#guy stuff

Avocado and cigarbox suprise

I was asked to post today’s treasure…. which happened to be a .77 cent avocado and two wooden cigar boxes.. one is headed to a salad and one is on its way to being one string guitar.. the last one is for keeping stuff in….probably netsuke since cigar boxes tend to be stable when it comes to humidity…

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The close up of the .77 cent avocado is gratuitous.. they cost $2 in New Zealand and I like to point that out as often as possible. to annoy the gf..

I get a certain smug satisfaction out of it.. if by smug one means glee…

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Rice pudding

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I remembered some raisins, currant’s and dried cherries that have been taking up fridge space soaking in rum and spices for over a month..

The usual basic rice pudding got a make over and the result was an OMG that’s so good moment.. the problem is I make a quart at a time and think it needs to be eaten NOW..

Which is a hold over from my pre-fridge third world lifestyle.. and yet another story, everything I cooked had to last a week on a counter….

Making progress on dinner

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Sometimes the mid-process of dinner is just not a pretty sight.. Even using a larger cooker, the tongue swelled and popped the cooker lid off… so it got whacked in two.

The white is what needs to peeled off once things have cooled…. it’s like shark skin or sand paper.. rough stuff… but comes off really easy..

The second photo is the tongue peeled and ready to go in the smoker, where it’s been for about two hours..

The last photos will be the pretty ones… everything trimmed and on crostini or wasa bread.. (I was pricing out smoked tongue and the supplier noted his product has a %2 fat content)

I snuck a bite pre-smoker.. it was great, and the liquid from braising the thing is an amazing beef stock… which could well become chili or something equally high value on my like list..

Some of the stock will go towards the steak and kidney project… I really can’t think of anything better to simmer the beef and kidney bits in…

Basil, rosemary and brisket bones..

100_8127Budget and dinner improvement…. Grow basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, mint and what-not in pots….Or potatoes, tomatoes and chilis for that matter….

I’m not good at gardening, but its still worth doing.

Heat is the biggest issue in my world and basil isn’t exactly a desert dweller.. it does fine in an air conditioned mega mart… but outside, not so great when it hits 125 or so..

I like window boxes and house plant’s, it all adds to ones life, ambiance and air quality.. while stepping up your pizza and caprese salads.. Plus having rosemary on hand for bread and general cooking utility is also kinda huge…

And its a quiet pleasurable thing… almost as good if not better than reading, it can be beautiful, a small oasis of feng shui and chi building, the scents alone are a gift that keeps on giving..

Fresh basil is expensive… but growing isn’t.. plus there’s bragging right’s if you’re into show and tell… you can do garden club horse horse trades for chilis or pester the AG department at the college for cuttings…

I was never into the social aspects of potted plants but other people go wild…

My notions of potted plants and gardening tends to be personal and an investment of care, which is probably a good thing..

But garden clubs go against my reclusive tendencies and fortress of solitude mind set…

Part two.. brisket bones..

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Today I was on a brisket bone search.. and finally found some, the last pack in fact, one of the butchers said he’d been working in the trade 30 years and never heard of them… but it was a matter of trade language and once we got past that it was all good… Brisket bones are trim from making those cute little rib racks, that run $3.00 per pound… Brisket bones are $1.49 with no bones, just cartilaginous goodness.. which is the end of a full rack I always liked best… then you look at the meat to bone ratio and the deal gets better…

(I was told they were unavailable) due to mad cow disease.. umm.. dude its pork, the correct scare marketing is cholera or trichinosis..

The first butcher and I went round and round… he told me offal isn’t available, nor are pork bellies, tongue and kidney etc are equally unavailable…

Since I had two of three items in my pack…. he lost some credibility and then his mind, when I said “not so at a carniceria” and then the whole nationalist, racist thing came out..all carefully phrased and covert of course, but still irritating.. I don’t like having my chain pulled or hearing nonsense..

Spices, chilis, meat and other life essentials…

100_8981I don’t have time today to make a pickling mix or deal with a depleted pantry… I’m due to get bulk spices in about a month when they reopen the shop.. So for now its my beloved El Guapo back up spices from Bashas..

They have a lot of bulk stuff but sadly, not everything I use, still it’s good for what it is…

And it’s a project thing, so ya do what ya gotta do…..

The project is smoked beef tongue… which got justified simply because it was cheaper than hamburger.. and better than most beef cuts I can recall and its just beefy goodness.

While picking up the tongue, I spotted some briskets that were cheaper still, ($3.50 a pound) but the weight brought the price up to $40+ and it was so big it would take forever to eat the thing…

But who knows… and I drifted off track, maybe I can cut, pack and freeze it in 5 pound chunks.. except its still a years worth of indulgence.. unless the butcher can be connived into selling me a smaller piece.. or the corned beef option kicks in once my smoked brisket issue is dealt with…

Maybe a whole brisket is not a bad idea.. corned beef and cabbage is in my DNA, winter is on the way, its a good budget ‘bang for the food buck’ move, and various other self-serving, justifications.

Then I returned to reality and made a quick get away…

Things are busy enough as they are..

Thanks for the likes and follows

018 100_8140 100_8141 016 427I write mostly about cooking because its kind of a big deal, its major part, but not all of life. Infrastructure is a factor as well.. in my case it’s chaos, a hodge podge of interests, obsessions, work and clutter.. Jade bowls, real silver, antique Chinese chests and weird flea-market treasure…books, art and who knows what.. it is what it is..

I wouldn’t say my home is my castle, its more like a tree fort or pirate’s lair.

Which works for me, in all it’s (no room havin) glory.. personal comfort isn’t a physical thing with me.. (not that it isn’t all dry, snug and warm etc).. comfort is more about letting my mind wander without constraint and doing exactly what I want to, when, where and how..

All of which is written as a thank you for various likes and follows.. because I can’t quite figure out how to find the message thingy and be direct..

Kinda tapas looking smelt..

100_8980 100_8979I’d made Ramen with shrimp and salmon earlier, then about two hours later remembered there were smelt in the fridge.. and opted to complete their already sealed fate…

I also figured the photos needed to be a little prettier than they have been..

The smelt were coated with lemon, salted, herbed then loaded into a bag with flour and cornstarch and shook-up till everything was evenly covered… after which they went into hot olive oil and butter, which had been heating while the smelt were being prepped.. it went pretty fast, they turned out perfect.. some lemon slices, dill weed, lemon zest and that was it…

The photos were actually the hardest part, I’m not a food stylist and my focus is on instant gratification and eating whatever it is without delay..

Mr. Bento

100_8957I have a thing for tiffin containers and bento boxes which the GF is aware of, so she indulged my predilection by getting me a Mr.Bento just because…

Which thrills me no end…

I habitually do heavy manly-man labor with burly types and granted I fit in from the big boy, work-horse stand point…BUT

Breaks and what not are off the clock and at that point, its all about my world.. I don’t care if its at a logging camp, a deep mine or dam construction in Montana..

It’s my lunch, world and time.. if it involves my beloved pizza oven, a wicker picnic basket or bento boxes, it is, what it is..

It’s not arrogance or an anti-social statement of some sort…. I just happen to like things my way and act accordingly.. regardless of what others think…

But I digress..

I really like the wood and lacquer bento boxes, they have that art and functionality thing going, which lends its-self to the zen of lunch.. they just don’t hold enough.

But a Mr. Bento and a cooler is quite the solution.. I like small portions of a lot of things and its the king of that… a tortilla warmer deals with naan or chapati.. the cooler gets stuffed with fruit, and salad stuff, or bulky items, a plate, coffee tools etc.. and there’s usually a butane stove in the truck in case I want to actually cook..

I’m havin a picnic and enjoying the time.. which seems reasonable.

Aside from that, if I have to be out and about for a day or two, the bento box and cooler make the trip easier.. I don’t have to deal with truck stops, fast food or amtrack’s nonsense.. and it has that Hannbal Lecter vibe so I get a seat to myself…

3 A.M. Chicken….

100_8954I blame insomnia..and sketchy impulse control.

I know the photo isn’t all that but its 3 A.M and it is what it is… I roasted the chicken to eat not look at..

The chicken is great though… lots of pepper because the lid fell off, but I don’t care because I like it…and pre-ground pepper isn’t that potent.

I wasn’t hungry, just idle… and assume it will make a nice lunch or dinner when the time comes.

The choice is cob salad, sandwiches “if” I make bread or a few pot pies… unless I freak out and just gnaw the thing as is…

Insomnia isn’t much fun.. but it’s manageable if you don’t get involved in complicated stuff, try to be coherent or take photos..

Discovery at the meat counter

brisket bonesI saw brisket bones at the meat counter but I can see its pork and brisket is beef according to my thinking….. plus brisket is boneless, so I decided to investigate, it looked like a rib type thing, which it kinda is.. the “bones” weren’t bones but rather cartilage.. which is great because I like the small end of a rib rack which has exactly that in it…its more succulent for lack of a better term..

Long story short, it became low and slow BBQ fodder…. and a revelation, it was cheap, one of those pre-food network items that people go for at least till its popularized out of reach… like tri tip and chicken wings.. tongue and a host of other former “off cuts” the elite can’t be bothered with, till said off cuts are declared fashionable….

I tend to like off-cuts and whatnot…. it can be a challenge to get over cultural squeamishness and learn how to cook them right..

Tongue, kidneys, sweet breads, heart and what not are amazing if done properly.. the trick is in the prep, methodology and seasoning, which I enjoy figuring out, besides, it tends to be inexpensive as far as vices go..

Make a rub, apply to “brisket bones” slow smoke at about 220ish for as long as it takes, I like 10 hours but it can be done in 2 at 300 wrapped in foil then stuck in an oven..

It’s good stuff..