Early Efforts

I awoke at 4:30 am this morning.  I pedaled on the rollers for 25 minutes, showered and made Peanut Ginger cookies all before Lacey woke up.  Someday I will envy Lacey’s ability to sleep until the alarm, but for now getting up early is fun.  Only problem–it is raining out (has been for 24 hours) and I finished all of my indoor activities.  There is always work work, but in between emails and calls I enjoy having little things to do.  One can only play so many games of Scrabble in a day (five is about my limit).

I did some holiday shopping for  my Specialized Allez.  Bikes need gifts and this one is on my mind as I have been riding it on the rollers.  The 54 cm frame is too small for me and the Cinelli stem is too short to get the bars even close to the height of the seat.  As such, I am pretty bent over and a fair amount of pressure is placed on my hands.  Might not be a problem on the road (where I could ride hands free for a moment or just steer with my finger tips to rest my paws), but on rollers like to keep my hands firmly on the bars.

A taller stem is in order, but which one?  I want as much as 12 cm above minimum insertion (“AMI”) to get the bars level with the saddle, but I don’t want a stem that is so long I can’t lower it when I tire of looking like a dork with a high rise stem (precious ego).  I went to Ben’s and looked at Nitto stems first, but there isn’t anything that fills the bill.  The oh-so-tall Nitto Technomic is too tall.  If I buried it in the fork steerer I’d have 12 cm showing, but I couldn’t lower it more (before hitting the brake bolt).  I’d be stuck in dork land.  The Nitto Deluxe isn’t tall enough (with just 10 cm AMI, it is only 2 cm taller than the Cinelli (8 cm AMI) and only 1 cm taller than a Nitto I have on hand (9 cm AMI)).  Probably not worth spending money (and rewrapping and twining the bars) to gain two centimeters.  I also looked at a new to me stem–the Dia-Compe Grand Compe ENE–but that is way too short (a total length of 13 cm–subtract the minimum insertion and I’d guess it would give less than 8 cm AMI).

I was about to give up, but I remembered Velo Orange.  I was happy to find that their version of the Dia-Compe Grand Compe ENE is longer than the one carried by Ben’s.  With a total length of 18 cm and 11.5 cm AMI, it is my goldilocks stem (for frames 2 to 3 cm too small for me).  I will be able to get the bars almost perfectly level with the saddle for super comfortable riding on the rollers but still drop them down a few centimeters when I want the bike to look closer to right.  The clamp is 26 mm (too small for my old Cinelli bars with their 26.4 mm diameter), but I can shim a pair of Nitto bars I have on hand to bring them up from 25.4 to 26.  Done.

The cookies?  I highly recommend the Veganomicon recipe for Peanut Ginger Sesame cookies.  I tweaked the recipe, though, and I suggest you incorporate my tweaks as the cookies came out beautifully.  They are chewy and taste great.  I didn’t have shortening (don’t keep it on hand–I think it is kind of weird and mostly avoid it).  I could have used coconut oil, but it is in the fridge and would have needed some time to come up to a workable temp.  Instead, I just upped the peanut butter from 1/2 cup to one cup and went merrily on my way.  I also blew off the sesame seeds.  The cookies are supposed to be rolled in them.  Pretty, sure, but a mess during baking and eating (I’ve done it before–they stay on the cookie only until they clear the plate at which point half the seeds parachute to safety before you can open your mouth).  Forgetaboutem!  Don’t skip the crystalized ginger, though.  Mixing it in is good, but I think the one plop on top presentation is better.  Without the sesame seeds, the ginger gives a little window dressing to an otherwise drab looking cookie.  Do it!

I’ve been buying a few bicycle tidbits on eBay and will share them with you as they arrive.  One thing, or pair, is pretty special.  Amplifier is still elsewhere.  Sad to be without it on a rainy hifi kind of day.

That’s that!  Be well.

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4 responses to “Early Efforts

  1. Thanks for posting about those cookies! I was looking around for a recipe to substitute in to my family’s holiday cookie canon and this one did nicely. Luckily I had bought Veganomicon for my sister for Xmas but hadn’t wrapped it yet. If I copied the recipe onto a scrap of paper to refer to while cooking that doesn’t count as using the gift, right?

    I took your recommendation of subbing PB for the shortening and it worked great. My crystallized ginger was flat strips from the farmer’s market so I chopped those up and mixed them into the dough. I wanted a garnish, so I rolled the dough into flattish balls, dipped the top into a dish of sesame seeds, then used the bottom of a glass to flatten them slightly on the cookie sheet. Voilà–sesame seeds that don’t fall off!

    Thanks again for posting about yummy recipes…I have to go hunt down a copy of that Indian cookbook you recommended. I could eat Indian food every day.

    • Hey! Nice to hear from you. Glad you liked the cookies and the mods. Pressing in the seeds is a great approach, so thanks for that! If your sister uses Veganomicon, I suspect you are going to want to copy a bunch more recipes. Save yourself the trouble and support a great cookbook author–get a copy for yourself today! The Indian Vegan Kitchen is also one of my favorites. No way you’ll be disappointed.

      Thanks for writing. Happy new year to you.

      • Yeah, as I was thumbing through the book to find the cookies I kept finding myself engrossed in other recipes. Dunno why I don’t own Veganomicon–I have Isa’s brunch book and really enjoy it.

        I’m checking out the Indian Vegan Kitchen from the library for a test drive. I always like to read thru a cookbook before buying–I got burned on another Indian cookbook that I’ve never, ever used.

        Happy new year to you too!

  2. Nice library! I should see what cookbooks I can find here. Always assumed there’d be none of interest, but you’ve piqued my interest. Take care!

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