• Posts Tagged ‘appliances’

    My Only Domestic Skill

    by  • October 29, 2012 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    Brownies

    Always Worth the Money

    When my husband and I moved in together, it became evident that certain things would be left to him, and certain things to me. His idea of “making the bed,” for instance, involves mostly pulling at the blankets until only part of them are a giant, wadded-up mess; I prefer a taut surface you can bounce a quarter off of. But when it came to meals, it was soon evident that he’d be the main chef (as I’ve discussed, I’m not much for cooking).

    But one thing I do like to do in the kitchen is to bake. Perhaps it’s my tremendous sweet tooth, but I take great pleasure in taking some time over the weekend to produce some shortbread, or an easy cake. I’m a very exacting person, and while I can’t handle cooking and its vagaries (“cook until browned” – WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? HOW BROWNED IS BROWN ENOUGH?), baking is all about precision. When I take a few hours on a Saturday to produce some scones, I know exactly how much flour to use, how much baking soda, etc. It is very difficult for me to feel that I can screw it up, and I like that.

    There’s also a sense of accomplishment to baking. We went apple-picking recently, and the result was not just a full two bags of apples, waiting to rot; it was a very nice apple cake, which even I enjoyed (and I’m not much for fruit desserts). It’s nice to feel that while in much of my life, the moment one thing ends, another to-do pops up, when I’m baking, I start and I end, and there’s a delicious product at the end of it.

    So what’s the problem? As always, financial concerns crop up. Before we had our lovely, rent-free living situation, I was very careful with what and how much I baked. It can get expensive to pick up ingredients, so I stuck to simpler items (scones, which have very few moving parts, and bread mixes from Trader Joe’s, some of which have proven to be delicious). I was also loathe to buy new kitchen equipment, with the result that my items often didn’t come out as planned. No matter how hard I tried, hand-mixing just wouldn’t produce the quality of egg white fluffiness certain items needed.

    But now that we’re married, and not paying for rent, I find my financial concerns around baking are allayed, if not entirely vanished. We received a number of excellent items for our wedding, including a KitchenAid mixer and a few new pans. Our new bundt pan has already been used a number of times (for the aforementioned apple cake, and even for a frittata my husband made recently). And I don’t torture myself much over the purchase of some high quality chocolate chips, or strange new ingredients for whatever Saveur tells me will bake nicely. In the end, it’s a cost that’s worth it.

    Have you cut back on an activity you enjoyed because of cost? Or are certain things worth it to you?

    image: jeffreyw

    Mandatory Meal Planning (Damn You Freezer)

    by  • October 12, 2007 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    fridge.jpg
    photo: Esther17

    About a month and a half ago our refrigerator didn’t work so well, but we thought we saved it.

    Not so much.

    This past weekend we went out of town to visit some friends, only to return to a refrigerator that was barely refrigerating and a freezer that was not freezing very well.

    We called our landlord and he replaced our fridge right away (he had an extra in the basement?). While most of the items in the fridge were salvaged (anything that didn’t have mini-ecosystems growing in them), we were left wondering what to do with the items in the freezer.

    Unfortunately, we had to discard more than we wanted to. We decided that frozen veggies, ground beef, cheeses, and a few other items could be refrozen. We didn’t want to take the chance on chicken breasts, beef and lamb steaks, and two sirloin tip roasts.

    Adding to the chaos that is already our lives, we decided we would cook all of that food and then freeze it. We’ve had post-work obligations every day this week, so we’ve been exhausted from the constant cooking we’ve had to do and getting to bed late. The good thing is that we found recipes that used much of what we already had around the house. After this week, I believe that Her and I would make a great team on Iron Chef, if the time limit were 4 days and the secret ingredient were “everything that you don’t want to go bad in our freezer.” Take that, Bobby Flay.

    The big negative: we had to throw away a lot of food. The big positive: we’ve essentially menu planned our winter, allowing us to just reheat the food instead of eating out.

    Not exactly lemonade from lemons, but it’ll do.

    The Wonders of Appliance Maintenance

    by  • August 29, 2007 • Tagged:   • Comments

    Last night Her and I were jonesing for some dessert that we’d share (yes, share, as Her is on Weight Watchers and I’m going to run the half-marathon). When Her opened up the freezer, she noticed some ice cream drippage and defrosted meats.

    Oh crap, we thought, something’s wrong with our freezer. In the last few weeks, we’ve noticed that our ice cream was a little softer, but that’s about it. No defrosted meats. No drippings. Not last night though. Crap.

    I’ll let you in on a little secret about me: I suck at being Mr. Handyman. My first instinct was to call the landlord, except that he sucks and I’d rather roll around in a bathtub of porcupines than talk to him. Then I remembered: the coils! Clean the coils!

    So we pulled the fridge out from the wall and unplugged it. Her removed the kick plate and we both peered underneath the fridge…to see a queen size quilt’s worth of cat fur entangled amongst the coils. It seriously looked like our refrigerator gave birth to a litter of kittens. We both muttered a few swears and then I grabbed the vacuum cleaner and went to work. I managed to vacuum about three-quarters of the fur before we had to dump out the dust container and start again. After cleaning, we plugged it back in and hoped for the best.

    Luckily for us, since our freezer was packed pretty tightly most of the items were still frozen. We didn’t have to toss out much, just some melted ice cream. The items that weren’t fully frozen went directly into the fridge for continued defrosting. Those items include about 8 chicken boobies breasts, some ground beef, a few pork chops, and some ribs. It looks like we’ll be making a few meals out of that stuff, or we’ll be having a “Our Freezer’s Busted” dinner party. I guess we’re not eating out this weekend, so cha-ching for the wallet.

    This morning the freezer was working like it is supposed to. I’m sure that the cleaning will shave a buck or two a month from our electricity bill as well.

    See, I told you we’re not ready to be homeowners.