Man my truck is getting old. And I think it is older than me in truck years the way I drive it. The only problem is that I don’t know what to buy next.
Doug wanted to play Brass again with all of the rules correct. And Jon obliged. I started off by building a cotton mill for 12 and a canal for 3. My next turn was the same thing. On the third turn, I took a loan (having spent all of my money) and then shipped both mills. Fortunately, no one else shipped cotton to an external market. And I was able to net 5 dollars for my missing ports.
I started off at the end of the first round last in points. But, to make up for that, I had a good revenue source. I was able build one harbor. And then Doug opened up Barrow-in-Furness. I thought about it and decided to build another harbor there as well. It took most of my money, and I was hobbled after that for the rest of the game. I could only build one high-value cotton mill a turn. In the end, I don’t think that it mattered. No one else was able to catch me.
In a perfect world, I would live in the same complex as Central Market. I would buy groceries daily and shop the market for what ever mood strikes me. This time, I wound up with
- Orange Cauliflower
- Mexican Asparagus
- Minneola Oranges
- Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew
- Green Gourmet Garlic
I tried this recipe again with some left-over bread from Gumbo’s. And it is amazing how differently it turned out during the making of it. This time, I reduced an entire 14 ounce can of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout to a couple of ounces. I took the pan off of the burner and added 4 ounces of chocolate chips. After melting and mixing the chocolate into a smooth consistency, I added 3/4ths of a cup of brown sugar (whoops, it should have been 1/4). I then added a cup of cold heavy cream. And added three beaten eggs.
This time, the mixture had a consistency of pudding! It even tasted like it (yes, I risked salmonella poisoning to try it). It was pretty good. Because I didn’t have enough dried bread cubes, I cooked the leftover mixture in the oven along with the bread pudding. And this is what it turned into. The volume almost doubled. The only negative thing about it was a little bit of water that seeped out during eating. This thing looks like a brownie. And I wonder if eating it with the soaked bread cubes will make it seem even more like a brownie…
The meetup group went to Zilker park to play on the “South” course. There were a bunch of new people including a nine year old. This group took forever to play. One of the problems was that Robin brought her dog and could not throw a disc and control the dog at the same time. Fortunately, someone stepped up and took control of the leash.
It was also disappointing in that we were supposed to go canoing on Town Lake afterwards but we didn’t. I also wanted to try Flip Happy Crepes which is right next to the park. But I couldn’t convince Gravitt to experiment with food.
We did stop at Uncle Billy’s on Barton Springs Road. It was a Bar-B-Queue and micro-brewery joint. The beer was so so. One of them was bitter enough to require limes. The “sliders” were very disappointing.
Wow, I actually got to play Brass. We still had some rules confusions. So this game has to rate in the top ten of obtuse games. Doug did a good showing of trying to catch me with my shipyards by building some high value cotton mills laying valuable track. But it wasn’t enough.
During the Meetup, Ed wanted to play it (for his first time). Unfortunately, it was difficult to recruit even a third player. Fluffy Susan hosed us once again by playing Pandemic. This time, Ed had printed out some helpful player aids which clarified most of the niggly rules. But, even this time, we had managed to miss some points.
I’ve been wanting to make some chocolate covered strawberries and this weekend, I finally took the plunge. I have learned a lot of things in the process.
The first rule is Mise en Place. Prepare everything before you start cooking. For example, do not wash and dry the strawberries as you individually place them in the chocolate. This only slows down the cooking and can lead to burned things.
Watch the melting chocolate in a double broiler carefully. Once the water comes to a boil, turn it down to a bare minimum. Do not let the chocolate get too hot. Do not let the water run out in the broiler section. This only allows the top to get hotter and discolors the pan.
Do not attempt to rescue chocolate that has too much moisture cooked out of it (see above for reasons why this might have happened). Adding wet or dry goods to hot chocolate will cause it to seize. And now you have lost the tempering. A broken chocolate looks a lot different than tempered chocolate.
And in taking this picture, I have learned some things about food photography. I need a props library. I only have one set of plates, a section of marble, and some plastic cutting mats. These are not very photogenic items.
I can see why you need food stylists. The strawberries have been sitting in the refrigerator and collected condensation. Wicking away the moisture with a napkin was fun. Also, some moisture has weeped out of the strawberries. I had to clean up that mess after the strawberries were in place.
Hot halogen lights will melt chocolate. Set up the camera and the lighting, with a dummy in place to work on focus, color balancing and placement. At the last second, transfer the strawberries in and take photos.
I also tried soaking a batch of strawberries in Wild Strawberry Schnapps before covering them with chocolate. The liquor was not as intense as I hoped it would be. Maybe, for the next time, I need to think about ways to get rid of the moisture in the strawberries before I attempt to replace it with flavored alcohol. Perhaps with salt? Or maybe a food dehydrator?
Disc golf and eating at Dos Salsas caused me to arrive late. I walked in on Chapel playing an Ameritrash game!
Jon was just starting to play Glory To Rome (which he had just played Thursday night). Since Nick and John were wanting to play Bridge and this was a game day, I jumped into the GtR game. I am liking this game less and less. It seems that the cards are not well balanced. For example, in this game Jon built a Garden. This allowed him to hire four more clientèle (for a total of six). Now, with three brown clients, he has a huge advantage in building new buildings with the Craftsman. The game is pretty much over at that point. Unfortunately, it drug on for another half an hour.
Ed wanted to play Brass. And this was the reason why I drove up to this game day. Unfortunately, we could not get a game going for lack of other players. Sigh. So I opted to play TtA instead.
I don’t know how I survived in this game. My army was pathetically weak! I was ripe for an assault. Fortunately, I was only attacked three times (one where I lost three science, and two where I let Chapel attack me even though I had defense cards). I was able to eventually get my army up to be only a couple of points behind after many turns. In this game, I only saw two tactics cards. This is the one flaw of this game. And that is the random nature of the military deck draw. I really think it should be fixed where you draft military cards like you draft the normal cards.
I was definitely ahead in the victory point generation. And they finally called it when I finished the wonder that gave me 24 points.
We played a couple hands of Escalation and it was painful because none of the cards that I drew matched up with others in my hand. Not much you can do with that except grimace and bear it.
We then moved on to Wizard, which is a much better card game. But one that I have not played in a while. We didn’t even use the big clicky wheels. How flawed! I played a perfect game and did not miss any of my predictions. I also beat Nick, who played perfectly — only less so.
At least I was able to play Elfenwizards again. It is a negotiation game that uses dice. The only problem was that this game drug on for twice as long as it should have. And, because of that, I started to get distracted.
There were seven of us today playing at Wilco. I teamed up with John and we initially had a great start. We converted my above throw in for a birdie on hole two. And got another birdie on hole five (thanks to a lucky throw of mine). But we petered out after that and fell out of the lead. We did almost catch up at the end though.
The only problem was that our group took forever to play! Three hours!!! We didn’t finish until 1pm. This meant that the bright light started to give us sunburns.