Post 376: Supper better be delicious!

I decided to slow cook a stew today. Preparations began a good eight hours before I thought I might want to eat.

The cabbage, broccoli, and carrots presented no problem: slice’em up, and add them to the pot. I sautéed the yellow pepper, added the stew meat to brown it and get some of those great juices to add to the stew.

Pepper. I needed pepper. Then all hell began!

The cap on the pepper mill came off, and dumped enough peppercorns onto the frying pan of yellow peppers and stew meat to burn down California!

The photo is an “after” shot. Most of the peppercorns on the cutting board were on the yellow pepper and stew meat in the frying pan moments before. I tried to remove as many as I could, but ended up picking up yellow pepper and meat in tiny amounts in the tongs, knocking the peppercorns and excess pepper off before putting them in the stew pot.

A big &$^#^-ing mess!

A big &$^#^-ing mess!

Tedious! (Note the coffee mug with Louie the ginger cat on it at the top center of the photo: That was me, waving my arms and saying very naughty things when the cap came off the pepper mill. It was not a happy moment!)

If it didn’t take too long to clean off the excess pepper from the meat and yellow peppers, the stove and everything else took much more time to sort out. That’s what I faced in the photo above, the whole mess.

The cutting board mess was contained and easy to clean up.

The cutting board mess was contained and easy to clean up.

I dumped the meat and peppers into a serving dish to sort what I wanted to save from the excess pepper...one or two pieces at a time.

I dumped the meat and peppers into a serving dish to sort what I wanted to save from the excess pepper…one or two pieces at a time.

Did I mention the fire alarm went off while I tried to straighten out the mess? Peppercorns fell under the hot burner and sent up a smoke screen. I opened a window and the back door to clear out the smoke. The vent fan couldn’t keep up with it. Though I reset the fire alarm to shut it off, that is to say, yelled several blasphemies and poked the reset button, enough smoke remained to set it off again and again.

“What the %^$#*,” I said to myself, “As long as I’m dealing with the fire alarm and the clean up, I may as well roast coffee beans, too. That always triggers the fire alarm. The window and door are already wide open. I already ready with the broom to poke the reset button, and…” The fire alarm blared again. That’s five times total for both causes.

Little by little, I disassembled the stove top to clean it out and off, vacuumed the floor of its liberal dusting of peppercorns, and ended up with a yummy looking pot of what will be stew this afternoon.

Cabbage, carrot, broccoli, diced tomatoes, yellow pepper, and cubed beef. I decided against potatoes in case I end up freezing some of it -- very likely! Potatoes get a strange texture when frozen, one I dislike.

Cabbage, carrot, broccoli, diced tomatoes, yellow pepper, and cubed beef. I decided against potatoes in case I end up freezing some of it — very likely! Potatoes get a strange texture when frozen, one I dislike.

Supper better be delicious!

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I keep referring to the pepper as a “yellow pepper”, which it was when I bought it. In the day or two after I bought it before I used it, it became an orange pepper! (No, I’m not color blind. I just hadn’t noticed the ripening that took place in all the hubbub that came about in making this stew. Orange pepper. Yeah. That’s what it is!

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If adversity doesn’t bring knowledge, then you better take a look at yourself! What did I learn from this episode? Simple: measure your herbs and spices into separate containers, then add them when you are ready to add them to the food you’re preparing! They do it on cooking shows, but it didn’t register as good practice to me until I learned from personal experience why you should do it!

Shortly after I reset the fire alarm for the fifth time, second time while roasting coffee beans, I realized I hadn’t added salt to the stew…! Did I truly learn my lesson or am I just blowing air?

Happy day! I did learn my lesson! I measured out the amount of salt I needed with a measuring spoon, then added it to the stew. Any other time, I’d use either the salt mill (which is the same style as the pepper mill that emptied on my stew) or shake some out of a salt shaker on the stove. Not today, folks! Not today!

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I’ve mentioned before how hard it is to take photos of my cats. They have tricky hair that photographs differently in different light. I present two examples. One where I couldn’t get the color to look right because of how it interacted with artificial light, and another that I converted to black and white for the same reason. (Oddly, the black and white one is the more realistic of the two.)

Orangish Andy takes a sly upside down look at me while I work on my computer.

Orangish Andy takes a sly upside down look at me while I work on my computer.

Here's the same photo in black and white, a much nicer result!

Here’s the same photo in black and white, a much nicer result!

What the heck. Here’s a second photo of Andy sleeping on my computer desk shelf. He may be scarce, very scarce when I need to catch him to give him his medicine, but he likes to hang out with me otherwise!

andy schlaft 4-13-14

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10 thoughts on “Post 376: Supper better be delicious!

  1. Good Lord that was one frustrating prep time. Looks well worth it though and I bet the smell is heavenly.
    I have a very sensitive smoke alarm also. I have learned if I am going to fry clams I have to set a fan directly under the smoke alarm and pivot it up to blow directly on and away from it when the smoke front he frying clams flows in its direction.
    Such sweet photos of Andy sleeping and all cuddled up. He is such an adorable boy.

    • I got an alarm going by heating something on the stove today. There was just enough crude on it (apparently) to smoke. The next time I used it, I turned on the vent fan, and had no problem. If I ever had a real fire, I’d probably reset the alarm and die in the fire, thinking it was just another false alarm. 🙁

      Andy is a delicate little guy in appearance, an angel cat, but he also can be very feisty with his brother when feisty is needed or with me when I insist on loving him when he doesn’t want attention! LOL!

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