Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Times

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Another fantastic pair of holidays looms on the horizon. To welcome them, Adam and I have set up a shrine in our front room. It's our first tree together- the first tree either of us have had outside our parents' houses. Kind of feels like "baby's first Christmas". Carried it the eight blocks home. Got a cute little squat thing and so far all we've done is drap it with white lights. Am hoping to get popcorn and cranberry chains up after this weekend. Going for a nice red/white theme to match the front room- decorating is fun!

Good times! Good times! Wrapped up the vacation weekend with more socializing. In the middle of it I wrapped up a tiny bottle cap monster from... yikes... started probably a year ago. Made some use of all those white feathers I got for the Halloween costume. Golly gee, but don't those teeth look fantastic on the little fellow? His throat extends quite a way- he lives at work now and has a quarter shoved down in there and you can't even tell.

Also- I've discovered a great new video game! It's called Amazon Mechanical Turk! Instead of earning points, you earn pennies! About as worthless as any video game out there. I've been picking up a couple tasks here and there as sort of mental cigarett breaks. About on par with playing Spider Solitaire, but with worse graphics. I like the tagging mini games the best. Adam doesn't really approve of it, but really, he hates all the computer games I play. This evening had a good quote from him:
I'm playing a game similar to your game. It has a bit higher stakes. It's called "Peer to peer lending".

... oh! And now I hear crab season is finally on! Sweet!
p.s. - in other "happy times" news, we decided to spend New Years in Paris. So there's that to look forward to...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Venn Diagram Pie & 2.6 pounds

I saw a picture on the Internet a while back. It was of a pie that looked like a Venn Diagram. Not sure where I came across it (probably Reader, may it rest in peace), but it struck me. It was a striking combination of:
* delicious looking
* nerd humor
* engineering challenge

Therefor, I knew several weeks ago what I would be bringing to Thanksgiving. I had idly thought about it off and on so when Thanksgiving morning rolled around and I still had not lifted a finger to start on this project, I was not worried. (Adam was)

All I had was (the memory of) a photo, Adam's book How To Cook Everything, and the experience of having cooked one apple pie several Thanksgivings ago under my mother's watchful eye.
The order of actions went thus- pie crust, shopping, apple half internals, pie tin, berry half internals, curst into tin, filling of pie. BAM! Done! You throw that sucker in the oven and you get out the tastiest damn pie ever. I've no doubt I'll make this again.

Given that all the edible stuff came directly from the above mentioned book, I'll not dwell on it. The pie tin aspect was surprisingly easy and fun. I traced it on paper, picked the degree of overlap, and marked the intersection point on both tins. And then... and then... I used the Dremel! Definitely improves the cooking experience- to go from screeching aluminum and safety glasses to the soft thump-thump of a rolling pin and the smell of butter. Contrast- the spice of life.

I cut the edge of the pie between the intersection points and then along the bottom edge up to the points. Being fantastic cheap pie tins, I was easily able to clean up the ragged edges with a pair of scissors afterwards. I would not recommend scissors for the whole thing even though it is possible due to the... twist? torque? scissors put on the material when you're making initial cuts into something. The tin was easy to deform and I did not want it so.
Afterwards I wove it together- the pie whose bottom is on top wraps its edges along the outside and the bottom tin's edges wrap along inside. Used clothespins to hold them in place while I wrapped the whole thing in tin foil (an initial layer wrapping from the bottom up, a second layer laying on top wrapping over the edges and down)

The actual pie assembling was fun, if rather brief. Apples and blackberries. Fantastic combination. The lattice top was fun- makes me think I would enjoy making challah bread...

Turns out apple slices you prepare for pie are super tasty when eaten straight up! All that sugar and... sugar.... Had enough left-over pie crust (the whole thing being just a single serving of the "Pie Shell for a Two-Crust Pie" recipe) that I managed to make use of my new little silicone baking cups which made me happy. Haven't cooked them yet, but I've faith it'll work out.

After all this we went to the GWS House for Thanksgiving. It was fantastic. Looked great, tasted great, had a great time. It may be hard to believe, but everything was made from scratch! (well, except for the gravy) Don't think that there was some sort of pre-event announcement dictating it must be so. That's just the type of awesome folks I hang out with. Everyone had pride in what they brought.

After a brisk walk in the cold, we circled back for dessert. A rough estimating exercise suggested that there were 10+ sticks of butter in total put into all the combined desserts. Yummie!

Afterwards people hung out. Adam got me a hookah for my birthday and there was a pleasant social inaugural smoking of it once the sweets were consumed. Then I took a nap while Adam played Starcraft late into the night.

It was a good day. I am thankful for the great life I live.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grumpy Times

Super achy and ill for Halloween (actually the day before, but it carried over). Post about costumes made will be forth coming once I get photos back of them.

While pouting on the couch on Sunday, there was some up-sides to things. Reading indie books on my Kindle! I finished book 2 and started into book 3 of the Jenny Pox series. I would recommend them, but I feel the same hesitation that I read in the review that made me read them. It reads like a YA book but there are definitely some non-YA parts to it (sex, violence). In my opinion, the mix is probably the reason I liked them. Also, it was *perfect* Halloween reading material. And timed well with the recently released Contagion movie.

I also played some Triple Town, which is really really fun right up until the point that you run out of moves and need to wait for them to replenish. Then it really sucks. I however put the waiting time to good use :

Not sure if I've got the patience to keep playing though. Alas. Waiting makes me grumpy.