Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday: Lunch and naps

This was the sandwich I made yesterday for lunch today:
BBQ sauce + thanksgiving turkey breast + braeburn apple slices + Tillamook sharp cheddar. Super tasty, so I made another for tomorrow.  I made tonight's dinner at the same time, since it was 9:15, and I'd just woken up from a two hour nap.  Oops.  That was a similar sandwich, although I warmed the turkey in some of the gravy, and skipped the BBQ sauce.  Not quite as good as the BBQ version, but that's probably because the sauce adds more spice than the fatty gravy.

Here are two pictures of creepy carved squirrels: 

And one of a Giovanni/Persian cosplay:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday: The Continuing Adventures of Lazy

I woke up today, and went to make a sandwich for lunch using the turkey breast I'd frozen on Thanksgiving, and put into the fridge to defrost on Sunday.  However, when I picked up my brand new unopened block of cheddar cheese that I just fucking bought at Safeway, I noticed that the entire bottom end was a decidedly un-cheddar like blue color.  So I had pizza for lunch instead.

I went to the other Safeway by work to get new cheese (I'll have to return the other one tomorrow, I think), and then impulse bought a bunch of other stuff:

Like those chips. And the sandwich rolls. And the deli popcorn chicken bites.  "Wait, don't you have like 99 pounds of turkey? Why would you want chicken?" Because these are fried and crispier and I can just dump them into a sandwich with some hot sauce and declare that a meal, duh.

That said, I did slice the turkey breast for tomorrow's lunch, and I'm really looking forward to eating that sandwich.  I'll probably have pictures.

And then I took a two hour nap on the couch with my arms in the least comfortable positions possible, which in hindsight, was poorly planned.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday: Lazy and didn't want leftovers.

So this thing that Julie tweeted made me decide to just get TBell instead.  I'm thinking about making turkey soup sometime this week, although I suspect it'll be the weekend, since it'll probably take a while to cook.

Since I don't have anything interesting, here are random pictures:
I like bunnies, but this is just too funny.

Someone is very happy now.


Teddy bear. I know it's old, but it popped up in my RSS feeds again today.  Source.

  • I really should watch the DVDs I bought.  Maybe have an old-school MTV night and watch the new Beavis and Butthead, Daria, and Aeon Flux.
  • It seems hard to imagine a time before pizza was common.
  • I don't have a third link for today, I guess.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday: Sushi and leftovers

The sushi:
I went to the local place again for this.  Unfortunately, I discovered that the owners are apparently crazy Christian people, as they have a pile of these stupid things next to the trash can.  The burger place by work does the same thing.  I kind of think this means that they should be taken off the "valid eating spot" list, since I don't really want to support loons.

Dinner was more leftovers:

I thought I had more stuff to comment on today, but I've forgotten what it was. Oh well. How about this: WTF is the Justice League doing?
I guess when you're in the ocean, you let Mera come along too.

  • Ross Douthat is still a fucking idiot.  I mean, it's not like JFK successfully negotiated imminent nuclear war or clearly defined the goal of the space program. Oh wait.
  • This seems like a lot of work shuffling the turkey around in the oven to make it worthwhile.  Mine worked well, although I probably should have let it cook a bit longer at 500 to even out the skin.  Then again, I don't really like the skin, so it's not like that makes much difference to me.
  • Kind of a depressing story, but still cool.
  • I know that when I want to lose weight, I get rid of crap like grapefruit, and replace it with three teaspoons of raw sugar. Thanks again, the 50s!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday: Cold rainy day

Ok, so the low was only 65ish today, so that doesn't really count as "cold."  It has been raining all day though, and it's pretty windy, so I guess that's as close as I get here.  However, it did give me a chance to bake without the kitchen becoming unbearably hot.

I also had to get some stuff at the grocery store, and found this:
It was a bargain at only $8.79!
It doesn't have as much character as the ciders I had in Austin, but it does have proper cider flavor, uncorrupted by stupid spices.

More leftovers for dinner.  The baking project was to finally make the dessert I was going to have with Thanksgiving dinner.  This delicious looking Nutella bread pudding:
With a slice gone.
The missing slice.
It came out a bit soupier than I wanted, which I think was due to my oven being a liar.  If I reheat the next bit in the oven, I'm sure it'll tighten up.  It's also not nearly as chocolate-y as I was hoping.  Maybe a bit of added chocolate in the leftovers will help.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday: Leftovers!

First, super cool sunset:
Also, since it's:
Yeah, I mostly just liked the fact that someone remembered Brak.
I went out to make a purchase:
Unfortunately, the vending machine downstairs doesn't have sales, so I had to pay full price for it.

This is what the stuffing was supposed to do yesterday.  Greasing the springform worked perfectly, and it popped out nice and clean.
Pretty much identical to yesterday.  I cooked the mac and cheese with some milk and covered it with foil, which solved the dryness issue I had yesterday.  I'm now completely out of potato sides, but have lots of the other stuff still.  Also: thrice baked potatoes aren't quite as good as twice baked potatoes.

I think I missed this balloon when I watched the parade yesterday.

Just a bunny eating tomatoes.

Damn it, Barry

"I listened to you, you listen to me"? Really? That's not really the best response there.  These are your people, trying to make you do the right damn thing. Get with the movement, and you'll be back on top again.

Of course, if the opposition decides that Newt Fucking Gingrich is the best candidate, you could probably go out and kill somebody, just for funsies.  So, that kind of mitigates the "doing the right thing" vibe a bit.

Late night snack

Now I wish I'd made dessert so I could eat some now. :-/

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday: THXGVG!

Thanksgiving is nice, because it's one of the two great overeating holidays (Easter of course, being the other one.  Convenient that they're separated by about six months).  I think the main difference is that Thanksgiving gets its own traditional song.

I did most of the prep work yesterday, so I only had to do a few easy-ish things today to get everything ready.  I still haven't made dessert, mostly because I'm so full that I don't really want to consider eating anything else right now.  I think I might be ok just skipping dessert today, and making it tomorrow instead.  We'll see how I feel later.
Turkey.  The base recipe is this one from Alton Brown.  Since it seems like that recipe is different than what I remember, I'm going to copy my version:

  • Turkey (duh)
  • Cup of salt (kosher, whatever. I used sea salt this year and that worked fine.)
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • Two cartons of chicken stock (this is different than Alton)
  • 1 Tbs peppercorns
  • Allspice/ginger (I didn't measure, I just chucked some in. Now that I mention it, I didn't measure the pepper either)
  • Bag of ice
  • Enough water to cover
You should probably combine everything (except the turkey and ice) and boil it.  I didn't bother this year, because that just means you have to wait for it to cool down.  Just dump it all in the cooler, and ignore it for "overnight."  I woke up late, so I guess this was probably something like 18 hours.

  • An apple, quartered
  • Cinnamon sticks (I used two)
  • Half an onion (conveniently I had half left over from making stuffing last night)
  • Rosemary
  • Sage (I forgot this this year)
  • Water
Nuke everything for a bit, dump the water, and cram the rest into the turkey, already in place (breast up) in the roasting pan.  Then take like a tablespoon of butter and another of bacon grease (because, hey, why not?), nuke that, and use a brush to coat the turkey.

Actual cooking:

Did you preheat the oven to 500?  Oops. You should do that.  While you're waiting for that (sorry), take a piece of foil, and fold it diagonally into a right triangle.  Put the right angle of the triangle on the back end of the breast, and then push it down to form a cool aluminum breast plate for the turkey.  Once it's formed, pull it off, and set aside.

Eventually, the oven will be at temperature, and you put the turkey in for a half hour.  Mine smoked a bit towards the end, but that's ok.  After the half hour is up, turn the temperature down to 350, and put the breast plate on the turkey (you might need to wait a bit on the breast plate, depending on how brown the skin is there.  You can see that mine is a bit light, so I probably should have waited a bit more).  Stab the turkey with a probe thermometer, and cook until it reads 160. Pull it out, tent with foil, and let rest until everything else is ready.

Gravy (mostly utensils and not ingredients)
Drain everything from the pan into the gravy separator, and wait until it splits into stock (at the bottom) and fat (at the top).  Pour out the stock into a bowl, and then add some of the fat back into pan, and turn up the stove.  Use the shaker of flour to slowly add flour into the fat, and use a fork to mix until you get a roux.  How much of each? Yes. That much.  Wait, not so much! A bit more flour now...ok...more maybe?  Yeah, about there.

Yeah, I don't have instructions here.  You just have to kind of do it freehand.  It'll be ok.  You probably don't want to use all the fat. I ended up using about half of it for the gravy up there.  Make sure you scrape up all the stuff that's stuck to the bottom of the pan.  That's all tasty deliciousness, and you want it in the gravy.  Once you get a roux that looks pretty good, add the stock you removed earlier, and mix with the fork until it's incorporated.  At this point, I tasted, and decided that it was a bit too thick, so I diluted it with the chicken stock.  That's it.  

You don't need to add anything else, probably.  My gravy was maybe a touch salty, but that's not much of a problem.  I don't really understand how gravy could possibly be considered something difficult to make.  All you have to do is keep stirring with the fork, and everything will be fine.

That picture also shows the fully deconstructed turkey.  I'm going to have leftovers forever.  I put both breasts, the wings, and a thigh into the freezer.  I was then able to fill a plastic tub with a thigh and all the bits that I cut off that weren't "primal" cuts (or whatever you call them on birds).  

Finally, side dish #1 is in there too. Twice baked potato.  I'm not sure this really needs much of a recipe.  Bake a potato.  Cut it in half about an hour later, and scoop out all the guts, trying to keep a shell intact.  Turn those guts into mashed potatoes using cream and butter, and then mix in some shredded cheddar cheese.  Finally, stuff the mashed potatoes back into the shell, and bake again for another half hour or so (I put all the sides in once I took the turkey out, and they were declared "done" when I was ready to eat and had the gravy done).

Side dishes 2 and 3.  I came up with the idea of cooking all the sides in ramekins this year, so I wouldn't have to worry about an entire casserole dish coming up to temperature. This sped up the cooking for the sides significantly.

Green Bean Casserole: See yesterday's post.

Sweet Potatoes:
  • Sweet potato, put into the oven at the same time as the first baking of the twice baked potato, and baked as well.  I wrapped it in foil.
  • Maple syrup. Like a splash or so.  I don't really measure anything, it seems.
  • Cider. I used this one I didn't really like before, because it's still in the fridge.  How much? Some.
Mash the sweet potato, then mix with the syrup and cider, and put it in the ramekin to bake again.  Again, about a half hour on the second bake.

Stuffing: See yesterday's post as well.  I splashed some chicken stock over it to make sure it was moist.  "Is that a tiny little springform pan?" Yes. Yes it is.  I thought it'd be a great idea, because then I'd get a nice stuffing cake to use as the base for the turkey and gravy.  "Where do you even get one of those? And did you buy it just for this?" The kitchen store at the mall has them, and I didn't buy it for this.  I bought it for something I never even made.

One thing to remember: grease the springform pan, because that stuffing is going to fight you when it's time to plate.

Mac and cheese:  Covered yesterday.  The secret I didn't mention was that I splashed white truffle oil in the mix, so it had a great flavor.  It was super dry, so I should have mixed in some milk first.  I guess that's what I get for trying hard not to make it soupy like the original I had almost a month ago.

And I wasn't really planning on making mac and cheese at all, but then I saw this news story, and due to the wonders of the internet, have the video to play:

Way to be a racist shitbag, Pat Robertson.

Everything all together. In harmony, Pat.
Other than the over dry mac, everything was delicious.

Crap, I forgot that I bought Beaujolais Nouveau just for this.  It's perfectly timed for Thanksgiving, and matches turkey well.  Oh well, it'll be there for leftovers, I guess.

While eating, I finally had a chance to sit down and watch this:

Three years ago, I went to visit Julie and Colby for Thanksgiving.  I remember getting up early to check on the turkey, and then watched the Macy's Day Parade, which had this brilliant moment:

Yes, that's the official Cartoon Network float Rick-Rolling an entire nation.  Unfortunately, no one else was awake, so they missed it (until now).  After that, we spent the day cooking, and I think a bunch of people came over, and it was delicious, etc.  I'd hoped to be able to see Destination Imagination that evening (which explains why the float was Foster's themed).  However, instead, I fell asleep due to waking up early to work on the turkey.


However, for New Years Day this year, Cartoon Network showed a bunch of their movies, and I was able to record it with my DVR.  So today, finally, three years later, I've finally seen the movie.

Ok, today's batch of random links:
  • Squirrel!
  • Did you know that Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas sucks? Seriously, he blows a lot.
  • This is a wonderful idea, and should have been done long ago.
  • Here's an interesting story on heritage turkeys.  This was the one that I got, which reading the story and the marketing crap, it sounds like mine really wasn't a heritage turkey.  Oh well, it was at least humanely raised and all that, and it tasted better than previous turkeys.  Ideally, I'd be able to find a locally raised heritage turkey, but given that I live in the middle of the ocean, that's probably not a reasonable thing to look for.

nap time.....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let's squish lots of things I was saving for Thanksgiving with other stuff that's unrelated!

Wednesday: Thanksgiving prep day

It's always tiring to spend three hours cooking.  However, I've finished most of the actual prep work for Thanksgiving, so tomorrow will be fairly easy.  I'll skip some of the details, but today's tasks were:

  • Turkey.  Obviously not cooking, but getting it out of the package and into the brine.
  • Green bean casserole.  I went with the canned/lazy one, as that's takes about five minutes to put together.
  • Mac and Cheese. I used my "bechamel + shredded cheese + pasta, dump together and cover, let sit, mix" recipe.
  • Stuffing. I've come up with a new strategy this year. Take a plastic gladware thing, put in bread chunks (I used sourdough this year, because that was easy to find). Saute carrots/celery/onion together, and dump into the gladware. Repeat with mushrooms, waiting until the moisture is driven out. Repeat with portabella. Fry Portuguese sausage bits, and then add to the gladware.  Put the lid on and shake it around.  Make sure it's mixed reasonably well, add a bit of chicken stock, and then put into the fridge for tomorrow.
Dinner was a leftover chunk of sausage fried up and eaten hotdog style.  I probably should have taken pictures, but I'll do that tomorrow when everything is cooked and plated.

Clearing tabs

Cool images:
It's super effective!

I can haz map-based visualization of inequality?

A fat poofy squirrel.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"There's a lizard in my water glass!"

Today was a busy day.  First thing was to wake up early to drive over to the airport and turn in my travel voucher.  This completes the planning for the Christmas/New Year travel-stravaganza, so now I can worry about other things.

Work work work work work work work.

I left early so I could finish up my Thanksgiving shopping.  I think I finally have everything I need, so tomorrow evening will be full of prep work and pre-cooking as much as possible.  My hope is to be able to only have to do a minimal amount of work on Thursday proper.

After arriving home, I pull into the parking garage, and see this standing by the bike rack:
Well, not exactly, but the dog totally had this expression. Via Hyperbole and a Half.
There was a dog, standing by herself with leash and harness still attached, watching everything I did.  Someone had put out a bowl of water for her, and I asked her a few questions, but she was thoroughly sad, and thoroughly scared, and wasn't really in the question answering mood.  I had planned on telling the security guard about her, but noticed a note taped to the elevator buttons pointing out pretty much what I was going to say: "Super scared sad dog, hiding on the third floor parking garage, wondering where her owner has escaped to."  I was going to take some pastrami down on my way back out, but after looking closely at the pastrami, decided that it probably wasn't going to help any.

Luckily, by the time I went back downstairs, the note was gone, as was the dog, so hopefully everything was resolved in the end.

Tonight was finally the night the David Sedaris show I bought a ticket for four months ago:

I did choose a wonderful seat:
I just realized I should start resizing these panoramas. Also, I gave up on fixing the railing.
It was an entertaining show, conveniently full of stories and jokes I'd not heard (or read) before.  I think that's probably the best way to do it.  I like hearing the same stories on the CDs, but I'm glad none of this had appeared in any of the books of his I have.

It was unfortunate to hear that within 24 hours of landing in Hawaii, he'd had his laptop/passport/important documents stolen from his rental house.  Then again, I guess if I were going to run a house burglary operation, checking rental houses for new tenants isn't a bad strategy to use.

About halfway through the show, David went to refill his glass from the bottle of water, when he noticed that a gecko had apparently crawled up the leg of the stool, scaled the glass, and ended up dunked in the water.  He was able to fish the gecko out, and sat it on the podium, where he noted that it was "shaking its tail around," possibly "to dry off."  Later in the show, he made a few comments that suggested that perhaps the swim had been slightly more fatal than originally implied, but no definitive statement was made on the final condition of the gecko.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday: tacos and customer service

I didn't take a picture of my tacos, but everyone knows what tacos look like.
 Seriously? No.

Anyway, after dinner I spent close to two hours trying to book a flight via phone using travel coupons that I got from a previous screwed up flight.  After telling the guy that I understood all of the stupid conditions on these things, he decided that he couldn't book the flight I wanted because it used a partner airline that isn't the right kind of partner.  I then kept him on the line while I found a better flight, that was cheaper, that met all of his requirements for using the coupon.

"I can't see that flight."

"This flight? This flight that I can totally see."

"I have the most up-to-date information on my computer, so the webpage is lying to you."

"Really? So seat 12F? That doesn't exist?"

"No, Sir, it does not."

"Not at all?"

"No, that flight cannot be booked."

"So this confirmation number that I just got via email?  That's a lie too?"


Yep.  Apparently the phone reservation people don't actually have any clue what they're doing, and you can do everything and more via the webpage.  Unless of course you want to use a travel coupon because they screwed up a previous flight.  Then, you basically have to prove to them that it can be done, they just didn't do it right, and then talk to the supervisor who twiddles enough switches to allow you to do what you tried to do when you first called.

This ignores where the reservation guy tried to sell me a flight $600 more expensive than the webpage came up with.


Squirtle! (via some photoshop phriday at something awful I'm sure I've seen before. Also, Julie.)

The Pikachu you see just before the blood stops pouring from your wounds, as your eyes slowly cloud over, and you hear the cold cackles of death: (via hell itself)

Also, the guy who played Baron Munchausen died. If you haven't seen that movie, you really should check it out.  It's more coherent than the book, and more humorous than the Nazi version. Also: fewer Nazis involved in the production.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday: More tacos

Last of the hard taco shells, so I used the soft tortillas I bought yesterday as well.  I really like this taco meat, and I think I'll be adding the chipotle sauce to all my tacos in the future.  The layer of chips at the bottom of the bowl is also a good idea, as I then have something to pick up all the taco guts that fall out of the shells.  Also, I think it's time for random animal gifs:

Puppy want cupcake!

"Stop it!"
  • This news report probably would have been more dramatic if it hadn't come on the same day as this plan from the OWS people.
  • An interesting feature of the Texas droughts.
  • Piano squirrel.
  • I think this editorial is unnecessarily unfair.  Sure, Makana could have made a scene, but then there'd be an editorial about how he was disrespectful of the assembled people.  Let's just do a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation. I can't find any apartments in the Honolulu area for less than $700 a month.   Next, let's say that they can use TheBus to get around, which isn't impossible (although it takes awhile). That's a $60/month pass.  Now, if this person makes minimum wage, which in Hawaii is $7.25/hr. Assume 4x40 hour weeks a month, and that works out to an income of $1160, with $760 in housing and transportation expenses.  I find that FICA works out to be ~$65/month on this income, with an estimated income tax due of ~$37/month.  This then leaves something like $300 a month for all other expenses, or something like $10 a day.  Given that even McDonalds costs like $6 a meal here, that basically works out to a meal a day.  Working with "cans of soup in my pantry," you can eat two cans of soup a day, and just squeak past a month with $100 for all your other expenses.  Given that you won't freeze to death sleeping in a tent by the beach here, and you can always shower in the showers they have for people to rinse off after surfing, I think it's reasonably clear why the homeless problem is so large here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday: Tacos?

I originally woke up at 8 this morning, and thought about going to the farmer's market.  Then I realized that I had no idea what I was going to make this week.  Eventually, going back to sleep seemed the better idea, but this just pushed the "what to make" question later.
Tacos turned out to be the correct answer.  I've had shells sitting around since Columbus day, and figured that I needed to use them.  I'd thought about making salsa, but ended up just buying some from WF.  Lazy.

Tacos were pretty lazy too:

  • Bacon grease
  • Half an onion diced
  • Pound ground beef
  • 2Tbs this taco seasoning
  • 2-3Tbs canned chipotle in adobo, processed until smooth
I figure this will work for dinners until Thanksgiving, which I really need to sort out a plan for.

  • You assume there's a point where someone finally realizes that they're not nearly as smart as they think they are. Then, that person proves you wrong by running for fucking president? Maybe he wants a bigger audience to make sure that everyone knows that he hates women.
  • Cutest dog ever.
  • Which reminds me of Oolong the bunny.
  • I think this is part of my thanksgiving plan now, too. I was going to make pie, but this seems simpler, and I never seem to finish the pies anyway.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday: random

Except it comes on at noon here.

No food pictures today.  Same delicious meal as yesterday.  I made a realization while frying the foie gras: put the hot dog into the grease, so it soaks up the flavor.  Excellent idea, and it solved the "overpowering hot dog" problem from yesterday.  

I'm not sure what I'm doing for food tomorrow.  I'm thinking it might just be a "pick up something on the way home from work" kind of day.  
  • How exactly is it illegal to camp in a park to protest economic and political inequality, but you can totally set up tents on the sidewalk to wait for a stupid movie based on a stupid book?  Oh, right, they probably rented the sidewalk. Hooray for economic and political inequality!
  • Worst criminal ever.
  • Squirrels!
  • This looks really tasty.  It seems like butternut squash is super popular right now. Well, in places that have squash, probably.
  • I keep thinking about this article on local food.  I can't quite seem to figure out if I believe it or not.  Maybe I'll have to sit down this weekend and expend some time on unnecessary statistics.
  • "Big 70's Afro Disco Rats" (squirrels again)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday: I can make that

First, I went to lunch at the manapua place again today, and again ate too much tiny buns. I need to remember that three is the correct number to get.  In any case, I got a drink, and noticed this:
You are not a doctor of medicine, Coca-Cola. Stop lying.

Since I made this discovery, I figured I could make my own version of this hot dog.  Ingredients:
Salad: romaine, slab of pineapple from yesterday, lilikoi-pepper jelly, macadamia nuts.  Slice the pineapple into small bits, and then mash with a fork.  Add in a bit of the jelly and mix to make a chunky dressing.  Mix with the lettuce and top with macadamia bits.

Hot dog: buffalo dog, Hawaiian bread bun, foie gras, mustard from Austin, dried cherries, really really old bottle of raspberry wine that isn't really up for drinking anymore.  Put some cherries in a ramekin, and cover with wine.  The dog, ramekin of cherries, and bun go under the broiler for ~10-15 minutes (bun obviously on the bottom rack under the cast iron pan I'm broiling in so it toasts, but doesn't burn).  When the dog is done, move pan to stovetop, and use the residual heat in the pan to sear foie gras on both sides for ~30 seconds each.



I see why the original dog pairs the foie gras with a duck sausage.  This buffalo dog is a little bit too powerful for the foie gras (as is the mustard, as it's a bit spicy).  Still, this was obviously super delicious.  Om nom nom. I think I'll put the cherries in when I preheat the oven tomorrow, as they could easily have soaked up more of the wine.