Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Conversion battery

19 November, 2009



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17 August, 2009

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This might help

12 July, 2009

Best credit cards

12 July, 2009

Dead cat bounce

12 July, 2009


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12 July, 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.

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.

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.

Quarry season, 2008.

31 May, 2008

Quarry season has begun. DanGafro and I just did a recon mission. The water is crisp, but we floated around for hours. Photos soon.

Sausagepalooza 5-27-08

28 May, 2008

Country Coburn is going to cook for the Mountain Lake biological research station. We made some sausages to contribute.

Three sausages. 18 pounds total, less a pound or two lost to the meat grinder/sausage stuffer and to casing rupture (and yes, to tasting).

Click the photo for a larger view.

6# pork shoulder, boned
1 onion, ground with meat
2 T kosher salt
1 T white pepper, ground
1 T dried ground ginger
1 1/2 t dried ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream, ice-cold
2 eggs, lightly beaten and chilled
1 onion, ground with meat

Chorizo del Diablo:
6# pork shoulder, boned
1 onion, ground with meat
1T black pepper, ground
2T kosher salt
1 heaping teaspoon of: ground cumin, paprika, Mexican oregano, red chile flakes, corriander
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
5 cloves garlic, ground with meat
2 toasted New Mexico dried chiles
1 onion (minced with meat)
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1 7oz can of Herdez salsa ranchera.

Chorizo Verde:
6# pork shoulder, boned
1 cup beet greens, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups spinach, stemmed and roughly chopped
3 fire scorched poblano peppers, roughly chopped
1 cup packed fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
15 peppercorns
2 heavy tablespoons kosher salt
1heaping t cumin
10 cloves garlic

Notes: I made a “salsa/sauce” of the wet ingredients for all three sausages + spices (and leafy greens and peppers) to stir in with the meat after grinding.


6 May, 2008

Faffing again.

Beets: They are better than you remember, and they were never that bad to begin with!

I’m cooking beet greens tonight (having torched the beets last week in DanGafro’s DeathStar. And since I love beets, and all parts of beets, I used “the Google” and found this page. This should keep me busy for a while.

My usual beet m.o. is to roast them on the grill, or in the fireplace, or in the oven, or at the campfire. Salt and olive oil is all that is required, other than tin foil (season, wrap, cook). Maybe a squeeze of lemon over the sliced beets, or a dash of red wine vinegar if I don’t have any lemon. Beets and salt are a natural combo–sort of like cantaloupe and salt, so you really don’t need to worry about seasoning.

I have also had success with a beet and mint salad I often make for Thanksgiving. Beets are also awesome grated raw onto a salad; and if you are into the whole color thing, they look great when arranged beside grated raw carrots. Some grated cucumber could round things out. Just don’t drown your salad in dressing–leave it on the side.

Madhur Jaffrey has a beet & mushroom curry in her World Vegetarian. Tasty, too, though I always end up tweaking her recipes.

The C-ville Saturday market crew(s) will soon be bringing heirloom beets (once they are mature). There are many cool and tasty varieties.

More later.

Barbacoa tacos, House of Yes style

5 May, 2008

Insanely good beef tacos, and while not deliberately modeled after “barbacoa,” they came out most similar to barbacoa in the end. I took leftover oxtail meat, heated it with onion, poured in most of a can of Herdez salsa ranchera (a perennial standby for a fast meal), reduced it back to semi-dry, and served tacos with red cabbage, cilantro, raw onions, etc. on corn tortillas.

For those who are curious, the oxtail meat is insanely tasty, and has all the fat of pork shoulder, but a fantastic beef flavor. Heart-cloggingly good. Also a good way to use up leftovers after making beef stock (as was the H-o-Y pho).

Goin’ back to Cali

5 May, 2008

This will be the last trip for a long while, I imagine. Finally tidying things up at Antares. Gonna fill the P.O.D. and ship it. Gonna be a sad good-bye. I’ll take photos.

Antares has a huge prickly pear cactus plant in the front yard that I planted back in 1992. I bought a paddle at the OCC weekend “swap meet” and planted it (deciding to eat the others I had bought for dinner). The thing took off, and just grew and grew. I took cuttings and tried to plant them in Darwin, but a hard frost took them out within 3 years. Also, they never grew as sturdy out there, due to the altitude, wind, cold, and some sort of bugger that would nibble on them. No doubt I’ll take some more cuttings before this is over and plant them in various places where they will be undisturbed. When I come back, I’ll visit them. There used to be huge prickly pear outside the Santa Barbara mission, but recent photos betray that they have been removed. Stupid freakin’ white man.

We also have a huge staghorn fern (platycerium) in the yard. Based on its size, and watching it grow for over 20 years, I’d say it is easily close to, or older than, 100 years old. “Rosa” loved it, and taught me how to care for it, including feeding it banana peels. In 20 years, it has fallen off its mounting board twice. I have remounted it both times. First with Uptown, then with Timmy B just after “Eduardo” died. It cannot live in VA, nor would it survive outdoors in Darwin. I can take small growth portions that can survive indoors, but the fate of the gigantic mother plant is uncertain at the moment.

Besides obsessing over stuff (read: crap) and plants, I should probably plan a few things to do while I am out–revisit some favorite spots, take a bike ride along the beach, walk in the few undeveloped hills, swim in the ocean, explore some tide pools. Any ideas out there?

Itinerary: CA trip forthcoming. May 7 to 17.

IAD to LGB. Carpool to IAD with Ho-tep; LGB to IAD. Carpool with TFG’s mom.

Wednesday, May 7 9L30 pm to Monday, May 12 at noon: Hotel in Costa Mesa.

Monday to Thursday: Darwin visit–way out of “the O.C..

Friday night: Chaka’s place for a grill out–and it is going to be USDA prime steak–black and blue.

More later.


1 May, 2008

Pho: House-of-Yes style.

Oxtail based “brown” stock;
Oxtail meat;
Top round, sliced thin;
Rice noodles:
Usual accompaniments: holy basil, mung bean sprouts, hot peppers, lime wedges, rooster sauce, mint, scallions, tomato slices, onion half-moons.

Still a work in progress….

There a billion web and book resources on pho. I won’t pretend to be an authority. I just make it like I like it, and as is the case with homebrew, every batch is different. It takes at least two days to make good pho; some would say it takes longer. I make the broth in advance (either the day before, or it can be made in large quantities and frozen). One of these days I’ll make a huge stock batch using my 15 gallon beer brewing kettle and the outdoor propane burner!

Washington Post article on Pho.
Tigers and Strawberries blog on Pho.

Gifford Myers Whirlwind Mortgage / Storm Cellar, Too

27 April, 2008

Queries via comments, which are moderated and not published.