Thursday, May 18, 2006

Katen Joshi (Burmese lentil soup)

This "sweet" Burmese soup is ferociously filling, thanks to all the substantial, deep fried garnishes. Really yummy, with so much heat and crunch and flavor accenting the bland dal foundation. Serve barely warm to 4 as a meal.
2 hot green chile peppers, cut into rings and soaked in white vinegar to cover for at least an hour.
2 cups chopped sweet onions, cooked slowly in 1/3 cup peanut oil until dark and carmelized.
2 potatoes, peeled and grated and cooked in an inch of hot oil until crisp and golden brown, then drained on paper towels.
2 cups bread cubes, cooked in an inch of hot oil and butter until golden crisp--watch carefully, this goes fast.
1 cup cilantro, chopped.
Wash the lentils thoroughly, then pour into a large pot with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook partially covered until the lentils lose their shape and make a thick porridge. Stir in the chopped cilantro, season to taste, and set aside.

While the lentils are cooking, begin preparing the garnishes, in the order given. As they're done, place in small bowls to pass with the soup. When ready to serve, pour the soup (barely warm) into a tureen and take it and the garnish bowls to the table. Invite your guests to put 2-3 ladles full of soup into their soup bowls and heap the garnishes in a pile in the middle of the bowl.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Welcome to the world of Home Stereo!

Sadly when one thinks of home audio equipment, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the annoying neighbor in the apartment upstairs. We have negative memories of his booming, reverberating bass, and the difficulty of sleeping with his thunderous racket overhead.
The truth is, not only is he annoying, but he’s missing the point of what good home audio is all about. Ideally, the last thing your home stereo should do is annoy, either you or anyone else. The goal of this article is to get you started in this endeavor. While I can’t answer every conceivable question, I can share with you strategies that will help you choose the correct equipment, regardless of your budget, listening tastes, or surroundings. And you don’t have to break the bank (or the noise clause in your lease) to have top-notch quality.

Prepare yourself to learn more than you ever thought there was to learn about the humble home stereo. After reading the articles on this site, you’ll be able to approach your purchases with confidence and knowledge.

Collecting information is always the first step in acquiring wisdom. The next and most important step is sharing the wisdom with others interested in the subject. That’s what we’re going to do here.

First Steps
To choose the right home stereo equipment, there are five key questions that need honest answers:
Determine how much money you have to invest in your system.
Decide whether you are seeking “audiophile quality” or the modern equivalent of the boom-box.
Are you an “audio enthusiast” who wants all the bells and whistles, or is FM Stereo the highest in sonic fidelity for you?
What types of music do you usually listen to? Are you strictly jazz or do you love thrash-metal? Somewhere in between?
Lastly, how long do you think you’ll own the equipment you purchase tomorrow?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be on your way to making an informed buying decision.
(To help you while you ponder these questions, I have included a file download area which includes budget spreadsheets, downloadable “how-tos,” and other resources that can make your task a little bit easier.)

Audio equipment comes in a wide range of prices, quality, and performance, from the least expensive mass-produced CD players, tuner/amplifiers and all-in-one systems, to precision-crafted “reference” separate components costing several thousand dollars. The key is to obtain the best possible sound quality at the most reasonable price.

From Anthony Armstrong,

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