Thursday, September 5, 2013

Consumerism Thursday: The Incredible Shrinking Woman Drowns in Brisket

I ordered three briskets from FreshDirect. In my defense, they were on sale, one is for a party in October, I had free delivery and my mother was planning on buying one of them from me. I threw in some ground pork and veal to make bolognese sauce, checked out, and scheduled delivery for this morning.

The meat never showed up.

I called FreshDirect in frustration, and they informed me that my meat had been left with the doorman, which their drivers are not supposed to do. What? I headed downstairs, and sure enough, my meat had been hanging out downstairs for an hour and a half. I hustled it upstairs, threw it all into the freezer, and called FreshDirect to give them a piece of my mind.

They're replacing all my meat, and delivering it tomorrow as an apology. So now I have SIX briskets, and enough ground meat to make bolognese for half of Italy. It's a good thing I'm a huge brisket fan, and score one for FreshDirect's customer service.

I weigh 20 pounds less than last year. Hooray!

Unfortunately, now that I'm interviewing, I've realized all my "nice" clothes are too big for me. I've gone from barely fitting a size 10 to and 8. All my skirts can be salvaged by a visit to the tailor to take in their waistbands, but my one button-down blouse is vaguely tent-like on me.

So the other day I had a job interview, and I felt so fat, frumpy, and lumpy-bumpy that I ran into a nearby Banana Republic and bought a new button-down in the correct size, paid full retail, and swapped shirts in the changing room.

That's possibly the silliest impulse purchase ever, but it was worth every sent. I felt fantastic, and the interview seemed to go well. I'll hear more after Rosh Hashanah.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Domestic Wednesdays: I Made More Socks

I finally roped CodeMonkey into making pictures for me, because it's hard to photograph your own feet! These are destined for my mother:

My knockoff Boden sweater has been stalled because it's hot, the sweater is getting bigger, and I don't want to run the A/C to make holding a giant pile of wool comfortable. So for now, socks.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday Sundries: Terrifying Midwestern Cookery!

I visited my grandmother and parents last week and we made four boils of sour cherry jam. Three jars are mine, all mine! *cackles*

Amazing Vintage Midwestern Cookery

We also dug through my great-grandmother's recipe file and found some truly amazing examples of mid-century Midwestern cooking. I particularly like this one. I mean, it never would have occurred to me to combine lemon Jello, canned corned beef, onions and mayonnaise! I'm almost tempted to make it because it's so disgusting sounding.

I'm also comforted to know that I have a recipe to make potato soup for an army, should the need arise. I love any recipe that lists ingredients by the gallon rather than the cup. My grandmother has no idea why she or her mother had this recipe in there, and no-one in our family has a Cheaper-by-the-Dozen scenario where one needs to whip up 4 gallons of soup in one go.

Thrifty Food Plan Challenge

I went to BJ's and some other stores and did my monthly grocery stock up: cod, chicken drumsticks, pesto, ground beef, chicken breasts, flour, ham, mozzarella, milk, pasta, butter, eggs, parmesan, spinach, kale, cheese tortellini, Haagen-Dasz ice cream bars, sweet Italian sausage, hot Italian sausage, red wine, white wine and onions. The goal is to not shop any more this month except for fresh fruits and vegetables and milk, which seems doable, given that the freezer is currently groaning with food. I've spent $255.18 of $380.20 toward my Thrifty Food Plan Challenge.

My Mother Saves the Day

Despite being a fairly serious baker, I do not own a complete set of measuring cups or spoons. I've been relying on eyeballing things and metric recipes where I can use my kitchen scale. Out of frustration, I texted my mother and asked her to please buy me a set of cups, spoons and liquid measures for my birthday, and she was sweet enough to hit up the dollar store and buy my all three, and doubles of everything. Best. Present. Ever.

Cooked Lately:

Beautiful burger buns: Subbed half the white flour for whole wheat, omitted the sesame seeds, and made a double-batch. Shaped half the dough into hamburger buns and half into hot dog rolls and got 8 of each. Very tasty, though next time I'd make something crustier for rolls.

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce: I omitted the mirin because I didn't have any, and made a double batch. CodeMonkey felt that it was too sweet. If you make this, halve the cornstarch because this gelled up like mad. Soy Vay and Trader Joe's Soyaki (pretty sure these are the same thing) are both much tastier, though unavailable in my area. I wouldn't make this again.

Fast and Easy Puffed Pastry: I made this so I had wrappers for some spinach, feta and ricotta bourekas I decided to make. (To use up some frozen spinach and milk.) It's cheaper than buying puff pastry, particularly if you want one of the high-end brands that uses real butter. Very easy, though nowhere near as flaky as a real laminated dough. I doubled the recipe, but needed another 4oz of yogurt besides that to make the dough come together. A double batch was enough to wrap 32 bourekas.

Margaret's Oatmeal Hotcakes: After I made ricotta cheese to go in the bourekas, I had four cups of whey left over. You can substitute whey 1:1 for buttermilk in most recipes, so a double batch (Notice a pattern here? I never cook single batches). My mother has been making these for years, and they're fantastic and SO easy, since you mix the batter the night before. I skipped the dried fruit because we didn't have any. They freeze beautifully, so I froze them on cookie sheets and I've been thawing them in a skillet and serving with maple syrup for breakfasts. They're very hearty, so you don't need more than one.