azurelunatic: Chocolate dessert, captioned No Artificial Shortages  (no artificial shortages)
Belovedest has mentioned a few times that it's hard to get your hands on a nice meat pasty around these parts. I contemplated the matter and asked a few questions.

At length, it seemed like it was a good day to try.

My reliable source for understanding the principles behind what I'm cooking is Serious Eats. So I read through the pie crust stuff again. (Incidentally, the site is a clickbait hole for DELICIOUSNESS.)



2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces; 350 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces; 280 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons (3 ounces; 85 milliliters) cold water

I looked at the amounts involved.

There was no way that I was going to be able to fit all that flour and butter into my food processor, which is an attachment to my stick blender. I looked closely at the amounts.

It so happens that the ratio of cups of flour to sticks of butter is 1:1. So I decided that I could make a test batch, one cup and one stick. The salt and sugar is less important, and in fact the sugar is kind of not what I wanted for a pasty dough.

I put 2/3 of the flour together with the butter and a bit of salt, then added a little water and more of the flour. (Probably not how I should have done it.) Then I mixed it in a larger bowl with a little more water. My hands are rather hot, so I tried to cool them down with ice.

I wrapped it up in cling wrap and let it cool off in the refrigerator. I pulled it out a few hours later, and quartered the dough. I saw that it had distinct stacked layers, like a good steel blade. I was thrilled.

I rolled it out in the best tradition of my mother, between two sheets of parchment paper. (There is no rolling pin in this kitchen. I used a glass.) I stuck it back in the refrigerator, still between the sheets, to wait while I prepared the filling. (Parchment paper and waxed paper are easier to handle than cling wrap, for this.)

This was not a Cornish pasty. [personal profile] wohali said something about a chicken curry pasty, and I went "Oooo!" and she advised that you can use pretty much any chicken curry recipe, just dryer than usual.

I went for it.

My basic chicken curry is chicken plus a brick of golden curry sauce plus assorted vegetables, and oil as needed. This time I decided to cook the chicken thigh meat so it would be easy to separate from the bones in my multifunction fancy rice cooker, along with some spiced oil left over from a previous recipe, and some dry onions. I cooked the vegetables and the curry brick separately, only combining them all (and some potato flakes to sop up water and oil) at the end. My partner is much better at handling chicken meat in all its phases than I am, and stripped the meat from the bones before I mixed them together.

I did roll it too thin, and I let it get too hot when filling it.

Despite the holes, I stuck the crust together with egg wash, and egg washed the outside. (I used the leftover egg wash to make a little bit of curry scrambled egg, which my partner ate on top of their salad.)

I'd wisely said that if the food was not going to be ready by 10pm, we should eat something else. The pies came out of the oven just as we were finishing chicken nuggets, but we still had enough room to test half a pie each.


I will be making these again. And the dough process is relatively simple with the tools at hand, so my partner (who can follow a recipe, but isn't yet the cocky ass in the kitchen that I am) may wind up learning the process too.

I put together a bit of sweet pie dough just now, and it's chilling in a ball in the refrigerator. I'm thinking that some fruit pies might be in order...
azurelunatic: Logo of Phoenix, AZ in orange and yellow, with shattered tile effect.  (cracked phoenix)
9:23 AM 3/22/2010
Best friend got shirts. Yay! :D

11:05 AM 3/22/2010
When I was driving back from Campbell, I saw a pair of Canada geese walking down the sidewalk, as casual as you please.

5:13 PM 3/22/2010
Put finishing touches on the essay, posted.

11:35 PM 3/22/2010
One of the sneaky things of sneakiness that I do: if I like a piece of fic, I will comment to it, because I am a permanent/seed user, and I have that thing where I get emailed a copy of every comment I make. Since the comment copy includes context, this includes a copy of the fic. Which I then helpfully label "fanfic" in my gmail. So not only have I left a few words to brighten the day of the author, I have a copy saved in case the original ever goes poof. This makes me happy. And hopefully the feedback I left makes the author happy.

7:35 AM 3/23/2010
("I picked him up pumping gas down on Castro!") (oh dear g-ds it is in my HEAD, why do songs I like that I have maybe only listened to twenty or thirty times in the past week get in my HEAD?)

1:39 AM 3/24/2010
Today: Free cone day at Ben & Jerry's. Went out later than I wanted to leave, caught BART, intended to catch bus. Fretted. Managed to completely not get which direction the bus was actually to go from the map, called JD in a tizzy, got pointed correctly (still upstairs of the BART station, didn't actually take wrong bus). Meanwhile, the Timely Bus had left the stop, to my Great Dismay. Waited for next bus. Arrived at Haight & Ashbury. Located JD, Teshi, and that-couple-who-we-all-met-through-Ursie-and-I-don't-know-if-they-have-internet-handles-or-not. Those four had already got their cones, but the line was fast. They walked with me through the line, but stopped short of going in a second time. We then strolled down through a park, past a DMV, and in the general direction of a bus stop, where we all parted ways: them for home, us for a bus that would take us to the Castro. I picked up some of the rose gelato that I have been craving for weeks. Carefully husbanded, it should last me a while.

The boys went their way and I went mine. Before hopping on BART for home, I picked up some produce at one of the little grocery stores around the neighborhood. $3 can get you an AMAZING amount of produce in the right season. I had wanted a cucumber and an avacado. I got three cucumbers, two avacadoes, and two bundles of asparagus. Happiness!

On the way back home, as often happens, I got smacked with a sudden insight about the Cracked Phoenix universe. I've been discovering that I am in fact writing in a viable AU, and not just a universe that is like our own except that magic works there, and no-one has actually met any of the characters who inhabit it. In the AU, we've already established, in order:
* Magic works (duh, that point was necessary for the universe to work) (let's not talk about what happens in non-consensus reality in *this* universe...)
* Mike likes Raistlin/Crysania smut
* there is a lot of Raistlin/Crysania smut (first major point of differentiation)
* Dragonlance is a big fic fandom (major point of differentiation)
* Mythbusters is a different-shaped fandom
* Mythbusters has a lot of fic and other fanworks

So on my way home, I was thinking that if there are fandoms from our universe that are not All That in theirs, there must of course be fandoms from our universe that never really caught on in theirs (I think Harry Potter enjoys a moderate-sized fandom, but there was never actual Pottermania, but I would have to check that with them to make sure), and even fandoms that don't even exist in ours.

"Like what?" I asked myself.
"Well, like Darkside Knightmares, for one," Mike and another part of my brain answered.

*facepalm* Hi, world. Apparently the anime that [ profile] sithjawa and I were being silly and outlining actually exists in their universe. HOW IS THIS MY LIFE.

8:45 PM 3/24/2010
Sushi night! Homemade, of course, featuring avocado, cucumber, cream cheese, and smoked salmon (all hail Trader Joe's, purveyor of inexpensive little packets of smoked salmon!)
azurelunatic: stick figure about to hit potato w/ flaming tennis racket, near jug of gasoline & sack of potatoes (bad idea)
[ profile] gameboyguy13 came home from Vegas (yay AF! I'm glad it went so well for you guys this year!) and since airplanes and trains on the same day are cranky-making, and also since [ profile] ursamajor and [ profile] hyounpark were in town, it was as good as any for an excuse to meet up and have fun. (More on that later.)

Since I am a heretic who doesn't believe in breakfast food, and I also have the disconcerting habit of eating nearly the same thing almost every day for weeks on end, it was necessary to get things such as cereal and milk for the JD. (I also don't suffer lactose well.) I also picked up a half-dozen spicy Italian sausages, on the grounds that hey, I do like sausage. (JD was not a taker as there had been many too many hot dogs in his recent past, plus, he was still suffering from the effects of overindulgence in spirits on the previous day.) (On the way out of the Trader Joe's parking lot, I identified my aunt's SUV by its license plate, and waved like crazy. This doesn't happen often.)

Upon getting up in the morning and deciding it might be time for breakfast, yeah, I decided to start the sausages, and dumped them in the frying pan and turned it on. (It was turned on high.) I promptly forgot to turn it to low, but assumed that I had, because I'd meant to, and skittered for the bathroom to See To Female Needs and put on some clothings.

The Female Needs were rather more ... dire ... than I'd thought, and required cleaning products as well as feminine products. I started to smell something that might be the sausages, and scurried through the rest of the cleanup and threw my nightgown back on rather than bother dressing and raced back to the kitchen.

Happly, there were no flames. However, the sausages in the frying pan had begun to billow alarming amounts of smoke. JD was still happily immersed in his computer, and hadn't noticed a thing. As I rather hurriedly told JD to open the door, not that one, the glass one, the smoke alarm went off.

I stood there in my faded and ink-spotted pink nightgown, working the front door like a bellows to clear the worst of the sausage smoke from the apartment, the smoke alarm still blaring, JD jumping at the smoke detector, fanning at it, wearing his glasses and a pair of boxers. Someone, I believe my upstairs neighbor, popped around and asked whether everything was all right.

It was, I assured him, and "just a sausage incident."

JD, in plain view of the door, turned colors.

Once the smoke cleared, I finished cooking the sausages. They were tasty, aside from the burned bits.
azurelunatic: Homosexuality is an abomination unto the Lord. Here are some equal abominations according to the Bible. Quote one, quote (abomination)

My cousin and I are toying with the idea of making bacon ice cream. Possible limiting factors include:

My aunt will not be all about that
There is no ice-cream maker
There is not much room in the freezer
The original recipe my cousin was thinking of has vanished from the forum it was in
I have never made ice cream before as one of the cooks

However, there is bacon, we have recipes, and we are resourceful.

If bacon ice cream happens, there will be pictures, and since I suspect [ profile] tupshin would take a dim view of these things happening in his jurisdiction without sharing in the bounties, we'd have to save some and schedule a visit to LJ Central.
azurelunatic: Fudge swirled with the LiveJournal logo.  (LJ fudge)
If you managed to decipher any useful content out of yesterday's voice post, you would have discerned that in order to make supper, [ profile] luminairex and [ profile] squidheadjax and I were reduced to caveman antics vs. a pair of large cans of cream-of-mushroom soup.

[ profile] stevieg had previously used a table knife with extra stabbity to open the can of evaporated milk that I'd needed for the fudge, so I proposed the use of this same knife to open the cream-of-mushroom soup for use in the cream sauce for the noodles.

The results were unorthodox and involved a lot of giggling. Once my can was open a very little bit, I tried using a baster to suck the concentrated soup out. No such luck. [ profile] luminairex described the texture of the substance as "like chunky language )", so all the baster did was make a mess and get soup concentrate splattered on the front of the stove. Attempting to use said baster to inject hot beef broth into the can was similarly un-helpful.

It was at about this point that I decided that the whole endeavor needed documentation, and first whipped out my trusty cellphone ("You're voice posting this? Hahaha!") and then my little camera ("OK, pose with the knife -- not so much stabby; the camera doesn't handle motion well..."), to much giggling and other general hilarity.

Pictures! )
azurelunatic: "Food Pr0n", cherries.  (food pr0n);f=120;t=13827 -- outlining 101.
There is now a [ profile] note_to_husband, for those who have 'em. -- desk looks crazy uncomfortable, but the idea is reasonably worthy. -- Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager. (I'm sending this one to Darkside.) -- through vaccinations untold...

Still needed to do: tell the tale of the pool incident, work harder on the hissstorical fic, and then write "Come Summer". All in November. I can do it.

My foot is feeling a lot better. This day of general rest and random ibuprofen has done a lot. I woke up on Sunday feeling like something had exploded near my foot, but nothing that I knew of had happened. Upon examination, everything seemed intact, just bruised a lot. As Monday is my day off, I made with the horizontal or at least the in bed until it was time to go give plasma, which was more horizontal. Then I cautiously attempted some shopping with ibuprofen, and that went reasonably well. I can now almost walk without limping. I suspect that there was a lot of inflammation that was flaming away merrily, and only getting itself worse because it hurt so much.

Because I have been on a cooking kick ... well, that's not quite accurate.

One of the items on my to-do list was to rotate a shelf. It was leaning in one direction, when it ought to have been leaning in the other. This was due in large part to the fact that my liquor cabinet was up on the top shelf of this shaky free-standing wooden shelf. Everything was offloaded, the heavy stuff was moved to the bottom, and life became better. I noticed, however, that there was expired stuff, and stuff that was about to expire. This meant that the expired stuff got tossed, and the about to expire stuff is going in creative cookery this month.

Mushroom soup was on the list, so that means mushroom soup and rice stuff. Mama usually does that with meat, but the only random meat I had on hand that I could think of was the oversalted very very dry beef jerky in the bottom of the refrigerator. That turned out to be perfect in context. I had thought to freeze lunch-size containers of it, but I've been un-freezing them at a rate that suggests that I could have skipped the freezing part. I cooked that on Saturday.

And since this brief foray into domesticity is an inspiration, though an inspiration to what, we're not sure, I baked bread tonight. Bread is a good thing. Except we lack a serrated bread knife. Alas. Though I can fix that at some point like Wednesday-ish, or maybe Tuesday-ish if I get up enough before work to visit the dollar store and acquire same.

I have "Rocky Raccoon" stuck in my head, and a corresponding desire to name some random character "Nancy McGill" to see who would get it.
azurelunatic: Rock in the sea, captioned "stationed forever on a far-distant rock" (Housewife's Lament)
Mythbusters on the 5-second rule. My conclusions from same: "If it's dry, you shouldn't die. If it's wet, don't bet."
Duplicate the Mythbusters' 5-second-rule surface-culture explorations in your own kitchen! (You may not want to eat there again!)

Kitchen science: using ice cubes to cool very hot crock pot stews to a temperature where they'll be safer when refrigerated.
Also, split up very hot things-to-be-chilled into smaller portions, to avoid them remaining at temperatures where Things Like to Grow for very long. Recommended: food handler's card training, much in the same way that most computer-geeks have accumulated enough general machine knowledge to pass an A+ course, even if they have never gone for that.

Cookbooks and recipes are the reusable code of the cooking world. Someone else figured out that this hack works. It will probably work for you, perhaps with a little tweaking. Keep to the standards until you're comfortable customizing it.
The crockpot is a wonderful method of doing a batch job while cooking. is a wonderful place for kitchen geekery. Take note of the recipes -- they're very easy to follow if you're used to following graphic diagrams. Flow is left to right and top to bottom, like typical English-language writing.

For the love of gods, under-salt while cooking and bring the shaker, rather than over-salting.

Do not thermally shock your cookware -- if it's hot and needs to be washed, get the sink started running *hot* water, rather than dunking it in COLD.
azurelunatic: Rock in the sea, captioned "stationed forever on a far-distant rock" (Housewife's Lament)
Toilet. Large carnivorous lizard. No injuries!

[ profile] pornish_pixies: "About Face" -- Harry/Draco. Crackfic.

[ profile] fryadvocate writes "The Best Part of Breaking Up" -- Barbie, Ken, et cetera. Crackfic.

[ profile] underpope spawns "Braiding the Monkey" as a new phrase (or euphemism) of dubious meaning.

Last night I turned off the soup and put it in containers in the refrigerator. It had started to stick to the sides in the most disconcerting way. I do not think that I have the spare time it takes to properly tend a perpetual soup! Not at the moment. I am still not sure how many hours I am working tomorrow. For that matter, I'm still not sure how much I'll be working today...
azurelunatic: "Food Pr0n", cherries.  (food pr0n)
I've long heard tell of the sort of soup that keeps going year after year, like a rather delicious family tradition. I've never had one of those. The closest I've had is the chicken soup Mama made, the one she stewed down for a few days (resting in the refrigerator in between to skim off the layer of grease) before serving.

This is a Stew.

I started it the other night with a package of beef and some potatoes and carrots. It's good. It's been hungry, since then -- I was running low on the meat in there, so I wound up partially thawing and then dumping in some chicken. Now it's cooked through, and starting to get tender and juicy, so I tore it apart a little, added more carrots and corn, and dumped in potato flakes to give body. (I'm too tired to wash and slice real potatoes right now.)

I never knew that feeding a soup was such dedicated work.

I've also decided that it needs a fume hood.
azurelunatic: Seated baby in incubator shell with electrodes.  (Cyteen)
Of course, I'm not at all sure that what I possess is really grace under fire, and not just a blockheaded refusal to actually give in to panic. I can feel it there inside me, trying to chew through to my core, or chew out of the containment it's inside, or something. I did not get anything Tuesday-wise done, not seriously. Yes, I did pick up a bit, and kitchen stuff like getting the cherry syrup into bottles and getting the sugar-sludge from the bottom of the cherry jar into the other cherry jar, and the boozy cherry liquid out of that cherry jar so that the sugar-sludge could go in.

Boy oh boy, I'm specific.

It occurs to me that I probably want to point out that yes, things in this journal do get locked, and I don't automatically friend back, though most who've stuck around for any appreciable length of time will notice that. There's no hard and fast rule about when I do and when I don't, but some sort of pre-existing relationship tends to be a rule, either that or interaction, and it takes a really significant amount of niftiness for me to add someone without either of those. And I have not much spare time these days. I have over 50 recent messages in the inbox waiting for attention of some sort. I don't mind it when people read me, though, as long as there isn't any creepy-stalker thing going on. (To date, I think one LJ person has tripped my alarms on that front, and they're quite tidily banned. And out of a rather intimidatingly-sized Also Friend Of list, that's really not bad, just the one!)

I finally managed to put things in the formerly empty cupboard over the refrigerator. It's a really awkward one to get at, if there's stuff on the top of the refrigerator. I wound up putting the great huge pot in there, the spare tea jar, the glass cake plate, and the container of paper plates up there, all together. I don't use those, any of them, not regularly, and they're all large enough to take up cupboard space that could be used for something more frequently used.

And Lady Malfoy has started sitting near my heart and cooving softly to herself. I have not heard much from Darkside. I wouldn't expect that I would. (Cooving is an onomatopoeic word from a dialect of the chicken language; it refers to the loud worried calls of a hen, especially a broody hen, and especially especially a particularly worried grey mother-hen of my family, named Chickabird.) ... I think it's bedtime. (Oh, no, I've said too much.)


azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
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