Post #602 Saying So Long to a Good Friend

October 10, 2018 at 6:56 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #602 Saying So Long to a Good Friend

Well, I can truly say that I’ve been so busy getting to know the new home place that I quite literally forgot to post on Saturday, and then again on Sunday.  Mea Culpa and my apologies.  We did a lot over the weekend and you’ll get to hear about it, and it looks as if the upcoming weekend my be just as busy.  But it wasn’t until yesterday that I had to say goodbye to a good friend.

Now before anyone worries too much, both Partner/Spouse and Buddy the dog are fine.  Here’s what happened.

Partner/Spouse wanted me to make goodies for his staff at the hospital.  On Monday, there was a chili cook off.  He wanted me to make a crock potable delicious one that wasn’t too spicy for the New Englander’s tastes and was easily transportable.  So I made a riff on one I normally make with chicken.

But first that required a trip to the grocery store for the things we didn’t have, which meant just about everything but the crock pot.  So, we bought two bottles of salsa verde, a one and a half pound pork roast, a can of chopped jalapeno peppers, a 2 pound bag of shredded cheese, and a bag of fresh corn tortillas.  Usually when I make a “white” chili (one that doesn’t involve tomatoes to turn it red), I add a can of black beans that I rinse, but I was told there were specific requests for no beans.

So I cut all the fat off the pork and cut it into quarter inch cubes.  I wanted it falling apart tender fairly quickly.  I put that in a bowl and added a half cup of the salsa verde and tossed and set aside for an hour.  When it was time, I mixed the two bottles of salsa verde (it uses a tomatillo base so it very citrus-y and delicious; many times there is also cilantro in it so watch for that if you don’t like it) in a bowl with the jalapenos and stirred to combine.  Then I put the cheese in a large bowl so it was easy to disperse, and pulled the tortillas out of their wrapper.  Mis en place was done!

I put a quarter cup of salsa in the bottom of the crock pot and spread it out so it covered the entire bottom.  Then I measured a tortilla to see how I would have to alter them to fit the crock pot.  Happy accident, they were a perfect fit!  So I placed one tortilla on top of the salsa.  Another quarter cup of salsa spread over the tortilla, a goodly portion of the meat, then that topped with cheese, and another tortilla.  That’s one layer.  You just keep repeating layers until the crock pot is full.  However, and this is important, DO NOT fill the crock pot to the very top.  Leave about a half inch or it will spill over.  Trust me.

One you’re at the top, place the final tortilla and spread the salsa, but add quite a bit of cheese to keep the top soft and easy to break through.  Set the crock pot heat for High and leave it for five hours.  Then set it for low, and let it go for about three hours.  It’s done and falling apart tender by that point.  Just dig a large serving spoon into it, scoop into a bowl, and eat.

It came in second and I had to text the recipe, such as it is, to him to share.  The winner actually smoke a brisket outdoors over a wood fire and used that as the base for his chili.  I think that’s cheating, but oh well.

So on Tuesday, I was supposed to make two loaves of fresh bread for his staff just as a present.  I was supposed to slice it for them.  Not knowing how many people I was cooking for, I sliced it kind of thin, but not too thin, and then cut the slices in half top to bottom.  I used my standard bread recipe and all went well with the bread.  But here’s where I had to say goodbye to a friend.

Remember this guy?

We bought him while in Rhode Island after losing so much of our stuff.  We lucked out and found him on sale for way less than $100.  He was smaller than our old unit, but was a true workhorse.  He chugged out cookies, bread, cakes, meringues, custards, even butter (!) without complaint and was reliable in his results.  He had suction cup feet, but on the granite work surfaces that we have and had, he tended to slide around a bit.  I knew this.

So on Tuesday, I was making bread.  I was also multitasking.  So I set the bread up to knead in the mixer for 8 minutes (I was going to hand knead for the last two minutes) and stepped away to take care of something else.  About two minutes later, I heard a funny squeal, a crash, and the sound of bread kneading in a mixer stopped.  I ran to the kitchen and there was the mixer on it’s side on the floor.  But gallantly, he had saved the bread dough!

I picked him up and inspected him.  Nothing was broken except a small plastic dohickey that locked the bowl in place.  However, it snapped into place and I reset the bowl, and turned the puppy on.  A loud squeal greeted me.  Apparently, something in the motor was out of whack and since the mixer had only cost $69, likely wasn’t worth repairing.  I set it to the side, finished off the bread by hand, then texted Partner/Spouse about the demise of the stand mixer.  Poor thing.

I made bread again today, for us, and used my hand mixer.  It did fine, and we had the bread tonight with dinner which was slow roasted beef and gravy over the bread with veggies on the side.  But I am sad the stand mixer is gone.  Wonder what the new one will look like.  I hope it’s red, too.

UPDATE:  I’ve had a few questions about making butter that I guess I didn’t address in that post so here we go.  Start to finish, it was about 45 minutes.  That’s taking the cream out of the fridge, to cleaning everything up and putting the butter in the fridge.  The actually butter making process itself was about 35 minutes.  It created real live butter, but it wasn’t greasy like you’d expect.  If you’ve ever had Kerrygold or some other Irish butter, it tasted a lot like that.  It was creamy, light, smooth and delicious.  I still have some left.  I’ve mostly used it for toast and English muffins.

UPDATE:  This weekend we’re going to a couple of places to see the sights.  One is a craft fair and the other is a local cliff.  This isn’t called The Granite State for nothing.  I’ll take tons of pictures and share them in an upcoming post.  This weekend, I’ll be posting about some of the restaurants we’ve been to since we’ve been here.

And, as always,

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