BMEWS
 
Sarah Palin is the only woman who can make Tony Romo WIN a playoff.

calendar   Monday - June 07, 2010

Not Even Close

90 kilos is 198 pounds. 256 pounds is 116 kilos.



Nice Try Oz

Australian cafe claims world’s biggest burger

A Sydney cafe is flipping out after cooking a hamburger believed to be the world’s biggest. The Ambrosia on the Spot cafe in Randwick began creating the giant patty at 9.45pm Saturday. Four men were needed to flip the bulging burger, which at 90 kilograms, weighed in at more than the average human.

Cafe owners Joe and Iman El-Ajouz said the burger was finally placed in a bun around 11.45 Sunday morning, eclipsing the previous record of 84 kg, set in Michigan in the United States.

“Just flipping the patty was the main challenge for us, but it all went well,” Iman El-Ajouz said.


The giant burger contained the giant beef patty, 120 eggs, 150 slices of cheese, 1.5 kg of beetroot, 2.5 kg of tomatoes and almost 2 kg of lettuce all topped off with a special sauce on a giant sesame seed bun. It was eaten by employees at the cafe, along with supporters such as a bread supplier and a butcher.

Well, maybe it’s the biggest burger in Australia - and what’s with the ten dozen eggs, anyway? - but it comes up short. Right around the corner from me, the Clinton Station Diner (web page not updated) will make you a 256 pound hamburger, special order only. 58 pounds heavier than the Aussie’s “record setter”. If you and 9 friends can eat the thing in 8 hours, not only is it free, but you can win $5000. They also make a 100 pounder, and a 50 pounder, both special order. Their several “smaller” burgers, 7, 3, 2, and 1 pounds, are regular menu items. Give me a few hours and I think I might be able to eat a 1 pound burger. Maybe.

So if we’re looking at setting actual world records ... you’ve got a long way to go, down under. Or, at the very least, the UN needs to set some international rules, and try borrowing McDonald’s “weight before cooking” mantra, and a maximum fat percentage. That way, a 200 pound burger might cook down to 140 pounds, yet the burger as served might weigh 220 pounds. Just to avoid confusion.

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the “little” CSD burgers, available 24-7

h/t to Theo, who has never seen the real record holder here in NJ.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/07/2010 at 03:10 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningFun-Stuff •  
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calendar   Tuesday - April 27, 2010

Sneaky Bastige

I made Rodger’s “Schlongg’s Famous Corn Casserole” last night, and it’s pretty good. I was expecting a more intense corn flavor, but this was actually nicely balanced. I used a tablespoon more than 1/4 cup of sugar, and it was plenty sweet enough. Be warned, the dish is a sneaky little bastige. It doesn’t taste like all that, and it doesn’t rise up too much in the baking dish so it doesn’t look like all that much either. But it’s solid, like rocks. 2 or 3 pieces with a normal size dinner and you will be groaning.

And add a half teaspoon of salt if you make it with no-salt corn. Just don’t let the government see you doing that.

* 15 0z can drained whole corn
* 15 0z can cream style corn
* 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
* ¼ or (sweeter) ½ cup sugar
* 2 eggs well beaten
* 1 stick melted margarine ( I used unsalted butter )
* 1 cup sour cream

Heat oven to 350°
Mix together all ingredients in a bowl.  Pour into well greased 9x13 baking dish and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until center is firm.

Mine cooked for 55 minutes and I think it could have gone a little longer. But it came out pretty well.

Interestingly, his recipe calls for the one pound cans of corn, while the otherwise identical recipe at cooks.com calls for the half pound cans of corn. On the third hand, they list his recipe as well. So who knows which one is right? But Rodger’s version will really fill you up, 10 minutes after you’re done eating it. So be careful.

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UPDATE: McGoo gave this recipe a try as well, and liked the results, but his came out a tad gooey in the middle just like mine did. I think the best approach would be using 12 ounces of each corn. I’m tempted to add a little baking soda myself. And I’m really tempted to try it again with some jalapeno chunks in there as well. Just enough to add a tiny bit of zip.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/27/2010 at 03:33 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Sunday - April 18, 2010

A test Post

A Hero By Any Other Name



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One beef, one lamb: doner kebab shops stay open all night in Germany


Hero? Not that kind, the other kind. What, like a sandwich? Yup. But it’s spelled gyro. Pronounced “yee-roh”, not “gy-row” or “gee-row”, and which sounds awfully close to “hero”. How about that: a chunk of some kind of bread, filled with meat and veg, goes by nearly the same name the world over. At least in places where they’ve invented meat and bread.

Of course, in some parts of the world they just have to be different, and call a gyro a doner kebab. Why a “kebab”? Same reason why it’s a “gyro”: it means meat roasted on a spit. The spit turns around, um, gyroscopically? It gyrates? And kebab, or kabab, or kabaab ... it’s all the same idea ... is the spit that the turning roasting meat is on. Nothing new under the sun, whether the word is originally Turkish, Persian, Arabic, whatever. My bet is that “kebab” is older than any of the languages. It really means “we won’t go hungry tonight, woo-hoo!!”

So what’s the difference? Well, a proper gyro is slices of lamb sausage, or highly seasoned lamb, cooked on a spit and then stuffed into a flat bread with big chunks of onion, tomato, lettuce, and sauce. Sauce made from yogurt and dill. And a doner kebab is slices of lamb sausage, or highly seasoned lamb, cooked on a spit and then stuffed into a flat bread with big chunks of onion, tomato, lettuce, and sauce. Um, a different kind of sauce, also made from yogurt. Just no dill. See? Major, total difference. Worth fighting wars over, no doubt.

The whole idea ... greasy hot meat wrapped up in a slab of unleavened bread, with some veg ... has been around forever. Diomedes probably go them to go at 2am when his wine bowl was empty. Cold meat, and actual slices of yeast bread were a European variation. They had knives, but not enough fire. Sauce not included, or onnaside, aka au jus. A sammich is a sammich. A handmeal, whether your culture has invented forks and chopsticks yet or not. Eeeh, gimme extra sauce widdat!

And there is no real difference between pita bread and plain old naan or other kinds of flatbread either. Same stuff, or close enough. It’s just that the Indians never figured out that you can open a pocket in the middle. Their loss.

Gyros hit the USA in the early 70s. Now doner kebabs are taking over Germany. And I can’t blame them. Who wants the wurst when you can have the best? And nothing beats hot greasy food at 2am once all the bars have closed.

So all that was old, ancient even, is new again.

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mmm, make mine lamb please!

Doner kebab becomes Germany’s favorite fast food

BERLIN — Forget about bratwurst, currywurst and other kinds of sausages — doner kebab, or shawarma, has overtaken traditional German fast food as the country’s favorite snack on the go.

First brought to Berlin by Turkish immigrants in the 1970s, the grilled meat snack that comes wrapped in a pita bread with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions and different dressings, is now being sold everywhere in Germany from the Baltic Sea to the Bavarian Alps.

Students and late night revelers relish it as much as construction workers, children and foreign backpackers on a tight budget.

“We assume that doner kebab is the Germans’ favorite fast food by now,” said Yunus Ulusoy, an expert from the Center for the Study of Turkey in Essen, who has done extensive research on how the ethnic specialty conquered Germany’s culinary mainstream.

The secret behind the doner’s success story is not only its satisfying grilled taste, Ulusoy said, but also the big portions and its affordability — a regular doner in a pita costs only between 2.50 euros and 5 euros ($3.30 to $6.70).

The veal and chicken sandwiches are more popular than pizza, hamburgers, French fries and even classic German sausages, according to a poll by German Men’s Health magazine from 2008.

“We can actually no longer speak of Turkish food, because the Germans like it even better than the Turks,” said Ulusoy.

Some 15,500 doner places in Germany sell about 400 tons of doner meat every day, according to ATDID, the Association of Turkish Doner Producers in Europe. About 60,000 workers produce, cut and process the hearty delicacy with annual sales of 2.5 billion euros ($3.3 billion).

Horry Clap, you know it’s gone viral when a sandwich has it’s own personal trade organization. Next thing you know they’ll be a PAC, and then the scandals will break when the DMSM (Deustch Main Stream Media) finds out Angela Merkel is a doner recipient. What, like hearts and lungs and stuff? No, just choice thigh meat. Well roasted, extra spice. Sauce onna side.


image VS. image




This post has been a test of Firefox 3.5.9. They’ve been after me for 2 weeks to update. I threw out FF 3.5.8 because it would not let me post, preview, or comment. That seems to have been fixed. Unfortunately, the installation wizard does NOT let me specify what directory I wanted the browser put in, so this one overwrote the older one. Fortunately it seems to be working Ok, otherwise it would have been a royal pain to uninstall .5.9 and hunt down and re-install .5.6.

Hungry yet? LOL

Arrgh, an update on the update update! 3.5.9 installs, and the very first time I fire it up, it tells me to upgrade to 3.6.3. What. Ever. Fine. So I just went through the whole damn process all over again, but with the same results. As long as I can post here, I really don’t care about their other fixes. And I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. [crosses fingers, presses UPDATE button].


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/18/2010 at 06:44 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Sunday - April 04, 2010

Wonderful Spam!

Damn it! I just can’t get that Monty Python ditty out of my head now…

From the Daily Telegraph (How did peiper miss this? H/T flapjawman)

An Army chef whose supply helicopter was shot down by the Taliban devised an ingenious menu to feed frontline troops for six weeks on a diet of nothing but Spam.

But father-of-one Cpl Francis, married to wife Nadine, 27, of Tidworth, Wilts., admitted that ‘’morale improved’’ when fresh food finally reached their base.

‘’We were on compo (compound rations) for six weeks and we only had one menu - Spam,” he said.

‘’I was surprised what we could do: sweet and sour Spam, Spam fritters, Spam carbonara, Spam stroganoff and Spam stir fry.

‘’The first day off Spam, I prepared battered sausages, chips and curry sauce. The Sergeant Major said it was the best meal he had ever had - he’d never seen morale so high.’’

Cpl Francis, who serves as a Royal Logistics Corp chef attached to the 2nd Royal Welsh Guards, began his tour of Afghanistan in July last year.

But he found the store cupboards at the Forward Operating Base had only one staple ingredient - Spam.

Taliban fighters shot down a civilian supply helicopter the day before he arrived leaving him without the usual beef burgers, chicken, sausages and fish and chips.

Yikes! The war in Afghanistan is turning into a food fight!


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Posted by Christopher   United States  on 04/04/2010 at 08:52 AM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningHeroesWar On Terror •  
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calendar   Wednesday - March 24, 2010

HOW TO COOK IN ENGLAND. or, THE RIGHT WAY TO WATCH A COOKING SHOW.

Another one of those hadn’t planned on this posts.  I don’t know anything about cooking and don’t have a TV and more then likely wouldn’t watch anyway. BUT, there are exceptions.  There’s always those, and Sophie is one of em.

It also occurs to me that Drew enjoys being creative with food and while this is not a cooking class I thought it might be fun to post a good looking would be chef.

I should explain btw, Jan Moir can be a bit catty quite often.  Especially (as I see it) with regard to good looking sexy women. Maybe I’m being unfair. Here she exposes some fakery in the bakery?  There ya go. Poetry.  Alright, maybe not. But Sophie is. Sophie Dahl

The Nigella mentioned here is Nigella Lawson, another cook.  She’s pretty I guess. Yeah, she is.  Here’s Sophie’s cookery competition.

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I haven’t posted the entire article but even for us non cookery type folks, it makes for a fun read.

Hold the sauce! She’s the pouting 6ft ex-model trying to dethrone Nigella. But Jan Moir finds Sophie Dahl’s new TV show hard to swallow

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Can Sophie Dahl cut the mustard as the new Nigella? On the first of her new cookery shows, the former supermodel couldn’t even cut the bread properly. In fact, until Sophie took a knife to her loaf of sourdough, it hadn’t occurred to me that there is a right way and a wrong way to slice bread to make bruschetta.

Yet Sophie somehow contrives to do it the wrong way, meaning that she’s toast at toast.

This does not exactly bode well for her nascent career as a television cook.

Last night, BBC2 broadcast the first of six cookery shows entitled The Delicious Miss Dahl, in a bid to launch the ravishing, 6ft blonde as a culinary star.

Already, the format seems to suggest that each half-hour program , themed around a different emotion every week, offers little more than a souffle of twice-baked Nigella, with sauce on the side.

CATTY JAN. MEOW


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 03/24/2010 at 09:35 AM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningHumorUK •  
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calendar   Saturday - March 06, 2010

same old gripe

I got another Penzey’s spice catalog in the mail today. It’s a great company, they have really good spices, and they ship quickly. Living here in NJ they are my single source for dried chili peppers. But the one thing I just can not stand about their catalogs are their recipes. Oh, I’m sure most of them cook up fine, especially the baked goods. But their chili recipes are for the birds. I guess I have dead taste buds or something. I’ve tried several of them and they come out nearly flavorless. Try them again with triple the amount of spices and they start to become pretty good. Start, m’kay? At best they are bean stew with some meat and a hint of chili flavor. Why bother?

Their latest recipe uses 3 cans of beans, 2 pounds of meat, a big can of tomatoes, and 2 whole tablespoons of chili powder. Oh come on. Chili powder is not ground chili. It’s a mixture of that, and cumin, and garlic, and salt. It’s perhaps half ground chili at best. Recipe sent in by a resident of New Mexico. Shame shame shame.

So I made up a better recipe on the fly. And I only had the dregs of my pepper supply, since my last batch of heavy duty red used the better part of 2 pounds of dried chilis.
This is quick chili, unlike the slow cooked kind I usually makes that takes 6 - 8 hours. It uses ground chilis, which open up their flavor very quickly. This one will feed 4 hungry folks.

1 1/4 lb chuck steak, cut into little bits
2 smallish yellow onions, chopped fine but not minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of kidney beans (she insisted. I prefer pintos)
1 large can of diced tomatoes

Cut up the steak and onions and garlic and put them in a wide bowl. Pour the juice from the canned tomatoes over them and let sit while you prepare the dried chilis.

2 ancho peppers
6 guajillo peppers
4 sanaam peppers (Indian hot peppers)
2 tien tsin peppers (Chinese hot peppers)
1 tsp Durkee ground red pepper (similar to cayenne)
3-4 tablespoons fresh ground cumin
1/3 cup Spice Classics Chili Powder (from the Dollar Store)

Tear the anchos and guajillos into medium bits, leaving out the seeds. Break the sanaam and tien tsin peppers up. Put it all in a Magic Bullet or other high speed chopper and grind it up. Add the other dry ingredients to the powdered chili and give them a whir too.

Splash a little “EVOO” in the bottom of a stock pot, heat it up, a lightly brown the meat, onions, and garlic. Reduce heat and add the spice mix. If you’re Drew, add the whole thing. If you like it quite hot, add about 2/3. If you want it rich with a mild amount of heat (most folks would still call this hot!) pour in about 1/2 the mix. Stir it around and coat the meat bits. Let it heat up for about a minute. Add the beans and the diced tomatoes. Stir, cover, and simmer over low heat for at least half an hour, until the beans soften, then remove the lid and let it reduce some. I didn’t have to add any liquid to get it to stew properly, but if you feel like it I guess you could toss in a bottle of dark beer. That will soften the flavors and add about 15 minutes to the stewing time. The meat will be a bit more tender too.

Made with half the ground spices this makes a full bodied chili with a heat level most folks can handle. It’s not bean stew. It’s a good balance between meat, beans, and chilis.

I added a flat teaspoon of the spice mix to my second serving and it boosted the flavor about 200%. Made it a good bit hotter too, but not so hot I had to get out the terry towel turban I keep around for eating Thai food.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/06/2010 at 08:45 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Tuesday - March 02, 2010

there’s NO WAY to follow Drew’s post with anything remotely close. But there’s this larceny

Here we go again but this time it’s a teen in England and the outlet is once again ...

McDonalds

Poor boy spilled hot tea on his leg while driving over a speed bump.  Maybe.  It’s again McDees fault of course.

When you folks get a hot drink from a take out, do you always check the lid?  I know I do. Just a long held habit. Seems like a lot of tea to spill going over a speed bump right there at McDonald’s place. Reads like it anyway. So how fast was she driving?

I’m only posting a bit of it here. The rest at the link as always. Have fun.

SOURCE AND MORE

Teen, 17, suffers horrific burns when McDonald’s tea spills on his leg

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 6:07 PM on 02nd March 2010

A teenager is considering sueing McDonald’s after being left with horrific burns from a cup of tea when it spilled over his right leg.

Ben Lewis, 17, cannot work, drive, or shower easily due to the burns - which he is worried may scar him for life.

His family is now thinking of taking legal action against the fast food giant.

Ben needed urgent hospital treatment after the lid came off the cup when the car he was in went over a 5mph speed bump as he and his girlfriend left a McDonald’s drive-thru in Newtown, Powys, on Friday.

The car was being driven by his girlfriend, Victoria Bennett, who then drove him straight to her house for a cold shower to calm the wound.

However Ben started screaming in pain so she then took him to Welshpool Hospital where he received treatment for his burns.

His leg is now covered in blisters.

The teenager, who works in his mother’s nightclub, is now unable to drive and cannot even take a shower without wrapping the painful burn in bandages.


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 03/02/2010 at 02:14 PM   
Filed Under: • Daily LifeFine-DiningUK •  
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calendar   Wednesday - February 10, 2010

Winter Goodies

A found a nice jar of brandied mincemeat in the back of the closet. Mincemeat has no meat in it; it’s mostly apples and raisins preserved in a dark syrup. I was going to use it at Christmas, but never got to it. So I’ll do it tonight.


my mom’s recipe for mincemeat bars

1 package or jar mince meat
3/4 cup vegetable shortening ( Crisco )
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 1/2 cup sifted flour
2 cups quick cooking oats ( not instant )
3/4 teaspoon salt

cream shortening, add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy.  Add molasses, then beat in dry ingredients. Mix well. Roll the mixture into a ball and cut it in half.Spread 1/2 of oatmeal mixture over 9x13 greased pan & press firmly. (either roll it out with a rolling pin, or squish it flat in the pan by hand. It will just cover the bottom.) Spread mincemeat over oatmeal mix, then spread other 1/2 oatmeal mix over mince meat, press down. (I broke the top half into little crumbs and sprinkled them around evenly, then pressed them in)
350 F oven 30 to 40 minutes.  Let stand until cold.  Cut in strips.  Store in wax paper in covered box.  Will keep a week or longer (ha, ha) Dust with confectioners sugar if you have some.

I think I can add some of that Kirschwasser orange brandy to the mix (2 ounces) if I add a little more sugar, flour, oatmeal to keep the moisture level right. I added a rounded tbs of each. That orange brandy is unusual stuff, but it gives you a good hit on an empty stomach!

These things are great. It’s the taste of the holidays for me. That, and rum balls. “(ha, ha)” she writes - because in 50 years we have never once had a batch last long enough to go stale. It’s a very easy recipe you can make with your kids. Just don’t forget to butter the pan generously first.



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The kirchwasser was a perfect idea. It adds a nice orange flavor, and intensifies the brandy undertone. As you can see, a certain observer to the whole process snuck a sample before I could get the camera. They didn’t even get a chance to cool off fully. Verdict: yum.  I think they might need a day to firm up. They’re a little softer than I wanted. They came out of the oven at 40 minutes. Perhaps another handful of oatmeal would have been justified.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/10/2010 at 06:27 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Tuesday - January 05, 2010

ANOTHER DAFT IDEA FROM THE LEFT NANNY STATE WHO WILL INSPECT YOUR KITCHEN.

Well maybe not quite literally but it comes close.  Of course, there’s an election coming up in 5 months and so the pols are breast beating and tossing out ideas and claiming they’ll save not just the UK but ze verld as well.  Sure they will.

Grow ur own veggies they say. Uh huh. Like everyone is in a position where they can.  And even where some can, they may not be able to. Anyway, everyone knows veggies come from supermarkets so what’s this talk about growing ur own?

This govt. does tend to get into everyones lives. We already have two bins in our kitchen.  This loony tune wants to add a third?  Good luck with that. Can’t even imagine what they might come up with next. Hey I know.  Lets all collect it and then forward on to Al Bore’s house. Now that’s a positive thought.

by the way ... This idea has it’s origins in the EU, I have read. What a surprise.

Hey ... it’s still snowing.  Could be this time the weather guy has things right.
Our milkman made his 5am delivery at 9pm tonight.  I had him leave some extra eggs and bread for us. 

Hooray ... I think I may have my browser working at long last.  Still checking things out but apparently it was one of the add-ons causing a problem.
Now all I need to do is get more memory.  Ok, here’s the story.  Jerks!  No not you. Them. These guys.


Householders to be forced into using slop buckets for waste food or face penalty fines

By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 8:34 PM on 05th January 2010

Householders could be fined hundreds of pounds if they throw food scraps and vegetable peelings into the dustbin, it has emerged.

Instead they will be forced to use slop buckets.

Environment Minister Hilary Benn wants to ban food going to landfill sites - and for leftovers to be collected by dustmen and used to generate green electricity.

The move, which would see compulsory buckets in every kitchen, came as the Government published a major report on the future of food and farming.

The report - aimed at boosting food production, tackling climate change and improving the nation’s health - called on consumers to buy more British food, eat more seasonal food and grow their own fruit and veg.

And it controversially claimed that GM crops had ‘potential’ to help feed the world’s booming population.

But it also called for less food to go to rubbish dumps, where it releases greenhouse gases.

Before launching the report, Mr Benn went even further - and gave his strongest backing yet to a ban on food landfill sites.

‘I’m going to consult a little later on this year on getting to a point where we say we’re not going to put food in landfill anymore where we know we can turn it into energy through anaerobic digestion,’ he told the conference.

If the ban gets the go-ahead, slop buckets - already used to collect food scraps in millions of homes - would be extended across the whole country.

The proposals were condemned by critics.

Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Time and again these new recycling policies always end up being based on punitive fines, which is the last thing ordinary families around Britain need.

‘It is fine to aspire towards more recycling, but any attempt to start policing people’s kitchen bins and registering their potato peelings will be a costly farce.’

SOURCE


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Posted by peiper   United States  on 01/05/2010 at 05:27 PM   
Filed Under: • Daily LifeEnvironmentEUro-peonsFine-DiningNanny StateUK •  
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calendar   Sunday - January 03, 2010

impress the ladies

Other than chocolate, nothing seems to excite the female sense of epicurean adventure more than cheesecake. It’s some kind of forbidden pleasure that they will go out of their way to find. It’s not enough to always have some on hand. Any cheesecake will not do. You need to have good cheesecake. Great cheesecake. And they’re damned expensive. But why buy when you can build? The things are bloody easy to make. And a man who is dependable, skilled and inventive in the kitchen ... may not always wind up doing the dishes alone.



Stuff you will need:

The non-stick spring form pan is about $8-12. You can get one at Walmart. Or at Amazon. You won’t use it for much other than making cheesecake. Yeah, so?


The recipe:
a generous 1 1/3 cups of cane sugar
4 large or extra large fresh eggs
a generous 1/4 cup of sour cream (about all the sour cream you can splotz onto a tablespoon)
4 8oz packs of cream cheese. Get the Philly brand. Do NOT cheap out with the store brand
1/3 cup fresh heavy cream
2 teaspoons of quality vanilla. Double strength Bourbon vanilla is the total shizz
a fresh lemon, washed and dried, stickers removed
1 or 2 pre-made graham cracker crusts, or a box of graham crackers for the adventurous
a partial stick of butter straight from the fridge



Part 1:
Set the oven to 325°F and put the giant frying pan in the oven to warm up.
Put the spring form pan together. The base fits in the little groove in the ring, and the ring tightens down like one of those old lever oil filter wrenches with a snap shackle.
Scrub the inside of the pan with the stick of butter. You don’t want any large glommy bits, but you want to give it all a good covering.
Take 3 lengths of tinfoil off the roll, and wrap the bottom of the spring form pan. Each length goes on at a 60° angle to the previous piece. Scrunch the top of the foil around the top of the pan, but not down into the pan. Scruch the foil fairly tight against the sides of the pan. You do this because all the spring form pans are advertised as water proof, and none of them actually are.
Remove the plastic lid from one pre-made crust, and bend the tinfoil edges back. With one smooth motion, invert it into the buttered spring form pan. Remove the tinfoil. The crust will break, but you now have a nice even layer of crumbs on the bottom of the pan. If you bought the 2nd crust, break bits off and stick them in the butter on the sides. If you’re advanced enough to make your own graham cracker crust from scratch, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. Just don’t over do it with the crumbs. A little 1/8” layer is fine.
Set the pan aside.


Part 2:
Open up all 4 packs of cream cheese and drop them in the big mixing bowl. Go at them for a minute or two with the mixer. Cream cheese is pretty solid stuff, so use a higher speed than necessary. All this step does is further soften it up.

Measure out your sugar and pour half of it in. Start mixing. After half a minute you will notice that all the cream cheese has climbed right up the beaters and the side of the bowl. Stop the mixer, and use the spatula to push everything off and back down. Mix again. Repeat as needed for about a minute. Add the rest of the sugar and mix some more. Suddenly it will smooth out. Stop mixing.

Crack in an egg. Avoid getting any shell in the bowl. Mix it in for 15 seconds. Add another egg. Mix. Add another egg. Mix.

Pour in the heavy cream. Drop in the sour cream. You used the good brand of sour cream, right? The real stuff, not the low-fat plastic crap that was on sale? Good. Splash in the vanilla. If you use a bit much, that’s fine. The above recipe already calls for double the original amount, but it’s almost impossible to have too much vanilla. Don’t test that theory here. Try and keep it to 2 tsp or less. Mix things up again. Vanilla smells like angel sex, but tastes like crap. And it’s 96% straight grain alcohol.

Take the lemon and add 1-2 teaspoons of zest. Zest? WTF is “zest”? It’s lemon rind. How do you get it? Take your wood rasp to the lemon. Seriously. No, not the Stanley Surform. This thing. It’s a wood rasp, but it’s also the world’s most kick ass zester. And cheese grater. And ice sculpture tool. If yours actually lives in your toolbox, make sure to wash it first when nobody is looking. Hold it over the bowl and scrape off the outer rind of about 1/2 the lemon. Maybe 2/3 if it’s a small one. Don’t plane the lemon down so far you hit the insides. Mix the zest in.

You now actually have a bowl full of custard. So mix it thoroughly at the highest possible speed for another minute to get it as smooth as you can. Try not to splatter the stuff onto every last square inch of the kitchen. Remember that spatula? Sure comes in handy, don’t it?

Pour the mix into the spring form pan. Move it around, like your laying out paint into the roller tray. Unless you have an assistant with you, you’ll have to figure out how to hold the bowl over the pan and use the spatula to scrape out the bowl.

Ok, that’s about it. The water should be boiling, the oven is up to temp, the pan is ready, and so is the mix. Let’s do it.

Part 3:
Open the oven. Slide out the rack with the frying pan on it. Put the spring form pan in the frying pan, but off to one side. Gently pour the boiling water into the frying pan - this is the important bit! - while not pouring any water into the spring form pan that’s full of batter. Fill the frying pan up with water until it’s the same level as the batter in the spring form pan. Now center the pan. Smoothly slide the rack back in, close the door. Set a timer for 70 minutes. ( the original recipe calls for 55-60, but if you were extra generous with the heavy cream and the sour cream it will need a bit of extra time) Check the cheesecake at 50 minutes. It should be pale and watery looking. Check it again at 55 and 60 minutes. Is it done? At 70-80 minutes it will be slightly brown in spots on top, and most of the water will be boiled off. Some people prefer theirs less done than this. Does it look set? Not hard set like yesterday’s concrete, but set as in “solid but still jiggly, like Jello or thereabouts when you smack it lightly”. If it isn’t, cook it for another 10 minutes. When set, turn off the oven and prop the door slightly open with a spoon or something. Leave it to slowly cool off in the oven for another hour. Then take the whole thing out of the oven, take the ring form pan out of the frying pan, peel off the tinfoil, and leave it on top of the oven for another hour. Ok, fine, if you’re Mr. Fancy and have actual cooling racks, use them. Just leave the cake in the spring form pan. When it’s cool, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge on the middle shelf. Come back tomorrow and it will be ready to eat. At that point you can slide a thin plastic knife around the perimeter and unlatch the ring and remove it. It’s ready to go.

Fancy folks, or those really looking to impress, can top one of these with fresh fruit. A nice mix of hulled and sugared strawberry halves, some blueberries, maybe some raspberries if you can find them. Lay them out in a nice design, gently pressed into the top of the cheesecake. If you’re using sugared strawberries, give them at least 2 hours to sweeten up first.  You don’t have to top the whole damn cheesecake with fruit. Just make sure you don’t use the nasty bruised berries. Pick the good ones, and give them a rinse in cold water, then dry on paper towels.

And it comes out grand, every time! Now that you’ve made this great hulking thing, she’ll want the narrowest possible slice, as if you can carve cheesecake like proscuitto. But she’ll want another slice probably. And several much larger slices to take to her girlfriends at the office. Who will be ever so envious. And you will get a big gold star. Or something equally desirable.


image

An 80 minute cheesecake. It will be firm on the fork but just as good as the dead white 55 minute cheesecakes


Being an old married guy, I would never think of telling you single dudes what to do. But ... if you have her over for dinner, make the cheesecake together before the meal. It only takes 20 minutes. Have a couple aprons ready, and everything cleaned and dried and organized ahead of time, and the cream cheese out of the fridge for an hour beforehand. It will be her job to wield the spatula the 3 or 4 times it’s needed, and to taste the custard to see if it needs a little more sour cream or lemon. You do everything else. While it bakes, serve dinner. While it cools, serve dessert. Your entire house will smell like cheesecake baking. This is a GOOD THING. Don’t waste the moment. And yes, on the weekends, it’s perfectly fine to have cheesecake for dessert after breakfast. They do need to mature overnight for the best flavor you know. Gold star, indeed!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/03/2010 at 09:44 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Friday - December 18, 2009

Kartoffelreibe!

Christmas Comes Early!



image



Woo hoo! I found one! I know what it is but I have no idea how to pronounce it!! car-toffel-reeb? cart-off-el-ray-be? Is there a German in the house?

Amazon.com is out of them and can’t say when they’ll have more. They have the cheap chrome plated Chinese knock-off, but you know how I feel about chicom steel. Not in this lifetime, thanks. I could have ordered one from Germany for €20 plus shipping. Expensive! I found a set of 3 used old ones at an online antiques site, all dark and dingy looking. Um, no. And then I found this one, relatively right down the road in Philadelphia, at fantes.com. The same cookware shop that sells the $1550 duck press. It got here in just 2 days.

Fantes does not know what they are selling. Their label on the back says it’s made in Italy. The online description does not mention that it’s made by KuchenProfi, only that it’s 18/10 stainless. And maybe that’s a good thing, since they’re only charging $15.99 for it.

No, this is the real deal. This is the holy grail of square wire potato graters. Cat’s meow, bee’s knees, et cetera. A proper old world tool. Square wire stainless steel, twisted one full turn between each intersection, and all intersections welded. Rarer than hen’s teeth in the USA too. And it’s dangerous. I’ve torn up my fingertips and knuckles using these things in the past, so my next search is to find a vegetable holder thingy from a mandolin slicer. It’s hard work to tear up a potato with one of these, but it’s worth it. Nothing else gives you the proper texture.

I already own one of these graters. It’s around here somewhere. Between the we’re-almost-moving, the not-quite-unpacking, and the way that any kitchen gadget not used constantly always manages to work it’s way into the dark recesses of your cupboards ... I have no idea where it might be. So I hunted down the real McCoy and ordered it, then ran right out and bought a bag of proper Russet potatoes. And an onion. I already had sour cream, good butter, and applesauce.

The weather forecast says we’re getting a foot of snow tonight. So we’ll probably be stuck in the house until Sunday. And that means ... it’s tater pancake time!! I’ve got a nice bottle of spätlese to drink with it too, though I have no idea how to pronounce that one either. And 3 kinds of pork products to fry up and use as side dishes. Yum!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/18/2009 at 06:43 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningFun-Stuff •  
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calendar   Thursday - December 10, 2009

Hard Crack

Impress your friends and relatives this season with home made candy. It’s easier than you think. I just made this batch of peanut brittle in a little more than half an hour, including clean up.


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It tastes almost as good as See’s Candies product, which goes for $10/lb plus tax and shipping. Mine cost less than a third as much to make. This recipe will properly fill an American sized baking sheet (11” x 17"). So here you go:


2 cups sugar
1 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter - 1/2 of a stick - softened but still in it’s wrapper (ie get the butter out an hour ahead of time and leave it on the counter)
2 slightly rounded teaspoons of baking soda
extra butter
2 cups of salted peanuts. Cocktail peanuts are fine. If using plain peanuts, use a bit more salt. Dry Roast peanuts are Ok too. Buy the party size can of peanuts at Walmart for $4.

1 11” x 17” no-stick cookie sheet of average weight. Not the ultra heavyweight kind.
1 8 quart saucepan - the “pasta for two” pot
1 12 quart saucepan mostly filled with water
Teakettle with boiling water in it
1 medium heat resistant mixing spoon. Wood works fine, or use one of those silicon ones. Just make sure it can handle 350 °F
2 or 3 cup glass measuring cup
candy thermometer

Set the 12 quart pan of water to heating. Turn on the oven and get it warm ( 175°F ). Generously butter the no stick baking pan and put it in the oven. Turn off the oven.

Half unwrap the butter and slightly squash it down. Sprinkle the baking soda on it evenly.

Measure the sugar and pour it in the 8 quart pan. Add the salt. In the same measuring cup you used for the sugar, measure the corn syrup and pour it in. Now pour 3/4 cup of the boiling water from the kettle into the measuring cup. Mix it around so it dissolves any leftover sticky, then pour it into the 8 quart pan. Start heating the 8 quart pan. Set the heat to a bit less than half, and stir. Keep stirring. When the sugar mixture gets hot enough it will start to bubble, and the sugar might cake up a bit. Stir it vigorously and use the spoon to scrape free any stuck bits. When all the sugar is dissolved and you have a nice clear liquid, turn up the heat. Stop stirring. Get out your candy thermometer and keep an eye on the temp. It will take a good while to hit 225°F, but will take only a couple of minutes to reach 275°F. Stir it a little. Around 300° the sugar will begin to brown. Hey, you’re making caramel here. When the liquid hits 305-310 it will be nicely brown. Take the pot off the heat. Toss in the butter and stir it around. The baking soda will cause the mixture to foam up a bit. Stir it for about a minute until you get a nice creamy looking mix. Stir in the peanuts. You get a mixture about as thick as hot asphalt. Open the oven and pour it all onto the cookie sheet while moving the pot around. Scrape out as much as you can. Try and push the mixture around so it’s even on the pan, but it won’t move much. Return cookie sheet to warm oven.

Put the 8 quart pot back on the stove. See that hardened brown mess in there? And look at the crust on the spoon! How the hell are you ever going to get that clean? Ha. Take the 12 quart pot of water, which should be boiling by now, and pour in enough to mostly fill the smaller pot. Stir it around with the same mixing spoon. The boiling water will soften the hardened caramel and most of it will dissolve. Once you’ve loosened all the chunks, pour out the steamy water and you’ll have a clean pot and a clean mixing spoon. Pour some more boiling water into your glass measuring cup. Stir, dump. Goo? Gone!

Take the cookie sheet out of the oven and let it cool. Give the sheet a little twist and the peanut brittle will come loose and break into nice sized pieces.



You can make endless variations on this recipe. You can use pecans, almonds, mixed nuts, whatever. Make your first batch for yourself, then adjust the recipe. Some people like more nuts, some want less. Some want it saltier, some want it a little foamier - which is where the brittle part comes from - so they add a bit more baking soda. Some even dust the cookie sheet with baking soda as well.

The batch I just made was done with half cocktail peanuts and half dry roast peanuts. I did not add any salt, since the peanuts were already salted. I took the mixture off the burner at 315°F. While my experimental guinea pigs neighbor ladies downstairs raved about it, I think I can do better next time. A bit more butter, and go with the salt. Use straight cocktail peanuts and then press a couple handfuls of dry roasted ones into the mixture once it’s on the cookie sheet. Maybe butter up the rolling pin and roll it down a little. This batch came out finger thick, with a serious Brazilian tan, the exact color of a Kraft Karamel; what I wanted was more of a honey blond. So I’ll take the next batch off the heat just when it hits 300-305°F. And perhaps try just a smidge less baking soda. But either way, there won’t be anything left of this batch by morning.

image


This recipe is so easy that a child could do it. But be careful; the sugar mixture gets much hotter than boiling water, nearly as hot as fry oil. So you can get badly burned. Therefore I recommend that you make sure your kids are past the klutzy age, say around 30, before letting them make this without supervision.


PS - “hard crack” is the candy maker’s term for sugar solutions heated to 300-310°F. Even just a tiny bit hotter than that and caramelizing starts to take place. With peanut brittle you want things to just start to caramelize, and that’s it. I think my cheapo $3 candy thermometer reads a little low too. My mom has had her commercial grade candy thermometer longer than I’ve been alive, and it still works great. Expensive? As if - it’s less than $9.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/10/2009 at 04:04 PM   
Filed Under: • Eye-CandyFine-Dining •  
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calendar   Friday - September 25, 2009

Good Eats

I found a link to this recipe on somebody’s blog today. Sorry, I forgot which one. (Rodger the Real King of France’s Blog Curmudgeonly & Skeptical) I made it tonight, and it’s fantastic.


Porkchops with Mushroom Bourbon Cream Sauce



http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/porkchops_with_mushroom_bourbon_cream_sauce/


This is my take on a double dose of the recipe, with slight modifications. There is no bacon involved.

Get out a really big frying pan. Slice up several packages of fresh, cleaned, white button mushrooms, about 2 pounds worth.  Get a pile of nice pork chops, and rub a light amount of pork rub into them. Then dredge them in flour and put them back in the fridge.

Chop up half an really large yellow onion, and saute it in butter and olive oil until it starts to brown.
Now mince a couple cloves of garlic and toss them in the pan. When they start to brown, throw in all the mushrooms. Stir things up, and cook until the mushrooms reduce and start to brown too. You might want to cover the pan for about 2 minutes to get the mushrooms steaming and releasing their juices. Then uncover them. It’s no big deal if they don’t brown either.

Now add a big splash or three of dry white wine. If you’re out of that, try Noilly Prat dry vermouth. Cook it all down again.

Now add a can of chicken broth, and most of a coffee mug full of bourbon. Call it almost a cup. Cook it all down again.

Now add half that amount of heavy cream. Reduce the heat, and let simmer for about 10 minutes until it starts to thicken. Transfer the mushroom sauce to a sauce pan. Clean out the frying pan, dry it, put in a goodly splash of oil or Crisco, and reheat.



Now get the chops out, and whip up an egg in a bowl for dipping. Dip the chops and firmly coat them with breadcrumbs. I used Panko crumbs. Fry the chops for a few minutes on each side until nicely browned. I used chops that were a thumb’s width thick, so I finished them off on baking racks in the oven at 325 for 45 minutes. They came out crispy but moist and tender inside.

Gently reheat the sauce, and add a small handful of chopped basil. I added another shot of bourbon at this point.

Serve the chops with a generous dollop of the sauce on top.

Holy smokes is this good. It takes about an hour to make, and it’s worth it. It should work on just about anything. I put some on some roast potatoes and it was great there too. If any is left over tomorrow morning I’ll add some to an omlet.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/25/2009 at 07:50 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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calendar   Saturday - June 20, 2009

Tastes almost as good as it smells

Adventures in the kitchen, part MXXIV

Another rainy day here in Clinton. Pouring and drizzling the whole day long. The water pipe guys finished their job Friday and filled in the moat, so all that rain water gets to run downhill now and collect in our little pond, which is already filled right up to the top and draining out over onto the road.

Can’t get a whole lot done outside today, so it was a Saturday of housework and cooking. I made up this Mongolian Beef recipe I found over at The Crepes of Wrath. And it came out pretty darn good. I would recommend taking it up a notch or two by doubling the amount of garlic and ginger, or at least by using fresh ground ginger. I had to grind some from a dried root, and it’s just not the same. Naturally I put in about double the amount of dried pepper flakes, which gives things just a little bit of zip. Oh, and the recipe there neglects to tell you what to do with the other half of the oil: put it in the pan when you cook the meat. Mr. Wrath simmered his concotion for 10 minutes. That will work, but be careful: the corn starch can turn the sauce into tar if you overcook things. Still, it was a pretty easy dish, and tasy in a sneaky kind of way. It didn’t really impress either of us at first, but even though I made enough for 4, there doesn’t seem to be any left over at all. So I guess it was pretty decent after all. And the whole upstairs of our place smells great! [ our kitchen fan runs through the attic and vents out over the back deck. But because it’s quite cool today I left the back slider open ... and all the aromas came right back in the house! ]

image


I spent a couple hours this afternoon reading up on sous vide cooking. That’s “sue vid” to you other Francophobes. It means putting a chunk of meat in a vacuum sealer bag, sucking the air out, and then slow cooking it in a kettle of lukewarm water. Yeah, it sounded wierd to me too. But stop and think about it: depending on whether you want rare, medium, or well, the center of a steak is only heated to about 140 degrees. And it turns out that this method has been used in restaurant kitchens for ages. Once you “parboil” the meat up to the right temperature, you can keep it there for hours and hours and it won’t overcook. And all it needs is a quick walk across the grill to brown up the outside, and it comes out perfect. Every time.

My next though was about germs. Don’t we always hear how botulism, plague, liberalism, dengue fever, etc, will grow on meat in an instant if we don’t cook the stuff to a leathery gray death? Well, it turns out to be a bit of a crock. Sous vide came about as a blend of the chefly arts and the science of kitchenology. So sure, germs can grow, but once things get beyond 127 degrees or thereabouts they can’t.

So I’m eager to give this a try, if I can do it on the cheap. I picked up several other tidbits along the way:

All in all it sounds really cool. A precision temperature adjuster costs about $140, which hooks up to a big rice cooker that you use as a water bath. Vacuum “Seal-a-Meal™” devices you can get everywhere, along with the bags.

Industrial machinery costs several thousand dollars, but if you aren’t running a restaurant, you can do it on the cheap. You don’t even need the Seal-a-Meal™ gizmo.

image

Perfect steak, every single time!



Lots of links of course:
http://blog.khymos.org/2009/01/18/a-mathematician-cooks-sous-vide/
http://blog.khymos.org/2007/01/21/perfect-steak-with-diy-sous-vide-cooking/ [DIY sous vide, on the cheap]
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/14/magazine/14CRYOVAC.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
http://www.kamikazecookery.com/blogs/133
http://www.technogypsy.net/ [ lots of recipes and pictures here ]
http://amath.colorado.edu/~baldwind/sous-vide.html [wherein Science finds the perfect temperature to soft-boil eggs perfectly: 148°F for an hour. An hour! But to be Fair & Balanced, Non-Science says this gives you a rather gloopy egg. I guess you have to like soft-boiled to begin with.] It also list Pasteurization times for fowl, for those really worried about germs:
image

I’m pretty sure that these times will pasteurize beef and pork as well. Still, better safe than sorry.

I’d like to follow up on that guy’s DIY project. I can afford that rig. The commercial stuff costs more than I can sell my car for. ( hey, it’s nearly 13 years old already! ) And we have a vacuum sealer somewhere in one of these closets.

Next kitchen experiment? Gyro Lamb Loaf! To the best of my knowledge, Science has had nothing to do with this recipe at all!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/20/2009 at 02:40 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-Dining •  
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