28 September 2009

Home again

I got home from CT yesterday. The people I was hanging out with (Tomereader, Bendicoot, MustngKate and Kate's manthing) were awesome fun. We cooked, we ate, we drank, we laughed, and told stories. I walked in around 9:00, handed Puppy the tin of cookies that Tomereader sent with me, and he was happy. And it was good.

So I go to sleep, and have a fitful night. I tend not to sleep when I've finished off a really fun trip. It's like summer camp. You complain about the drive (journey), but once you're there, you don't want to leave all the awesome people you've met. This morning, I get up bright and early at 9:25, have enough time to sip some water, use the ... facilities, and run out the door with my bag to get to work by 10, because boss man likes to get going early in the day, so that we have lots of time to plot our taking over the world expanding Sacred Chow's reach to the stars and the rest.

I walked down the stairs. I hear Chinese dance music. I swear, I'm not making this up. A few weeks back, I got sick of listening to the staticky Chinese radio station that Li Fang found, and would play during her shift. So I made a CD of some of the Chinese music I had on my computer (mostly Jacky Cheung, for the record), and gave her a copy. She played it, and was thrilled. So, I branched out a bit, and put on some of the more upbeat ones on another CD, and gave that to her after getting sick of listening to the first CD.

Unfortunately, when I'm half asleep, all these pieces of information are fleeting at best, and out of reach at worst (as was the case this morning). So for whatever reason, the disparate parts of my brain thought that I'd ended up in a Hong Kong night club. Imagine my (relative) surprise when I saw that it's a kitchen (as it always is), and that it was Li Fang, jamming along to the music, and chopping vegetables. My sleep-fogged brain finally caught up with itself around five minutes later, as I greeted the morning crew, and booted up the computer to get the day's work started.

For the record, because today is Yom Kippur (are we supposed to wish you happy Yom Kippur? From what I've heard, it's a sombre holiday), boss man wasn't in at 10, as his kiddo was home from school. Here's to hoping that anything you're atoning for is forgiven. Here's to also hoping that your breaking the fast will be delicious and filling.

20 September 2009

Pressure Cooker

I'm sure you recall that I've been against using pressure cookers. And now is the time for all pressure cooker owners to gloat at me. I can admit when I'm wrong. Mind you, I never said that using a pressure cooker is a bad idea. Rather, I just said that I didn't want to use one. Until I bought one.

There was a giant sale going down at an unnamed department store, and I asked Puppy to snag me a pressure cooker on a lark. The first night I had it in the house, I did a batch of split peas. What you want to do is bring the water up to a boil inside the pot, and then cover the lid. It supposedly speeds up the process. So I dumped in the split yellow peas, and let it come to the boil. On went the lid. 6 minutes later (I timed it), I turned off the stove. It still had a couple minutes of pressure left in it.

Last night, I soaked some chick peas. Those usually take 3 hours in a normal pot. Today? 12 minutes. TWELVE. MINUTES.

I don't know that I'll be using it for anything except beans, but come on, people. I'd consider that pretty magical. Imagine setting some beans to soak before you head out the door in the morning. Then, you come home, and have beans cooked up in less than 20 minutes. That's pretty awesome, I'd say. Then, spicing it up takes a minute or three tops, and you've got a yummy dinner ready to roll.

I don't often redact strong statements, but in this particular case, I really was mistaken about pressure cookers. Mine hasn't exploded on me, it hasn't made a mess on my stove, and it's consistently cooked everything to perfection. I'm pleased, and slightly creeped out to have been so stunningly wrong all these years. I guess that I can make up for lost time by cooking lots of food, and feeding anyone who'll eat?

14 September 2009


Do not install it yet. Wait for a few weeks, until they stop failing as hard as they are wont to do when releasing SP2. I recall XP SP2, and it was just as irritating and borked as is the Vista SP2. Back then, I was working in a computer lab, and had to deal with something to the tune of 30 computers taking the SP2 up the back door, as it were. This time, it's just a couple of windows laptops that I'm maintaining. Still as painful, slow, and annoying as before. Laptop #1 BSOD'd after trying to install the fucking thing. Laptop number two did not get the "update", because I'm not trying to have a home machine break on me like that. All this giant stack of fuck-up did for me is keep the computer out of comission for the better part of two hours. I got here at 11 AM, and started up the machine. It is now 1:35, and the machine has just finished rolling back the changes after the stunning failure of the SP2 to install.

Hold off on installing it.

06 September 2009

How to QUICKLY peel plaintains.

Plantains are cheap, and nutritious. They have a fair bit more structure than a potato, and are delicious boiled, mashed, fried, baked, curried, stewed, or however else you'd like to have them. For me, the biggest drag is always getting the darned things peeled, because I have to dig in there with my fingernails, and the tips of my fingers, and giant chunks of the flesh break off in pieces.

I filmed this video, so that you all can see a technique I came up with just tonight for peeling them rapidly and simply. I know that the lighting is terrifically bad. But try it the next time you get a green plantain. You'll be surprised at how easy it becomes. I'm going extremely slowly, so that you can see the process, and managed to crank out a plantain in about two minutes. The actual peeling time is closer to like 30 seconds or so. This means that you could power through a stack of 60 plantains in less than 30 minutes, once you get the groove of it. :)