August 19th, 2017
azurelunatic: Chocolate dessert, captioned No Artificial Shortages  (no artificial shortages)
posted by [personal profile] azurelunatic at 01:00pm on 19/08/2017 under , ,
Belovedest has mentioned a few times that it's hard to get your hands on a nice meat pasty around these parts. I contemplated the matter and asked a few questions.

At length, it seemed like it was a good day to try.

My reliable source for understanding the principles behind what I'm cooking is Serious Eats. So I read through the pie crust stuff again. (Incidentally, the site is a clickbait hole for DELICIOUSNESS.)


Clickbait: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/03/science-of-pie-7-myths-that-need-to-go-away.html

Science: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/07/the-food-lab-the-science-of-pie-how-to-make-pie-crust-easy-recipe.html

Recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/easy-pie-dough-recipe.html
2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces; 350 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces; 280 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons (3 ounces; 85 milliliters) cold water

I looked at the amounts involved.

There was no way that I was going to be able to fit all that flour and butter into my food processor, which is an attachment to my stick blender. I looked closely at the amounts.

It so happens that the ratio of cups of flour to sticks of butter is 1:1. So I decided that I could make a test batch, one cup and one stick. The salt and sugar is less important, and in fact the sugar is kind of not what I wanted for a pasty dough.

I put 2/3 of the flour together with the butter and a bit of salt, then added a little water and more of the flour. (Probably not how I should have done it.) Then I mixed it in a larger bowl with a little more water. My hands are rather hot, so I tried to cool them down with ice.

I wrapped it up in cling wrap and let it cool off in the refrigerator. I pulled it out a few hours later, and quartered the dough. I saw that it had distinct stacked layers, like a good steel blade. I was thrilled.

I rolled it out in the best tradition of my mother, between two sheets of parchment paper. (There is no rolling pin in this kitchen. I used a glass.) I stuck it back in the refrigerator, still between the sheets, to wait while I prepared the filling. (Parchment paper and waxed paper are easier to handle than cling wrap, for this.)

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/01/cornish-pasty-british-meat-hand-pie-recipe.html

This was not a Cornish pasty. [personal profile] wohali said something about a chicken curry pasty, and I went "Oooo!" and she advised that you can use pretty much any chicken curry recipe, just dryer than usual.

I went for it.

My basic chicken curry is chicken plus a brick of golden curry sauce plus assorted vegetables, and oil as needed. This time I decided to cook the chicken thigh meat so it would be easy to separate from the bones in my multifunction fancy rice cooker, along with some spiced oil left over from a previous recipe, and some dry onions. I cooked the vegetables and the curry brick separately, only combining them all (and some potato flakes to sop up water and oil) at the end. My partner is much better at handling chicken meat in all its phases than I am, and stripped the meat from the bones before I mixed them together.

I did roll it too thin, and I let it get too hot when filling it.

Despite the holes, I stuck the crust together with egg wash, and egg washed the outside. (I used the leftover egg wash to make a little bit of curry scrambled egg, which my partner ate on top of their salad.)

I'd wisely said that if the food was not going to be ready by 10pm, we should eat something else. The pies came out of the oven just as we were finishing chicken nuggets, but we still had enough room to test half a pie each.


Mmmmmmmmm.

I will be making these again. And the dough process is relatively simple with the tools at hand, so my partner (who can follow a recipe, but isn't yet the cocky ass in the kitchen that I am) may wind up learning the process too.


I put together a bit of sweet pie dough just now, and it's chilling in a ball in the refrigerator. I'm thinking that some fruit pies might be in order...
Music:: 🍅
Mood:: 'pleased' pleased
location: home
August 18th, 2017
ysobel: A grumpy puppet version of Angel (grumpy puppet)
re BLM )
August 17th, 2017
azurelunatic: A red apple with a bite out of it, captioned in Star Trek font "What no-win scenario?" (what no-win scenario)
posted by [personal profile] azurelunatic at 02:28pm on 17/08/2017 under ,
I am scared of my family right now.

My immediate family are largely good people who generally behave with kindness to all, and abhor the concepts of white supremacy and fascism like any decent person.

My aunts on my father's side are pretty awesome. Hippie Uncle is great, and Woodworking Uncle has good intentions and maybe a few distortions due to assorted experiences of privilege, but he does not appear to go out of his way to fuck other people over.

My aunt-by-marriage scares me. She's a doctor, and things she has said about transgender people, and gender in general, make me feel unsafe around her.

My uncle who is married to that aunt has good intentions, but does not appear to be in a position to temper his wife's attitudes.

"Racist Cousin Anna" has said some things about Mexicans that made me turn away from her. She's married to the older of that uncle's kids.

Both those cousins have posted things about guns and Muslims on Facebook that make me scared, like they wouldn't hesitate to support laws that would marginalize my friends, or might use one of those guns on someone.

I don't have the scariest family in the world. And I'm still skittish of saying anything that might prompt them to stop seeing me as their tame cousin and start seeing me as Other.
tinyjo: (sunflower)
posted by [personal profile] tinyjo at 10:41am on 17/08/2017 under ,
I have been whiling away some of my holiday time reading around some of the knowledge vs skills debate that's been going on among teachers on twitter for the last couple of months. Most of the people I follow already have been on the knowledge side of the debate and I've felt like, more so than when looking at politics or similar, I've had to work quite hard to break out of that bubble to find the people with the opposing views (something I think I'm only beginning to succeed at). I haven't come to any conclusions or anything, or my own contribution to the debate yet, but my reading did spark the memory of an anecdote which feels relevant to me about my Year 13 mocks.

We studied Literature of Protest as one of our English Lit modules (that was where I first read the Handmaids Tale) and as well as our set text work there was an unseen texts paper. For our mock, the unseen text for that module was a poem called "White Poetess" by Musaemura Zimunya (I've looked, and sadly, I can't find a copy of the poem online) asking us to comment on how effectively the poet's protest was communicated to the reader. Briefly, the poem scorns the titular white poetess for her simple, superior view of Africa and Africans and for her romanticisation of the beauty of the landscape without acknowledging the Africans who live there. I wasn't particularly great at poetry analysis and I cobbled together a rough plan and had written nearly a page of it when I had one of the only genuine lightbulb moments of my own that I remember in my education. In the last stanza, the poem talks about the poetess going home and writing about "the Rhodesian veld". The word had been nagging at me for a while, and I suddenly remembered what Rhodesia was, and what the deliberate use of that word meant, particularly given that the poet had mentioned Zimbabwe earlier on. That one piece of knowledge unlocked the whole poem for me, brought the rest of the text into focus, to the extent that I remember actually crossing out the waffly essay I'd written so far and starting again.

When we went over the mock in class after they'd been marked, it transpired that I was the only person in my 12 person class who knew anything about Rhodesia or what the use of that word signified and quite a few of the other students claimed the question was unfair because there was no reason they should be expected to have this piece of random knowledge anyway. I have no idea where I'd picked it up - we hadn't studied the empire at all in the history I was doing at school, but I always have been a sponge for random information (although not science facts, oddly) so I imagine I read it somewhere and it stuck.

I'm still not entirely sure where this anecdote fits into the current knowledge vs skills debate. My knowledge unlocked the poem for me in a very powerful way. I only rarely connect to poetry as a form, and that sense of sudden understanding was exciting and precious. I kept a copy of the poem afterwards, which I still have today, and as you can see, the memory is fresh in my mind, so on the surface it seems to argue towards the teaching of knowledge.

I'm not so sure though. I do think there was some validity in the other students complaints that the question was unfair. The world is absolutely full of random knowledge like that - it was purest co-incidence that I happened to know of it and I don't think there could have been any reasonable expectation that our English Lit teacher would equip us with even a fraction of the possible historical allusions which might come up in the poetry of protest. And it wasn't that piece of knowledge alone which brought the poem to life in that moment for me - it was the skills of literary analysis which I'd been taught which allowed me to understand the depth of what the poet was doing with that word choice. Both knowledge and skills were vital to that moment. Most of the students knew a little about the British Empire - would it not have been reasonable to have included a footnote with the specific definition of Rhodesian?

Where I'm working now is at a very different stage in the learning journey of my students than I was at that point and I definitely think that there is value in exposing the children to a wide range of facts at this stage - who knows what will stick? But of course, as the possessor of a brain which is naturally filled with random facts, this is not so hard for me to accomplish and, given my teaching style, actually seems to be basically inevitable. Maybe the conclusion I'm coming to is, in this knowledge/skills tug-of-war, perhaps different teachers need to focus on different things. I often think about skills in my lesson planning but that's partly because I know that the knowledge content will be there anyway but that if I don't think about making the skills of using it explicit that won't happen automatically - other teachers are probably the other way around.
August 14th, 2017
ysobel: A kitten on a piano keyboard (music)
posted by [personal profile] ysobel at 08:48pm on 14/08/2017 under ,
In addition to everything else going on in my life (migraines, fatigue issues still, having to find new roommate, my mom is moving and therefore stressier than normal, etc -- oh, and something church related, a committee that I am halfway through a theee year term on, has me going "nononono" like that one cat, so I'm having to figure out how to respect my reaction and boundaries there without being an asshole to the other committee members and-or drowning in guilt -- but that's another story), I have a dilemma re chorus.

There are two choirs I could sing with this coming year, and I don’t have energy to do both. (I don’t know for sure that I have energy for either, tbh.)

Choir A has good rehearsal times (twice a week 4-6), only three concerts a year (Dec, Mar, June), performs at the Mondavi Center, and is free ... but the repertoire for this year is uninspired and dreary, the director is close to retirement and so doesn't have many fucks left to give and therefore isn’t as good as he used to be, and honestly the group hasn’t really been fun to sing with the last few years.

Choir B has an awesome director, and the planned repertoire for the year is amazing (including the mozart requiem, which is practically a must-sing for me) ... but it meets 7-9:30 (only once a week, but I’ve been going to bed at like 8), it’s $65 a semester, I don’t like the rehearsal location, December is crazy with concerts, and there’s an obligatory citrus sale drive every year (like Girl Scout cookie sales but eat less cute or yummy).

Some of these are bigger issues than others (e.g. I can probably get my dad to cover the cost* for choir B), but.

I don’t know what to do.

...What would be ideal is for choir B’s director to come do choir B’s repertoire with choir A, but that’s not possible.

I also don't know how much of my fatigue issues are self-creating. Not just because my Inner Critic likes calling me lazy, but because I've gotten out of the habit of Doing Things, and I'm enough of an introvert that socializing is kind of a mental muscle. It's like when you have the flu and sleep for a week and then spend a while super weak and wobbly because your body got out of the habit of doing.

...sigh.

* footnote thingie, not related to choir: I've been doing reiki, which is sort of an energy manipulation not-quite-massage thing that I'm working on a post about, and I'm doing extra reiki during the roommate transition thing -- whether or not it's "real", it really does help me with stress. I'm doing it through the church, which has scholarship funds for people who want reiki but can't afford it, so I asked and got way more of a discount than I was expecting. Except my mom -- who doesn't even know how much of it I'm scholarshipping, just that I'm getting some scholarship help -- thinks that my dad can damn well afford reiki, and has this way of, like, guilting me *and* being snide about my dad st the same time. And on the one hand I do kind of see her point -- though my dad would probably be skeptical as all get-out at reiki as a concept, much less spending money on it, so I don't want to ask him, and really I'm getting Charity regardless of whether it's my dad or the church, and I think the church people like helping me -- but omfg I wish I knew how to tell her to NOT DO THAT AUGH WTF

Though a bigger priority is getting her to stop making snarky comments about how chubby nephling is. He's a fucking baby, chubby is *good*, he does not need to "slim down" ffs. ::rageface::