Home In Disarray

March 27, 2009

Chicken BLTAs and Guinness

Chicken BLTAs and Guinness
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I’m still trying to finish my 4-pack of Guinness, so paired #3 with dinner last night, Chicken-Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato-Avocado sandwiches.
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Each sandwich consisted of an onion bun, a little mayo, 1/2 a sliced chicken breast, 2 slices of tomato, 1/4 of an avocado, some lettuce, 1 1/2 slices of thick-cut bacon, and some melted Tillamook sharp cheddar. I know, the white balance is atrocious in this photo. This is after correcting it in photoshop too. I couldn’t bring myself to make a white avocado.
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Posted in: Cooking
March 26, 2009

Beer Beer Beer Beer Beer!

Beer Beer Beer Beer Beer!
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I’m finally ready to go All-Grain, the grown-up version of homebrewing. Think of it as cooking from scratch, like baking your bread and making your own gravy. Then letting it sit around in a glass jug for a few weeks and ferment.

First, you have to soak your malted barley that’s been crushed in hot water (about 155º) for about an hour. That allows the enzymes in the barley to convert the starches present into sugars, and the water begins to extract them, like brewing coffee or tea. Then you drain the water out, and rinse the remaining sugars (that are stuck to the barley) with some more water, and proceed to boil it for about an hour with hops to make your beer.
First I made my mash tun, which is the vessel in which the malted barley soaks with the water. You need a way to separate the grain from the water, so a “manifold” with small holes drilled in it is the way to go. I used CPVC because it’s cheap, easy to work with, and holds up to hot water. I also had to drill a hole in the side of my cooler.

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And I always make things harder on myself than necessary, so a multitude of tools is needed
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Here are all of my pieces of cpvc all cut up and drilled
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And the finished manifold
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Here’s the outside of the cooler. It has a ball valve so I can keep water from draining out of it, and a nipple for some tubing to go onto to drain it into my brew kettle
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After you drain your sugar water or “wort” into the kettle, you usually end up with 6-7 gallons that you will boil down to about 5.25-5.5 gallons. This concentrates the sugars, and boils off some volatile compounds that make beer weird. This boiling process also allows you to extract flavor from the hops that you add, and sanitize the wort so you don’t have bad/weird bacteria that will attack it and give you diarrhea, or just make the beer taste funny. Similar to boiling pasta, all of this sugar (in the case of pasta, starch) in the water makes it foam like crazy. I have a 15 gallon pot that should allow me to brew 10 gallon batches (cutting my work to beer ratio in half), but it looks kinda silly with 5 gallons of water in it.
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After boiling 5 gallons of wort, you must then cool it down. The longer it takes to get from a boil to a temperature that yeast can survive at, the cloudier your finished product will be, and the more likely you are to open the wort up to an infection from a microorganism that isn’t yeast. It is because of this that people use chillers. This particular type is the cheapest type, but perfectly effective, an immersion chiller in which you run cool water through copper tubing (which is very conductive). The cool water absorbs the heat from the boiling hot wort, and the waste water comes out warm, nice for watering plants (make sure it’s not too hot!). Here’s my immersion chiller.
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Photos of the process when I finally brew!

Posted in: DIY
March 24, 2009

Rant: Lazy copy writing and editing

Rant:  Lazy copy writing and editing
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I can understand an accident in an advertisement for a small company. Ads aren’t permanent, and they generally don’t receive the attention that they deserve.

Large companies have more to lose as a result of mistakes, and as such generally have departments or at least literate people who understand when something sounds very awkward.
Aussie is a multimillion dollar company with a large presence in both the US and Canada. I like to buy their products because they smell nice and are pretty inexpensive. I’ve been using their “Moist” conditioner as of late due to the cold, and I often find myself reading the copy on bottles whilst in the shower. Being that the front is usually facing me, I’ve been focusing on it for the last few weeks, and when I showed it to Craig, he acknowledged that he had seen it as well and it frustrated him. If you’re not an English whiz like me or don’t have a knack for words, just read this out loud, and understand that one direct object presented as two separate ones is super awkward, lazy. In the shower, I’ve even gone so far as to rewrite the copy in my head to make it appear as though someone with more than a 6th grade education wrote it. “Transform your thirsty, dry hair into silky locks by giving it long a quenching drink with a twist of Australian Aloe.

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After finding the initial frustrating copy, I turned it over to scrutinize the remainder of the label’s text. I found another mistake. This isn’t just awkward writing, it’s a basic lack of understanding regarding how the English language works, and having absolutely no critical thinking or logical skills. So let me get this right, your hair goes into a bar and begs the bartender to give it’s hair a drink? I know I have thick hair, but I was unaware that my hair could grow it’s own hairs. Maybe it wears a wig or a toupee?

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How lazy/cheap do you have to be as a company to release a product with not one but two glaring errors in the copy. It almost makes me not want to buy anything from the company again.
Posted in: Misc
March 24, 2009

How I can tell Perry walks on the stove at night

How I can tell Perry walks on the stove at night
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Lol, that little shit. Our stove is right next to the refrigerator, so to get on top of the fridge, Perry first must jump onto or walk across the stove. The top of the fridge doesn’t really get cleaned off all that often, so atomized oil from searing and such sticks to the top, leaving a light greasy coating on it. Don’t act grossed out, if you cook at all and don’t clean the top of the fridge weekly, you have it too. Anyway, I made Craig breakfast this morning using the stove. When I went back later and looked at it, I found this:

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He must have gotten on the fridge, gotten atomized oil on his feet, then when he came down, stepped on the stove, depositing it, not to be seen until the burner heated it up and burned it on.

Posted in: Cat
March 18, 2009

Spring in the Northwest

Spring in the Northwest
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The weather is INSANE, to the point of being frustrating. This was Sunday afternoon

Snow
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Wind
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Little bits of rain and hail
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10 minutes later
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I can’t explain it either.

Posted in: Misc
March 17, 2009

Our Engagement Party

Our Engagement Party
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Sue threw us an engagement party on saturday night. We had a great time, and I had a little too much wine. Regardless, it was a blast, and true to style, there were 4 lasagnas, a huge salad, and a ton of other snacky foods like prosciutto, salami, etc. It was very nice, and Italian-themed. I FINALLY got Craig to let me get a photo of him where he’s not making a retarded kid face, and all-in-all it was nice.

Dad and Kim also came
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Posted in: Misc
March 17, 2009

The difference between Ciabatta and Pugliese

The difference between Ciabatta and Pugliese
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Strangely enough, these 2 recipes are nearly exactly the same. The sponge has the same measurements, the dough has almost exactly the same measurements, the only difference is that pugliese has 50% more yeast, and 50% more salt. I know, huge difference. In preparation for St. Patrick’s day and bread pudding, plus some for snacking, I made a couple loafs of each on Saturday. The difference lies in how the dough is treated. Ciabatta is beaten at a higher speed for a longer period of time, resulting in a “smoother” dough. After the Ciabatta is kneaded, it goes directly into an oiled bowl to rise. The Pugliese takes a couple turns and then rests in a bed of flour, then gets another couple turns and another rest, then goes into the oiled bowl to rise.

Pugliese
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Ciabatta
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Posted in: Baking