Did lobster bisque tonight. We used the instant pot for making the broth and Costco lobster tails cooked sous vide. It's shockingly easy and can be made in a little over an hour but tastes like it was all day.- the basic premise is that lobster shells contain a ton of the flavor. You can instant pot them with some celery/carrot/onion roux to make an awesome soup.
~2.5 lbs of lobster tails or 2 whole lobsters
2 medium sized carrots
4 celery ribs
2 medium onions
2 quarts of chicken broth (or if you are feeling fancy, use Lobster juice from Whole Foods or any other seafood broth)
1 cup heavy cream. You can use milk but it's freaking lobster, it deserves cream.
1/2 can of good quality tomato paste
~ 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce or Vietnamese fish sauce
~ 2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
1/4 cup brandy or cooking sherry
~ 4 cloves of garlic (we love garlic so I use 6)
Fresh thyme or dried thyme (or tarragon)
Chives and/or Parsley for garnish
Crème fraîche for garnish
Chop the veggies into small chunks
Put the onions in the instant pot and start the sauté cycle, with a bit of olive oil. Let cook until starting to soften, then add the other veggies and garlic. Get them good and mixed up. Deglaze the pot with the brandy and get all the tasty scrapings.
Remove the meat from the shells. I generally do this by cutting top and bottom and pulling the meat out sideways. Costco freezes their lobster tails before selling so the meat comes out easily this way. Seal in a sous vide bag with a pinch of thyme and about 2 tablespoons of butter, and cook for 45 mins - 2 hrs at 129.
Take the shells and dump them in with the veggies in the instant pot, and cover with broth. Add fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce, old bay and thyme. Seal, turn off sauté and pressure cook high for 15 min. Do a natural pressure release.
Pull the meat from the sous vide and drain the bag, reserving the melted butter and lobster flavor. Cut meat into bite sized pieces and put into the serving bowls.
Pick the shells out of the veggies and discard. Reserve 3 cups of the cooked veggies and stick in a blender, add the butter mixture from the sous vide bag and tomato paste, and blend until smooth. This emulsified the butter and helps stop it from separating.
Run the rest of the broth through a fine strainer and place back in the instant pot. Add the blended veggies, and the cream. (You can also do this on the stove)Add the heavy cream and then salt and pepper to taste. I usually start with 2 teaspoons of salt for the batch. Lots of fresh pepper. Serve immediately by ladling into soup bowls over the lobster meat. Add a dollop of crème fraîche and some parsley or chives and enjoy!
This is the easiest instant pot recipe ever and pretty much foolproof. Spaghetti is not hard to make. But it takes attention so the noodles don’t boil over and a few pots to clean up. Making it in the instant pot is simple, quick and less to clean up as the noodles cook in the sauce.
1 lbs ground beef (leaner the better or spicy Italian sausage)
1 jar spaghetti sauce (24oz - we like Rao’s)
1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz - you can dice 3 san Marzanos instead if you feel gourmet)
32 oz of water (1 and a half spaghetti sauce jars of water)
dash of fish sauce
1 lbs spaghetti noodles
1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and Italian seasoning (or fresh garlic, oregano and basil, etc).
Hit Sauté on the instant pot and brown the meat fully, with the spices. Add the tomato sauce, can of tomatoes, and water. Then break the noodles in half and dump over the ground beef/tomato sauce and poke any noodles that are sticking out under the water.
Set on high pressure, and cook for 8 min, and quick release. It will be a bit watery, just stir and enjoy with some Parmesan cheese!
I hate water spots, after I wash my car. I've always wanted a CR Spotless, but I've always been too cheap to buy one. $375 when toweling the car is easy and practically free. However, so many times I've ruined an afternoon of washing the car by missing a drip of water that came down and left a nasty water spot on the side of my car.
This system is easy to set up, and cheap to maintain. I have it on quick releases between my hose reel and my faucet. Read more to see what you need...
Prime day is here!
Here are some of the deals I found noteworthy:
I have way more Bluetooth headphones than I care to admit. When the iPhone 7 came out, I was determined to make the most of the situation, so bought both cheap and expensive headsets, in a search for something that both sounded good for music and was decent for phone calls. I'd actually sworn off bluetooth headsets after a series of Jawbone headsets. I seemed to have more problems with them than most people, perhaps due to my thick skull. But, in the intervening years, things must've gotten better, right? Bluetooth was always a mess prior - things took multiple seconds to pair and connect, resulting in people giving up and just hanging up when calls came in. Plus, A2DP never sounded good, so there was compromise in just being wireless.
Apple doing away with the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 seemed like such an extreme measure - Bluetooth just wasn't there. Confounding this, Apple wasn't ready to ship their new magic Bluetooth chipset, the W1 when the iPhone 7 launched, so it was Bluetooth hell for the first few months, at least for me. The Powerbeats 3 showed up on Amazon and I picked up a set in January 2017.
I went out and did a bunch of reading tonight on Basic Aid, and the changes that went into place with LCFF in 2013-14. Pretty interesting stuff.
Here's an explanation of why Basic Aid and how LCFF changes that (for the districts that are receiving greater than their allocation through property taxes, very little changes, since they were already so far over - 40% of CA's basic aid districts are in the Bay Area, and many of those districts also level additional parcel taxes in addition to normal property taxes to fund education.)
One way to get out of a lease is to sell the car to a dealership or another private party. In California, the huge advantage of leasing over buying new, if you aren't going to keep the car for a long time, is that you don't pay the full amount of sales tax up front, rather you pay over the course of the lease. (for a primer on leasing, see my Lease Primer) If you turn the car in at the end, you only have paid sales tax on the part of the lease you used. If you sell or trade in the car early, you can potentially save a bunch on sales tax... if only it were easy.
The Porsche Panamera has leaked and it looks fantastic. Bring on the feeding frenzy! I admit, I didn't get the Panamera when it first came out. Rumor had it was that the original design was compromised, "Porsche CEO Matthias Muller now admits that the car suffered from design 'mistakes' that will be corrected when the car’s replacement debuts next year." Well, next year turned out to be nearly 3 years later, but it looks like they succeeded. (More below...)
The 2017 Model year is upon us and it brings mostly small changes to BMW's lineup. The 2, 3, 4, i3 and M cars get some interesting updates - new motors, bigger batteries (i) and more standard features.
iDrive 5.0 has landed. BMW's iDrive has always been the best in the business. When it first came out, on the e65 7 series, as with many modern software, it was ridden with bugs and slow, but the faithful learned and adapted. CCC was technically the second generation but it shared the look and feel of the first, just with a different underlying OS. The real second version, CIC on the F01/F02 7 series, got pretty good. By the third iteration, NBT introduced in 2014, iDrive works pretty well.
Porsche already enjoys this highest profit margins in the car business. But, this has always been somewhat seasonal with the rest of the car industry - demand for a new model gets everyone excited to pay close to sticker price, they fly off the shelves at first and then languish until Porsche releases some killer lease pricing (using the Dudestuff Decent Lease Rule of Thumb - 1% of the original MSRP is a decent lease.) and then they start selling again. This played out when the refreshed 997 came out in 2009 with Porsche's first direct fuel injection motor, with a large power bump and greater efficency. Initial feeding frenzy, followed by a cooling and some quirky builds languishing on the lots. Same thing with the New 911 in 2012, the launch of the 991 was incredibly confusing as it happened in the middle of the 2012 model year, where you could get a 2012 911 that was either a 997.2 or a 991.1. (the .1 or .2 suffix is the Porsche way of saying a mild refresh, like BMW's Life Cycle Impulse [LCI] mid body style refreshes.)
This is all well and normal for the car industry, but some strange things have happened with Porsche's limited production cars, and their dealers are making a ton of money from it.
Silicon Valley Dad, who loves cars, cooking, clothes and cameras