Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Some Canning Basics. - Too much rain, too many mangoes, too much free time. I guess I'll can mango jelly!

I'm sitting here on a Wednesday Morning debating the same thing I did yesterday.  Will the weather hold for me to get a workout in.

Yesterday, no absolutely not.  When I stopped watching Miami got 3 inches of rain and it was still going on. 

Today, I don't think so.  The leftover rains washed everything onto the road beds, left ponds everywhere, and there's more to come.  30 miles South, 60 miles West, and all coming here for a visit to Metro Fort Lauderdale.  My back yard.

So I'm considering my options.  Since it is Wet Season, you have to let the weather do the talking.

I could throw the bike on the car and drive to the park and go around 5 times, or until I get rained out.

I could make more Mango Jelly, and can the stuff and use up all of the morning.

I could do both, bike in the morning until I get wet then can jelly in the afternoon.

Since dog walk 2 is going to happen ... now, I'm going out to try to decide later.  To do anything athletic, I need a carboload and a lot of planning.  Procrastination does not lend itself to being a Jock.

While I was out, there was a storm that blew up over the park that I workout at, 8 miles North of me.  I never saw it here, at home, but RADAR made the decision for me.

Canning Basics:

WARNING:  Canning food is always at your own risk and your own skill level at keeping items and surfaces clean.  Boil everything you can for 30 minutes and please be careful.  Any doubt, buy new food at the supermarket.

Start with jars and lids that are as clean and undamaged as possible. 
If needed, run everything that touches food through the dishwasher.
You have to sterilize everything that touches food:

  • Boil everything for 30 minutes minimum.
  • All Spoons, Jars, Lids, and "Tools" like Funnels must be boiled for 30 minutes.
  • Everything.
  • If it does not touch the food, and only "outside" you can just make sure that it's clean and not sterile.  This is things like Jar Handlers and pot holders.

This does not guarantee that your food once canned will remain wholesome and good to eat. 
Do not can food with a high egg content. 
Use promptly, 6 Months or sooner.  I have personally gone a year but I'm stupid.

If any questions consult another source like the USDA for safe food handling procedures.  That link points you to the University of Georgia site which is where the USDA wanted you to go anyway.

Your Food should be cooked to the proper temperature to kill any bacteria.  If I am canning, I cook to a minimum of 165F as tested with a kitchen thermometer.  Hotter is better.   No Raw Foods.  When you boil the jars to seal them for 30 minutes, you will end up cooking them again anyway.

The Chart linked here shows you how hot you can cook your food to serve.  You are canning, you need a higher standard.  "Well Done" here is good.

Now that you have the food cooked, and your canning jars have been boiled, the process begins to fill your jars. 

The process that I will use is:

  • Take the sterilized funnel from the boiling water and set aside on a clean plate.
  • Remove a jar from the boiling water and empty it into the pot.
  • Set the jar on a clean workspace plate.
  • Remove a lid from the boiling water and set that aside on the plate.
  • When filling a jar remember that the food will expand in the water bath, leave room from the top of the jar when you fill.
  • Fill the jar with your food, and set a lid on top of the filled jar.
  • Use a clean ring to loosely secure the lid in place. 
  • You should be able to turn the ring but not have it come off if you lift by the ring.
  • Set the filled jar in the hot water bath using the clean tools.
  • Repeat for the remainder of the food and jars.
  • When the pot has been filled, lower your jars into the hot water bath.
  • Bring the water up to a full boil.
  • Boil the water bath for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Reusing Jars is acceptable but Reusing Lids is risky.  If your last use of the lid required it to be pried off, and it bent, you probably won't be able to get a good seal from that lid and ring.  They should look clean, round, flat, and unbent.

I have reused lids.  I almost always reuse rings.  Always reuse your jars if you are short, nobody will know.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

I accidentally took my cat's medication... Don't ask meow.

Just back from a 22 plus mile workout and I'm rehydrating.  Now I would love some lemonade but there are no lemons in the house. 

And there's these two clowns.

  A stockbroker walks past a girl selling lemonade

“Hey mister, ya want some lemonade?

He looks over at the sign that says BROWNIES ¢10 LEMONADE $20

“Hey kid, your sign is wrong. I think you mean twenty cents.”
The little girl shakes her head. “Nope, twenty bucks mister. You want some?”

“Look sweetie, you’re too young to understand economics but you can only change what someone is willing to pay. It doesn’t cost you much to make it, so if you charge a lower price you’ll make more profit.”
The little girl thinks for a moment. “Hmm…nope! Twenty bucks mister!”

The stockbroker gives a little sigh and shakes his head. “Okay look… I studied economics at Harvard and I got my MBA from Wharton so I’m going to teach you a little about business, okay? You’re losing money on the brownies but you’re not making any profit because nobody wants to pay that much for a lemonade when they can get it cheaper a few blocks away. Understand?”
“Nope! Twenty bucks mister!”

“You know what? I give up, guess this is the only way you’ll learn. Here’s a dime for a brownie, I bet it cost you more than that.”
“Okay!” The girl takes the dime and the stockbroker decides to eat the brownie right in front of her to make the point.

Suddenly he begins coughing and gagging uncontrollably. “Oh my God…what is…this tastes like sawdust and garbage! Get this taste out of my mouth!”
The little girl cocks her head to the side and says through a beaming grin, “Ya want some lemonade?”

Saturday, June 8, 2024

What do you call a line up of dudes picking up mozzarella cheese? A cheesy pickup line

 I will be retreating into the kitchen shortly to start the bread dough for the lunch time pizza.  It's by request.  A Semi-Non-Traditional bread dough that is more of a bun or a brioche used as a crust.  I've added both chocolate or cinnamon sugar to this and fried them for some rather good donuts.  But today, I won't have time, just rolls and pizza.

A rabbi, a priest, and an atheist walk in to a bar.

The bartender looks at them and points to a sign, labeled: "NO JOKES SERVED HERE" and asks the gentlemen to leave. They reluctantly get up and leave before any discussion between them occurs.

The next day, a horse walks in to this same bar. Once again, the bartender points to the sign: "NO JOKES SERVED HERE". With a long face, the horse gets up from his bar stool and leaves the building.

The day after that, a chicken walks in to the bar. The bartender approaches the chicken as it sits down. He once again points to the sign and says, "I am sorry, but we don't allow jokes to be served here."

"Fine!" says the chicken, clucking with disapproval. "But can you at least tell me where else can I get a drink around here?"

The bartender replies, "yeah, there's another bar across the road."

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Short Mango Harvest Means An Early Tree Trimming Season Has Begun

It has been an off year for mango harvests here. 

Oh sure, I have harvested a few less fruit from my own tree, and one of them was 18 ounces in weight.  About a half a kilo at 510 grams.  But all the trees that I pay attention to have been dropping fewer fruit.

So ... it's time to trim the thing back.  In fact, it's a month earlier than last year.

If not you end up with a 40 foot monster taking up the back yard and lifting the pool into the sky.  You don't want that to happen, pools are expensive to repair and that will make you a sad panda.

The problem is that even a small Mango tree is fairly large.  Mine made it to 15 feet this year.

Every year I cut it back.  Way back.  To about as tall as I am.  Turn the thing into a hat rack. 

It mopes, then out of the branches that are left you get new growth. 

We have this thing here called "Bulk Trash Day" that happens once a month.  I don't want to wait for that, although had I done so I could just cart the limbs to the curb and wait for the man with the claw machine to scoop them up.

Instead, I fill up the big blue trash cans and take it down in stages.  Long stages. 

I did it once already, and will have to do it twice again.

Since I still have Mango Chunks in the freezer, I will not miss them.  This has been a strange year and I do need the space. 

While a realtor will tell you to cut down a mango tree if you have the house up for sale, they will also tell you that in this day and age they are surprised when they encounter a house that uses their kitchen.  At least here in South Florida, they've found homes where the original instructions for the oven are still in the oven years later.

That won't work with me.  I have churned butter, made soap, and canned mango jelly in the past and I shall again.

Besides, Mango Jelly goes quite nicely on French Toast or Pancakes.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

I tried to come up with a joke about restraining orders. But this is as close as I’m allowed to get.

While this is in London with a Scottish Cop, I see this stuff happen every day from my chair and I can't say I blame the police for being frustrated.  South Philly Glide or the California Stop.  

Folks, Stop signs are not Optional.  Not even here when you are on vacation.

It would be best to keep on the good side of a Scottish cop.

A London lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by a Scottish cop.

He thinks that he is smarter than the cop because he is a lawyer from LONDON, and is certain that he has a better education than any Scottish cop. He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the Scottish cop's expense!

Scottish cop says, "License and registration, please."

London Lawyer says, "What for?"

Scottish cop says, "Ye didnae come to a complete stop at the stop sign."

London Lawyer says, "I slowed down, and no one was coming."

Scottish cop says, "Ye still didnae come to a complete stop.  License and registration, please."

London Lawyer says, "What's the difference?"

Scottish cop says, "The difference is, ye huvte come to a complete stop, that’s the law. License and registration, please!"

London Lawyer says, "If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I'll give you my license and registration and you give me the ticket. If not, you let me go and don't give me the ticket."

Scottish cop says, "Sounds fair.  Exit your vehicle, sir."

The London Lawyer exits his vehicle.

The Scottish cop takes out his baton and starts beating the living shit out of the lawyer and says, "Daeye want me to stop or just slow down?"

Saturday, June 1, 2024

What starts with B and is full of B? A beehive!

This story reminds me of the line "If it is tourist season, why can't we hunt them?"

A man goes into a shop in Chinatown and sees a gold sculpture of a rat.

He can't stop staring at it. It's like something is calling out to him. He asks the old man behind the counter "How much for the statue?"

The old man strokes his beard and replies "$10 for the statue, $100 for the story."

"Story? Forget that I'll just take the statue," the man says. He pays the $10 and leaves.

As he's walking back home, he starts to get a weird feeling like someone is watching him. He turns around and spots a rat following him. He shrugs it off and keeps walking.

But when he turns around again, there are 2 rats. Then 3. Then 5. Then 10. All following him.

The man starts walking faster as more and more rats start to follow him. He breaks out into a run as rats start streaming towards him out of alleyways and buildings.

Finally, he turns towards the docks. He runs right to the edge of the water and throws the golden rat statue as far as he can into the deep water. The stream of rats breaks around him and they all jump into the water after the statue, drowning in the murky depths.

Once the last rat has sunk below the surface, the man races back to the shop where he bought the statue. He bursts in, and the old man looks at him smugly.

"Ah, I see you have returned for the story."

"No, I want to know if you have a statue of a lawyer!"

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Moon Set Over Wilton Manors


"Foot!" I say to Rack, the McNab SuperDog (TM).

He was at the front door.  About an hour before sunrise, it was time for his first walk.  Holding the harness in front of him, he was wriggling, squeaking, and ready to go.

Silly nugget!  You can't hold a good dog back, and Rack is one of the Goodest.

I snapped the latch in place, and we stepped out onto the front porch.  The air smelled of Basil from the pots in place, and the general scent of the trees.  A clear morning for a walk.

We stepped out on to the driveway and started our wander for the day.  My health insurance gives me a few quarters for walking 10000 steps each day.  That's actually laughably low for me, I regularly do twice that.  It's a goal to get it at least 5 days in 7 and I have not missed it since the insurance changed.

Wandering vaguely toward the beach, we headed East.  Everything must be sniffed and inspected.  "BIP!" I say to Rack to move him on.  He looks back, smiles and becomes a little more assertive with his steps.

He is not bashful about his walks, we could easily walk miles each time out.  At least at this time of morning, the conditions are cool enough to make it worth our while. 

It is the Still of the Morning now.  Few are out.  Those who are generally have a reason to be here.  Early Risers with their dogs and exercisers for the most part. 

Of course we were there as always, typically before sunrise. 

"Show Me Walk!" I say as Rack looks back and smiles again.  He takes the instruction as intended.  He chooses his walks for the most part and decides the majority of the routes when we are out.

Once around the park, then head back toward home.

Coming around the corner we notice the view.  This day, the moon was full and it was setting for now.  Cradled in the crown of the trees at the end of the block, it lit the neighborhood in a glow. 

I told Rack "Wait here" and leaned against a tall Palm.  Getting the camera out I braced myself hoping that in the low light things would not be too shaky.

They weren't.  We got the picture we wanted.  Always take a camera. 

Always take a dog.  They like that too.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

What is a car’s favorite artist? Van Gogh.

Bread and circuses?  In this case, Crocs and Killers.


A crocodile is walking to the Roman Colosseum, where a gladiator duel is scheduled to take place.

Along the way, he runs into a serial killer.

The crocodile, being a crocodile, is unconcerned and promptly proceeds to devour her alive before continuing on his merry way to the Roman Colosseum.

He makes it there just fine, and enjoys a gladiatorial match for the ages- a feast for the eyes unlike any that have ever been seen.

While watching, he overhears a few fellow spectators who are particularly prone to gossip.

He learns that the serial killer from earlier was in fact the infamous Colosseum Killer, and rumors were abound that she was to strike again today, during the match.

This would surely have interrupted the entertainment, disrupting the show and ruining the crocodile's day.

While walking back home, the crocodile thinks back on his encounter. He pats himself on the back, incredibly pleased at himself for having eaten her.

At the end of the day, he was gladiator.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Why did the crab cross the road? It didnt, it used the sidewalk.

When I see someone in a wing-suit or a hang glider, I think that would be exciting to try.  Then I realize that I've got enough injuries in my two sports and pass on the little fantasy.


Here in Kentucky, you don't see too many people hang-gliding.

Ol' Zeek decided to save up and get a hang-glider. He takes it to the highest mountain, and after struggling to the top, he gets ready to take flight.

He takes off running and reaches the edge--into the wind he goes!

Meanwhile, Maw and Paw Hicks were sittin' on the porch swing talkin bout the good ol days when maw spots the biggest bird she ever seen! “Look at the size of that bird, Paw!” she exclaims.

Paw raises up, “Git my gun, Maw.” She runs into the house, brings out his pump shotgun.He takes careful aim. BANG...BANG.....BANG.....BANG!

The monster size bird continues to sail silently over the tree tops. “I think ya missed him, Paw,” she says.

“Yeah,” he replies, “but at least he let go of ol' Zeek!”

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Revisiting the Leaked KFC Chicken Original Recipe - Close Enough To Real

Once upon a time, there was the Original Recipe.  You know, The Harlan Sanders Fried Chicken that built an empire. 

Most of us have had it before, and most of us enjoyed it.

Secrets told are secrets no more.  The Secret Recipe got Leaked and it made the rounds.

The Chicago Tribune article gives you more background that I will here.  It's a wonderful read, and if it hasn't disappeared, do go read it. 

As for my chicken?  If you have a KFC handy, and they do seem to be everywhere, go there and get a bucket.  This recipe is good, in fact it's pretty much spot on, but KFC is the real deal.

I will say that this time I tried it again with tweaks.

First: I did try the recipe with chicken chunks.  I cut up two chicken breasts and dredged them through one scrambled raw egg, then dipped the chunks in the mixture.

Second:  I fried them in a neutral oil heated to 350F.  Just below smoke point.  Cooked until they were golden brown and looked like a "Goldendoodle". 

Third: I reserved half of the spice and only used 1 cup of flour because I did not want a lot of waste.  Apparently the chicken is not too picky because this was pretty much perfect.

The first time I did this recipe, I baked the chicken.  This time I fried it.  More Authentic but heavier - the F in KFC is for Fried.  I'm an athlete so I don't worry too much about those calories but do be aware.

Result?  I'll do it again.  I have half of the spice mix in my cabinet and plenty of flour here since I constantly bake.

As I did before, I'll reproduce the graphic in text in case the original graphic disappears. 

Spice Mix to be added to 2 cups of Flour:

  1. 2/3 tablespoon salt
  2. 1/2 tablespoon thyme
  3. 1/2 tablespoon basil
  4. 1/3 tablespoon oregano
  5. 1 tablespoon celery salt
  6. 1 tablespoon black pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon dried mustard powder
  8. 4 tablespoons paprika
  9. 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  10. 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  11. 3 tablespoons white pepper

For the metric crowd:

a cup flour is 120g
a Tablespoon is 15ml