Monday, July 23, 2012

Salmon on the Grill

I made a really good meal a couple of days ago. I've been getting into cooking a bit more lately. This super expensive sockeye salmon was on sale at the supermarket, which is what got me wanting to experiment in the first place. The dish actually called for cooking the fish on the grill (purchase a weber q120 bbq), but apartment living makes that a bit impractical. I just cooked it on the stove. The heart of the recipe was a marinade that consisted of soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, and a few other ingredients (full recipe here). The recipe also wanted me to marinade the fish for two hours, but I didn't have time so cut that corner as well. I realized that the marinade would just roll off of the fish if I just dunked it on, so I poured a bit of it into the pan when I cooked the fish. It cooked down and formed a nice sort of glaze on the fish. It was still really good. I'm starting to feel like I have enough comfort with cooking that I can deviate from recipes and nothing will blow up. I rounded out the meal with some canned diced tomatoes with peppers and a can of black beans mixed together and just heated up on the stove. It turned out pretty awesome.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Eating in Manchester

As I mentioned, my computer was removed from my apartment by a stranger in a "borrowed forever" sort of arrangement. They did not take the power cord though, which gives me a small amount of satisfaction.

Well after a darn good laugh with Mike and Clarence in the southern part of the country, I took a train up to Manchester to visit my good pal Zishan, whom I also met during my days of teaching English in Japan.

Of course without my damn pictures I don't have much of a reference to remember what the hell I did in Manchester. Blah. I remember food seeming even more of a central topic here than it normally is when I travel. A big reason for that was that I had chosen to travel to see Zishan during the month of Ramadan.

I hadn't thought about it before, but Zishan may be the single Muslim person I know. So Ramadan was an unfolding mystery to me. The rule is that you can't eat(among other satisfying activities) from dawn to dusk.  This seemed like it would present a serious problem in some neighborhoods, where the businesses and customers are all observing an entire month of fasting, it seems like owning a convenience store would be pretty slow going.  That could be considered a drawback in my Manchester visit timing I suppose, with a lot less activity on the streets, but I think I learned more about a new culture as a result.  Good trade I'd say.  Now, there were a few situations where I tortured Zishan by eating in front of him, but I did it all in the name of science.

The whole staying inside during the day and only eating at night situation called for plenty of vampire jokes, which Zishan pretended weren't funny but I think we all know the truth. There was a particularly amusing scene in a buffet restaurant where I seemed to be the only non-muslim customer. Everyone just sat and talked, ignoring the food laid out for them. When the clock struck the exact minute that the sun was officially "down", there was a mad rush to the food line. It was fun.

I remember the architecture was much more industrial seeming here than it London. I assume London got the worst of the WWII bombings, so perhaps that's the reason for the difference. There were smaller public disturbances set off in Manchester around the same time as the London riots. I remember seeing a burned out store front or two in the main shopping areas. And there you have it. Manchester.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Tuesday I had an unwelcome visitor to my apartment. I had several heavy boxes that I was carrying up to my second floor room, and it took quite a bit of time and sweat to get them all inside. I probably made 8 trips up and down. I parked my car on the street as usual, and when I returned to boot up the old compy it was nowhere to be found.

Well I hadn't been locking my door because of the annoyance of doing it over and over with heavy things in my hands. I figured it would be fine because I was in and out so often it would take a ninja to get in and out unseen with my treasures. Well, the ninjas win this round. I spent a good chunk of the day talking to the apartment manager, the police, the crime scene finger printer lady, and my insurance company. It was a real laugh.

There was someone in the hallway during my box carrying, so maybe they were the culprit. I dunno. Good news is that my laptop is the only thing that seems to be missing.

Unfortunately for myself and my loyal reader(s) is a good chunk of photos were on that computer. The last couple of days of last year's Europe excursion are forever lost. Bummer. I guess I'm just going to have to go back sometime and take some more.