figmo: (Default)
I've been trying to spend more time in the kitchen. Part of it is budget-driven, and part of it is because cooking is a creative outlet for me.

Monday I did a simple dinner. Warren wanted to eat what he calls "my [his] bland" and what I call "gray meat." I bought some scallops and collard greens for myself and made simple buttered noodles to go along with them. The scallop preparation I was simple; I merely seared them in a little butter and did the greens up with a little garlic and salt. To add a little kick to mine I scraped my plate with a little Dave's Insanity sauce. That was just enough to make the greens "pop."

Wednesday I made a kick-ass dinner of sweet-and-sour meatballs, roasted brussels sprouts, and baked sweet potatoes. The meatball recipe is very easy: take meatballs (homemade or premade), and add equal parts of ketchup and grape (or similar) jelly. I had no problem finding sugar-free ketchup (the Grocery Outlet even had it on sale!), but finding sugar-free grape jelly has been impossible. Smucker's makes it, but I'd have to mail-order a six-pack just to get one jar of it. I substituted Trader Joe's açaí and pomegranate spread and it worked really well. The potatoes had an almost souffle-like texture to them, and the sugars in the brussels sprouts had caramelized.

This evening I repeated the brussels sprouts. Berkeley Bowl had huge stalks of them for less than $2.00 apiece. I couldn't resist. This turned out to be a major bargain because the stalk had enough sprouts on it for several meals. Warren had requested buttered noodles, and the main dish this time was monkfish, aka "poor man's lobster." I split the tail into several pieces of similar size, sprinkled them with a smidgen of paprika for color, roasted them in the oven, and served them with drawn butter. Warren was amazed. Dessert was quince crisp, which was the "cooking experiment du jour."

I'd never had quince before. Most of the recipes I'd seen for it combined it with other fruits, but since it was my first exposure ever to the fruit, I wanted a baseline. I peeled, cored, and sliced two quinces. I also tasted the raw fruit to find out why people always cook it and found it to have a strong taste of alum. Lady, however, liked the peels and kept begging and doing tricks for them.

On top of the sliced quinces I put a mixture of 2/3 cup rolled oats, 3T butter, finely chopped, 1t cinnamon, 1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg, and the Splenda equivalent of 1/2 cup sugar. I baked it at 350F for a little over half an hour and allowed it to sit in the warm oven while we ate.

I now know I like quince. This is good, because I had two extra quinces I peeled, cored, sliced, and froze.

Meanwhile, Warren has been obsessed with this weekend's Preview channels on my satellite. One of them he left on was called Verio. I was doubling over laughing watching this. Imagine a "crunchy granola" version of Food Network with cooking shows done by people who choose to eat the way I and many others have to eat. Eeep. After several minutes of it I had to switch it off because it was that over-the-top.

Lady has been acting strange. This morning she mewed. I looked at Warren after she'd distinctly gone "mrrrarrrwrrr" like a cat and asked, "Did you hear what I think I just heard?"

"Madam went 'meow.'"

"Good. My ears aren't playing tricks on me."

This isn't the first time I've heard her do this, but it was the first time she'd done it in front of Warren and the first time she'd done it in a while.

In standup, I did the showcase at SFCC last night and class today. I was going to try new material last night based on science fiction cons, but the group wasn't all that intellectual, so I wound up doing some old stuff to get laughs, resorting to my "Have you ever done crystal meth?" line. That one kills every time.

Today in class I did the SF con material. It's about how you can tell what a guy's been reading by the way he acts. "If he reads Bujold, he kills off your best friend, kidnaps you, and then you fall in love with him and get married. That's not so bad, but then you have to explain to him that babies don't incubate in vats.

"If he reads Heinlein, he'll expect you to have sex with his old man. I don't mean his father -- I mean the oldest man in his line marriage.

"If he reads Niven, look out for his 'gripping hand.' Then you get to explain to him that it's not a hand, and it's not even a foot -- it's six inches."

Now I get to figure out how to explain the authors a little better to non-fannish audiences.

Friday I had a little bit of trauma. I was the last one left at work, and when I came back from the bathroom I discovered the door was locked. I had my key with me, and this was when I had the misfortune of discovering the key I was issued didn't work. It took over an hour before someone could let me back into the office.

Warren had a similar problem Saturday. Somehow he locked himself out of my house. The only good thing about that was he discovered it's pretty close to impossible to break into my house. I almost went to work out after doing the SFCC showcase, but something told me to go straight home, and I'm glad I did.

The other thing going on with me is I need a new vacuum cleaner. Suggestions are welcome. I've heard Dysons are the best. If so, please tell me why. If another kind is better, please let me know.
figmo: (Default)
The doohickey that controls the waterflow to my toilet is leaking.

I came home from Scotland and found my bathroom floor very soggy. I had assumed the ground had shifted and left a leak in my toilet. Nonetheless, I was too tired to deal and just dried it up and put down a towel.

The next day the bathroom floor was water-logged anyway. I put down another towel.

Last night I went to cut the water to the toilet and found the "drip, drip, drip" causing the problem. It's in the handle of the thingie you turn to cut the water. This means I'm going to have to call a plumber.

Meanwhile, my car is down again. This time a combination of the rotors on my front brakes needing replacing and a short in my car alarm system have the vehicle in the shop getting another ca$hectomy. I probably won't see my car till Monday, so I've arranged for a rental. The one bright spot is I discovered a deal with Hertz on the American Airlines web site that gives me a discounted rate ($10/day plus 5% off when I return the car), a free upgrade, and double miles on American.

Now I just have to think of frequent flyer miles while the money I don't have seeps from my bank accounts.

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