Alert

I’m on alert for deployment.

Irma or Harvey?  That’s the question.

It’s sad when I don’t know which disaster I might be sent into.

 

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Good As Is

Good as is.  That was the note written in the margin of a cookbook when the results of a recipe was good enough to serve to guests.  This was often at the bottom of a bunch of “Next time, try …………” notes that kept track of the different things that were tried to get the recipe to where it was good enough to serve to guests

Today, I can put a “good as is” on the pressure cooker chicken recipe, Pressure Cooker Chicken.  I adjusted the cooking time to 5-1/2 minutes per pound and that took care of the overcooked problem.  The meat is cooked but no longer falling off of the bones.

I have also managed to shorten the prep time, so it’s now 45 minutes from start to serve.

 

Hmm

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen the television coverage of the combative and confrontational protests.

This week, in Houston and the surrounding areas, I’m seeing television coverage of people doing, often at risk to themselves, what needs to be done to help strangers in need.

It seems like we fight like crazy sometimes, but when needed we put our differences aside, come together, and “get the job done”.

 

Pressure Cooker Chicken

Friday evening, Saturday and today, I’ve been experimenting with cooking a whole chicken in a pressure cooker.

After my mom died and I was clearing things out of her (former) home, I found she had a Mirro 6 quart pressure cooker.  It needed a new gasket and a new safety plug (US$15.00 at the local hardware store) and it now works perfectly. This is the pressure cooker I’m using and it holds the larger whole chickens.

 

Like many of my cooking experiments, I don’t know if I’m closing in or sneaking up on a final recipe.

My first attempt was using a recipe that consisted of a salt rub on the chicken and 4 whole cloves of garlic and 1-1/2 cups of water placed into the pressure cooker with the chicken.  I didn’t like how this turned out (much too bland for my tastes) so I abandoned this recipe and moved on.

The 2nd attempt used used this recipe.  It was good, but still not quite right.  Had this been 35 years ago, the recipe would have had notes on the side of the paper, “Has potential. Next time, try …………”.

I have been told by my mom (and others) that spices just kind of “disappear” when used in a pressure cooker and that one needs to use twice as much spice to get the same taste.

My third attempt took that into account and I doubled up on all the spices.  I could not fit four lemon halves into the chicken, so I just put extra halves in the pressure cooker with the rest of the stuff.   This time it turned out tasting wonderful.

However, it’s still not perfect, I think the note for the next time will be, “Try 5-1/2 minutes, instead of 6 minutes, per pound of chicken.

Baking Bread and Meeting People

My wife reminded me of the this bread baking adventure.

We were camping on a 3 day weekend in a public campground and each afternoon I baked some bread in the dutch oven.

For what it’s worth, baking bread while camping is more fun than baking in a kitchen.

In a kitchen, one just lets the dough rise on its own because watching dough rise…is not very exciting.  Baking bread in a dutch oven while camping offers the excitement of watching squirrels.  While the covered dough is rising and I am far from the dutch oven, three or  four squirrels will wait nearby while one tries to figure out how to get inside “that thing”.  After the first one gives up, the others will come and give it a try.  So far, none have been able to move the heavy lid.

The smell of baking bread also attracts humans.

Each day, while the bread was baking, a lot of people would come over to check out the baking bread smell and, being the good host, I always made enough to be able to offer some to the guests.

At the neighboring campsite was a young man and he noticed that most of the people stopping by were young women.

On the last day, he came over to ask where he could find a dutch oven with legs and to see if he could watch me make some bread.

It turns out he was a 4th year mechanical engineering student.  The old electrical engineer got to pass along some practical knowledge to the young mechanical engineer…and my wife (a nuclear engineer)…she laughed…

 

 

 

 

 

Another Week Closer

It’s another week closer to October 17.  What I find amusing is that between the two of us, my wife is one who is more excited.

I think one of the things she’s looking forward to is my desire to cook.  Both of us get home too late to cook so we can eat at a reasonable hour.  So, on Sunday night we cook enough for the following week.   Once I retire, I’ll be able to cook for each meal!!!!!

Tonight I made sourdough dinner rolls.  King Arthur Flour has a really good recipe here. I skip the paprika, use unsalted water and make certain I use unchlorinated water.  This is one of the most forgiving recipes I’ve found; below sea level to over 8,500 feet (3,000 meters) elevation above sea level, hot, cool, dry, humid.  No matter what, it just works…which is why this recipe is in my red notebook.

My wife made chicken & dumplings from a recipe that she found.  It’s a favorite of ours, so it gets made every couple of months.  She’s asleep already and I don’t want to bug her for the recipe, so I don’t have one.  It uses frozen vegetables, canned cream of chicken soup, “dinner roll dough from a tube” for the dumplings and is cooked in a slow cooker…that may help. 🙂

The final thing we made was a tomato-basil-garlic pasta.  Cook 1/2 pound of pasta until done and after it is drained, add olive oil to the pasta and toss.  Blanch, peel and cut 2 pounds of tomatoes into small pieces,  Saute 4-5 crushed cloves of garlic until they are almost ready to turn brown.  Then add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste, the tomatoes, a tablespoon or two of basil paste, salt and pepper and stir.  When it’s cooked over low heat for 4-5 minutes, stir in the pasta. Serve and sprinkle grated Parmesan Cheese on the pasta.

I had planned on experimenting with cooking a whole chicken in a pressure cooker, but I forgot to thaw a frozen chicken.   I have looked through my collection of cookbooks and they all agree on cooking for about 6 minutes per pound…AFTER the pressure has reached 15psi.  None of my cookbooks mention pressure cooking frozen chicken and the various internet sites I checked were wildly inconsistent with cooking times.  So, maybe next weekend, if I remember to thaw a chicken.

New Watch

HeartRateMy old heart rate watch quit after 5 years and a new battery didn’t help.  I think I sweated the poor thing to death.   So I got a new fancy exercise watch and tried it out.   That heart rate plot is about 18 hours long.

Run, rest a bit, burpees (see here for a Wikipedia article if you’ve never heard of these) and moving weights.

For what it’s worth, I hate burpees.  They get me out of breath.   🙂