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Michael Sheldon
What is this thing I hear of, specialization?
What is this thing I hear of, specialization?

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Things like this will drive you crazy. Certain measurements we take for granted as being "absolute", were not so absolute back then.
In this case, what we're looking at is the references to a "cup." There is absolutely no question, this table consistently defines a cup as four ounces. (Modern cup is eight ounces.) If you did not pay attention to this, your baked goods would definitely not come out according to the intent of the author. If all of the measurements in a recipe were in cups, it wouldn't matter, except that your version would make a larger batch. But if the recipe had other measurements such as weights, teaspoons, etc, then the proportions are going to be off.
The bad part in this book is that it is a collection of recipes from multiple authors. I've no idea if all of those authors agree on this definition of a cup.

The Pennsylvania Memorial Home Cook Book, 1891

Measurements that were pretty absolute back then.
Pints, Quarts, Gallons
Fluid ounces, Gill
Any weight.

Measurements that can vary by time, place or preference.
Teaspoons, Tablespoons

Common measurements that are ambiguous or poorly defined.
Coffee cup
Tea Cup
Wine Glass
Salt spoon
"The size of an egg"
"The size of a walnut"

Gallons may be different between countries

What the hell +Google​?
Both of my android Pixel Devices (Pixel phone and Pixel C) spontaneously rebooted with no approval/confirmation from me.
I could see one doing it because of an error or some such, but both simultaneously is not a coincidence. 

Replacing the kitchen faucet has been the usual nightmare.

First and foremost, it's pure hell just getting at the underside of it.
But then:
#1 Cold water shutoff valve broke in the "on" position. Had to shut off the house water, remove the valve, go to the hardware store for a new one. Then continue with installation.
#2 Everything is in place and installed, house water turned on, no leaks. (miracle) Turned on the hot water shutoff valve, handle stem broke off. ARGH!!!

It's too late to go back to the hardware store, so no hot water in the kitchen tonight. I'll be back at the hardware store tomorrow for a new valve. 

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So glad I leveled up in redneck engineering.
Saturday night, the handle of my kitchen tap broke off. (Crap cast aluminum.) You know, the night before Easter, when all the shops are closed, and even if they weren't I needed to spend my time Easter day cooking, not crawling under the sink replacing the faucet.
Dowel, wood block, glue, bolt and drill to the rescue. It's a bit stiff to turn on (you have to pull straight up), but adjusting temperature (twist) and shutting it off (slam with fist) is easy enough. It will last long enough to take my time and pick a replacement I want, not just the quickest one available.

Still, a bit of drama I didn't need at all. 

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OK, gotta do this. She says appetizer, but I heard "make enough for a meal" :) 
New recipe online! Stuffed Mushrooms with Italian Sausage

Made a pot roast today, decided to wing it southwest-style.

4.5 pound 7 bone roast
2 onions, peeled and quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tsp whole cumin seed
2 tsp whole coriander
3 8" sprigs of fresh oregano
8 jalapeños, red ripe, stemmed, halved, not seeded
1/2 cup tequila
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp oil

Preheat oven to 250F
Dry the roast, salt and pepper well. Heat large dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the oil and brown the roast on both sides. Remove the roast, lower heat to medium, then add the onion, garlic and peppers. Sautee a few minutes. Pour in the water to deglaze the pot. Add the remaining spices, return the roast to the pot and add the tequila. Cover and put in the oven for 4 hours. Check occasionally, add liquid if needed. (I've never needed to do that with my Staub dutch ovens.)

When done, remove the meat to a dish and cover. Strain the liquid and let the fat separate. The liquid can then be used to make a gravy.

The meat came out very nicely, with a bit of spice to it. The gravy... well, it had a serious kick to it, but I regret nothing. Sour cream took the edge off, but I ended up eating it without it, the heat can be addictive. 🌶️

Chile peppers can be variable. Red ripe jalapeños are usually hotter than green. Plus mine grow right next to my tabasco peppers. And, leaving the seeds and veins in the peppers also increases the heat.

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Go on, you know you want to...


Word games.

Yesterday, I got a reminder that words today don't always mean what they used to. I pulled a 19th Century recipe for cornmeal muffins, and decided to give it a try.
While assembling the ingredients (Mise en place!) I noted that the liquids were of a much higher proportion than equivalent modern recipes. But, I went ahead with it, figuring worst case, I'd see how it came out. The batter ended up similar to a thin pancake batter.
I poured it into the muffin pans, and baked them. They cooked through, but hardly rose at all, ending up fairly dense. Tasty, but dense.
It was then that I realized the mistake I made. I knew this, but had forgotten.
Muffins in the 19th century were not baked in muffin pans. There were similar pans at the time, called "gem" pans, but those recipes were different. No, muffins in the 19th century were essentially crumpets. They were cooked in muffin rings on a griddle or a large skillet. Thus, why the batter was so thin, it was meant for something not much thicker than a pancake.
Still, the muffins were pretty darn good split and toasted.
But now I've got some muffin rings ordered so I can try it again properly.

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Whoa, have you seen the nose print on your camera lens? 

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Southwest Shrimp and Grits.

The beets in this were a factor of #1 wanting to add some greens, and #2 having beets just starting to mature in my garden. The rest is just a variation on a common and very tasty dish.

4 cups water
1 cup grits
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 pound soft cheese (Goat cheese works well)
1/4 pound fresh chorizo (Mexican)
1 lb Shrimp
2-4 small beets with greens
2-3 Tbsp butter

Mise en place! Everything must be prepped before cooking! This goes quickly, and requires constant attention. You will not have time to measure, slice, peel, etc. once the cooking has begun.

Remove and de-stem the beet greens, wash and dry.
Peel and thinly slice the beets, I used a 2mm setting on my mandoline.
Peel the shrimp.

Add the water to a 2+ quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the salt.
Shortly before the water comes to a boil, start heating two skillets on medium heat.

When the water reaches a boil, slowly sprinkle the grits into the boiling water, whisking it while you add them. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue whisking the grits occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the butter to one skillet, and the chorizo to the other. Break up the chorizo and brown it, about 5 minutes. Remove the chorizo to a bowl, and add the shrimp, sautée them in the oil from the chorizo. Add oil if necessary. About 3-5 minutes per side. Remove to a bowl.

Add the sliced beets to the other skillet, stir and flip occasionally, until they are lightly browned and even a little crisped, about 10 minutes. Remove the beets and add the greens to the skillet. Sautée until wilted, remove from the heat.

When the grits have cooked 15 minutes, stir the cheese into them a bit at a time until incorporated. Remove from the heat, then stir in the chorizo.

Let the grits cool just a bit, then spoon into bowls. Add the shrimp, beet chips and beet greens on top. Serve with a bottle of your favorite hot sauce. Cholula! 
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