Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saturday Moanin’

The cell phone woke me up at 5:33 a.m. I freaked a little, as I am the contact for the burglar alarm in the building I work at. But, it was only a text reply to a text I had sent at 8:26 p.m. Friday night. Now, I’m not naming names here, but… Really?

No way I could go back to sleep, so I got up and got started. I stripped the bed and put the bedding in the wash. Then I started cleaning the house. It was on the ToDo list and I wanted to work outside this afternoon, if possible.

The upshot was I got the whole house cleaned before it was time to get ready for my first appointment: a massage.  From there I went and got my hair cut. Next was to Kroger’s to resupply. I got everything on the list (so my pantry and freezer are full again), including two cans of Spam and one tin of corned beef. But, it cost me! I spent over $152.00 US without any significant meat purchases!

I suspect the major cost items were the extra virgin olive oil (for finishing), the regular olive oil (for cooking) and the gallon of canola oil (for the pantry).  But, as it stands right now, I could probably live six months on what’s in my house without going to the grocery store again. I like that feeling!

One sour note was that I had forgotten to clean the trunk out after delivering the wood to my Brother Carl. So, I had to set all the groceries on bark, wood chips and yuck, which I then carried into the house…

The final stop was the gas station to fill up my tank. I got mid-grade for $3.25 US and was pleased. I love these falling gas prices!

I unpacked everything and refilled the empty olive oil containers. It was almost 1:00 p.m. Then I changed clothes and went about the business of the ToDo list for today.

First step was to hard boil the eight remaining eggs in the fridge. Next was to combine the thawed-out boneless-skinless chicken thighs with half of my newly purchased “Family Pack” of chicken tenders. I froze the rest of the chicken tenders, BTW.

I put all the chicken in the Dutch oven and added in a carrot (unpeeled), two celery stalks, half of a yellow onion (also unpeeled). All were rough-chopped, BTW. I added a bay leaf and that’s when I discovered I was out of garlic! So, I added a little garlic powder, red pepper flakes, Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. I brought that to a boil, and then turned it down to simmer.

Note to self: YOU RAN OUT OF GARLIC? You’re slipping man!

Anyway, you probably guessed it, I’m making chicken noodle soup for dinner. I am not quite sure how it will taste without the bones, though… I usually do this with a whole chicken. But, I thought the chicken tenders would balance out the heavier taste of the chicken thighs.

Then I walked away and went out to the garage. Now, the wind has been fierce ever since I went to my massage. So, I thought I could blow the leaves down the driveway and they would end up somewhere in Canada (or at least the townhouses across the way). So, I did that. Then I vacuumed out the car trunk and the two bottom shelves of the shelving unit that’s still against the south side wall of the garage.

The main project for today was to cut the back lawn (to grind up the leaves) but it’s blowing so much I was not sure I’d get even half of them as they keep moving around. So, I’ll try to do that tomorrow.

With all that wind, its pretty obvious a cold or warm front is moving through, so I went inside to check on the barometer glass. I’ll be dammed! It dropped so much that the water overflowed the small tube and dripped into that little cup on the bottom. I always wondered what that was for and now I know, LOL! 

I felt it was time to get back to the soup. So. I pulled out the chicken pieces with my tongs and set them on a plate to cool. Then I lined my biggest sieve with cheesecloth, set it over a big aluminum bowl and poured the contents of the Dutch oven in it. I used a wooden spoon to squish all the gunk (not to miss any golden goodness) and then threw everything left away.

I washed out the Dutch oven and then put it on medium-high heat. I put in some canola oil and added one diced stalk of celery, one peeled carrot (that I cut in half length-wise and then diced, and one big yellow onion that I sliced. I stirred all that while it softened.

When I thought it was ready, I added the liquid from cooking the chicken back in. I also added a box of chicken broth. Then I chopped up all the chicken and threw that in as well. It may be too much chicken, BTW.

Sidebar: Can you have too much chicken in chicken noodle soup?

Then I went out back and grabbed some fresh herbs. The basil was dead, so I went with thyme, parsley and a little rosemary. Back inside, I had to sort through the herbs, as some of the leaves were already dead, too. But I put about a tablespoon of the thyme and parsley and maybe a teaspoon of chopped rosemary in the pot.

I taste-tested it and it needed more salt, so I put about tablespoon of Kikkoman soy sauce in it, instead. Then I added another slug of red wine vinegar to balance it out in it as well.

I let that get happy while I moved onto another project. If you are a long-time reader, you know I have been trying to clean out the garage. And I have been puzzling what to do with the scraps of cedar wood left from Evy’s bench. I could have just burned them, but they are cedar (and expensive). I kept thinking about what to do with them outside (where cedar shines) but, nothing. Then it dawned on me that people put cedar in their closets to keep the moths away! Now, I don’t have moths, but it gave me an idea.

So, I pulled the car outside. Note: All the leaves I blew away blew back against the garage door! Damn!

I took out the table saw and cut the long remnants to the same width. Then I pulled out the miter saw cart and cut everything to length. I used the cutoffs as shelf supports. I glued and then used the air compressor and my brad nailer to put the results together for a shoe rack in my closet. 

Take that, moths!!!

I pulled the car back inside after putting everything away. It was 7:00 p.m. The leaves were still piling up against the garage door, BTW.

I taste-tested the soup once again, just to make sure. Perfect! (No, seriously, it was PERFECT!) Then I brought it to a boil and added eight ounces of dried Kluski noodles (the only ones I ever have found that could stand up to freezing). I set the stove timer for 16 minutes. When the timer went off, I shut down the heat and dished up a bowl.

I couldn’t believe how good it tasted, so I had another bowlful, just to double check. I seriously believe this is the best chicken soup I have ever made (or even tasted). No shit!

I watched a couple DIY shows I had taped and then switched to reading until bedtime.

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