birthday stuff

2017-May-09, Tuesday 21:30
mindstalk: (riboku)
I haven't been good at making birthday plans since moving to Boston, but today was good. I went in to work late, expxloring Malden center instead; the library had been described as distinctive, and it does have an older building, though Cambridge main it's a Franken-building. Unlike Cambridge, you can't even go into the older part right now. I took a picture, but the margin of this post is too small to contain it[1]. I also discovered that Malden and Chelsea are affiliated with BPL, not Minuteman. Checked out a book on Angkor and one on Armenian history, I keep running into Armenians.

Some cheap restaurants present but I didn't feel hungry until right after I'd decided to set out for the station. >.< Like the rest of the Orange line, all the interesting stuff is like 10 minutes from the station.

I found another bug at work, not in my code[2]. This is good insofar as we improve the product and I get a reputation as a magical bug finder.

As it happens, in honor of the release, boss was taking us out to a fancy dinner, so I got a big thing without actually mentioning my birthday. $55 New York strip au poivre medium rare, quite good. Some other food too but it's a steakhouse, steak's where it's at. That's about as much as I've ever paid for an entire meal, back when I was working in SF and getting dragged off to some fancy places rarely. Usually $20 is my cap. But hey, wasn't paying!

Couple of Facebook people went above and beyond and sent cute and/or appropriate pictures with their greetings, and J texted me in lieu of calling, which was good because this wasn't a day for calls.

Oh right, a cute thing at work! I was wearing a Kyuubey shirt I got at Anime Boston this year, the first anime T-shirt I've bought. A guy complimented me on it, then I noticed he was wearing a FMA hoodie -- the complex circle on the front looked suspicious, but the squiggle on the back really gave it away. Demographic note: big black guy.

[1] Or I'm too lazy for my picture transfer workflow.

[2] So far I've barely written any code, apart from a logging module and a Frankenscript, it's been all learning tools and code and testing. And honestly I'd like to keep it that way, until I can read 13,000 lines of code and sort through testing them properly. brrr Python. My ideal gift right now would be a compiler.
mindstalk: (food)
I'm staying on the Blue Line for a couple weeks. Lots of Hispanic food stores, and I got some Goya pork skins. I looked at the nutrition label, as I do.

"Protein: 8g Not a significant source of protein."

Dudes, that's like a whole serving of protein. Something's off.

Well, supposedly 14 g to a serving, 8g protein, 5 g fat, 80 calories, 50 calories from fat... that's a pretty consistent set of numbers, if we assume dried skin is basically nothing but protein and fat, which seems reasonable. So I'm inclined to believe that the 8g is accurate, and the "Not significant" is BS.

Unless there's some subtlety like it's indigestible protein. Wikipedia instead says that it's an incomplete protein, very low in some amino acids. So, don't try to live on pork skin, I guess.
mindstalk: (food)
One last (probably) post inspired by Saturday.

A naive planner, trying to be considerate, might think "I'll have 40% vegan guests, 40% veg'n guests, and 20% omnivores, so I should have 40% vegan food... and 20% meat."

This is wrong! The vegans can only eat the vegan food, which will probably be poached by the other two groups. Put another way, if you locked the groups into only getting food from their own tables, then the omnivore table would likely *not* be 100% meat; even barbecues tend to have non-meat sides. 20% * (less than) 100% = less than 20%.

How *should* you distribute the food? I don't think there's a better answer than handwaving. But here's an illustrative model:

Imagine a vegan, two veg'ns who eat half-vegan and half-not food, and one omnivore who'll eat half meat, 1/4 vegan, and 1/4 veg'n. This implies that 9/16 of the food, should be vegan, 5/16 vegetarian, and 2/16 meat. One vegan, but more than half the food suitable for them -- again, because good vegan food will not be exclusive to them.

But of course it depends on your groups. If you know your veg'ns won't touch anything that's not dairy, and that your omnivores will only eat meat, then the naive approach is more valid. It can also apply to some main courses; if you're doing burgers in the first example, then 40% vegan, 40% veg'n-with-egg burgers, and 20% beef burgers, might make sense. Though there's still a chance of an omnivore trying the black bean or whatever burger out of curiosity, so poaching can still happen.

In my case, I traditionally have hummus and dates, and everyone eats those. I was hoping for 1/3 vegans at this party, and expecting 2/3 vegan or veg'n, and laid out entirely vegan food but for some camembert and some chicken. In retrospect I 'should' perhaps have gotten more cheese, to serve four people, though given actual attendance it worked out just fine.

I suppose that if you're planning a BBQ plus one vegan guest invited for socializing, it can make sense to just mark off some food as their territory while everyone else focuses on the pile of meats. Everything's situational; my main point is to caution against naive math.
mindstalk: (food)
(I'm not trying to 'win' Iron Blogger, I'm just having lots of thoughts.)

I'm still bugged by the expenditures. You can live on like $5-6/day, surely I shouldn't be spending more than that per person for one meal? I spent $40 hoping for six people, that's nearly $7/person. In hindsight, given 4 people and what was consumed, I could have skipped the cashews, chips and salsa, less popular sausage, and one bag of pita, bringing cost down to $24, or $6/person, and we've probably have scoured everything clean except the chicken, due to lack of enough carnivores.

But, I guess it depends on what you get: eating frugally means stuff like pasta and rice and beans, or bread and peanut butter. Cheese, (good) crackers, and tomatoes are comparatively expensive: e.g. the crackers were about $5/lb. They're nutrient dense, being dry and fatty, but still twice the $/calorie of even overpriced whole wheat pasta. The tomatoes were $6, or $4/lb, which might be expensive even for tomatoes -- it's been a while since I bought any other kinds -- though as we ate nearly all, I have no regrets.

So basically, yes you can feed people cheaply if you prepare normal staple-based meals, but if you go for savory finger food, it'll be more expensive. Which is fine, it's just good to know and set my expectations accordingly. We probably still came in under restaurant cost, and finger food has advantages in prep (good for me as host) and not tying people to a table and large plate (good for guest circulation and freedom, though that's more relevant for larger parties.)

(Conversely it may be easier to overeat with finger food, if you just keep eating until it's gone or you feel dangerously stuffed.)

(I have a dim possible memory of realizing my old parties were more expensive than I expected, too.)

party retrospective

2016-Dec-10, Saturday 21:39
mindstalk: (squeee)
Back in SF and Bloomington, I was decent at throwing game-and-talk parties, with a good layout of hors d'oeuvre. Here in Boston, I fell out. Partly because the direction of my social life didn't lead to making close friends in the way I was used to, partly because my stuff spread out so that I didn't feel happy about having people over much. A couple years ago I got my living room clear enough for short term house guests, and then to have W over for dinner and anime, but I still didn't try anything party like. More recently I turned my second bedroom back into such instead of a storage room, which came at the expense of my living room, such that I didn't even have W over this summer.

But there's this Iron Blogger thing, and our last two or three parties were at Sacco's Flatbread, which is loud, and eating out eats into our budget quickly. We were debating what to do for tonight's party, and I decided damn it, I was going to get things into shape, so we could save money and have a quiet environment.

And I did! Not even by punting stuff problems too much: some stuff went into empty boxes in a perfectly sensible way, though I do have one box newly labeled "junk to sort through later". I could have deployed all nine of my chairs in the living room, though as it happened I only needed four. At this point I could have house guests in *both* rooms.

Of course, if I don't get a local job soon, this will have been a last hurrah for the place, but still, cool.

It's also an object lesson in the negative value of having too much stuff; I'd have been happier with more parties or tete a'tetes and less stuff I barely touch.

As mentioned, I've got a distinct style; I've never cooked much for more than 2-3 people (including me.) Instead, lots of snacks, leaning toward the savory; any cooking is more like "boil dumplings" or "fry some sausage to cut up". It generally works well.

Tonight required some adaptation: I was hoping for two vegans (got one), two vegetarians (check), and one other omnivore (who forgot we were happening), so I aimed for a pretty vegan spread, plus one wedge of camembert, and some drumsticks I fried for the two meat eaters. Most of the food got eaten, which means I'm pretty stuffed -- probably bought too much for six people, and four people put a big dent in it, so... I dunno about the vegan sausages, that's not something I'm used to. I boiled one per the package, which led to it falling apart, but people ate almost all of it anyway; I microwaved the other, which mostly remained, though the vegan took the leftovers home. First choice would have been grilling, but my cast iron was busy with chicken, and I didn't feel like wrangling with my older pans.

Some years ago I'd discovered Mary's Gone Crackers for a party, as a wheat-free cracker for my wheat-free friend lyceum. They're actually really good in their own right, though pricey.

There's some selfishness mixed into my consideration: I aim for things that I'd be happy to have as leftovers. As a corollary I tend to be weak on drinks.

Introducing people to foods I've found is also fun. The 1.5 pound box of "Wild Wonders" tomatoes was almost completely finished. This is something Star Market has been carrying for a while: they're cherry-tomato sized (more or less) but heirloom in variety; the label just says "greenhouse grown cultivar tomatoes" but they're a lot tastier than a lot of greenhouse tomatoes are.

Setting up is pretty easy, at least when not doing a year's worth of de-cluttering in a couple hours. Afterwards... I could almost be tempted to use my dishwasher for the first time since the landlord installed it. Almost, but not quiet. Probably don't even have the right soap. And four people's worth of small plates isn't that much.

As for the party aims: success! We could all understand each other without fighting a loud restaurant's worth of noise. And I spent $40, which feels like a lot for 5 people (RSVPed) considering groceries) but probably still less than what four people would spend in a restaurant. Our budget was $60, so...

I dunno about vegan protein next time, if there is one. My first plan had been various flavored compressed tofus from Trader Joe's, which I know from experience are pretty tasty, but I balked at the price/lb. Though I guess they're about the same as the cashews. I guess at least one of the 'sausages' was mostly devoured, even if I feared otherwise.

We ate 90% of a 10 oz bag of pita. Yes, I weighed the remainder, and it's 1 oz. Also I cut the pita into 24 pieces and 2 are left. Though the other bag isn't quite 10oz, so the weights are a bit weird.

Oh right, one new thing! Usually I don't worry about healthy veggies for these things. Maybe baby carrots and cherry tomatoes, maybe occasionally a store tray of crudités. But this time I microwaved a pound of frozen broccoli, and added oil salt and pepper. I'm not going to try weight the wet remainder, but I'm sure we ate more than half. That's neat.

Tangentially, I don't know why both sets of parents I've seen close up try to get their kids to eat unadorned steamed broccoli to earn their desserts. It's much tastier with a bit of seasoning.

Tonight's crackers were TJ's Some Enchanted Cracker, tasty in its own right if totally different from Mary's Gone Crackers, and significantly cheaper. Also, totally consumed, along with the camembert.

The hummus isn't gone but greatly diminished (and it wasn't even the really good TJ hummus, which wasn't on the shelves); the chips vanished faster than the salsa. This is something I'd observed at ohanami parties: if I brought hummus it would get inhaled, while salsa would sit around, especially the hotter varieties. Some of the chips tonight were used for hummus, at least before that reminded me I'd been warming up pita wedges in the microwave but forgotten them.

Actually, yeah, I should make a distinct list of what hit and didn't:

+: pita and hummus (but maybe less pita... though if we'd had the fifth person we could have opened the second bag), runny cheese and good crackers, good cherry tomatoes, well-prepared broccoli, the dark vegan "Italian sausage" from TJ.
-: hot salsa, cashews (hard to judge, but I think I may have eaten most of what did get eaten, which wasn't a lot), the lighter colored sausage.

Plus there's various other things I could have tried. Dumplings, bread+oil, bread+butter, veggies and yogurt+dill dip (TJ European yogurt would work great for that), bread and salsa "bruschetta", frozen samosas (experimental), seasoned chickpeas (though not a finger food), chips and queso (not classy, but hey, not unpopular... dunno about this crowd, though), dates, or any other form of dessert.

I'd thought about just salt-and-peppered hard boiled eggs, but the TJ pre-boiled eggs felt too expensive, and I didn't want to peel a whole bunch myself, it's pretty hit or miss whether they peel easily.

One drawback of the evening: everyone coughed a lot when they came in, and I'd been coughing before then, though it faded. I suspect it was smoke from the fried chicken. But it wasn't that smoky: I really suspect cayenne powder on a high dry heat (I put some in the pan to get the underside of the chicken, but didn't bother adding oil.) Accidental chemical warfare...

Zeno's Diet

2016-Nov-01, Tuesday 20:40
mindstalk: (food)
Open a container of something tasty, like fresh strawberries. Eat half of it.

The second time around, eat half of what's left.

The third time around, eat half of... you get the idea.

This is a behavioral pattern of mine that I'd vaguely been aware of but realized more explicitly the other day. And "half" is an approximation, of course, plus it breaks down at the tail end.

I think the process is a tension between "pig out on the tasty stuff" and "don't finish it all."
mindstalk: (Default)
I've been biking since 1998. Despite this, I've learned very little about bike maintenance. I haven't had to. I recall one flat tire ever, from a nail in SF, a few blocks from my bike shop. My chain popped off once but I got it back on somehow. I fill the tires with borrowed pumps, and I've generally taken the bike in once a year for tune-up. Generally I'd hear "wow, it's in great condition!" I'm a light utility biker who usually kept it indoors, so yeah. Pedals were making grinding sounds at one point, I got them replaced.

The past couple years I've been leaving it outside more, though, since bringing it in is a pain, and I've heard "you should bringing it in more often" as the rust builds up. And very recently I was hearing alarming grinding sounds as I pedaled. So I took it in, and got told my bottom bracket is "out" and loose. That's apparently not a big problem, though; the real one was my chain being dry, and looking fairly rusty. So I was persuaded to buy some oil and apply it myself. I got spray, thinking it'd be more convenient, then at home got alarmed by the warning label. Oh well. I did apply it, and woo! Huge difference today, no grinding sound.

So yeah, after 18 years, I've oiled my bike chain. Or, after 18 years, I've finally needed to.

Oil's weird. My one bit of self-guided maintenance was oiling the hinges on my folding shopping baskets when they got stiff. I'd apply some vegetable -- usually olive -- oil by finger to the hinges. Somehow it wicks in and everything becomes so much looser.

***

The local market had Cajun seasoned pork on sale. Pork what? It didn't say. I figured I'd take a chance. Put it in a frying pan, covered it, had it on decently high heat for 15-20 minutes. No additional oil, just what was in the cast iron already, so sort of baking it. Worked pretty well. On flipping I realized it was pork ribs; the hardest bit was cutting them apart so I could eat them.

***

I've known vaguely of Roald Dahl's Matilda for a long time; over Christmas I was exposed to the soundtrack of the musical, I guess. I finally checked it out today and read it. Mildly enjoyable, I guess. I was stuck by the long list of books Matilda had read by age 5, I wonder if Dahl was hoping to inspire some kids to go try Dickens and Austen themselves. I was surprised by the big twist.

***

Spam I just got: "Jesus's Lost Words Stun Christians (Not in the Bible)", from the "Laissez Faire Club". What.
mindstalk: (food)
So, my previous described batch was pretty much perfect, I realized. Good medium-sour taste, good 'texture', much like the European Yogurt that it starts from. Can I replicate it?

I tried batch 3 just now, and the answer is "not quite". The taste is fine, but it's a bit firmer: it can actually hold some shape.

I made it the same way: add milk from the fridge to the jar containing the dregs of the previous batch, shake[1], stick in oven for maybe 18 hours.

Pickiness of texture aside, it certainly tastes good; I ate like 1/3 of it straight away before stopping.

[1] I've read you shouldn't stir the incubating yogurt, that the bacteria don't like being disturbed. (How can they tell? They're so small!) But I can't avoid the feeling that it's better to disperse the starter, rather than letting it grow up from the bottom and walls. I suppose I could test not shaking it, sometime.
mindstalk: (food)
Regarding the previous batch: I realized that it wasn't sour or tangy at all. This was both alarming and disappointing, as I like a tang to my yogurt, up to a point (some of my previous late-generation long incubation batches were approaching battery acid, metaphorically speaking.) Also, the remainder of the milk it was made from went bad days before the sell-by date, which was also alarming; what might have slipped into the yogurt?

But I soldiered on, and made a new batch with the dregs of the old one, and new milk. Same lazy process, though I left it in the oven for a lot longer, maybe 18 hours? Similar texture, thickened-gooey. Does have some sourness to it. These two batches have been thick enough to be difficult to drink straight, unlike my usual, though they still run (or goop) off a spoon, unlike gelatinized yogurt that can hold a shape.

***

Also, no, even Kerrygold butter isn't soft enough to spread easily right out of the fridge... hmm, granted, I decreased the fridge temperature yesterday, partly as a reaction to the bad milk.
mindstalk: (food)
I've been buying butter in small tubs, so I can leave it out to get soft, and not mess with sticks in a tray. I'd been buying Plugra. Last time I bought Kerrygold, and after leaving it out it was practically turning into butter soup, in temperatures not as hot as they had been. It claims to be naturally softer, because it's from grass fed cows. It doesn't say that grass means more Omega-3 fats, but that's usually the case, and O-3s have lower melting points than O-6 (maybe why deep sex fish use them.) So, that checks out. And O-3 would mean marginally healthier butter.

Question remains whether it's "naturally softer" enough to not be annoying to spread straight out of the fridge.

***

Yogurt making continues, and my latest batch is like the best-set I've ever made. I went for maximum laziness, simply filling the mason jar with milk and sticking that in the oven (heated by pilot light); no pre-heating of milk, no heating of the oven to get the temperature above 106 F. I did add a bit of yogurt from the Trader Joe's tub, in addition to the yogurt already in the jar. I left it incubating for a while, 13 or 15 hours, I think. Came out not very sour, and a mix of semi-solid and stretchy-goopy, vs. my more common "solid on top, fermented liquid beneath" or the "totally separated curds and sour whey" of previous late-generation attempts. I am pleased, if unsure about being able to replicate this.

***

I re-read the webcomic Digger for the first time, a couple days ago. It really is good! Serious story but also hilarious in many places. Pseudoniece G' seems to be liking it, too.

***

I re-read the webcomic Treading Ground last night, for the second or third time. Much quicker, only 251 strips, vs like 750 pages. It's a lot cruder and I'm not mentioning it to 13 year old pseudonieces. But funny in its own way. It also had advice on cutting meat with dull knives (apply pressure and speed) which has served me well since first reading it.

foods

2016-Jul-11, Monday 14:14
mindstalk: (food)
I've made my fourth consecutive batch of yogurt! Or some variety of fermented milk product, starting from a yogurt culture. I don't know if the way I heat my milk is "real yogurt" or not. It's varied, anyway, but tend to be mild warming, then a long 'cook' in the oven with the pilot light on. I had one batch I heated to be hot and held that for a while, and it came out much curdier than usual, almost like yogurt cottage cheese especially on top. OTOH this latest batch I just heated mildly, and there was still curds or grains on the surface. I wonder if some yeast got in and I'm making a sort of kefir.

For most of my life, cruciferous vegetables have been broccoli. I gagged on my parents' Brussels sprouts, and never saw the point of cauliflower. A while back I started getting into kale ("so nutritious! superfood!"), either frying it in a pan or heating it in a bit of water in pot (steam-boil?) Occasionally microwave, but ehhh.

This week I finally bought a head of cabbage. ("Cheap! Robust!") Still working on what to do with it; first batch (mostly outer leaves) I did the pot thing to. Second, more chopped up, I fried in olive oil, adding a bit of Worcestershire sauce and sriracha and black pepper. Ended up feeling pseudo-Korean. I liked it.

I've also gotten good at grilled cheese sandwiches. Yes, it's not hard. Still, it's a new thing. Now I wonder if I could make patty melts. (My burgers lean that way anyway, since I never buy buns, but I rarely try grilling the bread or some onions.)

stuff

2016-Jun-18, Saturday 19:37
mindstalk: (Default)
My coconut oil thermometer continues to 'work'; I observe my kitchen is marginally under 77 F, given solid but very soft oil.

There are non-maple red leaved trees around here. After a bit of research, I guess they are red plum trees. I also learned that there are red maples native to North America, that are not Japanese maples. Thanks evolution, I thought I had something simple.

I discovered what seemed to be a blackberry tree overhanging the garden: very tall tree, shiny heart shaped leaves, dropping lots of thin "blackberries". Mulberries, in fact, with very mild fruit. (I ate some off the ground. Can't reach the branches.)

I saw Saturn! It's not a planet I'm usually aware of seeing, but my night sky app pointed it out. Which is probably how I IDed it the first time I knowingly saw it.

random stuff

2016-Jun-05, Sunday 23:37
mindstalk: (food)
I think I found a spruce! In the nearby community garden there's a very small Christmas tree, very triangular, very dense, and spiky with short stiff needles.

Fish balls survive being boiled in soup just fine, or if they don't then I don't what they should taste like to know better. Shrimp and scallops do not; I added some frozen ones late to tonight's soup, and they still came out rubbery.

I've never cooked with ginger much; was always put off by the fibrous-seeming mass or something. I did have ginger powder for a while, I'm not sure I noticed much. Recently I'd bought a little jar of minced ginger and used it in stir-fries; I've since moved on to actual root. A lot easier that I thought! The ugly grey skin hides a softer and somewhat juicy interior. It doesn't grate all that well, though I've tried; I get better results (and more ginger) from slicing.

Python is a very nice language to write code in but maintenance looks like it'd be a real pain. Possibly worse than Perl; less line noise, but also less checking of basic lexical errors. I don't know how people do it... though from what I hear, PHP's even worse, and it still spread like weeds.

Job hunt still continues, depressingly. But at the last interview I was told that people are jumping away from Ruby on Rails, just as Ruby itself finally starts to get faster. Sort of amusing.

Discoveries

2016-May-12, Thursday 20:40
mindstalk: (Homura)
Lightly microwaved cherry tomatoes explode in warm sweetness when you eat them with pasta.

El Goonish Shive is a good webcomic.

A Miracle of Science is still a good webcomic, and unlike EGS it's long over.

A Borrowed Voice is a surprisingly good crack-premise Tolkien fanfic.

A bunch of new Madoka AMVs, which I've added to my list. I'll link to just one. Warning: spoilers for series and Rebellion.

Years ago, I proved the sin(A+B) identity from first principles while lying in bed. I think it took 40 minutes. The impressive part is that I'm usually more of a symbolic/numerical thinker than a visual one, I still slide my fingers to manipulate supply and demand curves, so doing finicky geometry in my head, no paper, was pretty impressive. Last night I thought about it again (and again in bed), and solved it much faster; I think I found a simpler solution, though I can't be sure. Alas, the margins of this blog post... or rather, I've never invested effort in learning how to make pictures on line.

The Renaissance art hallway at the MFA was more interesting than I expected, especially in the half that's largely maiolica.

Peking ravioli

2016-Mar-25, Friday 19:00
mindstalk: (food)
I was so confused when I first saw these here. (At Mary Chung, in fact.) I correctly guessed what they must be, from the name and the lack of anything else called potstickers.

Unrelatedly, I think I only ever heard 'potstickers' after going to college. Growing up, our 'Chinese' food was mostly Mongolian House in Uptown, and we'd order what I remember phonetically as "kwah teh", or maybe "gwa teh". (Also, princess prawns, which I've never seen since. :( )

Unrelatedly, my parents insisted on referring to the nearby high school, Von Steuben, as "Fon Stoyben", not "Von Stewben".

Article
mindstalk: (science)
Cook pasta. Leave the pasta in its water in case you want to make soup, scooping out pasta as needed for other dishes. Leave pasta in its water in the pot on the stove (physically, but gas off), figuring it can't go bad in a day, right? Discover 18 hours later that no, it does have an off smell already.

This happened years ago with a rice and lentil thing, actually: left it moist on the stove, it smelled bad a day later. In both cases, it's a gas stove with a vigorous pilot light, so there actually is some heat input even when 'off'. Also in both cases, the food was warm, whether from the pilot light or from vigorous biological activity or both. I suppose I could experiment, with the pot moved somewhere else. (And not the top of the fridge.)

cold and soup

2016-Jan-08, Friday 18:00
mindstalk: (food)
Some friends get bronchitis or sinusitis or ear infections repeatedly. I seem to go for colds and minor sore throats. Like now, and last October. Sigh.

Nice thing about being home again: shower head taller than I am, with decent pressure. And never having needed to use a toilet plunger.

I've never really made soup. I don't know how, though I know some paths involve "boil a chicken carcass, then strain" which sounds like way too much icky work. I've tried for stewy things but they turn into pilaf-like things as the water gets absorbed. Just add more water? Eh.

But, sometimes I try to fake it, like today. I made pasta the new way, just covered in water and turning the heat off after boil, and caught the starchy water when I strained, then poured some back over the noodles, along with oils and spices. Later I realized that if I'm going to do this I could just skip the straining step, and add spices earlier so they come out into the water more. Even so, it was decently tasty and soupy. And could mean less salt than in canned soups, though I'd actually have to think about the salt added for pasta cooking to verify that.

mold

2015-Oct-31, Saturday 18:47
mindstalk: (food)
So, when whole wheat bread goes moldy faster than other bread, I assume it's because such bread is more nutritious, having the germ and not being all starch.

TJ's NZ grass-fed cheddar cheese seems to go moldy faster than other cheddar cheese, and I'm not sure what to make of that. It should be healthier for *me*, because of the fat profile, but I don't expect yeast to care. Maybe it's moister? But I don't know why it would be.

To be fair, I don't know for sure that it does, it just seems that way. I guess I could buy two different cheddars at the same time and check.
mindstalk: (food)
Frozen mussel meats, thawed:

straight out of the bag: meh

sauteed in olive oil, garlic, black pepper and butter, over pasta, with Romano cheese: very tasty. Granted that's a tasty combination without them, but they didn't let the team down.

microwaved lightly to warm them up and release some volatiles: tastier than straight from the bag, not great. OTOH they don't make the whole apartment smell fishy for a week or more, as cooking the live batch did.


In other food developments, I've started using Worcestershire sauce as an alternate salad vinegar, e.g. olive and Worc instead of olive and balsamic. It's a nice change of pace.

Also, why'd it take me so long to try toasted sesame oil on spinach? Big improvement. Makes the regular salad interestingly different too.

Fish

2015-Oct-23, Friday 18:57
mindstalk: (food)
From the last post, the Chicken Council's table has Americans eating about 15 pounds of seafood a year. How do I compare to that? At first I thought I'd blow it away, but on further thought, I don't think so. It's hard to really tell, since I usually buy it intermittently, but let's see: 15 pounds is 60 4 oz servings, enough for one every six days. Or an 8 oz serving every 12 days. Does that match my life?

Not as a regular thing, no; that is, if you picked a random week, I think it would likely to have had no seafood. OTOH, when I do, it's often in bigger chunks: eating 8-12 oz of home cooked salmon, pigging out dim sum (I'll guess 50% shrimp), or going on a sushi binge. I suspect if you picked a random two week period it would still more likely than not have seafood, but the ones that do might make up for that. So 15 pounds might be about right. Probably not more.

Mind you, the table number is the mean consumption. I suspect many Americans eat almost no seafood, while others have it more regularly; I might well beat the median seafood consumption.

Some source I didn't keep had shrimp as the biggest US component; I wondered if a lot of that was "surf and turf" shrimp and steak, which always seemed weird to me.

Of course, habits change. For a while I was eating canned tuna somewhat regularly, as a cheap seafood/protein source. Then canned salmon, for more fats and flavor. (Mostly straight from the can, almost as a nutritional supplement; I've never had good ideas for combining them with other foods. Yes, I know tuna salad is a thing, I grew up with it occasionally.) But more recently I'd buy salmon fillets rarely, and most often have dim sum or sushi.

And then, a few weeks ago, I decided to tackle Mediterranean/Japanese diet by brute force, and almost all the meat I've bought since then has been seafood. Mussels, frozen salmon and tuna, canned salmon and small ocean fish and clams, frozen cooked mussels (it's okay, I doubt I'll repeat that one), plus going out for sushi a lot, or having spicy seafood udon at D&D last night. If I keep it up, I'd probably eating 135 lbs of seafood a year. Pbbt!

I hope that this annoying cold/sore throat that cropped up at the same time is entirely coincidental. I mean, has to be, right?