Saturday, November 28, 2015

iRawk Therefore iPod...

Welcome my Newest Nano to the Squadron, please

16GB. 7th Generation. 
Tiny.  Light.  Yet pretty darn cool.  

That is all...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Smoking Puck!

So I haven't had much to say about Pro Hockey lately.



The Experience of being an NHL fan has changed greatly.
As a local fan, I've been out-priced from the Balcony where the Gawds Should Be Dwelling.
The paradigm of the Experience has Changed.  There was a Sea Change.  It must have happened not too long ago.  Perhaps around the last Labor Stoppage.

The Players are Too Big.  Too Fast.  It's lost its Fun and become all Manufactured Spectacle.
For something that is a Simple Game.  Simple in a Positive Light and also Humble.
Hockey is fun.  I watch as much as I can.  I read NHL Dot Com and SportsNet Canada pages everyday.

Maybe I just need a season alone with EA NHL 2016 for the PlayStation4?  Perhaps I just need to "think" Hockey better and get a more fair assessment for the Talent Pool out there, which is Vast.
For 30 Professional Teams.  That's a lot of people to keep track of.  You Fantasy Coaches...sheesh but iDigress...
I guess as a Hockey fan, I was happiest with a Game Console and that Season's EA's NHL game.  I'd be ruthless & anal retentive with trades.  I had to keep those roster accurate!  From NHLPA '93 on the SEGA Genesis to the PlayStation 1 & 2 versions over a decade.

I seek a return to being a Happy Hockey Fan.
Cuz right much as I like it, the Game is Out of Proportion with the Fans.
Try going to the Gahhden.  Tell me how much you spent.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Pizza Rolls...On & On...

A Right Now a-Here, in a Space Very Close to these Hands...

Since I was mentioning it.
I'm as Spoiler-Free as I was the last time I blogged about THE FORCE AWAKENS.
Which means I'm very happy unless I walk into something or someone overshares.
It's my Karma of Oversharing I'm most worried about.  What is Innocently Said and So Negatively Impacted Upon.
Peter aka Doctor Hooey has Warned me about Common Television.  So Nationally televised sporting events until December 20th I have to be very careful about.
I've yet to look at the movie posters.  Why?  It gives too much away.
A want to be awash in Newness.
In Sets and Costumes and Theme Musics and Lytmotifs and Lighting and Mood.
The Whole She-Bang!

So...Keep your Force to Yourself!  Because It's Within Us All.  ^_^

PS Posty was trying to mess with me talking about the latest trailers and the Old Bald Wookiee he found particularly disturbing.  Who?  Chewie's Father-in-Law? Itchy?
From the Star Wars Holiday Special...Namaste.

Get In My Belly!

Are You Kidding Around Edition!

Just Kidding!
Hey...I was honored to be asked to help a kid learn how to cook better.
My 10-year old buddy, Julian is going to try out for MasterChef Junior when auditions roll into Beantowne Faire in the coming weeks.  They're filling out a ten-page paper application!  He's Wickid Serious!  Jools is a pretty good cook at home for the kitchen, for his age & experience.  His Mum is a seriously awesome hostess & I love going to their parties for her snacks but iDigress...

What I thought was this: If Sully Was On the Set of This Show, Hired to Spot Talent and Winnow Out the Unsuitable...I'd look for the Kid who Washes His Hands, Who Sweeps his Floor, Who Knows How to Use Kosher Salt, Who Has a Sense of Knife Safety, Who Says "Behind You, Hot!", Who can peel a potato Correctly & efficiently...
And this is What I planned to share with Julian besides giving him One Plate to Share When Ever He Wants.  We Chefs call this "Repertoire".
Oh and Cookies too.  ^_^  Because they're simple to make and I really wanted to share this with him.

I got there at 4PM.  We were dining by 6:15PM.  These are the Facts.  Clean Plates were had, all around.  Perfect portions were presented.  Plating skills.  The Four Essential Elements of an Entree.
Here is how it Happened.
"First Things First!" I declare.  We preheat the oven to 325deg.  We'll need it.
Next!  2 Gallons of Boiling Water so we put a pot on the stove.
I like to keep it Simple.  It works and it is what you really want for dinner as well, most times than not.

I then asked to see what Jools got from the store.
My expectations were Simple:
A Protein (anything you want, kid. Beef, Lamb, Pork, Chicken, Fish...)
A Veggie (anything you want kid, I'll show you a technique...)
and a Starch (rice, potato...anything you want, kid ^_^)
Oh and leave out a Stick of Butter to get soft, please.

So I beheld in "My Basket":
About 5 lbs of Beef Short Ribs
1 lb of Brussels Sprouts and
6-7 Sweet Potatoes.

Now I know what "The Score" is.
Now We Can Start To Cook.
First Things First.  We need to get this meat cooking, properly.
We cannot simply broil or sautee this cut, I described.  I'm gonna show you what Braising is.
Luckily, Mum has a Cast-Iron Dutch Oven (culinary squee!)

Jools & I then seasoned the beef with only Kosher Salt & a little black pepper.  In fact those are the only seasoning & flavoring we used all night.  Everything will speak for itself, flavorwise I promised...
We needed some veggies so with our Cut Gloves Handed, I then gave Jools his Knife Cutting Demo.  We used two knives overall: The French Knife and the Paring Knife.  We had some garlic I taught him to squash with the palm of his hand then flat of his French knife, while shrugging off his offer the garlic press. ^_^  Then Simple "Julienne" Cuts of Onion & Pepper.  Aka Fajita-Style for the Mouthbreathers ;)
All Pun Intended, Julian can now make superior Julienne!

The Cast-Iron we put on the Stove top, sautee the veggies then sear the beef all in the one pot.  We then add chicken stock, cover and drop in the 325 oven for the first 45 minutes until we check it.  All along tasting the broth once we've added and brought to a boil.  Does it need anything?  Nah!  Great!  ^_^

With the Paring Knife, we then cleaned the bag of Brussels Sprouts, removing the knob & halving the rest.  I smuggled in as much Science as I could too.  A mini-lecture on Chlorophyll to a 10-year old who hasn't taken Science yet.  Brilliant!! ^_^  With the 2 gallons of boiling water, I then very specifically told him to add 6 oz of Kosher Salt.  That's 3 oz per gallon!  The water looked cloudy!  I then asked him to taste the water after I did and able to swallow.  Which Jools was able as well.  This is Blanching Water.  We're going to Blanche the Brussels Sprouts until Tender.  This is a French Culinary Technique for All Green Vegetables.  When tenderness was achieved in a few minutes, I then showed him the importance of the Ice Bath when Blanching Green Vegetables.
Look at them, how vivid the Green is!  We were eating them cold out of the ice, yet were so yummy & tender.  We'll be serving this before dinner, sauteed in canola oil, kosher salt until a little crispy.
DYK: Blanching your Green Vegetables with Iodized Table Salt is Bad for your Finished Product?  The Iodine will strip the cell wall of of their needed Hydrogen and encourage browning & limpness. Always use Kosher Salt.

With the Second things Seconded, we then skinned our sweet potatoes.  I asked Jools, do you want them?  He kinda wanted them two ways: Oven Fries or Mashed?  I said Why Not Both!
So I put on another gallon of water and remarked, this time just a big pinch of kosher salt.
I reserved the 2 really long, big potatoes and the rest into a Rough Chop.  We then boiled the spuds until tender.  More Knife Skills with the French Knife.  From Julienne comes "Batonnet", little Batons aka French Fries.  Then to complete the Knife Demo, from Batonnet to "Dice".  With the scraps from making the potatoes into long rectangles and the leftover julienne onion & peppers, we then achieved "Sweet Potatoes Three Ways"...Sweet Potato Hash!
I then mashed the boiled potatoes with a whisk, adding butter and a dash of chicken stock until I reached the proper Puree I wanted.  A touch of Kosher salt and taste this?  Jools, what's it need?  Nothing?  Alright!  ^_^
With the oven already hot, I oil & season the fries then lay them on a sheet pan.  Jools offered a Cookie Pan which I said we'll need yet wrong tool for this job.  We'll need the one with the edges.
We check the Short Ribs at 45 minutes wherein I explain Doneness of Braised Beef through Touch of the the Fork.
"Braised or stewed beef is always cooked until well done. Tenderness is the clue to doneness; beef is fork-tender when a utility fork can be inserted without resistance and then releases easily when pulled out. Cooking beyond the fork-tender stage can result in dry, stringy beef. " 
We "felt" it needed more time so back it went for another 20 minutes.
Great time to start the fries.  The mashed need to be heated up, the brussels sprouts sauteed along with the hash.
Everything was in place.  In it's proper firing order too.

We pull the short ribs and I reserve the broth in a glass Pyrex.  Jools...this is where our gravy will come from.  We wait a few minutes and with a turkey baster, I remove the layer of fat from the top of the stock, explaining it will totally kill our gravy.  I take some soft butter and add an equal portion on AP flour to it.  Beurre Manie.  A Sauce Thickener, a Way to Make Gravy.  A simple roux.  Jools, taste this.  Yeah, huh? Well you cook the sauce until you don't taste that raw flour flavor anymore, OK?  ^_^
We sautee our Brussels & Hash then plate our dinner.

Nice Looking Plates, Kid!  We served the gravy on the side in a boat.
The Four Essential Elements of an Entree: Protein, Starch, Veggie & Sauce.
4 adult sized plates, 2 kid-sized for his 6 year old brother Levon & his best friend who was visiting.
We ate.
Boy did we eat!
It was good!  it was glorious!  We ate in the Dining Room!!!
It was well-met if I've ever had such an occasion to properly turn that phrase.
Such good manners in these three boys as well.  a very nice family dinner that could impress a TV Chef, btw ^_^

After dinner, the cookies needed prepping.  With the 1-2-3 Ratio, I showed Jools how easy it is to make Cookie Dough with flour, sugar, butter, an egg & a hot oven.  We added crushed Twix candybar & Toll House chips.  While the cookies baked, we cleaned.  I explained that we really cleaned as we cooked.  We swept our area with a broom a few times.  The Mess is very manageable yet we're gonna leave that sink clean because that's the way we found it.
And with my bare clean hand...I showed him how fun making the dough can be!

There has been no greater joy recently than the feeling of Contentment seeing three boys, munching on freshly baked cookies and in that Zone of Childhood Bliss we all recall.
The Bruins were on to boot!  Del, my buddy and dad to the boys & I go to the Pub to watch the rest of the game as it's bedtime for the Boys.
Del was amazed by my ability to talk to the kids.
I got to quote Batman.  My night was now Perfect.  ^_^

Monday, November 02, 2015


(the punchline is in the hovertext only if you go to it! =P  )  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Pizza Rolls...On & On...

Still 99.4% Spoiler-Free with Two Months to go!
We got our tix already with a Doctor Hooey slam.  December 20, 9:30PM.  Reserved Seats.

So I've also taken a break from Twitter.  I'm in Writer-Only Mode until The Force Awakens.
Yet I still Tweet!  =)

I was thinking about Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Sure it could have been better.
So why not a Special Edition after all this time and with upcoming new movies!

I love the Lost Scenes of A New Hope.  Toshii Station.  Biggs Darklighter on Yavin IV.  The Jabba Scene Special Edition not so much.  Boba Fett addressing the "Fourth Wall" drained the scene of its energy but iDigress...

Episode III: RotS deserves a Special Edition!  As fans, can we start a write-in campaign?
I read the Novelization.  Storywise, the book is stronger than the Movie.
The Matthew Stover tome is based on the last screenplay before Lucas did final reshoots.  Reshoots including a more crying Anakin on Mustafar.  RTFM if you don't believe me.
So let's rattle a cage or two and get some special editions of Episode III and the others too.  Let's include all the Lost Scenes!  The Story only gets Richer not more Convoluted.

Here are a few Missed Plot Points I found in my reading of this highly enjoyable Star Wars story.
If only the Movie was more like it's Novel...
but that was a Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Hey yo,

Smoking Puck for 2015/16 is now dropped.

The start of the season is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  Yet I'm reminded of "why" I love reading about ice hockey.  Growing up in Southie, we had a newspaper shop at Dot & where the Broadways split East & West.  There I'd find "The Hockey News", a weekly rag, worth the price.
Hockey writers are a clever bunch.  They're one step away from being a goalie mentality-wise.  A thinking man in a reflex-quick play.
No wonder I went on to Blog about Hockey the way I do.

Things I look forward to this season: roadtrip to Chicago & catch the Hawks at Home.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015