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Thursday, August 15, 2013

How To Buy A TV

Plasma Vs LCD - Among  plasma, LCD, and LED LCD  your best bet is plasma unless you're looking for a set 42 inches or smaller. If you watch TV in a room full of windows with no curtains, then get an LCD.

Refresh Rate - For an LCD, this is the number of times per second a screen refreshes it's image measured in hertz. This does not apply to plasmas. The standard is 60 Hz, 120 Hz is much better, and 240 Hz is overkill. Just look for the words "refresh rate" not scenes per second (SPS) or TruMotion.

Buy Cheap HDMI Cables -Cheap HDMI are as good as expensive ones. So don't spend more than $5 max.

The 411 On 3D - Active glasses are expensive are heavy and use batteries. But they provide full resolution. Passive glasses are cheap, but since each eye only sees half the image, you're getting only half the resolution. Also the worst 3D is among the best of 2-D TVs.

Forget Smart Features - Don't concern yourself with built in smart features like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and HBO Go. All are available on a $100 Roku 3 external device.

Forget About Ultra  UHD - Ultra UHD known as 4K TV provides 4 times the number of pixels  as full HD. But its a waste since nothing is broadcast in Ultra HD.

Prices You can pick up a good 42 to 50 inch TV for about $700, and you can get a great one for $1200 to $1500.

Inputs - Good TVs have at least 4 HDMI inputs.

Best Brands -Companies like Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG and Sharp have been around a long time. So they have huge repair networks and easy to find parts. Other brands may not.

Sound -In general, the thinner the  TV the worse your speakers will be. So either get a sound bar or learn to appreciate sound without the bass.    

Friday, August 9, 2013

Gourmand Grilled Cheese That will Thrill Your Luncheon Guests

First, look for a cheddar that has been aged about 1 year. If it was aged longer, it won't melt well. To quickly brin gthe cheddar to room temperature, microwave the pieces until warm or about 30 seconds. Th first two sandwiches can be held in 200 degree oven on a wire rack or baking sheet. The following recipe serves four:

7 ounces aged cheddar, cut into 24 equal pieces at room temperature

2 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

8 slices hearty white sandwich bread

First, process cheddar, brie and wine  in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed, about 20-30 seconds. The add shallot and and pulse to combine, 3 - 5 pulses. Combine butter and mustard in a small bowl. Next, working on a parchment paper lined counter, spread mustard butter evenly over 1 side of slices of bread. Flip 4 slices of bread over and spread cheese mixture evenly over slices. Top with remaining  4 slices of bread, buttered sides up. Then preheat 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. ( Droplets of water should just sizzle when flicked onto pan ) Place 2 sandwiches in skillet, then reduce heat to medium low, cook until both sides are crispy and golden brown, about 6 to 9 minutes per side. Remove sandwiches from skillet and let stand for 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 sandwiches.

Substitute Asiago for cheddar, finely chopped pitted dates for shallot, and oatmeal sandwich bread
for white sandwich bread.

Substitute Comte for cheddar, minced cornichon for shallot, and rye sandwich bread for white.

Substitute Gruyere for cheddar, chives for shallot, and rye bread for white.    


Epicurean Summer Grilled Corn Recipes

If you want to wow your cook out guests, then dress up your grilled corn with these incredible summer flavors. First, get yourself a disposable aluminum pan that will hold 6 to 12 corn on the cobs.

Next, whip the flavored butter of your choice. Just combine all the ingredients in a small bowl:


Mix 6 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons minced basil, 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/4 teaspoon pepper


 Mix 6 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Mix 6 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt


Mix 6 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter, 1 garlic clove minced, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce,
1 teaspoon tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Next, remove the corn husks from your corn. Then brush them generously with plain old vegetable
oil. This will keep them from drying out.  Then place them on a hot grill , turning occasionally until they are lightly  charred on all sides.( about 5 to 9 minutes )

Place your favorite butter mix into the disposable aluminum pan. Then place your corn cobs in the pan
and cover with aluminum foil. Place the pan on the grill and shake frequently until you hear the butter
sizzle. Then serve corn, spooning butter in pan over individual ears.      

93 Fun Facts About New Jersey

If you live in or have ever lived in Jersey...you'll appreciate this...if not, you may be surprised!
New Jersey has the second highest per capita income in the U.S.
New Jersey has three counties in the top ten U.S. counties by income.
New Jersey was the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights (Nov. 20,1789)
New Jersey is a peninsula.
New Jersey is the only state where all of its counties are classified as metropolitan areas.
New Jersey has more race horses than Kentucky.
New Jersey has more Cubans in Union City (1 sq mi.) than Havana, Cuba.
New Jersey has the densest system of highways and railroads in the US.
New Jersey has the highest cost of living.
New Jersey has the highest cost of auto insurance.
New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation.
Cartoonist Thomas Nast (Morristown) created the popular image of Santa Claus.
New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the "Diner Capital of the World."
Home to the less mysterious but the best Italian hot dogs and Italian sausage w/peppers and onions.
North Jersey has the most shopping malls in one area in the world, with seven major shopping malls in a 25 square mile radius.
New Jersey is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The Passaic River was the site of the first submarine ride by inventor John P. Holland.
New Jersey has 50+ resort cities & towns; some of the nation's most famous: Asbury Park, Wildwood, Atlantic City, Seaside Heights, Long Branch, Cape May.
New Jersey was home to the Miss America Pageant held in Atlantic City.
The game Monopoly, played all over the world, named the streets on its playing board after the actual streets in Atlantic City.
And, Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world,
Not to mention salt water taffy.
New Jersey has the most stringent testing along our coastline for water quality control than any other seaboard state in the entire country.
The "Trial of the Century" (the Lindberg Baby kidnapping) was held in Flemington.
New Jersey is a leading technology & industrial state and is the largest chemical producing state in the nation when you include pharmaceuticals.
Jersey tomatoes are known the world over as being the best you can buy.
You haven't lived until you have eaten New Jersey sweet Corn.
New Jersey is a leader in blueberry and cranberry production.
In 1642, the first brewery in America, opened in Hoboken.
New Jersey rocks! The famous Les Paul invented the first solid body electric guitar in Mahwah, in 1940.
New Jersey is a major seaport state with the largest seaport in the US, located in Elizabeth. Nearly 80 percent of what our nation imports comes through Elizabeth Seaport first.
New Jersey is home to one of the nation's busiest airports (in Newark), Liberty International.
George Washington slept here. Several important Revolutionary War battles were fought on New Jersey soil, led by  General George Washington. On Christmas Eve 1776 he crossed the Delaware to attack the Hessian troops at Trenton.
The light bulb, phonograph (record player), and motion picture projector, were invented by Thomas Edison in his Menlo Park, NJ, laboratory.
We also boast the first town ever lit by incandescent bulbs.
The first movie studio was in West Orange.
The first western was filmed by Edison in the hills of West Orange-"The Great Train Robbery."
Highest population density in the US
Home of the US Olympic Equestrian Team
Home to the United States Golf association (Far Hills)
The transistor was invented by Bell Labs in NJ
The telephone was invented in NJ
Samuel Morse's code machine was built in NJ (Morris Plains)
The first seaplane was built in Keyport, NJ.
The first airmail (to Chicago) was started from Keyport, NJ.
The first phonograph records were made in Camden, NJ.
New Jersey has the largest petroleum containment area outside of the Middle East countries.
New Jersey has the tallest water-tower in the world. (Union, NJ!!!)
New Jersey had the first medical center, in Jersey City.
The Pulaski SkyWay, from Jersey City to Newark, was the first skyway highway.
NJ built the first tunnel under a river, the Hudson (Holland Tunnel).
The first baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ, which is also the birthplace of Frank Sinatra.
The first intercollegiate football game was played in New Brunswick in 1889 (Rutgers College played Princeton).
The first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden, NJ, (but they're all gone now!).
New Jersey is home to both of "NEW YORK'S" pro football teams!
The first FM radio broadcast was made from Alpine, NJ, by Maj. Thomas Armstrong.
The Great Falls in Paterson, on the Passaic River, is the second highest waterfall on the East Coast of the US. In 1778, Alexander Hamilton visited the falls and was impressed by its potential for industry. Later as the nation's first Secretary of Treasury, he selected the site as the nation's first planned industrial city.
All New Jersey natives: (Actually 'Born, Raised 0r Settled')
Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jason Alexander, Derek Jeter Queen Latifah, Susan Sarandon, Connie Francis, Shaq, Judy Blume, Aaron Burr, Dionne Warwick, Sarah Vaughn,  Budd Abbott, Lou Costello, The Jonas Brothers, Alan Ginsberg, Yogi Berra, Larry Doby, Norman Mailer, Marilynn McCoo, Flip Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Edison, Frankie Valli, Charles Lindbergh, Whitney Houston, Eddie Money, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Walt Whitman, Jerry Lewis, Tom Cruise, Joyce Kilmer, Bruce Willis, Caesar Romero, Ice-T, Nick Adams, Nathan Lane, Sandra Dee, Danny DeVito, Richard Conti, Joe Pesci, Joe Piscopo, Fanny Brice, Annie Oakley, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Robert Blake, John Forsythe, Meryl Streep, Loretta Swit, Norman Lloyd, Paul Simon, Jerry Herman, Gordon McRae, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Phyllis Newman, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Eva Marie Saint, Elisabeth Shue,  James Fennimore Cooper, Admiral Wm.Halsey,Jr., Dave Thomas
(Wendy's), William Carlos Williams, Sammy Williams, Ray Liotta, Robert Wuhl, Paul Robeson, Ernie Kovacs, Joseph Macchia, Brian Williams, Charles Gibson, Martha Stewart, Andrew Fastow (!) and, of course, Francis Albert Sinatra.
You know you're from Jersey when . . .
You don't think of fruit when people mention "The Oranges."
You know that it's called Great Adventure, not Six Flags.
You don't put pineapple on your pizza.
And, you don't buy pizza at a national "pizza" franchise.
You've known the way to Seaside Heights since you were seven.
You know that the state isn't one big oil refinery.
At least three people in your family still love Bruce Springsteen, and you know the town Jon Bon Jovi is from.
You know what a "jug handle" is.
You know that WaWa is a convenience store.
You know that the state isn't all farmland.
You know that there are no "beaches" in New Jersey--there's the shore--and you don't go "to the shore," you go "down the shore." And when you are there, you're not "at the shore"; you are "down the shore."
You know how to properly negotiate a circle.
You knew that the last sentence had to do with driving.
You know that this is the only "New" state that doesn't require "New" to identify it (try . . . Mexico . . . York .! . . Hampshire-- doesn't work, does it?).
You consider putting mayo on a corned beef sandwich a sacrilege.
Or, ketchup on a hot dog.
You don't think "What exit?" is very funny.
You know that people from the 609 area code are "a little different."
You know that no respectable New Jerseyan goes to Princeton--that's for out-of-staters.
The Jets-Giants game has started fights at your school or local bar.
You live within 20 minutes of at least three different malls.
You refer to all highways and interstates by their numbers.
Every year you have at least one kid in your class named Tony.
You know the location of every clip shown in the Sopranos opening credits.
You've gotten on the wrong highway trying to get out of the mall.
You know that people from North Jersey go to Seaside Heights, and people from Central Jersey go to Belmar, and people from South Jersey go to Wildwood. It can be no other way.
You weren't raised in New Jersey--you were raised in either North Jersey, Central Jersey or South Jersey.
You don't consider Newark or Camden to actually be part of the state.
You remember the stores Korvette's, Two Guys, Rickel's, Channel, Bamberger's and Orbach's.
You also remember Palisades Amusement Park and Olympic Park.
You've had a boardwalk cheese steak and vinegar fries.
You start planning for Memorial Day weekend in February.
And finally . . .
You've NEVER, EVER pumped your own gas.