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I found reusable refillable white board markers. They sell you a 6 or 12-pack of pens for $5/pen. Yikes, right? Nope! Here's why: they ALSO sell bottles of ink (=40 pens) plus new nibs. If you can keep track of your pen-bodies, you need never ever buy new ones.

http://www.ecosmartworld.com/order-auspen

Australian engineers = brilliant.
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"Hey, SeƱor! Konnichiwa!"
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Peel Russets. I cut mine into chunks, 4 discs along the length and then the end-rounds into thirds and the full cylinders into quarters. Spread them out in a roasting pan to form a single layer. I got about 1 1/2 potatoes in my 3 qt pot. A single layer is key for moisture evaporation: they need to roast, not steam. Pour some oil on them and stir well. You need enough oil to film the bottom of your dish. Bake at 350-375F until they're cooked through. IMPT: Stir thoroughly every 8-10 minutes to redistribute oil and loosen the potato chunks off the brown'n'crusty stuck layer. The crusty bit gives your potato the fried characteristic, similar to carnitas.

When the potatoes are all cooked through and the bottom crust is golden, remove from oven. Salt/pepper/season to taste, stirring well. Scrape the bottom of the roasting dish to loosen the crust and incorporate it into your potatoes. Resting the potatoes may hydrate the crust enough to loosen the rest of it.

Variation: lining the roasting dish with parchment or waxed paper will keep the potatoes from sticking, except for sticking to themselves, so the final result will be less mashed potatoes-y and more roasted-y.

Note: it didn't reheat particularly well. The brown crusty bits rehydrate to chewy. Only make enough for your current meal.
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Labelleizzy's friends need help with moving a community space as important to them as Hare House is to Pryanksters. Info here: http://zpdiduda.livejournal.com/573750.html

I'm helping here: http://zpdiduda.livejournal.com/573750.html?thread=3125558#t3125558

Eeee! Cake!

Jul. 1st, 2009 10:37 pm
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I think I want to bake something for the Party on Saturday. Think-tank minions are requested to suggest types of cakes. Or cookies. Or something. Probably cake because it is slightly more challenging and thus fun.

Thanks!
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Vanilla Pound Cake

1/2 lb unsalted butter
2 1/2 c cake flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 c whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9*5*3" loaf pan and line the bottom with waxed paper or parchment paper, then grease the paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each in thoroughly. Add vanilla, mix. Add salt and baking soda, mix well. At this point, everything should be Fluffy!! Mix in flour and milk by alternating thirds. Put batter into loaf pan, level the top, and bake until the skewer comes out clean. This took my oven about 1:40, the recipe states 1:15-1:20. Let the cake rest in the pan 15 minutes then loosen the edges and turn the cake onto a cooling rack. Remove the paper and re-invert the cake so it cools topside-up. Wash the pan and dry it; you need it for the next phase.



When the cake is cool, it is time to cut off the top, sides, bottom, whatever. You are making a hollow-core for the chocolate cream to fill, so it is ultimately Your Choice! about how much filling to cake you want in the final product. You could even slice it horizontally and fill the cake in a more standard fashion.


Chocolate Cream

10 oz tasty semisweet chocolate. I used El Rey 61%, a Venezuelan chocolate (bulk at Whole Foods)
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 c sugar

Chop the chocolate and put in a bowl that gives you an inch of headspace. In a small pot on the stove, bring 3/4 c cream to a near-boil. Pour hot cream over chocolate to melt the chocolate. Stir well to blend. This is what I rolled in cocoa for truffles; it is a soft ganache.

When the ganache is cool...

Take a medium mixing bowl and a whisk. Whisk together the remaining 3/4 cream with the granulated sugar until it gets fairly stiff. Add the ganache, whipping to blend (I had a helper with the pouring bowl--helpers prevent whipping-cream-collapse). Fill the gap in the cake, assemble the cake, and refrigerate three hours to firm up the center. An initial hour in the freezer works well to speed up that process.


ASSEMBLY NOTES

So you've got a cake and a knife. Get your clean cake pan. Line it with waxed paper to hang over the sides so you'll be able to lift the finished cake out of the pan without it falling apart on you. This is a good thing.

I cut off the top, then ends, then sides, then carved the bottom off the center block. Reassemble bottom, sides, and ends into the cake pan. Fill that gap with tasty filling, then put the top on.

One Could: Add clean, dry fresh raspberries or fruit zest into the chocolate cream during the filling; it's puddingy when freshly mixed up but will firm to a sliceable-yet-meltaway texture. Or add some quantity of liqueur to the ganache by substituting a tablespoon of booze for cream. Do not substitute the structural cream.

One Could Also: Let the chocolate cream firm up in a bowl until it is thick enough to hold together. Then one could slice the pound cake into horizontal layers and fill the cake with firm ganache. This would make the ganache obvious but give the cake a more stable presentation.

Alternatively One Could: Skip making the cake, and instead pour the chocolate cream into small ramekins on top of (or garnish with) fresh berries or lemon zest. Figure 1/4-1/3 c per person, so easily you could serve a dozen people from a single batch. Use less chocolate to soften the texture. Call it "chocolate mousse" and serve coffee alongside.



Five-minute Cheater Version:

If this is too much prep-work, get a frozen poundcake and chocolate Cool Whip. Take the top off the cake, hollow out the center by cutting a frame straight down, remove the bottom from that core and put it back in the cake. Fill the cake with Cool Whip, chill and serve. Just don't credit me for this monstrosity semi-homemade time-saver.
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This is the Maritime State Park at Hyde St Pier. Application is due May 22 (next Friday).

"Help the National Park Service foster stewardship for new and diverse generations of Americans. Receive training and then work for eight weeks from June 15 through August 14, 2009. In the fall, bring your experience back to the classroom to share with your students.

Teachers receive a $600 per week stipend, uniform, and a week of training conducted at the park. Teacher-Rangers will have the opportunity to get involved in a variety of activities including outreach efforts, writing and reviewing curriculum, conducting interpretive programs, and staffing the Visitor Center information desk."

http://www.nps.gov/safr/forteachers/trt2009.htm
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http://community.livejournal.com/cat_macros/4844688.html?nc=4

Does the device on the cat's head serve a medical purpose, and if so, what?
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From the AP on various sites:

Twelve barrels of lager destined for a pub called the Windsor Castle were delivered to the Queen's residence by mistake.

A lorry carrying 2,000 pints turned up at the real Windsor Castle but royal staff had no record of the order.

They called the pub with the same name five miles away in Maidenhead, Berkshire and discovered they were waiting for the delivery to arrive.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pak-rH0dCeA&feature=related

One intriguing theory I've run across is that the Republican Party may effectively be conceding the election with Palin's nomination, and that they wanted to pick someone whose future political career would not be unduly harmed by a fruitless VP run.
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