Friday, August 31, 2007

Never Have Been
I've never been "all punked up on Jupiter oil" nor have I ever "roll(ed) fifty deep." But right now I'm thinking I'd like to try it. At the very least I'm adding these phrases to my daily speech. Chris Onstad is a freakin' genius.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Change of Pace
Not foodblogging this time. Though that'll probably change by the next post. No, this is another picture post. Lycurgus sent me a pic of storms brewing over lovely Englewood, Fla and the wonderfully ominous vibe was such that I wanted to share it here on PoW. Note the way the grey clouds flow in an echo of the similarly steely water and the boat provides a punch of highlight in an otherwise low-contrast scene. Nicely done:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

You Want You Some Cheap Threads?
Thinkgeek is having a grab bag sale of T shirts. The price for new tees runs from $2 to $7. Can't beat that with a cricket bat. Of course there's no guarantee about design or color but really, can you complain when you're getting a fresh pec topper at about the cost of the raw fabric?
Ginger, It's Always Ginger
More sorbetblogging. I do believe that I mentioned that i used the last of my ginger vodka in a previous post. So I was nonplussed. What was I to do with the latest round of peach buys? The answer to that was peel 'em, cut 'em up and freeze 'em so I didn't have to deal with it right away. In any event, the nice chunk of fresh ginger I had sitting in the fridge was starting to shrivel on the long end and I wanted to do something different.
A new process was begun: I grabbed a spoon to peel the ginger, sliced it up as thin as I could manage and then boiled it up in the simple syrup (2 cups sugar, one cup water, juice of two lemons). Mmmm! My house smecks of ginger. Tasty. Let the syrup cool a bit, pulled out all the ginger slices (which are now on a cookie sheet drying in the kitchen - I think I'll use them in teas come winter time) and made a new batch of the good stuff. One cup of ginger infused syrup, a blender full of peach slices (still fairly frozen) and 1/3 cup of plain vodka. Liquefy. Pour into ice cream maker. Done and done. A delightful pink color as well - it was a mix of white and yellow peaches that I used. My sampling indicates that this is just as good a way to make a ginger peach sorbet as using the ginger vodka. Now I'm going to have to start hitting up Costco for peaches since the local season is ending.
I want a freezer full of this stuff!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

OK, This Is Just Weird
I ate a tomato this afternoon. A Big Rainbow. Though mine was not nearly that size and fully red, not yellow. I wanted it to be yellow but that's not the strange part. The strange part is that I ate the thing. Sliced it up, salted it, peppered it, took knife and fork in hand and ate a tomato. And it was good. I doubt that I'm ever going to be as enamored of tomatoes as others are but I don't hate them any more. In fact, I liked it. It was very sweet. I am going to pay more attention to tomatoes in the Deck Farm™ next year.
I think the plants got hammered by some fungus or something this year. I say this because the foliage died back for a while but new growth is coming along that is not dying back. Heat may also have been a factor. Next year I'm growing tomatoes upside down in 5-gallon hanging buckets. That should be good for a post or two.
The peppers are doing fine. I had a poblano with my eggs this morning. Tasty. I must pick the hot lemon peppers this evening. In fact, I'll go do that now.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My Neighborhood Should Be Getting Ready For A Huge Poop
The Verizon subcontractors are out stuffing so much fiber into my neighborhood that it should soon produce something "gigantic" and "with no more odor than a hot biscuit." A bowl of Colon Blow for Sterling, Va!
Of course this means that the workers are tearing up my neighbor's lawns and using some infernally racketacious masheen to thump down all the up dug soil and the relayment of sod. It sounds like a small helicopter running in the out of doors. At least this is being done in hot weather while all the windows are shut against the heat. Small consolation.

Friday, August 24, 2007

This Is Kinda Cool
Blogger is now offering a movie link allowing us blogspotted users to upload viddys. Not that I have any I can upload ... but it saves the hassle of joining uToob.
In Other News
It looks like the justice system has made Michael Vick its bitch.
Use The Word "Metaphor" In A Sentence
It's taken astronomers to find my social life.

(To explain the post title, and I acknowledge beforehand that this joke only works when spoken but what the hey:
The teachers asks Johnny, "Please use 'metaphor' in a sentence."
Johnny replies, "I went out looking for a 'ten' but I only met a four.")

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Drinking Desert
Now I want to make a mojito sorbet. You can use Google as well as I can. I'm going to have to get myself a big ol' pile of mint so I can work this into my own taste buds. Mojito sorbet. I like those odds.
Get Yo Mac On
I haven't made any mention of Apple's latest iteration of the iMac though now that the teevee masheen is pimping them I suppose some comment is in order. It's a really nice piece of tech. If I were swimming through money on my way to breakfast at McDonalds I'd be picking up one of these aluminum skinned beauties even now. I would go for the large 24" screen to increase desktop real estate and get a built-in iSight camera (which I don't now have) and all the juicy benefits of the Core 2 Duo Intel chip. But I'm only swimming in muggy summer air on my way to Mcmuffin heaven. So no new iMac.
Still and all, congrats go out to Lycurgus who recently acquired a new MacBook Pro. To jump from a G3 chip laptop to a slick metal Intel-chipped beauty is quite the change. Maybe the uToob viddies won't play back like a kinescope, eh?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Don't Care Where You're From
The use of double "o" words is just plain funny. Here is a prime example. It uses two of the select list a past friend of mine once worked up of the "Double O Seven." Seven words using the "oo" that were important or could be made to sound just silly.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Continuing Pursuit Of Ginger Peach Sorbet
In my freezer right now is another batch of yellow peach sorbet made from Loring peaches. Despite saying that I had settled on 6 tablespoons of ginger vodka as the proper amount, I used 7 this time around. Why? Because I only had 7 Tbsp left! And I think the texture of the 'bet is actually a wee bit better. Softer.
Not only that, if you make the sorbet with this much vodka, you don't really need an ice cream maker to make it. It's so insanely simple. Buy about four pounds of peaches (I buy more because I buy "seconds" which require more processing and cutting out of bad spots but sell for much less), peel and de-stone them (let me repeat: Every one must get de-stoned!). Make a simple syrup of 1 cup of sugar and one half cup of water. Juice one lemon. Heat the sugar mix and lemon juice until all the granules are melted. I let it get to the point of some bubbling at the bottom of the mix just to be sure.
Put the peach pieces into a blender (fill it up) and start liquefying the pieces. Pour the syrup into the blender slowly (because I do it while the syrup is hot) and just beat the hell out of the contents. The level of blended product will sink as the liquid takes less space than the peach pieces. Add the vodka, keep putting in more peach pieces until the blender is full of the liquefied mixture.
Then pour into what ever container you'd like to keep it in. About every 15 minutes for the next couple of hours, stir the mix around. And you're done.

Next for the test kitchen is white peach ("Lady Nancy") sorbet but I have to make more ginger vodka. And here's how to do that (from "Forbes FYI" magazine):
1 two-inch chunk of raw ginger
1 bottle of vodka

1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2) Wrap ginger chunk in aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
3) Peel heated ginger and slice into small strips.
4) Pour one shot out of the bottle and down the hatch, or set aside.
5) Push ginger strips through the bottleneck.
6) Place bottle on its side in the freezer and let sit for one week.
Knock yourself out.
UPDATE: I thought "7 Tbsp." to be an unwieldy measure. So with a bit of a test I can say that 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp is the equivalent.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Summer Thing
In a desperate bid to get a submission in under the wire for the Carnival of the Recipes, I hereby offer my family recipe for a traditional Japanese dish that we call Summer Noodles. Summer noodles because they are served cold in the hot weather.
I'll start with the noodles themselves. The type of noodles we have always used is sold under the Japanese name of "Chuka Soba." I don't know what the Chinese name is. But the type is a sort of woven block much like the noodles in the el-cheapo ramen packages. But are decidedly not ramen noodles. I've seen woven blocks of noodles in my local supermarket that are sold as "Chinese noodles." (Oh! The genericity of it all!) I think they'll work as well.
Instructions? Boil for 2 minutes, separate with chopsticks, boil for 3 more minutes wash in cold water, drain, toss with a small amount oil (sesame is a good choice) to keep the noodles from sticking together.

So let's make the sauce:
2 C water
1 C soy sauce
1/3 C sugar (or 1/2 C honey)
1/2 C rice wine vinegar
1 Tb brown sesame oil
2 ts dry mustard (wet w/ water before adding)
1 Tb fresh grated ginger

Yep. That's a lot of sauce. You're going to need it once people start slurping up the noodles. Wear a shirt or blouse you don't mind getting speckled with dots of sauce. Or eat carefully. Either works.

But noodles are not just noodles. There's other fun stuff in the mix.
Side Dishes:
Ham - very thinly sliced and then cut into strips (maybe 1/2 inch wide)
Boiled cabbage - lightly boiled (blanched) & chilled before serving
Cucumber - peeled and sliced to a manageable size
Red Shredded Ginger ("beni shoga")
Tomato - cut to a size similar to the cucumber
Egg - mix well with a bit of water (using the blender is a good idea)
pour very thinly on a greased griddle - no need to turn
slice thinly - about the same size as the ham

Though calling these "side dishes" is a bit of a misnomer. All of these things go into the bowl with the noodles and a serious splash of the sauce. It slurpin' time!

Just as an aside, the egg mixture can be used to make tamago sushi (as long as you have the vinegared rice of course). Add some sugar to the egg mixture, pour out the mix a bit thicker (than the summer noodles recipe calls for) in a wide griddle so that it will cook through without browning. Fold up the egg like a Swiss roll and slice into the chunks that sit atop the sushi rice. You can strap it down with a little belt of nori seaweed if you want it to pass the NHTSA (National Highway Tasty Sushi Administration) crash test.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wherein I Go Too Far Analyzing Sloganeering
To wit: The Army's ad campaign.

There's strong:

Then there's Army strong:

And then there's Lance Armstrong:

I Believe In Energy Independence
Which has nothing to do with the fact that I'm in favor of drilling in Anwar. Not the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. "Burn Notice" babe Gabrielle Anwar.
That's just rude. I apologize.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Would someone please write a script treatment for a "Tomb Raider" movie where Lara Croft solves world hunger and poverty by adopting all the poor and hungry children in the entire world?
My Design
I'm a little late but here's my preliminary design for a building to replace the World Trade Center towers. Let the bastards figure out how to fly a plane into this!

Cue The Lizard King
This is the end. Beautiful friend. My only friend, the end. Etc, etc, etc ad nauseam. The end of another season of "Hell's Kitchen" and, I'm happy to say for my future time use, the need of my watching "Hell's Kitchen." The winning contestant (who is from the DC area, congrats to him) was telegraphed in the week the show began when Bodog (no links as I'm opposed to gambling, generally speaking) put up a betting board on the contestants. They then saw that a hah-youge flood of money was going on one contestant from Fox IP addresses. Bodog shut down the betting shortly thereafter. But the damage was done - I've known who was going to win since week, what, two?
Yet I still watched. It's what happens when you get a habit of eye. I've already bitched about HK earlier and I'm not going to repeat myself. This year's contest has done for me what season four or five of "Survivor" did: made it unnecessary to watch the show ever again. Even Bravo's "Top Chef" with its chintzy prize and increasingly annoying Padma Lakshimi is better than HK. Which leaves me sad because I still like Gordon Ramsay a lot. I look forward to the American version of his "Kitchen Nightmares" that Fox is producing. I hope they don't screw the pooch as thoroughly as they did when they aborted Dame Edna onto American screens. Man, I should be a top chef! Look at how completely I mixed those metaphors!
There is only one really good thing to take away from the end of "Hell's Kitchen." Well two things: First, it's over. Secondly, that butt-annoying Barbie doll "nanny" didn't win. And finally, I'd like to point out one tiny, tiny little thing that's stuck in my mind from season one, the kind of thing that makes me love Gordon just a little bit more. In one of the early episodes, as the kitchen was in the process of not producing food for the waiting diners, two stereotypical LA-type women come to the pass and start to question Gordo about the lack of food. He then says to Jean Phillipe, "Escort these women back to plastic surgery." Oh yes. The mot juste.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Few Late Thoughts For A Friday Evening
I had a phone call from the Enigmatic Misanthrope who was more misanthropic than enigmatic. We took a shared experience which I ratcheted up a few notches to make a truly horrific joke which may well be told only in dive bars on Grand Cayman. I don't mean bars that are dives - I mean bars where divers are to be found.
I finally got the hummingbird feeder up. That took way too long. Now I have to keep an eye peeled for the little goobers. Since I figure the local formicidae will be quicker off the mark, I put an ant guard in place. Ha.
And I shared a few peppers with the good neighbors next door - a poblano, three jalapenos and three lemon peppers. They made corn bread and put one of the jalapenos into the mix. They gave me a hunk ... Oh bloody yum! I'm growing Biker Billy jalapenos which, as you've already seen are twice the size of regulation peppers and now I learn they're twice as hot too. Woo hoo! I'm going to devote an entire Earthbox to these next year. Only one pepper was put into the entire cornbread and it baked up suffused with a wonderful heat. Not even heat really, just the flavor of the heat - a party amongst the tastebuds with no angry, drunken guests to deal with. I'm going to have to get that recipe.
Tomorrow it's off to get more peaches and another stab at sorbet. Last week was yellow peach ("John Boy" sorbet with 5 Tbsp of ginger vodka. The yellow peach is flavorful enough to subdue the taste of ginger but the vodka really helped the texture. I'll try 6 Tbsp if I make the sorbet with yellow peaches again. 5 if white.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Deck Farm™ News
Peppers. In a word: peppers. The tomatoes are not doing well this year. The plants are dying back after not exactly overwhelming me with fruit though I expect to harvest more than I need. Because I don't need much when it comes to tomatoes. I did, however, eat my first mader this morning. A Supersteak which I sauteed and mixed into my morning eggs. Delicious actually. And this from one who doesn't care so much for tomatoes. It has a nice firm flesh without a lot of tomato guts - which I prefer. It's sweet and, well, I'm going to try this one again next year with more attention to details.
I also cut up a poblano pepper which is a pretty pepper (as you'll see in the picture) but not exactly the biggest flame in the fireplace. The pic shows 5 of my poblanos and one of my "Biker Billy" jalapenos. That would be a 3-inch long jalapeno pepper. Dang. That's one big pepper! I haven't gotten into it yet but looka that thang! Next year there will be many, many peppers and a return to non-hot, regular green bell peppers. They seem to do just spectacularly well on the Deck Farm™. Pictures of the DF itself shortly.
The pic was overly keystoned when I took it so I did a little digital manipulation to produce the image below but the scale is accurate. The peppers are sitting on a regulation 8.5x11 sheet of paper. For scale. Along with the ruler.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

One Of Those Vagrant Thoughts
I imagined the following press release: The Discovery Channel announced today that it was searching for six more hours of programming per week when the FCC ruled that Mike Rowe could no longer use the word "poo."

Monday, August 06, 2007

Light Blogging This Week
I'm dealing with a pinched nerve in my right wrist - it acts up every now and then. But typing is not altogether pleasant. It'll pop back into place in another day or so and then I'll catch up on things like movies and drumming.
Yes, I said drumming.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Emm-bedded Video

Friday, August 03, 2007

I Get Visits
The Philly Boys, who will not much longer be the Philly Boys but will always be the Philly Boys in so many ways are in my town for a while. Woo hoo! Blogging will resume later. Go now and enjoy your life.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I've Said This Before
And I'll say it again: Go read Joe Sherlock today. Cogent analysis of Ford's dwindling stature, great snark on the Monica of Clinton and BMWs (heh! you got me with those Joe!), perfect retrospect on white zinfandel (ptui!) and blush wines and a great quote o' the day.
I'd like to meet him one day but I'm already so impressed with his experience, humor and sagacity that I'd probably clam up and be thought less the fool than I am. Anyway, if he ever needs a ride from Dulles Airport, I'd be honored to run the Outback for him.
Celtic Music
These folks are going to be in my neck of the woods (I should learn how to say that in Gaelic) this month. I listened to all the samples on the page linked. I rather like it. Should I go see them play live? What say you?
Anyone? Bueller?
Anyone tried this new Miller "Chill" beer? Beer with a "hint of lime and salt." Given the beastly hot, ugly nasty weather around here this week, it sounds very intriguing about now.
I can verify that the Heinken mini-kegs are a great way to grab a cool, fresh one. Maybe some beer-blogging is in order....

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What A Blah Day
It's hot here in NoVa. Ugly hot. Stay inside hot. I was going to make a Costco run and do a bit of work on the deck. Fuggedaboudit. So I'm doing indoor things. Like ordering gamma seals from the good folks at the Sportsman's Guide. To save you a click and load, gamma seals are screw-on tops for 5-gallon buckets. It's actually a snap on ring that the top per se screws into. They're great. They make empty buckets water tight and perfect storage containers. I plan on using a couple of the buckets for water transport to the next Atlantic Cycling ride which has a very water-intensive rest stop. Every year I've worked the stop we've more than run through all the water we have in plastic bladders. We have been allowed to use a hose from a house beside our stop but last year the water was rusty and awful. This year I plan to bring a couple of 5-gallon buckets of nice, potable water and a whole pile of gallon jugs of the same. Not to mention 5 iced-down watermelons and probably a couple of additional bags of ice as well. It's a hot ride.
That being as it may, the gamma seals are a good thing. I just thought I'd mention that. Sei gesund.