Aquarium Progress: Week 1

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A week after receiving the gift that keeps giving (read: money pit aquarium) a few things have become clear. Not the least of which is that having a bunch of tropical fish in the living room makes me feel like the above photo.

  1. Like her mommy and daddy, babyPrimate loves the fish
  2. We (mommy and daddy) love the fish more than we thought we would
  3. We (all of us) enjoy going to the fish store together

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At any rate, we’ve made a few additions this week that make us super happy. I think the first notable addition is a bunch of rocks that mommyPrimate picked up to make a reasonable habitat for the fish.

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We had one of these hatchetfish when we inherited the aquarium, so when we saw them at the aquarium store we bought the rest of them to make a school. Now we have a grand total of four.

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We were in the market for another Corydoras catfish, and when though selection was a little limited we were thrilled that they had the PANDA variety. Because PANDAS ARE AWESOME.

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We are also into the plants, so we added a water sprite and a reaaaally long cabomba that you can see in the first picture. Anyhow, It’s exciting and not nearly as expensive as when I was into the reef aquaria way back when. So YEEHAW.

In other news, still getting into the swing of things with my new position at work, but the baking series shall return soon.

Until next time.

 

 

Return of the zombie hobby: daddyPrimate becomes an aquarist (again)

 

I guess I’m doing this again.

Let it be known that I love fish. Always have. Probably always will. I once quit a promising job to be a scuba instructor because I loved fish. I worked in an aquarium shop through college because I love fish.  When my auntie called to see if I would take on her aquarium I couldn’t say no. So today I moved it into our living room.

1. This f*cker is heavy as shit

2. I replaced the lights with an LED strip

3. I planted plants 
4. It’s going to remain a freshwater aquarium and be my indoor garden.

5. The red tailed shark has got to go but I don’t have the heart to flush him.

There will be more to come asthe plant growth progresses.

#goals

There’s no continuation to my baking series this week because I took a new position at work and decided to relax in the evening each day this week instead of plan and bake. That series should resume soon.

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One thing I did manage to do this week though, is get out into the garage and lift, lift, lift. All in the pursuit of looking and feeling better. I’m already fitting into my clothes again (there was a minor issue where I recently needed to wear a suit and spent the day fearing that my ass was going to explode out of the pants like store-bought biscuits out of a can), and I think I’m on track to look as good as or better than I did on my honeymoon by summer.

Which leads to the #goals revelation I had planned here. Here are my goals for this summer:

  1. Jump into the ocean
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  2. Stand up paddleboarding
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  3. Just hang out on a beach
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  4. So yeah, that’s basically it.

Learning to bake with daddyPrimate: Basic White Bread

Hey beautiful, how about we make some sammiches together. #bread #baking #bread

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Basic white bread is supremely useful. I feel particularly proud of this loaf as it was a) aesthetically pleasing, and b) delicious for sandwiches this morning.

YAAAASSSSS! Breakfast sandwiches on homemade #bread. #food #foodporn #foodpics #instafood #breakfast

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I feel like I have this basic loaf down pretty well. It’s easy to make without the use of a mixer or any other special equipment (other than a baking scale), and the extra bit of effort that goes into kneading it by hand sure makes for a fluffy loaf.

This proves that anyone can learn to bake their own bread, and that flour isn’t actually evil.

Learning to bake with daddyPrimate: Ciabatta be kidding me!

For my second bake of our weekly bread this week I wanted to do something fancy. And artisanal. Frankly, I wanted to bake baguettes. They are probably my favorite bread. So crusty on the outside and yeasty delicious and soft on the inside. Yum. Plus, you know that line from Superbad is true, right?

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Alas, we were planning on making veggie burgers, so we needed something a little less crusty and a little softer to cut into buns. So I flipped to the next page of the book and wham, bam, thank you Paul Hollywood, there was a recipe for ciabatta. So I made it.

I knead more slomo in my life #baking #bread

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I guess the main difference between ciabatta and other breads is the olive oil. The mixture is basically bread flour, olive oil, water, yeast, and salt. Pretty damn simple. Mr. Hollywood suggested using the stand mixer instead of kneading by hand because the dough would be very wet, and that is gratifying. There’s little in the world I enjoy more than the thump, thump, thump of dough slapping against the side of the mixer bowl while the dough hook kneads it.

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After about 8 satisfying minutes of the mixer, the dough has to rise about 2 hours until it’s doubled or tripled in size. It’s recommended to do this in a square plastic bin, so we picked one up at the grocery store. I covered it with my favorite tea towel to rise, and holy shit it went from a drop in the bucket to overflowing! So I cut them into loaves and coated them with semolina and put them in the oven, and I ended up with this:

Homemade ciabatta fresh out of the oven #bread #baking #food

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Four reasonably sized loaves, some more perfect than others, of delicate ciabatta perfect for sammiches and just generally enjoying. This will be a bread to really perfect, as the dough really is very delicate, but it wasn’t difficult in the least to get a good result.

And if you’re wondering, the burgers were delicious.

Learning to bake with daddyPrimate: Soda Bread

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It probably took about 6 hours of work on Ancestry.com to find out that not only am I American AF, but I’m about as “American” as it gets without being Native American. My dad’s family was here before the United States, and before they were here they were in Scotland. Mom’s family showed up just in time to fight dad’s family in the Civil War, and they came from Prussia (Straslund, now Germany) and Ireland’s County Cork.

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One of the reasons I wanted to start baking was to find some semblance of a cultural heritage (beyond being American AF), and I don’t think a loaf of bread could get more Irish than Soda Bread. Hell, one of my old coworkers from Korea who is IRISH AF has spent some time figuring out how to make soda bread without being able to buy buttermilk, so there must be something cultural about it. Basically, I’m assuming that Soda Bread is Irish AF. (There’s a theme going here with the AF. All the kids use it these days, so I will too.)

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Anyhow, the recipe was basic, flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. Sift the dry ingredients together, add the buttermilk, stir until the dough comes together, form into a ball, plop on a baking sheet, bake for “30 minutes.” It wasn’t quite brown enough at 30 minutes, but I took it out and tapped it like a drum. It was hollow so I let it cool and cut into it. I could tell right away there was a raw spot as the knife got stuck. I stuck it back in the oven for five minutes more. Nope. Another five minutes. Nope. Finally giving up because we had already eaten the potato and leek soup I made to go with the bread, I pulled it out and cut out the raw spot.

My first try at soda bread. Sounds hollow. I guess we will see when we rip it open. #bread #baking #irish

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Aside from the raw spot, it tasted pretty great. I think next time I’m just going to start checking for doneness at 30 minutes and let it brown a bit more, but what a great bread! You can have this lump of delicious on your table in about an hour, maybe less if your oven cooks faster…and it’s IRISH AF.