Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday report

You guys, I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to be able to stand being upstairs. Our neighbors across the street are having their driveway re-done, which means, for those of you who do not have the pleasure of owning one of those money pits known as "a house," $5,000 to $10,000 of expense to bring your property to what it should be at a bare minimum. Getting a new driveway does not improve your property values. It doesn't make your house nicer. Or warmer. Or prettier. It just brings you up to "should be."

As my friend Rob says, it is the buying new athletic socks of home improvements. You have to spend money on something that is not fun and just keeps you from being gross.

The other part about a new driveway is that it is very, very noisy.

I remember our new driveway from last summer. Oh what a fun week that was. Shirley was thrilled because there was constant noise. She loves noise.

Think about what it takes to remove cement. Think jackhammer and transporting the cement chunks to the truck parked right in front of your house. (Or is it concrete? I can never remember which is the component and which is the final product. I tried to make a mnemonic about one is a verb and one is an adjective, but I can't remember which is which.)

Then think about that going on all day long. On one of the few days this spring where it's been nice enough to open the windows. Wisconsin weather, your timing is fab.

I might be forced to go to the basement and watch a movie from amazon prime.

You guys know about that, right? If you are an amazon prime subscriber, which I have not wanted to be because I am not convinced we get out money's worth from it and I have asked SH to do a break-even analysis on what he pays for it compared to how much he would have to pay for actual shipping of the few items he orders, the most recent one being a Spinners CD, which was actually OK with me as I like the Spinners and am going to see them at Summerfest, even though I am not so fond of crowds of drunk and almost-drunk people and young women who are wearing a skirts so short that you can see that no underwear was harmed in the creation of this outfit.

No. I am not making that up. Last summer, I saw a young woman whose nekkid buttocks were visible under the very short hemline of her dress. Maybe it wasn't a dress. Maybe it was a shirt and she had forgotten to put on the rest of her outfit. I wanted to run up to her and tie a sweatshirt around her waist.

Bless her heart.

Where was I?

Oh. Right. Amazon prime - you can download free movies from amazon.com. Not all movies, but enough that it might make sense to keep the subscription for a while. Although now that I think about it, Netflix still might be cheaper.

So I want SH to do that analysis and no I do not care that certain people who are related to him can use his account. Their savings do not factor into this equation unless they are helping to pay for the subscription which they are most emphatically not.

The other thing I wanted to tell you (besides SH will be back in a few days and then we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming) is that when your recipe says to whisk your eggs just until blended, they mean it.

In my latest issue of Cooks Illustrated, there is a story about eggs and why you shouldn't overbeat them, as I did the other day when I was making custard and thought, I'm going to mix in that stringy part of the white, darnit! I'm going to use the electric mixer on this! and then I mixed the heck out of it and the custard tasted kind of rubbery.

You shouldn't overbeat them because blah blah blah stuff about stretching out the proteins and making it easier for them to re-bond more tightly.

You shouldn't overbeat them because it makes them tough.

After reading the story, I made another batch of custard, this one barely whisking the eggs.

This custard is soft and billowy and melts. It is not chewy or tough.

My advice to you and to me is to believe The Joy of Cooking when they tell you to do something a certain way. There is usually a good reason.


Joy said...

I did not know that about amazon prime! They were holding out on me! They only emphasized the free shipping!

And thanks for reminding me that I've got a quart of milk close to going bad that should be made into pudding tonight. I'm too lazy for custard, but pudding is just my speed. I have a vanilla bean my sister brought me from Mexico.

Class factotum said...

Joy, I make my own yogurt, too. It's super simple: heat the milk to 212, then let it cool to 115. Throw in a few teaspoons of live yogurt culture in the mix - I use a small container of Dannon - stir, then cover and put in the oven with the oven light on for 6 hours or so. Until it turns into yogurt.

Joy said...

Does low-fat, pasteurized, homogenized milk work? How thick does your yogurt get?

Class factotum said...

Joy, I have made it from skim and from whole milk. The whole-milk yogurt tastes better.

It gets as thick as store yogurt and tastes better, I think.

Ptolemy said...

Unless you aren't buying anything at all, you might look at other things you buy and see if you can get them for free shipping from Amazon... We used the entire year's cost for Prime on a bulletin board -- would've cost as much for shipping as it did for the board -- but instead it was FREE! And we get our bath soap, laundry detergent, toilet paper and dishwasher soap from Amazon... Save even more on the TP by putting it on a schedule so it comes automatically...

Class factotum said...

P, that's a great idea. I hadn't thought of that.