Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finally!!!





A complete device in my pocket. Long have I waited for this moment,
and whilst I am paying dearly for it, I'm certain the benefits will
quickly surpass the costs.

Behold, my unified device!!! (not the one in the picture, the one
taking it... The phone in the pic is the trusty monopurpose device
I've used for the past few years - while trusty, I'm happy to see it go)

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

gym quitter

I quit the gym yesterday. Marched right in to my local good life, informed them of my cancellation, waited patiently for a bit, was apologized to for waiting patiently, told them it was too much money to spend on not going to the gym, signed a paper, and was outta there.

I'm not sure how i feel about this.

Its not that i don't like working out, its that i don't like not working out. I also don't like spending 60$+/month on not working out. I'd prefer to spend 30$/month on working out sometime. Yes i'm cheap, but i just reached the limit of spending for a service i wasn't using.

A recent posting on elgin street makes me want to check out the Y. Or perhaps that gym on bank street, i've heard its affordable.

Anyone know of any other inexpensive gym solutions out there?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

teff gluten free pizza crust

Its been a while since we've attempted anything of the sort, but i think the crusts prepared last night were likely the best ever made (by us). I'm selfishly noting this recipe more for myself as i'm likely to forget it the next time i need to make one.

This recipe borrowed technique and substance heavily from here and here. When i "adapt" recipes i tend to "round up" many different quantities because of ease of memory. I actually took some of my original memories and multiplied them by 1.5 in order to make enough pizza for 3 crusts last night, but i was off and the recipe below is only healthily good for 2.

Teff Gluten Free Pizza Crust

2 cups dark Teff flour
2 cups white rice flour
2 cups starch (i used corn and potato)
3 tbl xantham gum
3 tbl instant dry yeast
1 tbl salt
3 tbl oil (i used promiscuous olive oil)
3 tbl honey
1.5 cups white soy milk
1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup or more
extra white rice flour and corn meal for dusting
extra oil for rubbing

If you don't know about Teff, its likely the our favorite and the most flavourful gluten free flour. I believe it comes in both dark and light, although we've only seen the dark. Bob's Red Mill sells it, its what we use, and thats about the only place i've ever seen it.

Start by adding the flours, starch, xantham gum and salt to a large round bottomed bowl. Sift gently.
In a cup add the 1/2 cup of water and honey and mix. Ideally you heat it up for a better mixture, but i was too lazy. Then add the yeast and mix to coat all the yeast (this didn't work well for me, but not a biggy in the end).
After a few minutes when the yeast has started to bubble, add it to the soy milk and oil. Then about 1/3 cup at a time add the wet mixture to the dry, stirring to soak as much of the dry as possible.
Once all the wet is in there, mix with your hands into a ball. If the mixture is too dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time, if it gets too wet add more flour. I kneaded heavily for about 5 minutes.
The target is to have the mixture in your hands slightly tacky to ensure a moist crust. When you're just about done add a generous pinch of flour to your hands and coat the outside of the ball with the flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for as long as you can bear, 30 minutes is likely enough.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. When its about ready, unwrap the ball and cut in half with a sharp knife, reseal half for 2nd crust. Place uncut side down onto a lightly floured and corn mealed surface and roll out into as good a circle shape as possible to about 13" or so, adding more flour as necessary. Then roll the likely cracked looking edges in to form a circle of about 11" to 11.5" in diameter. Gently coerce the dough with a spatula onto your cooking surface (we just have a metal pizza plate with little holes on it which works well). If a bit of it rips, don't worry!!! Once you get it on, mush down the suffering parts and you'll never know after the baking.

Add some oil to a small bowl and brush on the edges and middle of the pizza. Bake for 8 minutes on its own, then pull it out, add your sauce, toppings, etc., bake for another 10 minutes, then possibly broil for 1 or 2, and its ready to go.

Makes 2 hefty 11" pizza crusts.

For pizza flavours the net has no end of sources, i suggest Stephen Cooks, he hasn't been around much but his archives have some of the best bizza recipes ever, ie here and here.

I should also note that the plan was to make 3 pizzas. Well after i realized the first recipe was going to be good for only 2, i decided to make a different kind of crust. With light buckwheat flour and too late added zantham gum, i ended up with a crust that barely held together but ended up working in the end too, although clearly wasn't as flavourful as that wonderful teff!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

hall tree bench





New bench for the entrance way. This took us a long time to track down one for a semi-reasonable price, but we had to have one. When we toured the house the previous owners had one in this spot, and we new we needed one too... well need is a strong word, but it sure gives the place an air of sophistication, old worldiness, and charm. I love it!!

One weird thing is that the mirror has what look like stains in it. The stains are like dark streaks that appear to be underneath or behind the mirror. Anyone ever seen that? Nothing seems to get rid of them...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

wired

I've recently discovered that all the wiring in my new house is pretty crappy.

In the front part of the house some of the outlets appear grounded, but a lot of the wire in use is really old - one large casing surrounding a single high gauge copper wire. It looks like its all NMD style from the box in the basement, but when you get to the endpoints, its not like that. They've skipped some switch boxes too meaning theres no neutral in them, meaning no fancy dimmers/timer/etc.. That kinda sucks.

In the back of the house, all the wire is groundless completely, from the box even.

There are 2 panels, but i think its only 60amps to the house. The breakers flip in the kitchen regularly.

I may eventually rip it out bit by bit and replace it all with good new wiring. I was thinking, if i had to run brand new wiring to the upstairs, back, etc., should i bother running additional cable at the same time? Being a tech guy a few years ago, i would've said resoundingly YES. However now with the advent of wi-fi, i'm not sure its worth the hassle or expense. Wi-fi rocks, i don't think i need data cable throughout the house anymore... in a few years? Mabye... mabye i'll need some 10Gbit rated cable but if wi-fi keeps pace, and or wi-max takes off, i'll never need data cable throughout my house.

Whos with me!!! Down with data cable!!! Up with late 20th century electrical standards!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

street art

I get really annoyed at badly placed defacement of public or private property. In a totally contradictory statement, i think some graffiti "art" is very cool - checkout some of the pieces listed here, its all really good. But i still can't stand the constant tagging of say underneath the percy street queensway bridge. Whats the point?? Its ugly (to me) and a total waste of many peoples time.

Anybody watching the US election results? I guess its not exciting enough for this canadian, hence i'm surfing the internet.

One other thing i've been thinking about lately is why so many washrooms in restaurants and bars are in such a state of disrepair. I guess if i used my washroom hundreds of times a day it would look a little more run down, but why not put proper mouldings up, or caulk with at least some care? I think i may make it a project to take some dingy pictures of some of the more nasty potties in ottawa... could be fun!!! Any suggestions are appreciated.