Sunday, April 13, 2014

Removable Rewritable Storage

Removable rewritable storage for the masses.
Imagine a fully grown man with hands the size of a baby’s, hands that haven’t developed in sync with the rest of his body. Now think about your computer and its evolution. CPU speeds have increased by leaps and bounds; RAM has multiplied faster than rabbits; and hard drives have grown enormous in order to accommodate gargantuan files. Yet floppy drives have stagnated at a lowly 1.44MB–an anachronism, a throwback to the days when hard drives were measured in kilobytes. Such is the sad state of today’s most common form of removable storage.
In the past, large-capacity removable storage options were strictly the domain of specialized professionals like digital artists. Today, supplementing the floppy drive has become a basic necessity for all computer users. But what should you get? Each product seems to use a different technology and its own type of disk or cartridge.
To make some sense of this confusing environment, we took a look at five different technologies in the removable, rewritable storage game. We rounded up products from each of these categories for the CNET labs to put to the test and reviewed the pros and cons of the specific products, as well as the technologies.
To decide which product is right for you, consider your specific needs, or take a look at “CNET recommends” to see what we liked. Before making any decisions, remember that you can use many of these devices as bootable A: drives and even completely replace the standard floppy with them. Of course, before making your final decision, it pays to take a look at “what the future holds.”
Besides the obvious–the ability to move stored data–we want our removable storage alternative to be both rewritable and affordable. Even within these boundaries, we encountered technologies ranging from rewritable optical disks to magnetic-based media. Rather than pit the various, very disparate products against each other in a mad free-for-all, we’ve arranged them by media type. Read linearly through the different technologies to get a general overview, or click on individual product capsules to see what each device has to offer.

Getting Control And Power Out Of God And Human Relationships

Public figures and others have referred to a worldwide grassroots frustration and anger toward governments and other social institutions. Some have noted that this anger is feeding a growing bottomup movement to take back control of things that communities and individuals have relinquished to states.
Essentially, this growing sense of ‘fedupness’ reflects a struggle from the bottom against control, whether control by government institutions, workplace organizations, religious institutions, or even control within communities and families.
Control is a lingering curse that humanity has not yet broken free of and true humanity will never be fully experienced until control is eliminated from all human relationships and institutions. But in order to deal properly and thoroughly with control in human relationships, it is essential to deal with root ideas and ideologies that validate and support control. Some of the most basic and powerful ideas supporting control and domination are old ideas of predetermining and controlling gods.
For this reason, we are offering the argument that humanity needs a completely new version of God to support truly human relating which is the relating of noncontrolled equals. Old views of God contain too many elements that are destructive to true humanity and truly human relating. Many of these elements originate from past animal existence and embody base animal-like control and domination. Some of these animal-like features are as follows:
God as superior or above, a ruling patriarch.
Vertical relating to God similar to the domination/submission relationships of animal hierarchies.
Domination and control as the central function of God, embodied in notions of the will of God or God predetermining all.
The control of human behavior originating with God and external to the human self.
The control of human behavior by God supplanting previous control by patriarchs.
Male gender in God.
These elements have their origin in past animal existence and they have unfortunately been carried over into human ideologies and existence. But they are clearly features of animal and not human reality or existence.
In the articles below, we note something of the historical process through which vertically oriented forms of relating (i.e. the dominant/subordinate relationships of animal societies) entered human societies and became embedded as fundamental features of most human institutions- whether families, religions, educational institutions, workplace organizations, or governing institutions. The early stages of the process of human domestication or civilization some 10-15 thousand years ago is crucial to understand in this regard as it was the time when the patterns of modern state and social institutions were shaped.
We also note what it means to be truly human and what the origin of modern humanity means for human existence and relating. The modern human self or human person has suffered immense damage under the control experienced in vertically oriented institutions. Humanity emerged as an entirely new reality free of all control and oriented to equality in cooperative relationships. True humanity and truly human relating demand the horizontally oriented relating of freely cooperating equals. Without such radically horizontal relating, the damage to human well-being is devastating. Studies in psychology and organizational behavior have noted the damage in terms of alienation (powerlessness, isolation, meaninglessness), mental and emotional suffering, illness, violence, and even early death. Much human misery can be understood better in light of the control humans suffer in the hierarchical relationships of contemporary social institutions.
How we think of God or gods is vital to human relating and existence as ideas of God have provided some of the most fundamental validation and support for human social orders and institutions. While at first glance there may not appear to be a direct connection between gods and contemporary institutions, all we need to remember is that the vertical orientation of contemporary social orders and institutions was shaped in early domestication when gods had a totalitarian influence on humans and were used directly to validate and support dominating relationships and structures. There is still a residue of belief that vertically oriented relationships are somehow a natural and even sacred form of relating.
All of humanity needs to contribute to the great venture of shaping a new and truly human version of God to support the ongoing emergence of true humanity and truly human forms of relating embodied in free and egalitarian social orders. God ideas must no longer be the exclusive domain of religious experts. Creating a new view of a nondominating God is all about control and power coming from the bottom and people relating as true equals.
For those who find the thought of creating a new God offensive, let me clarify that we are simply trying to clean up ideas of God cluttered by millennia of rubbish. Ideas of God have become so clouded by animal-like features and religious distortion that the only way to really understand God now is to start all over again with a fresh noninstitutional or nonreligious version. The approach of a new millennium provides a great opportunity to do this.
Also, may we point out that horizontalizing ideas of God actually elevates God, for it removes ideas of God from base animal reality with its vertical relationships of domination and places God in the more human realm of truly cooperating equals. That is where true freedom lies.
We would also add that a horizontal view of God more accurately represents Jesus’ own views of God.
Far too long the idea of God has been associated with hierarchy, superiority, control by law, religion, or institution, and male domination. It is time for radical change. We need to now associate God more with all truly egalitarian freedom, life, diversity, randomness, spontaneous creativity, laughter, and play. It is time to associate God with true humanity.
Some of the main ideas covered in the articles on “Creating A New God” are as follows:
Understanding the origin of control or the vertical orientation of human relationships (ie. the superior/inferior or dominant/subordinate element in relating).
The origin of ideas of controlling male gods and male dominance.
How god consciousness was verticalized and used to validate control of others.
Absorbing and formalizing animal relating in the institutions of early domestication.
The origin of modern humanity or the modern human person.
What it means to be truly human versus animal existence and relating.
The human self as the fundamental standard for all human institutions and social orders.
Crushing the human spirit in vertical relationships and vertical structures: the destructive consequences of control.
The demand of the human self for truly human relating- the horizontal relating of equals.
The responsibility and freedom to be human.
Shaping new and more human/horizontal ideas of God.
The shape of a more human social order and truly human institutions: decision making alternatives to vertical relating and control.

Get more traffic to your Soundcloud profile

Who is now a day’s unaware of Sound Cloud? It’s the fastest growing social community site that has been facilitating artists in simplest possible respects. The basic reason it serves is that it makes your work known among globe. Here you can easily come across the talented artists and performers, which usually get under heard by the masses. This is not the only purpose it is serving; there are numerous other reasons that have made it grown to the highest levels. There are different featured choices available for you here that include the creation of an artistic content or promoting your work in fastest respects. Still, you can also join Sound Cloud for following you loved artist or musician. This is why you should purchase Soundcloud followers and promotion
Most musicians have the choice to get along with other talented lot of art work and create new genres of content. Later comes the promotional area of Sound Cloud among the members of the same community and others. It should remain clear that whoever you are starter or an expert artist, you have the equal chances to have your work get promoted in simplest possible respects.
How to Build Your Sound Cloud Community:
All you have to do are just a few simple steps:
Just log in to your Sound Cloud account and look for the new content available by pushing the tabs of tracks or people. The available “explore tracks” or “explore people” button must be selected. Now here it’s up to you that what you like in music type and which musician you love to hear. Explore and Select them.
The selected artist or musician profile will show the “follow” button, click on that and you will get over know how about you are needed to know. This artist will be able to see your profile too, and if he or she finds the shared interests, it’s most likely that he will follow you back.
You will find the “you” tab  on the top of any page you open at Sound Cloud  so for the liked items, select “Your Public profile” and push “ Share” and right here you can select the  social platforms what you want to share the uploaded content  that are available.
This is the easy way to make your new work known among public by using your all possible social media platforms. But in case you are not asked by Sound Cloud for it you can go for “ you” tab and here your selection should be “ Tracks”, select the track you want to share and click the “Share” button.
This process is for single track share, but it can be done for your collective items available and all you are required to do is to go to “you” tab and select “sets”. Now push the share button that is there just above the media player.
Another alternative is that just go for the Sound Cloud followers buy and increase your following in most facilitated respects. There are different packages and you can select the one that suits to your needs.

Plenty of Pleasure With the Pain at Hot Kitchen

I knew that I was in good hands when I sat down in the comfortable dining room of the newly opened branch of Hot Kitchen (251 E 53rd St between 2nd & 3rd Ave) and heard not a lick of English spoken amongst the wait staff and customers. Instead, at this East Village transplant, I heard only Mandarin being spoken. And I knew I was in even better hands when confronted with a diverse lunch menu (27 items in all) that rang in at $10 or less. The lunch specials include rice as well as a choice of soup (wonton, hot and sour, or egg drop) or soda.

When I was spurred on by this article to eat at the original Hot Kitchen in the East Village a few years ago, I recall rushed service and even speedier turn around on dishes. I’m happy to report that things are no different at the Midtown location, despite the 50 block difference. I’m also happy to report that the menu is the same – an eclectic line up of authentic Sichuan dishes and a few American-Chinese classics thrown in for good measure. If one weren’t confined to an ML budget, you could eat your way through the Animal Kingdom – aquatic creatures (fish, shrimp, frogs, etc) and land based vertebrates (rabbit, pork, chicken, duck, etc).

If I could poke a single hole in my experience, it would be the hot and sour soup, that only whispered of chili’s and vinegar. Instead, the broth had a heady, porky undertone, which ate more like a meaty stew, than a proper bowl of hot & sour.

On the other hand I was smitten with the mapo tofu with minced pork ($7.5). Ethereally silky tofu swam in a fiery red hellbroth that had been liberally sprinkled with crushed Sichuan flower peppers. These bad boys of the spice world create the curiously pleasurable ma la, or numbing & spicy effect, which starts as a low tingle before gaining momentum into a oh-god-it-tastes-like-burning 5 alarm firedrill. The pork is there, but you don’t even notice it through the heat and spices. And with the onslaught of oil and spice, some eaters may experience after affects – my GI rumbled like the E train for the better part of the afternoon.
As the saying goes, there’s much pleasure in the pain, and if you’re going to subject yourself to self-flagellation through your food, you’re in good hands at Hot Kitchen.
The + (What somebody who likes this would say)
  • A ton of lunch specials, all at $10 or less
  • Despite the sit down dining room, service is still fast and efficient
  • I’m a fan of the East Village location
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
  • Oh God it burns!
  • The food might give your tummy the rumbles
  • Some of the menu will weird out my less adventurous co-workers

It’s Free Cone Day!!!

If you didn’t know that today is one of the best American holidays, you know now! It’s Ben & Jerry’s 35th Annual Free Cone Day and the goal is to give out a million free ice cream scoops. I think this is a cause the Midtown Lunch community to take up. Our Ben & Jerry’s can be found in the Rockefeller Center Concourse, on the 4th floor of Macy’s 34th Street, and on 44th Street btw 7th+8th. Freeloaders and ice cream lovers, engage!

Is Puff Cha Worth the Out-of-Bounds Trek?

If you live by the old adage that variety is the spice of life, you can eat very well at Puff Cha, the newest addition to Hells Kitchen’s cluttered Thai food scene. The menu is one of the cheaper Thai menu’s that I’ve found in the area, and also strays mercifully away from the obvious pad thai’s and the like. Instead the menu gets its legs from a variety of both savory and sweet Thai puff pastries ($2.49 each or 3 for $6.79) as an eclectic lineup of noodle dishes and curries. An encyclopedia of cha (tea) as well as desserts round out the menu to make it not only an intriguing lunch spot, but also a destination for a sweet snack or high tea.

As you’ll see from our time honored highly unscientific test (the old ML Metrocard scale), the puffs are roughly the size of a credit card. Each puff goes down in around 2-3 bites and are guaranteed to simultaneously leave shards of flaky dough on your lips and laud the culinary skills of whomever is responsible for these delicate pastries. Hungrier lunchers may well need more than 3 puffs for a fill-up, but the rest of the dishes are cheap enough to mix and match – perhaps a bowl of noodle soup with a sweet puff for dessert.

I found familiarity and comfort in the chicken curry puff (top left) Рa flavor bullet of chicken, starchy taro, onion and curry powder. Also successful was the Thai BBQ Red Pork puff (bottom left), which danced a fine line between sweet, meat, and delicate. Less so was the mixed veggie puffs (top right) РI wished for more salt and sesame oil to season the mix of carrot, cabbage, and onion. On the other hand, I would certainly order the banana choco puffs (bottom right), which recalled an éclair in Thai puff pastry form.

As much as I enjoyed the puff pastries, I can’t quite recommend the roasted pork noodles ($8.95) in good conscience. The flavor was generally unfocused to be generous, and at times, flat out missing. The pork was roasted to desiccation, and desperately needed some fat and sauce to come to its rescue. Similarly the noodles are served plain, and meant to be dipped into a side of wan broth – both soup and noodle had little flavor to hold intrigue.
I can overlook such mis-execution for there are many glimmers of hope on the menu. Indeed the restaurant’s namesake alone may make it worth the out of bounds trek.
The + (What somebody who likes this would say)
  • I love Thai curry puffs
  • The menu has a ton of variety, and is generally a dollar or two cheaper than other Hells Kitchen Thai restaurants
  • I consider myself to be a connoisseur of tea
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
  • It’s way out of bounds
  • The noodle dishes could use some work
  • I don’t know if I could make an entire lunch out of little pastries

Free Smashburger Alert

Manhattan’s very first Smashburger location, which anhattans-first-smashburger/”>we told you about back in January, opens today on 33rd btw. 5+6th Ave and to celebrate they’re giving away free classic Smashburgers from 10am to 2pm, and then again from 5-8pm 10am to 8pm.  Limit one per customer. Curious what to expect?  Zach wrote about L.A.’s first location at the beginning of last year.

Flatiron News: Get Your Girl Scout Cookies!

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.

I was a Girl Scout for about 13 years, and, proudly, I finished Girl Scouts by earning my Gold Award. This information collided with Flatiron Lunch when Mad Park Newsposted about a secret pop-up Girl Scout cookie shop on 23rd btw. 5+6th until May 8th. I has always found it difficult to get my fix of Samoas, Thin Mint and Tagalongs in the city, so I hope to visit this cookie shop soon, but hopefully, not on an empty stomach. Because there is only room for a box or two of cookies in my freezer

Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria – SugarHouse, Utah

Pizza really is Italy’s flatbread. All cultures have a flatbread recipe, that have filled the stomach’s of the working class inexpensively. With the introduction of the pizza to the American palate – we (American’s) have continued to pile on the toppings. We pile on the toppings, sometimes we forget just how good the basic’s are.
A simple Margherita pizza – mozzarella, san marzano tomatoes and basil on a chewy pizza crust, is one of the best things on the planet. Clean simple flavors. I would encourage you to try Flatbread out. When your there here are some of their best items to try:
D.O.C. Neapolitan Pizza’s
  • Margherita
  • Capricciosa
  • Quattro Stagioni
More Fine Pie
  • Pepperoni, Sausage & Portobello
  • Capicola, Italian Sausage & Sopressa
  • Fiery Chicken Sausage
Flatbreads (for $1.50 more you can get a gluten free crust)
  • Chili-Glazed Shrimp & Chorizo
  • Portobello, Sausage & Fontina

  • Wood-fired Prosciutto Wrapped Prawns (note the fig glaze is the bomb!)
  • Ricotta-Stuffed Mushrooms

The Atmosphere
With the continued revitalization of the Sugar House area, dining establishments are springing up in this area.  Fun, hip and establishments that have an energy surrounding the food are starting take a foothold.  Flatbread is that type of establishment.  It has an industrial feel to the interior, with exposed duct work and brick that is reminiscent of the historic nature of the area.

Get here early, as seating fills up fast.  I encourage calling ahead or you can use a unique app called OpenTable.  Flatbread is registered with OpenTable – this allows you to view open seatings, book the appointment all with out making a telephone call.

Braised Short Ribs

The Braised Short Rib – It is so rustic and yet such a refined dish that packs a ton of flavor if you do it correct. Tom Colicchio (Top Chef Fame) first published this recipe in 2008 with food and wine – and it has been a favorite of mine ever since.
It does take an entire bottle of wine. However, it serves as a flavor component for sure – however it also tenderizes a good bit as well. Once you have tried this simple recipe – I am confident that you will treasure this as well.
Prep time1 hour
Cook time27 hours
Total time28 hours
Meal typeMain Dish
MiscServe Hot
OccasionBarbecueCasual Party,ChristmasFootball Party,Formal PartyValentines day
By authorTom Colicchio - Food & Wine


  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cloves garlic (thickly sliced)
  • 1 bottle dry red wine (750-milliliter such as Cabernet Sauvigon)
  • 2 carrots (sliced)
  • 3 celery ribs (sliced)
  • Koser Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 Large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 short ribs (flanken-style, with bones, cut in 2 inches thick (about 4 lb. total))


Make Ahead:  This recipe can be prepared through step 4 and placed in the refrigerator for up to 2 days ahead.
Note: Flaken-style short ribs are short ribs that are cut across the bones instead of parallel to them.  These can be ordered at butcher shops or at your grocers meat counter.
Serve these with: Polenta, Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Noodles.


Step 1
In a large dutch oven, heat the oil. Season your ribs with salt and pepper. Add them to the dutch oven and cook over moderate heat, turning once - allow to get browned and crusty. This will take you about 18 minutes. Once complete, transfer the ribs to a shallow baking dish in a single layer.
Step 2
Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic to the dutch over and allow to cook over low heat, stir occasionally, allow to get very soft and a light brown. This should take about 20 minutes.
Step 3
Add the wine, thyme sprigs and then bring this to a boil over high heat. Pour this hot marinade over the ribs and allow to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, turning the ribs once 1/2 through the process.
Step 4
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the ribs and marinade to an enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender but not falling apart.
Step 5
Uncover and braised for 45 more minutes, turning the ribs once or twice, this will allow the sauce to reduce. Your looking for the sauce to reduce in half and the meat is very tender.
Step 6
Transfer the meat to a clean shallow baking dish, discard the bones. Strain the sauce into a heatproof measuring cup and skim off as much fat as possible. Pour the sauce over the meat; there should be about 2 cups.
Step 7
Preheat your broiler, and broil the meat. Turn once or twice, until glazed and sizzling - this should take about 10 minutes.

5 Minute Citrus Marinade

It’s time for us to have a chat. Sit down, get comfy and lets talk. This is an intervention of sorts – your mother and I have been worried about the amount of bottled and pre-packaged marinades and sauces you have been buying at the grocery store. Yes, we are serious – please sit back down.
Do you know what we found in your room in your sock drawer?

I think it’s time that we show you that with a few simple ingredients, you two can make a marinade that will impress your girlfriend – and save you ton’s of money at the grocery checkout. Many of these ingredients you already have in your pantry.

In all seriousness. You will enjoy this recipe, it’s fantastic on seafood, chicken, pork and beef. Check out our post on marinating/brining times for the different proteins and you will be a rockstar!

Roast Adobo Pork Loin

You ever wonder how to get that deep rich flavor into your roasted proteins? We have talked about brining before – however, the 2nd layer of flavor is a spice rub. I have been fascinated by the latin american cuisine lately – and just can’t get enough of it.
I found an Adobo rub that will take your pork loin to a different level. It has a zest to it – and it can be pulled to make some of the most amazing taco’s (displayed).
Most importantly – this can be done inside, on your grill or in a smoker. Try this same recipe on brined chicken. It’s ridiculously good.


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon adobo all-purpose seasoning with pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2lb boneless pork loin roast


Step 1
Heat your oven to 450 degrees F.
Step 2
In a small mixing bowl combine the chili powder, adobo, cumin, dark brown sugar and cinnamon. Whisk until well combined.
Step 3
Whisk in the olive oil into the adobo mixture, until it makes a paste.
Step 4
Meanwhile, take paper towels and pat your pork loin dry. Rub the pork with the adobe mixture, until well coated. Transfer the rubbed pork loin to a foil-lined roasting pan.
Step 5
Place in the oven and cook until it is dark and golden brown, and using an instant read thermometer registers 145 degrees F in the center of the loin. This should take about 35 minutes.
Step 6
Transfer the pork loin to a platter. Tent with foil to keep warm. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before you slice it.

Clams and Beer

I love clams. I love clams. Now with that admission out – let me talk to you about a guilty pleasure – Clams in Beer. Now, I don’t drink by choice – however, I would be remiss not to discuss what beer will do to a clam. With garlic, onions – oh boy!
A couple variations you might try – substitute the basil with cilantro. Or, you could substitute red pepper flakes about 1/2 teaspoon for the fresh ground black pepper. I have tried both.

Clams & Beer

Prep time15 minutes
Cook time15 minutes
Total time30 minutes
Meal typeMain Dish
MiscChild FriendlyServe Hot
OccasionBarbecueCasual Party
By authorRobert Irvine


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced fine)
  • 2 medium red onions (chopped fine)
  • 8 dozen manila clams, (small, well-scrubbed)
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black ground pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1/2 bunch basil leaves (fresh)
  • 2 cans beer (your favorite (you can substitute with chicken or mushroom broth if you must))


Step 1
In a large stock pot, on medium-low place your oil. Then add your garlic and onions and gently sauté until they reach a golden brown.
Step 2
Place the calms in the pot and season with the salt and pepper.
Step 3
Add the fresh basil and pour in the beer. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until the clams open.
Step 4
Remove the clams to a platter or a large serving bowl. Discard the ones that do not open. Pour the broth into a serving bowl and serve with crusty bread.

moroccan mint tea

I love everything about coffee; the ritual, the scent that fills the air as the oils release while the beans grind. The aroma that wafts up the stairs, as it brews on the stove top. The way the steam tickles my nose, as I bring the cup to my lips.
It happens every few months, though. I wake up, and no longer feel an affinity for my usual temptress.
For weeks, I’d been craving Moroccan mint tea. Mint usually a hardy herb, can’t survive this past winter unless taken indoors. Mine is a shriveled pot of twigs on the front stoop. I’m not particularly worried because I know it will come back. Past years have taught me that while winter batters it into submission, spring has a way of reviving it. That mint plant is quite special, too. It’s a holdover from my old apartment, and my old garden, the one I shared with Michael. Each leaf I pluck connects me to my past. It may be dormant now, but it will soon awaken to a new season.
The last two and a half years have felt a lot like the cycles of that mint. Grief is a never ending marathon, the emotional hurdles a bit further apart as time passes. The height of the hurdles, however, seems to get higher. The energy required to jump them, feeling almost insurmountable. Almost, but not completely.
I’ve spent the last seven days immersed in working on my next book, a memoir. The first 15,000 words were delivered to my editor in the wee hours of the night, as Sunday faded into Monday. Perhaps that is why I lost my taste for coffee. Maybe my body knew it needed something energizing without the dehydrating effects? My head has been one throbbing mess, and last week came with a bout of nausea from that special lady time of the month (too much information?). A few friends suggested mint to soothe my stomach.
So, that little whisper of a craving for that tea could no longer be ignored. I found myself at Cafe Mogador last week after my therapy appointment. I saddled up to a seat at the bar for a quick breakfast of poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. As I watched the bartender prepare my pot of Moroccan mint tea, I noticed they use dried mint, not fresh. I decided this was a much better approach until my own plant wakes up from its slumber.
There is something so soothing, and comforting about this tea. It makes me feel centered, balanced, and calm. The latter being a bit of a struggle these days. Just about a year ago, I made a trip to Morocco, an insanely short trip, at that. Who travels on two planes for 18 hours to stay someplace for only 60 hours? I went to visit C; he was working as a food and beverage director at one of the hotels. We needed to sort some things out. That trip is something I will never forget, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’ll get back there any time soon, if ever.

pizza, revisited

Just when I thought there was nothing more to write about pizza, it seems the story continues. Too often, food writers talk about cooking in definitives. The problem with that is life isn’t one-size-fits-all. Pizza is a perfect example. My approach has evolved significantly in the 20+ years that I’ve been making it. My first foray into making pizza from scratch was baking it in a round, metal pan. Then I branched out to a pizza stone, but would shape the dough on parchment paper and slide it into the oven off the metal sheet, removing the parchment after the crust had “set”. Embracing a pizza peel took a bit longer. Confidence trumps skills in this department. It takes  a quick flick of the wrist for it to slide effortlessly from the peel to the stone.
I took my time, and did it on my terms, never judging or comparing myself to how other people were doing it. This is pretty much how I’ve handled most situations in my life. The only rules I play by are the ones with which I feel comfortable. So, when it comes to cooking, don’t forget you’re the boss in your own kitchen.
To me, it makes more sense to first become comfortable with cooking from scratch, and find a good workflow or routine, before trying to up the ante. Once you have that confidence, you can stretch your wings a little more. My new approach to pizza is a good example. There’s nothing revolutionary about it. In all truth, the difference is subtle, yet sublime.
The idea to mix up my pizza routine came to me during my daily pita making sessions last week. I’ve yet to share that recipe. The base for the pita starts by making a sponge. This little extra step adds a lightness to the crust. I also tweaked my cooking method, which ensures a crisp crust, while maintaining a soft, chewy texture.
So, what is a sponge? When you set out to make the dough, you begin by mixing the yeast, sugar, water and some of the flour. It all gets stirred together in a bowl, then sits until it puffs up (think of how a dry sponge expands when it comes in contact with water). This extra step only adds 15 to 20 minutes of time, and not even active time at that. Once the sponge is ready, I proceed with my dough recipe as usual.
The other adjustment I’ve made is with the placement of the stone in the oven. Rather than bake my pizza on the center rack, I remove all but the bottom rack. The stone gets hotter this way, and manages to crisp the crust evenly from the edge to the center.
One thing I should mention, though, and hopefully this will encourage more of you to finally see the light in the volume vs. weight debate for measuring ingredients. My recipe below is written in metric measurements primarily. This is how I cook normally at home, when I’m not in recipe development mode. It is so freeing to not fret with cups and spoons. If you don’t believe me in this, then listen to veteran baker Alice Medrich.
Oh, and one more thing I’ve been meaning to share. Guess what this month signals? Homemade with Love turns one! I’ve had the great privilege to be a part of your homes since its release. Seeing photos of my recipes come to life in your kitchens this past year has been a joy. I’d love to know how Homemade with Love has changed your relationship to cooking.
Has it made it less intimidating for you? Has it sparked an interest in cooking with your kids? Are there recipes that have become an absolute must-make in your family? I want to invite you all to share photos of what you’ve cooked from the book on Pinterest and Instagram for a chance to win a few fun giveaways. I’ve got some goodies I’ve brought back from my trips to Paris (Fleur de sel, Belgian chocolates), a few of my favorite cooking tools (chef’s tweezers, the best paring knife ever), and a Sur La Table gift card. The giveaway winners will be chosen at random beginning March 24th, so you have time to think about what you’d like to cook. Just be sure to tag me in your photos (@jenniferperillo) and include #injennieskitchen too, so I can find them easily.
Hope you all enjoy this new foray into pizza making. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone cooks up, too.
For more ideas and recipes on homemade pizza, take a look at what my fellow Comfort Food Feast friends are sharing this week on the FN Dish Blog.
The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Pizza Crust and Homemade Pizza Sauce
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Easy Turkey Taco Pizza
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Pepperoni Pizza Puffs
Weelicious: Pizza Balls
Food for 7 Stages of Life: No Yeast Pizza Dough
The Blue Apron Blog: Our Favorite Pizza Toppings