Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Special" breakfast

For some reason, my wife has been thinking about Spam a lot. Not the musical, but thinking a lot about Spam. She had said that she wonders if it still takes like she remembers from when she was a kid.
The block of spam
So, while I was out picking up movies at Blockbuster, I stopped by the grocery store and picked up a can of Spam. I was surprised that I was able to find Spam at QFC, since they try to be a little more high fa-luting than other stores, but then sadden that I was only able to find Lite, Turkey and Classic, but no smoked.
As I thought about how to prepare it for her, I've always been intrigued by Spam in Raisin sauce, but she hates raisins. So, I thought I'd make a special breakfast. I thought about crumbling it into scrambled eggs, but that wouldn't showcase the Spam itself. So, I made egg Spam-wiches!
Mmm, tasty!
Butter milk biscuits, with a poached egg and a slice of fried Spam. Mmm, delicious.

Often, I under season the food. To make sure, I checked that box, I sprinkled pepper on the eggs before serving. There was plenty of salt from the Spam.
To maximize the effect, I didn't allow any one in the kitchen to ruin the surprise of Spam. I had them all sit at the table, eyes closed, and brought out the serving plate. The were pleasantly surprised alright.
Egg Spam-wiches

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Making Ice Cream... Bacon Ice cream.

This isn't a post about work, I actually blog very little about work, but as disclosure, I do work for Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream. I enjoy cooking (and eating) very much and find it relaxing. And tasty. So, this summer, in a bit of my free time, I've made a few batches of ice cream.
The finished product
I've seen all kinds of crazy things online that people will do with bacon and decided that I would make some bacon ice cream. I figured that chocolate covered bacon would be a nice combination of salty and sweet and maybe I could even slip it past unsuspecting family members.
Mixing the base Bacon and Chocolate II
So my daughter and I fried up some bacon, melted some chocolate and made some ice cream a few weeks ago. It actually turned out quite well and not as weird as it sounds!
And for those that don't believe it, Heather said, "Mmmm. I like it. I like the bacony taste at the end" and Chase said, "It's sweet and smokey at the same time. "

My daughter and I took photos while we made the bacon ice cream, you can see the full set on Flickr.

Again, in full disclosure, I was asked to make some "more normal flavors" for my subsequent batches and I made some mint chip ice cream a few days later. The mint chip has been fully consumed, but there is still some bacon ice cream in our freezer. But its still good.

My most recent two batches were black raspberry ice cream. We had some neighbors that were moving away and our street was going to have a casual gathering to wish them well. My wife and I collaborated and she made a pound cake and I made ice cream to go on top and it was quite good!
Pound Cake, by Heather Photo from Heather
For those looking for recipes, I kinda broke out on my own for each of them, though they were loosely based on recipes from Williams-Sonoma Mint Chip and Ben and Jerry's Raspberry ice creams. I recommend both the Williams-Sonoma ice cream book and the Ben and Jerry's ice cream books, as they have lots of great recipes.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I'm not dead...

My wife mentioned last night that my last blog entry was in May. I knew it had been a while, but I didn't realize that it had been that long. Sure, I make updates on twitter, but 140 characters a few times a day just isn't the same as a full blown blog posting.

So, this blog will be a summary of what I've done since the middle of May and hopefully, I can turn some of the entries here into more postings. I do wish I'd write more, as keeping a journal keeps the mind sharp.

For the first few weeks after my messenger bag was stolen, I had a loaner laptop from work. It was a beater - the screen frame was cracked on both sides and it ran hot. Sure, it was a laptop and got me by, but it just wasn't the same. Thank goodness for my backup and documents in the cloud, I was able to continue work and finish out the quarter for school.

When the school quarter ended, I was officially on summer break. Being in an Evening MBA program, that really means that I was back to just working as the draw on my time. I've been trying hard, and not often succeeding, to not replace my school time with work time and actually enjoy some of my free time.

With both the kids and me on vacation, we had house guests at the end of June. My wife's sister and brother and some portion of their families came to visit. We did some of the touristy things around Seattle. The weather was excellent for their visit and the day we were on Alki Beach, the Light House was open for tours. It's not open often, so we were lucky to be able to check it out. We went to Mount Rainier and had another beautiful day there - it was one of those perfect days when the skies are clear and you can see all around. The new visitor center was open and there was still snow on the ground at Paradise. The bad thing was that it was so bright: clear day, snow to reflect the sunlight and I'd not yet replaced my sunglasses. Thanks to Heather for the picture.

The kids' year round swimming season concluded and the summer recreational season occurred during the month of June and July. Again the kids did very well, both with swimming and just peforming at swim meet after swim meet. Kid 1 and 2 both qualified for Pacific Northwest Swimming Champs and Kid 1 had the highest cumulative points at all dual for the summer league and broke a club record! They're great swimmers and its a good thing considering how much time we spend at pools.

We've had a number of car related issues, number one being the break-in (after a swim meet). Someone let the air out of two of my tires (at a swim meet), which I did not realize until I was several miles away on the freeway with two totally thrashed tires. I'd decided to replace the MINI's runflats with non-runflat tires, for performance and cost reasons, and this was the worst case scenario with not having a spare. The tires wouldn't take air (I did have a compressor) and so it required a flatbed to carry the MINI to the tire shop. It took far longer than it needed to, as the insurance company's roadside assist couldn't find a flatbed they had contracted with. You can read what Heather had to say about it. The final car issue (note to Fate, I said it was the final one) was that my wife was crashed into in a parking lot (after a swim meet). We're still dealing with the damage caused by the uninsured driver, but we're finding (and has been the case n all of the dealings this summer) that our insurance company, USAA, is pretty good.

While my car was in the shop (new tires and some engine work), I worked from a few coffee shops in Seattle and had some great picnics with my family. We went to Greenlake Park one day for lunch and then dinner at the famed Dick's Drive In (Again, hanks to Heather for the picture.).

It was cool to go to Dick's because Sir Mix-A-Lot sang about it. It was cool to eat dinner at the park with my family and play tag and watch the hoola hoopers. But Dick's was not a good burger. Or fries.

To make things right, the next day, lunch was at Red Mill Burgers and was much better.

I'm still replacing my stolen things, but I'm getting there. As you can see by the photo credits, most of the photos here were taken by Heather. I've not yet replaced my camera and the iPhone, while a great phone, is only a mediocre camera.

I've continued to use Ubuntu, and have added some computers to our network. Now my backups are more robust and I can actually backup or get my files from anywhere I'm connected to the Internet. I've been learning about nfs and running a server. There are a few more fun pictures of my computers and Ubuntu on my flickr account.

Rancid released another album at the beginning of July. I really like punk and really like the fact that Rancid sings so much about the East Bay and Berkeley where I did my undergrad studies. Kid 1 and I went to their concert when they came to Seattle and had a fun, though he fell asleep during the show (two long swim practices in the morning don't make a late night easy). It was fun to debate whether or not this was his first real concert - I still maintain that American Idol on tour just doesn't count.

I've not done a lot of cooking lately, but I did make two batches of ice cream recently. I made a sweet cream and chocolate covered bacon ice cream and a mint chip ice cream (I needed to make some thing more normal tasting) and they've both been quite refreshing with the weather we've been having lately.

Thats all for now, there are several things that I'd like to expound upon here and make full blown posts out of and I'll try to get to that later. I hope you are enjoying your summer too!