Projects

Projects!

They can be horrendous.

The garage roof was one of those horrendous projects. It began in late June, and the exterior portion of the project was completed on Sunday, August 26th. And it was a two-day push, those last two days, all day Saturday and all day Sunday, to complete it. Of course, there are a few little things that aren’t done, but that is the way of it with Attila’s projects. He is a person that always leaves a little bit… in the pot when serving food, in a project that he is working on. I think it is one of the reasons he likes to work alone, someone else might want to finish a job completely. Like me, I like to finish jobs completely and forget about them. Blasphemy!

The garage roof project was undertaken by Attila, and it overtook him. In his absence from daily life, I took over and fulfilled all the day-to-day tasks that he usually takes care of, in addition to my own day-to-day tasks. Because they aren’t my tasks, they aren’t setup the way I would do them, so they were challenging. I kept Attila’s routines going, because I knew that he would experience additional stress if I changed things on him. So project support was a long and tedious process for the garage roof project.

The exterior of the garage roof project, although it probably needs wee bits of tweaking to completely finish it off (like painting the caulking), is done to my satisfaction, as well as Attila’s. The new roof, wall, and window, keep the weather out, and it all looks lovely.

The interior, well it is only my concern in that when Attila moves all his materials and tools out of the basement, I will reorganize the basement to make everything stored there accessible to me. No more asking Attila to move heavy objects so that I can fill the flour canister, or fetch a few mason jars and lids. No sir, I’m going to go and get what I need, when I need it!

Not all projects are horrendous.

This past weekend I tackled a project that was not horrendous, was rather enjoyable, but exhausting.

I canned a half bushel of Roma tomatoes. They were available in half bushel boxes at the local grocery store, were grown in Ontario, and were $7.97. The produce from that particular grocery store, the one we usually visit, does not last long. It is cheaper for a reason, and that reason is that it isn’t the freshest produce available on the market. I needed to start canning as soon as possible.

Saturday morning Attila took the time to carry my All American Pressure Canner up from the basement. I spent an hour or so reading the manual again, since I haven’t pressure canned for quite some time. I also researched canning tomatoes, and finally found a good guideline offered by the Ohio State University Extension, called Canning Tomato Products.

I started just after 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, and was taking the last of the dozen one-litre jars out of the canner just before 10:00 p.m. Saturday evening. I was on my feet the whole day, washing, trimming, dicing, boiling, straining, cooking, sterilizing, bottling, and finally, canning. It was a lot of work, and those jars, filled with lovely tomato puree, lined up on the counter, looked wonderful to me!

Pressure canning commands a lot of respect, mistakes can be dangerous. I took a certificate course in pressure canning before I did it for the first time, so that after months of preparation I felt I was able to proceed safely. It was nerve-wracking, the first few times. This time I found it a lot less intimidating, after preparing by re-reading the manual and reviewing my notes. It went smoothly.

Freezing tomato puree is a lot easier, but that requires a lot of freezer space, which we don’t have. Canned goods can be stored on shelves in the basement.

Another project, a much smaller project, I set for myself, was to begin a binder of Instant Pot recipes that are low-sodium, low-cholesterol, tasty, and easy to prepare from ingredients we keep in the house. It is easy to reduce the sodium and cholesterol in a recipe, but that usually results in a far inferior taste.  My small collection are those recipes that still taste good after reducing the sodium and cholesterol, at least to our low-sodium adjusted palates. I have about six recipes now, taken from online publishers, then altered to make them fit within the sodium and cholesterol limits of my diet. I had to order some page protectors from Amazon, to keep my printed pages in. Uncovered pages have a way of getting splattered.

One recipe I am currently working on is Tuna Noodle Casserole. I have tried several recipes, and none of them offer desirable results. The latest recipe calls for adding milk to the Instant Pot before pressure cooking. Well, it burned, I knew it would. BUT what I didn’t know was how much flavour was added to the dish when the milk caramelized.

I wasn’t in the room watching the Instant Pot when the burn warning first came on. I discovered it later. When I did discover it, I did a Quick Release of the pressure, then lightly scraped out the mixture into an oven proof dish, and transferred it to the oven to finish cooking, which didn’t take long. The taste of the casserole was amazing! I am thinking of trying it again, while watching the Instant Pot constantly for that burn warning, then immediately doing a Quick Release. Then, if the there isn’t too much burning on the bottom, Saute to deglaze the pot, and stir while cooking for several minutes to completely cook the noodles. That is my plan at the moment anyway, working towards getting that flavour!

So those are my little projects.

Attila’s first non-reno project was to pickle some hot red peppers from the garden. He wanted to experiment with making pickled peppers with substantially less salt. The taste test results will be in by next week!

Life is about to evolve here, there are no more high pressure projects on the immediate horizon, and perhaps not on the horizon at all, if we decide the house is fine as it is. It is unlikely the renovation projects will cease altogether, and that after a long break after the garage roof project, we will begin to think about other projects, all of the low-key, at least low-key for us. Things such as building stud walls in the basement, insulating and drywalling; extending the back porch; rewiring most of the upper floor of the house; new siding on the house; a new metal roof on all buildings; none of these things, or others on the long list, is crucial. If they don’t get done, well they don’t, we will survive.

Worldly

Weather

29°C
Date: 4:00 PM EDT Tuesday 28 August 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 28.8°C
Dew point: 23.2°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: WSW 31 gust 45 km/h
Humidex: 39
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
Will Durant
1885 – 1981

This one didn’t just speak to me today, it shouted!

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2 Responses to Projects

  1. Teri says:

    Perfect timing, getting the garage done just before the truly hot weather! We have a humidex today of 39C/102F!!

    BTW, how is Attila’s ankle doing? And your tests?

    The browned/carmelized milk adding positively to the tuna casserole is really interesting. Does it add sweetness to the dish? Or maybe more like a browned non-salty butter flavor?

  2. Teri, it sure got hot didn’t it! Same humidex here, yikes!

    Attila’s ankle is slowly, every so slowly improving. It seems he has Sciatica, which in turn affected his ankle, which was shattered during an incident when he worked in the bush as a Geologist. A new problem affecting an old injury. Now that he can take it easy when he is away from work, it is improving.

    The browned milk was a little sweeter, the effect was similar to that of the carmelized milk in Scalloped Potatoes. The flavour, if you like it, is strong and wonderful.