Wednesday, March 31, 2021

attack of the PANDA

My friend Neil recommended this video to me:

Good thoughts that I wish more people could hear.  We live under a pall of fear and falsehood.  The powerful have no intention of relinquishing the power that we unwisely gave them.  In the meantime, the risk of illness for most of us is laughably minuscule.

(PANDA = Pandemics: Data and Analysis; it's an organization that's critical of lockdowns, lies told to the public, social distancing, masking, travel restrictions, and other deeply paranoid measures taken to keep the public cowed and compliant.)

UPDATE:  the video was yanked from YouTube, probably for the usual Big-Tech bullshit reasons, to wit, purveying of misinformation, etc.  Christ.  Fuck fucking YouTube.  I've re-embedded the video, which was, thankfully, uploaded to BitChute (most likely in anticipation of cancelation by YouTube).

Styx: here come the taxes that Biden said weren't coming

Handsy Joe wants to fuck you, O Citizen:

Here's what's really going to happen, according to Styx:

• Even if you don't raise taxes to pay for Biden's multi-trillion-dollar infrastructural-spending plan, you'll end up with inflation because the proposals will come up way short of 3 trillion dollars.
• The infrastructure will never add to the economy—it won't pay off.
• You'll pay a little more for goods and services.
• Employers will cut employees.
• Unemployment will rise.
• The standard of living will fall a bit.
• A lot of the proposed infrastructure money will be siphoned off by the states, where they'll build nothing useful to the people; instead, it'll be another congressional library or something.  Pork-barrel politics.
• Every member of Congress will be tacking on little expenses here and there.
• Hundreds of billions of dollars will be wasted on pork-barrel nonsense.
• "Well-meaning" projects will come in over budget and way past schedule, making them effectively meaningless.
• Pete Buttigieg has proposed an economy-killing "mileage tax" to pay for part of this project.
• This will cause people to drive less, which in turn means they'll shop less, which in turn depresses the economy.  QED.

Watch the video and listen to the rest.

Thomas Sowell & Company

I really ought to be slapping up more Thomas Sowell videos.  The man is brilliant. 

I'm not sure what to think of the other non-Sowell segments that have been spliced into the video.  Actually, I do know what to think:  I'd rather get a straight dose of Sowell's wisdom than sit through too much attention-deficit-style editing.  I get the point that the editor of the above video is trying to make, but he should have put all the other clips at the very end instead of interrupting Sowell's interview.

as if COVID "passports" weren't bad enough

Paul Joseph Watson reports that fake COVID "passports" are already being sold on the street.

Earlier this week[,] it was revealed that the Biden administration has been working with tech companies and non-profits to create a vaccine passport that “will play a role in multiple aspects of life.”

According to a CNN report, the vaccine passports, which could be ready in weeks, will be a condition of the United States['] returning to “normalcy” before the end of the year.

However, it appears as though street scammers have already beaten the government to the chase.

“Had to work late last night,” tweeted TV host Andrew Gruel. “Walked through a back alley to get to my car. There were 2 shady guys selling fake vaccine passports out of the back of a Cadillac. A market is born.”

The ridiculous takeaway from the introduction of vaccine passports is that Americans may be forced to show ID to watch a baseball game while voting can still take place with no ID requirements whatsoever.

As we highlighted yesterday, the vaccine passport isn’t just a proof of vaccination system[:] it’s a digital ID card that will likely be linked to the [facial-recognition] camera network.

This will then grease the skids for the full implementation of a Communist Chinese-style [social-credit] score system where dissidents are denied basic rights and services and have to live in a de facto state of permanent lockdown.

As if the very concept of a "virus passport" weren't insulting and degrading enough (bye-bye, 4th Amendment), there's already a black-market aspect to this whole dirty affair.  Incredible.


Leftover al-tang:

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

quiche: cutaway views

I swear that this will be the last quiche-related blog post for the next while.  Here are the promised "slice" views of the megaquiche.

Click to enlarge:

And here's my slice, up close and personal, looking like the prow of a ship:

My boss came into the office with his wife today:  they had both been out shopping to help get the wife's new business up and running, so the Missus popped into our office for a few minutes and was immediately offered a hunk of quiche.  She enjoyed the quiche so much that she asked me whether she could take some home for her boys.  She ended up taking a whole quarter of the quiche (which was fine by me:  I'm happy when people like my food enough to take it home).  She also asked for a recipe.

And I think that's enough quicheblogging for the nonce.  I hope you've enjoyed this adventure as much as I have.  The going was tough, but the results have proved to be worth it.  I'll leave off with a thought:  in the past, I've made plenty of frittatas (e.g., here), and I've said that frittata is a cousin of quiche.  That claim needs to be unpacked a bit because the quiche/frittata relationship isn't as straightforward as I made it sound.  The two dishes share common DNA insofar as they are both heavy on eggs and cheese, and they can both include meats and vegetables like sausage, bacon, spinach, mushroom, and onions.  Beyond that, though, there are major differences.  The most obvious difference is both visual and structural:  a quiche comes in a pie crust, whereas a frittata generally doesn't have a crust.  Another difference, arguably not as obvious, is that a quiche is made with a thick custard, whereas a frittata is held together by eggs and cheese only, producing a noticeable difference in texture.  And lastly, there's a methodological difference:  you bake a quiche, but every Italian grandma will tell you that the best frittatas are prepared on a stovetop.  That takes skill:  on a stovetop, the nearly direct contact with the burner means you have to have a gentle, precise hand to make sure your eggs don't burn before the frittata's interior has a chance to cook through.  (I'm not sure, but I'd bet that frittatas don't always have to be totally cooked through.)  So, three differences:  crust, custard, and stovetop.  There may be further differences in terms of French vs. Italian herbs, but those differences will be relatively minor:  France is technically a Mediterranean country, given its southern coastline, so the French and Italian flavor profiles will have plenty of overlap.  I hope this was educational.  For me, making the huge quiche was definitely educational; I've made smaller quiches before, but never one this large.  There were a lot of moving parts to keep track of, which made the process a bit nerve-wracking, but I had fun.  And now... back to our regular programming.

EPILOGUE:  only one smallish piece of that gigantic quiche remains.  Both of my coworkers ate large slices of the quiche, and later in the day, so did my boss.  I had an interesting discussion with my Korean coworker about pies and pie shells; he recalled having made a meat pie for us, but as he pointed out, his pie's shell was too soft and chewy (I didn't say anything about his pie that day, but it's true:  the pie crust was too soft and strangely chewy... he'd followed the instructions of some Korean video, which was probably Mistake #1).  He chalked the problem up to moisture:  his crust had had too much water in it.  That's possible.  The weird chewiness might also have come from overworking the dough.  Anyway, the discussion with my coworker got me thinking that I might want to try making a more hardcore English meat pie:  the good old steak-and-ale pie, full of beef and mushrooms.

quiche unleashed!

Here's what the megaquiche looks like without its chaste priest collar (click to enlarge):

I observe with grim satisfaction the buckling on the quiche's side.  This means the quiche's crust tried to collapse but failed:  the quiche cooked too quickly for catastrophic collapse to occur.  Ha!  There was simply too much outward pressure from the quiche's filling and custard to allow the pie crust to slump.  Nice try, Murphy's Law!

On an equally triumphant note:  I checked the bottom of the quiche, and it looks fine!  Not dark brown at all, but roughly the same shade you see there on the quiche's sides (or side, given that it's circular).  Dolphins leap in joy and fire lasers out of their buttholes!  I hope my Korean coworker will enjoy this quiche; the only problem is that he doesn't know the quiche is coming today:  I told only my boss about what I'd be bringing in.

I admit, though, that making this quiche was an arduous process, and not one I'm likely to repeat anytime soon.  I would now like to move on to Chicago deep-dish pizza, a true pizza rustica, cheesecake, and other things you can make in a springform pan.

Expect "slice" pictures later today.

the media and Mohammed Anwar

Instapundit links to an article at The American Conservative by Rod Dreher:  "Mohammed Anwar's Mystery Murderers."  The article's basic point is what many of us have been saying for a while:  Narrative über alles.  In other words, when a white person commits a crime, the media—currently in White Supremacy Watch mode—will trumpet the perpetrator's race, but when a non-white person commits a crime, guess what?  Mention of race is nowhere to be found.  In Mohammed Anwar's case, the man was a Pakistani immigrant and Uber Eats driver who had the misfortune of encountering two teenaged girls, both black, who tased the man, stole his car (with Anwar still inside it), and then crashed the car.  Anwar died of injuries sustained during the crash.  CNN tried to fob this off as "an accident," but any right-thinking person can see this was outright murder:  a series of deliberate actions by the girls led directly to Anwar's death.  But does this case get national play?  Apparently not, or at least, not that much.  Dreher writes (slightly edited):

Black teenagers allegedly kill South Asian man in carjacking. It would seem that if we were concerned about crimes against Asians, this would be a story. But as of this writing, there is nothing about it in The New York Times. I googled to see if any of the networks had covered it. NBC News had something three days ago, which did not mention the race of the alleged perpetrators. This is understandable because, at that point, no video existed. Well, now it does. The story has not been updated. The other two networks aren’t carrying it, at least not that I could find. USA Today finally reported the story this afternoon but said nothing about the race of those arrested for the crime.

The New York Post reported on it but did not mention the race of the alleged perpetrators (though it did embed a video). Nothing on NPR, as of this writing.

This isn't a question of the right suddenly being obsessed with race:  this is a matter of holding the left to its own disgusting race-obsessed standards.  And, predictably, the left proves hypocritical once again:  report and exaggerate white crime; downplay all non-white crime.  That's the game, and those are the rules.  This is why I think most "journalism" today needs to be torched with a flamethrower.

As to the larger current issue about "anti-Asian hate," it's worth noting—and once again, the media are doing nothing to put this forth—that most anti-Asian crimes are committed by blacks.  I don't take this to mean that blacks are inherently evil, or even inherently violence-prone, but the stats are the stats, and as a simple matter of reporting the goddamn truth, the stats ought to be part of the discussion so that people know where to focus their words and actions.  Right now, the focus is unjustly on white people.  White supremacy has become a huge bugbear in the mind of the left over the past few years, mainly to satisfy the delusional need to take down Donald Trump, who was such an anti-black and anti-Latino bigot that he reduced black and Latino unemployment rates to record-low levels.  Does white supremacy exist in the States?  Yes, it does.  But is it the pressing national problem that the left says it is?  Not on your life.  It's barely a blip on the national radar.  That's reality.

Anyway, it's not surprising to see such hypocrisy; this is the world we live in.

Did I get it right on the second try?

Right on the second try?  I successfully baked my ambitious megaquiche in my 9-inch springform pan.  No disasters this time, and I followed my instincts.  The quiche needs four whole hours to cool down, so now it's a waiting game.  The quiche was supposed to take about 90 minutes to bake, but when I checked it at the 90-minute mark, I could see it was nowhere near done.  A done quiche is still wobbly in the middle, but not liquidy; after some time, the quiche cools down and solidifies.  Mine was liquidy at 90 minutes.  My total baking time was probably a bit over two hours, but most of that was at around 300ºF (149ºC), with less than half the baking time at 350ºF (177ºC).

Once again, we've got the suntan going.  It's not burned, and it smells amazing (for such is the magic of Gruyère cheese, which is perfect for ovens), but it may not be to everyone's liking.  Not as much crust-butter leaked out of the pan as I anticipated, which is good.  I actually used a bit less butter than I normally do, but I think I made up for the lack of butter by incorporating a bit more water, most of which ought to have cooked out of the pie now.

I'll remove the pan's "collar" in the morning, and we'll see what God hath wrought.  I hope the bottom's not as well-done as last time, but that may be inevitable after two hours in the oven.

Using the springform pan is going to be awkward, especially if I bake pies with buttery crusts.  I have to have a solid tray under the pan to collect any stray butter and keep it away from the bottom of the oven, but the only solid tray I have is barely wide enough to hold the springform and stop any dripping.  I need to find out whether there are eight-inch springform pans out there; those might be more useful.

Here are two pics of tonight's efforts:

Click the pic below to enlarge:

Expect more pics soon.  The quiche is cooling now.

Monday, March 29, 2021

more memes

Found from all over.  My favorite of the bunch comes first:

Pretty much:

Not that anything will change:

The experts are confused about a lot of things:

My position on masks hasn't changed much since the beginning of the pandemic.  I wear a mask, these days, mainly because I'm required to wear one, not because I'm overly worried about coming down with COVID-19.  I'm persuaded that masks are effective to the extent that they help with the "droplet problem" associated with coughing and sneezing.  Beyond that, masks offer little protection.  The virus can get in through the eyes, and according to an NIH study on surgical masks, all it takes is two hours of mask-wearing for the pathogens to build up on the inside of the mask.  Masks for kids are generally a bad idea, and it sucks when authorities tell families that their kids must be masked up all day long.  Rebreathing your own bacterial funk is not a good thing.  (This BBC article calls that a myth, but the article also contradicts the NIH study, and I trust the NIH study more than I do a leftist news agency with an obvious political agenda.)

Styx: COVID "passport" redux

Holy Week

Can we ever forget how Our Lord rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on his velociraptor?

(Inspired by my original 2013 post.)

half-remembered term, finally found again

Bangsaeng! (방생, 放生)

The term bangsaeng is associated with a Buddhist ceremony involving the periodic (and often symbolic) release of captured joongsaeng (creatures, sentient beings—usually fish and birds).  For the longest time, I would rack my brains in an effort to remember this term, and now that I've remembered it, I'm noting it here for future reference:  if I don't note the term here, I'm very likely to forget it again.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

from PowerLine's Week in Pictures

James Gunn's "Suicide Squad": definitely on my to-see list

I never saw the first "Suicide Squad" (2016), which was considered a giant turd by everyone who had the misfortune of watching it.  The preview trailer for that movie served as enough of a warning to steer me away from it.  Now, however, James Gunn (the guy responsible for the two "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies) has switched from Marvel to DC to lend his magic touch to the franchise, and 2021's "The Suicide Squad" (note the addition of the definite article) looks quite promising, judging by its hilarious trailer.  Take a look for yourself:

The new movie is not considered a reboot, nor is it exactly a retcon:  it's supposed to be a weird sort of sequel that brings back several members of the cast from the 2016 film, including Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, and Joel Kinnaman.  Other refugees from the Marvel Cinematic Universe make an appearance in the new movie, including "Guardians" veterans Sylvester Stallone and the always-awesome Michael "Mary Poppins" Rooker.  (You'll recall that Stallone and Rooker both starred in the 90s actioner "Cliffhanger.")

excellent analysis of the 2021 Texas wintertime power outage

Styx on "Stasi"-style COVID passports

Your medical data are private.  Forcing people to certify the state of their health is a violation of the right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

theos and logos

research project

I want to find out whether it's free to walk up the steps of the Lotte World Tower (123 floors and over 1900 steps) to reach the observation level.  If you take the elevator, you have to pay over W20,000 for the privilege of seeing Seoul from the high deck.  But if you take the stairs... is it free?  I'll report back when I've found something out.

a most satisfying video

I see no reason for mosquitoes and wasps.  If I could snap my fingers, Thanos-style, and make these creatures disappear, I'd do so in a heartbeat.  Since that's not the world we live in, though, I have to content myself with videos that celebrate the deaths of these loathsome creatures, one by one.

Saturday, March 27, 2021


I wouldn't have known about this one had it not been for commenter Kory, who pointed me to the Korea Times article saying that Nongshim Group founder Shin Choon-ho recently died of "a chronic illness" at the age of 91.  The Nongshim brand is hugely popular among Koreans; as the article notes, it's responsible for such products as Shin Ramyeon (my favorite brand of Korean ramyeon), Jjapaghetti (also spelled "Chapaghetti"), and Neoguri (pronounce it "gnaw-goo-ree" with a Spanish "r").  Along with all the Ottogi products I buy, I also purchase plenty of Nongshim products.

the terrible pressure of silence

This happens quite often when I get in a cab:  I greet the driver and tell him where I want to go; the driver grunts affirmatively or confirms the destination by repeating it back to me, and we're off.  If the driver isn't garrulous (as an introvert, I'm never garrulous with strangers; it's up to my interlocutor to initiate conversation if s/he wants to), when we'll ride along in silence... until the cabbie can't take it any longer, and he turns on the radio or his in-car TV, just to fill the air with human voices.

Koreans are garrulous, gregarious, hive-minded people.  In most situations (there are, of course, exceptions), they don't like being alone with their thoughts.  Silence quickly becomes oppressive, as if some inner voice were yelling, "Say something!"  In the cabbie's situation, he might want to talk, but he's already judged me to be Korean-incompetent because I'm a foreigner.  So as the pressure in him builds to fill the silence, his only recourse is to fill the cab with the sounds of a TV or radio.  I find that a bit sad, really:  what's wrong with being alone with your thoughts?  Is your mind that much of a hell?  And on a pragmatic level:  what's wrong with not being distracted by ambient noise while you're driving?  Isn't that safer?

Koreans aren't unique in feeling pressured by silence.  Americans—even if they're not quite as hive-minded—can be a chatty, gabby people, too, and many Yanks will feel the silence drag on until they, like Koreans, are just bursting to talk.  This is mostly true of extroverts; it's hard to find an introvert who can't bear the weight of a long silence.*

Maybe there's some evolutionary reason for the oppression of silence.  In classic movies, there used to be the now-parodied line "It's quiet... too quiet."  Maybe we primates associate a long quiet with the feeling that a nearby predator is about to launch an attack.  If so, then silence is a sinister thing, a cloud hiding monsters and demons, and the only way to beat the cloud back is by making a joyful noise.  And maybe we introverts are the freaks who were born with bad wiring:  we treasure the silence; we respect it and revel in it because we find that our fellow primates' hooting and hollering is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.


*And there are, to be fair, plenty of Koreans who, living a crowded urban existence, actually crave silence.  My buddy JW seems to show that tendency when he's out walking with me.  He disdains the crowds alongside the Han River almost as much as I do, and it's a relief to him whenever we find ourselves on a stretch of the Four Rivers path that's nearly devoid of people.  Many Koreans are outwardly gregarious but privately craving silence and open spaces.  Not all Koreans are wired to enjoy a hive-mind existence.

your dose of Oglaf

I hadn't visited in a while, so I went back and saw these two gems:

mini-quiche, up close and personal

You didn't get to see a cross-section of the quiche I had served for Friday's lunch, so here are some shots of one of the quiches I baked Friday night.

First, an overhead shot:

Next—a more food-porny shot:

A glimpse of the underside to show that, when I bake the quiche my way (i.e., no blind-baking and no temp adjustments) instead of listening to instructions from a video, the crust comes out just fine, thanks very much:

And at long last:  the cross-section:

My coworker's trained chef of a wife made a quiche a few months back; I'm surprised I didn't blog about it (or did I? I'm still looking for the post).  Her quiche was picture-perfect in spite of the onions.  My coworker said, yesterday, that he liked the crust on my quiche better than the crust on his wife's quiche, but I think the Missus did a better job with her quiche's internal texture (partly because she didn't overstuff her quiche with a ton of filling).

Previous quiche posts:

1. Quiche Syzygy

2. Attack of the Quiche

the crabby old man returns

After months of not posting any YouTube rants, angry conservative British comedian-turned-pundit Pat Condell comes out of hiding to share his thoughts on the death of freedom of expression in the UK.  In the video, he speaks admiringly of the American tradition of free speech and its First Amendment protection, but I'd have to say that, even with the First Amendment in place, free speech in America is rapidly eroding, too.

Friday, March 26, 2021

quiche syzygy

I said I had three more quiches waiting in the wings.  Tonight, I got home and made more custard, then baked these bad boys.  I still have yet more quiche filling, though, so I'll be making another quiche on Saturday with new pie dough (and more Gruyère), using up the rest of the new batch of custard I'd made.  Expect at least one more pic.

attack of the quiche

The quiche came off fairly well, but the bottom of the pie was overcooked in some parts, and once again, my Korean coworker drew the short straw and got what was apparently the toughest part of the crust, which he didn't eat.  Also once again, it's not that the crust was burned:  there was no smoking or charring going on while the quiche was baking; it's just that that part of the crust was a little too well done for my coworker's taste.  I would've eaten the offending crust as if it were a nice, crispy, buttery cracker, but that's just how I roll.  My boss's verdict, by contrast, was a rare "This is really good"; his addition of the adverb "really" got my attention since he's normally not very lavish with his praise:  generally, he grunts, "S'good," and that's about it.  The man isn't wired to talk descriptively about food.

I had started prep the night before, and I ended up finishing prep this morning.  My original intention had been to finish everything last night, but a mistake made me reevaluate my strategy.  I'd been eager to put my new 9-inch springform pan through its paces, but when I tried making a huge amount of pie crust and blind-baking it without pie weights, the crust shrank and collapsed into the pan.  Duh.  This catastrophic failure was both predictable and avoidable, and I learned a valuable lesson:  it's not enough merely to hang extra dough over the pan's edge in the hopes that the overhang will prevent shrinkage.  Nope:  you have to use pie weights.  As Chef John on YouTube likes to joke, dough can sense fear.  In other words, if you do things in a hesitant, half-assed way, you'll pay for your laziness and folly (and fear).  Anyway, the disaster was demoralizing, so I decided I'd finish the pie in the morning.  All the other components were ready to go:  the pie's meat-and-vegetable filling, the custard, and the extra Gruyère cheese to be spread over the bottom and top of the pie.

Come morning, I made more pie dough and was about to try the springform pan again when I re-watched one video about giant quiches and discovered that a deep-dish quiche needs four fucking hours to cool down before serving.  I realized I hadn't woken up nearly early enough, so I switched tactics and went with my other B&C Market purchase:  a standard 9-inch pie tin.  I'd be baking a normal-sized pie, which was a bit disappointing, but sometimes, you just have to cut your losses.  I reasoned that, if I stuffed the pie with enough hearty filling, even a normal-sized pie would be plenty for the office crew.  So I put the pie together, sprinkling Gruyère on the bottom of the tin, ladling in the filling (homemade sausage, regular bacon, smoked duck fried up as "bird bacon," shredded cheddar cheese, spinach, button mushrooms, onion flakes, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, thyme, and a bit of garlic powder), pouring in the custard (a mixture of 3 cups' heavy cream and seven eggs plus various seasonings—more on that later), and topping the whole thing with more Gruyère.

I baked the pie at about 350°F for thirty minutes before cranking up the heat to close to 400°F for the final half hour.  I guess next time, I simply won't crank up the heat:  I'd been paranoid that the buttery pie crust might be too soft after even an hour of baking.  I did blind-bake the crust this time; every single quiche video I watched insisted on a blind-bake before putting the filling into the pie shell.  I should have listened to my instincts and skipped the blind-baking, But Oh Well.  I took two pics of the prep, one pic of the pie as it baked, a pic of another pie-in-waiting that I'd made with the extra dough (I have three more quiches), and a pic of the completed pie.  The smell, as the quiche baked, was absolutely incredible.  I need to make quiches way more often than I do.

Alas, I failed to take any pics of the quiche when it was being served, so the following pics will have to do.  As I wrote above, my Korean coworker didn't eat part of the bottom crust because he thought it was too hard (I feel bad about that, but as I said, I'd have eaten it), but he said he liked the quiche overall.  My American coworker gave me a happy thumbs-up (he said my pie's crust was better than his wife's from back when she had made a quiche), and my boss gave me his "really good" imprimatur.  I'm probably going to bring in a "redemption" quiche next week; of the three quiches in my fridge, two are personal-sized and one is standard-sized.  I guess next week's meals are all planned out.

Here are the pictures.  First up:  the filling:

The spinach and mushrooms needed to be cooked down; when you're making a quiche, you don't put the veggies in raw.  I thought that adding the duck was a stroke of genius, if I do say so myself.  I had been pondering buying some thick-cut bacon when I remembered I had sliced smoked duck in my freezer and a bit of leftover regular bacon in my fridge.  So I cooked down the veggies and fried up the duck and bacon; the sausage had been done days before, so it was simply a matter of dumping it into the mix.  Next pic:  the custard:

Is the above a true custard?  Some YouTube cooks call it "a neutral custard," which sounds awkward, but I guess it describes what's going on.  Normally, a custard is sweet:  its main components are cream, sugar, and eggs.  Variations on custard involve switching out heavy cream with milk or half-and-half while also possibly adding crème fraîche, softened cream cheese, etc.  A "neutral custard" has no sugar in it.  Instead, it's seasoned with salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic powder, etc.  You also need enough eggs in your custard to guarantee that the final product will be firm, not runny.

Below:  the quiche bakes while emanating a wonderful aroma.

Next up:  a peek inside my fridge, where you see another full-sized quiche, waiting for its turn in the oven.  The only thing this quiche needs is its custard bath, and I'll be giving it that bath tonight.  Not visible:  the two personal-sized quiches that are off to the side.

Finally, a pic of the finished product:

The quiche smelled even more amazing once I pulled it out of the oven.  I had enough time to make only the one quiche, alas, but the above pie came out early enough to cool down significantly before I bagged it up for transport to the office.

Lesson learned:  don't get impatient and crank the oven too high.  Have faith in your idiot-proof pie dough, and let physics do the heavy lifting.  It'll all turn out well in the end.

Oh, yeah:  I have enough quiche filling left over to make several more quiches.  It's safe to say that my meals for next week are mostly set.  I hope I don't get sick of quiche by the end.

Joe Biden's presser is a shit show

Styx comments on the disaster that was Joe Biden's first press conference:

Tim Pool also reacts (with clips of Biden doing his senile thing):

ADDENDUM:  Tucker Carlson didn't like Uncle Joe's presser:

the "Asians vs. white supremacy" lie

Half-Chinese Lauren Chen lays it out:

two via Bill

a better rum cake (done by a pro)

Ideally, I'd like my rum cake to be more along the lines of what you see below:

Dude puts 3/4 cup of rum into the batterMucho respeto.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

the rum-cake experiment: results

I served my rum cake today, not knowing whether it'd be a triumph or a tragedy.  Let's start with the images and work our way forward from there.

First, the cake is way more suntanned than my mother's used to be:

It's not burned, mind you, but it's a much deeper brown.  Here—take a closer look at the cake's open, beckoning anus:

Brings back sweet memories of prison life, doesn't it?  It could be that the cake was simply over-baked, but the texture, when I cut into it, was pretty moist.  At the same time, the surface of the cake resisted cutting with a smooth-bladed knife:  the cake bent and wobbled before finally yielding to the blade.  That may be a sign of slight over-baking.

As you see below, the cake's interior was moist, but it was also quite dark.  Mom's rum cake used to be a bright, happy yellow, probably because it was from a boxed mix like Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines.  Right now, I'm thinking I need to use a different Bundt-cake recipe.

When I cut into my cake, I didn't think it was all that bad.  The look wasn't ideal, but it tasted like rum cake.  The interior texture was gooey, heavy, and sweet.  My boss complained that the cake was slightly too sweet, but I don't trust his criticism because he went back for seconds.  He asked me what I thought of the cake's sweetness, and I told him that I was the wrong person to ask because I have a very, very sweet tooth.

The cake's heaviness and its buttery interior almost reminded me of the Korean cookie called yak-gwa, which is a greasy mix of honey and oil, pine nuts (which are naturally oily), and even sesame seeds depending on the recipe.  While not quite as fatty as a yak-gwa, my cake was definitely heading in that direction thanks to the buttery syrup. My American coworker pronounced the cake excellent, but once again, my Korean coworker never said a word about what he'd eaten, so I suspect he didn't enjoy the cake very much.

The above slice is yellowest at the bottom.  The bottom was formerly the top of the cake while it was baking.  When I spooned the rum-butter syrup onto/into the cake, the syrup ran down thanks to gravity, and I guess it didn't linger at the top.  Either that, or the cake's interior color has nothing to do with the rum-butter syrup.  I should note, at this point, that I'd been aiming for a bright-yellow interior.  To that end, I'd added eight drops of yellow food coloring to the mix while I was making the batter.  The yellow really shows through, as I mentioned, at the bottom.  I'm disappointed that that color didn't dominate the entire cross-section.

Where do we go from here?  I had wanted the cake to be a bit lighter in both weight and color (there's no such thing as a light rum cake, but I think there's no reason for the cake to be this heavy), and that's not the result I got.  Possible solutions:  (1) use about two-thirds to half of the rum-butter syrup; (2) use a different recipe for the Bundt cake itself; (3) try not to fuck up the baking process by pouring in too much batter; (4) try cooking the cake for longer, and at an even lower temperature, like 300°F.  That might minimize the suntan.

I don't think I'd call the cake a total failure; it obviously tasted good enough for my American coworker to compliment it, and for my complaining boss to eat two slices (it occurs to me that he didn't complain about my chocolate cake, which was five times sweeter).  At the same time, it didn't get any praise from my Korean coworker, and I actually think my boss's complaint about the over-sweetness is legitimate.  I think what I need to do is see whether I can make a regular old yellow Bundt cake—a nice, bright-yellow one—without the rum syrup.  If I can master that, then I can move on to adding the syrup.

Expect more cakes over the coming months.  Lots of trial and error.