Sunday, December 15, 2013

The best things in life are free (which may include pickles)...

Best things in life: are they FREE? 

Depends who you ask... Janet and Luther would probably say yesDamon and Stacey, same deal, for sure.  And I tend to agree, as a general rule, with the opinions of *all* singers and lipsynchers, on any topic... but especially those that fall in the realm of social justice (i.e. given your basic needs are met, like shelter and music, let's all stop and smell the roses).


So, yeah, that brings me to our next question... best things in life: pickles?

Could be.  Right?

For Janet and Luther (and their adherents), we must first ask... pickles: are they free? 

Not exactly, but they could be close, depending on your garden situation. 

Regardless, if you can acquire the following equipment and ingredients:

  2 1 liter canning jars
  1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar

  1/4 cup sugar
  4 teaspoons kosher salt

  1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  1 teaspoon coriander seeds

  1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  2 1/4 cups hot water

  2 pounds kirby cucumbers, quartered lengthwise

  3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill

  4 garlic cloves, smashed
  1/4 cup sliced white onions

And go forth with the aforementioned equipment/ingredients in the following manner:

  1. In a large, heatproof measuring cup, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and red pepper flakes with the hot water and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let this brine cool (any salted solution is generally known as a "brine").
  2. Divide the cucumbers, dill, garlic, onion, and brine among the two jars.  If there is not enough brine to cover the cucumbers, then add more water/vinegar in a 2:1 ratio, though this ratio can be adjusted to your taste.  (I usually err on the side of water than vinegar when I'm in the position to choose, but, again, it's more a matter of taste and personal experimentation.)
  3. Refrigerate the pickles overnight, and shake gently once or twice during the first 24 hour period.
  4. Serve cold; they should last for at least a couple of weeks in your fridge.   

Delicious homemade pickles you and your loved ones shall eat!  Best pickles you'll probably ever have, free or not, so why not give some away and make some friends-for-life (or solidify business opportunities)?!

Though, I must warn you (and your loved ones)... the garlic in these pickles is a powerful force; eating them is not a time for carelessness (especially careless whispers), so pick your time and place of indulgence wisely.  ;)

Friday, September 3, 2010

So nice, what they do together in your mouth

Been doing the waking-up-early-for-work thing quite a bit lately; and it's really been cutting into my drinking time. My increased climbing schedule puts a damper on things too. Frig. To clarify: knowing that I need to wake up early the next day or that I've stayed at the climbing gym 'til 10pm puts a damper on my enthusiasm for putting back a few on a random night.

That said, I still indulge in the old favorites and some new niceties -- of the beer persuasion -- on occasion. And, well, I haven't forgotten how to mix up a good drink.. it's just that I do it a lot less often then I used to.

In any case, I got to flex my, um, mixology muscles for a few friends at a zucchini-and-basil-themed dinner last weekend. So, may I present to you, so easy, so nice, the Basil Caipirinha:

Muddle 6 lime quarters with 4t table sugar and ~3t julienne'd basil leaves. Add 2 dashes of orange bitters and 4 to 6oz of cachaça or a superlight rum; shake vigorously over ice. And voila!

Makes two drinks! (And as such, make sure that each glass has 3 lime quarters, equal amounts of both ice and basil pieces.) Garnish with a long piece of sugarcane, if you got it. With the strong lime flavor and gratuitous rum use, the drink is vaguely "tropical" and therefore "summery".. but, really, make it any time you, ah, feel it.


And while I'm in the tippling mood, let me divulge another one of my favorites.. The Last Word. It's as-easy or easier to make as the previous cocktail: equal parts gin, lime juice, Maraschino liqueur, and green Chartreuse; shake over ice and strain into some sort of glass -- like the venerable martini or old-fashioned glasses. If I'm indulging at home (vs. a friend's place), I'll pour this delicious concoction into a pair of perfectly-proportioned cordial glasses.

If you're wondering about how much of each liquor to use, give 1oz of each a go; but if you're really thirsty or wanting to make 2 cute little drinks, just put a shot -- in the US, this means 1.5oz -- of each into the mix.

The result is something both herbally and sweet/sour.. in the best possible liquid incantations of those words. I'm not sure what alchemy goes into shaking three liquors -- that are strongly and uniquely flavored on their own -- with a bit of lime juice to make something so tangy and delicious.

What I'm saying is that even if you don't like any of the four ingredients on their own, you gotta try what they do together in your, um, mouth. Hmm.. ignore that last sentence if it reminds you of the text on the back of a DVD case you would find *behind* the curtains at your local video store. Otherwise, drink on!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hotwell mix: Dang-a-lang-a-lang

Yeah, I know. This is going to be totally out-of-character. But!

Please allow me to indulge -- for this one mix anyway -- in a minor obsession of 90's/00's male-vocal'd R&B and Neo-Soul. So, if you can (and you really *must*), turn the lights down low, pop in these jamz, and see what happens..

01. Shai - If I Ever Fall In Love video
02. Keith Sweat - Nobody video
03. Blackstreet - Before I Let You Go video
04. R. Kelly - Bump N' Grind (Old School Mix) blog
05. Tyrese - How You Gonna Act Like That video
06. Bobby Brown - Roni video
07. Jodeci - Come and Talk To Me video
08. Mint Condition - Breakin' My Heart video
09. Hi-Five - I Like the Way video
10. Jaheim - Put That Woman First video
11. Mario - Let Me Love You video
12. Robin Thicke - Would That Make U Love Me
13. Trey Songz - Can't Help But Wait video
14. Ne-Yo - Because of You video
15. Usher - You Got It Bad video
16. Prince - Call My Name video

If you play this for/on your next date and things start, um, flowing (as freaky as you wanna be), well.. don't say I didn't warn you. And, as always, if you'd like me to mail you a physical copy -- the CD is not dead!, nor is getting something nice in the mail -- let me know.


By the way, how many Hotwell mixes do you own?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hotwell Mix: All That New Art (that I've been talking about)

So this latest mix turned out a little less dancey than I had intentioned at first. But, really.. I'm not sure why I think I'm going to end up with a mix of bangers or of dirtydancers when my general listening taste leans towards shimmery French disco house; ha! Still, it's great music for the background of a party or for the middle of a great roadtrip. See for yourselves..

01. Ghosthustler - Someone Else's Ride blog
02. MONARCHY - Gold in the Fire blog
03. Boy Crisis - Fountain of Youth video
04. Miami Horror - Sometimes video
05. Prince- I Would Die 4 U video
06. Rihanna- Rude Boy (Cosmic Dawn Remix) video
07. Kris Menace & The Dream - Walking on Lightning (U-Tern Blend) blog
08. Tommy Sparks - Miracle (Grum Remix) blog
09. Erik Hassle - Don't Bring Flowers (Plugs Remix) blog
10. Donkeyboy - Stereolife myspace
11. VISITOR - Los Feeling (Rough Mix) blog
12. Van She - (Don't Fear) The Reaper blog
13. Deep Dish (Featuring Stevie Nicks) - Dreams video
14. Queen - Radio Ga Ga video
15. Chromeo - I Can't Tell You Why blog
16. Shout Out Louds - Fall Hard (Passion Pit's Summertime Radio Remix) blog
17. Bill Murray - More Than This wiki!

Enjoy!; and, as always, salud! If you'd like me to mail you a homemade copy, let me know. I'm starting to crank out a few in the ol' homeofficefactory (which means that I'm cutting up old cardboard boxes to make CD mailers and drawring badly on blank CDs with a black Sharpie). ;)


ps. I still love Lost in Translation; it's true!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Treasure blown in by the Country Breeze

As a general rule, I love beer. And I'm a big fan of cocktails.

Ignoring the range of options within those large categories for a moment, I've vacillated between the two ever since I started drinking "regularly" in my mid-20's (before that, I was something of a teetotaler.. of the non-preachy kind, of course). ;)

And so, for the past couple of months, I've definitely found myself in the beer-loving camp, having a single 12oz or 22oz bottle, say, a couple times a week with dinner or shortly thereafter. Think: Red Rocket Ale from Bear Republic Brewing or Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing. Think: delish (if you think in words so fey; haha).

But recently, I've had the excuse to break out the ol' cocktail shakers (which, as it so happens, spent their previous lives as Bubbies Sauerkraut jars before finding themselves as implements of my home bar shaketastic effervesce). And while I mostly stuck to some old favorites, like The Aviation -- with an exceedingly *light* touch of crème de violette -- and the Vesper (certainly, monsieur), I threw a few new ones in the mix, so to speak. My guests were game.

The surprise winner -- and it "wins", insofar that it will make regular appearances in my cocktail lineup from here-on-out -- of this informal contest-that-wasn't-really-a-contest was a simple, sweet delight called the Country Breeze, a lovely mix of apple juice, gin, and crème de cassis:

2 1/2 oz. Apple Juice
1 3/4 oz. Gin (works well with a London Dry)
1/2 oz. Creme de Cassis (French, all the way!)

Play with the ingredients a bit, but the ratio above made a lovely nightcap. Crank up the gin if you want something with more bite; or let the apple juice flow more freely if you'd like something lighter in body. No matter how you make it, pour over ice and and add garnish of sliced apples and/or blackberries, if available.

(Liquid) treasures abound; there is always something new to learn! Salud!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The mini-explosion continues; carts and trucks, oh my!

Now that we're past a few days of rain, it's time to get your food-cart on! And you're in luck, because they are out. in. force. I know in places like New York, this is nothing new -- there, they even have food cart awards.. the Vendys! -- but it is notable here in San Francisco, where we've had a dirth of carts until fairly recently.

I'm mean, you've always been able to find a taco truck. And then there's the Tamale Lady, who, while not in a truck/cart, serves the same purpose (though perhaps with drunker clientele). Then the Bacon Dog Cart started showing up in the Mission..

And, recently, there's been a mini-explosion of "high-end" carts showing up around town over the past couple of months (well, mostly in the Mission). Yeah, you may have heard of -- or have seen -- the Magic Curry Kart, the Crème Brûlée Cart, or the Amuse Bouche Cart (which seem to be traveling together these days) in Dolores Park, or somewhere along 24th Street..

But we ain't done yet. In the next week or two, another will roam:

Chez Spencer chef takes French food to the streets

Yes, I'll take my skate braised with capers or frog's legs with curry on the street, where it belongs. haha. Oh -- you'll find this new cart/truck, "Spencer on the Go", in SOMA, near Terroir Natural Wine Merchant & Bar, spreading the foodie wealth outside of the Mission a bit; good show!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Library fines magically transform into burritos

Oh, you done wrong. Lost book(s). And that cool National Geographic DVD is nowhere to be found. At this point, you've probably amassed fines for more than $10.

Right? If so, you're effectively banned from (borrowing from) the library. Forever. (Or -- ahem -- until you cough up the bucks.)


Not so fast!

The San Francisco Public Library just announced an "Overdue Fine Amnesty for Returned Materials", from May 3rd - May 16th. What this means is that you can return any overdue materials that you have at home during this two week period and not incur any library fines on them. Pretty cool; the last time they did this was 2001!

(Note that this amnesty does not erase any existing balance at the library, that is, for books/DVDs/etc. that you've borrowed+returned *before* the Amnesty period.)

In any case, I happen to have a couple of overdue DVDs in my possession -- "Being John Malkovich" and "Downfall" -- so this event comes at a great time.. basically saving me a burrito's worth of coin (and I'll potentially be able to add some extra avocado; green salsa please).

How many burritos will the Fine Amnesty save you? Find out the conditions/details at the SF Public Library's website.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Awkward, indeed.

Now I'm not saying this site is safe-for-work, but I *am* saying it's funny-fodder-for-a-slow-Saturday-night.. it's the Awkward Boners blog; check it!

File under "comedy"?

Well, at the least, I can say, "we've all been there" -- at least to the guys -- but, shizz, do have you had it captured on camera (or video)? haha. I feel like this sort of thing was more of an issue in high school? Or maybe in high school it was more a topic of conversation?

Maybe it was because I wore more sweatpants back then?

Anyhoo.. do you have a memorable awkward boner story? Write about that shizz in the comments; get it off your chest, score some karma points. And if you have a picture, well, you know where to go..


Thanks to Thrillist New York for, um, pointing the way (to the site).