Little going on.  What is going on is little.  First, cardamon cookies from The Indian Vegan Kitchen.  Forming cookies from the crumbly shortbread dough had me convinced this recipe at best needed adjustment (seemed like a tablespoon or two of moisture would have helped) or at worst was an interpretation of a foggy childhood memory of a beloved cookie (beloved, that is, until the author had her first Oreo, at which point she never looked back).

Happily, I was wrong.  The cookies are subtle delights.  Texture was perfect, so I am glad I resisted the urge to add moisture.  The recipe did not include salt, but I added some, maybe a scant teaspoon.  It was too much.  The cookies are delicious, but the salt is pushing shoulder to shoulder with the cardamon and that isn’t right.  Next time I will make the recipe without salt to see what’s what.  This cookbook continues to amaze.  The author is mad skilled at pulling a couple of ingredients out of common recipes to allow the most important notes, sometimes a single note, to sound clearly.

I don’t keep cardamon powder on hand.  When I need it, I remove seeds from husks and grind them up in a mortar.  So much brighter that way.  It isn’t an easy task, but this time I gave the pods a delicate beating in the mortar to open them and release most of the seeds.  Then I sifted out the seeds, put the husks back in the mortar and did it again.  Three tries and I had most of the seeds out.  Much easier than doing each pod by hand.  

Hard to know how much cardamon powder I’d end up with, so I erred on the high side.  I had half a teaspoon of cardamon powder too much, so I made chai masala (a spice powder) and then masala chai (the beverage), both from the same cookbook.  The recipe called for a tablespoon of cardamon powder.  I had one-sixth of that, but I wasn’t going to measure one-sixth of the ginger, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper and fennel so I just winged it.  Way too much black pepper.  By way too much, I mean just the way I like it.  The tea was very spicy hot.  I sometimes forget how much heat back pepper can generate in the right environment.  Tea, apparently, is a great place for black pepper to work its magic.

The hifi is proud to be broadcasting Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone.  It was a gift from a good friend who went to see her at the Bearsville Theater.  Sorry I missed the show.  The LP is a great consolation prize.

Not much else to report.  Rain continues and I have all I need so no need to expose metal chains or even my car to the elements.  On days like today, I can’t stop thinking about Gates belt drives.  This is the latest creation with a belt drive that has caught my eye.  Picture from Bike Friday.  

Combining belt drive with a folder would give me two reasons to buy yet another bicycle.  I am resisting so far, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a bicycle that I could pedal in the rain without worrying about shortening the life of my chain?  Orange is obviously the best color, but Bike Friday has a funny pricing model when it comes to colors.  Sixteen colors to choose from, but only a couple don’t include an up-charge.  Only a couple more can be had for an additional $50.  Six are $100 more and the last six are $300 more.  Maybe the higher priced colors require more expensive paints or require additional labor, but for a bicycle that costs this much I wish they’d offer more than two colors without up-charges.  Before I buy anything, I need to have a conversation with Mike Flanigan.  Not only does he let you pick from a wide range of colors, but his bicycle are unique and awesome.  He doesn’t list folders among his offerings, but I know he has made a few.  Scheming underway.

Lunch time!  I’d love to stay and chat, but I love eating more.  Bye!


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