Happier Post, And Why I Was AFK

My apologies for the lack of posting and response to comments since the middle of last week. Thursday was my pre-op appointment for the next shoulder surgery, and it turned into a longer (and somewhat annoying) experience.

The actual appointment wasn’t that long, but it was a different nurse and different doc, and a reminder of why I don’t take portions of that provider too seriously. Yes, I paid attention to the instructions, but could have done without the smarmy attitude and with a bit more paying attention to my answers. Not to mention having all the test results reported back piecemeal (one at 0230 hours no less) which got me separate e-mails and texts (and alerts). Also loved the ‘oh my gosh your urine was dark yellow’ freakout, given that no it wasn’t but it was an odd shade because I took B vitamins as noted. If you’re not going to reference the notes… This is something that went on for three days. Like the surgeon and his office, but this group (not the same office) is something else. Only thing I will give them is they did get the blood first stick — this time.

Then came a truly wonderful thing: I had the house and kitchen to myself for several days, and was in shape to take advantage of it. I’ve had FUN! Let’s start with having a large chunk o beef from the restaurant supply store.

I really need to get with a chef or butcher to relearn how to break down some of these cuts, but managed to do a fair job with this one even with a thick and tough fat cap. Almost enough to make me wish I could render it down into tallow… But, it all worked out.

Got five good steaks out of it, bunch of cube meat for both a savory pie and at some point some chili, some scraps for stock later, and some of what I am calling pseudo-carne. The latter were from various pieces and I cut them small, for later cooking.

Two of the nice thick steaks got frozen as is, the other three got marinated in olive oil, garlic, and pepper. Two of them were grilled and pulled just before done, the other was supper and inhaled. Sorry, too busy eating to get photos but here’s what they looked like just before going on the grill.

One of the prime goals of the weekend was to make a steak and mushroom pie. I had wanted it to be a beef and oyster pie, but there were problems getting acceptable oysters, so… Half the cubes went into this project, and were coated with flour, salt, and pepper then browned with the onions and garlic.

Add in some Taxman Quadrupel in place of stout, add in the mushrooms, throw in the oven at 250 for three or so hours, and you get this after adding some arrowroot for thickening.

I let it cool overnight, and the next day I made my pie crusts using a lard recipe that was roughly two cups of flour, 1t salt, 2/3 cup of lard, and about 5T of ice water. I used smoked salt for part of my salt, and worked the dough by hand. Next time I do a savory pie, am thinking of substituting bacon drippings for part of the lard, using a bit more smoked salt, and turning some dried rosemary, basil, and garlic into powder and adding it. Here’s the start:

Snarksalot on Twitter was a huge help in getting this going, and in referring me to the King Arthur website which has a massive help section. Highly recommended! Here’s the bottom crust getting pre-baked using my fancy and expensive (snort) pie weights:

Filled, top crust in place, and coated with egg wash:

Baked and resting:

Finally, the pie being cut up and frozen:

The pseudo-carne asada got marinated overnight, then cooked and frozen for later use:

The housemate gave me permission to raid his basil patch, so I did up a small batch of pesto. I left the cheese out as it does not always take well to freezing. So, filled the ice tray and froze it overnight.

Next day, popped them out, bagged, and put them back in the freezer. Over the winter, I can pull out a cube or cubes, thaw, add cheese, and make what I want with it. Great way to make it last and have it all winter.

I also cooked up some chicken to replace what was lost in the Wilton incident, and made up a pan of enchiladas that are now portioned and frozen.

Finally, I cooked up a package of bacon, and most of it made it to be individually frozen then bagged for later use. Most of it. It is bacon and I am weak.

My goal is to have as close to a month’s worth of meals frozen before the surgery. Wednesday, even though all will be home, hope to make up a batch of puttanesca sauce and freeze it in individual containers. Then, cook up a dozen or so hamburgers at some point and freeze them as well. I’m going to cheat and buy burritos and other frozen breakfasts once my monthly stipend arrives.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to the last few days. Think I left something out, but those are the high points at least. It also kept my mind off the horror I was seeing online starting Saturday, and that did hit hard. More soon.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.