My icelandic love affair continues

August 31, 2007 at 3:58 pm (General)

Just read on Boing Boing that Sigur Rós have a documentary coming out. Um, yay!
If you haven’t heard of them, enjoy. If you have heard of them, enjoy this even more.

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All up in my grill

August 16, 2007 at 2:24 pm (General)

Got to my car last night to see this. I swear, this mini-van is so far up my backside that it’s giving my engine a heart massage. Oh, it could have parked a bit further away from me–there was room to be had to the corner–but I guess the onion ass of my Echo was too irresistable. What’s even more depressing is you know the driver didn’t nestle their behemoth softly next to mine, but let it roll until they saw my car shake form the however-slight (I hope) impact.

Whenever confronted with such idiotic temerity, my normal initial reaction is to rant and rail and wish misfortune on them and theirs. However, I’ve been trying for the zen approach, so I left a note instead.

Of course, the only “gift” I left in this case was the note itself. But, I can just imagine the driver whenever, henceforth, they hear every squeak, creak, and bleep .

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Mmmm, bacon

August 13, 2007 at 3:13 pm (Food)

But not just any bacon. This is the real deal, homemade bacon.

Bacon

I got this recipe from Michael Ruhlman’s “Charcuterie”, which is a great book if you want to start curing your own meats or make your own sausages. I must admit, I was a bit hesitant getting this book, not because of the recipes, but because of the author himself. I’m sure he’s a nice enough fellow (heck, I’d let him buy me a beer or eight), but he couldn’t write his way out of a first-year English lit course, unless, that is, you enjoy reading about everyone’s hair cut and colour, what clothes they’re wearing, the names of said person’s wife and kids, etc. Where he does excel, however, is his cookbooks (The French Laundry, Bouchon, and this one). Ergo, this latest one is great.

On to the bacon. I picked up a pork belly at the market. Farm-raised, it was a good 3-5 cm thick, and weighed about 5 kilos. I cut it in half, and froze one part, which I’ll use to make pancetta later this fall. The other half I salted, liberally, with, um, salt (kosher), curing salts (which I ordered from down south), sugar and, because the end result was breakfast bacon, a bit of maple syrup.

Wrapped it up in a food saver bag and stored it in the fridge for a week, where it brined. Then, took it out, rinsed, and cooked at low temperature, after which I removed the rind. And, oh yes, there were still hairs and nipple marks on the rind. You really get to experience the meat, I guess.

So now, I have about 2 kilos of bacon and cured pork belly. I’m trying to find any reason to eat it. I’m thinking cesar salad tonight. I’ve already used some in a tomato butter recipe, but in that case I used lardons, which is basically the same thing, except the belly isn’t cut into slices but little cubes.

Overall, the taste is exquisite and reminds me more of the bacon we ate back when we were young ‘uns. More of a ham flavour, less of a salty taste.

So now, I’m looking for someone with a cold room who will let me age my other attempts; not just the pancetta, but also some duck ham, perhaps some serrano, etc.

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Travels with dog

August 7, 2007 at 10:39 am (Climbing, General)

(or things to remember when camping for the first time with a dog)
The milliner and I headed down to the Adirondacks this past weekend to do a bit of climbing and relaxation. Naturally, we brung the boxer. Things I noted and vow to always keep in mind:

  • Small though it is, the Echo can still fit two humans, a mid-sized dog, camping gear, climbing gear, pillows (what?), a Coleman stove, and everything else.
  • While it’s nice to think that your dog can sleep in the tent with you, always remember that boxers have, um, flatulence. Bad flatulence. Imagine sleeping over a leaky septic tank.
  • City dogs love huge fields. Don’t expect to see the dog for a few hours, as she will be off, running wind sprints through the tall grass.
  • If you haven’t climbed in a while, don’t just throw your gear bag into the car. Because? Nothing sucks more than hiking up the trail with a 40-lb bag on your back, sortng out your gear, and then realising that you left your harness back in the city. Hike back out, get in car, drive a while to the store, buy another harness, drive and hike back.
  • Boxers can’t climb rocks. They slip and fall over backward.
  • When your dog jumps into a lake for the first time in its life, be prepared to jump in after it, fully clothed. There is nothing more frightening than watching a dog struggling, its head underwater for what seems like an eternity.

Can’t wait to go back.

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