Wrong number

I got a text message, which is annoying, since my flip phone isn’t really for texting.

Hi Gail, nice meeting you last night at J Grays.  Its Brian. Any chance you would like to meet sometime for a dinner and/or drink?

I wonder if Gail’s even her proper name.

Long ass month

I know this July has been a long ass month because my transit benefits ran out over a week ago. Usually I only have to shell out $40 or so a month but this month I think I’ve had to spend twice that. It’s still better than driving but this just means I’ve been spending more time commuting this month than usual which is a drag. I’m ready for some time off. Move along July. I’ve had enough of you.

Generally a good problem, but a problem anyway

We had friends over for lunch recently and got some beer in case anybody wanted some. I chilled 4 bottles, which I felt was pretty conservative an estimate for 6 people. For sure they would be consumed and not take up space in my piddly little fridge. Not so. Nobody had any beer. I’m looking at 4 bottles of beer everyday and shuffling them about trying to find room for produce and my lunch boxes and fruit and leftovers and they are in the way. I could drink them but I feel like I’m still recovering from last week’s 4 glasses of wine. And now that they’re chilled they can’t be un-chilled without affecting the quality of the beer or so I’ve been told.

Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast

My kitchen has been sort of a microbiology laboratory with random fermentation projects that I get in and out of. I haven’t made any kimchi or natto in a while, but am currently growing a SCOBY and making kombucha.

A crunchy granola coworker brought me a bottle of fermented tea drink called kombucha, that she made at home. It was fizzy, mildly sweet, and a little fragrant. Very delicious. Then she told me how she grew her own SCOBY at home and provided me with a couple of jars to serve as my mother. And now I have my very own baby SCOBY.

First Fermentation
Here’s what I did.
Brew black tea.
Add a bunch of sugar. (I didn’t measure, but it was more than I would add to my tea if I’m drinking it myself. This is food for the yeast)
Wait for it to cool.
Rinse a clean glass jar with white vinegar. Pour out the vinegar.
Add the black tea and mother kombucha in the rinsed out glass jar.
Cover it with a paper towel and rubber band it on.
Put it in a dark area (warm part of the house).

Mine are sitting in a cabinet above the fridge. And even after a few days I could already start to see little wisps of the yeast. After a week, I had a thin layer of SCOBY. And at week 2, I started my second ferment.

Second Fermentation
Pour some of the kombucha into a jar (I’m using an old kombucha jar from the store), add a little fruit juice (maybe a ratio of 5 to 1 or so). Leave a little room for it to expand (fizzy air from the yeast). Put the lid on tight. Stick it back in the dark warm shelf for 2 to 7 days. Refrigerate and then done!

I’m currently at the second fermentation stage. I just have 1 jar. If this works out, I’ll be sipping on some by this weekend.

Can’t Party Like it’s 1999 anymore

We went to a friend’s house a couple of nights ago, for after dinner wine and snacks. I had 4 glasses of wine. 2 glasses of Zin, 1 Pinot noir, and a white. All great wines. That’s the problem. They were too easy to drink. I haven’t been drinking much lately (just don’t like the way it makes me feel) so that amount with my nonexistent tolerance really made me regret it by the time I got home. I didn’t have too bad of a hangover the next day but I slept a lot and now it’s 1:30 AM and I can’t go to sleep. My body is totally not handling this like, at all.

We got burgers and fries for dinner last night at a newish place called Citizen Burger. I haven’t had a burger for over a year. I don’t count vegan “burger” patties from the frozen aisle. The Citizen vegan burgers were pretty good as vegan versions go. Way better than any I’ve seen on other menus. My least favorite are ones made with rice. Grains in a grain bun just feels stupid, lazy, and cheapass. I’m looking at you Elevation and BGR. You couldn’t figure to use lentils, mushrooms, any other vegetable? Anyway, these were made from beets, millet, and quinoa. From what I could taste and see, it seemed like mostly beets. I’m guessing the millet/quinoa were for binding and added protein. Millet cooks up pretty sticky. They were out of the vegan bun so I got the multi-grain. I suspect it was made with butter, or buttermilk or some kind of dairy though because it tasted pretty good. Next time I’ll probably just get it wrapped in lettuce. All in all I’m pretty happy to have another decent vegan option but for the most part, I’m not a fan of vegan burgers.

Haircut by the way

I got a haircut a few weeks back. It wasn’t a big change lengthwise so I debated if it was even blogworthy. Since this is a blog chock full of this caliber of blogworthiness, well, of course it’s blogworthy!
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The after is the wet hair (left). I guess I should’ve done dry hair for both photos. Ah well. The important thing is, she did it very quickly, just the way I like it.

Furikake

I’ve been making this Japanese rice seasoning for my lunch boxes for the past couple of weeks and now I can’t not have it! It’s super easy and very flavorful over rice. It’s salad dressing for your rice basically.

  • Nori. Many sheets of nori. The kind you get to make sushi. I usually do 12 sheets at a time, and a batch will get me through a week.
  • Lots of roasted/toasted sesame seeds. I’d say for 12 sheets, I probably used 1/2 to 3/4 cup of seeds?
  • Salt. I think I put in a teaspoon.

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Roast the nori over your stove. Electric or gas is okay. Just toast the nori on both sides.

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Cut the sheets into quarters or eighths or whatever, enough to get them into your food processor (a blender would work too I think). Add the sesame seeds and salt.

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Blitz.

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Pour them in a glass jar to store. I keep the jar in my freezer as well as my packages of nori.

Sprinkle it over rice. I like to add (apple cider or rice) vinegar to my rice too for more flavor. I look forward to lunch everyday so much now, I generally eat it by 10.

Metro Attacker

Last week, there was a report of a guy who was stabbed and beaten to death on a Metro train by a guy with a knife. This happened during the day while the train was still running between stations and with other passengers aboard. I’ve been thinking about this a lot over and over in my head. I’ve read articles with people opining about how they would have reacted. They would have fought him, stepped in. When this kinda’ thing happens, I think of Kitty Genovese. No one steps in when someone is attacked in front of others. The thing is, I don’t know what I would have done. I’ve witnessed a mugging at a metro station before during rush hour. Tons of people were standing on a platform as a gang of boys punched a guy for his cell phone. No one stepped in. I could only dial for police because I was too scared to hit any one of the attackers too. I think I was slack-jawed the entire time. So I don’t think it’s fair for us sitting in front of our computers in a moment of calm to say what we would have done if such a horrifying thing were happening before us. The brain operates differently under that kind of stress. It’s reactionary almost. Fight or flight. Or like me, stiff, panicked, and useless. So in this moment of calm, I’m thinking how I ought to react if I encounter this kind of situation. I can’t fight. But I can throw stuff. Monkeys do that I think. They throw shit. Literally. I probably don’t have time to defecate but my glass lunch boxes would hurt. My heavy bag of dirty gym clothes maybe? I guess if the crowd throws everything we have at the attacker, it could overwhelm him enough to confuse him? Make him stop? I don’t know. It’s the only plan I have right now. What a horrifying situation to have to witness.

Plantain Lumpia

A friend from work made banana lumpia for me a few years ago and they were so delicious I still think about them from time to time. I’m not a fan of desserts but these weren’t overly sweet and had a crispy outside and soft inside. I don’t have banana at the moment. But I happen to have lumpia wrappers in the freezer and 3 semi-ripe plantains. So I’m going to try making these into plantain lumpia.

  • Lumpia wrappers
  • Plantains
  • Brown sugar
  • Frying Oil

Cut the plantains into thirds. Then cut the pieces into quarters, length-wise.
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Wrap in lumpia with a little brown sugar.

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Wet the edges to help it stick.

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Fry.

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I actually only made a few with sugar. The rest I made plain and they can be enjoyed with ketchup and sriracha.

Best Concert EVAR!!

Last night’s Taylor Swift 1989 concert was every positive superlative you can think of. From the opening acts (Shawn Mendes, Vance Joy, and Haim) to the final Shake It Off finale with fireworks, I was in the best place on Earth for those 6 hours.
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She just puts on a performance that feels like a big production, but then draws you into a more intimate place. She somehow manages to take a sold-out stadium of 45,000 people and magically draw you closer together.
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And part of the show is also these cool light up bracelets they hand out at the entrance which are controlled lights that make a cool light show effect. The entire stadium just looks amazing during the performances. I have to hand it to the fans too, they are pretty awesome people. The costumes, the signs, the devotion. I felt inadequate even as I stepped off the metro train, seeing all the amazing costumes and signs people were carrying in. Oh and Lorde!! LORDE showed up to sing Royals. I wish she stuck around for more. I wish Taylor stuck around for encores. I wish the night would never end. Even though the metro closed and we had to cab it home, and I have a sore throat from screaming my head off, I could have stayed there for moar!! She did sing redesigned versions of Love Story, I Knew You Were Trouble, and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. She performed the entire 1989 album including the bonus tracks, You Are In Love, Wonderland, and New Romantics. 19 songs altogether. Girl is no slouch. Partway in the show, there was a hangup on the moving stage. It drizzled earlier during the start of the show and the stage machinery got stuck while she was on it. So for a while, she was stuck on the center platform and just had to improvise with her guitar and later, a keyboard. She was so calm about it, even asking her staff for a status, and a keyboard mid-song. She didn’t skip a beat. So supposedly, there was to be a song performed with her on a raised platform thing? Maybe the stage lifts? But that broke. It didn’t affect the show though. We were there to hear her sing her songs. Platform smlatform. In between songs, she talks about not comparing your backstage life with the online highlight reel that you see on the internet of other people. And to love yourself. And friendships. Her two criteria for friendship are 1. Liking her and 2. Wanting to spend time with her. With point 2, there are two options, to leave or to stay. And that was her intro to Stay. Girl, I would have stayed all night long. See you in 2 years Taylor.