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[Comments] (3) Melon Baller Melon Balls: More dang recipes. Why not? I just got a melon baller from Sur La Table thanks to a gift card I got for my birthday (thanks, Andrew/Claudia) and it's great. Now, no melon is safe from my circular scalpel. I made the following recipe and tried to sell them to Sumana as "fake Dippin' Dots". She didn't buy it, but the liked the results. It is a simple yet ritzy appetizer, at least if my notions as to what is 'ritzy' are accurate, which they probably aren't.



Cut the canteloupe in half, remove the seeds, and take the melon baller to it. Whee! Put the canteloupe balls on a cooling rack and put the cooling rack on a parchment-paper-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle sugar over them and put the sheet pan in the freezer for at least half an hour. (Note: the cooling rack and sheet pan are just a thing I made up so the canteloupe balls won't come out embedded in frozen canteloupe juice. You can just put them in a bowl but it'll get a little messy. Maybe you could set something up with a strainer over a bowl.)

So flavor #1 is the canteloupe. Flavor #2 is the pepper and flavor #3 is the balsamic vinegar. The important events in the life of any given canteloupe ball are a) being formed from the primordial canteloupe; b) having a toothpick jabbed into it; c) being frozen; d) being rolled in pepper; e) being dipped in balsamic vinegar; f) being eaten. How exactly you put them together depends on the scenario. The constraints are that you want the canteloupe to be as cold as possible when eaten, and that I don't think balsamic vinegar will freeze well.

For a party scenario you might do it a-b-d-c-e-f, providing a dish of vinegar for people to dip the canteloupe in. Or if it turns out balsamic vinegar freezes well, you could do it a-b-e-d-c-f and omit the need for a separate dish of vinegar.

The way I eat it is a-c-b-d-e-f, reusing the same toothpick for every canteloupe ball. Also, I'm usually standing over the kitchen counter while I'm doing it. Even though I got good at cooking, I'm still a slob.

This is a controversial recipe, and not all people accept it. Sumana does not like the cracked pepper, and thinks it should be omitted from the recipe. This might argue for a party-time preparation of a-b-c-d-e-f, providing a dish of cracked pepper as well as one of vinegar, so as to satisfy picky people like her.

Note about balsamic vinegar: the best kind is the generic brand sold at Whole Foods, which is really good and really cheap. Also, you can make balsamic vinegar taste twice as expensive by putting it in a saucepan and reducing it by half. I learn things from cooking shows and give you the important bits.

[Comments] (14) Addicted to Nethack: Actually, addicted to Slash'EM, the Nethack variant. There are two main reasons. The first is that Slash'EM doesn't have nearly as much of Nethack's insane, dull near-endgame slog through the mazes of hell (literally). The second is the Doppleganger, a wondrous player-choosable species which has the ability to (expensively) self-polymorph at will and which gets intrinsic polymorph control at level 9. Thus making it more or less affordable for me to live out my ultimate Nethack fantasy of spending most of the game polymorphed into a xorn. "Walls? Where we're going we won't need... walls." Wheeeee!

Slash'Em also has a basilisk, which is a dream self-polymorph animal because it has the stoning powers of a cockatrice but it can also carry things. I don't know how they justify having a "basilisk" and a "cockatrice" be two different things, but I'm not complaining. There are other changes made to Slash'EM to balance out the ability to turn into a powerful monster more or less whenever you want, but I can deal with them. My point is, Slash'EM is a lot of fun.

I realize that I have two disjoint readerships of my weblog and that this entry makes absolutely no sense to one of them. Sorry.


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