January 30, 2011

hot diggity dog

We picked up a new canine friend from the Humane Society last weekend! He is a 1.5 year old black lab mix. His name? Francois! Il est un bon chien!

January 15, 2011


I love making a mess in the kitchen! I really should take more pictures of that portion of cooking... This mess is the result of making pierogies. If you're unfamiliar with pierogies, just think of them as raviolis except in an Eastern European way. The outer shell is a simple flour, egg, water, and salt dough. The fillings that I chose were cheese & potato, mushroom & onion, and sauerkraut though there are many other options. To cook the pierogies, I boiled them for 3 minutes. Then I topped them with melted butter and sour cream. Then I devoured them.

Did I ever mention that I am supposed to work on a Vegetarian Eastern European recipe zine with some friends? I am. And then I don't. Hold me to it people!

January 12, 2011

bottled the ginger brown

We bottled our ginger brown ale that we started back in November. The recipe is on hopville, a nice calculator tool and way to keep track of recipes.

We now have a big enough collection of flip-top bottles to fit a 5-gallon batch of beer, without needing to use wine bottles (too big) or crown-top bottles (requires borrowing the capping tool). Conveniently, all of the bottles fit (just barely) in our dishwasher for sanitizing.

For a little experiment, we used three different priming sugar recipes (priming sugar is added just before bottling to create carbonation). One gallon was primed with blackstrap molasses, one gallon was primed with cane sugar boiled with 1 oz. ginger root for extra ginger flavor, and the remaining three gallons got half molasses half cane sugar for priming.

January 10, 2011

pumpkin pupusas

We finally slaughtered the larger of the two pumpkins we got back in October. It stored just fine on our kitchen counter. I say slaughtered because the process brings to mind the process of slaughtering a turkey (probably a bit easier and less messy though)--cut it open, take out the guts, and save the precious and tasty organs (seeds). The photo above is our 16 quart pot almost filled to the brim with pumpkin!

And what better way to celebrate the freshly processed pumpkin than with pumpkin pupusas! They are so easy to make. We used the recipe from the Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons. Basically you just mix masa harina with pumpkin or squash, grated cheese, and some water, form into patties and fry...very fast once the pumpkin is already cooked. Delicious with refried black beans, hot sauce, and sour cream!

January 9, 2011

wireless internet antenna (WokFi)

We got tired of paying $60 a month for internet, so we decided to try something different: "WokFi". We use a parabolic-shaped wok strainer as an antenna to boost our signal from a particular access point from 30-40% (-76 dBm) to 60-80% (-66 dBm). The strainer was $8 and the USB wifi dongle was ~$15. There are lots of instructions out there.

In review, using the antenna boosts us from a barely useable connection to a pretty strong connection, but it's not perfect; I found it has to be mounted outside to get the best reception. I'm guessing this is because our windows have a metallic coating. With this set up, we have to be plugged in and can't move around the apartment, but we're okay with that. And now we don't have to give $720 a year to any of the big telecomm companies.

Side note: The USB wifi device that I bought has drivers for Linux, but I found it easier to use NDISwrapper to install the Windows drivers.