Guy stuff

Today’s adventure..

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I don’t have proper display tables or cabinets, so to protect stuff, it goes in boxes..then into bigger boxes. Or in this case a locking chest.

I got busy rooting around..and had the pleasure of discovering a few things all over again.. jade bowls for instance, I like mottled jade because it has that camo thing going, which strike me as funny.. chests of amber..fossils, crystal balls that are unusual in a number of ways…

But we all have our fascinations….

Netsuke kept turning up at random intervals…along with a complete albit small sino-hadrosarus, a box of space junk and some moldovites that were laying out at random..

It’s so much fun to rummage through boxes, its like a big easter egg hunt with a touch of hide and seek…or finding pirate treasure…

Now I want dinner… except I’m worn out from moving a literal ton of stuff around..

Ok not that worn out.. just saying.

Enter the dragon..

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Aside from dinner, straight razors and getting bucked off the bicycle on a regular basis..

I go through my loot collections, it’s a nice break… sort of like a visit too a museum back room where everything is interesting… and kept in boxes.

African trade beads… jade bowls, netsuke, defunct coinage and currency from defunct empires.. pre-money trade items, stuff that fell from the sky… the work of silversmiths I admire…or things so obscure only one person in a hundred has a clue…

It’s all about provenance and history.. art and workmanship… sometimes antiquity and the OMG factor….

Which entertains me no end….

Other obsessions..

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I got busy examining my box of loot and eating the contents there-of along with the results of project week… except for the I phone, art book, shirts and opal rough etc..

At which point I got sucked in by season five of Vampire Diary’s and vegged out for a day or two…

Till I saw whats her name using a straight razor….and I drifted off into a lets look in the various treasure chests I have stashed routine..

Which is always a treat, since I forget what is in them or how good the stuff is, even if I remember in the first place…

I was on a search for my straight razor stash… I’d been on a lets make shaving soap kick lately since I’m almost out of the last batch..and need to actually write down some instructions, rather than just assume everyone knows how the process works..

But regardless…. I found my razors, and had forgotten there’s an Ivory handle or two in the mix, which is why they get kept in a humidor in the first place…the whole thing was hysterical.. one real razor can last several generations.. but I tend to buy more for special events or go on a road trip..

So close.. dinner in an hour..

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And the smoker is doing its thing… as soon as it slows, out comes the tongue..

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30 minutes pass and the door is opened..

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I did a lite smoke four rather than 10 hours…. now its cooling so it can be sliced and prettied up, I already know what it tastes like so I’m happy about the whole thing…

There is wasa bread on hand and I’m ready… watching the clock..

Rum raisins etc..

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Its talk like a pirate day, which led me to rum, dark Mexican rum to be specific and from there to rum raisins.

At which point the original and simple idea went off the rails…

Currants and dried cherries were added to the mix along with whole spices, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and anise..

The other snap jar has leche de tigre in it from civiche.. but as soon as it’s empty, I have enough rum and raisins left to fill that one also.. the raisins and all should be good to go by December..

Too bad it won’t be ice cream weather on this side of the equator in December… and customs south of that same equator get kind of huffy about jars of hooched up fruit..

I needed a break from cooking critters and wanted to do something different, something that I wouldn’t have to finish off in three days.. I probably could have cheated and used a spiced rum like captain Morgan since its talk like a pirate day.. but $20+ vs $4 won the contest.

Plus I like mine better…Arrrgg

Tortilla press…

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I like home made corn tortillas.. they’re one of those things that can’t be duplicated by an industrial process..

So the options are, 1. Get adopted into a family that makes them or 2. Make them yourself..

There were no takers on option 1.

Which left me with option 2.

I also have a masa grinder because I like the masa ground the same day… and I can adjust for tamales or tortillas depending on what the plan is…

I think the civiche set me off…. and then the tongue added to it, the spices are Mexican and I have a thing for tacos de linua.. disregarding smoking, the tongue could just end up as tacos..

So the press came out… cause ya never know.

How not to use an electric kettle..

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Apparently boiling eggs, making ramen or spice mixes for masala tea in an electric kettle is ok..

But, using an electric kettle to the heat milk for custard is ill advised..OOps

Got it…

Getting out the burned milk can be an issue…. soaking was no help, scrubbing more of the same… arcane concoctions of baking soda and dish soap did no good at all…

The advice of on-line cleaning “experts” was also ineffective and even more annoying.

However… the battle was finally won by oven cleaner since its made for carbon build up, and is pretty much standard equipment for… cleaning ovens.

I just got tired of messing around.. getting the burned milk out took a 5 second spray and 5 minute rest followed by a rinse.. it’s the same thing I do to de-crust cast iron pots and what-not that get used over a wood fire..

I just didn’t want to go to the dollar store… but I have a few uses for the stuff including cleaning an oven or two that are ready to be put to use once summer loosens its grip and I can use gas without suffocation..heat stroke or paying for even more electricity to cool down the house as I run an oven..

That being said…. Tip one, don’t. Tip two, just use oven cleaner and call it good..

Pie dough and insomnia

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Sometimes projects come under the heading “proof of concept” which is then followed by refinement, hopefully ending in the OMG factor…

In some of the empanada looking things, the filling was green chili and pork “brisket”…. the others were roasted chicken, also with green chili.. plus they both got mozzarella mixed in with everything else…

I used a dough I could bake…. because fried isn’t something I like doing and have no good answer as to why not…

The concept is better than good, the little pie crusty things hit the OMG zone from the start.. just the baking aromas were enough to fire up a weak appetite.. The taste clinched the deal… I want a dozen or so more even it it was a pain to pull off…

But I learned a few things.. mince the filling finer, so the lumpy look goes away and it doesn’t poke through the dough… And don’t think about handling that kind of dough when its over 100 degrees at 3:00 AM cause it won’t be pretty even if it is amazing in every other way..

Seriously, I can put holes in that type of dough by looking at it, and need every advantage possible.

But other than that I was happy, happy with the results.. the crust was flaky and it all worked just right together..

Once the weather cools to a point butter doesn’t melt in five minutes… I want to do some more of the little crusty things with an eye to making them beautiful and refining the process..

And now I need to defrost the beef tongue so that can be dealt with, hopefully during daylight hours so the neighbors don’t smell smoke at 3:00 AM and freak out…

New and improved baked custard

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I woke up in the middle of someone else’s night and got busy making baked custard, yet again..

One would think bouncing out of bed somewhere between midnight and 4:00 AM could be a problem, but it’s not (other than the stores being closed)..

It’s quiet, the night air is cool and I can concentrate on the tasks at hand, my mind is relatively fresh and relaxed..

Then I cook, bake or go off on random food tangents and decide to do something like make pickles..or spray paint the BBQ, Which works for me..

The Baked Custard project is one of those things rooted in nostalgia… Which I make for fun, then modify till it’s better than I remember..

Which isn’t all that hard given a half century time lapse….

I’m not sure whats driving me… other than food shouldn’t be sad, middle of the road one size fits all, blandness.. Music isn’t one note, art isn’t one color.. So I’m thinkin dinner might need to be more…. dynamic.

Which is sort of ironic when one is dealing with baked custard.. but makes sense when freshly grated nutmeg makes its statement followed by the silky texture of said custard and Mexican vanilla changes your notion of what you thought was good..