All posts by atrakcija

Chinese Clay Pot Cooking Is Magic

Clay Pot is an old but classic Chinese cookware that has passed down through generations. The material and technology has improved slightly and the basic cookware techniques havent changed and the charm of this clay pot stays the same. If you want to taste and even make some of the authentic Chinese cuisine, clay pot is an necessary kitchen tools you must bring home.

In clay pot cooking, poultry or meat is combined with a little liquid, vegetables, and seasonings to produce the tenderness of a braise with the finish of roasting. Most of the cooking is done with the cover in place, but when the food is nearly finished, the cover can come off to get a golden brown finish. Bread baked in a clay pot produces a crispy crust with a tender, moist interior. Some clay bread bakers are similar to metal or glass loaf pans but others come with a cover.

Clay pots are incredible for slow-cooked meals. Because wet clay doesnt get as hot as metal, the pot helps you keep your braise down at a low simmer, which makes the texture of the food more luscious in the end. On the other hand, the heavy clay holds heat very well, and you may find yourself turning the heat down in order to keep the contents cooking as slowly as you like.
Because clay is porous, you should avoid using soap when cleaning your clay pots. This also allows them to become seasoned through repeated use, and some people claim that food cooked in an older, well-seasoned clay pot tastes noticably better than food cooked in a newer vessel. None of my clay pots are really old enough for me to test this proposition yet, but Ill be sure to give you an update in a few years.

What to Cook in Clay Pots
Because food is cooked at high temperatures and with steam, some types of dishes are particularly well suited to clay pot cooking.
Vegetable ragouts and ratatouille
Baked potatoes
Whole chickens, Cornish hens, and ducks, along with vegetables
Meatloaf
Baked ziti or lasagna
Stews and casseroles
Baked cheese, such as feta, with olives and fresh oregano
Bread puddings
Fruit cobblers
Whole grain breads

Real Estate Recipe Postcards – Do They Work

Are real estate recipe postcards a “delicious dish” for postcard marketing success, or are they a waste of time and money?

Only the individual marketer can answer that question with any finality. The answer will come from experimentation and testing with various postcard marketing tactics, comparing one strategy against another, etc. But I’d be happy to give my take on the subject, based on the time I spent working in the postcard marketing industry.

What’s a Real Estate Recipe Postcard?
Let’s start with a quick definition, just so we’re on the same page. A real estate recipe postcard is a marketing postcard sent from a real estate agent to their audience (usually homeowners and potential home buyers). On one side of the postcard, there’s a picture of a tasty dish with the recipe listed out. You know, chili con carne, bananas foster … that sort of thing.

On the other side of the recipe postcard, the agent will list his or her contact info with some form of “Call me when you need help” message. The basic premise is that the recipient likes the recipe so much — or finds the postcard so thoughtful — that they dial up the agent and say, “Will you help me buy / sell a home?”

I know, it’s a bit of a stretch. But that’s how real estate recipe postcards are supposed to work. The question is, do they work that way? An even better question is, how do the response rates from a real estate recipe postcard stack up against a postcard that makes a powerful offer and employs proven strategies of direct mail marketing?

To my knowledge, there has never been any study on the effectiveness of real estate recipe postcards (when compared to a different form of real estate postcard). Sure, you’ll find a handful of testimonials here and there, and perhaps some “Use real estate recipe postcards!” promotional copy on a postcard company’s website … but that’s probably it.

So here’s my take on the subject, based on my professional experience with both postcard marketing in general and real estate marketing in particular.

Me personally, I wouldn’t spend a dime on real estate recipe postcards. And do you want to know why? Because while a real estate recipe postcard might produce one response out of a thousands mailers, there are ways to get much better response rates. You know … those tried-and-true postcard marketing techniques, like making an offer of some kind.

There are also ways to combine the real estate postcard with an informational website, thereby creating a “super card” that can improve the success of both marketing channels. In short, I believe there are much stronger approaches to real estate postcard marketing than simply slapping on a recipe and waiting for the phone to ring. But that’s just me.

* You may republish this article online if you retain the author’s byline and active hyperlinks below. Copyright 2007, Brandon Cornett.

Corporate Traveler Business Trips to McLean, VA hotels

From sales reps to diplomats, sooner or later, everyone takes a business trip to the Washington, DC area. Home of politics, intrigue and scandal, the city is also rich with history, technology, and natural beauty. The smart travelers save time, stress and money by staying in the city’s popular, nearby suburbs throughout Maryland and Northern Virginia, giving them easy access to both downtown DC and the area’s three airports. One such suburb is McLean, Virginia, just 25 minutes from the city. McLean, Virginia hotels offer everything a business traveler needs, from shuttles and easy directions, to projectors and expansive conference rooms. You’ll also enjoy an array of services like dry cleaning, shoe shines, full-service business centers, and complimentary meals. The fact that these Washington, DC area hotels regularly deal with celebrities and politicians means that everyone benefits from high-end amenities and features, as well as top-notch service. Business travelers routinely give high marks to the hotels in these areas. Depending on the room, many suburban hotels provide unmatched views of the DC area, from the city to the east to the mountains to the west. Hotels in McLean, Virginiaare especially convenient for those who have business in Washington, DC, but are flying in or out of Dulles International Airport. The largest of the area’s three airports is about 45 minutes to an hour outside of the city, depending on traffic, but only 20-25 minutes from the McLean area. Convenient airport shuttles make it easy to get some work done even as you’re on the road. Your McLean hotel also puts you a stone’s throw from Tysons Corner, home to Tysons Galleria and Tysons Corner Center, Metro DC’s most popular shopping destination. From Aeropostale and the U.S.’ very first Apple Store to Yankee Candle and Zales Jewelry, if you can’t find what you want at this expansive shopping mecca, you’re not looking hard enough.

Discount vacations

My friend Ryan is famous for his discount vacations. He is practically the king of last minute vacations. Sometimes it will be something classy like a cruise, other times it will be a stay in a hovel-like hotel in Mexico. Either way, he seems happy. The amazing thing about it is that he can afford vacations at all. Ryan has always struck me as someone who lives above his means. He makes a decent living as a teacher, but it is nothing to write home about. Nonetheless, some of his discount vacation trips are pretty impressive. He took a cruise up to Alaska one year, and another year he stayed in a castle in Scotland. He is gone several times a year, and for the life of me I can’t figure out how he manages it.

I finally was overcome with curiosity, and I asked him about his discount vacations. He smiled at me, and said that his secret was smarts. When I wasn’t satisfied with this vague, infuriating answer, he finally leveled with me. He didn’t do anything unusual, he just made finding discount vacation packages his hobbies. If you look at enough places, you can always find an extremely affordable last minute trip one way or another. It is just a matter of keeping an eye out.

When I begged and pleaded, he finally showed me his method for finding discount vacations. I was a little bit surprised by a lot of it. I had figured that it would mostly involve Internet vacation deals, but that only accounted for about half of his trips. He actually spent a lot of time dealing with legitimate vacation travel planners. He had several contacts in the travel industry, and all of them knew to call him when something special came along. He was known for being willing to take vacations anywhere. His only priority was that they were inexpensive and exotic.

Surprisingly, this made him a good client for several of his business contacts. Travel agents are always looking for ways to sell discount vacations. They get big kickbacks, you see, from the tourist industry in regions of decreasing popularity. If they can get people to come to an area that depends on tourism, but that has recently fallen out of favor for one reason or another, they can make a lot of money. Although Ryan’s discount vacation trips were never very expensive, combined they accounted for a lot of cash flow. This is why the travel agents were always willing to set up discount vacations for him.

The Case Against Sports Drinks In Schools

The beverage industry produces enough soda for every American to consume 52-gallons each year. Although its a mind-boggling amount, the fact of the matter is their industry is stagnating. With soda sales flat, theyre turning to newer products. One of their most popular markets is the educational system. Marketed under the guise of being healthier than plain water, and an implication they are more efficient at meeting hydration needs, sports drinks have become a prominent fixture in many schools. But do they meet those claims, or are they just contributing to the obesity epidemic among U.S. children?

Research by the American College of Sports Medicine has shown that for exercise lasting less than one hour, water is the preferred method of meeting hydration needs. Their research suggests that the loss of electrolytes and carbohydrates from exercise meeting this requirement does not require the burst supplied by sports drinks that one typically gets from a modern sports drink. Their research also has shown that for activities lasting more than one hour, or occurring under intense heat, there are benefits to using sports drinks for hydration. The rapid and continuous loss of minerals under these conditions presents a risk to participants, and replenishing them rapidly improves hydration and athletic performance.

Interestingly enough, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the consumption of water, or a salt-containing flavored beverage to maintain hydration. Not only do they suggest such drinks, but the recommend children consume them regularly, regardless of whether they are thirsty.

Nutritional experts are beginning to question the need for having sports drinks available to kids during regular school hours. The logic of such an argument is that the activities occurring during regular school hours can not justify the extra calories kids consume when drinking these drinks. It has also been suggested that the extra electrolytes, which are just salt compounds, may even contribute to rising blood pressure among kids, when consumed in the absence of physical exertion. While the suggestions are controversial, most regulators are recommending limiting access during school hours, but making these beverages available during after school events and practices.

It seems inevitable that eventually, these drinks will be deemed of little nutritional or functional value for regular school day activities. After all, it doesnt seem reasonable to assume that kids or teens are at risk of becoming deficient in electrolytes while walking between classes. While they certainly offer benefits when consumed during intense exercise, theres little evidence to support the idea that they offer any positive benefits for normal day-to-day activity.

Finger Licking Good Chaat, Pani Puri And Veg Snacks

Change is inevitable. Be it in lifestyle, fashion, ways of cooking and eating and so on. Human civilization with the progress of time has only added more feathers of improvement to its cap. The same can be said about Indian food industry or to be very precise, the Indian snacks industry. This industry has witnessed tremendous progress from being mere street stalls to restaurant franchises, eating outlets and take-away joints. Talk about Indian snacks and namkeen, and you will only find your mouth watering. Indians are known to be spice food lovers and chaat items like aloo tikki, kachori with sabji, paneer tikka, raj kachori, bhalla papri, lachha tokri, pani puri, bhel puri, matar kulcha, pao bhaji, dahi bhalla, paneer masala chilla, and papri chaat well serve their spice loving tongues with their distinct taste.

It will be wise on your part to have chaat and veg snacks from reputed food joints that are known for quality and hygiene keeping intact the traditional taste. Get the bills, stand in the lines and enjoy the finger-licking good veg snacks at your favorite joints. When we talk of veg snacks, items like pav bhaji, vada pav, pakoda, paneer pakoda, bread pakoda, burger, soya masala wada, samosa, cheese corn balls, kachodi, samosa roll, soya tikki, gobhi pakoda, paneer tikki immediately flash in the mind. Go to your nearest restaurant and appease your appetite with any of the said veg snacks items.

While these food items consume a lot of time in preparation, the best solution is to visit any nearby food outlet and give your taste buds a delightful break. There is hardly any individual who has not tasted Bikano namkeen. Right from ratlami sev, peanuts, badam lacha, bikeneri bhujia, chana masala, cornflakes mixture, dal moth, ganthiya, kaju mixture, kashmiri mixture to khatta meetha, khoka bhujia, matar masala, moong daal, navratan mixture, peanut masala, etc. these are must accompaniments with tea, or any other beverage served in many an Indian home. They serve to be exactly the kind of munch we all look forward to in between our meals.

Bikano Namkeen, a specialty of Bikanervala, is one of the most consumed snacks in the Indian snacks industry. Under the Bikano namkeen items, you would find a long list of namkeens as aforementioned. Given the options you get under Bikano namkeen, it is impossible to not taste. If you go for aloo bhujia now, you can opt for peanut masala next and this way, you can taste every item from the Bikano namkeen menu. The crispy, crunchy and spicy items have given the Indian households a new snack to boast of, at tea intervals or to celebrate the munching times. What is more inviting is that you can order such sweets, veg snacks and namkeen online as well. Just log in to the brands corporate site and then place your order. The very delicious crunchy munchy snacks are just a click and also a call away.

French Cuisines A Short Article On French Culinary And Its Evolution Through The Years

The French dishes have great tales of evolution to recount. On hearing of French cooking , the first thing that one can immediately notice is the sophistication of cooking styles, and the taste contributed by the unique cooking elements employed in food preparation.

The impact of political transformations that occurred in France from time to time can be seen in its dishes too. As an outcome of these transformations you can relish some delicious dishes like Bouef Bourguignon- which is a beef prepared in red wine. The French are pretty serious about their food preparations, and they consider it a passionate art. This is one of the reasons that many of the authentic French dishes are heavily seasoned.

The French cuisine is regarded for its wide presentation and preparation styles, which gained prominence during the medieval times. The sauces prepared during those times were thick , with lots of butter and cream seasonings. Also the well known mustard meat preparations gained prominence during that time.

Sauces are one of the chief highlights of the French cuisine, which gained prominence during the 19th century. The 20th century heralded the new era in French cooking because by then the cuisine was divided into 5 segments, which were mainly known as the “brigade system”. These segmentation were vegetables, soups, pastries, cold dishes, and roasted grilled and fried food.

Each region of France has its own distinct cooking style and cuisine. Like in any other country all regions in have their own signature dishes. Like the coastal areas are famous for their seafood’s, prepared using sea bass, scallops, herrings, sole, etc. Similarly Normandy is famous for “moules a la creme Normande”. Brittany is famous for mussels, lobster, and crayfish preparations. The cauliflower thickened stews are specialty of Northern France, which are assorted with rich artichoke side-dishes. You can also enjoy some delicious salads like “Salade Niroise,”. This Cote d’ Azuran salad is prepared using black olives, various other ingredients with tuna.

The French egg recipes are savored and favored due to the uniqueness and creativity. You can enjoy various egg omelets, which are heavily seasoned with herbs and spices.

The French desserts are also famous for their unique tastes and creative culinary styles. For eg: Crepe is one such pancake , which is prepared from wheat flour and filled with ingredients like berries, cinnamon, nuts, bananas, jellies, ice cream, chocolate sauce, maple syrup, and jams to soft fruits and powdered sugar. The other popular French desserts like choux a lacreme, tarts, chocolate mousse, and pastries also ooze the same richness and taste as the Crepe..

Cooking Food With A Charcoal Spit

Cooking food with a charcoal spit is not just an easy way to get taste-tempting, great looking food, but it is also one of the healthiest forms of cooking. Since there is little oil or grease, if any, introduced into the cooking process, calorie and fat content are drastically reduced.

There are a number of foods that can be cooked this way, and those include poultry, fish, pork, lamb, beef, and even vegetables can be placed in a spit to being out the flavor. However, a whole pig is often the preferred option at large functions, and there are a lot of reasons for this.

Roasting can be compared to baking except that higher temperatures are used for this method. This tends to cook the meat more thoroughly and since it is rotating, more evenly as well.

When deciding to set up a charcoal spit, there are a few things that should be considered. First of all, you have to consider the weather, particularly the direction of the wind and how hard it is blowing. Of course, you can accommodate any weather conditions if you can find suitable shelter.

When planning a party where you will be roasting whatever cut you choose, consider that it is often better to have too much of a good thing than to not have enough to go around. Remember, people with full stomachs are much happier than those who are running on empty. You want your party to be a memorable experience, so make sure that when you put on the feed, you feed real well.

Most parties are planned events, so if you are going to be using a charcoal spit to make your guests happy, make sure to make preparations well in advance. That way you will not disappoint attendees because you could not find the right carcass you had been promising.

If you are going to be roasting a whole pig, lamb, or goat, remember that it takes a long time for them to cook. A whole carcass weighing 125 pounds will take between 5 and 6 hours to reach desired internal temperatures. Don’t wait until just before your guests are to arrive to start cooking, unless this is going to be an all day affair.

Cooking outdoors is a lot of fun, and that is why so many people do it. However, there are other reasons for using outdoor cooking equipment. One of those reasons is the sheer enjoyment that comes from simulating how food was cooked at an earlier time in human history.

Other reasons for standing at a grill or spit making sure the food is cooked just right have to include the pleasure it gives you to see the way others rave about your cooking prowess. By adding a spit to your repertoire of cooking implements, you are going to be seeing more smiles of enjoyment than ever before.

Wedding Palm Beach, Patience is a Virtue

Choosing the perfect caterer for your wedding can make or break how well the reception goes. No one wants their wedding to be remembered for the poor food and service that their wedding reception offered. This is why it is so important to make sure when choosing a West Palm Beach caterer that you remain patient and take your time in choosing a catering service.

By remaining patient when choosing a West Palm Beach caterer, you ensure that you are giving yourself ample time to consult with a variety of catering services so that you make sure you find one that can provide the best possible service for your wedding reception. Take time to thoroughly consult with companies that you are considering. Remember, there is nothing wrong with telling a West Palm Beach caterer that you will think about it and get back to them. Though many catering companies will use pressure tactics to try and get you to choose their catering service, do not let them pressure you into making a hasty decision. Even if you believe you have found the perfect West Palm Beach caterer, tell them you will think about it and get back to them.

This helps to ensure you do not waste money on non-refundable deposits if you later find a catering company that you would rather have service your wedding. By taking the time to weigh all of your options and consult with each West Palm Beach caterer that is of interest to you, you ensure that you not waste any money by putting down deposits on a company that will provide inferior service. You can rest assured knowing that the caterer you have chosen is your best possible choice and that your wedding reception will be remembered for the superior food and service that was offered to your guests.

For more information on and , please visit our wedding events website.

Helpful Things To Do To Create An Awesome Drink Menu For Your Next Cocktail Party

Planning a cocktail party? Here are the key things that you need to do to create a perfect drink menu for your guests: incorporate and choose your drink mixes, keep a simple drink menu, provide printed copies of your drink menu, and include non-alcoholic drinks.

Having a drink menu at your party will provide your guests an easier opportunity to try something new because the menu is an important party highlight that people will enjoy. Having a drink menu will not only cut costs by limiting what you need for your bar but it will also make your cocktail party a themed event where everyone can have fun. Here are the things that you can do to create your cocktail party’s drink menu:

Incorporate and choose your drink mixes

Incorporate a variety of drink mixes and choose which ones will fit the target guests at your cocktail party. Choose drink mixes for simple classics like the Martini, Dry Manhattan, and Tequini mixes. If you have enough time, you can also prepare the classic mixes like the Dubonnet Cocktail, Martinez, New Orleans Fizz, and Ward Eight. If you want to offer a new cocktail experience on mixes, try creating the less common frozen beverages such as Coladas, Margaritas, and Daiquiris. Scotch is also a great addition for your drink mixes. Check your guest list and choose the appropriate drink mixes according to the type of guests.

Keep a simple drink menu

Remember to keep your drink menu simple. Offer a variety of mixes for people to choose from. A round of 3 to 4 drink mixes are already enough to keep you guest from enjoying the different drinks offered. At the same time it will also give them enough time to socialize around. A short drink menu will serve the party guests very well.

Provide printed copies of your drink menu

After deciding on the number of mixes that you will serve, print a couple of copies of your drink menu. Place these on the bar or the drink tables for the guests to see. You can be creative when creating your drink menu. Rename the mixes according to your cocktail party’s theme. You can also add the drink recipe for a certain mix so your guests will know the ingredients. Just remember to laminate or cover your menu to protect it from spillage and from getting dirty.

Include non-alcoholic drinks

Include non-alcoholic drinks for those who do not want to drink the more festive beverages. You can easily mash up a non-alcoholic ladies drink and include it on your menu. Add tropical drinks called mocktails to make non-alcoholic beverages refreshing and healthy.

Rum cocktails are also a great addition to your drink menu. Just try to be creative and exciting when coming up with the mixes so that you can keep the cocktail party alive and entertaining. Good drink mixes are the key to a stimulating and memorable cocktail party.