Sunday, June 30, 2013

Culinary Art

(Culinary: of or relating to a kitchen or cookery.)

My poor old flour sack dish towels need to be retired.  Some are stained, most have holes; they're done.  I received them from my Mom many many moons ago.

I looked for flour sack dish towels locally without luck and ended up buying a six-pack from  My mistake was putting the new towels in my craft room instead of throwing it in the laundry basket.  The 30" x 34" bright white fabric just needed a little something so I pulled out my binder of DMC Floss (still in use from my cross-stitchin' days) to embroider a few lazy daisy stitches.  Nothing fancy.  Just a flower or two.

I've been working on it for a few weeks now.  Adding a stitch here and there.

Today, I'm going to have to say they're done and ready to go in the wash.  Otherwise, we'll be air-drying our dishes from now on.  And, isn't it funny, I think the other three look just fine all plain and white.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Hot, Summer Cold

We're at the start of a heat wave.  Yes, it's hot.  Smokin', blazing hot and it's just the beginning.  Our local forecast is triple-digit temperatures through the middle of next week.

And, so, it belies logic that I would be laying low after coming down with a cold.  Who gets sick during the summer?  Sheesh.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saving Babies

Last weekend a baby Steller's Jay showed up in the corner of our garage.  It seemed to be more fluff than feathers.  We left it alone, at least it would be safe for the night in the garage.

The next morning it was reunited with it's older sibling who had spent the night outside.  Throughout the day we'd see them both hopping about.  The parents (and uncles and aunts) hovered around and kept an eye on the pair as Mama Bird continued to care and feed them.

Sunday morning there was still one left on the ground.  Older sibling was flying.  I decided to give baby bird a boost into the trees.

A week later, baby bird is still around.

Fat, flying, and thriving.

I spent the past two days in class recertifying for PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support).

It was a good week for me: I saved a baby manikin and a baby bird.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Can, Can

Canning jars (half-pint)  -- check.
Canning salt -- check.
Presto 23-Qt. Pressure Canner -- check.
Outdoor Camp Stove  -- check.
Extra lids -- check.
Two thawed fresh-frozen albacore tuna -- check.
Full tank of propane -- check.

Our friend, Jerry, gave us two fresh-frozen albacore tuna from his last fishing season.  In the past, we've grilled his fish but I wanted to try my hand at home canning.  After several weeks of online research I was ready.  I read and reread publications from The National Center for Home Food Preservation website and relied upon Culinaria Eugenius, "albacore tuna canning" as a visual tutorial.  Coincidentally, Miner's Ace Hardware had a 20% off sale and The Man bought our supplies last Saturday.  (The Man said he was quite popular with the women shoppers and many stopped him to chat about canning.)

From Sunday through Wednesday we thawed two 14-pound fresh-frozen albacore in the refrigerator (just like a frozen turkey).  On Thursday, The Man skillfully cleaned and filleted both fish.  He did the dirty work outside keeping the muck and smell out of my kitchen.  Later, I cut out the small pieces of dark meat, veins, and viscera which makes the tuna taste fishy.  I was able to fill two 9x13 pans of chunks of white meat. The next day, I filled 28 half-pint jars.  To each jar I added a pinch of canning salt.

Raw pack tuna

We processed for 100 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure on the dial gauge.  There was heated debate about how to keep it at 11 pounds because even at the lowest setting on the camp stove the dial gauge climbed to 14-15 pounds of pressure.  In exasperation, The Man called Presto and was transferred to Presto's Test Kitchen; he left a voice message for "Nancy".  Amazingly, she returned his call.  But by then we were done processing.  Nancy recommended 15 pounds of pressure for our elevation.

Duke checking out the outdoor kitchen.

After further discussion (calmly this time) we decided to reprocess at 15 pounds of pressure.  We replaced the lids with new ones and this time I added 1/4 tsp of TJ California Estate EVOO ("Lively Olive Flavor Mild Peppery Finish").

Ready to go back in the pressure canner.

It was a lot of work but the canned albacore turned out perfectly.  Firm, flaky, and not fishy tasting at all.  Home-canned yummy goodness.  

Simply Delicious

I'm sure the second third time we use the pressure canner it will be a lot easier and quicker too.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

No Comment

About those comments . . .

if you left one for me . . .

thank you very much.

I appreciate it!

Unfortunately, I never received it.

Not a one.

I just assumed no one left comments on the blog until Charlene mentioned she had left a couple.  I asked my IT Guy (The Man) for help.  In the end, we decided not to change my computer security settings (to allow third party cookies) so I disabled the comments section.

FYI.  My email button on the right sidebar works:

Click here to message me ~

Friday, June 7, 2013

For the Birds

Enjoying the good life   : > 

Acorn Woodpecker (male)

California Quail

House Finches (male)


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Preppers, Pizza, and Pressure Cookers

This morning, The Man and I attended an extended education class at Cal Poly entitled "Disaster Science".  It was the introductory course for the new Cal Poly Preppers series "designed to help San Luis Obispo County residents and their families prepare for the initial 72 hours after a disaster or emergency".  The instructor presented an overview of upcoming classes and then spent the next two hours on climate change, global warming, and assessing disaster risks.  Truthfully, we live in an amazingly beautiful but dangerous place: wildfires, earthquakes, and tsunamis.  And then the game changer, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, just 20 minutes away.

At the beginning of the class I had positioned myself against a wall and behind The Man.  When the graphs started showing up on the Powerpoint slides I started knitting.  I swear I absorb info better if my hands are moving.

Our complimentary T-shirts and my almost finished dishcloth.

The three-hour class ended at noon so we headed to Woodstock Pizza in SLO Downtown.  They've been around since 1980 and we've been eating their pizza for over 25 years.  Two more classes are scheduled for the end of the month but we haven't signed up yet.  Where to go for lunch?

The SLO Classic (no onions)

And, this week's project - researching Pressure Cookers.  Our friend, Jerry, provider of apples, log-splitters, and seafood gave us a whole fresh-frozen albacore which he helped us stuff in the outside refrigerator.  It fits, barely, and he's got another one to give us before he leaves for albacore fishing at the end of the month.

Jerry has his own fish commercially canned and I love the canned jalapeño albacore tuna (a small slice of jalapeño adds a nice zing).  I think, no, I know, I can probably can my own fish.  I haven't made the commitment yet but I believe I've narrowed it down to a 23-quart pressure cooker/canner. It'll probably happen asap when we realize everything in the freezer tastes and smells like fish.