Thursday, July 28, 2011

a whiny day

new fan

My Hotpoint stove (you can see it above, hiding behind the fan) has been wearing out for a while; two of the burners have gotten pretty wimpy, and one cracked right in half, making me afraid to use it. I asked my landlady if she could get me a couple of new elements, and after she looked into it she decided that it would be cheaper to get me a whole new stove than to fix my current one up. She found a bargain Frigidaire similar to my Hotpoint at the Sears in Chehalis, and arranged for it to be delivered on Monday between 11:30 and 1:30.

I worked on Monday, so Annie said she would wait at my apartment to let the stove men in and keep Maria from escaping. I got up at the crack of dawn on Monday to empty out my stove (it has a big cupboard on the side, and a big drawer underneath, so most of my pots and pans fit in it) and clear a path from the front door to the stove.

kitchen i

At work, I checked my phone for messages at noon and there was a voicemail from my landlady saying that the stove would not be coming at all that day, and had been rescheduled to Friday. I'm glad I checked my messages! I called Annie right up. She hadn't been there very long but was already bored, so she was happy to go home.

The stove was supposed to come between 11:00 and 1:00 on Friday, so I planned a day of reading and knitting and being alert for the stove men. I was afraid to play music too loud, lest I miss their knock. They had not arrived by 2:00, so I called them up to see when I should expect them. I had to try a couple of times, the second time impersonating my landlady since the woman I got at the call center in India would only speak to the person who had actually ordered the stove. She said she would send the men a message to call me and tell me how they were coming. I hadn't heard from them by 3:00, so I tried the call center again and this time was informed that the stove was not coming at all! When I expostulated she said she would give my landlady a $30 gift certificate to make up for my inconvenience, and then said the stove men would try again on Tuesday.

cooking on the floor

My kitchen was still taken-apart, with all the counters and tables covered with the contents of my stove. I decided to try to get by without putting things temporarily away, so over the weekend I did most of my cooking on the floor, like an Indian lady. I actually quite liked doing it except that I had to keep getting up and down, as my stove and sink are high and require standing. Maybe I should have asked my landlady for a traditional Indian stove!

Sears called the night before to say that the stove should arrive between 11:30 and 1:30. I was prepared for another long wait and lots of phone calls to India, but The Sears truck pulled up right at noon. I was so pleased!

stove truck

The stove men were very efficient, so getting the old stove out and the new one in only took about half an hour. Their invoice said they were supposed to drop off the new stove in its carton, leaving me to plug it in myself, but I whined and pled and they agreed to hook it up.

stove men

Below is my new stove on the morning after delivery, when all I had made with it was a pot of tea (it boiled the water very quickly). So far it seems pretty nice. The oven only goes up to 500° instead of 550° like my old one, but I think I can fiddle with the thermostat to make it a little hotter. Its main deficiency I've discovered so far is that it doesn't have an electrical outlet where I can plug in my mixer or immersion blender.

At the very bottom of this post you can see the first bread I made with it, just this morning. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks like it turned out well.

new stove

first bread

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

maque choux

maque choux

(or is it 'maquechoux'?)

Annie and I had our Fourth of July party nearly a week late this year, since I worked on the actual day. We skipped the baked beans and sauerkraut salad, but otherwise made our usual menu: potato salad, coleslaw, weenie bread (challah dough with vegetarian weenies embedded, baked in a Pullman pan), watermelon (which we forgot to serve), and maque choux. The first time I made maque choux I carefully followed the recipe in Talk about Good, and it wasn't very good. Ever since then I've made it pretty much the same way, except that I leave out the sugar and don't cook it nearly as long, and it has always been very good indeed.

Maque Choux

makes a lot, but it makes good leftovers

6 ears of corn, husked and desilked as much as possible
1T olive oil
a small onion, chopped
3 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
a big green bell pepper, chopped
4 small ripe tomatoes, or a couple of bigger ones, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper and optional cayenne

Cut the kernels from the corn cobs into a big bowl, and then use the dull side of your knife to scrape the milk from them. While you're working on the corn, start cooking the onion on medium high heat in the olive oil in a big frying pan (one with a lid). When the onion's about ready add the celery, then the bell pepper and tomato. Let everything cook till it's done how you like it, then add the corn along with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. Stir around a little bit, then cover the pan and let cook on medium heat for about seven minutes. Taste for seasoning, then serve!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

quincemopolitan party

rachael barmaid iv

I finally got around to making Quincemopolitans nearly two years after I made my quince vodka, and I thought the quince really added something to the drink. I had never actually tasted a regular Cosmopolitan at the time of my party, but when I tried one the next day I thought it was lacking in comparison; the quince added a delicious sour fruitiness.


ice cubes
2oz quince vodka
1 oz clementine cordial (or Cointreau or triple sec)
1oz Vincent Family Cranberry Agave Juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
lime slice for garnish

Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, then add the remaining ingredients (except for the lime slice). Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with the lime slice.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

an announcement


Maria has changed the pronunciation of her name to 'Mar-eye-ah,' after Maria Wyeth of Play it as it Lays.

I took the above picture of her using my new lens; I think it turned out pretty well considering that I took it in my dim, naturally-lit bedroom at 9:17 at night. Below are a couple of other pictures showing it off: