Starry Wisdom

Entropic Words from Neilathotep

Monday, June 29, 2009

A/V equipment sucks

I’m pretty annoyed right now. For reasons that I really don’t understand, This American Life Season 2, as seen by Netflix Watch Instantly on Xbox 360 Live was not working properly. The music was working fine, and some sound effects, but not the dialog.

Now, I think I should explain a bit how things are wired up. The component output goes into the TV, and the stereo audio outputs WERE going into the satellite inputs on my receiver. This has worked perfectly fine since I bought the 360 last fall – but not tonight. I tried two separate episodes of the series, and both “failed”. I tried some other instant watchable Netflix and it worked. I futzed around with the surround settings on the receiver, and occasionally was able to hear Ira Glass, sounding like he was at the bottom of a well. I turned off the 360 in disgust.

On a whim, I tried moving the audio outputs to the VCR inputs on the receiver, and lo-and-behold it just works. I really am not sure why the receiver input matters in this case, but there’s bound to be an explanation. Maybe one of me 5 readers knows. If not it will just be a mystery to me.

posted by neil at 9:55 pm
under daily tribulations,technology  

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Apricot Liqueur

Much like my plum liqueur from last year, I’ve prepared a modified Umeshu.

This consists of 1kg of apricots (organically grown in Brentwood!), 750g of rock sugar and 1.5L of shochu (basically 50 proof grain alochol from Japan). It’ll be ready in 6 months to a year.

posted by neil at 6:35 pm
under cooking  

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Parmesan-Rosemary Biscuits

This recipe is for a savory variety of biscuits. You can easily make it a less savory biscuit simply by not adding the parmesan and rosemary. It’s a very simple recipe and pretty much makes serving biscuits out of a tube ridiculous!

Parmesan-Rosemary Biscuits
Courtesy Cook’s Illustrated, Issue 89

makes 12 biscuits

  • 2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt
  • ¾ cup (1½ oz) grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 5 minutes, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing biscuits
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 475. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, cheese and rosemary in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and 8 tablespoons butter in medium bow, stirring until butter forms small clumps.
  2. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from the side of the bowl. Using greased ¼ cup dry measure (or #16 disher) scoop level amounts of batter onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, spacing biscuits 1½ inches apart. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes.
  3. Brush biscuit tops with reamining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
  4. To refresh day old biscuits, heat them in a 300-degree oven for 10 minutes.
posted by neil at 11:16 am
under cooking  

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