Thursday, May 29, 2008

One thing I don't get

Among the many things I don't get is why people like horror movies. They basically do nothing for me. I kind of understand why people like the ones that are so stupid they are funny, but then why not just watch a comedy? As for ones that are actually scary, or on that rare occasion truly horrifying, who wants to be horrified by choice? I have been reminded of my lack of understanding by the upcoming movie The Strangers where, I believe, some people break into a house and torture and terrorize the couple inside. It reminds me of a movie I saw on TV when I was about 10 where some people broke into a house and terrorized and denigrated the female owner including a scene where she's bawling as they make her eat dog food. At the time it scared the bejeezus out of me (Is bejeezus a word outside of Louisiana?), and now I just think "watching a woman sob hysterically as she's treated like a dog is supposed to be entertainment?"

And yet I know that many completely normal, healthy people like a good horror flick and like being scared. Probably several of you fall into this category. I just don't get it myself.

You're all a bunch of freaks.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The experiment

Monday, the last day without N, there were two activities - war and cooking. War involved watching Prince Caspian again, going to a state park for Narnian battles, and then seeing some of Lord of the Rings. While the last thing was going on, I tried to create a new dish.

I've been doing crepes and there's a Korean style pancake called jun, so I tried to do crepes with some jun inspiration. There's a common jun with carrots, green onion, and seafood, so I took those things and put them inside a crepe. Here are the chopped ingredients (the seafood is shrimp and imitation crab).


I also added 1/4 rice flour into the normal French crepe, but I don't know if that improved the crepe; it just made it harder to fold. So, 1 cup of flour and 1/3 cup of rice flour. Mix with about 3/4 cup milk and a little more than a 1/2 cup water. Then cook up the crepes.

I also took N's mention of the old shrimp and spinach crepes as needing a little liquid, so I went sauce crazy at the store, using soy sauce, Thai fish sauce, a chili garlic sauce, and hoisin sauce (hoisin is the sauce on those Chinese mu shu pancakes).



While the above waited, I fried up the ingredients. Carrots and green onion in a bit of soy and sesame oil; the shrimp and "crab" in some sesame and Thai fish sauce.

I then did two batches of the creation. One had hoisin sauce spread in the center of each crepe; the other had some of the chili garlic sauce.

The vegies first went on.


Then the seafood


And then you wrap it up and bake it for a bit.


It turned out pretty well. It would be even better in some sort of puff pastry I bet, but I've never worked with a puff pastry in my life.
So there you go.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm reading a book!

Most of this blog's readership is composed of authors and editors, so they will be pleased to hear that I'm actually reading a book! A pretend fiction novel. First one in a year that I've made good headway on. Wait, no, I read December's... hope that wasn't a year ago. Anyway, a novel!

So I'm reading some new author in order to support the literary world, right?

Does Alexander Dumas count as "new"?

But wait, wait! It's not the Count of Monte Cristo for the 12th time. This time I'm reading my second Dumas novel -- The Knight of Maison Rouge, but at least it's a new translation, so I'm helping some wonderful translator/author out there make it on the midlist.

I'm enjoying it very much and will do a book review when finished. It's amazing how the thing reads exactly like a contemporary action novel / movie plot. With the sans culottes. It only takes five pages max for our hero to rush into a group of thugs with a sword and a joke to rescue a beautiful woman; blood is spilt by the end of the chapter. I won't say anymore now because what would I then say in my book review?

This book reminds me how much trouble I have with plot in the contemporary world. Nothing important happens in the real world! I can only think of idle banter or aliens invade; those are the only two intriguing contemporary plots. But I can see all sorts of amazing things happening throughout history and in non-existent worlds.

I know this is my limitation, not the world's.

The book, which is set during the Terror of 1793 (as opposed to the Whatever of 2003), also reminds me again of how different the American and French Revolutions were. I've heard it said many times that the French Revolution was more of a social revolution, while the American one was political. That's not quite right, but it's a start. And when did the French Revolution really end? You could argue not until after what, 1890 something, did France really start to settle into a consistent form of government (before that they lurched from Committee to Emperor to king to bourgeois king to emperor...) while the Americans have kept the same dang Constitution since 1789. However, one could argue that America is still, 219 years later, implementing that Constitution for all of its citizens.

Anyway, I think the difference between the American and French Revolutions could be summed up in the word "equality". For the French, you have Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité (Surrenderé (hey, you gotta stick in a cliché French joke; I wouldn't be American without doing so)) and, in the U.S., you have, "We hold these truths to be self-evident. That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; and that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." (did I get that right, from memory?) But I think the Americans and French had different things in mind by the term equality. Equality for Americans was more about freedom and self-determination. People have a right to their own life and to pursue their own dreams. All people are equal because they all have these rights to find their own way.

But the French were fighting a different beast. They were trying to destroy an old regime (an ancien regime, if you will) in which a certain, rather enormous group of people kept most power and most wealth. The bourgeoisie had increasingly entered into that world in the decades before the revolution, but the world remained. And so the revolution quickly deteriorated into destroying others.

I came up with a parable once while reading about the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 60s: The Communists noted that it was unfair for only some people to have pianos, people who didn't deserve the pianos any more than anyone else because of their talent or passion. So they went through and destroyed all the pianos so that no one could make music. Instead, they should have worked to make pianos available to all.

I think I need to work on that parable before I use it in a national debate.

Anyway, the French equality was about bringing all people to the same level, and they did this in the Terror by destroying those with more stuff. Later they redistributed.

I think this still plays out in contemporary politics where the French are much more comfortable with socialism in which they try to make sure everyone has a certain minimum standard of living (Jerry Lewis movies for all!). Americans still focus on allowing everyone the right to do their own thing. Of course, neither version of equality truly works by themselves.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Life in outer space

We will never meet beings from other planets.

I've seen no convincing evidence that people from other planets have visited ours.

Why not?

Is interstellar travel just not possible because the distances are too great?

Is there no other intelligent life?

Or are we the most advanced species in the galaxy?

I find us just happening to be the most advanced species ever difficult to believe. I also find it hard to believe that in the billions and billions of planets that must exist, none of them has life. I therefore conclude that interstellar travel just is not possible.

I can only think of one other possibility: There are other species traveling in space already, but since there are billions and billions of planets, they just haven't stopped by here yet. After all, hominids've only been around a million years or so.

Or maybe ril is an alien.

What do you think?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Greetings

First, I offer my thoughts and thanks on this Memorial Day.

In personal news, N hopped a plane to Guam today. Yes, Guam. Unfortunately for her it's work related and she's spending two nights and flying back. I keep thinking of Guam as this amazingly far away place, but it's a direct flight from Honolulu and the flight to Chicago is about an hour longer. It is a 20 hour time zone switch, however because she's going across the date line.

Anyway, it's just B and I for a couple of days. While N is out, we are doing things that N doesn't like to do. Today that included going to Popeye's for chicken and biscuits. Mmmm... And that was about the extent of our craziness. Otherwise, B and I went to the Bishop Museum again, of which we are members. The newest rotating exhibit is robotic whales.

Tomorrow's crazy thing-we-will-do-that-N-doesn't-like is probably just more cooking. This time I'm going experimental which frightens my lovely spouse sometimes. I mean, it should because experimental is hit and miss. So I'm going to experiment on our son -- which likely means I will end up choking down whatever I come up with and he'll eat a corn dog.

'til then.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spinach and shrimp version

Tonight I made a spinach and shrimp filling for the crepes. Fry up some shrimp until just barely done; boil a little frozen spinach. Roll it on up. I also added a fair amount of dill to the hollandaise sauce.





However, N says I need a little something moist inside the crepe as well as outside. Possibly true. I'll work on it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fighting school

Today I asked B if he wanted to take dancing, swimming, karate, or music. His answer was karate.

So, does anyone with knowledge have a recommendation either on how to choose a school or how to choose a style? Karate? Gong fu (Kung fu)? Aikido? Taekwondo? Hapkido? Etc.?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Asparagus crepes in hollandaise sauce

This is what I made for Mother's Day breakfast and I think I will do it again. The version here has asparagus inside the crepes and that was indeed fine, but I don't see any reason one has to stick with asparagus. Mushrooms, caramelized onions, just plain old ham and cheese would seem to be equally fine. So here's a recipe based upon the book Crepes by, well, there's no author listed. It's from Hamlyn / Octopus Publishing Group in London. It lists the name of the food stylist!

Ingredients

Crepes:

1.25 cups flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1.25 cups milk
oil for cooking

Filling:
Asparagus
Oil for cooking
salt and pepper

Sauce:
A package of hollandaise sauce
about half a cup of grated cheese

Preparation

So in the end you are going to bake the whole dish, which means you can cook a whole bunch of stuff and let it sit around, because it will all be reheated soon. At some point in time, turn your oven to broil.

Making crepes. The ingredients I gave above are the book's basic crepe recipe. I think this batter is far too thick and so I kept splashing milk and water in until I was happy. If this is your first time making crepes, try making one with the recipe batter and then thin it out a bit if it doesn't turn out well. To make a crepe, first put the flour in a bowl. Make a well and add the egg and some of the milk, stir. Add some more milk and stir until you have a batter. Whisks are good. Supposedly letting the batter rest for 30 minutes can help, but it isn't necessary, blah blah blah; your guess is as good as mine.

Next, you have to cook them all. I use my normal non-stick skillet though crepe pans do exist.

Heat the pan to a medium temp and add the oil of your choice. Pour some of the batter in and lift the pan up, slowly turning it so that the batter spreads out, making a thin layer across the entire bottom of the skillet. All of this should be very quick because you waited until the pan was hot before starting. After about 30 seconds, you can fork around the edge, just lifting it all over. You might be able to shake the pan and the whole crepe will slide around. After 1-2 minutes, flip the crepe and cook the other side for about 30 seconds. Then take it out and place on a plate. Repeat until all the crepes are done. Each crepe should only take about 2 minutes because they are so thin.

Filling. This is an asparagus filling, but again you can replace with something else that you like more. I like asparagus fried up for a few minutes in a pan so that the outsides are browned in spots. A little oil, a little salt and pepper. The recipe book has you blanche them in water. Whatever. Cook some asparagus up and place aside on a dish until ready to use.

Sauce. The recipe book has a béchamel sauce. I went with a hollandaise. I have made hollandaise sauce from scratch, but I was busy enough that morning, so package it is. Follow the recipe on the package.

Putting it all together. Take a baking dish and rub a little butter or oil in the bottom. Take a crepe and place about 3-4 asparagus spears on one side of the circle. Roll it up. Place in the baking dish. Repeat until all the crepes and filling are used. You might want to sprinkle some grated cheese on the rolled crepes as you go. Pour the prepared hollandaise sauce all over the crepes and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on. Place the baking dish in the broiler for 8-10 minutes.

I liked this. I went out and bought three more packages of hollandaise sauce the next day so that I could do it all again with new non-asparagus fillings. In the end, I suppose the idea for this dish is from the cookbook, but I changed how I cooked the crepes, how I cooked the asparagus, and used a completely different sauce. Whadda ya gonna do?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dispatches from B-Land

B, as people will remember, is 5.

The lyrics to Hound Dog, the Elvis version (though I highly recommend Big Mama Thornton's, which is where Elvis got it.):

nothing but a hound dog
cryin' all the time
nothing but a hound dog
cryin' all the time
you never caught a rabbit
and you never eat a friend of mine

A conversation while reading our Children's Bible tonight (B is into reading about "Jesus was a baby".)

Paca (reading): One day Jesus and Mary met a wise woman at the temple named Anna. She knew that Jesus was special and told everyone he was the savior of the world.

B shakes his head knowingly: Noooo.

Paca: Jesus isn't the savior?

B: No, he's a healer. A savior has to fight people.

A little rhyme from school he says quite frequently:

We are polu moana ohana
We are keepers of the 'aina.

Translation notes -- polu and moana are the names of his class and the one next door. The words mean "blue" and "ocean" respectively, though he doesn't know that. Ohana means family. The 'aina is the land. So:

We are the family of Polu and Moana
We are keepers of the earth.

Periodically, he will pick up some trash from the ground and tell me he's polu moana ohana. It also apparently means being good generally, because when John the Baptist teaches people to be good, honest, and kind in the children's Bible, B always says that means polu moana ohana.

For the record, the Children's Bible is the first non-Narnia related book I've read at bed time in a good three months at least.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

banal

For you, does the word "banal" rhyme with, well, "anal" or "canal"? Am I the only one who thinks the first? Because they always say the second in news broadcasts.

Or is this question... banal?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Allll moosssttt theerrrre

Things are wrapping up here in PacaLand, but not quite done.

Tomorrow, ok today, is the last day of exams for UH. I turned in the last thing for my class today, so that's done. I spent tonight grading the homework projects for phonetics students and, if this wasn't a non-anonymous blog, I would have a story or two about that. It's now 1:00 AM and I'll be back up in about 5 hours, because I give the final for the course at 7:30 AM. Beautiful time, huh? Then I have to grade them all and turn those in by Monday afternoon, all while not being able to work on Monday because B doesn't have school that day. But that will close the semester out completely.

Doesn't get me out of lots of work, though, as the next issue of the journal publishes June 1. Again, no stories unfortunately there, but I will say it's time to let it go. Let the papers be free....

The good news is that I hit a little milestone this week. The dissertation committee officially formed on Tuesday and I now have dates for my comprehensive exams (July 21 - August 4, if you want to know) and a possible dissertation proposal date if my pilot experiments turn out over the summer.

That's a big deal, so, as J would say, I celebrate that. And now to bed, fair reader. Adieu. For 4 hours and 53 minutes or so.

Pacapaca

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

FCKeditor

I just discovered this text editor named...

FCKeditor.

http://www.fckeditor.net/

What were they thinking? Have they been stopping by EE's blog too often and gotten mad at the blue text?

FCKeditor.

In which I discuss pop culture

Here's a bunch of completely useless comments about current pop culture things.

1) Frequently, I can honestly say that I don't watch any television regularly. And it remains true that we are one of the very odd households in the nation that has never had cable. However, I have been watching Dancing with the Stars this season and have seen about 2/3rds of the episodes. It seems to me that for the most part the better dancers have progressed, but

a) is it just me or is Christian de la Fuenté not really all that good as a dancer. The judges all praised him up and down about his salsa this week, but it didn't seem all that amazing to ignorant me. He keeps dancing with his shirt unbuttoned, but he's not all that amazing under the shirt. I get that he's hot in general, but scores of 28 and 29 lately? He's at least as stiff as Jason Taylor at times. What do you think?

b) Judges keep criticizing Kristi for not showing enough emotion. I've yet to see any lack of emotion from her on the dance floor. Sure, when you get her backstage and force her to talk off the cuff, she's not half as charming and bubbly as the now gone Marissa, but on stage, she's never lacked for any feeling that I can see. Sometimes, I wonder if people are subconsciously buying into the stereotype of Asian people as precise but lacking passion. Skilled but boring. Cause I never seen boring with her, but people keep saying it's there.

In short, while I like Jason Taylor personally (do you remember some episode of Seinfeld where George gets a man crush on some other guy he just thinks is so cool and wants to hang out with him all the time and do whatever he says?; I could imagine that being me), there's no question that Kristi's the better dancer. What do you think? Of course, it's pretty hysterical when Jason stands next to Kristi; he must be a foot and a half taller than her; so he's got a lot more to move around.

2) The next Narnia movie comes out this weekend: Prince Caspian. As I've said before here, I was a big fan of the books as a kid and we've been reading them all to B over the last few months. We've got a hard cover version of Prince Caspian; a soft cover version; a picture book version; and even read the movie storybook version that's already in bookstores virtually every time we drop by in the last month. (I'm actually beginning to get a little tired of Prince Caspian....) Anyway, I keep wondering how this movie series is going to go. Unlike Potter, there is neither a single plotline that the books develop nor a progression in age. The stories don't become edgier or more adult as they go. (Though the last book which literally is the end of the world is quite dark depending on your religious perspective.) They start as little fantasies/allegories pitched at 9-10 year-olds, and they end as fantasies/allegories pitched at 9-10 year olds.

But with Prince Caspian being a sequel to a movie that made $200 million and some, I can see they are already trying to ramp up the action and suspense with movie 2 in the standard movie sequel way, adding battle scenes and subplots foreign to the book. It will probably work for movie 2, but can they keep it up without destroying the books? We will see. Book 3, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is already in production.

Just watch: I'm now going to get hammered now by someone who's got a Google Alert on Christian de la Fuenté who will take me to task for knocking the man. I did say at the beginning that pretty much all the best dancers got through, didn't I?

Monday, May 12, 2008

6 random... jobs!

I was tagged 2 or 3 weeks ago by blogless_troll, or as he's now known blogful funny and seemingly nice guy (sorry, dude), for a 6 random things meme. I naturally put it off until virtually all of my regular readers had disappeared from the blog in my continuing attempt to destroy my own blog readership and online relationships. (OK, I have the hots for pjd.)

But I'm back! [To woo pjd and] do the meme. However, I've converted it into 6 former jobs.

Lawn mower, sweeper, and ant killer! This was my first paying job. I think it was illegal. Starting at 12 or 13, I worked in the family hardware and building material business over summers. I think the first summer I only worked in the morning, and since I had no knowledge or skill, I swept the lumbershed, poured poison on fire ants, and mowed the lawn. I used to think I was incompetent because it would take me an entire morning to mow a 3 foot wide by 10 foot long strip. But then I grew up, owned my own house and yard (by which I mean I regularly paid interest on Chase Mortgage's house and yard) and let my own yard's grass grow too long. Apparently, push mowers just don't go easily through 3 foot high bermuda grass. You have to mow a bit with the mower on an angle, so it just gets the first couple inches. Then a second pass, doing the next few inches. Then it clogs up anyway.

McDonald's!Yep, I did my own stint at MickeyDees. It wasn't all that bad, actually. I got a nice green shirt with a logo and a paper hat to wear. I mean, what more could you want? My favorite thing to do was man the frier. That way you didn't have to speak to annoying customers or worry particularly about their food. Just wait until the machine beeps and then pour as much salt as you can on the things. Yum. I did realize it wasn't my life's pursuit when the manager and assistant manager each corrected me -- differently -- about the proper direction for my mop. You see I was was going parallel behind the counter, and the assistant manager was sure I needed to go perpindicular. The manager begged to differ.

Shoney's! For those not from the South, Shoney's is kind of like a Southern Denny's or Perkin's. A cheap family restaurant where you get a tough steak for 10.95 and a patty melt. I can't remember if this was a summer stint in college or a winter stint. My college, which was in Minnesota, took 6-7 weeks off for winter break, from T-giving through New Year's. I actually think it was in the winter. This is remarkable because their turn-over in waiters was so high that after 6 weeks there, I was training new waiters and they even gave me a going-away party.

Victor's Ristorante! Notice a theme in my early jobs? Yes, I can carry food and refill your sweet tea. Just try me. I kept trying for jobs I thought would be cool, like a ooh video rental place or music store, but I couldn't get as much as an interview, much less a job. Anyway, Victor's was the job during my master's program. I don't think I learned much. Here are some things: Suprisingly, a white pizza with greek olives, pepperocinni peppers, and feta cheese is good; You want to work during the football games, or strictly speaking, right after -- tips through the roof; Oh, and Socrates is pronounced Soh-Krah-Teess in Modern Greek. The Greek restaurant owner and I had nothing in common, so we talked about Socrates a lot.

Square Books! Hey, now this is a job some people would actually want. Square Books in Oxford, MS, was and I believe remains one of the nation's premier independent book store. I wan't a super employee as I don't read fiction all that much, but I showed up on time and worked relatively intelligently. I did get to meet John Grisham. This was around 1991 or something, and he'd just become big with The Firm, and he still lived in this big house outside Oxford. He'd come in every few weeks or so and sign stacks of books for us. There were two or three other writers who popped by regularly, including Richard Ford, I believe was his name. Some book of his won or was nominated for a big literary prize. I also remember that they once tried collapsing their African-American lit section into general lit or Southern lit, but they got tons of complaints because it was harder to find stuff, and so they separated it back out again. Another one of the guy I worked with later that year started the lit mag Oxford American, with a lot of funding from Grisham. I used to see it in bookstores all around the country. Wonder if it still exists.

Graduate Assistant! This GA-ship was also the first time around between 94 and 96. The chair of the philosophy department had developed this course called University Studies that was required of all Ole Miss students. It was not a favorite. I think I graded papers maybe and carried large stacks of things from one place to the next. Most of the course was taken up with boring though innocuous material that I barely remember. Things like plagiarism discussions or various procedures. Then there were a couple weeks that dealt with some of the history of the university, racism, and sexual harassment, and these were the sections that had people screaming that the university was indoctrinating its students into liberalism or some other evil. I do remember one question from a test that was something like: How many memorials or statues on campus celebrate the achievements of African-Americans in Mississippi or the nation, or refer to the tough process of integration at the University (The National Guard had to provide protection when the first AA student enrolled at Ole Miss). The answer is, naturally, zero.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Meeting the picture challenge

Writtenwyrdd has had a challenge on her blog for a few days in which people are supposed to post pics of themselves in childhood. I don't seem to have any more pics here than I've already posted. However, I did put a post up with pics of me from the age of 15 to about 32 or so, and that post is almost exactly two years old now, so here it is if anyone cares.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Kitsch, Koi, and Curry

Alliteration, mmmm...

We've managed to participate in a couple events lately that we wouldn't ever have been a part of before moving to Hawaii. First up, last weekend we dropped by the Spam Festival in Waikiki.

Yes, the Spam Festival.

That's my kitschy event in the title. People in Hawaii genuinely do like spam. If you ask B his favorite food, he will tell you that it's spam musubi, which is a block of rice with a little soy and a spam slice on top, wrapped in nori with a little furukake sprinkled on top. Though he does take the nori off and give it to me. If you go to McDonald's you can buy special local breakfasts, which are scrambled eggs, rice, and either spam or portuguese sausage.

However, Hawaiians also know that mainlanders can't believe people eat spam by choice and they like to play up the weirdness of it, hence the spam festival. They close the main thoroughfare through Waikiki and set up stages for bands at either end, and then there's a bunch of booths in between, mostly food. I did see such yummy items as Spamghetti and Spamakopita. I can imagine the latter being okay, but spam on spaghetti? I shudder at the image, and this is the guy who ate a spam musubi each day for lunch when I was teaching. Well, at least until I learned to like kim chee and could stay at school for the break.

This past Monday, many of you may have celebrated Cinco de Mayo. Did I spell that right? Well, it's also Boy's Day, a Japanese holiday, which is celebrated by many here. We had picked up a fish windsock about a year ago at an art fair for B's Texan cousin, but it turned out to be hard to ship, so we pulled it out for B instead. N brought home about $5 worth of goodies from the grocery store; I cooked a meal that B selected (beef, Kraft Mac and Cheese, and broccoli); and then we walked around Waikiki with our fish windsock. When I went into school today, I noticed a list of various Boy's Day presents that people had gotten and B was listed there with a koi nobori, which it turns out is what we had given him. Here's a bit about koi nobori in Hawaii. If you'd like to purchase your own koi nobori, you can here.

Finally, I did have a chance to do a little cooking this weekend and tried out a recipe for bamboo shoot chicken curry. It came out pretty decently. It's a red curry. I halved the red curry paste, knowing that N is not a spicy food kind of gal right now, and that was good for her. Anyway, here are the ingredients all lined up for you folk:


Let's see if I can remember how to make this.

1 lb of chicken
2.5 cans of coconut milk
1 can of bamboo shoots
1 can of green beans (optional)
Thai fish sauce, like 1 TB
1 TB sugar
1 TB of thai red curry paste (this is the full amount, not the halved amount)

(I know I have chicken broth in the pic, but I didn't use it and it wasn't in the original recipe.) The recipe recommended whole bamboo shoots instead of the sliced ones. I had never seen a whole shoot before, so here's a pic of what came out of the can.


Chop everything up. Bite size pieces and what not. I did a little mise en place prep here:


Next heat up half of the coconut milk in your pan until it boils "and separates". Ooh, coconut milk!



After it boils, cool to a low boil and add the red curry paste and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring so that nothing sticks to the bottom. Add in the fish sauce and sugar, stirring. Next add in the chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes or until done. Then add in the bamboo shoots and green beans, and the rest of the coconut milk, and return to a boil. Simmer for a bit until everything is nice and hot. Serve over rice.

It's not all that amazing to look at



but it tasted decent and it was really pretty easy. By far the hardest thing was chopping up the chicken and possibly the fact that you have to stir and can't let it sit. Otherwise, it's a 20 minute meal. Now, I'm biased in that I love a good Thai red curry almost as much as good biscuits smothered in butter and honey. This was only at the "fine" stage, and I can't open a Thai restaurant yet, but I still recommend giving it a try.

Oh, that's right. I was supposed to add some kaffir lime leaves in around the time of the chicken, but I didn't have any. So if you got 'em, use 'em. I imagine a little fresh basil would be welcome, too, though that wasn't part of this recipe.

And there you have it: Kitsch, koi, and curry.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I usually get to it eventually

As some of you may remember, J won the college bowl pick 'em contest back in early January. And then Robin picked the march madness winner a few weeks back. Well, it took me until late April to actually mail a present to them, but they have now received a package of baked butter mochi along with a few other Hawaiian goodies. Some of them are actual goodie, like chocolate covered macadamias, some are there to amuse... me, like the li hing mangoes. (Was it mangoes?) Anyway, this recipe isn't mine in any way. I took it completely from Ono Kine Grindz, a blog by, well, I don't know who he is or what he does, but he seems to know a lot about food and lives in Hawaii.

We actually started on the present back in January.

Here's B, probably stirring ingredients, in his apron. While my aim was so poor, we don't know what he's doing, you can in fact see all the ingredients behind him -- eggs, sugar, mochi (sweet rice flour), butter, coconut milk, evaporated milk, vanilla, and baking powder.



Here we have the mochi flour sitting in a bowl. Aren't I an amazing chef? I can pour a box into a bowl!!



This looks like a stage in which I've mixed sugar, butter, and eggs, or something similar.


The best thing about the recipe is that you use exactly the amount you typically buy at the store - 1 box of mochi flour, one can of coconut milk, one can of evaporated milk, etc. No weird amount leftovers. The only trick at all to the recipe is to add the milk ingredients in a few pourings instead of all at once. Still works if all at once, but a lot harder to mix. When done, you pour it into a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake for one hour.




Unfortunately, I don't seem to have a pic of the finished product. Didn't take it in January with this series, so I meant to in April, but then I spaced out again. Oh well. It looks pretty much the same actually, just a bit darker.

pacapaca

Friday, May 02, 2008

It's just that time

Sorry to be boring the last week or two. It's just that time of year when everything is due. All papers for the journal are headed towards publication; all my own projects are due; prepping the final for the phonetics class; etc.; etc. I'll reappear when I can.

PacaPaca