Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category


12420252_f1024How to Handle, Harvest, and Prepare the Poisonous Pokeweed
The pokeweed can be found throughout the majority of the Continental United States, but is far more prevalent in the central to eastern states of the south. It is a poisonous weed, related to night shade, but if prepared for consumption correctly, it is actually considered a delicacy by many Southerners. In fact, in its cooked form, the pokeweed is so popular that many southern states hold yearly festivals in the early spring to commemorate it.

The cooked version of this weed is properly referred to as poke sallet, but many are not in tune with the proper pronunciation, so it is not uncommon to hear it referred to as poke salad. The word sallet traces back to Middle English and refers to a mess of greens cooked until tender. For example, cooked spinach could be referred to as a sallet, but raw spinach would be called a salad. This is important because for reasons that will be made clear to you later, the pokeweed should never be eaten raw. How and when one might harvest it in relative safety, and then we will detail a popular way to prepare poke sallet in the South.

12420233_f1024About the Poisoness Plant Pokeweed

First we will start by discussing all the ways in which the pokeweed can harm and/or kill you. It is worthy of note that no U.S. food organization endorses the consumption of pokeweed regardless of how it is prepared.

That being said, I would like to add that poke sallet has never harmed anyone I know that was aware of how to properly prepare it, and even the stories I’ve heard of an unwitting guest or relative finding a bowl of the uncooked leaves in a kitchen and mistaking them for spinach or some other edible, raw, green leafy, only ended with a day’s bout of diarrhea.

In addition, if, for example, pork is improperly prepared, it too can harm and/or kill a person. The FDA and the like are fine with giving pork the green light. My point is that foraging is becoming increasingly popular these days, and whether or not you choose to prepare and eat poke sallet is entirely up to you. It isn’t illegal, and if you are the sort of person who can follow directions and knows how not to cross-contaminate, this recipe might be for you. Now back to the dangerous nature of the pokeweed. Poison can be found throughout this plant, and only birds are immune to the effects. When this plant first sprouts in the early spring, it is at its least poisonous. Throughout the maturation of the pokeweed, the plant’s toxicity increases.

The most toxic part of the pokeweed is the root system. The roots of the pokeweed are by far the most potentially lethal part of the pokeweed. Next in toxicity are the leaves and stems. At some point the pokeweed will fruit. The fully ripened fruit of the pokeweed are quite toxic.
When it reaches maturity, the pokeweed can grow to over ten feet in height. It goes from a green to a beautiful purple color. Its ripened berries are usually a shiny, eye-catching black. Attracted by their beauty, many a child has became ill or died from the ingestion of these berries. Because they have harmed so many children over the years, some have suggested eliminating the pokeweed altogether.

Despite all the negative press, the mature pokeweed is still employed by some in plant arrangements because of its beauty and the plant is also sometimes rendered down to produce ink.
Safely Picking Pokeweed

12420245_f1024The next step is physically harvesting the plant. I highly recommend wearing gloves when you touch the raw pokeweed to avoid any poisoning from skin contact, though many do not. Of even more importance is having a cutting tool and cutting the pokeweed above the root system, as the root system is the most toxic part of the plant. Again, a lot of people just pull it up roots and all and are fine, but being as these roots are the most deadly part of the plant, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Pick a whole lot of it. When you get the pokeweed home and it is ready to cook, you will remove the edible leaves from the pokeweed’s stem, and then the leaves will go through an extensive cooking process to lessen the plant’s toxicity. This will cause what once looked like a great deal of pokeweed to reduce in size immensely. For example, a paper grocery bag full of pokeweed will probably only yield about 2 large servings of poke sallet.

I would recommend that you cook the pokeweed the same day you harvest it, but if you can’t, educate everyone in the household that is mature enough to understand about the plant’s toxicity, and keep the pokeweeds out of reach of small children and pets.
Preparing Poke Sallet

12420250_f1024The following is a southern style of preparing poke sallet, so of course it involves frying. For those of you who prefer your food healthier, poke sallet does not have to be fried, but it is essential that it go through the multi-stage boiling and rinsing detoxification process first regardless of how you choose to incorporate it in your food.

First, I recommend wearing gloves at the beginning of the cooking process. You want to start by removing all the leaves from the pokeweed plant. This is the part you will eat. Dispose of the rest of the plant in a safe manner.

Wash the leaves in cool water. Then place the leaves in a pot of water and bring them to a rolling boil for 20 minutes. Next pour the leaves into a sieve. Rinse the pokeweed leaves with cool water.

Repeat the above boiling and rinsing process at least one more time. Personally, like most people I know that prepare poke sallet, I only do the boiling and rinse twice, but many recipes recommend boiling and rinsing 3 times.

You are likely safe to dispose of your gloves after the first boiling and rinsing process. The thinking behind this is that you probably are no longer at risk of contact poisoning after the first boil/rinse and continuing to wear the same pair of gloves might cause toxins to be put back into the sallet that you have worked so hard to extract.

If you are very precautious, one might use a new pair of gloves for each handling of the pokeweed leaves throughout the boil/rinse process. That being said, many people that have prepared poke sallet throughout their live have never used the precaution of gloves at all with no perceivable consequence.

You definitely want to wash your boiling pot out after each boiling cleanse as not to put any toxins back in the pokeweed leaves that you have taken out. The same goes for your sieve. Clean it before each new rinse.

After you have properly detoxified the pokeweed leaves, you are going to panfry them for a couple of minutes in bacon grease. Last you add a bit of crumbled bacon and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve your poke sallet as a side. It is an excellent compliment for most any meal. The flavor is quite similar to fresh cooked spinach, but subtler in nature. If you like fresh cooked greens and you follow the steps properly, you will enjoy this dish

Cook Time12420255_f1024

Prep time: 2 hours Cook time: 3 hours Ready in: 5 hours Yields: Pick a lot. The pokeweed reduces down drastically.
Ingredients

Pokeweed Leaves
Bacon Fat, Enough to Coat Pan
Crushed Bacon, to Taste
Salt & Pepper, to Taste
Poke Sallet Recipe

Remove Pokeweed Leaves from Plant
Rinse Pokeweed Leaves in Cool Water
Bring Leaves to Rolling Boil in Large Pot for 20 Minutes
Pour Leaves into Sieve and Rinse in Cool Water
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 two more times
Panfry Pokeweed Leaves for a Couple of Minutes in Bacon Grease
Add Crushed Bacon, Salt and Pepper to Taste
Serve and Enjoy

History of King Cakes and recipe

Posted: January 23, 2017 in Recipes, Tutorials
Tags: , ,

kingcakeThe Mardi Gras or Carnival season officially begins on January 6th or the "Twelfth Night," also known to Christians as the "Epiphany." Epiphany comes from a Greek word that means "to show." Jesus first showed himself to the three wise men and to the world on this day. As a symbol of this Holy Day, a tiny plastic baby is placed inside each King Cake
The King Cake tradition is thought to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870. A King Cake is an oval-shaped bakery delicacy, crossed between a coffee cake and a French pastry that is as rich in history as it is in flavor. It’s decorated in royal colors of PURPLE which signifies "Justice," GREEN for "Faith," and GOLD for "Power." These colors were chosen to resemble a jeweled crown honoring the Wise Men who visited the Christ Child on Epiphany. In the past such things as coins, beans, pecans, or peas were also hidden in each King Cake.

Today, a tiny plastic baby is the common prize. At a party, the King Cake is sliced and served. Each person looks to see if their piece contains the "baby." If so, then that person is named "King" for a day and bound by custom to host the next party and provide the King Cake.

Mardi Gras Day has a moveable date and may occur on any Tuesday from February 3rd to March 9th. It is always the day before Ash Wednesday, and always falls 46 days before Easter.

King Cake recipe

lge_kingcakeIngredients

1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
2 packages dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
4 to 5 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup finely chopped candied citron
1 pecan half, uncooked dried bean or King Cake Baby
Glaze:
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
Purple, green and gold sugar crystals

Directions

Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Combine the warm water, yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside to a warm place for about 10 minutes. Combine the 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, nutmeg, lemon rind and add warm milk, melted butter, egg yolks and yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place the dough in a well-greased bowl. Turn once so greased surface is on top.
Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch the dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the citron and knead until the citron is evenly distributed. Shape the dough into a cylinder, about 30 inches long. Place the cylinder on a buttered baking sheet. Shape into a ring, pinching ends together to seal. Place a well-greased 2-pound coffee can or shortening can in the center of the ring to maintain shape during baking. Press the King Cake Baby, pecan half or dried bean into the ring from the bottom so that it is completely hidden by the dough. Cover the ring with a towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the coffee can immediately. Allow the cake to cool. For the glaze: Combine the ingredients and beat until smooth. To assemble, drizzle cake with the glaze. Sprinkle with sugar crystals, alternating colors.

Do I plan to attend the Mardi Gras Day  and the great parades? Oh yes I am! it’s not that far away for me to travel, I hope the battery power on my scooter can last as long as the parties, food and all the dancing in the streets, and I promise I won’t Martini glass and drive my scooter Fingers crossed

tx_to_new orleans

HTML is not dead

Posted: January 1, 2017 in Tutorials
Tags: , ,

example_web_designGood web design does not have to be hard or complicated, even though most web designers are moving away from HTML I find that this web building is still a good way to go, simple is always better and good navigation on a web site is most important. Left Colum navigation menu is easiest and best however Left or right or a combination of either along with horizontal at the top menu are fine as well, stay away from using pictures as navigation menu because the viewer may miss the link thinking it’s just an image, not all visitors know to mouse over things while browsing your site. Click the picture to view full size then click back to return

HTML Basics

HTML is a markup language that is the basic building blocks of websites. It is written in the form of HTML elements which consist of tags, like <html>.

If you’re planning on building your own website from scratch, or another type of website building tool, a basic knowledge of HTML will help you create the website you want.

Setting up a blank HTML document

If you are starting with a blank html file, at the top of your document, type:

<!DOCTYPE HTML> (Declares the file as a standard HTML5 document)
<html>
< body>

your content goes here
</body>
< /html>
at the bottom of the document.
You’ll be placing all your text and other HTML tags between these opening and closing tags.

Basic Font Styling

Bold Text:
Your Text here = <strong> Your Text here </strong>

Italic Text:
Your Text here = <em> Your Text here </em>

Bold & Italic Text:
Your Text here = <strong><em> Your Text here </em></strong>

Changing Font Size:
Your Text here = <p style="font-size:18px"> Your Text here </p>

Changing Font Color:
Your Text here = <p style="color:#f00"> Your Text here </p>

Changing Fonts:
Verdana = <p style="font-family:Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif"> Verdana </p>
Georgia = <p style="font-family:Georgia, ‘Times New Roman’, Times, serif"> Verdana </p>
Courier = <p style="font-family:’Courier New’, Courier, monospace"> Verdana </p>
Arial / Helvetica = <p style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"> Arial/Helvetica </p>
Lucida = <p style="font-family:’Lucida Sans Unicode’, ‘Lucida Grande’, sans-serif"> Lucida </p>

 

Images

Adding an image to your site

<img src="path_to_your_images/exampleImage.jpg" alt="alternative text – this is an image" />

Images can be floated to the left or right within a layout or block of text by using floats.

<img src="path_to_your_images/exampleImage.jpg" alt="this is an image" style="float:left" />

<img src="path_to_your_images/exampleImage.jpg" alt="this is an image" style="float:right" />

Heading Tags

Here is the code to add different Heading styles to your page:
< h1>Heading 1</h1>
< h2>Heading 2</h1>
< h3>Heading 3</h1>

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Note: Due to differences in styling from website to website, your Heading tags may look differently

Paragraphs & Lists

Code to make a new paragraph:
< p> Your text goes here </p>

Code to make an unordered list:
< ul>
<li>Your text goes here, inside a list item tag. </li>
</ul>

  • This text is inside of a <li> tag, inside of a <ul> tag.
  • Here is a second <li> tag, inside of the same <ul> tag.

Code to make an ordered list:
< ol>
<li>Your text goes here, inside a list item tag. </li>
</ol>

  1. This text is inside of a <li> tag, inside of a <ol> tag.
  2. Here is a second <li> tag, inside of the same <ol> tag.
Divs & other layout tags

Here are examples of HTML tags used in creating a website. /p>

Insert your content here. Div tags are the main building blocks in creating a website’s layout.

< br /> – Use this tag to create returns (line breaks) in your paragraphs.
< hr /> – Use this tag to create a horizontal rule on your page.
< table> <tr> <td> </td> </tr> </table> – Use the table tags to create a space for tabular data on your website.

Table Example:
< table>
<tr>
<td> Data 1 </td>
<td> Data 2 </td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td> Data 3 </td>
<td> Data 4 </td>
</tr>
</table>

Data 1
Data 2

Data 3
Data 4

You can use CSS to make the table look much nicer.

Data 1
Data 2

Data 3
Data 4

Here’s the CSS code used to edit the table:
<style>
table{border:1px solid; border-right:none; border-bottom:0; background:#CCC; border-spacing:0; width:350px}
table.td{padding:5px; border-right:1px solid; border-bottom:1px solid; text-align:center}
</style>

I hope this helps you to understand some basics of good web site design remember simple is always better, you want the person who is visiting to be able to navigate your whole site without being confused as to what to click on and what is just images , etc.