bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So last night, on a whim, I tried out Muqueca in Cambridge (down a bit from Inman Square). It's a Brazilian place that specializes in seafood. Specifically the titular Muqueca which is a seafood stew poured over rice topped with a sort of fish-based gravy.

It is super-yummy. Lots of great flavors all blended together. Throw in some fried yucca and/or plantains and a fruity drink -- delicious. They also had a pretty wonderful flan as well.

So an interesting option if you're in the neighborhood.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So normally I don't put much (if any) effort into cooking. I've settled on a basic, boring dish that takes almost no effort to make, keeps well and is halfway nutritious. Thanksgiving is the one time when I take up arms against a sea of confusion and try to actually cook stuff.

Last year, with some able assistance, I made an amazing turkey. This year, I did a few new things including:


  • I made a pie crust. Not a dough crust, more of a crumble crust. But still, pie crust, in the tin plate and everything.
  • I made the pie filling, a butterscotch pudding from scratch. I melted sugar, I stirred in the cream and brown sugar and other stuff and I made a butterscotch pudding. First time ever. And I didn't need to wash the saucepan or the spoon or the bowl it chilled in because I licked those suckers clean.
  • I figured out the difference between boiling and simmering.
  • I made a gratin. Never did that before, turned out great.
  • I got to work with brussel sprouts -- which are a vegetable I want to mess around with more. Really, I just want to make the buffalo brussel sprouts they have at highland kitchen (note -- don't let me learn how to do this, I won't eat anything else).


So yeah, successes all around and a wonderful Thanksgiving.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So here's what I've been up to:

Seen: Went to see The World's End a couple weeks ago. This is the third of the unconnected trilogy of movies by Edgar Wright starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. So this comes after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It's a pretty sharp British comedy and like it's predecessors is informed by American tastes but doesn't adhere to them. So it's a nice change of pace from what you normally get.

In a nutshell, Gary King (Pegg) was the King of the Roost in high school and on their final night, he and his 4 buddies went out on the town to try the golden mile -- a one-mile pub crawl through 12 different establishments ending at the titular "The World's End". But being teenagers with more bark than bite, they peter out about halfway through.

Now in his 40's Gary decides to get the band back together again for another run at the mile. He manages to dragoon all of his old cronies back to their small hometown and they set off for adventure. But a lot has changed and their hometown has a decidedly sinister new feel to it.

I was surprised at how very, very good the fight scenes in this movie were. The action was exciting but coherent, you could follow what was happening and who was doing what to whom and where people were in relation to one another in any given shot. Although everyone fought with more skill than you would expect, it still felt "real". If you imagine an axis between "bar fight" and "wuxia martial arts films", the movie sits in between leaning towards the former. They were just nice fight scenes.

The rest of the movie was good too. Humor operating on several different levels, most of the characters got some real development time and a few moments of real emotional connection. The film barely passes the Bechdel test, but there's only one major female character and she wisely flees as soon as she can. I can't remember a single POC in the film.

If you are in or near your forties, the movie will sing to your soul. Or at least it did mine.

Also, this weekend I watched Her Master's Voice, a short film available over Netflix streaming. Nina Conti is a British ventriloquist and comedian. Her act is pretty killer. She got into ventriloquism while working with Ken Campbell who she was dating for a time. Nina is thinking of giving up on ventriloquism and then Ken dies. In his will, he gives her all his puppets and asks that she take one of them to Kentucky to be placed in Venthaven, a sort of museum/memorial for ventriloquist dolls and their owners. She's also encouraged to attend the annual Ventriloquism convention taking place in the same area.

Up-front the main problem is that Conti is self-documenting her trip and so she gets to control what you see and hear about. There are a lot of questions about her relationship to Campbell that never get asked or answered and you don't get a full sense of why she's struggling now. Still, it's a very moving and interesting slice-of-life piece made all the more fascinating by the fact that Conti carries on long dialogues with Monkey (the puppet she uses on stage) and the various puppets left to her by Campbell.

One of the issues Conti struggles with is the relevance or meaning of ventriloquism. She was encouraged by Campbell to rescue this art form, but she wonders how to move forward with it. In this film there's a lot of ventriloquism and none of it is Charlie McCarthy in nature.

Anyway, I rather liked it and it's a diverting little film.

Eaten: The other exotic fruit I've been meaning to try is the dragon fruit and I had it twice this past weekend. The dragon fruit is way easier to prepare than the mangosteen was. The edible part of the fruit is white, shot through with tiny, black, edible seeds.

It tasted like....well...nothing really. Kind of a very, very mild kiwi flavor. Supposedly, they're wildly nutritious but given the bold exterior, it's sad how unimpressive the actual fruit is. If you're thinking about serving them, I'd toss them into a fruit salad where their spotted appearance adds contrast, but let other fruit do the flavor work.

Reading: Last week I finished up Helliconia Spring by Brian W. Aldiss. This is the first book in the classic Helliconia series (Sping, Summer, Winter). Aldriss postulates a binary star system where the smaller star and it's solar system orbit the larger one in an orbit that takes some 2500 years to complete. This long orbit results in blistering hot summers and ice-age winters and as a result two groups of sentient beings have evolved to flourish in one season or the other. For the winte, the minotaur-like Phagor rule the glacial planet, but in the summer, humans (or rather, very human-like beings) take their place. This book covers the rise of humans and the initial change of seasons.

The book was a fun read, but I'm not sure I'm in a rush to pick up the following volumes. There are detailed notes at the back where Aldriss explains cosmology and biology and how it all interacts. It makes for fascinating reading and the grand sweep of the book is bracing. I'm not sure why I'm not rushing out to pick up the next volume, but I think I like the ideas it generates in me rather than reading out what Aldiss has in mind.

Still, worth a look if you like your fairly hard sci-fi world-building.


later
Tom

New Things

Aug. 23rd, 2013 11:21 am
bluegargantua: (default)
Hi,

So last night I ate a mangosteen (not [livejournal.com profile] mangosteen).

It took a little effort to figure out how to get the rind off, but we didn't mess up too badly. With a bit of practice it will be on the right side of the effort-to-get-at-the-food/nutional-value-of-the-food ratio.

It was...very interesting. Kind of banana-y. Mercifully it wasn't like guava or durian or passion fruit which I find to be the "acquired tastes" of the fruit world.

They were also way pricey. So I'll stick to apples, but I'm glad I tried them.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hi,

So I had some vegetable stock sitting around from when I did a turkey last year and it was about to hit its "use by" date. It occurred to me that one container would be about 2/3rds the amount of water I put into my rice cooker when I'm making up a large batch.

So I put the rice and the stock into the pot, added another 2 cups of water, tossed in some pinto beans and about a 1/3 of the can worth of extra water and put it all into the rice cooker.

It came out really, really well. I had just enough liquid in there, not too much so it was soupy and not so little it stuck and burned. It was moist but fluffy and really tasty.

So something to spice up the rice. Hooray!

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So we're wandering around the New England Aquarium before our dinner at City Landing. We're headed back to the restaurant when this heavy duty work truck rolls by and on the side it says "AAA Battery Installation".

I look at the signage on the back of the truck and see the car battery (made by the American Automotive Association) and then I get it but for a brief, shining moment, I thought someone was making a living replacing triple-A batteries.

"My remote doesn't work anymore."
"It just needs new batteries, sir."
"Oh...could you put them in for me? I just don't understand these new-fangled contraptions."

In other news City Landing is a really nice restaurant. We had duck bruschetta and then I got trout and she got the lobster bake and we both got lots of tasty drinks and then took a nice walk down the Kennedy Greenway to South Station and the long Red Line ride home.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So tonight at Downtown Wine and Spirits in Davis I cam across Chocolate Shop Wine -- a red wine infused with dark chocolate.

"Well, this is either going to be amazing or horrible, but why not take a chance and find out?"

Dear readers, it is freakin' amazing. It's chocolate and cherries and red wine and delicious.

Recommended
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

So a friend mentioned that she loves root beer floats, but dairy problems prevented having them. Well you know me, I like ,,helping,, so I thought about how to fix that.

So the ice cream is easy, you just get coconut milk ice cream in vanilla bean flavor. Coconut milk ice cream is, quite possibly, better than real ice cream. Obviously, the coconut flavor always comes through not matter what flavor it's supposed to be, but a strong vanilla bean flavor holds its own.

So now we're done right? Just get some high-end froo-froo root beer and you're good to go.

Yeah, that works, but I was thinking about this float idea while drinking an Angry Orchard Cider. This is my new favorite hard cider -- just incredibly tasty. Comes in a couple of different flavors including a ginger-laced variant that has a real apple pie taste.

Huh...apple pie...and ice cream...I wonder.

And so was born the Dariy-free, hard-cider float.

She really liked it. I have a bigger sweet tooth so it wasn't quite the pie a la mode I was hoping for. But it's still two great tastes whether you have them together or not.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

So this weekend basic math eluded me. So herewith are my instructions for future endeavors.

1.) If you have 24 miniatures and you want to use 3 basic colors for the pants/shirts, then you just paint every third miniature with the current color. Don't...don't break them up into groups of 8 and then paint three out of every group...I know why you thought that would work, but you also knew you'd wind up with 9, 9 and 6 and you still didn't stop.

Advanced hint: If you've got 4 colors, paint every fourth mini. If you have 6, paint every sixth mini. If you've got 24...you're painting an army of circus clowns and you should maybe re-think this project.

Oh! And if you have 8 colors, then yes, paint every eighth mini (but don't paint 2 or 3 in each group of 8).

2.) I know, I know, you're missing the custom rice measuring cup that came with your rice cooker, but the 1/2 cup dry measure seems to be right. Here's the deal. For every scoop, you put in 2 cups of water. If you only put in 3 scoops, you don't put in 12 cups -- that just leads to a mess. If you mean to put in six scoops (and I think you did) then that's fine, but otherwise...

Look, here's the formula -- 1 scoop = 1 full 2-cup measuring cup full of water.

Oh well, except for rice-y water everywhere no harm was done.
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

The choices get tougher and tougher...





Of course, Brunch is the compromise candidate
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

The choices get tougher and tougher...





Of course, Brunch is the compromise candidate
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

Honeycrisp apples are available in stores again!

Yay!
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

Honeycrisp apples are available in stores again!

Yay!
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So let me tell you about my dining experience this Sunday.

People have been raving about Journeyman for a while and I've been meaning to go for a long time, but never quite made it for one reason or another. Well, it was my birthday so it seemed high time. My friend V joined me for the excursion.

food porn behind the cut )

That really was it. We both got up and tottered outside and then sat down for a bit in the cool night air to let things settle a bit and enjoy the moon. It was a sublime dining experience. Probably the best meal I've ever had (if my mom is reading this -- it was the best restaurant meal I ever had -- honest!). Save your pennies cause it's pricey, but you totally get what you pay for and I left very, very happy.

So yeah, Journeyman Restaurant. Seriously good food.

later
Tom

ps. Photo's courtesy of V's iPhone (that's her finger you see occasionally).
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So let me tell you about my dining experience this Sunday.

People have been raving about Journeyman for a while and I've been meaning to go for a long time, but never quite made it for one reason or another. Well, it was my birthday so it seemed high time. My friend V joined me for the excursion.

food porn behind the cut )

That really was it. We both got up and tottered outside and then sat down for a bit in the cool night air to let things settle a bit and enjoy the moon. It was a sublime dining experience. Probably the best meal I've ever had (if my mom is reading this -- it was the best restaurant meal I ever had -- honest!). Save your pennies cause it's pricey, but you totally get what you pay for and I left very, very happy.

So yeah, Journeyman Restaurant. Seriously good food.

later
Tom

ps. Photo's courtesy of V's iPhone (that's her finger you see occasionally).
bluegargantua: (Default)
Today I went to Journeyman Restaurant for the first time.

I have never known what food is until now.

Details later when (if) the food coma ends
Tom

p.s. Oh. My. God.
bluegargantua: (Default)
Today I went to Journeyman Restaurant for the first time.

I have never known what food is until now.

Details later when (if) the food coma ends
Tom

p.s. Oh. My. God.
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

So they say "The cake is a lie".

However, when the head of QA was a former French Pastry Chef before getting this job (yeah, I dunno either), then the cake is most certainly not a lie.

The cake is true.

The cake is so true that it's possible that all other cakes become a lie.

I am the Power of Cakes
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

So they say "The cake is a lie".

However, when the head of QA was a former French Pastry Chef before getting this job (yeah, I dunno either), then the cake is most certainly not a lie.

The cake is true.

The cake is so true that it's possible that all other cakes become a lie.

I am the Power of Cakes
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
People who appreciate their dietary preferences...





hee
Tom

Profile

bluegargantua: (Default)
bluegargantua

June 2017

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11 121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 22nd, 2017 04:32 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios