onefixedstar: (mystery)
Happy Canada Day! (Or happy Dominion Day for the old timers.)

I'm not being very Canadian today: no red-and-white clothing, no vacation at a lakeside cottage, no Canadian flag on the balcony, and I was thinking of trying Phil's southern barbeque for supper. And then maybe going to see Superman. Or possibly the fireworks.

Although essentially ignoring Canada Day, I did decide to celebrate summer yesterday by making my first batch of banana granita. The (completely artificial) banana flavour worked quite well, mimicking nicely the (completely artificial) banana flavour we had in Little Italy last week. It's too sweet, however, and the texture was more slushie than granita, so I'm going to try reducing the sugar in the next batch. This time I used a little over 2:1, so next time I'll probably go a little under and see if that helps. I'm also hoping that reducing the sugar will help it freeze faster, because it took about 18 hours with the current mix. (B's currently experimenting by diluting some of the existing slushie-substance with water, so we'll see how that goes too.)

My hard drive suffered some sort of crash last night. Two blue screens of death, and then a long chkdsk which resulted in many repairs of indices and reassigning of orphaned files. And now some programs don't work. I had to uninstall ZoneAlarm because it was blocking all of my browsers and never loading properly so that I could fix things (I plan to reinstall eventually), reinstall some Firefox extensions, and it looks like I'll need to reinstall WinDVD once I find the installation DVDs. Bah! And yet the computer still works, so I can't take it down to be repaired. Yet.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
I woke up this morning to find little notes scattered around the house, saying things like "pancakes are yummy" and "pinch me, I want pancakes." So I mixed up the batter, which is sitting in the kitchen (wet and dry still separate, of course), and now I'm waiting for the person who wrote those notes to wake up. Unfortunately, I'm not hearing any movement. If he doesn't wake soon, I'm going to start cooking the pancakes to see if the smell wakes him. Or maybe I'll do what he asked and pinch him...

Hey, does anyone know of any good B&Bs in Ottawa or Montréal? (Unfortunately, the people most likely to know of some are on the road today, but maybe they'll see this when they settle in somewhere.)
onefixedstar: (mystery)
Essay marking proceeds apace, with a few good papers, and a lot of papers demonstrating that students don't know how to properly cite material. The maximum length for the papers was 20 pages, double spaced, and I think that's probably too much for an undergraduate course. My guess is that only one-third of the students actually hit 20 pages, and many of those are stuffed with extraneous material. However, since I'm but the lowly TA, I don't get to determine the assignment parameters, and so it doesn't really matter what I think.

Much more exciting for me is the chicken we bought yesterday to roast today. I've been reading through roasting recipes in between essay marking, and now I want at least three or four chickens to roast so that I can experiment with different methods. First, there's the question of whether brining really makes the difference in moistness that some people claim. (Since I haven't started it yet, I won't be doing that this time.) Then there's the heat question--how high do I go? Start really high for really crispy skin, and then lower it down to 350 or so to cook the meat? Cover the breast at the beginning so that the meat stays moist, and then brown the skin at the end? Cook the chicken entirely on low heat for a very long time, as this recipe suggests? (Look at those reviews; there must be something to it!) And of course, there are seasonings to consider. Rosemary, garlic, onion, and lemon is popular. (Possibly with a bit of thyme or sage.) But then there's the spice mix in that other recipe. And probably many more possibilities if I were to look around. Oh, the choices!

Roast chicken! Chicken soup! Chicken fajitas! Chicken enchiladas! Chicken salad sandwiches! Yum, yum, yum.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
I had another slightly dull, work-filled, and productive weekend. Non-work highlights included a very good steak on Friday, courtesy of B, and three games of Clue on Saturday, all of which I lost. I also made some good headway on my TA and RA work, and got some comp reading done, all of which made me happy.

Now I'm up at my parents' place, hanging out with my sister, who's currently on spring break. So far I've been plied with homeade maple-peacan scones, homemade chocolate fudge, and a homemade cupcake, courtesy of my sister's pre-spring break weekend baking spree. Tomorrow we're making biscotti, and probably some more scones.
onefixedstar: (butterfly)
B and I went out for supper last night along College Street. The restaurant we went to was heartbreakingly empty; we were literally the only customers there, and probably wouldn't have gone in ourselves if we hadn't been there before and knew the food was decent. (And the food was decent, though sadly, they'd changed their menu and the French onion soup that had drawn us there in the first place wasn't being offered.)

As depressing as an empty restaurant must be for the owners, I've discovered there can be advantages for the patron in the form of extra-attentive service. As B was finishing his meal and I was still only half finished my beef medallions and clearly slowing, our waiter popped over and asked if everything was okay. When I confirmed that the problem was a waning appetite and not the quality of the food, he suggested that if I wasn't going to finish my meal, it would make an excellent sandwich the next day, as that cut works very well cold. He added that he'd put in some extra roasted red peppers for me when he wrapped it up, as those work particularly well on the sandwich.

When I finally gave up on the food, he came over to clear our plates, and asked if I'd like him to slice the beef, since he had some sharp knives on hand. Once he was done that, he just went ahead and made the whole sandwich for me, with lovely crusty bread and roasted red peppers, and packaged it all up nicely.

Mmm, steak sandwich with roasted red peppers.

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