Week 12: How To Make Stuffed Peppers

I asked a friend of mine to teach me how to stuff peppers. Just like the paneer cheese, they’re surprisingly easy to make. I like dishes that allow the cook to add in whatever is available in the kitchen – stuffed peppers are one such dish. We raided the fridge for some ground beef, garlic, mushrooms and parmesan; grabbed some herbs from the garden; pulled some breadcrumbs and pine nuts from the pantry, and used some pimento peppers from the market. That was all we needed.

First, we cleaned the peppers, and saved the seeds for future use. Then we chopped up all the other ingredients (minus the breadcrumbs and parmesan), and mixed them together in a bowl. We slowly added the breadcrumbs and parmesan to the rest of the ingredients to reach a texture that held together, and could be shaped into a ball without crumbling.

Then we divided the stuffing between the 6 peppers. We filled each pepper just above its edges, then turned them over (stuffing down) onto a greased cookie sheet. Cooking it this way helps create a nice crust on top of the stuffing. We cooked the peppers for close to an hour at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point the peppers were thoroughly cooked and softened, but the outer skin was not burnt. The stuffing on top crusted over with caramelized cheese and deliciousness.









We made a salad to go along with the peppers, and crumbled some of the leftover paneer cheese on top. A perfect lunch for a Saturday afternoon!

Week 11: How To Make Paneer Cheese

Once I fell behind on posting, it was easy to keep putting it off. No more excuses though. I decided to give making paneer cheese a try to combine two of my favorite things, curry and cheese. Making the cheese was surprisingly easy and did not take long. I followed the recipe posted on Manjula’s Kitchen blog. The recipe is accompanied by a YouTube Video posted at the same link. It’s very straightforward, and simple. Unfortunately, my camera battery died before the cheese was done, and added to the curry. But it was delicious.

I was surprised that Manjula said that paneer cheese could be made with lowfat milk (1-2%), instead of requiring whole milk. I always thought that paneer cheese had to be made with whole milk. I used ultra-high pastuerized (UHT) whole milk (because it was what I could find at the store by my house). The milk curdles were very small, but the cheese came together alright. It was a little crumbly, but it held it’s shape while being fried before it was added to the curry.

I’ve read elsewhere that it can be made using balsamic vinegar, or even yogurt to curdle the milk. I’m looking forward to trying these options and seeing how they effect the texture and taste of the cheese, or if they do at all.

Squeezing the excess water from the paneer after rinsing it.
Squeezing the excess water from the paneer after rinsing it.
The finished paneer in its cloth.
The finished paneer in the cloth.

And here is the video from Manjula’s Kitchen:

Adobe Lightroom Presets

Lightroom presets are a quick and easy way to make adjustments to photos. I’ve found it most helpful when looking at a series of photos with similar color/lighting profiles to quickly play with adjustments and quickly apply them to all of the photos. Here are some sites that offer free presets, and information about installing and using presets in Adobe Lightroom:

Adobe’s Lightroom Develop Presets provides a variety of presets submitted by users. There are free presets, and presets available for purchase. Sometimes photo samples are included in the preset description, and the comments tend to reveal who the preset is geared towards and most useful for (amateur, macro, landscapes, etc).

Seim Effects Lightroom Presets also provides a number of free presets and presets for purchase. Many of the presets are accompanied by a video sampling how to apply and adjust the presets.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips is another good source of presets. The site is run by Matt Kloskowski, and for each preset he provides a thorough description usually outlining when and for what photos the preset is most appropriate. Each preset comes with three options for the intensity that the preset is applied to the image with – light, medium, strong.

And last but not least, onOne Software‘s lightroom presets. The onOne Signature Collection Presets is a massive collection. I only added the presets that I thought would be most useful to Lightroom to keep from cluttering the sidebar.

And here’s a video by Seim Effects on how to install and manage Lightroom presets:

Adobe Lightroom Resources

I decided to post the websites and YouTube channels that have been most useful in learning to use Adobe Lightroom.

The Adobe Lightroom YouTube Channel has been the most useful resource for me. It’s easy to search for videos addressing certain topics, and the collection of tutorials is extensive.

Julieanne Kost’s blog provides a lot of information and tutorials for using Adobe Lightroom. Her videos and tutorials are also available on Adobe TV.

While it is long, I found the following YouTube video by Terri White to be the most helpful and straightforward to getting started with Lightroom. I watched it in one window while following his directions with Lightroom in another window. Some of the topics he covered were not relevant to me, so I just skipped them. Generally though it was a thorough walk through for Lightroom.

I will say, there is quite a learning curve to really be able to take advantage of Lightroom. Basic photo editing features are quite intuitive, but things like presets (at least for me) take a bit more time. I am a big fan of the options for easily importing, naming and organizing photos.


Week 10: Adobe Lightroom

I finally purchased Adobe Lightroom so I can start editing my way through the absurd amount of photos I have from the past year and a half. I’ve used Photoshop before, back in the days of CS2, and have played around with a few other free photo-editing softwares, but never found any that I was crazy about. One of my friends who does a considerable amount of studio photography, swears by Lightroom. After playing around with the software on her computer for a bit, I decided that it was worth the investment.

Now, I just need to learn how to unlock its full potential.

How To Save A Life: Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

Warning signs:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. (List found at the American Heart Association website.)

I went ahead an included the specific warning signs for women, because they include all the same warning signs as for men, and this list includes those few extra commonly reported symptoms. After calling 9-1-1, the person suffering symptoms of a heart attack should chew and swallow one Aspirin tablet, unless he/she is allergic, or has been instructed by a doctor not to take Aspirin. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen do not work in the same way, and as such should not be administered. Give the person nitroglycerin if, and only if, it has been prescribed to them by a doctor. Have the person lie down, if he/she is having trouble breathing or swallowing put him/her into the recovery position. Try to keep the person calm and alert. If the person loses consciousness (enters cardiac arrest) begin CPR. If the person has no vital signs, CPR should be continued and an automated external defibrillator (AED) should be administered.   Now here is a PSA from Go Red For Women, featuring actress Elizabeth Banks. About the video, Banks said, “While the film is funny, having a heart attack is not something to be laughed at. However, I’m using humor to help uncover the truth about heart disease, to get people interested in learning more about their hearts — and our movement.” I don’t think leaving one’s mom on the floor with an iPhone and an article about heart attacks is the appropriate course of action by any means, but you get the point.

Hands Only CPR (PSAs by Vinnie Jones and Ken Jeong)

For those not trained in standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) (compressions and rescue breaths), the recommended course of action is to do ‘Hands Only CPR’ after 911 has been contacted.

Hands only CPR should be started as soon as possible after a person is unresponsive, and has stopped breathing or gone into cardiac arrest. The sooner it is started the better chance the person has of surviving.

The benefit of hands only CPR is that it can be done without any equipment, and it does not pose the same risks as doing mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths. The standard recommendation is that compressions should be administered to the beat of “Staying Alive”, by the Bee Gees (at a rate of 100/minute). Compressions should be done at the center of the persons chest, be continued until EMS arrives.

Here are two fun celebrity PSAs about hands only CPR, enjoy!