Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Forman and Kirkland prepare our dinner-

Sometimes you just don't want your meal to be particularly involved. Sure, fresh ground and blended meats cooked as burgers over an well laid charcoal fire are a fine meal. However, tonight we invited Foreman and Kirkland to provide us with a meal.

My daughter, Beth, did a lot of the preparation. Slicing tomatoes and red onion. "Why didn't you use the mandolin?" I asked. My wife had given us a mandolin slicing tool for Christmas. "I forgot we had one."

I like my onions sliced thin. So, I got out the mandolin. It is a V blade model. I used the safety grip to push the onion through the blades. Ah, nice and thin. Not as well shaped as I wanted. The onion was just a bit wide for the guides on the mandolin, and hit the blades at a sleight angle.

The meat was Kirkland brand ground beef, formed and frozen into uniform patties. I broke off half a dozen meat bricks and tossed three onto the George Foreman grill. We hadn't used this particular cooking tool on the frozen patties. I guesstimated eight minutes, based on grilling experience on the barbecue.

The first three were well done, a bit more than I care for. The next three were done for six minutes. The George Foreman grill does not require turning the meat. The drippings run off into catch trays. Easy-peasy. Paper towel clean-up, most of the time. Not a bad tool. Very little smoke, and set-up is pretty easy.

"Bacon." said Beth. She set up a half-dozen slices on the Foreman. We closed the lid. After a few minutes we peeked. Hmmm. Turning black at the tips, still white and fatty in the middle. I closed the lid and let it go a couple more minutes. The finished bacon was not particularly nice. The middle of each slice was still just barely cooked, the ends burnt (but still edible to a bacon mad eater such as myself).

The components brought together with inexpensive factory buns, honey mustard, ketchup and whatever else anyone wanted, and it was a fast and reasonably satisfying meal. Don't forget those cheese slices that come in little plastic jackets. Great burgers? By no means. A good meal? Unquestionably.

So, what did we learn, Dorothy? Kirkland burgers done from freezer to Foreman are best cooked about six minutes. George does not do bacon well. If you like to slice your vegetables on a mandolin, be sure they are the right size to fit between the guides. The George Foreman grill is not a bad grilling tool for indoor use, quick set up and fast clean up.

I still want to experiment with mixed freshly ground meats. I want to experiment with that for the rest of my life. However, for a quick meal, the team of Foreman and Kirkland make an adequate burger.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Carcass in a bucket-

Holidays. Feasting on holidays can leave you with a lot of garbage. For many it is no problem. Bag it, put it in a can. Take the smelly can to the curb. Bring back the can.

Some of us have to haul our own garbage. I generally make a run every other week. On the occasions I have chicken or turkey carcasses in the garbage the whole mess can get ripe and very unpleasant to handle. I have to load the garbage bags from the cans into the truck, drive to the dump station, and throw the sometimes juicy bags into the transfer pit.

Carcasses can be a problem. I have done this process for years, and only recently took this particular action. I bagged the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving separately, and dropped it in a three gallon bucket. I dropped the bucket into the garbage can, and over the top dropped the rest of the weeks garbage.

At the transfer station I had no problem with moving the nasty thing to the transfer floor. Just tip the bucket and drop the bagged carcass into the pile below. Bring the bucket home, rinse it, and put it aside for future fun.

It is such a simple, elegant solution to a messy problem. Why didn't I think of that earlier?

Those of you who have someone else to manage your garbage might want to reflect on how much of a service is being provided. It is easy to forget how many people are involved in making our lives better.

Imagine what it would be like to have to live with our leavings.

Compost, anyone?