Eggs and power tools

Breakfast

While the handiwork of just about any Japanese housewife would put mine to shame, I do think that this morning’s experiment at tamogoyaki is the best success yet.

The key I’m finding is to be sure to add thin enough layer of the egg mixture that it cooks fairly evenly and quickly, so that it’s easily rolled before the pan facing side gets too brown. Adding a small amount of egg is a lot easier when you don’t almost cook your thumb off the heat radiating from the pan 😅. On the flip side the square shape of a tamogoyaki pan and a spatula near the same size, does make it pretty darn easy to roll the omelette over. That’s pretty much the difference between a tamogoyaki pan and a small skillet: it’s square instead of round.

Power tools

My follow up project for the day was to investigate the wiring on the light switches by my garage. There’s two switches there, one that controls the hallway lighting and one that controls the main lighting in the garage itself. In general, I’m tempted to replace the classic flick switches in my home with slider switches like my apartment had, or simple rocker switches because I kind of like the newer types. A few with Alexa control would be nice but aren’t a big deal thanks to electrical code mandated multiway switches. But for the hallway there where it is the only switch, I’m interested in putting a motion sensor in place so that it’s easy to have that lighting ‘on’ when useful and not constantly forget to turn it on in the first place, or off.

Popping the breaker and getting my tester out because I’m more cautious with mains electricity, it looks like both these switches are the classic two wires and a ground. So that will probably curtail that idea more than finding a suitable two gang plate would. Occupancy sensor type stuff I’ve seen tends to require a neutral third wire. I’m really not surprised though, this house is relatively young but it’s not that young a building.

In retrospect, I should have unscrewed the left switch instead of the right, in order to get a better look at the wiring coming into the box, but for now I have enough information to satisfy my research. Finding it rather a pain in my ass to unscrew the switch itself and that one screw refused to drive far enough to get the front plate to rest flat, I finally caved into that reoccurring thought that groans, “Damn it, I should just buy a drill”, in the back of my head whenever I do things like this. A short ride to the Home Depot later, I now have a cordless drill and impact driver as well as the switch’s plate properly in place. That should take care of my thermostat plans and help with tasks involving light switches and furniture assembly!

I find it kind of curious that I’m accustomed to dealing with low voltage electronics but I find myself far more paranoid when it involves household mains electricity. But not as curious as the fact that power tools make me far more self conscious than handling firearms would. Firearms tend to put holes through things and civilian weapons are limited to the semi automatic variety. Power tools also tend to put holes through things, but have the potential to keep going and typically have less safe guards built in than a pistol or carbine does. Making them far more dangerous to handle IMHO. I was kind of amused at the instructions warning against hitting the trigger when picking up or slinging the drill with the battery still in place.

On the positive side, I suppose the safety concepts are similar enough. It’s just while a dumb ass with a firearm may neglectfully reach out and perforate someone or something at a distance, a dumbass with a power tool is more likely to make like the chainsaw scene from Dawn of the Dead’s finale. I like to think that I may be ignorant or foolish at times, but I try to be a responsible schmuck rather than a true dumbass.

This made my day

A friend shared this earlier and I rather busted out laughing with a face like my dad’s shit eating grin when I read it. Yes, this does describe me 😀

Breakfast for dinner and gas on the range

After executing breakfast for dinner, I’m reminded that if I ever had to teach someone to cook, why I’d use eggs as an early lesson: they’re easy. Also reminded that a tamogoyaki pan has been on my wish list for quite a few years now, and that making eggs are one of the few times that I prefer non-stick cookware.

Pretty much if you can avoid putting egg shells in then pan: you can scramble or fry eggs. Quality may vary wildly between how fluffy and rubber like they turn out, but by and large they’re idiot proof. About the time they’ve started coagulating you probably hit temperature enough for them to be relatively safe to eat, and a new cook is more likely to overcook eggs and have to scrub the pan than they are to generate food poisoning from overly runny eggs. Making eggs are pretty tolerant of being cooked quickly at high heat or slower at low heat, and coagulate rapidly enough that it’s a good lesson in “Hey kiddo, don’t walk off while you’re cooking!” Plus if you add enough cheese, you’ll probably have something edible unless you chip a tooth 😅

Having spent a life around electric ranges, I’m beginning to understand why my mother and most folks I’ve known prefer gas stoves. At first it felt like relearning how to boil and simmer all over but I greatly appreciated the speed savings for making pasta, my first home cooked meal here. The rapid heat control is rather nice for making eggs, especially if you tend to favor the hot and fast approach to scrambling. Making me happy that my first eggs cooked on gas came out both nice and quickly. Plus, compared to the stoves my mother described (or worse, learned to cook on back in the ’50s), any gas range made in this millennium is an auto igniting electric. So even a schmuck like me can use one, lol.

Coffee

There is nothing like the sweet bliss of coffee in the morning. I almost wish I had brought my phone downstairs, I’d grab one of my smile 😄

A shot at a healthier lunch

Much healthier than I would usually make when doing lunch at home, and frankly it’s a day when I’d be more apt to have McDonald’s or La Madeleine than make something at home.

Figured since todays plans calls for being more active than ordinary, a whole sandwich and a nice salad would be more filling than either half and chips or only a salad. Plus the net result is a sandwich more in line with the doc’s advice than making it two, and incorporates more greens and veggies since I was already making a sandwich.

Remains to be seen if it proves filling enough, but I suspect that with an apple in between it should get me to dinner reasonably well. What I should really do is investigate some type of light salad dressing, even if salad dressing is basically defined in terms of fat and salt, lol.

Amazing Burger

Finding myself in the position where it’ll take too long to cook versus need to eat before I chew the world apart, I opted to visit the local burger place. It’s kind of sad that it’s the least healthy thing I’ve eaten all week, but it’s also the most satisfying thing I’ve eaten all week.

Yeah, I think tonight’s a cheat day as far as the healthy eating goes, lol.

Experiments in healthier eating

In general, I’ve tried to be more mindful of sodium and fat content in the things I order, and work in more fruits.

So far, switching out my snack habits has worked better than expected. For the most part I don’t have much fruit in my diet, because it’s rare I’ll eat it all before it’s either time to toss it or freeze it. Which pretty much describes my relationship with bread, lol. Apples and oranges for example, are working quite well as a hydrating snack with a decent shelf life.

Regular eating is a bit more difficult. In my own cooking, I don’t use a lot of salt beyond what’s in powdered spices, and I probably don’t want to know how much that is. Pretty much everything involving restaurants or fast food has a lot of sodium in it, and I reckon if water is the universal solvent then sodium is the universal seasoning 😅.

Tonight’s meal was brown rice, red lentils, shredded carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms, and some tomato. This incorporates two things I don’t normally cook with: brown rice, since I usually make white; and lentils which I like, but never really have cooked with. This is a spin on something I’d usually make with a lot more seasoning and some ground meat or chicken added. Heavier in the lentils, made for an enjoyable meal. In retrospect I think it might have been worth while adding some unsalted nuts or a bit of bread/oil to make it more filling.

On the flip side, this made a good opportunity to polish off some strawberries and blueberries I’ve been meaning to finish while they’re still good, and declare it desert. Which come to think of it, I don’t really tend to eat desserts so much when left to my own devices.

Just the same, I’m not sure if I want to know what my blood pressure is before bed.

Cooking for the first time in a good while, between waiting on the land lord to finally call a plumber and Willow’s tethering health; I opted for a two factor dinner plan.

For me, chicken tenderloins baked with a light dusting of garam masala, some green bean casserole that I’ve been meaning to make forever, and rice with soy sauce and onions. Not the best meal I’ve ever made, but it felt good to be able to cook again.

For the dogs, I boiled a portion of the chicken and set aside a few spoons of the rice. At first, I was worried that this might be a little bit bland compared to their diet of late. Needn’t have worried, save perhaps that they would dislike having to share 🤣.

While Willow didn’t care much for having to wait on me to clean and re-order the kitchen interspersed with cooking tasks. She pretty much woofed it down. Misty basically cleared the dish by the time I turned around. So, I guess I can call that an effective plan.

How much coffee could a code monkey slurp, slurp, slurp?

Depends, how much coffee was there to guzzle, guzzle, guzzle?

Look, the coffee pot is dry! Oh shit, there’s an evil glean in his eye!

Quick, it’s time to make some more coffee before the world ends.

— my passing thoughts between cups

Coffeeeeee Time!

So far, experiments with pour over are going well. In a lot of ways, it feels more like a transition from an automatic to a manual transmission, except in this case it’s extracting awesomeness from roasted beans.

For my French press it’s a pretty simple equation. Coffee grounds by weight/grind, water measured to the mark, and a timer on my watch. Bing, badda, boom. Adjusting the grind or the time is about it as long as you remember to stir the top to avoid coffee-berg instead of steeping uniformly. I’ve gotten this down to a kind of science of about 50g of coarse ground coffee, 800ml of water that’s just ceased boiling, and 4minutes in the press. That makes two helpings of my larger cups. Adjusting weight to time made it easy to dial in my ideal brew with the French press.

With the pour over, since I aimed for a similarly sized beaker (rated for 6 cups), it’s hard to have room for both 50g of coffee and properly extract it. Because of the differences in extraction, losing the steady time factor takes this from an ‘awesome’ cup to a ‘good’ cup by my tastes. To compensate, I’ve started experimenting with less coffee and the greater exposure to water that extra space allows. Making this a more controlled process is a bit tricky with my old time flat/wide kettle, but does seem to be bearing fruit. If this was firing artillery, I’d probably have the target within another 4 or 5 rounds.

The downside of the French press is that it’s a bugger to clean after a brew. My Venken’s filter design lets you get all the flavor and none of the grounds, but requires proper rinsing and wiping down of the beaker. It’s such a great French press, I’d bring it to work if only it was easier to dispose of the grounds. Normally, I lay out paper towels in the kitchen sink, so that I can clean it out and scoop up the grounds without much going down the drain.

The downside of the pour over is it’s more precision to get a good brew. But the clean up is damn easy peasy. Literally, grab the beaker by the neck, walk to trash can, lift and toss filter – done! The beaker itself just needs a decent rinse. There’s also the great upside that thanks to the separation the filter provides, I can utilize it to hold the second or third cup of coffee while I’m drinking the first. Actually, when using my French press I could probably use the Chemex as a coffee decanter, saving me from needing a second cup.

I think if I could change anything it would be more precise measuring. The small bulb representing half full and the wrap representing max, while nifty is just not as precise as I’d like. Fortunately, being the kind of metric system using asshole that I am, there’s a simple solution to this. Plop the beaker on my kitchen scale, tare the weight, add the water. And guess what? The formula for water is about 1ml = 1g. Ahh, I love the metric system 😁.