I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'wouldn't it be much worse if life *were* fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?' So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe. – M. Cole
Time for a food and drink post. (if you are new, be aware that if you follow me, you’ll get more than food and drink. You’ll also get my unvarnished thoughts about politics and religion).
This week we corned a beef. My spouse and I were craving a Rueben sandwich and since we hadn’t done any foodie things for awhile, we decided that we could make our own corned beef. The local grocery store had buy 1 get one free for London Broils (a cut of top round) so I got two of them and pickled the one. There are a bevy of recipes on the internet (here’s one for example), but as long as you have salt, bay leaves, coriander seeds, allspice berry, etc you can make this. I like to add star anise for a little mysterious “I can’t quite identify that flavor”. One thing that isn’t completely necessary is the nitrate that will make the meat the classic dark pink that you see in a deli. I use Morton’s TenderQuick for my curing salt since it’s the easiest to find for me.
Generally, corned beef is made with beef brisket, which is quite a bit fattier than top round. Our corned beef is pretty dry, but it tastes great. With the sauerkraut, swiss cheese and thousand island dressing aka ketchup, mayo, sweet pickle relish mixed (my husband adds a little sriracha and garlic too), it works out. This is on jewish rye bread, thinly sliced with the classic caraway seeds. We assemble the sandwiches and cook them on the small grill that makes our stove perfect for us. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_PfAhAAp6k
I also decided to try a couple of vegetables I hadn’t had before. I got a spiralizer and now am making long ribbon of various veg. One was a purple sweet potato, which when spiralized and then cooked, looked rather like a plate of Klingon gagh It tasted great though.
Yucca fries also made it onto my plate. I thought potatoes didn’t have much flavor but yucca seems to have no flavor at all. They do make for a crispy fry though.
Last but not least, I finally got to taste some durian. Durian is a strange tropical fruit and when it’s presented on the various food shows here, people get all dramatic about it, declaring you either love it or hate it. I got some freeze dried and, in true freeze dried fashion, it has the texture of Styrofoam. The flavor, to me, is garlic tropical fruit. I love garlic so it’s fine but I could take it or leave it. I’m kinda disappointed it isn’t more drastic. It’s rather like when I finally got to taste truffles. They taste like garlicky mushrooms. A nice thing but definitely not worth crazy amounts of money.
As for drink, I finally got my hands on a bottle of Apothic Sparkling Red. I have a weakness for bubbly wines, especially red ones. I’ve had Rosa Regale, which is sweeter than the Apothic. The color of the Apothic is a lovely true ruby red. I’ll definitely be picking up more of this.
Dinner tonight will be bread and triple crème brie. Our grocery store had a buy one get one free for this too 😊
Here’s a bit of art I was working on today, a fantasy waterfall.
Hello from under Winter Storm Petra! We have about 5 inches of snow and we’re supposed to get ice on top of that.
If you’ve been following my blog, you may know that I dabble in art, specific alcohol inks. Here are two pieces. The top is a lap / bed tray (the kind with little legs) that I found at a thrift store. It was originally a pale blonde wood, which I painted black. The bottom was white melamine, a nice slick surface for the inks to flow around on. After they dried, I sealed it and then put a layer of resin on top of it for durability.
The second is a lazy susan I found on the same thrift store adventure. It is also ink and protected with resin. My one cat, Tezcatlipoca, is investigating it.
Sorry for the long hiatus. I am dealing with a job I don’t like, and working on my art, which I do like.
I’m now an officially paid artist! It’s very weird feeling for someone who hated art teachers in elementary, high school and college because the ones I had didn’t teach art, they just had class pets who could do art and ignored the rest of us. There is, I think, the idea of some innate talent but you have to be taught the rest. In a week, I’m doing another show. This is the cheese plate that sold (the white is from the reflection from the resin on it)
Lately, we’ve been trying a few new things to cook and drink. I finally cooked the last bit of game meat that I bought from D’Artangnan, a duck. It was very good, but they are indeed greasy. I think ours could have used more pricking of the skin to release more of the sub-q fat and a little longer in the oven. We had it with sweet potatoes and carrots that roasted in the fat. I just recently made a quick hash of that in a skillet to crisp it up some. Here is the duck. They are quite a bit different in physiology than a chicken.
We also had some shimmery wine. We got this at the local ren faire, the PA Renaissance Faire at Mt. Hope Winery. They mixed whatever makes liquids like Viniq shimmer (finely ground mica?) with pink Catawba wine and made fairy wine. You can’t quite see how nice it looks in a still photo. Here’s a video of Viniq.
This weekend we’re making yet one more roast chicken when my folks visit. It’s kind of an early xmas, late thanksgiving thing. I’m going to be a sneaky daughter and given them a bible as a present, one not the hard-to-read KJV, and with large print and the apocrypha. I wonder if my dad, who bet me all those years ago I couldn’t read it the bible, will do it himself since he has found he likes reading. He used to always give me such a hassle when I was a young bookworm. Go play outside! Go play with your brother!
Now he knows what its’ like because I can’t resist teasing him.
We also adopted two friendly feral cats. A huge black one had been hanging about and I got him to like me. There was also a smaller gray and white one who seemed to get along with him well. So we brought both in. The black cat is called Tez, short for Tezcatlipoca, and the other is Aggie, short for Agamemnon, also called Roomba because he loves to roll around on the floor and collect any crumbs. We have decided to always call our cats aggressive names because those ones all turn out sweet, and the one we named Muffin is the hellion. She is about 15 now and has screeched at and cowed the the new boys (well, they are neutered).
I’ll be the first one to tell you I don’t have much in the way of artistic skills. I’ve tried piano when I was little, and never got it. My grandmother and great aunt tried their best to teach me how to crochet and tat and I was an abysmal failure at those. I can trace and copy well, but that’s about it. Alcohol inks make me feel like I actually can be an artist. They are a cantankerous medium, often wanting to do what they want rather than what the artist wants. But that’s half the fun.
Alcohol Art Ink Community on Facebook has a lot of wonderful help and they have a very nice website. There are also a lot of videos on youtube. These are all on ceramic tiles I got at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. You can also get tiles at a home improvement place. I’ve just started working at one, happily no longer working with government.
Some of my attempts:
I plan to put these together in a frame for my new kitchen.
Again, fair warning to anyone who came upon my website. I do have a lot of fun posts like this but I also have my opinion posts which give my religious (atheist) and political (pragmatic progressive) opinions in a very unvarnished way. If you want to avoid those, just ignore the posts titled “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation”.