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Rice Pilaf

I never made rice pilaf till the other day. I usually get my fix as a side when I go out to a restaurant, so I never needed to try my hand at it. After looking around the web, I took a few ideas from other recipes and came up with my own.

My first try worked out to be the best rice pilaf that I ever had! I will keep experimenting with it, but I don't think that any radical changes will be necessary.

Classic Sourdough Bread

This is your standard white sourdough recipe that makes incredibly tasty bread that is soft on the inside with chewy crust on the outside. Though it takes a long time from start to finish, it is only a few minutes of work each time separated by hours of letting it rise.

Like all sourdough recipes, the longer you let it rise with each step of the process, the more flavor you will get in the final loaf. You also have to give it more rising time than when you make bread with domestic yeast simply because most of the wild yeasts simply aren't as productive as their domestic cousins.

Spelt Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I have tried several different versions of this bread, but my recent experiment using the dough for Spelt Soft Dinner Rolls has been the best by far.

Google is not the enemy!

On the various fora that discuss search engines, there are regularly some posts by some rather misguided webmasters who view Google as the enemy in their battle to get higher rankings in the search results.

Let me make this as clear as possible, Google is only your enemy if you make them your enemy!

In fact, I would go so far as to say that Google should be one of a webmaster's best friends. They send you traffic for free, and they will continue to do so in varying amounts for as long as you play by their rules. Remember, Google does not owe you any of that traffic or any given ranking.

Tom Yum Goong - Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup

Tom Yum is by far my favorite Thai soup. this is one of the better recipes that I have found, modified to use ingredients that I can readily find at my local Asian food store and more towards my taste. I usually make this for Laurie, and make Tom Yum Gai for myself.

Spelt Soft Dinner Rolls

This is a modification of the Rich & Tender Dinner Rolls recipe from the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook.

I was going to make their recipe, but just exchange the spelt flour for the whole wheat flour, while still using mostly AP flour. For some reason, I assumed that the AP flour was necessary for the light texture. I already statred making the dough, when I discoverd the white flour bucket was empty. I figure "What the hell" and just went with all spelt flour, just to see how it came out. The answer is that they came out just fine, and were very light and delicious.

Mushroom Compost

Recently on a few of the composting and compost tea listservs, there have been some questions about mushroom compost, and if it is any good. After looking around some, I have come to the conclusion that people tend to be either blindly in favor of it or dead set against it. Well, I'm here to tell you that they are both wrong!

Spent mushroom compost has many uses in the garden, and it does a wonderful job on improving the soil, but it ain't the same as adding good, high quality, living compost either.

Google Analyitics now updating

Well, it took a while, but Google Analyitics is now "working". It took about 36 hours to finally come up with some numbers. I'm not sure how often it updates the stats on a site, but it seems like it is longer than 24 hours. I guess I can't complain too much though, since it is a free service.

I've now added this site as well, and once again, it is taking its good sweet time.

The statistics that they produce are definitely pretty, and somewhat useful. I just wish I didn't have to click around so much between the pages. For this kind of thing, I would much rather have one big long page wh

Google Analytics

Google is now making Google Analytics available free to AdWords users as well as anyone that serves up less than 5 million pages a month (like me). Google Analytics used to be the Urchin statistics package before it was bought out by Google.

Just for fun, I decided to sign up to use it on my yahoo store, since Yahoo! has such shitty statistics tracking. The first thing that became painfully obvious is that Google didn't plan for the popularity of their offer! Just signing up was painfully slow. The pages containing the forms that you have to fill out aere taking several minutes each to get served up.

Herb Spelt Pizza Dough

This is my current favorite pizza dough. It is a variation on a traditional pizza dough recipe that I modified to use whole grain spelt flour instead. The addition of herbs and spices to the dough really gives it wonderful flavor on its own, so you aren't depending as much on the toppings to bring the flavor to the party.

Fresh Garden Salsa

During the late summer months, when the tomatoes, chiles, onion and garlic are all starting to ripen, I can just about live on this stuff.

It was actually a bit of a freak chance that I discovered how much better this salsa was when using cherry tomatoes. They were the first to ripen a couple of years ago, and the extra sweetness combined with the thin skin and small seeds made for a really wonderful salsa.

Pollo en Chile Verde (Green Chile Chicken)

A traditional Mexican dish combining the wonderful flavors of tomatillo, green chiles and cilantro.

Tomatillo Sauce (cooked)

This is your basic green sauce for use on just about any sort of Mexican food.

Spelt Zucchini Bread

This is a modified version a a Zucchini bread recipe that Laurie got from one of her coworkers. The most obvious difference is that I go with spelt flour, which makes it a heartier and healthier bread, and I add more cinnamon and vanilla bacause I like cinnamon and vanilla.

Quinoa-Sweet Potato Salad

This is an incredibly delicious and easy to make trail food that has even made it on to our Thanksgiving Dinner table at home.

We have played around with it quite a bit and we now have two different versions, the backpack version where weight is a concern, and the home, car camping and sea kayaking version where it is acceptable to carry a little more weight in exchange for slightly better food and less prep work at home.

Changing Recipe Module

When I first started playin with Drupal, I was excited to see that there was a module for posting recipes to your site. How cool is that?

Well, it didn't take me long to realize that there were lots of problems with it. To start with, there was no way to have a recipe with multi-part ingredient lists. For example, with Kung Pao Chicken, in addition to the main ingredients, there are also lists for the sauce and for the marinade. As it happens, that Kung Pao Chicken recipe was the first one that I wanted to enter.

Even worse, there was a separate field for each ingredient, and the standard form only had room for 6 ingredients. You had to click a check box and hit preview if you wanted to enter more than 6. And it would only add 6 more lines when you did that.

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

This recipe is much closer to how Kung Pao chicken is cooked in China, instead of how it tends to be cooked in restaurants here in the United States. Once you try this version, you will almost certainly stop ordering it at your local Chinese eatery.

Inner Beauty Hot Sauce

I got hooked on the commercial Inner Beauty Real Hot Sauce back in the mid 90s while living in New England. I would buy it by the case. Then a few years ago, my supply ran out, and every place I checked was out of stock, so I found this recipe on the web. As it turns out, this was the recipe that the commercial version was based on, but with my own twists added.

Critters in the wall

We have some sort of critter in the wall between my computer room and the living room. My guess is that it is either a mouse or some sort of bug that got in the wall.

Laurie crawled down under the house yesterday, but she couldn't find any sign of mice in that area from underneath, so in the next day or so we will try from up in the attic.

I'm not really a fan of anything that kills mice and leaves them to rot and stink where I cannot easily reach them, and our attic ain't that easy to reach.

What I think I'll try first is a solution that many people on the web seem to swear by, peppermint oil dripped on cotton balls. It seems that rodents are supposed to be allergic to peppermint and spearmint. I'm sort of wondering if it is in fact any mint, since we have quite an excess of catnip around that I could quite easily sprinkle up in the attic.

MotD is Pathauto

Drupal actually has a pretty sucky standard design from both a processor use and search engine optimization perspective.

Fortunately, at least the SEO part of the equation is helped out with the addition of a couple of modules and a setting.

Most important is the setting "Clean URLs", which uses mod_rewrite in Apache to change the URLs from http://www.example.com/index.php?q=node107 to http://www.example.com/node107. The "?q=" part, in addition to being rather ugly, has been known to confuse some search engine spiders. Not to mention that if you add more values beyond one or two, some spiders just refuse to follow those links.

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