Saturday, January 05, 2008

Link Worthy

Go watch, over at the LlamaButchers. Trust me.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle Seahawks 35
Washington Redskins 14

All week long I've been growing more and more weary of hearing how red hot the 'Skins were, how emotionally driven by the "Win One for the Gipper" factor they were, how they had the best record in the NFC over the last four weeks of the season. It seemed that everyone, apparently including the Redskins, forgot that there was another team scheduled to show up in Seattle today.

The 'Hawks reminded them of that fact, in no uncertain terms. The defense especially was dominant, rushing and sacking Collins all game long. They even had something resembling a running game, and they overcame a late surge by Washington, who came back to lead 14-13 before they missed a field goal and let Seattle back in it.

Well played, 'Skins,way to go 'Hawks!

It's Snowing

Right now, right out my window. Big, thick, heavy, wet snowflakes. It just shifted from rain to snow, so nothing's sticking yet, but it's snowing. It's gorgeous. I've been hoping for a little snow since mid-December, since I love white Christmases. Each morning I would wake up and listen, hoping to hear... nothing. Under normal weather conditions, I can hear plenty of traffic in the distance. If the roads are wet, I'll hear the splash of cars driving through the rain, or I might hear the raindrops themselves. But when it snows, the cars slow down, and the snow absorbs the sound coming off of tires. Silence in the morning means snow. The only days I was thrown off by this significantly were Christmas itself and New Year's Day, for obvious reasons.

But as I sat here blogging on other matters, the pitter-patter of the rain outside decreased and eventually silenced, and my head was immediately drawn to the window... sure enough, there it was.

I'm gonna bundle up and go out in it with The Lad, I'll talk to you folks later.


It's sticking. Like little frozen paratroopers, the first waves of flakes lowered the temperature, and thus the defenses, of the ground, and the follow-on flakes have established a foothold. It's still nowhere deep enough to play in, but The Lad enjoyed watching it fall and lay on the ground as we walked to the store. I killed two birds with one stone, because we were out of... wait for it... ice.

Since You Asked

In response to an earlier post today, a generous but anonymous commenter suggested that I compose an Amazon wish list and put a button linking to it on my blog.

Well, the truth of the matter is, I DO have an Amazon wish list, and the button has been on my blog for some time. I only recently added a significant number of items to it, but it's there.

Most of the items on it, truth be told, are far more than I think anyone should ever spend on me. But it's a nice way to keep track of "someday" goals, and if someone does feel like buying mer a little something, that would be nice -- but I don't want people thinking I expect it, or feel entitled. The fact that someone would even suggest wanting to see that list is flattering.

In fact that's why I don't usually mention it, despite having it there. If someone notices it, and feels generous, that's wonderful. But this blog isabout expressing myself, and the feedback I get when people get something from it -- not about any material gain.

But before you do, go here and help someone who actually NEEDS it.

Pressing Matters

This is the last weekend before school starts up again (ironic that the blogging bug should wait until now to re-infect me, eh?), and I'm rather excited. I gave one of my chef instructors, Chef Clive, a call the other day and told him I got the charcuterie book for Christmas, and his immediate response was, "So what recipe do you want to try first?" I told him I needed to think about it, but I have, and the winner is... Soppresatta, an italian sausage similar to salami -- the word is derived from the Italian for "pressed".

Despite my obvious pride in the pancetta last term, our efforts were met with mixed success. My classmate's duck breast prosciutto also turned out well, but several other projects went bad. The main culprit, as always, was contamination, with high humidity being a big co-conspirator. The weather here is dry in summer, but it gets damp when it cools off. What we really need is a dedicated refrigerator with a dehumidifyer. Chef Clive says that he talked to the folks at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, and their charcuterie club (!) uses a EuroCave, originally designed for wine storage. We can't afford anything like that for our program, but Chef Clive has a couple of ideas. We'll see how it goes.

I'll post more on this later in the term after I've had a crack at the soppressata.

Full Kit?

My Kershaw fillet knife finally arrived. It turns out that while Kershaw's headquartered here in Oregon, the knife's made in Japan. Oh, well. It's as nice a knife as I hoped for -- good comfortable grip, incredibly flexible blade (inportant in a fillet knife), solid feel. The scabbard that came with it is obviously for use by sportsmen and fishermen -- it's plastic with a drainhole. It's a bit bulky for my knife bag, but not impossibly so.

But that brings me to the bleg/query portion of this post, and it's directed at any fellow culinarians/cooks/chefs who might read this blog.

It's going to be a while before I am in the market to buy another knife, but when I am, what should I set my sights on next? Bear in mind that I'm still in school, and I don't expect to be put in a position to specialize any time soon, and while my passions lie in the area of meat cookery and charcuterie, I am trying to develop as a good all-around culinarian. Here's what I have in my kit so far:

Messermeister bird's beak paring knife
AvantGarde Pro 3" paring knife*
Wusthof 4" chef's knife
AvantGarde Pro 6" boning knife
ChefWorks 8" chef's knife*
ChefWorks 9" serrated bread knife
Kershaw 9" fillet knife
Forschner honing steel

*The "AvantGarde Pro and ChefWorks brands were the knives that were issued in our kits when we started school. They're not the big prestigious brands, but they're quality knives -- forged in Germany and assembled in China. They're all full tang, X50 Cr Mo V 15 stainless.

I was thinking that eventually I'd like a big gun -- a 10" chef's, but a cleaver or scimitar both seem like good choices too, especially considering my interest in charcuterie and meat cookery.


Musical Geography Trivia Question

If your travelling companions are ghosts and empty sockets, to what city are you going?