Postaday 2011

I’m posting every day in 2011 on Wordpress.

Google’s Tanjore – “The Web is What You Make of It” for Chrome.

Google has really been stepping up its game with their advertising in the last 6 months. Here we have another really well executed spot for “The Web is What You Make of It” campaign for Chrome. The spot is beautifully shot, skillfully edited fun to watch, and informative.

“Inspired by the real story of G. Rajendran, an artist from Tamil Nadu (Southern India) who used the web to bring the dying art of “Tanjore” paintings back to life and became a successful businessman in the process. The art is supposed to have originated in 1600 A.D and is an important part of the local social and cultural heritage.”

Jake Dyson’s CSYS Lamp, Provides Stylish Light for 37 Years.

Here it is the day after Christmas, and if you are like many people you have a bunch of gifts you want to exchange. Maybe if you are lucky, you don’t have any gifts to exchange, but your pockets are full of Christmas bounty in the form of cash that you can use to buy yourself something nice.

I don’t have a pocket full of cash, but if I did I’d be tempted to buy Jake Dyson’s CSYS lamp. It is a thing of precision beauty, and while it might cost you around $800.00, the light bulbs last for 37 years so you get to make up some of your cash outlay over time.

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The CSYS LED task light is a dimmable LED task light which combines the latest LED technology with sleek precision design.

CSYS is designed with innovative positioning, refined thermal management and electronics systems which produces a bright warm white color with low electrical draw. CSYS comes with a thermal management heat pipe which cools the LED’s to ensure extend performance from the LED’s for 37+ years.

The lamp has such a wonderful look to it. Clean industrial lines, combined with quality materials. I love it.

The Muppets Rock Google+

I’m a fan of Google+. I wish more people were, but like so many things designed to compete with Facebook, it is having a hard time catching on an will probably be retired by Google at some point in the future.

To help promote the fledgling social network, and one of it’s features, Google created a series of live hangouts with “The Muppets”. The promotion grabbed 40,000 followers in the first day, and it looks like Google is going to go for a second round with TVC for Google+ Hangouts featuring The Muppets band rocking out in another hangout session. This is a clever, innovative, and creative way to promote the site with a popular movie/characters attached.

Lets Make a Yule Log (Buche de Noel) Cake.

Though hardly anyone still bothers to burn a Yule Log, at one point in America the Yule Log was a firmly entrenched Christmas tradition. The reality is that the whole Yule Log thing is kind of a pain in the butt. You have to keep a piece of last years log for this years. That piece needs to be stored under your bed for a whole year. The log has to ignite on the first try, you have to burn it for 12 full hours…By the way I read there is a tradition of a “Yule Goat” I will not be participating in the Yule Goat tradition.

That is why I like the idea of a Yule Log cake. It might be a pain to make, but at least you get to eat it when it’s done. The Yule Log, or Buche de Noel was first created by a French pastry chef in the late 1800’s. Since then, Yule Log cakes have been served around the world as a Christmas desert, that helps carry on the tradition of the Yule Log, but in a much tastier way.

A Yule Log cake can be made a variety of different ways, but the recipe below is the one I use. It involves flourless chocolate sponge cake that is more like a flourless souffle than a cake, home made merigue mushrooms, which can be made in advance, whipped chocolate cream filling, and icing that you need to sculpt to look like bark.

Yule Log: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 17 x 12 inch (43×30 cm) baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and then butter and flour the parchment paper.

While the eggs are still cold, separate the eggs, placing the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Cover and bring to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).  Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and cool.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer) place the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about five minutes). (When you slowly raise the beaters, the batter will fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down sides of  bowl. Add the melted chocolate and beat only to combine.

In a clean mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold a small amount of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture using a rubber spatula or whisk. Fold in the remaining whites just until incorporated. Don’t over mix or the batter will deflate. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is puffed, has lost its shine, and springs back when gently pressed, about 15 – 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Cover the cake with a clean, slightly damp towel.

Chocolate Whipped Cream: In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, sugar, and cocoa powder and stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for at least one hour so the cocoa powder has time to dissolve. Beat the mixture until stiff peaks form. Once the cake has cooled, spread with the cream (set 2 tablespoons aside) and then gently roll the cake, peeling off the parchment paper as you roll (the cake may crack). Trim one end of the cake at an angle and set it aside. Then place the cake, seam side down, on your serving platter. Take the slice of reserved cake and, using the reserved whipped cream, attach it to the side of the cake. Cover and chill until serving time. Just before serving remove cake from fridge, dust with confectioners sugar and decorate with mushrooms.

From “The Cake Bible” by Rose Levy. William and Morrow, 1988.