Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gordon Ramsay's Turkey Meal

Everyone, I guess, knows Gordon Ramsay and his obnoxious behavior on TV shows such as Hell's Kitchen. There was another show, that I had not seen before, yesterday by a company called One Potato, Two Potato which in it Gordon and his family were making different meals. 
I watched that for probably up to two hours. The fact that he makes excellent food is undeniable but he consumes too much Sugar, Oil and Butter. He never uses, or at least I never noticed in 10 to 15 meals that he made, Whole Grain or Whole Wheat Flour and he has an excellent kitchen with top of the line equipment which is very hard to get. Gordon Ramsay when he's making food with either of his 3 daughters or his Mom or his soul son, is very different from Gordon Ramsay who swears the hell of the poor people who make stupid mistakes in his kitchen!
Anyways this week we decided to make his Turkey dinner so we got ourselves a medium-size Turkey and other ingredients according to him. I did the preliminary preparation yesterday and let the bird rest in the refrigerator for a day. Here is the list of ingredients in case someone is interested:

1- One medium Turkey.
2- Butter. (1 block of 454 g. Unsalted).
3- Olive Oil. (You figure out how much you will need during preparation).
4- Garlic (3 cloves).
5- Salt.
6- Pepper.
7- Lemon (2 medium or bigger size depending the size of your Turkey).
8- Onion (2 Mediums or large depending the size of your Turkey).
9- Bay Leaves (2 - 3 leaves).
10- Parsley (a handful, preferably ⅓ of a bunch).
11- Bacon (4 to 5 strips).

The ingredients: In this picture you see the medium or maybe the small Turkey after being mostly thawed.  Bay leaves are missing and I forgot to add them! I used ⅔ of the butter you see here and it is a slab of 454 g Unsalted Butter. Gordon uses lemon or orange in almost every meal he makes! That little burgundy spot you see on the turkey is apparently a pop-up device. It pops up when the turkey is fully cooked, The Lady, told me that but she said that to me after I had taken it out! So you could use it! Don't forget onions and bacon that you also don't see them in this photograph. I would use two large onions instead of two medium ones, depending on the size of your turkey.
Instruction:

1- Crush Garlic, and chop Parsley.
2- Mix Butter, Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper and add them all to Parsley and Garlic.
3- Grind the zest of the Lemons.
4- Add the juice of Lemons.
5- Mix them all and set aside.
6- Halve the onions and Lemons. (leave the skin of the Onions on).
7- Loosen the skin with fingers and then stuff the bird with Onions, Bay Leaves and Lemons.
8- Slide the paste mix underneath the skin and rub the rest on it.
9- Add some Olive Oil on the top.
10- Put it in the oven over 220 ̊ C for 10 minutes.
11- Take the bird out and bath it.
12- Put the strips of Bacon on the breast.
13- Turn the oven to 180 ̊ C and cook for 2.5 hours or half an hour per kilogram.
14- Bath every so often, if you could.

Paste:After you mix the ingredients, of course excluding the turkey and onions, you will have a paste like this picture. The problem with that would be the squeezed lemon juice. It does not mix with the rest as well as the oil but at the end I pour it over the turkey. I don't think Gordon had this problem!
Ready to go: The turkey before starting its journey in the oven. I did not get good access to the under skin part of the turkey, mainly because, I think, it had not been thawed completely in the core. That is why a fresh turkey is preferred. You can get under the skin easily and apply the paste the way Gordon explains. You cab also see the neck.
The result was awesome, delicious, moist, fully cooked Turkey. I turned the oven off after exactly 2.5 hours and let the bird be inside for another 1 hour. By the time we were ready to eat the meal, it had been cooled down enough. We started from the bacon strips which were so crispy and tasty. Then we got the legs, each for one of us. That was enough meat for the day. Turkey is a very rich meat and we were full after that without having any side items. The rest will be kept in the refrigerator and freezer for the next coming days that we are in the mode of this kind of meat. They are going to be excellent in Turkey Sandwich and also Green Salad with Turkey Chunks.
(Photo, top: The Turkey has been taken out of the oven and ready to be served)

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Nightmare in Kananaskis: Baldy Pass

I wanted to try Mountain Baldy again today so I saddled up and headed toward Kananaskis through Highway No. 1 again. It has been a couple of stupid days in Calgary. Temperature went up to 9 ̊ C and we had to leave the window open to be able to sleep, at least for the most of the night. With that Chinook happening I though it would be easier to run up the mountain and come back down but I was dead wrong! I started at exactly 11:00 AM and simply followed the footsteps from the trail-head where the sign is erected. The first 15 minutes of the hike is annoying because you are walking in the forest but parallel to Highway No. 40 and the annoying noise from the speeding cars is in your ears. Then you turn toward east deeper in the forest and it becomes better but the real trouble appear just after a few minutes of hike: Deep soft snow. If you do not have a good pair of Snowshoes, forget about the hike. I started going deep in to the snow and you know how annoying and frustrating that can be, right after I turned in to the east. Fortunately someone or maybe two had taken the route before me so I had a bit of guidance and stomped snow to follow! The trail goes besides and at time from the inside a stream or gully and I continuously skidded and slipped! This was going on until I reached a cairn at a some sort of junction which at my left was a ridge leading to Mountain Baldy, at my right was a trail leading to another peak which I don't know what it is called and in front of me was a valley of evergreen threes. 
I decided to go right because to me for whatever reason it seemed that the right peak is much easier to reach compare to Mountain Baldy that I had to have lots of walk on the ridge and close to the edges. The trail here is very easily detectable and has been marked by footsteps, especially because there was not much snow at the beginning, and also several cairns. I realized that the weather was changing and that actually was in the forecast. Strong wind started and that blew snow in to my eyes and head. I immediately equipped myself with a hat and glasses and carried on. It was not very bad for a few minutes but then I lost the trials or it had been buried under so much snow that I could not find it and got stuck in deep snow. Snow was almost to my waist but I wanted to go so I managed to pass the first barrier but then more snow and deeper this time appeared in front of me and that was the time I decided to turn back. I descended back to the first cairn and decided to take my chances at the other side, where the ridge would have taken me to Mountain Baldy. I claimed up a bit and the wind was getting stronger and more clouds were coming in so I decided not to take the risk and came back. 
The return was 10 times worse than the ascend! I guess it was mainly because that the snow was softer I was tired. I was cursing and going! I twisted my ankle a few times but I was lucky enough not to break it. I reached the parking lot eventually at 15:15 hours, almost and went home. 
(Photo: Mountain Lorette, at the other side of Highway No. 40, is seen here from Baldy Pass on the way back. From here to parking lot is only about 15 minutes)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Disappointing Party

This years Christmas Party, unlike what I had though, was held but the obvious differences were very visible. But let me start from the damn stupid cab company. I wanted to be sure that we will have a cab on time at our door steps so I called 4 days in advance and booked the cab, let's say Wed. noon. On Thu. when I was going home at about 17:10 hours my telephone rang and automatic message notified me that my cab had arrived!! Can you imagine something as stupid as that!? So I talked to the Paki and he agreed to leave. I would have not paid a dime, had he asked any money. 
So I called a day in advance and surprisingly it came only after 5 minutes! For that reason we arrived at least 10 minutes early which was fine. A few people were there and I found someone to talk to while we were drinking something. Before that I realized that the people had been directed to a different room which while it was nice, it was much smaller than the previous years. Understanding the number of guests would be less, that was OK. I decided to get a myself something stronger. So I went to the bar. Surprisingly I realized that Jack was not there! The guy gave me something similar, in his own opinion but after one try I decided to go with a different Whiskey, a different brand, which tasted better to me. I guess I had a few of them. Then it came to dinner time and checked out the buffet by staying in a short line and it didn't look so bad but when I had my first round I find myself in no position to go for the second trip and just limited myself to the desert and that was the end of it. To me the difference between the quality of the meal in this year and the last year's was very obvious. The next few hours was spent on chats with people, watching dancers and that was all. We decided to leave early, compare to the ones who had come way after us and we did. 
(Photo: I tried to get a shot from the ceiling which was illuminated by the D. J. guys nicely but does not seem to be very appealing!)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Communication Towers

There was a program on the radio once I was driving a few month ago which they were discussing the tele-communication towers and their rapid growth around the city. Of course not their growth but grow in their numbers. People were complaining how ugly they are and how cellular phone companies go around the laws to be able to plant more in and around the city. According to a some sort of city by-law or any other jurisdictional regulations, communication towers should not be taller than X meters. So the companies started ordering theirs in X-.5 meter and planting them everywhere they needed! That actually is a very good example as how laws work in Canada. There are thousands of different regulations for everything but because there is always a way to get around it or alter it, most of them of broken. Rather than that there is not much enforcement so no one cares to follow. 
(Photo: I found this tower in a small manufacturing facility and when I talked to the owner of the shop and asked him if he receives rent for that he confirmed and added that he wished they had put up more of this on his property!)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Heart Mountain's 2nd Attempt Failed!

I went to Heart Mountain again today with the intent to hike it all the way up. It was a sunny and not very cold day. Only -14 ̊ C! It was almost 12:15 PM by the time I got there and just seeing a few vehicle parked gave me this hope that the trail is open and people are hiking but I was apparently wrong. Shortly after my start at 12:24 PM I saw a group of fellas with rock climbing equipment and first though they had been to Heart but I was wrong they had been probably to the Creek to practice. 
So when I hit the trial I realized that I am the only one who, to that moment, has attempted to go up. It was not really a good start because although it was not very cold there was too much snow. At first I was in up to my ankle and not wearing boots, gaiters, warm pants and socks was a bit disturbing but the higher I got the better I felt. At the same time the weather was more pleasant because the sun was shining and warming me but then skidding and sliding started and the snow got deeper. I had my spike devices right from when I left the parking lot but heavy snowfall hides the rocks and spikes and crampons are shit on them. Then I started looking for a stick to not only help me on my way up but also I could measure the depth of snow and find my way. For the next hour it was not bad. I mainly stayed on the trail but whenever I got off it, I was up to my knees in the snow. Then I had a few meters of climbing using my hands and then I lost the trail and got tired and lazy! But the main issue was my feet which was so cold and heavy of ice and snow! I turned back and headed down after that. I certainly went higher this time and I believe I only had half an hour or so to reach the top but because of the cold in my feet I decided to descend. 
(Photo: Lac Des Arcs from the trail of Heart Mountain in a beautiful December day)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Flashback (28): Chicken Shit(!)

There was this tiny guy at work whom I had to deal with at times. An asshole! I barely saw him working but he was highly regarded and was sent to a supplier premises once in another continent. I personally didn't have any major issue but not receiving a response from him when I called but that was OK. These guys, Caucasians, generally don't like foreigners and on the top of that when it comes to questioning. We had another Caucasian who sat in the same room as mine for a while and I'm not sure whether I have a post about him or not but he was an old-timer, in his late 60s, I would say. So one day we were sitting and doing our daily things and the tiny guy, whom I would call him Chicken Shit based on what the old timer named him later,  showed up and started arguing with the old guy. I was a bit surprised because first of all the old guy could be his father. I expected him have respect for someone as old as him. Second of all he could simply call him to another room and tell him about his problem instead of yelling at him. in front of everyone. Anyways the guy quit I guess more than a year ago. Then last week I somehow learnt about his salary and that was a  surprise to me as well. I expected him to be well paid but I was not impressed. He selected a long and funny title for himself, probably to impress others as well as feeling good about himself. I'm not saying that he was a fool but he pretended more than he really was I guess. He now works where that I think his title fits better. I know his salary is higher. If we consider the regular annual raise for every year that he worked his salary today would be even less than mine! But I guess he's happy now that he doesn't work with us, have a better salary and does what he likes. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mountain Baldy (Not Finished)

It seems that every mountain I want to scramble, I should try it at least twice! I went to Highway No. 40 in Kananaskis Country to hike Mountain Baldy. I checked with the information centre and the gentleman over there guided me through although I had obtained information from the web. I parked in the parking lot and simply started going up after crossing the road but was not able to find the damn trail. There was no one around and I walked in snow for about 1.5 to 2 hours with the hope that I may find the trail but it didn't happen. I went up quite high but the forest still didn't finish. The hill was very steep and I had a hard time going up there was too much snow on the ground. All you could see around you were animals' footprints and at times their poop! After going up for a while I guess it was 14:30 or so that I decided to descend. Coming down was even worse and there were points that I was in the snow up to my knees! 
When I finally reached the road I found the trial-head to Baldy Pass which if you followed and go south at a T-junction, according to the material found on the web, would talk you to the top. However another source says you should get the trail where a Falling Rock sign is on the road and go up from there. I checked that one as well and seems that could be a short-cut but I am not sure whether any of them are safe in a weather like this but I will check at least one, once later.
(Photo: This is supposed to be Mountain Baldy if you are reaching from the south side. This is taken from Baldy Pass parking lot)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stuck!

It's unbelievable the weather here. That's what it is! It's 2 ̊ C now, at least 16 ̊ C warmer than yesterday! Imagine the difference if I went jogging today instead of yesterday.
Anyway this happened after I came home from my exercise and finished my dinner. I had made pasta with mushroom. I had some potato chips of different flavour and I was about to relax. F. F. called and said that she had to stay an extra shift asked me bring her some food. I put some of the pasta in a lunch box and ran down. I tried to get the car out of the spot but couldn't! I big bump has been made at the side of many od the streets as the vehicles pass by. In order to park on the street you will have to go over the bump to be able to park parallel to the curb and close enough. Then it becomes a problem coming out because you will have to 
drive over the bump to get to the main, centre side of the street. There are people who don't even bother trying that and just leave the car there. I drove back and forth a few times and then the car suddenly jumped over the bump, turned more than 110-120 ̊  and stopped at the other side of the street. I made sure that I would not try that when people were driving by because it was very likely that I would hit someone. So I thought that was it but obviously I was wrong! The snow was deep, may be 2 in. and it was sticky around the tire and hard everywhere else! I made a mixture of melting-frozen snow, a hard slush around the tire and was just skidding! There was no one to help. I remembered that I saw a shovel leaned against the wall when leaving the building. I grabbed that and tried to clear around the damn right tire but the car had sunken in the snow and it was deep. Beside that he damn shovel is made of fucking plastic and can do nothing to a big frozen slab of ice in a -14 ̊  C weather! So I grabbed it from the other end and started hitting the ice around the tire to break it and make a narrow path for it. I got tired after a few impacts but it worked. I took a break and took a photo(!) and sat behind the wheal. I had tried going back and forth at least 6-7 times and it had not worked. This time I turned all the way toward the street and after 2 try the car jumped out of the damn hole and I drove away! I never thought that even having Michelin X-Ice could not be helpful all the time although I had paid over $650 for 2 pair of it but the fact is that I would have never been able to drive, if I had not purchased them. I still think they should be much better than this! 
(Photos: The top photo shows the battlefield after I left and the bottom one was taken after I broke the ice with the shovel and was ready to go and get the car out)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Permanent Cold with a bit of Relief

There's nothing to write about these days. It was so cold the entire weekend that I couldn't even go for my regular jogging! Today was actually the first day. It was -14 ̊ C and almost -23 ̊ C considering the wind-chill but I didn't mind that. I ran with a good speed for about 21 minutes. It's supposed to be better better this weekend in Kananaskis so I'm planning a hike. Hopefully everything goes well and I can enjoy.  I don't know if opportunities will ever come. We either move out of the province or I don't know what's going to happen in a few months! I've been trying to get another job but all the effort has led to interviews and interviews only. I'm doing a certificate which will be the subject of a separate post next year. I'm hoping that helps my career because it really seems fucked up! 
(Photo: Bow River pathway at 8th Ave., SW. Tried to show the amount of snow on the ground but I don't think I was very successful. It was a very good exercise)

Friday, December 06, 2013

Arctic Cold

I just came back home. I had dressed to be able to jog but it was impossible although I had done it the day before in a less cold temperature. It's almost -26 degrees C and will be colder when the wind starts blowing in an hour or two. The extreme cold started Mon. and apparently will be our guest here for a few more days, maybe the entire next week. 
The damn pair of gloves that I bought from SportChek, the Columbia ones are almost useless! I made another mistake and had my runner on! I'm lucky that my foot fingers are not frozen now! There is a warning for this evening that the temperature will close to -39 degrees C, considering the wind-chill and people have been asked not to go out if they don't have to. There is a concern for frostbite. I walked almost 8 blocks to get the vehicle from F. F. and my eyes was watery at the end! This is really not good because after sitting at the damn desk for almost 7 hours I needed exercise but I guess I can't do much.
(Photo: We had a short visit of a shop yesterday around 15:00. People were working in the yard while it was almost -22 degrees C, not considering the wind-chill!)

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A Beautiful Blizzard in Calgary

A very lovely blizzard started yesterday morning in Calgary. It was snowing exactly parallel to the ground! By evening it was so much snow on the grounds that vehicles got stuck. I was a lucky one because I had purchased 2 pairs of Michelin X-Ice a few weeks before that. Otherwise there would have been no chance in hell to be able to drive around. Nevertheless I got stuck once and lost the control of the vehicle. I was about to hit a parked one but missed it! I drove back and forth a few times and the engine got turned off by itself(!) at least 3 times until I was able to get myself out of that mess! Earlier in the evening I tried to go for my usual jogging but changed my mind due to the strong wind. It's -13 degrees C and considering the windchill it's almost -19 degrees C. I stayed inside tonight as well. I will see how it looks tomorrow. The entire week looks the same. I'm just hoping that I will be able to do a hike this weekend because there will be no snow in the mountain but it will be arctic cold. I will only have to resolve the problem with the damn vehicle which requires oil change. F. F. needs it as well to go to work. I'll see.
(Photo: It was so cold that the windshield would get frost from inside after a few minutes of sitting. The exhale hits the extreme cold windshield and ice crystallizes! You have to brush it off to be able to see!)

Monday, December 02, 2013

Flashback (27): Pablo Scobar

It's Pablo Scobar's 20th death anniversary. Not that I'm mourning! I neither mourn or celebrate but I know he was an asshole like many that we also have them in the old country ruining millions of people lives. I remember when his death was on the news, years before my immigration. When I came here I was in RBC's main branch in 3rd Street and 8 Ave., SW talking to a Hispanic lady about my accounts. It must have been 2003 or around those years. I, somehow, and don't recall how found out that she was from Columbia. I guess she told me that herself. In response, and that the time I didn't know it would not be a very bad answer although I had known of Scobar, I told her that I had a friend from Columbia. " His name is Pablo Scobar " I added! She obviously didn't like that and affected deeply the way she provided the service. Fortunately she was not the one that I had to go to frequently so I didn't care. I didn't mean anything and I just wanted to joke but obviously that was not a funny joke to her! 
Scobar was a real criminal but still after year there are people who know him as a hero! I guess there's no limitation for stupidity. He might have given out a few dollars here and there but by spreading drugs he has destroyed millions of life. Not the mention the people who got killed here and there. Drug smuggling have not been stopped but the very sad fact is people do not see the picture, the stupid people who know a criminal as a hero just because he handed them a buck! 
(Photo: I found this interesting picture of Scobar and his wife on the web. It goes back to early 1980s)

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Deep in the Hole

I was looking at the NHL results yesterday and Calgary seemed to be one to the last deep in the bottom of the standing table! A few key figures of the team have left in the past few years and all new guys are ruining it now. Iginla joined the Penguins last year. Kiprusoff got retired and possibly left for home. Phaneuf, way before the two joined the Leafs and I guess he's a Captain there now. 
Nevertheless I had a glimpsed at the Sportsnet last night before going to sleep and realized that the Flames had beaten the Kings 2-1! The highlights were shown and it was quite interesting. In the last minute of the 3rd period Calgary had an random shot towards L. A.'s net just to get the puck away, I guess. The Kings' goalie, Scrivens fell somehow(!), maybe tripped, I don't know how to say it and gave the Calgary guys to take a chance. By the time the Flames guys got the control of the puck in presence of a few Kings' guy, he was back in the net, almost, but that didn't help and Cammalleri, while laying on the ice, passed it on to Jones and and that was it! Beautiful Goal!  
(Photo: Calgary Flames has a new goaltender, Ramo. He is from Finland, just like the previous long-served goalie, Kiprusoff. He managed to help Calgary last night to win over the Kings in California)