract the prettyPhoto folder in the archive into the root folder of your website.
- Download the WRGprettyPhoto archive and copy the WRGprettyPhoto.cs file from the WRGprettyPhoto archive into the App_Code\Extensions folder.
- Optional: If you use Windows Live Writer and want to use the built in support for LightBox2 with prettyPhoto, copy the file file lightbox.js from the WRGprettyPhoto archive into the prettyPhoto\js\ folder.
- Optional: If you already have the jQuery library script referenced in you site you may skip this step. If you do not and would like WRGprettyPhoto to dynamically load and unload jQuery as needed then download the jQuery Library (minimized version recommended) and place it in a folder on your site. I place mine in a folder off the root folder named Scripts.
If you enable Live Writer Lightbox 2 editing support for use with prettyPhoto you MUST complete setup step #3 and refresh your blog settings in Windows Live Writer. Once you do this you should see the following when you click the options button after inserting an image into your post: All you have to enter here is the gallery name for the photos you wish to display in prettyPhoto.
If you wish the have WRGprettyPhoto mange the loading of jQuery only when needed, you MUST complete setup step #4. The URL you enter must be a relative URL (eg: Scripts/jQuery.js) to the location where you have placed the jQuery library. A leading slash is not required.
The other options on the extensions page are pretty self explanatory.
Support and Licensing:
Please send me any bugs or feature requests you may have ASAP. You may either use the contact form or the comments on this post.
This extension is not licensed in any way and is given away free for you to do with what you will. All I ask is please keep the comment header in the extension source code intact and link back here if you improve upon or use WRGprettyPhoto as a base for your own custom extension.
I have been blogging on and off since 1996. I have always used a CMS that I have written myself. About three years ago I had finally had enough with blogging and converted my website over to a simple page with some image galleries and my Twitter feed.
Fast-forward a few years and once again the blogging bug returns. This time however, I wanted to concentrate on writing words and not a brand new CMS.
So I began looking around the Internet for a suitable system that met three simple requirements:
- The application should be open source, have the source code available, be .Net based, and be in active development.
- It must be secure, well written, extensible, and be standards compliant.
- It must support XMLRPC functionality so can use a WYSIWYG editor – in this case Microsoft's Live Writer.
I thought these requirements were going to be impossible to meet and I am happy to say I was wrong. So very wrong! There is BlogEngine.NET!
After spending a few weeks playing around with BlogEngine.NET and going through the code, I have to say I am very impressed. This is a remarkably robust and well written application. The user community is quite active and the development cycle is regular and ongoing. The data storage support is quite robust and supports everything from XML to SQLite. The application platform is highly extensible and remarkably easy to write for. All in all, I highly recommend BlogEngine.NET for all your blogging needs.
As you may have noticed (or not), this site has undergone a radical transformation. Yes, I have returned to blogging.
Beware, all topics are on the table here. If you don’t like what I have to say then don’t read this site. I don’t hold back – won’t hold back – and make no apologies for what I write here. We – at least for now – still have free speech on the Internet. .
Feel free to comment on anything posted here but realize that you are on my site, not yours. Freedom of speech only goes one way here – my way. On my site everyone has the right to my opinion, not yours. If I find comments offensive one of two things will happen:
- You will be mocked and ridiculed
- Your comments will be deleted
Now I am not saying don’t comment here, but rather, simply be substantive and polite. Consider this a blogging version of the Marquess of Queensberry rules.