On the Eiffel Tower side of the Arc de Triomphe, crowds gather and marvel at the Parisian icon. The other side remains empty and sparse, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t stop to take a look.
From above, Shimbashi Station and its surroundings look like a model train set. It’s crazy how everything is so densely packed.
Last time I went through the process of making bread with our automatic bread maker, but what I didn’t realize at the time was that the bread maker can make dough, as well. We recently purchased an electric oven, so yesterday I tried my hand at making some pizza.
The pizza-dough recipe provided by Panasonic is very similar to the bread one:
|High-gluten flour||280 g|
|Granulated sugar||1 tbsp (12 g)|
|Milk powder||1 tbsp (6 g)|
|Salt||1 tsp (5 g)|
|Instant dry yeast||1 tsp (2.8 g)|
|*Use cold water at a temperature of about 5˚C when the room temperature is over 25˚C.|
The only difference is a little more flour and half the sugar. Googling around, I think the addition of flour adds to the density of the dough so that you don’t end up with pizza toppings over a giant slice of toast (which might still be good, but then it won’t be pizza). The reduction in sugar is to reduce the action of the yeast, so that the dough doesn’t rise too quickly. This works in conjunction with the increased flour to slow down the yeast (more weight to push around). The manual even says that if you leave the dough in the bread maker after the cycle completes, fermentation will proceed further. It would seem that limited fermentation is what we’re looking for here. Of course, compared to soft bread, pizza crust is definitely more dense.
The preparation is exactly the same as the one used for making bread. Put everything in the bread pan, and then set the bread maker accordingly: set function to dough, and recipe to pizza. Wait 45 minutes, and you’ll have a nice ball of pizza dough, good enough for two 10-inch pizzas. I prepped my toppings in the meantime.
It’s been a long time since I’ve handled dough and it was a lot messier than I remembered. The dough comes out pretty wet, so flouring the work surface is a must. I shaped the dough into a circle and then let it dangle from my hands, seeing it stretch. I wanted it to stretch more evenly so I tried tossing it around in the air like they do in pizzerias. That didn’t really work for me, so in the end I elected to use a rolling pin, making sure not to flatten the edges of the pizza. It occurred to me that I had a rectangular pan, so I made more of a rounded rectangle (an oval?) than I did a circle.
Finally, it was the fun part and I started with spooning some spaghetti sauce onto the dough. It would probably be more authentic with homemade pizza sauce, but that’s a completely different endeavor which is why I opted for jarred. I wasn’t sure whether to put the toppings on top of the cheese, or the cheese on top of the toppings. In the end, I did a little bit of both. I put the entire thing in the preheated 200˚C (392˚F) oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.
Around the 13-minute mark I noticed that only a little bit of the cheese was bubbling and browned. I decided to max out the oven to 240˚C (464˚F) and that took care of the browning. The result:
Not bad at all for a homemade pizza, eh? The pizza tasted very fresh, maybe because I knew I had just purchased the mushrooms and the tomatoes from the market earlier in the day. The crust was nice and chewy, but not hard. The other thing that stood out was how hot it was. We sprinkled some extra green onions, some grated Parmesan, and a few drops of Tabasco, and it became a delicious, piping-hot, perfect-for-a-cold-winter-night meal.
We had enough left to make a second one, so JC handled that. I got a chance to photograph the raw pizza:
Overall, our pizza night was a success. Good to know that we now have another option for dinner. A few more photos below.
Previously, I had posted the box of my original Japanese PlayStation memory card. Now, I have the actual card itself. Kind of neat to see the list of early PlayStation games that I used to play…
Look up to the sky and see…
Today is the coldest day of the year in Hong Kong so far, and the coldest day it’s been since we’ve lived here (8°C/46°F, but feels much colder). To commemorate the occasion, I thought I’d post a gallery of CPUs to warm up a little. I had mentioned my Pentium 200 earlier today, so that’s the first photo that appears. I think I bought this in 1997 from Onsale.com, an early dot-com retailer. It was so cheap that I had to get it, but of course after I bought it I had to get a compatible motherboard as well (a motherboard which also needed a voltage regulator module, or VRM, in order to control the MMX CPU). I still have the Micronics motherboard hanging on the wall in my room (sorry, no photo).
Next up we have the bottom of the Pentium 200, some retail CPU boxes (an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ and an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600), and some random CPUs from my old work (clockwise from upper-left: AMD Athlon 64 3500+, Intel Xeon “Cranford” 2.8GHz, Intel Pentium 4 660, Intel Core 2 Duo E6320). The Athlon 64 3200+ has a special place in my history because not only was it my first 64-bit processor and major upgrade in a long time, but it was also the CPU that was waiting for me at home when I first brought my future wife over for a visit. Imagine going on a date with a nerd and he brings you home to show you his brand new CPU. My wife told me that she thought I was going to try something, but instead all I did was show her my CPU. Wow.
Next, we have the venerable AMD Am386DX-40, the second CPU I ever owned (the first was a true Intel 386DX-25):
It was only a 15 MHz difference, but it was definitely noticeable. It was the first time I ever performed my own motherboard replacement, and there was literally smoke when I accidentally mis-wired one of the LEDs.
Lastly, my current CPU (since the summer of 2011), an AMD Phenom II X6 1090T running at 3.2GHz:
This CPU has served me well with its 6 cores from Oakland to Hong Kong. It works great for video encoding, gaming, and distributed computing. I’ll probably run this CPU until it dies. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this CPU museum post!
For today’s museum post we have a Symbios Logic 810A SCSI controller. This was the one and only SCSI controller I ever owned – I bought it in 1997 along with my first CD burner, a Sony CDU926S. IIRC, optical drives back then were all SCSI (ATAPI drives came later) so you had to get a separate controller to connect the drive. My controller came with a really long (and wide) 50-pin ribbon cable. Sadly, I did not take a photo of it.
Note that although the controller used a Symbios Logic chip, the card itself was produced by a company called J.bond Computer Systems Corporation (they made a bunch of stuff back then). This card is apparently the JDC5010 (as printed on the circuit board), but the documentation that came with the card referenced a JDC5075. Either I’m getting old and forgot about another SCSI card that I acquired, or the card came with the wrong documentation.
For years I kept the card and CD burner hoping to one day rebuild my old Pentium 200, but real life got in the way and I eventually dumped the hardware. Fortunately, I have this site and its museum if I ever want to relive those days. Enjoy!
Not the Cloud of Thoughts, but still thought-provoking when I look at it. It’s just water vapour, right? Or is it a Cheeto? A bunny?
I got a chance to sample the Glenlivet 15 again when I bought a bottle of the Glenlivet 12 last weekend; inside was a little 50ml bottle of the older expression. A few years ago I bought a gift set (for under USD$100.00!) of the Glenlivet which included the 12, the 15, and the 18. As I recall, the 15 was my favorite and when I tasted it again today I was reminded of that.
Since it was such a tiny bottle, I took it with me on public transportation and snuck in a few sips (and then it was gone). I was definitely drinking this one for fun and not for tasting, but I do remember it was very smooth and fruity. The nose was very pleasant, sweet like honey and flowers. If I ever start a collection again, the Glenlivet 15 will be on my short list.