Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Espresso Brittle in about 10 Minutes

I have always said that if you don't have a good Ethnic Market near where you live, Move.

When I lived in Philadelphia, I would shop Asian Markets heavily.  Chinese, Japanese, Thai.  That also went for the markets that specialized in Latin Groceries. 

Go to the source.

As a result, I have a taste for "weird" candies.  One in particular is a small hard candy that is made in Japan that tastes like coffee.  Not too strong, not too sweet. 

Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly easy to find this in South Florida.  I've found a good Asian Market that sells my Japanese Candy, as well as Durian, Porcelain, Kitchen Ware, and of course, my Oolong Tea.  I may have to go to North Miami Beach on NE 163rd street for it, but it's worth the trip.

What does that have to do with my Espresso Brittle? 

This candy tastes exactly like it. 

I was making a pot of it, someone "repossessed" it and took it to his office where he reported that "The whole damn office is buzzing on this stuff".  I have to laugh because the entire batch has about the caffeine of 1/4 cup of coffee.  If you eat an entire batch, it's less than 1000 calories.  You'll be sick of it before you put on weight or get buzzed on anything but the sugar.

The trick is that you use either decaf or half caff for the candy.  If you want high test, go for it there really isn't a lot of coffee in it.  For the recipe you only use 1 tablespoon of the stuff.  One Scoop of grounds - your choice!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup (238mL) Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (5 grams by weight) Finely Ground Coffee Grounds (your choice)
  • 2 Tablespoons (1/2 ounce or 14g) of ROOM TEMPERATURE butter
  • 2 Ounces (59mL) water

Prepare Ingredients: 
  • Butter is room temperature and cut down into small pieces.
  • Coffee grounds are fine to espresso grind.
  • Grease a large cookie sheet or line with aluminium foil that has been oiled or greased. 

Process:

  1. Place 1 cup of sugar into 2 quart/liter or larger sauce pan
  2. Add to sauce pan 2 ounces (59mL) of water and stir until sugar is evenly dissolved.
  3. Turn on heat to medium high.
  4. Continue to stir or slosh the mixture while it comes to a boil.
  5. Cook the mixture until it turns an appropriate tan color.  
  6. Add the butter and the coffee grounds quickly and stir the mixture until it is even.
  7. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and pour onto the cookie sheet evenly.
  8. Allow to cool and break apart before serving.  

Resulting candy, I have found, to be quite thin and shatters into pieces for easy eating but the pieces will be sharp.

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

My friend: What Rhymes With Orange? Me: It Doesn’t.

I'm not certain whether I posted this one before so I added a short one at the bottom in case I did!

A guy was on his boat fishing in a pond...

...and caught way over the bag limit. He was heading back to the dock when the game warden stopped him and asked to check what he caught.
The warden opens the fishermen's cooler and sees that the guy has surpassed his limit by about 20 fish.
The warden tells the man he has too many fish and he is going to cite the fishermen.
The fishermen says "No, you see these are my pet fish. I didn't catch them I called them to me".
The warden doesn't believe the guy, and so the fishermen tells the warden he will show him.
The guy dumps the cooler of fish in the water.

The warden waits a minute and says to the guy "ok now call the fish back". ... "What fish?"




A mugger

Late one night, a mugger wearing a ski mask jumped into the path of a well-dressed man and stuck a gun in his ribs.
"Give me your money," he demanded.
Indignant, the affluent man replied, "You can't do this, I'm a United States Congressman!"
"In that case," replied the mugger, "give me MY money."

Saturday, September 15, 2018

What do you call a failed astronaut? A cosmo-NOT!

The Red Indian chief just died right before the winter, after ruling for 40 years. His son became the new chief.

According to the tradition, to prove his worth as the leader, he has to correctly speculate how cold would be the winter this year.

With his guidance, people will gather right amount of wood for the whole winter season before it starts.

So, in the morning, without knowing what to say, the new chief told everybody that there would be somewhat moderate cold this year, so they don't need a lot of wood.

Everyone from the village went to the forest to chop the trees and gather wood.


However, the new chief became really nervous about what he said. So he sneaked into the nearest town and bought a small radio to get the local weather forecast.

That night, tuning the radio, he heard that the weather guy is saying, this year the winter will be cold and asking everyone to get prepared for it.

Hearing this, the new chief decided to gather some more wood, just to be in the safe side.


The next day, he gathered everyone and told them to gather some more, as the winter would be colder than he anticipated earlier.

That night, he again turned on the radio and to his dismay, he found out that now the radio is saying this season will be much colder.


So, the next day he asked everyone to chop some more. Again, at night he found out with sheer frustration that the radio is saying, this year the temperature would reach the lowest among the last few years.

So, he told his people to get more wood. This time, he found that the radio is saying, this year the temperature would reach such low that it would break any previous record.


Hearing this, he went berserk and stormed to the radio office, and asked the weather guy, what is your problem? Why are you changing the forecast every single day?

The weather guy replied, okay, we actually guess the severity of the winter from the amount of wood the Red Indians gather. This year, they started nice and slow and we broadcasted that it would be a moderate winter, then they increased speed and we assumed it would be a little more cold; but now, now they are cutting down the whole forest!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Upgrading Kraft Dinner To Mac and Port Wine Cheese

If you want a TL/DR just skip to the bottom of the article.

This was where my Hurricane Prep, Bulk Shopping, and Training Diet OCD collided. 

What came out of it was a truly intriguing recipe.

First, The Hurricane Prep.

Every year we'd get food that is room temp stable.   Add water, and if you are lucky, you have something edible.  Ok, we're not talking the Cordon Bleu here, but stuff you can eat in a No Electricity And Power Down situation.

We have a grill, we have a burner, and they run off a Propane Bottle.

Therefore I can boil water and grill if I need to.  Fried Sausage and Eggs on the Lanai served with a fine dusting of storm damage!

While our own prep got more elaborate over the years to when Irma hit and we had no electricity for two weeks, I was able to count on Electricity from the generator.  At least enough electricity to power the fridge.  Run it for an hour, power off for three.   We tested that out a year ago.

Second, Who said you have to follow the recipe on the box?

A lot of mixes are excellent on their own.  There's a specific Sourdough Bread mix that I can't find anymore that was simply perfect.  Add water, knead, put in pan and bake.  Krusteaz Sourdough Bread Mix.

There are others that are a bit ... lacking.

Kraft Mac and Cheese Dinner is one of them.  It's also known by other names as Kraft Dinner or KD.  It isn't bad, but it does taste a bit too salty and the Day Glow Orange powder that you add to the meal is kind of flavorless - other than salt.

So I improvised.

My own diet is 600 calories per meal plus 200 calories each meal for dessert.  I am an active and somewhat fit man, and my weight is stable.  The numbers on the box imply, if I am reading it right, that a box packaged as is is 750 Calories. 

Add 100 calories for a tablespoon of butter and 30 for 2 ounces of milk, it nets to 880 as prepared.

So I took the KD, added one tablespoon of butter only.  Right there, I am cutting calories off the box.  They say As Prepared, the recipe is 1200 Calories.

Now add back.

I would have to have something else and split the KD in two to make it work with my "training diet".

I thought that I could increase the calories to 1200 and therefore have two meals.  How to do that?

I had some small sausages and some cheese to a total of 300 calories.

Basically that did tend to grow, and I went "On the high side" when I made it last but I made it was incredible.

Third:  The Port Wine Mac and Cheese.

Those wine and cheese parties are usually a red wine paired with the cheese.  If you want Port or Red Wine, you need a sharp cheese.

The Sausage was deleted.

I started adding back. 

The last time I made this, I made it with an ounce of Feta, another of Parmesan, and an ounce of Jarlsberg.

The Feta and Parm are sharp.  The Jarlsberg is slightly sharp, and it gives back chewy texture I needed.

Then I added in an ounce of Port Wine.  Specifically some 10 year old aged Tawny Port that was really quite excellent on its own.

If you are counting with me, that's 1300 calories.  Yeah I slipped by 100 calories.  I'll keep that in mind for later.

Remember kids: 100 Calories a Day means A Pound Heavier in a Year!

The result?  Oh my that extra 50 calories per serving was worth it!  The meal tasted like a less salty version of the Port Wine spread you get at a better market.

So we will do it again and it was just as good second day.

Now, Presented as a Recipe:

Ingredients at room temp to allow for proper melting in saucepan:

1 Box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner - or your favorite equivalent.
1 Tablespoon (1/2 ounce or 14g) - Unsalted Butter, room temp.
2 Tablespoons (1 ounce or 30mL) - Port Wine or other Red Wine, room temp.
2 Ounces (56mL) - Milk, room temp.
3 Ounces - Sharp Cheese, Grated or Cubed, room temp.  

Your Choice of Cheeses - I used:
  • 1 ounce Feta Crumbles
  • 1 ounce grated fresh Parmesan
  • 1 ounce Jarlsberg grated or diced finely

Process:

  • Boil your noodles from the package for about 7 minutes or until tender.
  • Drain noodles and return them to the saucepan.
  • Add Butter and allow to begin to melt in the bottom of the pan.
  • Add Cheese Powder Package and stir to mix.
  • Add the three cheeses to the sauce pan and stir to mix.
  • When the Cheeses and the butter have melted, add milk to the pan.
  • Finally, add the Port Wine to the mix and stir until smooth.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

What do you call a convoy of trucks hauling cheddar? A cheesy pickup line

Ok, this one here... it is just an evil joke!  I really do need to find some different ones.




A bus full of senators and deputies crashed and felled down a cliff.

A man happened to be walking by when the accident took place.

The man immediately started to bury all the senators and deputies involved in the accident.

A few minutes later, the police showed up on site.

Cop: What happened?! Where's everyone?!

Man: I buried them.

Cop: What?! None of them survived?

Man: Well some of them said they were still alive and stuff like that but you know how politicians are, I didn't believe them.



I can't just let that one be the only joke today so here's another evil one for you to cringe at!



Proposal

A married couple are out one night at a dance club.
There’s a guy on the dance floor giving it large: break dancing, moon walking, back flips, the works.

The wife turns to her husband and says, "See that guy? Twenty years ago he proposed to me and I turned him down."
The husband says, "Looks like he’s still celebrating!"

Saturday, September 8, 2018

3 geese hit their headwalk on a metal rod at the Fowl bar. The fourth one ducks.

Joe went on vacation to Cuba and asked his best friend to care of his mom and his cat.
After a week in Cuba, Joe gets a call from his friend.

Joe: Hey what's up man, how's everything back home?
Friend: Your cat died.

Joe: What?! You can't just call me and tell me my cat died.
    You could have made a first call and say: "Your cat is stuck in a tree and won't come down.
    Then a second call where you would say: "Your cat broke his foot while trying to come down."
    Finally, you could have made a third call and then said: "Your cat died."
But on the first call, that's just too blunt man. Anyways, how's my mom?

Friend: Your mom is stuck in a tree and won't come down.





On The Other Hand...

I lost my watch at a party once. Saw a guy stepping on it while harassing a girl.
I walked up to the dude, punched him straight in the nose. No one does that to a girl.. not on my watch

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Mushrooms and The Morning After Gordon

It was a noisy night.

It had been raining the day before, and well into the night.  The Radar here showed random clouds that had gathered themselves into something remotely resembling bands, Lines of Thunderstorms to non-Floridians.

This was the normal way a storm develops here.  Pop Up Thunderstorms generate over the warm water East of me, move their way over land, drop their water, then peter out.  Or they end up working their way across the state in one of a dozen directions.

These storms, though, had kept grabbing the heat of the water that was just off the coast and turned themselves into a storm of interest.  That grew into a Tropical Depression by morning.

That also had me wake up at 4AM.  If I am up that early, I'm up.  I would not go back to sleep.

Rack, the McNab SuperDog (TM) was unhappy.  He hates T Storms on a good day and this was well into the second good day.  I could hear him shivering in the dark.

Turning on the phone, launching a Radar program, I was able to see tell-tale banding and thought that this was going to turn into something that bears watching.

Yep.  By now this would be Tropical Storm Gordon, and did hit somewhere near the Mississippi and Alabama border on their Gulf Coasts as a strong Tropical Storm.

Here it was a minor nuisance.  Lots of rain.  The next day I found out it was 2.65 inches of rain.

All the South Floridians grumbling about their Labor Day holiday being a wash out, and so on.

I sat up in bed and looked down the line of pots by my pool and under the Mango Tree I saw
something that looked like it had landed in the yard, but could not tell.  Since it was raining so heavily, I'll wait for Sunrise before inspecting.

We went for our dog walk and a couple hours later I revisited the what was it in the yard.

It turned out to be four very large, six inch in diameter, palm sized white mushrooms.

I have lived here for more than 12 years now and I have never seen a Mushroom in the yard, let alone something this massive.  I guess it was always too hot, but with the cooler air due to the storms, and all that rain, it decided to send these fruiting bodies out and spread spores.

Quickly.

Weird.  It looked like a scene from Lost In Space where the Jupiter 2 had landed on the planet of the big grasses, and one of the other had ditched on its side. 

If it were, there would be fire, people running around screaming, a monster that was a cat with things stuck on it or perhaps a giant 40 foot tall chimp looking thing that went "Bloop Bloop" coming off an attack space ship that was in reality a kitchen utensil.

My money is on a whisk.  If you hand a child a whisk and tell them to play, they're going to make it fly.  Trust me.

But there the mushrooms were.

Since they didn't bother anyone, I let them alone, and went inside.  It was raining again, and would all through the night and into the next morning at 4AM.

Luckily we slept through that.  In fact, we slept so well that I was lucky enough to see the
Sunrise.  The sun coming up over the Bahamas lighting the clouds below, turned them purple and mauve, later changing to some fiery reds and oranges.

It was so stunning a sunrise that along with my mushroom pictures and sunrise picture, many other people on social media showed off their own pictures there.

I mean, come on, how often does a space ship land in your back yard under your mango tree?

Sunday, September 2, 2018

My body-building Italian uncle died.... He pasta whey.

If you are a weightlifter of note... you'll get that topic.  :)


There was an old town with a haunted graveyard.

Every night at midnight, a coffin would rise out of the ground.

A man moves into the town and everyone warns him not to go through the graveyard at night.

One night he was on a jog late in the evening. It soon started to pour down rain. The man wanted to get home quickly so he cut through the graveyard, despite the warnings.

Soon he hears a loud THUD THUD sound. He turns around to see the coffin rise from the ground and slide toward him. He starts running away, still hearing the THUD THUD sounds.

He turns back to see it catching up with him. He reaches the town and tries desperately knocking on doors to have someone help him. THUD THUD the coffin gets even closer.

He runs to the drugstore and grabs a bottle of cough syrup. And that stopped the coffin

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Dad, its sunny here. Son, it's daddy here

I really do enjoy a good story where someone "gets away" with something, especially when the rules are simply pointless.



A man has a doctor appointment the next day that he wants to cancel.

So he goes into the office and asks the person at the desk, "Can I cancel my appointment?"

The person at the desk responds, "Of course, but there is a $100 cancellation fee if the appointment is in less than a week."

The man thinks for a minute than asks, "Is there a fee to reschedule my appointment?" The person at the desk responds, "No, when do you want to reschedule it to?"

The man says, "In one week, please." The person sets the appointment and the man says, "Alright can I please cancel that appointment?"


And because I am feeling generous...


I got fired on the first day of my new job for asking customers if they would prefer "Smoking or Non-Smoking."
Apparently, the correct phrase is, "Cremation or Burial."

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Walk Through The Garden

My routine is stable.  You might even describe it as calcified.

Up early, even if "early" can be as late as sunrise.

That late is rather rare.

At any rate, haul my bulk out of bed, get the dog up, get him out to water the garden, and the walk.

When I get back, there's Dawdle Time.  Depending on how much time there is I can get a lot done in Dawdle Time.   I've said I get more done before sunrise than many people do some days.

But Sunrise varies, and I have to be outside at 7:30 AM every day, unless it is raining.

All of these plants do require care.  Sometimes they require care by others, and I can find homes for the extras, other times, I end up watching for where the water is being irrigated and putting out new plants.

South Florida has a wet and hot tropical climate.  It never freezes here, the USDA freeze line for Coastal Eastern South Florida is 8 miles North of me.  Clint Moore Road in Boca Raton.  Ok, sure that's a bit silly to be that specific, we know there is little difference whether something is actually "freezing" or thawed at 1/2 degree warmer, but hey, it's a talking point.  Even if the line could be well north of that on any given year.

But the other thing about this climate is that we get 50 inches of rain per year.  Give or take, Depending on whether a tropical storm deposits itself overhead.  But on average it's 50 inches or about 125 cm. 

Since that is 40 inches or 100 cm in the wet season, and the rest in the other six months of the dry season (December to May),  it's been described as a part time desert.  It requires irrigation.  Twice a week for certain hours sprinklers may be used, or every day if you have drip feed irrigation.

If you don't, your flowers die.  This is a very artificial look here that we have.  Those
Hibiscus hedges and Palm trees are not native.  The soil is Beach Sand, and now the ground water is suffering from Salt Intrusion because too many people from other places don't want to freeze in the winter and have settled here.

Like me, guilty.

But for now, the Global Warming that isn't supposed to exist, hasn't really hit my specific area too hard.  I'm at High Ground - 15 feet above sea level the charts tell me.  Miami Beach on the other hand has regular floods due to tides.

Outside of the ash piles called "Mount Trashmore", the next natural hill is 200 miles North of me.  Florida is flatter than Kansas.

I putter in the garden and am followed around as I decide what to prune, and what to propagate. Milkweed from cuttings have gravitated to being hidden in the hedges because when they are found, they get eaten to sticks.

Coleus is literally everywhere because they readily go to seed.  Cut the tops off and the seeds are tiny, get flung into pots.

Snapping a bit of Coleus off and tossing it into the garden means the stuff grows where it's tossed.

There is a story told to me about a groundskeeper in San Jose, Costa Rica.  A wise man who said, "Señor, estamos en las tropicas.  Arrojar una semilla en el suelo y crecerá."

Sir, we are in the tropics.  Throw a seed on the ground it will grow.

But puttering isn't always interesting those who don't have a putter.  You get followed around lost in your thoughts and the noises of the feral Parrots that are having their Call To Flock in that first hour after Sunrise.  The Pigeons call to you "Meh! Meh!" like grey feathered Simpsons characters.

And the Dog.  Rack.  Bored with what you're doing, and having finished fertilizing the fence posts, tells me it is time to go inside.  Move onto the next task and into the house.  Besides, there's breakfast to make, and you have already decided which trees to fell five times over. 

Time to go in.