Your Culinary Herb Garden

The romance of caring for a culinary herb garden is appealing to all kinds of people. City dwellers often plant edible herbs in window boxes and flower pots while people surrounded by land may plant and maintain several dozen different culinary and fragrance herbs. Cooking with herbs has always been popular. Herbs enhance the flavor of food and can add new life to old favorites.

All herbs are wonderfully easy to grow, which has long made them a favorite of gardeners everywhere; culinary herb gardens have the added benefit of making a valuable contribution to the kitchen. Instead of paying high prices at the grocery store or farmer’s market, people who grow culinary herbs only have to snip a few leaves from a plant to get the fresh flavors they need for cooking.

Choosing Culinary Herbs

To get the most out of your culinary herb garden, it is important that you choose your plants wisely. While the idea of growing spearmint may sound appealing at first, if you don’t care for the taste of mint then you probably won’t get very much out of growing it. To choose what culinary herbs to grow, think about the kinds of foods you like to prepare. If you like Italian cooking, then you will frequently use oregano, basil, and thyme. Mediterranean cooking makes frequent use of parsley and mint, and meat-based dishes can benefit richly from the addition of rosemary.

Growing Your Herbs

Just about every garden center and nursery has a selection of live herbs available for purchase in the late spring. Spring is also the time to get a good price on seeds; it’s possible to get many seed packets for the price of a single live plant, so people wishing to grow several herbs can save money by purchasing seeds. Herbs are hardy plants that are easy to grow from seed. Simply sow the seeds according the guidelines provided on the package and wait a few weeks.

After purchase, live herbs should be promptly repotted into larger containers. A roomy flower pot gives your herbs space to spread out and grow, so choose a container that will promote a thriving plant. To get the most out of your culinary herbs, consider buying a book of herb growing or borrow one from the library. Learn about the different needs of each herb; you’ll have a much better chance at gardening success if you provide the right kind of soil, light conditions, and amount of water.

Enjoying Your Herbs

Before you know it, your culinary herbs will be ready to use. To harvest, clip leaves or stems from the plant while taking care not to disturb the roots or take too much of the growing plant. This bit of pruning gives you the herbs you need and can stimulate further plant growth.

When using your herbs in recipes, read the instructions carefully. Many recipes were written with the assumption that the cook is using dried herbs; if you use the same amount of fresh herb, you may find that you’ve used too much. It only takes a small amount of fresh herb to deliver a large amount of flavor.

Once you start cooking with herbs, you’re sure to discover many more ways to use them. Your cooking will be more flavorful and enjoyable than ever with the addition of fresh culinary herbs.

Coffee Facts – The Different Types of Coffee Beans

All over the world, people drink coffee from basically one of two types of coffee beans: Arabica beans (“Coffea Arabica”) and Robusta beans (“Coffea Robusta”)

Arabica beans are aromatic, flavorful coffee beans used for gourmet, specialty coffees. The term refers to Coffea Arabica, the taxonomic species named for the genus responsible for about 75% of the world’s commercial coffee crop. Coffea Arabica is a woody perennial evergreen that belongs to same family as Gardenias.

Robusta beans contain twice the caffeine as Arabicas. Robusta beans are somewhat bitter and lack the flavor and aroma of Arabica beans. Robusta beans are used to produce blends, instant and freeze dried coffees.

There are other types of coffee species but they are very rare or non-existent in the export market. As a result, the fact is that we all drink either Arabica or Robusta coffee. Sounds simple, right? Not quite.

There are many “varietals” within Arabica coffee trees which yield coffee beans with distinct flavors and characteristics. This is where the fun begins. To name a few,

ETHIOPIAN COFFEE: Ethiopian Harrar, Sidamo and Yirgacheffe. Each is named after their region of origin and they have very distinct flavor characteristics. For example, Ethiopian Harrar is known for its medium body, earthy flavor, almost no acidity and a very smooth mouth feel. This is a complex coffee with light spicy tones and a fruity flavor that some people compare to the taste of dry red wine. As the ‘birthplace of coffee,” Ethiopia has a unique place in the coffee world.

KENYAN COFFEE: Kenyan AA. This coffee comes from the area surrounding Mount Kenya, a region with fertile red volcanic soil. The coffee is known for its very acidic taste you taste right away in the mouth, and then followed by a medium body with an aftertaste of earthy flavor.

TANZANIAN COFFEE: Tanzanian Peaberry focuses on pea berry instead of traditional coffee beans. Coffee is the dried seed from the fruit of a flowering tree. Each fruit has two seeds facing each other. On the coffee tree, there is a percentage of the fruit that has a single seed or peaberry and the rest will have two flat beans for the usual two (2) seeds per fruit. The single bean peaberry occurs in less than 5% of any crop and is generally considered to produce a more concentrated flavor.

COLOMBIAN COFFEE: major cultivars of Arabica beans include Bourbon, Caturra, Maragogype and Typica. Colombian coffees also include the name of the growing regions such as Cauca, Nariño, Amazonas, Bucaramanga, etc. Colombia accounts for more than a tenth of the world’s entire coffee supply. Colombian Arabica coffee is perhaps the most well-known, partly due to its “living” and successful coffee advertising iconic symbols recognized worldwide, Juan Valdez and Conchita, the mule. The more generic Colombian coffees are rated as Excelso and Supremo. These terms simply refer to the size of the coffee beans, not necessarily to better coffee grades.

COSTA RICAN COFFEE: Costa Rican Tarrazu is a prized Arabica coffee. It is named after the San Marcos de Tarrazu valley, one of the four premium coffee growing districts surrounding the capital city of San Jose. The other varietals include Tres Rios, Heredia and Alajuela. Costa Rican coffees are balanced, clean, with bright acidity featuring citrus or berry-like flavors and hints of chocolate and spice in the finish.

BRAZILIAN COFFEE: Brazil Santos Bourbon comes from the hills of Sào Paulo state in the south-central portion of the country near the port of Santos. Historically, these Arabica coffee plants were brought to the island of Bourbon now known as the Island of Reunion. Brazil Santos Bourbon is a light bodied coffee, with low acidity, a pleasing aroma and a mild, smooth flavor.

INDONESIAN COFFEE: Java is the most famous Arabica varietal from the island of Java. The top grade of Java coffee is cultivated on former Dutch plantations and is called Java Estate. This is a clean, thick, full body coffee with less of the earthy characteristics that other Indonesia coffees feature, such as Sumatra or Sulawesi. The Java coffees provide a smooth complement to the Yemen Mocha which is very intense. The traditional Mocha Java blend is the combination of Java and Yemen Mocha.

SUMATRAN COFFEE: Sumatra Mandheling and Sumatra Lintong. Sumatra Lintong originates in the Lintong district of Sumatra near Lake Toba. This coffee has a medium, bodied coffee, low acid, sweet with a complex and earthy aroma. Sumatra Mandheling has a rich, heavy body, subdued acidity and unique complex flavor. This coffee actually does not originate in the Mandheling region but is named after the Mandailing people in the north of Sumatra.

HAWAIIAN COFFEE: closer to home, in Hawaii, the best known Arabica varietal is Hawaiian Kona coffee. This Arabica bean grows on the slopes of Mount Hualalai and Mauna Loa which makes it not only exclusive to Hawaii but also to the Kona District specifically.

JAMAICAN COFFEE: the Arabica varietal that grows predominantly in the Blue Mountain region of this island is called Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. The Blue Mountains stretch between Kingston and Port Maria in Jamaica. This region enjoys a cool and misty climate. Due to its limited production quantity, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is expensive.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA COFFEE: located just north of Australia, Papua New Guinea coffee cultivation was started in 1937 using imported seeds from Jamaica’s famous Blue Mountain region. As a result, Papua New Guinea has noticeable similarities to Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. The rich volcanic soil and excellent climate produce a mild and mellow, full-bodied coffee with moderate acidity, broad flavor and very interesting aromatics.

Is this all? No, there are many more varietals, brands, and special flavors of Arabica coffee to try and discover.

For now, what about a cup of Ethiopian Harrar or Papua New Guinea coffee?

Great Gourmet Coffee is Not Created With a Single Bean

The word “coffee” brings specific thoughts and images to mind. Smooth, rich, fragrant, dark, soothing and eye opening are just some of the words that probably come to mind. On television we see rich, thick cups of coffee that simply look amazing. It is very possible to brew that same cup of coffee from home with the help of master roasters from Italy.

People often try everything to change the taste and texture of their coffee. They resort to buying expensive flavored creamers to improve the overall coffee experience. More often than not, all that does is mask the flavor of the coffee. True coffee lovers don’t wish to mask the coffee flavor, they prefer to enhance it.

In effort to achieve a better coffee at home, people resort to cleaning their coffee pot, or even buying a new one. They are often led to believe that using bottled water will enhance the flavor of their coffee. Soon they realize it isn’t the coffee pot, the problem is the type of coffee. When all else fails, change the type of coffee you purchase. If you’re in the market for a heavy, thick coffee with a full bodied taste, go for a Sicilian gourmet coffee.

Coffee beans grown in South America and Indonesia are kept at a certain height and cultivated while the fruit is at its prime. These coffee beans have a heaviness and aroma that assaults the senses and creates an entirely new love of coffee. The flavor lingers in your mouth, never turning bitter. Your morning cup becomes a savory, satisfying way to start the day.

Entertain Your Guests with Sicilian Gourmet Coffee

If you love entertaining guests who love great coffee, switch your usual grocery store coffee with a rich, bold Sicilian blend. The coffee itself will become an instant conversation starter. You may choose to share your new-found coffee secrets with your guests, or keep them to yourself. Sicilian gourmet coffee brings with it a warm feeling of friendship that your friends and guests will talk about for months to come.

Some people may believe they’re coffee lovers, but they’ve never tried anything other than grocery store brands. Every coffee drinker has slightly different tastes. The wide variety of gourmet coffee blends is sure to offer something for everyone. While planning your next get-together with friends, choose your coffee carefully.

Coffee Beans Make All the Difference

Coffees sold in your local grocery store are created in mass quantities to sell. While they try to maintain some sense of quality, quantity often reigns supreme. Coffee plants aren’t always properly nourished and cared for the way they should be to create really amazing coffee grounds.

Gourmet coffee plants are nourished and cared for. They are grown at specific altitudes that ensure the overall quality of the coffee beans. They are generally grown to a specific height and the beans are cultivated at a precise time to create the perfect balance between aroma, taste and body.

Not All Gourmet Coffees Are Created Equal

The overall quality of the variety of gourmet coffee types depends on the coffee bean used. Two types of bean are Arabica and Robusta. These two coffee beans are grown in different areas of the world at completely different altitudes. The Arabica bean is grown in the mountains of South America while the Robusta bean is grown and cultivated in Asia at about sea level.

The amount of each coffee bean used to create a cup of coffee can greatly impact the taste. The Arabica bean creates a smooth, delicate flavor. Adding Robusta beans to Arabica beans adds a true, classic Sicilian flare. The combination of 70 percent Arabica beans and 30 percent Robusta beans create one of the greatest golden blends of gourmet coffee Sicily has to offer.

Finding the “Best of the Best” in Coffee

Tips for Finding Perfect Premium Coffee…

There is coffee and THERE IS COFFEE! You likely know about the generic quality coffees you find at the supermarket, using the inferior Robusta beans. And, in contrast, there is the alternative: the coffee regularly termed Gourmet Coffee you buy direct from roasters around the country. Popular large volume roasters, like Starbucks as well as most of the the smaller roasters dispersed about town, essentially utilize this far better grade, high altitude, shade grown Arabica bean.

That being said, and broadly known by all nowadays, how can you siphon out the crème de la crème of gourmet coffee beans to purchase?

To begin with, let’s hone in specifically on taste. Nowadays, coffee has become a “drink of experts”…
evolved into an art of reflection! We’ve begun to savor our coffee…flavor identify and define the subtle hints and nuances, as well as the qualities that identify the bean’s continent of origin. You as a coffee drinker, can begin to explore and experience the undertones of your coffee’s region, but better yet, begin to revel in the independently specific flavors of the bean defined by the specific hill and farm where it’s grown.

Coffee Cupping: Defining Coffee by its “Underlying Flavors”

There are, nowadays, a limited number of coffee roasters that independently test their coffee beans for taste observations and aromas. These beans are graded and assessed just like fine wine. This activity is called Coffee Cupping or Coffee Tasting. Professionals known as Master Tasters are the assessors. The procedure involves deeply sniffing a cup of brewed coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it draws in air, spreads to the back of the tongue, and maximizes flavor.

These Master Tasters, much akin to wine tasters, then attempt to measure in detail, every aspect of the coffee’s taste. This assessment includes measurement of the body (the texture or mouth-feel, such as oiliness), acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling, like when biting into an orange), and balance (the innuendo and the harmony of flavors working together). Since coffee beans embody telltale flavors from their region or continent of their origin, cuppers may also attempt to predict where the coffee was grown.

There is an infinite range of vocabulary that is used to describe the tastes found in coffee. Descriptors range from the familiar (chocolaty, sweet, fruity, woody) to the conceptual (clean, vibrant, sturdy) to the wildly esoteric (summery, racy, gentlemanly).

Following are a few key characteristics as defined by Coffee Geek. (http://coffeegeek.com/guides/beginnercupping/tastenotes)

Key Characteristics

Acidity:

The brightness or sharpness of coffee: It is through the acidity that many of the most intriguing fruit and floral flavors are delivered, and is usually the most scrutinized characteristic of the coffee. Acidity can be intense or mild, round or edgy, elegant or wild, and everything in between. Usually the acidity is best evaluated once the coffee has cooled slightly to a warm/lukewarm temperature. Tasting a coffee from Sumatra next to one from Kenya is a good way to begin to understand acidity.

Body:

This is sometimes referred to as “mouthfeel”. The body is the sense of weight or heaviness that the coffee exerts in the mouth, and can be very difficult for beginning cuppers to identify. It is useful to think about the viscosity or thickness of the coffee, and concentrate on degree to which the coffee has a physical presence. Cupping a Sulawesi versus a Mexican coffee can illustrate the range of body quite clearly.

Sweetness:

One of the most important elements in coffee, sweetness often separates the great from the good. Even the most intensely acidic coffees are lush and refreshing when there is enough sweetness to provide balance and ease the finish. Think of lemonade…starting with just water and lemon juice, one can add sugar until the level of sweetness achieves harmony with the tart citric flavor. It is the same with coffee, the sweetness is critical to allowing the other tastes to flourish and be appreciated.

Finish:

While first impressions are powerful, it is often the last impression that has the most impact. With coffee the finish (or aftertaste) is of great importance to the overall quality of the tasting experience, as it will linger long after the coffee has been swallowed. Like a great story, a great cup of coffee needs a purposeful resolution. The ideal finish to me is one that is clean (free of distraction), sweet, and refreshing with enough endurance to carry the flavor for 10-15 seconds after swallowing. A champion finish will affirm with great clarity the principal flavor of the coffee, holding it aloft with grace and confidence like a singer carries the final note of a song and then trailing off into a serene silence.

Coffee Buying Caveat

Buying coffee simply by name instead of by taste from your favorite roaster (in other words buying the same Columbian Supreme from the same “Joe’s Cuppa Joe Roaster”) definitely has its pitfall! According to Coffee Review, “Next year’s Clever-Name-Coffee Company’s house blend may be radically different from this year’s blend, despite bearing the same name and label. The particularly skillful coffee buyer or roaster who helped create the coffee you and I liked so much may have gotten hired elsewhere. Rain may have spoiled the crop of a key coffee in the blend. The exporter or importer of that key coffee may have gone out of business or gotten careless. And even if everyone (plus the weather) did exactly the same thing they (and it) did the year before, the retailer this time around may have spoiled everything by letting the coffee go stale before you got to it. Or you may have messed things up this year by keeping the coffee around too long, brewing it carelessly, or allowing a friend to pour hazelnut syrup into it.”

Your savvy coffee-buying alternative is to look for roasters who buy their beans in Micro-Lots- smaller (sometimes tiny) lots of subtly distinctive specialty coffees. According to Coffee Review, “These coffee buyers buy small quantities of coffee from a single crop and single place, often a single hillside, and are sold not on the basis of consistency or brand, but as an opportunity to experience the flavor associated with a unique moment in time and space and the dedication of a single farmer or group of farmers.”

Coffee Review: Coffee Ratings

And finally, look out for the very small community coffee roasters that will submit their coffees to be 3rd-party evaluated by Coffee Review and other competitions for independent analysis and rating. Coffee Review regularly conducts blind, expert cuppings of coffees and then reports the findings in the form of 100-point reviews to coffee buyers. These valuable Overall Ratings can provide you with a summary assessment of the reviewed coffees. They are based on a scale of 50 to 100.

Bottom line for a certain premium purchase: To find the coffee that will ascertain most flavor satisfaction, seek out beans that been independently reviewed and rated. This approach will, without a doubt offer you the advantage of being able to choose the flavor profile suits you best in a bean. What’s more, it gains you certainty in quality due to its superior rating. The higher the rating, the better the flavor. True premium coffees start from the upper 80’s. By finding a roaster that consistently rates within the 90’s will ultimately buy you the best java for your buck!

How to Make It As a Fitness Model

People that follow my stuff know I generally write about nutrition, supplements, training, and other topics that are more science based than subjective topics, such as what is covered in this article. I decided to shuck my science geek persona, and write on a topic I know will be helpful to thousands of would be and want to be fitness models. Continue reading

Introduction to Parker Tube Fittings

Parker Hannifin Corporation is the World’s Leading Tube Fitting Authority. Since 1924, Parker has served the marketplace with dependable fluid power technology. Tube Fittings were among the first products manufactured by the company, and Parker has deep roots and expertise in the design of Tube Fittings. The company manufactures Tube Fittings to a very high standard to conform to all major specification requirements. Continue reading

Five Very Popular Coffee Drinks

Coffee is one of America’s favorite drinks and one of the more popular places to drink it is in the office. Keeping your staff supplied with coffee has become one of the more popular perks in offices. The country is crazy about their and some diehard fans of particular brand names, such as Starbucks for coffee, won’t even consider substituting a no name brand. Other people want a specific roast or blend, while still others may have objections to the way coffee is grown or purchased and want a special blend that’s socially or environmentally friendly.

If you provide coffee for your staff, about 65 percent of all workers will consume it, with the average intake approximately three cups a day. Alterra Coffee Roasters conducted a survey of office workers in 2011 and identified those statistics. They also noted that thirty-eight percent of the workers said they needed their coffee to make it through the day. Thirty percent of the workers felt it improved their productivity. It’s become an American office culture where workers now interact around the coffee pot. Whether drinking at the office, a coffee shop or just having a leisurely cup at home, there are some types of coffee that are far more popular than others are. Continue reading

Fitness Personal Training for Healthy and Fit Living

It’s never easy to avoid being a victim of food. Chocolates, ice cream, cake, etc., how can one resist? It’s really hard to avoid digging in to a plate of delicious goodness. But, if you want to stay healthy and fit, do you have to neglect eating?

The answer is no! There’s no need to watch out keenly over your diet. You can lose those extra ounces of fat in your body without having to starve to death. The secret to a healthy and fit life is fitness personal training. Continue reading

Choosing The Delicious Durian fruit

If the durian season arrives, durian lovers will certainly vying for the most delicious durian hunting. Many vendors hawking durian durian-duriannya whether in the streets or even in the supermarket.

In order for us as durian lovers are not disappointed with the taste of durian that we buy, we should consider the tips choose a good durian following.

See the fruit shape
When we are confused to choose the good and the bad durian, durian fruit tips on choosing the first we have seen in addition to considering the taste is by looking at the shape of fruit duriannya. Choose durian durian shaped bulat.Biasanya form that is not going to have a browse round a thick fruit, small grain, and sweet.

See skin
Choose a durian fruit whose skin is not defective. Durian skin defects due to rotten or eaten by caterpillars then most of the content in it is not too sweet and even sour. Then if thorn duriannya big, we will be easy to open.

Duri Durian
Durian thorn it can be used as an indicator of the right to see the quality of the content / duriannya fruit. Choose form a large durian and length as well as dull. Usually this type of durian flesh will show the contents of a thick, sweet, and the meat is dry.

The smell of durian
Tips on choosing the most familiar durian fruit and is often done by paar lovers are of the smell of durian fruit. If the durian fruit has a sweet aroma and is usually cooked and seared flesh will be nice and soft. Sebailknya, if odorless durian or durian less fragrant it is not perfect ripening.

Durian shake
Use your hands to shake the durian fruit you choose. If fruit vibrate when you shake, this means that you choose to have durian flesh is dry and overcooked.

This is because the durian flesh is dry and mature skin will be separated from the inner wall. And tips latter is the durian hit with the butt of the knife. If reads ‘buk buk buk’ it is overcooked and dry durian.

Health and Fitness Tips to Eliminate Stress

Our society is one that is under a lot of stress and this stress is literally making people sick. Stress can run down your immune system, cause sleep problems such as insomnia or over-sleeping, cause gastrointestinal issues such as ulcers and much more. It is extremely important to add a health and fitness routine to your daily life in order to feel better and to reduce stress levels. Stress can be caused by a number of factors such as an illness, a death of someone you love, job expectations, financial difficulties, relationship problems and many other reasons. It is important to understand where the stress is coming from and to learn how to eliminate it from your life.

When developing a health and fitness plan, it is very important to include an adequate amount of exercise. Exercise is not only good for the body, but it is also a great natural aid in reducing stress and tension. Activities such as walking, biking, aerobics and swimming can be great examples of good exercise habits. The average person would greatly benefit from working out for at least thirty minutes, three-five times per week. Exercise alone can greatly reduce stress and anxiety and many doctors highly recommend some form of exercise for their patients who are experiencing an unhealthy level of stress.

Another factor to consider when creating a health and fitness plan is a healthy diet. It is imperative to avoid sugary foods, caffeine, salty foods and foods that contain empty calories such as candy bars. These foods should be replaced with healthy alternatives such as fruits and vegetables, foods that are rich in protein such as nuts and cheese, and yogurt. A proper diet can help to build up an immune system that may be weakened by high stress levels. When the immune system is weakened, there is an increased chance of getting an illness or disease. One should also cut out red meats and eat lean meats such as chicken or fish. These changes can greatly improve the way that a person feels.

It is possible to reduce stress by utilizing a health and fitness plan. It is important to speak to a physician about the stress that a person is feeling and to gain assistance in creating a treatment plan. Stress can interfere with your health and happiness and the sooner that it is under control, the better.