Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wok Talk

Friends, Countrymen, Romans... Give me your seasoned woks!

29 revolutions around the sun and I now have come to understand that not all woks are created equal. Indeed, the carbon steel wok is the grand-daddy of them all, and more seasoned they are the tastier the food. This may look like copper, but it ain't so:

'Seasoning' prepares the wok for cooking. This sometimes lengthy process is well documented using both stove-top and oven: Seasoning Method. One not-so pleasant side-effect was the waft of metallic-oil fumes, though nothing a fan or two couldn't handle. The lovely wife sent words of encouragement from the far side of the apartment. How sweet.

I may be yet a young grasshopper in the field of stir-fry-topia, but timid I am not.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Classical Music Top 40

Last weekend the wife and I took a night out to the symphony. The concert featured a "Classical Music Top 40" theme (10 pieces total) showcasing uber-popular hits like Pachelbel's Canon in D, Bizet's Toreador from Carmen, and Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.

In the movie "Chocolate" (2000), there are several scenes where Vianne (a drifter and chocolatier) attempts in vain to guess the favorite chocolate desert of one Roux (another drifter). Each time Vianne offers Roux a different chocolate sweet, he replies something to the effect of "very good, but not my favorite". In a similar fashion I found the concert to be very good, but not my favorite.

I've thought about it some more and compiled a list of what I think would make some of my favorite "Top 40" program (that is not part of a string quartet, solo work, symphony, concerto, opera or multiple pieces from the same composer - for this list, please reference my forthcoming "Top 500"). I've hyperlinked the following pieces via Youtube for your listening pleasure (some of the links may not have the best sound quality):

Beethoven: Egmont Overture
Gustav Holst: Jupiter from "The Planets"
Mussorgsky: Baba Yaga
Tchaikovsky: "Swan Lake" Suite
Elgar: Enigma Variations (Nimrod)
Prokofiev: Troika from Lieutenant Kije
Dvorak: Slavonic Dance No. 1
Barber: Adagio for Strings
Vivaldi: Presto (Summer) from "Four Seasons"
Mozart: Adagio Serenade No 10 in B Flat
Bach: Toccata and Fugue in d minor arr. Leopold Stokowski for orchestra