Non-Cornish pasties

Aug. 19th, 2017 01:00 pm[personal profile] azurelunatic
azurelunatic: Chocolate dessert, captioned No Artificial Shortages  (no artificial shortages)
Belovedest has mentioned a few times that it's hard to get your hands on a nice meat pasty around these parts. I contemplated the matter and asked a few questions.

At length, it seemed like it was a good day to try.

My reliable source for understanding the principles behind what I'm cooking is Serious Eats. So I read through the pie crust stuff again. (Incidentally, the site is a clickbait hole for DELICIOUSNESS.)


Clickbait: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/03/science-of-pie-7-myths-that-need-to-go-away.html

Science: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/07/the-food-lab-the-science-of-pie-how-to-make-pie-crust-easy-recipe.html

Recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/easy-pie-dough-recipe.html
2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces; 350 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces; 280 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons (3 ounces; 85 milliliters) cold water

I looked at the amounts involved.

There was no way that I was going to be able to fit all that flour and butter into my food processor, which is an attachment to my stick blender. I looked closely at the amounts.

It so happens that the ratio of cups of flour to sticks of butter is 1:1. So I decided that I could make a test batch, one cup and one stick. The salt and sugar is less important, and in fact the sugar is kind of not what I wanted for a pasty dough.

I put 2/3 of the flour together with the butter and a bit of salt, then added a little water and more of the flour. (Probably not how I should have done it.) Then I mixed it in a larger bowl with a little more water. My hands are rather hot, so I tried to cool them down with ice.

I wrapped it up in cling wrap and let it cool off in the refrigerator. I pulled it out a few hours later, and quartered the dough. I saw that it had distinct stacked layers, like a good steel blade. I was thrilled.

I rolled it out in the best tradition of my mother, between two sheets of parchment paper. (There is no rolling pin in this kitchen. I used a glass.) I stuck it back in the refrigerator, still between the sheets, to wait while I prepared the filling. (Parchment paper and waxed paper are easier to handle than cling wrap, for this.)

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/01/cornish-pasty-british-meat-hand-pie-recipe.html

This was not a Cornish pasty. [personal profile] wohali said something about a chicken curry pasty, and I went "Oooo!" and she advised that you can use pretty much any chicken curry recipe, just dryer than usual.

I went for it.

My basic chicken curry is chicken plus a brick of golden curry sauce plus assorted vegetables, and oil as needed. This time I decided to cook the chicken thigh meat so it would be easy to separate from the bones in my multifunction fancy rice cooker, along with some spiced oil left over from a previous recipe, and some dry onions. I cooked the vegetables and the curry brick separately, only combining them all (and some potato flakes to sop up water and oil) at the end. My partner is much better at handling chicken meat in all its phases than I am, and stripped the meat from the bones before I mixed them together.

I did roll it too thin, and I let it get too hot when filling it.

Despite the holes, I stuck the crust together with egg wash, and egg washed the outside. (I used the leftover egg wash to make a little bit of curry scrambled egg, which my partner ate on top of their salad.)

I'd wisely said that if the food was not going to be ready by 10pm, we should eat something else. The pies came out of the oven just as we were finishing chicken nuggets, but we still had enough room to test half a pie each.


Mmmmmmmmm.

I will be making these again. And the dough process is relatively simple with the tools at hand, so my partner (who can follow a recipe, but isn't yet the cocky ass in the kitchen that I am) may wind up learning the process too.


I put together a bit of sweet pie dough just now, and it's chilling in a ball in the refrigerator. I'm thinking that some fruit pies might be in order...

Family.

Aug. 17th, 2017 02:28 pm[personal profile] azurelunatic
azurelunatic: A red apple with a bite out of it, captioned in Star Trek font "What no-win scenario?" (what no-win scenario)
I am scared of my family right now.

My immediate family are largely good people who generally behave with kindness to all, and abhor the concepts of white supremacy and fascism like any decent person.

My aunts on my father's side are pretty awesome. Hippie Uncle is great, and Woodworking Uncle has good intentions and maybe a few distortions due to assorted experiences of privilege, but he does not appear to go out of his way to fuck other people over.

My aunt-by-marriage scares me. She's a doctor, and things she has said about transgender people, and gender in general, make me feel unsafe around her.

My uncle who is married to that aunt has good intentions, but does not appear to be in a position to temper his wife's attitudes.

"Racist Cousin Anna" has said some things about Mexicans that made me turn away from her. She's married to the older of that uncle's kids.

Both those cousins have posted things about guns and Muslims on Facebook that make me scared, like they wouldn't hesitate to support laws that would marginalize my friends, or might use one of those guns on someone.

I don't have the scariest family in the world. And I'm still skittish of saying anything that might prompt them to stop seeing me as their tame cousin and start seeing me as Other.

Glacier

Aug. 12th, 2017 10:17 pm[personal profile] azurelunatic
azurelunatic: The (old) Tacoma Narrows Bridge, intact but twisted. (disaster waiting to happen)
I feel very much like I'm talking about the things that don't matter, but the things that matter very much are private and inward and delicate, and to share such things widely would not be the done thing.

So: life bits, in passing.

The freezer (the thinner, left, door of the two-doored refrigerator) has had ice on the bottom -- at first just a little bit, and a few cubes that had fallen out of the ice maker -- for a while. We've had "de-glacier the freezer" on the to-do list for a while.

This morning (I think?) it hit critical, while I was -- ah, yes, it was this morning, because I was retrieving the frozen vegetables that I'd use in lunch -- searching around for something that turned out to be in the bottom drawer.

The drawers in this freezer are wire baskets with snap-on (and fall-off) plastic fronts. The bottom drawer was blocked from pulling out because the ice on the bottom was too high.

I grumbled, laid down the kitchen utility towel (one of the old ones with fraying and maybe a hole or two) and grabbed a knife for ice-pick duty. (My partner was unavailable for help, on some other unspecifiable but definitely important mission of internet mercy. Godspeed, friend.) Anyway, it would probably not have benefitted from two people. So I whacked at the ice for a while, and got it mostly on the towel. I tugged at the drawer.

The drawer shot out with surprising ease, given the big chunk of ice still attached to the bottom. I had words. I went for the cooler-bag.

It turned out that the ice sheet was attached to the basket by only a few wires, and once I figured out how to get it in the sink at the right angle, I was able to use hot water to get the ice off those wires. I left the larger sheet in the sink to thaw and drop its inclusions all over the sink, like boulders on a cleanly carved valley.

The ice had come out in one piece. There was still a little coming down the slanted surface of the bottom back, and a little more below the vent that disperses cold air or something. I swiped it out with a different kitchen towel that was due to be washed soon anyway, and reported back to my partner (after they emerged from their task).

The stuff went back in, a little more organized than it had come out, with a few things put in the fridge to thaw.

A generous double handful of the frozen mixed vegetables went in the frying pan, along with some bacon and potato. It would be slowly cooked into glorious lunch with cheese. A proper weekend brunch sort of item.

I found the strawberries I'd put aside when I got the big thing of them, frozen into a sullen frisbee sort of shape in the bottom of the round container. I pondered, tried chopping into it with a not-big-enough knife, then the brainstorm hit. I retrieved the largest of the melamine bowls (the ones with the lids) and popped the disc in.

Then I shook it.

A whole bunch of frozen strawberries make some gawdawful noise, being rattled like rocks against a hard surface, but it does tend to break them apart quite handily. I liberated a few to chuck in the food processor (an attachment for my stick blender, which I finally found at some late point in the packing, so it went in my Bachelor Kitchen Box) to turn into dust to grace the top of the lemon jelly. (Lemon jello plus shreds of frozen strawberry? RECOMMENDED.)

I also got some mending done this morning. There are some shirts that need their necks re-hemmed, plus under-layer shorts that had started blowing out at the crotch but were still otherwise in good shape. I had found one of the dismangled (a typo, but I'm keeping it) pairs of shorts, and sacrificed it for patches.

I will need to either repair my sewing machine (I dropped it while trying to get it set up) or locate the Sidewinder. The sewing machine still lights up and stitches, but something is awry in the bobbin winder. This is the second sewing machine that I've jacked up such that it won't wind bobbins anymore. Additionally, something else is wrong with the actual bobbin nest -- I believe some plate fell out. So it's harder to load, but at least it does still sew.

Kitten has decided that I am an acceptable surface to sleep on/against, and has started doing just that. It's cute, until I need to move, at which point she meows accusingly. Sometimes she settles back against me, and sometimes she stalks off and sits in her accustomed place on Partner. (Partner sleeps on their back, face up, sometimes guarding their bladder area with their hands against kitten massage even as they sleep.)

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