Thursday, March 24, 2011

Japanese Style Curry over Fried Mahi-Mahi.

Cooking can sometimes be a haphazard experiment. The other day I decided that I had to use up some potatoes, celery, carrots before they began to go bad... so I opened the freezer to look for protein.

I found a few frozen Mahi-Mahi filets, and about a pound of ground beef. I also found 3/4 of a pack of Japanese curry blocks, and a three cups of chicken stock.

Hm.... so I diced up two yellow onions, sauteed the onions with salt & pepper until they're yellow, then added the ground beef and sauteed until they're brown.

Then I added the chicken stock, dissolved the curry blocks, and added my potatoes, carrots, and celery. Brought the pot to a simmer. Cooked for one hour.

I decided I wanted to pan fry the Mahi-Mahi with a nice panko crust... so I tossed the filet in cornstarch, dipped it in eggwash, then liberally coated it with salt & pepper seasoned panko. Fry until brown.

It was delicious. The End.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Old Country Currency.

We recently had to make some unexpected travel arrangements for the old country. Because of the rapid development of events that necessitated the unexpected travel arrangements, the Mrs. and I were relatively unprepared. We thought we didn't have any old country currency, and because the scheduled flight would arrive rather late at Chiang-Kai Shek International Airport, we were concerned about having to sit around in the airport overnight until the currency exchange was open for business.

Thankfully I remembered I had a wallet I exclusively used in Taiwan...

This is the only old country money I brought left.

All the currency is logically sized - and a visually-impaired person can tell the difference between the different notes.All the "paper" currency is actually plastic. The 500 NT note has a youth baseball team on the front, and a Taiwanese deer on the reverse. The 100 NT pictures the founding father Sun Yat-sen on the front, and the reverse is covered by a picture of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial. The largest coin is 10 NT, the intermediate size 5 NT, and the smallest is the 1 NT.

Having 626NT, the equivalent of $21.19 USD, will get you to any major city from the airport, with change to spare for some simple nutrition. But the increasingly weak USD plus annual inflation might be catching up to me, and I may need update my emergency travel kit... maybe I'll get another 1000 NT note.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Splatter Screens.

If you like to cook, you will invariably have splatter. Whether you're boiling a pasta sauce, or frying something, if there is any temperature gradient between your cookware, the heat transfer media in the pot (i.e. oil, water, etc), or the food - you will have splatter.

Sometimes you can stick a lid on the pot or pan (i.e. simmering a soup), but sometimes you need to let the evaporated moisture escape (i.e. frying).

The solution? A splatter screen. So when I began my quest to look for a reliable and cost effective splatter screen, I browsed through my local Bed Bath & Beyond. They had two kinds in store - an OXO splatter screen, and a Farberware splatter screen.

I ended up with neither. The OXO splatter screen was essentially a flat disk with many punched holes - basically a flat colander. I decided against it because it had too much thermal mass, which because of the temperature difference, will allow moisture to condense and remain in the frying pan. Nope - not good at all.

The Farberware splatter screen was a true woven screen, and it featured activate charcoal woven in the mesh, which was supposed to be "odor" absorbing.

Um... I'm not sure what other people are cooking, but I'm not interested in absorbing odor. I'd rather smell my food while it is cooking. Thank you very much!

Anyway - at the end I decided to get a Progressive International Stainless Steel Splatter Screen, which was on sale at $12.99.

I christened the splatter screen by frying some panko-crusted scallops and Mahi-mahi. It worked like it was supposed to, allowed moisture to evaporate, and stopped the errant oil splatter in its path! Yay!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why is the USD such a confusing currency?

The dime is 10¢. The nickel is 5¢. The penny is 1¢.

But why is the dime, even though it is the largest denomination of the aforementioned bunch, the smallest? The dime is the smallest in diameter and is the thinnest of all currently circulated US coins. Dimes from 1965 to the present are made out of 75% copper and 25% nickel. The Nickel is 5¢, but is bigger than the dime and has the same 75% copper and 25% nickel composition, but has more material than the dime.

And who uses the penny anyway? Vending machines don't even accept them anymore.

Saturday Morning Musings...