Tutti Frutti, So Yagööty!

yagootplated

We were invited — nay, challenged — by the nice folks at Yagööt to use their wonderful frozen yogurt creatively.  Yagööt’s specialty is their tart Original Flavor frozen yogurt.  They also make sweet yogurts; their strawberry and their caramelized pineapple are fantastic, and they offer a variety of other flavors which change regularly.  Yagööt was founded in 2008 by the owners of Cincinnati’s Busken Bakery; they expanded into the Columbus market about two years ago with a scoop shoppe at Easton Town Center, and have been a huge success. Personally, we prefer it to the other yogurt shops in town – their yogurt contains a little bit of fat (1%, as opposed to the non-fat offerings at most others), so it has a creamier mouth feel. We’ve talked about them before on this blog, and we’re happy to say they haven’t changed one bit since our first visit, except that they now offer about 6 different flavors in take home pints in addition to their regular menu of soft serve creations. Although we got at least one of each flavor available, we settled on our three favorites that we felt would be complimentary to both the toppings and to each other (thus, the Tutti Fruitti moniker – because of the “many fruit” flavors that make up the bulk of the dessert’s flavor).

yagootpints

Now, back to the challenge:

We finally decided to make petite frozen yogurt cakes, which we dubbed “Tutti Frutti, So Yagööty!”.  We made three varieties — Strawberry with Oreo Crust and Homemade Milk Chocolate Magic Shell with their Yomance topping; Caramelized Pineapple with Graham Crust, Cajeta (Goat’s Milk Caramel) and their Alligator Crunch topping; and Original Flavor with Granola Crust, Honey and Candied Pecans. Since these are tiny little cakes (they pack a lot of flavor in a small package), we’re considering three of them a modest dessert. We tried, for the most part, to use toppings that are unique to Yagööt, so technically the only ingredients that would require an outside trip are the graham crumbs, the butter, and the sugar. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to combinations of ingredients – we also played around with the idea of doing an oreo crust with pistachio yogurt, topped with a peanut butter magic shell, some mini peanut butter cups, and a few Heath sprinkles.

Before you start, make sure you have the tools for the job.  We used a Mini Cheesecake Pan from Chicago Metallic (see link below to purchase one for yourself – this is no unitasker) to form the ice cream cakes, and to freeze them. Like tart pans, they have a removable bottom metal plate that allows the cakes to pop right out of their forms. We also used parchment paper to prevent the frozen yogurt from sticking to the pan’s walls during the freezing/forming process, which would ruin the finished product.  With no further ado, here’s the step-by-step to make all of these little gems:

yagootpancollage

1.  Make the crusts.  Each crust used the same ratio of crumbs to melted unsalted butter — 1/2 cup of crumbs, 2 Tbsp butter.  For the graham crust, mix in 1/4 cup granulated sugar before adding the melted butter.  For the Oreo crust, pulverize 12 whole cookies.  For the granola crust, pulverize 4 crunchy granola bars (2 pouches).  You can use your food processor or “mini prep” chopper, but I find doing it the manual way to give better control over particle size, and to be a lot more fun.

yagootcrusts

2.  Press approximately 1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp  of crust into the bottom of each tin.  Use a shot glass or something similarly flat-bottomed and small to compact the crumbs.  Place the entire pan in the refrigerator for 45-60  minutes to give the crumbs time to set properly.

3.  Cut 12 strips of parchment paper long enough to encircle the inner wall of each tin, and wide enough to rise out of each tin by at least half an inch.

4.  Take the pan out of the refrigerator and get the frozen yogurt one flavor at a time from your freezer.  (Note: if you have a freezer that can reach -10 to -20F, store the Yagööt there.  It’ll be, and stay, more solid.)  Insert a loop of parchment into a tin and drop a scoop of Yagööt inside the paper loop.  Press down on the frozen yogurt with the bottom of a shot glass, preferably one that’s been chilled in the freezer.  You’ll do this to spread out the yogurt to occupy the width of the tin with the parchment between the yogurt and the walls of the tin.  This will let you properly shape each cake.

(Note:  I put the pan back in the freezer after each flavor and allowed the already-filled tins to freeze for 20-30 minutes before filling the next four tins with the next flavor.)

Repeat until all twelve tins are insulated with parchment and filled with Yagööt frozen yogurt.  Place pan back in freezer and allow to freeze at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

yagootparchment

5.  Make the homemade Magic Shell[tm] topping.  (Recipe below.)  If you’re feeling particularly lazy, you can just go to the store and buy it off the shelf.  It’s not the same, though.  Trust me.

yagoottoppings

6.  Take the pan out of the freezer again and top each mini Yagööt cake with the appropriate topping(s).  We figured that by using something sticky (honey, caramel, magic shell), it would let the toppings stick to the yogurt better. We were right. When using the Magic Shell[tm], distribute the Yomance topping on the cake before the Magic Shell solidifies.  You’ll have a ten second window while the topping is still liquid.  Once all the toppings are in place, put the pan back in the freezer one last time.  Allow the toppings to solidify for at least 30 minutes.

yagoottopped

7.  Remove pan from freezer.  To serve individual cakes, simply push up on the bottom of each individual tin (there’s a metal disc at the bottom of each tin) to pop out each cake.  Using a sharp knife, separate the metal disc from the bottom of the crust (it’s very buttery, so that shouldn’t be difficult to do).  Remove the parchment ring, and serve.

yagoot3cakes

Homemade Magic Shell

150g finely chopped chocolate (milk, dark, white — your choice)
100g refined coconut oil (I used Louana brand)
Pinch of salt

Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a Pyrex bowl.  Microwave for 30-45 seconds then stir.  Microwave an additional 15-30 seconds and stir again.  Once the chocolate is liquified, whisk the oil and chocolate together until they form a uniform emulsion.  Whisk in a pinch of salt.  Transfer the emulsion to a squeeze bottle.  Use exactly as you would the store-bought variety.

Yagööt was also kind enough to provide two $20 gift cards to give away to readers of this blog. You can enter below, through the Rafflecopter widget. Since you would need to redeem these in person, ideally you will live in the Cincinnati or Columbus metro areas.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclaimer:  We were invited to participate in a blogging “event” sponsored by Yagööt Frozen Yogurt.  They graciously provided gift cards which covered the cost of the ingredients. If you’d like to buy the special pan we used to make these, we’d appreciate your use of our affiliate link below so you can help support the costs of running the site. :) )

Event: Taste the Future 2012

B. and I have gone to Taste the Future every year since 2006. It’s always great to see the best that Columbus restaurants have to offer, and this year was no exception. It was a shame that the threat of inclement weather forced the event to be held in the parking garage; alas, a dimly-lit parking garage doesn’t allow for good photos.

Taste the Future is, of course, the annual fund-raiser for Columbus State Community College’s Culinary Apprenticeship program. This three year program produces graduates who have gone through 4000 hours of apprenticeship at a sponsoring restaurant while completing their Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts at the College. Graduates, in addition to earning their degree, also earn ACF certification as Certified Culinarians.  They are usually in high demand throughout the region.

Many of the restaurants which participate in Taste the Future employ Culinary Apprenticeship students during their apprenticeship; those participating restaurants who do not apprentice, hire the program’s graduates.

There were plenty of highlights at this year’s Taste the Future. One of my favorites was this Liptauer Cheese Crostini:

Crostini from Metro Cuisine Catering

Costco represented themselves well with this Tuxedo Cake:

Cake from Costco

Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a good picture of my single most favorite item, Bob Evans Farms’ Braised Pork Belly “Cones”. I went back for more than one of those.

Blackwell Inn of Ohio State University’s Fisher College had a nearly-as-irresistable offering in their Confit of Duroc Pork Wonton with Pickled Red Onion, Micro Greens, and Herbs:

Duroc Pork Wonton from The Blackwell Inn

Bob Evans did offer up Mashed Potato Doughnuts, which were very good. It’s a pity I’m not a huge fan of coffee, they might’ve been even better dunked in some java…

Doughnuts and Coffee from Bob Evans

The Easton Hilton delighted my palate with one of my favorite proteins: Duck Three Ways. Didn’t see the cherry risotto that they were supposed to offer, oh well…

Duck from Hilton at Easton

Last, but certainly not least, is The Kroger Company’s Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake. I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a good mousse cake (think Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake from the Cheesecake Factory and you’ve pretty much hit the mark). This was worthy of comparison. In fact, this was BETTER.

Cake from Kroger

If you’d like to see all the photos I took of the event, take a look at the slideshow. Until next time…

FTC disclosure: I was provided with a free pass to the event, along with extra tickets to give away.

Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy

This dish is one of my all time comfort food favorites, great for any part of the day. I like to make this dish in winter, when I’m looking for more stick-to-your-bones types of fare rather than something light. The drippings are what makes the gravy, so don’t skimp.

Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak with Cream Gravy
recipe courtesy Food.com

FOR CHICKEN FRIED STEAK:
oil or shortening
6-8 tenderized beef cutlets (round or cube steak)
3-4 cups seasoned flour
3 eggs
2 cups milk

FOR CREAM GRAVY:
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper
4 cups milk
1-2 tablespoon dripping, included the cooked bits

Heat about 1/4-1/2 inch of oil or shortening in a frying pan. Beat eggs then combine with milk. Dredge tenderized beef cutlets in flour, then egg-milk wash, then a second time in flour.
Place dredged cutlets into heated oil and fry until golden, about 10 minutes. Turn steak over and cook for another 5 minutes or so until both sides are golden. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and allow to drain.

TIME TO MAKE THE GRAVY: Drain all but 1-2 tablespoons of drippings from the frying pan; leave all the cooked bits you can. Combine flour and seasonings with milk, then pour into the pan with drippings and bits. Continually stir/whisk the gravy over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until desired consistency. Taste and add more salt or pepper if necessary. Serve generously over each piece of chicken fried steak. Sop up any extra gravy with a biscuit.

Football: Owen changes the England equation Shearer and Owen are likely to be Keegan’s first-choice strikers. By Glenn Moore go to web site escape the car

The Independent (London, England) May 29, 2000 | Glenn Moore THE BURGER vans were wiping up, the garbage men sweeping away the detritus of another game, and the queue to escape the car park was down to five minutes. Another shower was on the way. Yet outside the entrance to Wembley’s Banqueting Hall on Saturday evening were several hundred England fans, still waiting patiently for a glimpse of their heroes and, for the lucky few, an autograph. Then the captain emerged and, as one, the crowd bayed: “Shear-er, Shear-er”.

This is the man, remember, who is booed at most Premiership grounds. Who, excluding the Luxembourg hat-trick, and penalties, has scored three goals in his last 17 internationals and, against Brazil that afternoon, had missed two excellent chances. After a bright start on Saturday he had been overshadowed by Michael Owen and the critics who had written him off at the start of the season were beginning to raise their heads back above the parapet.

The public, to judge from this unrepresentative sample, and the broader poll of a Wembley crowd which had regularly chanted his name, have regained their faith. The England manager, like his three predecessors, swears he never lost it. Yet, after Saturday, the debate about England’s forward line has taken another turn. Once again the question is: should it now be Owen plus one? Or remain Shearer plus one? And who should be the one? Or are Owen and Shearer now compatible?

These are questions that Kevin Keegan will have to resolve before England’s first match in Euro 2000, against Portugal in Eindhoven, a fortnight today. Before that he has to decide who are the forwards he will actually take to the tournament. Keegan is due to name his squad after Wednesday’s Wembley international against Ukraine and choosing five from six strikers – Shearer, Owen, Emile Heskey, Kevin Phillips, Robbie Fowler and Andy Cole – is likely to be one of his key decisions.

Keegan’s fondest wish is that Shearer and Owen establish a winning partnership – and who can blame him? Such has been the reliance on Shearer and, to a lesser extent, Owen, that no other potential partnership has anything like their individual and combined experience. At 20 Owen has already spent nearly as much time hanging around the penalty boxes of the international arena as Fowler, Cole, Heskey and Phillips combined. Shearer, meanwhile, has missed just 25 minutes of Keegan’s 11-match reign.

However, in the last nine hours under Keegan England have scored five goals in six matches, just two of which were scored by strikers – Shearer’s overhead kick against Belgium in October, and Owen’s equally well-taken close-range strike on Saturday. That was England’s first goal in more than four hours’ play since Paul Scholes’ brace in Glasgow. Who would have imagined that Keegan would preside over such an impotent side?

Part of the problem is the service. From the left wing, since the injury to Graeme Le Saux, it has been negligible. From the right it is limited by England’s inability to release David Beckham into crossing positions as often as Manchester United can. This limits Shearer’s value to the side.

Owen, meanwhile, has been hamstrung by the absence, since Paul Gascoigne’s decline, of those eye-of-the needle passes from midfield that open up international defences. Hence the reliance on set- pieces and the need for a partnership which can make chances for each other, because no-one else will.

In the past Shearer and Owen, though ostensibly well-suited (big man – little man, muscle man – quick man) have appeared too selfish to combine. Both, as Shearer admitted on Friday, run into the same areas.

Keegan has been working on this and there was progress on Saturday, notably with Owen’s goal. It was laid on by Shearer and set up after Shearer won a throw-in having been fed by Owen. However, that was the only pass from Owen to Shearer in the entire game.

Both players spoke positively about the partnership afterwards, while recognising it had its faults. “It went well today,” said Owen, adding there were no excuses for it not doing so. “It is not as if we are of similar build,” he said, “Alan is more of a target man while I am more about getting behind people and using my pace.” Shearer, who rarely won the ball in the air on Saturday, is unlikely to be pleased at being called a `target man’, he prefers a big man alongside, like Chris Sutton, Les Ferdinand, Duncan Ferguson and now Heskey.

He hinted at this when he said: “Michael and I are both goalscorers who like to play up against the last defender. We’ve had to modify our games.” But he added: “Ours is not a natural partnership, like Gary Lineker and Peter Beardsley, or me and Teddy Sheringham, but we’ve shown we can share the work-load. This is probably the best we have played together since Argentina [in the World Cup].” Keegan, having said the pair “needed a game together”, although it was their 17th match in tandem, added: “I saw a lot of good things with them. Owen looked like he had goals in him. Against Scotland he fell behind the standards he sets for himself but he gave Brazil tremendous problems.” Striking is not just about goals, it is also about being an outlet when the team is under pressure. Keegan added, pertinently, of Owen: “He has to hold the ball up better.” Though Keegan is a fan of Fowler, his lack of fitness means the permutations for the front two appear to have come down to two from Shearer, Owen and Heskey. One past his peak, the others yet to reach theirs. see here escape the car

Though early impressions suggest Heskey would work well with either, his lack of experience means the others are likely to start against Portugal. Keegan is therefore sure to spend a lot of time working with Owen and Shearer on the training grounds of Bisham and Spa, their Belgian HQ, in the next month.

Should Fowler prove his fitness against Ukraine on Wednesday, when he is likely to start alongside Shearer, the last squad place would appear to be between Cole and Phillips. Cole has Champions’ League experience but, given that the fifth striker rarely plays, and mood is important when a team is closeted together at a tournament, Phillips may get the nod for his cheerier demeanour.

And finally, a reminder. Shearer is 29, which is not exactly past it for an international striker, even one over-reliant on strength and pace and over-acquainted with the surgeon’s knife. He was written off before Euro ’96 and responded in style; he may do so again. His star is fading but, while Owen and Heskey mature, he is probably the best we have. Next month he may prove it.

Glenn Moore

Rabbit and Horticultural Bean Stew

Barb is an Athens, OH blogger, and as a lover of all things local, and many things Athens, was immediately drawn to her writing, her recipes, and the simple recipes that result in spectacular dishes. This recipe, in particular, I made after a trip to the huge farmers market in Athens on one fine Saturday. Because of this, I was able to source the ingredients from the same suppliers she uses. It’s a beautiful stew, with the heady aroma of the stock, wine, and herbs bringing out the best of all the other ingredients.

Rabbit and Horticultural Bean Stew

Rabbit and Horticultural Bean Stew
recipe from Tigers and Strawberries

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil or bacon drippings
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks–white and light green bits only
3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 pound boneless rabbit meat
1 tablespoon each fresh minced rosemary leaves, fresh thyme leaves and minced fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2-2 quarts of rabbit stock (or chicken stock, if you must–or water, if you haven’t anything else)
1 1/2 pounds freshly shelled horticultural beans
the meat from the rabbit stock, if you have any
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs–I used rosemary, thyme, sage and flat-leaf parsley–for garnish

Method:
Heat the oil or drippings in the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed pot on medium high heat.

Add the onions and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring, until the onions turn golden. Add the leeks, garlic, celery, carrots and mushrooms, and cook, stirring until the onions are a deep golden brown and the other vegetables have been tinged with brown and everything is smelling wonderful.

Add the boneless rabbit meat, and cook, stirring, until it browns lightly.

Sprinkle in the first measures of fresh herbs and the Spanish paprika. Pour in the wine and deglaze the bottom of the pot, then allow the alcohol to simmer out of the wine.

Add the rabbit stock or whatever other liquid you are using, and stir in the beans. Add the meat from the rabbit stock, if you had any. Throw in the bay leaf.

Bring to a brisk simmer, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and cook until the beans and rabbit are both tender.

If the stew liquid isn’t thick enough to your taste, take out about a half cup of beans and mash them thoroughly. Stir them back into the stew and voila–instant thickener! No extra added fat or starch. Beans are like magic that way.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with the fresh herbs just before serving.

Quark Spatzle

I came across this recipe while searching for a way to use quark from Blue Jacket Dairy. Even though I love spatzle as a base for a delicious stew (sauerbraten, I’m looking at you!), this preparation is a vegetarian meal unto itself. I love what the browning process does to them. I could eat this for days on end!

Quark Spatzle

Quark Spatzle
recipe from I Can Do That blog

1/2 c. quark cheese, homemade or store-bought
3 eggs
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground white pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Sea salt and ground white pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg, about a quarter of the whole nut
1 c. grated Swiss cheese
1/4 c. water

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon salt for every quart. In a small bowl, mix flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, and white pepper. With a wire whisk, blend the quark and eggs together in a large bowl. Stir in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until smooth.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Keep the heat at medium while boiling the spatzle.

Push the dough through the holes of a colander, spatzle maker, or a potato ricer into the boiling water. Stir the spatzle and cook for 1 minute. Then, using a skimmer or a large slotted spoon, transfer the spatzle to the hot skillet. Raise the heat up to high and fry the noodles until they begin to turn golden. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Add the cheese and stir-fry until it begins to brown slightly. Add the water and stir-fry until it is absorbed. Add more water if you want the noodles to have a thick soupy consistency. Serve immediately.

Mayor: Crime Prompted Hazleton Crackdown

AP Online March 15, 2007 SCRANTON, Pa. – A crime surge in a former coal town prompted a crackdown on illegal immigrants, the mayor testified Thursday as he defended the ordinance against claims that it is unconstitutional. see here illegal immigration statistics

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta said violent crime spiked 60 percent between 2003 and 2006, driving businesses away and making residents afraid to come out of their homes. Within weeks last spring, he said illegal immigrants were arrested for fatally shooting a man, shooting a playground with a BB gun and dealing drugs.

“People were demanding that something be done,” Barletta said on the fourth day of a trial to determine the constitutionality of Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act.

“I understand those who say the federal government is in charge of regulating immigration,” Barletta said. “However, these crimes are being committed on our streets.” The ordinance, passed last summer, imposes fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and denies business permits to companies that employ them. A companion measure requires tenants to register with City Hall.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued to overturn the measures, saying the federal government has jurisdiction over immigration matters. Enforcement of the laws was barred pending trial, the first to examine local efforts to curb illegal immigration. go to web site illegal immigration statistics

Statistics show that illegal immigrants were responsible for less than one percent of the more than 8,000 crimes in the city between 2001 and 2006, ACLU lawyer Witold “Vic” Walczak said.

“I don’t have a dollar for one of them,” replied Barletta, who is facing a budget deficit. “We don’t have a dollar or an extra policeman for one of them.”

Farm Fresh and Local Produce 6/25/2011

Got home late last night, and didn’t get to bed until nearly 6am, so I slept in most of today. Putting together the entry for the FreshStreet pop up at Noodlecat as we speak, will hopefully have more for you tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy (vicariously, much as I did during the date) these pictures of what we have to look forward to on Saturdays in early summer.

Tomatoes

Lettuce

Radishes

Flowers

Parsley

Cabbage

Learning on their laptops Dist. 54 to provide some grades with iBooks.(News)

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL) February 25, 2003 | Singh, Shruti Date Byline: Shruti Date Singh Daily Herald Staff Writer Dooley School teacher Jennifer Antonson is excited about the prospect of each of her students getting a laptop computer.

Her sixth-graders could research and write their English papers right at their desks, and they could read about history for social studies as current events occur, Antonson pointed out.

“I think back 20 years ago. A school wouldn’t even consider not having a set of encyclopedias,” said Antonson from her Schaumburg school. “This is a new resource every child should have access to.” Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 plans to give every student in grades four, five and six an Apple iBook laptop to use during the school year. The District 54 school board approved the project on Thursday. in our site ibooks for mac

The laptops will be phased in over the next three years. This fall, District 54 will provide laptops to about 1,700 students in seven of its 22 elementary schools. Another seven or eight elementary schools will receive laptops for their fourth-, fifth- and sixth graders beginning in the 2004-2005 school year. The remaining elementary schools will receive laptops for students in these grades beginning in the 2005-2006 school year. When the program is at its peak, about 5,100 students and dozens of staff members will work daily on laptops.

Each phase will cost about $2.1 million for hardware, software, training and support.

Officials said despite the budgetary constraints school districts face in this tough economy, they plan to pay for the program by reallocating money, and they won’t dip into reserves.

District 54 spokesperson Terri McHugh said each year the district spends money for various types of technology – from software licenses to desktop computers. She said, for example, in the upcoming school year the district would not need to buy desktop computers and would buy laptops instead.

The district this spring will choose the seven schools that will receive the first batch of Apple iBooks, based on current technology network and skills and strength of leadership in the building.

District 54 officials said along with books and blackboards, in this day and age laptops are logical learning tools for English, science, social studies or any other subject.

“We believe technology has to be woven into the subject,” said Marianne Zito, District 54 assistant superintendent for instructional services. “This is a modern-day book.” Zito said through the use of laptops, the district intends to enhance reading and writing skills, improve students’ connection with outside resources in a monitored environment and beef up technical skills. website ibooks for mac

She said the district hopes to equip these students with computer skills they can use in high school, college and the workforce.

“It certainly opens up the door to see what skills they will need in the future,” she said.

Through a pilot program conducted this fall in nine classrooms, students used the laptops to write journals, create presentations and do research on the Internet. District officials said teacher, parents and student surveys revealed the children were more motivated to work on assignments in school and at home, and they spent more time reading and writing.

Students also took laptops home everyday, which enabled them to show parents exactly what they did at school that day – something that moms and dads always want to know.

District officials said the results of the pilot program gave them qualitative information, but the program is too new for firm quantitative data about the improvement in literacy or technical skills.

Indeed, District 54 is one of just a handful of educational institutions implementing this program.

The Maine Department of Education launched an initiative this school year through which all seventh-grade students and teachers across the state receive iBooks. The department plans to provide all eighth-graders with laptops beginning the next school year.

When the $37 million state-funded Maine Learning Technology Initiative is in full swing, nearly 36,000 students and teachers will receive these laptops.

Tony Sprague, project manager of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, said it’s too early to make definitive judgments about the benefits, but the enthusiasm the laptops generate among students is evident.

He said during a pilot program the state conducted last academic year, attendance improved dramatically during the nine weeks students received the laptops.

Henrico County Public Schools, a Virginia school system that provides laptops to nearly 25,000 high school and middle school students and teachers, also has noticed some preliminary benefits. The $21 million laptop program began in 2001.

School officials said last year, scores for the U.S. history section of the standardized high school U.S. Standard of Learning exam jumped 20 points from the year before. U.S. history was the only completely digitized subject in the district.

“They’ve benefited by all having access. When you look how fast info moves … this is the way the world is moving,” said Janet Binns, director of public relations for the Henrico County Public Schools.

Singh, Shruti Date

Farm Fresh and Local Produce 6/18/2011

Today’s entry is going to be a quick one, as I’m going to be leaving in a few minutes to head up to Cleveland in a few minutes with the Columbus Food Adventures peeps to attend the one night FreshStreet popup (note: Facebook is down at the moment – will update entry later on to link to FreshStreet) at Jonathan Sawyer’s Noodlecat. I won’t be getting back until after midnight, so it’s now or never, although I should be doing some live updating on Twitter.

But back to what you’re looking at – I these were taken when I was still in Dodd Hall, and when P. was going out to the farmers markets and I attended vicariously through these photos. Out of all the things I missed last year, that was a biggie for me. So needless to say, these pictures became my motivation – when I was learning to walk again, it was in hopes of being able to walk by the time the farmers markets started this year. I’m so happy that I’ve got there with time to spare.

So in all honesty, I’m not sure which pics were taken where, as I’ve totally lost my frame of reference, and P. doesn’t remember. But enjoy, anyway – and remember that this is only about 4 or so months away…

Rhubarb

Lettuces

Red Raspberries

Kohlrabi

Flowers

Chard

HAVING FUN SERVING OTHERS; Alternative spring-breakers forgo bars, beach.(FAMILY TIMES)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC) March 23, 2003 Byline: Alexandra Rockey Fleming, THE WASHINGTON TIMES Boston College junior Jeff Capotosto needed a break from the daily grind. Like most students, he hit the road, hoping to put some miles between himself and the stress and responsibility that riddle higher education. Mr. Capotosto’s spring break – unlike those of many of his peers – didn’t include any tequila shots, no honeycomb of revelers crashing cheap motels, no random hookups with unknown coeds. He traveled to Washington instead – on his own dime. Here the 21-year-old and his compatriots spent a week laying insulation and posting drywall on a couple of houses in projects supervised by D.C. Habitat, an affiliate of Habit for Humanity International, the Christian nonprofit housing organization based in Americus, Ga.

Nearly 30,000 students nationwide will participate in some type of alternative spring break this year, says Dan McCabe, executive director of Break Away, a national nonprofit group that assists colleges and communities in promoting alternative break programs. Organizers say this type of trip appeals to students who want to make new friends, help other people, learn about different cultures and experience a new environment – minus the bacchanal more frequently associated with spring break.

Before his trip, Mr. Capotosto said he was confident that his vacation, organized through Boston College’s service group, Appalachian Volunteers, would be a great opportunity – “everyone coming together for a cause,” he says.

“A lot of times you’re worried about your own life,” he says. “This is a week where you can actually do something for someone else. It’s a nice thing to do that’s also rewarding for everyone involved.” +++++ Concerns The three B’s booze, beaches and bikinis commonly are linked to spring break in the minds of many students. Some considerations for parents of teens who are planning spring-break vacations include:

* Many “all-inclusive trips” to foreign destinations such as the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada include all-you-can-drink parties, booze cruises, unlimited open bar and parties sponsored by liquor distributors where alcohol is distributed free of charge.

* The drinking age is 18 or 19 in Mexico, Canada and much of the Caribbean, and in many of these places the age limits are only modestly enforced, if at all. alcoholpoisoningsymptomsnow.net alcohol poisoning symptoms

* U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country they are visiting. If a teen is arrested, there is little if anything that the State Department can do to help. Also, medical care in many resort areas often is inadequate to respond to drinking and other substance-related crises.

* Although some travel companies provide adult chaperones, these adults are not responsible for monitoring students’ alcohol or drug consumption or sexual activity.

* Many young people don’t know the signs of alcohol poisoning. Symptoms include the following: The person doesn’t respond when spoken to, pinched or poked; the person vomits when passed out; the person cannot stand up or remain standing without aid; the person has a very slow rate of breathing fewer than six breaths per minute; he has bluish or purplish or clammy skin that feels cool to the touch; his pulse is slower than 40 beats per minute.

Source: Students Against Destructive Decisions +++++ More info Books * “The Uncollege Alternative: Your Guide to Incredible Careers and Amazing Adventures Outside College,” by Danielle Wood, ReganBooks, 2000. This book includes ideas and resources on opportunities for adventures around the world; internships, apprenticeships and training programs; and community service projects.

* “The Back Door Guide to Short-Term Adventures: Internships, Extraordinary Experiences, Seasonal Jobs, Volunteering, Working Abroad,” by Michael Landes, Ten Speed Press, 2002. This guide contains more than 1,000 opportunities to work, play, learn and help, introducing readers to previously unconsidered options. this web site alcohol poisoning symptoms

* “Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years,” by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller, Griffin Trade, 2000. Using case examples and real-life dialogue, this book shows how parents may have lost control over their college student, but they haven’t lost influence.

Online * SADD, Students Against Destructive Decisions, (www.sadd-online.com) has identified spring break as a time of year when teens are particularly at risk. Its Safe Spring Break Campaign offers a safety kit that includes materials that warn young people about some of the dangers of underage drinking. SADD also encourages young people to turn their energies to community-service projects that will strengthen and improve their communities. The Spring Break Safety Kit includes ideas and information about community-service projects that teens can organize that will provide opportunities for teens to get together, have fun and accomplish a worthwhile objective over spring break.

* Break Away (www.alternativebreaks.org), a national nonprofit organization, provides workshops and facilitates a network to connect nonprofit groups that need volunteers with the goal of having students become lifelong participants in community service.

* Youth Service America (www.ysa.org) is a resource center and alliance of more than 300 organizations committed to increasing the quantity and quality of opportunities for young Americans to serve locally, nationally or globally.

CAPTION(S):

Boston College junior Jeff Capotosto helps repair the house for D.C. Habitat, an affiliate of the nonprofit organization. “This is a week where you can actually do something for someone else,” he says. “It’s a nice thing to do that’s also rewarding for everyone involved.” [Photo by Jessica Tefft/The Washington Times] Boston College students and AmeriCorps workers put siding on a Habitat for Humanity house in a Northeast community in the District. Nearly 30,000 students nationwide will participate in some type of alternative spring break this year, says an official of a nonprofit group. [Photo by Jessica Tefft/The Washington Times] Natalie Battle, a junior at George Mason University, traded sand, sun and relaxation for an alternative break in New York City. There she spent a week caring for victims of HIV/AIDS via the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an AIDS advocacy and education organization. [Photo by Jessica Tefft/The Washington Times]

Streusel-Topped Meyer Lemon Blueberry Muffins

I’m not sure exactly why, but over the past couple of weeks the price of blueberries has been down a bit, with the prices for a pint about at the same levels they were last summer when they were seasonal. Of course, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, so once I used them in the recipe I planned, I still had a little over a quart of berries left.

Considering that I had the better part of a bag of Meyer lemons also in the fridge needing to be used up, this recipe seemed like a no-brainer when I first saw it.

They came out tasting as good as they look, incredibly light and moist and chock full of huge blueberries. My favorite part was the streusel topping – somehow it just worked with both of the other main ingredients.

Meyer Lemon Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Streusel Topped Meyer Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
recipe from Fifteen Spatulas food blog

Ingredients:
8 oz all purpose flour (about 1.5 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Zest of 2 meyer lemons
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 extra large egg
1/3 cup milk
2 cups blueberries
Streusel crumb topping (recipe below)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Prepare the streusel crumb topping (recipe below).

Whisk to combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and meyer lemon zest. Take a tbsp of the mixture and toss it with the blueberries. This ensures that the blueberries stay suspended throughout the muffin, instead of falling to the bottom.

Place the vegetable oil, egg, and milk in a bowl, and whisk to combine. Add that to the flour mixture, and remember, leave lots of lumps. If there aren’t any lumps whenever you are using the muffin method of baking, you have overmixed and invited more gluten (and toughness) to the party than was welcome. Don’t worry, a few lumps will bake out.

Dump in the blueberries, and fold them in gently. Use a disher to portion them out into the muffin cups, and sprinkle the crumb topping all over the tops. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with no wet batter. Let them cool, and enjoy!

Streusel Crumb Topping Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar
2.5 oz flour (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp cinnamon (cinnamon goes beautifully with blueberries)

Dice up the butter into cubes, and work all of the ingredients together with your fingertips, until it forms a bunch of crumbs and clumps. You can now sprinkle it over the tops of your muffins.

Richard L. Mason Asset Manag …

The Washington Post July 24, 2005 Richard L. Mason, 51, an asset management executive and a hard- nosed amateur hockey player, died at Inova Loudoun Hospital on July 9, shortly after having a heart attack while playing goalie for the Ashburn Oldtimers, a senior hockey team that plays regularly at Ashburn Ice House.

Mr. Mason — teammates knew him as “Goldberg,” from the movie “The Mighty Ducks” — was “between the pipes,” as hockey players would say, fiercely defending the goal for his team. He was doing what he loved best, friends said.

In addition to the Oldtimers, he played over the years for the Ice Hogs, the Hosers and several other amateur teams, and he rooted for all the Washington professional teams, as well as for the Chicago Cubs. “A great guy” off the ice, he was “ornery and cranky on the ice,” his friend and teammate Bob Flanagan said. “He didn’t like people coming through the crease.” Mr. Mason, a resident of Herndon, was born in Oak Park, Ill., where he began playing hockey as a youngster. He received a bachelor’s degree in real estate in 1980 from Western Washington University, where he played on the hockey team. site ashburn ice house

During the 1980s, he worked as a leasing agent in San Diego and with Freddie Mac in Chicago. He moved to the Washington area in 1991. He worked for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in commercial and real estate management for 15 years before becoming senior vice president of asset management for Reilly Mortgage Group Inc. in 2003. go to site ashburn ice house

He was a member of Vale United Methodist Church in Oakton and served on the board of the Wesley Housing Development Corp., an organization that works to make affordable housing available in Northern Virginia. He also was a coach for his children’s hockey, soccer and baseball teams.

In addition to playing hockey and coaching youth sports, he could never resist a good roller coaster ride. “He loved to play,” his wife said.

Survivors include his wife of 22 years, Lynn Mason of Herndon; four children; Tommy, Kate, Billy and Bradley Mason, all of Herndon; his mother, Marjorie Heffernan of La Grange Park, Ill.; and a brother.

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

There are certain ingredients that tend to show up time and time again in my recipes while they are in season, and one of my favorite ingredients that we use in autumn and winter are apples. Made even better with local Golden Delicious apples (because I tend to cook more often with sweet rather than tart apples, and Golden Delicious are a sweet variety that manages to keep its shape when baked). The caramel in the recipe adds something to the whole thing, as does serving it with a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding
recipe from What’s Cookin’, Chicago?

5 cups stale bread, cut into 1″ cubes & dried out (challah or gluten free bread)
3 cups apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
4 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or half & half)
3/4 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced

Serve/garnish with:
whipped cream
caramel sauce
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease or spray a 9×13″ baking dish or pie plate with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the dried bread cubes and apples. Transfer to the greased baking dish.

In the same large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients except for the butter. Pour the mixture over the bread and apples. Push down on the bread cubes to soak in the milk mixture.

Allow the baking dish to sit for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours in order for the bread cubes to absorb the milk and egg mixture. If you plan to make this ahead of time and let it sit for up to 24 hours, cover dish with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.
When the milk and egg mixture has been absorbed, sprinkle the diced butter over the bread pudding and bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until the center is set but not dry or burned.

Remove from oven and allow to stand for at least 5-10 minutes before serving. Cut into serving pieces and serve with whipped cream, a drizzle of buttery caramel, or vanilla ice cream… or a combination of these three for something indulgent!