Sunday, August 11, 2013

Come Saturday Morning…

I woke up at the usual time on Saturday, which was okay as my errands had to start early, anyway.

So, I went through my morning rituals and had two egg cups for breakfast. BTW, I think I understand that “one egg per cup” direction now. They were using “muffin” tins and I am using “cupcake” tins.

Then I left the house for my massage appointment. Immediately following that was my haircut (although I was a few minutes late). Finally, I stopped at Kroger’s and picked up a few items I was lacking for the weekend.

Back home, I treated the cats, unloaded the car and put away the groceries. Then I changed clothes and finally got to work about 11:00 AM.

I needed to cut the front lawn, but I haven’t trimmed it in a while. So, I got out the string trimmer, took the battery from the charger and put it on. Then I got started.

LMAO! I got about three feet and the string ran out! I went and got more and, after several false starts, got it wound and threaded. Then I trimmed the entire front yard. I hand-weeded the mulched areas as I went.

I went in the house after putting the trimmer away (temporarily – I need to figure out a good place to hang it or something).

The only chance in the next week for rain is a slight one on Monday. So, I went out back and checked the vegetable garden. It was dry (as I suspected), but there were six ripe cherry tomatoes, four more yellow squash (I think I’ll take them into work on Monday) and (finally) some small green peppers. There was also the ever-lengthening Japanese eggplant I still need to determine what the hell to do with.

So, I dragged the hose out there. But, before I hooked it up, I hosed down all the shed sides. If you remember, I have mentioned that rain splashes on the dirt and then onto the walls. I got most of it off (I’ll need a brush to get it all off), but decided the best solution would be to get grass to grow around the entire structure instead of mud. So, that went on the ToDo list.

I hooked the garden hose up to the soaker hose and turned it on. Then I went inside and set the stove timer for two hours.

Sidebar: The mosquitoes were terrible out back! I got about a million bites just doing the above. Now, I am sure everyone else is facing the same problem, so I shouldn’t bitch, but mosquitoes have never been that bad around here. I assume that it’s from the extremely wet spring/summer we’ve had.

Then I went out front and cut the lawn. I finished up and put everything away. I decided I was hungry, so I ate the last two brats and last two ears of sweet corn. I’m going to miss both!

Then I did something I haven’t done in a long time: I took a nap! The stove timer woke me up and I went out and turned off the hose. While I was out there, I picked all the ripe cherry tomatoes, the squash and two very big, but very green regular tomatoes (I think they were the Big Girl variety). I took everything inside and washed them all off. Then I went out in the garage to finish my last wood project (for a while, anyway).

So, I opened the door and started to make the cabinet/cart for the miter saw. I worked away at it, but noticed things were getting weird outside.

There were two strange things going on in the ‘hood today. The first was that they have finally rented out the old, vacant computer store on the corner. That’s good! But, they repainted the building and now the orange awning is gray. Since I always tell everyone to turn on the road between the red and orange awnings, people are going to get confused (hell, I’m confused). That’s bad.

Anyway, its now a beauty shop. But, what’s weird is women have been pulling up and parking on my street all afternoon and then walking down there. The ones who parked in front of my house were nice enough to wave at me (probably so I wouldn’t get ticked). Now I have no problem with pretty women parking in front of the house, and its even better that they waved and smiled, but THEY NEVER CAME BACK!!!

Maybe its an open house celebration. Maybe it’s a crack house. I dunno. But, it was weird.

The other thing weird was that a truck pulled up with something colorful on a trailer. Two guys unloaded it and when it was down and off the trailer, it turned out to be a little train locomotive and three cars! I don’t know if it’s a birthday party or a block party, but kids came from everywhere and so did their parents, some dragging portable grills.

Pretty soon the first load of happy kids took off, most waving to me as they drove by towards Plymouth Road. I waved back of course and then thought to get my camera. I got a couple of pictures on their way back, then I got back to work.  Pretty soon, I could see the smoke from all the grills and smelled something delicious!

The train took a total for four trips before they loaded it back up and hauled it away. I don’t know what something like that cost, perhaps they all chipped in or something. But, whoever thought of doing that was brilliant, as those kids had a blast!

I finished the cabinet/cart (I call them that as I do have the cabinet sides and back plywood to cut and put on, but I don’t have the time). I put the miter saw on top and drilled the holes. I went to put in the bolts and realized I’d made yet another rookie mistake. I checked the bolt diameter sizes on both the router table and the miter saw and they were the same. But, the depth was difference. The length that worked on the router tables was too short for the miter saw base. Damn!

I sure didn’t feel like driving to Home Depot tonight. So, I put away the tools and the saw horses, pulled in the car and buttoned everything up. I did finally put the Baker’s Rack in it’s place. I went in the house and it was 7:15 PM.

I wasn’t really hungry (having had a big lunch) but I wanted to make my dinner, anyway. I was trying another of those “copy-cat” recipes, this time for Wendy’s chili. Sidebar: That’s why I had to taste it the other day, so I could judge how close I came.

So, I got out the Dutch oven and browned two pounds of ground chuck. Then I drained off the fat. Normally, I would be sautéing the onions and green peppers now, but I am not! I am strictly following this recipe. So, just be aware this is NOT how I would make chili. To the pot I added the following:

1 quart of tomato juice
1 (29-ounce) can of tomato puree (never used it before, or even noticed it, but Kroger’s has it)
1 (15-ounce) can of red kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce can pinto beans, drained
1 medium-large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup diced celery (WTF???)
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

The instructions were to then cover the pot and let everything simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. So, I did.

Naturally, I had to keep taste-testing, so I didn’t worry about dinner, per se. When the 1 1/2 hours were up, I turned off the heat and let it cool. Later, I just stuck the whole Dutch oven in the fridge. I’ll get it ready for the freezer tomorrow.

Now, just reading the ingredients and instructions, I am sure several things jumped out at you. They did to me, which is why I wanted to make this dish in the first place! Namely: you don’t sauté the onions and green pepper? And, you’re putting celery in chili? The meat to beans ratio seems off (but my Brother Carl explained that in my Thursday post). Also, it would appear you are over-seasoning it with chili powder and under-seasoning it with salt, cumin and cayenne. Just my thoughts…

But, most importantly, how did it taste? Not bad. Not bad at all. I was not used to a crunch in my chili, though. And, I don’t remember noticing a crunch in the chili I got from Wendy’s, either. As far as taste comparisons to the original, I dunno… I only had it the one time. I’d have to take some to my Brother Carl and have him taste-test it.

While I was doing the occasional stirring, I was watching a documentary on Netflix called "Jiro Dreams of Sushi." It profiled sushi chef Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old master whose 10-seat, $300.00 a plate restaurant is legendary among Tokyo foodies.  It was fascinating!

When the documentary was finished, so was I. I opened the windows and went to bed.

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