Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Puzzling time of day rates from Edison

I received two very similar slick mailings from Edison.  They want me to use my newly installed SmartConnect smart meter (which reports usage as well as time of day) and join one of three nearly identical new billing plans which they attempt to differentiate by calling them the "Quick Start Package", the "Go-Green Package", and the "Cost-Cutter Package".  All three plans have time of day pricing for electrical use where you can earn bill credits for powering down between 2PM and 6PM and you are automatically enrolled in automatic bill paying, which "eliminates paper clutter".  They then add on some slightly differentiating features that cost nothing: track your use online, meet a budget number, and so forth.

What's galling is that there appears to be only one plan, that direct billing or online payment is mandatory, and that they expect me to swallow the idea that, really, there's actually three unique plans.  I would so appreciate a straight forward list of new billing and payment options that I could pick and choose from cafeteria style instead of feeling like they think I can't read and determine for myself that they're selling the same thing with three different names.  The web site that they sent me to has even less information, just a click here to sign up message.

Why the slick sales?  Maybe its just to get me onto paperless billing and direct pay.  Certainly the steadier stream of bill payments would make it easier for them to manage cash flow.  But that's not a benefit to me.

see SCEPackages.com

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Green beans braised 3 hours

I made Green Beans Braised 3 Hours as a test for Thanksgiving. 

I didn't measure anything, but I did follow the recipe ingredients. Sweat some onion with olive oil and some bacon pieces.

Cut up the bacon, add diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, fennel seed (crushed / ground), trimmed beans and braise on low heat for three hours.

I've never before used a long cooking process for green beans like this, having believed in quick cooking for my entire life.  Ed Bruske, who's recipe I am following, says that you can either have a taste like chlorophyll and pretty green beans or delicious green beans that don't look very attractive.
What I've found so far is that the beans were crisp after a few minutes in braising liquid, just the way I'd expect if I cooked them quickly.  After 20 minutes they were tough and a bit stringy with a bit of a wood-like taste, not crisp, and this is the way I've tried to avoid cooking them my entire life.  However, after 3 hours they were firm to the tooth but no longer stringy and the taste was quite good.