- Cajun seasoning blend
- Chili powder, Bolsa
- Cinnamon: stick & ground
- Cumin: whole seeds & ground
- Curry power
A quick Google’ing shows that this is either an “Atlantic” knot or a “Bosphorus” knot. The same Google results also open up a whole new world of tie knots! For example, “The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie” is a book based on mathematical formulation of the act of tying a tie, ”equivalent to persistent random walks on a triangular lattice, with some constraints on how the walks begin and end”. The book specifies a notation used to describe how to tie a knot. I bet CK Chin has that book, ’cause I saw another pic of him with his tie tied with another fancy knot.
“En papillote” is a fantastic way to bake fish, especially fish that is delicate and might fall apart from handling. I used Atlantic cod which is quite delicate. I don’t think I’ve ever successfully pan fried Atlantic cod before. It always manage to crumble upon turning. When baked “en papillote” and therefore not handled at all, the fish comes to the table intact.
Even though there was no extra fluid added, the dish has a fair amount of sauce when done, probably juice from the lemon slices, the tomato’s juice and the fish’s juice, drawn out by salt.
For example, I bake French baguettes. A lot. I bake all the bread for our family of two. My issue is regardless of how fastidious I am with my ingredients and methods, the end result is never exactly the same. A loaf would be slightly more brown or less brown, slightly more or less crusty, the crumb slightly more or less open. One might think that I am being too critical and too unrealistic, but I don’t believe so, and I think I know the reason why the results are never the same.
Recently, I was chatting with a colleague at our Friday beer bash-cum-company meeting about brewing beer. I asked him if he thinks he can reproduce a particular batch of beer if somebody asks him to. We eventually decided that while it may appear that a product is reproducible, it’s really quite near impossible for amateur small-batch producers to do so. Variance in ingredients would singlehandedly thwarts such an effort.
In my case, the flour might differ depending on the crop, on how soon it was milled after harvested, on its age when I use it. The water, though from the same faucet and filtered in the same filtering pot, might have varying quantities of dissolved gases because of temperature, season, or atmospheric pressure. The long pre-ferment time may give the yeast too much leeway in its interaction with the flour, diverging down different paths of development each time.
Large-quantity producers produce products of consistent quality perhaps not only because of greater skill and experience, but also because the amounts of raw materials involved are so large that there is a much much larger “averaging” effect within any one batch, and also from batch to batch, such that the products vary little in quality.
To serve, I add caramelized/crisped thinly sliced shallots and thinly sliced scallions (no chewing required!) to bring a bit more oomph to the dish.
(When I do phở gà, I refrigerate the chicken meat in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Upon uncovering, the chicken would give off a rather strong smell, a ”chicken” smell on steroids! It dissipates quickly and by the time it’s served, it smells great, but the initial smell is always quite off-putting. I wonder why it’s like that…)
Julienne and boil yellow beets until fork-tender. (I only used about 1/2″ of water in the saucepan to boil/steam the beet, keeping the pan tightly covered.) Hull an slice strawberries about 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick. Thinly slice green scallions. I cut the scallions into 2″ sections then julienne them (lengthwise), but you can also slice them crosswise thinly. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper. Toss & serve.
Bring 1/2 C of orange juice to a boil and reduce to a simmer; reduce to about 1/4 C.
Cut two bacon slices crosswise into 1/4″ pieces. Line a bowl with paper towel (to soak up bacon fat) and microwave the bacon for about one minute. Remove the paper towel and microwave the bacon some more until crispy; it will render some more fat. Remove bacon bits to a paper towel and add the bacon fat, about 1 Tsp, to the orange juice.
Meanwhile, slice zucchini thinly, 1/16″ or less: my kingdom for a mandolin! Actually, with a sharp knife, it didn’t take too long to slice up a couple of zucchinis. Thicker slices is OK too, if you like your salad crunchy (I don’t, much).
Cut cherry tomatoes in halves (which makes them a lot easier to eat; chasing little spherical objects around a bowl with a fork is no fun). Thinly slice two scallions.
For dressing: add about 2 T olive oil to orange juice/bacon fat mixture. Add salt and pepper and about 2 tsps red wine vinegar. I also threw in a bit of orange zest. Whisk until emulsified.
Toss zucchini, tomato, and scallions in dressing. Sprinkle with bacon bits just before serving.
The first is about customs: everybody, and I do mean everybody, from children to old people needing a walker, introduces themselves and/or greets everybody else upon entering the house. I thought that was so cool: it immediately familiarizes everybody with each other and makes for a more comfortable gathering.
The second revelation was about the food: amazing combinations of flavors, tastes, and textures. I had had various versions of “Persian” food before at places around town so many of the dishes are familiar. However, there were two that were new to me and they also happen to be my favorites: mirza ghassemi, Persian eggplant, tomato, and egg; and zereshk polow, Persian saffron rice with cranberries/barberries, candied tangerine peels, onions, with chicken. The zereshk polow was by far my favorite, with its contrast of flavors (saffron, turmeric) and taste (cranberries/barberries) and texture (the tangerine peels are quite chewy and are a great contrast). Here’s a quick vid of the banquet.
My sis-in-law gave us the rice cooker as a housing warming gift when we moved down to Austin over twenty years ago. You read that right: twenty, as in, two decades! The rice cooker still works as perfectly, cooking our rice almost every day. Its Teflon-coated liner has collected a layer of gunk, from years of
cooked rice bits not properly cleaned off thus getting “re-cooked” upon the next use. Despite such abuse, the non-stick coating still works and rice does not stick. All the same, I don’t like the way it looks, so I researched into getting a new liner. I emailed Zojirushi’s support. They replied:
Unfortunately our model NMDC-R10 has been discontinued since 1998. We no longer manufacture the inner pans. The inner pans are not interchangeable with other models. I apologize for the inconvenience.
It’s so old Zojirushi no longer makes parts for it! I suppose such is the downside of appliances that last forever!
My tart this week is filled with anise bulb, eggplant, and zucchini squash, all thinly sliced and sautéed separately, blue cheese, and topped with fried fronds from the anise bulb.
Still on a quest for that perfect tart crust, I baked another tart over the weekend. Technique-wise, I did pretty much the same thing with the crust as the last tart, except for baking time, which I notched back maybe by ten percent to see if it would dry out less. It looks like I still need to reduce the crust’s baking time more. I think I’m rolling the crust out too thin, because I had left over crust dough for two minitarts!
The filling consists of sautéed veggies: bell pepper, fresh porcini mushrooms ($50 a pound!!!), zucchini squash, purple eggplant, all organic, all from HEB Central Market and all sautéed separately prior to assembly. A crumble of blue cheese adds needed zest and punch. It was a kick-ass combo, if I do say so myself!
Also, sautéeing vegetables separately allows me to cook them all to the same doneness, though if one cooks all vegetables at the same time, one can probably achieve that by cutting the vegetables to different sizes according to their required cooking time: bigger pieces for vegetables that cooks quickly (zucchini, mushrooms), and smaller pieces for vegetables taking longer to cook (onions, eggplant, bell peppers).
The onions was the only aromatic.
For the most part, sewing garment leather is similar to sewing a heavyweight denim, which is about 14 ozs or heavier. (Joann Fabrics’ denims are mostly 12 ozs.) If you can sew denim, you can sew garment-weight leather. You will encounter some of the same challenges but there are also things that make sewing garment leather more enjoyable than sewing denim. For instance, leather doesn’t ravel, so you don’t have to finish the edges!
Leather thickness is indicated by its weight in ounces. Each ounce of weight equals approximately 1/64″ of thickness. So a 4-ozs leather would be about 1/16″ thick. Garment leather weights range from 1 ozs to about 2.5-3 ozs. I find 1-1.5 ozs leather is approximately equal to heavy denim. A couple of sources for leather are Tandy Leather and Fashion Leather International.
One needs a couple of specialized things for sewing leather. Of these, I’d say a Teflon foot and leather needles are the only absolute must-haves.
A side benefit of stretch sewing is that holding on tightly to the material reduces the need to pin.
Glue seam allowances down with rubber cement.
Application is different than with normal rubber cement. Apply to both surfaces and wait until it dries, changing from milky to clear, then lightly press the surfaces together. Light pressure allows re-positioning of the pieces as necessary. When satisfied with the placement, press firmly to seat the bond.
You can also hem garments this way: fold the hem allowance up and glue.
I had one issue which may be specific to my machine/thread combination: many skipped stitches and frequent breakage of the upper thread. I eventually stumbled on a fix: a drop of oil on the bobbin carrier’s thread groove. This fixed the problem, but I have no idea why! (In fact, I later found out that the machine’s manual does call for a drop of oil at that location!)
I brined four chicken legs (#5 chicken from Whole foods), about 2.5 pounds, in 5 cups of water, 1/4 cup each of salt and sugar, and 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper. Total brining time was about 6 hours. I patted the skin dry then spread on a mix of 1 Tsp butter with 1/2 tsp thyme, and sprinkles of salt and red pepper flakes.
I halved the figs, and added some carrots and onions. In a separate dish, I had Japanese sweet potato tossed with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Baked the whole lot at 350°F for about 30 minutes until the internal temperature reached 150°F, then I turned the oven to broil and turned it up to 500°F for another twenty minute. The final temperature was 180°F, which was 10° above the recommended 170°F, but the chicken was still very juicy.
I think because of the crowding in the pan, only the topmost part of the legs got browned. Next time, I’ll try a bigger pan so there’s less crowding and see if they’d brown more evenly.
I aimed for an overall smooth exterior: few stitches and trims visible. The cut-on waistband removes visual clutter around the waist. I eliminated the back dart, moving it to the bottom seam of the back yoke, further smoothing the back. I used the denim’s reverse side for the stripes, to highlight them in a subtle way. The pocket plackets are right side out, so they’d stand out against the wrong-wide out stripes.
Material is a white denim from Jo-Ann Fabrics. The lining is some cotton from a fabric swap of my local meetup.com group, sewingwithstyle.
I followed this recipe at epicurious.com for the tart crust. I did not have any shortening so I used some margerine. I loved the way the crust turned out but since I have never made one before, I wouldn’t know if it could have been better or not!
For the ratatouille I just winged it, using eggplant, red bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, and onions. I sautéed them separately, with a sprinkle of salt, prior to assembly.
I spread goat cheese on the crust before layering the veggies on. We had a ratatouille tart recently in a restaurant like this and it was great. My own twist was ultra-thin slices of dried chorizo, and then I the tart under the broiler on max for five minutes. The chorizo slices crisped up nicely, adding a bit of zest and texture to the tart.