Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Lights, camera...

These are some of the lights that light up the Château de Chenonceau at night. Or at least they were. I wonder if they're still there or if they've been replaced by something more modern.

Lights. September 2011.

Something curious is going on with Blogger comments. I noticed that my spam folder is suddenly filled with "spam" comments. Eighty-one of them at last count. And they are all from current and former regular commenters, so they're legit, not actual spam. And they go back to 2008. When I check the original post that one of these comments was made on, it's missing. I restored one, and it showed up once again on the original post. I know these comments have not been sitting in the spam folder all this time -- I regularly check that folder. They just moved from certain posts to the spam folder all of a sudden, seemingly on their own and with no rhyme or reason. I guess I'll restore them all, but I fear that this might be some web pirate's nefarious plot and my blog might blow up. Well, stand back, here goes nothing...

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Sticky coconut chicken and rice

This one-pot meal recipe from the New York Times food section was not difficult to make, although the cooking time needed to be extended by about fifteen minutes to get the rice done. It might have been because I used round rice, but that's just a guess. I also should have browned the chicken a little more. My version came out much paler than the one in the NYT photo.

La mise en place. I used chives instead of scallions (we can't find them here) and frozen peppers instead of fresh.

First, the chicken (I used boneless, skinless breast), seasoned with salt and pepper, gets cut into good-sized pieces and browned in oil. When the chicken pieces are evenly browned, they come out and the minced garlic and ginger go in to sweat. The rice goes in next with a little more oil if necessary and gets stirred so it's evenly coated. Then the chives, bell pepper, and cashews go in, followed by the chicken broth and coconut milk. Once that's stirred around well, the browned chicken pieces get placed on top.

"Browned" chicken pieces, round rice, and home-made chicken broth (which is a bit cloudy but that didn't change the flavor).

The next step is to cover the pot and put it in a moderate oven for 25 minutes until the rice is done. I covered the wok and let it simmer on top of the stove. That could be another reason why it took longer for the rice to cook.

Lunch is served. If this had been for guests, I would have transferred it to an impeccably clean serving dish.
We added the sriracha (Thai hot sauce) at the table.

Other than looking whiter than a country club in Westchester, the end result, garnished with cilantro and a splash of sriracha, tasted delicious. We ate most of it; there's another serving left over. I would definitely try this again with an eye toward a more appetizing color.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Window pain

As in: it must be a pain to clean those windows.

And they're spotless! Château de Chenonceau, September 2011.

We're back to chilly weather for a few days. It's colder this morning than yesterday and we're not expecting it to get very warm through the day. I'll certainly get a fire going before too long.

But first I'm going to the store to pick up a couple of ingredients for lunch. I want to try a recipe that I saw in the New York Times recently called "Sticky coconut chicken and rice." I need some cilantro and some cashews. The rest of the ingredients are on hand. It's billed as a one-pot meal. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Somewhere over there

This was a morning rainbow, formed as giboulées (rain showers) passed over us from the west while the sun rose, as it does, in the east on Saturday. Ken posted a photo of an afternoon rainbow a few days ago.

If happy little bluebirds fly... Looking westerly on Saturday morning.

Our current weather is kind of typical for March. We're getting a series of rain showers alternating with blue sky. And lots of wind, which makes the house feel chilly. We haven't seen sleet or hail, but they're always a possibility this time of year. We had a nice fire yesterday and I will probably build another today and likely on Monday, too.

The transition to Summer Time (or Daylight Saving Time) went smoothly. The majority of clocks and timers in the house have to be set manually and I typically make the rounds on Saturday afternoon. I still have the kitchen appliance clocks to adjust, and the cars need to be done. One clock that never got changed last fall is showing the correct time now.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Fancy stone work

And we're back at Chenonceau! I've forgotten where on the château this is, but I was under it looking up. It seems like some level of restoration was done and the workers moved on.

An example of fancy corbelling. September 2011.

We had a thunderstorm last night. It wasn't close, but we saw some very bright lightning flashes and heard the thunder rumbling off in the distance. Tasha jumped up onto the bed. She doesn't like thunder and lightning.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Something old, something new

I guess I'm what's old. The glasses are new. I went to the optical shop yesterday morning (one I've never been to), arriving at 09h00, just as it was opening up. The only staff member there was a young guy, probably in his late twenties, and there were as yet no other customers. So I posed my question about taking the lenses (yes, they are progressives) out of a pair of frames I don't like (my backup pair) and putting them into another pair that I do like. Ken bought a new pair of frames a while back, but for some reason his lenses weren't right and his eyelashes brushed against the lenses when he blinked. He didn't ever get used to them and stopped wearing them. But I like the frames.

Walt's got a new pair of glasses.

The optician said that yes, if the new frames were smaller than the old frames, the lenses could be cut to fit. Then he asked me, "Do you have other errands to run? I can have these ready in about fifteen minutes." I was so surprised at the "instant" service that I didn't even ask about price. I just said yes and walked up the street to a café and enjoyed a double expresso. When I got back to the shop, the guy was done and he handed me the "new" glasses to try on. Perfect! I can see even better than with my "good" pair. I was amazed. I asked the guy if he needed to see my health care and insurance cards and he said no. Nothing required. No cost at all. Have a nice day! Again, gobsmacked.

So, for now, I have this new pair of glasses and my old favorites (that I've been wearing since 2016) are relegated to "backup" status. Ken's going to get his most recent prescription put in my former backup frames. He likes that they're bigger and is hopeful that he'll be able to see better with them.

I left the optical shop and walked up to the health food store, arriving at 09h30 just as it was opening. I found barley (pearl barley) and some corn meal and was quite happy. I was on the road back home by 09h45.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Sleepy pigeons

I think they're sleeping. One of them looks awake, but the others don't with their heads tucked into their feathers. I wonder if pigeons dream. I wonder if they snore. I don't wonder very long.

Pigeons snoozing on the Château de Chenonceau. September 2011.

I'm going to the optical shop this morning, so I'll get some answers to my questions. I hope. I'm also going to stop into a nearby health food shop to look for some barley. Our supermarkets don't carry it, but the health food place might. We stopped going to that store a while back. Its hours were kind of weird and it was almost hidden inside a courtyard. But they've since moved into the main street of town and into a larger shop. I only found that out by looking at Google maps, so yay, Google!