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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Crock pot ribs

Work has started on our kitchen.  This is a picture of the kitchen looking into the mudroom.  The arched door was added later, we have exposed the original doorway on the right.  There was wood floor under layers of linoleum.  It is loud and dusty to be in my house right now.  And cold.  The crew sets up a negative pressure, to help keep the dust out of the house.  It also helps all the heat leave the house.  I think that when the demolition stops, the dust will diminish.

Crock pots meals are easier when I am busy with the carpenters, electricians and plumbers. 

We have new favorite way to cook country pork ribs, adapted from Diana Rattray at  Spray a crockpot with Pam.  Layer sliced onions.

Put in 4 pounds of country pork ribs, sprinkle with a t of salt, 1/2 t pepper, garlic.

Coat with 1/2 cup apple juice and cook for 8 hours on low.  Drain the liquid from the pork and add the barbeque sauce and cook for one more hour.  Easy and delicious.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New house, new life

Well, we moved across the country and bought an old house.  One of the first thing that we did was paint it.

 It needs work.  But it has a great porch.  I think that I bought the house for the porch.

The woman who owned it had made an apartment on each floor.  However, she didn't have a permit for multiple occupancy so she ripped out the kitchens on the first and third floor.  The kitchen on the second floor is adequate for an apartment.  No counterspace, no dishwasher, no exhaust fan.  Barely adequate.

We are in the process of putting a new kitchen in downstairs.  The first bid that we received looked like a lot of college tuition so we are getting some other bids.  It is a long process, especially since we are new to the area.

We've had a few changes.  My daughter left for college.  She left a large void in our lives.  We all had a pretty good rhythm and are trying to figure out the new steps.

My sons, who happen to live in town, decided that the empty apartment in the attic looked a lot better than the decrepit apartment that they were spending $900/month on.  So they asked if they could move in for a while.  Graduate school takes a lot of time, it is nice to have a stocked refrigerator and washer and dryer in the basement.  Number one son (oh, he how he likes that title)  brought with him a ten month old puppy.

Our ten year old yellow lab isn't sure what to make of this.  Murphy likes to be very close to Scout, very close.

 We decided that everyone (OK, I suggested it and they were all agreeable) could cook a meal each night.  Which has spurred me to post.  My son just made the best crock pot meal.  No real pictures because my camera is in DC, but make this.

It is from Michele Scicolone's The Italian Slow Cooker .  Make this and then buy this book, everything that we have made from this book has been delicious.

Braised beef with anchovies and rosemary.   OK, by now we all know that anchovies add a depth of flavor and are essential to the cupboard...

2 T olive oil
3 pounds boneless chuck cut into 2" cubes
2 oz pancetta, chopped
s & p
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
6 anchovy filletes
1 cup dry white wine
3" rosemary sprig.

Heat oil.   Brown beef  and panetta in batches, don't crowd the pan.  Cook until nicely browned.  Transfer to slow cooker.  Season with salt and pepper, go easy on salt.  There is enough in the pancetta and the anchovy.

Spool off excess fat from pan, add the garlic and anchovies, cook for 2 mins and the wine bring to simmer and scrape bottom of pan.  Pour the liquid into slow cooker, add the rosemary.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours until very tender (this only took me 4 hours).  Discard rosemary.  We served it with oven roasted butternut squash and baby yukon poatoes.

This is a keeper.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I threw out the duck fat...

So, because we were so lucky to sell our house so quickly, we were scrambling for a place to live.  We have Scout, our elderly yellow lab.  Hotels seem to be biased against yellow labs, preferring the small, yippy dogs.  Several hotels were willing to let her stay with additional fees of a hundred dollars.  We decided to try the military recreation facility about an hour north of our house.  A little time on the lake could only be relaxing.

Unfortunately, the military would also prefer that there are no dogs in life.  The cabins at the lake remained unrented, no dogs allowed.  However, they were willing to rent a small, tiny, minute trailer.  A FEMA trailer.  Make alternative plans if a disaster heads your way.

I discovered a few things about myself during reflection time at the lake.  I am claustrophobic, OK I already knew that.  I cannot relax in 400 square feet..   With a husband, two kids, and a lab.  One of the kids returned to Pittsburgh, leaving us a little more space.

I love being near water.  Keep that in mind for future moves.

I hate to throw out good food.  So, we had the duck confit with some peaches warmed in duck fat and sprinkled with pepper.  Delicious, I will make duck confit again.


I threw out the duck fat.  I had to restrain myself from walking up to the RVs and seeing if they wanted it.

We have moved back into the city for a few nights, Drury Inns accept dogs.  Scout preferred the lake.  Menopausal women prefer air conditioning.

We are going to help with a youth retreat and then we will drive across the country.  Will we own a house?  Who knows.  It is much more complex than the last time we bought a house.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Everything in the freeze must go! Duck Confit

The packers are coming in two days.  We sold our house much sooner than expected.  We have frantically been trying to eat our way through the freezer, we have done a pretty good job.  However, I still had two duck legs and some duck fat waiting for me.  I don't really know that many people who would appreciate my duck fat... So I decided to make some duck confit.

I went outside and got some herbs, bay right outside the door.

And some salt, some brown sugar, pepper and rubbed the legs, wrapped them and put them in the refrigerator.  

Today, I cooked the duck in the fat at 190 for seven hours.  When the meat was tender, I let it cool.  Tomorrow, I will pan fry them in some of the duck fat till crispy.  And then, this is the very sad part, I will throw the duck fat out. 

We had a few people over to say good bye.  I offered condiments, anyone interested in anything in my refrigerator.  Really, I must have at least four types of mustards, anchovies, thai pastes, raspberry preserves, loganberry jam.  I have some really good stuff.  No one took anything.

We keep track of the states that we have visited.  I have a beautiful state map and we outline all of the visited states in brown.  The ones that have left the nest try to get more states than us.

When we leave in a few weeks, we plan on driving from San Antonio to Oklahoma City, a long day but it is better to get out of Texas.  Make a clean break.  I am sadder than I ever have been with this move than any other moves.  We have been here so long that I have deep roots.  We must flee the state or Emily and I will grab the controls and make Tom turn around.  

We have been to Oklahoma City.  This time we will be traveling with our Labrador.  She thinks that a car trip ends in camping.  This should be interesting, this car trip will end in hotels.   The next day, we will head to St. Louis MO, a new state, with a brief stop in Pittsburg Kansas, because we can.  Then, on to Chicago.  In the morning, we will head in the wrong direction to Racine Wisconsin for breakfast (getting another state!).  Turn around and head to Michigan and family and then onward to PA.

Will we own the house?  Who knows, it is a slow process at best.  Our lending company has lost every paper that we faxed to them, which is a little disconcerting.  I have high hopes.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Moving Along

My husband is retiring from the USAF.  He started looking for jobs working with medical residents some time ago.  He enjoys teaching and medical education, it has been one of his favorite jobs.  He looked in VT, Boston, Phili, DC, Richmond and Pittsburgh.  I was hoping for Phili.  I went to school in Phili, grew up in the Poconos.  We have family in Pa and NJ. 

Pittsburgh called him early in his search.  He went out and really like the people and the program.  It helps that I have two sons in Pittsburgh who graduated from Pitt.  They really speak highly of the city.  Part of me thinks that he was just looking for a way to balance the equation, find someone to watch football with...  we find ourselves bound for Pittsburgh.

Tom and I are at an interesting point in our lives.  We don't care about school districts, we don't really need a house that is move in ready.  This is a good thing.   We looked at homes in Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Point Breeze, Regent Square and Highland Park.  There aren't many homes available.  People are moving into the city and homes sell quickly and at a high price.

I flew to Pittsburgh and looked at homes at Christmas break.  Then we went out for Spring break and looked at some more.  The boys would go and look at some houses for us.  Matt generally didn't like anything that he saw.  When this house came on the market,

he was prepared to tell me that he didn't like the neighborhood.  He went, he parked, he went up and down the street, up the alley.  He drove around, the neighborhood passed.  Tom can walk to work, I can walk to a grocery store.  He met with the realtor and looked at the house.  There are some issues.  I'm not sure that I can have chickens in the back yard but no one is as concerned about that as I am. 

The owner put in a new interior door and made the downstairs into an apartment.  Then she put in doors on the second and third floors.  Not with permits, so the house is being sold as a single family home.  With locked entries on each floor, kitchens on each floor, etc.  Not really a single family home.

The beautiful stair case

has been divided by a wall to cut off the first floor apt.  It is in need of a good job.  The stained glass window on the stair landing is broken.

And will need to be repaired.

The front downstairs living room needs work.  There is hardwood under the carpet.  There are built ins on one side of the fire place and not the other. 

But there are pocket doors leading to the dining room
The dining room was a bedroom, so there is an added odd closet and a full bath.  Not many people can say that they have a full bath in their dining room!!!!

The kitchen has issues.  Oh lots of issues.  There is an addition off the kitchen space, that is being used as the main kitchen.

This is the downstairs, everything needing work.  But worst is in the basement.

There is a beam that has splitting boards.  It holds the house up.  This is an ISSUE  a structural engineer issue.

And we will go no further until it is investigated.