Ceramic Tile versus Porcelain

This is an interesting article from Houzz
All tile is created equal, right? Not quite. Porcelain and ceramic may belong to the same family, but they’re two slightly different products. One may be more advantageous than the other depending on where you’re installing it. Here we pose five scenarios and explain whether porcelain or ceramic is the better choice.

But before we walk through each scenario, let’s note the key difference between porcelain and ceramic tile. Though they’re manufactured with different types of clay, the Tile Council of North America defines porcelain in terms of water absorption. Specifically, porcelain tiles absorb less than 0.5 percent of water. Ceramic and other non-porcelain tiles absorb more than 0.5 percent water.

 

Ceramic Tile versus Porcelain

Here’s a fun one

You Should Keep Toothpaste in Your Laundry Basket—Here’s Why

This is from Apartment Therapy

Laundry isn’t just about washing dirty clothes so you have clean ones to wear. It’s about cleaning and maintaining your wearables and textiles so that they always look their best, whether that means making jewelry sparkle, getting stains out of the lining of a purse, or keeping shoes looking their sharpest. And there’s a simple way to have all those things: A tube of non-gel toothpaste.

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Next time you’re grocery shopping, grab a basic tube of toothpaste and stash it in your laundry room, or with the bag or kit, you take with you to the laundromat. It can do so much more than brushing your pearly whites.

Here are some of our favorite things that you can do with toothpaste:

Clean the rubber off your sneakers. Scrub with an old toothbrush and a dab of toothpaste to get those white rubber edges looking like new.

Get the gunk off your iron. Squeeze some toothpaste onto a rag and scrub your iron with it. Wipe off with another wet rag and dry.

Remove lipstick, ink, and grass stains from clothing. Cover the stain with toothpaste, rub together vigorously, rinse with warm water, and launder as usual.

Remove wine stains from tablecloths. Smear with toothpaste and let sit before laundering as usual.

Address exploding ink stains with toothpaste. Using the same basic method as above, dab toothpaste on the stains, rub together and then rinse.

Make jewelry sparkle. Use an old toothbrush and some toothpaste to scrub everything from gold chains to your rings’ precious stones. Rinse and wear.

Remove errant wads of gum from clothing. Smear the toothpaste over the gum and then flatten the wad with a ruler or something else with a flat, sharp edge. Once the toothpaste dries, the gum should be easier to remove.

Buff scuffed shoes. Dab with toothpaste and rub with a soft cloth.

Here’s a fun one

Reese’s Stuffed Rice Krispies Treats 

Talk about easy and way too delicious!   These are the new Rice Krispy Treats.  It’s not that traditional Rice Krispies aren’t good,  they’re just a little boring and safe. These are the opposite. They’re over-the-top and surprising in a way that everyone, including Krispies, treats purists, will love.

And it just does not get any easier….

Ingredients
Cooking spray, for pan
5 tbsp. butter
1 (10-oz.) bag marshmallows
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
Pinch kosher salt
6 c. Rice Krispies Cereal
12 Reese’s cups
1/4 c. melted peanut butter, for garnish
1/4 c. melted chocolate, for garnish
Directions
  1. Line a 9”-x-13” pan with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray. In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Stir in marshmallows, peanut butter, and salt and stir until mixture is melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Immediately add Rice Krispies and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Working quickly, press half of mixture into an even layer in the pan, then top with a layer of Reese’s. Press remaining mixture over Reese’s.
  3. Drizzle with melted chocolate and peanut butter, then refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.
  4. Slice into squares and serve.  Maybe that should say slice & eat!
Reese’s Stuffed Rice Krispies Treats 

Two Buck Chuck ~ The Real Stor

HOW TRADER JOE’S WINE BECAME CHEAPER THAN BOTTLED WATER

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“CHARLES SHAW WINE USED TO BE GREAT — AND NOBODY DRANK IT. NOW, IT’S TERRIBLE AND IT’S SELLING LIKE GANGBUSTERS.”

“I TRIED TO PUT IT ALL BEHIND ME BUT I NEVER STOPPED THINKING ABOUT WINE.”

Two Buck Chuck

Charles not in charge

Two Buck Chuck
Two Buck Chuck ~ The Real Stor

 Granite vs. Quartz

If you’ve recently shopped for new kitchen countertops, you know firsthand how many options there are today. Houzz research says that for most people, the choices often boil down to granite or quartz. Two out of five homeowners choose one of these two surfaces, often for durability and easy cleaning, according to a 2017 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study. If you have whittled it down to granite or quartz, here’s a quick way to learn all about their pros and cons.
 Granite vs. Quartz

 Foods Most Likely to Make You Ill

There’s a hot-list of foods that spread food-borne illnesses more than others, but there are a few steps you can take to best protect yourself from any sickness.

Home cooks are increasingly seeing alarming headlines about national outbreaks of serious food-borne illnesses and with the recent fervor over one of the worst E. coli outbreaks in the last decade, the topic of food safety has never been so relevant.

The list is based on information that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps for cooks looking to keep their kitchens as safe as possible. The shortlist of foods below are linked to food-borne illnesses more frequently than any other on the market. Luckily, there are steps you can take to reduce your chance of illness when eating them.

Which foods are the most likely to get you sick?

They’re as follows:

Did You Eat Romaine Lettuce? These Are the E. coli Warning Signs to Look For
A massive E. coli outbreak caused agencies to ask the entire nation to toss their romaine lettuce.

Chicken, beef, turkey, and pork

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Raw and undercooked meat and poultry are surefire ways to get you sick. Nearly all raw poultry contains a bacteria called campylobacter, which the CDC says is the leading cause of “diarrheal sickness” in the United States. Other illness-causing bacteria linked to questionable meat include salmonella, E. coli, Yersinia (commonly found on raw pork), and C. perfringens (one of the most common bacteria leading to short-term food poisoning.)

Vegetables and fruits

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It’s crucial to front-load your daily diet with tons of fresh vegetables and fruits, but raw variations can often cause food poisoning from contamination with salmonella, E. coli, and listeria bacteria. The exterior of uncooked fruits and vegetables are especially tricky as they’re a breeding ground for bacteria during transportation from farm to table, and especially at risk for cross-contamination in the kitchen. There are more than a few ways to clean them, however, and cooking your veggies is a sure way to eliminate most risk.

Raw milk and cheese

How to Store Soft Cheeses So They Don't Get Moldy

Some might think it’s very tasty, but health officials say that raw milk and the products made with unpasteurized milk can carry ample bacteria including E. coli, listeria, and salmonella, among others. Other dairy items that are more likely to hide harmful bacteria is feta cheese, brie and camembert, queso fresco, ice cream, and yogurt.

Eggs

1804w Eggs

We watched as more than 200 million eggs were recalled due to a widespread salmonella contamination—the CDC says salmonella is often undetected, even for eggs that look clean and un-cracked. Choosing pasteurized eggs could help reduce that risk.

Raw shellfish and seafood

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There is a greater chance to get sick with food poisoning from raw fish, yes. But raw shellfish is often more problematic than anything, with staples like oysters containing viruses and bacteria that could cause serious sickness—more than 100 people recently fell ill in California after eating raw oysters contaminated with norovirus.

Sprouts:

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Warm and humid growing conditions for things like alfalfa and bean sprouts lend themselves to perfect growing conditions for salmonella, E. coli, and listeria. Thoroughly cooking sprouts before placing them in any dish can help reduce the chance of you getting sick.

 Raw Flour:

Casabella Cookie Dough Trays with Lids

The last item on the list is flour, which is usually raw and hasn’t been treated and because we cook with it or use it in our baking, those germs are killed during cooking. Things like raw cookie dough have often been a source of food poisoning given that the flour in these staples hasn’t been cooked.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid food-borne illnesses altogether, but using the safety tips to enjoy the foods on the list above might save you from a firsthand experience with food poisoning. 1 in 6 people in the United States suffer through side effects of food-borne diseases, and more than 3,000 deaths each year are caused by foodborne pathogens, the CDC says.

This may help you want to “eat less” if you want to lose weight.  I used to love raw chocolate chip cookie dough, but it does not look quite so appealing at the moment.  Eat safe and enjoy!

 Foods Most Likely to Make You Ill

Basic Orecchiette Pasta

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This handmade pasta is delicious with the classic broccoli raab sauce, with an uncooked sauce of tomatoes and basil, or in a cream sauce with mussels and mint. The dough comes out best if you work the water in very slowly; don’t try to bring in too much flour at one time. Flour amounts are listed by weight (oz.) and by volume (cups); use either measurement.

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I made mine with chicken and home-made pesto with basil from my garden, with a little cilantro and parmesan on the top.  It was yummy and very easy.  It does take a little time. I usually watch the cooking channel or a funny movie.  You have to happy when you cook.

Ingredients

225 g/ 1 1/2 cup semolina flour

255 g/3/4 cup + I Tbl unbleached all-purpose flour

255 g/1 cup warm water

2 tsp salt

Preparation

1. In a bowl, whisk the flours together well. Mound the flour on a work surface, make a deep well in the center and pour 2 Tbs. of the water in the center. With two fingers, stir in a little flour from the walls of the well. When the water is absorbed and a paste has formed, repeat with more water until you have a soft but not sticky dough.

You can do this in your KitchenAid with the dough hook.

2. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s smooth and supple, 7 to 8 minutes. If it crumbles during kneading, wet your hands to moisten the dough slightly. Cut off a golfball-size chunk of dough; cover the rest with plastic wrap. Roll the chunk into a cylinder about 1 inch in diameter. With a very sharp knife, slice the cylinder into disks about 1/8 inch thick

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3. Pick up a disk. If it’s squashed from cutting, squeeze it slightly between your thumb and index finger to return it to a circular shape. Put the disk in the palm of one hand and press down on it with the thumb of your other hand. Swivel your hand (not your thumb) twice to thin the center of the ear, leaving the rim a little thicker. If the dough sticks to your thumb, dip your thumb in a little flour as you work. Repeat with the rest of the dough. As you finish the disks, lay them on a clean dishtowel. When you’ve shaped an entire cylinder, sprinkle a little flour over the ears and repeat the process with a new chunk of dough.

4. If you’re not cooking the pasta immediately, spread the rounds out on floured baking sheets and leave them at room temperature at least overnight, or until they’re hard enough that you can’t slice them with a knife. (The time they take to dry depends on humidity and the moisture level in the dough itself.) Once the orecchiette is dry, transfer them to covered jars and store at room temperature.

5. You can as an alternative, freeze them on a baking sheet with parchment and then put in a sealed container once they are frozen.  Cook directly from the freezer – do not thaw.

 

6. Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add the orecchiette and simmer until they float to the surface, 2-3 minutes.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes more, until al dente.  Remove immediately with a slotted spoon and serve right away.

 

The recipe I used is from “Pasta by Hand” by Jenn Louis and I totally recommend buying this book!

Basic Orecchiette Pasta

Popular New Entry Spaces

In the first three months of the year, Houzzers saved photos of grand main entry spaces and casual backdoor mudrooms that were full of great ideas. Benches for slipping off shoes, cubbies, and cabinets for storing outerwear and striking design elements such as flame-stitch-patterned wallpaper, an urban landscape mural, and log cabin siding caught our attention. Here are 10 great ideas from the most popular new entry photos uploaded in the first quarter of 2018.
Popular New Entry Spaces

Top Kitchen Innovations From Milan

Dream kitchens, live presentations of the latest smart-home appliances and cooking demos by famous chefs greeted visitors to EuroCucina and FTK (Technology for the Kitchen), the biennial events that took place during the latest installment of the Salone del Mobile trade fair in Milan, Italy, from April 17 to 22.

We kept an eye open for signs of how the most lively and innovative space in the house, the kitchen, is evolving. Among the exhibits were increasingly flexible setups, commercial appliances redesigned for the home cook and innovative new technologies. Picking up on the current trend of the integration of kitchen and living spaces, designers also presented kitchen features that either blend seamlessly into their surroundings or disappear altogether. Here are some of the kitchen innovations coming your way in 2018.

Top Kitchen Innovations From Milan

How Chefs Eat Artichokes

Raw, fried, creamed, or stuffed: There are so many ways to heart artichokes.

Food and Wine Magazine comes up with some of the most interesting articles.  This one about artichokes is great, as artichokes are appearing beautifully in the local grocery markets.  I grow my own, but they are so pretty on the plant, I have a hard time wanting to cut them off and eat them.
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Though scraping the meat off of an artichoke leaf is both cathartic and delicious (particularly when said leaf has been doused in melted butter), there are so many more ways to eat this tasty thistle. You could stuff the insides with potatoes. You could make a warm, cheesy dip. You could even throw the hearts into a bread pudding. This spring, we vote for trying it all.

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Since it’s peak season for artichokes, we asked chefs across the country about their favorite ways to eat ‘em. Here’s what they had to say:

Shota Nakajima, Chef/Owner, Adana

“Artichokes are snacks for me, so I like to blanch the whole entire thing without cleaning them till they’re nice and soft. Then pick the leaves and dip them in Kewpie mayo. The snacky thing where I get to eat with my hands, like pistachios, is something that I love to do.”

Sarah Grueneberg, Chef/Owner, Monteverde

“I like to shave artichokes raw into a salad or fry them in a little olive oil to make crispy chips.”

 

Shaved Artichoke Salad

David Posey, Chef/Owner, Elske

“I love cooking artichokes using a technique that Paul Kahan told me about, ‘sott’olio’, which is an Italian technique of holding vegetables in oil. The way I like to cook the artichokes is completely cleaning them of tough outer leaves and woody parts, then gently simmer in a very acidic court bouillon, then to finish, ‘shock’ them in cold oil. They are best after they hang out in the fridge in the cold oil for a few days.”

Julia Jaksic, Chef, Employees Only

“I love grilled artichokes on a wood fire with a garlicky aioli.”

Nicholas Elmi, Chef/Owner, LaurelITV, and Royal Boucherie

“Depending on size, for larger globe artichokes I like a traditional barigould (white wine, lemon, thyme, black pepper, and olive oil), for young tender artichokes I like to just split them, dust them with seasoned flour and fry them. Served with a simple dipping sauce like remoulade, they’re a perfect, light spring treat.”

 

Roman Fried Artichokes

Flynn McGarry, Chef/Owner, Gem

“I like artichokes raw in a salad. I’ve also done a “Blooming Artichoke” dish where we fry it like a Blooming Onion.”

Emily Yuen, Executive Chef, Bessou

“If I am cooking at home, I like to simply boil the artichokes in chicken stock and lemon. I like to peel off the leaves dip it in melted butter and scrape the meat off of the outer leaves with my teeth.”

Justin Bazdarich, Chef/Owner, Speedy Romeo

“For chokes, I cut in half and then poach in an aromatic broth. Once cooked, I pull out the choke and brush with olive oil and then place on the wood grill. After cooked, simply serve with any spicy aioli or mayo for dipping leaves and eating the heart.”

Star Ingredient: Quercus Umbriae Giudia Artichokes. If cooks were asked to name the vegetables they find most intimidating and time-consuming to prepare, artichokes would surely top the list. Marinated artichoke hearts from Umbria in central Italy solve the problem: No trimming, cooking or choke removal is required.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 425°. Toast the bread directly on the oven racks until dry and lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Rub 1 side of the toast with the cut sides of the garlic clove. Lower the oven temperature to 375°.

Step 2

Brush the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the reserved artichoke oil and arrange one-third of the toast in a single layer. Top with half of the artichokes. Season lightly with salt and pepper and top with one-third of the cheese. Repeat with another layer of toast, artichokes, and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Top with the remaining toast and cheese.

Step 3

In a bowl, mix the milk with the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the custard over the bread; cover with plastic wrap. Lay a few cans on the plastic to keep the bread submerged. Let soak until most of the custard is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove the plastic.

Step 4

Place a sheet of oiled parchment paper on top of the pudding and cover with foil. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and parchment; bake for 15 minutes longer, or until the top is golden. Let the pudding cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Make Ahead

The pudding can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.

Suggested Pairing

Look for a full-flavored Chardonnay from Italy or France with only a little oak.

The thinly sliced, crunchy raw artichokes are the star of this salad from chef Chris Behr of the Rome Sustainable Food Project. Buy the freshest ones you can get your hands on. A true test: The leaves should squeak when you squeeze them.

How to Make It

Step 1

Pour the lemon juice into 
a large bowl. Working with 
1 artichoke at a time, pull off 
the tough outer leaves. Using a small knife, slice 1/4 inch off the top of each artichoke, then trim and peel the stems. Very thinly slice each artichoke lengthwise and add to the bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let stand for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Step 2

Spread the arugula and radicchio on a platter. Using 
a slotted spoon, lift the artichokes from the lemon juice and scatter over the greens. Sprinkle with the herbs.

Step 3

Whisk the olive oil with the remaining lemon juice in the large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad; serve.

Double-frying is the secret to making these super-crispy and addictive fried artichokes from TV chef Andrew Zimmern.

Ingredients

How to Make It

Step 1

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the fine salt. Whisking constantly, slowly stream in the olive oil until the aioli is thick and glossy. Whisk in 1 more tablespoon of the lemon juice and the anchovies. Cover and refrigerate.

Step 2

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to a large bowl of cold water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim the stem. Snap off the leaves until you reach the tender light green inner leaves. Cut off the top third of the artichoke and trim off any tough leaves near the base. Halve the artichoke lengthwise and scoop out the fuzzy choke if necessary. Drop the artichoke in the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.

Step 3

In a medium, straight-sided skillet, heat 2 inches of canola oil to 250°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and top with a rack. Drain the artichokes well and pat dry. Fry in 3 batches over moderately high heat until tender and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the artichokes to the prepared wire rack to drain.

Step 4

Heat the oil to 375°. Fry the artichokes again in 3 batches until crispy, about 1 minute per batch. This time, drain on the paper towels. Season generously with sea salt and serve hot with the aioli and lemon wedges.

Make Ahead

The aioli can be refrigerated overnight.

Suggested Pairing

Fragrant Central Italian white.
How Chefs Eat Artichokes