August 01, 2004

DynDNS

Set up a dynamic dns client on my linux server (the Magnia) today.

It was a relatively painless process. The client is a simple perl script and it seems to be working fine.

Posted by JAY at 04:13 PM

"Chicken" stock

Haven't eaten much today yet, but I've done a lot of food preparation.

Boiled a pot of bones (chicken/pork/beef) with some onion, celery and carrots to make a few jars of stock. I'll use some of it for a curry later today. I've already cut up and seasoned the chicken. I snacked on the meatier bones.

Posted by JAY at 04:33 PM

Mmm...

Mmmm. Curry.

Surprisingly, Pat's lettuce was still ok in the fridge, so I added it too. Also had some firm tofu and roasted garlic. The sauce was made with cream, stock and some reserved tomato juice left over from the chili last week.

Posted by JAY at 05:53 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2004

Back in the Habit

So I'm starting to go to the pool again this month... got my my bus pass yesterday. I woke up early to go today, but just couldn't make myself put in my contact lenses! Tomorrow for sure!

It wasn't a total waste though. I still got out of bed early (6:30am) so I should be tired a bit earlier tonight. Yesterday I went to bed relatively early - 11:30pm. I'm easing back into the habit.

Maybe I'll swim this evening. I'll have to check the schedule.

Posted by JAY at 06:09 AM | Comments (0)

Leftovers

I've got an embarrassment of riches in my fridge and freezer. Maybe I've been cooking more than I've been eating. I've got pasta waiting for sauce (at least 2 portions), curry (2 portions in the fridge, 2 in the freezer), chili and some crab e-fu noodles, from an expedition to Stir Fry King on the weekend. For about $9, the portion is very generous. I ate until I was stuffed and then packed the rest away.

Actually, the crab noodles just disappeared - I don't often eat breakfast but I was up really early today.

Posted by JAY at 06:48 AM | Comments (0)

Oh Sugar!

Bleah, I was all set to have some peaches and whipped cream, but I can't find my bottle of sugar! Maybe it's for the best, as my peaches aren't quite ripe yet. Argh, how frustrating!

Posted by JAY at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

Italian Everything Pasta

Made this pasta (from the leftover boiled pasta) for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. In retrospect, I should've left out the italian seasoning, as the "sauce" was very dry and the rosemary didn't have time to soften.

The sausage was perfect though - I started it in a smoking hot pan and it got a crispy brown crust all around it. Mushrooms, roasted garlic, extra virgin olive oil and onion rounded out the dish. Tasted great - except for the rosemary, which I picked out.

Posted by JAY at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2004

Swimming

Well, I didn't go swimming this morning, but I did go this evening. Geez, I miss 1 month and I'm totally out of form. Strangely, it's not my legs or arms that got tired - it was my stupid fingers and toes!

Both were starting to cramp after about 35 minutes. I started to swim with my fists closed, but it was too much hassle.

Posted by JAY at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2004

Smokers

Do I look like a smoker?

In the last 5 days, no less than SIX people have asked me for cigarettes. A couple others have asked for a light. WTF? Go buy your own goddamn cancer sticks!

Posted by JAY at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

Split Pea Soup

Sean and Jackie gave me an immersion blender as a housewarming present (not that I had a housewarming party). Thanks, guys! It worked really well - maybe too well! I got a bit carried away and ended up pureeing my soup.

Also, I oversalted by accident. The smoked ham hock that I put in for flavor was surprisingly not very salty. I guess I over-compensated with the salt. Oops. (And darn - that smoked ham was expensive!)

Update: it was just too concentrated... now I really like it and here's the recipe.

Posted by JAY at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2004

Soupy goodness

Figured out the problem with the soup: it was too concentrated.

My stock was pretty concentrated and I put a lot of split peas. I watered down with about 1/3 water and it tastes really good now. Also, I'm really hungry, so that probably makes a difference too.

Of course, now I have a ton of soup concentrate. I'm actually looking forward to eating it.

Posted by JAY at 08:23 PM | Comments (0)

Kitchen Shopping


Did some kitchen shopping at Kitchen Stuff Plus They have some awesome deals. The one that set me back, however, was the industrial strength bowl-lift KitchenAid. Sean pointed out the deal to me: Regular price was over $400CAN and I got it for $225.

Also bought some canisters for flour and sugar, a thick steel Cuisinart muffin tray for $50 off (Yorkshire puddings, here I come - they'd go good with soup!) and a silicone spatula ($5).Since I'm not sure my oven can reach the temperature necessary to cook yorkshires, I bought an inexpensive oven thermometer. Actually, I should try that now - it's a cool night!

Posted by JAY at 08:30 PM | Comments (4)

Split Pea Soup Recipe

I decided that I like the split pea soup enought to want to make it again. So here's the recipe. What makes it taste good is the smoked pork hock (I got mine at Loblaws).

Split Pea Soup
Saute in a pan in medium heat for about 7 minutes (until soft):
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, washed and diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 leek, white part only, washed well and diced
Turn heat to high and add/cook for 5 minutes:
  • 1 TBS dried thyme
  • 1 generous pinch of chili flakes
  • 1 pork hock
  • 3 cups dried split peas
  • 2 bay leaves
  • generous grinding of black pepper
Finally, add
  • 2 L low salt/no salt chicken stock/water
  • some leftover tomato juice (optional)
Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer.
Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove the smoked pork, blend the soup with a hand mixer/immersion blender until it's as smooth as you want it.
Salt to taste. You'll have to re-salt later when you eat the soup.
Remove the meat, fat and skin from the pork hock and add them back to the soup.
Cool the soup, bottle it and freeze it.
To eat the soup, mix about 2/3 soup concentrate with 1/3 water, heat, salt to taste and enjoy. (You can do this with the hot soup too, for an immediate meal.)
Posted by JAY at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2004

Italian Ragu

According to an Italian cooking show that I'm watching now, a good cream ragu (sauce) uses the classic onion/carrot/celery dice browned and a meat mix of beef/veal/pork before adding cream and simmering for 45 min.

I happen to have all of those meats in the freezer. She's layering a white sauce, parmasan cheese, pasta and meat sauce to make a lasagna alla bolognese. Whoa. That's a lot of fat.

Posted by JAY at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2004

Subtle Art of Bus-Fu

Bus-fu is a difficult skill where the objective is to wait as little as possible for a bus to get where you're going and back! I did fairly well today and got a lot of stuff done.

I managed to catch a bus to the Price Chopper (actually quite convenient - the stop is right by the store) and caught the same bus back to my apartment. This bus only goes by every half hour - so anything less than a 15 minute wait and I've beaten the odds. No waiting today!

Then later I went to the pool (I am SOO tired right now!) and managed to catch the transfering bus at the station with only a couple of minutes to spare. However, I walked back from the pool to the station - it's really only a 10 minute walk) and had to wait a full 10 minutes to get the bus back to my apartment. Gotta work on that one.

Posted by JAY at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

Lamb Sandwich

Ate a couple of the things I bought while grocery shopping for dinner. This is a lamb sandwich with mushrooms, onions and homemade mayo (made with the immersion blender that Sean and Jackie gave me). It was good, but I didn't have quite enough meat for the amount of bread. Also, I'm not sure that the mayo was worth the trouble... Hellman's tastes fine. I'll be having the same stuff over rice tomorrow for lunch.

Posted by JAY at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

Got a Different House

Here's hoping that the 3rd time is the charm. I ended up buying a different lot on the same street without a walkout. I probably don't need the extra space anyway, as I'll be living there alone. It'll save me $9000.

The builder just got back to me today saying that the offer has been accepted.

Posted by JAY at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

Falafel Dinner

Dom gave me a box of falafel mix a while back, so I thought that I'd try it out tonight. I can't do this too often because they're deep fried.

They tasted good - but I should've hit them with a whack of chili pepper. I also didn't have any garlic sauce, so I used my home-made lemon-roasted garlic mayo.

Posted by JAY at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2004

Curry Noodles

Today was pretty rushed. I cooked the sauce for these noodles and ate them while doing my laundry so that I could rush to the pool.

The sauce is cumin and onions fried in oil, with curry powder/chili/flour added and cooked for a bit. Finally, milk was added to make a creamy sauce.

I can feel myself stiffening up, though. I hope I didn't overdo it!

Posted by JAY at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2004

I Hurt!

Ohhh... I'm stiff and sore.

I was determined to do my resolution (3x swimming) this week, but I've been going in the evening, which means that I'm not time limited like I was when I did it before work.

Yesterday, I was sore, but I thought that I would "work the kinks out" in the pool. This morning I couldn't move.

Posted by JAY at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

Dinner with Jen

Jen came over for a night of conversation and food. This was the first major cook I've had in my kitchen and it went really well. Of course, I'm a bit short on seating, so I may have to work on that a little, somehow.

The menu:

  • Fresh angel hair pasta with shrimp and mussels in a homemade tomato pasta with leeks and fresh basil
  • Penne with shrimp and scallop cream sauce
  • Bread with homemade garlic-herb butter

Dessert was warm cookies with whipped cream and fresh peaches. I forgot to take a picture of that.

Posted by JAY at 10:39 PM | Comments (2)

August 15, 2004

Piano

Sean helped me bring home a digital piano on Friday (Thanks Sean!)... There goes the mortgage downpayment! Sigh.

Oh well. I'm really enjoying having an instrument again, even though I only play pretty poorly.

Posted by JAY at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

Pancakes


I woke up really late today with a hankering for pancakes for breakfast. Mom had given me some homemade strawberry jam, so I made pancakes and topped them with the jam. A bit of butter and salt (I only have unsalted butter) and perfecto!

Posted by JAY at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2004

High-Carbing

I'm definitely short on protein this week - this was dinner and lunch today (and snack yesterday). Yesterday it didn't taste as good as it should have - not for a homemade saucee enriched with fresh basil, mushrooms, pork/veal/beef and fresh thyme. Today, I realized the problem... I was really full yesterday, after having dinner and strawberry cream pancakes. Today it tasted great - especially with some parmagiano grated on top of the cheddar.

It's pasta week today... I just enriched my curry noodle sauce with sausage and zuchinni. I've got a big pot of cooked pasta in the fridge.

Finally, for dessert today I had some bits of bread with jam and butter. Mmmm.
I did swim today, too.

Posted by JAY at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004

Snacky

Had a lot of snacks for dinner tonight - saving my food for lunch tomorrow.

Mom sent over some homemade bread and jam, so I had that (plus some butter) for dinner. Lunch today was the curried sausage and zucchini that I made yesterday, and there's enough for tomorrow too.

Posted by JAY at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

Parsley, Sage...

... and Basil, actually.

Pat D gave me a baggie of herbs today from her garden. Mmmm, fresh herbs - I don't often buy them because they're very expensive. I know where these ones are going - they're destined for a pesto sauce for dinner tomorrow.

Posted by JAY at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2004

Omelette

Didn't take a picture of it, because I'm in a bit of a rush to go swimming. Made a quick omelette for dinner with Pat's parsley, onion, mushrooms, cheddar and parmesan. It tasted good... strangely, it smelled and tasted very much like sour cream and onion chips.

Whatever.

Posted by JAY at 04:34 PM | Comments (0)

Library

Well, I didn't go swimming... I was almost there and then realized that I forgot to put my contacts in (I'm pretty blind without my glasses). ARGH.

I could've gone back and put them in, but by the time I was back home I was feeling tired. So I walked to the library instead and picked up some books. This was my first time using this town's library, and I immediately found 3 books that I wanted to read. (Legends 2 - a fantasy anthology, The Crystal City by Orson Scott Card and Spirit in the Wires by Charles de Lint)

Posted by JAY at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2004

Herb Bounty

Linda K just gave me a whole pile of herbs - I'm excited, I can't wait to cook with them! I just made a huge seafood curry, though, so I guess I'll have to freeze most of that before I cook more stuff.

The herbs include:

  • chocolate mint
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • basil
  • tarragon
  • oregano

I'm excited about the mint and the tarragon - I've not used either in a long while.

Posted by JAY at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

Seafood Curry


Made this last night and had it for lunch and dinner today. Pat D joined me for lunch. She seemed to like it :) This is a very cost effective dish to make because it only takes a pack of seafood that costs about $3.

Posted by JAY at 09:59 PM | Comments (2)

August 20, 2004

Public Transport

I really like taking the bus... there are so many people to watch and today was a standout day for that!

There was this elderly lady named Sheila who was all conservatively dressed for work. She managed to bust through with her individuality by wearing bright blue nail polish and silver rings. Go grandma!

A regal looking black girl who had the best facial bones ever. She was overweight but still looked awesome in her silver hoop earrings, denim and Lawrence Hill band camp tshirt. (And this one time? At band camp?... she didn't look like that.)

On the freaky funny side, a girlish looking boy was intimidated away by some crazy guy who was verbalizing his thoughts very loudly. "Is that a girl or a boy? Doesn't matter... just don't ask me for money! Don't ask me for money!" I cracked up right there (probably scaring the guy even more). The kid didn't look like a street kid and didn't look like he WAS going to ask for money. It was all the more hilarious because usually I'm the one whose gender is in question. Not this time, though.

On the bus back everyone was sleeping and the bus was almost empty. Then there was this guy who came in chatting with the bus driver really loudly and swearing up a storm with his tall tales.

Finally there was this young man also on the bus who was really hot and tried to get the bus driver to open the roof vent. I'm not sure what he was on, because it was a cool day and the air conditioning was on in the bus - it was CHILLY. Then when he went grumbling back to his seat, he put his jacket back on. Strange.

Posted by JAY at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2004

Cookstown Outlet Mall

Went with my parents to Cookstown Outlet Mall where I picked up a bunch of clothes, shoes, and some really cheap covered pyrex cookware. Ran into Rucell and Trev there, too.

Posted by JAY at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2004

Shuffleboard Sunday

We were going to the AMC theater to see Garden State, but someone got the details wrong and it wasn't playing :)

That's ok, though. We went to Dave and Buster's instead and played shuffleboard, which I enjoyed more than I wanted to see the movie. We played 4 games - I won 2, lost 2.

Got dinner at Asia Buffet. It was just OK. The heaters under the food needed to be turned up, and the selection wasn't all that big. The only thing of interest was the fried wontons, which were filled with an unexpected filling of cream cheese and fake crab.

Posted by JAY at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2004

Health Scares

Mom had a strange health scare yesterday. We ended up in the emergency room of the local hospital. She seems fine now, though.

After tennis and swimming she started getting really disoriented. It may or may not have anything to do with the fact that she didn't eat very much that day before exercising.

By the time she was in the hospital, she couldn't remember much of anything that happened recently - like where I worked. However, later she got all of her memory back, though she can't remember anything that happened while she lost her memory.

I spent today cooking some stuff at the parents' house so that they won't have to cook over the next couple of days. Father seems to think that my moving out caused this episode. While I'm sure it put her under some stress, his tendency to blame me for anything bad happens gets old really fast.

Posted by JAY at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2004

Dream: Hagar the Horrible

It started funnily enough: A foreign king had offered his daughter for marriage to Hagar, but when Hagar got there, the daughter turned out to be unwilling. Hagar promised not to force her to marry him, being all noble.

Then...

Then the king offered gems and gold to persuade Hagar to go through with the marriage. Suddenly all sinister, Hagar said "I like that!" In a frozen tableau Hagar had forsworn himself.

The mood had suddenly changed. The character designs of all the characters changed, from roly-poly curves into slender muscular figures. Their eyes were suddenly represented by empty slitted parallelograms outlined in thick black brushstrokes.

As the wedding proceeded, everything was said with an undercurrent of promised violence. Hagar's new bride implied that he might not survive the wedding night. Hagar seemed likely to murder her father in order to take the throne.

I wasn't going to record this dream, except that when I dragged myself out of bed this morning and turned on the TV the first thing I saw was a Hagar comic being panned across the screen. It made the dream feel eerily prescient and more significant.

(Significant of WHAT?)

Posted by JAY at 07:27 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2004

Soup and Sandwich

This was dinner tonight. I made a big pot of split pea soup (froze most of it). I also brined a turkey thigh and seasoned it with Linda's herbs before roasting it. I put it on a sweet potato bun that Mom gave me a while ago and topped it with mayo and red peppers. It was pretty salty because it stayed in the brine longer than I had planned - it tasted almost like luncheon meat! I'll either have to make a less concentrated brine next time or not soak it for as long.

The soup was better this time though. The pork hock had less bone and I was more careful when salting it.

Posted by JAY at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2004

Wah! Food waste

Some of the jars of food that I put in the freezer cracked! Wah!

They weren't covered tightly, either... Maybe I didn't let them cool enough before putting them in - but they were pretty cool, though not refrigerated. And they weren't covered tightly, either - I thought there was room for expansion.

Maybe my freezer was too cold? I turned it up pretty high because I was afraid of food spoiling.

Anyway - I lost a jar of curry and 2 jars (one big one!) of split pea soup. Sniffle.

Posted by JAY at 06:59 AM | Comments (0)

Nifty Vacuum

Dom and Clara gave me an awesome vacuum! Yay for keeping my apartment cleaner!! It's really cool. My parents had a Viking vacuum a long time ago before they switched to central vac, but it must've been the cheap model.

This one has a powered head for rugs and a wicked retractable power cord - sooo cool! So I vacuumed the whole place, including the foyer carpeted area that really needed it. I couldn't get it before, because all I had was a broom that was probably dragging dust all over the floor. I also did the rug in my bedroom - which is good, because it was starting to get visibly messy.

Thanks guys!!

Posted by JAY at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2004

Bill's Buoys

We went boating today! Dave, Trev, Rucell and I joined Dave's parents, Bill and Jane, on their huge boat.

Read on for some more photos...

Did I mention the boat was huge? 2 bedrooms, bathrooms and a full kitchen below deck! We had a long scenic tour around the bay and then returned for a delicious dinner of hamburgers, several salads and brownies.


We followed that with some spirited conversation that lasted quite late into the night before heading home.

Good times!

Posted by JAY at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2004

Musical Night Owl

Man... I should be asleep.

Instead, I'm on the piano playing Led Zeppelin... (song: Thank You)

Sigh. But I got 1/2 way through learning it and just remembered it when I heard it the other day, so I'm sort of fumbling through it. Hopefully I have the volume down to where it won't affect the people upstairs.

They come in at all hours anyway - I think he works nights. And the guy's gf has dogs that are sometimes there barking (which doesn't disturb me, really) so they've really got no room to complain.

Posted by JAY at 12:25 AM | Comments (0)

Which reminds me...

A friend asked me today: are you a classical pianist?
To which I answered: no, i'm a mediocre pianist!

Posted by JAY at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2004

Recipe: Breaded Pork

This was SO good. I made enough for lunch and ate them both. Wah! The basic breading technique is this:
Take seasoned (either marinated or brined) boneless pork chops.
Dip them in unseasoned flour.
Dip them in whisked raw egg (1 egg is plenty).
Dip them in seasoned breadcrumbs or panko (you can season with black pepper and italian seasoning).
Fry in hot oil.

The flour helps the egg to stick which sticks the bread crumbs very firmly. Otherwise, your breading won't stick very well.

While I had the oil hot I also fried some shrimp chips.
I'm still feasting on the memories!

Posted by JAY at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)