commodorified: text: you really musn't expect me to be Christian in two directions at once.  (my last nerve)
Poll #16508 The Plague, Part Wev
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 49


So apparently not even a throat so sore your doctor swabbed you for strep gets you out of having to eat a food occasionally if you don't want to feel horrible.

View Answers

... seems legit
26 (53.1%)

No, wait, how is that possible? I demand a recount!
23 (46.9%)

commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
About living with an Optimiser without losing your mind.

Said thread having left me with an irresistible urge to tell people how I think onions are best cut. As this is high on the list of Worst Things I Could Do over there - quite right, too - I have come back here to do it.

So, these are My Opinions:

0) Dried onions and frozen onions - which in Canada can be bought in large bags at M&M Meats, among other places - are terribly under-appreciated.

1) Always use your very sharpest non-serrated blade. The onion juice that makes you cry is released by crushing the flesh of the onion, so the more you minimise this the less irritant is released.

2) Putting the onion in the fridge for an hour -or the freezer for ten minutes, but don't forget about it - before you cut it does, actually, help.

3) Keeping your mouth tightly shut from the moment you cut into the onion until you walk away from the cutting board helps a lot, but if you once open your mouth it stops working. I do not know why this is so.

4) Cut the ends off first, so that you have flat spots to stand the onion on rather than it being able to roll around. This may save your fingers if you do get teary-eyed.

5) When you put them into the pan to cook, starting them off on low and increasing the heat in stages will minimise the amount of onion juice that gets into the air to irritate your eyes.

6) If you do end up with streaming eyes, rinse out your mouth and nostrils, not your eyes. Putting a cool washcloth over your eyes is soothing and gets your lashes clean, but your eyes are already cleaning themselves.

7) Food processors are not, in my opinion, suitable for chopping onions due to an excess of crushing activity and subsequent fumes.

Please share your opinions about onions freely - with impeccable courtesy and bountiful goodwill - in the comments. Anonymous commenting is on (on DW) but screened, please do sign your anonymous comment in some fashion; initials, nicknames, etc. are just fine, I just want to be able to tell y'all apart.

n.b. Rice Cookers may also be discussed.
commodorified: cartoon moose wearing a Mountie uniform. Text; "eh." (canadian moose)
I made this for [personal profile] kd5mdk, who despite living in Austin, TX, is a serious hockey fan.

When he was up here visiting we tried and failed to make it to women's hockey and to a Marlies game, so eventually went to see the Soo Greyhounds at the Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL), which turned out to be a great decision as it was a HOPPING game - the final score was 8-6 Niagara and we had the excellent luck to be seated just in front of Geezer Row, from which we got high quality colour commentary.

Originally I left off some stuff that would normally have gone on because I knew he already had it, so this is a modified version of the original playlist. I'm quite proud of the cover art :-)

Hockey Night In Texas

Non-music tracks are in [square brackets]
Hockey Night In Canada: Naturally 7
[Montreal at Chicago: Bob Cole]
Frozen Puck To The Head: Captain Tractor
I'm Shipping Up To Boston: Dropkick Murphys
Helmethead: Great Big Sea
Takin' Care of Business: Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Bleed American: Jimmy Eat World
[Hockey Fight: Foster Hewitt]
We Will Rock You: Queen
[Intermission/Rock and Roll 2: Danny Gallivan/Sound Effects/Gary Glitter]
Gretzky Rocks: The Pursuit Of Happiness
The Hockey Song: Stompin' Tom Connors
[Canadiens at Leafs: Foster Hewitt]
Hockey: Jane Siberry
Big League: Tom Cochrane
Flying: Stan Rogers
Fifty Mission Cap: The Tragically Hip
Wake Up: The Arcade Fire
[Canadiens at Maple Leafs: Dan Kelly]
The Lonely End of the Rink: The Tragically Hip
commodorified: an image of an old woodenhulled icebreaker in a narrow open channel (northwest passage)
I meant to post this much sooner, and also to annotate it fetchingly and informatively, but it's been a bit mad around here, even before I got sick, and while I am much improved I'm still wheezy and achy and not at my most clever.

If you ask me about particular tracks, though, that will doubtless trigger comments - it's sitting down and doing the whole thing unprompted that's beyond me. So please do; I have Things To Say.

My definition of folk music is rather loose; my definition of Canadian considerably more strict.

CanFolk2015: 47 songs, one for each voter in the mixtape poll.

*blows smooches*

Sleepy Maggie: Ashley MacIsaac
Light Enough to Travel: The Be Good Tanyas
La Complainte du Phoque en Alaska: Beau Dommage
Sleep In Late: Big Sugar
You Can Come From Here: Bourbon Tabernacle Choir
The Coldest Night Of The Year: Bruce Cockburn
Logdriver's Waltz: Captain Tractor
Black Eyed Susan: Doug McArthur
Merlin: Doug McArthur and Garnet Rogers
Henry Martin: Figgy Duff
Summer Lightning: Garnet Rogers with Doug Long
Early Morning Rain: Gordon Lightfoot
I'se the B'y: Great Big Sea
Lukey: Great Big Sea
Dondaine: Groovy Aardvark
Cold Missouri Waters: James Keelaghan
Turn Of The Wheel: James Keelaghan
Hockey: Jane Siberry
Love Is Everything: Jane Siberry
Lay Your Burden Down: Jennifer Noxon
Slouching Toward Bethlehem: Joni Mitchell
Helpless: k.d. lang
A Case Of You: k.d. lang
Little Boxes (Petites Boites): Kate & Anna McGarrigle
C'est Une Jeune Mariée: Le Vent Du Nord
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen
Dance Me To The End Of Love: Leonard Cohen
The Highwayman: Loreena McKennitt
Temagami Round: Marie-Lynn Hammond
I Don't Sleep With Strangers Anymore: Marie-Lynn Hammond
Leonard Cohen's Never Gonna Bring My Groceries In: Nancy White
Old Man: Neil Young
Helpless: Neil Young
Gold In Them Hills: Ron Sexsmith
Save This House: Spirit Of The West
The Old Sod: Spirit of the West
Rolling Down To Old Maui: Stan Rogers
Fisherman's Wharf: Stan Rogers
The Nancy: Stan Rogers
The Assassin's Apprentice: Stephen Fearing
Sudbury Saturday Night: Stompin' Tom Connors
The Coal Boat Song: Stompin' Tom Connors
Billy In the Lowground: Stringband
Tugboats: Stringband
Fox - Tiriganiak: Tagaq
Carey - Universal Honey
Deeper Well: The Wailin' Jennys

Cough Drop

Feb. 22nd, 2015 03:12 am
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
In a cup, combine

2 T honey and
1 T lemon juice

Microwave for 45 seconds and add

1.5 oz vodka.

Apply to raw throat and shredded lungs.
commodorified: very worried stuffed crocodile clutching a pillow (not coping)
The good news: I have five days worth of prednisone for my lungs.

The bad news: I have five days worth of prednisone for my lungs.

*wheezes*
commodorified: crop from Waterhouse painting of the Lady Of Shallott: Text: "Bugger alle thys for a lark, I'm going to ye pubbe"  (bugger all thys)
1) I am unconditionally in favour of Moar Femslash, but while I am in awe of the amazing and creative ways in which writers make Joan Watson/Moriarty work, Moriarty does not deserve nice things, and Joan Watson is a very nice thing. Result: frustration.

2) I told [personal profile] fairestcat and [personal profile] fajrdrako that I needed to post this: I am forever condemned to be A Fake Comics Geek, for I will never have a pull box. Because I read my wife's comics and genuinely cannot think of a situation where I'd want to read something she wasn't reading often enough to get my own box.

3) I am genuinely impressed by this week's Castle and how it managed not to Do The Sexist Tropey Thing this week. I was all ready to be furious and ended up going You Brilliant Bastards.
commodorified: My hair, flying in the wind, and my right arm, in sunlight (Default)
But the fender-bender we had a couple of weeks back has resulted in the insurance company writing off the car.

We are four not very small adults, with outdoorsy hobbies which sometimes involve winter backroad travel carrying gear, and have hopes of eventual family expansion.

So:

If you have or have had a station wagon you really like, please tell me about it, in detail.

goddammit

Feb. 4th, 2015 12:40 pm
commodorified: My hair, flying in the wind, and my right arm, in sunlight (Default)
My purse - and phone - have been stolen. And I'm in Toronto oh it's just lovely especially for poor [personal profile] kd5mdk who had to deal with a quietly hysterical GF all of last night.

I may or may not be able to get my contacts back eventually, but meanwhile please give me your contact info again, if you think I ought to have it.

Comments are screened.

Thanks, all.
commodorified: an image of an old woodenhulled icebreaker in a narrow open channel (northwest passage)
Poll #16371 MIXTAPE
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 47

Would you like a mixtape?

Yes
44 (95.7%)

No
0 (0.0%)

What's a "tape", Grandma?
2 (4.3%)

Which mixtape[s] would you like?

Winter
17 (37.0%)

Thaw
19 (41.3%)

S.A.D. you can dance to
25 (54.3%)

Canadian Folk
29 (63.0%)

All will be well, and all shall be well
30 (65.2%)

No, sorry, you have to pick:

Winter
6 (12.8%)

Thaw
6 (12.8%)

S.A.D. you can dance to
11 (23.4%)

Canadian Folk
15 (31.9%)

All will be well, and all shall be well
9 (19.1%)

commodorified: the words Anglican Socialist Weirdo on a Green and Yellow abstract background (Anglican Socialist Weirdo)
The awesome Kate Hunt has written an article about our feral cat colony, and about feral cat management in general, for the Centretown Buzz.

Includes pictures of her own Arthur J Raffles, who we were lucky enough to be able to
place with her a year or so back, and Sage The Wonder Kitten, looking slightly more psycho than usual.

Sage has a forever home now, I'm glad to say.

I think we would all recommend the Daily Grind on Somerset West for all your "prolonged caffeine-soaked brunch while doing an interview" needs, by the way.
commodorified: All my friends tell me I actually exist, and by an act of faith I have come to believe them (friends)
So I post these things because I am surrounded by ridiculously smart and funny people who make me look witty.

You can get more Benet at his livejournal, (I keep trying to get him to DW but what can you do) which oddly enough is http://benet.livejournal.com or you can read his natural history blog, which is at https://walkingwithhenslow.wordpress.com/ or you can follow him on twitter: @aleph3

Leave him comments: I'm trying to get him to post more, and comments are good for that.
commodorified: where in this small-talking world can I find a longitude with no platitude? (a little MORE conversation)
Benet:
it's been up for over a week, and I'm still inordinately amused by the Toast's 'Bible Verses Where 'Thou Shalt Not' has been Replaced by 'can u not'.

http://the-toast.net/2014/12/29/bible-verses-thou-shalt-not-replaced-can-u-not/

Exodus 20:17
“Can u not covet thy neighbour’s house, can u not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. can u just not."


(time passes)

[personal profile] commodorified:
Sorry, there were small children
Did you know there is A MONSTER at the end of this book?

Benet:
no but I can't say I'm surprised

[personal profile] commodorified:
A MONSTER
I feel like Oscar and Vivien are recklessly unconcerned with the possible consequences here

Benet:
if there were *two* monsters, that'd be a twist worthy of M. Night Shamwow

[personal profile] commodorified:
THAT IS THE SEQUEL
GROVER *AND* ELMO

Benet:
it's just like _Alien vs. Predator_.
but with more felt.

[personal profile] commodorified:
The Monster At The End Of This Book.
It's an app.

Benet:
not showing up in the Play store.. sure it's not iOS only?

(A series of remarks through which we establish that this app is, as yet, only available for iOS and Kindle omitted)

Benet:
yeah, Amazon's recent devices are their own weird-ass Android distro, there's a lot of stuff that only works there.

they also keep trying to hire me to work on them, which they'll have to go buy in the Nope Store

[personal profile] commodorified:
Can I get a tank for my Nopetopus there?

Benet:
and food for your nopefish
basically it's like Uber, but for nope

[personal profile] commodorified:
Wait, they'll come and pick me up and DRIVE me to nope?

Benet:
well, not necessarily. It's just, you know. Disrupty!

[personal profile] commodorified:
So I want to start an Uber for bicycle-rickshaws
Ok I don't. I want someone else to.

Will they deliver piping-hot artisinal Nope to my door in 30 minutes or it's free?
Cause there's a market for that.

Benet:
probably
I mean, given that the site which used to let you deliver bees to people you don't like has gone dark
you remember, www.beeswhyaretherebees.com
1-800-AHH-BEES
I don't think glitter really cuts it, next to live bees

[personal profile] commodorified:
Well the bees are vanishing.
Why would you send bees to people you dislike?
Bees should be for people you really love

Benet:
well, you know.. *angry* bees.
http://www.reactiongifs.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/bees_oprah.gif

[personal profile] commodorified:
Are you sure they're not just misunderstood?

Benet:
maybe?

[personal profile] commodorified:
It all sounds dodgy

Benet:
I honestly feel like wasps are misunderstood.
I mean, everyone is mostly on board now with the idea that bees are not aggressive.

[personal profile] commodorified:
I honestly am not the person to change that.

Benet:
but in my experience you really have to get up in a wasp's grill before it'll sting you

[personal profile] commodorified:
Well, okay. See, my problem is that they think "having sweet things and not sharing" is getting up in said grill

Benet:
well true

[personal profile] commodorified:
Along with "smelling like soft and dri"

Benet:
but I've taken some extreme close-ups of wasps and they just let me do it.
hmm

[personal profile] commodorified:
i mean, there are different types

Benet:
these are all valid cases, but I would hold it's still a ways from the whole "wasps will sting you because yolo" thing I see come 'round of Facebook every few months

[personal profile] commodorified:
I'm not joining the Friends Of Yellowjackets anytime soon

Benet:
fair

[personal profile] commodorified:
i think the problem is partly they'll build on houses and are territorial.
And I'm all FUCK YOU DO YOU EVEN PAY RENT

(later that evening):

[personal profile] commodorified:

IAN JUST SAID YOLOJACKETS I PLAN TO KILL HIM

“So the haters were subdued and they stopped invading Israel’s territory. Throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the hand of the Lord was against the haters.”

Amen.

Benet:

"Can u not pray like the hypocrites"
commodorified: (nothing like the sun)
James Burbidge is favourably impressed by The March North, and explains why.

(I realize that in the case of this particular book I am not an uninterested party, nor do I claim to be[1] but I can truthfully say that I've been taking James Burbidge's advice about fiction for a decade and a half now and it has rarely failed to work out for me.)


[1] I want [personal profile] graydon to sell books, both because he deserves to and because he - almost uniquely for a self-published author in my experience - paid good green cash at very nearly the going rate - and the 'very nearly' was me offering the 'good people doing good things' discount, not him asking - for a copyedit and proofread. And if he sells a reasonable number of copies of this book, he'll be able to pay me - or someone, but I hope me - to copyedit and proof the next two. Which I got to read by the way and they're great.
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
Because apparently instead of having curry and potatoes today, we're having Norwalk Virus.

Therefore:

1 large box of chicken broth
1 box of water
1 very large spoonful of miso

Bring to a boil, stirring steadily and breaking up the miso with two spoons as you go.
When the miso is broken up and the broth is boiling add:

1 package soba noodles. Reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil, follow timing on package.

Serves three people who effectively haven't eaten a damn' thing all day and aren't sure they want to.

You could add tofu, if you had any. Green onions, ditto. Or sesame oil and some siracha, if your stomach didn't object to the mere thought. But you don't have to.
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
My father-in-law (who took a year-long chef's course when he retired) and I were talking food recently and I mentioned spice mixes. "Oh, I don't use those," he said. "I mix everything fresh myself."

I ... changed the subject. I love him, but my God, he gets so bloody ... cheffy. And he cooks for fun, basically, which I'm not going to hold against him because I eat his food and it's awesome (if you were at our wedding you've eaten his food too) but most of us cook because people are hungry and living on takeout is ruinous to the wallet and one's health, both, and so we have to cook and would like the results to be tasty as well as vaguely nourishing.

I mention this here not to give FiL a hard time - I can do that in person - but because I hear it fairly often from what Peg Bracken refers to as Good Cooks Who Like To, and I think it is entirely wrong-headed and that it makes beginning and casual cooks feel like they're just not making the cut, and that's crap.

My cooking has improved tremendously since I a) discovered Penzeys (because we have to ship or carry the stuff we buy there back to Canada what we buy is pretty much mixes. For herbs and single spices, I have excellent local sources) and b) through using - and running out of - their stuff, developed the confidence to make and store my own mixes, and just generally relaxed and quit trying to season everything from scratch everytime like a real cook, whatever THAT means.

Just for starters, I have bad allergies and my sense of smell comes and goes and my cooking duties ... don't. I haven't pepper-bombed anyone in months thanks to seasoning mixes.

So here are some reasons why I love, love, love spice and seasoning mixes:

1) Convenience

Sometimes (ok, often) I'm not making an Incredibly Detailed Special Meal. I'm trying to get everyone fed and stave off the anguished cries of Oh God Is It Canned Beets Again? So I put Tsardust (Ian spent a year in the USSR just as it was ceasing to be the USSR. He ate a lot of borsht, and this is basically borsht or Russian sausage seasoning, which now reminds him of the trip and makes him feel warm and fuzzy, so I bought some to surprise him and now consider it a staple and I use it in just so many things, you guys it's amazing on lamb) in the beets, or Old World (goulash seasoning) on the spinach (reviews of that one were mixed. If you like smoky greens you'll probably like it) or Krakow Nights (Polish sausage seasoning, actually) on the potatoes. I put Fox Point in my scrambled eggs and Ozark and bouquet garni in the breading for fried pork chops and I use steak seasonings (two kinds) and Adobo seasoning and various rubs and cajun seasonings and chili powders and there is just no end to it and I have a pretty good idea which seasonings go with what for main and side dishes and my day to day cooking is so much faster and simpler and better and I swear less. A bit less. I do swear a lot.

2) Consistency.

I have an excellent book on Cajun cooking by Paul Prudhomme, and he mentions in a few places that in his restaurant they use spice mixes for almost everything, because restaurant cooking must be consistent.

They make them onsite and make them in batches big enough for no more than a week or two, to keep the quality high, but they make them and use them in damned near everything and he recommends that home cooks using his book do the same. (You can buy his mixes, he sells them on his site, but in the book he also tells you how to make your own).

I know damn-all about celebrity chefs, so maybe there's something terrible about Prudhomme's cooking I don't know, but let me tell you what, based on his writings and recipes I like the cut of his jib and wish to eat his food if I ever get a chance.

Home cooking doesn't have to be consistent in the same way, you can always tweak the seasoning of a dish just because you want to try something new, or are craving salt or spice, but if you've made something and you like it, you want at least the option where it comes out more-or-less the same the next twelve times.

The more daring and complex your dish is, the more of a problem this becomes. I can spice, say, gingerbread (powdered ginger, allspice, vanilla) or lamb burgers, (cumin, dried onion, rosemary) from individual seasonings and get beautifully reliable results, because a) the number of things I need to add to each is small, and b) the amount I need to add is correspondingly large (2T ginger, 1t allspice, 1t vanila).

If I put together bouquet garni or rogan josh curry together, from scratch, for family-sized dishes, every time, I'd be operating in 1/8 teaspoons, and I would screw up, a lot. I'd forget things. I'd be estimating by sight, because I have no actual idea where my 1/8t spoon is I never use it what is that even for my God.

3) Expense and storage

Spices and seasonings are comparatively expensive for things with no food value, ranging from about $5 per jar to Oh My God Was It Watered By The Tears Of A Unicorn?

As I said before, bouquet garni and herbs de provence and similar herb blends call for 4-7 ingredients, depending on your method, and Indian and Chinese and Portugese (etc etc) spicings can get into the low teens. Plus you can't always get the makings in small sizes, and many blends call for tiny bits of many things, so you end up with a huge pile of variously perishable stuff. And I don't see any particular freshness or quality boost to keeping the exact same spices and herbs, in the exact same drawers, only, you know, in separate jars, the way the Victorians (never actually, it's a myth) kept books by unmarried persons of the opposite sex apart.

If I made my own curry powder I'd have one large container of one kind of curry. Currently I instead have maharajah, sweet, vindaloo, rogan josh, three garam marsalas, and madras. Sometimes I mix them. Often I add more cumin, or coriander, or something.

Also, when I was on a severely limited budget and trying to rebuild my kitchen from scratch, I budgeted, once the absolute basics were in, for one spice jar per shopping trip. I bought a LOT of seasoning mixes, because I wanted a reasonable range of options and I wanted them fast.

4) Education and adventurousness.

If you like Mexican food and think you'd probably enjoy making it, you could go find a specialty store and stock up on the required herbs and seasonings and peppers and buy a recipe book and teach yourself how to spice everything ... Or you could pick up a decent chili powder and some adobo and some chile verde in a jar and start playing around. It's cheaper. It's simpler and less intimidating, and assuming your spicemonger stocks decent quality stuff, the proportions will be right. If and when you want to start doing your own blending, you'll have a base to start from of knowing roughly how things are meant to smell and taste. It's handy, and it's terribly reassuring.

I have a chili seasoning (okay, three), a taco seasoning, adobo seasoning, a chipotle-based seasoning, currently two salsas and five hot sauces. With those plus some basic all-round stuff like cumin and cinnamon and oregano, I can do a ridiculous number of really tasty things. Now, they do all contain mostly the same stuff, but only mostly, and in different proportions.

We do enough stuff with Mexican-style flavouring that I also have epazote and mexican oregano, but you can get by without those for a very long time. I bought them when I'd gotten good enough at the basic style to realize I wanted them.

The Tsardust was a total shot in the dark, as were the Adobo, the Old World, the Ozark seasoning, Mitchell Street steak seasoning, Krakow nights ... I smelled them and went "hey, I want to play with that" and bought a small jar. Some of the small jars I've bought have languished, but most have gotten used up and many of them have gotten refilled. A few of them have been refilled with my own version. Lots of them get used (Tsardust, Ozark, Krakow) for things they weren't originally intended for, and that's just fine too.

Seasoning mixes, in short, helped me learn to cook and continue to make me a better cook.

And then there's the one downside

Quality can be a huge concern, especially if you're largely limited to grocery-store mixes. A lot of the inexpensive ones are mostly salt and sugar, or at least contain far too much of both. Some of them have MSG. (I use MSG, but lots of people loathe/react to it).

I love Penzeys, obviously, but they're only in the US and while they will ship internationally, it's a faff.

There is no perfect solution to this. Mostly, it's a matter of reading the labels, looking for better groceries or actual spice stores and going there or ordering online if you can, buying the best you can find and afford, taking your time eking the money out and buying one or two things at a time, and remembering that if your seasoning tastes good to you, it's good, even if it's generic storebrand (in Canada, President's Choice is actually very good in general). If you and the people you feed are happy, you have done well. (Unless there's a specific reason why you have to avoid an ingredient to feel or be well).

Some non-US online (I can't begin to hunt for local options for everywhere, but this is a start, at least) options I've found:

Canada:
Spice Blends at Silk Road

Also Herbies (mentioned below) has a Canadian site.

I need to try these, when the current glut - you guys we have two drawers, a breadbox, and a little spice storage unit on the table and they're all FULL, I may have a small problem - runs out.

UK:
Spice Blends at Seasoned Pioneers (Ships to EU)

Australia:
Spice Blends at Herbies

ETA: more awesome suggestions in the comments.
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
So, Thanksgiving this year was sort of insane: [personal profile] fairestcat was off at the OTW retreat until the day before, Dreadful developed a urinary blockage while she was away (don't feed your male cats entirely on dry kibble, folks), and we lost a lot of sleep coping with that - he was in a lot of pain, and then on a lot of drugs, and also getting meds and subcutaneous fluids put into him on a frequent and 24-hr schedule, and then in a lot of pain again because he reblocked, and also the floor was covered in blue sheets because he was having trouble making it to the box, and his Momma was away and he needed me to wake UP, DAMMIT, and snuggle and console him ... and we had people coming, people I love and love feeding, who were expecting food and frivolity and a hostess who didn't look like grim death and smell faintly of cat pee and all manner of things.

Reader, I used boughten pastry for the pear and blackberry tarts this year. No regrets. I redeemed my tattered pride at Christmas.

And I had this ham, which was enormous, and frozen solid, because we get our meat from a local farmer's co-op which delivers monthly, and (having done nearly all the vegetable prep the day before, because Ian and I rode to the farmers' market on the Saturday as a relaxing family expedition and being stressed and surrounded by good things went approximately mad and bought carrots, beets, squash, kale, sprouts, leeks, mushrooms and two or three other things and then realised how much chopping we'd let ourselves in for) I couldn't face the prospect of getting up at 6 o'clock in the clear bright to wrangle a vast and surly brick of meat through spicing and into the oven.

(ACTUAL COOKING DISCUSSION STARTS HERE)

So I started the ham the night before, from frozen, at 200F. Just popped it into an enamelled cast iron pot skin-side-up, piled some dark honey and some seedy mustard on the frozen surface, slapped the lid on, put it in the oven on a rack set one slot up from the bottom, said a quick prayer to the patron saint of Cat Mothers With Guests Arriving and went to bed, hoping it wouldn't be awful.

Friends, it was spectacular. Seriously. The one downside was, it fell apart, so it wasn't as festive-looking as a whole ham for carving would have been. Nobody cared. It was goddamn amazing, is what I'm saying.

I have since done this with pork shoulder, beef ribs, lamb shanks, and stewing mutton, and they have all - well, the mutton is in the oven right now but all the signs are good - been ridiculously good.

I like this method better than slow-cookers, which I have trouble with because the super-slow setting I find leaves meat bland and naked-looking and the "combination" setting frequently overcooks things in that way where they're not burnt they just taste like old shoes. For lentil and bean things I still love my slowcooker, but for meat it's been replaced.

(I feel compelled to say that my Hydro bill does not prefer this approach. On the other hand, it's winter, and we probably save some of it back on the furnace.)

So, here is the (ludicrously simple) method.

Before going to bed, assemble in a heavy pot with a tightly-fitting lid (we haunt the sales at Canadian Tire and the houseware department at Value Village and have now got a nice selection of completely mismatched heavy enamelled cast-iron in different sizes. If you can score one somehow, do so. If not, it is worth buying the heaviest pot-and-lid you can afford/manage to locate, not just for this but for many, many things):

Your meat: roast, ribs, stew meat, whatever. From frozen is fine, fresh is fine.

Your spicing and flavourings: pork shoulder (the farm we get the hams from has these amazing roasts so we do one a month) with

A) a lot of chopped apples (Macs or other tart ones) and cooking onions plus Penzey's Tsardust

B) pepper and salt and garlic and dried onions and Tsardust and a vast heap of cabbage,

C) A good bbq sauce, and a lot of chopped onions. This is fairly classic pulled pork, as opposed to the weird variations we've devised.

Also: beef ribs with beef broth, bouquet garni (I make my own and have made my own Tsardust and you can too: that's just to get you started), salt, pepper, onions, carrots and potatos, or you can skip the potatos and make dumplings at the end. Mushrooms optional but VERY adviseable. (I am a hobbit.)

Lamb shanks, same as the beef ribs but vegetable or chicken broth and a bit of curry powder or paste. I use Pataks and Penzeys, but you needn't.

Ham, with whatever you put in hams. We tend towards poncey mustard and honey around here, but maple syrup is good, or just the mustard, or really, the ones we get are awesome and smoked with actual smoke and plain would be fine.

Stewing lamb or mutton with vegetable broth, lots of curry, frozen spinach, dried or fresh onion.

Basically any slow-cook recipe in the world.

What you don't want to do:

You want to be very stingy with liquid, if you're used to slow-cooking on top of the stove, which I still sometimes forget - this is why there will be potatoes in the curry, as I absent-mindedly used a full box of broth when I ought to have used a quarter-box. Sealing all your ingredients into a heavy pot and then baking them slowly produces a LOT of liquid.

Don't add thickeners (cornstarch, flour, potato flakes) when you start the meal. Add them right before supper, and then turn the oven up to 350 for half an hour. If you add them at the beginning things will get very lumpy, claggy, and sad.

If you are using a fatty meat, sometime the next day do take it out and skim the fat. If you can put it in the fridge or out in the cold until the fat hardens that's handy, but you can also just use a spoon. Ugh this is the boringest job. On the other hand you can then fry potato slices in the lamb or beef or pork fat. Nom.

Vegetables you want to be crunchy, and "fragile" vegetables like peas, green leaves that are not collards, etc, should go in an hour or so before supper. The frozen spinach in with the mutton is meant to cook down a lot, I'm going for a vaguely Sag Lamb effect.

Things I clearly should write about next: spice mixes, weird ingredients I use and love, kitchen gadgets and general equipment that I use and love, my grandmother's pastry recipe.
commodorified: Alexander wearing his imperial cobwebs and breastplate of shining worms wakes and looks for his glasses (history)
So, [personal profile] staranise and I were talking about how Twitter is and is not working for me right now and I said "I want to get back to using DW/LJ more."

"So, do that", she said, because she is smart like that.

But I seem to have gone all rusty or strange or shy or something.

So - please ask me questions or make requests/offer prompts. I can't guarantee I'll do something for each of them, but I'm pretty sure it'll get me to wrote SOMETHING.

The only caveat is, right now I don't want prompts for personal stuff. That will probably come, but I can't START there. It'd feel like trying to pound out a Christmas Newsletter. Instead, right now I'd like to try to remember how to write about Stuff and Things and Opinionate.

So, I intend to essay to essay. Help a Bear out?
commodorified: (nothing like the sun)
Because apparently fic is a thing I do again.

First It Was a Question Then it Was a Mission

Fandom: Captain America (Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Explicit


Relationships: Peggy Carter/Steve Rogers


Summary:

Steve Rogers would crawl across Occupied France for Peggy Carter. By comparison, the distance between the perimeter wall and the rear fire door looks pretty trivial.

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commodorified: My hair, flying in the wind, and my right arm, in sunlight (Default)
commodorified

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