Sunday, December 10, 2023

Technologically Challenged

 Daughter #3 bought me a book for my birthday. She had it shipped which is not easy as she is in Denmark. I got the book. It is a nice paperback book. However, these days the vast majority of my reading is done on my Kindle e-reader. So what to do?

Start with the book

Next get the Kindle

Okay the challenge is to get this hard copy book onto the Kindle

Should be fairly straightforward.


That didn't work

Let's reverse the polarity


I know. You have to get the 'contents' in the Kindle. Duh

This is not working. Think like other electronics. 

Wait! That's it!

But sadly no

Will have to do more research online.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Mega Cook-a-Thon!

There were a number of food processing things I'd had on my mind, but week after week it seemed there were other things that took precedence. Finally this weekend, nothing seemed to be in the way. I devoted the day to cooking. There were two things that were motivating this event.

  • I had a bunch of chicken fat I'd accumulated over time that really needed to be processed into schmalz and gribenes or it would get rancid.
  • I had the leftovers from a rather sad incident where I'd purchased a pork shoulder thinking it was boneless only to find it was bone in! This was prior to my getting all my knives sharpened. It was a horror show, and I had a mangled piece of boneless pork, the the bone with a lot of meat still on it to do something with. 

So today I was making said schmalz (rendered chicken fat for cooking), a pork stew from the boneless pork piece, and New Mexico red chile from the bone. 

NM Chile Video Special


The process

 (had to do a work around as Blogger said my file was too big!)

And the end result

Making Schmaltz and Gribenes 

Every time I cook with chicken, I cut off the fat and excess skin and freeze so I have enough to make schmalz and gribenes. 

It is actually much easier to cut the fat and skin into the small pieces that will allow for rendering in a time effective way when it is frozen

The rendering must be done under a medium low heat for a LONG time

But then it gets to where most of the fat has been rendered out and the remaining bits start to brown. Now one needs to pay closer attention.

At this point you add some onions which give schmalz its distinctive flavor

You cook it more until it reaches the right point of browning and before it burns

Then you drain and separate the schmaltz from the gribenes.

 Pork Stew

Marinating - Pork with fresh Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Garlic and Salt

 Mix these well together with hands and let sit at room temperature for a number of hours

(Note, as someone who is a 'grandparent' it is a requirement to give the most obscure instructions related to anything requiring measurement like amounts or times - "Dear, you let it marinate until its ready.")

After the mysterious marinating period is done, brown the meat


Saute your aromatics - Onion Carrot, Celery

 Add some homemade tomato confit for depth

Add some black and white peppercorns 

 Now in goes the meat and the flavorings from the marinade.

Deglaze with red wine then add beef broth and salt to taste


Then into a 375 degree oven for an hour and half (Ha! threw in those specifics just to throw you off guard!)

 After that time most of the liquid is cooked down

 I add more beef broth, then take out the meat and strain the fluid

 When I serve it, I will put in some parboiled potato, carrot, and daikon, then cook in the oven for another 30 minutes.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

We Evoke The Spirit Of Shirty

 Once upon a time their was a young girl. This young girl loved soft things. Her mother wore a velour sweater. The young girl would come to her mother and cling to the sweater, rubbing its soft cloth through her hands. Sadly, the mother found that having a young girl continually clinging to you for the comfort of your sweater an inhibition to doing daily life. She finally acknowledged she would have to divest ownership of the sweater. She gave it to the young girl. The young girl was ecstatic. Being a VERY creative girl, she gave it a name that evoked all the comfort it provided her. SHIRTY, the avatar of comfort. 

Fast forward 45 years, I bought some shirts, some chamois cloth shirts.

I took one feel of the shirt. I took the shirt to Wife. She felt it. We both immediately said the same thing aloud.


Had Shirty been reincarnated? Who is to know. I do wonder what will happen if I am wearing this shirt and see the, now grown, young girl and she feels it. Will I get to keep the shirt? Or will Shirty want to return to her true love.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Charleston Mini Navel Gazing Post

We scheduled this trip to Charleston because we were undergoing an enforced hiatus in our international travels while I got a new passport. We've not done a whole lot of trips like this where we just go for a few days so I was curious to see how we would react. 

We Can Get Into It Quickly

I was happily surprised that we fit right into our travel groove almost immediately. We actually hadn't done that much research on what was there. But I think our travel persona has become such a part of who we are now that we can figure out whatever we need when we get somewhere without a whole lot of preparation. This includes figuring out how to provision our rentals, finding places to eat, getting around the place, and focusing our daily activities.

The Importance Of Walking

The downtown part of Charleston is ideal for walking. We absolutely had no need for a car between Uber and walking. And we walked a ton each day we were there. It had us wistful that our relocation dreams didn't pan out. Someone asked me if a city like Charleston would be a relocation opportunity. Sadly the areas that is best as a walking city, is not really designed for daily living. For example there is a sparsity of supermarkets and pharmacies. Also because of the heavy architectural preservation rules, affordable housing is scarce too.

 Nice To Not Have To Totally Reacclimate

One nice thing about such a short trip is we didn't have this huge catch up period after we came back. We hadn't been gone that long! And it wasn't that hard on our bodies. Now, that doesn't mean we're about to give up our international mega trips. But I can definitely see our balancing them with shorter trips like this. 

Figuring Out The Eating

You will remember my initial post about the sticker shock associated with dining. We figured it out. We found numerous places where we could have good dining experiences that were way more reasonable. I think that gives confidence that if we do this type of trip, we will be fine from a gastronomic standpoint. 

All in all this was a very good experience and has opened our minds to other alternatives for indulging our travel passion.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Doing Charleston - Last Day - Remembering Tortuous Tours

 This post is dedicated to the survivors of the Paris, France Bataan Death March and Trail of Tears Tours of 2010.

It is also dedicated to daughter #3 and her never ending love of church photography

We picked up our GPSmyCity Tour where we'd left off at the Circular Church. This was a church that was actually circular. But when it was rebuilt after the great fire, they chose a different design.

This has been a great environment for Espouses Fotograficus sightings.

Around the church

Not on the tour but I liked the colorful rotunda

Around the church

Next stop was the Confederate Museum. We did not go into it

But underneath it and running for many blocks was the Charleston City Market!

At the end of the Market is the New Custom's House

At this point, we've finished our tour but we have time to kill because we have made going to dinner a key part of today's experience. We have to be at this place before 5pm because they take no reservations, you wait in line. So I selected yet a different tour. It was quite a bit warmer today, but we went on anyway.

This is the John Rutledge House (now a Bed and Breakfast). He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

I had a feeling deep inside that if I didn't get another church in this post, I would be getting nasty comments. So here is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

Sadly they were doing Mass inside and we couldn't take any interior pictures

But fear not loyal readers!

We will find another church

The Unitarian Church

It had a really cool interior particularly a ceiling design I had never seen (and de-I has seen a few churches!). According to the docent, it was modeled on something like Cambridge in the UK

Finally we are done with churches. Let's move on to Jails!

The Old City Jail

They are actually going to be turning this into like a mixed use/condo thing

Which will be nice because when you step out of your building you will get a view of yet ANOTHER CHURCH.

Next - the Old Marine Hospital, now city offices

BTW if you want much more detail on what we've seen go to Wife's Blog where she discusses things in depth.

By now it is almost 2pm and we realize there is no way we are going to make it until the proposed dinner hour. So we head toward the College of Charleston where we will pick up an Uber for the apartment and rest a bit.

But Providence is looking over us and gracing us with blessings.

One More Church

Gastronomic Finale

There were two things on our 'must eat' list. We wanted to have a fish/seafood indulgence. And we wanted some real Carolina BBQ. 

Dinner was to be the fish experience. Sadly it didn't meet expectations. We'd done research and asked people but something didn't show up in the comments. The place we chose was very fish/seafood oriented, but it was also a very Thai/Asian influenced place. The food was good but it wasn't the kind of fresh fish forward cuisine we were hoping for. It was very Thai flavor forward. However, it was not crazy expensive either.

They goofed up our order so they comped us some curry shrimp which was one of the better dishes we had.

Wife had a grilled grouper that had a curry sauce. You could taste the fish in this one.

I had ordered two oyster oriented dishes. This was an oyster roll. Honestly the oysters were over breaded and the flavoring on the breading kind overwhelmed the oysters.

This was the dish they'd forgotten but gave to me at the end. It is grilled oysters. But you can see it was piled high with stuff. The coconut milk curry sauce and the nuts completely covered any oyster flavor.

Oh well. The wines were good! We had a Vouvray and an Austrian wine of a grape I didn't recognize.

To get our BBQ, we stopped at a place, Rodney Scott's BBQ, on the way to the airport because we had a ton of time. It was GOOD!

We had pulled whole hog, pulled pork shoulder, beans, slaw, mac and cheese, hush puppies, and corn bread. Just a nice light meal before the long flight.

Carolina style takes a whole pig, splits it in half and smokes each half in its entirety. The BBQ sauce is vinegar based. It is very different from the Texas style that is prevalent here in NM due to our proximity to Texas.

Despite stopping for lunch, we still had many hours to kill at the airport before we flew home. I really enjoyed this short but packed couple of days and think it is a type of travel I want to be doing more of in the future.