Roux – that ubiquitous mixture that forms some of the great flavor in gumbo. Photo, by the way, is from wikispaces.com. In the October ‘14 issue of Saveur Magazine, a little photo illustrated the making of a roux in the oven. Yes, really.
The method is Alton Brown’s. Heat the oven to 350°F. In a large 8-quart Dutch oven or deep iron skillet, mix equal parts canola oil and all-purpose flour. Whisk it, cover it, put it in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until it’s deep brown. Move the pot from the oven to the stove top and make the gumbo from there.
Quicker Cooking of Beans – Had never heard this recommendation – soak dried beans overnight in water with one teaspoon of baking soda added per quart of water – and the beans will take much less time to cook, in nearly half the time. It has to do with the alkalinity (the soda) breaking down the cell walls of the bean. This was also in Saveur, but the info comes from Harold McGee’s book, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen.
Removing Red Wine Stains from Linen or Cotton – In the same issue here’s a recommendation about removing red wine stains – forget the salt, seltzer or baking soda . . . this one says apply a high-enzyme liquid detergent or stain remover (look for the word enzyme on the label). Work that mixture into the stain with a brush, pour boiling water onto the stained area and allow it to soak for 30 minutes. The advice came from two women who have a laundry product line called The Laundress – www.thelaundress.com
Very little cooking is going on in my kitchen. I’m now getting around in an orthopedic boot (meaning my plantar fascia IS torn, not just stretched). Must wear it for 3 weeks, then graduate to good, solid athletic shoes with good arch support, doing exercises very gingerly at first. I’m off pain killers (a good thing) but only because the boot kind of rocks my foot forward so I don’t land on the heel (where the major pain is). The boot isn’t uncomfortable exactly. Just cumbersome. I can’t stand for more than a minute or two, then my heel starts to hurt. All that to say that I can’t begin to stand at my kitchen counter to prepare a meal. Forget it! So I’ve been eating out more than usual. Am eating some stuff from my freezer too.
I still can’t believe it’s been 6 months since my darling DH passed away. How can it possibly be 6 months ago. My cousin Gary is visiting me and I asked him, yesterday, to drag out of the closet two big storage boxes that say “Fall Décor” on them. In my dream last night I came home from somewhere and saw that Dave was putting out Christmas décor in the house (stuff he usually didn’t do anyway – he did outside stuff, not inside stuff). I was just going toward him to tell him no-no-no, honey, not yet, wrong holiday, when I woke up. I wanted so badly to fall back into that dream and have a conversation with him, to hug him, to kiss him, but alas I couldn’t seem to do it.
My cousin has been so helpful – he’s visited because he had a family wedding to go to over the weekend. I had him work on a TV-cable-tuning-adapter-Tivo problem and he finally, after several hours, one trip to the cable store and multiple phone calls to both Tivo and Cox, to get it fixed for me. He’s moved some things around for me, and he’s very fun company.
I had my first cataract surgery 11 days ago. It was cinchy easy. You’re awake all through it, but it wasn’t scary. It didn’t hurt at all. You can’t actually “see” them do it. My vision out of that new lens is certainly better than it was – brighter colors and more clear – but I can’t wear my old glasses. I wore trifocals, had been for years, and this interim time between now and mid-October when I have the 2nd eye done, is really hard – eye strain and poor vision. A friend finally suggested I buy two pairs of readers, with different magnification and put them together in one glasses frame. I’ve done that. I can barely see close-up stuff through the new lens through the readers. The other eye, well, that one’s awful. Can’t see a thing. I can’t wait for the other surgery. Then I must wait another month before they’ll test my eyes and see whether I need to wear glasses or just readers. I suspect I’ll need glasses for mid and close range. I’m having an awful time reading the computer during this in between time. And music – it’s hard being in choir and barely being able to read the music. My Kindle has an adjustment for type size, so I am able to read that fairly well.