cptntiller: (THP - New Default)
[Be warned. I have not edited this post. If you think it's because I am lazy, you are correct!]



I departed the Hein/Darke abode, and was on my way across Texas! WHEEE! It was a 10 hour driving day, and I finally hit the Hostel in the wee hours of the night. I was grateful to be done, and as I carried stuff into the N'awlins Hostel, which is, by the way a really awesome and really cheap place to stay in New Orleans, I passed 4 guys on the porch with a 40 of beer. It was one of the initial weekends of Mardi Gras, and I had picked up some french fries at a local place as I rolled in to the city, so I offered them some fries. Politely they declined, but instead they offered me some beer. I told them I'd be back, dropped my stuff off on my bunk, and came back to the porch, where I happily downed their beer.

New Orleans


We hung out on the porch for a bit, where I learned their life stories. They were visiting from Pittsburgh, had already been out the night before, and were planning on getting royally shitfaced. And, they quickly informed me: "So are you." Who am I to deny the request of four complete strangers on a porch in Louisiana?

Exactly!

We sat and talked for a bit, amusing ourselves with discussion of King Cake and the drunken ladies who continued to flirt with me as I repeatedly told them I was gay. It was a good evening. Soon, we were out the door and headed towards Bourbon Street, where I was informed "my mind would be blown."

Two promises!

We arrived at Bourbon Street around 12:45 a.m. and. Well. It was blown. Have any of you seen Season 2 of True Blood? You know when MaryAnn is in the town, and she basically causes this orgy and everyone basically just starts fucking in the street partially or completely naked and completely drunk or stoned out of their minds? Ok. That is the closest I can come to describe this experience. Except that there were police horses. And there was no *ACTUAL* fucking. I think.

New Orleans


It was vaguely incredible, but as someone with space and crowd issues - intensely overwhelming. I followed my hosts to a bar where they supplied me with grain alcohol. [!!??!!] and we wandered the street aimlessly.

One of my compatriots found a packet of pamphlets intended to convert the heathens of the affair to Christians lightly trampled in the gutter and took it upon himself to begin distributing them himself. I admit that I found it quite hilarious, but as I mentioned above, I found the entire experience enjoyable, but a bit too overwhelming, so after an hour I bid good evening to my compatriots, and made my way back to the hostel for a night of sleep. Sleep was great! I highly recommend it.

New Orleans


The next morning, surprisingly, did not come too early, though I was the first in the hostel awake at about 7:30, and I quietly showered and prepared for the day. I had gotten accustomed to traveling now, and I was enjoying the rhythm I'd created. I burst out of the hostel with my camera bag on, enjoying the crisp but fairly warm day and determined to wander aimlessly for hours. Success, kids.

I walked down to the waters edge, and made my way to the Cafe Du Monde, where I was informed I was to try their Beignets.

terry got beignets!


Guys.

Have you had beignets?

'Cause.

Um.

They're pretty amazing.

I arrived to a line stretching a good quarter of a mile, no exaggeration, and I wandered down to an area behind the restaurant to get a better look, attempting to decide if I actually had intentions of waiting in this line. There I noticed a man in a wonderful striped uniform, wandering. I smiled at him, and he came over and asked me how many Beignets I would like. I felt like I had just discovered a cheat code. I asked for a bag, and gave him the money needed. Two minutes later, he came back with the Beignets. SUCCESS. This is the best system ever.

New Orleans


I walked a bit further as I destroyed what had become the new best-thing-ever-to-eat-ever and hopped on a trolley which would take me to the main drag. I had done my research and discovered the N'awlins bear group was meeting along one of the parade routes that day to drink beers, talk, and watch the parade. Scary though this was to me as a shy-folk, I decided it would be a good thing to do, so I wandered my way to where the watching was occurring.

Everyone was really friendly as I've come to discover is the norm in the south. I encountered two LJ folk, though I didn't really get to interact with either, as I didn't know one was an LJ user [[livejournal.com profile] lightthewayhome] and I wasn't yet friends with one of them [[livejournal.com profile] charliebearnj]. The parade was a hoot, too. I was glad to have found people I could hang out with in the city again, though I had enjoyed wandering aimlessly on my own, it's always more fun to do things with others. We sat and talked and watched the world walk by, and soon it was late afternoon and I was invited to a super bowl gathering at a bar called John Paul's.

New Orleans


Did I mention I was in New Orleans during the Super Bowl? Oh. I was in New Orleans during the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl that the Saints won. OH my. Do you want to talk about an amazing experience? That was unbelievable. I was really glad to be in a bar with locals, far away from Bourbon Street. Sharing in their genuine joy and spirit of the game was unbelievable. I keep using the word unbelievable, which is probably getting redundant. It was infectious, and I, who have never once gave one shit who won the Super Bowl, found myself caring deeply, and getting into the game. What a community.



And the saints won, dudes. And the city EXPLODED in fire, light, and joy. I was away from the downtown and I could hear it from where I was. It was an unrepeatable, irrefutably amazing moment, that I will certainly not forget within my lifetime. I stayed with them and celebrated in an incredibly welcomed way for a good many further hours before attempting to drive back to my hostel. I made it in tact, and snuggled into my bunk for my last slumber in New Orleans.

The next morning found me awake early again, so I did not have to fight for the shower once again. Joy! I threw my every belonging in my bag with a few beads as souvenirs, and said goodbye to my hostel.

terry and i are departing the hostel


Drove downtown for one last walk-about before my long drive to Atlanta. After parking, I made my way to Cafe Du Monde again, this time getting two bags of Beignets because I had already become an addict. I found my new best friend in a striped uniform again, and he hooked me up in the most subtle way possible. Is this what doing a drug deal feels like? Are beignets drugs? Why aren't there beignets in Boston? When can I have them again? I think I have a problem.

I had one goal in New Orleans when I began the trip, and that was to find the Ignatius Reilly statue I had heard rumors of. I have read A Confederacy of Dunces a large number of times, and in fact, it is one of my three favorite books of all time. I love it. It was thrilling to be in the city it was based in, and even more so to discover I loved this city [I would like to live there some day - a fact that makes my sister stare at me like I'm vaguely insane, and my mother quiver] I am not sure where they are hiding this statue. I tried hard to find it, and failed. Thankfully, I found this hot dog cart on my journey, and I was getting close to the time I had to leave by, so I counted it as a close second ACOD reference.

New Orleans


And then I wandered to my car, sadly, wishing I had far more time to explore the city. I turned my keys, cranked the stereo, and enjoyed the final bits of neighborhood as I made my way towards my one night stay in Atlanta.

New Orleans
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
I have not posted about this in a while.  This is the 101 in 1001 goal that involves listening to the cast recording from every musical nominated for best musical, best score, or the grammy for best musical album.  I had been doing it by year, and already did a post for all the 2009 and 2008 nominees I listened to.  I have listened to many since then, and I am going to do a brief version of many of them here.  I have heard many more on the list, but not in order since beginning this project, and it only counts in that capacity.  This list is mostly for me, but if you’re a huge theatre dork like me, you may have fun?

Please note: These are my opinions.  I state them boldly because I feel them as such – please don’t take them personally.  I’m not interested in arguing about musical quality- you are more than welcome to disagree and express it, I’m all about dialogue, but I’m not all about getting into a stupid fight about musicals.
And a whoooole lot of musicals and thoughts on them under here: )

Lord.  That’s it for a while.  That was exhausting.

EDIT: Sorry about that. cut issues!
cptntiller: (Default)

Show: HAIR
Theatre: Al Hirscheld Theatre, 302 W. 45th St.
Date of Show: 12/16/09 – 2:00 PM
Book and Lyrics By: Gerome Ragni and James Rado
Music By: Galt MacDermott
NY Times Review Link: Click Here.
Thoughts:
  • This was without question one of the best theatre experiences of my life.  The cast was astounding – the acting and singing was beyond amazing, and the way we as the audience were brought into the production was unforgettable.  It felt like you were part of the tribe, and the interaction worked perfectly.  It did not in any way get in the way of the emotional lows of the show – every piece came together fluidly.  I was not a big fan of the original cast recording of HAIR, but I gave the revival recording a listen and fell in love.  I recommend you open your mind to it, as well.  It is populated with amazing talent. and skill.  Going on stage at the end with the cast was something I was in no way expected, and it left me trembling for at least a half-hour after I left [in a good way].  I mean.  I can’t oversell it.  It was awesome.  Yes.
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)

Asparagus Taquitos


Ingredients:
  • 10 6″ corn tortillas
  • 10 thin stalks asparagus, trimmed and cleaned
  • 1 15oz can of black beans -Drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 3 scallions sliced
  • chili powder
  • salt
  • olive or vegetable oil
Directions:
  1. Put the beans in a microwave until heated through – about 1 – 2 minutes depending on your microwave.  When they’re warm, take them out, add salt and chili powder to taste, and mash them up with the bottom of your fork ’til you have  a paste.
  2. Warm the tortillas in the microwave for about 20 seconds so that they are pliable and won’t tear when you roll them up
  3. Using the fork or a spatula, apply a thin layer of the bean paste to each tortilla.  I applied a smooth steady amount to one half, and then a line down a middle to the other end so it would stay rolled using the paste
  4. On top of the beans, add one of the stalks of asparagus, and a sprinkling of cheese and scallions, and then roll that bad boy up tightly, trying not to tear the tortilla.
  5. Repeat until ingredients are used up.
  6. Heat up about a 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan at medium-high heat.  Cook the taquitos rotating them with tongs until all the sides are a lovely golden brown.  I could do two at a time.  When they are cooked, let them drain on paper towels.
  7. Serve them with salsa, sour cream, a bit of chili powder and the left over scallions, if there are any.  I also added some cheese, because I like anything that has more cheese, really.
Results: This is probably my favorite or second favorite recipe I’ve done so far.  It is amazingly tasty.  Like.  I am in love with these little asparagus taquitos.  I can’t wait to make them again.  I highly recommend you give them a shot.  The flavors work so well.  Mm mmm good.

Recipe from: Broke-ass Gourmet

cptntiller: (Lomo)
Between The Buried And Me


A few months ago, I was thumbing through the tour dates of bands I like, and I stumbled across the fact that Between The Buried And Me was going to be soon playing in Albany. Now I learned about the band from my friend and amazing photographer Angry Alan [link]. Alan lives in Albany, so I contacted him to see if he was going. Not only was he going, but he managed to score us free tickets and photo passes. This was my first time having a photo pass to a concert, and it was pretty effing thrilling. I pretty much lost it.


Between The Buried And Me is a heavy metal band based out of Raleigh, NC. The members of this band are some of the most talented musicians I have encountered. They provide sharp tactful harmonies at a speed that is dizzying to jet fighters. But they aren't simply hard or fast to be hard or fast, they have carefully thought out rhythms, every instrument and vocal working together to make a song that is more like an artistic piece. The lyrics are impacting and powerful, and they slow it down occasionally, showing their diversity and skill as musicians is not limited to one styling. Seeing them live was a rather unbelievable experience.

10 more images under here - including my 3 FAVORITES. )
cptntiller: (DUG)

Albany!

What a great start to the trip. After lunch with [livejournal.com profile] bix02138 I bolted to my car and got on 90, where I rocked my way to Albany. I had my travel buddy, Terry in the car, with instructions and the desire to take photos of him wherever I went. For this I used my schfancy cell phones flickr connectivity. Introducing Terry:
terry, my traveling terrier companion


The ride to Albany was uneventful, only a few hours, and 90 through beautiful western mass and upstate new york the entire way. I did pass a rather amusing completely unmarked van spouting political advice. Well. I found it amusing anyway- I get all my opinions from the backs of unmarked vans.

I was welcomed into Jim and Alan's home, and after some chatting, we got tasty dinner at a delicious asian restaurant whose name I don't remember. I had a noodle dish which I quite enjoy, and was encouraged to try the [quite delicious] monkey roll. Om nom nom. Afterwards, Jim settled in at home, and Alan and I bounced into his jeep to roll down to Northern Lights for a Between The Buried and Me concert [photos coming in a post literally seconds after this]. Northern Lights is an interesting venue - it is in an abandoned storefront of a strip mall. Quite possibly the best use for that space I've ever seen. The ambience is just right, and it works well for both concerts I've seen there.

Alan knows the lighting designer for the show, and managed to get us photo passes, something which fulfills one of my 101's, and which I've always wanted. I was thoroughly excited. When we walked through the door, the woman working informed us we didn't have them. It was heavily disheartening, until after confirming with his source we walked back and asked again- this time she noticed the "1"'s she had glazed over before and apologetically gave us our passes. I was glowing.

The opening bands finished up and we walked to the side of the stage [there was no room between the barricade and the stage]. And in what felt like seconds, Between the Buried and Me was on the stage and my face was being melted away with awesome. They are an amazing group of artists, and they SHOW it live. Just as strong as on any album. Unbelievable, really. And having a photo pass was icing. I shot through the entire thing, and think I got some pretty good results [like I said. post in literally seconds. It's all ready to go.]

We got home around 12:30 and chatted with Jim some more, then a bit of late night TV - watching Groundhog Day. Around 2:00 I declared myself dead, knowing I needed to wake up at 7:20 or so the next morning to get out at 8:00 am for my drive to Chicago.

A wonderful stay in Albany, indeed. Great great people.
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
Chicken Bacon Roulades
#87: Cook a meal I have not made once a week – round 14


Ingredients:
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 10 bacon slices (about 1/2 pound)
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • Lemon pepper seasoning to taste (or ground black pepper with a little lemon zest)
  • 6 Tbsp grated Parmesan (about 1 ounce)
  • 1 Tbps olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream [Now get She's So Heavy by the beatles stuck in your head.]


Directions:
  1. Working in batches, cook the bacon over medium heat in an ovenproof skillet [if you're me, you can use the pan you have, and unscrew the meltable handle and put the parts that won't melt in the oven. Yup. I'm crazy], until lightly brown but still flexible (not crisp). Place the bacon on paper towels to drain.
  2. Cook the shallots in the remaining bacon fat over low heat, stirring, until softened. Transfer the shallots to a bowl or something that lets the fat, oil, grease, etc stay in the pan. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  3. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. With smooth side of a meat pounder pound each breast to 1/8-inch thickness. [If like me, you do not have a meat pounder and the stores are all closed, a sherry bottle works surprisingly well.] Discard plastic from boned side of each breast. Sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper (or ground black pepper and a little lemon zest) and salt. Place 2 1/2 slices of bacon lengthwise (parallel with grain of flesh) along middle of each breast. Top with shallots and Parmesan. Using plastic wrap to help you, tightly roll up each breast lengthwise, tucking in the ends to enclose the filling. Secure seams with wooden toothpicks.
  4. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to reserved fat in skillet and heat over medium high heat. Brown roulades on all sides, about 5 minutes total.
  5. Transfer the skillet to middle of oven and bake roulades until just cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. [You could totally put them in a different container if you're not insane enough to unscrew the handle and your pan isn't oven safe]
  6. Transfer chicken to a plate with tongs and keep warm, covered with aluminum foil. Pour off fat from skillet. (The handle is hot. If you couldn't figure this out, I can't help you.) Add wine to the skillet and deglaze over medium high heat, scraping up brown bits. Boil wine until reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Add garlic and butter. Cook mixture over medium low heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Add flour and cook roux, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth and cream and bring to a boil, whisking. Simmer the sauce, whisking, 2 minutes.
  7. Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a small saucepan. Keep sauce warm. Remove the wooden toothpicks from roulades and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Spoon some sauce in center of each of 4 plates and arrange roulade slices decoratively on sauce.


Results: This is the best recipe I have made so far. It was so delicious my mouth smacked me. In it I learned I need to learn the best way to cut chicken, and also how to pound it without destroying it. But It turned out deliciously, both the night of making and lunch the next day. I highly recommend giving it a shot. So tasty. I am salivating at it's memory.

Recipe from Simply Recipes
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
Chicken Curry
#87: Cook a meal I have not made once a week – round 13


Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp corn, grapeseed, or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow curry powder, or to taste
  • 4 skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)*
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Minced fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish


Directions:
[Direct from the chef's words]
  1. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the onions (and optional raisins), sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium, sprinkle with half of the curry powder, and continue to cook a minute or two.
  2. Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle it with the remaining curry powder. Move the onion to one side of the skillet and add the chicken in one layer. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the sour cream and stir constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture is nice and thick. Return the chicken to the skillet and cook for a couple more minutes, or until cooked through, turning once.


Results:
Despite the image looking incredibly unattractive, it was a really tasty meal. Pretty easy to make, and wholly enjoyable. It tasted delicious as leftovers as well. Easy and tasty. Hard to argue with that, right?

Recipe from Simply Recipes
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
Turkish Noms
#88: Try 10 cuisines I have never had

Restaurant of Nomming: Pasha Turkish Cuisine
Location of Nomming: Arlington, MA
Menu description of Noms: Their online menu is down for the moment, so this will have to be filled in later.
Cost of Noms: ? See above.
Thoughts on Noms: This was not just my first turkish food, but my first time having lamb as well. All the food was quite tasty! I was nomming with my friend Dr. Ian, and he was familiar with the food and ordered us some appetizers and suggested the lamby dish I attempted. It was all rather tasty. Different flavors than I had had before, and than I had expected. Rather enjoyable - I'd gladly give it a second go, with a little more adventurosity. It's a word now. The atmosphere of the restaurant was nice too. Rather enjoyable. Yes.



Some more + my dinner companion )
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
Our Thanksgiving
#87: Cook a meal I have not made once a week – round 12 / OUR THANKSGIVING
Jeff and I hosted a thanksgiving potluck for a group of our friends the sunday before thanksgiving, and everyone made delicious delicious food.

I made turkey with stuffing and tofurkey [we had 3 vegetarians], Jeff made nomalicious Mashed Potatoes and Corn Bread, Katie and Mike made mouthwatering Apple and Pumpkin Pie [from scratch!], Mike also brought some tasty cheese and crackers and home-made hummus, Lewis [[livejournal.com profile] bix02138] brought superb Maple-glazed carrots, Caramelized Brussel Sprouts [they were delicious, shut yo' face] and Corn Bread Stuffing, Becky made fingerlicking good rolls and broccoli casserole, J-Mack made wonderful squash with special things that I don't remember the specifics of, Autumn made awesome sweet potatoes, and Brandon made a sweet chocolate chip banana-bread cake.

It was a really wonderful day, all of the food was super delicious, and it was great fun to have everyone gathered together. What a great spirit and mood... I can't wait to do it next year. I love you guys.

So, as for how I made my food.

Recipe, Directions and Results for Turkey )

Recipe, Directions and results for Tofurkey )
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
[livejournal.com profile] guiser1's Crack N Cheese
#87: Cook a meal I have not made once a week – round 11

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked crisp, crumbled
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 med sweet pepper, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 pound of macaroni
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
  • 4 T flour
  • 4 C warm milk
  • 16 oz pckg of American Cheese slices (preferably Kraft)
  • 8 oz pckg cream cheese
  • 20 saltines
  • 2 T butter

Directions:
[Direct from the chef's words]
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil a pot of water to cook the pasta in. Add lots of salt to the water.
  3. Cook the bacon til crisp. Remove from the oil and turn it into small crumbly bits.
  4. Cook the pasta for about 8 minutes. I don’t like firm pasta.
  5. Sauté the onion, garlic and pepper in the bacon grease til translucent.
  6. While the veggies are cooking, heat the milk in the microwave.
  7. Drain the veggies (to remove all the extra grease).
  8. In a sauce pan, melt the stick of butter and add the flour. Cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
  9. Add the warm milk to the flour/butter mixture, whisking constantly till it gets thick.
  10. Add the cheeses, melting each one a little before more is added. I do this on medium heat so as not to burn the cheese
  11. Drain the pasta.
  12. Throw the pasta, the bacon crumblies, the sautéed veggies and the cheese sauce into a big pot (preferably one you’ve buttered).
  13. Crumble the saltines in a microwave safe bowl and add the butter. Microwave for 20 seconds and mix. Scatter the crumbs over the top of the mac & cheese.
  14. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  15. Orgasm.

Results: So, Joffrey posted this a while ago, and I read it and thought "That looks tasty. And it has bacon. And I've always wanted to try mac 'n' cheese. Well, I finally did. And good lord in heaven. I mean, it's amazing. Please make this. It is wholly fitting of the title crack and cheese. I look forward to the uber-supply of left-overs I have hanging around now. Oh man. It's gonna be fantastic. I'm literally salivating at my desk in anticipation. Not even exaggerating.

Recipe from Jeffrey/[livejournal.com profile] guiser1
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
Whole Wheat Pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
Whole Wheat Pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce


Ingredients:
  • 1 pound Whole Wheat Pasta prepared as packet says to prepare
  • 8 oz pumpkin puree (about half a can)
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 Cup water or stock
  • 2 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 generous handfuls grated Gruyere cheese
  • salt


Directions:
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent (bordering on golden)
  2. Add the nutmeg. Saute for another minute
  3. Add pumpkin, milk, and stock; stir gently until incorporated.
  4. Add the sage.
  5. Reduce heat and cook the sauce VERY GENTLY until it’s reduced by about 1/3.
  6. Add the cheese, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s properly incorporated.
  7. Toss the sauce with the pasta, distributing evenly. Serve with more cheese.


Results: It was pretty tasty! The pumpkin wasn't as prevalent as I would have wished, but I love pumpkin, so that's no surprise, really. I made this [doubled] as a meal for myself and a bunch of friends for our Up! viewing party. Jeff and I love Up! alot, so we had one the day it came out on DVD. That's not about the food though. They all seemed to like it! They claimed to, and got seconds. I recommend it.

Recipe from Pithy And Cleaver

cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
Chicken Pasta with Thyme-Mint Cream Sauce
#87: Cook a meal I have not made once a week – round 7


Ingredients:
  • 1 pound pasta, such as linguine or fettucini
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Directions:
  1. Heat 4 quarts of salted* water in a large pot for the pasta. As the water heats, prepare the chicken. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high. Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the chicken pieces, spreading them out initially and then not stirring them, so they have an opportunity to brown. Once lightly browned on one side, use tongs to flip the pieces over so they brown on the second side. When pieces are browned on both sides, and just cooked through, remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and let liquids reduce by half (turn up the heat if necessary). Add the cream, mint, thyme, lemon zest, honey, salt, and vinegar. Reduce the sauce by half again.
  3. Once the pasta water is boiling, add the pasta and cook following directions on pasta package. When pasta is ready, drain and add to cream sauce when cream sauce has been reduced by half and is thick enough to coat a spoon. Add chicken to the pasta and sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste.


Results: Well, when it first came out, it was terrible. It kind've tasted like chicken-pasta dipped in tea. Yeeaah. About that. No thanks. However, as a leftover, I was surprised. It was delicious! Perfect for work lunches.

Recipe from Simply Recipes
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
#91: Build the NES-PC: Part 1


I am working on a project inspired by a couple of projects I saw on line, but with some major differences.

Basically the goal of this project is to build a computer inside an NES system. The computer will run the Ubuntu Linux Operating System, and will have 2 functions: Online-Video Watching [via Boxee], and NES emulation via the original controllers.

I have some requirements that must be fulfilled by this project, and I have begun organizing the parts to make it come to fruition. I have included them here to keep me honest as I continue.
  • The Computer's only monitor will be a television. It must be able to easily connect to a TV using one or more of the more common display interfaces for a TV.
  • The computer's grand total of parts in the computer must not be greater than $250.00, with a goal of under $200
  • The computers main input will use original NES controllers, which must connect to the console through the original NES ports. This will involve programming a microprocesser, and making a converter inside of the box. Ideally the conversion will be to USB. A sub-goal is having the NES controllers be the computers only input.
  • The NES-PC, when finished, must be as true to the original form of the NES as possible. There will be nothing sticking out of the case. The only alteration allowed is the cutting of a hole for the mobo frame. Even this should be avoided.

With that out of the way, let's give a status update:

Parts Obtained:

Total Spent to date: 134.00

Steps taken:
  • Removed parts except controller parts from old NES
  • Began research into microprocessor programming.
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
#6: Stay for at least 24 hours in 13 states


Lewis and I traveled down to Washington, D.C. [Yes, I know it isn't technically a state, but for my purposes, it counts] to attend the National March for Equality, and whilst there we had a grand old time.

Lewis graciously drove, which meant that in between conversation I got to snooze in the car. We arrived fairly early on friday, and grabbed a snack at a burrito place, and took a walk-around, stopping to watch some skateboarders fall do tricks.



From there we met my old friend Liz for dinner! [Yay!] Lewis let us wander and get a drink, and very kindly volunteered to gather our car at it's lot. We were both pretty tired, so we crashed for the night, to wake up the next morning and begin our day with french toast at Mr. Henry's, followed by a walk-through of a farmer's market, where we got to sample an amazing apple I've never heard of before, and found a small folk band playing outside a cafe. It was neat to see the market in all it's aspects. So good to smell all the real live smells. Delicious.


More rambling dialogue and photos! )
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
#84: Eat Pizza in 20 states
Restaurant of Nomming: Ella's Pizza
Location of Nomming: Washington, D.C.
Menu description of Noms: Margherita: buffalo mozzarella, basil, tomato sauce, olive oil and sea salt
Cost of Noms: $12.95

Thoughts on Noms: I am a sucker for Wood Oven Pizza. Let's get that out of the way. I grew up right outside New Haven, CT... 'nuff said. The pizza was really good! Not quite enough Mootz, but the sauce was good, and it was fired up just right. And I'm addicted to basil on pizza. Really good noms.
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
Chicken Piccata
#87: Cook a meal I have not made once a week – round 5


Ingredients:
  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 pound total)
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine [I had dry white wine, so I used that.]
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup brined capers
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Directions:
  1. Cut the chicken breast halves horizontally, butterflying them open. If the breast pieces you are working with are large, you may want to cut them each into two pieces. If the pieces are still thick after butterflying, put them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with a meat hammer to 1/4-inch thickness.
  2. Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Rinse the chicken pieces in water. Dredge them thoroughly in the flour mixture, until well coated.
  3. Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces, do not crowd the pan. Brown well on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve to a plate. Cook the other breasts in the same manner, remove from pan. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the sauce.
  4. Add the chicken stock (or white wine), lemon juice, and capers to the pan. Use a spatula to scrape up the browned bits. Reduce the sauce by half. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Plate the chicken and serve with the sauce poured over the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.


Results: confession time: I have never had, nor seen up close and in person, Chicken Piccata. So... you know.. for all I know, it was all wrong. I wasn't crazy about the sauce, it was a little bitter, but I got it a little more on the second piece of chicken. It was tasty, but it wasn't my favorite dish ever.

Recipe from Simply Recipes

[List]
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
National March for Equality
#81: Attend a national protest


I first heard of this march shortly after the decision to keep Prop 8 in place was made, and I knew then I'd be attending. It felt important to me, to take part in what was a big movement for gay-kind, focusing on Marriage Rights and Don't Ask Don't Tell. It's really close to my heart, as an issue, and I want to be a part of the movement to bring about change in any and all ways I can. So in June I got a hotel room for the weekend [I decided to leave transport up to the hands of fate], and I prepared for myself for the event. I was excited.

And it finally came. Despite a lot of people pissing in the cereal of the march in the weeks before it, I [mostly] kept my mouth shut, because I knew the event was important not just to me, but to many of my peers and friends, as well as others across the nation. It was finally our turn to get our hands dirty, to get involved and to be a part of the process. To not simply hear about the history but to be a part of it, and take a stand for our rights. And it felt great to know that.

It was amazing to come into the area of McPherson Square on sunday morning and see swarms upon swarms of queer-folk and their allies there, to wander through the crowd, and feel the excitement and energy coursing through me and everyone else there. It was exciting, and invigorating. I didn't even notice the crowd [usually I am very aware and somewhat claustrophobic in large crowds]. I found some of my friends amongst the group, and exchanged conversation, and simply stood and looked at the sheer masses of people. It was astounding. Masses!

I later found out there was about 200,000 people at the event. Incredible.

Anyway, we stepped off some long amount of time after 11:00 and wandered the march route, surrounded by people with flags and signs. Less rowdy than some at the front, but the spirit and feeling of community was in no way lacking. Though I did not yell much, I felt good representing at the event, and adding to the count of people.

There were few counter-protesters, and all of them were surrounded by queer folk of one kind or another, shouting and yelling.




When we got to the actual capitol, I was blown away. I REALLY got an idea of the sheer masses of people. It was astounding. They were everywhere! It was an amazing experience, and one I am proud and happy to have been a part of.





A few more )



[101 list]
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
Red Wine Beef Daube
#87: Cook a meal I have not made once a week – round 4


Ingredients:
  • 4 pounds Boneless Beef Chuck or other Stew, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 750-ml bottle full-bodied red wine or a mixture of bottle ends
  • 1 cup concentrated [1 quart simmered down to 1 cup] Broth
  • 2 carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut into 1 inch sections
  • 2 Onions Quartered
  • Bouquet Garni [This is like.. basically a bunch of herbs tied together... I used Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary, and Bay Leaves]

Directions:
  1. Select a tall, narrow pot.
  2. Put the beef, wine, broth, carrots, and onions in the pot, and then nestle the bouquet garni in the center. Bring to a simmer and skim off any froth.
  3. Adjust the heat so the liquid is at a gentle simmer - you want a bubble or two every second - cover, and cook on the stove top or in a 325 degree oven.
  4. Check every ten minutes or so and adjust the burner heat or oven tempreature as needed to maintain the gentle simmer.
  5. Cook for about 2.5 hours, or until a skewer easily slides into a cube of meat.


Results: It was tasty enough, but it wasn't like... amazingly tasty. At least not the first time. The leftovers, however, were far more satisfying. I'd never even heard of Daube, so it's possible I really messed something up.

Cooking - James Peterson [2007 : Ten Speed Press]
cptntiller: (101 in 1001)
2008 Winners and Nominees


In the Heights

Won: Best Musical, Best Score, Grammy for Best Soundtrack
Nominated: Best Musical, Best Score

Review: http://theater2.nytimes.com/2007/02/09/theater/reviews/09heights.html
Thoughts: I am so obsessed with this show, it is impossible for me to give an unbiased review. The music is upbeat, fun and original. It takes traditional broadway styles and uniquely and, most importantly, with great skill, infuses latino music, hip-hop stylings, and rap. All the time feeling like a broadway musical The women's parts soar, and the mens parts have backbone... and.. I know this is about the album, but having seen it, I can tell you... it is AMAZING. I could, and have, listened to this every day. I've been in love with this album since I first heard it a year ago, and I have yet to feel any doubt or remorse about that.
Song Sample: In the Heights
Video Sample:


Nominees under here! [Xanadu, Cry-Baby, Little Mermaid, Passing Strange] )

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