In re: Time flies – 1 year

I realized last night that tomorrow (now today) was the first anniversary of In re:.  So I thought I should do a quick happy birthday post on my thoughts of having been in the blogging world for one year.  My first thought would have to be that I am surprised I am still doing this having started In re: while studying abroad in Oxford last summer I had time and possibly more interesting surroundings to post about (although it wasn’t a blog about the summer).  Anyway, fast forward, and I’ve changed sites, possibly changed subjects (I think that I probably have phases of topics that I go through, but I definitely have less of a legal focus then when I started — likely a good thing to my few readers). 

Anyway, when my first post (and least interesting) In re: In the matter of… went up on the net last July (actually I did a few posts on that first day, possibly setting a tough precedent), I didn’t really tell anyone outside of the folks who were around me in Oxford, but slowly more people, mostly friends found out, began mentioning things to me, (requesting to add comments in one case) and basically giving me a hard time. 

Well one thing is for sure, one year of writing these brief posts hasn’t really made me a better writer as I was painfully shown a few weeks ago when some friends were in town and they and some of my friends in Columbus decided to turn on a computer and do what was hopefully the first public recitation of In re: blog posts.  I was thankfully just out of clear hearing range, as I was cooking, but hearing my own words read back was both flattering and sad, as somehow the words sound different as they come spewing out of my head, then when read back a few days later.  Either-way, it was interesting and needless to say those friends won’t be invited back. 

So whats in store for next year?  Well I’ve heard some requests to keep the food posts & photos coming, also I’d be curious to see what happens after I graduate law school.  Eitherway I’ve enjoyed year one, hope someone somewhere got something out of it and even if they didn’t it was worth it.  And now, In re: Year Two.

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In re: 0.25ml neroli oil (optional/removed due to high cost)

 Using food-grade essential oils, assemble 3.75ml orange oil; 3ml lime oil; 1ml lemon oil; 1 ml cassia oil (nb. reduce cassia content for next production); 0.75ml nutmeg oil; 0.25ml coriander oil (6 drops); 0.25ml lavender oil (6 drops); 0.25ml neroli oil (optional/removed due to high cost).

What the hell is this?  Does it sound tasty?  Well this is step one in a homebrew version of Coca Cola that a bar in Bristol, England created so that they wouldn’t have to support Coca Cola (and after they found that they weren’t keen on Virgin Cola or Pepsi).  Coke is obviously a big seller around the world and a lot of it is branding, but despite knowing this many people (myself once, although I thankfully got past my soda phase of life…only to enter the coffee phase).  Anyway, back to the story, the bar set to figure out the ‘secret’ and it took some work, but they came up with a recipe that approximated the taste of Coke (apparently despite all the secrecy in Atlanta over Cokes recipe, and the recent theft of a soda recipe, its pretty well known for the most part what is in Coke). 

So if they can make it in Bristol, can you whip this stuff up in your kitchen?  Well check out the article that goes over the story and the recipe and decide for yourself if its worth buying all the compounds, mixing equipment or if sticking to a six pack is more your style.

See The real thing.  Or is it? at the Guardian

In re: Watching Beirut die

Beirut was once considered the Paris of the Middle East, due to the culture, the food and the lifestyles.  Unfortunately this city has suffered greatly, along with many other places in the region, especially recently under the Israeli bombardment.  Just before the bombing began, in the wake of the Hezbollah incursion into Israel (I’ve admitted my bias before, this was clearly an unneeded line that I through in)  Anthony Bourdain, chef, author and host of No Reservations a TV show on the Travel Channel that I like, had just arrived to shoot on Beirut.  So as a result no TV special was filmed and instead we have an article by Tony on Salon.com about his time in Beirut and wait for his evacuation by sea.  I recommend the article, which requires you to view a short 10 sec ad for the Travel Channel. 

See Watching Beirut die by Anthony Bourdain

In re: Kazaa Settles

Australian Sharman Networks who owns Kazaa, a music file sharing network has reached a $100 million settlement with the music industry over copyright violations.  You may remember the effect of the Grokster case (MGM Studios v. Grokster) holding that file sharing companies despite not providing the actual materials that were being pirated, could be liable.  Kazaa’s software was essentially the same as Groksters (or rather I believe Grokster was a copy of Kazaa) but either-way it was only for their ‘rogue’ out of the country status that Kazaa was left standing for a while. 

Kazaa will now try and pursue ‘legal’ means of profiting from the music business, but like Napster before them this will prove difficult.  (The Napster that exists today bought the name only and was actually not the original company).  Of course the shutting down of Kazaa won’t end illegal music downloading or peer-to-peer networks, but it will mean that a bunch of lawyers will be getting a big pay day (yay law school!).

See story here

In re: More on the Master

When I wrote a post that mentioned the PBS broadcast of Jerry Baker (In re: Beer on the lawn? Dinner at Night Town? Olive oil on my table?)I had no idea that I was penning what would be my most popular entry to date, with more stumbling web searchers viewing this then any other of my ‘though-provoking’ posts.

Anyway, it got me thinking I should look into the subject once again, at least to pander to the masses who stumbled this way due to the Master Gardener himself.  Looking around the webI quickly found some interesting posts that seem to confirm how it is PBS, the supposed reputable broadcaster of our country, puts what appears to be a gardening quack on whenever it is time to raise some good old fashion cash in their fund raising drives.
Well the obvious reason is that he brings in a lot of the needed money, apparently the third most ( USA Today story ).  So is PBS violating whatever mission statement they might have posted in a hallway, by stooping so low just to stay afloat?  Well I would think so, while I guess they claim Jerry Baker hasn’t been proven to be only a quack, preaching his strange mixes to folks who find the folksy remedies for their garden aliments either amusing or the cure-all. 

“In addition, state and federal agricultural agents are angry that he trademarked the term “America’s Master Gardener” in 1994, causing widespread confusion with the U.S. Agriculture Department’s own master gardener program, which has provided rigorous scientific training to more than 100,000 lay people since 1971.”

Here at Ohio State, which runs the local PBS station you would think they would care about the quality of the programming, with such a large agricultural school. 

“Extension agents in the Ohio State University system petitioned WOSU-TV in Columbus to remove Baker’s show from the air because, they said, his advice was scientifically unsound and sometimes harmful. In a letter to the station’s general manager, the agents cited examples of bad advice, including improper and illegal use of herbicides and insecticides.

The extension agents say they got no response.

“A station affiliated with Ohio State should be using and airing good horticultural information, not the misinformation that Baker pours out,” says Jane Martin, an extension agent in Franklin County, home of Ohio State. “Every time he’s on, we get flooded with calls asking for Jerry Baker recipes, and we have to say, ‘Well, that’s not such a good idea.’

WOSU’s response: “At PBS, we present different things. Not everyone will agree with everything,” says Keri Allen, director of development. “

In re: Cleveland Brown’s owner bidding on Aston Villa football (soccer) team?

Aston Villa, a premiership football (soccer) club in Birmingham England is up for sale.  Randy Lerner who inherited the Cleveland Browns and MBNA when his father Al Lerner passed away has for almost no apparent reason shown interest and will likely put in a competing bid with the lifelong Villa fan Michael Neville has put together an offer already.  Somehow as a Cleveland Browns fan I think it would be exciting to have our owner own a premiership team and possibly have them play in Cleveland every now and then?  That said, the BBC has mentioned that it isn’t clear that Lerner is interested in English Football, as he hasn’t gotten involved in the bid to bring Major League Soccer (MLS) to Cleveland, where apparently there is some chance of a 2008 or 2009 expansion team. 

See BBC Sport

Update: It appears the Randy Lerner has pulled out his bid after meeting with the team, however it is possible some say that he could get involved, but unlikely.  I still hope that he does as I like the Cleveland connection it would provide.

In re: Pressed over garlic

Earlier I mentioned how I had started to watch America’s Test Kitchen, a cooking show on PBS (from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine) that goes about recipes in a methodical, scientific almost, approach – testing the dishes countless times.  I think I also may have mentioned I was possibly put off by the precision that was involved in what could be described as ‘soulless’ cooking.  No matter, somehow the bow-tie of the editor/host Christopher Kimball eventually won me over, with there ‘expert’ advice. 

In watching the show recently I was intrigued by the fact that they always use a garlic press, something which Alton Brown would describe as a uni-tasker (a gadget with only one use, and hence a no-no, Death to Uni-Tasker T-Shirt anyone?)  Well in the most recent show bow-tied Christopher mentioned that they love the garlic press on the show, and he is always the one to use it.  Now I’ve never owned a garlic press, but it seemed like something that wouldn’t clean up well (with the little compartment probably getting things stuck?)  I hadn’t necessarily considered however the flavor impact that the garlic preparation would have, aside from generally the smaller you crush/mince the garlic the stronger the flavor it will impart. 

So I was interested to come across a very good blog Skillet Doux, that spent time constructing an elaborate blind taste test of tomato sauce using three preparations of garlic (and keeping everything else as constant as possible), with mincing their clear winner (crushed and microplaned were the other methods).  I will throw in a tidbit that I love my microplaner and if you haven’t tried one out, I recommend them as they are not another grater, they are the best zester and Parmesan grater check it out Deconstructing Garlic.  Lastly I dialed up Wikipedia and thankfully they have an entry on garlic presses (top that Britannica) and mentions the differing opinions, with a raw chef saying it left the flavor more delicate, while Anthony Bourdain who I generally trust called them “‘abominations’ and advises ‘don’tput it through a press. I don’t know what that junk is that squeezes out of the end of those things, but it ain’t garlic.'”  So there you have it. 

OH you want to know if i’ll be joining the garlic press ranks?  Well I do like kitchen gadgets, but I might have to hold off on this one for a while as I get used to and enjoy my most recent acquisition of a Mandolin, the culmination of a life long dream (closer to reality then you would believe)  Okay more then you ever wanted to hear about a garlic press right?