Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Key to making jam is having some type of thickening agent to add to the fruit. I scoured the voluminous FTI resource library and found the "Cooking and food Preparation; Frozen/Preserved; Jams, jellies, compotes" section to determine the best method to follow in producing my project. The recipe included the need for commercially produced pectin. Not wanting to run to the store as I know we didn't have any on hand, I noted that the book mentioned that apples are a high source of natural pectin. You peel two tart apples, finely grate them, boil them with a little bit of water and gradually the pectin will be produced into a liquid form that can be used for my purpose. I thought "perfect", here is my answer. I dutifully followed the directions and began to boil my apple. For minutes. And minutes. And more minutes. At some point, I realized this maybe wasn't working the way I thought it should. The rolling, boiling stuff I had on the stove had changed from a clear brothy liquid to a brown foamy mass that didn't seem to be doing much. Thinking that, perhaps I should test this concoction, I took a small spoonful of it and dropped it into a cup of water. It immediately turned into a strand of caramel. This ladies and gentlemen, is the "hard-ball" stage when making candy. Though it is desirable when making homemade toffee for Christmas gifts, it is not beneficial when preparing a thickening agent for homemade jam as I had long since surpassed the point of viability in this process. I thought it might be a bit odd, but I will try it this way anyway. I dumped the mess into a strainer to remove the bits of apple and that is where a slight glitch occurred. Upon immediately hitting the dry cool area outside of it's boiling environment, it immediately turned to hardened caramel. The edge of the strainer, the sides, the sink, everywhere. What a mess. To top it off, the stuff is as hard as cement and would certainly chip a tooth if you tried to eat it. I did taste some and, though it definitely tasted like caramel, it was so hard and solid that there is no way you could chew it. Fortunately, Mrs. Kfred was yakkin' away on the phone to someone which provided me the nearly 15 minute cover to clean the mess up without her even knowing of my issues. I realized I had suffered a crop failure, threw the first batch out, and decided to go to the store the next day, get the pectin, and follow the recipe to the letter. I did so and now have regular jam. Whew. What a relief.
I'm not sure all of my efforts were worth it. I probably should just fork out the $4 for the jar and buy some Smuckers off of the shelf. I wonder if they have ever considered a toffee jam. I have a great recipe.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
We here at FTI draw on the knowledge, wisdom, and experience of our own Dickie the Peap who used to run his own series, Cheap Peap, Cheap Peap until repeated complaints forced the entire operation to shut down. Apparently, the complaints did not come from the few attendees bussed in off of skid row to give the appearance of popularity on the promise of free food (only to each get a package of saltines accumulated from repeated orders of Wendy's chili), but rather, from past attendees. The strategy of advocating little to no tipping, "grinding" down the amounts of presented invoices regardless of the amount, and failure to disclose the potential medical liabilities of the repeated classic "short-arm reach for the tab" move added up to be just to much. The gig was up.
Ill bet Dad wasn't too happy about that.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Though we have an ample supply of ice cream in the FTI commissary, due to staff layoffs, I recently had to let our FTI baker go. As a result, I directed Gummo, The Balloon Boy, to go out and get a store-bought celebratory cake marking this event. I felt a little positive reinforcement for our hardworking staff would be in order. As our budget is a bit tight here at FTI, I instructed him to be wise with the limited funds allotted for this purchase and to pick up "something nice". Upon his return, Gummo excitedly told me that not only had he found a nice cake for use at our celebration, but, that it was a lavish creation that was cancelled at the last minute by the mother of the intended recipient and that he had bought it at a steep discount to it's original asking price. This immediately caused me some concern as I knew that Gummo had been listening to some of the crazy financial philosophies of Dickie the Peap earlier but felt that, under these circumstances, no further harm or embarrassment would be showered upon the FTI Brand.
I was obviously wrong.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I apologize for the pending Old-person post in advance, but this truly is something that gets your correspondent fired up.
I got a phone call last night from Andy Capp announcing he had something for me and would like to bring it down. I had no idea what he was talking about, but figure, that if someone is willing to give me something, I will take it. If I like it, great. If not, I will give it away without their knowledge and no harm is done.
An here is what he brought to me:
Currently in the store, pints of these are $3.99 each. At that rate, I have approximately $75 worth of fruit! Ah, Summertime and the living is good.
Monday, August 13, 2012
The lake is over 1900 ft deep and is the deepest freshwater lake in the US. The blueness of the water is breathtaking and (in your humble Executive Director's opinion)every bit as blue as Lake Tahoe. Since it is inside an old volcano, there is no development, homes, cabins, boat launches or any type of commercial activity save for a pair of boats operated by the Park Service that tour the lake. We were remiss in not having reservations, so couldn't enjoy the lake from the water, but did drive the nearly 33 mile loop around the lake by car that includes about 25 turnouts where you can stop and take pictures and just admire the grandeur of it all. This loop is every bit as challenging and potentially scary as the Going To The Sun Highway in Montana's Glacier National Park. I can confirm this small tidbit of information as evidenced by Mrs. Kfred's constant reminders of "Look Out!, Slow Down!, and Watch It!' on the very same type of continuous rotating audio loop that played when we were on that trip years ago. My gentle reminder to her that she was no longer acting in official capacity as the FTI Safety Director during this time, was no longer "on the clock", and would probably best enjoy the tour without the repeated safety warnings, earned me an approximate 30 mile loop of solitary thought as the cone of silence immediately descended over her area of the front seat. For what it is worth, I used the time during this remaining 30 mile jaunt wisely by examining my actions. I soon discovered the faulty logic in my thinking, realized the errors in my ways, and to avoid any further need for further re-education, decided to admit my obvious mistakes and beg for forgiveness as, certainly, I did not understand the true ramifications of my actions. Only upon the completion of that soul cleansing process, could I fully appreciate my experience in the park.
Anyways, should you ever find yourself in the Pacific Northwest and wondering about the true meaning of life, take a moment, kick back in one of the rocking chairs at the lodge, order an India Pale Ale on a warm summer's day, and take it all in. You won't be disappointed.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Thursday, August 9, 2012
The Man Rules
We usually hear 'the rules' from the female side Now, here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules! Please note.. these are all numbered '1 ' ON PURPOSE!
There. I think that covers it.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
No longer suspected, instead, now confirmed: Justin Bieber is an idiot. Some guy that wears a Little Richard, comb-up, girly hairdo, spouting off about Prince William's receding hairline and then passing it off as a "joke" is, well, not very bright. Get back to us in 15 years Pretty boy. You might be surprised what you look like as well.
The increasing personal attacks in the Presidential race affirm my dislike of either of these guys. And the media doesn't understand why Americans are so disillusioned with politics. Would it be too much to ask either guy to tell us what they truly intend to do to help us than snipe about the other guy's shortcomings? (Editor's note to our lone reader: The preceding was the only grumpy, old guy, rant in today's contribution. We now return to the inane and meaningless).
Though multi-functional, some kitchen appliances have limitations. British firefighters say they saved an apartment from destruction after its domestically challenged resident tried to dry his wet socks and underwear in a microwave oven. The fire destroyed the appliance along with the two pairs of underwear and socks inside it, and caused smoke damage to the apartment in Weymouth, a town on England's southwest coast. The fire safety message here is to never put clothing of any kind in the microwave or an oven to attempt to dry them. Leftover lasagna, though, tastes great when fresh out of a dryer run in fluff cycle mode.
I am scheduled for a personal leave of my duties here shortly and will return with new stupidity, fresh idiocy, and updated pointless observations at that time.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
It truly is not about money any more. I just want his to end , but, I will never give up. Ever.