Home In Disarray

October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
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As I mentioned earlier this month, I noticed that a new sweater that I got looks similar to The Hamburglar.  Then upon learning that my chiropractor was offering a free adjustment to whoever dressed up for their Halloween appointment, and ending up with a Halloween appointment, I figured that I might as well dress up for work too.  So here I am, in all of my Hamburgling glory.  I’m debating going to McDonald’s at lunch.

hamburglar costume

Posted in: Misc
October 30, 2013

Jonah

Jonah
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Today would have been my brother’s 32nd birthday.  I don’t have it in me to write about his life and death today, but in the future, perhaps I’ll put together a post about how mental illness and suicide has affected our family.

Jonah Larsen

Happy birthday.

Posted in: Misc
October 29, 2013

Canelés, easy to make, hard to make right

1st timer caneles
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I haven’t quite figured these little guys out.  I just read about them for the first time a few weeks ago.  They’re a french pastry that is a little finicky, and a lot old-timey.  Pronounced “Ku-Nell-Ay,”  they sound similar to Cannoli, but aren’t.  You make a very loose eggy milky batter with a bunch of rum, and let it age in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  Then you are supposed to pour it into individual tin-lined copper molds that have been treated with a mixture of beeswax and high-heat oil.  Following that, you bake them in a very hot oven for over an hour.  During this time in the oven at a high temperature, something magnificent happens.  The outside of the pastry develops a deep mahogany crust with a gorgeous shine (helped in part by the beeswax), and the inside bakes into a soft custard consistency.  Upon reading about these little pieces of magnificence, and following several threads on cooking forums where confounded bakers tried multiple different batter recipes, preparation methods, baking temp combinations, mold-lining techniques, and voodoo, I knew that this was something I wanted to try.

What could possibly go wrong?

1. I’ve never had a canelé, and as such, have no idea whether I will like them or not, or how they’re supposed to taste

2. The tin-lined-copper-molds?  Yeah, they’re about $30 EACH.  I’m not quite prepared to spend $240 on specialty molds for something that I don’t even know if I’ll like

3. They make silicone molds for canelés.  They cost $12 for 8 molds.  They do not provide the same type of crust, but they cost $12.

4. Where the hell do you buy food-grade beeswax?

5. I was too ashamed to take photos with my real camera, so you get phone pictures.  Anywhere you need to fill in details, just pretend that they’re perfect.

canelés

Yeah, I bought the $12 mold.  I figured this would at least give me a starting point to see if I was willing to spend $240 on the real deal.  I’m not.  They’re good. I actually enjoyed them and got a crisp crust and custardy interior, and know where I need to improve, and I have a few ideas, but I would much rather buy some really nice cake pans or other less specialized super expensive shit.  Or go get 2 massages.  That would be nice too.  Anyway.  The silicone pan works FINE.  Not magnificently, but it’s good enough.

canelé

I didn’t bake them long enough.  I also didn’t line my pan with beeswax, because… well… who has food grade beeswax lying around?  Not me!  And I even bought food-grade lye for some pretzel experiments.

canelés

Guess what?  They still turned out OK.  And shiny.  They climbed out of the pan (which according to the internet, happens, but is avoidable with a particular method in which you bake them) which gave them what the internet refers to as “pale asses.”  I will adjust and see if pale-ass avoidance is possible with the $12 pan.

canelés

And the interior?  Custardy.  I’m still not happy with the size of the air pockets, but I have a few ideas for how to improve.  So I will try, and see where that gets me.  On the up side, I’m generating good will with my coworkers, and these aren’t yet another batch of experimental caramels(which I intend to make for halloween).

Posted in: Baking, Cooking, Food
October 28, 2013

Tipsy the MouseBearDog

Tipsy the MouseBearDog
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Our friends are celebrating in New Orleans , so we are dogsitting for them.  They have this 10 year old black pooch called Tipsy.  She followed Adam home from the bars one night, and wouldn’t leave him alone, so he kept her.  She is the sweetest old dog you’ve ever met.  And funny.  She bites the vacuum when you run it, and hides from the hair dryer.

Tipsy, the mousebeardog

 Since our dogs eat raw chicken for most meals, we put Tipsy into the laundry room to give her her kibble. She has to be watched though, as that’s the room that the cat box is in, and if you’ve ever had dogs and cats, you will know that cat poo is a favorite delicacy of most canines.  So I will go and hang clothes or play games on my phone while she is in the laundry room for dinner.  But she won’t eat unless I sing to her.  It sounds totally ridiculous, and that’s because it is.  The even more ridiculous thing is that she has music preferences.  The 2 most notable things have been her dislike of Nirvana, and preference for Journey.  I have been putting pandora on and singing along to songs.  She won’t eat if I just play music, and if she’s eating and a Nirvana song comes on, she stops.  Skip it and she will start up again.  It usually takes a few minutes to get her to start eating, but if I sing Don’t Stop Believing, she will start eating almost immediately.  It’s so effective that I just keep singing the same 2-3 verses that I remember, and she will eat quickly and we will be done.  Very strange.  Anyhow,  this is Tipsy.

Also, Boris and Helo looking pathetic.  Boris is pretty stressed out that we have a new dog in the house.  lol

Boris and Helo, looking Pathetic

Posted in: The Creatures
October 27, 2013

Helo the dog is a strange creature

Helo the dog is a strange creature
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Craig and I are always amused by the strange ways that Helo utilizes the dog beds. One of the more common ways he uses the bed is that he will lay on it with his body and then hang his head out over the side.  It’s like an antipillow.

Malamute stretched out on a dog bed

Posted in: The Creatures
October 25, 2013

I have nothing of value to share with you, so here is a picture of a pumpkin that I didn’t buy.

I have nothing of value to share with you, so here is a picture of a pumpkin that I didn’t buy.
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We have been busy.  Between 3x weekly chiropractic visits (I currently feel like I’ve been punched in the neck), enjoying the last night of Seattle Restaurant Week at our favorite place, and pulling together a going-away party for a friend tonight, I simply do not have it in me to generate any useful/interesting/clever content.  So here is a photo of a lumpy pumpkin that I saw outside of a safeway a few weeks ago, and although I liked it enough to take a photo, it was $7, and I didn’t like it $7 worth.

lumpy pumpkin

Enjoy your weekend.

Posted in: Misc
October 24, 2013

Roasted cauliflower, wilted kale, sauteed hake, and a browned butter white wine dijon sauce

Roasted cauliflower, wilted kale, sauteed hake, and a browned butter white wine dijon sauce
By
Hake loin on kale and cauliflower

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, my favorite way to put together dinner without much thought is:
Protein
Bulk Veggie
Wilted Greens
Lemon white wine sauce
It’s easy, simple, satisfying, and usually fairly healthy.  Most of the photos are for just 2 servings, but the sauce I made was at least 4 servings worth, so just pretend that this is a 4- serving recipe.

Plus, I have this inexplicable ability to destroy seafood when I cook it, so on the rare occasion that I do, I opt for a very simple approach, so I don’t screw it up.

roasting cauliflower

Ingredients
2 small heads cauliflower
4-8 cups kale, cleaned, stems removed, and torn into manageable pieces
4ish tablespoons avocado oil(or other high-temp oil – coconut would be fine here if you don’t mind the flavor)
1.5-2 cups dry white wine (I keep a box of it around for cooking with, doesn’t go bad as quickly)
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup grass-fed butter
4-6 cloves garlic
4 Hake or other white fish fillets.  (We get frozen, individually wrapped wild-caught hake “loins” at costco)

white wine and chicken stock reducing

Instructions
*Heat oven to 450, spread/smear your oil onto a couple sheet pans.
*Chop your cauliflower into large florets with some flat surfaces (this allows them to caramelize on the pan a little better), place the cauliflower on the sheet pans and roast in the oven for 20-40 minutes on each side (depending on level of caramelization  you want.  I experienced much better browning on the pan set onto my pizza stone fwiw)
*Clean and prep your kale
*Start reducing down your white wine and chicken stock.  When the combination has reduced down to about 1/2-3/4 cup, whisk in your dijon mustard, and grate or press 2 cloves of garlic into the mixture.  Turn heat to low and just keep warm
*Meanwhile, in another small pan, brown your butter.  This involves putting a piece of butter in a pan, and heating it on medium until it foams, and then the milk solids begin browning.  Turn off the heat when it starts to brown, as it will continue to darken off of the heat.

wilting kale

*In a nonstick pan, over medium-low heat, and in a little butter or neutral oil, gently saute your fish until it’s cooked through.  Remove to a warm plate.
*Toss kale into nonstick pan and allow to wilt.  This may involve dumping a few tablespoons of water, wine, chicken stock, or whatever other liquid you have floating around into the pan to facilitate the wilting process.  While the kale wilts, grate or press a few cloves of garlic into the kale, and stir around, but try to avoid allowing it to brown (that makes the garlic taste bitter).
*Whisk the browned butter into your reduced white wine mixture.
*To plate, cauliflower, kale, fish, sauce, finishing salt, and fresh ground black pepper.

white wine browned butter dijon sauce

Roasted cauliflower, wilted kale, sauteed hake, and a browned butter white wine dijon sauce

Posted in: Clean Eating, Cooking, Food, Paleo