1. Our apartment is on an embankment that overlooks one of the larger rivers in town. Yesterday the annual ice-breakage started: not naturally, but by means of a very strange-looking amphibious vehicle that is apparently here from New Brunswick (did it drive?). It's got some big inner-tube hips on either side, and a huge claw up front, and it's been working on the river for, oh, it must be pushing 36 hours now.
Yes. It worked all night. I give them kudos for industriousness, but boy howdy, we could have done without the noise.
2. Over the past day or two I re-read Kathleen Flinn's excellent The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. Flinn is a Cordon Bleu graduate who went back home to the states and pulled a What Not to Wear on a bunch of people's kitchens, teaching them to cook along the way. Each chapter has a culinary theme (meat, fish, bread, soup, etc.) and is made up of very readable vignettes, with tips and recipes thrown in to boot.
I first read this shortly after we were married, and it was super inspiring for a while... but it was a library book, and so although I really appreciated her de-mystification of cooking, I eventually fell off the wagon again. But now I've bought a copy of my own, which I can highlight and underline and make notes in. The funny thing is that I feel more confident in the kitchen just having read it.
Tonight I'm cooking asian-style (read: has ginger, garlic, and soy sauce) braised beef with veg. We'll have to see how it turns out, but in the mean time, here's what I did:
a bunch of stewing beef, cut small
salt & pepper
an inch of fresh ginger
half an onion
three cloves of garlic
two peppers (one yellow, one red)
First I cut up the meat, then set it to marinate in the fridge while I was at work with the soy sauce, salt, pepper, and ginger (I cut the ginger into many many thin strips). I also chopped all of the vegetables down small.
Next, I heated some oil in a cast-iron skillet. The meat came out of the marinade, with the ginger, and went into the pan, just until it was browned. I removed the meat to a handy plate, refreshed the oil, and dumped in my veggies. I let those cook for a few minutes (basically until the onion started to go translucent) and then plopped the meat back in on top of it all. I poured a couple of glugs of wine over the lot -- red probably would be better with beef, but white is what we had -- and then added some water for good measure.
After that I covered the skillet with a large metal mixing bowl, since I don't have a skillet lid, and shoved the whole thing in the oven at 350. I'm guessing it'll be done after 1-1.5 hours, and we'll see if it's successful! My nose guesses "yes".
3. Apparently Google Reader is shutting down come July. Boo! Hiss! Gnash! Because I am vengeful, I've already switched to feedly (so far, so good). I just don't understand why they'd shut down reader (which is popular and works admirably well) over something like google+ (which... does anyone use that? does anyone even know anyone who uses that? .... Bueller?).