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Our basement freezes solid, so.

One kitchen door, one over-the-door hanger, some cloth tote bags, and the root vegetables are now living in style.

Took about ten minutes to do, and an embarassingly long time to think of.

Walrus bag to rainbow bag, there's: potatoes, squash, cabbage, onions, carrots.
commodorified: a cartoon of a woman holding a duster and saying in a sad and tired way "clean *all* the things?" (clean all the things?)
One of the relatively few exceptions we make to Operation Ethical Meat is large hams after major holidays, when they're massively discounted.

We bring them home, dice them, and put them in freezer bags of roughly 1lb each - the next one will go in 1/2 lb bags, as we're trying to reduce our meat consumption - for use as wanted. They mostly end up in pots of beans, or else cooked with greens, though they're also good for omlettes and hashes and savoury bread puddings and macaroni and cheese.

When we can dice no more, we freeze the bone with a good coating of meat on it, for soup.

Last night I put the bone in a pot along with:
1C diced celery
1C diced carrot
2 diced onions
1 box of chicken broth
1 box of water
3 T herbs du provence
2T chopped garlic
Quite a lot of black pepper
3 C dried white beans - half navy beans and half canellini in this case, as we were low on both.

It's been in the oven on 200F ever since, and will make a good supper. I will probably tweak the flavour a bit at the end - I think it could use a bit of salt, which is not always the case with ham so I leave it until the end, and maybe some dried dill to brighten things up.

ETA: added salt, dill, marjoram and half a cabbage two hours before supper and had it over boiled potatoes. It was really good.

We would have had it last night but the schedule was disrupted by the co-op run to Arnprior (if you're between Arnprior and Ottawa and want to get amazingly tasty ethical meat and fancy veggies and other stuff from the co-op, ping me for details. There is no minimum order, and if you know me well enough to read my journal you're welcome to have us hold your order in our freezer until you can come by, since we do the Ottawa delivery.

And also by Dreadful having an ... adverse reaction ... to the antibiotic he was on. All over one of the heirloom (1940s?) Hudson's Bay blankets we got for Christmas from [personal profile] random's parents.

He's been to the vet and he's fine, eating like a horse (or trying to, poor beast is on a diet) and with excellent blood sugar numbers and all. But my afternoon and early evening were hijacked by the need to deal with the devastation wreaked on the central, cream-coloured(!), section of said blanket.

"And the only reason I'm singin' you this song today is because you may know someone in a similar situation. Or you may be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like that ..." then here is how to clean a wool blanket that has picked up some odd stains over the years and is presently covered in, oh, let's call it mud, shall we?

You will need:

A bathtub or laundry tub
Laundry detergent
Oxygen bleach - we use oxiclean for babes, as it's unscented.
A toothbrush you can discard or a nailbrush you can clean thoroughly, after.
A spin-dryer, or access to a washing machine.
A small plastic bowl or similar.
A fairly strong light you can shine on your work.

Optional but beneficial:
Lanolin
Blueing

Step one:

Have a restorative cup of tea and refer to the cat as "mittens" in an ominous tone, repeatedly. Consider whether there's enough of him for a hat.

Step two:

Relent because he's
so cute
and doesn't feel well. Establish him on an old, comfy towel and give him enough catnip to keep him mostly there while his guts settle.

Step three:

Lay the blanket in the tub and cover it with cold, soapy water. Let it soak for 15 minutes, and then go over it, gently dislodging with your brush anything solid that hasn't floated off already.

Drain the tub, making sure to hold the blanket up as much as possible (wet wool blankets are heavy!) so the solids go down the drain.

Step four:

Lay the blanket back in the tub, folded like ribbon candy.

Pour some oxygen bleach into the bowl. Go over each section of the blanket with the brush, treating everything that looks stained or discoloured, dipping your brush frequently into the oxygen bleach, refolding the blanket as you finish each section so you expose the next strip. (This sounds more complicated than it is: all you really need is enough of a system that you don't miss a chunk). Do both sides. I did all of the cream sections plus anywhere on the stripes I saw staining. Don't scrub hard - rub just enough to get a foam going.

Step five:

Let the blanket sit while you have a cup of tea and a stretch. You deserve it, and it gives the oxygen bleach time to work.

Step six:

Cover the blanket with as much cold water as the tub will hold and swish the blanket around as much as your hands will stand. If you're working in a laundry tub, change the water once.

Step seven:

Drain the tub and put the blanket in the spin dryer/in the washer set to "spin only". Spinning removes terrifying amounts of soap and dirt along with the water, it's amazing.

Step seven-a:

(Optional step is optional:
In a small cup, combine:
2-3 T lanolin
6 drops of bluing (if your blanket is mostly cream/white)
About 1t of detergent or your nice scented bodywash or shampoo - something to act as a binding agent for the lanolin so it won't just solidify and float when you add it to the rinsewater.
You can add a few drops of rosemary oil or clary sage or pine oil, if you like your blankets to smell woodsy.
Fill the cup with boiling water to melt the lanolin and stir vigorously.
Add this to your rinsewater.

My theory was that I had the lanolin and bluing handy, and I only wash wool blankets once every few years, so I might as well give this one the full spa treatment while I was at it.)

Step eight: Cover the blanket with, again, as much cold water as the tub will hold, add the lanolin mix from seven-a when the tub is full and you can insure it gets mixed throughout the tub - avoid pouring it directly onto the blanket. The bluing is actually super-handy this way, as I could see the mixture spread out - and swish the blanket around for as long as your hands will tolerate the cold water. If you did the lanolin thing, let it soak for fifteen minutes or so once it's been well swished, to let more lanolin settle into the fabric.

Step nine: Drain the tub, spin the blanket again, and hang it over the shower rail (spinning gets out so much water it's even safe to hang wool without worrying about it getting dragged out of shape, it's amazing) or lay it flat to dry.

Step ten: assuming you can still lift your arms, give yourself a serious pat on the back, and then wash your tools.

It was seriously hard on my hands and shoulders, but I swear, this blanket hasn't looked this good since Diefenbaker was in office.
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
What I did a little over a week ago:

Roasted two chickens, one covered in Herbs de Provence and one covered in a red chipotle-flavoured spice rub. Stashed the veggie scraps from the side dishes and the raw chicken necks in a bag in the freezer. Boiled the liver and lights for the corgi. Put the leftover chicken in two ziploc bags in the fridge. Put the unused drippings in a container in the fridge.

What I did tonight, after double checking that everything still felt, smelt, and tasted right and wholesome:

1) Stripped both carcasses.

2) Separated the carcasses, the meat, and the skin.

a) Put the carcasses on to boil with the freezer bag of scraps.

b) Put the skin scraps on to boil in plain water.

c) Cut the meat up and put it aside in the freezer until I was ready for it.

d) Skimmed the top of the stock and the top of the boiling skin for as much fat as I could get, three times each.

e) Put the skimmings in the freezer.

f) Strained the stock, discarded the solids.

g) Strained the water the skin was in, discarded the solids.

h) Took the drippings from the original roasting out of the fridge.

i) Combined the fat from the top of the drippings container with the fat from tonight's skimmings and set it all to melt in a saucepan.

j) Combined the water the skin was cooked in, the dark meat jelly from the drippings jar, and the strained stock to make a strong broth.

k) Thawed one boneless skinless breast and two boneless skinless thighs and chopped them up.

l) Added the raw meat to the broth.

m) Added the previously reserved cooked meat to the broth.

n) Strained the fats through a sieve, then through a double layer of paper towel.

And now I am going to:

3) Put the mostly clean fat in the fridge to fry potatoes, etc in.

4) Put the chicken in broth into single-meal servings in the freezer, so that they can be taken out and used for nearly instant chicken soup/stew/etc, each with whatever spicing, vegetables, and starch the mood of the moment dictates.

5) Do the last of the dishes, then sit back and have a well-earned Wee Dram.

This sounds like a ton of work, I realise, but it's really not. The most onerous parts are stripping the carcasses and working with the fullish stock pot; the rest is more just sort of Lounging Around Reading with regular but short bursts of gentle activity.

And you get the satisfaction of knowing that you really truly did use everything but the cackle.

Oddities

Nov. 8th, 2011 11:17 am
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)
Because I've never registered an age with LJ and I don't plan to now, I get a lot of "warning cuts".

And because I have a lot of poly/queer/kinky/slasher/just plain slightly unusual friends who

a) are quite reasonably cautious about running afoul of Ther Man, and so have flagged their ljs
b) lead Decadent Glamorous Orgy-Strewn Civilisation-Destroying Alternative Lifestyles much like my own,

I see a lot of

Subject: Teething, again, plus an excellent cookie recipe, an update on the roof repair, and two pictures of my dog being ridiculously cute.

(You are about to view content that may not be appropriate for minors).[1]

It's sort of a pain in the neck, but it does make me laugh.

[1] This, unlike the links to another journal that people in fic communities used for some reason to label "fake cuts"? Actually IS A Fake Cut. It's not broken. There is no cut. It's all font style settings.
commodorified: a cartoon of a woman holding a duster and saying in a sad and tired way "clean *all* the things?" (clean all the things?)
1) Your life contains:

a) a corgi.

b) a sofa.

c) a wool blanket.

d) a half pound of butter.

e) some cotton underpants.

2) Via a brief and apparently largely harmless stay in the front half of the corgi, the bulk of the butter has been transferred from a plate on the table to the above.

3) You would like to remove the second-hand butter from the above items. Hot water and detergent have made no impression, nor has trying to scrape it off manually, as it just sinks into the fabric.

4) So. Now what?
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)
Have just observed to [personal profile] kd5mdk that I really have to make "something decent" for supper tomorrow as tonight I'm tired and my hip hurts and Mom and her newly-returned-from-Ottawa housemate are "just getting sausage and beans".

... Yes, that's right, Ladies, Gentlemen and Others:

I am forcing them to struggle through the night with nothing better to eat than free-range-lamb-and-organic-chickpea cassoulet and fresh soda bread. Made from scratch, if you don't mind really good quality canned chickpeas.

I FAIL AT GOOD DAUGHTER FOREVER. THEY WILL HAVE TO DRINK TO DULL THEIR PAIN.

*headdesks into the cutting board*

ETA: OTOH I just cut the soda bread with one of those oddly-shaped medium sized unexplained serrated knives that every kitchen seems to have three or four of, on account of the bread knife being in the dishwasher due to having been used earlier to slice a bun in half or something. Sadly, I got caught doing this.

MOTHER'S KNIFE BLOCK HELL:
Daughter, 41, slices bread with wrong knife AGAIN.
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)
How to "adopt" the stew shown in the last post:

Toast as many cumin seeds as can be cupped in your palm by tossing them into the bottom of the dry pot and shaking them about until they are a nice deep even brown and smell toasted.

Then add:

One can of diced tomatoes.
One can of chick peas.
One can of black beans.
One zucchini, rough-chopped.

Season with:

As much of Rancho Gordo's Oregano Indio as can be cupped in your palm.
Same of Epazote
A solid dash of Cholula hot sauce.
Dash of pepper.
Salt to taste, being careful to check whether or not the beans are salted - many/most are.
One Chile de Arbole and two bay leaves, all of which you will fish out before serving.

Simmer the stew until people get home and serve it to them with rice, tortillas, cornchips, cornbread, biscuits ...

No cats were roasted in the making of this supper. Not for lack of trying on their part, mind you.

To adopt Squidget-the-cat, or one of his adorable siblings, contact Ther Fabulous Snail.

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