well hey

The tape trick actually worked for retrieving both the dowel and the filter screen, although it took several attempts to get it right and I had to jam my entire shoulder right into the drawer gap to manually tape the dowel/screen together (tried placing the tape with kitchen tongs first, but the tape didn't want to release from the tongs).

Meanwhile, day one of Loud Noises Downstairs has begun as the reflooring project gets underway. The cats are freaked.

why did I even get up this morning

1. Decide to finally heed the "clean me" light on the range hood and remove washable filter screen for cleaning.

2. Promptly drop one filter behind the stove.

3. Attempt to fish out with extendable magnetic probe-- no result; can't even tell where the filter has ended up.

4. Attempt to probe behind stove with wooden dowel. Accidentally drop dowel as well.

5. Realize that the storage drawer beneath the oven can probably be pulled out for access. Successfully(!) pull out drawer without major trauma.

6. Observe filter and dowel companionably resting against wall behind stove. Also observe that the drawer gap is not large enough to tilt the filter out from the bottom for retrieval, and that the filter appears to have no ferromagnetic components. at this point, I guess I'll wait for the rest of the day until the wombat-consort gets home from work, and maybe then I can try to use kitchen tongs to lift up the bottom of the wooden dowel until he can grab it from the top of the stove again. (The stove is probably too heavy for him to move by himself, and I'm not terribly useful in appliance-moving assistance right now.) I guess if I were really clever, I could try fastening the bottom of the dowel to the filter-- maybe by reaching a piece of packing tape onto them with the tongs?-- so it would pull the filter up at the same time. However, I have probably considerably overextended my Cleverness Allowance already :b

lamb shanks

Got a package of lamb shanks trimmed osso buco style over the weekend, but yesterday when I actually started looking up recipes, we were short of certain ingredients called for in most of the standard versions (notably garlic) and I had to range farther afield. (At least in terms of recipe searches. I didn't feel like heading out to the store just to get garlic.)

Ended up using this recipe as a base for minor improvisation-- mostly powdered spices instead of whole; more apricots and fewer prunes (since I already had a container of chai-mulled dried apricots in the fridge); plain ginger instead of most of the candied ginger.

The flavor balance really does call for some added sweetness-- initially I just used plain ginger from the slices marinating in the jar of mirin in the fridge, but eventually tossed in some chunks of candied ginger as well. I also added a tiny bit of regular molasses, as well as some cranberry chutney and about half of a salt-preserved lime. We didn't have any chiles so this ended up being fairly mild, though I did add a generous spoonful of red pepper paste.

The result was pretty tasty, although it takes several hours of simmering for the sauce's flavor to really come together-- initially it was rather sour/sharp, but eventually almost all of the components simply dissolved into a lovely spicy-sweet thick sauce with lamb chunks and marrowy bits of bone. I think that if I make this again, it'll be in a larger batch-- there are enough leftovers for at least one more dinner, but we ate pretty lightly last night because of fairly large respective lunches.

purging the shelves

Finally getting into shelf-purging mindset, now that there's a definite deadline for clearing all of the furniture out of the ground level so the flooring can be redone. Now all we have to do is find an appropriate collection of boxes/bags for hauling stuff off to the secondhand bookstore for trade-in.

The main media collection on the first floor is our manga and graphic novels. I have a very vague worry that I'm getting over-purgey, but honestly there are multiple serieses that I haven't gone back and re-read for a long time and am unlikely to do so-- they went on for too long, one way or another, and I just don't care about them anymore.Collapse )

(no subject)

*stoically poking spoon into breakfast bowl*

Those little shelf-stable boxes of silken tofu are a pretty good option for a low-effort high-protein warm breakfast: slurry together some dashi powder and miso paste in a bowl with enough water to dissolve, dump in the tofu and break into chunks, add more water to fill the bowl (and maybe add some frozen spinach), and nuke until warm/hot.

Tastyish and easy... but boy, it gets repetitive after a few days. I really need to look into mass-producing breakfast burritos to stuff into the freezer.

(no subject)

I found an even easier recipe for sardines than Alton Brown's avocado sandwich.

Ingredients: 1 can oil-packed sardines + 1 8-oz block of cream cheese
Procedure: Mash them together into a mostly uniform paste. Slather onto toast or use as a dip with crackers/pretzels. (Or just shovel it into your mouth.)

That's about it, though all kinds of minor seasonings can be added. (Some versions of this recipe drain the sardines first, but I don't.) I've been adding a tablespoon of red pepper paste (which pinks up the color from the undistinguished native beigey-grey) and a dash of lemon juice. Minced preserved lemon would probably be great, except that my big jar of preserved lemons is currently stranded at the back of the fridge behind leftover turkey.

Robustly flavored carby things (onion rye etc.) go better with it than blander ones. The spread mellows out the intense fishiness of sardines into a smooth, fluffy mouthful reminisent of cream cheese 'n lox-- come to think of it, poppyseed bagels might also work well, perhaps with an underlying slice of cheese to keep the spread from falling through the hole in the middle.

On the trail of the Knickerbocker Glory

Semi-randomly rummaging through Google Books due to another freeform Making Light thread.

The "Knickerbocker Glory" layered ice cream concoction seems to've originated in the US and was carried over to the UK by the 1920s, perhaps via American doughboys during/after the Great War. Oddly, it lived on in the UK despite being eventually forgotten in the US (at least by that name), so that the term was considered sufficiently exotic to be "translated" in the US editions of "Harry Potter".Collapse )

(no subject)

Excerpt from a speech to the US Congress:

Everyone should have ready access to all necessary medical, hospital and related services.

I recommend solving the basic problem by distributing the costs through expansion of our existing compulsory social insurance system. This is not socialized medicine.

Everyone who carries fire insurance knows how the law of averages is made to work so as to spread the risk, and to benefit the insured who actually suffers the loss. If instead of the costs of sickness being paid only by those who get sick, all the people--sick and well--were required to pay premiums into an insurance fund, the pool of funds thus created would enable all who do fall sick to be adequately served without overburdening anyone. That is the principle upon which all forms of insurance are based.

...delivered by President Harry S Truman in 1945.


(The second half of it was reprinted in the 1946 medical journal I was looking at.)

(no subject)

I continue to theorize that some librarians just plain hate books.

Yesterday when I got there, there were ungodly numbers of donations piled up, enough that I had to clear out the entire current booksale section and send everything that hadn't sold at our branch since last week off to the main library, just so I'd have somewhere to put the new stuff out. After a few hours, I thought I'd finished, but then peeked into one of three boxes that were stacked up on a cart near "my" desk. More books. The first box was fairly standard stuff-- an entire set of 80s/90s Tolkien editions (including a copy of _Unfinished Tales_ which the owner obviously never finished). It did have some vintage SF/F magazines from the 70s/80s that looked like they might have some resale value on Amazon, so I put those into a bin to send to the Amazon selling crew at Main and kept going.

The second box... ah, the second box. There was an delicate "old book" scent: part mildew, part dust, and part decaying paper/ink. The first item I pulled out was a dainty string-bound pamphlet, maybe about 20pp long and about the size of a large index card, with a textured rice-paper cover. It was in beautiful condition, with bright lithographed illustrations and crisp clean pages. It was an English-language edition of a traditional Japanese folktale, published in Japan in 1938.

I checked the value on Amazon. There's another copy currently selling for $250.Collapse )