t
o
n
y
a
n
g
'
s
 
w
e
b
l
o
g


the temperature was just barely above freezing but i was hoping it was warm enough to start my motorcycle, which had been parked outside since sunday night. of course we had a few nights where the temperature dipped into the teens, so it didn't surprise me when the bike failed to start after i pressed the ignition button.

in the past this meant i had to pull out the battery and charge it up indoors (takes several hours with the trickle charger), but this time around i had a better solution: the portable jump starter. i'd already tested it on sunday when i couldn't start the bike after it's been in storage in the garage for a few weeks. but that was under controlled conditions. this time around was a real case scenario, the very reason why i purchased the jump starter in the first place back in february.

i used a hex wrench to remove the bike seat and then a screwdriver to take off the plastic battery cover. i clamped the alligator clips to the terminals then plugged it into the lithium ion battery pack. it took less than a second for the led to turn green, which was the signal to try the engine. with the choke turned on, a simple press of the ignition brought the motorcycle to life. after reassembling the bike, i left it running outside while i ran into the house to grab my things. after the engine had been running for a few minutes, i turned it off then back on to test if i could restart the engine. this meant the battery was okay (or at least enough charge to start the engine), just needed to be warmed up.

i went to the speedway gas station on mass ave first to fill up the tank. in the 4 minutes it took me to ride there, my hands were freezing. i should've brought the handlebar mitts! they look ridiculous but at least they keep my hands nice and warm. after fueling up, i held my breath as i restarted the engine. i was afraid the battery would need another jump, but the engine roared to life as i sighed in relief. from there i went directly to my parents' place.

my hands were killing me by the time i arrived. it took 10 minutes of warming up before i could feel anything in my fingers. the reason why i was here was to set up the front door wyzecam so it could get a better view of the opposite door neighbors' house. my father sent me a photo this morning. not only were they installing panels on the main roof, but also above the garage as well. from the looks of it it seemed they were already done installing all the racks. all that was left to do now was to add the solar panels. i thought it'd be cool if i could get a time lapse video of them finishing up.

i was afraid i'd missed the panel installation, but they hadn't even started yet, still doing the wiring on the racks above the garage. from the bedroom window i observed them working through my telephoto lens. my father had figured out that each of the silvery nodes was were the solar panels would be placed. based on the number of nodes, there was going to be 28 panels on the main roof while 6 more panels above the garage. no panels on the roof above the guest bedroom, primarily because a sidewalk silver maple tree grows right in front of it blocking the sun. from telephoto closeups i could tell these nodes were actually solaredge optimizers (instead of enphase microinverters). i also saw a box with a "soladeck" label which i learned is a rooftop pass-through enclosure, which meant the conduit to the actual inverter itself was inside the house (most likely through the attic space) instead of outside (like it typically is).

i relocated the front door wyzecam by taping it to the unused mail slot with blue tape. it looked conspicuous, but this was just temporary, so i could get some footage. the power cord i snaked underneath the floor mat and taped it across the back of the door, poking out of the mail slot. i figured they weren't going to install the panels today because i didn't see any panel deliveries and those usually are done in the early morning.

it's hard to tell under the magenta glare of the grow lights if the plants in the basement grow room are thriving or just surviving. my father has spent more time downstairs and if you ask him he'd tell you the plants are definitely thriving. at the very least they're not dying. we'd already tossed out one of the ficus topiaries over the weekend because it'd died, but the other one seems to be doing well growing under a canopy of white led lights as well as red/blue grow lights. what surprised me is seeing the lemon grass growing; i figured they'd stay dormant during the winter.

in the backyard, the shasta daisy leaves that seemed to be doing so well over the weekend have now all began to wilt. likewise the same is happening to the lunarias and foxgloves. not many soft leaf plants are resilient enough to survive prolong subzero temperatures. there are exceptions of course: the columbines seemed to be unfazed, even though the dirt it seems to be growing out from appeared to be frozen. likewise, the honeysuckles seem to be doing okay; as i recall, they can't stay green for long and eventually will shed all of their leaves. finally, a mason jar i left outside to use as a makeshift dahlia vase had shattered after the water inside turned to ice.

i returned to cambridge a bit before noon. i wore my winter gloves inside of my leather motorcycle gloves, which seemed to help despite giving me fat fingers, but only for a few additional minutes before they started to hurt again. i got a good parking spot - one of the few spots that actually gets a little sun exposure. for lunch i heated up a hot pocket. i was kind of disappointed there was new impeachment hearing today (there will be one tomorrow though). even though it felt warm after riding in the freezing cold, eventually it started feeling cold again inside the house. i turned up the heat from 60° to 63°, turning it back down once it reached the target temperature.

around noontime i casually took a peek at the webcam stream to see the solar contractors' progress, and was shocked to see they were already putting up solar panels. but how? i called my father to let him know what was happening. he said mostly likely the panels were already there, just in the backyard (where i couldn't see it) instead of in front of the house. i quickly remotely set up a time lapse video, 3 seconds a frame (3 seconds is the lowest setting on the wyzecam). it's actually kind of ironic, the best view of our neighbor's new solar panels is actually from our house. his roof is high enough that he won't ever really get a good look at his panels, at least not as good a view as us.

throughout the day i'd check the webcam stream, every time a few additional panels were added. unlike when we had our install, everything seemed to operating like clockwork. in the afternoon, after they finished putting up all 34 panels, the town inspector showed up to give them the sign off. the only thing i don't know is what type of panels. i was going to ask one of the contractors, but when i left the house earlier they seemed to have disappeared on their lunch break.

no knead bread
(1 3lbs. loaf)

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp yeast
3/4 tbsp kosher salt
1-1/2 cups warm water
mixing bowl
covered cast iron dutch oven
plastic wrap
parchment paper
additional flour (dusting)

mix bread ingredients in bowl then cover in plastic wrap and place somewhere warm for 18-20 hours. scrape sticky dough onto floured surface. with flour-coated hands, pull corners of dough into center, forming a tight ball. put seam side down on flour-covered parchment paper then place back into bowl for 2nd rise. cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying, let rise for 2 hours. 30 minutes beforehand, put dutch oven (cover on) into oven at 450°F. plop risen dough from parchment paper into dutch oven, seam side up. bake 30 minutes covered. bake 15-20 minutes uncovered for browning.

motivated by my no knead bread failure last night, i vowed to make a better loaf. i mixed up a new batch of dough yesterday. this time i used more precise measurements, more importantly the amount of warm water at 1-1/2 cups. already i could tell the dough was not as wet as last time. i left it to rise overnight in the bathroom, it had already grown larger than the previous dough in far less time, all good signs.

by the early afternoon today, when i was about to take out the dough and form it into a ball for the 2nd rise, the dough had grown so much in the bowl that i was afraid it might touch the plastic wrap cover. i still couldn't quite figure out how to form the dough. it wasn't as sticky and wet as yesterday, but it was still sticky. after reading some techniques online, i finally figured out a solution. first i scooped out the dough onto a large floured cutting board. that prevented it from sticking. then with flour-coated hands, i pulled up the sides of the dough so it formed into a ball. i then placed this dough ball onto a floured parchment paper (taking the place of a floured towel), and put the dough back into the bowl for the 2nd rise. i covered it up with plastic wrap and placed it back into the warm bathroom. in hindsight, i could've done away with the parchment paper, instead just flour the bowl so the dough doesn't stick to it.

the dough was ready to be baked by 3pm, but i forgot to turn on the oven, so the baking was delayed until 3:20pm. the dough looked like it was sticking to the parchment paper, but when i inverted it above the dutch above, it plopped into place effortlessly. it was a little off-centered, but gravity would work its magic and the dough would center itself as it baked. it was a perfect ball shape, with rustic swirls from where i pulled the edges of the dough.

30 minutes later i took it out of the oven. taking off the cover revealed a beautiful round puffy bread ball. i baked it for 15 more minutes uncovered. during that time i got dressed so i could leave as soon as the bread finished baking. taking it out of the dutch oven and letting it rest on a cooling rack, i could hear the bread crackling. i put the bread inside of a paper bag and put the paper bag inside of an insulated tote before bicycling to the cafe to present my no knead bread.

my 2nd aunt was there as well, as we made quick work of half the loaf, using an olive oil-garlic-salt dipping sauce. sliced open, it was still warm and soft on the inside.

i couldn't get over how much ambassador taylor sounds like and somewhat resembles actor hugo weaving. the testimonies were so interesting, i almost wanted to record it before leaving, but i figured there'd be hours of hearing today and it'd still be happening when i got back.

Jane Perlez - On the trail of Xi Jinping: A New York Times Correspondent on Reporting in China

Paleovirology: Ghosts and Gifts of Ancient Viruses

early this morning my father sent me a photo of a sunbug van parked outside their opposite neighbor's house: they were getting solar panels. as well as they should, they have one of the best roofs in the neighborhood, but somehow it didn't sit well with me. our relationship with these neighbors have cordial at best, but mostly bordering on annoyance, especially after they decided to tear down their old single story ranch house and replace it with a 2-1/2 story mcmansion. things got a little less cordial when we discovered they were rerouting their driveway so it faced our house (adding more street congestion), and they were chopping down a perfectly healthy 40+ year old maple tree to make it happen (they promised to replace it with 2 new trees but they planted thin saplings that will most likely die after this winter).

but somehow it was a bit more bearable knowing that we had solar panels and they didn't. but not anymore. was it because i casually mentioned he should go solar during the tree removal hearing, even though he curtly replied he had bigger things to worry about? but it was just a matter of time; lining our small street, there are already 4 houses with solar panels including my parents'. even though these neighbors couldn't see our panels, they could surely see the panels of the neighbors behind them.

a few months ago the neighbor actually asked my father about our installer, but my father accidentally gave him the wrong name. in the end they went with sunbug, which is the installer of the house behind them. they must've made the appointment months ago to have it scheduled now, since a lot of people are trying to get installations done by the end of this year to apply for the 30% federal tax credit.

with the front door mounted wyze cam i can make out activities on the sidewalk, but i couldn't see the roof across the street. i saw they were taking out racks from the van; most likely tomorrow they'll actually put up the panels.

it does make me a bit jealous that these neighbors have the perfect roof. unobstructed from east to west, and now with their maple tree gone, a perfect view of the southern sky. their roof is also angled enough that they don't have to worry about snow accumulation, it'll just slide right off while we still have to struggle with clearing the panels with a snow rake. my secret hope is they don't get as many panels as we have (24x 335 LG), so we can still at least say we're better than them. at least they don't have pump operated rain barrels, we're still one up on them on that front.

i couldn't fall asleep afterwards, which was for the best anyway, as i had to go down to the cafe this morning and clear out the gutters before it started raining. it actually wasn't that cold this morning, temperature in the mid-40's. a lot warmer than the forecasted temperature by tonight, which is supposed to drop into the teens, with single digit wind chills. riding through the center for astrophysics, i passed by a swarm of roughly 200 grackles mixed with a few starlings, never seen so many black birds all at once.

by the time i arrived around 9:20am, it had already started raining a little bit. my mother had gone out on a walk, so my father couldn't leave the cafe until she came back. she finally returned 30 minutes later. by then the rain had changed into a very little drizzle.

my father and i moved the ladder from the basement to my sister's place. she complained that water from pouring out from her gutters, but when we climbed the roof and checked, everything seemed fine. so i called her up and she said the problem wasn't that water was coming out, but rather the fact that it wasn't. she came out of the house and pointed to the clogged downspout. we relocated the ladder and i climbed up to inspect the gutter. there was a bit of gunk which i fished out, but if there was blockage i couldn't get to it because of the bends in the downspout. i tried pouring in water which all came out, but then i realized we could simply spray out the obstruction with the hose, which we haven't stowed away yet. so my father passed me the hose and i blasted water into the downspout. clogged dirt washed out down below in a satisfying mess. once the water ran clear i knew the obstruction had been unclogged.

i left by 10:40am, by then the rain was falling more steadily. i had some lentil chorizo soup bruce gave me last night, but i saved it for dinner. instead i had a small date-filling mooncake for lunch along with a glass of black tea.

i turned up the heat for half an hour to warm up the house to 65°F. the rest of the afternoon was spent waiting to see some snow, which arrived in flurry form around 2:30pm, the first snow of the season. it was too warm to stick anywhere, and kept switching back to rain periodically. feeling kind of snacky, i had some corn chips with a guacamole dip.

having woken up so early this morning, i fell asleep on the couch around 3:30pm, waking up at 5pm. later in the evening i warmed up the chorizo lentil soup. i was going to just eat half, but i felt so hungry, i ended up warming the whole thing. it was pretty filling, just the kind of food for a cold night.

i went down to the community garden to dig up my rosemary. they can survive a mild winter but in all the times i've been growing rosemaries, i've only seen this once. raise it indoors during the cold months means i don't have to buy another one next season. there was nobody else in the community garden. many other gardeners have put their plot away for the season, but there were also a few plots waiting for clean-up. i'd already tidied up my garden back in october, but i stacked up all my tomato cages and consolidated my grow bags.

back at my house, i put away the garden hoses and raked some oak leaves in the backyard. i also shut off the outdoor faucet water and pulled out all the frost-killed coleuses.

earlier i'd moved my motorcycle and didn't want to lose my parking spot so i rode the bicycle to belmont instead. it actually wasn't that cold, temperature got as high as 50°F, but the sky was overcast. mercury was transiting across the sun this morning, had i been able to see the sun, i wouldn't tried taking some photos with the solar filter.

as soon as i got there i went straight to yard work. my father had started a smoky fire in the firepit. we moved two of the empty black rain barrels to the southern side of the yard because we need that space for ladder clearance when we clear the snow off of the solar panels. we also moved some cinder blocks. we emptied the remaining 3 rain barrels, using the water to wet the compost bins and to water the bamboo grove. we also did some pruning, my father using the anvil pruners to trim back the raspberries, me with a cleaver cutting back the ornamental grass and morning glory vines. we also put away the garden hoses. i dug up the backyard rosemary and put it in the grow room. we finally finished by 3pm.

my mother fixed me up a bowl of leftover rice porridge mixed up with some of my sister's leftover beef stew. my father tried one of my coconut flans, said it was better than the normal flan. my mother tried a bit but wasn't impressed.

for dinner we had the leftover pasta meat sauce i made on saturday, but since we didn't have any italian pasta, my mother used thin chinese noodles instead. these noodles might be good for a soup noodle, but not so much for a meat sauce, where the noodles have a tendency to clump together. we all had a flan afterwards for dessert. this was my second time having a coconut flan, other than the texture, i don't think i could really tell them apart. my mother said my old flan was better (smoother texture) but this thanksgiving we're having coconut flan.

i rode back home just in time for the start of monday night football between the seahawks and the 49ers. as a patriots fan, i didn't know which team to root for. jimmy g was on the 49ers, but seattle had recently acquired josh gordon. as from underdog perspective, i was rooting for seattle to beat undefeated san francisco. the game was crazy, and went into overtime, where it looked like it might end in a tie, but russell "the magician" wilson managed to advance the ball and give his team a chance to win with a field goal kick, which they did. the game finally ended a few minutes after midnight.

i got a ride from my father this morning, so he could pick up the various jars of fermented vegetables i had in my house as well as the tray of experimental coconut flan. we stopped by the cafe to drop off the supplies we bought yesterday from costco, as there was no room in the house refrigerator and we couldn't leave the frozen foods outside as it was getting warmer.

first thing i did when i arrived in belmont was to move my motorcycle out of the garage. it'd been there for nearly 3 weeks, after i temporarily put it away while shuffling around some cars between belmont-burlington-cambridge. it didn't surprise me when the engage failed to start, i've come to expect that during the colder days (temperature below freezing) prior to actual winter storage. i gave it a few more starts, trying various combination of choke and throttle, until i heard the click-click-click of a completely dead battery.

my father helped me push the bike out of the garage (so we could get access inside) so i could charge the battery out on the driveway. before i did that however, i thought it was the perfect opportunity to try my portable jump starter. i first had to disassemble the bike to get to the battery itself, which involves removing the bike seat and the plastic battery cover. then came the part of trying to attach the large jumper alligator clips to the relatively small battery terminals. having done that, i attached the cables to the battery pack. the led went green nearly instantly, meaning i could now start the engine. i clicked the starter button on the handlebar and the engine roared to life for the first time in 20 days.

these portable battery jumpers are amazing, everyone should have one in the car. you never know when you need it, but it's a lifesaver when you have a dead car battery. it can also function as a phone/tablet charger. afterwards i found the battery tender junior and clamped its pair of alligator clips (much smaller, better suited for motorcycle batteries) onto the battery to trickle charge.

my father and i also changed out the screen door with the plexiglass panel.

we went back inside where my mother made some korean glass noodles for lunch. i also brought out my own homemade kimchi, as well as EJ's scallion kimchi. without a doubt, her kimchi is better based on the strength of her kimchi paste, which has a stronger flavor. my kimchi, it was too sweet, not enough salt, which was the thing my mother complained about the most. i think it still has possibilities, but needs to be placed outside so it can ferment some more, bringing out the sour taste. right now it just tastes some sweet cabbage with a spicy aftertaste.

after lunch we were back outside. while my father mowed the lawn for the final time this year (saving the trimmings for our compost bin), i raked the leaves in the front lawn (those on the street we throw away because they're contaminated with road salt and sand). half of the backyard maple leaves have fallen, i raked them into a perimeter while my father went over the leaves with the mower. the combination of pulverized leaves and grass clippings will make for good compost.

we continued draining the rain barrels. my father had already drained two of the barrels last weekend (closest to the dryer exhaust pipe). today he drained the two red barrels on either side of the house. after that we still have 3 more barrels to empty, but we'll make quick work of them because they're connected to the pump so we can quickly empty the barrels by simply pumping the water. it was kind of sad seeing the precious rain water emptying onto the lawn, but there was no way we can keep the barrels full during the winter as the water will freeze so we can't use it anyway. and freeze they will, as the forecasted temperature for tuesday night will be 18°F. we'll hook up the rain barrels again come spring; it'll be interesting to see how much water we can save by capturing and using the rain for the whole season, not just half like we did this year.

i dug up the dahlias. the weekend freeze had completely killed all the dahlia plants above ground, which is usually the time to dig up the tubers for next year's plants. tubers this season weren't as large as last season, but there were more of them. i rinsed them off with some rain water and left them to dry in the basement. after a few days (some suggest a few weeks) they should be ready for more long term storage.

we prepped the lemon grass my father uprooted from my sister's backyard for winter storage. first he trimmed them back to a uniform height before removing them from the tall plastic container. they were two large clumps, but we decided to plant them into a single large pot for convenience. we filled the pot with the moisture control potting soil mix we bought from home depot yesterday before further trimming the lemon grass to about 5-6 inches tall. of the stalks we removed, we saved them for storage. i set the potted lemon grass into our basement grow room, which continues to expand in size.

i uprooted all the dead nasturtiums and tossed them into the garden refuse bin. what i found in the dirt was nasturtium seeds in various stages of ripeness. a few were even beginning to sprout, but those will die come the next frost. my father asked me to sprinkle them throughout the other raised beds. i couldn't tell which ones were viable for long term storage indoors.

we finally finished our yard work by 3pm, which about another hour or so before sundown. we still have some more work tomorrow, like trimming the ornamental grass and cutting back some perennial flower stalks. i also have to remember to dig up the rosemary and move it indoors. in a few more weeks we also need to rake the maple leaves one last time, but it may just be easier to shred the leaves with the lawn mower.

i went out to check on the motorcycle battery charging status and was surprised to see a steady green led on the charger, which meant the battery had finished charging. you'd think this is a good thing because it means i can ride my motorcycle again, but normally a dead battery would take 12-20 hours to trickle charge, and this one did it in 3 hours. that means the battery itself is probably damaged because it has a very small capacity, that's why it charged so quickly. some point next year i'll need to get a new motorcycle battery. in the meantime i'll learn to ride with my battery jumper on standby, for the remaining few weeks of riding before i put the bike away for winter storage.

i rode home after dinner. i was a little nervous, felt like forever since i rode the motorcycle, but all my riding memories came back to me as soon as i took off. it wasn't that cold, temperature in the lower 40's, but my hands felt a little chilly after i made it home. riding in the cold isn't that bad, not with a windshield and my handlebar mitts (which i'll need to dig out of my closet). it's actually kind of fun when it's super cold, my condensing breathes like a car exhaust or a chimney. only after i made it back did i realize we forgot to sample the coconut flan.

i tried one of the coconut flan i made on thursday. i went in with low expectations, figuring without the added sugar content of actual milk, the flavor would be off. but i was genuinely surprised, much better than i expected. it definitely had a sweet coconut taste, similar to coconut hard candy. the texture was very different too: normal flan is smooth, like cutting into tofu. coconut flan texture is similar to ricotta cheese. it also seemed firmer, but still soft enough that a spoon can easily carve out bites. i consider this a success and will showcase this new recipe for thanksgiving in a few weeks.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Pellentesque quis porttitor tortor. Vivamus fringilla nibh ornare risus efficitur molestie. Nunc in ligula nunc. Mauris consectetur pretium ante, ultrices molestie tortor consequat luctus. Duis auctor, urna sit amet tempus imperdiet, libero arcu porta nulla, sit amet tempor velit sem sit amet elit. Quisque malesuada augue et finibus porttitor. Duis luctus tempor diam. Nulla imperdiet varius elit et tempus. Fusce venenatis eros orci. Pellentesque lobortis rutrum mauris a bibendum. Proin at urna metus. Sed non lacus porttitor, tristique nunc imperdiet, blandit est. Donec eu sem tristique, finibus arcu non, rhoncus urna. Pellentesque nec nulla neque. Donec nec lectus sollicitudin, pellentesque est et, pulvinar magna.

when the weather starts turning cold, all i want to do is hunker down at home and cook everyday. keeping the stove and oven running also indirectly heats the house so that's an additional bonus. today i was going to try a recipe i've been meaning to for a long time: coconut milk flan. every year i make flan for thanksgiving (2018 2017 2016), and every year i think about trying something new with the recipe but never get around to it. i've toyed with the idea that instead of using milk (flan is basically 5 ingredients: egg, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla extract), i could substitute with coconut milk. i had no idea how it'd taste, but in theory it seems delicious. so today was a trial run, to see how coconut milk flan would do in reality.

before that happened though, i went out on a grocery trip in the afternoon. the weather was the opposite of what i thought it'd be. i expected it might be sunny at least in the morning, when in fact it was cloudy for much of the day. wasn't it supposed to rain as well? but it was dry, though by late afternoon the sky started to darken. and wasn't it supposed to be cold? but the outdoor temperature was actually close to 60°F, though high moisture level in the air made it feel colder. i went to market basket not so much to get flan ingredients (i already had everything) but rather to pick up some pasta meat sauce ingredients for this weekend, i've decided to treat my family to some cellentani (just can't stop eating pasta apparently).

coconut milk flan
(8x 6 oz. ramekins)

5 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
14 oz. can coconut milk*
3/4 cup of half & half*
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar (caramelized)

heat oven to 350°F. mix eggs with sugar and salt. mix in remaining liquid ingredients. set aside, let bubbles dissipate. boil a kettle of water and pour into lasagna dish lined with 8 ramekins. caramelize remaining sugar, coating ramekin bottoms. pour in flan mixture. bake for 90 minutes.

* original recipe calls for 3 cups of milk. because coconut milk is 2-1/4 cups, make up the remaining difference with some half & half (or whatever else dairy you have on hand).

i started making my flan in the late afternoon. i made a small batch - 8 ramekins. since i only make it once a year, i was a little fuzzy on the steps, but i've made it so often, soon it all came back and i was on autopilot. the original recipe calls for 3 cups of milk. because a 14 oz. can of coconut milk is only 2-1/4 cups, i made up the remaining difference with some half & half i had on hand. the coconut milk was more like coconut cream. normally i strain the flan mixture into each ramekins, but because the mixture was already so creamy, i decided to scoop it directly. there was just enough to fill 8 ramekins, nothing left over. i tasted the mixture, it was sweet, but also a little sour, and i wonder if the half & half had gone bad. i couldn't really taste the coconut though.

i also had some trouble with the sugar caramelization. originally i used 1/2 cup of sugar, but that ended up only making enough melted sugar to coat 5-1/2 ramekins. so i melted another 1/4 cup of sugar to make up the rest.

the original recipe called for just an hour of baking at 300°F: i've found in my experience that both numbers are too low. i bake at 350°F for 90 minutes, often times 2 hours if i have more than one tray of flan in the oven. i did check the status after an hour with a knife, it came out still gooey. i then added 20 more minutes, which gave the flan more time to solidify. i then added a final 10 minutes, hoping it'd brown the "tops" (actually the bottom) but that never happened and i finally took out the flan.

the flan came out looking more like cakes, with puffy domes. after i moved them onto the cooling rack, the domes deflated. none of them had any scorch marks which is another way i can usually tell when the flan are done baking. maybe it's because milk has a lot of sugar in the form of lactose, and sugar burns, unlike coconut milk, which contains no sugars.

now i wait the requisite 48 hours before i can sample one of these flans. so i won't know if these are good or not until this weekend.

i found my sichuan paocai floating in the brine this morning. as for the korean kimchi, my house definitely has a kimchi smell, i just don't notice it because i'm gone nose blind to it. but if i leave my house for a long period and come back, i definitely smell it. 3 of the jars have already started leaking, which means it's fermenting and releasing gases. i'll give it another day before putting them into the fridge. the sichuan paocai can be left outside to ferment, there's no danger of leaking from the fido jars. the more it ferments, the stronger the taste.

i finally got around to do a water penetration test on my solar mason jar lid string lights. it involves tightly closely the lid, pour water on top of it, and waiting to see if any water gets inside the jar. water is definitely getting into the lid through the seams where the solar panel is glued to the lid ring itself. i could probably fix the problem by adding a silicone seal ring. but the cheapest i could find on amazon costs around $10, and for that price, i could just as easily order another set of mason jar solar string lights.

for lunch i heated one of the frozen cordon bleu. my body will naturally crave fresh greens when i eat too much processed foods. one of things i got from market basket earlier was a bag of salad mix. in the early evening i got hungry enough that i ate half with some italian dressing. later i heated up a frozen stouffer lasagna in the oven. i've been doing enough cooking this week, i just want to an easy readymade dinner. i ate while watching the return of kemba walker to the charlotte hornets. seems like kemba knew everyone there and was hugging non-stop. being back in his former home must've affected him mentally because he didn't shoot well tonight, but that didn't matter, because the hornets were no match for the celtics, as everyone else contributed bigtime.