Kitchen widgetry

September 22, 2017

Kitchen widgetry: Cute little things in which to freeze stock.

Sometimes, you just get all up in your kitchen widgets.

It’s promising to be a kitchen weekend for me. There’s brine cooling for smoked trout filets later on. The Masterbilt smoker is mostly put together.  There’s bread on its second rise in the oven, and  the Instant Pot is busy with beef stew for a friend recovering from surgery. And there’s a cute new little widget, courtesy of Amazon, which I am convinced is a creation of Satan because it’s just Too Damned Easy to spend money. And Jeff Bezos is freakin’ brilliant, for what that’s worth.

Anyway, this little critter is billed as a baby food storage container. It has seven little half-cup wells, and a plastic lid that snaps on the whole thing. I figured it would be quite excellent for freezing small portions of chicken or beef broth, so when I made beef broth a while back, I used these to portion it out. Froze them, and today, I popped them out and threw them in a gallon zip-loc, using three for the beef stew (along with a bottle of Guinness).

Ain’t life grand.

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Happy Independence Day, y’all!

Whew. Long holiday weekend began about a cocktail and a half ago. And none too soon. I am not suffering fools gladly today.

This is an odds and ends posts, designed to catch up on a few things and ease us into the holiday weekend, which I am welcoming with Moscow Mules and salsa with chips and grated cheese. Don’t judge. It was that or Asian takeout, and I didn’t want to get up and get out to go get the Asian.

Holiday weekend will begin tomorrow, when I bestir myself from bed and set out for the Farmers Market and other assorted errand-running, and come home to do some serious cooking and housecleaning.  On my “get it” list at the market: sweet corn, peaches, more canteloupe, whatever else looks good. Cabbage, if the market still has any, and I’ll make some kraut, being I never got around to the last kraut I was going to make, and chunked the elderly cabbages yesterday. Thank God I at least have a compost bin.

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May 14, 2017

Market haul. Lots of good stuff this early in the season!

Yes, I am still alive. I’ve just been…busy.

Between Friday, May 5, and this past Friday, May 12, I was home for exactly 12 hours, during which I neither cooked nor ate. Between those dates, I went to a conference, at which I contracted a stomach bug; I went shopping at an outlet mall, saw a bear (not at the outlet mall), and lost only $45 at a casino. Then I came home (after approximately 1,000 miles), slept, unpacked, repacked, and went to Little Rock for the announcement of an 800-job, $410-million project on which I’ve been working for a year and a half. Then I came back on Friday, after spending two days at the factory site with the architect.

Then I slept. A lot.

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It’s a babycake!

July 21, 2016

Not the prettiest one I ever made, but pretty tasty.

Not the prettiest one I ever made, but pretty tasty.

I love cheesecake. I have an absolutely marvelous cheesecake recipe, and I make it for special occasions or when there’s going to be a crowd to feed, because my recipe makes a nine-inch springform pan plumb full.

So on the eGullet forum, folks started talking about making cheesecake in the Instant Pot. Now, I would not have had an Instant Pot in the first place, were it not for eGullet, and I’ve picked up a lot of good tips and such there. Not to mention that I learn very quickly about assorted accessories for different kitchen appliances that I’d have never thought about otherwise.

Like a 6 1/2 inch springform pan that, gee whiz, fits perfectly inside the Instant Pot so you can steam your cheesecake while not tying up your oven for the hour and a quarter it takes to bake, plus the four hours it has to sit in the oven after you turn the oven off. Without opening the door. You think THAT won’t put a cramp in your cooking style, think again.

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The CSO in its new home on top of the microwave. Gotta love a small kitchen.

The CSO in its new home on top of the microwave. Gotta love a small kitchen.

I have a new kitchen toy.

For some time, I have wanted a small countertop oven, to use when I want to make toast with something on top of it (to which the toaster does not lend itself), and to bake small things without heating up the oven, particularly in the summertime, when it heats up the kitchen, which in turns heats up the whole house when the a/c is struggling to keep up, anyway.

In the food forum I frequent, many of the posters sing the praises of the Cuisinart Steam-Convection Oven. I watched it on Amazon for a while, and while they didn’t put it on a super deal, they did cut it to $218, which I figured was close enough. So I pulled the trigger.

It arrived yesterday. Within two hours, it had tried to kill me.

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Ummm. Hello.

January 29, 2016

Let Freddy Kreuger c'mon. I'm waiting for him.

Let Freddy Kreuger c’mon. I’m waiting for him.

It’s not that I haven’t been cooking. I have cooked a couple of thoroughly forgettable dinners, a few pretty good lunches, and one memorable breakfast of poached eggs on toast with some ham I’d frozen from Christmas. (May have that again today for lunch, in fact.)

But I’ve done nothing exceptional in the kitchen of late. I’ve been busy on assorted work projects, and errand running, and getting stuff done that had to be done.

I do have a new toy — a monstrously heavy cleaver for cutting up chicken and such. I got tired of dulling my workhorse knives and struggling through chicken ribs with my kitchen shears. I’m going to buy my chickens whole, from the farm; that’s a given. If so, I need some convenient way to cut them up, yes? Yes.

So, this baby. Actually, for a day, him and his Japanese cousins, before I returned them.

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New skillz

January 26, 2016

A plateful of breakfast yum, right here.

A plateful of breakfast yum, right here.

I have poached an egg.

This is noteworthy, because I am 60 years old, and I have never, until last week, poached an egg. I have fried, scrambled and boiled a few thousand, and baked a few hundred, but I have never poached one. Mostly because it seemed to me to be a pretty much guaranteed way to make a helluva mess.

What it is, is, a way to get a perfectly cooked egg, runny yolk, with a set white but a minimal amount of it, without cringing at the critical moment when you’re flipping it and breaking the yolk, which immediately turns the consistency of soft toffee. At which point you curse.

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