Category: Uncategorized

The Latest Kitchen Acquisition

So every since I got the Sous Vide stick I’ve been using ziplock bags – but I could never get all the air out.

So I was on Amazon and saw a deal for $49.95 where you’d get a Hamilton Beach vacuum sealer with two rolls of bag material. So I ordered it, and it was delivered Saturday.

Now when we went shopping today I got one whole chicken parted up, a pre-seasoned pork loin, and a couple of center cut filet mignon steaks. Seared the chicken, then dusted with salt/sugar/pepper. The pork had it’s own seasoning, and the steaks got Montreal Steak seasoning. All in air tight bags. Love the thing. Someone even threatened to vacuum seal the cat.

It’s a manual model – you have to hold the bar down while it evacuates and then seals the bags. But easy to use.

A nice Zen Thanksgiving

So today, well yesterday was Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. I cheekily called it Happy Culturally Inappropriate Thanksgiving.

Spent it with good friends – and this year did it differently. As you know from reading this blog I’m getting more and more into precision cooking. Part of that involved me ordering a Chef Steps Joule Sous Vide stick some time ago. It got delivered in October.

So far I’ve done center cut filet mignon in it and it’s awesome. But yesterday I broke down a turkey by removing the breasts, wings, and drumsticks. Wings and drumsticks went into a 149F bath, while late last night I dropped the temperature to 131F and put the breasts into the bath.

The process was to lightly sear, and then dust with a salt/sugar mixture. I added freshly ground black pepper. Then I put rosemary, thyme and sage into the bags with the turkey and burped the air out before adding into the Sous Vide bath.

Then when they came out – I waited a bit. And then seared them again and into a 450F oven for about 30 minutes, just to warm it up. Then out of the oven, cool a little, and sliced the breasts up.

I have to say, I’ll never roast a turkey in an oven again. I’ll Sous Vide it. Tender, moist breast meat that was flavorful. Totally awesome turkey. Then made enough stock to make a nice turkey gravy.

We also did baked beans, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes with cream cheese and cornbread stuffing. The funny part was we arrived at the friends house at around 11AM. I said we didn’t need to start the cooking until 1PM and that it would all be ready to go at 3:30PM.
And right on the money – everything was ready at the same time. I’m getting really good at having all the components of a meal ready at the same time.

2nd run with the Joule Sous Vide stick

Took a second run with the Chef Steps Joule Sous Vide stick today. This time around I did center cut Filet Mignon.Here’s the stick heating the water up to 140F. The pinkish color is the reflection from my red  t-shirt. 30880791341_5623133378_k

And here the Filet Mignon is in the water bath. It holds it perfect at 140F – I checked. Fantastic. And I used the Montreal Steak seasoning on them. Yummy! And doing it this way you don’t end up producing what is effectively tear gas.


And once they’re done – I seared them in a bit of peanut oil and unsalted butter, 2 minutes per side over high heat. Aren’t they beautiful?


Video from the Providence Protest over Trump’s Election.

This fascinates me. Why? Because I’ve never ever seen a protest of the results of an election like this in Providence, RI that’s why. And I’m seeing news that it’s happening in Boston, NYC, LA, Chicago et al.

There’s an anger out there over the election of the Orange Goblin aka Donald J. Trump. I can agree with that anger.

Consider – this was an electoral college grant to Trump. Had we gone by popular vote Hillary Clinton would be the president-elect as she beat Trump by a quarter million votes.


The Election of Donald Trump

I know how it happened. I cast the blame pretty much on the Democratic party, and even Hillary Clinton. Why you ask? Because had not the Clinton campaign smeared Bernie Sanders he would have trounced Trump by a landslide.

That’s why. Plus this Make America Great Again is a false premise. Trump will never be able to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. Automation is the driver of much of the loss of those manufacturing jobs. You cannot close Pandora’s box when it comes to technology.

And my predictions – in 2018 the Democrats will be able to take both the House and Senate and leave Trump ineffectual for the last two years of his term. I also predict he will be a one term President.

Why do I say that? Because I’ve seen the short list for cabinet positions under a Trump administration. Sarah Palin? Chris Christie, I mean it’s a veritable corpus of malfeasance right there.

Doings of Today

So today I had a dental cleaning. Pretty easy this time around which is funny because the last was 9 years ago. They also shot a bunch of x-ray’s and they have newer x-ray machine. I helped them out diagnosing an issue with the machine – after extended use it becomes hard to re-orient the x-ray head. I explained that the x-ray tube generates heat in addition to x-rays and probably causes thermal expansion of the plastic housing. I know I’m such a geek that way.

Then headed down to Five Guys haven’t had a burger from there in a few months.

And we did a little shopping picking up some vegetables, etc. that we had forgotten this past weekend.

And when I got home a box was waiting for me. It was my Chef Steps Joule sous vide stick. I opened it up, I’ve got it in a pot of water now and have it all synchronized to my phone. I’m gonna do a poached egg. In fact it’s in the water right now. Now I understand how restaurants can do perfect steaks, hollandaise, and poached eggs – they just drop them into the water in a plastic bag and let it cook. The souse vide stick holds it at exactly the right temperature for hours on end. So basically I could throw stuff in before I leave in the morning, come home and just for example sear it and dinner is done. You can order one for $199 here.


Movies: Letters from Iwo Jima

So a post on Digg about the top war movies had me interested in one to watch. The movie was mad back in 2006. Yeah about ten years behind the times on this one.

But the movie in essence showed the Japanese side of the conflict over the island of Iwo Jima.

I mean we’re all familiar with this iconic photo of a group of U.S. Marines raising the United States flag on Iwo Jima:


But this time as I said, the movie portrayed the  OTHER side – namely Japanese Imperial Army soldiers and sailors. It’s at about the time in 1945 where we’ve pretty much smashed the Imperial Navy and their air capabilities. So it’s at the very end of the line.

Anyhow elements of the movie begins with the arrival on Iwo Jima of one of the Generals who trained in the United States named  Kuribayashi.

General Kuribayashi’s  first act is to stop a Japanese Lieutenant from ordering his men to dig ditches on the beach. It is here we meet one of the main characters in the story – a Japanese Imperial Army soldier named Saigo, a Baker by trade who has some issues with the Japanese tradition of honor.

Now I’ll say this – the movie gives just a shallow view into the horrors of World War II but it is utterly horrific. In one part a Japanese medic is ordered to treat an injured American soldier named Sam. The leader of the group can speak some English and he learns the injured man’s name, where he was from. But in the morning Sam has passed away but the leader finds a letter and can read it – he reads it to his troops. It’s a letter from Sam’s mother – detailing the goings on back home in Oklahoma. One of the Japanese troops says to his squad mate “That’s a letter like one I’d get from my mother.” and how he was taught that American’s were savages. This dialog really got to me:

Baron Nishi: [reading the letter from the mother of Sam, the dead marine] And always do what’s right because it’s right.

Lieutenant Okubo: Shall I finish him off?
Baron Nishi: No. Treat him.
Lieutenant Okubo: But, sir…
Baron Nishi: Okubo, you would expect the same, wouldn’t you? Endo, treat him.
Medic Endo: We are low on morphine as it is.
Shimizu: Sir, the Americans would not treat a wounded Japanese soldier.
Baron Nishi: Son, have you ever met one? Treat him.
[Shimizu is lost for words]

Baron Nishi: This is a picture of me and my horse champion.
Sam: [Sam smiles and chuckles] No kidding. Oklahoma, it’s where I’m from.
Baron Nishi: Takeichi.
Sam: Sam.
[Both men shake hands]

This part is important BTW and we’ll return to it.

Later in the film when the battle begins we see a machine gunner in a Japanese pill box have his arm blown off. And let me tell you that was pretty grotesque with spurting blood and all.

And you have this wacko Lieutenant urging Saigo to go up and take the machine gunners place. Nope, that’s not happening.

And one thing that stunned me, it was all CGI but the U.S. naval ships pounding the crap out of Iwo  Jima was impressive. Now I know what the huge guns on ships are used for, to soften a target.

A bit later we find out Shimizu isn’t a Japanese spy sent to root out anti-Imperial thought, but an elite soldier who crossed his commander.

And at the very end, Saigo and another troop surrender to the American Marines. At first you feel good when the leader of the group offers Saigo and his friend water, and treats them humanely. But then the Marine group needs to move on and they leave two of their mates behind to guard the Japanese troops.

It’s at that point that one Marine says to another “We’re sitting ducks out here” and the other says “I know how to take care of this and shoots Saigo’s friend and then Saigo realizes quite late I might add that he’s about to die. He backs away and raises his hands but the Marine shoots him anyhow.

Two things I took out of this movie – we were bigger bastards than the Japanese ever imagined possible.

And two – we are the savages the Japanese back then were taught about. Of course I’m sure if you ask the people o Manchuria they’d say the same of the Japanese.