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CYBERPIRACY: Having Your Blog Stolen By CyberThieves

It’s Topeka
Internet pirate? This image is on the contact form of ItsTopeka.com, which stole hundreds of posts from this blog and presented them as its own. It might be Barclay Mead, who is the site owner and administrator.
  Regular readers of this blog will note that there have been no postings for several weeks. That’s because we discovered that our entire blog—going back several months—had been stolen by two different websites, which have been presenting it as their own content. We mean every word, every photo, every caption, just as we have written it. There is a tiny note at the bottom to “see the original post,” but what they have presented IS the original post. There is nothing else to see. And, while this does not mitigate their stealing our content, they don’t even mention THE NIBBLE, as in, “See the original post on TheNibble.com.”
Theft is an aggravation to deal with—time consuming, costly and emotionally draining. As those of you who have been stolen from know, first you feel violated. Material goods can be replaced; but if your work has been stolen from you and presented by others as their own, you feel doubly violated. And if the others are making money selling your work (by using it as content on pages where they sell ads), and your stolen, duplicated content now causes search engines to down-rank your website (because duplicate content is not valued in the rankings like original content)…well, why extend your already-long workday by several hours to continue to create such content?
Since neither of the alleged perpetrators responded to our cease-and-desist request, we decided our choice was to continue to work for them for free and penalize ourselves, or stop publishing.
About Taking Content From The Internet. It would be nice to think that we could all have our work done for us for free—and apparently, Barclay Mead, owner of ItsTopeka.com in Kansas, and Aviram Yosef of Jerusalem, Israel, owner of LoseOverweight.com, feel that anything online is free for the taking (or, that they can avoid paying because no one will spend the money to come after them for it). While it is easy to take content from another website without permission, and many people do, that does not make it legal. While we have not heard from him, Mr. Mead may have gotten advice from counsel, because he seems to have taken down the three months of daily material he pirated from our website. Or, perhaps he’s just waiting for us to start supplying him with fresh content.While our attorney prepares to deal with these cyberpirates, we are sticking a toe back into the water to create some posts. We’re sorry that you have been penalized for the ill doings of others. We’ll see what happens this time around.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Pesto Trick

There’s nothing better than a fresh basil plant on the windowsill, that you can snip whenever you’d like some fresh herb garnish. However, if a green thumb isn’t one of your talents, keep a jar of versatile pesto sauce in the cabinet for plate accents. Drizzle a bit across the plate, or use a medicine dropper to apply “polka dots” around the perimeter of the plate. You can also use it, of course, with pasta, hors d’oeuvres and as a bread spread. If you don’t use the entire jar, keep it fresh by pouring a layer of olive oil on top of the pesto and capping it tightly. The opened jar will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. Pour off the olive oil before using the pesto, and use it to make a delicious salad dressing. Read all about pesto, reviews of some of our favorite pestos and our homemade pesto recipe. Find more of our favorite pasta sauces in the Pasta Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.   Pesto
Make an instant hors d’oeuvre from pesto, a bocconcini (small mozzarella ball, and some roasted red pepper.
 

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Chocolate Caramel Day

Bequet Caramels
Celebrate with Béquet‘s Salt Chocolate Caramels, shown here with Espresso and Mocha.
  Today is National Chocolate Caramel Day. No arm twisting needed! While the traditional caramel flavoring is vanilla, the buttery bites have been variously flavored with chocolate, coffee, maple, lemon, habañero—whatever appeals to the imagination of the candy maker and palate of the buyer (and, let us tell you—the habañero caramels from Cowgirl Chocolates are the bomb—and a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week). We went crazy for caramels last summer and nibbled on every one we could find, culminating in a review of our favorite caramels. People keep sending us more to taste, but we haven’t yet found any that we want to add to the list. Quality caramels are made with sugar and brown sugar, butter, heavy cream and the best flavorings (sea salt versus ordinary salt, the best maple or chocolate flavor, etc.). Like anything else, you can’t scrimp on the quality of your ingredients. It needs to be real vanilla, the freshest butter, etc., etc., etc.
Caramel is sugar that is melted into a syrup and cooked until the sugar crystals turn into a dark amber liquid. In this form, it can be used to coat nuts (that’s what pralines are) and popcorn (called “toffee popcorn”). Whisk in some butter, remove it from the heat and add cream, and you have a delicious caramel sauce. Cook those ingredients to what is known as the “firm ball” stage (245°F), and you get buttery, chewy caramel candy. Keep cooking the caramel to the “hard-crack” stage (290°F) and you’ll get crunchy toffee. Read about more of our favorite caramels in the Old-Fashioned Candy Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s Oatmeal Cookie Day

We like oatmeal cookies, so we need no excuse to bake up a batch to celebrate Oatmeal Cookie Day. Our favorite variations are oatmeal chocolate chip, and oatmeal raisin, where we substitute dried cherries for half of the raisins. But other people (specialty food companies, to be specific) have done a darn good job of baking their own variations on the oatmeal cookie. Here are some of our favorites:- Try the oatmeal cookies from Najla’s Kosher Gone Chunky. They arrive frozen, to be baked up whenever you need one or more. We must admit, they were so good, we ate the frozen dough from the freezer.   Oatmeal Whoopie Pie
Wicked Whoopies’ Oatmeal Whoopie Pie: creme sandwiched in-between two crunchy, cinnamon-flavored oatmeal cookie.
– The makers of our favorite chocolate chip cookies, Levain Bakery, also make an oatmeal raisin cookie—huge, moist and delicious.

– Yee hah, these spicy Ancho Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Sparx are good.

– If you need a sugar-free oatmeal cookie, Curious Cookie has good ones.

– And if you want a whoopie pie made with two oatmeal cookies and a creamy filling between them, Wicked Whoopie Pies will oblige (photo above). Find more of our favorite cookies in the Cookie Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Re-Think Your Salt

Alaea Hawaiian Sea SaltAlaea red lava salts from Hawaii are colored and flavored by clay in the local water. Photo courtesy of Saltworks.us.   Bid adieu to one of America’s food icons, the Morton Salt Girl, whose iodized salt is too salty. Instead, accent your food with the far more vivid flavors of sea salts. There are dozens, each with its own flavor and beauty. Some of our favorites are grey Celtic salt, coral-hued Hawaiian sea salt, beige and ochre smoked sea salts and Himalayan pink salt. These are general categories: Each type of salt can be found under different brand names. Sea salts are not as refined (processed) as table salts, so contain nutritious traces of calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc (that also add to the color). They have bright, pure, clean flavor and the flavor subtleties from the minerals. The grains are generally too large for salt shakers, so take pinches from salt dishes, like great-grandma did. It makes it all the more a gourmet experience, and you’ll notice flavors in your food you never have before. You’ll have a great time perusing our glossary of artisan salts in the Salts & Seasonings Section on THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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