Bookmarks for 16th June 2012

These are my saved Pinboard links for 16th June 2012:

  • A Plodding Mediocrity: XBee Garage Door – The XBee Garage Door is an automation project which allows you to connect your automatic garage door lift to your mobile telephone via an Android or a mobile web application. This project was featured in Make Magazine Vol. 30 in the article "12,000-mile .

    The XBee Garage Door project uses a Digi XBee to communicate and attaches to the door using a hardware design called the XBee Pulse I/O—a general purpose, open-source hardware design for simple automation projects.

  • World’s Easiest Falafel and Tzatziki recipe from food52 – Call anything "world's easiest" and we're skeptical, but marisab67 is on to something. We'd never made falafel from scratch before and were astonished at how easy — and fun — it could be…
  • One-Pot Sausages and Lentils with Sweet Roasted Shallots | Serious Eats : Recipes – One of my favorite pastimes is reading French menus. Tantalizing. Always full of combinations that seem so obvious in retrospect, but that would never have occurred to me. Strawberries and thyme. Salmon and lentils. Pears and ham. They are where I get most of my cooking inspiration, even when I never try the dish I spy somewhere after Entrées and before Désserts.

    One night last summer when I was in Nice with my family and Mr. English, I skittered between two restaurants half a block apart, reading their menus. "This one, this one!" I begged. I had spied something, a local specialty, that I just had to try: sausages and lentils. So humble, and yet I knew it would be elegant in its simplicity. Really good, firm French lentils that never lose their figure. Sausages full of smoky bacon, wine, and garlic that snapped under the point of a knife. Both the sausages and the lentils were listed next to their provenance. These were special sausages, special lentils, with a pedigree and a history. Who could resist?

    Apparently, my entire family and Mr. English. They all wanted to go to the pasta place down the street. So I consoled myself, as I twirled my tagliatelle with pistou around the tines of my fork, that I would try sausages and lentils at home. And I have, in about ten different ways. This recipe is how to make sausages and lentils—one of those genius French combinations I stole from a French menu—in a jiffy.

    I toss slivered shallots and Toulouse sausages—full of bacon, red wine, and garlic—with olive oil, and roast them until the sausages blister and the shallots caramelize. Then, I hit them with a splash of white wine and easy, organic canned du Puy lentils. After adding some torn herbs and giving it a few minutes under the broiler, the one-pot peasant dinner is done. I serve it with a greens and walnut salad tossed in a whole grain honey mustard dressing. It has all that French country charm with a distinctly American practicality that I love. Really French in a Flash.

  • Crunchy Fried Chocolate Wontons | Serious Eats : Recipes – Growing up, the only wontons I ever knew were the kind that filled my quart of wonton soup from the local Chinese takeout shop. You know what I'm talking about: thick and noodle-y, and filled with a pork meatball surprise. In those days I never imagined that the wonton wrapper (a dough of flour, egg, and water) could be delicate, let alone crafted into a dessert. But it can. These chocolate wontons are a whole new way of enjoying the beautiful, thin wonton skins which are readily available these days in the supermarket.

    When fried, the dough crisps up into a crunchy but delicate shell that shatters as soon as you bite into it. For this reason, fried wontons make the perfect pouch for any sort of sweet filling you can think of, even if it's (dare I say?) not chocolate.

    Keep a few things in mind when making fried wontons and it'll go off without a hitch. Assemble just a few at a time to guarantee that the dough is moist and supple. Also, don't try to fry it all in one batch—the temperature of the oil will drop and the wontons won't fry properly (it only takes about 45 seconds for them to fry anyway, so it's nice and quick). Above all, do not overfill the wrappers. It'll be tempting to make a plump little wonton filled with chocolate, but you'll seriously run the risk of chocolate seeping out into the oil and burning on the bottom of the pot (this definitely happened to me).

    Wonton dough isn't sweet, so to top it off, I dust them with a mixture of confectioners' sugar and, for an Asian touch, Chinese five-spice powder (a mixture of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and fennel.) Gobble them up while still warm and the chocolate is good and gooey. Even better, add a scoop of ice cream and you'll have a delicious plated dessert full of contrasting temperature and textures.

  • Developing A Design Workflow In Adobe Fireworks – Smashing Magazine | Smashing Magazine – Every designer has their own workflow when starting a new project, even if it’s only loosely defined in their head. A typical Web project goes through a variety of steps from inception to launch, with a lot of moving parts throughout the cycle. Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks and even Web browsers themselves are available to aid us in our work. But with so many choices, how do we determine the right tool to move from concept to functional design?
  • 15 Free WordPress Theme Frameworks | Vandelay Design Blog – For designers and developers that frequently work with WordPress, theme frameworks and starter themes can have a noticeable impact of efficiency. Frameworks and starter themes can eliminate some of the repetitive work that you probably do with each custom theme. In addition, many frameworks provide additional features that can make your theme more powerful with less development time.

    In the past year or two, responsive frameworks have become more popular. Since designing and developing responsive sites and themes can be highly time consuming, these frameworks can be a great resource.

    In this post we’ll take a look at 15 of the best free WordPress theme frameworks and starter themes. There are also a number of outstanding premium options, but in this post we’ll focus on the free ones. Despite being free, these resources can be highly valuable.

  • Brown Sugar Ice Cream with a Ginger-Caramel Swirl Recipe at Epicurious.com – Kris loves to tinker with ice cream. Every time she tries a new flavor that she loves, she goes home and re-creates it with her own spin, like with this recipe. The original was good in theory, but it was overloaded with candied ginger and gingerbread and simply had too much going on. Kris thought, "If it just focused on a few ingredients, it would be so much better." The result is proof that the simple combination of brown sugar, ginger, and caramel is all you need for an amazing explosion of flavor.

    This started out as a Christmas flavor because it pairs so nicely with spiced things like gingerbread. After the holidays were over and we stopped making it, people demanded that we bring it back, so now it's always in the case and our guests enjoy it all year long.

  • Spider Cake (New England Skillet Corncake) | Serious Eats : Recipes – New Englanders have a reputation for being thrifty and austere. Those early settlers were a tough lot. Nearly half of the settlers who arrived on the Mayflower died that first year from exposure and starvation. The ones who survived did so in part because they learned to grow crops native to the New World, like corn.

    Yankee cuisine grew up around making do with what you had and while at times it is deceptively simple, it can also be intensely satisfying. Such is the case with Spider Cake, which thankfully does not include any actual spiders. This arachnid-free cake is an easy, cornbread-like skillet cake that used to be prepared in an old fashioned short handled pan known as a "spider." Old cookbooks have this cake appearing as early as the 1800s.

    The outside of this cake gets golden brown and slightly crisp in the oven while the inside stays tender. One of the unique attributes of the Spider Cake as opposed to your garden-variety cornbread is the thin stripe of creamy custard that forms in the center of the cake as it cooks. Serve it with butter and a touch of maple syrup or a dollop of your favorite jam for a easy and homey breakfast.

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