May 09, 2008

Ottawa Again!

Went to Ottawa again on work. Of course, I couldn't find my camera... Eventually, I'll get pictures of Ottawa up.

Anyway, went there for a meeting and stayed at Albert On Bay. The room, as usual, was awesome. Only one bathroom this time, but a full dining room seating 8 and a separate bedroom with a nice king bed. Sean, Sylvie and I went to the pub after work, where a singularly awful band was playing fiddle and guitar. Half the patrons left, but we stuck it out.

Sean found a new favorite shooter, a Florida Tracksuit. It's made with a shot glass of red Sourpuss and orange vodka, dropped into a half glass of Red Bull. I thought it was pretty vile, personally. We also tried a Jack Frost (Jack Daniels and peppermint schnapps, tasted like mouthwash), Apple Pie (some sort of apple liquor/brandy and butterscotch schapps) and a Viva Puff (red sourpuss and creme de cacao - tastes like those chocolate covered marshmallow/raspberry jam cookies).

When I got back to the hotel, I was so bloated that I looked pregnant! Yeesh. But I wasn't drunk or anything... Sean was ok this time too, despite having the same shots as me along with several beers. No hangovers or anything, either. So I still haven't experienced a hangover (not that I want to).

Posted by JAY at 11:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2008

Visiting Scott

Just got back from Scott's house.

Sounds like he's in for some exciting times, though it's not public knowledge yet so I can't post it here.

Anyway, we caught up on old times, grilled asparagus, mushrooms and sausages. We also made our way through three quarters of a bottle of tequila and three quarters of a mickey of rum (mixed with slushy - even Heather, his wife, liked that!). Heh, Scott was pretty wasted when I left (ugh... Heather might be miffed with me tomorrow!). But here I am, fine as usual after drinking... I think something in me resists drinking past a certain point.

As far as tequila goes, it just tastes like slightly adulterated rum to me. It's surprisingly palatable with the salt and lemon, but... well, not that interesting.

Scott had picked me up earlier at my place, so I took a cab back home. Haha, Scott was so toasted that he gave the wrong address to the cab company - when I checked it outside, I had to go back in and call them with the corrected address. Hopefully he's ok by tomorrow!

Posted by JAY at 01:34 AM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2008

The Tenderest Steak

If you've got a really really thick cut steak, this is an awesome way of preparing it. It's slightly more trouble, but the results are worth it - a more tender steak that's perfectly done from edge to edge (with no bands of overcooked meat on the outside). I saw the method on America's Test Kitchen.

Preheat your oven to 275F.

Rub a thick (1.5" +) rib steak or strip loin with a generous sprinkling of salt and ground black pepper. The steak doesn't have to be at room temperature, it can be straight from the fridge.

Roast the steak in the oven until the internal temperature of the steak is at 95F. By this time (about 20 minutes, depending on thickness), the steak will still look pretty raw, but the fat and connective tissues will have relaxed.

Sear the steak for a few minutes per side on a really hot grill or cast iron pan, until the desired doneness is reached (120F for rare, 125 for medium rare, 130 for for medium).

Let the steak rest loosely covered with foil for about 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Posted by JAY at 08:11 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2008

Riley's Birthday

Today was Riley's 1st birthday party! Rucell really went all-out on the arrangements. There was a TON of food, 2 clowns (good thing, cuz one was really late), a Cars (Disney movie) themed cake and 3 pavillions. I got there early with 60 cupcakes to ice (recipe later for the chocolate ones). Almost all of them were eaten, too. I also fried about 200 spring rolls and cooked about 3 packs of spaghetti.

Riley seemed to really enjoy himself. I got to play with him a lot. He really, really liked the cupcakes - though his dad only let him eat about 1/2 of one. He stayed up really late - I wonder what time he'll be waking up tomorrow! Heh, we never did get around to opening the presents. Among the guests were Nervada, Karen (pregnant and due in September!), Stephanie and Nathan. Also Neil, Bambi and Glenchie. Erich, Katherine, Gaby and Matt showed up really late. Trev's mom, dad, grandmother, brother and Aunt Tish were there as well. Their old neighbor Nermal...And lots of others... I'm missing tons.

We stayed late and watched Ultimate Fighting on Pay Per View. By the time that ended it was really, really late.

Posted by JAY at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

May 31, 2008

Wii Fit

Tried Sean's Wii Fit. It's pretty neat! After setting up your user with your age and height, it measures your weight and does a quick set of balance tests. Then, it calculates your BMI and your "Wii Fit Age".

Me: 26 (woo! real age 30)
Sean: 46 (ha! real age 35)

Anyway, the balance board seems really responsive, and the games that come with the Wii fit are pretty challenging and fun. The ski jump and soccer ball games are a lot of fun, while the yoga poses and the strength training is darned hard!

Hilariously, your Mii (the avatar that represents you) gets fat or skinny depending on your BMI. Then they run around with various speeds depending on how fat they are. My Mii was a bit pudgy - Sean's even more so!

Posted by JAY at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

Gardening

Spent a bunch of time (and money!) in the garden today.

There were a couple of caterpillar nests in the field behind my house. I hopped the fence and cut them down with some shears. I put them in a plastic bag that's currently in my recycling bin.

Bo says she's seen rabbits around, so I took a quick trip to the local dollar store to get some cheap plastic fencing to go around the garden. It's not very high, though... we'll see if it works.

I also bought some cages for my tomato plants. The tomato and lettuce plants seem to be growing really well. Sage, thyme and tarragon came back from last year. I've re-planted parsley and rosemary. I'm not sure if I'll bother with basil this year - it didn't do well last year.

Posted by JAY at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

Recipe: Berry Cupcakes

This berry cupcake recipe was adapted from one on recipezaar. It's really full of berries and not too sweet (for a cupcake). Very, very yummy.

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tbs lemon zest (optional)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

2 cups flour (I use 1/2 cake flour)
1/2 cup milk

2 to 2 1/2 cup berries, rinsed and drained
(I used blueberries and raspberries)

Preheat oven to 375F, prepare 12 muffin tins with large foil cupcake cups.

Beat the first group of ingredients (butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, baking powder) together with the paddle attachment, adding one at a time and beating well after each addition.

Alternately fold in the flour and milk with a spatula, starting and ending with flour, about a third at a time.

Sprinkle about 1 tbs of flour over the well-drained, but slightly damp berries and toss to coat. Fold them into the batter.

Divide among muffin cups and bake for 25 min.

Posted by JAY at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)