Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Really Like Making Pizza

Another pesto pizza. Mel and I try not to eat to much dairy, so I'm really into making cheese-less pizzas. The pesto is a Arugula-Spinach pesto. For the toppings I used peppered salami, tomatoes, garlic, red onions, sweet peppers and parsley. The dough didn't rise as much as I had hoped and it came out kinda dry. It seems that if I am using freshly made pesto, then I need to coat the pizza pretty good because it looses a lot of moisture while it is in the oven. Also, I think I will start letting the dough rest longer before rolling it out. The recipe I use says to let it rest/rise for at least 30 minutes, however if I let it rise for longer, the crust rises more in the oven.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Pitty The Fool: The Flavor Wave

One of the presents Mel got for her b-day was the Flavor Wave. Her mom has something similar and a little older, but it works great. We were excited to check this one out, after seeing the infomercial. Mr. T, he's hilarious.. For the first use, you must put the temp to 500F and let run for 10 minutes to burn off unwanted manufacturing oils and what not. Our second use was to reheat some Costco pizza Mel's mom brought by minutes earlier. It's a little weird using this thing because I keep thinking I'm going to over cook when reheating foods. I'll have to get use to that.

The real reason we opened up the FW though was so that I could cook the nights dinner without having to use the oven. We were really hungry when I started making dinner last night, so we prepped the FW with pizza, however the main course was chicken breast. Usually when I cook any meat, I try to marinate it first then I sear it off in a pan and then put it in the oven to continue cooking. This time wasn't much different, except instead of the oven I used the FW.
Using the FW took a lot less time in preparation and in cooking. Usually I have to make use I turn the oven on at least 30 minutes before I plan on using it, longer if I'm using it at temperatures above 400F. And I think because the unit it smaller, more efficient and with less potential for heat loss, can cook much faster. To cook the chicken breasts, it took about 10-13 minutes, that is after I seared it off in a pan. I thought the chicken came out a little dry. Next time I would maybe put it lower in the glass pan/dish, so the meat isn't right on the cooking element.
Final product was chicken breast with a veggie sweet pepper pasta. Unfortunately in the end the meal didn't come out that great, in my opinion. I think this was due to mistakes or lack of forethought in my meal. All it takes is a few minutes to think a meal through in my head and sometimes I don't even do that, which results in a ho-hum meal. Next time, right? yeah..
In the end, the FW didn't get to dirty. And it turns out that not only is the FW dishwasher safe and easy to wash out by hand, but you can put about 1.5" of water in with some dish soap and turn it to the Wash setting for 10 minutes. The unit uses the heat and fan function to move the soapy water around and voila! pour out the water and it's clean. Now that's awesome!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oh My! This jam that my aunt made is Soooooo Good. I don't really care for store bought and produced strawberry jam because there is too much sugar in it. It is too sweet. No beuno! This jam, is perfect. Not only is it mild on the sweet, but it is actually a litte tart.

Roasted Jalepeno Veggie Pineapple Pizza

I made this pizza last Friday night. I made the dough early to see if I let it rise longer, would it come our thicker. Well sort of what I had in mind. Anyway, at the time, Mel and I had still not gone shopping so, I just through this together. I used arugula pesto that I had in the freezer (this works great because of the oil content, it does not completely freeze, so you can use it anytime without the hassel of thawing), roasted jalepenos, leftover onions from camping, minced garlic, tomatoes from our plants, and canned pineapple that was being saved for.. Pizza! awesome. I used one ring of pineapple from the can and put the rest in the freezor and I made ice cubes from the juice in the can. These will be great the next time we had Kool-Aid!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Flaxseed Oil Sourdough

Last nigth I went out with Mel to meet with some friends and have some drinks. While we were saying our good-byes to Stephanie and Arturo, Stephanie started going on and on about my sourdough, basically making everybody's mouth water. I had been planning on making a loaf earlier in the day for Arturo since he is leaving tonight for China and he won't be back for a year. However I never got around to doing it. And after Stephanie mentioned it, how could I not make a loaf for Art, especially since he mentioned that bread is his most favorite thing in the world, that he would marry bread if he could. So last night around 2am I made a couple of loafs. The loaf pictured here is the one that I kept for our house. The other loaf was equally as beautiful. This is a plain sourdough with flaxseed oil. Lots of healthy stuff, probiotics and flaxseed oil's omegas...

Mel's Birthday Breakfast

This morning I made eggs for Mel, like most mornings. What I was really stoked about was my Aunt Susan's Strawberry Jam. I got a small jar of it just this past x-mas. I was saving it for cooking, like baking cookies with jam filling. I just couldn't wait anymore, though. I would describe this dish, Zuchini Salsa Eggs with Strawberry Jam on Whole Wheat Sourdough Toast. Last weekend Mel picked up some Smart Balance butter, which is pretty good and I guess better for you than regular butter. Its okay with me, just means I can put more on my bread, right? The bread combined with the but butter and jam were pretty much heavenly.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

2 Days 120 Miles, Wet Roads, Exhaustion (part 1)

So it all started on the night of Jan. 31st. I was hanging out at State St. with Andrew and Droid. We were drinking some beers and our next rally, Stinko De Mayo 2 came up. What are we gonna do? Where are we gonna ride to and where are we gonna camp this year?

Ok, the first question is a no brainer, duh, Santa Cruz. We gotta go to Santa Cruz this year! Big Basin; Are we gonna start planning early enough this year to be able to reserve a spot to accomadate 30+ mopeders? Will we be able to get everyone in without having to pay vehicle fees on every single moped? Should we even attempt to bring our mayhem there? Well, we were gonna have to go there and check it out. So that night we made reservations to camp the very next weekend. We thought we booked Feb 6-7. We didn't check the weather either. I think a lot of mopeders are masochists. We ride tiny bikes prone to braking down, take them up hills too steep for their little engines (which results in lots of pedaling or walking) and ride in the shitiest weather. I read the confirmation email about the camping reservations a couple of days later. It was forecast to rain on Saturday the 6th. However the storm would also be done by the end of the day. Well that's cool, but that doesn't help us right? Wrong, because our reservations were actually for Feb 7-8. Sweet!

The week leading up to the ride, I put a new pipe on my bike, tuned it up, fixed some issues that had been bugging me and shined it up. I didn't test ride it though cause the day that it wasn't rainning, I finished up late and the rest of the week it rained. On Sunday, we left feeling
good about our situation. Within 3 miles, my bike pretty much stopped running. We couldn't get a good steady spark. Droid got me a condensor at Kragens and we hooked it up, but still no go, amid a bunch of 4-stroker know it alls. How 'bout we start your bike with some gasoline and matches. Some people should just keep their mouth to themselves.. A nervous push and some heavy breathing, led us back to State St. to pick up Felix (pictured above, right). Sweet, Felix is a nice bike! 2-speed Maxi with a 70cc kit. No matter what state this bike has been it, it is always a pleasure to ride Felix. This the bike that started MopedHead SJ.

Over two hours later from when we were originally trying to leave, we were back on the road. Now it was almost 4pm and there was a slight of sense of urgency as well as excitment. We left State St and headed up Almaden/Old Almaden to connect with Curtner. Made one quick stop at the Chevron at the corner of Curtner and Lincoln. Quick fill up on gas and air for Felix. Before we knew it, we were in Saratoga, skipping the last gas station for a while and jammin on. I was carrying a gallon in spare gas, we should be fine, right..

When we originally left at 1:30pm, it was sunny and warm. I stilled dressed warm, I knew it would be pretty damn cold camping in the redwoods, in winter no less. Droid and Andrew were a little more prepared than me, however. They had rain pants, better quality jackets and good gloves. It didn't take long to ascend Hwy 9 and before we knew it, we were in fog country. By the time I met up with these guys, both my hands were pretty much unmovable. Andrew was the hand saver on this trip. He was wearing leather riding gloves with secondary gloves on underneath. Thanks to Andrew for letting me borrow those insesrts. I had gloves on, but mine have the fingers cut off. It has to be pretty cold before my hands start to bother me in the cut-offs. This was one of those times.

Before long we hit the juntion and turned onto Hwy 236. The roads were still pretty wet from the rain the day before. Wet enough that I was catching some spray from the front tire after it cleared the fender. It started to get to be a bit much and I realized it was raining. All I could think about was getting to the campsite and starting a fire.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. Some Caltrans trucks passed us haul'n ass up and down the one lane parts of Hwy 236. We passed a Highway Patrol who was puzzeled when we pulled over a couple of miles later. He comes through the loud speaker "Turn off your bikes". Uh ok. "Why did you guys stop?" he asks us, duh, to let the cars behind us pass... I guess he just wanted to follow us down to make sure we didn't get hurt on the wet roads, but we were going slow with an extra emphasis on being careful, so
he took off.

Mel and Karen had arrived at the campsite a couple of hours earlier and had texted us the campsite info and gone off in search of wood and us. Unfortunately I never did let her know of our earlier problems in San Jose. Luckily we all met up and we actually encounterd them while we were on the way to the campsite, so we had our own personal escorts. Cool.

Luckily Mel and Karen had found wood even though it had been freshly cut and chopped and still had some of it's original moisture in it. Droid brought his Harbor Freight Survival Knife and saved the night, by being able to use the knife to cut kindling out of some of the wood. It took a while, but we had fire before long.

I've been going camping for a pretty long time, and we always do it up food-wise. This trip was no exception. Since I'm pretty broke, Droid offered to spot my gas on this trip. Being the person I am, I will always find a way to pull my weight. Mel and I are chefs and can do a lot with a little. The night before burgers were mentioned, so I made a loaf of bread and some rolls to bring along. I also made a pasta salad and prepped potatoes, onions and garlic to later be wrapped in foil with butter and seasonings and be cooked near the fire. I ended up not ever doing the potato deal, but I did make burgers. Droid came through with the beef and once at the spot, I thawed it, added seasonings and eggs to make hand made patties. I also brought a couple of other secret ingriendients to make the burgers phenominal. Good eats and times were had by all.

These critters weren't far behind, either. It seems they made out pretty good too. At one point while the Pathfinder was open, two raccoons got inside and attempted to steal one of the six cinnamon buns Karen brought. They managed to get one, but Andrew caught them and scared them, so the one raccoon dropped the bun in favor of running away. Them raccoons don't give up easily though and were scrurring all over Karen's Pathfinder all night trying to get in.

Where Are They?

Good Times

The next morning we weren't able to revive the fire, but that didn't stop us from enjoying some fine coffee, cinnamon buns (now only 5, luckily the same number that we were) and bacon and eggs. Shortly after breakfast, Mel and Karen left, once again we were three. Andy made the mark of MopedHead on the bench and suggested we continue on to Santa Cruz. Sweet. Stay tuned for part 2.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ready Made Magazine

Yay! Our first issue of Ready Made Magazine came yesterday! Mel and I found out about this magazine through the lady who live at this address before us. It took a while for her to change her address, so we scored a couple of these magazines and decided to get our own subscription. If you've never heard of it, check it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Whole Wheat Sourdough

I was going to blog about the breakfast I made today (breakfast seems to be coming around 1pm these days), however none of my pictures made it look appetizing, so nix that. I will tell you that it was a piece of this Whole Wheat Sourdough with white wine scrambled eggs on top, covered with a spicy butter tomato sauce.

Back to the bread. In the scheme of things, this particular whole wheat starter that I've been working with as of late, is number 2. This loaf (pictured above) is #3. I used white wine vinegar to cut the wheat favor to a tolerable level. It came out really good, in fact I ate 2 slices right out of the gate. For the next loaf, I will be aiming at a wetter dough. I am trying to replicate the airy-ness of the whole wheat sourdough that Trader Joe's sells. I believe if I can replicate this airy-ness and spongy-ness, I will have a commercially viable bread.

The bread pictured to the left here are another batch of Balsamic Sourdough. I will hopefully be selling one of these loafs to one of my neighbors and the other two will be given out as gifts. I think I'm going to start giving out the first loaf free and charge for the second, starting at $3 a loaf. I will continue to give out loaves as presents as well.

In other news, I've been thinking about applying for a business license and using some of my tax return to pay for it. Mel and I want to get a business license together and move forward to getting a vending license. With the combination of these two, we could branch out into offering more than just bread, for example perhaps running a taco cart, etc. Also, I would like to start advertising my bread on craigslist, but I don't want to start until I'm legit. Let me know what you think, below in the comments section.

Update: New Muffler for the Hog

Not much downtime here. In fact whenever something happens to the Hog that keeps me from riding it, I jump on the case to fix it, since it is my primary ride. So my muffler (Boss pipe) broke and fell off on Sunday evening on the ride back from Hicks Rd. On Tuesday (Feb. 2) I was down at the foundry working on putting this pipe (Proma pipe) on my bike. For the Proma pipe, I had to match it up to the existing header and build the silencer you see on the back. I had a lot of fun doing this, especially putting together the silencer on my own bike. Awesome! Props and many thanks to Andrew and Droid for doing all my welding! The cone shaped silencer was Droid's idea. I think it looks pretty cool.

The next day (Wed), I then did a tune up. I had to make sure the jetting was correct for this pipe. However, for quite a while my bike seems to have been running funny. At the end of last summer, I had to put another carb on it cause I was running this 15mm Dell'orto knock off and basically it became a piece of shit through my wear and tear. At one point the damn thing had cracked and I had to JB Weld it back together, as well as to my intake. It did last me a fairly long time in that state and that was the carb I was using when we rode down to Los Angeles. So yeah, I changed the carb and put on a stock Bing 12mm. Of course going down to a smaller carb size would reduce my performance. However, it seemed like more than that. During my tune up, I re-checked my points and sure enough they have been opening to wide. Among other things I did were, tighten my front axle and forks, clean and readjust points, changed front sprocket back to 18 tooth, clean up bike and paint the Proma Pipe. It got late and I didn't really want to be test riding at night, so I still haven't really taken it out, so I'm not sure if all my problems are fixed, but I'm sure it's ride-able, so in my next outting, I'll know for sure what to do next.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast with Pear Compote

Late last night I baked two loaves of bread. One was a Sweet Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough (pictured here) and a Whole Wheat Sourdough. Mel suggested the sweet sourdough be used to make French Toast. Once again I was off and running.

The pear compote was reduced in orange zest, lemon juice and a splash of apple cider vinegar, as well as sugar and water. I should have reduced the pear down more, until they were really tender. Sometimes when you start cooking breakfast at 2:30 in the afternoon, things go haywire, cause your hungry and impatient, as was the case here. Next time I would ease up on the orange zest, use either the lemon or apple cider and reduce the pear until I had both a syrup and some tender chunks. Stay tuned for the next attempt. Oh yeah, even though I was impatient this breakfast dish was soooooo good, Mel and I thought we were having dessert for breakfast. Bad Monkeys!

Wang Dude

This is Wang Dude. He is a rad cat. I think he is a Maine Coone. He's about 2 years old here and I'm sure he's gonna get bigger. Awesome! Here's a picture of Wang Dude and Andy. Sometimes we call him Droidy Pendejo.

Wang Dude likes bags. Here's a picture of him in a bag.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

MopedHead Expands!

Last Sunday, Jan. 31st, 2010, five prospects were made official MopedHeads. We now stand 16 strong. The brief ceremony was held at State St., with Droidy Pendejo swearing in the new members.
Andrew & Dave

Robbie & Nicole

Ben Jamin

After a some cheers, we went in search of the perfect group photo. The first place we gathered was an alley between 2nd & 3rd and Virginia & Martha. We got some good photos here, however I think the next set with the water tower were way cooler.

After the photo shoot, we were off for another epic ride. Droid had planned a doosy for this one. Hicks Road with plans of riding to the summit of that area and then coming back out in Los Gatos. Well we got a bit of a late start and it turns out that one of the roads we went in search of was actually a trail.

Since it was evident that Woods Rd was actually a dirt trail and Mt Umunhum is too steep for the average moped, it was time to turn around. Actually we kept going, and took Hicks down to Alamitos Rd.
After everyone caught up we went left on Alamitos Road. Alamitos Road connects with Old Almaden and then spills into Almaden Expressway. While we were jammin down Almaden Exp. my pipe broke and fell off. I knew something was up cause suddenly my exhaust got a lot louder. I just thought that my pipe was loose. Yeah it was loose alright! Here we tried to create a coupling out of a Hamm's can and some hose clamps.
That lasted for almost a 1/4 mile. Ha! After looking around the second area where we were forced to stop, we decided that if I wanted to make it back, I'd have to ride my bike without a muffler. Just the exhaust header and the remains of the Hamm's coupling, kinda crimped to create an illusion of back presure. At this point we were down to five riders, two in front of me and the unlucky two behind me. Luckily we were on Almaden Expressway, on a Sunday evening, so we didn't draw to much unwanted attention.