Winexpert's Announces New 80-Proof Alcohol Kit!

Dateline: April 1st, Winexpert International Product Science Headquarters

Combining science with the values of earth-friendly technology, Winexpert is proud to announce the world’s first Optimal Yield, Ultra-High Alcohol Consumer Kit. Available in Virtual Vodkatm, Generator Gintm, Basic Bourbontm, Superior Scotchtm and Turbo Tequilatm flavours, the kit produces 23 litres (the equivalent of 30 26-ounce bottles!) of 80-Proof alcohol in only nine days

“It’s another coup for Winexpert Research and Development,” says International Advertising Marketer Julie Kitten, “Not only does this kit break the previous fermentation barriers of 18% alcohol, it does it by using cellulosic ethanol technology, diverting agricultural by-products that normally go into the waste stream into a supply of delicious, authentic-tasting spirits.” more

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Go Hang a Salami: I'm a Lasagna Hog

Sure, but think of the size of the grill!

Last time around it was pickles. Well, it still is: I've got a batch of carrots and brown mushrooms on the go, the better to garnish burritos (the carrots) and summer salads (the mushrooms). But like any junkie needing his fix, I keep looking for stronger pickle-kicks. In this case, I went all the way and made salami (titular palindrome aside, no lasagnas were harmed in my quest for meaty goodness).

Salami is a cured meat, different from plain sausage in that it is salted and dried, a little like beef jerky, but a lot more like a pickle. The intent of the salting is partly to pull water out of the meat and reduce the rate of decay, and partly to lower the pH so lactic acid bacteria can ferment, develop flavours, tenderise meat, and lower the pH even further.

I was spurred on by an article I read in the Guardian newspaper's delightfully named blog, Word of Mouth (oh, how I wish I'd thought that one up). The author most cavalierly talked about curing his own meat in the middle of London town. Every other site I've ever read about making cured sausage at home was filled with insanely dire warnings about the need for nitrates/nitrites, bacterial cultures, surface-mould cultures, and apocalyptic warnings about botulism, to the point where I wanted nothing to do with it, fearing the collapse of Western Civilisation if I as much as tried to cut up a single piece of pork. However, Tim Hayward's explanations made perfect sense (everyone named Tim is a great explainer) and I recalled that my ancestors made cured sausage with nothing more than salt and swine and a few herbs. more

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Bad Monkeys

My, what big teeth you ha . . . aaargh!

For Matt Ruff fans, I'm not referring to his excellent novel of that name. Nope, I'm talking about a ravening horde of Grape Apes. According to AP, Baboons Gobble Grapes in South Africa:

Largely undeterred by electric fences, hundreds of wild baboons in South Africa's prized wine country are finding the vineyards of ripe, succulent grapes to be an "absolute bonanza," said Justin O'Riain of the University of Cape Town. more

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Pennsylvania Days

Cradle to the Nation, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Virtue, Liberty and Independence

I love visiting Pennsylvania: good folks, great scenery, some fantastic places to eat and drink and if you can't have a good time there, it's your own fault. Plus, there's a town there named Vandergrift, I have distant cousins there and my pal David from LD Carlson lives there.

The opportunity came up for me to attend the Wineries Unlimited trade show, and I was able to combine it with a lecture for Jason at Keystone Brewing, and a chance to talk to some of our retail partners there. After a few hitches (did you know that Air Canada is completely comfortable kicking you out of a seat you've paid extra for? Neither did I) I touched down and got busy. First stop was some customer visits in the area. We were swinging by Trenton New Jersey and had a chance to stop in to see Joe Blair at Princeton Homebrew. It's been seven or eight years since I've had a chance to talk to him, and he's a unique sort of cat, old-school brewer, proud carrier-on of hippie traditions of living lightly on the earth and doing very weird things, like brewing beer with solar energy.

Joe Blair and his giant magnifying glass. Giant ants, beware!

In the picture above, Joe is showing his solar brewing engine. It's the lens from out of a junked projection TV. It's a clear piece of acrylic with a fresnel pattern on it, which focuses light the same way a lighthouse lens would, but it weighs ounces instead of tonnes. If you look closely at the board Joe is holding in the focus of the beam, it's on fire!

Burn baby, burn!

If you look even more closely at the first picture, you'll see scars on the cinder block weighting down the cart--Joe burnt a groove right into the block with his system. Holy mother of magnifying glasses! If you'd like to see his system in action, check out a video of it on Youtube. And if you're in Trenton, be sure to drop in on Joe because there are a lot less interesting ways to spend your time than talking to someone with so many varied interests and ideas.

After that it was trade-show time. We did the booth thing, I talked to a lot of customers, some of our current retailers and worked over the prospects pretty hard (okay, I chatted amiably. What do you want me to say in front of my bosses?) I even got asked for my autograph! more

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Road Trip!

The longest journey starts but with a single putting-on of shoes . . .

It's starting a bit early this year: I'm on the road, again. This week I'm running around Pennsylvania, up to King of Prussia for the Wineries Unlimited Trade Show (funny enough I ran into an old friend, Dominic Rivard in Pearson airport, heading for the same thing, only from Nova Scotia. Small world!) and a lecture for my pal Jason at Keystone Homebrew, for a very cool event, Meet the Source Night. According to the press release,

Now is your chance to learn more about winemaking ingredients, directly from the source(s)! (That's right, we're introducing you to our connection!) For the first time ever, we have organized an evening of fun, informative presentations and winemaking discussions with a star-studded cast of Keystone Homebrew suppliers. Learn more about the wide variety of fresh and frozen grapes, juices, wine kits, and other winemaking supplies more

Posted by Roadwarrior Tim AT 6:28AM 0 Comments Comments Post A Comment Post A Comment Email Email

733t Haxorz, LOL

Internet not actually as shown. It's more like a picture of cats speaking ungrammatically.

I can't claim to be an internet guru-type guy. I can do a little html, and fiddle with the tools provided by webslingers, but for most of the time I think back fondly to the days of the command line. I'm probably one of the last people whose first programming exposure was on punch-cards and got so excited when DOS came out I squealed like a little girl.

But we've all passed a lot of water since then. I've been working on a little tidying-up of my blog page, getting the schmutz out of my links down the left side of the page here ('Buy My Magazine' no longer sends you to Publisher's Clearinghouse) and I've added a few things. more

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In a Pickle

Weaponised cucumber

Who doesn't love a pickle? They're sour and crunchy and salty, go great in sandwiches and at picnics and they're a great way to preserve food without refrigeration. According to The Internets:

Pickling, also known as brining or corning, is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in brine (a solution of salt in water) to produce lactic acid, or marinating and storing it in an acid solution, usually vinegar (acetic acid). The resulting food is called a pickle. This procedure gives the food a salty or sour taste. more

Posted by Full-Kosher Tim AT 11:29PM 8 Comments Comments Post A Comment Post A Comment Email Email
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