Innovations of the modern world

One of the best innovations that we use today is the computer. It is important because we use it for entertainment, research, and business-related work; just like what I am doing right now.

Before I explain why this innovation is important, we need to learn how and when this technological marvel was innovated. To be general, the computer is a device that goes through innovation after innovation ever since it was invented. From the internet to the actual hardware of the computer, people are still finding ways for it to be better. From ASUS to apple, companies are currently making better designs and faster processors for new computers. Take, for example one of the best innovations from the 70s, the apple 2 computer by the apple company:

This computer was one of the most successful innovations and is the most influential. It has increased storage space, able to be hooked up to a TV monitor, and has much less parts than other brands; this meant that not only did they make a computer where they are much more advanced and practical, but was also cheaper. Apple sold several million of these by the end of its production in 1993, meaning that many companies and households used to have these. This innovation was made in the late 70s and is considered one of the most successful product that apple has made in its history. Now take my computer, for example:

20150405_105137 20150405_105423

It is a gaming laptop from ASUS called the G750. It was built to create a comfortable gaming experience, meaning it has a sleek design and powerful graphics card and processor, along with a large screen. This computer is practically a portable desktop. Because of this, a laptop such as this is one of the most powerful computers by far. This innovation was made in 2014, more than 40 years later after the introduction of the apple 2. In today’s standards, the apple 2 is considered a relic, but we can’t deny the impact that it had made in today’s technology. It is one of the reasons why we have amazing computers today. Heck, I even remember when we have to connect a cable to our desktops when we have to access the internet, and when computers are only able to hold just a small amount of data in their hardware; now the performance, resolution, quality, and hardware of the home computer has been improved in over 40 years. Not only that, we are also to that point when our phones have become handheld computers and are called “smartphones”.

The category that this innovation falls into is technology. This is obviously because this is a device that we use for practical purposes. From gathering information to meeting new people, the computer has given us boundless opportunities to either share our ideas with the world with ease or learn from one another through what we see in the internet. It is one of the many devices in our homes that is always being used for business or personal reasons, like playing video games or doing homework. To be honest, these are the reasons why I am dependent on the computer. It relieves my stress, let’s me escape reality for a while, and helps me whenever I have something important to do. It is the reason why we are able to learn so much in such a little time; why work has become much more comfortable, and why we are able to meet people halfway across the world and make new connections. With that said, it is safe to say that the computer is one of the most important innovations in the present day.

Advertisements

Dieting is fun

The kind of diet that I tried out in one week is a cardiac diet. Apparently, this diet is used in Birmingham, Alabama hospital for patients that need to lose weight before going through surgery. The good thing about this diet is that it is only on 3 days, it actually works, it is simple to follow, and the food is easy to get and make, meaning you can use this diet for a long time without permanently changing the way you eat. The bad thing is that the menu for this is bland; it gets boring fast, it is very strict, you cannot eat anything except what is on the menu and the only seasoning you are only allowed to use is salt and pepper. This could be because this diet works as a chemical breakdown and won’t work if you do not follow it.

Here is the link to the diet: http://cartercountymarket.com/html/cardiac.html

Below is the daily log and progress of my diet.

Day 1: this is what I ate this day:

breakfast: peanut butter on toast and 1/2 grapefruit with green tea
Breakfast: peanut butter on toast and 1/2 grapefruit with green tea

Lunch: 1/2 cup of tuna with toast and green tea
Lunch: 1/2 cup of tuna with toast and green tea
dinner: blanched green beans and raw carrots with cooked pork and a small apple with vanilla ice cream for dessert
dinner: blanched green beans and raw carrots with cooked pork and a small apple with vanilla ice cream for dessert

Don’t really feel anything different today, just that it feels like my stomach is full of air; I keep burping at night and it feels very uncomfortable. Other than that, the day was pretty normal.

Day 2: This is what I ate on this day:

breakfast: a hard boiled egg on toast with 1/2 a banana and green tea
Breakfast: a hard boiled egg on toast with 1/2 a banana and green tea
lunch: canned tuna on saltine crackers
Lunch: canned tuna on saltine crackers
dinner: 2 hot dogs (wieners) with blanched broccoli, raw carrots, and 1/2 a banana with vanilla ice creamfor dessert
Dinner: 2 hot dogs (wieners) with blanched broccoli, raw carrots, and 1/2 a banana with vanilla ice creamfor dessert

Other than accidentally eating fish during cooking class, I am still staying true to the diet; it may or may not be a problem, but I try to make sure to watch what I eat so I can get the full effects of the diet

Day 3:

hard boiled egg with toast and green tea
Breakfast: hard boiled egg with toast and green tea
a slice of cheddar with crackers, a small apple, and green tea
Lunch: a slice of cheddar with crackers, a small apple, and green tea (accidentally overcooked the crackers and cheese in the oven)
dinner: a cup of tuna with raw carrots, blanched green beans, and an apple with vanilla ice cream for dessert (plated it this way so it looks good)
Dinner: a cup of tuna with raw carrots, blanched green beans, and an apple with vanilla ice cream for dessert (plated it this way so it looks good)

I felt really tired after class; could be because I am still getting used to the diet. So far, I am getting really  annoyed about it and how I still have to do this for two more days.

Day 4: since the diet only lasts for 3 days, I just repeat the process again, except I mix it up some more just to make it interesting:

breakfast: peanut butter on toast with grapefruit on the side and green tea (just a repeat of day 1)
Breakfast: peanut butter on toast with grapefruit on the side and green tea (just a repeat of day 1)
lunch: tuna on toast with green tea
Lunch: tuna on toast with green tea
cooked pork (just seasoned with salt) with a side of green beans and carrots with vanilla ice cream sprinkled with rough cut apple slices
Dinner: cooked pork (just seasoned with salt) with a side of green beans and carrots with vanilla ice cream sprinkled with rough cut apple slices

I could see the diet working; I actually lost a couple of pounds because of it. My only complaint is the fact that the food is really bland. There really is not alot I could do to make it tastier, so I just eat them and hope that it works again.

Day 5:

breakfast: a mixture of banana and hard-boiled egg seasoned with salt on toast with green tea
Breakfast: a mixture of banana and hard-boiled egg seasoned with salt on toast with green tea
lunch: saltine crackers with a side of tuna
Lunch: saltine crackers with a side of tuna
dinner: sliced hot dogs on  top of carrots and green beans with 1/2 of a banana and vanilla ice cream on the side
Dinner: sliced hot dogs on top of carrots and green beans with 1/2 of a banana and vanilla ice cream on the side

This is the day when I felt really hungry. I felt like eating something but restrained myself by drinking water. My stomach kept growling and felt unsatisfied. On the bright side, the water kept me full and prevented me from craving anything else. however, I felt more and more bored from the diet and occupied myself mostly to distract myself from other food.

Day 6:

Feeling really annoyed and frustrated with the diet; there was nothing else to work with so I just improvised with the food:

breakfast: hard boiled egg sliced on toast with green tea
Breakfast: hard boiled egg sliced on toast with green tea
luch: melted cheddar cheese on apple slices with saltine crackers and green tea
Lunch: melted cheddar cheese on apple slices with saltine crackers and green tea
dinner: tuna, blanched cauliflower, and raw carrots with apple shake (vanilla, a small apple, and some of the cauliflower and carrots)
Dinner: tuna, blanched cauliflower, and raw carrots with apple shake (vanilla, a small apple, and some of the cauliflower and carrots)

The reason why I put vegetables inthe shake is because that way, i don’t have to chew ALL of the vegetables, making it easier for me to eat. This is also when I tried out the alternatives in the menu; I prefer the cauliflower over the green beans because it tastes better.

Day 7:

Breakfast: toast and grapefruit topped with peanut butter and green tea
Breakfast: toast and grapefruit topped with peanut butter and green tea
Lunch: tuna and toast with black coffee
Lunch: tuna and toast with black coffee
roasted pork belly seasoned with salt and pepper with green beans and carrots and an apple smoothie (vanilla, apple, green beans and carrots)
roasted pork belly seasoned with salt and pepper with green beans and carrots and an apple smoothie (vanilla, apple, green beans and carrots)

It is the last day and feel very relieved; I actually saw that I lost some more pounds and am really satisfied with that. My only regret is putting peanut butter on the grapefruit; the bitter taste of the grapefruit and the sweet peanut butter taste does not go well together in my opinion.

To conclude, this diet is one that I can do over and over again, just not for a long time. It may be effective, but it gets in the way when you do it constantly, especially when you a chef and you have to try different foods. what I like about this is that the dinner portions are much better than the breakfast or lunch portions, even though I played it safe by eating the vegetables the way they are or blanching them beforehand so I could get most of the nutrients from them for better results.

What I don’t like about this diet is that it is very demanding; you need to follow the rules to the letter or else it won’t work and you have to start over again. I recommend this to anyone who wants to shed some pounds on a short time or just want to try out. The only thing about this is that if you do not follow the rules, it can’t work. Also, a word of advice for those who will do this diet, drink plenty of water because you will get hungry during this. This diet is great, and I would use this again, at least 2 times a month; this will be enough for me to diet and not have any problems with being a chef. With that said, this diet is amazingly easy to follow but very strict with its rules.

Choice cuts

The butcher shop that I went to is the healthy butcher:

20150131_164950

I was going through the choice cuts until one caught my eye; the skirt steak:

2015-02-01 20.01.07

According to the butcher, it is from the plate part of the cow; the plate is between the brisket and flank, which is also below the ribs. This cut is thinner than other steaks and is valued by taste other than tenderness. He also said that this type of cut is mostly seared and used for dishes such as fajitas. Considering that it is $15.99 per pound and that it was aged for 21 days, I expect it to taste good.

Upon further research of the cut, I learned that there are two kinds of short steaks; the inside and outside skirt. Apparently, the inside skirt is more desirable because it contains less membrane from the diaphragm, meaning that it is more tender than the outside skirt. I also learned that it should be cooked to medium—any more then it gets tough. This cut also responds well to marinating due to its loose texture and rich flavour

The next day, I searched for a recipe that goes with the skirt steak. I found the recipe on a book by Mark Bittman:

20150201_154834

The recipe that I found was a grilled skirt steak with sauce au Chien. This recipe calls for grilling the skirt steak while seasoning both sides, and serve it with the sauce on the side.

How I would prepare it is to marinate it in a liquid that consists of vegetable oil, soy sauce, cumin, lime juice, and garlic for an hour or more. I would then grill it in a crosshatch pattern and cut it into thin strips. I would then serve it with red pepper, and carrot strips and romaine lettuce wrapped in a fajita that is grilled lightly. I would charge at least $5.00 per fajita and considering that it is easy to do, it would be effective in a fast-paced restaurant, given that the meat has been marinating for several hours or so. I would also recommend this to anyone who wants a good meal during a special event, given that you have enough money to buy the steak.

Eggs and I: making soft-boiled eggs

The kind of egg that I will make is soft-boiled egg. This is the same as making hard-boiled egg, except that the yolk is still runny on the inside. The way to cook this kind of egg is at high heat and for a short time. you have to make sure that the egg white is set, but the yolk inside has to still be runny; if the yolk is firm, then it would be a hard-boiled egg. This is how I made my soft-boiled eggs:

1. Get 2 whole eggs; I made sure I get the oldest eggs I had by checking their best before dates because they are good for boiling. considering considering I only had white eggs, I chose those for boiling

20150118_175255

2. Place the eggs in a small pot with enough cold water to cover them. Bring the eggs to a boil at high heat for at least 3 minutes or less:

20150118_17550220150118_18000720150118_182203

3. Bring them out of heat and rinse them with cold water to cool:

20150118_181043

4. When eggs are cool enough, peel off shell. enjoy.

Considering the quantity of eggs that I made, using this method with 50 or more eggs is possible; then again, with that amount of eggs, they should be boiled in a large pot and in at least 3 minutes or more.

This is a picture of the finished product:

20150118_183710

Since I made this close to dinner time, I will eat my egg with rice and the braised pork roast that my father made; the other egg I boiled will eat for breakfast the following day:

20150118_183959

Soup Making

The soup I selected to make is a beef soup with noodles. The history of this soup is that I obtained beef and veal bones from a lab in George brown; we were tasked to create stocks and roast the bones. At the end of the class, our professor (chef) advised us to take home the bones and use them instead of discarding them, so I made beef stock with them; unfortunately, I burned the bones, which is why the beef stock looks very dark. After making the beef stock, I had no idea what to do, until I had an idea. Considering I like noodles for breakfast, I experimented on the stock by making my own combination on the beef noodle soup in order to try out different flavours and combinations. This recipe consists of ingredients that I think would make the soup flavorful, and also because these ingredients are the only ones I found fitting in the soup.

1 ½ cup beef stock

1 egg

2 pcs dry noodle discs

1 pc onion, brunoise

½ cup spinach

10 mL virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 pc bay leaf

Sea salt

Pepper

Monosodium glutamate

10 mL soy sauce

Hot sauce (optional)

Calaminsi (powder or fresh) (optional)

The ingredients: 20141205_190315   20141205_192315

  1. In a small saucepan, boil noodles in water on high heat for 3 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil sweat onion on separate pot.
  3. Add garlic and continue sweating.
  4. Add beef stock on onion and garlic and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  5. Add soy sauce and (if desired) add calamansi and/or hot sauce.
  6. Add noodles, egg, bay leaf, salt, monosodium glutamate, salt and pepper on beef stock. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  7. At the last 2 minutes, add spinach.
  8. Season when needed, plate and serve.

Sweating the onion and boiling the noodles: 20141205_191746

Finished product: 20141205_193635

The procedure was a tad rocky, considering that I overcooked the noodles and put the egg in too late, but nevertheless it looks edible enough.

The taste of the soup is peculiar to me. First is the noodles; regardless of how hot it was (temperature-wise), the taste of beef is there, regardless of how brief it is, and it is also spicy from the hot sauce. Second, the soup itself has most of the beefy taste, along with the taste of egg from the egg, and has the same spiciness as the noodles. Even though the spinach is cooked, the taste is still separate from the beef. Plus, the soup has a bitter taste to it, considering I used burnt bones for the stock. The texture is thick, and I still feel the onions. The stench of the soup is still beef, and the noodles has a light brown color from the beef stock.

I had my father try the soup; he said that it was good, but I think he’s just saying that.

Overall, what I experienced from this is that I should constantly check on what I am roasting to keep it from burning, and to try out more flavors. I will still try out various combinations of food and see which ones compliment the other. This experiment was somewhat a success, because I saw it through, but the ingredients that I used were either bitter, old, or both. In the future, I would like to experiment on different spices and seasonings on other soups or roasts.

Pickling tomatoes

What I chose to pickle are cherry tomatoes. They are small and taste juicy and delicious. The reason I chose this is because I want to know what king of flavor it will develop when pickled. This is also why I chose a pickling method for these tomatoes.

I have chosen to pickle them in a brine solution; a solution of high salt content in water such as the sea or ocean. This is also I could preserve them so I could figure out what to do with them. It also kills bacteria which means that it can stay in the fridge for a long time beyond its expiration date. This brine, however, has added content such as vinegar, an her, and garlic in order to give the tomatoes added flavor.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickling, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brine, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/brine)

The pickling recipe that I have followed is from here: http://prudentbaby.com/2012/09/entertaining-food/how-to-pickle-tomatoes-a-yummy-recipe-to-preserve-tomatoes/.

Ingredients:

Cherry tomatoes (amount varies on how much you want to pickle)

Brine solution:

1.5 cups apple cider vinegar
1.5 cups filtered water
2 tbls salt
2 tbls sugar
4-8 garlic cloves, sliced
Pinch coriander
4-6 peppercorns

20141113_183932

Method:

  1. Poke 2-3 holes on each tomato in order for brine to seep in and be absorbed by the tomato.
  2. Combine all brine ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Let the brine cool to room temperature.
  4. Place tomatoes in glass jars and pour brine on top of them
  5. Refrigerate for 24 hours or longer

2014-11-13 19.02.32

Here are the finished products:

20141114_191903

The tomatoes look a tad shriveled and some of them has their skin coming off. This could be due to the fact that I poured the brine a tad early. The smell of vinegar is overpowering when close enough and the texture of the tomatoes are tender and soft when you bite into them, it is still soft and jelly-like. The first taste you notice is the cider vinegar from the brine, meaning that it is sour after the first bite. That taste goes away after a while and the tomato’s natural taste is the one that follows afterward, meaning that it still held on to that sweet taste. It also responds to umami, which means that it tastes delicious and satisfying. Overall, the taste of the pickled tomatoes are mostly sweet from the tomato and sugar and somewhat sour from the garlic, herb, and peppercorns.

What I can say from this experience is that I have preserved tomatoes that can go good with salads. What I failed on are two things; one is the brine. It was still too hot when I poured it on the tomatoes, which is the reason why their skin are starting to peel off. The second is the timing. I should have let them marinate and ferment longer than 24 hours to get better results. I would’ve given it at least a week for it to ferment in order to fully take advantage of the brine. Maybe next time I could make jerky or smoke a chicken.

Fruit Hunting

Featured image                                            Featured image                                   20141024_210103
The fruit that I chose to try out is the persimmon. I got them from the St. Lawrence market, a market that is a walking distance from George brown. It is a big market with a large variety and selections of different kinds of fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, and other food items. The reason why I chose the persimmon is because it looked interesting and appetizing to me. I picked the persimmons that has little to no bruises; I got ones that have small black spots/ streaks on them, which apparently means that it is ripe and is also somewhat soft when you lightly press on them.

There were two types of persimmons that they were selling; the type that I bought were hachiya persimmons. They originated from the persimmon tree that is native to Japan, Their appearance has a resemblance of acorns without their hats, and their color goes from bright yellow on the top and changes to an orange color on the way to the bottom. In the market, they were selling it in a 2/$3.00 deal. They are in season between October and February.

The persimmon is interesting in terms of taste and smell. The smell of the fruit’s interior is sweet, however faint; it is similar to a peach. The taste is also sweet, juicy, and umame because it had that savory taste that stays for a while. It taste a lot like a warm mango smoothie (to me at least). The texture of the interior also differs; the flesh closer to the skin has that firm feel, meaning you can hear a crunch on the back of your ear when you bite into it, and it has that jelly-like texture the further you are from the skin, meaning that most of the juice is at the core of the fruit.

If I were to cook persimmons, I would bake them into a cheesecake. This is because persimmons are used on a lot of baked goods, and I would like to try baking it in a cheesecake and see what it tastes like. Here is a recipe for the persimmon cheesecake: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Persimmon-Cheesecake/Detail.aspx?evt19=1.

What I learned from this experience is the two types of persimmons, the different ways to bake this particular fruit, and the time required to ripen them in order to have their flavor in the right stage.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persimmon, http://localfoods.about.com/od/persimmons/tp/persimmons.htm, http://culinaryadventureco.com/tour/st-lawrence-market-old-town-food-tour/.