Friday, November 28, 2008

cajun spiced nuts

made a great spiced nuts recipe from my brother-in-law's family. jane lee gave me the recipe. fanstastic stuff. loved by all.

  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup (we did fake maple syrup, you can likely experiment)
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp tobasco sauce
  • 3/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 pound almonds (or mix of other nuts)
(NOTE: double the spices if you want realllly spicy nuts. we did 1.5 times, and found it not spicy enough, but others loved it. gauge your audience)

  • preheat oven to 250
  • melt butter
  • mix all ingredients in butter pot, simmer and let boil for 1 to 2 minutes
  • stir in nuts, coating well
  • cover baking sheet with tin foil, line with slight amount of oil or pam or whatever non-stick you use
  • bake for 1 hour at 250, stirring nuts every 15 minutes to get them well coated
  • let cool and break nuts off sheet
The nuts keep for 6 weeks. Beyond that, you can freeze them to keep for a long time.


so, we actually doubled this recipe and made 1.5 pounds of almonds and about half a pound of pecans. realllly good!

inflating tires, inflating dreams

while jogging around in the cold of boston, i noticed a number of cars with visibly low tire pressure. i wanted to leave a note for these folks -- not only can you save on gas, but you can save yourself (neha once blew out a ridiculously low tire on the highway!). a lot of fun has been made of obama's call for people to inflate their tires. but it is something small that can make a difference. from a government efficiency site:
You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
then i got thinking: what if joggers had a little note they carried around with them that they could drop on any windshield they saw. the green joggers! but that might be annoying for a jogger. then i thought of something better: what if parking enforcement officers had such a little note? they could drop it on the windshield of cars with visibly low tires. not only would they be helping the driver in more ways than one, they'd be helping their image -- no one likes these enforcers! sure, this might mildly slow the officers in doing their work, but i can imagine a city like san francisco thinking this was a good thing to do.

Monday, November 03, 2008

halloween critical mass

i participated in the halloween critical mass this past friday. what a thrill! i borrowed a friend's fancy bike, and zipped in and out amongst the thousand or more bikers, most of them in fantastic costume.

for those of you who don't know about critical mass, it's basically a large bunch of bikers that take over the streets of san francisco on the last friday of every month (they also do critical mass in other cities). the mass isn't coordinated beyond a fixed starting point and time (the ferry building at 630pm or so). when the mass gets going, it follows the leader, for the most part. this leads to some interesting stories:

jesus leads us astray

about 45 minutes into the mass, we were biking on the south side of union square on geary st and we came upon powell st. a man dressed as jesus sped to the front of the mass and asked his brothers to follow him left onto powell st, going towards market. some of us, a foolish few, decided this was a good idea. now, witness below the map:

that's right. we were biking on a trolley street towards a dead end. jesus fooled us. led us astray. i suspect that wasn't really jesus.

thrill of the leader

at one point i bolted to the front of the mass and decided to take the whole thing to the right. so i said "go right!" and people behind me shouted "going right!" and we all went right. what power! so thrilling. i was so giddy that i had moved the whole mass that i fell back and just tasted the victory.


of course, traffic was slowed as the mass went through the city, cars honked, pedestrians waved, joy and sadness. when i told some people i was going to bike in the mass, i got some derisive looks, comments along the lines of "how could you?" having done it, and having been blocked in traffic at other times while driving in critical mass, and having biked through the city now for over a year, i have decided that this monthly parade of joy by bikers is totally worthwhile. the small anxiety it briefly imposes on drivers is more than made up for by the joy and sense of camaraderie bikers feel.