Shiny Metal Tiger

Experiences in Baltimore, MD

Archive for July 2012

Compression

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This Sunday I was making éclairs to bring for “tea time” at work, an in appropriately named affair that typically features chips, fruit and several types of cakes/cookies (and a pot of tea or two). Being me I opted to bake rather than buy, going for quality over quantity in terms of cake selection. I cooked up and glazed the ~40 puff pastries without any trouble, as since George had recently purchased one of these I figured that filling them would be a breeze. The intelligent reader will of course have predicted that this hypothesis turned out to be false, and all because I decided to add some puréed blueberries to the cream for extra tastiness.

Alas, in my trial run particulate matter ended up clogging the pressurized dispenser and rendering it impotent at best. There was the occasional undersized squirt of blueberry whipped cream, but both consistency and production rate were entirely unsatisfactory. I needed the canister the next day so I had to get the pressurized pint of blueberry whipped cream out somehow. The only feasible option was to carefully unscrew the top of the canister, hopefully letting out the pressure gradually before opening it completely. That’s sort of what happened: Decompression

…but the exact opening rate still needs some fine-tuning. In short, blueberry goo went  everwhere: on cupboards, walls, couches, floor, ceiling, me… except that, I kid you not, not a single drop went on the éclairs standing right next to the canister. Although it came off most surfaces without problems I will have to paint the ceiling in the near future.

The éclairs were delicious, however.

Bleuet/canelle éclair, voila!

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Written by Martin

2012/07/31 at 20:02

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The Book Thing

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Despite living in Baltimore for a year and a half altogether, I discovered a new thing today! A book thing, specifically, or rather The Book Thing. Basically it’s a place that gives away free books that people drop off. I can’t decide whether the coolest thing is that I now have a couple of books just as I finished my last one, or that I have a satisfactory way to dispose of  the Don Quixote and War & Peace that I don’t want to waste luggage space on later (and that nobody at work wanted. What is the world coming to when you can’t give away classics?).

A modest haul

Written by Martin

2012/07/29 at 17:38

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Couchsurfing

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So one of my roommates is presently hosting someone via Couchsurfing, which I take to mean that our mansion is officially couchsurfer-friendly, hooray! I’ve wanted to join for a while, but have put it off because I haven’t lived in a place where I would be able to host. Well, woe be gone! I doubt there’ll be any activity for the few months I’m here in Baltimore, but I am nonetheless enjoying finally having signed up.

Written by Martin

2012/07/27 at 19:28

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Friends in far places

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For the past three days I’ve had one of my best friends from Denmark visiting me. What I like about this is that it challenges me to condense the Baltimore experience down to just three evenings, cutting to the core of its quirkiness and traditions while also offering good times. The downside is of course being super tired all week from the non-stop work/party cycle. But then another upside was spending time with my friend, so all in all it’s win.

When he came Monday we immediately popped down to Ryleigh’s for some $1 oysters and beer, then on to the brand new home of Baltimore’s hippest craft brewery. Being at this point well beyond tipsy, I insisted that we drive past the two blocks of solid strip clubs next to police headquarters, after which we somehow decided to stop at Royal Farms for some fried chicken. Revelry followed naturally once we got home, with the other roommates joining in for drinks, late night snacking, gender-inappropriate application of pink nail polish and spontaneously running a mile down the main road to see who was fastest/toughest (I won a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, lost a pint of beer). The next night was Maryland crab, then a salsa party at Red Maple and some more Baltimore classic brew at Brewer’s Art, while Wednesday was the Fell’s Point classics:  Kap-Dwa the two-headed giant, a great low-key restaurant, Baltimore’s prime Scotch bar and some random neighborhood bar. Then home for beers and snacks.

So yeah, I’m pretty beat today. Why don’t I just show some random pictures?

World Famous. Not that great though.

It takes a real man to wear pink

This guy is about to put the hurt on something.

It also takes a real man to eat a banana while wearing sunglasses at night.

Oh, by the way: that Ben & Jerry’s I had in the freezer? Half a pint left.

Written by Martin

2012/07/26 at 21:31

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Stocking up, part 2

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My Asian pantry is doing well; another dish has been added to the repertoire, one that successfully makes use of red basil (not as simple as it sounds, I’d say). And yet there was a restlessness in me, I was missing something. So I went shopping with my roomie:

Ginger beer, nice gin, dry vermouth, spiced rum, pear vodka, light rum, tequila, vermouth rosso, curacao, whiskey, vodka, everyday gin, coffee liquor, macadamia nut liquor, red wine and some beer.
Mostly in 1.75L bottles.

A nice selection to be sure. We had a bit of absinthe, creme de cassis, Campari and other assorteds already, so aside from high-end stuff I think we’re pretty much there. Of course with all this alcohol there’s a distinct risk of late-night munchies, but fortunately I happen to be a man of some forethought:

Peach Cobbler, Chubby Hubby, Key Lime Pie, Crème Brûlée and Strawberry Cheesecake.

Written by Martin

2012/07/22 at 17:25

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Stocking the pantry

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So one of my yearly goals this time around was to learn to cook Asian food. Which sounds stupid: what kind of Asian food? Learn to cook how? So what I meant when I wrote the list was that I should be familiar with the common spices and ingredients of East and Southeast Asian food (fish sauce, ginger, lemongrass etc.) to the point of just being able to throw something together from the basics plus some random ingredients, just as in ‘Western’ cooking you can always throw something together on the basis of oil, garlic, onion and tomato. So the first step was to go to Hmart and stock the pantry:

What did I get? Pretty much everything (except lemongrass, which must have fallen out of my trolley). And it was only a hundred dollars, hooray!

Success stories so far include a sauce for rice noodles from my dad, an oyster/honey/soy/pepper sauce from my friend Pete and a boatload of green Thai curry. More to come!

Written by Martin

2012/07/21 at 12:21

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Twitching

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Ah, it’s been a while. I’m back in Charm City for a few months and will be reanimating the now inappropriately named blog (unless I rename it…. Darkwater Dragon would be appropriate in this case). I have a feeling that the text-to-photos ratio may go down a fair bit, but I suppose that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

So for starters, what is this hobo doing in the trashcan? Is he picking something out of it, or throwing something in? I believe it was neither. Just before I snagged the photo, he just stuck butt in and his legs out and sat around in it. Yeah…

The trashcan can also be used, as a chair.

Written by Martin

2012/07/19 at 16:47

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