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Attempts in Kitschen: Vegetarian Larb

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I love larb. The first one I tried was fish larb made with tilapia in a Minnesotan Hmong restaurant. Since that we found some recipes for fish larb, and we usually use this one.

I had made a vegetarian version a few times before. Some recipes I had found use some wheat based stuff, but I prefer TVP. Wheatless and glutenfree.
Here’s the rough recipe;

1 cup (dry) TVP (aka textured soy protein)
1.4 cups water
Thai fish sauce, to taste (salty – start with 1 tbsp, and taste, add more, test…)
Lime juice
Red pepper (fresh Thai stuff, or dry will work too)
Herbs: cilantro, basil, mint, vietnamese coriander, chives, garlic, oregano etc
Lime juice

Measure TVP in a heat proof container. Boil the water. Add the boiling water to TVP, mix. Let cool covered while you mince the herbs (scissors, knife, blender – as you like). Add the herbs (see a few examples of larb to see how it needs to look like, so add some, stir, add more etc until it looks and tastes right). Add on the same way the fish sauce (if anyone finds a really good vegan replacement for fish sauce, let me know), and last the lime juice to adjust the flavor. All the time make sure the ingredients are well stirred together.

Enjoy with sticky rice, or as a side with veggies or other foods. Or even on crackers.
The TVP version is much faster to make than the fish version, and it’s still packed with protein. I recommend using enough herbs, especially mint and basil, to make it taste extra fresh.
Having a glutenfree version is awesome – also if you need a quick vegetarian dish for a potluck etc that works.

TVP works great for taco filling too, instead of meat; usually a TVP/water ratio of 1:1.5 since the spice mixes will absorb water too. Mix the dry TVP and taco spice, add boiling water, stir, let cool covered. Actually I did fancy some tacos today. But no taco shells, so it would have been perilla leaves and the TVP taco mix in it. No taco mix… therefore vegetarian larb for lunch.


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Attempts in Refasioning Clothes

T-shirt refashioned. by uninorth13
T-shirt refashioned – this used to be an unwearably XXXL plain t.

As I love finding new uses for things, whether they are in kitchen, garden, wardrobe, or about anywhere else, it was time to hit the wardrobe with some updates.

Here some more of my current and future attempts in wardrobe refashioning.

I know I’m late to jump in (also this) bandwagon, but better late than never. Plus as I love shopping the local Goodwill and Salvation Army (because they are cheaper) for random interesting t-shirts, I can smell ahead some more clothes hacks and refashioning attempts. Especially  as I finally have a sewing machine that works the way I want.

Friday Recipes & Food Explorations #2: Sweet Potato Greens

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Friday Recipes & Food Explorations #2: Sweet Potato Greens

I don’t seem to have good karma editing multiple pictures in one post today, hence #2 for the actual greens… or leaves. So more sweet potato greens goodness!

After preparing the sweet potato stems, I used nearly the same method for doing the leaves.

Ingredients (It’ll probably be less annoying if I’ll start to list them separately…):

  • Olive oil (or sesame oil)
  • garlic cloves and leeks
  • thai peppers + crushed red pepper
  • thai fish sauce
  • lime juice
  • sesame seeds
  • fresh herbs (chives, basil, vietnamese coriander, mint, or any you prefer)

So after you’ve prepared the stems, and have the blanched sweet potato greens, cut them to smaller pieces, 1/2″ or so. Heat the oil hot on your favorite pan and add a crushed garlic clove and fresh thai peppers and/or crushed red pepper and let those get some flavor going. Once they are hot and smell delicious, add the sweet potato leaves, and keep them moving. Add fish sauce, lime juice, and sesame seeds to taste, and let them cook until your desired consistency, and depending on the heat, from a few minutes to maybe ten minutes. Add fresh, minced herbs and done. A second side made from an ingredient that looked too pretty to cook with… :)

Friday Recipes & Food Explorations #1: Sweet Potato Greens & Stems

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Friday Recipes & Food Explorations #1: Sweet Potato Greens & Stems

I’m painfully aware that I haven’t made a blog entry for ages. Too many things going on, other stuff to write, and even the classic what I want to finally write (like a guide for touristing in Ireland) are still on shelf.

So time to try something new. Oh yay, I’m jumping on the ah so 2008 bandwagon of food blogging… I guess. Someone told I should document my experiments with food, so here goes. As Friday is often the day I end up getting some new ingredients (at least if I order from Greenling), here goes #1.

Fried Sweet Potato Stems

Wait, what? I’ve had some sweet potato greens in some neat ways in our favorite Korean restaurant, but this week’s batch contained hon tsai tsai, aka sweet potato greens. There was a recipe for a curry with them, but time to experiment. Greens separately, stems separately.

I rinsed the greens, then separated the leaves from the stems, and blached the leaves for 10 seconds, the stems (chopped to 1″ pieces) for a minute.

Then, for the stems… heat some olive oil, and fresh smashed garlic and home grown thai peppers, crushed red pepper, and get the flavor out of them. Add the stems, and keep them moving. After a few minutes add some thai fish sauce (I was out of soy sauce but fish sauce worked just fine), and adjust the flavor with some lime juice. Fry until a bit more tender or up to taste, maybe 10 min or so. Finish with fresh chives, parsley, vietnamese coriander and other herbs of choice, and enjoy. Or let cool and then enjoy. Makes a neat side dish. Then prepare the leaves


The Most Annoying Facebook People Categories


While this probably would be a better subject for a Facebook note, I don’t want to unnecessarily stir some people I consider friends (at least to some degree).

I’ve been wondering for a long time what would be the most annoying type of Facebook posters, and here is my categories v. 1.

(Note: these are not yet in the final order. So for that there will be probably a later version)

1. Emo “Life sucks” “My work sucks” “No one understands me” “Pity me”.

2. Breeder – every post is about their offspring. “My kid just had a poop” “My kid is so smart” “My kid blah blah”.
Note: emo and breeder occasionally happen in the same person. It can be hard to decide if to say anything when the friend with usually breedertastic updates goes suddenly to emo mode “so apparently having a sprog is a dude/chick repellant, no one wants to hang out with a chick/dude who has a sprig”. Well…

3. Twitterer – every post is a twitter status. Triple annoying for every #trending topics word in the status. “#my #facebook #status #updates #are #so #cool!”

4. Farmville – those whose every single update is about some Zynga (or any other Facebook) game “I’m on level 4 in poopville! Come wipe my pooper” “Come play Whateverville or poker with me! Fertilize my crops! I just reached level N+1”.

5. Pity me – see emo. Usually with more adult type of drama, or health issues. “My life sucks more than yours” “So I got like $ 900 more to pay, thanks IRS”.

6. Breeder-to-be – status updates include scans of the yet-to-be-released offspring. “Here’s Sprogleigh on week 3 scan” “zomfg!!1 We’re so preggers” “Sprogleigh makes my legs so swollen & other TMI”. After the release of the kid, this type usually turns to Breeder, see above. Most however stay in the breeder stage only for a few months (until the novelty wears off, and the cuteness probably weights less than the hungry wakeups 24 7).

7. The One Who Adds All Your Friends – double creep points if the person doing that is your mum/dad/other relative of the same category/your ex/someone significantly older than you.

8. The Famous – doesn’t matter if he or she is, they surely are full of Facebook Drama.
See also Friend Collector.

9. Friendlist Drama Queen – those who keep adding and removing people constantly, without apparent reasons. I guess that would be one of the signs of having OCD.

10. Friend Collector – those who are not as famous as Anthony Bourdain or Guy Kawasaki but who keep harvesting friends – thousands of friends that they don’t know. Double points if The Famous/Friend Collector keeps recommending you add Some Chick you surely don’t know

11. Some Chick/Some Dude – some person with a hot looking photograph and apparently interesting hobbies etc that appears first in the friendliest of Friend Collector or The Famous, then creeps up to the friendlists of multiple friends of yours. None of which have met Some Chick or Some Dude because they live somewhere they have never even been to.

12. Stupid Fake Name – this would be all those Jen In Facebook, Firstname Lastname combinations that are just weird inventions. Fine, I do understand the need to sometimes have a separate account with a fake name, or to hide under some random name, but if you add someone, please tell who the hell you are in the real life. How exactly do I know you? If I have no clue who you are, you are just Some Chick, and I’m not going to add you, ever.

13. Super Sporty person – those who do constant updates about how much they have run. Great if they are really runners and actually sporty, but for some reason all my friends that do any sport more seriously, don’t bother to status update how much they’ve run. It just feels odd to see multiple weekly updates when the Super Sporty was previously (aka in Real Life) known as the Smoking Couchpotato.

14. Suburbia Ranter – this type has strong political views, sees him/herself as a liberal, but has surprisingly conservative views, and lives in the Honky Suburbia. Suburbia Ranter gets annoyed by the people tweeting when they drive, the sprogs running amok in Walmart, Target or some similar place, and has habitual political posts that are also supposed to be ah-so-liberal. This type seems to call for the inner Conservative-Basher in many people that have made a conscious decision to not live in Honky Breederville. As a difference to emo, Suburbia Ranter is annoyed by the political issues, other people’s offspring etc, whereas emo’s annoyances are anyone and anything that is against him/her (so way more a teenager attitude than Suburbia’s).

15. Compulsive Liker and Compulsive Commenter – sometimes the Liker is also a The One Who Adds All Your Friends.

16. Link Poster – lots and lots of links. Double creep points if every digg, tweet, delicious, flickr, tumblr, goodreads and everything else social ends in the links.

17. Wall Spammer – some friends just shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near your wall.

18. Failbooker – the one whose posts and updates belong in failbook. Well – too funny to unfriend.

19. Only Some Weird Language – so you live in a country where they speak language X, and most of your friends speak language X. All the posts are however in language Y…. learn to create some groups. People who might understand what you say might like to read what you say, not those to whom it’s all Greek (or Finnish).

20. Creep Otherwise Not Specified – those who just creep for some reason, but you can’t put a finger on it. Maybe they make you wonder if they are a serial killer or something.

Did I forget any important category?

I guess The Activist could be annoying too, if the only things he or she ever posts are for some political/animal/health/whatever cause they have strong opinions about (and nothing else to say). But I don’t think I’ve seen that many Activists that they’d start to annoy. Many have some things they are passionate about, and to mention it once in a while is OK, just not daily. Wait, The Activists that are way too passionate about everything tend to kind of go under the ignore, so I guess I’ll have to add them after all;

21. The Activist – constant posts about the subjects the poster is passionate about. Breastfeeding, vaccinations, religion… double points for any 3 or more items that are controversial or usually feed the trolls in the internet.

22. Repost On Your Wall if… you like this status. Some smart and made up quotes that they copied from their friend who copied it from their friend. I guess in the real life these people were the ones falling for the chain mails. Well, once every now and then it’s fine to have such a status, but not when it’s habitually

23. Bless You – most updates are how Jebus loves you or how Dog this-and/or-that. Oh please create a filter, and show your jebusness to only those who you know are interested in your type of religion. Religion is like underwear – I don’t want to see what you are wearing. Or like a penis – it’s ok to have one, just have other interests in life than playing with yours too, and please don’t shovel it to the throats of young people. Oh, and all the mazel tovs count in this category too. Anything religious as long as it’s the daily and constant, primary content of the updates.

By the way, all those categorizations above are based on multiple people. So there are more than one Sporty, more than one Breeder, more than one of practically any of them (and combined).

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Firefox has a clueless or mocking sense of humor

Since I upgraded my OS to Mac OS X 10.7, I’ve been positively surprised how smooth it is compared to all the other pre-release OS I’ve used. In fact, the only problems I’ve had have been with audio built-in, but I’m not 100 % whether the problems of not recognizing any input are due to the OS or someone having taken apart this Mac later. Previously I didn’t have problems with it, but I was on a different Mac too. So this time, not using my own.

Firefox just had a funnily stupid error message:

Your Flash Player is out of date. Never fear, we can help.

To keep you as safe as possible, we recommend you upgrade your Flash Player. Without it, your browser could be less stable and less secure. So get the free update now or learn more.

Wait, to be safe and secure I should have or install Flash player? Wow, great security advice. Especially as the standard controls of any browser do not allow to be enough anal in the flash cookie policies. My default for that, when or if I have Flash on a system installed, is to not allow R, W, or X for the folder of Flash cookies. There are other ways to get rid of and to get better control of those cookies too.

It would be a better thing to advice me that I might miss some of the “fun” when I don’t have Flash installed than to be less secure, as that’s not the case. But what is Flash really used for? Mostly for ads. 99 % of the Flash things are stuff I do not want to see. 100 % of the Flash things are things I want to decide myself whether I want to see them, and not have them loaded by default. Flash is 100 % unsuitable for using it for serious business apps, such as stores or kbases. Flash is useless, and it’s also so 1998. Meh. Meh.

Screw you, Firefox. No, I’m not installing Flash.