Dessert Island

September 26th, 2010 by admin

Final!  X Marks the spot

I was invited to a pirate party last night.  There was a costume contest, a scavenger hunt, three legged peg legged races, grog, anti-scurry shakes, along with other adventures planned.  This brought up the question:  As a guest, what do I bring?  I’m not much of a costume person, and the drinks seemed covered (Except for rum, I couldn’t really think of a piratey drink).  So, I thought a dessert was the way to go.

So, I went to Price Chopper to get some ingredients.  I didn’t have much of a plan, but I thought the super market might inspire me.  I already had a lurking suspicion I wanted to make a cake.  To be more exact, a desert island cake.  Wandering the isles, I had two ideas:  A traditional cake, or a carrot cake.  The carrot cake was appealing since I could then use a carrot as the obligatory palm tree.  But, I couldn’t find a mix for carrot cake, and the recipes looked too involved for my time frame (I only had three hours to complete the cake).

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Three Accordions and a Trapezee

September 11th, 2010 by admin

Last night, I went to the Wiyos’ Gamville event last night.  It was awesome on so many levels.  First of all, Club Helsinki was amazing.  I’m not much of a bar person, but it’s a very neat place.  We were able to watch the whole show at our own table.  We had fried chickpeas, fried pickles, seared tuna, and roasted garlic.  They were pretty good, very good compared to most bar food.

But then the show started.  The Wiyos are pretty cool.  I have never heard them before, but I’m not particularly good at describing music, so if you’re curious check them out on Nippertown.  Then they got a pretty impressive beat boxer to be their drums.  I’m not a big fan of beat boxers, but he was real good.  In some ways, a beat boxer is a lot more appropriate than real drums, since he didn’t overwhelm the rest of the music.

The rest of the show just got weirder and cooler throughout the night.  After some bands played, then a belly dancer came out.  Then the intermission, and then a trapazee artist who, was actually an accordion player earlier in the night.  All of the band were pretty good, and were completely different.

All in all, it was completely awesome.  If you have the opportunity to see them, or their variety show, do it.

Alan Ruins the Internet

September 8th, 2010 by admin

I like internet recipes.  When cooking, I am often intimidated without something to start with.  But, at the same time, I find recipes too constricting.  I never listen to the recipes very carefully.  Sometimes, it works out, but not always.

I saw this recipe for some fresh marinara sauce.  But, it required four pounds of tomatoes.  I had a little over a pound and a half.  It asked me to mince my carrots, but I like big chunky pieces of carrots.  I also had some husk cherries, which are really just tiny little ultra sweet tomatoes.  While cooking, it smelled delicious: Fresh, and delicious.  It looked pretty good:

But, the taste was eh.  Not bad, but not great.  The husk cherries were just too sweet, and overwhelmed stuff.  And I think I cooked it too long, so the freshness went away.  I probably should have either cooked it longer to let the flavors really come together, or less to make it taste fresher.

Next, I tried to make some Moroccan Chicken.  This one was pretty much doomed from the start.  I didn’t have any chicken thighs.  I couldn’t find my oregano.  I didn’t have any preserved lemons.  A smart man would have given up.  I am not very smart.

I used chicken breasts instead of thighs.  I used real lemons instead of preserved.  The opinions were split on whether fresh lemons were appropriate:  “No, fresh lemons cannot be substituted for preserved lemons — they are totally different.” or “I just tried this dish with fresh lemons … and it came out quite well.” So, I was impatient and I made it:

It really had a lot of potential.  But it was just too bitter.  I am very touchy about bitterness, and I found it overwhelming.  I’m pretty sure the hour of cooking the lemon skins filled the entire dish with too much bitterness.

Next time?  I am going to try a different recipe for the tomato sauce, maybe this.  For the chicken, I think I’m going to try again, but with lemon juice instead of the whole lemons.