ew

Aug. 20th, 2016 18:38
ratcreature: Eeew! (eeew)
I unwittingly caused a life and death drama in my fridge's vegetable drawer: I just found a giant, dead caterpillar (well about four centimeters long) in the bowl of plums I had also stored in the drawer. It definitely wasn't in the plums when I put them there, considering that I transfered them to said bowl from a bag and it was too big to have been inside any of the plums without doing obvious damage (and not the type of critter you commonly find in plums either). I think it must have come hidden in the cauliflower I also stored in the drawer (though that wasn't sitting directly next to the plums), somehow tried to desperately escape the cold or something, and then expired in my plums.

Well, I guess it's good to know that despite not being organic or anything, my cauliflower was wildlife supporting. I kind of feel bad for it, trying to escape and then slowly dying of cold. It was still unpleasant when I found that thing as I just wanted to grab some plums to snack on, though.
ratcreature: Eeew! (eeew)
I've just seen US-style processed "cheese" in a spray can sold for the first time in a supermarket here. Granted it was part of some special display dedicated to American foods and not their normal range of products but still.

The most bizarre thing was that it apparently was produced by a Wisconsin company that calls itself "Old Fashioned Foods Inc." which is just-- though maybe it's meant to be ironic.

ETA: Also now that I'm thinking about spray can cheese (and calling that an "old fashioned" food), I don't think I've ever read a fic where Steve Rogers when adjusting to the future/present isn't going the Farmer's Market route, but instead (or additionally) is totally thrilled with all the modern convenience food developments, because "scientific"/"hygienic"/"modern" food is awesome to him. I mean, I think he is of the generation that initially brought us the stuff like TV dinners and spray can cheese and food technology in general in the post war period, that only then in the backlash got its current bad reputation, because now "natural" is fetishized as the best and healthiest food.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
Keeping the comments and advice on my last post on this topic in mind, I tried to make blueberry pancakes again this morning. (Pancakes tend to be my Sunday morning breakfast treat.)

So I floured my frozen blueberries and only dropped them into the pancakes once the first side had firmed up but the top was still liquid. Additionally, because my usual buttermilk pancake batter turned out to be a bit too liquid to rise to cover them entirely, I dribbled a bit of liquid batter over them to protect the blueberries from burning. This method worked out for about half of my pancakes, which were somewhat fluffy (not peak fluffiness, but no dense or soggy areas), nicely browned, with blueberries on the inside (and those not turned green either).

Unfortunately I failed with about half my pancakes, which still suffered from burned blueberry bits and/or soggy areas around the berries. This mostly happened when the blueberries still came into direct contact with the pan, then usually burst open and released juice into the pan and the batter. Though partly that was because in my second batch I didn't leave quite enough batter to properly cover them from above. The earlier ones turned out much better.

So it's progress.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
When I make thicker, fluffy pancakes, instead of the thin crepe-style ones, I rather like adding stuff to the batter. Some chopped nuts work well, as does mashed banana, but I always fail when I try adding blueberries. Either the blueberries burst open and the surrounding area gets soggy, or the pancakes brown unevenly due to either blueberry juice getting out and caramelizing faster than the rest of the batter or intact blueberries sticking out making for an uneven surface, but I never get nice texture with blueberries in a fluffy pancake that is evenly browned. The online recipes I've found seem to imply that adding blueberries to pancake batter ought to work like regular pancakes in a straightforward way, yet it doesn't for me.

This morning I considered trying for blueberry pancakes again, but ultimately shied away from it, because my previous attempts never worked, and I'm not sure what I can do differently to make them not fail. I mean, the banana-pecan pancakes I made this morning were tasty too, but it would be nice to be able to make blueberry ones, so I wondered whether anyone has mastered this and could give advice?
ratcreature: Eeew! (eeew)
I was making myself some banana-oatmeal pancakes for breakfast when a tiny fruitfly decided to commit suicide by flinging itself into the hot butter. So I had to fish a tiny fried insect out of my pan. I guess it was lucky it didn't try to land on the then still soft topside of my pancakes.
ratcreature: FAIL! (fail!)
So how many tries does it typically take to get the knack of this technique? After consulting online instructions I just tried it for the first time, and the result was not encouraging. I mean, it was edible and had the characteristics of poached egg in that the yolk was warm but still runny and the egg white was cooked, so not a total fail, but I didn't manage to make the egg white adhere to the egg yolk, and instead had to fish out most of it in bits from the water.
ratcreature: Eeew! (eeew)
Why do rotting potatoes smell so much worse than any other rotting fruit or vegetable?! And how can it get so bad so quickly? I swear a few days ago there was no sign of a potato liquifying in my storage box. Ew, ew, ew.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
My dinner tonight was a sweet and sour butternut squash, lentils, and apple combination that I served with baked sweet potato (regular potato would have worked as well), and I found the mix of sweet pumpkin and apples with the lentils quite pleasing.

recipe )

It didn't look that attractive because it is more or less a mush, but I liked the taste combination.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
I've never had sweet potatoes (they're somewhat exotic here), but today my supermarket had some on offer so I got a couple.

Do you have any favorite recipes highlighting their taste that would be good to try them?
ratcreature: Eeew! (eeew)
Discovering that the unopened bag of mung beans in my storage drawer was crawling with tiny black beetles when I wanted to use some. On the bright side, as far as I could see in my quick check of the rest of the drawer they hadn't yet managed to gnaw through the plastic and infested the rest of my food stores. I guess it can always happen that some egg or beetle slips through in the processing and the bag had been in my drawer for two months or so, so they had time to multiply, but still, gross!

Since I only noticed after I opened the bag, I also had to rewrap the thing in a new plastic bag I could tie closed before throwing it away to lessen the likelihood of beetles venturing outside the trash bag before I can take it out. I still think I'm going to take that thrash bag out even though it is not yet full to get rid of the crawling cohort that turned my kilo of mung beans into their habitat. Obviously the beetles have been there for quite some time, and not in the trash even, so it's kind of irrational to feel so grossed out now, but vermin always feels worse once you become aware, I guess.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
Feeling slightly adventurous I bought this squash? pumpkin? of a kind that I've never eaten before. I don't know what it's called, because they were just labeled "miscellaneous squashes/pumpkins" (in German both are the same word) and there were a variety of them in the same bin, all for the same price. The one I got is quite small and white, and now I wonder what the best way to prepare it is. (I'm sure I could browse wikipedia for squash/pumpkin to identify it, and then google the name for recipes, but I'm lazy...)

a picture of the squash? pumpkin? )
ratcreature: grumpy (grumpy)
Seriously, neither of the two supermarkets nearest to me had any plain white sugar when I tried to buy some this week. Last year before they raised the sugar price there were signs in the supermarkets that they wouldn't sell more than five kilo to a customer, because some people were apparently hoarding sugar, either in anticipation of a price increase or to resell it in neighboring countries where sugar prices were already higher, but at least it was still available. And of course now it's been selling at the higher price of 85¢/kg for some time. When it's available, that is, which apparently it is not right now as far as my nearest supermarkets are concerned. I ought to have hoarded some too. (Or I guess I could walk around to other supermarkets further away, looking for a place that has sugar, but I'm lazy.) >:(

It's a good thing I didn't throw out the sugar that got a little wet and clumped in its package when I accidentally spilled water on it some weeks ago, but rather dried it out, so at least I still have some clumpy sugar, even if I almost used up the rest.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
I made some this upside down apple cake, and I already reduced the sugar by a third in the cake (and put no sugar in the whipped cream), yet in combination it was still so sweet as to be almost inedible. This always happens to me with US cake recipes. Are other people having this problem? In principle I like sweet things, and the cake recipes that came with my mixer for example I make without reducing the sugar, so it's not like I'm against a sugary taste, but whenever I try a recipe from an US blog, things turn out too sweet. I guess I should bake more often to get a better feel for tolerable sugar amounts so I don't have to depend on the recipes.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
I baked a lot of cookies yesterday and today. A whole bunch are just plain butter cookies made from shortpastry, but I also made two kinds of lebkuchen. (I realize that ideally those ought to have sat a few days at least for best taste before the intended eating date, in particular the first recipe, but whatever. I tried some right after they were cool and they tasted quite nice already, and I apparently suck at Christmas bakery planning.)

picture and recipe for the first kind of lebkuchen, the classic kind without any flour, just nuts, candied and dried fruit, sugar, eggs and spices )
picture and recipe for the second kind, this one with flour )
finally a picture of the boring but tasty butter cookies, no recipe for those )
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
My meals recently have been somewhat odd because one of the major considerations has been that my food should also result in something tasty and fattening for sickly rats. So my lunch today has been cream of wheat pudding made with half milk and half cream and sugar (instead of just milk and no sugar like I normally make it) so Leo would get more calories with his lacking appetite. On the bright side, at least Leo was eager to eat some of it.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Linus: Dear Great Pumpkin,... (halloween)
Can you freeze pureed pumpkin okay? Because buying a whole pumpkin is much cheaper than buying pumpkin segments per kilo, I now have to deal with something of a pumpkin surplus, and it would be convenient if it was possible to freeze it in manageable portions once I pureed it. Last year when I bought a whole pumpkin I just had two very much pumpkin-themed weeks, but this year I'm wondering whether I couldn't freeze some. (I don't use my freezer much beyond storing vegetables I bought frozen, so I have no experience with freezing fresh vegetables.) I like pumpkin pie, and also soup and such, but not necessarily all pumpkin all week, and you can't buy pureed pumpkin in cans here (at least I have yet to see it offered anywhere), so if it froze well, that would solve two problems.

Also, I need to dust more diligently (or at all really *embarrassed look*). I'm working on a painting and dust motes keep sticking to my wet paint. Yikes.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
A few days ago I asked for advice how to fix the texture of my yeast plait, and got many helpful comments. I took the advice, got the more expensive bread flour higher in gluten, only softened not melted the butter, and kneaded a good deal longer, and it worked! The texture of the one I just baked is like it's supposed to turn out.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
When I make Hefezopf (yeast plait? basically a braided, slightly sweet yeast bread with eggs, butter and milk) it turns out fairly tasty, but the dough texture is just not as nice as that of the bought kind. Mine is soft and overall decently fluffy, i.e. the dough rises more or less to the volume it should, but the holes are smaller and more uniform than the ideal, also the texture isn't quite right. It's hard to explain, but what I expect is that for example if I tore it, it ought to tear a bit in chewier strands rather than just crumbs, which I assume is a side effect of mine just having a small-hole texture?

I'm not sure what I need to do to correct the dough texture. The recipe I use is to mix 500g white flour with dry yeast, two tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt, then warm 250ml of milk, melt the butter (about 70g) in it, so both are lukewarm, mix that and two eggs (also taken out of the fridge for a little while) under the dry ingredients until a ball forms, then add maybe either a little flour or a little milk until the dough is fairly soft, but not sticky. Then I let it rise until the volume doubled, then I braid the dough and let it rise again for a short time in braid form (maybe 15 minutes or so), and then bake it with medium heat (about 175°C) for about 40 minutes. So, experienced bakers and food chemists, what do I need to do differently to make the dough texture more like it should be for this type of sweet bread?
ratcreature: RatCreature is confused: huh? (huh?)
In the recent ep Diana claims that Neal's raw milk Pecorino cheese was illegal (Neal counters that it was a gift, not sold), which I found very strange. I know that there is more concern about risks of raw milk products in the US than elsewhere, but surely the US wouldn't outlaw all kinds of cheeses? What on earth would be sold as Parmesan cheese in the US for example (I mean if you want the non-ersatz kind, i.e. proper Parmigiano-Reggiano), if raw milk cheese was really illegal? Or Gruyère? Or any of the other common cheeses that need raw milk? It's not like raw milk is only used in obscure specialty cheeses foodie snobs seek out.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
I tried to make croissants from scratch, but the result didn't turn out like a proper croissant at all. I think I have not been patient and diligent enough with the rising, then multiple folding, and resting periods to get the dough and butter layers right. So instead of delicious fluffy-layered croissants, I ended up with, well, something rather too dense and very, very buttery. :( Well, it is still edible at least.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
I've been wondering about carnivorous habits, and which animals people eat and which they avoid, thus a poll. (Vegetarians like me, feel free to answer for a period of your life when you ate animals. Obviously if you have never eaten any the poll is kind of moot.) For each you can pick a number from 0 to 3, where 0 = "I have never eaten this animal" (or an animal from a that group, as I bundled some), 1 = "I've tried it only once or twice", 2 = "I have been/am eating this every now and then" (e.g. animals you eat repeatedly but only on rare occasions, or as a treat), 3 = "this animal was/is a regular part of my diet".
cut for length )
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
Most people think chocolate and nuts go well together, but which nut do you think fits chocolate best? (Today when I decided to buy some chocolate with nuts I dithered for minutes in front of the shelf over whether I ought to go with hazelnut or almond chocolate this time.)

I realize radio buttons make this hard when like me you like many nuts in chocolate, but you'll just have to pick a favorite. (Feel free to imagine the chocolate however you like it to best compliment the nuts, i.e. if you like for example hazelnuts best in milk chocolate but almonds in dark chocolate, imagine the combination you like better and then pick the kind of nut in the poll.)

Poll #6193 chocolate & nuts
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 51


Which nut do you like best with chocolate?

View Answers

None: Who would contaminate tasty chocolate with any nut?? (or nuts with chocolate)
5 (9.8%)

Hazelnuts
21 (41.2%)

Almonds
16 (31.4%)

Walnuts
1 (2.0%)

Pecans
2 (3.9%)

Macadamia
2 (3.9%)

Cashew
2 (3.9%)

Brazil nuts
0 (0.0%)

Pistachios
0 (0.0%)

Peanuts (counted as "nut" for the purposes of this poll despite being an undercover legume)
2 (3.9%)

some other nut you have forgotten
0 (0.0%)

ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
I'm wondering how many people are familiar with the situation that you are moderately hungry, but none of the food you have seems appealing in any way, and worse, you have no idea what you'd rather eat just now, even if the food of your choice could appear by magic.

I find this really frustrating. When this happens to me I either don't eat, and wait until I'm hungry enough that I don't actually care much about what I eat (but that sometimes leads to bad eating choices, also it is unpleasant to feel hungry for the time it takes for me to not be finicky anymore, usually about two skipped regular meals) or I just force myself to eat something that I have available. However that is unpleasant too, because I often start to feel sick of the taste of the food I have prepared way before I've consumed the usual amount of food I eat during a meal. Which maybe wouldn't be so bad, my weight being what it is, but then I actually go back to feeling hungry for that elusive unspecified thing not too long after. And it is the same thing all over again with the next meal.

This is really annoying. Also it takes any joy out of eating. :/ Besides, it seems messed up to feel appetite without it being either for something or just indiscriminate for somewhat tasty food. So do others have any strategies for this besides just waiting for the own wacky appetite to become normal again at some point?
ratcreature: RatCreature begs, holding a sign, that says: Will work for food, with "food" crossed out and replaced with  "comics". (work)
Poll #4781 the price to feed yourself
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 42


How much money do you spend on food per week per person? (in an average week, eating your average food, not an exceptional one with a holiday feast or a dinner treat at an for you unusually fancy restaurant or the like)

View Answers

less than 20 € (currently exchanged to about 27.50 US$ or so or 17.50 UK£, convert € below accordingly, though I realize the exchange rate vagaries don't reflect local purchasing power for stuff like food necessarily)
4 (9.5%)

20-30 €
11 (26.2%)

30-40 €
11 (26.2%)

40-50 €
3 (7.1%)

50-60 €
5 (11.9%)

60-70 €
1 (2.4%)

70-80 €
2 (4.8%)

90-100 €
3 (7.1%)

100-120 €
2 (4.8%)

120-140 €
0 (0.0%)

140-160 €
0 (0.0%)

160-180 €
0 (0.0%)

180-200 €
0 (0.0%)

200-250 €
0 (0.0%)

250-300 €
0 (0.0%)

more than 300 €
0 (0.0%)

ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
I'm used to baking with butter (or in the rare cases that I've made vegan cake I got vegan margarine that on its label announced it as okay for baking). However butter prices being what they are (they are up to €1.05 as the cheapest for 250g again here -- food prices suck), I've been considering to substitute margarine, but the cheap non-vegan baking margarines have dubiously long ingredient lists, presumably to simulate butter taste and consistency. And of course there is the trans-fat prone hardening process issue that can come with margarines. (And the less scary vegan ones tend to cost about the same as butter or even more.)

So I've been wondering whether I could just use the neutral, no-frills vegetable fat you buy in cheap blocks as substitute for part of the butter, say half-half, and let some taste come from real butter, but cheaper as you'd only use half as much, and circumvent the whole margarine issue. That fat is just naturally hard fat with no other stuff in it, the kind you use for frying if you want hot temperatures. But then I wondered about the dough consistency and baking properties that would follow, as of course margarine is usually only about 80% fat with the rest water (same as butter I think) and softer at room temperature.

I mean, the problem of softening it enough could work through melting it at a low temperature, depending on the cake recipe I often do that with the butter anyway, but maybe you then would still need to add a bit less of the pure fat and more liquid to simulate the percentages.

Maybe I should just experiment and see whether the results are edible, but surely that kind of thing has been tried by many people, since it's not as if high butter prices are a new phenomenon?

hmm...

Sep. 1st, 2010 12:06
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
I had half-used glass of cherries in my fridge, and now I wonder whether I should have still eaten those. It had been opened for a few days, and the syrupy juice looked slightly foamy on top, but there was no mold and they didn't smell rotten or bad, and I didn't have anything else on hand to go with my left-over rice pudding, so I chanced it. However they did taste odd. Not bad at all, but slightly...prickly? in the pulp they had a mouthfeel a bit like something carbonated. They did not taste alcoholic as such, but I wonder whether there was some fermentation process going on, which would explain the foam. Well, I guess I'll find out soon enough whether they'll still agree with me. At least my stomach is usually quite robust...
ratcreature: RatCreature is dead by anvil. (dead)
I still haven't had any dinner, because it's clear that the Spanish custom to have dinner really late around ten or so in the evening, is the only sensible one in this this kind of heat. Any earlier is simply too hot to have any substantial appetite.

And this awful weather sucks for my food budget. In reaction to the intolerable temperatures I'm mostly subsisting on chilled yogurt and fruit and the like, which I'm sure is healthy and everything, but even in season fruits are expensive. Also, ultimately while tasty not all that satisfying.

I'm hungry, I have plenty of food at home, but I'm too sticky and lethargic to cook myself anything.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
I sometimes wonder just how sweet people seem to tolerate their food. Don't get me wrong, I like sugary things a lot (no matter that refined sugar is not good for you), but a lot of sweet industrial food is just too extreme for me, despite my pronounced sweet tooth.

For example I really like crunchy chocolate "muesli" (I'm using quotes because I don't think it truly falls within the spirit of muesli when the rolled oats are roasted into crunchy deliciousness with sugar and the only other (possible) cereals in it are some kind of popped chocolate thingies, and also it has chocolate pieces...however it is sold under that label); the rolled oats don't get as soggy in the clusters and it has chocolate in it, so I find it tasty. However the cheap kind I buy(*) is entirely too sweet to eat directly. So to have chocolate muesli for breakfast I always mix one part of that with one part plain rolled oats and one part plain popped amaranth, both unsweetened, and then I arrive at a still very sweet mix. So it works out, but I really wonder whether anyone eats it undiluted.

--
(*) For comparison, it costs less than half per 750g box (€1.79) than my plain rat food mix, which also comes in that bag size and cost nearly €4 (though I mostly buy it in the larger 2.5kg bags that are a bit cheaper per kg, but still cost much more per unit than said chocolate muesli), so this strikes me rather frequently when I hand over money during pet food store runs, and then wonder whether they are either fleecing me for pet food, as my rats don't get any extra special organic gourmet rat food or anything, or whether I should worry about what exactly they sell me as breakfast cereal that it cost so much less than the processed grain/vegetable/animal protein mix they sell as rat food.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
I am curious: When you are cooking, and tasting things, how careful are you not to get any of your saliva into the food? I.e. do you always meticulously use two spoons, or are there circumstances when you don't bother and put the same spoon you had in your mouth in contact with the food again?

Poll #2231 slobber poll
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 52


How do you taste food when cooking?

View Answers

I always use two spoons, anything else would be unhygienic/disgusting/getting into bad habits...
1 (1.9%)

I only use two spoons when I cook for others, I don't bother when I'm cooking just for myself, and I'm the only one eating the food anyway.
14 (26.9%)

It depends on some other circumstances (like cooking for family vs. guests, whether I'm sick and potentially infectious,...)
20 (38.5%)

I never bother using extra spoons, such a tiny amount of saliva transfer has never harmed anyone.
17 (32.7%)

ratcreature: RatCreature as Linus: Dear Great Pumpkin,... (linus)
I still had some leftover squash from the butternut squash risotto I made this weekend and with all the US Thanksgiving talk on my f-list I decided to bake a small pumpkin pie. So this was what I had for dinner... Well, it's not like there isn't a tradition of sweet main dishes and this even has a vegetable in it.

I've also been reading a lot of Star Trek and SGA Bigbang stories, though because of the ST Bigbang I haven't yet read that many of the SGA stories. I've been wondering whether I shouldn't do an extra Bigbang recs post for the stories I enjoyed that weren't AUs (those will of course end up in the next AU recs post).

My rats continue to be adorable. Linus in particular always wants to groom me, climb into my clothes, and even likes to cuddle and to be petted. He actually sometimes stays still for that, which is a great feat for a young rat. I could do without his love for the inside of my clothes though. And I do not care at all for two or three rats to start roughhousing while inside my sweatshirt. Their flailing limbs have too many claws for that.

BTW I don't know whether I mentioned this, but Linus looks kind of funny because he lost the tip of his tail in an accident when he was really tiny. The breeder thinks his mother somehow dropped their house on his tail tip so a bit got cut off. Sometimes rats just aren't the sharpest knife in the drawer. But it healed really well and he learned climbing with a shorter tail so it doesn't bother him, and it's not like I got them as show rats, but his tail is a few centimeters shorter than normal. It's somehow more noticeable now that he gets more properly rat sized though, rather than being really tiny.

some more rat photos )

May 2017

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