Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkeyblock

Yo, what's up? I've been bad about updating this again, despite having made a mountain of awesome goodies. I made Thanksgiving dinner for my mom and brother. The potatoes were horrid. How you can make a kick-ass turkey, stuffing, and the like, but bungle mashed potatoes is beyond me, but I had been enjoying my latest Belgium brew... Actually it was kegged back in February, but I tapped it the day before Thanksgiving. My boss at the brew shop describes it as "dangerously fun" and I'm pretty stoked to have made it myself.

But I regress, here's my Turkey:

Turkey



14.9 lb. Turkey
3-5 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
Splash of Wine
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Butter (not melted)
Olive Oil

Clean out the Turkey. Yes, it has two opening. Just like us. More importantly, Salt and Pepper the heck out of that bird. Splash wine in its big cavity along with some Rosemary. Splash some wine in your mouth. I used a nice clean Merlot. I splashed a lot of wine in my mouth that day. Lift up the skin above the breast and then shove half the butter and the remaining Rosemary on either side. Rub the bird down with some Olive Oil and then Salt and Pepper some more. Put it in a pan with some tin foil over it and bake for about three hours at 375. Remove the foil and bake for about 30-45 more minutes. This was a juicy and delicious Turkey. I'd do it like this again no hesitation. Be sure to boil the innards and save them for the Stuffing. My mom made the Gravy, so I won't get into that. Do you like the way my brother carves a Turkey?



Ok, so I'm sure you're all yelling at your computer screens "what's the real reason you're updating your blog at midnight when you have school early tomorrow morning?" Well, it's because we had a training today and I got totally turkeyblocked. You see, we had this sizzling young presenter for our staff development who came up to me after lunch (a lunch that I enjoyed with a coworker over a hookah and falafel and more, booyakasha!), touched my shoulder, and said "I really appreciated your comments during our Socratic seminar before lunch. You did a really good job trying to move the conversation forward."

"Thanks," I said not quite making the jump from she's my superior and kinda boss-like to is she flirting with me? so I said "I read the rubric and I was totally going for a 4!" I thought I was being a smartass because I was trying to show off for my coworkers who I was talking to before I was so steamily interrupted, but she wanted a high five. OMG I love it when the woman initiates contact!

"That's because he went to Yale," says my turkeyblocking coworker who was trying to embarrass me.

"What?" she says.

"Nothing," I reply. He repeats himself and I say "ignore him." Then he says it again and I say "he's trying to say that I went to Yale." She's impressed. I think. She wonders how I got into teaching. I talk about my love for my students and she wants me. Or not. Whatever, this is my blog. In your blog you can write your history however you'd like. Then my turkeyblocking coworker tells her I'm a professional brewer. "I'm not," I assure her, but tell her that I brew in my apartment.

"So you're a professional alcoholic?" she says. Is she kidding? I can't tell.

I joke around for another minute, but my coworker keeps yapping and I say "okay" in my peppy little cheerleader way, "I'm getting embarrassed, so I'm going to sit down."

"If you don't get her number" my turkeyblocking coworker tells me, "then I'm going to make fun of you all year and have much less respect for you as a man." Thanks, friend. She's only in Texas two nights a month anyway, which I suppose is perfect, but that's neither here nor there.

It's funny, though, the way I could practically see my confidence melt away as soon as I realized that I might be flirting. Got to work on this. We'll see what happens.

Stay tuned for my amazing pumpkin pie... it's so good that you'll eat around the penis-sized hole!

***Addendum: I wrote this two weeks ago, but didn't publish it for some reason. This is the last week of the semester, but I've got some awesome recipes coming up. Also, according to a coworker who knows, the hot presenter is married. I guess she wasn't coming on to me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wurstfest Bestweekend

Welcome to my weekend. Prost!



Friday:
4:45 pm: Leave School
4:50 pm: Buy Crickets for Daxos
5:15 pm: Return Home, Feed Daxos, Shave, Gather Brews and Such
6:05 pm: Hit the Road
8:00 pm: Try Recommended BBQ in Italy, TX.

A friend from my old teaching gig told me once that the best BBQ he'd ever had was at a truck stop somewhere off of I-35 on the way to Dallas. He couldn't remember the name of the place, but knew that it was next to a "spaceship." I'd done the drive a bunch of times and had no idea what he was talking about, but have kept an eye out for it ever since. Finally, two years and at least twelve passes up and down I-35 later I found it, sitting there right next to the "Spaceship Pegasus." I stopped. I would've taken a picture, but it was dark and I was in a hurry. I ate their BBQ sandwich plate and it was fine. It wasn't anything special, but the sweet taste of completing an epic quest more than compensated.

9:50 pm: Arrive in Austin
10:15 pm: Partake in Surprise Party for Old Friend

Saturday:
12:30 am: Arrive at Barbarella.

Dude, Barbarella is the coolest dance club ever! It's a giant hipster bar (and who doesn't love hipster girls with their bangs and nonchalant ambivalence). They have multiple dance floors- the intimate upstairs one jamming the same 80s music as the sweaty downstairs one, and the boss outdoor floor where the DJ rocked Daft Punk, Foster the Children, and grooves that I couldn't help but dance to under the fractured light of the full moon as it romped through the branches of Barbarella's live oaks.

2:30 am: Fall Asleep
10:00 am: Wake Up, Listen to the Yale-Princeton Game, Grade Papers

Yale won!

2:45 pm: Grab Mexican Food for Lunch.
3:40 pm: Jester King



Jester King's a ten month old brewery in Southwest Austin. They make decent beers. I like their Black Metal Stout. For $5 we got the glass that you see below (Cantaloupe-Berry Smoothie: 1 c. Frozen Cantaloupe, 1 c. Frozen Berries, and Milk. Blend. Enjoy.) and beer. The brewery's nothing special, and I'm a little alarmed by how clean and nice everything is there. It looks more like a California winery than anything beer-related. We enjoyed our brews under mesquite trees and warm November sun before heading to...



6:00 pm: Wurstfest!!!



Wurstfest is a Sausagefest of epic proportions. We parked and before we'd even gotten to the gate, a random vendor was handing us free beer- which was awesome, because the line to get in was pretty long. Haha, sausage... long... Anyway, Wurstfest is located on the banks of the beautiful Comal River in Landa Park, New Braunfels, TX. It's a giant celebration of sausage and beer. Oompah bands galore.



Extraordinarily beautiful Texas beer wenches. I met an alumnus of the school where I currently teach. I met an attractive Yale grad who's a teacher in Houston. I drank pitcher of Oktoberfest and ate an amazing plate of ham-hocks, sauerkraut, beans and potato!



Sunday:
12:00 am: Fall Asleep in the Car.
1:00 am: Wake Up.
1:01 am: Fall Asleep Inside

10:00 am: Do Laundry
3:00 pm: Drive Home

Overall I enjoy driving, but today was one of those rare drives that transcends anything we should be able to do in the material world. With 90.5 KUT playing folk music and the windows rolled down to let in the 80 degree air, I felt more like I was floating than anything else. I had to take a picture for all of you.



8:00 pm: Write Blog Entry About the Wurstfest/Bestweekend

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fried Curried Noodles

I was flattered to find out just how many of my friends read my blog. I appreciate all your advice and I took it to heart- I contacted this chick yesterday and told her that despite the awkwardness, I would enjoy seeing her again. It took her a full 25 hours, but she called me to say that she saw me as a friend only. I know what that means and I don't need another friend anyway, so I thanked her for calling, wished her luck with grad school and will most likely never see her or speak to her again. Oh well, I'm basically 27; if I can't take a little rejection, then what have I been doing my whole life?

So here I am, attempting to listen to every version of "Sexual Healing" that Spotify has to offer while relishing in a most exemplary dinner. This is not good break-up food (which is good, because we would've had to have been together in order to have broken up)... it's just good food!

Fried Curried Noodles



Sesame Oil
4 Cloves of Garlic Minced
Block of Ginger Minced
Dashes of Cumin
Dashes of Coriander
Dashes of Turmeric
1 Onion Diced
1 Green Bell Pepper Diced
2 Carrots Diced
1/2 lb. Steak Chopped into Tiny Cubes
0.54 lb. Shrimp Diced
2 Jalapenos Diced
1/2 Bunch Cilantro Cut Up
Spoonful of Sesame Seeds
Handfuls of Bean Sprouts
Salt and Pepper
2 Small Bunches Rice Noodles
Splash of Soy Sauce
Splash of Fish Sauce
Splash of Oyster Sauce
Spritz of Sriracha
Juice of 1 Lime

Heat some oil while bringing water to a boil. Fry the Garlic, Ginger, Cumin, Coriander, Turmeric, and Sesame Seeds. After a few minutes add about half of the Onion and 1 Jalapeno. Put the Rice Noodles in the boiling water. Put the Beef into the spiced mixture. Drain the Rice Noodles and add them to the spiced Mixture. Add the Bell Pepper, Carrots, rest of the Onion and Jalapeno. Pour in the Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Oyster Sauce, and Sriracha. Add the Shrimp. Let cook for moments. Add the Cilantro and Bean Sprouts. Salt and Pepper to taste. Love this dish! Squeeze in the juice of one lime.

By the way, somehow (***cough cough fellow teacher!!!***) my students found out that I brew beer. Never! I don't know what you're talking about. Isn't that illegal (uh, not since the 70's...)... My regular kids know the deal. They know it's true. My advanced students can't believe it. One said "I can't imagine Mr. Tommy K drinking alcohol; he seems like he'd be afraid of a soda!" I feel like Batman being unmasked. It doesn't feel good. Also, it's like "Hey dude, I'm the Batman, today's not a good day to lie to me, I think I'll be doing the face punching," you know?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Best Beer You'll Never Taste (and Other Lamentations)

I just returned from my date. We went to the Festival at the Switchyard in Carrolton to see Third Eye Blind. I attempted to hold her hand during Never Let You Go. I'm never going to be smooth. It's not who I am. Tonight was our third date and I'd never done more than hug her at the end of our first two dates. I wanted to initiate contact in some way, so I leaned over during the song and said "would it be too corny if I asked to hold your hand?" Her response was "um, you can hold my hand, but..." She never completed her thought and I never held her hand. It's a weird feeling to be standing next to a woman whom you're completely and utterly attracted to and would like nothing more than to be around, but want to leave so badly that for a split second you think about ditching her at a concert and going home. To be clear, I can't imagine a scenario where I'd ever actually ditch a person like that. It was just a pathetic thought borne out of disappointment. Fortunately they started playing Semi-Charmed Kind of Life and all was quickly ignored. I enjoyed the rest of the show, however acutely aware I was of the awkwardness of the situation, and we had a pleasant ride home. I suspect I will never see her again. I don't think I'll ask her out on another date. If I misread the situation in some way she'll call me. Until then, I hope that any lonely readers out there find someone even half as great as this chick was. I'd never have had the balls to ask out a woman like her in real life, so I guess I should give a shout-out to online dating and be happy for the dates I had.

Fuck this. You know what else I did today? I bottled the best damn beer you'll never taste.* I corked 20 bottles like the connoisseur I am. Most of these bottles will go to the brewshop and as gifts to various friends. I capped eight 12 oz bottles- at least three will go to competition. If they carbonate properly I expect big things out of them. I've been drinking the boot full of beer that I didn't bottle. My friend gave me das boot as an early birthday present (my birthday's a little less than two weeks from now). Even flat it's out of this world.

I won't explain the brewing process to you on this post- maybe on a future one- but you should check out www.howtobrew.com if you want to know. I do all grain brews (like I said, I'm a real connoisseur), which is Section 3, but you should do some easier brews before tackling a ten-percenter like this one.

Belgium III aka Why Do I Even Bother Manscaping
Strong Belgium Dark
5.5 Gallons 9.98% ABV



14 lb. Belgium Pils
1.5 lb. Cara-45 (Caramunich)
0.5 lb. Aromatic Malt
0.4 Biscuit Malt
0.25 Special B
0.15 Dingemans Chocolate

28.2 oz. Small Lump Sugar from the Asian Grocery Store (because it's cheaper)
0.6 c. Cane Sugar

1 oz. Fuggles (4.20 % AA) (60 min)
0.5 oz. Czech Saaz (4.00% AA) (10 min)
0.5 oz. Czech Saaz (4.00% AA) (5 min)

Wyeast Belgium Abbey II
Safbrew T-58

Brewed 10.10.2011 (Fair Day!!!)
5.5 Gallons Collected
OG: 1.092

Racked: 10.23.2011
SG: 1.018

Bottled: 11.5.2011 (1.2 c Priming Sugar)
FG: 1.016

Mash at 152 and ferment at 68.

Is there a reason that all I can listen to right now is Slow Motion by Third Eye Blind and Why'd It Take So Long For You To Fall In Love With Me by the Tah-Dahs on repeat? Yeah. It's because I'm a 14 year old girl stuck in the body of a slightly overweight, but actually pretty good looking 26 (just about 27) year old man.

*Except for some of you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Exquisite Veal Curry

I'm tired. I have grading to do, but I hate it so much. I think I may try to wake up early and take care of a lot of it before school tomorrow morning. We'll see.

On Halloween I had the privilege of going out on a second date with the woman I went out with while sick. We took the train downtown and went to a haunted house. I had a great time! I also can't believe how attracted I am to her. She's a perfect combination of nice, fun, smart, classy, and beautiful. I can say all this, because she has no idea that I write a blog. I'm a slow dater. I don't know how to change this about myself. We've hugged once at the end of both of our dates after I walked her to her car, but I've had steamier hugs with my guy friends, so who knows. I worry that I take things too slowly, but I when I'm really into a woman I get nervous and cautious and try to be gentlemanly. She seemed to have a good time and I think we'll go out again. Who knew you could find a woman like this on the internet.

But back to the food: I've been on a crazy roll recently. I honestly haven't made a bad dish in two weeks. This may be a record. I bought some Ground Veal that was on sale yesterday since the expiration date was only a day away. I didn't know what to do with it, but I threw it into a Curry with Avocado that needed to be used, a Butternut Squash that had to be used, and a lot of other ingredients. It is 100% awesome. I'd peddle this to the President if he was in town and in need of sustenance. You can make a meal like this, too, if you just follow this complex recipe:

Curried Veal and Squash Medley



1 Butternut Squash
4 tbsp Ghee
4 Cloves Garlic diced
0.75 in^2 Ginger diced
0.6 tbsp Cumin
0.6 tbsp Coriander
0.5 tbsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Cayenne
0.75 tsp Cinnamon
1 Onion diced
1 lb. Ground Veal
6 oz. can of Tomato Paste
Juice of 1 Lime
1 Avocado
1 Red Bell Pepper largely chunked
Salt and Pepper

Cut the Squash and roast in the oven at 375 until it's soft. While this is happening, melt the Ghee in your wok. Fry the Garlic and Ginger. After a few minutes add the Spices. Next add the Onion and fry. When the Onion is soft, add the Ground Veal. Cook while continuously stirring to break the Veal into small chunks. Then add the Tomato Paste and Lime Juice. When fully cooked scrape in the Avocado and mash up. I only added this because it was going bad, but it certainly didn't hurt the meal. What a meal! Turn off the heat and add the Red Bell Pepper and Salt and Pepper to taste. Take out the Squash and serve both the Squash and the Ground Veal mixture over Basmati Rice. Feel free to mix them up and enjoy the wonders of this most excellent feast! Serve this to guests... they'll be impressed!