dragonlady7: self-portrait but it's mostly the DSLR in my hands in the mirror (Default)
[personal profile] dragonlady7
Dude mentioned, in his morning stand-up, our theory that the cats are running parallel business meetings to theirs. It was borne out, this time, by Chita having a conversation with Lt. Col. Haze the entire time Dude was talking.
(The way the meeting works, one guy runs the meeting and is unmuted the whole time, and then everyone else leaves their mic muted until it's their turn to talk. Fortunately/unfortunately, the guy who runs the meetings is the guy with the REALLY LOUD cat, Lt. Col. Haze, and so the entire meeting is often punctuated by the colonel's observations.)
The others found this amusing, so it may continue to be a point of discussion in future meetings. I'll keep y'all as posted on developments as I'm kept.
(Only one member of the dev team does not have cats; he is allergic. Literally every single other person, which encompasses numerous men and one woman, has cats. Some of them also have dogs but overwhelmingly, they're cat people.)

Semi-related, I saw a Twitter thread but it's protected so I'm not going to bother linking it, but it was Kate Harding theorizing that perhaps we should choose the next President by which candidate has the Goodest Dog. I'm not up on everyone's, but Warren posted photos of her lovely golden retriever being blow-dried, and Gillibrand had a post a while back where she introduced the puppy she'd gotten her kids. No intel yet from any other challengers. I don't know that I'll discuss politics here much going forward, but I should mention that Gillibrand is an alum of my high school so I've been following her career a while.

Semi-related in an entirely different direction, I just read about a fantasy artist who specialized in cats, and at first I was like, oh this is neat and pretty straightforward-- she was a lady who liked cats and made art about cats-- there are some pretty dark WTF twists. Namely, her eventual fate, and her side-hobby, which was apparently an obsession with Hitler's decorating choices. So like, go and read, but like.
*boggle*

Am quite prepared to be heavily snowed-in this weekend, though it hasn't really yet begun to come down. See, my running around like an idiot on my sick day paid off-- we don't have to go to the grocery store this weekend, which means we can just stay here.

Two instant-pot recipes follow, under the cut! I'll give non-Instant Pot adaptations, though. Here's the thing: my mother gave my dude an Instant Pot for Christmas, because he's hard to shop for and she wanted to get him something, and also my older sister had asked for specifically this Instant Pot, and Mom thought, well, if she likes it, it must be good, so I'm giving it to you guys too. I wouldn't have gone out and bought one on my own, but since I have it, I'm going to use it. This week was the trial run to see if it's worth making space for in the kitchen, and the verdict is, yes, but I'll probably pack up the slow cooker to make the room. Should you run out and buy one? Well, see for yourself I guess. They're trendy bullshit, but apparently, in the end, pretty useful trendy bullshit.

So-- beet risotto, and boef en daube provençale.

1) The beet risotto was composed as an Instant Pot recipe, and can be found here. My notes: I put a little bit of warmed white wine in right at the beginning, just after I added the rice, because my usual recipe calls for that and I like the little bit of sharpness it gives. Also I diced some of the stems of the beet greens and threw them in, too, and I added a carrot, because I had carrots. All of this made it just a little heartier, I think. Oh and I almost never cook with olive or vegetable oil; I use bacon grease or rendered lard, because, again, I have it.
And I've never in my life purpose-bought arborio rice; I think I used basmati. I buy the biggest cheapest bag of rice from the "ethnic" part of Wegman's, because their white people rice is in like a 1-pound bag and is ten dollars or something, but if you go to the weird little segregated Asian section you can get ten pounds for a dollar, more or less. This is true of almost every spice, as well; never buy McCormick if they've got Lakshmi. White people think other white people are fools, apparently, and they must be right or they wouldn't keep doing it.

The Instant Pot doesn't really save much time on this recipe, but it does make it way less standing and stirring, and the rice comes out much stickier than when I do it on my own, so pressure cooking is a great substitute for labor-intensive stirring. Duly noted!

If you only have a frying pan, though, I still urge you to try risotto. I don't have a recipe, so much as a method, which is:
Melt your fat in the pan until it shimmers, then throw in your aromatics-- onion, carrot, garlic, ginger, whatever-- and sauté until they start to soften. Meanwhile, gently warm a cup or so of white wine. Toss your rice into the pan and stir around in the fat until the rice starts to turn clear, you'll see it-- and then add the white wine and stir it around. (Cold white wine will apparently "shock" the rice and halt the cooking and do something bad. I don't know, I've never tried.)
I usually have a pot simmering of the broth I'm going to use, so that it's already up to temp. Normally I use chicken broth because we constantly have chicken broth at the farm; all to the better if it's got shreds of chicken meat in it. Once the rice has started to absorb the wine and everything smells amazing, add the broth cup by cup until the rice is submerged. Then stir really well, and cover your frying pan and let it simmer. Check on it every five to ten minutes, and add more hot broth if the liquid level is getting too low. (Note: I do not have a lid for my frying pan. I use a baking sheet as a lid. You really don't need to be fancy. Just be aware you might lose more broth than the recipe anticipates, so be prepared to top it up more. You can use water if you run out of broth, it's ok.)
For brown rice, you gotta give it like 40 minutes; for white rice it's more like 20. Stir a lot. When you think the rice is about done, take the lid off and stir it for a while so the last of the broth absorbs. Finish it off by adding some spinach or greens, if you like, and then a good knob of butter or a drizzle of olive oil, some salt maybe, and a quarter to half cup of grated parmesan.

It's a good one-dish meal, it's just a lot of standing around stirring, but if your kitchen is the middle of the house like at the farm it's not all bad. The Instant Pot means that you have to do a few steps but then you can just kinda leave, so that's nice. Worth the specialty appliance, in this case!

2) Daube Provençale: So I got the recipe via a recipes masterpost on Tumblr whose link I've lost, but the recipe was really written up in the context of a post where the blog owner was reviewing the book it's from.
It's a suite of recipes: the beef stew part, and then the garlic mashed potatoes part. As far as the mashed potatoes, I made them without a blender, because it seems like ridiculous overkill to put mashed potatoes in a blender? Also I have never peeled a potato in my life because in 4th grade my teacher told me that's where most of the nutrients are, and I told my mother, and she gleefully threw out her peeler and we never ate a peeled potato after that, so I honestly don't know if this recipe wants you to peel them because I didn't. You can do this just by dumping the potatoes into your skillet and hitting the whole thing with a hand potato masher or a really beefy fork over and over, that's all this needs. I'm a fan of power tools but not for mashing potatoes. Come on now, people.

So, as far as adapting the beef stew for the Instant Pot, well--
point the first, I didn't have any stew beef. I have a whole shitload of venison, packaged for use in stew, because of my brother-in-law. Venison tends to be pretty tough, and I've had issues before where the dishes I've made with it have been... well... you could really tell what it was, and not in a good way.

So. I marinated just the venison, and an onion, and bay leaves and some thyme, in a cup or so of red wine from a box. I used Malbec. I don't know what literally any of those wine varieties listed in that recipe are, and I'm actually an adult who drinks a fair bit of wine. Clearly, I'm not super up on French wines, and crucially: don't give a fuck.
I also put some orange juice into the marinade, because I'd read a review of a different recipe that said that Instant Pots tend to incorporate alcohol weirdly into recipes and it winds up with off-flavors because the alcohol doesn't evaporate properly. So I was hesitant. In retrospect, I didn't need to be, and I'll explain why.

1) I fished all the meat out of the marinade and threw it, with a hunk of bacon fat, into the Instant Pot on "Saute". I let it go for a while, and added in the onion too, and actually after a bit I dumped the liquid from cooking back into the marinade because I felt like it was braising, not browning. I let that brown for a bit, because meanwhile I was cutting up the carrots. I also put in a stalk of celery, because I have it. And I peeled a satsuma and put the segments into the stew, and grated the zest in.
2) I dumped the marinade and vegetables into the pot, and then topped it off with more wine and the last of the vegetable stock left over from making the risotto, and then I left it on "saute" for a while until the Instant Pot beeped at me because it won't saute for more than 30 minutes. At that point, I added some tomato paste and water, stirred it all around really well, and then put the lid on and hit the "MEAT STEW" program button, which set it to high pressure for 35 minutes.
3) I boiled some potatoes, chopped some garlic, and ate some cheese on toast during this time. Then I mashed the potatoes, cooked the garlic in some butter in the frying pan, added milk because I didn't have heavy cream, and then finished mashing the potatoes in the skillet. I used zero measurements for any of this so I don't know how accurate that recipe is. I also diced up a bunch of black olives, and ate the rest.
4) when the Instant Pot beeped, I turned the little lever to let it depressurize, then took the lid off and put it back onto "saute", added the olives, stirred it around, and let it boil like that for 15 minutes. This meant the alcohol boiled off properly, and the stew thickened.

I served it over the mashed potatoes, which had cooled but the stew was hot so it made it an edible temperature right away. The venison was... not tender, but fell apart easily and was chewable, and it had a great flavor. The orange gave it a great little kick. This one's a keeper! But you don't need to go buy a whole bottle of some French wine you've never heard of. Box malbec was fine. I imagine any reasonable dryish semi-full-bodied red wine would do the trick, though maybe I'm only saying that because I don't know shit about French wine.

The Instant Pot made a huge positive difference in this recipe, I expect-- it would have been eight hours in a slow-cooker, or four in the cast iron Dutch oven I use for goulash or bourgingnon on the weekends sometimes. Instant Pot meant I could do this as a start-it-when-I-get-home-from-work weeknight meal, though I saved it for a Friday night because then we could be leisurely with appetizers and wine and not worry if we didn't eat until... actually we ate before 7:30 pm, so the total cooking time in this recipe was like. An hour and a half maybe?? Not bad at all. I'm absolutely going to Instant Pot goulashes and things from now on, there's no reason to have to spend all afternoon checking on a cast iron pot. (But I have lived that way for years, and I'm not knocking it!)

Today I am going to make an elaborate non-Instant Pot meal, though-- I'm going to do the Buzzfeed Tasty Wakandan feast that I've been intermittently thinking about ever since it first went viral on Tumblr, only I couldn't find lamb shoulder so it's beef shoulder so we'll see. I could surely adapt one or the other of those dishes for the Instant Pot but since I'm making both, I think I'd rather just have the counter space. We'll see once I start cooking, though; I might opt to throw one in the machine just so I can focus on the other, since both have long cooking times.

But I have no time constraints; it's the weekend, we're getting shit on from the sky, I don't have to go anywhere, and I am going to cook, sure, but also sit and read a novel, polish and post the next Mammoths Novel bit, finish writing the scene I started noodling at work yesterday where I incorporate the Cleansing Waffle (comments contain development of idea) into Mammoths-verse and see if it gives me anything, and maybe do some hand-lettering. That's all I've got planned for this weekend. Maybe I'll even do some sewing! But I'm determined to lounge and read a novel at some point.

Date: 2019-01-19 03:39 pm (UTC)
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
From: [personal profile] toujours_nigel
Jesus that is really fucking cheap for basmati. It's costlier here, and by a *lot*.

Date: 2019-01-19 05:32 pm (UTC)
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
From: [personal profile] toujours_nigel
oh, I don't doubt you. It *is* cheaper in the big bags, and it might actually be cheaper in the States.

I'm glad to know it works as a substitute risotto rice, because oof the Arborio is awfully costly.
Edited Date: 2019-01-19 05:33 pm (UTC)

Date: 2019-01-19 07:58 pm (UTC)
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
From: [personal profile] toujours_nigel
*g* Of course you must! It costs about a dollar for 2.5 pounds here, so you see why I was startled. Obviously it goes down the more you buy, but a 5kg (roughly 10 pounds, little more) bag is uh, 5 dollars, bit more.

Date: 2019-01-19 03:48 pm (UTC)
umadoshi: (kittens - Jinksy - peer)
From: [personal profile] umadoshi
Only one member of the dev team does not have cats; he is allergic.

Someone get this poor guy a Siberian or LaPerm!

(...I mean, don't, because some people's allergies still react to them. But it's POSSIBLE that he could have a cat...)

Date: 2019-01-19 05:30 pm (UTC)
lazaefair: Cosmo, Kathy and Don from the movie Singin' In The Rain, collapsed on the couch and laughing together. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lazaefair
finish writing the scene I started noodling at work yesterday where I incorporate the Cleansing Waffle (comments contain development of idea) into Mammoths-verse

And we already have a winner for today’s out-of-context theater!

Date: 2019-01-19 07:09 pm (UTC)
lazaefair: Cosmo, Kathy and Don from the movie Singin' In The Rain, collapsed on the couch and laughing together. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lazaefair
This is the congealed floury flesh of the Cleansing Waffle, baked for your sins

Also: please do keep us updated on the Cat Conference. What are they developing? What are they selling? What are the Cat Projections for this Cat Quarter?

Date: 2019-01-20 04:06 am (UTC)
lazaefair: Cosmo, Kathy and Don from the movie Singin' In The Rain, collapsed on the couch and laughing together. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lazaefair
Bahaha I'm really tickled that his coworkers want to join in on the fun, too, though. Dude can be the relay between the Internet People and the Coworkers, I suppose.

The fact that the only cat with military rank seems to be in charge and has the most to say seems to suggest to me that the cats aren't having a business meeting, they're planning an operation of some sort. Very clever of them to piggyback on their unsuspecting humans' communications technology to cover their tracks!

Date: 2019-01-19 06:28 pm (UTC)
unicornduke: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unicornduke
The meals sound really good and they looked delicious on instagram

Date: 2019-01-19 11:42 pm (UTC)
unicornduke: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unicornduke
Ehh, yeah. If you enjoyed the process of making more difficult bread, it might be worth it but otherwise meh

sometimes it's really fun to make an elaborate meal for no reason at all

Date: 2019-01-20 11:06 am (UTC)
unicornduke: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unicornduke
lol at the recipe.

Rice pilaf for the future! I usually make a cup of rice and it lasts me three days although it's usually a decent part of my meal. So I can imagine you've got quite a bit

Date: 2019-01-19 09:39 pm (UTC)
hyperion_swan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hyperion_swan
"our theory that the cats are running parallel business meetings to theirs. "
Awww, they work so hard <3
:3

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