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19 November, 2009



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Requiescat in pace: Ronald Snidow

6 July, 2009

Ron Snidow: 12-30-41 to 06-17 09.

Former defensive tackle for the Browns and Redskins. Father and husband.

Mentor and guide to me: “Love (them) through it.” A bear with gentle; paws.

Lava shrimp and lava butter

31 May, 2009

If I told you, it wouldn’t be lava.

Killer shrimp

31 May, 2009

Unofficial Killer Shrimp Recipe

2 tablespoons dried rosemary

2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon black pepper

5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth

8 ounces clam juice

1 cup white wine

3 ounces tomato paste

1 stick butter

1 1/2 pounds peeled shrimp, with tails

French bread for dipping

* Partially break up the rosemary, thyme, and fennel seed with fingers or mortar?pestle.

* Place all ingredients, except wine, in a large pot. Simmer for about 30 minutes and add wine. Continue to simmer for a total cooking time of no more than 2 hours. Just before serving, add raw shrimp. Simmer until shrimp is done, stirring, about 2 minutes.

* Serve. Each bowl should contain a serving of shrimp and a lot of broth, which should almost completely cover the shrimp. The dish is eaten with your fingers. Soak up the broth with the bread.

Requiescat in pace: Dennis Wilkinson

3 April, 2009

Dennis Wilkinson…

An inspiration to all who not just knew, but even met him in passing, passed on March 24th, 2009.


Requiescat in pace: Theodore F. Brunner

3 April, 2009

Th. F. Brunner… a man beyond words.

(1934-2007) died March 7, 2007.

Requiescat in pace: Walter Donlan

3 April, 2009

Walter Donlan…

Classicist, scholar, mentor to me, died June 7, 2006.

Roasted garlic pea soup supper

2 February, 2009

Nice supper tonight, and easy. Roasted garlic pea soup, fancy baguette, head of roasted garlic, asian pear, red pepper slices, bottle of Les Jamelles sauvignon blanc, & good company. No pics; no apologies.

About the roasted garlic pea soup. The recipe inspiration was from Nigella Lawson via Nigel Slater’s Real Food. In the past (the first time I made it), I followed the recipe verbatim, but I think it is so flexible that a once through will teach you that you can do what you will with it (three yous!). Start with some peas, roasted garlic, and broth whirred in a food processor. You can be creative with the rest. A scant cup (6-8oz) is all you need to satisfy an adult. No oversized pottery barn bowls needed.

Nigella’s recipe can be found online with a search for ‘”Nigella Lawson” garlic pea soup’. This time I used homemade pork stock from smoked pork shoulder bones, less butter than usual, no parmesian, and very little cream.

I’ll be working on a baseline recipe to can at home (one that can be doctored to taste at reheating). More on that later…

Still generally offline

2 February, 2009

Not that anyone cares, but…

Not too inspired to write these days… but Chez Oui, like The Dude, abides.

Homemade Canadian bacon.

14 September, 2008

I got a good deal on some pork loin, so I am going to make some Canadian bacon. For the record, loin bacon is also used by the Irish, so one will also hear this bacon referred to as Irish bacon; but here in the states, it’s usually called Canadian.

For one gallon of brine (boil some of the water to dissolve the salt & sugar, and mingle the spices, then add it to the rest of the gallon. Chill to fridge temp before inserting meat) Note: one gallon of brine was more than enough to cover the meat; I saved the rest to brine a venison backstrap down the road:

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt;
  • 1 1/2 cups dextrose, or 1 cup sugar, or 1 cup brown sugar (I used dextrose this time);
  • 8 teaspoons pink salt
  • 4 crumbled bay leaves;
  • 8 crushed juniper berries;
  • 3 smashed cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper;
  • 1 gallon water;
  • Note: this is a recipe for savory bacon. You could add any number of aromatics, such as fresh thyme or sage, or even extra sweeteners (for sweeter bacon), such as maple syrup or honey or molasses, or just increase the sugar of your choice.

For the meat:

  • 5.5 pounds pork loin (that’s just what mine weighed).

Brine the meat (be sure it is fully covered–I cut my loin into two pieces and used large Ziploc bags) for 48 hours (actually, I brined one piece for 2 days, and another for 4 days. Both tasted great pan seared before smoking (chef’s perks). Rinse the meat after brining, and let it rest on a rack uncovered in the fridge for at least 24 hours to form a pellicle (this can be short-cutted by putting the meat on a rack and running the air from a fan over it for a couple of hours). Smoke the meat until an inner temp of 145 has been reached. Slice and store in the fridge, or freeze for longer storage. Pan fry or steam to reheat, or add to soups or stews.

The procedure I used was to hot smoke the meat, which took about 8 hours at sub 200 degree heat in my smoker (fall day, small fire). You could also cold smoke the meat (keeping the temp at about 90 degrees for as man as 12 hours, but you will have to consider it still raw and cook it (of course, if you brined the meat for longer and hung it, you would get a loin prociuto, but that is for another post [or you could cure the meat, simmer it to an internal temp of 150 +/-, then cold smoke it for 12 hours (or smoke than simmer) and have a loin ham}). If you hot smoke your bacon (or, if you don’t have a smoker, slowly heat it in a 200 degree oven until the internal temp reaches 145-150 degrees, you can consider it cooked and eat it reheated, or cold.

Pictures? Well, I forgot to take them. I will say that both the two day and the four day brined pieces were equally good, and it was hard to tell a difference between the two. This ham/Canadian bacon made excellent cold cut sandwiches, for the record.

Mote pillo: Ecuadorian hominy with eggs.

5 September, 2008

Mote pillo is a hominy and egg brunch dish from Ecuador. I made it with Goya brand maiz mote pelado, and it is best served with homemade queso fresco and home-roasted coffee (naturally). In lieu of using the huge mote pelado corn, one could use Goya golden (or white) hominy corn (maiz trillado amarillo (or maiz trillado blanco)), or even canned hominy. I, however, like a beefier kernel, so the huge mote pelado is right for me. Here’s a link to the site that inspired me to try this dish.

I was cooking for one when I made this, so I will not give exact ratios. Just think of this as a hominy scramble–not unlike an egg scramble–and wing it. If you are using dried hominy, you will need to have cooked it earlier–like the day before. In butter, saute a pinch of powdered anchiote, some pinhead diced red onion, followed by minced garlic. Throw in some (optional) jalapeno (green or red), and the hominy, along with a splash of milk. When the milk has evaporated and or been absorbed by the hominy, add beaten egg (I used one egg with about 2/3 cup of cooked hominy). As the egg nearly sets, throw in some finely chopped scallions, minced red bell pepper (which I included for color contrast, really), and finely chopped parsley (cilantro would have been better, but I was out). Stir to mix and break up the egg. Plate and enjoy.

Nuoc Cham: Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

28 August, 2008

Just a quick post on a great Vietnamese dipping sauce, for 2-ish cups. Here is the base:

  • 5 T sugar
  • 3 T  water (1/3 cup)
  • 3 T fish sauce (1/3 cup)
  • 8 T fresh squeezed lime juice (1/2 cup)

Definitely add: 1 or more smashed cloves of garlic; 1 or more diced hot chiles;

Consider adding: minced shallot, julienned carrot; julienned cucumber; jullienned daikon, chopped tomato, chopped cilantro, or whatever may strike your fancy.

White Ghost haunts more than H-o-Y driveway

14 August, 2008

More soon.

H-o-Y “Stir Crazy” Coffee Roaster

14 August, 2008

More soon.

H-o-Y Rheostat

14 August, 2008

I made a rheostat to control the power output of my 1950’s Dulane Fryryte. More on that eventually. The rheostat will also control soldering iron outputs (stained glass work), lights (dimming), fans (speed), or anything else you might desire to plug into it. The dimmer (Lutron C-1500) is rated to 1500 watts, has huge cooling fins (it is museum grade), and I have mounted it to a four-square electrical box. To the four-square box I have mounted a two-square box, which houses a dual recepticle. I plug the fryer into the recepticle, and the dimmer into the wall. Because the fryer weighs in at 11 amps, I can only run one on a circuit, and need to keep other appliance use down to avoid tripping the 15 amp breaker.

H-O-Y Vintage Dulane Fryryte Deep Fryer.

13 August, 2008

Well, I cracked and bought a vintage 1950’s deep fryer. With “vintage” coming to mean esoteric and expensive in the parlance of our times, maybe I should say I bought a 1950’s Dulane Fryryte in relatively serviceable condition. Still, disapplying vintage does not mean I did not crack.

If you are curious about a nice blog entry about this appliance’s history by a couple who have purchased a pristine Fryryte as a “collectible,” click here and scroll down to the 1-5-05 entry. You all no doubt know that if I can’t use it, I won’t buy it. But their collection is full of stuff that can be both collectible and usable.

And if you want the practical, juicy details of mine, it is an F-4B. 120 VAC, 11.5 amps, 1320 watts. The last stat–the watts–is important, because I have made a seriously heavy-duty, wallet lightening rheostat to control mine, and invested in a remote probe thermometer to hit and maintain perfect frying temperatures.

Anyway, the fryer as acquired needed a little work. When I plugged it in at the “antique shop,” the cord caught fire and nearly set the store’s carpet aflame. Seriously!, but alas, the cord only sparked and smoked and left a black smolder mark where the cord had lain on the carpet. At least I knew up front that I would have to install a new cord. The rest looked good on a practical and aesthetic level: predictable 1950’s softened rectangular (think 1950’s toaster) shape, chrome body, drain spigot (only on the “B” models, I think), wire basket and removable handle that stores inside the wire basket (which nests inside the fryer) when not in use.

Taking the toaster apart to redo the cord presented no real problems, though I did make the inevitable faux pas of a novice by cracking the thermostat dial ring (time for some crazyglue) and forgetting to unscrew the control dial counterclockwise for removal, affording me the opportunity to break the inner tab that stopped the dial at “off” counterclockwise and at 400 degrees clockwise. I also might have flexed the felted resistor piece that the thermostat tab mounts to, which hypothetically could have allowed me to control the temp and power with a stock dial. I suspect the thermostat was long kaput and never would have worked again, which is why this gem ended up in the back room at a bargain price at that overly expensive antique shop in C-ville.

OK, rant disarmed. Whether or not the dial would have worked had I not buggered parts of that area will remain a mystery. And while it is sad that I did bugger parts, I still have a usable fryer that simply shows its age now. I decided to test it, and when I did, I discovered that the fryer has two settings that operate concurrently once you plug it in: always on, and always heating at maximum, even when the oil temperature surpasses 400 degrees were I to let it (can you say smoke point? can you say flash point?!?). To control the temperature for this test, I had to periodically unplug, then plug in the machine to regulate the heat (really just the application of it) and, after my test, walked away sated with enough tasty french fries and shrimp tempura determined to add some control to my fryer. I chose to make a rheostat, which is for another post.

It is claimed in The Joy of Cooking that if the oil is at the right temperature, the food picks up or absorbs very little oil. I found this to be the case on my trial run. A batch of shoestring fries, a batch of standard fries, and about 20 shrimp (30-ish count) fed three people and, upon draining the fryer, very little oil (about 2.5T, and that was with me spilling some). Granted, if you don’t use a heavy breading, or omit breading all together, you will use very, very little oil. Try it, it’s true. I opt out of degrading the joys of eating fried food by mentioning the potential deleterious effects of eating them (the foods, not the joy).

Pictures soon.

Achtung! Caution! Alarm! Cuidado!: One thing, if you get an old fryer and decide to test it (and clean it) by boiling water in it via its own power, know that you can shock yourself if you fill the water too high. Yeah, yeah, I know this because I overfilled mine and zapped myself, first when touching the lid and, after scratching my head and wondering whether I imagined getting shocked after my nice (ghetto extension cord) wiring job, the basket handle. I shut her down and decided oil at the fill line was a superior, and safer, way to test this lovely deep frying wonder.

Huevos Rancheros, HoTep style.

27 July, 2008

HoTep’s breakfast huevos rancheros. Tortillas, over easy eggs, pink beans, leftover beef brisket, and homemade cheese.

18 pounds of smoked brisket.

27 July, 2008

Yup, you read right. 18 pounds of smoked brisket. I only took pictures of the meat before it was cooked (cooking took about 12 hours). Outrageous, and insanely good (HottButt and DanGafro, who claim to be authorities on Texas BBQ, said it rivaled anything Texas can produce. Served with potato salad, thai spiced slaw, texas beans, fried pickle chips, fried okra, homemade potato chips (with various seasonings). Savory berry pie with rosemary for desert.

Kayaking 7-08

14 July, 2008

Yost, HottButt, RudeBoy, DanGafro and I paddled the James Sunday. The day was a blast, and we got caught in one heck of a rainstorm as we navigated the rock garden downstream of Balcony falls. The day was not without incident: DanGafro managed to flip his kayak twice in quick succession (in still water, no less!); HottButt once, but RudeBoy took the cake in flipping at Balcony falls.

HottButt glides over the falls

DanGafro plows through with HoTep’s landshark. 12 miles per gallon!

Imitating Slim Pickens, I ride the bomb, whooping and hat aflail.

RudeBoy flips and recovers with flair

What to do in Gran Marais, MN

11 July, 2008

Should you find yourself on a road trip and in Gran Marais, MN, I highly recommend the Gun Flint Tavern–a bar with a great selection of brews and good food (111 W. Wisconsin St.). Beneath the Gun Flint is the Raven–more of a bar kind of bar. Do, as I was invited, step into the Raven as well. You might meet pirate Pete and discuss Pippi Longstocking for a time; or, you might learn of some nearby free camping on the shores of Lake Superior.

DanGafro’s idea of vegetables

27 June, 2008

DanGafro had a local, organic NY strip; I had some shrimp. Steak grilled outside; shrimp cooked in grill pan (defrost in salted water, marinade with mustard, paprika, red pepper flakes, lime juice, pepper, salt). The most curious part of the meal was that DanGafro wanted some vegetables, so he hit the market and came back with–shish kebabs! He said the veggies on the ‘babs were his veggies; but as you can see, they are mostly meat. He ate the steak, then the shrimp, but I would not let him leave the table until he “finished his vegetables.” Result: xy chromosome meat fest. Mmmm, meat.

Shrimp, eggplant and salad supper

27 June, 2008

Shrimp, eggplant and salad supper. Eggplant grilled on Lodge grill skillet. Shrimp followed on grill. TinyFoodGirl and I ate.

Tacopalooza-first half of 08.

14 June, 2008

Lots of tacos, way more than the number of photos.

Click on the thumbnail for more tacos.