Friday, November 25, 2005

not a bad job of parallel parking

Of course, everyone! has already gone to the link (formerly big-boys and still listed that way b/c I haven't changed it), but if you haven't lately, check out the parallel parking video. I'd be curious to know how many times it didn't work in practice...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

no corn pudding, but yummy menu

changed my mind on the corn pudding b/c ran out of energy, but all else worked just fine.

still, however, missing the pool, gol durn it.

happy t-day, y'all, such as it is.

p.s. the pumpkin pie was malformed but yummy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

on the menu

no swimming, for crying out loud. but a day off of weaving, today & tomorrow.
So, for turkey day:

roasted chicken with stuffing
mashed potatoes
Swedish meatballs
corn pudding
pumpkin pie
cranberry relish (made that ahead & still have some)


a helping of glum.
so it goes.
not sure what that means :)

Monday, November 21, 2005

no swimming... no fun.

missing the pool.
which is closed for break. The Y, which seemed like an OK option, has silly hours and charges $10 per visit (or $40 per month, sign here for automatic debit...).
and weaving's not much of a workout, although I am sore.
going for a run later.

Friday, November 18, 2005

yes, foiled

Curses! As I feared, a dearth of lifeguards puts the school pool out of reach for the break. But as Chase so kindly points out, the Y only charges $5 a pop; not bad for a fill-in-the-gaps scene.

note to self: if ever I am swimming in cash, I will endow a lifeguardianship at the pool so there is 24-7-365 coverage. that pays well. :)


rats, pool appears to be shut for thanksgiving break, but maybe not. mostly, pool hours appear to be a secret. annoying.
I guess this means lots of swimming in the river. Fantastic!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

thanksgiving dinner for one, Tunisian style

How about this for a good-size sandwich. And I do mean good size, maybe pig-out size.

Roast a Cornish game hen. ( sez "roast the hens at 375 degrees F. for about 1 hour, or until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a knife and a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees F.") Strip off meat.
Halve and boil a medium potato. (uh, duh. Just until tender. Then mash with 1 T butter and 2 T cream)
Make a small loaf of plain ol' bread (I think the sticky-bun bread would work, with the sugar severely reduced and some savory - thyme, sage, rosemary - added. This doesn't take long to bake, so I guess chopped celery could be added as well. The idea here is to make the bread the equivalent of stuffing.)
Make a single serving of cranberry relish. (In the blender, chop 1/4 C washed, sorted cranberries. Peel, section and cut into chunks a tangerine, clementine or mikan. Combine oranges and cranberries, add sugar to taste.)

When the bread's baked, slit it open, butter it lightly, and stuff in meat, potatoes and relish, then eat. An all-in-one meal. People will either love it or hate it, or think it is OK. :)

long swims, happy times!

Took a day off Tuesday - back at the loom - but did 2,500-plus, including 2,000 in a row, Wednesday. I think I could have gone much farther, but am highly aware of the danger. Plus, I'm a teensy bit sore today, so I'm thinking that a seriously long haul might not be totally wise.
Wondering what the pool hours will be during T-day break...

Speaking of sticky buns, by the way, here's the recipe from the Culinary Institute of America (with my amendments noted):

For the buns:

2 and 1/4 t active dry yeast (one of those little foil packets)
3/4 C warm milk (110 degrees F)
4 C bread flour (I use King Arthur all-purpose)
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C butter (a half-stick)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
egg wash (unnecessary, but an egg whisked with 2 T cream or milk)
2 cups "pan smear" (below)
1 cup "cinammon smear" (below)

(((They say use a stand mixer, I don't have one. A bowl works just fine))) Place the yeast and warm milk in the bowl of a mixer and stir to
dissolve; let stand about 5 minutes. Combine 2 and 1/2 cups of the flour
with the sugar, butter, eggs and salt. Mix on low speed using the
dough hook just until the dough comes together. Add as much of
the remaining flour to the mixture as needed so dough is no
longer sticky. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until dough
is soft, smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place until
doubled in size, about 2 hours. Fold the dough gently over on
itself in three or four places. Cover and let rise until doubled,
about 1 hour. While dough rises, toast and chop the pecans, and
set aside; prepare pan smear and cinnamon smear, and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare two 9-inch square baking pans
by pouring 1 cup of pan smear into each of them; sprinkle with
the toasted, chopped pecans. Roll dough into a rectangle 8-by-14
inches and about a quarter-inch thick. Dust dough and rolling pin with
flour to prevent dough from sticking. Brush a 1-inch-wide strip of
egg wash along the long side of the dough closest to you. (((Yeah, if you want a mess. I've made these twice. Without the egg wash works much better. I don't know what they were thinking))) Spread
the cinnamon smear evenly over the remaining dough. Roll the
dough to form a log, starting with the edge opposite the egg-
washed strip. Pinch the dough together to seal the seam. Slice into
12 equal pieces. (((I only got nine, but I like larger rolls, and I used a big pan and cooked them all at once.)))
Place 6 rolls in each of the prepared pans. (You can refrigerate
the rolls at this point for up to 24 hours, or freeze up to 1 month.)
Cover the rolls and let them rise until they have nearly doubled,
about 30 minutes. Brush lightly with egg wash (((whatever))).
If sticky buns have been prepared in advance, remove them
from the refrigerator and allow them to warm to room tempera
ture before baking. Bake rolls until baked through and crust is
golden brown, about 30 minutes. As soon as you remove the pans
from the oven, turn each pan over onto a plate. Lift the pan away
and cool rolls before serving.
Makes 12 sticky buns.
Nutrition information per bun: 470 cal., 9 g protein, 79 g
carbohydrates, 15 g fat, 280 mg sodium, 40 mg cholesterol, 2 g

The "pan smear"
1 C light brown sugar
3/4 C dark corn syrup
1 C heavy cream

(Note: A candy thermometer is essential for preparation)
Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream in a
saucepan and heat to 220 degrees F, stirring frequently to prevent
scorching. Cool to room temperature before using. (The smear
will be caramel-colored and syrupy.) Makes 2 cups.
(((I don't like corn syrup. So I supersaturated 1 C water with brown sugar and made a sort of simple syrup by heating it - no thermometer needed - then added the 1 C sugar and 1 C cream. This didn't work out all that sticky, but it was fine by me and tasted super)))

The "cinammon smear"
1/2 C bread flour
1/3 C sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
3 large egg whites

Mix together flour, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of a mixer.
Add the butter. (((are you kidding? have you read the nutritional information? 470 calories? I ditched this butter))) Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium
speed for 1 minute, or until it looks like coarse meal and there are
no visible chunks of butter.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg whites one at a
time. Continue to mix until fully combined, scraping down the
bowl as necessary. (The smear will be a kind of granular paste.)
Makes 1 cup.

Monday, November 14, 2005

long haul

Hurray! If I do say so myself.
After an easy breezy Sunday night, did a 500 and a 2,000-plus (maybe 2,100?). No big deal, really, which is weird but nice. I guess my revised goal should be two miles without a break, but the goggles start feeling annoying after about 30 laps and two miles would be, what, 75 laps or so? Had an amusing non-mathematical conversation with someone who averred that 1,650 yards is a mile. Uh, yeah, when a mile is 4,950 feet, I guess.
That would make a lot of stuff faster :)

Also on Sunday, the Sticky Bun Council held a special session, at which it authorized prodcution of very excellent treats. Still not very sticky (I'm sure that's to do with the omission of corn syrup), but now that I used a larger pan they weren't a nine-headed cinammon roll but more like what you'd expect. Very tasty!
Unfortunately, the council reconvened this afternoon and - while acknowledging the sticky buns were good - demanded the associated dirty dishes be squared away by the Sticky Bun Production Task Force. A task I am currently blowing off.

Check this out: If playing defense was really such an important part of the AL MVP puzzle, as A-Rod suggests, why did Ortiz get more votes than Manny, let alone The Impaler? Make all the jokes you want about Ramirez, but he's not bad in left and that is a challenging place to play the position. Surely his presence in the field should have tipped the scales in his favor. And Vlad? Good lord, he's no liability in the field. Yeah, he only played 140 games or so, but surely that D is key.


defense is just a b.s. excuse that writers use to justify choices they couldn't justify any other way.

Yet another important debate, down the tubes :)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Sp - but not chicken noodle

In the south, they say, y'all. They leave out the o and the u.
Because of this, I was forced to make soup tonight. Clam chowder, to be more revealing, and as usual it is lovely sp.

Also, put in about 1,900 or 2,000 yards - 550, 1,300-1,400, about 300 of kickboard and the usual warm-down fun.

On a side note (another potential name for this blog - side note), I downloaded Black Jack Davey from iTunes. In the commission of this crime, I also found some interesting places to go:

this is an MSU sub-site, which has tons of fleeping awesome downloads (and the usual crowd of not-so-awe-sum ones), incl. at least two good Black Jack Daveys. I recommend Mr. Wise Jones and Sara Jo Bell among the group. What MSU says about the collection:

The Max Hunter Collection is an archive of almost 1600 Ozark Mountain folk songs, recorded between 1956 and 1976. A traveling salesman from Springfield, Missouri, Hunter took his reel-to-reel tape recorder into the hills and backwoods of the Ozarks, preserving the heritage of the region by recording the songs and stories of many generations of Ozark history. As important as the songs themselves are the voices of the Missouri and Arkansas folks who shared their talents and recollections with Hunter. Designed to give increased public access to this unique and invaluable resource, this site is a joint project of the Missouri State University Department of Music and the Springfield-Greene County Library in Springfield, Missouri, where the permanent collection is housed.

So I guess Sprang-field isn't just a place to hit the Bass Pro. Although that is a nice place to go. Plus, there's a lady who makes truly fantastic apple crisp there.

What else have I learned? Uh, check back later.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

on foot

second run this week, another two-miler (or so; it felt short) at l o w speed. whatever. But no pain at all, so that's a very, very big plus.
Hmmmm, however. I think I might like swimming a bit more, esp. now that it is cold out. Let's see, 80-degree pool or 27 degrees and a breeze in your face? Gee.
OK, it isn't that simple.
all in all, a good day.

Oh, and baked a batch of sticky buns. The b.s. recipe was like, "hey, these are handy because you can make them ahead and throw the unbaked buns in the fridge or freezer. How handy! Then you only need to take them out until they reach room temperature (2 hours?) before baking them. Who wants to get up with me at 04:30 to move buns from fridges to counters?

the buns are, however, delish. And only 470 calories each! So, I had a scrap from the corner of one. I think that total assumed the use of high fructose corn syrup in part of the recipe, but I ditched it in favor of homemade syrup. hfcs is gross. Oh, I left out some gratuitous butter, too. I mean, it's in the dough, does it really need to be in the cinammon frosting that goes inside, too? Maybe I could have some butter in my glass of water, too!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Election Day, long swims & such

Well, so much has happened! OK, not soooo much.

An interesting Election Day unfolded; the forces of anti-development took a hit in the Port of Walla Walla commission race, the gas tax rollback appears doomed, the indoor smoking ban passed, as did Eyman's performance audit brainchild.
Something for everyone, I think.
My faves: Both of the heavily campaigned initiatives aimed at protecting the rich from the poor failed. Talk about a failure to communicate: I still can't tell you what the point of either initiative really is.
I think that if you spend millions of dollars on advertising for your "citizen" initiatives and you can't get out a message more involved than "uh, huge awards for non-economic damages are bad!" or "bad doctors are bad!" you pretty much get what you deserve when your special-interest initiative fails. I guess doctors and lawyers don't have anything better to spend their money on than contributing to my paycheck :)

Also, sandwiched a 2,300-yard (including 1,800 straight) workout Monday between a couple of lightweight days. So I guess that accomplishes my early goal of a mile without a break. Must devise new goals...

Also also, got pointed at this: A bit creepy, a bit silly, plenty fun...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

just gliding along

Well, easier days (1,000 on Tuesday) make harder ones (2,100-plus on Wednesday) easier, I think.
And I finally figured out why reaching with the lead arm is good: It makes the trailing arm work harder. Which also makes the swimming speedier. Yay!
Also, had a chance to plot Tunisian for 20; we'll see how that turns out. On the menu: couscous with seven vegetables (the ordinary variety with chicken and a vegetarian version, too); bread & harissa, hummus (OK, not sure that's really Tunisian, but definitely tasty and I had to make chickpeas anyway) and I guess "Tunisian stew," an excellent beef, honey and almond dish that doesn't smack of tradition but sure schmeckt gut.
Who knows? Maybe it is a specialty of Carthage or some other cosmopolitan suburb. Whatever. I'm sure it will all be lovely!