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Thursday, January 29, 2009

How to make Vodka

One of the most popular drinks of all, Vodka never fails to lift spirits with it strong taste. It can be consumed neat as well as mixed with juices and other ingredients to make popular cocktails like Screwdriver, Greyhounds, Bloody Mary, etc. It sometimes becomes a bit difficult to go to a pub or a club to get your favorite vodka. Good news for all those who have enough time and patience with them! Vodka can be easily made at home, though it requires certain equipments, loads of patience and ample time. It is recommended that those who know how to distill alcoholic beverages should make vodka at home as improper distillation may cause irreversible damage to the health. If that is not the case, you must take help from a professional or an expert.

Easy Homemade Vodka Recipe

* Cleanliness is of utmost importance while preparing vodka at home. Even a miniscule foreign particle can spoil the flavor of the vodka you are preparing. Clean your equipments with a mixture of water and bleach. Make sure every corner is carefully cleaned and thereafter dried.
* Next, you need to produce a mash. Take your carbohydrates like sugar, potatoes, grain, etc. and convert them into alcohol molecules. It is best to consult a cook book for getting the exact proportion and ingredients for a particular type of vodka. For instance, to make a mash out of grain, mix it with purified or distilled water and heat it. Then add some yeast to it and let it settle (preferably one or two weeks). You need to use the best water while creating a mash, like distilled or purified.
* Now comes the distillation process. Put the mash in the boiling chamber and start heating it. Due to the heat, the alcohol will evaporate and the vapors will move through the cooling tubes and get collected in the collection chamber. The key to get clearer and smoother vodka is by distilling it more than two times.
* Remember to discard the first and the last 50 milliliters of the beverage you collect. This is supposed to be very bad alcohol and can cause some very serious health problems if ingested. It is also known to cause even blindness due to its toxicity. Don’t ever ingest the first or the last vodka.
* The next step would be that of filtration. This process will remove the roughness of the vodka and make it smoother. Vodka is usually filtered through activated carbon filtration. Usually, high quality vodka goes through as many as seven filtrations. Take a funnel, place some cotton in the bottom and stick some activated carbon to it. Now slowly pour the distilled vodka through it, into a bottle. Repeat as many times as possible.
* What you collect in the bottle is definitely filtered vodka but this vodka is very strong. Thus, dilution is necessary to make it fit for drinking. Take pure water or distilled water to dilute it in a ratio of 3:4. Your vodka is ready. For adding flavor, you can add fresh berries, peppers, horseradish, orange rind or vanilla bean to the vodka. Let it settle for some 10 days after which the vodka will acquire that flavor.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Get smart about skills today for tomorrow's jobs

Commentary - Over the next five years, the United States is expected to help lead the way in the development of smart systems that will address some of the world's most pressing issues.

For example, we can expect to see new systems that will control carbon emissions and optimize automobile traffic in major cities; track food moving through the global supply chain; capture and deliver solar and wind energy; and better monitor and improve the quality of health care.

While this future sounds exciting, getting there will require today's high school and college students to develop a unique skill-set never seen before. This is why governments, industry and academia are now collaborating to develop 21st century skills for the workforce – an area that literally combines critical thinking, creativity, and innovation with leadership, global awareness, and technology literacy - to help students get prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.

If you’re a student or a parent of a student looking at a career in practically any industry, or even a professional just starting off, here are some key trends you need to know about skills to help you chart a course toward the coming job market.

First, it’s not all about IT: The most highly sought-after U.S. workers will not be comprised of programmers, coders or operations workers. Instead, they’ll be project leaders, enterprise architects, systems analysts and business process engineers – jobs that embody the notion of 21st century skills.

Those who understand business principles and add value through IT are going to be essential in this new professional landscape. For example, Jason Freedman, a student entrepreneur who designed a Facebook application called Open Vote that enables peers to poll each other, was successful in launching the company only because he understood both the business model and the technology behind the application.

Using input from his peers, he envisions ways in which he can help enterprises or policymakers make important decisions such as the roll-out of an affordable electric car or new ways to tackle energy demands.

No matter if you or your student are in an MBA program, learning graphic design or pursuing an engineering degree, choose courses designed to help you forecast trends, understand business concepts, think creatively and communicate well with others. Seek out internships with companies that offer exposure to these skills. These skills might come in handy when you’re asked to model a scenario in which solar technology has to be scaled to power 5th Avenue’s fashion industry.

Get acquainted with the area of project management and process design. With multiple parties, vendors and teams involved in the projects of the future, tomorrow’s workers will have to know how to manage projects involving a variety of sources and locations.

Using your skills, you might then assemble a global team of engineers to design your prototype that would be used as a proof of technology to obtain additional research and matching funds to bring the project to fruition.

For example, in implementing a new service for the retail industry using RFID tags to help shoppers find, say, a clutch that exactly matches a wedding dress, you could be designing a process that brings together RFID technology suppliers, mobile phone vendors and a chain’s outlets.

Finally, there are technology skills that will remain in demand, especially when paired with the aforementioned skills. These skill areas include: mainframe systems analysis, design and auditing; IT security planning and management; data and storage administration; Web application development and business intelligence operations, such as data warehousing and data mining.

Even if you’re not going for an IT degree, there are plenty of other ways to get these skills. Students can now tap into internet resources available through IBM and others that provide tools, tips and tutorials on all of these topics, as well as collaborative learning communities that help share and build knowledge.

Getting smart about your skills today, which must include a balance of deep technical skill and an interdisciplinary approach to business, will help you find that dream job tomorrow.

By KevinFaughnan @ ZDnet News

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Tips For Making Banana Cake

• Choose the correct banana.

To have a great-tasting banana cake, choose an overripe banana with plenty of black specks. It has more sugar content, which softens the texture of the cake. An underripe banana will give a bitter taste (mapakla). Lacatan, latundan, and bongolan from Davao are the best types to use. Market vendors would benefit from making overripe bananas into muffins, bread, and cookies instead of throwing them away.

• Use molasses.

Molasses, the remaining syrup found in sugarcane juice, is used in this recipe to make the cake softer, and give it an aromatic smell and nice golden color. Molasses is strong in flavor and blending it with other ingredients will make it more appetizing.

• Use oatmeal.

Aside from being a healthy ingredient (oatmeal reduces cholesterol), oatmeal will help keep the cake moist for days (even for cookies and brownies) because it has almost no gluten content. For hamburger, oatmeal makes the patties softer and moist.

Moist Banana Cake

4 whole eggs (about 1 cup eggs)
1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup fresh milk
1 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup quick cooking oatmeal
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups overripe banana (bongolan, lacatan or latundan)

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F or 175°C.

Line a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with wax paper.

Beat in a bowl with a hand mixer at high speed or heavy-duty mixer for two minutes the eggs, granulated and brown sugar, molasses, salt, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Turn the mixer to low, and add milk and cooking oil. Mix for a few seconds to blend. Add flour and oatmeal, and mix until there is no more visible trace of flour. Add the mashed bananas. Increase the speed to high, and mix for another 30 seconds.

Pour the batter and spread on the lined pan. Bake for 70 minutes or until a cake tester or barbecue stick inserted in the cake center comes out clean. Cool in a pan, then loosen out and invert. Remove the wax paper.

You can also bake the batter in 24 paper-lined 2-1/2-inch muffin pans for 20 to 25 minutes.

Chef Erns’ Top 5 Banana Cakes

There is only one entry in this week’s list of top banana cake: the Baguio Country Club banana cake. The highest quality in taste, this dessert will be moist even if refrigerated for days. I’ve tried many other kinds of banana cake, but this is the best.

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