Friday, October 31, 2008

Four-eyed cat! Happy Halloween!

Originally uploaded by EightBallDefense
In honor of Halloween, Jason and Gesso bring you the terrible and terror-rific... four-eyed cat!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gluten-Free bread... A Reprise

Ok. I think I've got it... Finally.

In the bottom of the pan, I toss...

1 cup of warm water

Many recipes call for 1 1/4 cups of water. They're crazy. Here in Seattle, the Breadman TR875 can't really handle that much moisture.

2-3 tablespoons of Brown Sugar

I never really measure this. I just take out a big spoon and drop the brown sugar in the bottom of that pan. It seems loosely related to how much sugar I'm craving at the time.

2-3 tablespoons of Smart Balance

I used to warm this up. It doesn't matter. I just grab a clean butterknife and slap a few large chunks into the bottom of the pan with the warm water and brown sugar.

1 warmed egg

When I start the process, I fill a cereal bowl with warm/hot water and throw an egg in it. When I'm done mixing the flour, I throw the egg in the bottom and swoosh it around with a fork or breadknife to break up the egg yoke. To be honest, I'm not sure if this is even necessary.

That's the end off the wet ingredients.

In a separate metal mixing bowl, I toss...

1 cup of rice flour.

My current rice flour is a mix of brown and white. (Laziness. Lack of proper flour storage devices. Etc.) It's mostly white flour. It's the cheap stuff from Lenny's or HT Market. (~89 cents a bag.)

1/2 cup of tapioca starch

This is also the cheap stuff from Lenny's or HT Market (~79 cents a bag)

1/2 cup of "exotic" flour

For the loaf pictured, it was 1/2 of sorghum. For the loaf currently in the oven, it's millet flour.

1/2 cup oats (optional)

If I don't throw in oats, I usually up the flour amounts to 1/3 cup. (e.g. 1 1/3 rice; 2/3 tapioca; 2/3 sorghum.) The goal is to have UNDER 3 cups of dry stuff. (Around 2.5 cups.)

3 teaspoons of X

Xanthan gum. The magical X powder. I try to keep the total flour / oat amount less than 3 cups -- but I always put in 3 tablespoons of X to get a decent amount of "stretch." (X allows us to have that nice structure you see in this loaf -- i.e. those air bubbles wouldn't be possible without gluten or X.)

1 scant teaspoon of salt

Sometimes I forget the salt and nobody notices. :P

Mix all the flour / oats / salt / X really, really well.

Drop the dry ingredients gently on the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl of the bread machine.

Make a tiny divot in the top of the dry ingredients and drop in 1 heaping tsp of yeast.

Then... let the machine do its thing...

I let it get mixed up to the wet dough stage, sometimes using a spatula to get the sides pulled in.. and then I drop potato starch on it to give it that "freshly floured" look on the outside. I am pretty liberal with the starch. (This can be my downfall.) Perhaps this is where the last 1/3 - 1/4 of dry ingredients can come from.

And finally... WAIT to cut into it. This is a "good thing" for gluten breads, but it seems even more crucial with dense/wet gluten free breads. They need that "rest" period to even out the moisture content internally.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sized Up: MacAir vs Asus N10 vs Asus S101

I'm tempted by the S101. Aaron is tempted by the N10. Neither of us is tempted by the MacAir. :P

Sized Up: MacAir vs Asus N10 vs Asus S101

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Care and Feeding of a 12 year old slightly-overweight cat...

As always, Gesso needs to lose weight. She's like a supermodel. always trying the latest fad diet.

The only thing that has worked in the past was Purina DM at 1 wet can per day. (That's 194 kcal.) She hates it. I hate it. It's gross, and I have a hunch that it makes her poo smell bad. It also seems to generate more vomit that other foods. It's fired.

We're trying to find something better.

We've had her on Sensible Choice Reduced Calorie at 1/2 cup dry per day. (That's 177 kcal.) Magically, she gains weight on this. Keep in mind, though, that she doesn't like to finish wet food, and she always craves more dry food. Also, there is that whole moisture content / protein content / gluten content mumbo jumbo. Who knows.

Her are some option's we're considering...


Sensible Choice Reduced Calorie (Here for comparison mostly)
3646 kcal/kg
354 kcal/cup

Royal Canin Indoor Mature 27.
3856 kcal / kilogram
283 kcal/cup (??)

Natural Balance Reduced Calorie
3,215 kcal / kilogram
312 - 319 - kcal/cup (est)

Felidae Platinum
3,534 kcal / kilogram
351 kcal / cup

Nutro Max Cat Senior
3590 kcal/kg

Nutro Max Cat Weight Control
?? Unknown ??

Wet ...

Nutro Lite Wet
895 kcal/kg
156g in a can
140 kcal in a 156g can

Felidae Wet
1095 kcal/kg
172 kcal/can

Purina DM (Here for comparison only.)
1243 kcal/kg
194 kcal/can

Evo Chicken and Turkey Wet
504.8 kcal / big can of 374g
210 kcal in a 156g can

I have to say, I like the ingredient lists on Felidae and Natural Balance the best. Evo is nice too, but the calories are just too high.