Sunday, November 16, 2008

tonkatsu don! tonkatsu don!

last night was a total pisser of an evening.  wet, rainy, cold, miserable and definitely not conducive to mustering the energy to go and see a bond movie that's getting middling reviews.  C & C music factory opted to stay home, so it was just me, the dotytron, the roomie and l'army.  we spent the night listening to music and talking...it was really enjoyable.

dinner was scrumptious.  i love me some tonkatsu and tonkatsu don is even better. mine wasn't strictly "authentic" per se, but it was still really tasty and the brown rice was pretty good in the dish...chewy but not aggressively so:


the banana caramel pecan upside down cake got rave reviews and a groveled-for second helping from the dotytron:


the last time i made this recipe, i used walnuts instead of pecans. i'm starting to realize that i'm not the biggest fan of walnuts...i find them a little too tannic and bitter for most sweet preparations. pecans are always a winner in my books.

today for sunday breakkie we just had a simple eggs over easy, toast, and peameal bacon affair:

i re-formed my loaf and have it going for the final proofing. it didn't rise as much as i would have liked to see in the fridge for 24 hours...it was still pretty tense. i think the next time i make it, i'm going to let it sit out at cool room temperature. i'm not optimistic about the prospects for this iteration...i might let the final proofing go longer than the suggested 4-5 hours. i just checked the breadtopia site again...it looks like a lot of people have problems with having the first rise go in the fridge. next time i'll let it sit out on my counter for sure. flexibility is definitely necessary in the bread baking process...there's too many variables beyond your control and you're dealing with living, unpredictable matter.

today i'm going to do some paperwork, go to some open houses with the dotytron, go to dodgeball, have dinner chez dr. rei and hanbo with her cousin S and S's boyfriend B...we met and hung out with S a bunch when we were in florence...she's a crazy, kooky, dear bat. dr. rei is making shepherd's pie! i'm excited! and i'm glad my pineapple upside down cake turned out to be one of the finest, comeliest specimens i've ever laid eyes on.

i made some good progress on my fingerless mitts last night...making cables is actually SUPER easy! it's basically just knitting out of order and you're physically twisting the yarn to make the bumpy shape. it's cool and i feel like a pro star for learning a new skill. it's going to come in handy for my sibling secret santa gift. i'm using berocco ultra alpaca yarn...it gives pretty good stitch definition but there's a bit of a fuzzy halo to the yarn that doesn't give a really crisp finish. it's super soft and easy to work with though and very cozy and warm.

the more i think about "into the wild" the stupider i think it. i read up on the dude in wikipedia...apparently he didn't even have a compass, and he probably could have saved himself if he'd had a half-decent map (at one point he tries crossing this river that he walked through on his way in, but by late summer it's this rushing, crashing, vicious thing. according to wikipedia, there was a hand cranked tram 1/4 mile from where he tried to cross back). i don't really get why he bothered going all the way to alaska. he could have just picked up a rock and bashed himself in the head with it to the same effect. there's testing yourself against nature and then there's just being foolhardy and ignorant.

i totally got busted trying to sneakily bust the dotytron's balls for an imagined infraction on friday night. as i've mentioned, we've been vacuuming almost every day upstairs where the cats are still hanging out to try to get rid of the fleas. every website i've checked says that the vacuum is your number 1 weapon and that you HAVE to discard the contents of the vacuum (we have one of those clear containers you pull out) in a plastic bag and put it outside your house, right away. so the dotytron has been home and has been vacuuming. so i came home on friday and i put something out in the rubbermaid garbage bin we keep just outside our front door and i noticed there weren't any bags of vacuum stuff in there. so, i go into the house and call the dotytron's cell phone. i kept it really casual at first, "this is what i'm making for dinner, what do you think about doing x this weekend, i bought you a treat from the popcorn store" etc. feeling like i had safely lulled the dotytron into a state of coddled guilelessness, i oh-so-casually asked, "ummm, just before you go, where have you been dumping the garbage from the vacuum?" and without even missing a beat, he responded, "i've been throwing it in the big bin at the front of the house." then, wise to my attempt at ambushing him, he added, "YOU GARBAGE PICKER. why don't you stop rooting through the garbage. now everyone on the bus [he was on the ttc home from work] knows you're a garbage picker. GARBAGE PICKER." lol!!! so busted!!!

i've put in the "recipe" for the chili at the end here.

fin.

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vegan chili with tvp and beans
this recipe is pretty flexible...you increase it and decrease it as you see fit and sub in whatever beans you like/have on hand.

2 lb. onion, chopped (about 1-2 large spanish onions)
2 big heaping T. of chopped garlic
fresh chilies (i generally use 1-2 thai birds, or 1 habenero, or 3 jalepenos - depending onf what i have on hand and how hot i want it to be - take out the seeds and veins if you don't want it super spicy and DON'T TOUCH YOUR EYES AFTER HANDLING!!!!!!!) chopped
1/4 c. of chili powder
1 T. cocoa powder (my secret ingredient.  adds a nice, slightly bitter, rich undernote to the chili - serves the same purpose as coffee [another popular secret ingredient])
1 t. of mexican oregano
1 28oz can tomato puree or tomato sauce
1 bottle of beer
1-2 c. of tvp
1 can of beans, drained and rinsed (i generally stick to black beans or kidney beans)
2-3 dried ancho or guajillo peppers (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

- saute the onion, garlic, and chilies in some canola oil until softened.  
- add the chili powder, cocoa, oregano and cook it out (these are just suggested amounts of the spices...as the  chili cooks, you may want to add more of any of the above)
- add the bottle of beer and the tomato sauce and the tvp.
- at this point, you can let it simmer on low heat on the stove for an hour or two (keep checking the liquid amounts and add some water or more beer to thin it to the desired consistency)
- or, dump it all into the slowcooker and let it rip on low all day
- if you're using the dried chilies, cover them with boiling water and let them soften.  when they're soft, puree in a blender with about 1 c. of the reconstituting liquid.  add this to the chili.  if the chili is too thin, you can also add more tvp or more beans.
- i add the beans in the last 1/2 hour of cooking (last 1 hour of slow cooker time)
- season with salt and pepper
- you can add cilantro if you swing that way
- serve with diced avocado mixed with lime, tomatillo salsa (or the salsa of your choice), sour cream or cream, tortilla chips, sliced green onion.


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