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November 25, 2012

cajun and thai fried whole turkey of 2012, and it was good

cajun thai fried whole turkey injector

last year we had a fried turkey for thanksgiving, and it wasn't the best.  I wasn't sure I wanted to make effort again this year.  but kat really wanted one... she was certain about it.  

this year I tested the fryer before the fry day to ensure there were no surprises.  I bought a new/better injector as well. 

turkey injector with thai red curry paste

I injected half the bird with the traditional cajun flavor (mostly butter, cayene and garlic powder).  the other side... I figured I'd try something new.  I opened a can of coconut milk (not the lowfat variety) and scooped the layer of white coconut fat from the top and mixed that with thai red curry paste.  I also added a bunch of thai red chili flakes and let it all sit overnight.  I put it through a sieve before forcing it through the needle, and into the bird. 

injecting the turkey with cajun and thai spices

looks like a bit gruesome. 

thanksgiving fruit tree centerpiece

kat made a tree from mixed fruits. 

cheesy herb garlic drop biscuits

#1 son made his cheesy garlic and herb drop biscuits.

fried turkey assistant

he also helped fill the fryer to the correct level for our 15.7 lb turkey.

men tending the turkey fryer thanksgiving 2012 westlake austin tx

the men watched the oil temp as we got it up to about 390 (385 was our goal)

dropping the whole turkey into the fryer, turn the flame off first!


turkey fry thanksgving in austin west lake hills

we tended the oil temp for an hour, kept the temp between 275 and 290.

cajun thai fried turkey, perfect!

and it came out crispy!

khao tod salad inspired by little serow dupont circle dc

I made a thai khao tod-ish shrimp salad, inspired from our summer vacation trip to DC and our meal at little serow.  the trick for working with fish sauce is NEVER smell it, it stinks all on its own.  I mixed some with sugar, lime garlic and cilantro.  the shrimps were SPICY from thai red chili flake and the crispy fried rice cakes also had red curry paste mixed in.  even the non shrimp eating among us raved about how good it was. 

mediterranian salad inspired by john steven ltd fells point

also made a mediterranian shrimp salad with apricot dressing and greek feta. 

cauliflower and cashew soup and parsley butter

as well as, califlower and cashew soup with parsley butter.

kat cuts the cajun and thai fried turkey

kat did the carving, after watching a quick youtube carving instruction video from her culinary hero (alton brown)

best turkey ever!  perfect juicy and spicy breast

that bird was GOOD!  the breast was juicy!  and the cajun side was spiced so it was obvious right away, but the thai side was flavorful but the spiciness didn't hit you till later. 

strawberry rhubarb pie

and of course there was strawberry rhubarb pie... 

fruit tree goes limp, needs viagra?

kat had stored her fruit tree in the freezer till serving time. 

and in other news... 

easy tiger beer garden austin

we'd told the kids all about those big pretzels at easy tiger.  they were excited.  #2 son was so looking forward to a "pretzel as big as my head!"

easy tiger austin sixth street big ass pretzel

and he was satisfied with the pretzel.

botticelli beer garden happy hour all night on sunday

pic above is from another trip to botticelli's beer garden and their all night sunday happy hour.  we enjoyed apricots stuffed with goat cheese along with mussells, shrimp, and clams. 

persimmon tree texas west lake hills austin

kat's persimmon tree is burdened with a heavy load of fruit this year. 

persimmon fruit austin westlake tx


November 19, 2012

mine craft styled pick-axe hair and warm fall weather fire pit

#2 son has been refusing hair cuts.  he said he wanted to be able to put his hair "in a rubber band".  then, I did help him put his hair in a rubber band, he was not satisfied.  he explained he wanted TWO rubber bands; one front, and one back.  and he let it be known that he didn't like it "all floppy", it needed to "poke out to a point, like a pickaxe!". 

this was not a passing interest, he talked about this pickaxe hair every day.  we let him grow his hair out, and one day I picked up some extreme hold spray and we made his dreams into reality...

minecraft pickaxe hair mine craft pick axe

inspired by minecraft, pickaxe hair!

minecraft hair style pickaxe hair

later that evening, I served BLT sandwiches for dinner.  he bobbed his head and said "look! I'm mining my sandwich" as he poked his toasted bread with his pickaxe hair....  we couldn't help but laugh along with his enthusiasm. 

mid century modern fireplace screen room

we are back to warm days and really cool nights.  temps drop quickly once the sun sets.  it was time for the first fire in our wimberley screen room fireplace.  notice how the kids gathered around the warm light of the..... ipad?  that's not right.

mid centory modern mcm grill chiminea

and we grilled, a LOT of eats, a pre-turkey day feast.  we had pork loin, shrimp, chicken and grilled okra too.

fall grill wimberley feast

charred grilled okra

mcm fire pit screen room conversation pit midcentury modern

then it got COLD outside, and the fire put out some big heat.  the pit area around the FP turned out exactly how I'd imagined it. 

french press by the fire

and in the morning, we rekindled the fire and enjoyed our french press coffee

fire roasted sweet onions for breakfast

kat grilled some sweet onion and sprinkled garlic salt over it.

breakfast onions

who knew grilled onions would be such a popular breakfast item?  they were really good and that plate was soon empty. 

wimberley fischer tx dirt

after breakfast we asked the kids to help us level the ground under the trellis, just outside the screen room.  getting ready for sand and pavers.  I used my pickaxe (not a hair style) to break up the higher ground while kat and the kids tossed dirt clods and filled buckets. 

utility trailer of DIRT

we moved a lot of earth.  then I spent the day slaughtering cedar trees.  the lot is nearly 100% cedar free now!

giant centipede of texas

found this living inside an old cedar chunk. 

fall colors on the blanco river near wimberley and fischer texas


fall colors on the blanco river near wimberley and fischer texas.  this is the section that wraps around our little neighborhood. 

pretty girls yelp F1 party

we attended a yelp/airBNB F1 party.  then kat and I applied our artists hats and went to bar96 for the blue moon art project, three hours to create a blue moon + "wildcard" original artwork.

blue moon art project wild card

kat put a lot of thought into her art project.  it's based on a chinese poem form, similar to haiku.  she also featured JAVA code for "wildcard".  the event was judged by other bar 96 patrons.  I think hers required a bit more thought than they were willing to apply. 

we found that nearly all the other participants did not incorporate the "wildcard" theme at all.  most painted the blue moon logo and a bottle of beer.  it was fun, and fun is good enough for us. 

blue moon art project bar 96 austin

blue moon art project wild card austin

my typical hillbilly guy playing his "wildcard" guitar.  he ended up looking a bit too Pirate-ish for my liking.

November 11, 2012

and the band marched on...Minor Mishap Marching Band and a VeeDub gathering

we live near the high school.  so near, that we hear all the details of their football games.  there is always a lot of energy leading up to a big game.  I can hear the marching bands playing, calling us in.  we don't go.  the high school marching band plays a supporting role to the football team, half time entertainment etc. 

I know the people in the band are having fun.  I'd like see the bands, don't think I can suffer through the FB.

what happens to marching band members after scholastic aspirations have been extinguishd and they are no longer in the world of academia?  most marching band musicians go on with life, having only memories of their glory days, dancing along with the many synchronized drums, while moving around with a ridiculously oversized instrument.

but not in austin!  the Minor Mishap Marching Band sets the marching musicians free to conquer greater heights.  no longer a supporting act, they are the main attraction.   

minor mishap marching band austin tx

half the show was performed with the band down down in the crowd.  I especially liked that.  the crowd danced along with them, like one big throbbing mob.  that is punk rock marching band stuff right there.  I especially appreciated the lighted flower arrangement inside the bass drum.

they opened with trombone shorty's hurricane season, one of my favorite songs.  I missed most of it as I had been dispatched to feed the meter.  then they filed onto the stage. 

minor mishap at the ND austin KUT music map launch party


minor mishap marching band MMMB austin tx


minor mishap marching band atx


minor mishap marching band austin texas 

White Ghost Shivers:

white ghost shivers austin


the WGS were a lot of fun.  you can catch them later this month at the monthly B-scene party at the blanton museum of art. 

white ghost shivers austin


white ghost shivers


austin VEEDUB air-cooled VW gathering:

austin VEEDUB gathering


out by the airport.  the event listing had promised local grub, local beer, local bands and drag racing.

no food, no band, no drag racing... they did have a keg of free beer.  it was fun to look at the cars, even after somebody noted that our old bmws are watercooled, not really included in this the air cooled event.  the flyer had said BMW on it...  glad I didn't try to take the Dodge A100 van!

austin air cooled swampcooler vw veedub

love the swamp/evaporative cooler and wolfsburg logo.

austin air cooled veedub vw gathering vanagon

mostly we checked out the various van/bus interiors.  looking forward to working on the interior of our A100 (water cooled mopar) van

austin veedub van paint


the kids got creative on the paint a bus activity.

turd on a van

or was it more like graffiti. 

volvo 1800s


I loved this volvo 1800s (water cooled) that was parked outside the event. 

big pretzel at easy tiger austin sixth street

check out the size of that pretzel, never mind the cock (rooster).  I like easy tiger even more on the third visit. 

fine china salvage

my project this weekend was fine china (from japan) salvage.  I hauled three boxes of old porcelain china from the wimberley house.  it had been very carefully wrapped in newspaper.  but it has sat so long that the paper has glued itself on.  I soaked them for 72 hours in this water bath and it still stuck on.  I had to scrub most of it off by hand.  then I took them inside for a second bath in warm water and dish machine detergent and scrub by hand again, and finally a pass through the machine.

fine china made in japan salvage

it's a lot of work.  this stuff is not particularly valuable, and I don't want to keep it myself.  I found the pieces sell for about $5, we must have 50 pieces.  I have dish pan hands for piecemeal payback. 

westlake west lake hills texas sunset


autumn and winter, sunset is prominent from the master bath balcony. 


November 05, 2012

KUT, the writing is on the (donor) wall

KUT austin UT studio 1A tour

we love KUT.  even the kids enjoy the NPR news and This American Life.  it's part of our daily life.  I have noted that the kids are fed up with election news coverage.  in early october my daughter asked "when IS the election, because I'm sick of hearing about these people".  I have to agree, why can't we have a candidate that represents most people, instead of two that are at extreme opposition.  many people that are fed up with partisan politics end up trying to figure out which one they dislike the least, one extreme or the other.  we need a middle man. 

KUT donor wall

the kids were thrilled to find their name is featured on the KUT donor wall.  kat was especially pleased to find us near a picture of John Aielli and Chris Isaak.

"ON AIR" KUt studio live performance


KUT cake balls

oh yeah, they had cake balls.  the daughter found something she could get into. 

kut npr austin ut cake ball wallpaper


love KUT?  donate today and use the big version of the kut cake ball pic as your computer wallpaper

KUT studio tour

#2 son made himself all comfy

1967 pen that was used to create public broadcasting

one of the pens used by LBJ to create the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967

KUT eggmen beatles cover band

and we caught a live performance by the eggmen while we were in the KUT studio 1A

KUT eggmen show beatles cover band

I sat with #2 son.  recently, he has been difficult to manage in public places.  he runs around and acts wild, bothers his brother and can't stand still.  but when the eggmen started, he sat in his seat with his eyes fixed on them.  he nodded his head along with the music and enthusiastically clapped after every song.  he was so well behaved for the whole show.  thank you eggmen!

eggmen live at KUT studio 1A

the eggmen live at studio 1a kut austin npr

later that same night.  I was playing some music while I prepared dinner; Echo Base Soundsystem.  #2 son asked me "is this music from KUT?".  I was pleased to tell him, "yes, I did find this music from KUT".  thanks KUT for keeping us informed on local news and happenings and using such a great diverse musical playlist.  they don't have one style of music, they mix them all up.  sort of like austin, we don't care what it is/where you're from, as long as it's good, true diversity.

and then there is my love/hate relationship with John Aielli

the kids and I love it when John Aielli screws up  has technical problems ...and blames the machines.  just when I think I can't stand to hear him ramble on any longer, the universe self corrects and he is plauged with dead air or plays the same song twice, then blames the "dadgum machines!" and we love him for it.  at times, I don't think I can take much more of his gregorian chant music, then I want to gouge my ears everytime he says "I am a classically trained singer, and I can tell you...".  but when he had his heart attack, I was glad he came back to us.  John has been with KUT for more than 40 years and I'm glad that we are part of the KUT family. 

kut family in austin texas ut npr


the final fish taco, Russian house, and a sunset party at Trudy's four star

FTN (fish taco night) is done!  for years we have enjoyed monday nights at berryhill baja grill.  a fish taco is $1.99 on monday, one is usually enough to feed each of us.  it was an easy, and cheap meal option for us.  the whole family always enjoyed it.  #2 son is constantly requesting that I make our future home in wimberley like this place, "I want it to be just like Taco-Fish, with the big windows  and concrete". 

berryhill baja grill is closed westlake

the last baja fish taco

after nine years, they are now closed.  they were glad to have us, "I'm so gald you came in one last time!  let me take you to your regular table". 

so long "taco-fish".  (#2 son likes to reverse the order of some words.  he doesn't say "you forgot to say please".  instead he'll say "you got-for to say please".  our monday night fish-taco dinner has always been "taco-fish" to him.)

Russian House:

we met up with some Yelp friends to try a new RUSSIAN place downtown.

russian meat jello aspic

meat jello!

staropramen czech pilsner beer and NaZdorovye

I was happy to find Staropramen on draft!  this is real Pilsener made in Praha (Prague).  I have enjoyed many of these close to the source there in the czech republic.  I understand the brewery is now owned by Coors....  I guess that explains why I suddenly see it here in the USA. 

that small glass is NaZdorovye (vodka infused with Aloe, Ginger, Garlic, Horseradish and Propolis).  it was pretty good!  some of the other infused vodka tasted more like listerine.  they have a wall of crazy infused vodka concoctions. 

like a russian runza at russian house austin

these little meat filled buns are almost like a Runza, but there was no cabbage and tasted a bit like liver.  the other had egg and scallion.  dry is the word that comes to mind. 

smoked duck and salmon at russian house austin texas

Kat really enjoyed the smoked duck and salmon.

yelp comrade austin russian house

cheers comrade!

Trudy's Four Star rooftop sunset party:


the BIG trudy's in dripping springs has a glass elevator.  we've long been curious about where it goes.  we see people going up...  but we were told it's for private events on the rooftop deck.  they finally invited us to a sunset watching party to celebrate the one year of that location being open.

trudy's four star rooftop deck

the kids were thrilled that we finally got to board the elevator and go UP.

trudy's four star rooftop

trudy's dripping springs roof deck

sunset from trudy's 4 star four star dripping springs rooftop deck party

and we did receive a nice sunset.

trudy's dripping springs 4 star sunset roof deck


cedar tree chopped in wimberley

didn't spend much time on the wimberley project.  I DID get a new chainsaw and it made short work of tall cedars.

top paw dog collar as boys belt

I'll let you in on a secret.  I found that boy's belts are unnecessarily expensive and made from exceptionally craptastic materials.  one day I had an epiphany, I'd found a heavy duty dog collar on sale.  sure enough, it works well as a belt and is nearly indestructable.  $15 for a crappy belt from the kid's department or $5 for a dog collar... nevemind that it says Top Paw on the buckle. 

November 01, 2012

apple bobbing and portal gun assembly lines,,, spooky like Halloween

#2 son spends most of his play time creating zombie killing devices.  He had a very detailed description for this one.  I asked him to repeat so I can record. 

"it cuts the HEAD OFF!" 

I made THREE portal guns for halloween this year.  mostly made from plumbing pvc parts and a few bits from an office supply store.  #2 son would get excited as he saw his portal gun taking shape.  each day he'd give me praise, then issue complaints.  when I was done he tried to shoot a portal, he expected me to provide a REAL portal gun. 

home made portal gun

these were as close as I got.  they do light up.  but they don't make real portals.  maybe in the (distant) future....

aperture science portal 2 gun

went to some friends house in lost creek for their annual halloween spooktacular get together.  always fun.  we love halloween!  scharfe maxx halloween party cheese planer

we were happy to find a wedge of der scharfe maxx cheese.  #1 son worked that planer till the maxx was down to a minumum. 

dragon's blood drink with eyeball halloween

spooky dragon's blood cocktail with edible eyeballs!  I told you this stuff was spooky.

she ate the eyeball from dragon's blood drink

she ate the eyeball... spooky indeed!

spicy sweet potato soup

yummy spiced sweet potato soup, it was all good. 

portal 2 peabody halloween costume

he wanted to be P. body from Portal 2.  he said "some of the people thought I was a candy corn but they are WRONG!" 

chell portal 2 aperture science halloween costume

the daughter makes a very believable Chell

portal 2 halloween costumes and portal guns

getting ready to head out for trick or treating in Lost Creek.

portal 2 peabody rides golf cart

#2 son rode the golf cart for the longer stretches of road.  he did a few houses and decided "that was enough, I'm done trick or treating"

cat kat with portal gun

kat and I walked back with the portal guns, kids rode back on the golf cart.

luchador lucha libre paul schuster

bobbing for apples:

bobbing for apples halloween

none of us had ever bobbed for apples.  the kids figured that it was easy, just grab the stem!

bobbing for apples

I figured this was just wrong!

bobbing for apples lost creek austin westlake halloween

all stem up apples removed and it wasn't so easy for Mr So-Tall.  couldn't get one. 

apple bobbing champion austin westlake halloween

I went after that apple, stuck my whole head down into the bucket and water, pressed the apple up against the side of the bucket and chomped it!  SUCCESS!!  notice how impressed (shocked) the audience behind me is. 

AJ is an apple bobbing champion lost creek austin westlake

Mr AJ easily replicated my success. 

so-tall the apple bobbing champion of lost creek austin westlake

So-Tall went back for another attempt and had the sweet taste of victory (apple).  we were all champions this halloween. 

easy tiger 6th street austin sausage and beer

kat and I escaped one night this week to try the food at easy tiger.  those sausages on pretzel roll were really good!  and kat loved the charred fresh okra with lemon juice.