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Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Upgrade

Good evening, dear readers.

Today, my kitchen received some much-needed upgrades. For a while, we've been lacking in a few kitchen basics like a liquid measuring cup, baking sheets, a rolling pin, a whisk, and a 9x13 casserole dish. We've made-do without them, but since I've been taking a more active role in meal prep now that my husband has to work, cooking becomes a real bitch when you don't have the proper tools for the job.

Since we needed a few non-food items at Walmart, I got my kitchen tools. I even got a small Teflon-coated pan for when I make palacinke! The only thing from my list that I didn't get was the casserole dish, but only because our neighbor down the street was having a yard sale and my husband saw that she had bakeware for sale.

My new starter. It works beautifully

Even though the kitchen arsenal upgrade was great, the best upgrade I got today was a proper charcoal starter! My mom sent my husband a gift card to Home Depot for his birthday, and we used that to get my starter (as well as some needed hardware). I was happy because now I could light my charcoal in a relatively safe and effective manner as opposed to using the propane stove and risking burns during the transfer of the charcoal from the stove to the grill. Before we were married, I remembered that my husband had a small charcoal chimney starter which he used periodically for when he wanted to barbecue something, but his birdbrained roommate threw it away while she was cleaning his room (she insisted on it because she was attracted to him for all the wrong reasons). Now that we had a proper replacement of that doomed starter, it was time to break it in. Good thing I had thawed out some pork chops and a bit of ground beef. Baked beans were on the menu too!

The starter itself was pretty straightforward to use and easy to light. I'd seen Youtube chefs use chimney starters for barbecuing, so it wasn't hard for me to copy them. After all, it's not difficult to stuff old newspaper underneath the wire mesh separating the charcoal hopper from the lighting chamber. Some old grocery fliers were put to use as well as plenty of the hard-to-light wood charcoal I've been using. It took about 15 minutes or so before the coals were ashed over enough to be dumped into the grill. The handles were a bit hot, but I had some wet rags to help me grip them.

Sure enough, the starter did its job well. The coals were lit and put to use in a shorter amount of time than it would have taken to do the same job on the propane stove+transport to grill. I didn't even nearly-burn myself like last time.

Kickin' it old-school. I even remembered to add the molasses this time!

In characteristic fashion, I proceeded to barbecue my pork chops, some vegetables, and then cook the pot of beans on the grill. There's something relaxing about just kickin' back and letting the hot coals cook a pot of baked beans. It brings to mind old West cowboys around a campfire, relaxing and making their food.

Tomorrow I'm gonna retry making English muffins. I bought a jar of fresh yeast earlier this week and so I'm itching to test it out.

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