Archive for April, 2006

Groundhog Loop

Photographed by denovich

210 miles yesterday around west-central PA.

It was a great ride. The Blackbird (CBR1100XX) proved to be an excellent way to see some scenery and to carve up back-country roads.

Best Kung Pao Beef, Ever.

We made kung pao beef again tonight. This time instead of cooking over the propane burner of my turkey fryer, I used the coals in our fireplace.

We had a good fire going most of the evening… when it had burned down and was largely a big pile of coals, I just stuck the wok right on them.

Here's our recipe (not authentic, but damn tasty):

1/2 pounds steak
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 egg white
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tbl spoon Jack Daniels

2 tablespoons peanut oil
10-20 cloves of garlic whole

1/3 cup skinless roasted peanuts
1 small yellow onion sliced
1 scallion sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 red bell pepper sliced
1 cup of mushrooms quartered

Mix the Jack (I was out of Dry Sherry, and I thought JD would make a better substitute. It did.) & cornstarch to make a paste, stir in the egg white and then throw in the beef. Stir until everything is coated.

Get wok screamin' hot. Pour in oil, and throw the cloves of garlic in. Chase them around the wok until they start brown (1 min or so.) Throw in the beef, cook for a bit, then throw in the onions, then the peanuts. Once the beef is mostly browned throw in the rest. Cook for another minute or two, then pour in the sauce.

Sauce:

1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Jack Daniels
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Cook about a minute, until the sauce begins to boil, then serve on a big pile of rice.

Cooking in the fireplace is excellent. Last year we just setup a small charcoal grill in the fireplace. This year we started cooking steaks over the coals of a wood fire. This was the first we tried using a wok over a fire, and it's awesome. No spatter, no smoke, and most importantly, the wok actually gets hot enough. We're using a big, cheap carbon steel wok we picked up at a resturant supply store.

Only drawback: The cook gets damn hot from the fire. My “boys” were practically soft boiled.

The cat is officially out of the bag

So the big announcement is that I'm taking a new job at the company. I'm moving to the Custom Systems group. It's a lateral move, as HR is loathe to dole out more salary.

The interesting bit, is that the position is at our London (technically: High Wycombe) office, for at least 2 years. I'll be with my current team until the end of this release cycle… I'll then spend a month or two in here getting up to speed in custom systems. Afterwards (probably September) Deb and I will be shipping off to Ol' Blighty.

Lots of details remain to be worked out (cost of living adjustment, housing costs, a car, getting my motorcycle shipped, etc) on the job side, but even more needs to be sorted out at home. What about my fleet?

The plan is to have the coolest garage sale. I hope to sell the Alfas and the truck… the catamaran too. I guess just about everything is negotiable. No sense letting things depreciate, I guess. I've also felt a bit overwhelmed by how much shit we've got (I say that the day after I bought another motorcycle…) sigh.

The reality of moving hasn't really sunk in yet. Occasionally, I catch myself thinking “What the fuck am I doing?!” and then something shiny distracts me. I suppose it will get a hell of a lot more real as the date gets closer.

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