Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 9th, 2011

Spanish-class comments

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I just ordered three Spanish novels for the Kindle (and now have them, of course), including Cajas de cartón, which I also have as an audiobook. I plan to listen to the book a few times, but then listen while reading to disambiguate any pronunciations with which I’m having problems. And I got from Netflix today Y tu mamá también.

And again I really like these photo-based flashcards.

Written by Leisureguy

9 February 2011 at 2:25 pm

Posted in Education

En la cocina… oops, excuse me: In the kitchen

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I’ve got to be careful about drifting off into Spanish. BTW, found this great flashcard site for Spanish, which enables the student to associate Spanish nouns with the objects they name (by using photographs: mouse over the photo, see the Spanish word and hear it pronounced) rather than with the English word (which is the drawback of my homemade flashcards).

First, TYD pointed out that when I think of slow-cooker recipes as being stews, soups, and the like, I often am thinking of a bad slow-cooker recipe. The slow cooker’s advantage is that it requires VERY LITTLE liquid: with the very low temperature, you can even cook meat with no liquid at all—and once she mentioned it, I do recall (for example) putting beef short-ribs into a slow cooker along with potato, onion, and carrot and some seasonings and very little liquid. I did that before I left for work, and when I returned home, the house was filled with the aroma of dinner. And it was great.

So: slow-cooker recipes do not have to have much liquid at all. Still, cooking something at a very low temperature for a very long time has a different effect than cooking something at a high temperature for a short time: the two methods are not simply interchangeable, and they affect the food differently.

That said, let me describe another GOPM (glorious one-pot meal: 2-qt cast iron Dutch oven filled with two meals—two servings starch, two servings protein, and the pot then filled with veggies—and then covered and put into a 450-degree F oven for 45 minutes. (Not at all like a slow cooker, you’ll notice.)

I had tried eggplant with good success, and The Eldest, when I told her, immediately suggested a Greek-themed meal. The layers, from the bottom:

1 onion about the size of baseball, chopped coarsely
2 servings starch: rice, potato (cut up), pasta (cut pasta works best), egg noodles, etc.
8 oz lamb, and I’m thinking I’ll buy some nice lamb chops and use that meat: tender
salt, pepper, a little crushed red pepper, and an herb (thyme, say, or lavender)
minced garlic
sliced or coarsely chopped bell peppers
sliced eggplant brushed with 2 tsp olive oil
coarsely chopped kalamata olives
chopped fresh or frozen spinach
crumbled feta
slice tomatoes
1 Meyer lemon cut into little chunks (including skin)

Whisk together and pour over:

2 Tbsp vinaigrette
1 Tbsp red wine
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp horseradish

I’m sure this can be improved, and I haven’t even made it. But that’s the starting point I’ll be using.

Just out of curiosity, have any of you tried cooking a dinner using the GOPM technique (cover cast-iron dutch oven, high heat, 45 minutes)—and, if so, what do you think of it? It’s pretty clear that much of the cooking is done by the trapped steam (so your want the lid sitting directly on the pot, not lifted above by the stack of veg—and that’s hard for me, which is why I appreciate the discipline of the pot: 2 quarts and no more).

One other thing I just remembered: I’m gradually using up my miso collection in GOPMs. Today’s, for example, was a pork and rice GOPM, with onion, mushrooms, green bell pepper, parsley, yellow crookneck squash, and asparagus. On the mushroom layer I put several little spoonfuls of garlic-red pepper miso. For the pour-over I used vinaigrette and a good dash of soy sauce.

Written by Leisureguy

9 February 2011 at 2:04 pm

Making the transition from PC to Mac: Help

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The Younger Daughter points out this useful article. I’m downloading the app now.

UPDATE: It took a while because I also had to download a bunch of software updates—it looks as though the Apple doesn’t do those automatically. No problem.

But the point I want to make: terrific application! Really well done and has explained several things that were puzzling. Plus, for the first time in my experience, the instructor in the video is truly engaging and charming. For 99 cents, you can’t beat it. (No cent sign because my Apple doesn’t yet have an equivalent of Phrase Express installed: something to look for in the App Store—aha! here’s one: TypeIt4Me.)

UPDATE 2: TypeIt4Me is working and seems pretty good. I have 30 days of free use before the nagger starts. And that Mac instructional program (above link) is quite nice. I just worked on my widgets and got the translation widget in place, English to Spanish being the default. To see whether it works, I typed in “fork,” but the “translation” it gave was “fork,” So I tried “knife,” and I did get “cuchillo.” According to our text, the Spanish word for “fork” is “tenedor,” but when I put that in for a Spanish->English translation, it translates it as “possesor,” obviously reading it as some form of “tener.” So the translator might not be so useful after all. Hope the dictionary’s better.

Written by Leisureguy

9 February 2011 at 8:01 am

Rooney, Floris, iKon, & a great shave

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I used the Style 3, size 2 shown above—the Style 3, size 1 is just for a size comparison. (2 = larger than 1) Great lather, but really just too much brush. It feels a little along the lines of one person driving a Hummer to the store: it gets you there, but it does seem a tad excessive. I like the smaller brush, perhaps because I lather on my face—but even after the lather is complete, the big brush seems too much.

The iKon did its usual job of smooth, comfortable shaving. I think the iKon is my new nominee for the razor James Bond uses: extremely efficient at getting the job done, but still provides a feeling of smoothness and comfort. It was the usual Swedish Gillette blade.

A splash of Floris JF to complement the Floris Elite soap (which is a very nice soap indeed). And now I scurry about to ready the apartment for the cleaning ladies.

Written by Leisureguy

9 February 2011 at 7:59 am

Posted in Shaving

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