Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Making English Muffins Is Not Hard


I will say that if you can't do without a specific brand or a specific taste... go to the market and buy them.  

But I'm finding that to make something that resembles a good and fresh English Muffin, it is probably one of the fastest way to get dough to become bread out there.

The wrinkles are simple.  This is all about the process, not the recipe.  Last time I made these, I used a "Jewish Rye Bread" recipe that was a vigorous rise due to the Bread And Butter Pickle Juice that was added to make them tart.

After I eat some of this Rye Bread that I have been enjoying, I will piece together the recipe and pass it on but...

First find a dough that you like as bread.  The typical recipe that we all expect with Nooks And Crannies is a Sourdough recipe.  You will want a recipe that has a long rise time which means you make the dough today, place it covered in your refrigerator, and then make it later.  12 hours to a day later.

Then the next day, shaping and rising happens.  The commercial muffins are approximately 60 Grams in weight after cooking.  That's about 2.1 ounces 'Merican.  Get a cookie sheet, cover it with parchment paper.  Then oil that sheet well.  You won't be using it to bake, merely to rise the dough.  Open your oven and make sure you took everything out there and then close it.  Turn on the light.  Leave the light on.  Close the oven door.

 If your oven is like mine, it will maintain a 100-110F 40-45C temperature just from the light bulb.  Think "EZ Bake Oven".  Great place to get your Yeasties to have a good start!

Get a dough ball of around 60 Grams and flatten it to a palm sized disc.  Place that disc on your oiled cookie sheet.  Repeat as needed.  You will end up with a cookie sheet coated with about a dozen discs that are ready to go into that oven for the rise.  My rise took 2 hours with a room temperature dough, colder doughs from the refrigerator will take longer.

... But they do taste a lot better and more complex!

Check in on your dough every half hour, and you are ready to bake when they double in size.

The cooking process is a bit different.  Under your stove where the skillets and dome lids live, find a large skillet with a matching lid.  A 12 Inch/30 CM skillet would be fine.  These muffins need room around them to cook.  

Oil the skillet generously, and dust the oil lightly with either corn meal or flour.  

Preheat the skillet on Medium Low Heat.  

When the skillet is up to temperature, place a few of the muffins on the skillet with room to roam, and cover with the dome lid.  The muffins-to-be should be gently removed from the cookie sheet so that they deflate as little as possible.  

Begin to check the muffins after 2 minutes, and every 30 to 60 seconds thereafter.  When the one side looks golden brown and toasted, flip them and repeat.  I found that the first batch took a lot longer (about 6 minutes) per side than the last batch (3 minutes) per side.

Golden Brown is perfect.  The picture was from the last batches I made.  

The basic theory is that you're browning the crust and steaming the entire muffin with the lid covered.  

It is very similar to the Hotteoks (Korean Donuts) that I make from time to time which are basically just English Muffins filled with a little jelly.  In fact, I'd suggest for a little treat just make one or two of these into Hotteoks for later.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

National Sarcasm Society: Like we need your support...

Ok, so I am definitely late on this one, but since I discovered it, and you probably have not taken your decorations down yet, here you go!


On the night of Christmas Eve, Santa was having a really hard time.

He was furious because nothing was going right.

A couple of elves had crashed his sleigh, the reindeers were covered in eggnog, and Mrs. Claus was being a ho ho ho.

Then, to top it all off, Santa had sent little angel hours ago to find a tree and he was still gone.

“Gah, the bastard still isn’t back yet!”

But then, a miracle happened! At the stroke of midnight, the angel comes back with the tree.

“Hey fat man! Where do you want me to put this tree,” asks the little angel.

At this moment, Santa had a brilliant idea.

So, boys and girls, that’s how the tradition of putting angels on top of trees came to be.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

I just bought some synonym rolls. They taste just like the ones Grammar used to make.

 Having just had a friend wish me seasonings greetings I could not resist.  I do hope his day isn't too salty!

How Drunk Are You?

One night a police officer was staking out a particularly rowdy bar for possible DUI violations.
At closing time, he saw a fellow stumble out of the bar, trip on the curb and try his keys on five different cars before he found his. 

The man sat in the front seat fumbling around with his keys for several minutes.
Meanwhile, all the other patrons left the bar and drove off.
Finally he started his engine and began to pull away.

The police officer was waiting for him.
As soon as he pulled onto the street, the officer stopped him, read him his rights and administered the breathalyzer test to determine his blood-alcohol content.

The results showed a reading of 0.0.

The puzzled officer demanded to know how that could be.
The driver replied, “Tonight I’m the designated decoy.”

Friday, December 25, 2020

Happy Holidays from Ramblingmoose

Happy Holidays from me and my house to you and yours. 

May your 2021 be happy, and especially healthy in this difficult time.

It is early and we're already preparing the midday feast of roast chicken with stuffing and probably other oddball veg.  I'm thinking I'll be chewing off my leg somewhere around 10:30.

So if you see me hobbling around here, it was a good one.  Doggone stuff already smells good at 9AM!

Oh, the picture?  It is dated 2018.  I rather like it but a helpful hint here, don't depend on online services to keep your pictures or even your data.  Google of all things lost a good 10 percent of the pictures I had on here since 2009. 

Always keep a backup!  Or If you don't have it, you may lose it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Kool Aid at night or on the trails for a workout? Sure why not!

In my own absurd life, my life of irony, I found myself laughing in the mirror.   I guess this started years ago.

I am a Distance inline skater, a rollerblader.  Unabashed, have been since 1993.

A workout for me is short if it is 10 miles.  Longer, Faster, Further.  I don't "jump things", don't do "Ollies" or Grinds.   If you do, great, I'm more than happy to sit on the sidelines and let you have fun. I really enjoy someone who is dancing on a trail on "Quads" in an artistic fashion.

It is a growing sport, we all bring something to the table, or to the park.

But going out for an hour and a half or more means I'm doing things differently.  On a long workout I'm carrying water and snacks.  Not wanting to run into a sugar crash, it's more than one snack usually if I go past two hours.

I did notice a while ago that caffeine is my friend.  I'd skate faster and further when I'd have coffee that morning.  About an extra 10% faster.  

Although I am fast enough for people on bikes to congratulate my speed, there are times that that extra horsepower (Moose Power?) is not welcome.

After that workout, I figured out that having coffee or caffeinated soda isn't the best at 8PM if you want to get to bed at 10:30, earlier if it is a sunrise workout.  A Red Bull may give you wings, but I've gone airborne without one of those little cans of evil sweetness.

Anyone who is training at a high level, especially if they are over 30, will go through this micromanagement and modification of their diet at some point.

But there are times you are thirsty at night, right?  

This is where the weird OCD hits.

You see I got bored with the ice water at my side.  No reason other than I wanted something different.   I found Decaf Coffee or Iced Tea to be a bit repetitive.  Since every last calorie counts in a training diet, what do you do?

The answer?  Kool-aid.  Specifically with saccharine.

Yes, a big 6'4" 220 pound man got started bending down like a Giraffe at a water hole with widely spaced legs to the lower shelves at the market to get the packets that he had as a child.  No, it's not a case of regression or middle aged crazy.  They put them there so the toddlers you are dragging through the Winn-Dixie can see them.

You see, I learned to enjoy Sharkleberry Fin.  Or Pineapple.  Or Watermelon flavor.  While it is easy to find, there are only so many times you can drink Tropical Punch.  I had hit the wrong button online and instead of getting a small selection of packets of this day glow powder, I ended up getting a fist sized cube of mixed packets, 100 of them ... all at once.

Then again, if you toss a packet of that stuff into a white cake mix, you end up with a Tropical Punch Flavored Cake.  

Great for a snack on a long haul workout, right?  I'm planning on trying that next time I make a cake, should be great for a laugh.

Yes, I really do find it ironic that a big beefy guy like me is drinking a pink kid's drink for a Sport Drink.  Or by choice at night before bed.

With helmet and skates, I'm about 7 feet tall, and in the water bottles that I have in the Fanny Pack, might just be a Blue liquid that looks like Windex and tastes like a freezer pop from your childhood.  Yes, a Fanny Pack does have its place and its place is strapped on backwards around my waist coming at you around 15 MPH.

A half gallon of that stuff goes long enough that I can have some at night.  

Isn't Variety the Spice of Life?   Even if that spice is in a packet with a cartoon character based on an anthropomorphic apex predator.

Don't get me started talking about the Sea Cap'n that I had to wrestle for that baggie of cereal that I'm Crunching through for the snack next time.

Sometimes what you got fed as a kid, or were feeding your kids, has a different and secondary purpose.  In my case it is weirding out the normies, like me.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Why did the kid cross the amusement park? To get to the other ride.


A policeman goes home to his wife in the evening after work. 

Exhausted, he enters the dark bedroom and strips out of his uniform, leaving it on the floor. 

He looks for the light switch but figures his wife is laying in bed and decides not to disturb her. 

Just before he's about to get into bed, his wife speaks:

    Honey, can you run down to the corner shop and buy bread, so I can make breakfast for the kids tomorrow?

-Fine, but you should have mentioned earlier - says the husband while putting the uniform on again

He runs down to the shop, gets the bread and exchanges small talk with the guy at the counter

New job? - asks the cashier

Nah, why do you ask?

Ah, I could have sworn you were a policeman, but that's definitely a fireman uniform.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

I tried to rain on your parade... but I mist.

 This reminds me of one of the first off road trips I ever did in my Jeep.  

See, there's a series of roads in the NJ Pine Barrens, they're fire trails to allow the trucks to get back there to put out the summer fires that happen.  People have a nasty habit of not putting out camp fires of course.

I was out there in an open area in my old CJ7, just hooning around and enjoying the time when I managed to get the Jeep stuck. 

Solid ground, no mud, packed earth field.

So how did I do it?  Yours truly managed to get the most capable off road vehicle stuck by getting the transfer case stuck on a rock.   Yes, the entire car was suspended in mid air. 

Not very bright, Bill.

Look at the window. There's an old ghost's face there!!!!!!!

Two guys left the bar after a long night of drinking, jumped in the car and started it up.
After a couple of minutes, an old man appeared in the passenger window and tapped lightly.

The passenger screamed "Look at the window. There's an old ghost's face there!"

The driver speed up, but the old man's face stayed in the window.

The passenger rolled his window down part way and, scared out of his wits, said "What do you want?"
The old man softly replied "You got any tobacco?"

The passenger handed the old man a cigarette and yelled "Step on it" to the driver, rolling up the window in terror.

A few minutes later they calmed down and started laughing again.

The driver said "I don't know what happened, but don't worry; the speedometer says we're doing 80 now".

All of a sudden there was a light tapping on the window and the old man reappeared.

"There he is again!" the passenger yelled.
He rolled down the window and shakily said "Yes?" "Do you have a light?" the old man quietly asked.
The passenger threw a lighter out the window saying "Step on it!"

They were driving about 100mph, trying to forget what they had just seen and heard, when all of a sudden there came some more tapping.

"Oh my God! He's back!"

The passenger rolled down the window and screamed in stark terror "WHAT NOW?"
The old man gently replied "You want some help getting out of the mud?"

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Rough Night On Wilton Drive

We were out at the Dog Hour.

At this time of year, that means after 5 but before 5:30 because it's dark that early here.

Trust me, if you ever want to get to meet people, get a dog.  They require 3 walks a day, and you will see many of the same people out there for that time for the life of that dog.  Besides, if you are wondering about what your dog is thinking, you will learn fast that they will tell you.

Rack certainly does.

I have been walking my dogs at that time since I moved here years ago.  I get to see it all, and I have seen it all.

Recently the Wilton Art group have been putting up an art installation of what looks like from the ground wrought iron pieces of art meant to resemble some aspect of living here.  I will say they catch my eye, simply because they are so distinctive.  New or not, you notice an alligator lifting a drink to the sky and saluting the crowd.

In Philadelphia's Center City, there is a well known tradition or requirement of any new construction spending 1% towards public and accessible art.  It's something I supported here, and mention widely when I speak to people about improving our own little Island City.

In our case, Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) did not mind my looking at these.  I stopped to take the picture, as we paused the walk and he got some more attention.

I hear the phrase squealed across five lanes of traffic "OOOOH!  A DOG!" more times than I care to, so I made it a point not to dawdle.

Having had someone decide that my own front lawn was a perfect place to "Sleep It Off", I think I see what they were illustrating in wire frame.

I still get a chuckle out of the local police when I mention that last episode.  I wonder if the sleeper's girlfriend let him back in the house.  He borrowed her car, lost it and his cell phone, and curled up under the palm tree in the front yard.

So now, up and down the drive, on select light poles near you, you will see pictures and slogans of what you may see here from time to time.  Just stay socially distant, and don't make too much noise at 2AM when the bars close, OK?

Sunday, December 13, 2020

I just invented a DIY surgery kit. It’s called Suture Self.

 Well, ok, so I enjoyed putting out short stories yesterday, why not do it again? 

A man experiences severe pain in his eyes but couldn't point out why.

The pain worsened over a few weeks and his eyes would swell and redden.

He consulted a doctor. He asked the patient to sit down and not panic.

''once I examine you, you'll be prescribed the medicine and treatment and it'll be fine soon.''

The doctor offered him tea, and the man agreed.

As the man sipped tea, the doctor looked and him wide-eyed with a weird expression on his face.

''Next time you have tea, please remove the spoon before-hand.''

An off-duty soldier is riding the train.

When the train reaches its first stop a general walks in and the soldier stood up.

"At ease soldier, sit down.", said the general.

The train reached its second stop and again the soldier stood up.

The general once again said, "At ease soldier, sit down."

The train reached its third stop and again the soldier stood up.

The general said, "You don't have to salute every time we reach a stop."

The soldier said, "I'm trying to get off, I missed my stop 2 stations ago."

Reckless Driving

A man was driving on the highway when all of a sudden he had to swerve to avoid a box falling off the truck that was in front of him.

Seconds later, a police office pulled him over for reckless driving.

As the officer was writing the ticket, the driver noticed the box he'd avoided had been full of nails and tacks.

"I had to swerve otherwise I'd have run over those and blown my tires!" he protested.

"OK," replied the officer, as he ripped up the ticket, "but I'm still bringing you in."

"What for?!"

"Tacks evasion."

Saturday, December 12, 2020

What did the cat say when it fell of the couch? MeeOUCh

 I must be feeling generous.  I have three short jokes for you today.  Kind of a Badump Dum Tss kind of a day!

A frog telephones the Psychic Hotline.
His Personal Psychic Advisor tells him, “You are going to meet a beautiful young girl who will want to know everything about you.”
The frog is thrilled! “This is great! Will I meet her at a party?”
“No,” says his advisor, “in her biology class.”

Steve was at the Bob's house until late and when time came to go he faced a hellish rain.
Bob took pity on him and said "You cannot go home with weather like that. You might as well sleep over. Steve agreed.

As Bob was done preparing the bed he started searching for Steve not finding him anywhere.
After more than an hour, there was a ring at the doors.
Bob opened the doors and sees Steve soaking wet outside.

"Where have you been?" asks Bob, "I though you would stay to sleep."

- "I will. I just went home to get pajamas."

Dolphins go bald, too. Tough for humans to notice, but dolphins notice... Anyway...

Understandably, they start getting a little down in the dumps recognizing the loss of their youth and feeling a profound sense of their own mortality.

In a moment of clarity, one dolphin says to his buddy, “Hey compadre, we don’t have to just accept this as our new normal, ya know? What with modern fashion and technology these days… we can do something about this!”

So they went out and bought matching hairpieces. They were toupees in a pod.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Two Yellow Cattleya Orchid Flowers

One of the nicer things about South Florida is how easy it is to grow just about anything that a Northerner would consider "Exotic".  

I am too far south for northern fruit trees.  No Apples, Pears, or Cranberries here, I grow Orange, Mango, Lemon, and Banana in my yard.

Too many Banana.  They spread.  I have three pots of that stuff and if you are nearby...

Anyway, here, just like anywhere, if you go into a big box "hardware" store and look around in their garden section, they have some oddball plants.  They taunt you in their little packaging and implore you to take a chance.

And here, those sad little packages are typically Orchids.  They hang from hooks on a display  with a picture of the flower that they would love to become if you would just adopt them and bring them home.

It worked, we did.  And it worked, they grew.  

In fact, I have a bit too green of a thumb.  I have baskets of orchids hanging all over the back yard from spots under a drip feed irrigation.  One of those orchids was a gift from the real estate agent when we bought the house back in 2006.

Come to think of it, most of the plantings in this yard are from cuttings from other plants.  I've mentioned before that I have a habit of doing that.  My Podocarpus Hedge is all from cuttings, although they grow slowly.  I have some hibiscus that the Iguanas actually avoid for some reason and I'm running with that.  

Bloom where you are planted, besides nobody wants to live in a pot! (except these plants)

The reality of that is that an Orchid will live from the nutrients that are washed down by the rain into their roots.  The soil is Orchid Bark, and the rain and mists that I use to water these beauties will rot the baskets that they live in.  About once every six months, I have to remove those plants from their homes, and repot them.  Most of the time I end up with more plants than I started with, so there's a constant supply of beauty to enjoy.  Just like that little bug on the left bloom is doing there.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

I turned the fan off because I was cold. Everyone in the helicopter was shocked!

 Ok, I know people like that.  I'm cold, turn off the fan.... And... BOOM!


Somewhere in a back road

My vehicle stopped working.
I open the hood to see if I could see any trouble. 

While I was looking into the motor, I heard a voice and said "it's the distributor, you have a bad one"
I responded while trying to see who said that "do you really think so?"

But there was nobody there except a white horse with a black spot on the forehead.
I said "hello" then the horse came closer and looking into my motor he said "it's the distributor you have a bad one".

I could not believe what I saw so I started running until I came into a small pub.
I went in there were a few locals there. 

I told the bartender what happened.
Everyone in the pub starting laughing.

The bartender looked at me and ask "was it a white horse with a black spot in the forehead?
To which I responded "YES! YES! That's the one!"

The bartender then said " oh that's Ralph don't listen to him, he doesn't know anything about mechanics"

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Therapist: you need to stop talking to yourself. You're doing it right now.

 In reading this I was picturing myself standing in a small market in a small town in a rural area where I didn't speak the language.  Then again I don't see anyone traveling very far any time soon.   Of course, living in South Florida it is not required to know anything other than English, but if you know a wee bit of Spanish, you will make someone incredibly happy if you tell them Muchas Gracias.

And aren't we all here to make ourselves and others happy?

A Russian lady married an English gentleman and they lived in London .

She was not very proficient in English, but did manage to communicate with her husband. The real problem arose whenever she had to shop for groceries.

One day, she went to the butcher and wanted to buy chicken legs. She didn't know how to put forward her request, so, in desperation, clucked like a chicken and raised her skirt to show her legs, knees and a bit of thigh. Her butcher got the message and gave her the chicken legs.

Next week she needed to get chicken breast, again she didn't know how to say it, so she clucked like a chicken and revealed a bit of her bra by unbuttoning her top to show the butcher. The butcher understood again and gave her some chicken breasts.

On the 3rd week, the poor lady needed to buy sausages. Unable to find a way to communicate this, she brought her husband to the store...

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Peekaboo, Lizard!

The thing about wildlife photography is you have to be at the right place and at the right time.

Or just scratch that and have things jump out at you.

I have a stand of Bamboo in the backyard that I keep using for "Things... Useful Things".  In this particular case, it is being used as a mount for some solar lights.

Solar lights are generally garbage now, the batteries don't tend to last because they are not using the right metal for a contact for the batteries.  That metal rusts and the lights die.  Or the UV in the sunlight over the years will cloud the plastic over the charging cell.


But I was walking past the place where I had the mount getting ready to put the light on top when this little critter looked out to say hello.  

Note to self, don't leave an open spot at the top of a piece of bamboo if you don't want it colonized.  Lizards are fine, but red ants... noooo!