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{Wednesday, August 23, 2006}

Sunday Dinner Fiasco

Two weekends ago (the same weekend as the wonderful Lasagna Experience and the Bridge Pedal), on Sunday, we decided to make onion rings out of the big sweet Walla Walla variety onion from my parents' garden. I guess that after the previous evening's culinary success and many previous successes, we were feeling cocky.

We got out the fryer/steamer we got as a wedding present and filled it with peanut oil (good high smoking point frying oil). This was my first misstep. See, I poured the oil into the ceramic bowl of the cooker when I was supposed to have taken out that bowl and poured the oil directly into the non-stick inner surface area. Mean time, my next error which I did not realize I made until much later as I will explain below, occured as I was meticulously setting up my prep area with onions perfectly cut by A and a light beer batter that included some Mirror Pond and some flour (or so I thought).

Next, the light went off on the cooker so I assumed the oil was at 375 degrees. I took one onion ring, battered it and dropped it in the oil and . . . nothing happened. I got out my trusty electric probe thermometer and the oil was only at about 110 degrees. I fished out the limp, soggy onion and then realized my mistake with the ceramic bowl. So I poured the oil from the ceramic bowl into the fryer. Many minutes later, I realized that the oil still was not heating up and finally came to the conclusion that the cooker was fried (so to speak). Here's a pic of the cooker that we now have to return and get a new one since it will not turn on at all any more:

So then we decided to go old-school and poured the oil into sturdy pot and heated it on the stove while constantly checking the temperature of the oil. The oil finally got to 375 and I began dipping rings in the batter, which still was suspiciously thin and watery, and then dropping them into the hot oil. What resulted was not onion rings:

The batter just wasn't right, but I was convinced I had followed the recipe correctly and even reviewed the process on a Good Eats episode I had saved on tivo. Alas, over an hour after starting I gave up on the rings. In the mean time, A saved the meal somewhat by thinly slicing a few of our freshly dug up potatoes from our yard and at least fried some chips that were delicious.

I moved onto grilling a steak for me and a rolled, filled catfish for A that we got at New Seasons. The steak was fine and the fish portion of the rolled catfish was okay, but the filling just didn't seem quite right and most likely undercooked. Here's the aftermath of that quasi-meal (you can see the balls on A's plate that she made out of the filling):

It was during the cleanup that A figured out my problem with my batter. It seems that I grabbed the wrong, clear plastic bin and used powdered sugar rather than flour for my batter. Hmmm. That won't work, and I proved it.

Finally, to top it all off, as I was unloading the dishwasher to make room for our many messy plates, I inanely tried to flick some detritus off of a combo spatula/sandwich knife that happens be extremely sharp. Here is that result:

Well, at least it was a sharp knife so the cut was clean and straight, if not very bloody. I was forced to quit by A and told to just sit on the couch the rest of the evening.

And therein lies a tale of a Sunday Dinner Fiasco.

posted by The Brooklynite 7:35 AM
I Want To Ride My Bicycle

For the second year in a row I rode the Bridge Pedal with A, though this year we did the full 30-plus mile, 10-bridge ride. It did seem slightly better organized this year at least with the timing of riders. Evidence of that is in these two pictures from the top deck of the Marquam Bridge. Last year, it was so crowded on top of that bridge, the ride came to a complete standstill. Still crowded this year but folks were moving all the way across:

Here's a non-traditional shot of the Ross Island Bridge that you can only get from the top of the Marquam:

And it is always cool to have the top deck of the Fremont Bridge, the bridge with some of the best views of the city, full of bicycles:

We stopped up there for awhile and I got this cool perspective of the bridge architecture:

The second-to-last bridge on the long ride was the beautiful St. John's Bridge. There, the organizers blocked off the outer lane for the bikes:

While we were on the St. John's, a big Chevron tanker came floating by beneath us. Both A & I got some cool shots:

The ride itself was a test-run for distance to see how we would hold up. We both agreed that it was not that bad and so now we plan to ride in this coming Sunday's Portland Century, though we will participate in the shorter 40-mile version. It should be fun with the route taking us onto the newest bike paths out near Kelly Point Park and Bybee Lake.

posted by The Brooklynite 7:18 AM

{Tuesday, August 22, 2006}

Reaping the Beginnings of Our Harvest

The tomatoes have arrived!! So we decided to make a lasagna using sauce made from scratch. Here is the delightful array of paste, plum and cherry tomatoes we used to make the sauce:

The sauce ws yummy and the most important part of a lasgna, the cheese, was exceptional including fresh mozarella, parmesan and my not-so-secret cheese: smoked gouda. Here's a shot of the finished product fresh from the oven:

The sauce was good but far from perfect. Next time we'll use way more garlic and fresh basil and not add any sugar at all (those fresh toms are sweet enough on their own).

posted by The Brooklynite 9:21 PM
Summer Evening Dinner

I apologize for the delay but the title of the blog is "not really daily" for a reason. Anyways, a few weekends ago A & I made chicken schnitzel with some mushroom gravy and ate out in our yard as we tend to do often in the summertime.

The schnitzel could have been a little thinner but it was quite yummy and went well with the bubbly we chose for that evening.

As we finished off the meal, this is out very typical Portland view above our yard:

I've got more but I'll submit them separately.

posted by The Brooklynite 9:16 PM

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