I’ve been working on a podcast with Comedysportz Seattle called the #CSzSeattleAfterParty. Last night was our 4th official podcast (there is one super secret one as well so 5th overall) and it was, by far, my favorite one. Have a listen.
There is a part of me that wants to say, “Big deal! He’s just an actor leaving a show.” However, I decided to write a post about what I’ve appreciated most about Matt Smith as The Doctor because I’ve never been a fan of anything before. Not like I’ve become for Doctor Who. This is the first regeneration I’ll get to see when it happens. I’m new to Who and have done a lot of binge watching over the last year and a half to be caught up (and then some). And most of all, sometimes it is good to appreciate the little things in life so that they are that much sweeter.
Some of you know that I’m an improviser. When I see photos or videos of myself I’ve often compared myself to a block of wood. But watching Matt Smith play The Doctor has inspired me. I’ve been inspired to study up (via books and video) on mime, stage movement, Charlie Chaplin and more. I often hear Matt Smith compared to Patrick Troughton for reasons associated with his physicality but it is a large reason why Sylvester McCoy is my favorite classic Doctor. Somehow Matt’s physicality lives in a quantum state of being both over the top and subtle. I often find myself thinking I should practice one of his scenes just to get practice at the movement. One day (perhaps later tonight) I’ll start doing just that.
I’m thankful he inspires me to better move while I’m on stage
He has a keen fashion sense (not)
The quote, joke, meme with Matt Smith is that “bow ties are cool.” I hate to break it to you but they are not. Or at least they weren’t until he started wearing them as The Doctor. They still aren’t if you aren’t a Whovian. Then there is the fez, another joke of fashion he has inserted into the show. From everything I’ve read he had a large part in choosing the look of his Doctor and I think he made a great choice. For such a young Doctor to choose articles of clothing that are often considered “your granddad’s clothes” [INSERT MACKLEMORE REFERENCE HERE – OK MAYBE NOT] was a perfect fit. I honestly never wanted to cosplay his doctor. I’ve never done any cosplay but I had thought maybe the 10th and definitely Captain Jack Harkness. Then The Bells Of St. John and that purple frock coat happened. I love purple and that coat was not classic but classic made modern. The bow-tie finally looked, not goofy, but stylish.
I’m thankful he had such good fun with such dorky clothes. A fashion crime I’ve taken part in many times but never as successfully.
There are many more things to like about Matt Smith’s time in the role of The Doctor. His emotionally charged scenes. His general joy and goofiness. His beautiful delivery of lines that will make you laugh the second time you watch an episode. I appreciate it but I am well prepared (thank you BBC) to move on now to the next Doctor. What will I love about your Doctor, Mr. Capaldi? I can’t wait.
When performing improv, every improviser has a desire to seem intelligent. If you are like me you’ve probably looked up to improvisers with lots of experience who seem to wow audiences with subtlety which turns into high spots of the scenes they are in. Perhaps, you think you need to be subtle, on purpose, in scenes to do the same thing. Improv doesn’t work that way and Occam’s Razor explains why.
Occam’s Razor is a principle that implies that a simple explanation is better than a more complex one. Whether or not this is true is somewhat debatable. However, when you are trying to play to an audience that is trying to understand what you are doing it’s best to keep things obvious. That way, things come across loud and clear to both your audience and your fellow improvisers.
But how can you be like that improviser you look up to? How can you turn that earlier subtlety into something witty? You can do it by paying attention. Those improvisers you look up to are just great at seeing what happens in a scene and putting those pieces together in the moment. They didn’t plan it. They made this witty story line, attribute or joke obvious to the audience when they noticed a pattern that fit the scene. Sure, they may be good at subtlety but that comes from experience. The experience of turning ideas up to 11 and making it clear what they are doing. Then, over the years, feeling out the best times to turn it down to 10, then 9, then 8, etc. More importantly, they learned to make strong choices, in the moment and at the moment they come up with them.
So the next time you have a great idea for a place to take an improv scene, make it obvious right then and there. If you don’t know how to do that, just make any strong choice and stick with it. It’s the strong, obvious choices in the moment that the audience (and your fellow improvisers) can understand which make for a less confusing (read as more enjoyable) show.
Now, I just need to practice writing in a way that is simpler to understand and this blog would go a lot better too.
I’ve decided to change my regular post with a new resolution I’ve taken on, DDP Yoga. I’ve actually started DDP Yoga’s fitness routines a couple times in the past. I was first inspired by this video.
Inspiring indeed. So I watched it again. Teared up again. And resolved to make a difference in my own life. This time though I was inspired to focus on building habits first. Rather than pushing hard I was going to kick my ego to the curb and just follow the beginner plan. Along with the fitness plan I am following the nutrition plan as well.
Following the beginner plan for fitness was very simple because it was only 3 days of fitness routines. Because I think waking up early is the better plan for me I decided to make the habit of waking early be the most important part. So even on my 2 weekdays with no exercise I wanted to wake up early as well. This worked fine on one but I didn’t make it on the other. It is still the first week so I’m not going to make it mean anything. I’m going to see how next week goes.
As for the nutrition I lucked out last Sunday night in that I doubled a recipe for 2 servings so that I could make dinner for the family and ended up with leftovers that lasted me through Wednesday lunches. This and the eggs I was already making every morning made it easy to follow the plan. I had a couple of cheat days and I wrote about in my Team DDP Yoga blog. Even with these light cheat days, things still went better than I used to do. In fact my first week has already brought fast results. Last Sunday when I weighed myself I was at 250 pounds. This Sunday when I weighed myself I was at 244 pounds.
I’m going to keep posting as I keep up with the program to share what has come up for me. I hope that whatever I find out can help someone else who might come across this post. If you want to follow my daily updates you can go to my Team DDP Yoga page and follow my blog posts.
Now that I’ve stopped walking through The 4-Hour Chef and started applying the knowledge that I gained from doing the work in the first section of the book, my focus on writing about the journey needs to change. Also, I’ve got a new focus I will be giving (mostly) weekly updates on – following the DDP Yoga program. So now my cooking with joy posts will be about specific experiments and happy accidents I encounter and sharing the lessons learned. Most, like today’s post will be successes but if a failure (though these rarely happen) is bad enough I might write about that as well. This post’s happy accident is about Oatmeal Scrambled Eggs.
The Happy Accident
So far things were going well with the nutritional part of the DDP Yoga program then yesterday I looked in the fridge to find there was no whole grain bread to make toast to go along with my breakfast. Along with that, there wasn’t much else that I wanted to add for my complex carbohydrate at breakfast. I thought about making a sweet potato but it really was too early for that. Then I saw my wife’s oatmeal sitting in the fridge. She makes oatmeal for herself in a larger batch than she’ll eat in one day and takes a bit each day and reheats it. It felt more like breakfast so I put some in a small bowl and made my eggs. When I was done and sat down at the table I looked the the braveuse (snotty looking) scrambled eggs and looked at the oatmeal. I wondered what it would be like to mix the two together. I mixed them together and wow! This was a great combination. The texture was wonderful and I’m thinking the flavor combination I used was the right one.
My recipe was basically made the same but I changed up the flavoring I went with. One of the most valuable things I’ve gotten out of The 4-Hour Chef was a list of 44 flavor combination and there is one I’ve been using a lot lately because it is very tasty but mostly to use up the fish sauce I haven’t been using anywhere else. For flavoring I’ve been using curry powder, chili powder and fish sauce. Much like the lemon juice used in the base recipe, I put the fish sauce in at the end. Unlike the base recipe I use 2 3-fingered pinches of the spices with my eggs. However, feel free to start with one and work your way up.
I did this recipe again this morning to take pictures. I also got a chance to see if it was still as great a breakfast meal as I remember and it was. If you try this recipe, try with the other flavor combinations as well. I will. From the base recipe you have at least 2 other flavor combinations to try. If you’d like more feel free to read other cooking with joy posts and/or leave comments in the posts requesting more information.
Foods don’t always seem great together until you try them. That’s how recipes get made. If I get a hankering to put two things together I’ve never done before I’ll do it. At minimum I’ll post them to my twitter account but if they are really good (or really bad), I’ll likely post them here as well. You might also like to follow my tumblr feed as well. It seems I’ve finally found a use for it and it is posting mysterious pictures about what I am cooking. Of course, I reblog a thing or two as well as share other pics from my life. Have fun and cook with joy.
It’s been a few weeks since my last post and it all started, or rather stopped, with SFIT. As I had guessed, I was beat that Sunday. Even though I did cook a meal, I most definitely did not do it with joy. My lack of joy, and sleep, had me go to bed early and not write my usual article. We find ourselves Almost a month and several meals later. While I will mention the meals from the past, I’ll probably rush past them because my memory is a bit fuzzy. Along with weeks off, I also (mostly) finished the first section of the book labeled the domestic. Rather than move onto the wild, I moved out of The 4-Hour Chef and moved into cooking from a different cookbook this weekend. Time to see if I learned anything useful in the weeks before. However, before we talk about that let’s discuss the last 3 recipes I made in the book.
Sous-Vide Chicken Breast
This was made the Sunday after my long day at SFIT and I was beat. I was in a miserable mood and while I was cooking I was cursing under my breath constantly. Despite this bad attitude the meal turned out great. The two skills I was suppose to learn from this lesson were sous-vide and multi-tasking. If you have been following my cooking with joy updates thus far you’ll realize I’ve already done quite a bit of multitasking. However, I’ve never cooked sous-vide style before. I probably won’t do it much but I wouldn’t be afraid to do it in the future if I felt there was a good reason.
This was a crazy meal to try with the kids. Not because of the scallops wrapped in prosciutto, because that was quite delicious. Right up there with the eel I made before. No, the reason this was crazy to try with the kids was that one of the skills was loving bitterness. Let’s just say none of us fell for bitterness in this meal. I will say I enjoyed learning about the bitter taste a little though. i might even be able to get used to it if I ate bitter foods more often.
MLBJ – The ML stands for Meatloaf
Let’s start of with the name of this silly recipe – MLBJ. Tim Ferriss writes this book a bit like an annoying frat boy and while the ML stands for meat loaf the BJ stands for blow job due to some anecdote he wanted to tell in the intro to this recipe. Anyway, just had to get that out of my head because it has annoyed me since I read the anecdote way back in November. All bad opinions about writing style aside, this is a good recipe for meatloaf. It came out well and I will probably make this or something similar in the future. This meatloaf did not come across as the usual gut busting hung o’ ground beef that meat loaves can some times be. Thanks to the many mix ins and the center of goat cheese and spinach we had some wonderful flavor. With this, and many other meals over the weeks, I’ve been making the arugula, avocaado and roma tomato salad I made many weeks back. Its a good salad and I’m getting pretty quick at throwing it together.
Leaving the guidebook – Old recipes made new
There are a couple reasons I decided not to keep pushing my way through the recipes in the book. The first reason is, it felt like I was pushing my way through the book and my resolution is cooking with joy. Another reason is that the recipes keep teaching new things and I wanted to see if I was actually learning anything by trying other recipes. Finally, I want to start making meals and the book doesn’t do a great job of pairing the foods up together by themselves. This lead me to my choice in a cookbook called Vegan Express which has pairings with each of the recipes inside of it. You may have noticed from the fact that I have made meat loaf, scallops, and chicken that I am not a vegan. It’s okay! Non-vegans can eat vegan/vegetarian food and enjoy it. In fact I love the chain restaurant Veggie Delight. Anyhow, I made Golden Tofu in a peanut sauce along with an accompanying salad recommended in the book. I’ve made this recipe before so I knew I would enjoy it. However it was a good test to see if I could use any lessons learned.
- Wash the dishes beforehand, especially if you’ve got a small kitchen. I’ve been meaning to say this in almost all my updates. For the most enjoyment in preparing your food have a clean work space. I didn’t do this tonight and I was kicking myself. Also, if you have a small kitchen you may want to wash dishes as you go.
- Don’t be a stirrer. He talks about this in the book, don’t stir or shake unless it is actually necessary. I got a better golden result on my tofu this way than in the past.
- Tool selection: Peltex is good for turning over soft foods like tofu. In the past I’ve had trouble making this recipe (which probably stemmed from stirring/shaking that had me end up with less triangle shapes and a bit more tofu crumble. The Peltex spatula did well in this roll.
- I should have made the salad the same way I make the arugula, avocado, roma tomato salad. When you toss a salad with all the parts together, the non lettuce ends up on the bottom. Better to toss each of the ingredients in the salad separately and put together a better presentation in each persons’ salad bowl.
- Be prepared and split up your meal. I got a little overwhelmed multi-tasking in this meal. In the 4-Hour Chef he splits it up into prep and cooking. In no other cookbook I own does this split exist. There is definitely some work I could have done ahead of time to make my space less cramped and my cooking more relaxing. Gotta be relaxed to cook with joy.
I needs must remember to keep cooking with joy. This will keep me cooking and this will keep me writing about it. Hopefully, inspiring others. If you would like any more details on any of the recipes above please leave comments. I will do my best to get back to them. I still am enjoying cooking, even if my kids aren’t enjoying eating my little experiments. Until next time, take care.
Let’s call this week’s update bonuses and broiled eel because that is what it seemed like this week. I had a couple bonus recipes I didn’t get to last week, which I did this week. I chose 1 of 4 sauces to make with my immersion blender because that was the next lesson in The 4-Hour Chef. However that wasn’t a meal so I went on to the next lesson, broiled eel! Yes, I made eel and I’ll let you know how it went when we make our way to the end of the week. But first, the bonuses that I did earlier in the week.
From making the arugula, avocado, and roma salad I learned two things. First, how to easily de-pit and slice up an avocado for use in many recipes. Second, I learned of the existence of the eggocado. I’m a fan of avocados and have been making eggs quite a bit so I really wanted to give this a try and bought 2 extra last week so that I could make it as a treat for my wife and I. The avocados I purchased weren’t ripe enough on Sunday so I had to wait and treat her on Monday.
Here’s a pro tip for anything special you want to make. Tell the other people who use food in the house that you have plans for certain ingredients or else they may disappear. My wife gave one of the avocados to my son for dinner on Monday so I was down to a single avocado and no time to get another one.
First, this was a tasty treat. It could be a good appetizer or snack. It takes a bit of time in the oven though so it does have to be planned. In the book it says that if you use the popular yet smaller haas variety you may have to make the pit hole a bit deeper. I ran into a problem with this when I didn’t make extra room so go ahead and do it. It won’t remove too much extra tasty goodness. Besides, you can put it on top of the egg when you are through in some way shape or form. I haven’t done this yet but why not.
The balancing act of cutting the back of the avocado was a problem that I will pay more attention to in the future. On one half the cut was not parallel to the top so much of the egg spilled out. Egg spillage occurs quite easily too as it likes to stick together. So if you are making this, take care with your cut and try to be as parallel as possible.
Keeping with the theme of night time treats with my wife I made some roasted garlic. This was part of the lesson that had me make gazpacho. I meant to make it with that meal but didn’t plan my oven time well enough so it became a late night treat later in the week. When I started to make it I decided to be a bit cheeky about it and posted mysterious messages on the social networks.
Something is baking in the oven. Tonight’s treat. Shhh, it’s a secret. ;) twitter.com/diacre/status/…
— Daryl Ducharme (@diacre) February 6, 2013
When I was done I made sure to clear up the confusion. I didn’t know what things people might think I was making but I’m sure it would be better if they knew it was garlic.
…and this is what came out of the oven. Mmm, tasty baked garlic. twitter.com/diacre/status/…
— Daryl Ducharme (@diacre) February 6, 2013
I’ll make this again, though maybe I’ll make more for a group of people. I think I could leave it in the oven for much longer than I did so I can probably do it next to some other dishes.
After last week’s update’, the next lesson wasn’t a meal or even a dish. It was instead a choice of one of 4 sauces to make with the immersion blender. The pesto seemed the simplest and worked with eggs so I decided to make it before I made my eggs this morning. Right up front I’ll let you know that it was tasty. After all, this is basically the italian flavoring I used on eggs and pasta before but with fresh ingredients, greater aroma and added cashews. However, I ran into an issue with basil I’d like to tell anyone reading my blog.
If you are experienced in the kitchen with basil you can probably move on. I am not experienced with fresh basil so this is what happened to me. The first store I went to only had fresh thai basil so I got that. The store I went to for eel had thai basil and basil. For learning purposes I got basil from there as well and did a couple experiments. Visually they are fairly similar. However, the thai basil has red stems and the leaves seemed more defined. I also noticed that the thai was much more aromatic than the regular basil. A taste test revealed not much difference to me. In the future I’d say go with either one. The aroma of the thai basil was very nice though so if you like it go with that.
On the skills learned during a lesson front, this lesson didn’t have any spelled out in the beginning of the section. However, I got a bit more practice using my immersion blenders chopper attachment and I learned how to chiffonade basil (as well as any other large leaf thing). So that’s there for you if you are headed down the same path.
First the lesson basics, what skill was supposed to be taught in this lesson? The answer was unusual proteins. In a way I feel this is true, now that I’ve made this dish once I feel I could easily make it again. Also, in my search for eel I ran into all sorts of unusual proteins in the fish area. Funny enough, I found vegetarian (fake) eel before I found the real deal eel. However, I feel the real skill I learned this lesson was using broccoli as an alternate to rice. Not only was it a skill I learned but it is a tasty alternate with much less starch content. Very nice.
Now let’s go through my questions above. I was obviously able to find it, though it did take some searching to do so. The eel part was probably the easiest, I just broiled it for a couple of minutes and it was ready to go. As for taste, it was great. However, more details need to be said in this area. When you read this recipe you see that it is inspired by unagi sushi and that flavor comes across. I like sushi quite a bit so the fact that this tasted like sushi was great. In fact, this is my favorite dish I have made so far. If the eel weren’t as expensive as it is, though all meat is really, I would make it all the frickin’ time.
The only problem with this recipe was the broccoli. Much like glitter that gets everywhere and you can’t get rid of it easily, the broccoli bits got everywhere and were a pain to clean up. I think I got them all and the clean up was well worth the flavor. The kids weren’t big fans of the whole meal but they did eat the eel so that’s good.
Until next time
So next week is SFIT so I will be busy especially on my main shopping day of Saturday. Next week may or may not have an update depending on what I decide to make. I will still be cooking the dinner meal on next Sunday but it may not be a new dish. However, I’ll be making arugula, avocado, and roma salad with baby arugula (aka rocket) as I found it where I should have looked in the first place. It was in the pre-packaged lettuce area. So if you are getting inspired by any of my writing and want to find baby arugula, that’s the place to look. I found it at a plain old Safeway. So keep an eye on me via twitter(some might say follow) to see how that and anything else I might try this week, there are 3 other sauces to try with my immersion blender, turns out. Until next time, have fun and let me know what you find out.