Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hot Rum Cow

I made a new drink tonight, delicious.

From The Kitchn:
Hot Rum Cow

8 ounces milk
1.5 ounces dark rum
1 oz Licor 43 (my special addition)
1 drop aromatic cocktail bitters
1 drop vanilla extract
brown sugar
grated cinnamon and/or nutmeg for sprinkling

Heat the milk in a saucepan on low, taking care not to scorch it. Meanwhile combine bitters, vanilla, and rum in a mug (I pre-warmed mine by filling it first with a bit of hot water, allowing it to stand a minute, and then emptying it before adding the ingredients). Top up with warm milk and stir in brown sugar to taste (I used a single teaspoon of it). Sprinkle with cinnamon and/or nutmeg.

January 2009

Fun, Picasa 3 has a collage maker. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past month.

Most need no description, but here they are anyway. Two of Simone sitting in a tree - she loved it up there. Mary and Simone reading a book together (happens a couple dozen times a day). Simone took Flamingo for a walk with us last week - it was so beautiful the bird just had to get out and stretch her legs. The closeup of the eye is something Simone likes taking - they're pretty fun. Mary is modeling her latest creation - a kitty-cat hat for Simone (pink ears and everything). On that sunny walk we met the nicest kitten ever. And the moon-rise was on a lovely walk right before dinner in the freezing cold.
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Sauerkraut, Again

I think I've made 4 batches of kraut now, and they're each a little different. I really like the crunch of the cabbage - so I've been playing with variations to try to keep as much crunch as possible.

The first thing I did was slice the cabbage really wide - over an inch wide. That was a pain to deal with because it didn't compact very well - even after it had sat with the salt for a day. The resulting kraut was pretty tasty, but perhaps a little too wide. I also left the strips 2-6" long - I didn't want sauer-coleslaw. One thing I did notice (fairly obvious now), was that the top half of the batch was not nearly as crunch as the bottom half - and that was because I had been pressing down pretty hard to get it to fit and to remove the air bubbles.

To save space, but still have a nice wide strip, my third batch was sliced about 1/2" wide, and I didn't press on it at all (other than the weight of the bag of water). To get the air bubbles out of the cabbage I shook the crock. This time the entire batch was nice and crunchy. It seems as though the fermentation happens through about 1/8" of the cabbage leaves, leaving about half the leaf really crunchy.

I also added some carrot slices to see how they'd react. I'd tried pickling carrots on their own - only to get salty carrots. The carrots in the kraut were so-so, still pretty crunchy, and slightly pickled. I don't think I really care about pickled carrots and probably won't try them again. Perhaps some radish or something else.

The last batch (currently fermenting) is the same as the last, only no carrots. I'm hardly even watching this batch, I've only checked on it twice in almost as many weeks. I might let it ferment a little longer - depends on how fast I finish the last quart that's in the fridge.

Each batch makes between 3 and 5 quarts of kraut, and I've stopped giving any away b/c I eat it all (Simone helps).

Mary picked up some bratwurst the other day and I had some kraut with that - mmmm... the combination really is delicious. Even Mary appreciated it (she's not much for the kraut).

Here are a couple pics of the kraut process:

The 1/2 inch cabbage on the left (with carrots), ready to ferment, and a quart of the really wide stuff that had fermented pretty soft.

Simone helping fill the crock.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


One of my gripes about web pages is that too few have RSS feeds. I want to read them when they change, but it's too much of a pain to go back to that page day after day (especially when they only change every week or two).

Well, it's the internet - and somebody has solved that problem for me:

ChangeDetection - Know when any web page changes

You enter a URL, and customize how you want to be notified (email, RSS) and how often to check, and voila! You'll be notified when a change happens.

I've got two pages I'm watching, Bill Maher's New Rules which I find endlessly entertaining, and Obama's executive orders.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

John Stewart on W's Last Press Conference

I listened to W's last press conference. I was embarrassed to have him as my president, and relieved that he only had some 5 days left. John Stewart sums up my feelings pretty well - I was thinking the same things John was - only not as funny. Especially the part about Katrina (to land the plane or not).

I fear W is truly clueless enough to actually believe what he's been saying, which is probably a good thing, because the epic failure that is his life would be truly soul crushing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Vegas Versus Voting

Bruce Schneier points out the obvious (and sad) truth about voting machines versus slot machines:

And adds:

Other important differences:

* Slot machine are used every day, 24 hours a day. Electronic voting machines are used, at most, twice a year -- often less frequently.

* Slot machines involve money. Electronic voting machines involve something much more abstract.

* Slot machine accuracy is a non-partisan issue. For some reason I can't fathom, electronic voting machine accuracy is seen as a political issue.

Politics just boggles the mind.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Simone's First Long Walk, and Best Pho Ever

The other day, Mary, Simone and I went for a walk in the late afternoon. We wandered through campus when we realized we didn't really have any food back at the house, so perhaps we should eat out.

Walking along Monroe we stopped at a new (to us) restaurant, South East, which proclaimed it had Vietnamese sandwiches and Pho. Figuring they had salad rolls, we decided to check it out.

Side note: The Burley DeLite is about 1/2" too wide to fit through a standard door, which meant we had to leave it outside the restaurant to eat. The people at South East bent over backwards to accommodate us - opening their back door (same size), and eventually using the cable lock holding their outside tables/chairs down to lock our Burley. The 2009 version of the Burley no longer has the aluminum tubing as the suspension (if you check the link), which means it'd probably fit through the door just fine - though it'd be a PITA to lock up b/c there isn't a solid tube of metal through which to loop a cable lock.

We went inside, ordered, and Mary took Simone outside to burn off some energy - she ran around for 10 minutes solid. My first choice (spicy and exotic Hue rice vermicelli beef soup) was unavailable, so I chose the Pho. Big win - the soup rocked. I've generally liked Pho at other restaurants, but this bowl just knocked the flavor out of the park - I was ready to eat another bowl before we even left the restaurant. Mary's noodle dish (turned out to be Pad Thai) was good, but the salad rolls were disappointing (they had BBQ pork - which was over cooked and dry dry dry).

I'll be going back for the Pho very soon.

Simone wasn't ready to get in the Burley after dinner, so she alternated between walking around and pushing the stroller. She walked from South East all the way to the practice football fields. I mapped it out (see below), and it was 3/4 of a mile. New record!