Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Used popcorn never had it so good

Last night, hard time sleeping, hungry, trying to be healthy, made popcorn, that way I can control the salt etc. Couldn't finish it. Woke up this morning, walked by the bowl, grabbed a handful, SOGGY POPCORN, (we live by the beach in Hawaii, it is very humid).

What if?

1.5 cup used popcorn, strain out the old maids, (who came up with *that* term), salt and seasonings from the popcorn are welcome.
Good long spray from the Misto, (mine is set with olive and truffle oil)
.25 cup egg white, swirl around trying to moisten popcorn evenly
.25 cup shredded cheese, (gotta make up for the egg white)
PUSH it all down into a non stick skillet, (I think that is one of the two secrets to success)
Garnish with more shredded cheese, (you garnish your way, I'll garnish mine)
350 degrees for 30 minutes, ditch the pre-heat oven nonsense, set an alarm with Siri, went back to work. Alarm.

It was cooked. Cheese was melted, Kind of a cooked, semi-soggy popcorn, meh. BUT it was all in one nice flat congealed bundle. Cut into slices, put in Phillips Air Fryer for 10 minutes, Woooo Hoooo crisply deliciousness.

/ And yes, I know, I should have added .25 cup sprinkled bacon, someone please tell my doctor I am trying. /

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Brown rice and mushroom pilaf

NOTE: this is another of the "Surviving Survival Food" posts, if you won't eat it, it won't keep you alive, so I tried to find tasty recipes for shelf stable products.

Serves 8, (use a big pan)

2 cups brown rice, I used Costco Diamond G which turns to mush pretty easily so unless that's the way you like your rice watch your cooking time.

6 cups water total, 4 cups water for the rice, 1 cup for the vegetables, 1 cup for the mushrooms, (keep 1 cup of the water in reserve)

1 cup dried vegetable soup vegetables, (carrot, celery, bell pepper, onion, parsley), I go mine from the WinCo bulk aisle.
2.5 cupsCostco loose dried "Gourmet mix" mushrooms, put in blender, turn to powder, should be about 1/2 cup.

Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Boil water + salt, add rice and vegetables after boiling. The brand of brown rice I used is ready 30 minutes from adding to boiling water.
2- minutes in add the mushrooms, this is where that reserved cup of water comes in, they soak up the water so you may need to add more.

I finished it off by placing everything in a glass baking pan, mixed up a bit of white cheese powder, spread it on top and sprinkled some pine nuts on top, (not sure where I would find pine nuts in a survival situation).

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Gluten free Lasagne, Mushroom Mofo Gasy

I have been thinking about Lasagne a lot lately. When I am in Washington, I have had some lovely lasagne when we go out, Kathy is gluten free, but there is almost something wonderful she can have. I have been wanting to make some, but the GF pasta does not seem to be available on Kauai, guess I should order an Echo and see if Amazon has it.

A long time ago, on a very long plane ride, I saw an episode of iron chef, where he made his pasta out of a pastry squeeze bag into boiling water. I have been playing with Malaysian rice flour breads a lot lately, I wonder.

Pasta: I used brown rice, ran it through my blender dry, creating rice flour. Put it in a sauce pan, added water, olive oil and salt and started softening it under a LOW heat, stirring to prevent sticking.

Pan: I used 2 10" saute' pans.

Oven: 350 degrees, started it early.

Layer 1: spooned out some of the rice mixture, no it isn't close to done yet, it will cook as the dish progresses. Used a spatula to make it flat, about the thickness of a lasagne noodle, poured a bit of water on the stop and cooked on low on the stove top, about 5 minutes. If I do this again I will cook it for 10 and try to brown the bottom.

Layer 2: Keely gave me some ono spaghetti sauce with meat, peppers and onions, spooned and spatula'd onto the rice noodle. Added a bit of shredded cheese to the top to help define the layer. Back in the oven.

Layer 3: I am still monitoring the rice "mush" on the stove, decided to add more salt. Stir. It is brown rice so it is certainly not cooked, but it will be in the oven a while. Pulled the pans out of the oven, make another noodle layer, covered with a bit of shredded cheese, back in the oven for five minutes to set.

While it was cooking, took some dry Costco "gourmet" mushrooms, put them in the blender, turned them into dust. There were still a few spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce left, added the mushrooms and some water, stirred, spices, I have some Italian seasoning that is starting to go white, used a lot of that, salt to taste, some black pepper. Pulled the pans from the oven, added the mushroom layer, a bit of shredded cheese. Back in the oven. After five minutes, I added another layer of the rice noodle mixture, cooked for five minutes to set.

Layer 4: I don't have ricotta cheese, but I have sour cream. Added that to the leftover spaghetti sauce/mushroom mixture, spices. Spread that on top. Thought about trying to top it with rice mixture and broiling, but my broiler has a mind of its own, shredded cheese, 35 minutes in the oven at 350, let it all blend.

Mushroom Mofo Gasy

I am really enjoying breakfast breads these days, sometimes with an egg, sometimes not. Costco's gluten free bread is terrible, I can't stand it, but I can make my own. Tonight, I have a hot oven, a sauce pan with brown rice mush, leftover mushroom dust, a tiny bit of spaghetti sauce/mushroom mixture/sour cream, this is very promising. Mixed it all together with a blub of olive oil, taste, spice. Used egg white to get it to a thick pancake consistency, some baking powder so it doesn't turn into a brick. Just a touch of shredded cheese. Tossed it in the oven for 25 minutes. Turned the oven off, let both dishes sit. I am kind of excited about breakfast tomorrow.

Looking Ahead

I don't have lasagne out of my system. At Costco, I bought some uncured thin sliced turkey breast. It would form an instant layer, I could play with sauce mixtures on.

The big problem is the amount of time this took. I am an in-the-kitchen, get er done, back out, kind of guy. I could try 400 degrees. I guess I could try one of those butane flame throwers they use for cooking . . . nah. 400 degrees.

Funny thing about lasagne, it is always better to cook it in large batches, GF or no. I think that is the way to go for round 2.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

An open letter to Hawaii Telcom - Updated with conclusion

Dear Hawaii Telcom Leadership,

I called December 7 to subscribe to your service, order I0E1503. The lady on the phone was nice, I was a bit sad that the install date was 8 days away, but OK

They said they would come the 15th, but I had to be there ALL DAY. OK.

The installer did not come on the 15th, nobody called. We called Hawaii Telcom and was told the new install date was January 2.  But, he would ask for an expedited install.

I called back, no word on the expedited install. Everything has to go through a supervisor named Joe. Joe is in a meeting, Joe is not here. Joe will call you back in 24 hours. No call back, it is now 72 hours. I called back on the 20th and they dropped the call. And BTW the nice lady on the phone was kind enough to tell me my password which makes my cybersecurity DNA cringe for: telling me my password and the fact that is possible means Telcom must keep it in the clear. Remember, some people actually still use the same password for more than one account, keeping it in the clear makes it that much easier for hackers.

I fully realize there are only a few Internet providers on Kauai, limited fiber on and off island, we are a captive audience, but that should not be a reason to provide substandard service. For one reason, it is hard on the front line support people, who were all nice, and all very disempowered, they are unable to fix the issue from their perspective.

At the end of the day, I either will or will not get Internet installed by your team, understand that. When I was a CEO, I did everything I could to find out how my customers were being treated, to understand their frustrations. That is the spirit of this note. You can do better and you need to.


Stephen Northcutt

1/19/18 Conclusion: I finally asked the person on the phone, what would you do? How many days can you take off from work to wait for someone. She got it. I asked her to escalate. She/they allowed me to speak with a supervisor. They gave me a new date, came and installed service, I am a thankful customer. I still wouldn't run my business like that, but it sure is nice to have Internet.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Gray Line Kauai Movie Tour

We spend winters on Kauai and it has been years since we took a movie tour. Kathy booked us with Gray Line, our guide was Kaleo. It was really fun. I know a bunch of the movies that were filmed here, but not all of them obviously. Lunch is included, we stopped at Tahiti Nui and had a bit of time to wander around Hanalei. If you like fresh tumeric drinks I highly recommend the virgin "Puff the Magic Dragon" $6.00 for a refreshing healthy drink. Or you can get it with a shot of Tito's, somehow that doesn't work for me mentally.

We enjoyed meeting the tourists, they had diverse backgrounds and it was fun learning their life stories. The handout included a list of the movies, need to take some time to find the one that featured a giant alligator running amok at the Coco Palms.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Your vehicle factory coverage has expired phone call

Received multiple a phone calls from 1 (808) 278-5410 and 5409.  They knew my name, address, vehicle.

Selling mechanical coverage on my car. Initial caller put me through to a "coverage agent". She asked if the car was running, said I qualify, and then put me through to an "authorization agent".

She had three plans for 5 year coverage, 75k miles.
1) $2500 out the door with a one time payment.
2) $495 down, $660 per year, 3,300 savings to pay in full,
3) (most popular),  $395 down, 15 monthly payments $194.00

Coverage pro-rated refundable
Engine, transmission, electrical, the works are covered.
Any dealership can do repairs.
Deductible $100 per event
Towing, no limit, even over $100, rental car, roadside service covered

I asked, multiple times, who is the coverage with "National Administrative", I am sure there is such a thing, I could not find them.

When I said I had been warned that people that made you decide today are often scams, she said, "Sir, if this was a scam, I wouldn't be making over $100k/year selling it."

Call Kauai police non-emergency number. They could not do anything, did not know who to report it to.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Salish Lodge by Kathy Northcutt

Our teenage puppy, Yogi, was the last to hop aboard as we departed for our first visit to the Salish Lodge.  Hues of watermelon, pomegranate, Chianti, orange marmalade and papaya poured down tree tips and did so with more gusto as we increased elevation. 

Cody met us at the threshold of the Salish Lodge.  He loaded our baggage cart with aplomb.  We settled in and headed out to see the falls. On the way out we met two   staff members were headed for our room with treats for Yogi in hand.  :  )   Thank-you, Lucita!

Yogi knows the command, “Go to your mat”, and he likes having a space of his own.
I photographed him in front of the fire on his newly claimed mat, and he was the picture of bliss.  He deeply enjoyed exploring the courtyard outside.  There were more scents to be absorbed than a human could imagine in the sweet space out back.

Two wonderful managers at the desk helped me with a spontaneous question.
Would it be possible to upload photos to a local drugstore and get them printed while we’re here?   A sweet young lady who likes dogs got on the phone to Bartell’s while the gentleman at the front desk and I chatted.  Yogi, I shared, looked so comfy on his Salish Lodge blanket, lounging by the fire that I had to take a picture of it.  It sounded like a fun memory to share with the lodge.

Two of the quotes really touched me.  I printed extra copies of these to send them as postcards. One was an excerpt from a poem by Thomas Hardy entitled “Under The Waterfall”  (1914):

The other was a quote from a distant relative,  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. :

The spray from the falls was more lively and far reaching than I’d remembered, but it was summer when we first came here with Stephen’s parents. This was the first time I’d seen how spectacular the colors of fall are up here, and the party’s just getting started. I wonder when it peaks.  It was soon after our arrival that I took a photo of Stephen and Yogi in bright sunlight.  I wondered why Stephen wasn’t smiling until I developed the photo:  Stephen and Yogi were getting drenched by the spray from the falls.

Here was my first glimpse of the Snoqualmie Falls in fall colors:

We explored Snoqualamie’s old town, took a photo of the giant tree trunk by the train station, and ate outdoors in the sunshine at the Mexican place, Rio Bravo, with Yogi at our feet.  The proprietor takes great pride in his food, and it was delicious. 

After another round of photographing the falls, we settled in for the night around a roaring fire, compliments of the Salish Lodge.  They use real firewood!  We hadn’t enjoyed a wood fire in a fireplace since our days in Fredericksburg.

Stephen sampled the Salish Lodge’s breakfast offering with a sumptuous meal and said it was quite the feast.

We headed out to Issaquah for our next adventure, and had a delicious lunch, outdoors, in the sunshine, at Finn.  Stephen had the Halibut cheeks and I had wild caught mountain trout.  Yogi had a taste of trout skin over rice when we were all finished.
Our waiter also works in the kitchen, so he was extremely knowledgeable and helpful when it came to navigating the menu, and safely steered me to the gluten free options, including offering to modify menu items to make the selection gluten free.  He also understood big dogs; Yogi met a new friend.

Old Towne Issaquah was a delightful blend of modern and quaint.  The Chopin school of Music, a beautifully preserved Shell gas station with pumps from a bygone era, lovely parks, music, art, curio shops, all in one downtown strip that we took in while walking.  We took photos along the way to share with our neighbor, Mandy, who grew up there.

There are words inscribed on the steps to and from Snoqualmie Falls, one word per step at the bottom of each set of stairs.  They read:
Rolling, plunging, pouring, roaring, streaming, meandering, cascading, rumbling, tumbling, sparkling, rushing, gushing, whirling, swirling, twirling, breathtaking, from top to bottom.

Stephen took my camera bag while I ventured back into the country store, where I picked up  Snoqualmie Strange: A Most Peculiar Hiking Guide: Volume I : Mist Gate, by Jim St. James, "warden and protector of the Snoqualmie Territory.  The Country Store has great greeting cards with vintage photos for a reasonable price, 2.99.  My favorite was a quote from Reba McEntire:  “ To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.” The store manager put the charge on our room bill; she was most helpful.  

Back at the lodge we had another quiet evening by the fire.  We’d planned on going to dinner together, but Yogi wasn’t having it.  One parent gone for a bit?  That alone elicited a harrumph from him, but both of us gone?  We said “Wait”, then left and listened in the hallway. We tried that twice and gave up.  In the end, we ordered room service.  Stephen ordered a spicy Italian pizza from the Attic's wood fired hearth oven, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the Taylor Shellfish Kusshi oysters.  

What a glorious vacation this has been with sparkling Autumn weather!