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2013.01.27: "They roam like free-range chickens. We keep ours more like veal."


Sunday, January 27, 2013

It's a Sunday Funday. The weather is "meh."

I.

The other day we inventoried the pantry.

We did something similar last summe when we went through the cupboards and catalogued the grains and other starches, mainly the pre-packaged variety. We had a couple seasoned rices, and so on, and over the course of a week or so we went through them all. It was a delicious experiment that also left our pantry clearer and cleaner.

This time we had mostly bare ingredients: short grain rice for risotto, wild rice, penne, elbow pasta, spaghettic, couscous, a variety of legumes, and so on. Before buying any more we owe it to ourselves to work through what we have, and to that end we find ourselves having spaghetti and meatballs these past few days.

I say "meatballs," but in our lingo I should say "featfalls" ("f" for "faux"; see also fausage and facon, etc.), in this case Veggie Patch brand "meatless meatballs" (already a term more problematic than 'soy' milk, for example), which are rather meatball-like in flavor and texture, sufficiently high in protein, and quite low in fat. They go well with a generic spaghetti sauce to which extra basil and oregano are added. The spaghetti is cooked al dente. We have tasty sides of oven-roasted asparagus and/or other vegetables and side-salads. It was red wine on Friday, and tonight we get breadsticks.

II.

The best default way to make bread, when you don't want to be fancy, but want either a regular loaf, rolls, or pizza dough, is just to follow the 5:3 (by weight) ratio promoted by Michael Ruhlman. For example, a good loaf of sandwich bread is 560g of flour (about 20oz) and about 340g of water, 2tsp of salt, and a teaspoon of yeast (more or less, depending on how quickly you want it to rise). You can make a small to medium sized pizza crust with 100g of flour, 60g of water, and so on. Hamburger buns work the same way. An ounce of flour gets you about 100 calories, plus or minus.

Breadsticks are really no different. If you just want one each, take 2oz of flour, half a tsp of salt, half a tsp of yeast, and about 35g of water. Toss together and mix/knead with a hand mixer using the bread hooks. Let the dough rise until double, and so on. In this instance I pressed a clove of garlic and added that and some basil and oregano to the dough. Bake the breadsticks about 12-15 minutes at 375F.

III.

Last night we had a slightly "Moby-Dick" themed episode of 'The X-Files,' "Quagmire," in which Scully's dog, acquired at the end of "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," is killed. She had named him Queequeg.

Thereafter we had "The Attic," one of the last episodes of 'Dollhouse,' and now there are just two 'regular' episodes to go before the post-apocalyptic-future of "Epitaph Two: Return."

I showed Ms. S "The Bourne Ultimatum" (2007), the 3rd Matt Damon Bourne movie, which allows us now to watch "The Bourne Legacy" (2012) if we so desire. We get David Strathairn as a cross between Jonathan Pryce and Al Pacino, Scott Glenn somewhere between "Silence of the Lambs" and "Sucker Punch," and glimpses of Albert Finney.

What we had to deal with the whole time, though, from before dinner until Ms. S. went to work, was an upstairs neighbor bouncing around the apartment and playing rather loud music. In the afternoon a virtual gaggle of children roamed free much like a gang on the prowl. This afternoon they were visited by an ice-cream truck, and that kept them pacified. Yesterday it was as if because the weather was nice it was time to play outside in an especially active manner. But around 5pm music started upstairs, and it thudded and thudded. It was hard to pick out tunes, only thudding bass and drums. During dinner, though, it quieted. But during the movie it returned in full force, as if a party was going on upstairs. Yet there were no extra cars in the parking lot, no door opening and closing as guests arrived and departed.

By the time Ms. S. was getting reading for work, after 9:30 but before 10:30, the volume went up, and at once point Ms. S. complained that the bass was making her feel nauseated and about to vomit. I'd previously planned on ignoring the noise/music until about midnight, in case it lasted that long, as it wasn't really bothering me. Ms. S. was -- mildly? -- upset at my nonchalance. But when she reported not feeling well I sought out a copy of our lease, which under section 20 spelled out that if noise could be heard from your apartment, it was too loud, and then a sheet which had the phone number for the courtesy officer on it. So I called, he answered, I explained, and five minutes later the music retreated to an echo the rest of the night.

In the morning upon her return Ms. S. reported seeing balloons attached to the balcony; perhaps it was just a particularly loud birthday party.

On the one hand I feel about about breaking up a birthday party; on the other this is the neighbor who has flooded our bathroom a half-dozen times.

IV.

Tonight we'll probably get to "Wetwired" (which seems in a way like a repeat of "Blood") and "Getting Closer," in which a 'traitor' (or two!) is revealed ... (cue ominous music!)
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