Sunday, May 22, 2011

Notes from my Life: 05/22/11

If I had any great ideas about stocks, I'd share them with you. Alas,  I'm finding the market's current apoplexy unnavigable; therefore, I exercising my right just to stand aside.  But there are a few things going on outside of the market, so I thought I would write a small bit on them.

Yesterday's mail brought Howard Marks' book:  The Most Important Thing:  Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor.  I'm three chapters into this well written, sensible and accessible book.  Marks' conversational style, presented thoughtfully (as you would expect from the title!) make for a very enjoyable read.  As most of what I've read so far reflects many of my own thoughts, I'm finding that it tickles my sensibilities--and articulates them so much better than I've been able to do!  I'll write more later, but it is definitely going to go on my recommended reading list.

We have been invited to a 50th birthday party for someone billed as "The Queen of Shooters".  The moniker is apt, as she always concocts great shooters for parties she attends.  I've never made a shooter in my life.  Guests are asked to bring a shooter to the party--which will be judged by the birthday girl.  Well, I consider this a culinary challenge, as well as a chance to venture into a food frontier.  As I want to ensure that I don't end up with too much of a mess, and I have something easy to transport and share, I elected to get these injectors.  I ordered extras...I can see these being featured (responsibly) at an entertainment event at my home. 

My serendipitous excursion into finding shooter recipes led to something called molecular gastronomy.  You did not expect to read about that here, now did you?  Using food-stuff (think pureed olives or creme brulee) that is bathed in a solution of alginate (and then rinsed in calcium lactate solution), it creates an exterior that gels, while the interior remains soft so that it explodes into your mouth.  Though tempted, I've not ordered any alginate or calcium lactate.  But if you are interested, you can go here,, (and photo credit goes to them too) and learn more.

My next serendipitous milestone took me to whip creamers that use nitrous oxide cannisters to whip the cream. I was watching America's Test Kitchen, and they featured the Liss model on their gadget segment. Well, in doing some research, I learned that in addition to whipping cream, you can make mousse and foams and you can infuse oils and alcohol with all sorts of flavorings...habanero vodka or rosemary/garlic olive oil.  The N2O creates a pressurized environment that allows cream to be extruded.  As much as I cook--particularly desserts--you would have thought that I would have his gadget in my arsenal of cooking tools.  Alas, that is not so.  But, I did order two of them, along with the necessary cartridges.

I'm coming full circle here, as I believe that watermelon shooters with a hot pepper bite might just be the ticket for the upcoming party!  I still have to wrap my head around my final offering, but the possibilities are starting to gel.

Our weekend weather was beautiful here...soon it will be hot, humid and just plain miserable.  But for now, it is great to see the flowers, hear the birds, and watch the garden grow.

If you are looking for a beautiful cake to take to any summer outings, let me suggest Chef John Folse's Summer Lemon Pound Cake. It is divine on its own, but with glazed mixed berries (creme de cassis and orange marmalade on the stove, then pour over berries; toss gently) and some premium vanilla ice cream, you will delight many and use nature's bounty in a most delicious way.