April 29, 2013

Lardo - the tasty cured pig fat

Much of what you eat in charcuterie is fat, whether it is marbled in to a whole muscle like coppa or ground up in chunks of various size in a cured sausage like sopressata. Since becoming interested in this pursuit I had read about straight up cured fat, or lardo. Like the average american I was a little intimidated by this concept, but Becky is more intrepid than I when it comes to weird meat and fat eating and thought it sounded promising.

April 26, 2013

Darn it! - and other mending

Being in year two of our No Clothes Buying challenge, we have started running very low on socks, underwear, leggings, pants, and skirts. I have not, in general, risen to the challenge of sewing enough clothes for my family of 5 to keep the no clothes buying on a sustainable footing, which makes me sad and somewhat disappointed in myself. Ah well, not every ambitious project is destined for success. But one way to extend the runway for no clothes buying, and for any clothes already in use is by mending.

April 11, 2013

Enterprise #5 antique meat grinder

This is the cute little brother of the Enterprise #10 meat grinder which I detailed in a previous post. I actually bought this one first, off ebay, but later developed the opinion that this one was not going to cut it and I'd better go to the next size up. After overhauling the #10 and getting it working well, I wanted to tune up the #5 and sell it off on ebay. But now that I have it working in top form, I'm instead thinking of selling the #10!

April 8, 2013

Puff pastry

Now that we are not vegans, we again eat tremendous quantities of butter every week. I began to ask myself "Why in the world are we not eating some of that butter in the form of puff pastry?!"

I've wanted to make puff pastry for some time now, but had not actually undertaken it until a few months ago. Becky has made it before, and is a very dedicated lover of the stuff. Now that I've made two batches of it, I'd say its a worthwhile thing to do at home; not all that much harder than making and preparing a pie crust from scratch.

April 4, 2013

I love my iron! (and ironing board)

One of the most essential tools for making sewing easier, faster, and better is a good iron. There is a post on this topic over at Male Pattern Boldness right now, and I felt the need to expound robustly on the subject to such an extent that I thought I'd better make a blog post out of it rather than clogging up the comments section on Peter's site with my blather.

I learned to sew ~12 years ago while taking some excellent pattern design classes in night school at Mass. Art, and we had gravity feed irons in class. They are definitely a different animal, with their own set of pros and cons. There must be very good reasons that they are de rigueur  for people who do this for a living, and using one in class certainly opened my eyes to the inadequacy of the entirely typical garbage iron I was using at home.

It wasn't long until the dastardly home iron piddled on a sewing project of mine one too many times, and I resolved to get something better.