Sunday, October 25, 2009

As previously mentioned, I have a love-hate relationship with shoes. I'll decide I want to be comfortable and practical and buy Sensible Shoes. I will be happy for a couple of weeks, then I will say to myself in my line of work, I should make an effort to look professional and fashionable and buy heels. (Actually, this fashion flip-flopping is not limited to shoes, but since i don't think my body has decided what it wants to do after giving birth for the second time, i am limiting my clothes shopping to Uniqlo OnLine and nursing attire.)

Last month, I bought a pair of dark gold heels with black fur elastic straps.


They are surprisingly comfortable,but they tend to slip on tile, even though I have stuck adhesive rubber treads on the soles. 

So after buying fashionable shoes, the pendelum swings in the direction of comfort and practicality. Except this time, the purchase is comfortable but not exactly practical. 


 They are Crocs Nadias, which are Crocs pretending to be Uggs. The fuzzy synthetic shearling is difficult to keep clean, and they are only suited for the coldest days Pumpkin City has to offer. Plus, their plump cuteness makes my already short and fat legs look even more so (o.k. So that is more a fashion issue than a practicality issue).

One of these days, I'll find a happy balance. In the meantime, I am waiting for it to get cold enough to wear my Nadias.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Protein degeneration

Tanpaku hensei

Tender, juicy hamburger calls for meat juices. Said juices must 1) exist 2) remain in the hamburger.

When you mix hamburger, you are breaking apart the muscle fibers in the meat and bringing out the juices. It is easier to break apart the fibers and bring out juices (myosin to us ubergeeks) if you are not trying to break apart onion or bread crumbs simultaneously.

Add bread crumbs or oatmeal, but only a small amount of milk, because you want the bread crumbs to absorb the juices and help keep them in the patty.

When cooking, do not turn more than once or twice. Turning over and over will cause the juices to work their way out of the patty. Brown each side on high heat, and then cook over low heat. The browned meat will act as a shell to seal in the juices.

I understand that in the USA and Europe, hamburger meat is entirely beef, and the fat content is influenced by the cut of beef used. In Japan, most ground meat is a 50/50 mix of beef and pork. (You can also get ground pork and ground chicken, and yes, ground beef, but most of the time what you will find in grocery stores doesn't contain enough fat to make a very good hamburger.)

I took yesterday and today off to get stuff done around the house and go shopping. To focus on my accomplishments:

1) I figured out what size coat I want to get this year from Uniqlo. I'm thinking a very youthful pale pink or a practical but trendy glossy beige would be nice this year, both which are only available online, but I wanted to be sure of the size.

2) I bought supplies to sew the Pumpkin Princess a makeshift tutu. She's into princesses and twirly skirts, but it's a bit cold to let her wear stuff like that to day care these days. I thought if I could make some kind of lightweight skirt, she would wear it over her pants or leggings. I made a short, fat, tube of fabric, hemmed one side, rolled down the other to make an elastic waist, and stiched on a layer of tulle. I expect the Pumpkin Granny will stitch on the second layer of tulle and thread elastic through the waist sometime within the next week, which would be nice. I promise pictures if this happens.

3) I made buri daikon, a lovely dish of root crops and fish last night.

4) I made cream of carrot soup and hamburger steaks tonight.

So that's some stuff done, but not as much as I would have liked. Which I kind of expected to happen. Oh well.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Today's cooking

Kyou no ryouri


Pizza! The tomatoes are from our garden. The crust is made from a mix, and the pesto is from our grocery delivery service.


An entirely unrelated photo, which shows you that the Pumpkin Prince can now sit. He can also crawl. This evening, I cleared off the bottom shelf in the dining area, because he managed to grab the Pumpkin Princess's box of crayons.