Lone Star Statements

Books No Comments

Recently, Time magazine published a list of the 100 best novels. But the praise of professional critics hardly matters to the book-reviewing readers at Amazon.com. A compilation of the best of the worst… about the best.

Jed’s Other Poem (Beautiful Ground)

Art, General, Music, Writing No Comments

Jed wrote poems. Here’s one that was turned into a music video, described as “[a]n unsolicited music video for the band Grandaddy and their song of the same name off of the album The Sophtware Slump“. The punchline? Programmed in Applesoft II on a 1979 Apple ][+ with 48K of RAM. Seriously. It’s brilliant. Seriously.

ColorBlender

Design & Usability, Web Development No Comments

If you’re looking for colour inspiration for your latest website design, look no further than ColorBlender. This tool mixes and matches a set of six colors based off a main color that you adjust with some very slick Red-Green-Blue color sliders. For the seriously inspiration-impaired, there’s the “Load a random blend” link. It also provides Pantone colour matching, and auto-generated Photoshop and Illustrator palettes. Extremely useful. Below are three palettes I generated in about 15 mins:

Colour Palette Generation

Design & Usability, Web Development No Comments

If you’re working on a new design and are stuck for colour inspiration, this short post has a great hint: Pixelate a favourite photograph.

The basic concept is that a photograph, being a natural juxtaposition of colours and shades, will render up colours that naturally complement or contrast with each other without looking garish. I gave it a try to see what it would produce.

1) Find a photograph. This part’s easy.

2) In Photoshop, go to Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic, and adjust so the mosaic squares are pretty large in relation to the photograph.

And that’s basically it. Once you have the pixellated photo, just pick and choose a set of 5-6 colours from it and lo, you have a palette. The following three palettes are all obtained from this experiment: the first is a set of unaltered colours from the photo, the second has had its value and saturation adjusted slightly, and the third is a result of playing with the “Hue” slider in the “Hue/Saturation” adjustments dialog.



Here are a few more quick examples I just cooked up, unadjusted from the original:




AnnoyingWeb

Ranting No Comments

So, I clicked on a link in my RSS feedreader and the following page came up. It took me a noticeably long amount of time to find the actual content. Image here is colour coded for your edification: Orange = Advertising. Red = Script Error. Blue = Navigation. Yellow = Actual Content. Grr.

Garlic Loaf

Recipes No Comments

This goes with the giant lasagna.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium cloves of garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/4 lb), softened
  • Fresh loaf of italian or portuguese bread (relatively flat, oval, about a foot long)

Preparation
Mix minced garlic with softened butter, and set aside.

Slice loaf of bread in half, lengthwise, so the top and bottom are each roughly the same thickness. Spread half the garlic butter on the cut side of each, and place on a cookie sheet, cut/buttered side up.

Put into a pre-heated oven to bake for 7-10 mins. Optionally top with cheese and/or brown under the broiler for a few mins. Cut into 2″ wide slices, and serve while still quite hot.

Giant Lasagna

Recipes No Comments

I just made an enormous lasagna with a loaf of garlic bread.

Ingredients

  • 500g extra lean ground beef
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 12-14 small-to-medium sized cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 jars Classico Tomato-Basil pasta sauce
  • 1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 tub “traditional” ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 c grated parmasean cheese
  • 1/2 c cooked spinach, chopped
  • Generous quantities of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh ground pepper

Preparation
Pre-heat oven to 350.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat, and saute minced garlic for 20-30 seconds. Add ground beef, and saute until beef is browned through, breaking up clumps. Drain beef and garlic of excess fat and set aside. Heat another 2 tbsp olive oil in the pot, and add diced onion and sliced mushrooms. Saute these until both are soft and cooked through, around 5-7 mins. Put cooked beef and garlic back in the pot, then add the two jars of pasta sauce. Heat over med-low heat until bubbling. Add fresh ground pepper to taste.

In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta, chopped cooked spinach, and parmasean cheese. Add fresh ground pepper to taste.

Assemble lasagna in a 9×13″ pan, at least 2″ deep. Layer ingredients as follows, bottom to top:

  • Sauce, with a light sprinkling of mozzarella
  • Noodles (each noodle layer is three no-boil noodles, side by side)
  • More sauce + mozzarella
  • Noodles
  • More sauce + mozzarella
  • Noodles
  • More sauce + mozzarella
  • Noodles
  • Ricotta-spinach mixture (use it all to make one nice thick layer)
  • Noodles
  • Rest of the sauce
  • Heavy top layer of mozzarella

The end result should be a very full (but not overflowing) pan that has 5 layers of noodles.

Put lasagna in pre-heated oven for 45-50 mins, uncovered. Let sit for 10-15 mins before serving (it will be nuclear-hot). Prepare garlic bread in the meantime. Ideally, serve with a bottle of red wine that will hold its own against the garlic.

This will feed 8 hungry people, or two for about a week.

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