Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey-related program activities

I'm a few hours into a Mystery Science Theater 3000 marathon, and I've got a turkey slowly reaching the ideal temperature, and smelling awesome.

I picked up Alton Brown's book on a recommendation. He gets into the reasons behind certain techniques and methods, and while I'm not as interested as getting into some of the gear-fetish geekdom, I was sold on the notion of accurately measuring cooking temperature. At least with roasting, which I often over-do.

I also decided to try brining. Essentially, soak the turkey in a salt/sugar/spice solution for a number of hours before popping it in the oven; it infuses the cells of the meat with the liquid and flavoring. For sugar, I decided to use Guinness, and my fingers are crossed that I got the proportions right.

One thing I couldn't bring myself to follow his recommendation on was stuffing. I really think the whole point to stuffing is to actually stuff the bird. His point was that, in order to cook it to the right temperature to eliminate samonella (165F), you have to overcook the rest of the turkey, which dries it out too much. However, he also describes that brining lets you get the cooking temperature higher w/o that problem, so it's a win/win, I think.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's Trek Jim, but not as we know it

Today was Star Trek day, because the new BluRay of the "reboot" showed up from Netflix. I started my early-morning Saturday cartoons with some of the animated series from the 70's (which I watched religously back then), and then some of The Next Generation TV series; both, again, from Netflix.

(The animated series was really shittily animated, but the sci-fi storytelling wasn't all that bad. A pity. TNG wasn't entirely as bad as I thought it would be in the the early season -- better than a lot of Voyager at least...)

At any rate, the JJ Abrams' "reboot" of the Trek franchise didn't suck. But it was very, very different. And not entirely in the well-crafted way that Galact-o-yeah was -- the 20th-century industrial settings of the guts of the various starships, and the gritty textures applied to most everything, kind of betrayed the utopio-futuristic vision of Trek in general. Despite the Apple Store quality of the bridge and all the lens flares thereof.

It was a lot of fun, though. Many ingredients of the Trek Ethos (TM) were left intact. There were quite a few homages to earlier canon, including the "early Spock" days from the animated series episode I just watched (funny how that worked). Quinto almost makes an excellent Spock, except his voice doesn't have anywhere near Nimoy's gravitas. In fact, none of the voices have any real maturity to them. Maybe Bones... he had the best homage to the original character in the whole thing. But overall, it was kind of like "Emo Trek" with all these too-young faces and less-than-epic subject matter.

But I did enjoy it, and I think future "episodes" in this newly-minted retcon universe might serve the "Trek" mythos quite well. Here's hoping...