Dad’s Ratatouille Recipe | Simply Recipes

Ratatouille Recipe

Preparation time: 1 hour and a half, minimum.

Ingredients

1 lb of yellow onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 lb zucchini, chopped

1 lb yellow squash, chopped

Bell peppers, seeds removed, chopped into 1/2 inch square pieces:

–1 lb green bell peppers

–1/2 lb red bell peppers

–1/2 lb yellow bell peppers

1 lb eggplant, 1/2 inch cubes

1 lb fresh ripe tomatoes (or equal amount of high quality canned tomatoes, chopped)

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt to taste

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

1-inch sprig rosemary

3/4 cup vegetable stock (or thin tomato juice)

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Method

1 Preheat oven to 400° F.

2 Using a large oven-proof pan over medium high heat, sauté onions in olive oil until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and reduce heat to low.

3 While the onions and garlic are cooking over low heat, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a another frying pan over high heat. As soon as oil starts to smoke, quickly add enough zucchini cubes all at once to cover the bottom of the pan. Keep on cooking over high heat, stirring, until zucchini is lightly browned on all sides. Remove zucchini cubes, and add them to pan with the onions.

4 Working in batches, repeat this process until all of the zucchini cubes have been cooked. Do the same with the yellow squash. Make sure to add a little olive oil between each new batch. Continue with the bell peppers, then the eggplant cubes, adding the browned vegetables to the onion pan as soon as they are cooked.

5 When all the vegetables (except the tomatoes) are browned and in the pan with the onions, increase the heat to high and stir, making sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add salt to taste, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary, the vegetable stock, and stir well. Place in oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Alternatively you can cook them on the stovetop on low heat for 30 minutes.

6 If using fresh tomatoes, boil water in a saucepan on stove. Remove stems from tomatoes, and crisscross the bottoms with a knife. Plunge into boiling water for a minute or two, until skin starts to fall away. Rinse in cold water and remove skin. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise, remove seeds, chop coarsely, set aside.

7 After the vegetables have been in the oven for a half hour, remove from oven, drain vegetables in a colander set over a bowl. Clean browned bits (if any) off bottom of pan with a paper towel. Return any liquid to the pan and reduce to a thick glaze over medium high heat. Keep on adding juices to the pan as they run out of the vegetables into the bowl.

8 When all the juices have been reduced, return vegetables to the heavy pan. At this point the ratatouille should be moist and shiny, with very little liquid. Turn heat off. Add the chopped tomatoes and cover. If serving as a warm side dish, let the ratatouille stand for 10 minutes, just enough to “cook” the tomatoes. The ratatouille can be served at room temperature or refrigerated and reheated the next day.

9 When ready to serve, remove the bay leaf, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6-8.

via Dad’s Ratatouille Recipe | Simply Recipes.

Peanut Sauce – Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe

While most Western versions of peanut sauce are made with peanut butter, this authentic Thai peanut sauce recipe starts with real peanuts – and you’ll taste the difference! At the same time, it’s super easy and quick to make. This peanut sauce can be used for a variety of purposes, from a dip for veggies to a sauce for chicken or beef satay. Or use it to make a yummy cold noodle salad or as a marinade for grilled chicken or tofu. A very easy and versatile peanut sauce recipe.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: SERVES 4-6 as a Dip

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh-tasting dry roasted peanuts, unsalted

1/3 cup water

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce

2 tsp. sesame oil

1/2 to 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, to taste

2 to 2.5 Tbsp. fish sauce – for vegetarians: substitute 2.5 to 3 Tbsp. regular soy sauce

1/2 tsp. tamarind paste OR 2 Tbsp. lime juice

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1 tsp. Thai chili sauce (more or less to taste)

1/3 cup coconut milk

Preparation:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk.

Do a taste test, adding more fish sauce (or soy sauce) if not salty enough, or more cayenne if not spicy enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you’d prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.

Serve warm or at room temperature with my Thai Chicken Satay, as a dip with fresh veggies, with fresh spring rolls, or other Asian finger foods. Or combine with noodles to create a Thai-style noodle dish or cold noodle salad. Enjoy!

Note: This sauce tends to thicken as it sits – just add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out, as needed. Otherwise it stores well if kept covered in the refrigerator (keep up to 2 weeks; freeze thereafter).

via Peanut Sauce – Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe.

What Makes Rain Smell So Good? | Surprising Science

Step outside after the first storm after a dry spell and it invariably hits you: the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of fresh rain.

If you’ve ever noticed this mysterious scent and wondered what’s responsible for it, you’re not alone.

Back in 1964, a pair of Australian scientists (Isabel Joy Bear and R. G. Thomas) began the scientific study of rain’s aroma in earnest with an article in Nature titled “Nature of Agrillaceous Odor.” In it, they coined the term petrichor to help explain the phenomenon, combining a pair of Greek roots: petra (stone) and ichor (the blood of gods in ancient myth).

In that study and subsequent research, they determined that one of the main causes of this distinctive smell is a blend of oils secreted by some plants during arid periods. When a rainstorm comes after a drought, compounds from the oils—which accumulate over time in dry rocks and soil—are mixed and released into the air. The duo also observed that the oils inhibit seed germination, and speculated that plants produce them to limit competition for scarce water supplies during dry times.

via What Makes Rain Smell So Good? | Surprising Science.

Your Credit Bureau Report In Canada

In Canada, Trans Union and Equifax are ‘the Credit Bureau’. They are a database of creditor information, and information provided by you, gathered together to determine your credit-worthiness.

Who Is The “Credit Bureau”?

In Canada, there are two major competing credit bureau companies, registered under applicable provincial laws dictating what they are allowed to display on your credit bureau, and who can access your information. They are Equifax and Trans Union Services.

Each of these companies is a corporation in the business of making a profit, which they mostly do by selling inquiries. Usually listing data to the credit bureau is free, or almost free. However, each time an inquiry is made on your credit bureau file, there is a fee paid by the agency or creditor.

Because different creditors use either one or both of the bureaus, your credit ratings from each of these companies can look vastly different.

If you want to contact these two companies, their contact information and websites are:

Equifax Canada – 1-800-663-9980 – www.equifax.ca

Trans Union Services – 1-937-4093 – www.tuc.ca

How Do They Get My Information?

Every time you apply for credit, update your information with a trade item creditor, fill out an application with a landlord or authorize a credit check, open a bank account, apply for employment that does a credit check, you have an impact on your credit rating. As well, each inquiry shows up on your credit bureau profile, showing who has been looking at your file.

The information gathered by your applications and your creditors is displayed on your bureau — your name, your date of birth, your social insurance number, your spouse, your telephone number, your address, and your place of employment. This is updated each time new data is provided to the credit bureau.

As well, every month, your trade items report to the credit bureau, showing your current payments (or lack thereof), and assign an aggregate score between a “1” and a “9” for each item. A rotating line of credit that you have maintained with payments on time would show up as an “R1”, for example.

If you have a secured line of credit based on a physical asset, such as a car, that security can be listed on the credit bureau, showing the dollar value of that security, and who holds it.

Lastly, if you are listed in a collection agency for an outstanding debt, or a judgment is received against you, it can be reported to your credit bureau, listing the creditor, the amount owed, and the current balance. As well, bankruptcies would be displayed on your bureau as well.

All of this information can remain on your credit bureau for a period of seven years, creating a narrative of your financial history and displaying patterns and habits.

What Happens If I Pay My Bills?

Many of your bills are not reported to the credit bureau – utility companies, landlords, and insurance companies typically do not report. However, it’s almost certain the following do:

  • Cellular phone companies
  • Car Leasing Companies
  • Banks
  • Private Label Credit Cards

When you pay your bill properly on time, you are awarded a “1” rating. If you are late, you receive a “2” rating for that month, and so on.

If someone gets a judgment against you, it too can be reported from the court to the credit bureau. The judgment number will appear, as well as the plaintiff and the current balance.

What Can A Collection Agency Do To My Credit?

For any collection agency that is a member of one or both of the credit bureaus, they can upload a registered item to the credit bureau each month. It would show a creditor, collection agency, amount owed, and current balance. It might look like this:

18 JAN 12 – ABC COLLECTIONS/XYZ COMPANY – 1502 – 1502

Checking Your Own Credit

Every consumer should check their own credit report at least once a year, to see what has been reported, verify their information is correct, and have an understanding of what a creditor might see if you apply for credit.

You should not pay for your credit bureau report! There are many companies that earn revenue from selling you your credit report online, or offering to pull your credit bureau report on a subscription basis. You can request it for free, yourself.

To request your credit rating from Equifax, fill out the form linked here and mail it in with two pieces of identification. http://www.equifax.com/ecm/canada/EFXCreditReportRequestForm.pdf

To request your credit rating from Trans Union, you can visit their offices in Burlington, Ontario personally and receive a copy after displaying your identification. This has previously written about Here: http://receivableaccounts.blogspot.com/2011/01/trans-union-services-has-moved.html

The credit bureaus often offer a paid credit bureau report, or even subscribe to a service that alerts you if something changes on your credit rating – for some people this has value, but remember you can always request a copy for free.

Disputing A Rating

Your credit bureau is a compilation of creditor information, and it not a “pass/fail” grade on your credit-worthiness. If a collection agency has an alleged debt that they wish to list on your bureau file, there is little recourse you have. However, you can request an investigation into the accuracy of the information. If the information is accurate and can be supported by a documented invoice or statement, the item will remain on the credit bureau.

To dispute an item on your Trans Union report, http://www.transunion.ca/ca/personal/creditdisputes_en.page

To dispute an item on your Equifax Canada report, http://www.consumer.equifax.ca/dispute-ca/dispute_process/en_ca

Understand that your creditors may update the disputed item on your credit report each month, which means your disputed item may be placed back on the credit bureau up to 30 days later.

Helpful Links

The Office of Consumer Affairs for Canada has some excellent information about credit scores and how consumers can understand how their credit rating works, and how they can protect themselves … you can find further information here http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/h_ca02146.html

Originally published under greenleafpages.com. Author Blair DeMarco-Wettlaufer

7 Ingenious Hidden Spy Cameras | Mental Floss

There may be no more important tool of espionage than the camera. It’s ideal for blackmail, collecting information, stealing documents, and reconnaissance. Because the technology involved is relatively simple, it’s possible to insert a camera into just about anything—and throughout history, that’s just what spy agencies have done. Here are a few objects that have doubled as cameras.

via 7 Ingenious Hidden Spy Cameras | Mental Floss.

A different take on big data

Another thought about big data from Seth Godin this morning.
Interesting comment, worth thinking about

[..] my edits, please link to the full version.

“… the promise of big data, [..] it whispers the opportunity of once again making average stuff for average people, of sifting through all the weird to end up with that juicy audience that’s just waiting to buy what they’ve made.

Big data is targeting taken to the highest level of granularity. It grabs your behavior across web sites, across loyalty cards, who knows, across your phone records… the promise of all this grabbing [..] will be able to find precisely the right person to reach at the right moment with the right offer.

This rear view window analysis is anathema to the creative breakthrough that we call art. No amount of digital focus group research could figure out that we wanted Memento or the Matrix or Amour. Worse, it’s based on the flawed assumption that the past is like the future, that correlation and causation are related. By that analysis, every Supreme Court chief justice, US president and New York City police chief is going to be a man. Forever more.

We are going to get ever better at giving committees ways to turn your work into banality. That opens up the market even more for the few that have the guts to put great work into the world instead. ”

via Seth’s Blog: Perhaps you could just make something awesome instead.

Another take on big data

Great comment… a thought about big data

[..] my edits, please link to the full version.

“… the promise of big data, [..] it whispers the opportunity of once again making average stuff for average people, of sifting through all the weird to end up with that juicy audience that’s just waiting to buy what they’ve made.

Big data is targeting taken to the highest level of granularity. It grabs your behavior across web sites, across loyalty cards, who knows, across your phone records… the promise of all this grabbing [..] will be able to find precisely the right person to reach at the right moment with the right offer.

This rearview window analysis is anathema to the creative breakthrough that we call art. No amount of digital focus group research could figure out that we wanted Memento or the Matrix or Amour. Worse, it’s based on the flawed assumption that the past is like the future, that correlation and causation are related. By that analysis, every Supreme Court chief justice, US president and New York City police chief is going to be a man. Forever more.

We are going to get ever better at giving committees ways to turn your work into banality. That opens up the market even more for the few that have the guts to put great work into the world instead. ”

via Seth’s Blog: Perhaps you could just make something awesome instead.