February 03, 2005

Chop(s)

Lunch was some brined pork chops (solution: 1/2 cup salt, 2 cups water, 2 hours). I got some beautiful browning on these by making sure the surface of the meat was dry when it went into the hot pan. I made 2, one for lunch and one for dinner, but I ended up eating both for lunch. The usual rationalization is that it won't taste so good after refrigeration. So for dinner I've gorged myself on strawberry custard pie.

Posted by JAY at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2005

Dinner at Dave's

Well, got more exercise than expected today.

Went to Dave's condo after work and swam in the pool there. It was kind of small and overly warm, but still got a fair amount of swimming in. The hot tub was nice and hot, unlike the one at the local rec center.

We then went to Dominion to pick up some food... got back, cooked it (pasta with olive oil and garlic, with sausage) and then played pool for a bit in the rec room.

We sucked. Big time. I don't think I'm going to bother learning how to play pool anymore! They also had this neat arcade thing where you could play sports games by throwing/putting etc. things at a large projection screen. It was pretty fun.

I got back later than expected, though - after the last local bus left, so I had to walk the last leg of the trip home. It's only a half hour walk, though, and I could use the exercise. Thankfully, it was nice and warm out.

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

February 09, 2005

Don't Boil Ribs!

Seriously, don't! Think about it. When you make a chicken or beef stock, you boil the bones and meat. Why? Because you want the flavor out of the meat and into the water. Is that what you want for your ribs? Pressure cooking them is even worse and can give it a canned flavor. But you still want meat that falls off the bone, right?

Try this: Season your side ribs (just grill back ribs, they're tender!) and brush on some BBQ sauce (recipe for BBQ sauce follows). We can season before cooking because we're not boiling!

Seal the ribs in parchment paper or aluminum foil (parchment paper is better if your sauce is acidic, which might react with the foil). Toss in the oven for 3 hours at 250 degrees F.

Unwrap them carefully (they'll be very soft) and put them on the grill or back in the oven at 375 degrees F for maybe 15 minutes, brushing with more sauce.

You'll be able to eat this with a spoon if you want to. The long enclosed cooking will make the meat tender but still keep all the flavor locked in.

BBQ Sauce Formula

2 parts Ketchup
1 part Balsamic vinegar or more
Brown sugar/Honey to taste
Garlic, several cloves
Cumin (optional, a few pinches)
Red chili flakes (optional)
Black pepper and salt

Pound them together in a mortar or blend them in a blender. Add the sweetener until you get the desired level of sweetness. If you're finding it bland, then add more vinegar.

Posted by JAY at 07:22 PM | Comments (2)

February 10, 2005

Garlic Shrimp

This is a variation on the quicky pasta with garlic and olive oil. The oil has been enriched with shrimp and the pan has been deglazed with a bit of white wine. It was delicious! I also did one with bacon instead of olive oil... the wine loosened all of the brown bacon bits and lent a sweet flavor to the crispy bacon. Sooo good, though not as healthy.

Posted by JAY at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)

Office Fire

I was kinda curious when Pat busted into my office asking if I had a fire extinguisher. I brought it and followed her into the lunch room, where the toaster had a merry little flame going inside.

After a bit of laughter, I quenched it with a quick short blast of the extinguisher from a measured distance. Now I'm a bit regretful that I didn't really let loose with extinguisher - I mean, who knows when I'll get my next chance?

I shoulda totally unloaded it!

Posted by JAY at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2005

Going Swimmingly

Well, I didn't really make any new year's resolutions this year, but I've been doing really well with the swimming so far. I've been swimming 3 times a week since January and have only missed one week (the pool was closed one weekend).

So yeah, pretty good. Now if only I could get my eating under control, I'd be all healthy and stuff...

Posted by JAY at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2005

Lesia's Apple Cake

Went to Karen's house and cooked dinner (pasta with garlic, bacon and chicken, side of sweet peppers) and made Lesia's Apple Cake the night before to take with me. It could've been better - my apples weren't baking apples (they were Spartans). Karen and Dave enjoyed it, though I'd like to try again with Gala apples. Spartans kinda of turn into mush when cooked.

Still not as good as Lesia's! Might have to do with under-mixing... All I had was a fork as the Kitchenaid is still packed away. I've more recently picked up a cheap whisk for such occasions.

Recipe follows.

Lesia's Apple Cake

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
7 apples, peeled/sliced (Lesia uses Macs, I like Gala)
1/4 cup cinnamon
1/4 cup orange juice (I throw in the zest too)
3 cups flour
3 TBS baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup oil (I used veg)

Whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla.
Sift together flour and baking powder.
Alternately add oil, flour and orange juice to the eggs.
Toss apple slices with cinnamon and stir into batter.

Bake for 1 hour at 375 (I think I'll try 350 next time) for about 1 hour in a well buttered Bundt pan.

Posted by JAY at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2005

Oven-Fried Wings

Lisa requested oven fried chicken wings for dinner today. They turned out really well, so I thought I'd jot down the recipe for future reference.

Recipe: Oven-Fried Chicken Wings

In a ziploc or paper bag mix:
1 cup flour
1 TBS salt (or so)
1 TBS black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp baking powder
1 TBS thyme

Whisk together in a bowl:
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used milk and balsamic vinegar)
1 or 2 egg whites

Trim the tips off the wings and reserve them for stock making.
Separate the drumlet from the other half of the wing.
Toss the meat in the liquid, then toss in the flour (several at a time) and shake off any excess flour.
Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Use a pastry brush to dab with veg oil (all sides)
Bake in a preheated 425 degree F oven for about 1/2 hour.
Turn them over with tongs about halfway through.

Posted by JAY at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2005

"New" Vid Card

Got a "new" video card from Trev. It's about a generation newer than my ATI Radeon All-in-Wonder... it's a GeForce 3. That's an important generation, though, because my old card didn't have hardware transform and lighting, which is pretty much required for games now.

It was giving some driver probs, but seems to be good after I rooted out all the Asus nVidia drivers and replaced them with the MS reference drivers.

Thanks Trev!

Posted by JAY at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

Lost

Had to go to Scarborough today for work and got hopelessly lost. I missed the 401 (eastern) highway somehow and ended up circling downtown Toronto for an hour. Then on my way back I managed to miss the north-bound 404 (I guess there's not an exit from the express lanes.

Despite my lack of any sense of direction, I only got there about 10 minutes late - so I did give myself plenty of time.

Posted by JAY at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

Jen's New House

I forgot to take my camera, darnit!

Jen moved at the end of January and invited me over for dinner. We made shrimp and garlic pasta and apple cake. I brought another apple cake for dessert. This one turned out better, I lowered the heat to 350 degrees and used Gala apples.

Jen's house was really neat and of course she's dealing with stuff (builder, etc) that I'll have to deal with shortly. Wish I'd had my camera with me!

Posted by JAY at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2005

$&#@ing Slippery

Owww... I scrubbed a well-travelled section of flooring and now it's really, really slippery. Took one header (where I landed on my elbow and my head ended up bouncing on the wall) and have almost slipped another few times.

It would be hilarious to treat the entire floor this way. Hilarious, but painful.

Posted by JAY at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2005

Services

It looks like the services are being installed at the building site of my new house. THis view is under the road in front of my house - you can see the beginnings of the sewage and storm drainage systems.

Posted by JAY at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)