Friday, July 18, 2008

Unsuccess

No, my escargot experiment didn't quite go the way I wanted it to. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but it was an interesting experience. When I got ready to do the deed I washed them one last time quite thoroughly. They seemed to know what was coming. I then filled the bottom of their little ice cream container with about 1/2 an inch of vinegar and salt to purge their systems. That was kind of gross. Then I rinsed them again and boiled. Lots of foam so I drained, washed, and boiled again. Not as much foam. I washed again and de-shelled. That was the most fun part. It involves a toothpick and, despite what I've read online, is really not that hard. You know what's funny? The escargot come out in the shape of... well a snail. They're all curled up in about 3 twists. It looked like small cinnamon rolls. I then fried them in butter and garlic. That was fun and yummy smelling. Then I decided to make an escargot omelet, so out came the eggs and cheese.

In the end they didn't taste bad. They just didn't taste good. I'm baffled. Every time I've had escargot they always have a sharp taste, something that one will either love or hate. These didn't taste at all. After munching down 4 of them, I gave up. It's not worth it if they don't taste. So I just ate the egg and some baguette. It was still a good dinner but not quite what I was expecting. I have several theories. Tell me what you think:
  • They were too small - Not sure if this matter, but I've had some about this size in a French restaurant and they were exquisite.
  • I starved them too long - Everything said to starve them for a few days, but it was anywhere from 2 days to 8 days depending on where I looked. I decided to go high but I think I may have done it too long. Next time I'll starve them for 2-3 days and then feed them safe food, like carrots and onions.
  • I didn't cook them right - How hard can it be? Well, I left out the white wine (all the recipes called for it but I didn't have any), and I didn't have a garlic smasher. Maybe I shouldn't have boiled them twice. Who knows.
  • I just don't know how to do this - This is probably the best possibility, but everything worth while takes practice, eh?
You may be wondering where the pictures are. Sadly, there are no pictures. I was in a hurry tonight and didn't have time. But I promise next time I do escargot I'll keep a full photo journal.

Yes, there will be a next time. Why not?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Almost Ready

The prey is almost ripe. It has waited for almost a week for the correct time to be harvested, and that day is tomorrow. Today, as every day, I pulled my catch out for a bath. The water was almost clear which signifies that their systems have been adequately purged, and they are now ready to be devoured. Alas, one was discovered rotting away in the muck. He perished sometime in the last few days but was only now discovered.

The process tomorrow will be neither easy nor clean, but it will be a day long remembered.

Below are some pictures. Please enjoy.

Trying to escape Escargo Death Row

"Take us with you!"
Anyone home? This little guy never did come fully out of his shell.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Changing of the Guard

Enjoy these videos of the changing of the guard at the Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg. This is, sadly, only a part of it. There was first a parade where the band went all the way around the block playing... music of course. Then they did a neat little military drill and finally this below.

video

Sorry about the jiggle. A rude Spaniard (which is really being repetitive) kept pushing me. Of all the Europeans, Spaniards are the only ones I don't have anything nice to say about. Their rude and loud and have no sense of morality. That's all. It might have something to do with them having lived under a dictatorship for so long. Then again, eastern Europeans are some of the nicest people ever.

video

Hope you enjoyed this little part of Fairy Tale Land (the short form name for Luxembourg).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fairy Tale Land

Once upon a time...

Forget EuroDisney, yesterday I took a day trip to the magical land of Luxembourg, the last Grand Duchy in Europe.

The history of this tiny country is long and sordid. It's been owned by practically everyone in Europe: Austria, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and finally the European Union. Somehow, even with all the invasions, it's known as the Gibraltar of the North because of the intense and impregnable fortresses that make up the city. When Revolutionary France decided they wanted to tiny Duchy, they had to starve the citizens out (6 months) because the fortress impossible to breach.

It currently acts as the home of the Secretariat of the European Parliament, the secondary meeting places for the Council of Europe (after Brussels), the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, and the European Investor Bank.

The country is located in and around a beautiful valley. Bridges connect the two sides of the valley, and you can walk up and down by paths and stairs. Below are some photos of the beautiful valley. I'll post some of the fortress pictures later.

Looking down into the Valley