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Camping, Princess Style


Marlene
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I mentioned his pressing desire that we should be removing things from the refrigerator and freezer. One reason is that he simply can't find things when the compartments are crammed. To be fair, I have the same problem, to a lesser degree, but I have a better idea of what's in those compartments.

 

(The cupboards may be another story. The day before Thanksgiving I drove to town for a couple things I needed. I had been sure we had brown sugar, but I couldn't find it, and I also needed dark corn syrup for the bourbon pecan pie. Directly I got home and went to put things away, I found the stash of brown sugar. Later, whilst looking for a box of Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice, I found more brown sugar! The unopened package went to a food shelf.)

 

One night we decided it was time to cook the half-package of shrimp and the container of cooked pasta that were taking space in the freezer. At his request, I agreed to make another crack at Shrimp Bolivar - one of the one-offs of mine that's never the same twice. Pasta, butter, garlic, cream, grated parmesan, and the shrimp. Garnished with parsley because it was taking up space in the refrigerator.

 

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It came out very well, and of course he wondered whether I'd kept notes, and of course I hadn't.

 

The garlic braid came from a farmers' market in Duluth last fall. The variety is Russian Giant. It's well named, isn't it? Gorgeous and flavorful stuff.

 

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And huge.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Where to start? Beautiful garlic The rocks are so in my love zone. The spider has lovely long legs - I love spiders. That salmon pate - I am surprised at its longevity. Sure mesquite smoked would be lovely flavor but not sure what your recipe would be to keep it in fridge past a week. On the recipe notes - my first lovely husband would ask the same question. He finally got me a stack of yellow 3 x 5 cards and would sit me at kitchen table to record while he did the dishes. 

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It is, as you probably know, much less time consuming and make hot smoked salmon than cold smoked salmon which is what I'm guessing was used for your mousse.  Back when we had our house I used to cold smoke salmon.  I'd cure it first then smoke it at a controlled temperature.  I looked for the recipe I used but I can't find it.  The wood I used was maple which I also used to smoke bacon.  I think mesquite would be too strong for salmon.

 

Edited to add:  Loved the James Herriot books.  I have All Creatures Great and Small taped but haven't watched it yet.

Edited by ElsieD (log)
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Speaking of shelf life...I am about to take a deep breath and empty these jars into the garbage. 😞

 

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Two years ago I attended a class on meat preservation at my favorite kitchen store. The class was taught by some of Duluth's preeminent preparers and vendors of such dishes. They made and let us taste pork rilletes, duck confit and king salmon candy. They gave us recipes to make them, and recipes with which to use them. They also sent us home with sealed jars of each, prepared in their commercial kitchen.

 

I brought mine along in the Princessmobile refrigerator, saving it for the special occasion when my sister came to visit. Then ... the world turned upside down... she couldn't make it for Christmas, and then the pandemic struck. 

 

I called the teachers recently, told them I still have those carefully prepared jars, unopened and refrigerated these two years. Would they still be safe? The answer came back: absolutely not. They weren't preserved with that sort of shelf life in mind.

 

*sigh*

 

Part of me thinks they're thinking mostly of liability. Preservation of meat with salt, sugar and fat is a time-honored tradition. 

 

The other part of me thinks that I did ask because I wasn't sure, and these guys are the experts..  But this stuff still looks so good.

 

*sigh*

 

I'm probably going to pitch it today, instead of continuing to stall as I have been. I'd love some reassurance that with it sealed refrigerated it's still safe unless it smells or tastes spoiled.

 

Opinions? Advice?

 

And the obvious advice is:

DON'T save the good stuff for a special occasion.

Make a special occasion instead!

 

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Ugh, that's a hard question.  As you said, no one wants to be responsible for a night next to the toilet or worse, but, dang I'd want to try that...they were in the fridge the whole time.  What about opening and smelling and perhaps a tiny sample......  But this makes me responsible if you get sick lol.  I'd probably risk it with myself and if I was fine, I'd share with Ronnie, but that's just me.

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47 minutes ago, Shelby said:

Ugh, that's a hard question.  As you said, no one wants to be responsible for a night next to the toilet or worse, but, dang I'd want to try that...they were in the fridge the whole time.  What about opening and smelling and perhaps a tiny sample......  But this makes me responsible if you get sick lol.  I'd probably risk it with myself and if I was fine, I'd share with Ronnie, but that's just me.

 

If it tasted really good I wouldn't share.

 

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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

And the obvious advice is:

If in doubt throw it out. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

If in doubt throw it out. 

 

I think "doubt" is the key word here.  Clearly you have some doubts so @Anna N's answer is the right one.  Even if the stuff is isn't unsafe, it's probably past the point where quality has started to degrade so if this is the time to say so long, don't feel so bad!

 

Personally, I think they gave you a CYA answer.  If the stuff was only supposed to be good in the fridge for a week, surely they would have told you that in the beginning.  If it was processed in a pressure canner  to be safe for months and assuming there are no issues with losing the seal, I don't get where an "unsafe" cut-off kicks in at six months or a year or where?  I do get quality drop-offs and this stuff is surely in the range where that's going on.  Sad, but maybe not the biggest loss at this point. 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the insights, everyone. I've gotten some private commentary as well. The upshot is that I haven't done anything with those jars except open one, note its beautiful topping of fat sealing it, close it again and put all the jars back in the refrigerator. I can throw 'em out later, or (probably) do the small taste-test-and-wait routine. At any rate, I'm going away for a few days so nothing will happen on that front for a while.

 

Today has been a maintenance day. We took the Princessmobile to an RV dump site to empty the holding tanks, refuel the generator tanks, and refill the water tanks. The entire process, including driving, takes about 2-1/2 hours. It began with a bit of drama, however: the trailer brakes wouldn't work. This has happened before: he steps on the pickup brakes but the trailer brakes don't activate. It's a bit of a nuisance on flat land, downright dangerous going downhill or in tight traffic at freeway speeds. Our brakes had been intermittent and we couldn't figure out why. I sighed, had him pop the hood, and looked at the associated fuse. It wasn't just blown, it was broken! I've no idea why.

The top is the fuse as we found it; the bottom is the new replacement. These particular fuses are hard to find, so we buy several when we find them.

 

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It's a bit of a deal getting the Princessmobile ready to move, even for a few hours: an extra hour at each end for teardown and setup. I still have my feet up, resting, having finished a small sandwich and some potato salad.

 

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That sandwich has mayo, horseradish mustard, salami, a small chunk of ham, the last of the Cooper's dill pickle chips, and lettuce. Lots and lot of lettuce, as I like it. 

 

The sole maintenance job still under way is the oiling of my Boos butcher block. The wood gets thirsty in this 12% humidity, and if I don't stay atop keeping it oiled it can start to split. I wasn't diligent enough with it the first year I had it, so there are small splits at the ends, but I think I've kept it from getting any worse. Here it is when I had just added the oil on half, so you can see the contrast in wood condition:

 

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The cutting board is still in the process of soaking up that oil, and I'm allowing it an hour or three to take it all in:

 

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I'll flip it and do the other side later.

 

Last night I'd planned ham 'n' mac 'n' cheese for dinner, but we spent too much time admiring the evening sky.

Can you say "Plane of the Ecliptic"?

 

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From upper left to the sunset: Jupiter, Saturn (faint but visible in the picture), Venus, and the faintest sliver of new moon on the threshold of winter. Happy Durin's Day.

 

We came inside and nixed the ham 'n' mac 'n' cheese in favors of grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, which are much, much quicker. 

 

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Tonight, if I get off my duff, we'll be having a puff pastry pizza. If I don't get going, it'll be something else you've already seen before!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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1 hour ago, Smithy said:

Can you say "Plane of the Ecliptic"?

No, but I can hum Silent Night. What a beautiful photograph. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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For once, dinner went as planned, and was not part of the normal repertory.

 

Puff pastry, rolled out (without breaking!) and spread with roasted tomatoes in olive oil, Trader Joe's marinated artichoke hearts in olive oil, chopped salami, fresh basil, and shredded parmesan.

 

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400F oven until the pastry was puffed and browned, the cheese melted, and all the ingredients had become friends.

 

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Finger food, once a knife had cut it into manageable sizes. Crisp crust. Delicious ingredients. Even my darling, who would never dream of choosing something like this, enjoyed it greatly. We ate every crumb.

 

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Delicious? Yes. Rich? With all that olive oil? Oh, yes.

 

Urrp.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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10 hours ago, Smithy said:

For once, dinner went as planned, and was not part of the normal repertory.

 

Puff pastry, rolled out (without breaking!) and spread with roasted tomatoes in olive oil, Trader Joe's marinated artichoke hearts in olive oil, chopped salami, fresh basil, and shredded parmesan.

 

20211206_182639.jpg

 

400F oven until the pastry was puffed and browned, the cheese melted, and all the ingredients had become friends.

 

20211206_191327.jpg

 

Finger food, once a knife had cut it into manageable sizes. Crisp crust. Delicious ingredients. Even my darling, who would never dream of choosing something like this, enjoyed it greatly. We ate every crumb.

 

20211206_203424.jpg

 

Delicious? Yes. Rich? With all that olive oil? Oh, yes.

 

Urrp.

 

 

That looks delicious.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

One thing about "going away for a few days" is that by the time I pick up the narrative again, there's plenty to post about. I'll start with Christmas Eve Day.

 

Actually, I'll start a couple of days before that. The storms that are bringing much-needed water to California are occasionally coming far enough south and inland to affect us. We knew we'd be getting rain one evening, so we covered the outside gear, tilted our decks to keep rain from soaking into them, and enjoyed the sound of the rain all night. We awoke to low-but clearing clouds, and lovely rain-decorated plants.

 

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After such storms comes wind, from the west. This windstorm was forecast to be a humdinger -- as in, rattling windows and challenging our ability to stay warm - so we anchored everything that might blow away, and closed the tailgate to keep warm inside.

 

20211226_125222.jpg

 

So it was that on Christmas Eve Day I had a lot of time to putter around in the kitchen. I've been wanting to try a Washington Post recipe for a Chile Relleno casserole, and thought it might make a good Christmas Eve dinner. Here's the recipe, probably behind a paywall:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/food/2021/12/14/chile-relleno-casserole-recipe/. I'll summarize it...

 

Start with canned poblanos, if you can find them. I couldn't find any in the grocery store, so I bought fresh poblanos...20211224_122800.jpg

 

...roasted them until they blistered...

 

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...put them in a covered bowl to cool down, then peeled and seeded them.

 

Meanwhile, this package of ground beef from my darling's daughter...

 

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and an onion got to know each other in a pan until the meat was browned. The seasoning was ground cumin and a touch of salt. The recipe calls for pepper too, but I decided I couldn't be bothered to find it. (More about finding things later!) The assembly of the hot dish is: layer the poblanos in a baking dish, then put the meat/onion mixture atop it. Top with shredded cheese and diced peppers. Then - and this is the brillaint part to me - pour a mixture of milk, flour, whisked eggs and a touch more salt over the entire dish. I'm not always careful about reading and comprehending directions in a recipe before I start, and in this case I'd expected to be making a bechamel over the stovetop. Nope. Just pour the mixture over the contents of the baking dish, and bake.

 

Voila! Or maybe I should say, Ole!

 

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Dinner that night saw the first use of the Christmas dishes I splurged on a few weeks ago.

 

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This recipe is a keeper! It's really very easy, too, unless you're also juggling the making of cinnamon rolls. I'll tell about that in another post.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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So here's the rest of what was going on on Christmas Eve, in a culinary sense: the making of cinnamon rolls. I have never done this, at least not from scratch. I'm sure that when my parents were alive and we celebrated Christmas together there must have been cinnamon rolls baked at home, maybe from the whomp tubes. But I've never done it.

 

My darling has been rhapsodizing and reminiscing about his mother. She baked bread for the family from time to time, and otherwise bought bread at the day-old bread store. There were 5 children and a tight budget, but that's another story. What my darling remembers is that when she brought out the big bread bowl, he knew there would be warm bread, or cinnamon rolls, or both, when he got home from school. Maybe I'd be willing to do that? he pleaded. Not the school part, but the cinnamon rolls part.

 

Well, that sent me on a bit of a search. I'm still trying (with little success) to make sourdough bread. I didn't think that would be right. What did he remember about her recipe? Nothing. Did it have eggs? Milk? Shrugs. He didn't know. I guessed that it probably did, that it would be nearer to Peter Reinhart's sandwich loaf - an enriched bread - than to a lean artisan-style loaf. I started to mix a batch of Reinhart's bread, from one of his Craftsy classes I took, then I remembered this book, that I acquired this year when it was reprinted:

 

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Bea is a wonderful, warm, kind woman, well deserving of the awards she's won over the decades. I don't know her well but I've met her a few times, through mutual friends and some work I did with her husband. I looked through the book. No cinnamon roll recipe, as such, but the recipe for Good Basic Sweet Yeast Dough looked like just the ticket.

 

It wasn't hard to make the dough, although I found myself wishing I'd packed the Danish dough whisk I bought last summer. While the dough was resting and rising, I began a quest for the filling ingredients. The pecans (from Llano, TX) and raisins (from a grocery store in Yuma last week) were easy. The cinnamon and brown sugar were more of a challenge. I wrote around Thanksgiving time, I think, about looking high and low for them and finally buying more. I found them later when I was looking for something else. There's been a lot of that going on this trip. However, at least I knew where to find them. I just had to excavate them...from way back in the back of this bottom cupboard...

 

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...after removing much of the contents of that cupboard....

 

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Then, and only then, could I open the box containing some fine cinnamon and some rather oldish (but still good) brown sugar.

 

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(There's some dried candied fruit in the back of that cupboard that I bought for making Christmas stollen, 2 or 3 years ago. I haven't thrown it away yet, but I think I'll do so soon and reclaim that space.)

 

I had to refer to another cookbook to get the cinnamon / sugar / butter ratio, but by the time the dough was ready to be rolled I was ready to fill it. I was none too sure about raisins, but he wanted them. I wanted pecans. This is how I resolved the question.

 

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"How big did she cut the slices?" I asked my darling. He didn't know. "Well, did they puff up high or were they flattish?" He couldn't remember. I did my best guess: cut slices about an inch high and loaded them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Meanwhile, the wind howled and YouTube played some marvelous Christmas music, and the poblanos were roasting for the hot dish listed above, and both 2-footed and 4-footed residents demanded attention...it was quite the juggling act for me. But I got everything rolled up, and we ate dinner. He thought it all looked very complicated, and apologized. I noted that it was because I was doing 2 unfamiliar dishes at once, but neither was very complicated. You've seen the dinner we ate. Here are the rolls, after sitting covered overnight and after baking:

 

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It was a delightfully Christmasy breakfast!

 

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Oh yes, I'll do this again. I'll probably make a smaller batch, though. Or wait until we have company.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Yum!  @Smithy, those cinnamon buns look great and your recipe sleuthing is truly impressive!  When I pulled out Deep Run Roots the other day, I spied the recipe for Sausage-Stuffed Honey Buns that has long intrigued me.  They look like cinnamon rolls but with caramelized sausage in the filling. Vivian describes them as being like a side of sausage with pancakes. Your post gives me a nudge to see how well I can reduce the recipe to a reasonable size for a single-person household!

Edited to add that that recipe makes 20 buns!

Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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Beautiful cinnamon rolls!  Ronnie hinted about a month ago that he was hungry for those, too.  After we whittle down some of the Christmas goodies we've been given, those are on the list to make.  They freeze really well, but I'm thinking you might not have room in your freezer lol.

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40 minutes ago, Shelby said:

Beautiful cinnamon rolls!  Ronnie hinted about a month ago that he was hungry for those, too.  After we whittle down some of the Christmas goodies we've been given, those are on the list to make.  They freeze really well, but I'm thinking you might not have room in your freezer lol.

 

You are so right about the freezer! 😄

 

Right now the rolls are wrapped in Ziplock-type bags. We learned yesterday that they reheat and soften nicely in the microwave, with a small dish of water in the chamber with them. 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'll demonstrate about the freezer, even as I demonstrate one of the assembly-line projects that my darling so adores. We finished the Superburgers last week - well, there's one more, but he'll have that one sometime when I'm gone. We needed to make more. I'm beginning to suspect it's a ploy to avoid the fish I so love, but that's another story.

 

Our Superburgers recipe is 3 pounds Hot Italian sausage, 3 lbs ground beef (preferably 80% lean), and a chopped sweet onion. (If at all possible that Hot Italian sausage must be Johnsonville variety. We're tried other types. Sometimes we've been disappointed.) Mix it all together, measure exactly 7 ounces, mash in the burger patty maker, with burger patty papers for separation. Stack all but two for freezing.

 

20211229_103040.jpg

 

This is approximately when I discovered that I'd left our quarter-sheet pans and eighth-sheet pans home. All of them. Fortunately, one baking sheet is small enough to wedge into the freezer.

 

Cook two burgers that night, being sure to warm the smoked corn in the grease.

 

20211229_104739.jpg

 

A couple of days later, here is the final frozen product, ready to be bagged in pairs:

 

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And then it has to go into the freezer, which as I write looks like this:

 

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That large paper package at the upper right of the chamber is the other half of a pork roast that I bought while I was away. The first half was cooked for Christmas dinner. Maybe I'll get around to telling you about that before New Year's!

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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21 minutes ago, Smithy said:

 

 

 

 

Maybe I'll get around to telling you about that before New Year's!

Please do, I just brought home a pork shoulder that I'm going to make later in the week.  I found a CI recipe for Slow cooker pork roast with mushroom gravy...and it looks great!

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43 minutes ago, lindag said:

Please do, I just brought home a pork shoulder that I'm going to make later in the week.  I found a CI recipe for Slow cooker pork roast with mushroom gravy...and it looks great!

 

Love pork shoulder.  I make one with an apple gravy.

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