So, this... happened:

Went on a fridge-pickling rampage and did some tinkering to an initial recipe to rebalance it more to my liking:

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt

Mix together and heat/stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over 2 cups cut-up cucumbers and bung in the fridge. Will allegedly keep for a month.

One notes that at current exchange rates 2 cups = +/- 1 cucumber. That big one on the left, for example, which I gave away to more responsible picklers than myself, would have been at least 3 cups.
I made the mistake of reading the recipe on the back of the Cheap Yellow Mustard this morning:

"Sloppy Joes"
(paraphrasing for copyright reasons)

package of buns
Cheap Yellow Mustard

Fry meat and mix in all ingredients except the buns (emphasis added).

Umm, I'm the first to admit that I can't exactly cook, as such, but I am so picturing the product-liability-slash-test-kitchen meeting that led to them having to specify that...
Not dead as of yet, just feeling very very meh about what passes for my life, but that isn't News. But this is News, so I shall post it: my raspberry bushes, which are apparently fall-bearing varieties, finally produced more than a couple of berries at one go. (We put them on sugar-cookies with a lime glaze. They were delicious.)
Just made these molasses-spice cookies and they are OM NOM NOM. I used about twice as much cinnamon as it calls for, and added 1/4 tsp ginger and a dash of cloves because they seemed to need something.

While I was rolling them in the sugar, Inner Jason started referring to them as "förvåna bollar". This is what it's like being me these days.
robling_t: (plotbunny)
( Jul. 11th, 2012 05:01 pm)
...And although that installment from Friday only ended up jumping ahead of one potential-scene that I know of, now it's got me questioning the order of a good stretch of upcoming narrative. {grumble} I've resorted to jotting down keywords for the dozen or so bits between here and the next set-in-stone Plot Point onto cards that I can juggle around and test out what needs internal references to what or what scenes might still be missing -- I've already added some meta-notes like "this scene would come after a second appearance from Max", for example, or "this and this are setup for 'coyote 1+2', I think". So we'll see how that goes, it's not usually the way I work but then neither is this entire project. So it kind of goes without saying that there may be some delays ahead for the Trevor And Jason Variety Fun Assortment whilst Muse has a good think...

Inner Jason, naturally, responds to uncertainty by making me cook:
Pasta With Greens In

  • Pasta
  • a leafy green, chopped: I like red cabbage, swiss chard is also good, I imagine you could try other sorts of cabbage, or kale...
  • olive oil

Cook and drain the pasta. In a pan, and you can use the one you just cooked the pasta in BTW, add a glug of olive oil and saute your green until it's just going soft. Return the pasta to the pan and stir together well with the green. Serve hot with a bit of salt to taste.

The pasta, BTW, will turn purple if you use red cabbage. This amuses me greatly.
A Thing To Do With Pasta:

olive oil
2 cloves garlic
fresh basil, about a handful
fresh mint, about a handful

Stir crushed garlic, a glug of olive oil, and the herbs (finely chopped) into warm drained pasta.

I like to do something similar with pencil-sized leeks as I thin them. I may not be much of a cook, but I can occasionally feed myself. Just not without destroying the entire kitchen in the process.
And then there was a basil tasting.


Straight-up sweet-basil is still a go-to for eating fresh on cream-cheese toast. The african blue and spicy globe are also interesting; mammoth is all right, but "the one with the pale-yellow edges which I forget what the name of it was" (I want to say limoncello but I think that's an aperitif or something) doesn't have much character to speak of. And purple ruffled has a strong anise-y taste which is maybe a little much for this application, because I'm still burping it up six hours later. But all in all, it seems like a good use of the Alleged Garden. Now if only I could figure out what to do with all that mint...
YarnCon went much better than last year, because there was Parking and also No Hail (which is sort of like managing to do the Tea and No Tea simultaneously thing, at certain times of the year), but man, have I been trashed these past few days. No energy and... um... lingering complaints which we shall leave unspecified because you really don't want to know, have had me in a mood to do little more than sit in front of the tv and knit all week. Which is rarely a good idea for extended periods like that. Did I mention that I was already thinking that cybermats were kind of cuddly...?

A Fun with Cameras installment )
robling_t: (secret cow level)
( Oct. 6th, 2010 02:23 pm)
Um, right, so, to distract myself from what's going on upstairs whilst I was trying to work... yet again... I think I'll mention that despite my questionable record regarding baked goods and the application of fire thereto, I've stumbled upon a recipe for scones that I can actually make without destroying particularly spendy ingredients and/or the entire kitchen. This is adapted from an article that was on a couple of weeks ago, and if I can get it to turn out pretty consistently, man...

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder

Whisk together in a bowl, then add

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

Smoosh together a bit, then add Something To Make It Interesting, such as fruit, nuts, etc... The original recipe called for orange zest and chocolate chips, which... I haven't actually tried yet, I keep getting distracted by my neighbors having floorsqueaky sex dried cranberries. Add about as much of whatever components as the dough will absorb without losing structural integrity.

Flatten into a round about an inch thick on a baking sheet and cut into 8 parts. You may wish to liberally dust the top with more sugar as you're flattening, it makes for a nice crunchy crust.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.

The ones I baked this morning used dried cranberries (...I like dried cranberries in my baked goods, they hide a multitude of sins) and a more-or-less diced cortland apple that didn't fit into the pie Mum made a few weeks ago. I also threw in some cinnamon and substituted brown sugar for plain. They are... mostly gone already.
The results are in for this year's experiment in backyard Darwinism tomato patch; the clear winner was "siberian", which chose a many-small-fruits r-strategy to keep ahead of the predating squirrels and actually managed to deliver a steady stream of tomatoes to be eaten by the larger predators who planted it. Caspian pink, however, went for the extreme K-strategy and made one tomato all season, which the squirrels ate. Cherokee purple also produced one tomato, which I did manage to nab before it became another statistic, and brandywine scored a 50% success rate by making two fruits, one of which a squirrel ate. (You may be beginning to notice a pattern here.) Black prince and black krim managed a bit better, but I didn't care for their tomatoes. And the hybrids, well, were hybrids, maybe a dozen successfully human-eaten offspring amongst the three and reasonably tasty compared to the plastic ones from the market. I've now pulled up and composted all of the vines except celebrity, which still has a tennis-ball-sized fruit on it that's a bit too green yet to bring in to the safety of the windowsill. Definitely going to go with more "if we make a LOT of little ones the squirrels might not grab them all before they ripen" varieties for next year's garden...
And then I made the mistake of leaving Mum to her own devices for much of Saturday... {sigh}

I suspect Murray, Verity and Nick of having put her up to this, considering where I found Terry when I came in... )

...What I want to know is, what the hell happened to the rest of the marshmallows?
First of all, the jello is not the only thing that is Evil...


So yes, the Evil Mold is indeed suitable for batter-based products as well. This was a box of organic gingerbread mix that had probably been in the cupboard a little too long, or was just organic, or something, and turned out not to have been worth the hassle really. I believe it's still out there somewhere in the kitchen, waiting to turn the tables and devour the unwary. No, I don't have the world's best luck with gingerbread, really...

But here, have some more successful craft endeavours:

Fiberfill Of The Daleks, episode 5 )
robling_t: (secret cow level)
( Dec. 13th, 2009 12:17 am)
And since I said I'd post this to link someone to:

Oatmeal Cranberry... Things

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
3 fl. oz. milk
"some" dried cranberries (6 oz. bag of Craisins is about right)
1.5 tsp cinnamon
"some" vanilla (I used about .5 tsp of that double-strength stuff)
.75 tsp baking soda
.5 tsp salt
.5 tsp baking powder
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups flour

Combine ingredients in this order. Dough will be... opinionated; shape into mounds with spoons or a small scoop. Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes depending on size of mounds. Yields... um, well, I've got two cookie sheets, I usually try to eyeball the dough and divide it into the surface area however -- call it about 2 dozen?

This is a halving of a recipe that Mum says is her Mum's, which is why the odd amount of milk (3 fl oz is about half of .75 cup). I refer to them as "Things" rather than cookies because 9 times out of 10 they'll come out as something resembling a free-range muffin-top and the 10th they flatten into cookies proper, and I have no idea why. Perfectly edible whichever, even when one tray insists on burning the bottoms...
robling_t: (secret cow level)
( Jun. 13th, 2009 12:03 am)
Note to Self: you used the last of the cinnamon the last time you baked.

Note to Self: ginger and nutmeg are not really adequate substitutes for cinnamon in oatmeal cookies.

Note to Self: buy more cinnamon.

Note to Self: eat cookies anyway.
Because I appear to have hit upon a foolproof, indestructible, and well-received Dessert-Like Object to bring to parties, I thought my final version of the recipe might be worth sharing... The original base is allegedly from something called the "Moosewood restaurant Book of Desserts", posted with some initial alterations to the email list of a knitting group I frequent.

1 cup butter at room temp
1 1/3 cups sugar
[make about half of this brown sugar, BTW]
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
[and use the Good Stuff, dammit, I've got some Mutant Double Strength Formula from Spice House in Evanston where half the stated amount is still enough to blow the top of your head off]
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
[much easier to use the salted butter instead IMHO]
"some" cinnamon
[again, use the Good Stuff -- I usually put in about enough to dust the surface area of the batter lightly]
"some" nutmeg
[I used the ordinary McCormick stuff but hey, if you've already got a real nutmeg setup go right ahead -- only needs a little]
"some" dried cranberries
[about half a bag of Craisins will do, enough to, y'know, look like there are some in it but not so much it turns into a fruitcake proper]
zest and juice of an orange
1 3/4 cups unbleached white flour
1/3 cup milk
[and I keep meaning to try this with sour cream but I haven't gotten around to it yet...]

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter until light. Add sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition [but I got a little fed up last time and threw the last two in together, didn't seem to make a difference really]. Add the vanilla, baking powder, and salt and the cinnamon, nutmeg, cranberries, and orange juice + zest, beat well. Add the flour, mixing well until incorporated [and again, it doesn't seem to care about crapping around with sifting or even adding gradually, you may begin to see why I like this recipe...]. Add the milk and beat until well blended. The batter will be pretty thick.

Pour into buttered and floured loaf pan and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan before serving [if you can wait that long, the damn thing will be hot for hours and I usually just tip it out as soon as I can handle it] .

...If I had a stand mixer I might actually be dangerous.

And yes, I did say "My Little Pony" last night. And no, that is not the weirdest fic I've seen lately... this is. :)
robling_t: (Default)
( Nov. 21st, 2007 05:42 pm)
  • New Thing Learned for 21 November: 1/4 tsp nutmeg next time, and don't be too lazy to pull out the food processor for the cranberries and orange rind. [Source: poundcake 2.0 arrived at the WCKG party too late last night to make much of an entrance, but it's so good for breakfast...]

BTW,hand turkeys! )

(Also now leftovers, see "late arrival of", above, but more for us.)
robling_t: (adric)
( Oct. 22nd, 2007 04:46 pm)
Apologies to all I left hanging at the last post there, but I had a sudden attack of Housecleaning and decided I had better take advantage of it before Social Services came to take Gaius away. Since that last post I have cleaned the bathroom including much scrubbing plus unblocking the drains, finished putting all my clothes away in bins in my new closet setup, ruthlessly tidied the remains of the garden, aired and installed the Fluffy Comforter on my bed, built a yarn-drying rack out of PVC pipe, prepared Evil Jello for a party and built a halloween costume from scratch out of stuff I found while I was doing the closet, done some more photography for the etsy shop which I have yet to label and post, wrangled all the library materials in the house and yes that counts as heavy housekeeping, installed a new toilet seat, put away the dishes, and, um, filled a saltshaker. So there. Before we get into Things Learned and the explanation for the video, have some of the Evil Jello:

This jello is evil! EEEEVIIILL! )

I told you I wasn't to be trusted with that mold.

All right, for everyone who hasn't been scared off by that sight, the answer to our "What's Wrong With This Video?" quiz from Saturday-before-last is that was, in fact, the theme version from all the way back to Doctor #2 that someone had plugged in on top of the modern visuals to see how well it would fit. YouTube being the cornucopia of anoraks that it is, in fact, from the above link the curious can follow the entire development of the opening sequence, but I'll leave you to your own devices on that one rather than overload the rest of everybody who wasn't following the original discussion with a dozen embedded video posts (and because posting the post-1980 versions would be just plain mean). Just to prove that I could, though, my crash-course Top Ten list for the latecomers amongst us to start catching up with the 44 years of backstory might look something like this:

  • Doctor #1, William Hartnell: It's sort of Required that one watch the very first episode, "An Unearthly Child", but as for actual entertainment value I'd then skip ahead to storyline number two, which is the very first appearance of "The Daleks", and holds up surprisingly well for any television circa 1963 much less the SF of the period.

  • Doctor #2, Patrick Troughton: Due to the BBC's housekeeping policies of the period, only 6 out of Two's 21 storylines still exist in their entirety, and I've only seen one of those (hey, I wasn't born yet then and I'm just now catching up on dvds); still, "The Mind Robber" is entertainingly odd and surprisingly postmodern.

  • Doctor #3, Jon Pertwee: This is about where I came in, and one that still sticks in my mind from this Doctor's tenure is "Inferno" -- Evil!eyepatch!Brigadier, anyone?

  • Doctor #4, Tom Baker: The One With The Scarf, of course; "Genesis of the Daleks" (them again?) is probably the one to see from this period, since it works with long-running themes relating to both sides of the conflict and Nazi allegories are always fun to dissect.

  • Doctor #5, Peter Davison: Got to pick "Earthshock" to represent Five, because we have to have Cybermen in this list somewhere!

  • Doctor #6, Colin Baker No Relation: Um, well, "Mark of the Rani" doesn't have that much Peri in it, even if it isn't the Master's finest outing, and anyway you might eventually need to know these things.

  • Doctor #7, Sylvester McCoy: "Battlefield" narrowly comes out on top as the high point of Seven's time on the job, mainly because we've got enough Daleks on this list already and not nearly enough Brigadier.

  • Doctor #8, Paul McGann: Okay, so he's definitively canon, go ahead and watch the tv-movie if you really care, at least it's got more of the Master in it, anyway...

  • Doctor #9, Christopher Eccleston: Who, when you look at it, actually got about as much in the way of storylines as Six or Seven, which is something at least (remember they padded them dreadfully back in the day); in the context of this list, "Dalek" is the one to go with for the overall picture, especially after "Genesis of the Daleks" above.

  • Doctor #10, David Tennant: It's hard to judge the incumbent, but, again in the context of this list, "Human Nature" is the most spot-on hour of it for tying into and adding to the ongoing mythos, and it's got killer scarecrows!

(If you're still game by that point, the next step could be the multiple-Doctors episodes, starting with "the Two Doctors" which I nearly recommended as the better example from Six but decided Two's presence in it kind of disqualified it as a special case.)

And lastly, I did Learn some New Things as well:

  • New Thing Learned for 10 October: Speaking of anoraks, Torchwood episodes are available through ComCast OnDemand starting the Mondays after they first air, which is good because all the timeslots seem to be bad for me, and my god I'm turning into one of those people aren't I. Not that I even particularly like the show in the first place, but one does feel a certain obligation to keep up with these things. [Source: finally thought to check after missing it once too often.]

  • New Thing Learned for 11 October: Leather is stretched out by means of small clamps with pegs on them that fit into holes in a big mesh frame, in a process known as "toggling". I'm thinking of setting something like this up for the next time I need to block lace. [Source: Modern Marvels.]

  • New Thing Learned for 12 October: To take a picture of your own head with a digital camera, point the lens at you and the LCD at the mirror. It still makes you look like an idiot, but at least you look like an idiot without a camera growing out of your face, which may or may not actually be an improvement sometimes. [Source: experimentation.]

  • New Thing Learned for 13 October: Science has finally invented the mobile ATM. I'd worry about an electronic eavesdropper setting up across the street, but that's probably just me. [Source: example laid on by YarnCon 2007.]

  • New Thing Learned for 14 October: CGI water-sprays can be rendered more accurately by imaging sand, which provides a particle size more appropriate than actual water. Now if only CGI of this caliber had been around back when they were doing "the Power of Kroll"... [Source: Doctor Who Confidential.]

  • New Thing Learned for 15 October: Holography as a concept was invented more than a decade before the invention of lasers would make it practical. There is no Sanctuary. [Source: info-text track for "the Talons of Weng Chiang".]

  • New Thing Learned for 16 October: A tubular cast-on can be done by knitting a swatch of half the desired number of stitches in waste yarn, then working (k1, p1 into bar between stitches) across, although I missed the bit about how to get the waste yarn back out, dammit. [Source: Judy Chan, October WCKG meeting.]

  • New Thing Learned for 17 October: One of the Spanish Armada's bigger problems was that no two of their cannons took quite the same-sized ammunition, and furthermore no one had been careful enough about seeing that the ammunition loaded aboard a given ship necessarily matched any of the cannons on board it at all. Planning, people, planning. [Source: History Channel?]

  • New Thing Learned for 18 October: Putting cinnamon in the Marshmallow Rice Squares was an experiment worth doing, but not really one worth repeating. [Source: hey, it was next to the vanilla...]

  • New Thing Learned for 19 October: Europeans do occasionally measure things in terms of soccer fields, which it had occurred to me to wonder. Not that I know what "as big as a soccer field" looks like any more than "as big as a football field", but it's nice to know about the conversion factor just the same. [Source: Lost Worlds: Hitler's Supercity.]

  • New Thing Learned for 20 October: Larger knives should be operated by pinching the blade between thumb and forefinger and then wrapping the other three fingers around the handle, rather than in a "mitten-fist" grip. [Source: Knife skills illustrated : a user's manual, Peter Hertzmann.]

  • New Thing Learned for 21 October: The Home Despot I usually find myself in now provides produce-department-style bags to manage one's purchase of plumbing connectors in (see "built a yarn-drying rack out of PVC pipe", above). [Source: Home Despot on Oakton, Evanston.]
robling_t: (bumblebee)
( Feb. 3rd, 2007 10:13 am)
  • New Thing Learned for 31 January: Sidney Sheldon created I Dream of Jeannie. So now we all know who's to blame for that little episode of Cultural Depravity. [Source: obituary coverage of same.]

  • New Thing Learned for 1 February: In the film Logan's Run, the blocks of cycling lights on the giant Lifeclock panels in the computer's interrogation room are meant to represent birth-cohorts moving in lockstep from one stage to the next, each red light blinking out at Carousel being replaced by a white light added to Nursery. I'd noticed the synchronicity before, but never connected it directly with the symbolism, so it's maybe not quite as obvious as the filmmakers thought it would be. [Source: DVD commentary track.]

  • New Thing Learned for 2 February: It wasn't just the Old Place, Weasel really can't find her ass with both paws, and we must never never never push the catbox up flush against the wall again. Stupid, stupid animal. [Source: and now we have to clean that up...]

Progress on Resolutions for the month of January:

Media Consumption List: 15 books and 7 films for the month, which is on-pace with last year's reading and somewhat ahead of the film average. Not bad so far, although to the extent that I'm capable of forming any ambitions anymore I really was hoping to outdo last year's reading performance and mere parity with the overall average seems like a letdown somehow.

Learning New Things every day: some of them have been thinner than others, but 31 New Things logged for the 31 days of January. Favorite err, Most Memorable entry would have to be the infamous "Escargot Pizza" incident from 23 January. And I'm sure you're all just so glad I brought that up again, aren't you.

Cooking: Happened occasionally, at least for sufficiently small values of the concept "to cook", which is still progress for me compared to recent standards. February, however, I've already got a massive head-start on, viz yesterday's effort:

mmm, bread? )

Not strictly a new skill for me, granted, but one I haven't had the resources to play around with for years and years, and I'm surprised it came out as well as it did right off the bat with the new equipment setup. Next time I'll try to be more patient about giving it a second rise.

Getting out more: Happened to have events scheduled in each of the qualifying weeks, so big checkmark there. Be glad that I found something better than "Where not to bite [ profile] un_fathomable" for the 31 January Thing Learned...

Finishing Things: A couple of FO's to my credit, including a hat that I found while I was organizing the stash and decided that the quickest way to get the needle back was to just knit the rest of it already; also, finally got to the end of the Long Pink Scarf that's been my take-along project lately, shown here laid out to dry:

I do finish things EVENTUALLY... )

9 feet long, this turned out -- no wonder it seemed to be going on forever! For February, my goal is to finish the lace shawl I'm working on in time to show it off at the next Guild meeting, February 20th. I have 13 pattern repeats to go, but as each repeat is 4 rounds and each round is 500+ stitches and only getting longer, this will be a stretch.
robling_t: (Default)
( Dec. 23rd, 2006 03:21 am)
I have no idea what long-dormant holiday-baking gene flipped on yesterday, but I now provide actual photographic evidence that I am not completely incompetant in the baked-goods department:
...I'd take 'death', m'self )

Granted it was supposed to be a sponge cake and one may discern even from this picture that "light" and "fluffy" do not appear to be appropriate adjectives to apply to it, but it is a cake, and it did not come out of a box, either. The kitchen is, um, well, we won't get into what the kitchen looks like, but still, cake! From scratch!! And reasonably edible!!! which is a nice bonus but really it's the sense of accomplishment that's most satisfying here. It's got jam in it, people! { <-- insufferably pleased with Self for remembering the jam}
I made gingerbread cookies yesterday.

The dough... malfunctioned.

Let us never speak of this again.

In other "baking" news, Operation Breadbox is on-track: the Bun has left the oven, and the rendezvous-point personnel will be alerted to be on the lookout for the bakery truck sometime early next week. Now mobilizing local support officers to schedule transfer and nursery-prep operations...