guy stuff

Enter the dragon..

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Aside from dinner, straight razors and getting bucked off the bicycle on a regular basis..

I go through my loot collections, it’s a nice break… sort of like a visit too a museum back room where everything is interesting… and kept in boxes.

African trade beads… jade bowls, netsuke, defunct coinage and currency from defunct empires.. pre-money trade items, stuff that fell from the sky… the work of silversmiths I admire…or things so obscure only one person in a hundred has a clue…

It’s all about provenance and history.. art and workmanship… sometimes antiquity and the OMG factor….

Which entertains me no end….

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Other obsessions..

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I got busy examining my box of loot and eating the contents there-of along with the results of project week… except for the I phone, art book, shirts and opal rough etc..

At which point I got sucked in by season five of Vampire Diary’s and vegged out for a day or two…

Till I saw whats her name using a straight razor….and I drifted off into a lets look in the various treasure chests I have stashed routine..

Which is always a treat, since I forget what is in them or how good the stuff is, even if I remember in the first place…

I was on a search for my straight razor stash… I’d been on a lets make shaving soap kick lately since I’m almost out of the last batch..and need to actually write down some instructions, rather than just assume everyone knows how the process works..

But regardless…. I found my razors, and had forgotten there’s an Ivory handle or two in the mix, which is why they get kept in a humidor in the first place…the whole thing was hysterical.. one real razor can last several generations.. but I tend to buy more for special events or go on a road trip..

How not to use an electric kettle..

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Apparently boiling eggs, making ramen or spice mixes for masala tea in an electric kettle is ok..

But, using an electric kettle to the heat milk for custard is ill advised..OOps

Got it…

Getting out the burned milk can be an issue…. soaking was no help, scrubbing more of the same… arcane concoctions of baking soda and dish soap did no good at all…

The advice of on-line cleaning “experts” was also ineffective and even more annoying.

However… the battle was finally won by oven cleaner since its made for carbon build up, and is pretty much standard equipment for… cleaning ovens.

I just got tired of messing around.. getting the burned milk out took a 5 second spray and 5 minute rest followed by a rinse.. it’s the same thing I do to de-crust cast iron pots and what-not that get used over a wood fire..

I just didn’t want to go to the dollar store… but I have a few uses for the stuff including cleaning an oven or two that are ready to be put to use once summer loosens its grip and I can use gas without suffocation..heat stroke or paying for even more electricity to cool down the house as I run an oven..

That being said…. Tip one, don’t. Tip two, just use oven cleaner and call it good..

Hibiscus tea..

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The claret glass is just because the color of the tea is so nice.

I really need to work on the photography end of things, I know how to deal with glare, flash, lighting, reflection, back drops and do a good job of it..

But personal stuff is sort of slap dash, point and click..

No excuses though…

I wanted the tea more than the photo… it was one of those “I want it NOW” moods and setting up the light cube cuts into the much desired instant gratification..

Hibiscus tea is sort of a special occasion, company thing.. except today there was no company and no special occasion, other than getting thrown by my bicycle for the second time in a week..but riding a bike down stairs probably wasn’t a good idea, even if it seemed so at the time…

There may be an impulse control issue in there somewhere…which explains a lot..

Pot pies

100_8871100_8868The only thing I like more than making my dinner is seeing what other people do for theirs… so reading the various blogs and posts are fun for me.. I learn things, get a better sense of presentation and the visuals involved… which I forgot to mention in the last post..

And on to pot pies…

I got some single serve pie tins and made pot-pies last week along with roasted everything I could find… the pot-pies were excellent and substantial, mostly chicken, followed by potatoes, carrots and real stuff that has some flavor….. not three micro-cubes of chicken floating in a thickening agent..

Today I was pestering the butcher about brisket bones and kidneys.. The kidneys come in Thursday so that will be fun, the brisket bones “no luck” they don’t carry them.. which means I’ll be back tracking the other shops..

None of which is the point, other than, as I was standing there having a chat, it dawned on me..

I don’t have to stick with chicken, beef or turkey pot pies.. there are no rules, the pot-pie police won’t swear out a warrant or come snatch me up for deviant behavior…

The Brits do pork pies, steak and kidney pies….So why shouldn’t I have at it?

I like chili verde.. (pork with green chilis and tomatillos).. So now I want to make green chili and pork pot-pies and see how that goes..

Which is pretty exciting from my way of thinking…. the kidneys will now probably end up in pies instead of on skewers, which I hadn’t planned but as long as I’m on a roll, might as well….

Thanks for the likes and follows

018 100_8140 100_8141 016 427I write mostly about cooking because its kind of a big deal, its major part, but not all of life. Infrastructure is a factor as well.. in my case it’s chaos, a hodge podge of interests, obsessions, work and clutter.. Jade bowls, real silver, antique Chinese chests and weird flea-market treasure…books, art and who knows what.. it is what it is..

I wouldn’t say my home is my castle, its more like a tree fort or pirate’s lair.

Which works for me, in all it’s (no room havin) glory.. personal comfort isn’t a physical thing with me.. (not that it isn’t all dry, snug and warm etc).. comfort is more about letting my mind wander without constraint and doing exactly what I want to, when, where and how..

All of which is written as a thank you for various likes and follows.. because I can’t quite figure out how to find the message thingy and be direct..

Ramekins…

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100_8740I had to edit the blog photos a little.

Apparently a non ramekin photo slipped in which was a rather colorful interior shot of my hide out..

Nothing like a Balinese mask, a pewter tankard and Chinese brushes in a carved stone brush jar to throw things off track..

The two photos are the same ramekin under different lights, but I tend to be indifferent to anything other than prying out the contents as fast as possible…

I like ramekins as a single serve type thing… they look nice and are actually pretty handy..

This go round, I loaded them up with chicken livers, an egg, bacon and mozzarella, along with the attendant salt, peppers, garlic and onion..

Which worked out, since I was too lazy to make a pate..

A few days later the ramekins got another work out this time it was polenta, bacon and… two eggs got added about half way through, then covered with mozzarella, Parmesan and finished off under the broiler.. which made for pretty quick breakfast, with no pots or pans..

What I originally got the things for were pot pies, rice puddings and custards, but I’m not really a desert guy, its a guest thing and since I don’t have guests or entertain other than in theory and concept..

It was bugging me seeing them sit there… but now its all good and peace has returned to my domain.

Now I just need to deal with 6″ spring pans, but I do like cheese cake every three years or so.

Flea market pizza oven review..

Pizza oven

Pizza oven

I posted this photo before in the context of confusing co-workers at lunch time…

However, its also a life style enhancement if you like pizza and non-poofy flat breads or crostini.

I got this one at a flea market for $20 its a commercial Tony’s Pizza oven, its fast, simple and dependable.. I doesn’t need warm up time, doesn’t heat up the house, it cooks a pizza in 10 minutes.. its portable and its shiny.

One 12″ pizza the way I want it, paid for the thing.

3 AM and the salmon is out of the smoker

100_8969The gravlax spent four hours being transformed to smokey Uber-gravlax.. a little darker, a little denser, a little more everything.

There is a plan for it….first, perfect paper thin slices on the darkest thinnest rye I can find..or an herbed multi grain rye cracker.. with dilled havarti..

Phase two is a pate so I can make the gravlax love last a little longer and change it up some

The smoker did exactly what it was supposed to and held the temperature just right for cold smoking..

It was fun and a good amount of bang for the buck..

I was babbling about wanting a smoked brisket and was notified officially I need to put bacon and smoked tongue on the “to do” list for project week..

So early tomorrow it’s off to the butcher I go.. the only concern is my diet has been a bit rich lately and out of the norm.. its usually salads, vegetables, yogurt, fruit, beans and lentils, pasta and whatever I bake for the day.. 90% vegetarian..excepting the habitual pizza or occasional chicken quarter.. fish and shellfish…

Make that 80% vegetarian..

A magical budget upgrade..

100_8960 100_8963 100_8964The salmon was $9 or $10 per pound… after I cured it in koshering salt, sugar and dill weed.. its gravlax. $40-$50 per pound..the last step is smoking the gravlax which sells at around $100 per pound…

No way I can afford that, no matter how much I like it.

But there’s always a way around things..

The smoker was a walmart $100+ floor model but I got it for $20 because it wasn’t shiny anymore and the door wouldn’t close… reason being, they put it together wrong… So I made an offer, took it home and spent 2 minutes putting it together correctly…

The slab on top is a pizza stone that fits inside the smoker…when I want to use it as a wood fired pizza oven… I rearranged the fire pan put in a baffle so the stone isn’t in direct contact with the fire… etc. etc. etc.

The gravlax gets a cold smoke for four hours and its all done…

The fire pan this go round is a hotplate so I can keep the heat control tight at 100-120 degrees..

Of course its close to 11:00 PM and I’ll be messing with it till 3:00 AM, but its one of those no brainer insomnia chores… so I’m happy about it….