#Do it yourself

Never mind the dog…

100_8679The little guy is Berto, and he has a thing about photo bombing… watching me, and wanting to be in the loop on everything, especially food and the location of my dirty socks, which he hoards..


The masa grinder is the subject.. if you want fresh corn tortillas or masa dough for tamales it’s the way to go…. you can buy masa in a lot of markets and its usually good, but home made is better.

Of course it gets used for more than that, it grinds nuts for walnut butter or whatever and chickpeas for hummis.. which is a chore a lot of blenders can’t handle and I make a lot of it..

I’ve never tried using it for flour for some reason.. But I’m pretty sure it’s because of the burr plates.. I have my doubts it will do the job and its a lot of trouble to find out..

Or at least that’s the current theory to justify a mill or quern..


3 AM and the salmon is out of the smoker

100_8969The gravlax spent four hours being transformed to smokey Uber-gravlax.. a little darker, a little denser, a little more everything.

There is a plan for it….first, perfect paper thin slices on the darkest thinnest rye I can find..or an herbed multi grain rye cracker.. with dilled havarti..

Phase two is a pate so I can make the gravlax love last a little longer and change it up some

The smoker did exactly what it was supposed to and held the temperature just right for cold smoking..

It was fun and a good amount of bang for the buck..

I was babbling about wanting a smoked brisket and was notified officially I need to put bacon and smoked tongue on the “to do” list for project week..

So early tomorrow it’s off to the butcher I go.. the only concern is my diet has been a bit rich lately and out of the norm.. its usually salads, vegetables, yogurt, fruit, beans and lentils, pasta and whatever I bake for the day.. 90% vegetarian..excepting the habitual pizza or occasional chicken quarter.. fish and shellfish…

Make that 80% vegetarian..

A magical budget upgrade..

100_8960 100_8963 100_8964The salmon was $9 or $10 per pound… after I cured it in koshering salt, sugar and dill weed.. its gravlax. $40-$50 per pound..the last step is smoking the gravlax which sells at around $100 per pound…

No way I can afford that, no matter how much I like it.

But there’s always a way around things..

The smoker was a walmart $100+ floor model but I got it for $20 because it wasn’t shiny anymore and the door wouldn’t close… reason being, they put it together wrong… So I made an offer, took it home and spent 2 minutes putting it together correctly…

The slab on top is a pizza stone that fits inside the smoker…when I want to use it as a wood fired pizza oven… I rearranged the fire pan put in a baffle so the stone isn’t in direct contact with the fire… etc. etc. etc.

The gravlax gets a cold smoke for four hours and its all done…

The fire pan this go round is a hotplate so I can keep the heat control tight at 100-120 degrees..

Of course its close to 11:00 PM and I’ll be messing with it till 3:00 AM, but its one of those no brainer insomnia chores… so I’m happy about it….

Some days ya do what ya gotta do..

100_8817Every picture tells a story don’t it…. I blew up my truck and needed a counter-top oven more than dignity, so expedience ruled the day.. which it usually does.

The adventure was tying the oven to the bike, while shoppers made a wide path around me avoiding eye contact. Which I found amusing.

Apparently there were implications of homelessness or insanity in the activity… But one would think since it was an oven, I might have the resources to plug it in somewhere, other than a cactus.

People who knew me laughed or smiled since my quirks are fairly well known and everything is under control, albeit odd given my methods of problem solving..

But problem solving is the key no?

Besides the oven has a rotisserie built in, aside from a broil and convection function. So ya do what ya gotta do.

No longing, wishing or unfulfilled desires..it’s all about “how does this thing get done”.

And that’s kind of that… faint heart never won fair anything, except maybe a pace-maker.

So whatever.

I decided I want a butcher block table and another industrial type bakers rack along with the usual bulk bottles of propane for my regular oven.

But as noted the beloved truck is indisposed with a cracked head and in various pieces… Swell, fine that’s life etc.

Everything I do is within ten miles, so why not haul a trailer behind the bike? Aside from the fact a bicycle cargo trailer costs around $700 and that’s not gonna happen..

But building a bike trailer isn’t out of the question..

I have the steel, know how to weld and building a trailer solves my current problem… which is dragging home a butcher block table, a commercial bakers rack and bulk propane…

Besides, bicycles kind of fascinate me regardless of what anyone thinks, and I don’t have to spend $100 a week on gas