Saturday, September 24, 2011

New appliance

Chad and I are happy to have a functional fridge in the kitchen again, finally. The small one is more excited about the box.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More Feral Food

8:30am is clearly Turkey Time at Long Ridge this time of year -- the preserve was positively infested with them this morning when I went mountain biking. I don't know how to hunt them, and the preserves are off-limits for that sort of aggression anyway, but every time I came around a corner, there they were, gobbling away and making me hungry.

It's also acorn season. I finally got around to collecting some this year, after seeing a talk by Jolie Egert of Go Wild over at Hidden Villa. Right now, they are drying in the oven, filling the house with a sweet, nutty aroma. It'll be interesting to see what comes out of it all -- the first batch is some crummy small live oak acorns, which will probably be a pain in the butt to shell, but I have another batch of bigger ones too. I got to taste acorns in various stages of processing at the workshop, so am at least not flying totally blind on this one.

Please note that these acorns were collected along side the local roads, and not in the preserves, where collecting anything at all is forbidden. I probably looked like a complete goofball picking up orts from the side of the road in my bike helmet, with the bike leaned over against the bushes, but what else is new?

Feral Food

I ran across a package of meat at Sprouts the other day that was too interesting to pass up:
It was the "From feral swine" part that got me -- it conjured up memories of herb-scented sun-baked late afternoon hillsides at Henry Coe State Park. These inevitably are haunted by boar if one waits until sunset.

But what does one do with ground up feral pig? My solution was meatballs.

Mix the meat with a slice's worth of ground up sourdough bread, a small chopped onion, a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary, and some salt and pepper. (Garlic would've been good too, but Nim can't eat it!) Make 2" meatballs.

Brown the meatballs in some olive oil on the stove, then pop them into the oven at 350 for 10 minutes to finish cooking. Pour off the excess oil, deglaze the delicious fond with red wine sludge, add a can of pureed plum tomatoes, season with italian herb seasoning and salt/pepper, and toss the whole mess over pasta. We had some leftover green beans too.

Mmmmmm. Tasty beasties. The meatballs were noticeably more flavorful than ones made with the usual supermarket meat selection. You just gotta love the weird meats case.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Silver lining pie

One bright side of the fridge's demise is that I was forced to make a pie out of all the partial bags of berries that had been in the freezer. An arbitrary mixture of raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and mixed berries took quite well to my mom's tried-and-true berry pie method of dumping flour and sugar into the berries in until it looks right, then dumping this filling dotted with butter in the old standard Betty Crocker oil crust, and baking at 425F until it smells good. Mmmmm. Fortunate friends got to come over and share it with us while we watched the replay of the day's Vuelta a Espana stage projected on a big sheet in the atrium.

Another bright side is the sheer quantity of bacon we've been consuming. Who knew there was so much squirreled away in the back of the freezer?

Stranger food in the coming days for us, as I work through the dregs.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Beware the Click

I wake up in the middle of the night.




Hard to go back to sleep, waiting for the next click, and wondering what it really is.

Later in the week: stand in the kitchen.



Sounds like an electrical relay.

Is the stove still on? No.


Is the dishwasher drying? No.


Noise near espresso machine. Is the espresso machine plotting a nefarious explosive disaster? Unplug machine.


Listen near outlet.


Kill power to outlet.


Hmmm. Gotta be near it.

Aha! Click is loud and ear is right next to icemaker in the freezer. Icemaker likely to be dying due to ice cream and leftovers being shoved into ice bin. Awful side-by-side fridge/freezer that came with the house doesn't allow practical loading of freezer. Or the fridge.

Maybe fridge will die! Hate this fridge! Nothing ever fits!

Ooop. Attempt to atone to fridge gods for blasphemous thoughts by going grocery shopping.

Put groceries away. All seems well.




Decide to process leftover strawberries into popsicles an hour later. Open freezer to see if popsicle molds are in the door.

Whoosh! Flood! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaghh! Bag of frozen peas that would have been the usual object falling on my head upon opening the freezer instead goes splat onto my arm. Formerly frozen peas. Gross-O!

All ice cubes are now merely formerly frozen ice cubes. Thus the flood. Fridge/freezer has become stuffy cubical of warm air.


Click. Must be the relay for the now-known-to-be-broken compressor. Sadly, more fundamental than the icemaker.

Have an eighth of a grass-fed cow in the freezer (friend has ranch = we can buy good beef cheap). Don't want to lose a year's worth of moo meat. Argh!

Discover that Diddams is the local source for dry ice. Drive over to get it. Yuck. This part of town is easier to get to by bike but have large cooler and not much time. Beef temporarily rescued.

Realize kid has come home from school complaining about headache, sore neck, and having been hit in the head with soccer ball in PE. Assess for damage, administer sympathy. Fortunately, just sensitive kid.

Everything else into other cooler with ice packs.

Another mooshy bag thawed formerly frozen peas. Eeew. Not sure why this grosses me out so much. Peas not supposed to splat.

Hand kid half-full carton of ice cream and call it snack. Consternation! Apparently too gross to eat when molten. Hand kid glass full of melted popsicles; that deemed yummy.

Hop in the car and drop kid off at rehearsal, decide that ancient already-hated fridge of betrayal must go away rather than be repaired.

Drive all over creation at rush hour to get consumer reports from library and put eyeballs and fingers on all likely fridges while Nim is at rehearsal. Traffic. Bleah. Standard fridge configurations these days = double bleah. Bottom freezer models have morphed to a dumb freezer-is-drawer configuration that is just *asking* to be overloaded and then broken or jammed stuck upon closing.

Why no nice bottom-freezer fridge with an actual door and normal shelf? Need ability to put large awkward objects in. Multiple large awkward objects. Cookie sheets covered with strange delicate things. Culinary foibles live in my kitchen.

Chad locates friend with spare freezer capacity for temporary beef storage. Dinner ready when we get home. Yay spouse!

Appropriate small garage beer fridge for milk and veggies. Thank you spouse.

Drop off meat at friend fridge in the morning, look at top candidate fridges again. Chad's sharp eyes spy a decent bottom-freezer model from an older year with a door. Yaaaaaay spouse! It's on sale.

All is well?


New fridge can't be delivered until 9/23. Everything backed up due to others' purchases at Labor Day sales. Argh.

Now apply patience for two weeks. Then all will be well.