Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day - Sort of

(Editorial note: The previous post about Sin Zin was number 666. Oh, yeah, the Devil made me do it!)

Now, Valentine's Day.

I have a checkered past about Valentine's Day. OK, to be truthful a "checkered" past would be about even-steven good days and bad days, like a checker board. About 50-50. On even years, for example, I would have pulled out all the stops: dinner, dancing, cards, flowers, limos, livestock and the whole nine yards.

Odd years would be nothing. Nada. Zip. Not even a Hallmark "Roses are red, violets are blue ..." No, that would be Zilch.

But, in actuality I'm like mostly a black checker board with a few white spaces. Mostly zilch and little zap.


So, for this year I decided to think ahead and managed flowers, an old cat and vegetable soup with dumplings!

Get it? Dumplings?

Anyway, here's the blueprint:

Flowers from 1-800-Flowers

Cat from the Animal Shelter, circa 2007.

Vegetable soup prepared from fresh vegetables simmered in vegetable stock with a bay leaf.

Dumplings from Bisquick with a cup of milk.

Check out the pics below. I think this is my lucky night!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Sin of Zin

What is it with Zinfandel wines??

Back in the day the zins used to be the Wine of the Day, not something special.

Over time the zins got supplanted by the cabernet sauvignon and in turn by the pinot noirs, but the zins always hovered in the background as the wine to have if you wanted something more robust than a pinot but less heavy than a cab sav.

Zinfandels used to be labeled as Beringer Zinfandel, Simi Zinfandel, Mirassou Zinfandel and so forth.

Not any more.

Check out these labels:

I'm not sure what to think about these labels but the wines sure are good!

I especially like Flock by Smoking Loon which is quite different from other wines under that label. It has a rich, smooth, old taste with a nice finish and not much after-finish. That is, it goes down smoothly and doesn't kick you in the ass as a reminder.

Nice touch.

I approve this message.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Tamagoyaki, I go yummy!

Years ago I bought a Japanese omelette pan. I had no idea how to use it so I used it like a regular omelette pan. The results were not good. I fell back to my traditional omelette pan and forgot about the "square experiment."

Silly me.

Recently, a friend of mine showed me how to use a Japanese omelette pan to make tamagoyaki, a Japanese omelette.

"It's done like this," he said.

"Ah, so!" I said.

Now our weekend breakfasts have jumped a level. Last weekend we had tamagoyaki with sautéed talapia filets and this weekend we had experimental mushroom and cheese tamagoyaki with miso soup, rice and bacon. (On the theory that everything goes better with bacon!)

Here's the blueprint:

For the tamagoyaki.

several eggs (I used 5 for two people)
oil (I used seasoned Wok oil)

For the miso soup.

small bowls
miso paste
dried seaweed
firm tofu chopped
hot water

The key to tamagoyaki is oiling and rolling. The pan should be only lightly oiled using a paper towel dampened in oil. That's all you need. Use only a little egg and rely upon successive layers to build up the omelette.

Like this.

Step one, pour a little of the beaten eggs into a very lightly greased pan.

Step two, after the eggs have started to set, remove from heat and gently roll up eggs as shown.

Step 3 push the egg roll to the other end of the pan and regrease it lightly using the soaked paper towel.

Step 4 and beyond. Add more egg, Roll and push and regrease. Repeat 3-4 layers.

When you are done, dump the omelette on a plate to cool slightly and cut into chopstick bites.

The result.

Here's a Japanese YouTube that shows the process although I didn't do all the flipping stuff, I simply rolled it up using chopsticks!

At least you see here how it's done.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010