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WhiteGhost

WhiteGhost Actually Has Goals This Time

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Shits About To Get Weird Its About To Get Wild GIF ...

 

All right, let's get things going in here.  This year is write off at the macro level, but that doesn't mean it has to be this way at the personal level.  I have done some things well this year, and slacked off on others.  The last challenge was pretty freewheeling, which I needed at the time.  This time around I am going to swing the pendulum back the other way and try to actually accomplish some specific things

 

Exercise: I have been working on a few things recently but I cant focus on all of them.  For this challenge I am going to put specific focus on the following:

 

  1. Handstand Pushups.    I have been working on these off and on for a while now it time to get serious.  I can hold a free standing handstand for long enough to crank out a few reps, but I need to work on range of motion.  Near the end of last challenge, I tested myself in terms of yoga blocks and determined that I can currently do freestanding HSPUs down to a depth of 1.5 blocks (I use a book half the thickness of a block for the .5).  My goal for this challenge is to get that down to the floor and back up for 3 reps in a row.
  2. Stretching: I don't expect that I will ever be very flexible, but I have noticed that I feel better after doing mobility exercises, especially toe touches.  For this challenge, I am going to aim for 50 toe touches* at least 5 days/week.   *I don't have to actually reach my toes

 

Cooking: I have made huge strides in my cooking repertoire since joining NF and I want to keep the momentum going.  For this challenge, the focus will be on learning to make some new foods:

 

  1. Sausages.  I love me some good sausage, but it is hard to find any with the right mix of flavor and quality.  This is a shame, but it doesn't have to be.  I have a meat grinder with a sausage stuffing adapter so all I lack are the materials and know-how.  The goal for this challenge is to get the materials I need and make a tasty sausage.  Ideally I want to make 2 kinds
    1. Bratwurst (or similar) polish style sausage
    2. Italian sausage (the kind of stuff that comes on pizza)
  2. Bread.  I used to have a bead maker but it broke so I haven't had fresh bread for a long time.  I understand that it is entirely possible to make bread without such a machine, though, so I want to give it a go.  The goal for this challenge is to make:
    1. A loaf of regular sandwich bread
    2. Some hamburger buns
    3. Some hotdog buns (for the brats).

 

Gaming: I have been playing a lot of D&D this year, and if I am honest that has been the huge silver lining of this pandemic.  I have loved my interactions with my fellow nerds and have really enjoyed the adventures we have had.  I want to build on this by doing the following

 

  1. DM a campaign.  I have been looking at running a campaign after getting talked into it by the folks from our Sunless Citadel campaign and I have been doing some preparatory research for that.  I have even purchased a module and have been test running it with Ghostlet to get an idea of what I would need to do for it.  I have now got it mostly set up on Roll20 so what I need now are a few tributes ahem, volunteers who would be interested in being my Guinea Pigs as I try to work this thing out.  It will probably be mostly PbP in the beginning as I get started, with the goal of eventually doing a live session on Roll20 at some point before the end of the challenge.  The campaign is "The Lost Mine of Phadelver" so anyone currently doing that or is familiar with it may want to move to the next paragraph.  Anyone who isn't familiar with this one and would like to participate, please let me know.
  2. I have also purchased a license for Foundry, which is another virtual table top system along the lines of Roll20 and I want to learn how to use it.  I want to get started on building my own homebrew campaign using Foundry with the goal of hosting another campaign there.  This one will be my own campaign so it won't be anything anyone here has ever done so if anyone is interested in getting involved, please let me know.  The setting will most likely be either Wildemount or Forgotten Realms.

 

Other Stuff: Probably.  Sleep.  I have been getting to bed around 2 for all of week 0, so I am going to add a goal in here to be in bed with screens off by midnight 6 nights a week.  (Friday nights I can stay up late if I so choose)

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On 7/21/2020 at 11:51 PM, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Following along for actual goals.

And now the actual goals are up :) 

 

On 7/22/2020 at 6:03 AM, deftona said:

Looking forward to the "other stuff: probably"!

I wonder if there will actually even be any :D 

 

 

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On 7/21/2020 at 9:34 AM, WhiteGhost said:

Bread.  I used to have a bead maker but it broke so I haven't had fresh bread for a long time.  I understand that it is entirely possible to make bread without such a machine, though, so I want to give it a go.  The goal for this challenge is to make:

  1. A loaf of regular sandwich bread
  2. Some hamburger buns
  3. Some hotdog buns (for the brats).

 

@Heidi and @RisenPhoenix have been baking of late, they may be helpful (and both are GL's so I can tag them before the peasants mortals plebes non-GLs can see the forums).

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2 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

@Heidi and @RisenPhoenix have been baking of late, they may be helpful (and both are GL's so I can tag them before the peasants mortals plebes non-GLs can see the forums).

 

Yea but I think my threads established that I'm actually TERRIBLE at baking the bread.  Except that soda bread of mine.  That has always come out amazingly.  But PaulG has amazing tips!

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On 7/25/2020 at 11:53 AM, RisenPhoenix said:

 

Yea but I think my threads established that I'm actually TERRIBLE at baking the bread.  Except that soda bread of mine.  That has always come out amazingly.  But PaulG has amazing tips!


giphy.gif


Funny, I was just thinking about making bread this morning! And then I looked at the weather forecast and saw the high tomorrow is 91. NOPE. Not running a 500 degree oven anytime in the next few days!

 

Sorry I haven’t been able to keep up with your breadscapades over the last challenge! It’s been hairy enough just finding the time to post.

 

Nevertheless, I am always happy to discuss bread tips.

 

Following for the bread, the handstands pushups, the sausage! The sausage rolls! The sausage rolls eaten while doing a handstand pushup!

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On 7/26/2020 at 12:08 AM, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

@Heidi and @RisenPhoenix have been baking of late, they may be helpful (and both are GL's so I can tag them before the peasants mortals plebes non-GLs can see the forums).

Cool, I will have to check out what they are doing and see what I can steal :)   My idea for this actually came from Deffy and the naan recipe she made for me, which was suspiciously reminiscent of the process for making regular bread :) 

 

On 7/26/2020 at 2:53 AM, RisenPhoenix said:

 

Yea but I think my threads established that I'm actually TERRIBLE at baking the bread.  Except that soda bread of mine.  That has always come out amazingly.  But PaulG has amazing tips!

Hmmm, yeast seems to be somewhat difficult to come by sometimes, so this soda bread idea will get an attempt :)   PaulG is the inspiration for the sausage part of this challenge.

 

7 hours ago, iatetheyeti said:

Following along :D

 

Especially excited about the cooking goals, and I look forward to hearing about your D&D adventures!

 

I probably should put up a warning about not coming in here hungry, because there WILL be food porn.  D&D updates will be included as well :) 

 

23 minutes ago, PaulG said:


giphy.gif


Funny, I was just thinking about making bread this morning! And then I looked at the weather forecast and saw the high tomorrow is 91. NOPE. Not running a 500 degree oven anytime in the next few days!

 

Sorry I haven’t been able to keep up with your breadscapades over the last challenge! It’s been hairy enough just finding the time to post.

 

Nevertheless, I am always happy to discuss bread tips.

 

Following for the bread, the handstands pushups, the sausage! The sausage rolls! The sausage rolls eaten while doing a handstand pushup!

Wait, you need the oven to get to 500 degrees for bread?

 

[checks oven]

 

Mine maxes out at 450, which will have to do.  I am very open to bread tips and ideas because my resources at this point are google and memories of my mom making bread when I was a kid.

 

Eating sausage rolls while doing handstand pushups are probably going to have to get pushed back to a later challenge.  I'm, uh, already full for goals this challenge :P 

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On 7/21/2020 at 8:34 AM, WhiteGhost said:

This year is write off at the macro level, but that doesn't mean it has to be this way at the personal level. 

 

I have a feeling I'll need to be reminded of this in the near future. I will follow this for reminders, and of course for bread and D&D shenanigans.

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46 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

Wait, you need the oven to get to 500 degrees for bread?

 

Depends on the recipe + what you want + who you ask. Like any other food, how fast you heat it will determine its texture. Applying high heat FAST will create a crusty, browned outside and moist (less-cooked) interior. A lower heat = less differential between the outside and inside: a less-browned crust and drier interior.

 

Crackers you essentially want to dehydrate the dough, therefore you bake at relatively low heat.

 

A crusty French/Euro-style bread you want a dark brown crust and an interior that's still moist when fully baked, so you hit it with high heat, about 475-500 degrees. This is what I am planning to make (and I bake at 485, the 500 was a big fat lie on my part). You could cheat it down to 450 without problems. Cheating down to, say, 400 would be more problematic; the loaf would get dry and overbaked in the interior by the time you got decent browning on the crust.

 

Flatbreads like naan and pita are an extreme case, because you want charring on the outside, and a fluffy inside, and their thinness means you have very little time to achieve charring before the bread's interior overcooks. So you have to hit it with the highest heat you can find. This is why traditionally they're baked in thousand-degree tandoors or on insanely hot metal domes. Supposedly the "right" way to do it in a home oven is throw a big slab of steel in your oven, crank it to max heat, and bake the bread directly on the slab; but I cheat and just use a super hot cast iron pan on the stove.

 

Sandwich loaves and hamburger buns have an extra consideration because they're enriched with butter and sugar. Sugar in bread increases browning, and so do the milk solids and lactose in butter; so baking at a high heat will take the crust past browned, to burnt, before they're fully baked. To counteract this, you edge the heat down to 375-400 or so for most enriched breads.

 

TLDR: 450 degrees is no problem. :P

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1 hour ago, Scaly Freak said:

 

I have a feeling I'll need to be reminded of this in the near future. I will follow this for reminders, and of course for bread and D&D shenanigans.

Disassociation of personal development from the macro environment was an observation that I happened upon when I wasn't looking for it, but I will take it and run with it nonetheless :) 

 

54 minutes ago, PaulG said:

TLDR: 450 degrees is no problem.

Lots of good stuff there, thanks for sharing that.  I am looking forward to experimenting.

 

 

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Bratwursts are German!!!

 

Ok now that I got that off my chest - those are awesome goals! Excited to see you challenge.

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12 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Bratwursts are German!!!

lol, ok :D   What do you call the polish sausages that look and and taste basically the same bratwurst?  It's funny, growing up if I walked into a store and asked for brats or if I walked into the same store and asked for polish sausage, I was walking out with the exact same thing :D 

 

------------

 

Yesterday I chose not to workout because I just didn't feel like it, but I did do some toe touches.  I realized that 100 is really a lot more than I thought and ended up doing 50.  I think 50 is probably the right number.  

 

I made some chicken & green peppers for lunch, but I didn't take a picture because I make it all the time but it was really tasty.  I then spent a good part of the afternoon looking up sausage recipes.  I have never worked with hog casings so I really have no idea what I am going to end up with.  Everything online looks to be exactly the same.  Ghostess is convinced that the casings are going to be terrible, with the consistency of PVC, which is fair given that most sausages you buy around here are that way.  Most people just peel off the casings when they eat them.  I want to at least give them a shot, so I am going to go two different routes here.  I am going to buy some casings and try them out, and I am also going to buy a silicone mold and try making them without a casing at all and see how they compare.

 

Also, my curry pastes showed up yesterday, so I will be making some Thai food at some point this week.  Also, in a surprise turn of events, the lemon grass that I ordered a few weeks ago and then subsequently cancelled also arrived yesterday.  I don't know what I am going to do with it now that I don't have any of the other ingredients anymore.  @PaulG any suggestions?  Also, is it supposed to be mostly dried out or is that just because it sent so long in transit?

 

I spent most of the evening on the couch playing more Skyrim.

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44 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

lol, ok :D   What do you call the polish sausages that look and and taste basically the same bratwurst?  

 

Kielbasa?

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Around here kielbasa and polish sausage are the same. They’re large, in a U shape, reddish, spicy, finely ground mystery meat. They can be used in Cajun food if you can’t find Anduoille sausage.

Bratwurst are shaped like really fat hot dogs. Brownish, less spicy, coarser, fattier, pork. Should be boiled in beer before grilling. Eaten on a bun.

Both work really well with sauerkraut.

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1 hour ago, WhiteGhost said:

I don't know what I am going to do with it now that I don't have any of the other ingredients anymore.  @PaulG any suggestions?  Also, is it supposed to be mostly dried out or is that just because it sent so long in transit?


Last question first: sadly no, lemongrass is a woody plant but does its best work when fresh. And yeah, it’s probably dried out because of its time spent in transit. That said, until it’s 100% dry you can still use it, you’ll just want to use extra.

 

There are tons of dishes lemongrass goes in. There are fewer when it’s used on its own, absent galangal or Makrut lime or any of the other signature Thai herbs. Basically, it is great anywhere you want to add a citrusy high note to the flavor of your dish; think anywhere you might want to throw in some lemon or grapefruit. But Thai food is an easy fit so I’ll throw out a couple dishes to hopefully give you some fun ideas.

 

Kai Yaang, Thai roast chicken, is my favorite when I have five or six lemongrass stalks kicking around. The recipe on that website looks incredibly complicated, but I’ve figured out several cheats to make it as doable for any American-style home oven setup as any roast chicken recipe. Though it does still require like two days of sitting uncovered in your fridge... okay, I guess it’s not for the faint of heart, haha. Let me know if you’re interested and want the full write-up.
 

Or you could go the regular human being route, mix up the stuffing paste from that recipe (lemongrass, garlic, cilantro stems and white garlic pounded together) and just rub it under the skins of some chicken thighs, then roast or grill them. Don’t forget to add some salt to that paste though. And seriously consider going the extra mile and doing the honey glaze Ricker shows...

 

Lemongrass works great with beef. The citrusy high notes provide a great contrast for beef’s savory and mineral flavors. Pound some in a mortar or mince it with a knife, and use it in a steak marinade; the generalized Thai marinade is usually a tablespoon of light soy, a teaspoon of oyster sauce, a quarter- to half-tsp of sugar, and a half a stalk of minced lemongrass per 100g of beef. Better yet, grill a cheaper cut of steak and use it to make Neua Nam Tok, the real-deal version of the steak salads you see at Thai joints in the States.

 

Thai salads in general are great ways to use up lemongrass. You will find it, thinly sliced and either raw or fried, in tons of Thai salads as an edible herb. Lap (larb) is another one that uses lemongrass a lot, thinly sliced and tossed directly in. 
 

Nam Tok, by the way, also works well with pork. If I’m subbing pork for beef, I like to edge the oyster down or leave it out, and maybe add in an extra dash of palm sugar (or slab sugar if you’ve got that) to compensate. In fact, that makes a great marinate for regular old pork chops.

 

And finally, lemongrass works great in soups with or without noodles; you just chop off the spindly ends, chop the fatter half of the plant into 2-inch lengths, and bruise the pieces by smacking them with a pestle or the bottom of a heavy pan. Then you can throw them in whatever stock or soup you’ve got going. Thai “Nam Sai” or “bland” soup would be a great candidate for this.
 

I would suggest a dipping sauce, but most of the sauces I know of don’t use lemongrass alone — it’s often things like a combo of lemongrass and galangal, or galangal alone.

 

If these aren’t sounding remotely inspiring, let me know and I’ll think on it some more.

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1 hour ago, Sloth the Enduring said:

Around here kielbasa and polish sausage are the same. They’re large, in a U shape, reddish, spicy, finely ground mystery meat. 

Ok ok so kiełbasa literally means sausage in Polish. 😄(Have we had this discussion before?) Asking for kiełbasa in Poland will grant you the same look as asking for cheese in France. You have to at least specify which family of sausage. According to wiki kiełbasa in the US most closely resembles starowiejska, or old country style/farmhouse. But I don't know, that's not spicy. Typically Polish sausages are not very spicy, as in chili spicy. Though they can be quite peppery.

 

Also cringe at mystery meat, Polish sausages, even hot dogs, are made out of good meat, most commonly pork. They also don't use filler like potatoes. 

 

@WhiteGhost Sausages vary by region so I wouldn't be surprised if you find similar flavourings along the German and Polish border.

 

Sounds like the first part of the challenge might be to go down the research rabbit hole. 😄Unfortunately I can't give advice on this style, if I get Polish sausage it's almost always kabanosy. Which reminds me, some of the kinds are lightly smoked which may or may not be a factor for you. 

 

1 hour ago, Sloth the Enduring said:

Should be boiled in beer before grilling.

Pretty sure this is also an American thing.

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2 hours ago, Scaly Freak said:

 

Kielbasa?

Isn't that just the Russian word for "Sausage"?

 

2 hours ago, Sloth the Enduring said:

Around here kielbasa and polish sausage are the same. They’re large, in a U shape, reddish, spicy, finely ground mystery meat. They can be used in Cajun food if you can’t find Anduoille sausage.

Bratwurst are shaped like really fat hot dogs. Brownish, less spicy, coarser, fattier, pork. Should be boiled in beer before grilling. Eaten on a bun.

Both work really well with sauerkraut.

Growing up I think I only ever saw the thing you describe as Bratwurst.  They probably sold the red U-shaped ones but I never had one (or even noticed them).  

 

17 minutes ago, Mad Hatter said:

Ok ok so kiełbasa literally means sausage in Polish. 😄(Have we had this discussion before?) Asking for kiełbasa in Poland will grant you the same look as asking for cheese in France. You have to at least specify which family of sausage.

Interesting, Russian uses almost the exact same word.

 

18 minutes ago, Mad Hatter said:

According to wiki kiełbasa in the US most closely resembles starowiejska, or old country style/farmhouse. But I don't know, that's not spicy. Typically Polish sausages are not very spicy, as in chili spicy. Though they can be quite peppery.

Growing up, Polish Sausage, Polish Dogs, Bratwurst, Brats, Wurst, and Spicy Dogs all referred to the exact same thing, so I know what I want but I have no idea what it is called or where it is from, or even how to differentiate it from any other kind without tasting it.  I think you are right about the rabbit hole thing, but ostly to just find something that looks about right and then it is going to be experimentation time.

 

21 minutes ago, Mad Hatter said:
2 hours ago, Sloth the Enduring said:

Should be boiled in beer before grilling.

Pretty sure this is also an American thing.

This was not a thing where I grew up, but I am definitely going to give it a try

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1 hour ago, PaulG said:

Lemongrass works great with beef. The citrusy high notes provide a great contrast for beef’s savory and mineral flavors. Pound some in a mortar or mince it with a knife, and use it in a steak marinade; the generalized Thai marinade is usually a tablespoon of light soy, a teaspoon of oyster sauce, a quarter- to half-tsp of sugar, and a half a stalk of minced lemongrass per 100g of beef. Better yet, grill a cheaper cut of steak and use it to make Neua Nam Tok, the real-deal version of the steak salads you see at Thai joints in the States.

This.  This is going to happen.  I have about 20 stalks but given how dried out they are, I may have to use all of them to get a single dish worth.

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25 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

Interesting, Russian uses almost the exact same word.

They're related languages. The alphabets are obviously different, but the grammar is similar. There's some overlap in word, but I don't think it's huge (or maybe I can't pick up on them because of the funny pronunciation). I can understand single words here and there but I couldn't for example get the topic of the conversation. The numbers are basically the same. And some swear words. 😄

 

25 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

Growing up, Polish Sausage, Polish Dogs, Bratwurst, Brats, Wurst, and Spicy Dogs all referred to the exact same thing, so I know what I want but I have no idea what it is called or where it is from, or even how to differentiate it from any other kind without tasting it.  I think you are right about the rabbit hole thing, but ostly to just find something that looks about right and then it is going to be experimentation time.

LOL. Looking at pictures maybe it's something like podwawelska? https://www.polonist.com/polish-kielbasa-sausage/

Whatever direction you go, garlic and black pepper will be your friends. Seems like marjoram is a common ingredient too in both Polish and German sausages. 

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1 hour ago, Sloth the Enduring said:

Might even be a strictly Upper Midwest thing, but it’s the only way I’ve ever had them.


FWIW, not just a Midwest thing. The beer-poach is popular all over the States, as far as I’m aware; I’ve met people who don’t necessarily poach with beer, but everyone is aware that it’s a thing. It’s really just a variation on the poach-then-grill cooking method, which IMO is the best way to cook a fresh sausage in its casing. Since I never seem to have beer and sausage on hand at the same time, though, I usually poach sausages in chicken stock or some other flavorful liquid.

 

(And now I can’t get the idea of lushui sausage rolls out of my head...)
 

@WhiteGhost, everything I know about sausage grinding and stuffing I lifted from Kenji López-Alt’s book The Food Lab, and from a couple of books on charcuterie by Brian Polcyn and Michael Ruhlman. I’m sure I’ve seen a  classic German-American-style bratwurst recipe in there somewhere, I can dig it up for you if you want.
 

1 hour ago, WhiteGhost said:

This.  This is going to happen.  I have about 20 stalks but given how dried out they are, I may have to use all of them to get a single dish worth.

 

Lol, hopefully you don’t have to use up the whole stash. Just keep sniffing as you add it to the marinade — lemongrass has citrusy notes but also some piney notes too, so it can start to smell a little like detergent if you go way overboard.

 

Looking forward to seeing how it goes!

 

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