Hot Oil

The Woks of Life have an awesome Hot Oil recipe. However, it’s not hot enough for my tastes. The oil itself is fantastic. I decided to knock it up a notch by adding crushed habanero peppers. I failed utterly in trying to knock it up a notch. I did however succeed in knocking it up several notches. Now to figure out how much I can add to my food without killing the taste, my mouth, and my butt hole…=) I cannot wait to try this with some pot stickers.

Had my first physical the other day and it went well. The test results seem good and what I was expecting. I plan to review the results with the doctor next month.

Didn’t walk/run last week. That was bad. I plan to do that this week though and get back to hiking. Good news is my running isn’t triggering any gout attacks! WOOHOO! ::knocks on wood:: Bad news is I still cannot run very far but I think I’m able to run a bit further each time I do it. I really should just go to the gym. It’s only a 2.4 mile walk. I’ll try it one day and see how that goes. I am paying to renew my membership every year so I really should use it. Just gotta find my lifting gloves.

Learned a few things

I’ve learned a few things over the past few months…

  1.  The scoopy thing at the top of a potato peeler is used to remove the eyes
  2. Adding more curry doesn’t make it taste better
  3. There is a such thing as making something spicier but not tastier
  4. Rubbermaid Brilliance sucks ass
  5. I have a long ways to go if I want to hike Mt. Fuji
  6. There are dentists out there that know how to inject pain killers and do not try to compensate via volume.

Now to clarify a few things and to post about stuff that’s been happening over the past 4 months.

Number 2

I found a great Coconut Curry recipe over at The Woks of Life (surprise surprise). I found it delicious but I wanted a stronger curry flavor. I doubled the amount of curry but that really didn’t fix the issue…if anything it made it worse. I can’t say it tastes bad but it doesn’t really taste good either. I’ll have to play around with the recipe or maybe I’ll use a curry paste instead.

Number 3

My go to food is Mapo Tofu. If I can’t think of anything else I’ll make this. It’s easy to make, it stores well, and it tastes great. I’ve been trying to find a good chili oil to replace the other stuff that they stopped selling because it seems it would give you cancer. I suppose it was a good thing they took it off the market. Anyway I scoured the internet trying to find a decent replacement and I eventually found a few that could work. The first I tried was a habanero based oil and the reviews said it was HOT but it didn’t add any flavor. I thought who cares? The mapo tofu is already pretty damn tasty and all I wanted was heat. I was wrong. It seems the chili oil adds to the flavor as well as the heat. I’ll find a good replacement eventually.

Number 4

My plan during tax season was to make all my food for the entire season. I started to build a good base of recipes so I wouldn’t be eating the same thing for 3 months. I then had to find some good containers to store said food in. Now I could have just bought a giant food container and stored everything in there and just scooped out what I needed daily but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted my meals to be in an individual container so all I had to do was grab it from the fridge in the morning and go to work. I had some criteria for what I wanted in a food storage container. First it had to be light. Second it had to be air tight. Third it had to have a locking mechanism.  There were several containers out there that fit the bill but the Rubbermaid Brilliance line won out. The locking mechanism was hinge based and so it wouldn’t break off like the wing based Glasslock or Snapware ones. It was completely clear which wasn’t a requirement but it was a nice bonus. The fact that it was stain resistant was also nice. I really liked the idea of the vent holes too so I wouldn’t have to pull the lid off when I put it in the microwave.

Rubbermaid Brilliance sounds pretty cool right? Awesome even? Yeah no. The vent holes were not large enough to vent the steam fast enough and would cause the lid to warp and crack. I remember once the lid actually popped off. I even tried to pull the lids off and then placed them on top to stop any splashing but the lids still warped and cracked. Eventually the lids will crack to the point where the rubber seal will pull away from the lid which basically makes it useless.

I ended up throwing them all away and replacing them will the Glasslock stuff. I hope these hold up better. On the plus side the lids are “free” to replace but you do have pay for shipping.

Number 5

I went hiking one morning with Rex and I realized how far I have to go to keep up with him. It was embarrassing and a little discouraging. I plan to remedy this via hiking more, running more, and working on those steps near the trails.

Number 6

I’ve been going to the same dentist for years now but recently they’ve been acting a bit on the shady side. I recently got Blue Shield dental insurance and when I asked if I was in their network I would never get a straight answer. They would also charge me a $150 annual fee every year…even if I just paid the first one in November and I was coming back in January for a teeth cleaning. I eventually started to go to Rodney Guerrero DDS and Holly Hanna it’s like night and day. He uses just ONE vial of pain killer and my entire jaw is dead to the world for hours. He also uses those nifty rubber blocks so it’s easier to zone out when I’m getting fillings and whatnot. He’s located in Long Beach and the number is 1-562-269-0153.

And so that’s it for this update. I’ll keep you (and by you I mean me cause nobody reads this but me) updated on my progress towards Mt. Fuji, my first 5K, my battle with gout, cooking, and other random crap that happens in my life.

See you!

Annnnd it was Gout…damn it.

Went to see a doctor a few days ago and he said it was probably gout. He said that running can trigger a gout attack which make sense. If the deposits are there and I aggravate it then it will cause swelling. The advil I was taking (go go liqui-gels) was helping to blunt the pain but the Indomethacin really knocked it out of the park. The question now is do I keep running? Hell yes I plan to keep running! We’ll see how I got about it though. On a the plus side I’ve lost 10lbs since January so that was a nice surprise…=)

Anyway…I haven’t tried any new dishes since my last post. I’m going to try and work on the existing ones and see if I can tweak them to my tastes.

Foot hurts and more cooking

So earlier this year I posted about wanting to get back into shape and I’ve been walking 7-10 miles every week since September. I split it between walking 5 miles on surface streets and 2 miles hiking the hills of PV. I used to do two 5 mile walks but I realized that I need to do something more vigorous so I swapped in hiking to add a bit of difficulty. I have since tried to knock it up a notch and try running again. Being weary of what happened in January I wanted to take it slowly and only ran for about a minute over a 90 minute walk. I felt fine after that so I decided to try for 3 minutes over a 90 minute walk and the result was an injured foot. It feels like gout but I’ve been eating relatively healthy over the past few months. I did devour an entire bag of popchips so maybe that’s what triggered it. It’s been 3 days since this started and it’s starting to fade away. I think I’ll be able to resume my nightly walks by Saturday.

So what did I cook this week? Sriracha Orange Beef and Chili Oil. The sriracha orange beef was good but not very orangy. I also didn’t like the sauce mixed with the rice at all. I’m not sure what I did wrong but I’ll figure it out somehow. Maybe add more orange juice? I also think I cooked it for a bit too long as the red peppers were pretty much disintegrated by the time I pulled it off the stove.

The chili oil is awesome. It’s not as hot as I like but very flavorful. There are things I need to keep in mind when I make this again though. This recipe smokes like hell and my “exhaust” will not keep up. The entire house was a smoky mess until I opened all the windows to air out the house. I also got to remember that the heat controls on this stove suck and a medium heat is more like a medium high heat. As a result of this I burned the aromatics (that’s what the folks over at The Woks of Life call them). They said this would create a subpar oil and if burning the aromatics creates a subpar oil then I really want to see what happens when I do not burn them. I really want to figure out a way to make it spicier…I’ll have to try the different crushed chilis over at 99 Ranch as see what happens.

Pork Belly! Stairs!

So I tried the Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly from The Woks of Life and it was so good I licked the spoon and pot clean. However it took me about twice as long to cook the dish and I’m not entirely sure why it happened. The recipe called for me to simmer the sauce down to a glistening coat but after 2 hours of simmering it was still more of a thin gravy. I eventually (as the website suggested) turn the heat to max and stir constantly to reduce the sauce to the correct consistency. The problem with doing that is the meat fell off the fat part so when I started to eat it I got either all meat or all fat. Now don’t get me wrong it was delicious but eating chunks of fat gets old and kinda gross after awhile.

I did my weekly hike over in PV this week and I decided to end my hike via the stairs instead of the trail. Holy Hanna was that difficult. However I have a new goal now…to get to the top of the stairs without stopping. I wonder how long it will take. It will be difficult to train as I do not think there are any stairs I can actually train on and I really do not want to drive the 40 minutes it will take me to get to PV. Maybe there are some bleachers nearby I can use…

Curry Round Two and Honey Sriracha Chicken

I made the Curry Beef Bowl from The Woks of Life a few weeks ago and it didn’t turn out very well. The curry flavor was bland, the beef was overcooked, and the potatoes were not cooked. This was all my fault though as I didn’t follow the instructions very well and the stove I haven’t isn’t very hot. The second time I made it (tonight) it was a a bit better. The beef wasn’t as chewy and I think that’s because I used 15% lean beef instead of 10% lean. The potatoes were way better the second time around because I cooked them for a longer period of time. The curry flavor still isn’t very…well…curry. It’s there but it’s more subtle and I like curry that has a bolder flavor. I’m not sure what I can do as I doubled the amount of curry powder this time around. I may have to try a different curry powder mix. The site recommends madras curry powder so maybe I’ll try that once I use up all my current stock of powder.

I also made Honey Sriracha Chicken from Creme de la Crumb and it was pretty damn good. I need to mince the garlic better and add more sriracha but over all it was pretty tasty. I was concerned as I generally do not like chicken breast but the sauce made up for the dryness of the chicken breast. I didn’t taste much of the honey either now that I think about it…hmm…maybe I should add more honey as well.

Side note: The Rubbermaid Brilliance line of food storage is pretty good but will stain if it stores curry.

Black Friday Hike

Hiked again today. Burma Trail to Kelvin to Rattlesnake. A 2 mile hike with an 800 foot incline. Took me about an hour to do it with 4 breaks. The rattlesnake part was the toughest bit as it is the steepest part of this particular hike and where I took the most breaks. I want to get this hike down to 40 minutes with zero brakes. After I do that I’ll go for longer and longer hikes until I can hike for 11 miles with a variation of elevations. I need to find a place where I can climb 5,000 miles to mimic Mt Fuji…maybe Mt Whitney? I could possibly just do the 11 miles at a faster pace when I go uphill? Jog it maybe if my knees will allow it but I’ll see if that possible with tax season looming over the horizon.

I’m not sure how I’ll be able to keep up the cooking, walking, and hiking throughout tax season as I really only have Sunday to take care of everything. I can do it I suppose but I’ll be cooking three meals in order to make enough food to last me 6 days. That’s a lot of cooking! I suppose I can just double or triple the recipes I have but I really don’t want to eat the same thing for 6 days straight. ]

I have found another website that has some awesome recipes! Creme de la Crumb is  yet another site full of relatively simply recipes but covering a wider range of food types unlike The Woks of Life. Now don’t get me wrong The Woks of Life is a great site but they only have asian (mostly Chinese) recipes and I would like to expand my horizons…even though it will cost me in herbs and seasoning…=)

It feels good to be blogging again. I am paying for the site so I really should use it even if nobody else reads this…=)

Walking, a bit of hiking, and some cooking.

I’ve started to walk roughly 10 miles per week (until recetly). I started this at around the beginning of September and I plan to keep it up. I have however dropped down a little in distance and added in difficulty by hiking with altitude changes. So I walk one day for 5 miles and then I hike another day for 2-3 miles. Why am I doing this? I would like to get back in to shape but mostly because I want to do the Mt Fuji hike next summer and get my walking stick. See you can hike up Mt Fuji and get markers burned into a walking stick at stations along the trail to the top. Awesome right?

I’ve also started to cook again. I’ve realized that I spend WAY to much money to going out to eat every day. I’m not the best chef in the world but it’s good enough for me. I have found a great site called The Woks of Life and there are a lot of GREAT recipes. I find that I have to modify the recipes a little to suit my tastes but for the most part everything I’ve made from there has been great. They have recipes that suit all skill levels and have great instructions. They even have a section that tells you about Chinese cooking, methods, spices, ingredients, and even tips on how to eat around Chinese people.

Now the other knee hurts!

So the knee that had been bothering me was my right knee. The right one is at about 90%. My left knee is now starting to hurt. It’s difficult for me to walk up and downstairs. I really am starting to feel like an old man. This was triggered because I decided to go  for a night time walk. I felt okay the next day but the day after that my left knee started to complain. I wonder if it’s just another gout attack or something worse. I say this because my knee is popping and I do not associate popping joints with gout.

Now I was walking up and down stairs because I wanted Deadpool and I had to park in the structure over at Arclight. Overall I liked the movie and I hope Deadpool starts a trend of rated R super hero movies. While I did enjoy Superman, Batman, Ironman, and The Avengers I wonder what the rated R version of them would be. Bloodier differently and probably more sex.

It’s going to be a looooong Tax Season

Week 3 of tax season and the February calendar is so full we had to open the March calendar 3 days early. Now don’t get me wrong this is a good thing as more people means more business for us but man almost every night we have clients up to 7:00 PM. This means I will not get to leave until 8-9 PM and Eddy doesn’t leave until 9-11 PM. This leaves little wind down time for us when we get home which leads to less sleep. With less sleep I get sick more often and it takes long for me to recover. At least we get Sunday’s off…for now…=)

As for my knee I still cannot completely straighten it and it’s difficult for me to walk in the morning. If I take some advil the pain goes away and I can walk normally but doing this makes me feel older than I am. I really should go see a doctor…=/