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Practical Alchemy: brown butter bacon pasta sauce

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After an inspiring shallot and brown butter pasta lunch with the Weekly Geek crew this week I couldn't help but go home and experiment further. Two dinners later I've created a monstrously tasty pasta sauce that's quick and easy to whip up. This sauce features rich bacon and garlic tones balanced with lightly stewed tomatoes.

Ingredients (per serving)
1 strip of bacon
1 small clove of garlic
2 Tbs. salted butter
1 small tomato
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

The recipe listed is for a single serving of this sauce. If cooking for a group simply multiply each of the ingredients by the number of people being served. Start off by frying the bacon in a non-stick pan (not a cast iron pan as lemon juice is involved later). The bacon should fry up to be nice and crispy. While the bacon is frying mince the garlic and dice the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes on a paper towel to remove some of the extra moisture.

Once the bacon is good and crispy remove it from the pan and place on a paper towel to drain and cool. Pour out the bacon grease (leaving a tasty coating on the pan) and cool the pan to a medium low heat. Once the pan has cooled add the butter, garlic, and salt. Stir the butter and garlic mixture constantly and keep a close eye on the color. As the butter starts to change from its normal golden hue to a very light brown add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and drained tomatoes. Cook the sauce gently for a few more minutes to allow the tomatoes to become lightly cooked.

Finally mince the crispy bacon and add it to the sauce moments before tossing with hot pasta and a little cheese for a deliciously rich dinner. This sauce goes perfectly with fresh egg pasta and dried pasta alike, although the fresh pasta will have better body and taste.

--Sparky

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Weekly Geek Holiday Gift Guide

Christmas with teddy ruxpin

Feeling a bit wary about the impending holiday season? Not really sure what to get your geeky significant other, or maybe you just inhereited a butt-load of money from a recently departed relative and need stuff to spend that sweet sweet cash on? Well then! We've put together a little holiday gift guide for the geek in your life, perhaps it will help. These are all products that either we have used or have some sort of informed opinion about. They've got the Weekly Geek stamp of approval.

USB Turntable - This Ion USB turntable is actually the one I myself own. It's inexpensive and attractive in your home theater setup, and is the perfect starter turntable for someone who's into music and wants to start collecting vinyl (the superior medium!) While most vinyl albums come with a little mp3 download code these days, having the USB turntable is a great solution. Buy an album, rip it, and feel superior in your versatility.


The Elements of Cooking - This book is like the bible for the hobbyist home chef. Full of professional kitchen terms and wonderful essays on the basics of cooking, Michael Ruhlman breaks it all down into easily digestible pieces. This is a great book for beginners to get their feet wet, but is also a fantastic resource for the experienced or semi-experienced home chef.

A nice chef's knife - This Chroma knife is actually the chef's knife I use on a daily basis. Having a high quality, super sharp knife is essential to your kitchen. There's nothing like having high quality tools. You'll cut yourself less and cause yourself less emotional pain with a sharp knife, and I haven't really found any better than these. Not only are they sharp, they are designed by Porche and are damn sexy. Spend the money on a nice knife and it will last you forever.

Achewood - There's no better gift than the gift of truly excellent literature. Introducing someone to a work that they'll relate to and cherish not only makes you an awesome friend, but it makes you the awesomest friend. Achewood is my personal favorite comic strip, and it should appeal to anyone who listens to the podcast or reads the site. It's a bit weird at first, but this hardcover volume is the perfect introduction. Beautifully printed and annotated, it's a great primer into one of the best imaginary worlds created in the last 10 years.

Tokyoflash Watches - Most people don't buy watches for themselves, and most nerds don't know from fashion. Tokyoflash watches are ridiculously cool. As a matter of fact, they are so cool that anyone who wears them instantly ascends into an energy being and lifts off this mortal plane. They are that cool.

V-Moda Vibe Earbuds - There's nothing like having a great pair of headphones. These V-Modas will last you a few years and are high-end earbud quality for a mid-range price. The nylon cord is a plus - it won't bounce like crazy while you walk, and is less prone to tangling. Love these earbuds.

360 Chatpad - With the new Facebook and Twitter Xbox 360 updates, you're probably going to need a better method to input text. We've got a couple of these chatpads for our controllers at home and they're pretty handy and unobtrusive.

Arduino Starter Kit - If your geek is interested in electronics, there's no better way to get them addicted to programming LEDs than with an Arduino starter kit. All the components you need to make flashy blinky things are right here. Careful though, it's a slippery slope. Pretty soon they're going to be hacking into all sorts of things around the house for the sake of "improvement". Your toaster will never be the same.

super_mario1_product.jpgWall Decals - These decals from Blik are an easy way to add art to your walls. They're large, restickable and quite clever. These Super Mario decals can turn your room into world 1-1 and honestly, who wouldn't want that?

huzzahshirt.jpgWeekly Geek "Huzzah!" T - Clothe your loved one in the best geek apparel there is. And as a bonus, you get to support the best geek website there is. ;)

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Podcast for 11.16.09 | You Totally Got Drop 7'd

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This week's podcast features Ross, Jinny, Ryan and me discussing this huge week in game releases, with games like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Left 4 Dead 2 and Assassin's Creed 2. We also talk about DJ Hero, in-game advertising, cute-ness, salt, sous-vide ovens, electronics workshops, maker spaces, and Modern Warfare 2. Won't you join us?

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Does He Look Afraid?

"The Jawas have a tendency to pick up anything that's not tied down, Luke, but remember, they're basically afraid of their own shadows."
-Owen Lars

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Tank Girl Remastered Edition Vol. 1, 2, 3 Giveaway - Photo Contest

Tank Girl One REMASTERED.jpgTank Girl is back in remastered form! While this news isn't entirely current, since all three volumes were released April-July 2009, we're making up for it by giving away a set. That's right, all three volumes can be yours by participating in a little contest we cooked up! Submit your best photos that depict post-apocalyptic landscapes or scenes to our Weekly Geek Flickr pool and make sure you tag the photo submissions with "Tank Girl Contest." You, dear readers and listeners, have until Monday, Nov. 23rd to submit your photos and we'll announce the winner on that Monday's podcast.

Also, be sure to check out the brand new comic series Tank Girl: Skidmarks (issue #1 is out already). Special thanks to Tom from Titan Books for providing us with the set for this contest.

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Practical Alchemy White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin spice white chocolate cookies
With thanksgiving just around the corner, pumpkin puree has been finding its way into a wide variety of things I've been cooking. Over the weekend I decided to try and make pumpkin pie cookies and came up with these delicious fall treats. Flavored with a reduced pumpkin puree and creamy white chocolate morsels these cookies are delicious with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or packed plain in a lunch at work.

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Podcast for 11.09.09 | Fire Drill

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On this week's podcast I'm joined by Ross, Jinny and Ryan as we discuss the release of the newest entry in the Call of Duty franchise, Modern Warfare 2. We also talk about the massive amount of new games coming out next week, including Left 4 Dead 2, the God of War collection, New Super Mario Bros for the Wii and more. We also ramble a bit about Americans spending too much real-life money on virtual goods, a replica Bioshock Eve hypo (which you can buy!), spherification Ferran Adria style and the Sous Vide Supreme, the first consumer-level thermal immersion circulator. Then Borderlands. Lots and lots of Borderlands. And to top it off, we all reveal our real-life professions. Meaty topics, these.

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Weekly Geek Flickr Pool Finds

arissa slasher

T-shirt winner! Arissa Slasher by Jenar Fellbane

VOID: Zombie Hunter

VOID: Zombie Hunter by voidmunashii

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The Prince and Rocco

pop and spock

Pop and Spock by robotcloudart

Every week we feature our community members' excellent photography (or art, or whatever) culled from our Flickr pool. Why not submit your own geeky or otherwise interesting photos to the Weekly Geek Flickr Pool? You'll get your photo featured on the site with the added incentive that I'll pick one photo a week to win a Weekly Geek T-Shirt. Runners up get some sweet Weekly Geek swag. Click here to join!

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Practical Alchemy: Super Easy Dulce De Leche

Caramel meringue
Of late when I think of true alchemy in the kitchen my mind often wanders to the wonders of desserts. Caramels are one of those magic creations that have but a single ingredient, yet manage to have a rich variety of preparations with tantalizing end results. One particular kind of caramel bests all others in its ease (and potential danger) of preparation: Dulce De Leche.

Click through to learn how to make this drop-dead simple dessert enhancement.

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Podcast postponed!

So the flu has struck the Weekly Geek headquarters, and we're quarantining the facility until the fumigation process can begin. Jinny is currently hooked up to an IV full of sugar-free strawberry Jello, and I will be reading arcane spells to her from this magic tome I got in the back of the used book store down the street. We'll be back next Monday! Go play some Borderlands.

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