September 05, 2006

All Moved In

Welp, I did actually move in and get my Internet up and running - I've just been too busy to post!

Last weekend I hooked up the washing machine and dryer and tested them out. They seem to work well. I also used the oven for the first time - I used the bread proofing and the oven to make some rolls to go with the burgers I fried up for dinner. It seemed to work really well.

The only thing is that with the digital thermostat in the oven, the heat comes on whenever the temperature in the oven drops just SLIGHTLY. So the gas cycles on and off a lot, which is kind of annoying to hear. I guess it might keep the temperature in the oven more even than usual though. I found a whole bunch of complaints with Kitchenaid ranges online - none were my model, but still... a bit worrisome!

I haven't been able to find my camera - so I'll probably be text only here for a while.

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

Sumo Chair

Bah, keeping to my budget is really, really hard!

I keep finding things that I really want. And if they're for the house, it's easy to say "well, this isn't really from the normal budget, it's from the *new house moving* expenses". Yeah... right. Hopefully I won't be still saying that next year!

Annnnyway, the latest in my must-haves is this chair. It's been pretty favorably reviewed by everyone online (they did a LOT of web promotion, it looks like - everything from PAX to Sundance) More on it when it arrives!

Posted by JAY at 12:21 PM | Comments (2)

September 10, 2006

Ouch, gout...

Well, I wasn't sure at first, but the gout is back. I really wasn't sure, because it's on the other foot and I've been walking a lot this week to work and back. It's not quite as bad as last time because I have meds now. So it really only kills to walk on it and it's just sore if I'm doing other things.

Bit worried, because I only have a couple days of pills left from last time. Will have to get more BEFORE the next attack, because without them? I wanted to amputate the foot! And I can't really walk when I'm actually having the attack.

Sigh. I may have to alter my diet a bit. Apparently more milk and less meat (esp red meat) is needed.

Posted by JAY at 12:23 AM | Comments (0)

Kicking Butt

Had some of the guys on the IRL sidebar over today for a gaming session. It was fun, we kicked butt due to some potions and stuff.

It was my first time entertaining at the new place. I cooked a chicken curry dish and a beef and broccoli stirfry. It could've been a bit tastier - I was misisng oyster sauce and it could've used a bit more pepper. Also, I'm not used to cooking in such quantity - I over filled the wok a bit and didn't get a really sizzling fry going. Next time.

Posted by JAY at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2006

Recipe: Quick Scallop Pasta


Jumbo scallops were on sale at Dominion. They were about 1/2 off and still very expensive! This sucker alone cost almost $2. They were really big, though, and I couldn't resist. I threw this together with some leftover pasta in the fridge and it was really good, so I thought I'd jot down the method. Cooking time: about 20 min, assuming the pasta is already cooked. Making sure the surface of the scallop is as dry as possible will ensure a nice sear on it.

Quick Scallop Pasta
(multiply for number of eaters)
Cooked fettucini
1 scallop
Salt
Pepper
1/4 onion/shallot/leeks, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
Milk/cream (I used skim milk)
Chicken stock
Butter

Dry the scallop thoroughly. Salt and pepper both sides.
Put the scallop in a very hot oiled, almost smoking (frying oil) skillet.
Do not move it around, just let it sear in place for 5 minutes, then flip.
Lower heat slightly

Remove the scallop from the pan when cooked as desired.
Scrub the pan with a stick of cold butter to release any stuck bits of scallop. (~1 TBS butter)
Fry the onions in the hot butter for about 5 minutes, until soft.
Add the garlic and fry for about 30 seconds, till it smells nice.
Toss in about 1 1/2 tsp flour (omit if using cream, this is a thickener) and stir for 1 min.
Slowly add in cream/milk/stock in whatever proportions you like, with the heat on high and stirring.
(If there's any scallop juices, toss that in too.)
Boil this mixture until it thickens enough to coat pasta.
Toss the pasta in the mixture.
Top with the scallop and serve.
Grated lemon zest and chopped parsley would be good on top (I didn't have any.)

Posted by JAY at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2006

Recipe: Belgian Fries

These were the best fries ever! They were as good/better than New York Fries or Swiss Chalet fries. The secret is a double frying at different temperatures. The chicken fingers were ok, but nothing special. I didn't have bread crumbs so I just used flour and egg. Deep frying floured stuff really kills your oil with particles, though, so I'll probably do the fries more since the oil can be reused.

Recipe follows..

Belgian Fries

Oil for frying
Potatoes
Coarse salt and pepper

Scrub and cut the potatoes into fries.
Heat the oil to 300 degrees F (I used a wok, a deep fryer would be good)
In batches (to not cool the oil too much) fry the potato for about 5-7 minutes. At this point they'll be pale and pretty soft. This is to get most of the excess moisture out of them and cook them through.
Drain on paper towels... leave for up to a few hours if you want to.

Crank the heat up to about 370 degrees (it'll cool when the fries hit it).
Put the fries back in and cook until crispy and golden brown.
Keep the heat at about 350 degrees F.

Salt and pepper the fries right when they get out of the hot oil, so that the stuff sticks to the fries.

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

September 19, 2006

Stir Fry - 2 ways



For some reason, food always tastes better when not too much fuss is involved, and when just cooking for myself. Part of that might be that it's easier to maintain a proper heat when working with less ingredients in the pan. Anyway, I did a quick stirfry tonight for dinner (with leftover noodles) and lunch tomorrow (over leftover rice). It was very tasty. I really have cut down on my meat lately.

I got the table runner at Superstore. It was only $1.44, marked down from $15. It's actually on the shelf below the table, so you're seeing it through the glass.

Posted by JAY at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2006

Worker Bees

I had friends over today and put them to work! Sean, Renato and Dom were over and set up a whole bunch of stuff for me. We spent the evening running cables, finishing the rough-in cable ends (yay!) and hanging a dart board. We went to Canadian tire to pick up a ping pong table but even though I had called ahead to ensure they had it in stock, they couldn't find it when we got there. Grr.

I served pasta, fresh bread, garlic butter and some small but tender steaks. The pasta sauce was a bit overly thick, but other than that, things were pretty good. Dessert was brownies.

Renato brought his Grado headphones for me to try - they were really awesome. Heh, much nicer than my $15 Sennheisers. One was really, really warm sounding - I liked that one best, it gave the piano sound a nice color. The Sennheisers are more flat reproduction with very little tone addition. We also played darts - Sean and Renato absolutely destroyed Dom and I. It was R's first time playing - beginner's luck, I swear!

Thanks guys! Appreciate all the work!

Posted by JAY at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2006

Eating "Light"


I'm feeling a bit under the weather. I had all the ingredients for soup: parsley, celery, carrots, tomatoes, chicken backs - even some leftover noodles. I've got enough soup to last a couple of days. Garlic bread goes well with soup, and I had some leftover bread and garlic butter. This bread didn't get too well toasted, though.

This bread was much better. This was a salad with tomatoes (from mom's garden), avocado and mozzarella cheese, dressed with parsley (gotta use it out!), olive oil and balsamic. I should've used lemon juice instead of balsamic, it would've been more attractive. But I was too lazy. This tasted really good piled on the garlic bread. And the garlic bread was nicely browned this time.

Posted by JAY at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2006

Recipe: Strawberry Sauce


I made these brownies (recipe) for the guys on Thursday, but I put too much salt - I meant to use salted butter and leave out the salt. But then I forgot about it and put in the salt. They were still ok, but not as good as they should've been. I had some strawberries that weren't really that great in the fridge and made them into a simple, but very good sauce. Recipe (such as it is, 2 ingredients) follows.


For dinner, I did a small shrimp stir fry with leftover linguini noodles. It was seasoned primarily with ginger, garlic and a bit of plum sauce, soy, oyster and sesame. Surprisingly, it wasn't very sweet, which was nice - I don't really like sweet noodle dishes like pad thai. It was very, VERY spicy, though. I put in a few fingernail clipping sized pieces of pepper from Pat's garden and it was very, very hot!! Whew!

Strawberry sauce recipe follows

Strawberry Sauce

Strawberries
Sugar

Chop the strawberries coarsely.
Sprinkle liberally with sugar.
Let it sit for about 1/2 hour.

Blend with a hand blender. Add sugar to taste and keep blending.
That's it!

I made the leftovers into a milkshake by whisking it with cream and milk.

Posted by JAY at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2006

Quick cook: Everything Roasted


This is just some cooked potato, cauliflower (from Pat, 2 kinds, the orange one is called "cheddar"), sliced carrots and rosemary sprigs (also from Pat!) tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. The chicken was seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme and cayenne pepper. I just popped it on top of the veg and threw it in a hot (375 deg) oven until everything was roasted. Unfortunately, I ate all of it in one go.

Posted by JAY at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2006

Quick Cook: Trout Filet

I usually pass by the grocery on the way home every day to see if there's anything good/cheap (preferably both, right?) Today's trip yielded some ultra-fresh trout that was on sale. It was already 'dressed' so the freshness test consisted of poking it hard and watching to see if flesh would bounce back. It passed the test with flying colours and was only about $3.50. I took it home and filleted it (only easy to do with fresh fish), salt/pepper/floured it and shallow-fried it in olive oil. It was delicious. There was also some local corn to be had cheap, so I picked that up too and brushed it with a bit of olive oil. It was nice and sweet.

Leftover trout I put into some homemade bread the next day for a fish sandwich. That's not the smartest thing to do with fish that might have bones in it, but it was really good and I got all the bones when I filleted the trout.

Posted by JAY at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)