Saturday, February 21, 2009

Red

It started with an Instant Message to my husband. "I can't make the roast stop bleeding." It goes on from there. Be happy I'm not providing pictures. If you're a vegetarian you may want to stop reading now.

I have a confession to make.

I do have a section on here entitled Recipes. And I do talk about food...a lot...but in reality I am not a very good cook. I'm not a good cook and I'm the daughter of a not very good cook (sorry Mom). In fact, my parents joke that my father taught my mother how to cook. And all he knows to make is spaghetti.

So I get a bit confused when someone hands me a nice piece of meat.

My mother did buy meat on occasion. Mostly hamburger. For hamburgers. But every so often she bought a pork chop or swiss steak and would fry it until it was the right color or put it on a cookie sheet in the oven until it was the right color.

Until we started buying meat from a farm I really had no idea of all the cuts available. Even now I still have to look some things up and get an idea of what I'm dealing with.

I didn't worry about that too much yesterday when I was cooking a beef roast. Roasts, like chickens seem pretty foolproof. It's more about knowing when to take them out than anything else.

I was wrong.

I was making raisin bread yesterday and the oven was warm so I decided to pop the thawed roast in. I rinsed it carefully and put it in a large casserole dish. I put a little bit of olive oil on and rubbed it in. I added some salt and pepper.

An hour later I checked How to Cook Everything. 125 degrees for rare. 155 degrees for well. Don't let it get over 155 degrees. It was 140-160 degrees in different sections. I took it out. It was sitting in a pool of thick, brown, sticky stuff and the inside was bright red. BRIGHT red. I put it back in.

10 minutes later..still red.
30 minutes later...still red.
An hour later...still red.

Now it's been two hours. It's reading at least 155 or more everywhere on the roast. I cut into it and blood flicks out onto my bread. There's blood on the knife. There's blood bubbling up when I stick my fork in. I pick it up and drain it over the sink, rinse out the pan, and stick the whole mess back in the oven.

Men sure are carnivores. I was hoping my husband would know what to do. I shut off the oven and gave the boys another piece of bread and butter. He came home half an hour later.

He took it out. Looked at it. Said that it was indeed red. Left it on the counter. Got a dish of cranberry sauce. Went to go install a dvd drive on his computer. Eventually I went and put it away.

So now I have to ponder...why was it so red? Was it not done? Did the butcher not drain it properly? Was the dish I used too small? And most of all, why can't Google help me figure this out??

Any thoughts welcome.

On another note, I'm thinking of hennaing my hair (nice segue, I know). Henna is an herb used for thousands of years for dying hair red. It doesn't coat the hair shaft (like other dyes do) but pierces and strengthens the hair shaft. This also means that you can't strip the color as easily as a regular dye.

I'm trying to remind myself that hair changes when you're housebound or bored are not the best idea (I had to learn not to cut my own bangs the hard way), but it's so fun setting up little dye experiments with castoffs from my hairbrush that I'm not listening to reason yet.

Today I gave my children a good example of why wool needs carding. While making swatches of my hair from the bag I've been saving them in I came to the realization that my hair is like a pair of black corduroy pants. I had at least one child say, 'mom, is that what your hair looks like??'

I guess they can't see it way down there. I'll have to bend down a bit more often.

Monday, February 16, 2009

An annual chore and a Birthday present

I've been meaning to get to this for a few months. I collect used bags (baggies). Mostly the gallon size, occasionally the quart size, a few rare sizes in between. They can't have held meat or anything juicy. Most of them hold bread, cookies, or computer parts.

Saturday I finally got to the gallon jug I had overflowing with them. I cleaned out the kitchen sink and filled it up with water and a splash of bleach. Turned inside out. Soaked for 10 minutes. Rinsed. Soaked for 10 minutes.
Thrown out on the drainboard while I go shopping. When I'm standing around talking to my husband while he washes the dishes I'll turn them right side out and throw them in a box in the pantry.

Bags without closures (bread bags, oatmeal bags, grocery bags) either go in the dog-walk container by the door or drawer for garbage cans.

I still have and throw out way too much plastic, but I feel like I'm getting there little by little.
Also, my bread book came! Happy (late) Birthday to me. I decided I've really enjoyed exploring the world of baking and to try to take it to the next level. I made ciabatta, french bread, and pecan raisin in the last two weeks. Yum.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ice Cream the Easy, Keto Way

We used some of our pooled Christmas money to buy this little ice cream maker with an extra freezer bowl. Here I have brought the bowl in from the freezer and have added the dasher and plastic shell.
I remove the chilled ice cream mixture. In this case it's L's Keto ice cream adjusted from the Easy Vanilla recipe in the book. Cream, whole milk, Splenda, and Eggbeaters. Cream the eggs and sweetener first, then add the rest. Its very quick to mix up and I like to stick it in the freezer while I clean up the area and bring in the freezer bowl. That 10 minutes is usually enough to chill the mixture.
Pour it right in the middle hole. The dasher actually remains still while the bowl turns. Interesting.
20 minutes later. The center area is usually the consistency of soft serve. I have left it longer but I don't like trying to chisel it out of the container. I'd rather smooth it into a bowl and freeze. No metal untensils allowed on the bowl so chiseling with a spatula is not my favorite occupation.

And here is all is. I've made mint. I've thrown in some Ande's candies. I haven't gotten too crazy yet. I need to make some 'normal' ice cream or fruit slush for the other boys soon. I make L.'s ice cream twice a week. He gets a whopping 134g. of the stuff. He likes to eat it for lunch every day.

This joins the ranks of 'things I never thought I would buy in 100 years because they're kitchen dust collectors' (along with my KitchenAid stand and hand mixers believe it or not), but we are enjoying it. It's definitely a life saver with L. and its a fun addition to our recent Tuesday board game nights with the boys. Diamant, Sorry Sliders, and mom-made blizzards.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Few Tweaks

After reading a post on the topic by Daphne of Daphne's Dandelions and another by Kathi at Welcome to My Garden, I finally got my act together and added a blog list.

This not a list of all the blogs I read. I have several baking blogs, some cooking blogs, some epilepsy blogs, some homeschooling blogs, environmental blogs, and a few I follow occasionally just for kicks. It's a long list. Some weeks I'm a dedicated follower. Others I don't even remember what a blog is. So it goes.

While I'm tidying up the place I'll point out a few things. I have a list of books I'm reading or have completed at the bottom. Don't feel you need to go down there and read them, but if you have any suggestions or other commentary feel free to post it in any thread. There's also a link if you want to follow my blog. Other than those two things I promise I don't have any other interesting things hidden down there. You don't really have to scroll all the way down.

So pardon my dust and I'll try to thin out my Labels list and post something about ice cream this week.