Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lemon-Berry Fruit Pizza

Anytime I think of dessert, the tought of a rich, chocolate-based confection inevitably pops into my mind before anything else. Indeed, I proudly admit that I suffer from chocoholism. My day is never complete without at least a tiny dose of chocolate, in some form or another, whether just a small piece from a Valhrona bar or a large piece of a rich, decadent, fudgy brownie. Especially when it comes to serving guests, chocolate tends to be my number-one go to base for sweet treats. After all, chocolate always pleases the masses. However, for once, in my quest for lighter, more summer appropriate fare, I decided to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone and come up with something different, something that did not include any chocolate! A fruit-based delight seemed the perfect alternative. Years ago, during one summer vacation, my mom prepared a scrumptious, refreshing fruit pizza for us that we all gobbled up. Simple yet elegant, light yet zestful, a fruit pizza is a perfect make-ahead dessert for dinner parties and a sureshot crowd-pleaser. I recreated this version turned-up a notch by adding the lemon curd as opposed to preparing a plain cream cheese frosting. Citrus flavors in general, but particularly lemon, wonderfully accompany all types of fruit. The amalgamation of sweet berries with the tang of the lemon curd atop the sweet cookie crust provides the perfect ending to any meal, and because it is not overly rich, you just might have room for a second piece!

Sugar Cookie Crust (from Allrecipes.com):
2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1.5 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Microwave Lemon Curd(from Morning Coffee and Afternoon Tea):
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
zest of 3 lemons
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup lemon curd
1/2 cup sugar(powdered is best, but granulated works fine too)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Glaze:
1/2 cup orange juice
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Strawberries and blueberries to top pizza

For the crust:
Preheat oven to 375F. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl. Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the flour mix until it forms a ball, but don't over mix. Transfer the ball to a lightly greased 10X15 inch sheet pan. Press dough evenly across the bottom of the pan to form a crust. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until, golden brown, in the preheated oven. Crust will be bubbling and appear slightly underdone, but it will finish cooking with the internal heat. Let it cool completely at room temperature before assembling the pizza.

For the lemon curd:
Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl in a microwave on high for about 1 minute, or until melted. Combine sugar, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest in another bowl with a whisk. Slowly beat in the melted butter. Microwave the mixture on high(or about 70% power if you have a very powerful microwave like me) for 3-4 minutes, until it is thickened. Stir every minute. Transfer to a clean glass jar, and let it cool slightly. Let it chill in the refrigerator overnight.
This made about 2 cups, one cup of which I used for the pizza. I happily used up the rest by mixing a dollop into vanilla yogurt for breakfast or using as a fruit dip!

For the frosting:
Beat all the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and creamy.

For the glaze:
Mix orange juice and sugar in a saucepan on a stovetop on medium heat, and let it simmer until the sugar dissolves. Let it cool, and them mix in the lemon juice.
To assemble:
Spread frosting on top of the cooled crust. Wash strawberries and blueberries, and slice the strawberries. Toss the berries with the glaze just to coat, and strain the extra glaze. Arrange the berries on top of the frosting in desired pattern. Let it chill in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. I promise, it is worth the wait!

Egg Kheema

I wanted to prepare a nice dinner for some of my friends before I left. Previously, for my dinner parties, I had prepared mostly Italian/Mediterranean style food, but this time I wanted to come up with something different. So, I thought, what better alternative than a warm, comforting Indian meal? Of course, I just had to concoct something other than the ordinary restaurant fare that most people conceive of when they think of Indian cuisine. Thus arose this aromatic, scrumptious egg kheema. Kheema is traditionally made with minced meat(generally chicken or lamb) in a thick, spicy gravy. I prepared this version with boiled, grated eggs in place of the meat, also flavoring the gravy with fennel and saffon for a unique twist. The tiny amount of saffron adds a touch of sweetness that perfectly rounds out the overall spicy flavor of the dish, but only use a tiny amount as a little goes a very long way. I also used coconut milk to lend some richness to the dish. This gravy can be used as a base for any other type of kheema; I plan to try this with both tofu and paneer. Egg kheema lends itself to being served with paratha, roti, or in my case, Cilantro-Rosemary Naan(mmm...need I say more?), coming in my next post. This dish goes to the event Cooking with Seeds: Fennel Seeds hosted by Priya of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes.

Egg Kheema:
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp. oil
4 cloves garlic
1.5" piece ginger
2 green chilli peppers
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
2 potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 heaping tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1.5 tsp. garam masala
1 cup chopped carrots, partially steamed
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
2 tbsp. lemon juice
a pinch of saffron powder
salt to taste, or about 1.5 tsp
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
10 hard boiled eggs, peeled and grated
Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the bay leaf and cumin seeds, and let the cumin seeds begin to brown. After, add the fennel seeds, and let them just begin to brown until they give off a strong aroma. Add the chopped onion, and cook it over medium heat until transluscent and tender. Make a paste with the garlic, ginger and green chillis, and add the paste to the onion. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic is no longer raw, but not brown. Add the tomato sauce, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the coriander, cayenne and turmeric powders. Add the carrots and peas, cover and cook until the carrots are well-cooked, but still have a slight crunch to them. Then, mash the potatoes and add them to the mixture along with about 3/4 cup water. The potatoes act as a thickener for the gravy. Cook covered until the potatoes absorb the water. Add the coconut milk, garam masala, lemon juice, saffron and salt to taste. Let simmer for about 2 minutes, and then taste and adjust spices/seasonings as needed, especially the lemon juice depending on how sour as opposed to sweet you like it. Add the grated eggs, cover, and let the mixture simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Serve hot with rotis, parathas or naan.
Serves 8

Opera 10.60 springs to life, ready to blow your mind with speed

Today Opera released the latest version of their desktop web browser. It only took Opera 10.60 a few short weeks to go from beta to final version and now you should be able to experience its speed without annoying bugs and glitches.
gsmarena 001 Opera 10.60 springs to life, ready to blow your mind with speed
Opera 10.60 promises a 50 percent improvement in JavaScript performance compared to Opera 10.5x. Considering that its predecessor was already in contention for the fastest browser available the Opera 10.60 should just blow away the competition. Of course the difference will only be felt when browsing JavaScript-heavy sites like Gmail and Facebook.
Opera 10.60 also offers new features such as Geolocation (optimizing your search results) and HTML5 video support with WebM. Then there are also the HTML5 Appcache, which can store web applications such as word processors or image editors for offline work and HTML5 Web Workers that helps developers do heavy calculations without slowing the web browser.

Gmail just got smarter, important emails are now on the top of your inbox

Emails make life easier. Only if you didn’t have to waste your time sorting out important emails from the rest. Well, the Gmail Priority Inbox will from now on do that for you.
main Gmail just got smarter, important emails are now on the top of your inbox
The latest Gmail feature, the Priority Inbox, has just been introduced by Google. It is said to be able to find the important emails among the ones that you could read when you aren’t that busy and to put them on top of the list so that you can see them the moment you open your inbox.
To identify the messages of higher priority, Gmail remembers the contacts you write more often to as well as the type of messages you read or the ones you reply to, so, next time you receive such messages they appear on top of the inbox.
And if, for some reason, Gmail mistakenly marks an important message as unimportant (or vice versa), you can easily fix that by setting the message priority on your own. Check out the video below for more details on the Gmail Priority Inbox:
The new feature should be released this week and once the “New! Priority Inbox” link shows up in the top right corner of your Gmail account (or the Priority Inbox tab appears in Gmail Settings) you can take advantage of it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

6 Best Free Antivirus for Windows 7

In this article I’m going to focus on some free antivirus program of which there are many, like Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky and Trend Micro. When you want to search for a Windows 7 antivirus program you have to make sure it’s fully compatible. All these free options have their good points. So before select one, go through the websites and have a quick look on comments who share their thoughts about free antivirus app. of their choice.

AVAST

Over 100 million people have avast protecting their computers, making avast! one of the world’s leading – and most trusted – antivirus programs. They also like us, regularly placing avast! at the top of user ranking charts over other antivirus products.
Compatible with most operating systems including the new Windows 7. Low system requirements and available to download in 30 languages makes avast the understandable choice.

Avira

Avira provides many of the world’s largest companies and institutions with world beating Anti-Virus and Malware detection software. Protection for your entire network, including desktop PCs, file servers, proxy servers, email servers and mobile end devices.

AVG

In a nutshell, AVG enables people and businesses to use computers with confidence and without aggravation by protecting them from disruption and loss.

COMODO

Comodo Firewall and Antivirus is now Comodo Internet Security. The Latest version of our award-winning Firewall.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Find information, definition updates, and analyses of all the latest threats that Microsoft Security Essentials can help protect you against in the Microsoft Malware Protection Center.

PANDA CLOUD

Panda Cloud Antivirus is the best free antivirus software available… the next evolution of anti-malware technology.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Google releases multiple sign-in, does what is says, Search History introduced as well

Having more than one Google account may be pretty uncomfortable at times. But Google has finally find the solution for that: multiple sign-in. Now, logging into just one of your accounts will grant you access to your other accounts, as well. And that’s not all: as of today US Google customers can take advantage of another new feature called Search History.
Let’s first take a look at the Search History feature. To give it a try, you only have log into your Google account and then click on the “History” link at the bottom of the Google front page. This will allow you to easily find the pages you’ve visited recently or to see starred items from your Android, iPhone and desktop searches.
Luckily, you can always delete the search history and disable it if you don’t want other to have access to your recently visited pages. To enable or disable search history, log into your Google account and go to Settings.
Google Search HistoryGoogle Search HistoryGoogle Search History
Google Search History
Now, it’s time see what multiple sign-in is all about. Once you’ve enabled it, you’ll get access to all your Google accounts (up to three at a time) by just logging into one of them (it becomes your default account). No more workarounds needed.
Interestingly, if the current Google product you’re using doesn’t support multiple accounts, while using it, you’ll only be logged into your default account only. And when you leave any Google product (it doesn’t matter which account you’re logged into), you’ll be signed out of all your accounts. For now the only supported Google services are Gmail, Calendar, Reader, Code, and Sites. I was really hoping for YouTube, but it doesn’t have green light yet.
By the way, the multiple sign-in feature can’t be used by all accounts at the moment but Google promises to bring it to all its customers as soon as possible. And one more thing, keep in mind that currently you can’t use multiple accounts simultaneously on a mobile device or on the Google Calendar’s gadget.

Windows XP is still king of the desktop computers, Windows 7 passes Vista

Linux may be going strong in the mobile phone world but the desktop is another matter. It’s a Windows world out there and Linux is struggling to break 1%…
gsmarena 001 Windows XP is still king of the desktop computers, Windows 7 passes Vista
The Linux kernel is at the basis of quite a few mobile OSes – Android, Maemo (turning into MeeGo) and WebOS being the most popular ones, but there are a few lesser known ones as well.
But on the desktop? Windows XP is losing ground but it’s currently at 56%, miles ahead of even its successors. Windows Vista (18.1%) is slowly fading away – Windows 7 (19.1%) has already passed it by a full percent. Mac OS X isn’t doing too hot either, it’s currently sitting at 4.6% after the peak of 5.9% in April.
Well, it seems that Microsoft has nothing to worry about with their OSes occupying a total of 93.5% of the market and Windows 7 selling like hotcakes.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How to create a FBML page


This will probably be the most comprehensive tutorial on “How to create a FBML page“. I hope that once you read it, you’ll be able to create your own FaceBook FBML page in seconds.
So what’s the definition of FBML – it’s a Face Book Markup Language, which generally does not really differ from HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), but has some restrictions. It is being served by a FaceBook application named “Static FBML“.
#1 Let’s consider that you already have a Facebook Page, if not – go tohttp://www.facebook.com/pages/ and create one.
Once your FaceBook fan page is created you can access it by going to Account > Manage Pages

#2 Ok. So you’re at your fan page and willing to add the Static FBML application, to be able to create custom FaceBook pages. Enter your page settings by going to “Edit Page” link right under the page avatar:
#3 Once you are at the Settings page, scroll down to the very bottom to see the More Applications box, where Static FBML is usually listed by default:
#4 It’s really easy to install the Static FBML application to your FaceBook fan page. Once you clicked the link of the application, you’ll be redirected to it’s page, where there’s a clear link to “Add to my page“:
#5 Don’t forget that to return to your FaceBook page you need to go to Account > Manage Pages. Go to the settings of your page and you’ll see that Static FBML application has now appeared there:
#6 Go to the Edit link and you’ll finally get to the place where you need to place your FBML code. The main trick here is that you need to skip the html and body tags and start withdivs, tables or anything you want. You can also use styles for each element, embed video & flash and even use FBJS (more on this later). But lets learn how to create a simple FBML page.
I’ve placed a simple helloworld html code into that box. And typed MyPAGE in the Box Title – this will be a name of your custom tab on your FaceBook page.
I have one phrase, one picture and couple of styles, and here’s the result, which is shown under MyPAGE tab of my FaceBook Page:
Yes, it’s pretty easy to create a FBML page, what is far more complicated is to design an attractive layout, which will convert your visitors into fans and then code that layout into FBML page. If you’re not familiar with design, coding and your web developer asks for too much – checkout the great collection of FaceBook templates on our website. I’m sure there’s the one you need there.

Friday, August 20, 2010

8 USEFUL WEB TOOLS YOU WOULD NOT WANT TO MISS

Online web tools are great because they can save your time and you do not need leave your browser. As our daily lives evolve into online sphere, having right web tools on your hand can certainly be convenient. In this post you will find some useful web apps that are not only useful, but also easy to use.

1.Convert Files

Easily convert different file formats. You can convert images, download YouTube video and much more with this web tool.

2. Joongel

Are you a power searcher? Then this tool this for you. You simultaneously search different search engines in different categories. It can be very useful if you are doing an online research.

3. Quick Thumbnail

Simply create thumbnails in different sizes right from your browser. You can upload an image from your computer or web directory and choose sizes of the thumbnails you want.

4. ScreenCastle

Have you ever wondered if you would be able record your screen right from your computer without any software? Yes you can. This tool would be useful if you would not want to download any large software or if you are not at you own computer. This is uses java applet to record your screen.

6. Mockingbird

Another handy tool for project mangers, designers and developers. Simple and easy wire framing for your project. The interface is very easy to use.

7.  Cyclur

If you maintain multiple websites and wanted show feeds between you websites, Cyclur will get the job done with knowing too much coding. Just simple insert your feeds link and customize the look.

8. Flipping Typical

Filpping Typical is an useful online utility for web designer to preview a text in different fonts. Type in the text you want to preview and you will see it right away and it also gives you the font name.

BONUS

DevCheatSheet

A collection all kind of cheat sheets for different markup and scripting languages on the web. Do not need to Google for hours for cheat sheet you saw last week. You can find it in DevCheatSheets.com

6 Services to Help you Monitor your Server

Most webmasters, as well as developers and designers, worry about the front end of a web site. They make sure that it looks perfect and that the scripts work fine. And most of the times, the physical machine that the site is installed on is not optimized to take full advantage of its resources and work as effective as possible.
This is especially true if the server is self-managed and the webmaster doesn’t really have the time or knowledge to go into deeper configuration files. Often, the problem of an overloading server and low performance is solved by simply switching to a newer, more powerful one. At the same time, a good, fine configuration of the old server could’ve made it run just as fast as a much more powerful new one.
But let’s say you did configure the server to run at its best performance, how do you make sure it actually does that and stays that way over the course of a longer time? Well, for that purpose, you can use the various monitoring and server testing tools and services, available online. Here are some of the best:
6 Services to Help you Monitor your Server
Load Impact. Load Impact is an amazingly useful service that helps you test the amount of concurrent visitors and connections that your site and the server it’s hosted on can handle. You can use it to test various configurations and achieve the best performance and stability. This is very useful for moving high load web sites to new machines or if you plan on getting a few hundred thousand sudden visitors from Digg or other major social networks.

6 Services to Help you Monitor your Server
Simple Server Monitor. Just as its name suggests, this is a simple server monitor that can quickly inform you when your server or site is down and measure the uptime percentage over time. Whenever your server becomes unresponsive or slow, you will receive a message informing you of the issue, so you can fix it before it becomes a major problem. This service is practically a must have for any server administrator.

6 Services to Help you Monitor your Server
SiteUptime. This is a service very similar to the one above, and it also offers a free version for a single site. You can set it up to check the availability of your site every 10, 5 or even 2 minutes, which ensures that you’ll know what’s up with your site at any time, almost instantly. You can receive notifications via SMS & email, which is more than enough in most cases.

6 Services to Help you Monitor your Server
McAfee Secure. McAfee Secure is one of the leading online monitoring services that specialize on viruses, Trojans, various infiltrations and spam. You may know about the McAfee desktop antivirus, which is very good. Well, now you can have it for your server. McAfee Secure will make sure that your server is safe from security breaches, identity theft, phishing, spam and other nasty things. It will also display a badge that shows when the site was last tested (which is usually daily), and that will increase your customer’s trust in you and your services.

6 Services to Help you Monitor your Server
Webmetrics GlobalWatch. This is an amazing interactive tool that helps you monitor a wide variety of web sites and applications and check a lot of parameters. It has a very nice interface that provides you with the most important information, which will help you effectively monitor the status of your server and web sites. You can view the possible causes of a problem and possible solutions, create reports and custom notifications that will inform you what’s going on wherever you are, via your cell phone or email.

6 Services to Help you Monitor your Server
Orion Network Performance Monitoring. Orion NPM is an enterprise level tool that allows you to monitor everything on a single server or a few hundred of them all over the world. You can see any bandwidth, software and performance issues, as well as possible causes and fixes. It can quickly detect and inform you of any problems (even potential ones, if you want) on your network and how to solve them, so you can have the issue fixed before it even starts affecting your machine or your site’s users.

Using the above services and tools, you can make sure your server is always running, and it does so with the highest efficiency and performance possible.