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  • 2011: Gloom, despair… — and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, [...]
  • 2010: Etsy goodness! — So, I found my earring making supplies last week and took them to the mini [...]
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Curry Coconut Beef

This is a slow cooker recipe. But I start off by browning the beef, which gives much more flavour! This dish has the perfect amount of curry spice. Really delicious!

Curry Coconut Beef by Angela

Curry Coconut Beef by Angela

Slow Cooker Curry Coconut Beef

1.5-2# chuck roast cut into 6-8 chunks
1 large yellow bell pepper or 4-5 minis, large dice
1 large onion, large dice
1 med carrot, sliced very thin on the bias
1 small box cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 Tbl garlic paste (or 4-5 cloves, pasted)
1 Tbl ginger paste (or 2 large chunks, minced – but I highly recommend buying paste from the Indian store)
2 Tbl red “all purpose” curry paste (or whatever type you like)
1 Tbl fish sauce
1 Tbl brown sugar
.5 tsp salt
.5 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dry cilantro
1 tsp dry mustard
.5 tsp coriander
.5 tsp red pepper flakes
1 14 oz can coconut milk (not light)
juice and zest of one lime
2-3 scallions sliced on the bias
1 lime cut into wedges
2-4 Tbl fresh cilantro, chopped

Brown beef in oil in a hot skillet. While that is browning, cut up the veg. Turn the beef to brown on all sides and season with salt and pepper. Turn on slow cooker to HI and spray with nonstick spray. Put about a tsp of olive oil in the bottom. Put half the veg in the bottom of the cooker. Mix together all sauce ingredients until curry paste is dissolved. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce over the veg in the cooker. When beef is browned, dump all of it in the cooker with pan drippings. Add in the rest of the veg then pour over the remaining sauce.

Let cook on HI for 3-4 hours, until beef is fork tender. Serve over basmati rice with scallions, cilantro and limes for garnish.

Angela’s EASY Almond Madeleines

I started with Julia Child’s recipe for madeleines and decided it was too fussy. However, if you want to make the typical madeleine, just use Julia’s ingredients with my method. It’ll work fine. NOTE: When I ordered madeleine pans, I got MINI Madeleine pans, so I had to fix the temp and cook times as well. This recipe is for MINI Madeleine pans. If you use regular pans, the cook time will be longer and the yield fewer. Also, I have a shitty electric oven that doesn’t hold temp well, so overall your mileage may vary. Don’t leave them unattended or they’ll burn.

Mini Madeleines by Angela

Mini Madeleines by Angela

Angela’s Easy Almond Madeleines
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
one bag slivered almonds (2.25 oz), ground very fine in a processor or blender; about 2/3 cup
1 stick (4 oz) melted butter (I use salted, if you don’t, add pinch salt)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
powdered (icing) sugar for topping

Melt butter in microwave, stir and set aside to cool a bit. Beat eggs in a bowl and add extracts. Stir together flour, almonds and sugar in a medium bowl. When butter has cooled so you can touch it, add it to the dry ingredients and beat in. Add eggs to butter flour mix and beat in thoroughly. The mix should be very thick and sticky, but still pourable. If it’s too dry, add a little water half a teaspoon at a time to make it gooey. If it’s too loose, add flour a tablespoon at a time until it’s gooey. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set up.

When the mix is chilled, preheat the oven to 375F. Spray the pans (you should have TWO) with nonstick spray and put about a TEASPOON of dough in each divot in ONE pan. The dough should not fill the divot, only about 2/3 of the way. They rise A LOT. This recipe will fill two pans, more or less. I fill and bake one pan at a time and keep the dough in the fridge until the first pan is done. Cold dough helps with making them crispy and rising in the center.

I bake one pan at a time in the center rack for about 10-12 minutes. My oven sucks and will not cook both pans at once and I have to babysit them to avoid burning. They are done when the hump forms in the middle and starts to look dry, and the edges are medium brown. I’d advise keeping a close watch until you know how your oven will cook.

Pull from oven, let sit a minute, then turn out onto cooling racks. Sift icing sugar over both sides while warm.

Yield: about 36 mini madeleines

SBDC Class

So, that class we attended last night was put on by the University of GA Small Business Development Center. Sounds great, but it was just so-so. Of course we were the only white people there, which did not surprise me. It’s odd how white people won’t use the public resources available – although we got this lead via some hipsters, so I guess it’s generational. The class was half black, one quarter Hispanic and one quarter white. I’m sure we screwed up their usual ratios! LOL

The dude that did the class was an old white man who is apparently unaware of the internet and/or social media and how you can use that to promote yourself these days. He was also kind of an apologist for the banking industry, which of course pisses me off. He droned on about how important biz plans are, the banks won’t lend to you unless you have stellar credit (but it’s not the bank’s fault!), you should use LLC, blah blah. He did give us a couple of leads for SBA loans and a microloan organization.

But when it came to marketing and research, he actually suggested that for a restaurant, you should have focus groups and go door to door polling whether they’d like your type of restaurant. ?? WTF is he on about? He owned fucking dry cleaning stores, what does he know about the food business? Precious little, apparently. He didn’t seem to think the quality of food was very relevant. Gods.

He was annoyed with me because I was giving the 3 restaurant people in the room tips as we went along and even answering questions that he could not. Too bad, old man, I happen to have more knowledge than you in certain areas. I think he is used to being the only person in the room with a clue. To be sure, there was one old lady in there that was an IDIOT. An absolute luddite who was financing her son’s (grandson, probably) business but didn’t know what the internet was. Um. ? The kid is doing clothing rental via instagram and is doing pretty well for a 17 year old! Hope he doesn’t spend all of granny’s money. But he probably will.

Anyway, it was a long powerpoint presentation with the pp slides printed out for us to make notes next to the slide image. Exciting. I guess I remembered more than I thought about the business classes I took long ago. Or maybe I just know this shit via osmosis from Rob. In any case, other than the SBA bank connection and the templates for the various documents, the class was very VERY basic.

I would recommend taking this SBDC class if you are totally new to business. The info is solid, just not very up to date as far as internet marketing goes. It’s run by old white people, so, keep that in mind.

On starting a business

As you all know, we’ve been working on ideas for earning money once NVG bites it. An arcade pub is at the top of the list of these occupations, simply because it’s a business that encompasses pretty much everything we know.

Arcade pubs are starting to pick up steam as a ‘thing’, so this could work for us or against us depending on when we get in. I’m thinking sooner = better.

We’ve spoken to a group of dudes who want to do a comic shop pub – that got exactly nowhere. Last week I was contacted by a guy that does vintage arcade game rental and repair around town. He has an amazing selection of games and he wants to open a place. First off, it took him over a week to get back to me after his initial email. And his contact was via text. Not very professional, IMO. So after 20 mins of texting last night, I told him that I’d prefer he put his info in an email and then set up an appointment to chat on the phone today. He agreed. The appointed time came and went. No email, no phone call. I called him, got VM.

I find this flakiness offputting and unprofessional. You can’t do business via text and you MUST honour your appointments, phone or otherwise. I get this a LOT these days. Does no one know how to do business any more? What’s wrong with people? Anyway…

This guy has no idea what he wants. He said he’s looking at a “soda fountain” in Tucker and wants it to be a tourist spot. [If it is the Old Tucker Soda Fountain, that place is a shit hole!] Sounds like he really believes that having an original Tron game will bring people from all over the South. Um. No. Tucker is a shitty spot for an arcade bar. Why? Well, because the demographics of Tucker are 40+, over 50% female and mostly white. Not really an arcade type crowd, yo. I live in this godforsaken area, I can tell you it’s old white people, white families and little else. These people weren’t even interested when we moved eight games into this house! They could play for free! But all they wanted to know was if we played golf or rooted for UGA. EWW.

Am I crazy to think that an arcade bar concept needs to attract hipsters and/or the younger bar set? Seems that Joystick has the right idea. The games are the draw, but you’ve got to have good food and a great bar to keep people coming back and spending enough to support all that square footage. Having a great selection of games is fine, but it’s not enough.

You can’t expect an arcade with a soda fountain to work. Unless the rent is hella cheap, then you might break even but you won’t make a good living, that’s for sure. I think this guy is wanting a place to display his hobby, which is arcade games. I don’t think that making money is really high on his list.

I’ve got the business acumen for running a place. I can hire the rest. You can’t run a business on what you think, you run it on what is. It’s a numbers game. And we’ll be in it to make money, not as a hobby.

I got all excited when he initially contacted me, but now? Not so much. We have a Small Business Development Center class on writing a biz plan and finding financing tomorrow night that I am looking forward to. We’ve done SO MUCH research on what works and what doesn’t work, I can’t help but feel that we are better prepared than 95% of people out there.

I think we should get on the stick and get moving with the plan. I’d LOVE to be the first arcade/comics themed place in NE Atlanta. That would be RAD!! I hope we can make it happen.

The Problem with Cord Cutting

I hate DirecTV’s bullshit and I hate paying those assholes $79/mo for TV that goes out every time it rains. YES I know I can cut the cord (or the SIGNAL as the case may be) but here’s the problem: we watch lots of shows and we can’t get most of them via Hulu or NetFlix. We might be able to get some via HD antenna (like SHIELD), I have to check on that.

But even if we manage to get most stuff, Nick would still spend a LOT of his time downloading the more obscure stuff – mostly from Food Network or Cooking Channel. Restaurant Impossible, Bar Rescue, Bite This and myriad other things we watch for research purposes would have to be hunted down. That equals LOTS of time.

So, we stay with DirecTV and its bullshit because it’s saving us time.

I know it’s lame, but that’s the bottom line: time. DirecTV and other providers know this, which is why they are uber douchey. Oligobble, baby.

Comcast is our internet provider because it’s our ONLY choice for true broadband and those assholes charge us $45/mo. Of course you can’t SEE any of the various speeds and prices online, oh NO that is supah secret, but I can tell you that I have 50mbs for the price of the 25mbs service. Here is my bill (that does not say anywhere on it what I’m actually paying for):

Oligobble w/ Comcast!

Oligobble w/ Comcast!

The “Blast” special is, I think, why I get the 50mbs for the price of the 25mbs. Who the fuck knows, since they are as obscure as possible on the site and on the bill. OLIGOBBLE OUR BALLS! YOU’LL TAKE WHAT WE GIVE YOU.

Anyhoo, we pay a combined $125/mo for tv and internet. It’s fucking insane. But if we want service, VE VILL PAY.

At least our cell phones are reasonable. We use Virgin Mobile and have for over a decade. GREAT service, great coverage, minimum bullshit. Nick is on the $30/mo dealie and I’m on the $40/mo. Unlimited data (there’s a cap, I’ve never reached it) and Nick gets 300mins talk; I get 1200mins talk. I have to use the phone a lot more than Nick for my job. No contract, either, just good service. The only downside of Virgin Mobile is that we have to buy our phones and they MUST be from VM. We are currently waiting for the price of the 5 series to come down, then we’ll upgrade.

The only provider I actually endorse on this post is Virgin Mobile. They rock. Interested? Please use my VM referral link and get $25 free credit! :)