27 June 2010

‘72 Mustang Uses Water for fuel

Interesting news from Steve Schappert of the facebook BIOS Watercar group:

Steve Schappert & Steve Melycher (Steve Squared) of the BIOS Organization in Brookfield will be driving a ’72 Mustang cross country with a hydrogen generator that produces hydrogen on demand that has tripled gas mileage in similar vehicles. They will be meeting with other Hydrogen experts along the way and asking them to share some knowledge to see if we can all figure out how to make a car run completely on water. Schappert posted this concept on FaceBook, and was contacted by Alexandra Bruce, one of the founding members of YO MTV Raps about making a movie, music video and book about the concept, with him as the lead character. The Title is “BIOS WaterCar” This road trip, documentary will be like introducing Al Gore to the Blues Brothers, mixing entertainment with education. The team has been recruiting sponsors for their grass roots project to help the world transition from an oil based economy. Families have agreed to host them during their journey, mechanics have volunteered their services to get the car running well enough to make the journey and friends and sponsors have been sending money for expenses.They hope to reach $10,000 in the next week before they begin the journey.

After creating the concept Schappert researched many available hydrogen systems and found what he considered to be the best in class, one unit that produces nearly 3 times as much hydrogen per minute as any other competitor. The manufacturer mentioned getting 30% more horsepower, a cleaner engine, lower emissions and significant fuel savings. The manufacturer also mentioned actual cases of a ’69 Camaro going from 10-32 mpg and a ’97 Oldsmobile going from 20-67 mpg. Schappert then contacted the owner and asked him to donate his most powerful unit for the movie. “It all sounds great”, said Schappert, but I’m not going to buy it, I want you to donate it for my project. I will drive 9000 miles across North America with a camera man in the passenger seat and if the unit works great, I will sell them for you and if it does’nt I will post the results on youtube and you will most likely go out of business.” I give the owner a lot of credit, because he donated the unit knowing the upside and downside. We have installed the unit and will begin our journey today June 14th . For more information go to http://BIOSWaterCar.com/

(Picture on website press release: Peter Jam of Beirut Lebanon, one of 19 bands that performed at the installation ceremony and music video for the BIOS WaterCar)

23 June 2010

Masala Chai Spice blend - UPDATED

UPDATED.  OK.  I got tired of measuring the spices for each pot of tea.  My experiments led me to this recipe which makes a bit more than a half cup (~6 fl. oz.) of spice blend.  Add about 1/2 to 2/3 teaspoons of this blend to 3 tsp. of black tea and steep for 10 minutes in boiling water in a prewarmed teapot for 24 fl. oz. of tea.  Note that spice ratios have been tweaked from Sunday's recipe.  I've been tweaking.

  1. 9 tsp. cardamom
  2. 5 tsp. cinnamon
  3. 5 tsp. ginger
  4. 4 tsp. allspice
  5. 2 tsp. nutmeg
  6. 2 tsp. cloves
  7. 2 tsp. coriander
Optional:  Add 1/16 tsp. of vanilla extract to each 24 oz of Masala Chai.  This can't be added to the blend for obvious reasons.


I'm also working on a Vindaloo Spice blend.  I plan to make it Indian hot.  I love capsaicin.

-Silly Git

20 June 2010

A Recipe for Masala Chai (tea)

This is a recipe for Masala Chai (tea). In Hindi, masala means spice and chai means tea so we are talking spice tea here.  While I am very fond of Stash's Chai teas, I am a loose tea person. Teabags are filled with tea fannings or tea leaves that have been milled into tiny pieces which loose their aromatic components vary quickly. This is particularly noticeable in teas with delicate flavors such as Darjeeling and Dragon Well. That is a tragedy with Darjeeling since the highly volatile components along with the muscatel flavor component are what makes Darjeeling teas so satisfying. This led me to make my own Masala Chai to vary the spice flavors thus avoiding the consistent flavor of the commercial Chai teas and lastly, to avoid teabags.

I use an FTGFOP1 (Finest, Tippy, Golden, Flowery, Orange Pekoe) Assam tea for my black tea based Masala Chai. Assam teas are very robust and full bodied so they balance the spice flavors better than a more delicate and complex flavored tea such as Darjeeling. Irish Breakfast tea is a blend of Assam and Keemun teas and is intended to be fullbodied to hold up well to milk and sugar. Adding spice to it is just the next step. I haven't yet tried Keemun but I plan to. I will also try using Irish Breakfast as a tea base. The Assam base is working well.

For a masala chai based on green tea, to get those catechins to fight the free radicals, I'd use something like a Chinese Sencha which has a more robust flavor characteristic, highly vegetal, than many of the other Chinese green teas and would better balance the spices. I suspect that one would use less spices with the green tea than one would use with the black tea. I haven't tried this but I suspect 60 to 80 percent of the spices used for a black tea would be best for a green tea.

My teapot holds 3 cups (24 fl. ox.) of water, so you can scale the recipe accordingly for your teapots and serving sizes. This is a single spice chai. Adjust according to what you like.  These measurements are approximate.  Only be anal if you want to reproduce the results exactly.

  1. 3 tsp.  Assam loose tea
  2. 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  3. 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  4. 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  5. 1/12 tsp. ground cardomom
  6. 1/16 tsp. ground coriander
  7. 1/16 tsp. ground nutmeg
  8. 1/16 tsp. ground cloves
Other spices I'd like to try added one at a time are:
  • licorice
  • star anise
  • ground aniseseed
Steep for at least 10 minutes in initially boiling water.  If desired, add milk, cream, or half and half to taste and sugar to taste.

WARNING: Milk prevents your body from absorbing the antioxidants present in the tea.  The sugar does not.  I sometimes use agave nectar to slightly sweeten my masala chai but I normally drink it without milk and sugar.

The spices used are all Ayurvedic spices with well documented therapeutic benefits.  While masala chai is not considered to be 'medicine,' it is considered to be a beneficial 'health' drink.  If you add licorice, do some research on the safe daily dosage.  Licorice is good for you provided you do not eat too much.  It causes retention of potassium so if you are taking an ACE inhibitor I'd eat even less.

If you want this to taste more like Stash's chais, increase the cardomom to 1/8 teaspoon.  Yummy.  Enjoy playing with the spice quantities and try just sprinkling the spices in to get varying flavors each time for that variation is a good thing outlook.