Sunday, September 24, 2017

Vietnamese Squash

A friend at work gave me some Vietnamese Squash Seeds.  I planted them in the spring, and they were very slow to start.  They made some small Cucumber shaped leaves, and seemed to stagnate for months.  Then in the middle of August these things took off, and got monstrous, took over the entire garden.  They also made a massive amount of fruit.
It is possibly the most prolific plant I have ever grown.I'm not even sure what to do with these things.  My Vietnamese friends make soup with them.  I guess you could also Stir Fry them, or use them in a Squash way like steamed, or roasted.  I'll have to do some experimentation.  LOL!
The leaves of this plant are 8 to 12 inches wide.  It tried to gobble up my Chiles, and even ran up the Trumpet Vine.  Its going Allwhere...  LOL!  I haz to beat it back with a stick...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

We're expecting The Reaper

We're expecting!  We've got cute little Carolina Reapers in our nursery.  Never has so much pain, and torment been concentrated into such a small package.  The next few months will be interesting among my Chile Head friends...  This way, the thing that should not be, comes...
Aww...  Look, a Baby Reaper...

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Dog Star... Siriusly...

The seeing is good this morning.  All my favorite stuff is up there now.  Venus, Pleiades, Aldebaran, M42, Orion, and this morning I saw Sirius for the first time this year.  Astronomically this means Fall is here even though the calendar says otherwise.  It has been a mild Summer, but looking forward to Fall so my Carolina Reapers will start producing...  LOL!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Bacon Garlic Brussels Sprouts

This is roughly inspired by Southern Collard Greens.  I like steamed Brussels Sprouts, but they need a little more something.  So when you need to make it better what works better than Bacon?  And to take it one step further Garlic.  Mmmm, now were cooking with gasoline...
I had picked up a Roasted Chicken, and was looking for a side dish.  I had some Brussels Sprouts.  I recently had made some Oriental Greens in the Collard Greens style, so I thought I wonder if that will work with Brussels Sprouts?  So I started with a Pan of Bacon.
That is starting a side dish right!  LOL!  In the meanwhile I'm preparing the Brussels Sprouts.  The little ones I'm keeping whole, and the larger one I'll cut in half.  I also diced ten garlic cloves.
As the Bacon finishes cooking I am going to saute the Brussels Sprouts, and Garlic in the Bacon Fat.  I added a little Olive Oil as well just to be sure all the Brussels Sprouts got some of the fat.  I'm starting to add seasoning at this point.  I'll continue to saute the Brussels Sprouts for about 10 minutes.
I'm adding Black Pepper, and Red Pepper flakes because those are my usual flavorings.  When I smoke meats I usually use Tony Chachere's Season Salt, and Black Pepper.  I'm keeping this one a little simpler.  I'm tossing this a lot, not quite as much as a stir fry, but enough to keep from scorching the Brussels Sprouts.
Then I chopped the Bacon, and added a cup of Chicken Stock.  Then we'll let this steam until the Brussels Sprouts get to the desired tenderness.  I like the Brussels Sprouts to have a little bite left when they are done.  Squishy Brussels Sprouts are not what I'm looking for.  They should hold their form when served, and not fall apart.  So, cover, and let it simmer down a while, checking them often.
There, that is perfect...

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Caribbean Red Hots

I have harvested a few of the Caribbean Red Hots from the garden so far.  Allegedly they are very similar to Red Savina Habaneros.  I'll find out in a while here...

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Happy Roswell Day

Today is the 70th anniversary of the Roswell UFO Crash incident in Roswell, New Mexico.  This event gave rise to Majestic Twelve, the Central Intelligence Agency, and a plethora of Conspiracy Theories.  From my perspective it is an event that made us question everything.  We saw something that made us say "Huh?  Wut?"  Then the reaction from the Powers that Be, "Nuthin' to see here..."
Take a look at this with your higher self.  The evidence suggests that something strange happened over there, but we see this massive impulse reaction from the Powers that Be that say "Oh, Nuthin' to See over There".  That makes me suspicious, even with no evidence.  But then there is evidence, and testimony from people that were actually there, after decades of silence...
Then we see all the Mass Media discreditation.  If you can't cover it up, then make fun of it, and manufacture a unbelievable amount of disinformation, including cartoons mocking the event.  LOL!   If you want to hide something you need to totally ignore it, not point thousands of fingers at it...
There is a story about Plankton growing colonies on the exterior of the International Space Station, suggesting that Plankton exist in, and permeate space.  This says to me that life is everywhere.  We are not the only manifestation of life in the universe, but it is everywhere.  Life is everywhere, and much if it is much more advanced than we are.  They come here, and take a look at us, then say "OK, lets not mess with this planet, they're a bunch of Backwoods Rednecks."  We're literally like the "Trailer Trash" of the Galaxy.  When we see something strange we go get the Shotgun, and shoot at it.  Not a very welcoming thing to do...
Go check out this book.  "The Day After Roswell" by Colonel Phillip J. Corso.  A lot of the things we take for granted today, like semiconductors, lasers, fiber optics, and velcro are directly related to the Roswell UFO Crash Incident....

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Impromptu Telescope Mount

LOL!  You gotta do wut you gotta do...  While trying to get over the apex of the house I needed to elevate the Dobsonian Mount of my Telescope.  I've got lots of large trees, and it is not an option to just got further out into the yard.  I needed to go up, and that was the only option.  So I used a food service table that I had made from scrap fence material, and then put a big, thick butcher block on top of it.  Then put the Dobsonian mount on top of that, and finally the Telescope.  Got me some elevation...

Computer Assisted Stargazing

Here is a shot of my setup on Saturday night.  I needed a computer to run the software for the Astrophotography Camera.  The Labtop computer I have is old, and didn't support the software for the camera.  So, I had to bring my main computer out on to the patio.  It's kinda risky to put WOPR out on the patio, in the elements.  But I did get some good shots of Jupiter, and Saturn.  It has me wanting to make a skyward portico on my roof, and automate the motion of the telescope so that I can do all the adjustments remotely, and record images in the study.  Sort of like what I did with the original Astronomical Video Camera...
My setup evolved drastically during my Starshoot session on Saturday Night.  Originally I planned on shooting from the front of the house.  But it was partly cloudy, and I didn't want to make the effort to setup in front if only to get clouded out.  So, I decided to setup in back to see if I could see Jupiter.  That worked, and I was already setup in back.  To see Saturn I needed to elevate the telescope to get over the apex of the roof.  So, I wound up rearranging the patio, moving a bunch of lumber, firewood, and furniture to get the right vantage point.  Now the telescope has a relatively good vantage point to see the southern sky, and all I have to do is move WOPR, my super computer, from the study to the patio.  LOL!  Hardly any effort at all...  Here is a shot of the first setup...

Saturn Shot with CMOS Sensor

I'm having a hard time capturing Saturn with its moons.  If I turn the exposure up I can see the moons, but when I see Saturn clearly the moons are under-exposed, and you can't see them.  Here is a shot where Saturn is fairly clear...

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Jupiter and Moons

Saturday Night, and I'm Stargazing again...  This time with enhanced technology.  I've hauled my computer, WOPR, out on to the patio, and I have it attached to the Telescope via a Celestron NexImage5 Astrophotography Camera.  I was eager to try this CMOS Image Sensor Technology with my new Reflector Telescope.  This time there are no lenses involved.  The Reflector Telescope has a Parabolic first surface mirror for the primary mirror, and then a 45 degree diagonal first surface mirror for the secondary mirror.  Then the light goes directly to a 5 Megapixel CMOS Image Sensor.  I'm going to try and catch Saturn next...

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Full Moon 2

Wow, Looka Dat!  Now Thatz wut Iz talkin' 'bout...

Full Moon

Well, not quite full, waning by a day.  This shot is a little overexposed, but its nice, and clear.  You can see the detail of the ridges, and craters.  You can see the profile around the periphery.  This shot is through the Two Inch Eyepiece.  Yeah, definitely need to get a Lunar Filter for these kind of shots.  When I use a higher magnification eyepiece I can zoom in the details, and view specific portions of the Lunar Surface.  The New Telescope is very exciting...

Saturn Shot

I've been trying to master my new camera mount on the Skyline Eight Inch Telescope.  Its exceedingly difficult to snap an image of a planet.  They are so small from our perspective, and I don't have Equatorial Motion, so I have to continuously move the Telescope to keep up with the motion of the sky.  I'm doing this while trying to align, and focus the camera.  It took like an hour to get this meager shot.  I am pleased, however, because this is the first time that I have been able to see Saturn, and its rings, and moons.  Awesome...

Burpee Burpless Cucumbers

I don't usually buy sprouted Cucumbers for my garden, but this year I found something that looked intriguing.  Burpee Burpless Cucumbers.  I am going to assume that Burpless means that have a lower Cucumbitacin content, and that you don't taste that when you belch.  Anyway, these Cucumbers got extra large when I wasn't looking, and I figured that they would be extra bitter because of this.  Well, they're not, and I'm surprised.  I took the biggest one, and sliced it up, ate it raw, and its great.  Burpee Burpless Cucumber, Z.Monkey approved...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

New Telescope

I've had a lot of telescopes, but have never bought a new telescope, until now.  I've been using telescopes at work, and its made me want one for my self.  The Optical Tubes I use at work are Eight Inch Reflectors which have a Focal Length of 1000 Millimeters.  It's a Orion Telescope product which we purchase as an Optical Tube Assembly, Orion 203mm f/4.9 Reflector Telescope Optical Tube Assembly.  This Optical Tube Assembly is just the Optical Tube with no Eyepieces, Finder Scope, or Mount.  I want to do Astronomy at home, so I need Eyepieces, Finder Scope, and Mount.  I picked a different model for myself.  The Skyline Telescopes from Orion Telescope have the accessories that you need for Astronomical Observation.  The one I picked is an Eight Inch Reflector with a Focal Length of 1200 Millimeters, SkyLine 8" Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.  It comes with a Two Inch Eyepiece which is really neat.  I've never had one of those.  I took a look at the Full Moon last night, and it was spectacular.
This Telescope gathers more light that anything I have ever used.  Looking at the Full Moon was almost painful because it was so bright.  I went and got my Sun Glasses because the light intensity was hurting my eyes.  I'm going to need to get a Filter Set for the Eyepieces.  I also bought a Camera Mount for the 1.25 Inch Eyepiece.  I played with it a little last night, but its going to take some more experimentation to master is use.  I am looking forward to getting some Astrographs.  I took a look at Venus this morning, and it is the first time that I have seen the shape of the planet, now about half exposed, looked like a half moon.  Tonight I am looking forward to looking at Saturn, and Jupiter.  Hopefully I can snap a few shots...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Faux Pho

So, what do you do when you are craving Pho, but just don't have the time to goto a Noodle House, sit down, and get an authentic bowl of Pho?  You make Faux Pho...  I've become skilled, and efficient at making super fast work lunches.  This is 15 minute Pho.  It helps to have all the accompaniments prepared before work, like the Oak Smoked Beefz, sliced really thin.  You'll need a container of appropriate vegetation as well, like sliced Onions, Jalapenos, and some Bean Sprouts.  Don't forget the travel size Fish Sauce.  I forgot the Sriracha, but had some Cajun Tex smoked Salsa, and that'll work...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Garlic Beef Tacoz

I picked up a few heads of Purple Garlic on Saturday at Rosemeade Market.  Garlic Beef seemed to fit my mood, but wasn't feeling like spending all the time to do Stir Fry, and all the prep work that requires.  So my usual fall back is Tacos, and I had some leftover Chuck Roast which makes it fairly easy.  The green part of the Taco is Cabbage, Jalapeno, and Vidalia Onion wilted with salt.  The Beef is warmed up with some Butter, and Garlic in a Stir Fry pan.  My kind of Fast Food...

Saturday, May 20, 2017

2017 Garden

This year we have trimmed the trees back considerably.  The Oak Tree is around 50 feet tall, and it was usurping the light from the garden.  We also have a couple Crepe Myrtles that were around 30 feet tall, and we trimmed those back to around 12 feet.  This cleared up the light pathways in the mid-day, and afternoon so that the garden is getting light for most of the day now.  I can really tell a difference in the garden's plant growth.  I'm actually getting Tomatoes now, which is great.  Last year I think the Tomato plants only produced one Tomato.
I've planted three varieties of Tomato which are Tomato Tycoon, Beefsteak, and a Heirloom Pineapple Tomato.  I already have some little green Tomatoes.
I also plated Chiles, as usual.  This little Jalapeno already has a couple Chiles on it.  In addition I got some really hot Chiles this year.  One called Caribbean Red Hots, like a Red Savina Habanero, and Carolina Reapers, which are currently the world's hottest.
 I bought some sprouted Cucumbers this year, on a whim, just to try a different variety.  This one is called Burpee Burpless Cucumber.
Then there are a number of plants I planted as seed.  Above are Oriental Greens.
Also planted Beets, French Radishes, Globe Radishes, Kaleidoscope Carrots, Winged Beans, and Vietnamese Squash..

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Texas Cheezesteak

I had one of those (other city) Cheesesteaks this week.  Yeah, it was good, better than most of the take out I've had around here.  Then I thought I need to give this a try.  So here is another culinary perversion...  Texas Cheezesteak...
I'm generally familiar with the Cheesesteak process.  Sauteed Onion, griddled, thinly sliced steak, cheese, and an Italian long roll.  Well, this is Texas, and the local, mass produced bread is the Bolillo, a Mexican bread used for making Tortas, a Mexican Sandwich.  I know, you're thinking thatz all wrong, but the two breads are nearly indistinguishable.  I start by sauteing Jalapenos, and Onions in a Stir Fry Pan...
Onions sauteed in butter will get caramelized, and sweet.  The Jalapeno fit well in there, they will also get sweet when sauteed.  While those caramelize I'll turn my attention to the Chuck Roast I half cooked earlier.  I put it on the Baby Q to get a little chargrilled flavor, then in a fast oven to cook the roast trough most of the way.  I want the final doneness achieved on the griddle in a pool of butter.  I've sliced the roast into pieces, and then thin sliced it against the grain for maximum tenderness.
Put a half tablespoon of butter on the griddle, and then the Beefz.  I'll add some Garlic powder, and Salt while the Beefz are getting happy.  This process is moving really quick now.  The Bolillo Roll is in a slow oven warming, the Jalapenos, and Onions are almost done, and now adding Cheeze to the Beefz on the griddle.
Cover the Beefz, and Cheeze on the griddle with a dome to hasten the meltification, then assemble the Texas Cheezesteak.  Take the warm Bolillo Roll, and split it down the middle.  I'm adding a little Jalapeno Mustard (Eagles fan starts screaming, and gets ejected)...  This is Texas, and we gotta haz the Jalapeno Mustard.  Then the Cheezesteak goes into the Bolillo, and the Sauteed Jalapenos, and Onions on top.  Gotta say, best Cheezesteak Evar!

Steak and Waffles

Impromptu food seems to be my thing lately.  The thing is I already had breakfast, and its more around lunch time, but hungry, and just went to the grocery store.  I've got a plan for a Chuck Roast later, and need to have the Roast about half way cooked.  So I put the Roast on the Baby Q for 10 minutes per side, and then in a fast oven for another 10 minutes.  It is still rare on the inside when I went to assemble the Steak and Waffles.  Sweet, Savory... Nomlishous...

Monday, April 3, 2017

Pozole

Just had another weekend on the Chain Gang.  Bustin' concrete blocks ain't no easy task, and Iz got a Z.Monkey sized appetite.  So, I have some leftover Pulled Pork, and feeling like making Soup.  Somehow I got Pozole in my mind, but I need it quick, because I'm hungry now...

Making Pozole right is time intensive.  So, this is a quick Pozole.  I've got about two cups of Pulled Pork left over, and the good stuff, Kansas City Barbeque!  Then a 25 oz. Can of Hominy, and a 15 oz. can of Hatch Red Enchilada Sauce.  Add the Hominy with its water, and Enchilada Sauce to a Saucepan, then bring it up to a simmer.  I used Fish Sauce for seasoning because it adds a Umami that Salt doesn't.  Once simmering add the Pulled Pork, and let it come up to temperature.  In the mean time prepare some garnishes, sliced Radish, Cabbage, and Scallions.  I forgot the Lime wedges, but they should be there.  I also warmed up some Tortilla Chips.  Then serve them all pronto.  There is a little cup of Pulled Pork on the side, which is for Harley of course.  This was really good for a "quick" soup...


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Steak, and Eggs

I had to remark about this breakfast.  It's Steak, and Eggs, but different.  First I started with a Chuck Roast, and seared it almost too much on the Gas Grill.  It was blackened, almost burned on the surface on purpose.  Then I took the "Steak" and put it in a slow (350F) oven for around 15 minutes.  This let the Au Jus come out of the steak, and make a natural gravy, or dipping sauce.  Also, I had harvested some carrots from the garden, and those are sliced on the side.  Nomlishous...