Sunday, October 30, 2011

Play with your food: Egg-waffles!

I'm inspired by a couple of recent kitchen sessions to do a new series (by which I mean two posts.. maybe more): Play with your food!

One of my coworkers forwarded me a blog post about cooking eggs on a waffle iron and I was totally thrilled by the idea. It's just silly enough to make for a fun weekend breakfast. Fortunately I had an amenable houseguest this weekend so guess what we did? Science breakfast!
Mix 3 eggs + 2 egg whites in a bowl (because that's what I had handy). Set the waffle iron on lowish - mine has 5 settings and I had it around 1.5. Pour in some egg and cook it! Since we were doing scrambled eggs I first tried cooking with it open, but decided it was better (and more waffle-y) to close the iron as they cooked. I didn't time it, just gave it a few minutes. I thought I might need chopsticks to pull the egg off the iron, but a fork did the trick.
Easy, yummy, and fun!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waxy progression

Okay! We left off with a pot full of sludge and me full of skepticism. I somehow imagined that the wax would solidify in a tidy ball suspended in the water. I was wrong, but it DID come together:
I took this picture after I'd dislodged the disk and drained the honey-infused water underneath, but you get the idea. It was about an inch thick or so; its bottom was covered with hardened ... stuff. I scraped it off as best I could:
Then I hacked the disk of wax into bits, which took some serious brute strength:
I put the bits in some cans and set the cans in a pot partially full of water.

I also put some water in the cans to help encourage the wax to melt. I'm not sure that was strictly necessary, but it worked!
I added the contents of the smaller can to one of the bigger ones, just for the sake of tidiness.

So now what? The bottom of each can will have an inch of water or so. Then there will be some miscellaneous crap adhering to the bottom of the wax, and then a column of wax. It could probably stand yet another round of filtering before it gets used, but we'll see. I feel like it's definitely come a long way in a couple of days.

I've also done a lot of cooking in the two evenings in the kitchen: mesquite chocolate chip cookies, curried pumpkin coconut soup, muhammara, and a ravioli-broccoli-tomato-cheese bake (because I needed the can the tomatoes were occupying!). I'm a little sick of kitchen projects for the moment, but look for more wax updates in a week or so.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Waxing skepticism

Well, I got my hands on the beeswax today. I don't know if it can even be called beeswax yet - it's the cappings (ends cut off the honeycomb cells) and other messy bits.
One online source suggested putting the cappings in water on low heat. So, fingers crossed, I gave it a shot. At first it didn't seem like anything was happening.
But after a while the big ol' clump seemed to break down.
And then I could see golden liquid starting to take over.

And even more liquid:
Until finally it all seemed melted:
Now I'm supposed to let it cool down. The wax will allegedly form a block, with the cruddy bee bits and other detritus stuck to the bottom of the block, where I can cut it off. I dunno though: 
I find it hard to believe this is going to work. Time will tell!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wax on

One if my friends is a beekeeper, among other identities. I've visited the hives once and loved getting to see a queen, and a new bee emerging from its growth chamber, and being surrounded by bees just going about their work. I didn't love getting stung twice! I've heard that bee keepers who get stung regularly become immune to the sting but I find it hard to believe, and would not want to get the regular sting exposure that lends immunity.

Alas, I didn't have my camera when I visited the hives but hope to return some time. For now though I'm interested in the bees for their wax. One of the hives is the most well-established and has already produced a bunch of gorgeous honey. With honey comes beeswax, and I will soon be in receipt of a bunch of it.

I've never worked with beeswax before but have another friend who has, and I've been reading up on it. Apparently it's going to be full of miscellaneous bee bits and other detritus, so you have to carefully melt and filter it before you can do anything with it. So that should be my project this week. If I don't burn down my apartment, I will document and write about it!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Get a swim suit. Use it!

For years and years I had a bathing suit that I didn't love, but I had it in case of emergency swimming need. As an adult I haven't lived in hot places where swimming happens much, so I rarely if ever used it.

Finally in the fall of 2009, for no reason I can recall, I decided it was Time for a New Swim Suit. I figured this would be rather painful (in that whole moment of truth sort of way) but I learned that Lands End offers lots of sizes and combinations, and you can return their products to Sears. I must have ordered ten billion different bits and pieces, but I found a suit that works for me!

And since then I've gone to hot springs with a friend in New Zealand,
went to an amazing spa in the high desert of New Mexico,

learned to scuba dive in preparation for a week of sun and sand and scuba and snorkeling in Honduras,
swam and waded and swam again in Greece,
and just came back from a weekend in a cottage with a hot tub, where I could hang out with friends in steamy bubbly bliss. Get a swim suit! Make a point of using it!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Well, the weekend went better than I thought it would. It even went better than I dared hope! My sick friend didn't die, and my widowed friend was moved out of her house in an incredibly efficient manner.

It was really an impressive amount of work but it was well organized. We arrived at the house to see a big dumpster, a storage pod, and a moving truck. Everything in the house was NOT packed but was labeled according to its ultimate destination (new apartment, storage, trash, donation) so the helpers could work independently. There was also a stack of index cards with various tasks on it (gather chemicals in laundry room and put on Haz Mat pile; remove pictures from walls; etc.) so we could tackle those jobs as well.

My friend held up in what must have been an unthinkably hard day. In some ways I'm sure it was a relief, to be out of the house, into an apartment, and DONE with all that stuff in all one day. In other ways it's a very definite end to a part of her life that was very happy and all too short.

Happy October!