pick up a penny, won’t somebody tell me

Posted on Monday 15 June 2009

sense :: taste // lemon pepper shrimp

Last week was food week over at Lifehacker, and I picked up a whole world of tips that hopefully will prove themselves useful now that I’m doing a lot more cooking. One article that I think is worth sharing but that I already pretty much know and love and agree with is the editors’ five must-have tools for any kitchen. I’m on board with this one a hundred percent – when I unpacked my knife block and set I realized how superfluous the majority of the knives in that set really are – I mean, I have a huge butcher’s knife that I haven’t used once since I bought the knife set. I think it might have been used to crack into some kind of melon once, but I don’t even think it was successful then. One good, sharp santoku is more than enough for me. The trick is keeping it sharp.

Solid pots and pans, and the one that entertains me the most if “at least one good Asian supermarket.” Ah yes – where I live now is closer to a number of really good asian markets than where I used to live, so it’s a short jaunt over to one to pick up some delicious snacks, spices, and fresh produce and fish. Another pair of articles that address the hardest meals of the day for me are the whole how to make your brown bag lunch more appealing, which essentially tells me I wouldn’t mind so much if I had a decent lunch container, and the venerable make breakfast burritors in bulk article that I’ve been sitting on for a while now. At least I picked up tortillas on my last grocery shop.

In the same vein, I still make sure to catch A Lyon in the Kitchen on Discovery Health in the mornings, and absolutely love Chef Nathon Lyon and his approach to food. He’s the guy who makes me glad I live close to a farmer’s market…when it opens agiain. I have every intention of strolling the booths, talking to the growers, and filling my basket with fresh deliciousness. Then I just have to figure out what to do with it all.

On the other hand, NPR wrapped up a series a while ago called How Low Can You Go? where they encouraged listeners to submit their meals that they could make and feed a family on a budget of $10 per meal. They had some really high profile chefs talk up their own solutions, like Pat and Gina Neely from the Food Network, making their classic “macaroni and cheese” that I can only encourage you to make yourself, and the chef I love the most but see the least on television these days, Ming Tsai.

Speaking of Food Network, since it’s definitely grilling season, Food Network aired a special called “Dear Food Network,” where Alton Brown (whose book I’m studying again and who pretty much says what Lifehacker says about what you definitely need in your kitchen) drops in on a number of fans to show them how to make delicious food on the grill. On the show, a woman with pink hair who definitely knew her food stood out to me – she had huge personality, knew what she was talking about, and all in all seemed like someone I would love to hang out with. Sure enough, a Google search later and I had found her blog, Foodival, where Stephanie makes the most delicious food I’ve ever seen. (and takes pictures of them with remarkable skill – seriously, the way to my heart is through my eyes and my stomach. Food and photography: two things I absolutely love.)

One comment later on her appearance on Food Network and she sent me an IM. I have a new friend! Aside from following and commenting on her blog, now I just need to work up the nerve to IM her again, what with her being a TV superstar and all.

Between Stephanie and my man Gary Vaynerchuk, I have a lot of people to learn from and talk to when I’m curious about food and wine. And judging by Stephanie’s photography skills, photography too. Now that I’m all settled into my apartment, I can start reaching out to people again, commenting on blogs again, making new friends and getting back in touch with the old ones. Forgive me for being antisocial the past few weeks guys – I’ve had a lot to do and a lot to get over before I felt like I could put my face to the sun again.

In other news, I’m starting to whittle down the stack of books next to my desk. I have the time to do a little reading here and again now, and it’s come just in time now that I’ve found Flashlight Worthy Books’ list of classic steampunk titles. Some of these books are already in my own personal stacks, but some of them I think I’ll have to pick up. I’m really happy about the inclusion of Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius, because it all but really defines the genre to me, even though I know the genre predates their comic.

Now if only I could find some steampunk titles that draw on influences from other parts of the world than Victorian or Eduardian England, I’ll be happy. Seriously, there’s so much elsewhere in the world ripe for a steampunk interpretation – there’s no reason we need to limit ourselves to one particular country, nationality, or (more personally) ethnicity. Maybe I should write some of these ideas down.

Speaking of writing, I’ve been plannig to buy a Moleskine – I just don’t know which one would be best for me – I’ll have to hit the bookstore to to touch a few so I can get a feel for which ones I wouldn’t mind carrying from meeting to meeting. Besides, I have tons of pens at JetPens that I’m dying to buy, but I want to give them a proper writing surface first.

On the geek front, I’ve barely been playing World of Warcraft lately, which explains why the poor Azeroth Metblog has gone un-updated since I wrote about the Cuddle-Me-Yoggy. I tried to write about something tonight, but frankly I just don’t have enough to talk about right now. Maybe I can get back into it this week.

I’m looking forward to Otakon too. I think I’ll only take my Lelouch costume this year – it’s so much easier to get in and out of than the Kaname Tousen costume, unless I get the urge to sew between now and the con. More importantly though, the lovely Kittyhawk, of Montrose Academy and Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki will be there, and I have an obligation to go let her know how much I love her and her work, and spend money on prints. I have some more wall space now and it’s begging for framed prints. I have a little more space for figures now too, maybe.

Aside from that, I desperately need to do something about my home server – I’m all but out of space, and the Windows 7 RC that I’m running in VM on Europa (my Macbook Pro) is sucking down the gigs. I need to offload some music and photos, but I don’t have the space. I’m thinking maybe buying a barebones case, loading it up with 1TB hard drives, and slapping a TV-tuner card in there so I can play the movies that’ll eventually live on the box on the TV.

And that’s a whole other thing. I have a guest room now, and no TV in the guest room. An excuse to buy a new flat-screen TV? Perhaps – my expenses have dropped quite a bit lately, I might be able to. Maybe I’ll wait till the holidays and pick up a deal on something that’s more expensive now.

But right now, I should be abed. Thanks to the lovely Veronica, I’ve been shattering the writer’s block that’s been standing in my way the past week or so – she knows what’s up. And Veronica? That e-mail will live in my mailbox forever. Thank you.

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