simple things

I crochet every day.  I try to sew every day and spin every day as well but crochet usually is a given.  I have tried every style of hook.  Metal, plastic, wood, bone.  I like metal.  A well finished wooden hook is a thing of beauty. 

I have really liked to come to like Furls hooks.  They are nicely ergonomic.  I like the pewter hook and I have one of their wooden ones I really like.  I do not like the wooden hook pictured on the right very much at all.  The finishing is not as nice as I would have liked.  Especially for the price.  I put it in my Etsy shop for sale until I get a chance to give it some TLC.  When the TLC is applied, I may regift it.  That is how much I do not like it.  I will not regift it until some sanding and possibly buffing is done.

The pewter hooks I purchased from Furls were very nice.  At least the hook part was.  The handle was plastic.  The fit and finish from the handle to the hook always left a little bit to be desired.  Especially with how many people I have in my life who make things and put handles on tools.  Then I chipped one handle and one handle came off a hook.

The boyos of Serenity Knives rehandled them for me.  Honestly, it would have been less expensive to buy a new hook.  But then all of the hook would have hit a landfill.  Hooks that are not bone do not usually break on me.  I would have still had the same fit and finish problem.  The fit and finish on these two hooks is now much better then the original.  I can see me using these hooks until my hands do not work well enough to crochet any more.

The hook on the bottom of the picture is a mystery wood.  The top hook's handle is king wood.  They are both lovely.  The king wood hook was finished for me first so that is the one I have been using.  It is a wonderful hook now.  I have no complaints.

Next handle that breaks, getting it rehandled.  It appears to be how I get paid by those boyos for food and errand running.  But I do not complain at all!


a quiet 4th of July

I had a quiet day yesterday.  Yes, it was the 4th of July.  Independence day.  I try not to be political here but I am not very happy with my elected officials.  I have done what I am able and will continue to do what I am able.  It is very frustrating where I am in a precinct and state where it is very obvious that my elected officials do not wish to know what I think.  I do vote though.  And I will continue too.  I will keep making the offer to feed people who have more energy or are more extroverted then I am.

On top of politicians, it rained and flooded yesterday.  We were traveling to friends so the journey was taken with care and we arrived safely.  Then it was just a quiet day.  These friends we can have a conversation with all day but also do not feel the need to talk if we do not wish.  Or even do anything.  

After the rains stopped, the sun came out a little bit.  The sunset was gorgeous.  There was fireworks up and down the beach.  Some of those were probably planned by a municipality but most were just every day people.  

It was a good day.


pineapple salsa

I feel like this is an never ending dish, tacos al pastor.  Not really but the bits make a difference.  Fresh bits make even more of a difference.  The last thing that needs to be made is a pineapple salsa to top the taco.  It just adds a bit of sweet and hot.  Just finishes it.  And then you can also use the rest of the salsa on other tacos if you have eaten all the pastor.

pineapple salsa

1/2 pineapple, cored and chopped into small pieces

1/2 minced onion (I used what I had which was a yellow onion but the original recipe called for a purple)

1 or 2 habanero chiles, minced (2 is pushing the heat factor)

juice of one lime

a handful of mint, chopped (I picked mine from the garden.  Do not use the mint.  It brightens the flavor)

In a bowl, mix the pineapple, onion, chile, lime juice, and mint.  Mix well.  If you really think it needs it, add a sprinkle of salt.

Scoop on top of tacos.  

It is really that simple but it just adds a nice bit of flavor.  Brightness and heat.  

I had to write it down somewhere!


tacos al pastor

The tacos.  Tacos al pastor.  How did they turn out?  One of the boyos thought they were some of the best he ever ate.  I will tell you I cheated.  I used beef instead of pork and I put the meat in the slow cooker with the marinade.  To get bits of crispy, the meat was put under a broiler after it was cooked so tender that it could be shredded with a spoon.  Much nicer then going out for tacos!  

I keep threatening that I am going to make barbacoa next.  It may be a poke bowl though.  I wish raw fish and rice.

tacos al pastor

10 guajillo chiles, seeds removed

2 chiles de árbol

1 pound chuck roast

8 garlic cloves, peeled

1 cup vinegar (I used a homemade vinegar that was rather fruity.  It had started as a fruit kombucha)

¼ cup sugar

3 tablespoons achiote paste

4 1/2 tablespoons salt

1/2 pineapple cored, and sliced into chunks

1/2 onion, roughly chopped

Put both types of chiles in 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and let soak for half an hour.

Put the meat in the slow cooker.

Pour the chiles and water they soaked in into a blender container.  Add everything else.  Blend about ten minutes.  Remember, I over blend.

Pour over the meat in the slow cooker to all but cover.  There should be extra which I put in the refrigerator for the next time I made tacos (yes, this has already happened so I cannot say how long it keeps.  But I had live vinegar yeasty beasties so it could have gotten very interesting).

Turn the appliance on low and let cook at least 12 hours.  High if you wish it to go faster.  The meat should be shreddable with a spoon.

I crisp it up in under the broiler.

Serve it on a tortilla or mjustat with pineapple salsa and cabbages.  I have actually been grilling my mjustat recently.  The boyos also ate this on salad and said it was the best!  Other words and noises were used but I do not have to repeat.

Goodness there are a lot of links to my own recipes!  


achiote paste

I have been eating out about once a week lately which is not very like me.  Part of it is Monday is an errand day for me.  Part of it has been business.  Part of it is trying "the best" tacos in town.  Most of the reviews are what are called around here "yuppie" tacos.  I have learned my favorite tacos are normally authentic to the Mexican culture.  It can be tweaked a tad but true to a Mexican heritage.  It also did not help that there is a new restaurant around the corner that has good tacos but yuppie prices.  Nothing cutting edge, just tasty.  Price was ouchy.

I like Tacos al Pastor.  They are usually made with pork which I can react to so it would be better if they were made with beef for me.  Or grass fed pasture raised hog.  Having inflammatory conditions make you more sensitive.

I did the research and realized that I was going to have to make the things to make the things.  Sounds about like the rest of my life and choices.  I needed achiote paste.  Other then collecting all the ingredients, it was quite easy.  I followed the Bon Appetit recipe quite closely.  I did use homemade vinegar instead of white distilled.  There is a fruitiness to it.  I also have the tendency to blend everything much longer then recipes call for.  I find it does make a difference.  Usually in a positive fashion.

I am also going to say that I am always surprised how the same spices are used across different cultures.  The spices in this Mexican dish are very similar to the spices used in my Swedish and Norwegian recipes.  Just different amounts.

achiote paste

3 whole cloves 

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup ground annatto seeds (I could not find whole which is what the recipe calls for)

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons dried Mexican or Italian oregano

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon coarse salt, I used Himalayan

4 garlic cloves

1/4 homemade vinegar (or distilled white vinegar)

zest of one lime

zest of one orange

In a blender (I have a small attachment to my immersion blender which worked very well), put all the ingredients up to the garlic cloves.  Blend on a high speed until finely ground.

Add the garlic cloves, one at a time, and blend after each.

Add the vinegar and blend.

Add in the citrus zest and blend.

This makes a very thick paste.  Not all of it is needed to make Tacos al Pastor so put it in a jar and store it in the refrigerator.  

I am actually making tacos al pastor again today.  There have been three meals of it so far this week.  But I have not had to use anymore of this paste.  It goes a long way.  It has a savory meaty flavor.  It would probably be very good added to other things but I have not tried.