Sep. 29th, 2011 06:53 pm
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
Asteroid conspiracy theorists may be even worse than solar activity conspiracy theorists.

Five+ hours in the slow cooker was probably too long for a mix of red lentils and dried vegetables previously boiled for ten minutes, plus a coarsely chopped^H^H^H cut up onion. Tasty enough (if rather the reverse of appetizing in appearance) but pretty close to mush in texture.

The indicator light on my coffee maker seems to have died. Fortunately the coffee-making function hasn't.

The derelict car dealership just up the road is going to be a car dealership again. I don't know whether the extensive gutter-cleaning exercise holding up traffic along their frontage for the last couple of days is at all connected. And that can't be the only reason why buses that are supposed to be running at ten-minute intervals between here and the far side of the city have been turning up in pairs more often than not for the last fortnight.

I was just starting to work on re-convincing my system that 65 F is a perfectly comfortable indoor temperature, and we get a heatwave.
ellarien: sunspot (astronomy)
If I'd remembered that banana bread needs nearly an hour in the oven, I might have started on it earlier than 9pm. It's been a while since I did any baking, but this is something of a special occasion. Weather permitting, around 10.26 ET tomorrow, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is due to be launched from Kennedy Space Center aboard an Atlas rocket. There's a better than even chance it'll end up slipping another day, but still. We've been waiting for this for years, so one more day doesn't make much difference. We're planning a small breakfast gathering in the conference room, with NASA TV streaming on the big screen, and I seem to have elected myself to bring goodies. If the launch does slip, I may have to do it again tomorrow, in which case I'll have to stop off for more eggs and sugar on the way home.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
I had half an hour or so last night to run out for a few groceries before dark. I chose Trader Joe's, which is closer, and grabbed a pack of toaster waffles that looked exactly like the rather nice ones I had last time. They turned out considerably less tasty, and when I examined the package more closely I realized why -- they're wheat free. Maybe next time I'll try double-toasting them, as my friend with celiac does with her rice bread.

Also, the only ground coffee they had was in 32-ounce drums. That should keep me going for a while; it's a perfectly acceptable blend, but it takes up a ridiculous amount of space in my tiny kitchen. And with all that space on the container, they couldn't find room for how-much-to-use instructions.

Busy day

Jan. 3rd, 2010 10:52 pm
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
Oof. Today I picked up groceries, traded in $30 of small change, did a supernumerary load of laundry in the hope (not fulfilled) of unwrinkling some pants that got in a slightly-too-hot dryer last time, cleaned the kitchen -- including the floor -- and parts of the bathroom, vacuumed, dusted and polished the bedroom, cooked dinner, and did a pile of ironing.

I think I won't bother again with catfish still on the bone. I did with it pretty much what I always do with catfish -- baked it in foil with a squirt of lemon and a good sprinkle of ginger and black pepper -- and then scraped it off the bones in the kitchen, but I still got a mouthful or two of spiky ribs.

I'm not clear why the "steam in bag" package of frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower was so insistent that it had to be thoroughly cooked. People eat those raw all the time, don't they?
ellarien: christmas ornament on cactus (Christmas)

Mince pies Mince pies
The seasonal food of my people, fresh out of the oven.


Jun. 14th, 2009 10:02 pm
ellarien: dumpling squash (food)
Dessert tonight was a fresh (well, supermarket-fresh) nectarine. It was ripe, juicy, and delicious, and it came with a little sticker proclaiming it to be "organic" and "sugar-free."

I don't know which is more disturbing to contemplate: the notion of genetically-engineered fruit with artificial sweeteners built in; the idea that ordinary produce-section fruit might be injected with sugar-water; or the idea that the American public is gullible enough to fall for a label like that.

EDIT: alternatively, I can't read. On closer inspection, the label says "Sugar Tree".
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
Well, that was an amazingly quick march through "The Old Curiosity Shop."

The DVD version of "Little Dorrit" has 14 episodes! The PBS airing must have been showing them two or three at once.

Just when I think I'm getting quite handy with the pliers, I set myself a task that turns out to be quite beyond my skills. Nothing ruined but a few head pins, fortunately, but populating that pendant will have to wait a while longer.

Culinary note: I seasoned tonight's catfish fillet with black pepper, ginger, and a squirt of lemon juice. This worked surprisingly well.

Other culinary note: I think I've perfected the avocado-dilla. Smushed avocado, a squirt of lemon, black pepper, grilled in a couple of medium flower tortillas.
ellarien: christmas ornament on cactus (Christmas)
One of the things I miss about the English festive season is mince pies -- little ones, that is, passed round as a snack, not the full-sized ones that sometimes turn up at Thanksgiving

Last year I didn't think of it until too late, but this year I laid in a jar of mincemeat when it was in the shops at Thanksgiving, along with a pack of piecrusts and some foil mini-muffin trays. (I think I had some proper jam-tart trays, once upon a time, but they didn't come with me across the Atlantic.) Tonight I made a trial run of a dozen, which left me with slightly less than a piecrust over -- half of it having been carefully re-rolled with a cylindrical coffee cup from the scraps; my largest and smallest round cutters turned out to be exactly the right size for the top and bottom pastry rounds, but it was tricky brushing on egg and milk without a brush. I dabbed with a teaspoon, and it more or less worked, and after about 12 minutes in the oven they came out pale gold and apparently cohesive, so I'll call that a success -- and try to pick up some more crust and a pastry brush, if the grocery store has such refinements, tomorrow morning.
ellarien: dumpling squash (food)
I've always (since I got into cooking last fall) made my winter beef casserole with stir-fry beef strips, and cooked it relatively fast and hot. I liked the results, but the meat wasn't exactly the high point of any given mouthful. Today there was only 'beef for stewing', so I used that, and cooked it for two hours with the dial at 250 -- more like 350 in real life, given the vagaries of my oven -- while I watched a couple of episodes of Doctor Who on BBCAmerica. Result: beef chunks that were actually tender, rather than chewy little strips. It's a pity I couldn't find the pepper, though.


Sep. 22nd, 2008 09:13 pm
ellarien: dumpling squash (food)
The temperature here was in the 90s today, but it does cool down in the evenings now, enough to make it not totally insane to cook up a batch of stew for once and future dinner. It came out very orange-and-red; russet potato, yellow onion, garnet yam, tomato, red pepper, one of each, and a package of stir-fry beef, sauteed with the onions and spices before shoving it all in the oven. Also coriander, paprika, crushed garlic, and possibly slightly too much black pepper, but not unpleasantly so.

The mountains are starting to do that thing they do in winter, when they light up purple-pink after sunset.

And there's a new episode of one of my shows on TV.
ellarien: dumpling squash (food)
With the (slightly) cooler weather comes the urge to experiment in the kitchen. Tonight's dinner (and dinner for three indefinite future occasions) involved the seeds of a smallish pomegranate, a white onion coarsely chopped and sauteed in a little oil with a teaspoon each of ginger and cumin and half a teaspoon of turmeric, half an eggplant, diced, a few mushrooms, a sliced zucchini, and four servings-worth of chicken chunks, thrown in a casserole with a cup of hot water and cooked in the oven at what the knob said was about 325 (probably more like 400, given my oven' quirks) for about forty minutes. It worked pretty well, with a couple of small flour tortillas for starch.


Feb. 24th, 2008 02:39 pm
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
I seem to be getting a cold -- at least, I hope it's only a cold. I'm not incapacitated, but definitely not very energetic apart from a sort of mental restlessness. Unfortunately, laundry isn't really optional at this point; even if I don't go to work tomorrow, whether I call it a sick day or working-from-home I really can't be using that time for things like laundry.

(The laundry room is a couple of hundred yards away, and I usually do multiple loads at once, every other weekend. To make it worse, I could only get one machine last time, so I', behind.)

The other thing I'm behind on is writing, having skipped the last couple of days. I have ideas -- including finally realizing, last night, what will motivate the Captain to carry on with his obsessive quest for the lost ship even after he has his long-lost son back. Complicated man, that. The trouble is, the idea of settling down either in the upright chair at the desktop, or with the hot, heavy laptop on my knee, doesn't really appeal right now, and I'm not sure the Palm with its tiny screen would lend itself to the sort of fiddly infill work I need to do.

Oh, and I need to cook a batch of bean-and-pepper stew this evening, as I already soaked the beans. I suppose I can skip the baking adventure part, though. (I was going to try brownies, and take them to work if at all successful.)
ellarien: dumpling squash (food)
A couple of times lately, I've seen recipes that call for cooking one ingredient in a steamer basket with all the saucy goodness in the bottom of the pan. What they don't explain is whether the liquid is then supposed to be used as sauce (in which case, why not just cook the steamed ingredient in with it to start with?), or whether it imparts its virtues to the food via the steam (minus the calories, presumably) and then gets thrown away.

Can any of you more experienced cooks enlighten me? I've never put anything other than water-to-be-thrown-out in the bottom of the pan when steaming things.
ellarien: dumpling squash (food)
The pack of ready-peeled prawns I bought yesterday came with an attached recipe that started, "Peel and devein shrimp: reserve shells." (It also had a ridiculously involved sauce, so I wasn't intending to try it anyway.)

I need to write about a thousand words today to preserve my self-respect. No, I haven't started yet, and I'm much inclined to navel-gaze about why I even bother to try, or have a shot at baking brownies, instead.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
Cauliflower stir-fry is probably an experiment that doesn't need to be repeated.

It rained this afternoon, just a little, and it might rain more tomorrow.

The students have been back for a week, but the bustle in the bookstore has subsided only slightly.

Speaking of the bookstore, and odd things found therein: some fast-talking salesperson managed to dump a small case of assorted earplugs on the poor buyer, to be displayed next to the audio earbuds. Fair enough, but why do the ones 'for women' (which are exactly the same size and shape as the regular ones) need to be fluorescent pink?

As of yesterday, we're getting presidential-candidate messages in Arizona, (Democratic candidates, only, that I've noticed) so presumably the primaries can't be too far off. I haven't had any phone calls yet -- and despite being an alien non-voter I do usually get some of those once the campaign really gets going.
ellarien: dumpling squash (food)
My first attempt at beans resulted in rather crunchy beans in yummy sauce. This time, I boiled the soaked beans (two cups, six cups of water) for ten minutes and let them simmer for an hour to give them a chance to soften before I added anything at all. Then I threw in a couple of chopped tomatoes, 1/3 cup molasses, two-thirds of an sauteed red onion, and some spices (1/2 teaspoon each of paprika and oregano, 1/4 teaspoon cumin and a sprinkle of black pepper) and let it simmer a bit longer, resulting in about seven cups of cooked beans that are flavorful and of acceptable texture. (Also a rather messy pan, which I have to clean before I start on the lentils.)


Jan. 20th, 2008 07:51 pm
ellarien: dumpling squash (food)
Dinner tonight was a slight elaboration on my traditional fish+veg+potatoes Sunday meal: catfish fillet, baked with a good sprinkling of pepper, paprika and basil; boiled new(ish) potatoes; cauliflower and chunks of red and green pepper, steamed. And, suggested by the cauliflower, cheese sauce! Which I successfully made a quarter-cup of! I am very impressed with myself about this, though the fiddle of measuring half a tablespoon (three half-teaspoons) of fat, and the ratio of cleanup to edible product, were such that it's never likely to be more than an occasional treat. (Maybe it would be easier to use oil than mess about melting that quantity of butter/marge.
ellarien: dumpling squash (food)
I'm not sure what to call this one. Southwestern vegetable curry? Spicy vegetable stew?

Read more... )
ellarien: dumpling squash (food)
This is the most successful attempt yet; this time I followed the recipe exactly, with actual brown sugar and baking soda, while previously I'd been using baking powder and granulated sugar (the second time around with added molasses). I also had two identical trays, side by side in an oven I'd asked for 275, whereupon it gave me a perfect 350. (The bottom shelf did get a lot hotter than that, with the trays on the top one.) I shaped the dough a bit with my hands (rolled it into balls and patted them slightly flat) rather than just dolloping it onto the tray, which resulted in more regular-shaped cookies. They came out nicely; I've eaten one, frozen nine in bags of three, and reserved the other six in a tin for short-term use. Also, for future reference, 30 sec at full power might be just a hair too long for softening one stick of butter in the microwave, but it did the job. (Considering the length of my hairs, perhaps that isn't the most appropriate expression ...)

Mixed beans (pinto, pink, small red and small white, 1/4 cup each) soaking in three cups of water; the rest of the packages mixed and divided between two containers for storage.

The gingerbread recipe calls for orange zest and chopped nuts, which I don't have at present, unless I start trying to chop up eating-quality pistachios, so that one will have to wait a while. I refuse to go grocery shopping again until next Saturday at the earliest!

Mission Statement

Reading, writing, plant photography, and the small details of my life, with digressions into science and computing.



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