ever since the beacon street foodmaster was bought out then converted into a whole foods back in 2013, i've never once visited it even though i pass by it all the time on my way to boston. i avoided it almost as a form of protest over the encroachment of gentrification. besides, i was a big fan of foodmaster, went there occasionally to get cheap alcohol, definitely hurt the neighborhood when it was gone. however, finally today, in the early afternoon, half a decade later, i set foot in the only whole foods store in somerville. i was in search of mini baguettes, and figured they'd carry them. i left with a loaf of iggy's ficelle for $3.79, listening to a white female customer complimenting the white store manager on how great this place was, unlike some other supermarkets, "like star market," she said. if she'd said anything bad about market basket i would've punched her in the mouth.
my next stop was in fact market basket, to pick up my regular groceries. do they sell tubs of marshmallow fluff at whole foods? no. how about unicorn cereal? no. i picked up some ingredients for a chicken caesar salad i'd be making for dinner tonight.
i was determined to fix my bicycle when i got back home. the brakes are so bad, last night i almost overshot into a busy intersection, had to use my feet to stop flintstone-style. same thing happened today. i started with the rear brakes, which weren't even catching onto the rim. it was a simple matter of readjusting the brake cable. i then worked on the front brakes, which was working, but i noticed one of the pads was rubbing up against the rim. that ended up taking me a whole hour, including completely removing the brake arms. the left arm needs to be replaced, the adjustment screw is not only rusted but nearly stripped out. the result was there was too much tension in the left brake arm, but when i readjusted it, the right brake arm got all the tension, and no amount of adjustment would equalize the pads. so in the end i gave up, gave up the brake cable enough slack so the pads wouldn't rub against the rim. i think i may have a set of spare brake arms, or if not, i still have some old ones i never threw away that i could salvage for parts (need a new adjustment screw, provided i can remove the old one).
while i was at it, i also removed the bike chain and gave it a good cleaning in the kitchen sink. i sprayed some degreasing foam on the chain, but later realized the chain itself isn't greasy, the problem is rust, and i'm not sure how to fix that besides getting a brand new chain.
i finally got around to making some tea eggs with the 2 dozen eggs (half brown, half white) sitting in my fridge for the past few weeks. fortunately last year i did a fairly detailed write-up so i followed those instructions, making some modifications which are noted below:
|use room temperature eggs||i'd thought room temperature eggs would boil faster versus cold eggs, but in my experience it doesn't make a difference, it still takes about 20 minutes for a pot of eggs to begin boiling. but i did leave 2 dozen eggs out for a few hours before starting.|
|use old eggs||old eggs are easier to peel than fresh eggs. my eggs had been sitting in the fridge for about 2 weeks.|
|boil eggs in cold water on high heat with cover on||boiling from cold water (instead of dropping eggs into already boiling water) prevents eggs from cracking on their own|
|enough water to barely cover eggs||more water means a longer time to reach boiling. use just enough to cover the eggs.|
|add 1 tsp of salt to the water||supposedly helps with the peeling|
|boil eggs for just a few minutes||just hard enough to crack the shells; eggs will continue simmering/cooking in tea egg brine solution. i boiled my eggs for 4 minutes.|
|rinse hard-boiled eggs in cold water||so they're cool enough to handle and crack|
|crack eggshell with back of spoon||don't be afraid to really hit the shell to get a nice spiderweb pattern, but not so hard that the shell falls off (a few loose shell pieces is okay though)|
|make brine solution||reuse the hot egg-boiling water to create the brine solution. for 24 eggs: 1 tea egg flavor packet, 1 tea egg tea packet, 5 black tea teabags (strings cut), 3 tbsp salt, handful of sichuan peppercorns.
the box of tea egg flavor packet comes with a packet of tea as well, but i like to add my own teabags for a stronger tea flavor.
peppercorn is optional, that's my secret ingredient although you don't really taste it in the final eggs; i just have a lot of extra peppercorn.
|simmer cracked eggs in tea egg brine solution on low-medium heat for 1 hour with cover on||keep the cover on so the liquid won't evaporate as quickly
i also added some more hot water because there wasn't enough to cover the eggs.
|stop boiling, let eggs sit in brine for 3 more days||the longer the eggs are in the brine solution, the more flavor/coloring it gets.
after the eggs cool, package the eggs and brine solution in containers and put them in the fridge (i like to reuse plastic 32oz. yogurt containers). after 3 days (or depending on how salty you want your tea eggs) i pour out the brine and leave just the eggs.
i eat my tea eggs cold, but some people like it hot. you can either microwave individual eggs or for better flavor, boil them in the original brine.
i tried the norwegian leverpostei (liver pÃ¢tÃ©) and caviar paste. frances wrote me and suggested i try the caviar on jarlsberg cheese, sliced eggs with caviar, and leverpostei on pickles (i thought that last one was a joke). i sliced up my ficelle so i'd have some bread base. the caviar paste - which comes in a tube shaped like toothpaste - tastes like salmon cream cheese, except the flavor is more intense: sweeter, saltier, more savory. just a little bit goes a long way. the leverpostei comes in a can like cat food, and features different portraits of smiling norwegian boys and girls. the pÃ¢tÃ© has the consistency, smell, and taste of vienna sausages, but with a stronger metallic flavor and a fishiness. after some research i was surprised to discover it's made mostly from pork liver with only a bit of anchovies: i could've sworn it was fishier. jarlsberg cheese has a neutral taste, doesn't overwhelm in flavor like other cheeses, so is a good compliment cheese. i find it kind of similar to swiss cheese, another cheese i consider neutral. the brown goat cheese reminds me so much of peanut butter: it's creamy sweet texture, how it sort of gets stuck in your gums, but all the while with a strong goat cheese taste. i would totally buy a jar of "brown cheese" goat butter if it existed. i was so satiated afterwards, i was seriously thinking about forgoing dinner.
i was so looking forward to another record production day, but in the end we were off by 180Wh compared to the record set last thursday of 47.88kWh, with a final production of 47.70kWh. still pretty good, but i was secretly hoping we'd even hit 50kWh today. what went wrong? there was just the smallest bit of clouds that blocked enough sun to make a difference. last thursday it was actually cloudier, but the clouds made up for lost production by reflecting back the sun in other occasions, to produce even more energy than just on a normal cloudless day. it was the 7th time we've gone over 40kWh (5 times back in march, twice in april).
i went about thinning out my seedlings. the trick is to not think about it. i was going to cut them with a small pair of scissors, but it was easier just to gently pull them up by the roots. my cherry tomato seedlings didn't all germinate, and two of the pots were empty, but i managed to transplant extra seedlings from other pots to fill the void. i didn't have any other problems with my two other tomato variety. only 3 of the malvas germinated, with a 4th germinating but wasn't able to break out of its seed shell so ended up rotting, but there may be enough rots to regrow some new leaves, so i'm still hopeful. the hungarian wax peppers have not germinated at all! even though the habaneros already have. did i forget to plant seeds in those pots?
i made chicken caesar salad for dinner. i was going to make it before the season finale of DC's legends of tomorrow, but it ended up taking so long to grill the chicken breasts (i had to open the window and use the fan, it got smoky) (i ended up grilling two large breasts, saving one for tomorrow), i didn't finish making my salad until almost 9pm, when the show was already over. i used red lettuce (99¢ a head) and added some slice radish (99¢ a bag) into the mix for some additional flavor. i also had some asparagus but didn't have time to roast them to add to the salad. though it seems healthy, the amount of caesar salad dressing and croutons and parmesan cheese i add, plus the massive portion (4 servings for one person), totally offsets any health benefits. there was so much salad i couldn't finish it all and saved some for tomorrow.
i watched the 2nd episode of ABC's the crossing. i'll continue watching it since there's a lack of scifi mystery thrillers on television, but i don't think it's that good.