Dropbox Part II

Well, I bit the bullet and installed the DropBox software over the weekend.  WOW, it works SO much better than Microsoft Groove & it’s cross-platform so I can access my files from the Desktop, Laptop, or Mac Mini (Windows, Linux & Mac are supported).  There’s also a web based dashboard so you can get to your data from ANY computer just by logging into your account! The service also has the ability to make data public so you can share files with friends and family members.

The tool just came out of beta & the company gives you 2GB of free storage.  I’ve read in a few discussion forms they will be offering tiered pricing for people wanting more storage. If you haven’t done so already, check out the video demo on the DropBox site.  If you use multiple computers and want to have access to data from all of them this is definitely the tool for you!

Evaluating Food Safety on Cooking Shows

The Food Section has an interesting article on Food Safety on Cooking Shows.  I like to watch cooking shows on PBS and Food Network and often see the talent exhibit unsafe food handling practices.  I had no idea it was as prevalent as this article indicates…

“No go wash those chickeny hands!” -Alton Brown

Beef Stew

This stew is great on a cold day.  It’s the kind of comfort food we like to make when we’re stuck inside for the weekend.  You can freeze the leftovers as it reheats very well for a quick mid-week meal.  Don’t skip the parsley though, it’s a critical ingredient to the dish.  Since you opened a bottle of Cabernet you might as well enjoy the rest of it with the stew and a quality french baguette.  This recipe calls for braising in the oven but if necessary you can cook this on a stove top.

Beef Stew

3 lbs beef chuck roast (1-inch cubes and trimmed of most fat)
2 med yellow onions
3 garlic cloves
3 tbl flour
1 cup dry red wine (Cabernet works well for this)
2 cups chicken broth (low salt)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
4 med red potatoes
4 lrg carrots
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Veg Oil
Salt/Pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • Salt & pepper the cubed meat
  • Add a tablespoon of Veg Oil to dutch oven & place over med-high heat
  • Brown beef in 2-3 batches (critical step to produce the right flavor)
  • Reduce heat to med & remove beef
  • Add onions & cook until soft
  • Add garlic & cook for 30-60 seconds
  • Add flour & cook for 1-2 min
  • Add wine & cook until thick
  • Add chicken stock & bring to a simmer
  • Add beef & bring back to a simmer
  • Add bay leaves & thyme
  • Cover & bake for 1 hour
  • Add carrots & potatoes & cook for 1 additional hour
  • Remove from oven & add Peas.
  • Rest for 5 minutes & add parsley.
  • Enjoy & don’t forget the bread!

Kudzu: Potential Energy Source?

If you’ve ever traveled in the southern part of the United States you’ve no doubt seen the effects of Kudzu. This non-native vine has been slowly invading the US and moving north.  When you drive hundreds of miles and see this plant covering everything, you have to wonder if there is a use for his stuff.  If it had any real value people would be doing what they can to make a profit!

Discovery News had an interesting article ragarding the use of Kudzu ad an alternative fuel source.  Seraches on the Internet also reveal the plant is actually edible (to some extent).  As Kudzu continues its spread in the US, it’s my hope that we find a long-term use for, or a way to erradicate, the effects of this plant.