Melting Pot #8

Getting Baked!

French breadOne of the most fun things you can do in the kitchen (besides THAT) is to bake. You take on your mad scientist persona and mix all this stuff together to create magic in the oven. Unlike stove top cooking, where you add things while you are making the food, the ingredients are mixed together before the cooking process begins. A mistake in measuring can result in a waste of time and money. Exciting!

I particularly enjoy baking bread. It just smells so good when a fresh loaf comes out of the oven. Next in line would be baking cookies, they are easier to do but just as rewarding. I haven’t made a cake from scratch in years, maybe I should set that as a goal over the next few weeks…

It is really easy to find great recipes online. I like recipe.com, they have a pretty good variety but there are several places to find recipes so have a search and let me know your favorite. One of the things you have to be aware of is the authors of the recipes are not always correct in measurements. I used a bread recipe recently and there was too much flour, the loaf was way to heavy.

I will add some of my baking experiences and methods in the next couple of days. In the meantime, let me know what sort of stuff you want me to make and I will have a go.mmmmm Cookies!

ASCAP Meeting Wrap Up

Los Angeles is a cruel mistress...I finished up the ASCAP event this weekend. I have to admit I was pretty skeptical going in. I have attended other expos and conventions for different industries and they are usually just non-stop marketing. The ASCAP event was a little different though; yes, there was still a lot of marketing going on but there was a lot of really great educational events too.

One of my favorites was by Ralph Murphy, a song writer and producer from Nashville. His presentation was full of humor and useful information. I got a chance to chat with him briefly and he was a real, down to earth fellow. I am looking forward to meeting and chatting with him again.

Overall the event was pretty positive. I did get a little claustrophobia in the hallways though. The sponsors had tables in the halls so things were a bit crowded for my taste. I think if they put the booths in a exhibit space it would be more comfortable. I have to talk to industry people as part of my job and it was hard to have a conversation with all the noise and jostling about.

The bottom line question is would I go back next year. I think I would, there was enough good information that it was worth the price of admission.

 

Los Angeles Day Two!

ASAP Main Stage Backdrop

So here we are, day two in beatafull downtown LA. Hollywood actually but whos counting. I got a ‘Tap’ card, which is the LA version of a Fast Pass, seven days for $2, less than parking and gas would cost to drive to the ASCAP event every day.

The bus stop was only about a block from the hotel so no big deal. I said ‘good morning’ to the driver as I got aboard the bus, it took him by suprise so I guess being polite hasn’t reached southern California yet… The bus ride was only about 5 blocks, then I transferred to the Metro line, the Los Angeles subway/train system. The train was a little behind schedule but no big deal. The ride to the venue was only about 10 minutes. I like using public transit, you meet really odd people and you don’t have to look for parking.

The ASCAP Expo is being held at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, right in the heart of tourista-ville. Michael Jackson was there, one of the Harlem Globetrotters, several Batmen (all in various levels of decay) and a Spider Man who looked like his web had snapped. Ah, the magic of the movies!!

I went in to the hotel, got lost, found myself (right where I had left me) and then picked up my ID badge and lanyard. I also got my swag bag. It is a nifty little thing, just big enough to hold a laptop but flimsy enough for said computer to shatter to a billion pieces when dropped. I’ll give it to my daughter, I love her…

There were tons of events to go to, and it was hard to figure out what to do first. I ended up going to the opening speech, given by Paul Williams. Williams wrote ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ and other top hit songs. His presentation was great and was a promising start to the expo.

I then went on to forum of song writers titled ‘Anatomy of a hit song’ there was lots of interesting information, but the main take-a-way was to be true to your point of view and use a web site to find rhymes. The next one was a sales pitch by one of the sponsors, selling their web design service. Even the sales presentation was a little useful so that was cool.

I went to lunch and had a $3.00 ham sandwich that cost $9.00. Great to be in Tinsel Town, where even the crappy food is a star…

The afternoon was more great events and chatting with other attendees. I would have stayed for the afternoon social events but my back was feeling shreded ( I have spondylothesis) so I went back to the hotel to lay down.

Well, that’s about it for now, that’s the life of a rock-n-roller for ya…

Los Angeles: Day One

Image

I am in Los Angeles for the ASCAP ‘I Create Music’ Expo. I write music and work for a music management company so I had to leave my happy haunts of northern California and wander down to LaLaLand. I am in town through Sunday.

I will post some updates on the Expo and food experiences here and let everyone know how things go.

I am staying at a hotel on Sunset, it was the closest place available for under $100 a night…the place is OK, but the good news is there is a lot of Thai restaurants in the area.

Melting Pot #8

Chicken on the grill!

 

Grilled Ginger Chicken

If I have a choice between grilling or not I will generally go for the grill. Here is a quick and easy way to add some flavor to your grilling experience. You will need:

  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs – about 3 per person if they are smaller pieces
  • Ground ginger (fresh)
  • Crushed garlic
  • Black pepper
  • Brown sugar
  • Soy sauce
  • White wine

Trim away any excess fat from the chicken, check for bones…mix the ginger, I usually use about 3 tablespoons for 8 or 9 pieces of chicken. Garlic, one clove per every two pieces of meat, a tablespoon or two of pepper, depending on spice level desired. Use 1/8 cup of brown sugar. Add about 1 cup of soy sauce and 1/4 cup white wine. Mix everything with a whisk or fork, put in chicken.

Let the chicken marinate for an hour or so. The chicken should be out of the fridge for a bit before going on the grill. I find that super cold meats just seem to toughen up when they are exposed to high temps right away. Heat your grill up, make sure it is reasonably clean…lay the chicken on the grill, close it and walk away. No need to constantly flip your bird! After about 3 to 5 minutes, turn the meat over and cover again. The sugar and soy sauce will give the meat a lovely dark complexion. In another 5 minutes you can remove your meat from the fire. Let it stand about 4 or 5 minutes before serving, it will be better this way.

I like to serve this with steamed rice and a fresh green salad with a miso dressing.

There will not be any left-overs…sorry…

Blender is Fun!

Teddy Bear made with Blender

If you are like me, you enjoyed The Incredibles, Despicable Me and all the other cool movies that have come out over the past several years using 3D computer animation. The programs that are used to create this stuff is pricey, really pricey. Except one. That program is Blender from Blender.org. You can just go on and download the program FOR FREE!!

I know what you are thinking, how can a free program be anywhere close to a program that costs thousands of dollars…well, Blender is pretty amazing and there is a large community of Blender artists out there making really great animations. Plus there are tons of tutorials available on the internet.

If you or someone you know interested in learning 3D art or animation, you should check out Blender. It is a great way to get intoNapkin with Glass the world of computer animation without spending tons of money. Now, the learning curve is pretty steep but if you hang in there and stick with it you can pick stuff up and make progress at your own pace. The images on this post are things that I made while following along on a couple of tutorials.

Get out there and try it, all it is going to cost is a little time to learn.

HAVE FUN!!

Book Restoration Continued: Mending Tears

 

Title Page, ABH

Title Page, ABH

 

Our sheets have been guarded and put under weight for a few days. Now we need to repair the torn pages. There are a few large tears, especially on the page that was pulled out and used as house plans. I am following the instructions in Edith Diehl’s Bookbinding, Its Background and Technique (Vol. 2, page 53).

Starting with the front of the book, I examined each page for tears. If they were good I set them aside, if they needed mending these are the steps I am following:

Check for bevel. Most of the time when a page is torn there is a taper at the edges of the tear. I will make sure the bevel is lined back up so the fibers will re-align.

Cut tissue. I cut small pieces of Japanese tissue a little bit larger than the torn area.

Glue up. Using a very small brush I apply glue along the torn edges.

Press in tissue. With one piece of tissue under the tear and another on top I press the area with my bone folder (wax paper provides protection from rubbing and pulling.

These steps are repeated for every tear. When the tears have dried completely, in a few hours to be safe, I will pull the tissue up from the pages. This will leave a few strands of the Japanese tissue to reinforce the repair. The entire process has taken about 2 hours for this particular book, if there was just one tear the whole job would have only taken a few minutes.

The next step will be some light trimming and then arranging the signatures for sewing. Once the signatures are sewn I will add mull, glue up the spine and then do some more edge work.

That’s it for now. I think we are almost to the half way point for this project. I am not usually a very patient person so this has been a bit of a challenge to work on something so tedious. Good therapy I guess…

Thanks again for reading all this silliness, see ya!