Monday, March 20, 2017

Chinese Cheong Fun

I've been on this kick of making Chinese Cheong Fun with Char Siu filling lately.

This is a favorite at Dim Sum restaurants and my mom taught me how to make it many years ago.  Traditionally, the wrapper is made with rice flour and water and then steamed.  Char Siu, which is Chinese barbecued pork is baked in advance.  While this is the traditional method, I don't make my cheong fun this way.

My mom taught me that if you substitute rice flour with "Swans Down" cake mix, it actually turns out pretty good!  1 cup of water is mixed with 3/4 cup of Swans Down.  Pour a very thin mixture of this into a slightly oiled aluminum pie pan and then add the char siu.  Steam for 8 minutes and you'll be done!  It could not be easier!

As a dipping sauce, mix light soy sauce with sugar and add a dash of sesame oil.  Thin out with a little bit of water if the soy sauce is too powerful tasting.

So far, I still seem to make the cheong fun a bit too thick though.  I need to learn to pour in less liquid before steaming.  I also have a problem rolling the final product without tearing the skin.  And, I don't seem to be able to slice the char siu thin enough.  They tend to be too thick.  Still, the final product tastes great regardless of how poorly I make it look.  Try the recipe and be sure to give my mom credit for the substitution of the rice flour with Swans Down cake flour!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Never Rent a Modem From Your Cable Provider

Rant: Never believe what your cable provider tells you when they say a modem rental is only $5 or so per month! Mine was $14.95 per month! Figure in that I've had it for at least 44 months, that's about $658 of rental! If it was only $5 per month, it would have been around $220 for those 44 months. Still expensive, but ok... it's insurance in case something were to go wrong. 
You may ask, "Why didn't you see it on the bill?" Well, I really only looked at the total bill and the dollar amount always came out to what I was told I would pay. So I figured it was correct. I never look at the second page unless the total amount is wrong.
Business owners pay more for everything it seems, but I rented it in case something were to go wrong, the cable company would come out and fix it without charge. Home owners only rent it for $10 per month, I found out later from one of the reps at the cable store. Well, nothing has ever really gone wrong with it, so that's a lot of money for "insurance". 
When I found out I had been paying a lot more on the rental than I was told when I first got service in the office space, I immediately went and ordered a Motorola MB7420 for $89.95 from Amazon. Got it the next day, and now it's installed. So when the cable company tells you it's only $5 per month.... never believe them!
That is all.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Apple Mac Pro

Out with the Mac Mini and in with the Mac Pro!
Thanks to Balanced Exposure student Andrew J who was selling his used Mac Pro, I'm going to return the Mac Mini to the Apple Store and purchase his top of the line Apple Mac Pro instead!
The specs of the machine are: Intel Xeon E5 six-core, 3.5 GHz processor, 16 GB RAM, Dual AMD FirePro D500 graphics cards with 3 GB dedicated RAM, 256 GB PCIe SSD drive.
I've also purchased a new Google OnHub router for our WiFi at the school as well. I've been using an OnHub at home for the past year and it's extremely fast for WiFi! Read about it by clicking here.
This is going to be good!
Edit Note: I set up the entire computer and programs in about two hours. It's fast!

Apple Mac Mini - 2.6GHz Dual Core Intel i5 / 8 GB RAM

An update on my Apple Mac adventures...

I ordered an Apple Mac Mini 2.6 GHz Dual Core Intel i5 version with 8 GB RAM and a 256GB SSD drive.  (SSD stands for "Solid State Drive")  This will speed the machine up quite a bit over the standard version which only has a 5400 RPM hard drive. 

Once the new machine comes in, its speed should be near the equivalent speed of my MacBook Pro 13" computer that has a 2.7GHz Intel i5 processor and an SSD drive.

I got tired of the various issues I have been dealing with over the past six years with three PC's for the school each having various problems.  Those in my classes recently will know that I've had problems getting online and other issues with the PC.

While the Mac Mini is often looked down upon due to it's inability to be upgraded, it's actually a good choice for someone who already has a monitor.  You still need to buy a keyboard and a mouse too.  In all, with the machine, Apple Magic Keyboard and a standard Microsoft mouse, my total cost with tax was about $1100.  I already have a 25" 1080p monitor from HP, so while it's not a 5K 27" monitor like the iMac, it's good enough for me.

I am seriously considering offering a class for those thinking of moving from a PC to a Mac.  In the past two years, I've learned a lot about the Apple computers and what it really takes to make the transition.  You can't just buy a Mac and expect it to work like a PC.  There are definitely some things to do differently.  The class would concentrate on your purchase options, making the choice, and reviewing all the things I have found that are different on a Mac than on a PC.  I've been using the PC since it was invented and I'm a Microsoft Certified Professional as well (bet you didn't know that, eh?)

Edit Update: I'm switching to a Mac Pro!  Read about it by clicking here.