140112 Uncle SeeleyA selection of my facebook postings for the year, er, year end. I wanted to document the week I spent away from home, the ice storm, and Uncle Seeley in a way that would survive facebook. I may edit this in the future to take advantage of HTML markup language, but for now, to get it online quickly, I will simply indicate that this is "code" and the text formatting should be retained.
2013 November 10
Making spider cookies is easy and fun. You will need a small bag of spiders (available at your local reptile pet shop) and your favourite chocolate chip cookie ingredients.
2013 November 11
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: American Pork Teriyaki
Stuffing: Chop two large onions. Fry them until transparent. Use lots of fat, as it will be needed later. Cut three large carrots into coins, and poach while preparing the onions. Chop two dried croissants roughly, and spread into a suitably large broiling pan. Spoon out the carrots over the croissants, pour the onion slurry over that. Toss gently so the stuffing is covering the pan evenly.
Pork: Get six economy pork chops, boneless, about an inch thick. Open an envelope of teriyaki shake-and-bake. Dilute it with crumbs, so it is now 1½ the volume. Pour into a bag or bowl, and coat thoroughly. Lay each one on top of the prepared stuffing.
Roast: Put it into oven, set for 380F for 35 minutes. The oven will reach 380F about halfway through. After the time is up, turn off oven but don't open it for 20 more minutes.
Serve: with panfried zucchini.
2013 November 13
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: Poutine Under Wrap
Required: sufficient high end plastic wrap to comfortably cover a full dinner plate, and survive frying temperatures without melting.
Gravy: I made a roux with 6oz of flour, enough butter, and enough bouillon to mix in (in my case, 6c). Taste for salt, check for thickness. Since you need so much gravy, any instant product you enjoy will do the trick. Prepare enough before you continue.
Cheese: I used 125g (quarter of a long brick) of provolone, cubed. Any mild chess will do, so pick something. Curds are fine, but anything mild will do. Don't use cheese which has become strong tasting in your fridge for this particular dish.
Frozen Fries: Anything you enjoy, but I found the brand is not important, but how long it has been in freezing makes a difference. I used an economy 49c/kg package.
Procedure: Onto a microwave safe large dinner plate, set out a generous serving of frozen fries. Top with the cubed cheese (all of it, perhaps). Top that with enough gravy. I used 6 ladles, and it might have been scant. Cover completely with the good plastic wrap. Make a good seal. Nuke it for 4 or 5 minutes depending on your microwave. When it stops, ignore the plate for 1 or 2 minutes before attempting to remove the wrap.
2013 November 13
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: Ribs
Appetiser: Visit the local Pho restaurant, and order Pho Tai, the rare beef and noodle soup. Extra large, split between two. Secret ingredient: they supply a small, potent chili pepper. Hold it with a napkin and slice it thinly, and stir it into the tureen. The soup went from a rating of "zero peppers (mild)" to "five peppers (max)". This served to soften our sinus passages, and cured problems we didn't know existed until after we ate up.
Background: Uncle Seeley was under the weather, with problems which are hard to work with. Exceptionally tired and weak, despite much sleep. Mood is moderate (so neither happy, nor sad, but also not clear). After the Pho, while still slow, mood became clear.
Ribs: Watch the flyers, and buy these when they're inexpensive. Defrost them, cut them into two rib sections, and poach them in a salty broth. Don't add too much else, but in the past, I've added garlic, onion, carrot, black peppercorns, celery. Secret procedure: keep the heat as low as possible, and try to prevent boiling. If you succeed, the broth will be as useful as chicken soup. If you fail, the ribs will be fine, but the soup have a strong pork smell (it tastes the same, but smell is a big part of taste).
More procedure: at some point, the poaching is complete. This is where you take the meat out of the pot and lay it onto a baking dish. Cover it with your favourite dark and sweet sauce, and bake or broil until some of it carmelizes. At Uncle Seeley's we usually skip this step, and have the first piece without sauce, the next one with some kind of sauce, and the next one with a different sauce. Our home has a fridge full of sauces just waiting for ribs.
2013 November 15
Uncle Seeley won't buy all, or even most of this. But this is a sample of what he considers worth buying this week at the local supermarkets.
2013 11 15 food basics 188 black dia cheese slices500g 188 dempsters softslice bread 197 oranges 3 lb 197 grapefruit 3 lb 197 apples 3 lb 397 cheerios 685g honeynut 397 cheerios plain 725g 397 cinn toast cr 600g 397 simply orange 2.63L 376 lean gr beef tube 2 lb 177 allens applej 8 tetra 599 ferrero 16 299 softsoap irish spr ivory 099 green beans lb 249 mushrooms lb 127 cookies quattro 300g rexall fri sat sun 099 pepsi coke 2L metro 299 round steak roasts lb 333 pepsi coke case 12 299 oasis 2.63 OJ 250 dempster bread assd 675g long fa 099 pringles 099 froz peas carrot corn 750g 079 tomato roma 069 oranges california 079 tang 129 pork chop lb 169 pork loin boneless lb 269 beef sirloin lb 099 chkn legs lb blue sky 300 potato yukon 2x10 lb 088 okra chinese lb 188 avocado bag 5ea 188 king mushroon bag 399 fruit cocktail 3kg can 099 pork picnic shldr lb price chopper 247 minute maid drinks 18 tetra 297 kraft peanut butter 1kg 399 clementines 5 lb 399 russett potato 15 lb
2013 November 15
Today at Uncle Seeley's: Ribs become rice
Uncle Seeley loves ribs, but it makes a lot at one time, and once it cools, you see how much solid fat is on each piece. We keep the ribs in the broth until needed.
Procedure: Without trying too hard, separate the solid fat from the solid meat. Don't go crazy, but try to remove some of it. Fry the meat 'dry' as it will still have plenty to fry with on it's own. The goal is to make it boneless, crispy and seem less fat.
Rice: We didn't have left over rice, so I prepared a cup of dry rice in the ricemaker just for frying up with the meat.
Vegetables: chop coarsely one onion, and start it frying in the big frypan. Chop some celery. Chop some mustard greens. Throw it all in. I left the leaves to throw them in later, but it shouldn't really matter.
Food done yet: Rice ready? Throw it in. Meat crispy? Throw it in, fat an all.
Final touches: I whisked two eggs with enough Canadian soy sauce to make the full pan of rice salty enough. I used a tablespoon to spread this evenly around the pan, lest it clump in the middle. I continued frying this until it seemed like the egg was done.
2013 November 15
Who is Uncle Seeley: I dunno.
I have never personally met Uncle Seeley. But he is a veteran. He shakes quite a lot, as most who have killed people for their country are entirely used up once they're free again.
I will have to search the facebox to see who shared a long blog article on how veterans don't get their fare share, how they are promised people will care for them when they're back home.
Rick Mercer ranted about how in Canada, the army retires its team weeks or months prior to a 10-year mark, where they would get indexed pensions. The powers that be say it's because they are missing limbs, or are no longer fit in a psychological way. I wonder why that would happen? Why it happens to all of them?
Veterans in other countries fare no better. The United States still has burning scars that won't heal over it's involvement in Viet Nam so many years ago.
So who is Uncle Seeley on facebook? Me of course. I'm not a veteran, but I'm getting old and weak. One body part at a time is starting to fail. I continue to gain weight, and suffer as an obese man. It's easier to be grumpy than to be happy.
I remember hearing a story about some not-so-wealthy uncle who used to just drop in on family members for dinner, and was loved by all of them. I can only make believe I'm that uncle, as I'm not close to my family at all.
2013 November 15
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: chicken and eggplant
After telling all of you I wouldn't spend much money shopping, I went to Long Fa and spent $30. Oranges, eggplant, chicken legs, avocado, pineapple. People were going crazy buying scented rice for $14, but I am happy enough with the cheaper stuff.
Preparation: I cut the four chicken legs into drum, thigh, and back. Then I dusted them gently with citric acid, for the lemon taste.
Eggplant Procedure: I cut the eggplant into thick 1 inch slices. Salted them, and let them rest for half an hour. After that I dipped them into oil, and dusted one side with crumbs (matzo meal, this time). The other side got parmesan cheese product, and the shake and bake mixture below.
Shake: I find the product too salty sometimes, especially since I had to salt the eggplant in advance. So I opened a package (this time, pork) and mixed it with an equal amount of regular bread crumbs. I often enhance the shake and bake with garlic, hot spice, goat curry, whatever. Not this time.
Pan: I arranged the eggplant as a bedding. The chicken got shaken and laid across each eggplant slice. Into the oven! I set the oven to 380F, and set the timer to 35 minutes. When the timer went off, I turned off the stove, and we wait another 20 minutes. Then I will open the stove, and wait another 15 minutes.
Uh oh: 35 minutes was not enough. Add at least 5 minutes to the baking time, and at least 5 minutes to the closed door time. Lest the chicken comes out far too rare.
2013 November 17
Uncle Seeley says: a grapefruit a day keeps the cardiologist away
When I was young, people were obsessed with apples. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. With regard to Kellogg's Apple Jacks: a bowl a day keeps the bullies away.
Lies. Oh, buy them and eat them if you like them, but don't expect much more than good eating.
For laughs, I went to wolframalpha.com and compared apples to grapefruits. It took a few tries, because at first, it makes apples a plant. We want them both to be similar if we want to compare apples to oranges, right?
Without reading my spreadsheet, I'll share the highlights. Apples have twice the sugar, four times the negligible sodium, and about a fifth of the vitamins of grapefruits.
Wolfram didn't say the important thing: grapefruit reduce blood pressure.
I looked up 'Essential Hypertension.' Shopping.yahoo.com said, "Find Everyday Low Prices at Yahoo, Fantastic Deals on Essential Hypertension." Yes, of course.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_hypertension begins, "..is the form of hypertension that by definition, has no identifiable cause. It is the most common type of hypertension, affecting 95% of hypertensive patients."
I take two older drugs: irbestartan and amlopidine. If I don't take them, I have very high BP. The problem is, even when I do take them, my numbers are also high.
Grapefruit makes my numbers normal. Fancy that!
2013 November 17
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: poached steak
Fried steak, broiled steak, barbecued steak: they're better than tonight's poached steak. So why bother?
We can't always have fried foods, breaded foods, really. Besides, this is good too.
We prepared two packages of gravy mix. A la king, and barbecue flavours. French's a la king sauce makes three cups, and French's barbecue makes two cups, for a total of 5 cups. That's almost enough, so it was sufficient.
I cut the roast into thick one inch slices. I laid it into a pot, and poured the hot gravy over them. I simmered it gently for about ten minutes.
The finished quality deserves description. It looked rare, but the texture was more cooked. It was moist and flavourful. The gravy cling was okay, it was tasty and had enough salt.
When frying meat, it's easy to over cook it (for some people), and easy to under cook it (for me personally). Poaching it in gravy made it easy to get it to the correct medium rare state, and serve it.
2013 November 17
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: frozen spring rolls
This probably seems like reading the MAN page on how to run the cold water. A few weeks ago our local market had a 1kg box of frozen spring rolls for less than $2.
The instructions say to deep fry them. Well, I'm not deep frying anything at this time. I should, I suppose, but I'm not.
I made half the package when I bought them. The result was soggy in parts, and dried out in other parts. This required some food engineering, or I would discard the rest of them, and never buy them again.
Tonight, I laid them in the broiling pan, with a slice of butter on each two or three. I loaded them into the oven, and set the temperature to 400F. I timed it, and used my nose to decide when to shut the oven down: 25 minutes. I let the door remain closed for 20 minutes more.
The finished rolls were fragrant, and crisp on the bottom from frying. The rest of each one was dry enough to hold, but not dessicated or awful. I had mine just as they were, but Ab had hers with sweet chili sauce.
If you see them on sale, get them, and try this. They're very good.
2013 November 18
How to seal out infectious diseases of the undead
NOW SHUFFLING into its fourth season, the popular zombie-themed TV show "The Walking Dead" has recently added another obstacle for its survivors: infectious disease. Drawing on the same terrifying trope that animated "Outbreak," "Contagion," and "28 Days Later," the show's creators have conjured up not only an unidentified airborne pandemic zombie virus, but also a killer influenza virus like the one that wiped out millions in 1918.
In the world of "The Walking Dead," not even the CDC knows how to cure the zombie plague. But in real life, humanity does know a thing or two about handling infectious diseases. Around the country and the world, there exist biosafety labs created specifically to handle deadly pathogens like Ebola virus, smallpox, and anthrax, using protocols and designs that prevent infections leaking to the outside world.
Clearly, in the event that the outside world does become an infectious zombie wasteland, there's a simple solution: Turn your home into an inside-out biolab, quarantining the world outside while your family remains safely within. Herewith, the quick-and-dirty Ideas guide to zombie-proofing your home. Note: Even if you take all these steps, Ideas does not guarantee that the virus won't somehow seep in. Still, it's worth a try.
When the zombie apocalypse and its attendant diseases arrive, you'd better be ready. As rumors start to spread, make sure to grab the following: duct tape (a lot of it), furnace air filters, a generator (don't forget the gas), a fan or air pump, a snorkel, bleach, a motorcycle helmet, garbage bags, dishwashing gloves, gardening gloves, notebooks, and as much nonperishable food and bottled water as you can fit in the house.
Seal off everything. You'll have enough air inside the home to last you while you block all gaps with that most versatile of adhesives: duct tape. Apply it to the seams of the windows, doors, air vents, and garage. (If there's time, board up windows to prevent incursions from zombie hands and heads.)
Next, you need to breathe - but you can't breathe the outside air. In labs where researchers work on deadly viruses, there are multiple high-efficiency particulate air filters placed in every air duct and suit air supply. Take the furnace air filter, find some metal ducting in your ceiling, and stuff the filter inside. Next, create a hole to the outside world and duct-tape the filter apparatus into it. It's not elegant, but it's better than a bandana over your face.
Labs where people work on dangerous viruses are negatively pressured - air is pumped out to keep lab spaces at a lower pressure, so that in a breach, air will rush in and prevent the spread of dangerous pathogens. For your zombie-proof home, you want to do exactly the opposite. High-end snorkels often have a one-way valve, where air or water can go out but can't come in. You'll want to MacGyver that into your air filter. Next, put a generator-powered fan or air pump behind it. Eventually, enough air will be pumped into your home that the pressure should rise. Now, any zombie attack will bring with it biting mouths and clawing hands, but at least not air laden with virus.
You can't stay inside forever - at some point you'll need more food and supplies. You'll also need a protective suit. Your best bet is to make a suit out of garbage bags and duct tape and positively pressure it, like you did your house. Open a hole in the back of a motorcycle helmet and tape in some of that HEPA filter from the furnace. Then put on the helmet and duct tape the face and neck openings shut. Finally, on your hands, try dishwashing gloves covered with a pair of gardening gloves. Researchers use two pairs of gloves to protect themselves from possible punctures; you'll do it for possible bites.
When you venture out, you'll need an airlock and a strict procedure. First, take off your street clothes. Next, put on a set of clothes that are completely disposable. After that, don your protective suit, gloves, and boots. Finally, into the airlock you go. Inside, douse yourself with a disinfecting shower of diluted bleach. Now you're ready to face the viruses outside. When you return, again douse yourself in disinfectant, remove the suit, and throw away the clothes. You won't have an actual airlock in your house, but maybe you can use the duct-tape-sealed garage.
To fight an infectious disease, it's key to figure out where it comes from - high-security biolabs keep detailed records for exactly this reason. Write down who enters or exits the home, and when; mark down any signs of symptoms in survivors. If anyone does become infected, make a somber note of it and immediately isolate them in a duct-tape-sealed room.
There's a further upside: If you do ride out the infectious storm, one day that logbook may stand as a record of humanity's greatest struggle. You may even want to sell it to Hollywood.
Kyle Hill writes the blog But Not Simpler for Scientific American and has contributed to Slate, Wired, Popular Science, and Al Jazeera America's TechKnow. You can follow him on Twitter @Sci_Phile.
2013 November 30
2013 December 1
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: Care-Care
These are the leftovers that went into it: 2 lb lightly cooked pork from roast, 12 oz ratatouille.
I fried an onion, added two green chopped peppers, eventually added the pork, cubed.
These cooked together until the onions were all soft. I poured the mixture into the ratatouille pot. Then added a package of French's a La King sauce (powder). This adds salt, other seasonings and cornstarch. I added water or chicken soup 4oz at a time as was needed when it sounded too dry.
I tasted for seasoning, and decided it needed a full ounce of Sri Racha sauce. Taste again, and it needed curry. A full tablespoon of "goat curry powder". Tasted again. Added 100g of sweetened coconut (half a package). Tasted again. It got a huge serving ladle of peanut butter (7 oz or more). One more taste. I found a small package of cranberries and almonds (insert pkg from something else).
This simmered together for only a little while more, as we really wanted to eat. I suggest you let it cook at least 30m, or an hour. Taste it to see what it needs.
We served it over rice. Abie decided this was Care-Care, something she used to have at home.
2013 December 1
Did you know?...
Did you know that if you copy your movie archive from one device to a new one, all of the movies and music lose their occasional jitter?
I recently purchased a 4Tb drive, backed up my backup drive. Well, I should have known, as I am supposed to be some kind of expert.
Go to Canada Computers, or your favourite computer store. Spend less than 200.00 (with tax) and get a big hard drive with fast USB 3.0 and see a difference you will actually notice.
2013 December 5
2013 December 11
2013 December 12
Introducing Uncle Seeley
Well two yesterdays ago I prepared baked chicken thighs with crumbs. It's like this: the chicken was 69c/lb at Nations. And I don't seem to tire of the shake and bake concept. I rolled the meat in Sri Racha sauce. While it rested in a bowl, I hacked up an old butter croissant to make a bed for the meat. I set up the pan, and shook some montreal steak spice onto the meat. (I would use salt, but I just can't see where it goes) Then I covered it all rather heavily in crumbs.
I decided I need some vegetable, so today I fried some zucchini in the pan. And of course, today I finished the chicken up.
Maybe I'll prepare tomorrow's food tonight.
2013 December 12
Today at Uncle Seeley's: Ungia Hax
You won't find this recipe in your cooking encyclopedia. This means chopped up in some language, perhaps Rumanian, but I'm not certain.
It's simple enough, I suppose. You're making mashed potatoes with eggs and onion.
The condiment that gets mashed through this is schmaltz. That needs to be started the day before somehow. You'll need the skin from two or three pieces of chicken you had in a previous meal. The fat is essential. Using a knife or scissors, cut the skin and fat into small bits so they render well. You don't have a lot of material in the pan this time, so use a very low heat setting, just enough so it melts.
Today, boil six potatoes and two eggs. I sliced the potatoes so they would cook faster, as they will be mashed. Peel the boiled eggs. Fry an onion in the schmaltz. Your goal is for the onion to absorb the fat, and that will be mashed through. I was too busy typing so my onions got toasted. When mom used to make this, she didn't fry the onion at all, but had bottles of schmaltz around the way you might have margarine or butter handy at all times.
So chop the eggs, mash into potatoes, add the schmaltz onion, and taste for salt and pepper. If it needs more "butter" then mash that in too, while it's still hot.
This is best eaten warm (not hot). Leftovers nuke up well.
2013 December 15
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: too tired to cook
Just salami on bagel, then early to bed.
This morning at Uncle Seeley's: pork stew
The pork was cut from the leg, a very thick 2" steak., with a bone in the centre. It was a very pretty piece of meat, but I remember it's brother, and it was hard to chew. Pork is never tough, but this was. So I decided to make a stew from it.
I am tired and lazy, so I've skipped some steps I might have taken on another day. I prepared a lot of roux. So I started with 3oz of flour (that's a paper espresso cup, full). I added butter and some schmaltz until it began to toast up. My first surprise was how very much liquid 3oz of flour can amalgamate. Next time I'll use less.
I slowly added 2c 10% cream, a can of coconut milk, perhaps 20 garlic cloves, each halved, then ten assorted colour jalapeno sliced, and all of the pork meat, cut into large tiles. For good measure I also added the two big bones. Still too thick, so I added some mushrooms chopped. I tasted for salt, and then squirted 2tb fish sauce in for it's saltiness. I had some cooked sliced potatoes around, so they went in as well. (it was still too thick, so I just added some water too)
Finally, finally, after the potatoes and pork started cooking, the roux acted more like the white gravy I had in mind in the first place. On another day I would have used a package of gravy mix, but I've found the corn starch products don't stay thick if they're being cooked for a long time, so using flour works better if I expect it to simmer all day.
No cooking smell yet, but it tastes creamy and nice.
2013 December 16
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: Laundry
Y'know, even though the laundry room is just in the basement, and I don't find doing laundry onerous, I still avoid it, just the same. I did it tonight.
I have a huge collection of off-white towels. These were born white, and purchased at yard sales or value villages, and continued their downward spiral. Towels like these are important, but not for washing nor drying. They are personal towels, and I remember how important they are to me whenever I try to replace them with napkins or paper towels.
I remember reading once that you could get better fabric softening if you poured the liquid directly onto something, and put that into the dryer with the load. That could well be true, but be warned. I used Winn-Dixie Floral softener, and it has a strong green colour. These may be personal towels, and they're allowed to get personal stains, but seeing bright green marks on them is still a surprise. Also, the scent is stronger on the stain (scratch and sniff: mmm, flowers)
I have a good collection of work shirts. These are black golf shirts. The collar is essential. I have two kinds. There are big heavy ones, which feel amazing when you handle them. And there are small thinner ones, which still fit me, but don't feel so elegant. There is a store on Spadina between Dundas and College on the West side. I used to shop there for more shirts when I wasn't inclined to do laundry.
I was pleased that each and every sock found it's partner. I have a system now for pairing socks. I lay them parallel to each other on one of the dryers. I only need space for five of them. As I take each sock, I compare it to one of the ones on display, and even though they're all black socks, they all have differences, but I found, only five differences all together.
Abie likes Tide. I like whatever happens to be cheap. These new High Efficiency washers seem to use less soap, and take more clothes too. So I have far, far too much laundry soap here now.
This laundry is a Coinamatic centre, and uses smart cards for payment. The wash is 2.50 for 42 minutes, and drying 1.50 for 50 minutes. Upstairs, you can load your card with a bill. Certainly a five, a ten or a twenty; maybe a fifty, who knows? In the laundry room, they have a self serve credit card machine which lets you load. They charge 85c network fee to use your card. That's not right.
Perhaps the biggest plus is the freedom to do laundry at all hours. When I went downstairs at 1045pm, someone was using two of the washers, and later two of the dryers! Here I was hoping to have the place to myself on a Sunday night. It's a big empty room, capable of being a party room, of sorts.
That's my Minutia Report. That would have made a good movie, with Tom Cruise.
2013 December 16
Small cars are stranded on only four inches of snow on my street. The cold air prevents traction. The driver coaxed another car to hit him gently to push him out of the problem. It almost worked.
2013 December 17
This morning at Uncle Seeley's: fixing the bed
In your family, are there jobs you have never done before because someone else has taken that responsibility?
Our bed is odd; our bedroom is odd. The room is small, and the bed fills the space, pressing against the walls. The bed isn't heavy, as I prefer a thick slab of foam as a mattress. I would like it directly on the floor, but Abie prefers it higher, so it lays on two single mattresses side by side. That combination makes the bed so soft, it is impossible for me to get out.
So there is a middle layer with wood. Aye, there's the rub.
As we use the bed, the top matress shifts towards the door. The wood shifts where it pleases, and finally, (drum roll please) the wood occasionally (or often depending on your point of view) breaks.
The wood has to support our weight, as that's the only access to the window. I'm not small any longer, and a couple of days ago, I broke a major board just getting out of bed. This made the head of my side very soft and very wrong.
In the meantime, the foam has shifted about 1½ feet from where it belongs. My feet touch the wood base, and my head droops because nothing is supporting it.
I don't want to even start investigating the central wood supports. My body says it's all wrong. Princess and the pea? How about Prince and the Lumbar Yard (sic).
So, for my first time since moving to Castle Seeley, I adjusted the mattress. Easy, right? Just walk to the window side, lift the light weight foam, pull it about two feet toward me, and viola, bed fixed.
I was trapped on the window side of the foam, unable to leave the spot I managed wedging myself into. I got there, right, I should be able to get out. Nope.
Escape required a dive of faith. I let go of the mattress, and rolled onto it. Then I could get out of bed in much the same way I normally get out.
More humour to follow. It seems it's only moved a few inches, that is, about half way.
2013 December 17
This is a comprehensive list of things facebook records about me. There are few surprises here. It keeps my face recog number, so it can suggest other people tag me in photos (booo, hisss). If you have a mild interest in privacy and security, visit this page, and read it for yourself. I found it full of common sense stuff. Just too much common sense stuff all in one place owned by one company who sells it anyone who smiles when they pay for advertising.
2013 December 18
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: spicy soup
I couldn't sleep. My mouth, nose and throat were just so dry, I kept waking up. I was unable to clear them up.
I made a soup. I use the word "soup" in its broadest sense tonight. I am also taking liberties with the word "made", now that I give it some thought.
I had half a container or Campbell's chicken broth in the fridge. I read the label, and it does have chicken in the list. I sliced two mushrooms, and gave it a generous shaking of cayenne pepper. Those were the good ideas. I also sliced in six garlic cloves. That was too much. I ate some of it, but most of it I just couldn't. I heated it until steaming, and then drank it all.
This mixture isn't about the good taste, although it's very nice. This soup makes your eyes cry, and causes your nose to run! But that's what I needed. Without that, sleep would not happen tonight.
2013 December 19
2013 December 19
1. I come home, sit at the computer
Wham, I stop breathing. Not for long. Long enough for a nightmare. I let myself nap in the chair because it's worse when I lie down.
2013 December 19
Would you like to use a BBS, and see what an online experience was like 20 years ago?
Also see http://www.telnetbbsguide.com/bbslist.asp
2013 December 19
Uncle Seeley is slightly uncomfortable with the results of his visit with the Dermatologist.
He was very, very nice! He was convinced that my skin disorder is entirely caused by stress.
He prescribed Reactine (day antihistamine), Atarax (sedating antihistamine), and Lyderm (corticosteroid cream). Because of the nature of these meds, I doubt my drug plan will cover any of it (y'see, they're not real prescription drugs, except for maybe the Lyderm, which is a Fluocinonide and probably not available over the counter.
2013 December 19
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: Polenta
All text (c) The Internet
Somewhere in its past, polenta picked up a reputation for fussiness. I am here to tell you that it is anything but fussy. You can whip up a pot of creamy polenta in about 30 minutes, and it makes a luscious bed for anything from quickly sautéed mushrooms to a hearty slow-cooked meat ragu. Here's how to do it yourself.
The idea is to get the polenta going by whisking coarse-ground polenta or yellow cornmeal into boiling water and stirring until it gets thick. Then you cover the pot and let the polenta cook while you go about making the rest of dinner. Every 10 minutes or so, uncover the pot and give it a good stir to make sure it's cooking evenly and the sides aren't drying out. Thirty to forty minutes later, your polenta is ready for the table.
A tense moment might come around the 15-minute mark. At this point, the polenta looks done. And indeed, if you taste it here and like it, by all means serve it! But if you let it cook for a little longer, you'll find that the polenta tastes sweeter and more deeply corn-like, and any last lingering grittiness from the ground corn smooths away. I love it at 30 minutes, but go a little longer if you have time or want a thicker polenta.
The basic ratio for polenta is 4 parts liquid to 1 part polenta. You can use any number of liquids to make polenta - from plain water, to chicken soup.
2013 December 21
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: getting home safe
Setting: girl's bedroom. Present day, early evening.
Scene: mostly dark, dim spotlight on girl
Dear Universe, Oh Dark One,
Oh, the day before yesterday I had a near death experience walking home. Invisible ice everywhere. I had to walk home using the road instead of the sidewalk. He didn't care! You show him, Okies?
No prob Abegirl. I'll show him just as I showed you.
Thanks Universe! All Hail.
2013 December 22 at 344am
Immediately prior to lights out from the ice storm for a week.
Another bluegreen explosion. And now my lights have flickered here at home. Not a good sign.
2013 December 22
2013 December 23
Written from Nathan's place.
Still no power for Downsview.
David Berman at least, still no power in my building.
Elisa Applebaum You're welcome to come here if you need a warm place.
Elisa Applebaum heard from another friend at sheppard and keele. No power at their place either.
Jean Petree Bummer!
Carrie-Ann Rettinger Same as Bathurst and Sheppard
David Berman is the store still turned off?!
Elisa Applebaum Keele and Sheppard just came on.
David Berman we had to close stx suddenly because of power loss on saturday night before 10pm.
Jean Petree Do you have "freezing rain" like we're having?
David Berman that is what caused all of the havoc here. the temperatures were around freezing, perhaps a degree up or down. the rain freezes against whatever it lands on, such as wires and trees. the worst thing for me was the sidewalks, which got an invisible "black ice" so i was unable to safely go up or down the hill to my apartment. the solution was walking in traffic. the cars bark at me, but it's better than falling down. i'm a fat man, and cannot get up if i don't have help.
Jean Petree I hate that black ice! Lethal! Despite going stir crazy, I just decided to spend the day indoors entirely.
David Berman nathan and i just returned to his place. it's nice out! most of toronto is still without power affecting 260,000 people. We discovered a wonderful french cafe Brioche D'or. 2013 December 23 at 7:23pm
2013 December 24
Uncle Seeley remains powerless. Father Hydro insists "No, you have electricity already," and hangs up. This is Not Good.
David Berman The landlord who answered said the residents there are all very cold now, and cannot do anything about it.
Jean Petree That is ghastly! Are you staying someplace warm?
2013 December 26
Still no power.
Carrie-Ann Rettinger likes this.
Jean Petree Unbelievable! 2013 December 26 at 5:45am
Peter Holowatenko Seriously? Crapy crap crap. Where in Toronto do you live Dave? 2013 December 26 at 9:18am
2013 December 27
They say my building has power and heat. I will go home tonight after work.
Nathan Berman, Jean Petree, Lhiza Alarcon and 2 others like this.
David Berman I'm home. Sour smell will go away soon. The frozen stuff is still great. The fresh stuff got unhappy. 2013 December 28 at 12:55am
David Berman No water mess, but also no heat. (our place was usually 28C, but now it's 19C) 2013 December 28 at 12:57am
Shawne Dzourelov How is your frozen food still good after all this time? 2013 December 28 at 7:10pm
David Berman My deep freezers were very deep frozen. -20C or something, so when the power went off, and I left the door sealed, well, it just stayed cold. 2013 December 28 at 11:03pm
2013 December 28
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: Bread.
1 ts dry yeast 2c bread flour 2/3c milk 1 ts salt 1 tb sugar 1 egg 2oz oil pinch guar
In a suitable cup or bowl, add milk, sugar, egg and dry yeast. Whisk this, and allow it to get warm to room temperature.
Add flour to bread machine. Turn it on, start for Dough (not bread). Wait for it to begin stirring.
Add yeast and wet ingredients. Use a wooden spoon or handle from a large plastic spoon to slow down the ball of dough, and help it get kneeded. I only do this for about 5 minutes near the beginning. Your job is to keep the dough engaged against the stirring rod. Also try to scrape ignored flour into the ball.
After a while, add the oil. Give it time to become amalgamated.
Finally, add the salt.
Ignore the bread machine for hours. Leave the house to visit friends, for example.
When you return, generously oil a baking pan, and just dump the dough into it. Roll it around in the puddle of oil, round and round, so it's all shiny. Put it into oven.
Set oven to 375F, bake for 20 minutes. Stay close. You want some frying smell, but you don't want burning smell. If there is no smell, allow an extra five minutes. Then leave the door closed, but turn off the oven.
Leave it alone for 20 minutes. Remove the bread, and consume it while hot and crisp.
2013 December 29
How I am discovering new, mostly DJ music.
2013 December 31
The Year In Review.
From February until August, I endured a vengeful landlord who dripped sewage onto my bed each workday.
In December, the local ice storm caused a week-long power outage.
My savings are nearly exhausted.
I am never a big fan of the holidays. Even when everything goes right, I can see how fragile I am, how I am aging, how I'm getting fat and awful.
I look at the calendar and see how I spent all of my time: going to work, working, coming back from work, or sleeping in preparation for tomorrow.
I seem to have gotten through another year, but I have nothing to show for it.
I'm glad 2013 is over.
2014 January 2
Yesterday at Uncle Seeley's: Panetone
I didn't look up any recipes for how to make this. Not at all. I just started with my bread recipe from a few days ago, and started adding things that I'd like in my bread.
2c flour, plus somewhat more 1c yogourt, vanilla flavour, which got frozen then defrosted, so it had a loose consistency 1 egg 1 ts yeast 1 tb sugar, heaping 3 oz cashew, unsalted, very crumbly 3 oz roasted almonds, unsalted 2 oz chocolate covered almonds 2 oz flax seeds 2 oz extra dry raisins, in 2 oz warm water 2 oz oil
As soon as I knew I wanted to make a bread, I took the yogourt, egg, yeast, sugar and stirred them together, so they could warm up for as long as possible. Our place is not warm enough so the yeast wet mixture didn't foam up the way it is supposed to.
I wanted raisins in it, but mine were so dry, I didn't want to use them as they were. I added hot tap water, and let them soak it in for as long as I could, an hour I guess.
Scoop the flour, and dump it directly into the bread maker bowl. Set your machine for 'dough,' and get it started, as it takes a while to begin. Mine takes five minutes just to start moving.
I added too much flour, so when I added the wet ingredients, it didn't make a nice dough ball. I poured some milk in, a bit at a time, until it looked like dough.
Now I started adding the crunchy bits: the flax seeds. Right away the machine makes a scratching noise. That's okay.
Then the cashews. More noise! Then the almonds. More noise, like gravel.
Then the chocolate covered almonds. I don't recommend this item. It dissolved entirely, so that there were no chocolate pieces in my panetone! Just the almonds from them. I'll find a better way to do that next time. The whole loaf got a wonderful beige colour and a chocolate scent.
The dough became dry again, and needed a hand to get mixed properly. I held the ball still as it went round and round. Then I added the oil, and stayed with it until it got used up.
When the dough cycle was finished, it sat like a lump at the bottom of the pan. I covered it with a towel, and checked it in the morning. Wow, the loaf rose to the very top of the mixing cylinder.
Without much fuss, I poured some oil into the baking dish, poured the dough into it, and poured oil over the top of it.
Without preheating, I baked it at 400F for 30 minutes. When the timer went off, I turned off the oven, and left it for another ten minutes.
Yay! Crunchy bread with raisins and nuts. No chocolate bits. Oh, and it was a huge loaf. Lots of medium holes.
I've been reading about Sponge. Here is how to make it. Start a day early, and use a spoon of yeast, half a cup of warm water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and a tablespoon of flour. Stir it up and ignore it. It should go yeast crazy, then die down. This is one of the secret ingredients if you are planning to make French Baguette. It's also called Starter. The gentle sour taste from traditional baguettes isn't the same as the strong taste from sourdough bread, but the process is related.
David Berman Ok, Folks! I was thinking Panetone, but what happened was the very best Biscotti I've ever had, and the only I've ever prepared. You see, whenever I have a coffee at home, I cut a slice from the dry side of the bread. It's all crisp and almond. Just a little sweet, except when you get a raisin.
It's so good, you should consider this, even with the chocolate covered almonds. They give it a little something hard to express in words. A scent? A texture?
It's really good. The recipe as directed in the post makes quite a lot. I'm almost halfway through it. 2014 January 5 at 8:12pm
Jean Petree The panettone my mother sent is very soft, light, with an almost pungent orange aroma. Quite good. 2014 January 5 at 8:14pm
David Berman orange peel is amazing. i'm a nut for baking. i have 1½ panetone here already. Good ones. 2014 January 5 at 8:15pm
2014 January 3
Mars One's certain-death space jolly shortlists 1,000 wannabe explorers
The Mars One project has whittled its 200,000 video applicants down to just 1,058, who will compete for a place on the entirely hypothetical one-way trip to the Red Planet to establish a human colony.
The chosen few will be taking part in a reality-TV style competition to cut them down to the final 40 candidates hoping to be the first immigrant Martians. The fun won't stop there, though: the new citizens of Mars will also have their every move (including their, unfortunately, rather likely deaths) televised during the trip.
The telly rights to the invasive Martian experiment are what the non-profit organisation is hoping will pay for the whole thing, which it reckons will cost around $4bn.
That figure is more than just a little theoretical, considering the fact that no-one knows how to get people to Mars without killing them long before they get there. No spacecraft currently exists that could do the job and many of the technologies needed, like a way to sufficiently block space radiation, haven't been invented yet. (Oh, and the foundation hasn't managed to secure any deal on the television rights so far)
Undeterred by these minor details, Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp said the project was excited with its "first tangible glimpse" of what the Martian colony could look like.
"We're extremely appreciative and impressed with the sheer number of people who submitted their applications," he said. "However, the challenge with 200,000 applicants is separating those who we feel are physically and mentally adept to become human ambassadors on Mars from those who are obviously taking the mission much less seriously.
"We even had a couple of applicants submit their videos in the nude!"
The next stages in the selection process will include rigorous simulations and physical and emotional testing of the candidates, according to Norbert Kraft, chief medical officer at the foundation. Although, no-one's sure yet exactly what the applicants will go through until the TV rights have been settled.
In the mean time, Mars One will be focusing on its first mission, expected in 2018, when a Lockheed Martin-built unmanned lander and a Surrey Satellite Technology comms sat will set off for the Red Planet.
Since these are the first actual space technology firms to be associated with the venture, El Reg has reached out to Lockheed to see what it reckons it will take to get Mars One people off the ground. We'll let you know when we do.
2014 January 5
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: turkey again
If it's cheap, I buy one. They were 99c/lb last week at Loblaws Portland St.
I always cut them up. This one was big, so it made two large boneless breast portions (for later), a large darkmeat section (also for later), and the wings and back.
Someone brought me a bottle of 7up (the sugar variety) so I used that as the lemon sauce for the bottom of the pan. It didn't work well. Not sweet enough, not lemon enough. As always, I dusted the skin sections heavily with some crumbs (leftover shake and bake, actually).
The result was tough. We ate what we could, and put the rest and all of the bones and organs into the stock pot.
That's been hot all day long, and I just tasted it now. It made the most wonderful broth.
When I was at Nathan's, we just coated the meat with some kind of dark soy sauce, and a few drops of sesame oil. It was sublime. I will probably do just that with the dark meat I prepare within the hour.
2014 January 5
I just downloaded CamFrog video chat app on my (spare) cell. Wow, it works great.
Uh, it has no stop button. Killing the task doesn't kill the app. You have to find the service, and stop That.
I am Soooo glad I didn't actually put it onto my primary phone. It doesn't want to let go.
2014 January 5
I was overjoyed to be able to celebrate one of my favorite authors, Italo Calvino. Ostensibly a science fiction writer, Calvino is more of a fabulist, using scientific notions as a jumping-off point for whimsical, delightfully far-fetched, extremely warm and compassionate little tales. The first work of Calvino's that I read was Invisible Cities, an imagined dialogue between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan that meditates on the different ways of conceptualizing cities.
For this doodle, however, I decided to illustrate the first story from my favorite Calvino collection, Cosmicomics. Cosmicomics is an audacious series of myths and legends that covers everything from the creation of the universe, to the evolution of land vertebrates, to the social lives of dinosaurs.
In this story, The Distance of the Moon, the protagonist tells of time when the moon orbited so close to the Earth that it was possible to row out into the middle of the ocean and climb onto the surface of the Moon with a ladder. Once on the moon, the protagonists and his friends would frolic and cartwheel while the Moon's gravity gently pulled jellyfish and crabs up out of the sea. It's a fantastic image, and hopefully one that's very evocative to readers of Calvino.
2014 January 7
Syndi writes: We really enjoyed those starbuxian treats you brought over. Still going through them _slowly_, but they're nice to have around. Thank you.
2014 January 8
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: Zombie Food
Well, not really. Perhaps the opposite. Rice and canned Holiday meat.
I made the rice using turkey soup instead of water, and sliced a carrot into it, and threw a handful of dried onions into it as well. There was also a couple of ounces of turkey in mushroom soup that needed to go into something, so I tossed it into the ricemaker too.
The rice came out fragrant and wonderful.
The meat. I opened both sides of the can, pushed it out, and cut it in half. Her half, my half. Each half got cut into 12 small slices. That's it. Not fried, not cooked, not adorned in any way.
I consider canned meat ideal food for a zombie apocalypse. Or for a Toronto week long ice storm. Except I'm a wuss, and stayed with family.
2014 January 9
Cinnamon Brioche is a new pastry at Starbucks Canada.
Order it, try it. Have it toasted in the Turbo Oven, and eat it right away.
The product is flaky and crisp. It isn't steamy and mushy like St Cinnamon or Cinnabon. It isn't heavy with syrup.
The small, cold samples offered at the store don't do the Brioche justice.
Use the money you save with the Treat Receipt to try something wonderful.
2014 January 9
Having trouble getting your doctor to perform Endoscopy? Does he insist on reading you like a book, cutting you from sternum to pubis, then open you up?
This is the device for you!
Get a knowledgeable friend tour your innards, and even show you the results.
Buy your professional Endoscope today! Shipping is included, and this item ships from USA.
Syndi Hasabigblackdog likes this.
Jeff Goebel I saw Deal Extreme sells wedding dresses now too. 2014 January 9 at 1:12pm
Jean Petree "For external use only" 2014 January 9 at 2:18pm
David Berman Huh! What kind of Endoscope is only for External use?! 2014 January 9 at 2:57pm
Bryan Fullerton There's a marketer somewhere who needs clobbering with a dictionary. 2014 January 9 at 3:03pm
2014 January 9
The Imperial March.
2014 January 10
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: breaded turkey
Don't act so surprised! A turkey is huge, and makes four major meals for us when we get one.
I used one of the half breasts, and made thick slices of it while it was still a bit frozen.
I wanted it salty and lemony in the centre, so I let the slices sit in some soy sauce, and dusted them with citric acid (lemon salt).
Normally, I use some store brand of shake n bake product, but tonight I wanted more crumbs than that. I have a lot of dried croissant around, and this is what they're waiting for. The easiest way to crumb a croissant is to make thin slices. This happens very quickly. I used three.
This kind of crumb is too large to stick to the meat. I tried. So I made a generous bedding of crumbs, and laid the meat out onto it. I didn't want the heat exposed to the meat, so I found some traditional bread crumbs and dusted the tops until no meat was visible. It didn't require much, really. I had rolled it around in the large crumbs earlier.
Baked at 390F for 27 minutes without preheating. Left it in the closed oven for another 20 minutes.
2014 January 10
Those of you who know me, already know not to EVER tag me in a photo, even a group photo. New friends: please, don't label a photo of me for some computer's benefit.
This new app is great: take a picture of a stranger, and get their profile. If they use NameTag, they can opt out, the rest of the world has opted IN.
2014 January 11
Tonight at Uncle Seeley's: pork
It's the meat of kings. http://www.weebls-stuff.com/songs/pork/
Pork! It's the meat of kings. It's made of pigs, try it with Onion Rings. Pork sure goes with everything, because it's made of swine, and it sure tastes fine.
Buy it at No Frills this week for 99c lb. There was stock at Bathurst and Wilson.
I cut my long roasts into 1 kg (two pound) pieces. Easy! Just cut a $10 roast into five chunks.
The boneless loin has only a little fat on the outside edge, so I cut that in half, so some was on top of the roast, and some was underneath it.
All of the fat was heavily seasoned with black pepper. The meat side got granualted garlic, and Montreal steak spice.
400F for 40 minutes; turn oven off, and leave it alone for another 40 minutes; open oven door, and leave it for 20 final minutes.
Happy 2013 all of you. I should write more, especially as I age.