Alternate Open Thread


I’m not going to do a regular post today.

I set up an open thread last night for those who want to discuss, or simply process, the Paris attacks.

For those of you who need to take a breather from the tragedy, here is an alternate open thread to discuss, well, alternate things. But let’s not talk about MRAs and the rest today. Let’s take a break from them too. (And this is, of course, a no troll, no MRA thread.)

The photograph I’ve used for this post? It’s just a picture of a man and his bunny in Paris on a happier day.

139 replies on “Alternate Open Thread”

One thing I’d recommend for someone having to do vegetarian stuff, make yourself a freezable version of duxelles – concentrated mushroom ‘paste’.

It’s also a handy recipe to make up when mushrooms are going out cheap. Best of all, the mushrooms are cooked right down, literally to a paste, so people who dislike the texture have no problem. All they get is the nice rich taste – very good for the reluctant vegetarian who misses the mouth feel/ umami taste of meat, very good for mixtures that seem to be “missing something”.

1/2 kg mushrooms, any sort but I prefer at least a few of the big flat ugly ones in the mix
1 onion very finely chopped
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Wipe the mushrooms and chop finely*.
Simmer the onion gently in the oil until translucent, then add the mushrooms, parsley and spices. Simmer the mix (fairly gently) until all moisture has evaporated. Stir consistently towards the end to prevent sticking/burning.

At this point the standard recipe advises spooning into small jars and topping with oil to seal from air exposure. What I do is to get small freezer or sandwich bags, put 1/4 or 1/2 cup quantities into the bottom of each bag. Then I flatten it so it finishes up looking like a flat chocolate bar or licorice strap in the bottom of the bag. Seal and freeze. The advantages of this are that 1) the amount of fat/oil/calorie count is reduced, 2) if you just want a bit to flavour a sauce or casserole, you can break a bit off easily, 3) if you need the whole quantity in the bag, it thaws and mixes in much more quickly than it does in a lump (ask me how I know), 4) the little flat packs are much easier to tuck into the freezer, 5) you don’t have to top up a jar with extra oil to reseal it.

* Chopping the mushrooms as finely as you can means that the moisture releases much more quickly. It’s also important to use a big-ish frying pan but over a gentle heat so that there’s maximum chance for evaporation. I use a wooden or silicon spoon-spatula to draw across the pan frequently so that the moisture is fully exposed to the air. Even then it takes a while – though I confess I prefer to do a kilo at a time.

@peaches (Ha! That’s so apt username, considering what we’re talking about…)

@skiriki – This is probably too late, and it might not work anyway, but peaches always make me think of ginger. Crystalized ginger will probably clump worse than chocolate chips though.

Sounds good, and no, I’m doing the pie today, but sadly I am out of candied ginger. I could sprinkle some powdered ginger into custard base, though.

@dhag85 — funnily enough, I buy mine from an East Asian store run by a lovely Thai woman, so worth checking it out anyway. They also have fresh okra, but it is such a hassle, so I get tinned.

Also, are you lacto-ovo type of vegetarian? Do you/your family group have any “yuck won’t eat that” foods? Checking so I know what else I can recommend.

@raysa — OMG, thank goodness your spouse is safe.

@Neurite — not late at all, still cooking. I use cardamom in dough, so that’s definitely one of the wonders that works for that combo.

So I’m currently baking the crust, and made peach puree mix earlier this morning. Since I had leftovers, I put some pureed peaches into my unsweetened yogurt, and added a tiny splosh of peach liquor to it, plus a dab of maple syrup, stirred well and enjoyed, ah, fortified breakfast. Hey, it is Sunday. πŸ˜€

Today, well yesterday, was super stress day of stressfulness. I ended up missing my choir’s concert, because I was still testing and fell apart a little before and after my last skill station (in the staging area)…

… But I passed.

I’ll be official once the state processes the paperwork.

I’m an EMT-2.

And the choir forgives me and the alternates did good, and…

I’m tired.

Recipes! Those are great. Some of them have ingredients that I’ve never heard of, but Google is my friend. Personally, I love buckwheat, but here in the USA it’s little known. My mother used to make it as a breakfast cereal. The smell was divine.

Good for you that you’re drawing!

I’m trying to do something every day too, which is to watch a series of instructional videos on learning to code. They are very, very basic.

Like you, I have push-and-pull feelings about art. All best wishes for your progress as an artist.

Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry that your husband had that frightening experience. Those open-early, open-late convenience stores can be dangerous places to work. I’m so glad that he wasn’t hurt. And yeah, it’s hard to make a living these days. All best wishes to both of you.

That tea sounded lovely.

I’m sorry that you think that your wife isn’t ready yet to deal with her alcohol abuse. I hope that she comes around soon. I guess that we all learn what we need to learn on our own schedule.

I’m sending positive thoughts to you and your family.

That’s good that things are looking up. Sorry that the job is less than wonderful. But Spain sounds nice and warm and lovely. I hope you have a great, relaxing trip.

Congratulations! I’m sure that you put in lots of hard work to become an EMT-2. Sometimes I see EMTs dealing with homeless people, and I’m so glad that we have that safety net. Thank you for saving lives!

Weather update: It’s raining! My area has been going through a drought, so I’m really happy whenever it rains. Yay for early morning wind and rain! And I’m glad I don’t have to go out in it.

Thanks for all the recipes and links, everyone! πŸ™‚


Yes, I think lacto-ovo vegetarian would be correct. Sadly I can’t see myself giving up dairy any time soon.

As for yucky foods, we’re both quite picky eaters (which makes this so much more difficult) and we both have a history of eating disorders.

My wife doesn’t like chickpeas, as I mentioned previously, but there are many other little things here and there that she would prefer not eating. Most importantly we both hate all seafood, but that doesn’t matter now that we’re vegetarian.

I have a general tendency to be grossed out by almost all cooked food. When I’m by myself I default to eating only cereal, bread, yogurt, snacks, chocolate, ice cream and candy. When I get too hungry I order a burger or pizza and then I feel like crap for 2 days. But that’s not really relevant for this discussion since I do force myself to eat normal dinners, and I often like them when I have them. It’s just the idea of eating normal food that freaks me out beforehand sometimes.

My dislikes are eggplant, tomato (by itself; I’m ok with tomato in the crushed form, or in ketchup, tomato soup, etc), excessive amounts of cheese, and probably other things I can’t think of right now.

I found an amazing recipe on youtube a while back, for some sort of spicy cabbage wraps with all sorts of good veggies and nuts in them. It’s actually a raw food recipe, but it’s really really good. It’s quite a bit of work so I haven’t made it very often, but it’s always been much appreciated.

First off, start by making almond butter. You can use store bought almond butter to save some time and effort, but I think home made is a lot better. You will need almonds, a food processor, and patience. Just put almonds in the food processor, blend, scrape down the sides with a knife, blend, scrape sides, blend, and keep going until it turns into a ball of almond butter. This will take time. It will seem as if it’ll never turn buttery, but eventually it will. Trust me, just keep going until it suddenly happens. For me it’s always come out semi-spreadable.

For the main recipe, put the following ingredients in a blender:

1/4 cup of almond butter
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp of minced ginger
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 tsp of salt
2 tsp chili flakes

Mix all these up in the blender, then add 1 cup of cashews and blend a little but more until the cashews are chunky and not completely blended.

Then you will need the following:

Large leaves of red cabbage
Green and yellow bell pepper
Bean sprouts

Take a cabbage leaf and put a reasonable amount of the filling in it. Then add carrot, bell pepper and mango, all raw and cut into small sticks. Add a little bit of bean sprouts, and then fold the cabbage up.

Use the leftover almond butter for a sandwich spread. πŸ™‚

I have another good recipe with tofu and quinoa, for those who like that. I’m not a huge fan of tofu myself, but I love this recipe.

First, prep the tofu. You will need a tofu press, or if you don’t have one you can press the tofu with paper towels and whatever weights you can find. For example cans of beans, which is what I’ve used in the past. Basically, put a block of tofu down on a few layers of paper towels, then put another few layers of paper towels on top. Then place a heavy bowl on top of that, and fill the bowl with more heavy stuff. Replace the paper towel if it gets soaked. Leave it like that for about 30 minutes and it should be good.

Now bake the tofu:

Preheat oven to 400F. Put the tofu blocks on a baking sheet with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes. Then flip the tofu and bake for another 20 minutes. I’ve made this “marinated” in Sweet Baby Ray’s hickory and brown sugar sauce before. Just marinate the tofu for an hour or so in the fridge before baking, and then use the leftover sauce to brush onto the tofu when you flip them halfway through.

Now for the main recipe:

1/2 cup quinoa
Vegetable broth
1 red bell pepper
1 head of broccoli
1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp water
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp minced ginger
2 tbsp chopped peanuts

1. Make the quinoa like normal, with vegetable broth.
2. SautΓ©e the bell pepper in olive oil, just a few minutes.
3. Steam the broccoli by putting it in a hot frying pan with 2 tbsp of water. Cover the pan and steam for 2 minutes, then move the broccoli to a bowl with the bell pepper.
4. Mix ingredients for a peanut sauce: peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, 1 tbsp of water, sugar, ginger.
5. Transfer the quinoa, veggies and peanut sauce to a large bowl and mix it all up with some salt and pepper.
6. Serve in bowls, and add pieces of the baked tofu and chopped peanuts.


That looks extremely good! I’ll definitely make that. The only problem is with so much heavy cream and butter it will have to be a special occassions recipe.

My last recipe for now, kale and potato gratin:

1 1/2 lb potatoes
Lots of kale (I prefer Chinese kale for this)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan (grated. or fake parmesan)
Fresh thyme, and other herbs if you have them
1/4 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Peel and slice the raw potatoes 1/4 inch thick, then boil them for 3 minutes and drain.
3. Chop kale into ribbons. Combine kale, olive oil, pressed garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with a spoon or your hand.
4. Put down layers in a casserole dish: potatoes, then kale mix, then bread crumbs and parmesan, potatoes, kale mix, bread crumbs and parmesan.
5. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and pour the milk over the top, then bake for another 15 minutes without foil.

I will also suggest oven roasting new potatoes. Leave the skin on but brush them clean, slice in half and place face down in a pan. Get some olive oil, salt and pepper on the potatoes and in the pan, and bake them at 450F for about 20 minutes.

@dhag85 — you can cut some of that, BUT, this makes it ideal very-cold-weather food, such as when there’s snow up your arse and you still gotta go outside.

I’m feeling very very negative today. I took my youngest for a walk and we found Rivendel. It was a public garden with some White trees and Doric columns, so she was chuffed.

I’ve been reading articles about Jeff Weiner and Warren Buffet, respectively. In Weiner’s he said find “What it is you ultimately want to accomplish” and Buffets was a job you love is where passion and skill intersect.

It left me wondering what passion and skill do I have? and when I find it What the hell do I want to accomplish? Meh! So that’s the root of my negativity today.

Hey, I can relate! I’m still trying to find the answer, and there’s always some external pressure to do it fast. Keep at it, maybe try to find a nice psychologist if you can afford it. You don’t need to have any mental health issue to see one, it’s a healthy thing to do when you have those kinds of problems in life and it might even help prevent the development of those issue later.

Since you’re all sharing some recipes, here’s my family’s secret sandwich, the Botucatu:

French bread (enough for everyone you’re cooking for)
2 slices of the best bologna you can find for each sandwich you’re preparing
2 slices of cheese, I recommend mozzarella, for each sandwich
A lot of onions! depending on how many people you’re cooking for I’d say take at least five
Soy sauce
Tomatoes (optional)

How to prepare

Chop up the onions in whatever shape your heart desires.
Use a frying pan to start frying the onions. As soon as they are sizzling, put some soy sauce in the pan. There’s no official measure, most of it will evaporate, but what we want is for the colour and taste to stick to the onions. When the onions are getting a little soft and soggy-looking, sprinkle them with vinegar and then remove them from the pan, putting them aside in a plate.
Now, we want to fry the bologna and the cheese in this same pan, but the cheese will stick to it and burn, so there’s a trick! Take two cheese slices and fold them into a nice little square. Then, wrap that cheese square inside two bologna slices, and put that package in the pan. You want to fry it until the bologna is a little black from the soy sauce remnants and the cheese has melted completely.
Now take the bread, slice it open, coat it’s insides in mayo, then put the bologna+cheese package inside, covering it with the fried onions. Add the tomatoes, if you’re using them.

That’s it! IMHO it’s delicious, quick and easy to make, and at least here in Brazil, it’s also cheap. My father was the one who started doing it this way and it’s something I love preparing for guests and such.
Be warned though, it’s a little messy on the pan, it might take some effort to get rid of the soy sauce burn marks on it πŸ˜›

Katz — hyraxes definitely be scheming!

Contrapangloss — congratulations!!

My hands post-aerials… ugh, I don’t know wtf my problem was today, but I was exhausted by the warm up and wanted nothing more than to be done so I could crash on something comfy. But I nailed gazelle, on one side anyways, which only took, oh, three months? And then tried to drop into angel and screwed something up and hit the mat, but hey I NAILED GAZELLE!

I read everyone’s replies. I appreciate the kind words and thoughts.

Hopefully, this week coming will be better for all of us.

Late to thread! Hope the people in Paris that comment here are okay and safe; I hope that the rest of Paris is as safe as they can be, and my condolences to those who lost people.

I was going to comment last night but I have a massive toothache. I got drunk, because even the Extreme Orajel did nothing for me. I slept with ice on my face and that helped some.

I can’t get into the dentist until tuesday. The first dentist couldn’t get me in until Mid-December and that was way too far away, because oh people’s Gods does my mouth hurt. And of course it happens the week where I have to work double-shifts, too.

I’m done for today, though, so I’m going to drink some more. Good for my teeth, no. Good for pain, hells yeah!

Ace — I’ve never tried it, but clove oil supposedly works. Also, advil, preferably not while drinking though.

@Argenti I maxed out on Advil two days in a row… worked the first and not much the second. I wonder now where I get Clove oil…

And I don’t have anything that can be made into liquid food. Thanks for the good thoughts, everyone!

Also, Argenti, wait to nail the Gazelle. One step at a time (insert aerial joke here!)

@contrapangloss – congratulations on passing the exam!

@raysa – that sounds terrifying – I’m glad he wasn’t hurt. And I agree with what you said about the “war on drugs”. It reminded me of something I read yesterday about payday loans trapping people in debt. Poverty is too often treated like a moral failure – it’s absurd.

Good news! I’ve got a full-time job working at a tutoring company, doing admin work as well as English tutoring. RIght now one of my students has an English-language entrance exam on Tuesday and I’m hoping that he passes it.

Also, the book I was helping a prof edit in my RA job the past spring/summer was accepted for publication!!! It didn’t accepted by his first choice of publisher, so the news is a big relief. Plus, second choice isn’t bad.

My parents bought an electric car! It’s their first time buying a new – new as in “not used” – car. They’ll be paying it off for four years, so there’s that, but they were talking for months about buying an electric car, and now they did! It’s a blue subcompact, very awkward-cute, but it needs to be plugged in after a couple hours. Reminds me of my (not new) laptop. πŸ™‚

I’m feeling pretty down on myself today. It’s the time of year when I got extra shamed by my mom for not being pretty enough (because that’s all the weight struggle was ever about no matter how much she tries to disguise it as health concern; her comments were always about how pretty I could be and she’s always talking about people’s value in terms of their physical beauty), so it’s hard on me every year. This year it’s harder because I’ve put on weight and my chronic illness keeps me in enough pain that I feel like crying right now thinking about being more active. And I really just want to be able to enjoy the lovely foods that are available this time of year but I hate myself so much right now every time I put food in my mouth. And it doesn’t help that my mom made a comment about me buying caramels a few weeks ago at the Farmer’s Market or that she’s been really shitty and dismissive of me in other ways that I don’t want to get into right now. I’m just tired on so many levels.

Blimey,Ronda Rousey has finally lost a match. Had wondered what would happen if she went up against a good striker who also had some anti grappling skills. Now we know.

To keep things relevant to this site, it’s probably of note that the two headline matches were women’s bouts. It’s only 4 years ago that Dana White, who runs the sport, said he couldn’t envisage women ever competing in MMA.

Also late to the party! It’s hard to keep up while going to and fro from my home to my dad’s house. But my hubby came with this time, so it wasn’t so lonely and we stopped at a bakery we both used to love as kids and got some of the best bran muffins known to mankind!

Arthur Meyer: There are other things you can do besides grow facial hair. A contribution of time or money is more useful, anyway! Also, yes to raising awareness for home health aides and also unpaid caretakers! It’s VERY hard work, as I found out, but it makes the biggest difference to patients. Also, nurses are awesome and doctors can be pretty clueless.

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