Saturday, July 23, 2011

I'm in the experimental mode. After 3 tries I think I'm on to something; easy donut holes.

1/2 cup of your favorite biscuit mix; Farmer Brothers for me.
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar. Don't use granulated, the donuts will be greasy little bits of junk if you do.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
2 tablespoons of water. Maybe a little more but not too much, you want the dough a bit dry.

Turn on your Nesco deep fryer to 375. Don't have a Nesco? Use your Wearever, Hamilton-Beach or whatever you've got. Don't have a deep fryer? What part of the south are you from that you don't have a deep fryer? I live in northern Arizona but came from the southern half of the state, even southern Arizonians have a deep fryer. Ok, if you don't have a deep fryer, heat some oil in a pan on the stove. Slightly flatten the dough balls, that makes it easier to turn them when necessary. Put several in the fryer. Not too many at once and keep in mind that these little buggers will expand a bit. Plus you don't want to cool your oil too much. Fry them until they're (as Alton Brown would say) golden brown and delicious. Take them out with a spider or a slotted spoon and put them on a drain rack. Don't have a drain rack? Go get one. You don't want to use a paper towel; they just sit in the grease that way. A drain rack is a good purchase. While they're still hot sprinkle a bit more powdered sugar on them.

See, I said they were easy. You can use different flavorings instead of vanilla if you want; while I'm thinking about it, banana might be pretty good along with the ubiquitous almond or lemon. After a bit of experimentation I might add a little salt to the batter but at this point I don't know what it would do. As I said, this is after several experiments and I'd be glad to hear from any of you on how to make improvements. We could be like America's Test Kitchen, making 20 batches until we get it really good. If you get it better, share!

Mix the sugar and biscuit mix together really well. Add the water and vanilla and stir until the dough is completely moistened. Add more biscuit mix or some flour if necessary; you don't want this dough sticky. Roll the dough on your granite into a ball and then form into a log. Make the log approximately the size of those large tapered candles you put out when you're trying to impress someone with a fancy dinner. (That never works by the way; if they've agreed to come to dinner they already know how you really are; fancy candles aren't gonna make a difference.) Use your bench knife and cut the roll into small pieces.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Scary Moments

Some things are just scary to think about. There are lots of things in the world that will scare a sane human. One thing I'm remembering is when I was a younger man and spent time on the ranch with some pretty wild cattle. One time we had one big wild bull that did NOT want to be herded. My dad got a rope around his neck and that made the bull mad. That bull charged dad and his horse several times before I could get a rope on him and pull the other direction. We rode for a couple of miles pulling that bull between us. A pretty scary couple of miles.

Another scary memory is the time I had dropped off a date in Pima and was headed back to Thatcher in my '69 Thunderbird. I was traveling a dirt road at a rather high rate of speed when I realized that the road ended at a T junction. I foolishly slammed hard on the brake pedal and slid for what seemed like 300 yards. I slid through the intersection and stopped with my front tires just inches from the concrete ditch at the edge of the farmer's field. Sat there for a few minutes, put it in reverse, backed out and drove slowly home. SLOWLY home.

I remember when I was very young watching "Frankenstein" for the first time. Mom told us not to watch it but my brother, sister and I thought we were tough enough to handle it. By the time the monster made his first appearance it was late at night, dark in the house and I was hiding behind the big chair in the living room, scared to death. I still don't like scary movies; my blogger name not withstanding. (Actually that comes from a murdercycle I put together from several different corpse bikes which I then called FrankenBike. One of the guys who heard what I called it said that must make me FrankenStan. I liked it so I kept it.)

Now for the scariest thing ever to be seen on the earth: I bought a pair of shorts. I'm even gonna wear them. I expect global warming will increase due to the reflection of sunlight back into the atmosphere from my white legs. When I'm wearing white socks you can't tell where the socks end and the legs begin. But regardless, I'm gonna wear 'em. Only around the house at first; it may be some time before I have the total disregard for my fellow human beings to wear them in public. Plus I'm not sure it's legal for me to be seen in shorts; somebody check up on that for me, eh.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I've gotta start wearing my glasses for doing more stuff than just reading.

Most of you remember that my black Pomeranian has diabetes and is blind. That means that he eats meals twice a day at 7:30 in the morning and 7:30 in the evening. No deviations; has to be regular. When he's fed he gets a dose of insulin. To facilitate the regular feeding time we give him canned food. Tonight I'm by myself, Lela was up for the weekend but left a couple of hours ago, Mindy is working, and Linda is gone for a couple of days. That leaves me here to feed the dog. Every now and again I figure I ought to eat something myself, so tonight I figured while I was feeding Barkley I'd warm up some refries and have a tostada. Ever notice how much canned Alpo and Rosarita refries look alike?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Of Oil Ice and Thunderbirds

Linda doesn't like oil. Oh I guess she likes vegetable oil in the right places, peanut oil when frying meat for fondue, and coconut oil for the popcorn, but I'm learning that she doesn't like large puddles of oil which emanate from underneath the Thunderbird. We've been working on the interior for some time now but every day we work on it she mentions the oil. And I mean she mentions the oil. She says I need to take care of the leaks. I'm focusing on things like the interior. I know I can replace a bad hose or tighten a fitting; you know, mechanical stuff. But the other items are a learning process, I have to figure it out as I go. In order to keep my focus I have to go slowly and work on a solution to the repair while I'm taking whatever it is apart. So here's how yesterday went; I got up thinking that Linda and I would be working on the Thunderbird. She said she'd do some other stuff while I worked on the oil but I needed to work on the oil. We're making pretty good progress. The interior is out and we (mostly Linda and our good neighbor Todd) have put down a material that is a sound and vibration suppressor. The fender is back on and most of the body work is done. The door panels are off and Lin and I are working on rebuilding them. They are a challenge mostly because I'm cheap. I prefer “frugal” to “cheap” but that's just a euphemism and the truth is I'm cheap. New panels are nearly $800.00 for a pair but I bought some plastic caps which go over the cracked vinyl for about $120.00. Of course they are LOTS more work but I'm willing to have Linda do it. But I digress; I also needed to clean off the deck a bit. It involved spraying down the boards which of course meant that there was water all over the brick pathway down below. So I went down below to turn off the water and drain the hose. What happens to water when the temperature is below freezing? It freezes of course. What happens to people who walk on frozen water? They fall of course. The first time, I hurt my pride and right wrist pretty badly. The second time I hurt my knee and my chances of making it into heaven. It's the first time I've sworn about living here in the frozen wastelands of Arizona. Oh, I whine about it all the time, but yesterday as I lay on the ground writhing in pain and getting colder because I'm laying on the ice, I swore. I mean worse than “Egg sucking dog” kind of swearing. Let's just say that I even mentioned my heavenly father's name one time. It only took one time before I regretted it but none the less I did it. And don't get me wrong; I love Arizona, but I prefer the part where it's warm!

So what does this all have to do with oil? I'll just say that the oil is still under the car because I spent a good part of the day sitting in the chair with ice on my wrist and knee. The wrist is better today but the knee is quite stiff. I'm not dead so I'll be fine. We did accomplish quite a bit with the door panels and the more I work with Linda the more I appreciate her talents. She came up with several ideas and then put them into motion. I think the panels will look really good when we get them painted and installed. Now if I could just get her to get under the car and fix those leaks.......