i'd be making 14 flan (6 for my sister's guests, 8 for myself), and i needed to scale the recipe which is set for 6 servings: 12 eggs, 8.4 cups of milk, 3.5 tsp of vanilla extract, 1.17 cups of sugar, 0.58 tsp of salt, and another 1.17 cups of sugar for the caramel. unfortunately i made a mistake in my math: i only needed 7 cups of milk, so i added 1.4 cups more than i needed.
i did something different this time around: i mixed the eggs with the sugar and salt first, before adding the vanilla and milk. this allows the course texture of the sugar to completely break apart the eggs. usually when i mix everything together, i get little chunks of eggs still floating around; doing it this way ensures the eggs are popularly blended.
mixture blended, ramekins in their hot baths, it was time to make the caramel, half a cup of sugar at a time on medium heat. this is the most difficult part of the recipe, but i've done it enough that i knew what i was doing. i don't want to scorch the sugar, and when i pour the caramel into the ramekins i had to work fast, because it quickly solidifies. and put the pan back on the stove, i make sure to clean the caramel off of the lip where i poured otherwise it could drip to the outside of the pan and scorch that way.
once the caramel layer was in place, it was time to pour in the mixture. i ended up with a lot of leftover mixture, which immediately raised the flag that i miscalculated the portions (and how i found out i added too much milk). i ended up having two large cups of leftovers, which i saved as slightly-unsafe natural egg nog. into the oven went the flan for one hour. it was 1:15pm. all the prep took an hour, so i regret not starting earlier.
one problem with using the oven during the summer is it makes the room even hotter on an already hot day (90's). since i was already heating up the house anyway, i decided to do a load of laundry as well while i preparing the flan.
earlier in the late morning i went outside to move my motorcycle. a small rat greeted me on the sidewalk (at first i thought it was an unusually large mouse). what does it say about the local rat population when rats can be seen in the daytime? it frozen for a split second, surprised by my appearance, then quickly scurried underneath a contractor truck parked outside. 2 rivers was the name, specializing in plumbing repairs. the owner of the truck can out of a house and said hello. i grunted back, still a little dazed by an early morning rat sighting. "nice bike," he said. i asked him if he rides. he told me he owns a harley, and takes it up to maine on a 3+ hour ride to visit his daughter. we got to talking and he told me about his highway crash that happened last october. nothing broken, but he did slide several yards and rashed his arm despite wearing padding. only damaged to his bike was a wobbly brake pedal and a broken tail light. as we left ways, i told him my name. "john," he said referring to himself, "john miller." this makes him the 3rd john miller i know.
while the flan was in the oven, i went to the community garden to water my plants. 4 pokestops along the way, 4 pokestops back. i caught a weedle, a horsea (my first), and two pidgey. i came back right when the first hour was up. i set the timer for another 30 minutes as the flan wasn't done yet, followed by another 30 minutes. during that time, i went out for another walk, this time looping around star market and out to the somerville community garden. just a lot of pokestops, no pokemons, except for a kakuna (my first wild capture, i'd already evolved one earlier) and an oddish. during this time i made it to level 8, and was gifted a lure module, as well as being able to pick up razz berries, which supposed makes it easier to catch pokemons.
after 2 hours of baking, it was time to take out the flan. the 6 flan on the topmost layer were okay, they pass the knife test, but not as burnt as i'd like. the 8 flan on the bottom layer were still a little water, but i can't imagine they need more baking after 2 hours. there was some browning, but not as much as the topmost layer, and none of them had the beautiful golden brown of past flans. i think they'll be a littler watery, but that makes the flan more tender. it's mostly because i added too much milk, which prevented the flan from having a more solid texture. next time, double check the math!
i arrived in belmont by 3:30pm. as is my habit now where ever i go someplace, i open up the pokemon go app to see if there are anything interesting around. i sort of take it for granted that living in the city, with a lot of urban landmarks, there are there plenty of pokestops and gyms. the scene from belmont is slightly different however, essentially dry pokemon town, with the only pokestop and gym found on the cambridge-belmont line. it sucks to be a pokemon go player living in the suburb.
i helped my father finish installing the new fence we started working on yesterday afternoon. there was a small batch of bamboo we still needed to dip up before further lowering the trench and digging out the post hole. what we hadn't planned on was uncovering a bumblebee nest. one of them stung me yesterday, and the back of my hand still hurt. the nest must've been around the fence post and my father and i were both chased out of the area multiple times. finally my father had enough and went inside to get the flyswatter. there was just 2-3 bumblebees to deal with. we managed to swat two which seemed to solve the problem.
next we ran into a second problem: while digging out the bamboo patch, we discovered it's a lot more extensive than what we first thought. there were several strands of underground rhizomes, like buried cables. any other time we might've been tempted to just leave them be and solve the problem through herbicide, but the runners would prevent us from digging our trench, so we had no choice but to pull up all the rhizomes, which turned out to be a lot. the both of us ended up being covered in dirt.
once the bamboos and some random tree roots were dug up, we could finally dig out trench and post hole. we didn't go down far enough because once we installed the fence and saw it from a distance, it's obvious that it's uneven. my father said it was good enough, but i told him if we were going to put in a new fence, we should do it right instead of just good enough. so maybe next week we'll pull out the post and reset the fence so it's more level.
after dinner i helped my mother look for a cheap flight to taiwan for my 2nd uncle who wants to return to taipei next month. when we checked last night there were airfares for as little as $570, but when we checked again tonight, the cheapest fares had all gone up by $200. after a long research, we decided to wait until tomorrow morning, so my mother could buy the ticket with my 2nd aunt present, so we wouldn't have to do it over the phone. i left around 9pm.
packages were waiting for me back at home: the new replacement shimano bicycle freewheel i bought on tuesday ($13.95), and my articulating suction-cup mount from ebay ($2.79 + $1.99 shipping).
i did something later in the evening: using pokevision, i discovered a golbat that i didn't have within a 7 minute walking distance on the somerville side of the track. it was due to despawn in 10 minutes which gave me some time to capture it. so i put on my shoes and ran outside with my phone. what's really surreal is seeing all these other people wandering around outside, looking for pokemons as well. many were in groups, i was the only solo catcher. i went to the designated location but there was nothing there. dejected, i walked home, but not before fighting a gym at the junction of elm and somerville avenue. it lasted only a few seconds, me pitting my CP 237 kingler with some CP 1200+ champion. i thought i was doing pretty well but with a single attack from my opponent i suddenly lost. so much for my first battle! i want to join a gym because it's the only way i can earn pokemon money to upgrade my equipment, but to join a gym i have to rank up and have better fighting pokemons. maybe the life of a gym fighter is not for me. maybe i'm better off just playing the game as a collector. it's also sort of dangerous to be wandering around by myself at night, with my attention buried in my phone.
i ended up ordering a vacuum cleaner online, the shark rocket (HV301) for $127.49 through kohls. shipping was free, but i still had to pay $7.97 for taxes. i ended up paying what i would've paid when the same vacuum was on sale during prime day (actually maybe a bit cheaper). back then i didn't get the vacuum because i didn't like that the cord was retractable. but the shark rocket has so many great reviews, it seems i couldn't go wrong, so when i saw it for sale again, i decided to get one. i've been living with a vacuum in my house and it's a weird feeling. not like i did a lot of vacuuming back when i had a vacuum, but now that i don't have one, it's all i can think about.
still later, i bought a knife on amazon, a kershaw 1605 clash, for $20 (not including taxes). as a guy, i feel like the thing to do is to carry around a knife in your pocket all the time, because you never know when you might need to use it. the only EDC (every day carry) knife i have right now is an old buck knife. it's big and clunky, gets the job done however, but i sort of have a bad history with this knife because it was the same knife that nearly sliced my thumb off. the kershaw clash has an assisted opening which makes it easier to open, and i've heard good things about the company.