Swinging into Spring Manic Depression

Around this time of year, especially during a season transition, it sets off a couple episodes of mania and depression.  I’m finally at a place where I can recognize symptoms  and work on alleviating them rather than exaggerate them.

All last week I was not sleeping.  Just a few days ago I finally got a good night’s rest. Mania can be fun and productive, but the lack of sleep can really turn it into a shitshow.  I’m looking forward to spring equinox and things will feel a bit back to “normal.”

My acne is clearing up a bit more.

I am going to see a dermatologist in the next couple weeks to continue treatment.

This week I enjoyed some cooking adventures.

Rainbow Garbanzo Salad

I also made Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Potatoes, carrots, and cabbage cut into wedges. Seasoned with Extra Virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme. I like to splash a bit of Apple cider vinegar on the cabbage when serving.

Really happy that it turned out. I’ve had a blast with the leftovers. I’ve been making Reubens and this morning had Corned Beef Hash.


My fitness goals are getting there.  I may upload some progress pics in the future.

I have been lifting heavier this week and in the mirror I’m finally noticing some changes.

This is all for now. Will write more later.

-Ravn Thor

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10 Responses to Swinging into Spring Manic Depression

  1. I hate to say it, as I’ve always denied the importance of appearances in cooking, but that looks damn fine. And you taught me a better way to do the cabbage; I usually cut it into strips.

    If unaware of it, you may wish to note that nodule in your third picture

  2. Ravn Thor says:

    Coming from someone who has worked in a real restaurant kitchen in the big city, I take this as a quite the compliment!

    When I make food I like to make it a multiple senses experience. So arranging it on the plate or even the colors of the vegtables make it a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. I’m also a big fan of good old cast iron. I made the corned beef in my Dutch oven and the vegetables in the skillet. I’m thinking about investing more into my culinary hobby. I could really use a nice pair of tongs.

    I cut the cabbage into wedges! I’ll make note of that for sure!

  3. Em, though often rebuked for honestly stating my capacities, I’m personally uncomfortable with undeserved compliments; it was a 3.5 star place, at best, on the fringe of the city. On the other hand, I find my perspectives so deeply informed, that any compliment I give should be taken as blessing from whatever deity is popular. If you find time, I’d like that corned beef recipe.

    The best money you can spend for cooking is on a knife. I’m aware that’s common knowledge, but this is not:


    The overall point is: get a tall knife. I have absolutely no idea why short knives are the standard – not counting idiocy. Here’s an example of a “tall” knife, from the company I’m familiar, though its not as long as I like.


  4. Oh, the handle on that one is goofy though. Don’t know what that’s about.

  5. Ravn Thor says:

    I’ll try my best to remember the recipe, I’m a bit of am improviser sometimes. I find a template and just go off of it. My apologies that this may be a bit incoherent. Feel free to use this as a template too and go off with it and make it your own.
    Corned Beef (4lb Brisket, flat cut)
    Seasonings: mustard seed, coriander seed, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, cloves, allspice berries, fresh ground pepper, extra virgin olive oil, rosemary sprigs, a whole head of garlic(cloves peeled), thyme, onions(cut into quarters)
    Preheat oven 300 degrees. Place meat and onions in dutch oven, put about 2 inches of water (or beer as an option, but I just used water) in and cover. I let it cook for around 4h-4h30m . The time may vary depending on your oven, so when it reaches the 4h mark just check with a fork to measure doneness (when it easily flakes off it’s ready for devouring).

    Thanks for the knife recommendation. I definitely need a chef knife to call my own.

  6. Em, best way to be inventive is to feel your way through processes; precise adherence to recipes often makes understanding the process difficult.

    Few questions.

    1] Dutch oven type? I assume those old-style, black, cast-iron?

    2] When you say 2 inches of water, do you mean up the sides of the meat, before the meat is in, or above the meat?

    3] How about the veggies? Looks like you just put them in a skillet, on aluminum, and baked?

    As for the knife, yeah. I highly recommend trying out a high-backed knife before committing, though these are really fucking cheap: there has to be a reason these aren’t popular – idiocy is a powerful force, but even I doubt its this powerful. Like I said in the link, they might be difficult for most people to wield; maybe my experience with handtools makes my cutting motion different, maybe I have mutant bones.

    All I know is I almost never used my 8″ Wusthof when I had those 10″ & 12″ dexters around; my hands and arms have much more endurance, my work is far, far faster, my cuts are better, etc. Oh, get a stone and a steel for the knife. You can usually find a decent enough steel at a thrift store; and you may not really need a good stone, just a really good technique. Once you master sharpening, you’d swear the knife desires to cut whatever you’re working on – presumably in thanks for keeping it dangerous.

  7. Ravn Thor says:

    Getting your hands dirty and feeling your way through is definitely the best way to learn. =)

    Answers to the questions:
    1) Yes, classic cast iron dutch oven, looks like this: https://www.amazon.com/Lodge-L8DOL3-Handles-Pre-Seasoned-5-Quart/dp/B00063RWYI
    I love it. I use it to bake artisan breads, cook chickens, stews, and all sorts of stuff. This summer i am going to try out some cowboy cooking methods with it http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-dorecipes.html when I go out camping. Just yesterday I used it to make some corned beef and cabbage soup with the leftovers.

    2) After the meat and onions are in I put in about 2 inches of water, so up the sides of the meat.

    3) The aluminum foil is optional I suppose, I just do it for ease of clean up. I didn’t put any water in, just coated the pan with extra virgin olive oil, put the veggies on top, drizzled more olive oil, then seasoned them, cooked them uncovered until the potatoes were easily pierced with a fork.

    I have my eyes on a couple of Japanese style chef knives(https://www.chefsarmoury.com/pages/about-japanese-knives). I just wish there was a way I could “try it on” before I buy. In Fargo there’s a really cool kitchen store that sells all sorts of knives like Wusthof to other professional chef knives. (This one for example which is handmade in Japan: http://www.creativekitchenonline.com/Shun-8-Inch-Chefs-Knife-23888#.WNGVdvnytPY) Lol, I should show up with a cucumber or a carrot and a cutting board and just ‘try it on’ in store.

    I don’t mind saving up. I’m thinking about taking my cooking more seriously in the sense of creating more of a portfolio to apply for food freelancer type gigs, or since I have a degree in film, utilize it to make short recipe videos. I’d like to also invest in a DSLR camera and some better lighting to take better pictures. It could be something that brings in a little more cash, and is something therapeutic and a source of joy. I just wish I got more hours at work. As far as cooking experience goes in ‘the real world’ (restaurant world) I’ve worked as a waiter but I also was more like a Swiss Army Knife doing a little bit of everything. I’ve worked as a bread baker, pizza maker, and doing odds and ends at a sushi place. Most of my training though has been on my own.
    And sharpening knives is a very valuable skill to learn, I will get on top of that!

  8. Ravn Thor says:

    Aha! Found one that I have an eye on: https://www.amazon.com/Shun-VB0706-Chefs-Knife-8-Inch/dp/B00BQ83BCE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1447552081&sr=8-1&keywords=shun+sora+chef&linkCode=sl1&tag=rebates1010d-20&linkId=ac9d05431534944aa21dbfa00e757aa6


    More info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8kDWPf_bHU

    I may give this one a go, pretty budget friendly for me. I’ll also try one of your recommendations also. I have them on my wishlist.

  9. Do not. Take this. The. Wrong. Way. https://mentallurgy.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/hurtful-humor-and-familial-aggression/ I see what you mean by manic depression =] Remember: teasing for productive reasons.

    So, I think this is her: https://www.amazon.com/Sani-Safe-S145-10-PCP-White-Polypropylene-Handle/dp/B004NG98TQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1490291890&sr=8-3&keywords=dexter%2Bsani%2Bsafe%2B10“&th=1

    I think that page is a bit wonky: there are two 10 inch knife links in there, but I think one is supposed to be for an 8”? Oh, and before I forget, some stores simply allow returns on knives, given the need to test their comfort. And I hear that Amazon is really spectacular with returns. Honestly, if anyone gives you shit about it, they can take it in the ass: knives need to be tested, simple as that.

    That linked model, of course, may have changed by the company since I’ve used it, but it looks very similar. Really though, if it’s not something to do with how I personally hold knives, that dexter will out-perform knives worth tens-of-times more, based on its shape alone. No matter how high quality a blade’s metal, how perfect its edge, how comfortable its handle, the most important factor is the shape.

    Note, for example, how that guy holds that blade: he very gingerly, barely gets a grip on it. He seemingly does this because there’s simply no fucking room to fit his hand in; there’s just not enough room between the counter-top and his fingers when gripping the blade. The dexter’s high blade allows me to get a full grip on it, like a fucking battle-axe, which gives me the most control when combined with the rest of the knife’s dimensions.

    Can’t recall if I left this in or not, but the Dexter’s metal is very easy to sharpen with a stone, given it’s lower quality. I, of course, have to do it far more often than my Wusthof, but I find sharpening very cathartic anyway. Like, almost better than jerking off. And again: don’t get expensive stones; that’s all bullshit. A cheap stone, with standard rough side/smooth side combo, will work fine once you get skilled; though remember that a longer stone is better – especially given the length of the Dexters. If you have a Harbor Freight, I hear their stone is good, and has good length.

    • Ravn Thor says:

      Harbor Freight is one of my favorite stores in town. Well, I dig battle axes, so perhaps come payday I’ll give that knife a shot.

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