day 3816: scenes from the altoona squirt hockey tournament.

day 3816:  scenes from the altoona squirt hockey tournament. I.

just one week after taking home the first place trophy in the 11th annual frozen tundra, odin’s hockey team was back on the road playing in the squirt tournament in altoona, wisconsin.

weirdly, for second year in a row, after driving 2 hours, we asked who remembered the hockey stick? d’oh – none of us! oh well, good thing there are other lefty players with loaner sticks.

the first game against baldwin, it was tough to watch odin’s team lose in last three minutes after having led entire game, 5-4. i think that perhaps they were just a little too confident after winning every game last week. a good character building game!

lesson learned, the team kicked into gear and handily beat amory, wisconsin 5-0. odin got an assist!

for the third and final game, the team handily beat altoona 4-0 and earned the second place trophy!

as in the previous tournament, the team is playing really well as a team. it’s so much fun to watch them come together as a cohesive unit.

below are just a few of scenes from the last day of the tournament:

in the above photo, austin nundahl connects with the puck and scores!

day 3816:  scenes from the altoona squirt hockey tournament. II.

bo milutinovich scores under pressure from altoona players.

day 3816:  scenes from the altoona squirt hockey tournament. III.

at the end of the tournament, the teams line up on the blue lines to receive their participation medals.

day 3816:  scenes from the altoona squirt hockey tournament. IV.

sweaty odin skates up to get his medal :-)

day 3816:  scenes from the altoona squirt hockey tournament. V.

after the medals were received, they got their second place trophy and foisted it up in the air. i was a little nervous they might drop it!

day 3816:  scenes from the altoona squirt hockey tournament. VI.

the odds of getting a newspaper friendly team trophy shot with all eyes open and looking towards the camera and no goofy faces? zero!

day 3816:  scenes from the altoona squirt hockey tournament. VII.

we safely transported the sweet second place trophy home and took it to the hockey arena to sit next to their first place trophy from last week. odin thought it was a good idea to buckle it up!

day 3809: the viroqua thunder take first place in the frozen tundra tournament!

day 3809: the viroqua thunder take first place in the frozen tundra tournament!

whoohoo, odin’s hockey team, the viroqua thunder “squirts” took home the first-place trophy in the 11th annual frozen tundra tournament in west salem, wisconsin.

the viroqua Squirts bested west salem 10-0, menominee 3-2 and la crescent 9-2 to make it to the championship game against black river falls. the thunder won that game 9-2. the team is playing very well as a team with lots of passing and scoring coming from a range of players. odin’s still loves playing defenceman and he’s doing a great job with his fellow defenceman, holding the puck at the blue line and sending in strong shots towards the goal. to assist the offense. he’s getting at least one assist a game and even scored a goal from the blue line!

the whole team is really fun to watch. i think it’s going to be a great season.

update: kris and i wrote up a story and contributed it and a photo to the local papers. we’ll probably try to do this more often. i’m taking photos anyway and it’s great publicity for the hockey program and i’m guessing the kids like to see their photos in the paper.

next time we’ll remember to have them take their helmets off.

pondering the odds of winning the “chuck a duck” lottery. twice.

pondering the odds of winning the "chuck a duck" lottery. twice. I.

if you’ve ever been in a hockey arena, you’ve probably encountered the “chuck a puck” fundraiser which is a type of 50-50 lottery. you buy pucks to throw on the ice in-between periods. the closest puck to center ice wins 50% of the take and the hockey association takes the remaining 50%. i usually never participate, as i find we donate enough money to the association via concession stand sales and i tend to avoid gambling when i have a very low chance of winning as there is usually a puck chucking savant in the crowd who has chucked way more pucks than i have and stands a much better chance of winning.

pondering the odds of winning the "chuck a duck" lottery. twice. II.

i was amused to see at a tournament in west salem, wisconsin that the association had introduced a bit of randomness into the lottery by handing out rubber duckies. i thought it was a brilliant way of “evening the odds” – who could possibly predict and account for the “funny bounce” the duck would inevitably take?

turns out, one guy won two of the four “chuck a duck” lotteries ( and a separate conventional ticket raffle )!

someone smarter than i can calculate the odds on that.

wherein we spatchcocked the thanksgiving turkey ( and it was delicious ).

wherein we spatchcocked the thanksgiving turkey ( and it was delicious ).

typically we travel for thanksgiving and i’m not “in charge” of The Bird so i don’t have strongly held opinions about The Best Method to Cook To Cook a Turkey. but this year, we stayed home and i found myself wondering how on earth i was going to cook the Twenty Three Pound Organic Poultry Monster in our freezer that was too big to fit in any of our pans. and i know enough about turkey to understand that cooking a bird that big without special prep would probably result in a bird with dried out breasts. what to do? spatchcock the bird by removing the backbone and flattening it out before cooking.

i learned about the technique from a serious eats article from a few years back, “How to Cook a Spatchcocked Turkey: The Fastest, Easiest Thanksgiving Turkey”:

“This particular method is for folks who don’t give a damn about whether or not the whole, barely-adulterated bird makes an appearance at the table, but want the fastest, quickest, easiest route to juicy meat, and ultra-crisp skin. Basically, it’s a method for lazy folks with great taste. ”

i don’t know about the lazy part, but i do know i don’t care much about having a perfect bird presented on the table but i do care a lot about the juicy, crispy, fast part! and as an added bonus, i could cut the bird in half and cook the monster in a more manageable manner. ( side note, apparently spatchcocking turkeys is A Thing thanks to mark bittman ).

i followed the serious eats directions and removed the backbone and cooked at 450F for about 90 minutes. whoila! crispy skin and incredibly juicy meat.

henceforce, if i’m in charge, all the turkeys will be spatchcocked!

recipe: how to cook perfect fried eggs ( hint, use ghee *and* butter ).

recipe: how to cook perfect fried eggs ( hint, use ghee *and* butter ).

when you have backyard chickens you discover the divine pleasure of a perfectly cooked, fried egg straight out of the nesting box. and by perfectly cooked, i mean crispy edges with tender whites ( not snotty! not overcooked! ) and runny yolks. it’s a tough trick to get the trifecta of crispy, tender and runny and i could never get it consistently until i read this cooks illustrated fried egg recipe ( great magazine, highly recommended ).

it explains that yolks and whites set at different temperatures. yolks set at 158F and whites set at 180F, so the trick is getting the whites to cook before the yolks. you can get the whites to set first using the “hot and fast” method by using a fat with a high smoke point. drop the eggs in a sizzling hot, hot, hot pan and the whites set before the yolks know what hit ‘em.

recipe: how to cook perfect fried eggs ( hint, use ghee *and* butter ).

the cooks illustrated recipe recommends using a vegetable oil, but what has a higher smoke point than almost any vegetable oil and has a delicious buttery taste that you want with a fried egg? ghee ( aka clarified butter )! throw in a few tablespoons of butter into the pan right as you add the eggs to add a boost of extra butteryness. awesome eggs every time.

you can take this general philosophy to its logical conclusion and jump right on the crispy egg train.

ingredients
2T purity farms organic ghee
2T organic valley cultured butter
2 organic valley eggs ( or from the backyard if you’re that lucky )
salt and pepper

directions
– preheat ghee in skillet on low heat for 5 minutes
– crack 2 eggs in bowl and season with salt and pepper
– turn up heat to medium-high until sizzling hot ( and! i! mean! sizzling! )
– add butter and quickly swirl around pan ( this is a little tricy because you don’t want to burn the butter. act fast and don’t burn yourself ).
– pour eggs from bowl into skillet ( they should just about explode when they hit the oil )
– cover skillet and cook for 1 minute ( that’s right, just 1 minute )
– remove from heat and let stand covered – about 30 seconds will get you runny yolks, 60 seconds will get you soft set yolks and a few minutes will yield medium set yolks.

i typically let sit until the layer surrounding the yolk turns white which is a good indicator the whites are completely done and i avoid serving snotty eggs. at that point the yolks are right between runny and very soft-set.

recipe: homemade soft pretzels.

recipe: homemade soft pretzels.

thanks to a tweet from xeni jardin i discovered that homemade soft pretzels are easy to bake and while i try to live a pretty-much-mostly-gluten-free lifestyle i love a soft pretzel as much as anyone else, so i had to give it a try. and, yes, they are ridiculously easy to make. and super tasty.

odin and discovered that the only thing better than a soft pretzel straight out of the oven is one slathered in melted organic valley butter :-)

here is the recipe we followed. king arthur has a similar sourdough pretzel recipe that i’m going to have to try soon.

Jason and Hannah’s pretzel recipe

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups AP or bread flour
¾ cup of warm water
1 tsp bread yeast
1 Tbs brown sugar
⅛ tsp salt
Additionally: Baking Soda, and Salt
Pre-heat your oven to 400ºF.

Mix yeast and brown sugar in the ¾ cup of warm water and let proof for 10 minutes.

Put flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Add liquid. Knead until the ball of dough has picked up all the loose flour and is smooth.

Start a 3-5 quart pot of water boiling. Add 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda. Let boil.

Roll out pretzels. I suggest taking golf ball sized balls of dough and rolling them in your hand until the string of dough is about the diameter of a grease pencil or sharpie. Then twist into pretzels.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or your favorite non-stick method. Boil pretzels in the baking soda water mixture for 10-15 seconds each. My rule is to let them sink to the bottom and then retrieve a few seconds after they float to the surface. Place the pretzels on the baking sheet.

Immediately before placing in the oven, sprinkle with salt to your preference. Bake for 18-19 minutes.

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