All About Beijing Duck

OK so you've climbed the Great Wall, wandered through the Forbidden City, taken photos in the Temple of Heaven, walked through the gardens of the Summer Palace and completely ignored Wangfujin street. Now it is time for you to eat Beijing's most classic dish, the Beijing Duck.

Beijing Duck is famous, has a distinguished history, an exquisite taste and is a culinary icon SO before partaking in this mouth watering dish, pause your chopsticks and first develop a well deserved appreciation of the delicacy you are about to feast on.

History

The origin of roasted duck can be traced back to Northern and Southern Dynasties period (420-589) when these hapless birds where roasted in the Jinling area where modern day Nanjing is located. The Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) were gourmets and took the custom of roast duck with them when they packed their bags and set up house in Beijing.

The Inspector of the Imperial kitchen (what a job!) Hu Sihui listed roast duck among the imperial dishes in the "Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages" that he wrote in 1330. This early cookbook even included the cooking process.

Up until the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) ducks were roasted in a conventional convection oven where the duck was hung from the oven ceiling and roasted over burning wood. Duck cooked this was said to be crisp and golden brown with tender and tasty meat. After the Qing came to power they changed the method of duck cooking to hanging the ducks over a flame in an open oven. These two traditional methods of cooking duck are the foundations of the two modern methods of cooking Beijing Duck.

Roast duck was so popular during this period that poets and schools where inspired to roast duck poetry. Personally I think the large quantities of alcohol consumed with the duck were the main inspiration for these wasted poems and bookworms.

Peking duck as it was first called b foreigners taste so good, it is credited with being instrumental in the rapprochement between China and the US in the 70's. All because Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon kept returning to China for more duck. Just imagine how different history would be if the Havana Cigar had the same effect on US politicians!

In summary, that juicy piece of duck you are about to eat has a royal history of over 1500 years. Chew on that!

How to eat Beijing Duck

Your Beijing Duck will be served with steamed pancakes, sweet bean or plum sauce, cucumber and spring onions.

Place one pancake on the palm of your hand, dip a slice of duck meat in the sauce then place the meat on the pancake, add several pieces of cucumber and spring onion, wrap up the pancake, close your eyes and bite. Control yourself, chew slowly and savor this ancient delicacy.

How to cook

First you need to prepare the ingredients. Here is a list of all the ingredients.

Ingredients

2.0 to 2.5 kilogram of duck

8 liters of water

1 slice of ginger

1 Spring onion

50ml of honey

20ml of white vinegar

20ml of cooking sherry

25ml of corn starch dissolved in 50ml of water

Spring affairs for garnish

Directions

1. Clean duck then wipe it dry and tie a string around its neck.

2. Hang the duck in cool and ideally windy place 4 hours.

3. Fill a large wok with water then bring to boil. Add ginger, spring onion, honey, vinegar, and sherry. Bring to boil again and pour in the dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly during this step.

4. Place the hung duck in large strainer over a larger bowl then scoop the boiling mixture over the entire duck for about 10 minutes.

5. Hang the duck up again in cool, windy place for 6 hours until it is thoroughly dry.

6. Place the duck breast side up on a greased rack in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

7- Place a pan filled with 6 centimeters of water in bottom of oven to collect the drippings then roast 30 minutes.

8- Turn duck and roast for 30 more minutes.

9. Turn breast side up again and roast for 10 more minutes.

10. Use a sharp knife to cut off the crispy skin then immediately serve meat and skin on a warm dish

11 Eat and enjoy.

Sand From the Beach – How to Clean & Keep the Sand Out of Your Home & Car From the Beach!

Sand belongs on the beach and not in your car or home. Everyone loves the beach, but unfortunately the sand loves to follow you when you leave. Though it is virtually impossible to keep every grain of sand on the beach and not in your car or home, a few basic steps can tremendously lower the amount.

1. Always wear sandals on the beach and not shoes that can trap sand.

2. Always carry toys, magazines, snacks, towels and other beach accessories in a mesh bag to allow the sand to fall out verse getting trapped in the bag to eventually end up in your car or home.

3. Place a tote in your trunk to place all beach bags, towels and chairs. The tote can be taken out of your car when you get home to wash off everything inside it.

4. Keep a small hose with attachment to wash feet off before entering your home.

5. Keep a bowl with water by the door and a towel on a hook. Clean your feet off before entering the house when coming home from the beach by sticking your feet in the bowl. Remember to put fresh water daily in the bowl to prevent bugs from attracting like mosquitoes.

6. Consider buying the Hoover Nomad Cordless Pressure Washer. Great to keep in your trunk to hose off feet, toys or chairs before getting into the car. This small unit holds 3.5 Gallons of water and is great at the beach, sporting events and anything imaginable outdoors. Long hose, 90 PSI and long battery life.

7. Keep your doormats by your home clean and new. Doormats do a tremendous job in attracting dirt when newer. Shake out regularly and spray down with a hose periodically. Keep your indoor mats clean daily and wash them weekly.

8. Consider an outdoor changing area to allow sandy bathing suits to stay outside and not inside a bedroom or bathroom. Rinse off the suit before bringing in a home.

9. Have a good stick vacuum near your entry areas to the home to capture the sand quickly. The three best stick vacuums are the Hoover Platinum Stick Vacuum, Oreck Rechargeable PR8000 and Karcher Sweeper.

10. The best vacuums indoor for capturing sand once inside the home are the Oreck XL 2000, Hoover C1404 and Koblenz Upright Vacuum.

The beach can be a very relaxing experience. Following these steps can make leaving the beach less stressful by bringing less of the beach sand home with you.

Hydroponic Gardening – Managing Pests & Diseases

As with soil-based gardens, hydroponic plants require good pest and disease maintenance controls. Failure to do so creates the same results as with 'ordinary' gardens ie spindly or dead plants. Since the majority of hydroponic plants are fruits and vegetables, that means the plants are not worth eating.

However, managing the hydroponic garden is even trickier, since disease and pests have it much easier in this setting. Plants are continuously kept wet, either immersed in water ('true' hydroponics) or continuously sprayed (aeroponics) or in a permanently wet medium such as perlite or sand. Fortunately, as with soil-based gardens, there is an extensive array of available methods to manage the problem.

Using beneficial life forms is one popular way to control unwanted pests, including certain types of bacteria and fungi. These can help to control spider mites and other invaders by crowding them out, eating them or releasing compounds toxic to the pest. They're known as beneficial organizations because they do all that without damaging the plants themselves.

Different types of pesticides are available, too.

Pesticidal soaps have been in use for centuries and still provide effective and non-toxic ways to keep the pests down. One category called botanicals are compounds released by plants themselves that have been combined into an easy-to-use pest control method. Botanicals break down naturally from exposure to air and water and are brilliant because they leave no harmful chemicals behind.

Neem oil can control over 400 different types of pest that typically invade gardens, including hydroponic ones. A simple spray to the leaves can often eliminate common pests. The bugs absorb the oil, which limits their ability to reproduce, leading to a lower population.

For more serious infestations, many commercial pesticides continue to work well.

White flies, aphids, mites and other pests can be a problem in hydroponic settings, just as in soil-based gardens. Powdery mildew is common. In fact, because of the continuous moisture bugs and pests have a 'friendly' environment. Making it 'unfriendly' is straightforward enough, using fungi and organicides. Sulfur-based compounds can help control white flies, mealy bugs, thrips and more.

Pyrethrum continues to be a safe and effective means of control. Although it sounds man made it is actually derived from flowers. This class of natural compounds released by plants are extracted and used in many commercial insecticides. Dosage is low, so the compound is very safe when used correctly (always read the label). Azatrol is a broad spectrum insecticide that provides another easy control method over most common pests.

Hydroponic gardeners have to exercise additional care when using any disease or pest control method, though. Since no soil is present to hold on to the roots, it's easier to damage a plant when manipulating the leaves and stems. That means that if you pick off mites by hand – an effective method for low-number infestations – it's important to exercise extra care.

Since moisture is present, mildew and other fungi are more common in hydroponic gardens. Keeping leaves dry and just the roots wet will help. Any insecticide sprayed on to your plants or vegetable should be allowed to dry under the grow lights. For aeroponically grown plants, for example, that may require a temporary relocation of the indoor garden.

Why Weight Loss Surgery is Not What You Expect

If you think that a weight loss surgery is your answer to no effort slimming – think again. Surgical weight loss is not another quick fix to lose weight and look attractive without even trying. It is in fact, a commitment that is undertaken by a patient to limit his or her food intake, observing a healthy diet and exercising regularly after surgery – for as long as you shall live.

Weight loss surgery is an option for overly over-weight people to become healthy again and reduce their risk of developing weight-related disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and heart complications. Many of surgical weight loss patients turn to surgery after they have exhausted conventional weight loss methods that usually involve repeatedly losing and gaining weight over and over again.

Being overly heavy can effect quality of life and one’s self esteem, not to mention health. Surgical weight loss can be a viable alternative to be in control for people who have excess weight of 1/5 from their ideal body weight. In fact, according to large-scale studies, weight loss surgery can significantly lower the risk of premature death in obese people by as much as 40%.

The outcome of weight loss surgery can vary from one patient to another. It all depends on how well the body adapt and how disciplined you are when following post surgery diet and workout program. Evidently, surgical is not a set and forget short cut to deal with excess weight. However, by joining a support group, you will be able to discover yummy recipes that you still get to enjoy.

Your diet will change forever as your body have. For example, if you have a lapband surgery, your calorie intake perday is only limited to 1000 to 1200. Since there is only so much food you can tolerate, choosing nutritious food over empty calories become very important. You’ll also need to take supplements for the rest of your life to ensure that you get proper nutrition.

It is also important to know that you may not be able to tolerate certain kind of food post surgery. Any junk food that carry empty calories are completely prohibited. Although there are no guarantees, on an average, patients usually lose about 60 to 80 % of their excess fat in 18 months following surgery.