well hey

Mar. 25th, 2013 05:42 pm
wombat1138: (Default)
The tape trick actually worked for retrieving both the dowel and the filter screen, although it took several attempts to get it right and I had to jam my entire shoulder right into the drawer gap to manually tape the dowel/screen together (tried placing the tape with kitchen tongs first, but the tape didn't want to release from the tongs).

Meanwhile, day one of Loud Noises Downstairs has begun as the reflooring project gets underway. The cats are freaked.
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1. Decide to finally heed the "clean me" light on the range hood and remove washable filter screens for cleaning.

2. Promptly drop one filter behind the stove.

3. Attempt to fish out with extendable magnetic probe-- no result; can't even tell where the filter has ended up.

4. Attempt to probe behind stove with wooden dowel. Accidentally drop dowel as well.

5. Realize that the storage drawer beneath the oven can probably be pulled out for access. Successfully(!) pull out drawer without major trauma.

6. Observe filter and dowel companionably resting against wall behind stove. Also observe that the drawer gap is not large enough to tilt the filter out from the bottom for retrieval, and that the filter appears to have no ferromagnetic components. (The other one was already cycling through the dishwasher, which was why I didn't cross-check that earlier.)

...so at this point, I guess I'll wait for the rest of the day until the wombat-consort gets home from work, and maybe then I can try to use kitchen tongs to lift up the bottom of the wooden dowel until he can grab it from the top of the stove again. (The stove is probably too heavy for him to move by himself, and I'm not terribly useful in appliance-moving assistance right now.) I guess if I were really clever, I could try fastening the bottom of the dowel to the filter-- maybe by reaching a piece of packing tape onto them with the tongs?-- so it would pull the filter up at the same time. However, I have probably considerably overextended my Cleverness Allowance already :b
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Got a package of lamb shanks trimmed osso buco style over the weekend, but yesterday when I actually started looking up recipes, we were short of certain ingredients called for in most of the standard versions (notably garlic) and I had to range farther afield. (At least in terms of recipe searches. I didn't feel like heading out to the store just to get garlic.)

Ended up using this recipe as a base for minor improvisation-- mostly powdered spices instead of whole; more apricots and fewer prunes (since I already had a container of chai-mulled dried apricots in the fridge); plain ginger instead of most of the candied ginger.

The flavor balance really does call for some added sweetness-- initially I just used plain ginger from the slices marinating in the jar of mirin in the fridge, but eventually tossed in some chunks of candied ginger as well. I also added a tiny bit of regular molasses, as well as some cranberry chutney and about half of a salt-preserved lime. We didn't have any chiles so this ended up being fairly mild, though I did add a generous spoonful of red pepper paste.

The result was pretty tasty, although it takes several hours of simmering for the sauce's flavor to really come together-- initially it was rather sour/sharp, but eventually almost all of the components simply dissolved into a lovely spicy-sweet thick sauce with lamb chunks and marrowy bits of bone. I think that if I make this again, it'll be in a larger batch-- there are enough leftovers for at least one more dinner, but we ate pretty lightly last night because of fairly large respective lunches.
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Finally getting into shelf-purging mindset, now that there's a definite deadline for clearing all of the furniture out of the ground level so the flooring can be redone. Now all we have to do is find an appropriate collection of boxes/bags for hauling stuff off to the secondhand bookstore for trade-in.

The main media collection on the first floor is our manga and graphic novels. I have a very vague worry that I'm getting over-purgey, but honestly there are multiple serieses that I haven't gone back and re-read for a long time and am unlikely to do so-- they went on for too long, one way or another, and I just don't care about them anymore.Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
The plum tree's branches
sway with round red buds. Pale streaks
show the first petals.

Camellia season
is ending; the flowers splash
down into spring rain.
wombat1138: (Default)
*stoically poking spoon into breakfast bowl*

Those little shelf-stable boxes of silken tofu are a pretty good option for a low-effort high-protein warm breakfast: slurry together some dashi powder and miso paste in a bowl with enough water to dissolve, dump in the tofu and break into chunks, add more water to fill the bowl (and maybe add some frozen spinach), and nuke until warm/hot.

Tastyish and easy... but boy, it gets repetitive after a few days. I really need to look into mass-producing breakfast burritos to stuff into the freezer.
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Evil genius cat has figured out how to open the latching kibble bin and knock it over for self-feeding. Also, after a lag period of several years, his brother has finally figured out from watching him how to open doorknobs too.

All this without opposable thumbs. Just evil catly genius. Argh.
wombat1138: (Default)
I found an even easier recipe for sardines than Alton Brown's avocado sandwich.

Ingredients: 1 can oil-packed sardines + 1 8-oz block of cream cheese
Procedure: Mash them together into a mostly uniform paste. Slather onto toast or use as a dip with crackers/pretzels. (Or just shovel it into your mouth.)

That's about it, though all kinds of minor seasonings can be added. (Some versions of this recipe drain the sardines first, but I don't.) I've been adding a tablespoon of red pepper paste (which pinks up the color from the undistinguished native beigey-grey) and a dash of lemon juice. Minced preserved lemon would probably be great, except that my big jar of preserved lemons is currently stranded at the back of the fridge behind leftover turkey.

Robustly flavored carby things (onion rye etc.) go better with it than blander ones. The spread mellows out the intense fishiness of sardines into a smooth, fluffy mouthful reminisent of cream cheese 'n lox-- come to think of it, poppyseed bagels might also work well, perhaps with an underlying slice of cheese to keep the spread from falling through the hole in the middle.
wombat1138: (Default)
Semi-randomly rummaging through Google Books due to another freeform Making Light thread.

The "Knickerbocker Glory" layered ice cream concoction seems to've originated in the US and was carried over to the UK by the 1920s, perhaps via American doughboys during/after the Great War. Oddly, it lived on in the UK despite being eventually forgotten in the US (at least by that name), so that the term was considered sufficiently exotic to be "translated" in the US editions of "Harry Potter".Read more... )
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In the name of sweet fuck, did AO3 just let their domain expire and get siteparked?
wombat1138: (Default)
Excerpt from a speech to the US Congress:

Everyone should have ready access to all necessary medical, hospital and related services.

I recommend solving the basic problem by distributing the costs through expansion of our existing compulsory social insurance system. This is not socialized medicine.

Everyone who carries fire insurance knows how the law of averages is made to work so as to spread the risk, and to benefit the insured who actually suffers the loss. If instead of the costs of sickness being paid only by those who get sick, all the people--sick and well--were required to pay premiums into an insurance fund, the pool of funds thus created would enable all who do fall sick to be adequately served without overburdening anyone. That is the principle upon which all forms of insurance are based.

...delivered by President Harry S Truman in 1945.


(The second half of it was reprinted in the 1946 medical journal I was looking at.)
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I continue to theorize that some librarians just plain hate books.

Yesterday when I got there, there were ungodly numbers of donations piled up, enough that I had to clear out the entire current booksale section and send everything that hadn't sold at our branch since last week off to the main library, just so I'd have somewhere to put the new stuff out. After a few hours, I thought I'd finished, but then peeked into one of three boxes that were stacked up on a cart near "my" desk. More books. The first box was fairly standard stuff-- an entire set of 80s/90s Tolkien editions (including a copy of _Unfinished Tales_ which the owner obviously never finished). It did have some vintage SF/F magazines from the 70s/80s that looked like they might have some resale value on Amazon, so I put those into a bin to send to the Amazon selling crew at Main and kept going.

The second box... ah, the second box. There was an delicate "old book" scent: part mildew, part dust, and part decaying paper/ink. The first item I pulled out was a dainty string-bound pamphlet, maybe about 20pp long and about the size of a large index card, with a textured rice-paper cover. It was in beautiful condition, with bright lithographed illustrations and crisp clean pages. It was an English-language edition of a traditional Japanese folktale, published in Japan in 1938.

I checked the value on Amazon. There's another copy currently selling for $250.Read more... )
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The e-ARC of Bujold's Ivan book is now available from Baen. It is good.

Without getting into spoiler territory, I'd say this is a lovely, fluffy cream-cake of a book. It's kinda like A Civil Campaign without the agonizing self-induced clusterfuck centerpiece (and only one POV-couple romance); the overall tone also reminds me in various ways of Cetaganda and Ethan of Athos.
wombat1138: (Default)
1.) Now that I've finally worked out how to set up and pin a stable crown braid hairstyle, it's amazingly fast, easy, and comfortable. It keeps most of the weight balanced right on top of my head, it doesn't pull at my scalp, and it'll stay in place with just one small barrette/hairpin thingie all day. It even improves my eternally slouchy posture a bit.

The tricky parts were figuring out how to get the tension right when adding in new strands, and carefully resmoothing each section in the hand after each new addition. Still, at this point usually I can manage most of it within a few minutes of waking up, though at the end I still have to go to a mirror to wrap and pin it into place.

2.) Aloe vera gel makes a pretty good hair product. One lingering problem I've been having with the crown braid (or any braid, really) is that throughout the day, loose strands keep squirming out and looking ratty. A nice glob of aloe vera gel, smoothed over the surface like hair mousse, seems to take care of that reasonably well without any lingering scent or plasticky feel. I had a bottle of it sitting around uselessly anyway, so I figured I might as well try it to see if it works-- turns out it does. Yay.
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No, really. In a good way.

We've been accumulating a small rockpile of petrified cheese chunks in the fridge, and today I was bored enough to try finding something to do with them. There were about ten ounces total-- Gouda, Cheddar, and Parmesan, I think-- which seemed like enough to try some version of Alton Brown's "Fromage Fort" recipe.

I don't know how long it took to reduce all of the chunks to cheese sawdust with the microplane grater, but eventually I ended up with a surprisingly large volume of cheese fluff. Every time I ended up with a small cheese stub that was too difficult to grate, I dropped it into the measuring cup that was already holding 1/4 cup of sherry. One of the bigger Gouda chunks still had some wax/cloth rind on the outside that wouldn't peel off until I microwaved it for a out 10 seconds, which also made grating it much easier.

I hit the cheese stubs, sherry, and one clove of peeled raw garlic with the stick blender until I stopped hearing obvious rattling sounds, then poured the result into the cheese fluff to mix in. It was still pretty dry, so I added more sherry (maybe another 1/4 cup?) and 4 T unsalted butter. The remaining 4T butter also ended up going in, finally resulting in a reasonably smooth paste.

It is tasty with crackers.
wombat1138: (Default)
Nom nom nom.

Historically, I've loathed fresh persimmons. The mushy Hachiya type and the firm Fuyu type, both of them-- the taste just seems blandly sweet and unappealing. But now I have (re)discovered dried persimmons and I cannot stop eating them.

I think occasionally, my parents would have a type of dried persimmon that resembled flattened dry discs; I didn't mind eating those, but they really required some soaking or cutting before eating. These are different.

There's a farmer's market stand with dried fruit, including dried whole Hachiya persimmons; honestly, the first time I saw them, my reaction was "these look so hideous that they must be incredibly delicious, or they wouldn't bother selling them." Boy howdy. They are amazing. They're tender and succulent, and the drying process adds a bit of pleasant tartness/spiciness that livens up the flavor.

Trader Joe's has also started carrying a different type of dried persimmon in its freezer section-- the Fuyu-based Korean gotgam, I suppose. (IIRC they were identified/labelled as Korean on the outer cardboard sleeve, but I discarded that so I don't remember the name.) They're much more photogenic, like lovely bright orange mochi balls, but definitely pricier; they work out to ~$1/persimmon. And you have to store them in the freezer, of course. (They might make a really interesting dessert pairing with ice cream mochi, which are about the same size and which Trader Joe's also carries.)

The dried Hachiyas are larger and more shelf-stable; their number per package varies (4-7?), but the market stall charges $5 per package with a buy-4-get-1-free deal so it's 5 packages for $20. Definitely better pricing than the linked article describing traditional hoshigaki at $4 per fruit back in 2009, though maybe that was in Japan where fruit is pricier in general.

I've also seen rigid slices of dried Fuyu, but I'm just not interested in those somehow. It's all about the chompy mouthfeel. And now I must eat another dried persimmon or three.


Apr. 27th, 2012 09:42 am
wombat1138: (spot)
Watched a fansub of Shin Kyoto Hen.

That was... heartbreakingly terrible. Not the fansub per se, the OVA itself.

Oh, all of the basic technical elements-- voicework, animation, music-- are very nice. But this thing has no dramatic pacing at all. It would be completely incomprehensible to anyone who isn't already familiar with the series, and sometimes I had trouble following what the heck was going on even though I know what's happening. It's not even a Cliffnotes version of the Kyoto Arc; it's more like a random clips version.

I can't believe this is what they're releasing after such a long gap in the franchise, when you'd think much the current aim would be to bring in new audience members with no previous exposure to the plot or characters.

(Also, Misao's pet pigeon made me scream in terror because Hatoful Boyfriend.)

I think the one thing I'll really enjoy remembering about this is a brief image of a Jizo statue with a red pinwheel and some purple irises in front of it. It was pretty, and a reminder of the first OVA.


Mar. 28th, 2012 10:26 am
wombat1138: (Default)
From an ML prompt: I always wanted to write a poem where all the words are spelled like they rhyme but don't.

I think that I shall never hear
A poem as lovely as a pear.
A pear, not plum, upon a bough:
Ripe, sweet, and tender, not too tough;
A fruit more beautiful than fugues
Or melismatic riffs or segues.
No, poems and plays-- old rot like "Hamlet"--
Are useless to a hungry gourmet
Who'd far prefer a tangerine
Or even crisp roast porcupine
With apple juice to wash it down.
But too late now, that pig has flown,
And nothing's left but empty prose.
Say, which road leads toward San Jose?
wombat1138: (Default)
I'll have to figure out how to set this up-- at first, I was thinking a table format with one column for each route, but I don't think that'll work by itself. I may need to combine color-coding as well. Bleah.
Read more... )
wombat1138: (Default)
(Dammit, kid, cooperate or I'll go after one of your less fluffy prumpts instead.)Read more... )


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