Tinker

Experiments in tinkering and thought


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Apple Recipes – Spiced Apple Crisp

After making apple turnovers and apple pie, it was time for a new recipe.  The last two had sensibly the same composition: apples, sugar, cinnamon.  I wanted to mix it up a bit, so I thought I would add more spices… and rhum!  I looked up a few recipes and found that the main spices used are the same as pumpkin pie basically, so cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.  I wanted to give it a bit of zing though, so in addition to those, I also added a bit of crushed hot pepper, more lime, and rhum!  I tried it out without really knowing the final result, but I was really happy with the result.

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Apple Recipes – The Lazy Apple Crumble

After chopping about 20 lbs of apples, and experimenting with a few different recipes with apples, it was time to tackle the real deal – Apple pie.  Now, once the apples are chopped, the part of the pie that is the longest and the hardest to do by far, is the crust.

Pie dough is hard to make, the butter (or margarine) has to be added in slowly, it has to rest, and then rolling it out is usually a challenge as well.  In this case, due to the additional work required in making my own dough,  I am ashamed to say that I just used a storebought frozen pie crust.

Since most of the apple chopping was done previously, the only things left to do were to complete the filling, and make a crumble top for the pie.

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Apple Recipes – Apple Tea

As a result of picking about 40 lbs of apples as well as having pealed about 10 lbs of apples, there was a large amount of apple peels left over.  I was planning on composting them, but I thought I could get some of that delicious taste out of them before that.  Elisabeth has tried baking the peels with a bit of sugar and cinnamon, but that did not turn out so great.

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Apple Recipes – Filo Apple Turnovers

So last weekend I went apple picking with friends and family.  We were only picking for an hour or so, but we came back with two bags full of apples with comes down to about 40 lbs of apples.  With that many apples and a limited amount of time to make things with it.

The Apples

We picked two varieties of apples: Mcintosh and Lobo (whose parent is McIntosh, as it turns out).  What is the difference between those two?  Visually, the Lobo is much larger than the McIntosh.  While the former is usually about 10 cm (4 in) diameter, the McIntosh were generally much smaller, averaging around 6-8 cm (~3.5 in).  In terms of taste, they are both fairly tart, but the McIntosh is a little more so than the Lobo.  We collected about equal amounts of both, maybe a bit more McIntosh.  Since they are fairly similar, unless I am aiming for a particularly sour recipe, I would mostly use a mix of the two.

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BBQ Pizza

A recent cooking experiments that people seemed particularly interested in was my pizza cooked in the barbecue.

A few years ago, a friend recommended I watch the English TV series In Search of Perfection where chef Heston Blumenthal tries to find and develop the “perfect” version of many traditional dishes.  While he himself be almost crazy with the detail and effort he puts into his cookery, the show is actually quite entertaining, even if you do not plan to try out his recipes.  In any case, one of the episodes is about the perfect pizza (season 1, episode 5).  In a part of the episode, he tried to find a way reproduce the conditions in a wood-fired oven without… well, the wood-fired oven.  As I recall he did not actually come up with a viable solution (something about super heating a skillet I think). The message I got from that though is: the hotter the better.  Since ovens will typically only go to about 500F, or maybe 550F, I thought a barbecue would work very wellsince they can get well above 600F and even above 700F.

Since I want to get conditions similar to a wood-fired oven, first thought was that I needed a pizza stone. The stone I got was specifically for pizza, but many different books and websites I have read through say you can use just any sort of unglazed tiles. As I discovered, you want a stone big enough to cook a decent-sized pizza, but it must not cover all of the BBQ grill, you will see why in a moment.

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Dresden Files Session 2 – Betrayed Chapter 1 – Part 1

To recap the first session, we fleshed out the city of Paris, some of its inhabitant groups, and mostly finished our characters.  Our group consists of Jean-Guy, a stealthy changeling with speed and toughness; Sylvestre Leroy, a gritty private investigator with an alcohol problem; Sarene Kholin, a reporter with desire for retribution; Adolf Wisemannn, the most awkward White Court vampire alive; and Xiao Lee Chan, the only surviving member of an ancient order of monks.

A significant chunk of this session was spent completing the characters. Most of what we had left to do was related to the guest appearances that needed to be done before starting the game.  I feel like this time, we wanted to try to get all of the things done so that we could start the adventure immediately, but next time around, I think we may take our time more.

While this is a tabletop game, the story is written as a narrative.  I will try to capture the events in sufficient detail, while skipping the uninteresting arguments discussions we had during the game (those of you that play these games know what I am talking about).  And so the story begins – Betrayed Chapter 1:

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Dresden Files – Betrayed Chapter 3 (Session 4 – Part 1)

I have not had a chance to do the full write up for the second and third sessions.  As it turns out, it takes a while to write out a session as a narrative; it is much longer, in fact, than it would take to simply write it as a sequence of events.  I thought I would write the more recent ones first, while they were still fresh in my mind.  That being said, I apologize to those that are reading this that are not part of my gaming group, it will make more sense as preceding chapters are written.  Without further ado, here is part 1 of our fourth session of play.  Betrayed – Chapter 3


Since the first session, a wizard named Kent Wilson from the white council charged Xiao with finding the traitor Charles Hugo and eliminating him as a threat. After investigating a few leads, the group found Charles’ diary which led them to a priest that was his spiritual councillor of a sort. After going to the farm where Hugo was hiding and recovering from a ordeal, the group faced him and was convinced that Hugo was in fact innocent. At this point, a group of English mobsters attacked, but was defeated by the stalwart group.

Charles stood examining the extent of damage the house had sustained; there were burn marks across the front of the house, and some chipped paint around one of the windows, but it was nothing a good sanding and paint job could not fix. The others tied up the remaining assailants that had surrendered. Sarene took George by the arm, and dragged him into the farmhouse. In the mean time, Xiao started dressing the wounds of the injured, while Jean-Guy watched them warily, his trusty baseball bat in hand. The rest of the group made sure they were secure, and brought them inside.

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