How to

Rum raisins etc..


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


How not to use an electric kettle..


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..

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….

Apparently I’m not over gravlax love yet….

100_8935 100_8936 100_8941 I had thought soft baked egg’s, polenta and shrimp would be a nice breakfast… which was correct… until I thought about bruschetta, which led to gravlax and in turn drifted into randomness.

Why I have no idea, I’d been awake for hours, had coffee and most of my faculty’s were intact…

I blame project week which is a personal tradition that no-one but me gets..The premise is, do new stuff, learn new stuff, make new stuff, build something and leave no “I wanna do X” behind… project week can last up to a year since I have a sketchy time sense, but that’s a different issue..

Project week is the bomb… and it can be anything that improves life or infrastructure.. mostly my dinner.. this go round is gravlax, curing bacon, home-made mozzarella and building a bicycle trailer… Bread, baking and pizza are a daily thing..

Roasting green coffee beans is on the list…. but what I want to do is pretty specific and has nothing to do with popcorn poppers or cast iron skillets..

Later in the week, the smoker gets a work out…. followed making a set of instructions for a friend who asked me how to cook chicken.. which is basically, season it, wrap it in parchment paper, set the oven at 400 and come back in an hour.. with photos.

It’s fun to me… which is kind of the point no?

Dinner is as dinner do…

100_8915yeah well, I could have bought everything and spent $50..but made it instead for $3… the salmon before I made gravlax was $9 per pound and I have about 20 more servings… the marinated stuff..same deal, and its like that across the board.. I don’t have money to speak of and my income blows… But if you know how things are done.. you can live way better than you think…