Dresser Rails

Here is one more shot of the ends being glued up. This is another case of never having too many clamps of flat surfaces in the shop. The ends are clamped at very joint and spaced up above the work surface for the first 2 hours. They are also checked for squareness. which is pretty good given the shouldered mortise and tenon joints, but a couple needed to be tweaked of the last 1/16″ on the diagonal measurements (your true test of squareness on a large piece).

With the dresser ends glued up and the glue squeeze out cleaned up it is time to run my attention to the dresser rails and dividers. The rails, for lac of a better term, are the horizontal dividers between the drawers.  The dividers are the vertical pieces between drawers on the same level. The rails and dividers are part of the overall frame structure. They are not however the primary support for the drawers. That is done by the runners which are a future topic.

For the rails, the mortises were cut on th CNC router, but this time I squared up the holes with a chisel. In many cases this is actually less effort than rounding off the tenons. The mortises were cut with a 1/4″ router bit. So there was only 1/8″ to clean up on each side.  Start with the cross grain cuts. This is normally 2 strokes. Here it is shown on the top mortises.

Note the chisel is angled. This makes it much easier to keep it in the corner. Yo are trying not just to clean up the cross grain side but also lightly score the fibers for the cut along the grain on the adjacent side. The cut along the grain requires more effort. I will press down with my chest or chin to assist in paring the cut. I am not a fan of using a mallet for this it is too easy to dig in and make a mess of the mortise 

Now with the mortises cleaned up, it is time to fit the tenons. There is a small amount of work to be done for final trimming with the rabbet plane.  The rails and dividers are also sanded to final thickness on the drum sander to make for an exact fit in the half lap joints. Then the first dry assembly is started.

So far so good. The pipe clamps are the only practical means of clamping something this wide and gently squeezing together the assembly. Note the couplers in the pipe clamps. I have a selection of 3,4,5 foot 3/4″ pipes and when I need long clamps as I do now the couplers join the sections. You can also see that the joints for the rails and dividers are half lap joints. These were cut again on the radial arm saw with the blade set for 3/4″ width (that has not changed for the hundreds of cuts). Here is a close up of the smaller dividers and joint.The next step is to gut the dadoes in the rails. The drawer runners fit into these with tenons on each end. One of the fine poitns is tha the runners are not level with the rails but slightly raised by about 1/16″ . This is so the drawer can slide in without wearing on the rail and having a gap on the bottom that is closer in size to the side and top gaps.

Here is a shot from a previous project which is a very large chest / wardwrobe with cock beading around the drawer openings. Note I love the kids but I am NOT going to do 3 cockbeaded dressers for them – way too much work.

Cockbeading is an applied bead around each drawer. It can either be on the frame or drawer. Here is a shot of the whole wardrobe. You can see it as the raised profile around each drawer.

The drawer runners are slightly raised compared to the rails. You can do this by either offsetting the tenons on the runners as I did in the wardrobe, or by offsetting the dado in the rails which is what I am doing for the dressers.  For the dressers, teh rails are all carefully arranged and marked for which side is up. Making mistakes now is critical.

The table saw is set up to make the dadoes with:

zero clearance insert around the blade for support of the piece when pushing through.

Feather board to push the rails against the fence.

Block to hold the stock down. Note in the setup the piece of paper as a spacer and rounded leading edge to make feeding easy. 

The dado is offset by about 1/16″ and a test block is run.

One final double check of the orientation of the rails

Running one of the rails through.

Now I have the rails ready for the runners. Next step will be making the runners and inner dividers that go between the drawers.

Dresser End Grid

The end panels have a decorative “grid”. This add interest to what would otherwise be a plain end panel set in the frame. This sort of decoration is common on Craftsman style pieces.

There will be a 1/4″ panel set behind the grid which will git into the rabbets down each leg and behind all of the end rails and grid pieces.

The joints are half lap style. The end rails each received pockets for the vertical dividers. The pockets are 1″ wide, 3/8″ deep and 1/2″ high.  This was done on the CNC router. Apparently the pieces lifted a bit off of the bed of the CNC router in the process of clamping them and I have to deal with slightly varying depth pockets.

 

The vertical slats then have the tenons cut. This is another series of cuts on the radial arm saw.  The tenons are 1″ wide and nominally 3/8″ thick (0.375″).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When making many repetitive cuts like this it easy to lose track and miss an end. I have learned to always neatly stack the pieces up and do a quick visual check to see if I have everything cut the same. If everything is uniform, then I can proceed to the next step and tear down the stops and setup and get ready for the next cut.  At this point the vertical divider tenons are complete and I can check them in the end frames and move on to the next steps.

The horizontal dividers fit into partial half lap joints in the vertical dividers and mortises in the corner posts. The cuts in the vertical dividers could again be done on the CNC router but the clamping would be too time consuming. Given that the back side is concealed, the dado blade can be used (again).

There are 2 cuts to be made in each of the vertical dividers. I use a stop block and a removable spacer block. The spacer block is 2.25″ which is the spacing between the 2 cuts in each of the vertical dividers.   First cut.

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

With this type of cut the radial arm saw wants to strongly self feed. In order to reliably not cut all the way across the divider slat, I added a stop on the cross arm of the saw. Not very elegant, but the clamp does the trick for the 24 cuts. Below it you can see the second cut has been made without the spacer black.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the opposite side, slats the mirror image of the setup is needed. However due to lack of clearance beneath the radial arm saw motor an extra spacer block is needed and held in place by the spring clamp. Rather than re-measuring. one of the test pieces is put in place and the saw advanced and blade rotated to line up in the dado.  Then the stop and spacer are clamped in place. 

The max depth of the pockets is 0.4″ so the tenons will all be cut to this thickness and then trimmed to fit with a rabbet plane.  This Lee Valley Veritas Medium Shoulder Plane is one of my favorite hand tools. I bought one as soon as it came out and it has been my “go to” tool for cleaning up mortises and rabbets for over 10 years. Far better than the Stanley 78 and similar that I had been using and much more manageable than the large shoulder planes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I have the pieces for the ends dry fit assembled.  As you can see, I have labeled all of the parts for final assembly. At this point everything is finish sanded. I have not yet decided on whether I will do a finish first and epoxy assembly as I did with the beds or conventional glue up and then finish or something in between.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right side up.

 

Dresser Project Legs and End Rails

With the first set of mortises in the corner posts complete, it is time to move on to the second set.

As I started cutting the test pieces it became apparent that it is critical to use the exact actual size of the posts or the end mortises and rabbet for the panel wont line up. The legs are a nominal 1.5″ wide but after sanding are actually 1.45″ wide. This is enough to cause the end decorative piece mortises to intrude on the rabbet for the end panels.

Looking back I should have cut all of the rabbets with the mortises for the end pieces and not with the first set of mortises for the front and back supports. This results in some extra hand work and there was one leg that had to be redone all together.

When manually making the rabbets and mortises, my setup always take into account the fact the at the pieces are not EXACTLY uniform and the best reference edge is used to minimize error and achieve uniform joints. On the dresser the natural reference edge on the corner posts is the inside corner.

Additionally the rabbets should not be done as a single pocketing cut with the CNC router but rather first a skim cut should be made to prevent blow out or chipping along the edge.

Video of the second set of mortises being cut: https://youtu.be/G0lsWLeAlKk . The photo below shows the corner post after the second set of mortises has been cut. The saying on my coffee cup has never been more true.

corner post 2nd set of mortises

Now we move onto cutting tenons for the end rails.  My favorite way to cut large numbers of tenons is to use a stack dado set on the radial arm saw.

This is the primary task for the smaller 10″ radial arm saw. The large one (14″) is used almost exclusively for cross cuts. Note that both share a common fence and top system. Radial arm saws can be purchased for almost nothing nowadays. The big one was salvaged from a school and purchased for $50 (and then completely overhauled).

Double check that the saw is cutting exactly squarely. This is best done by taking a test piece that has been ripped for exactly parallel sides and a square end. Then make shallow rabbets on each side. If the cuts line up on both edges you are square. This is quite sensitive and uses less stock than the normal cut and clip technique. You can see the test piece laying on the top between the saws.

The stock must be of uniform thickness. The best approach is to ensure that all of the stock was planned in one batch or better yet sanded to final thickness in the drum sander as we did with the legs.  It takes a bit of fiddling with the height adjustment to get the tenon thickness right.

I have added a digital readout to the height adjustment of the radial arm saw to make this easier . After each test cut adjust the height by 1/2 of the thickness correction (e.g. if you want a 0.25″ thick tenon and the test piece measures 0.28, adjust the blade down by 0.15″. However always be sure to finish the adjustment by raising the blade to take out any play in the mechanism which would result in decreasing thickness cuts as the arm settles down.

The cuts are all made with a stop block to ensure repeat-ability.  Note that the sacrificial wood stop block is notched on the bottom to allow room for sawdust. The grey stop block on the left holds the position. If only using one block, a spring clamp would not be sufficient. Then I would be using 2 hand screw clamps as using only one will typically slip on repeated cuts.

Here is one of the bottom rail tenons being cut for thickness.

Here it is being cut for height.

The mortises were cut with a router and rather than squaring all of them off with a chisel, I typically prefer to round over or bevel the tenons. THe base of each tenon corner is nicked with a pull saw and then a couple of strokes with a chisel removes the rest as seen below.  This is one of the top end rails.

The end rails now need notches for the decorative frame work and this is done again on the CNC router.

Here are the ends test fitted.

Today’s work will be Fitting the decorative pieces on each end 


Dresser project legs

The legs are the first set of components to make. The rail tenons will fit into the mortises on the legs. There are a lot of mortises to cut. 9 per leg, 4 legs per dresser and 3 dressers make for 84 mortises of various sizes. This should be a perfect item for the CNC router.

The legs are cut from 8/4 quarter sawn oak.  I have a number of planks remaining from Wisconsin WoodWorker’s Guild LogFests where we milled and auctioned off many logs felled by our group or donated. This was an “urban wood” project. These have been air drying for a number of years. The Red Oak is perfect, the White Oak has more loss as it was not only more irregular to start with but is also prone to internal checking when air drying at home.

The pieces are cut to rough length first, then planed and jointed. Here I am jointing a slab on my 125 year old Colladay 16″ jointer.

The legs are then sawn to width and then run through the drum sander. This not only saves time later but also makes them uniformly square.  We used 80,120, and then 200 grit when sanding. Teal handles the outfeed. and I must be careful at the start and end of a set of sides that I don’t create an “I love Lucy” moment for her with pieces coming out faster than she can remove and stack  If this is not familiar see the “chocolates episode” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NPzLBSBzPI).

They are next cut to final length. This should be done after sanding to minimize snipe in the finished pieces.  The drum sander is a great tool for large furniture projects and especially where you want to be able to cut repetitive joinery such as tenons or dovetails as you end up with stock of very uniform thickness. Better yet for projects where you pre-finish before assembly as I have done with the beds and other projects.

Now that all of the pieces are of uniform width and length it is time to start routing the mortises. The dressers are symmetrical front to back. This means that I can cut the legs as pairs (front right – rear left, front left- rear right) as sets minimizing the number of cuts to lay out and chances for error.

The only problem at this point is I cannot get VCarvePro to properly import the legs to lay out the mortises. I had to redraw them rather than import the legs or faces from SketchUp.

At this point I have all of the mortises cut on one of the sides of each leg (2 layouts). Next will be the second side of each leg.

Routing and the leg clamped up on the CNC router.

Mortised legs.


The pile of other exterior components.

 

Dresser project #2

Time to do another set of dressers for the kids.  This is the second small production dresser project that I have done for them.  The first set was made a few years ago.   There is a lot of setup involved in doing the joinery and making 3 only takes about 1.5 – 2 times as long as making one.

I had made several other prior to these as well. Each of the dressers had some workflow improvements and details added. However the basic construction techniques were all very similar with dovetail carcass construction and dovetailed drawers.

The set of 3 turned out like this.

The first set of 3 dressers

Each of the dressers was basically a variation on the theme to suit the tastes of Jessie, Elyse and David and to match the finishes on the beds that I had made for each of them.  The finish is a mulit-step process of: dye, two wash coats of shellac, gel stain glaze, and 3 coats of pre-catalyzed lacquer.

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This shows the drawer dovetails and the case divider dovetails. The full set of photos is on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150116682232709.281934.657947708&type=1&l=462d6ebd47

The new design

The new dressers are all the same size but will share the differences in finish, hardware and drawer faces that the prior set had.

dresser4

The case construction will be quite different however as this one will use mortise and tenon joinery rather than dovetails. This is also fully planned out in SketchUp vs. hand drawing as I had done in the past.

I plan to do the mortises and the drawer dovetails on the CNC router.

 

 

Multi-grain Sourdough Boule

Background

I have been experimenting with sourdough breads. The various books and articles take you through arduous kneading, rising, forming, shaping steps and then backing with steam (tray full of iron parts and chain). However, reproducibility has been a problem, plus I don’t want to have to attend to it too much during the day long rise.. All too often I would end up with low dense loaf with nice crust. But this was not what I was looking for.

This version is a favorite and now quite repeatable. It freezes well and it makes the absolute best grilled cheese sandwiches.

Base recipe is based on King Arthur Flour (KAF)- Multigrain Sourdough Boule. See:  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/multi-grain-sourdough-boule-recipe

Day 1 Feed the starter

Pull the starter from the fridge. Pour off any grey liquid on top (if you let it sit a bit too long).  Dump the starter into a mixing bowl that you can cover. I have started using the whole starter rather than discarding a portion up front. This gives more sourdough flavor and is not as wasteful. My starter has been neglected for up to 6 weeks in the fridge at times.

  • Add 1C flour (your choice) I generally use all purpose flour – Gold Medal unbleached or KAF
  • Add 3/4 c water.  This can be adjusted. You want a wet but not runny starter.

Cover and let it rise over night. I will often start this after work on Friday. My oven has a 100 degree F proofing setting which is very helpful. The starer should almost double at peak activity and be nice and bubbly. The next morning it should have and even bubbly texture, sort of like thick batter. It will thin out in consistency while rising.

Day 2 Make The Bread

Moisten the grains

  • 1c boiling water
  • 1c King Arthur flour Harvest Grains Blend
  • 2 TB poppy seeds – as I like lots of poppy seeds in the bread

Mix and let sit in bowl until it drops to room temperature , then add the following ingredients:

  • 2c fed starter (from above). The balance of the starter is then returned to the crock and refrigerated.
  • 1 1/4 c KAF sprouted whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c Rye flour
  • 1 3/4 Bread flour  such as KAF Artisan Bread flour.  You need a high gluten flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp KAF Whole Grain Bread Improver   This seems to help build a nicer loaf that does not fall as easily
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 -2 tsp instant dry yeast . I use SAF – keep the back sealed/ clipped in the freezer and it lasts for years
  • 2 TB olive oil

Knead the mixture for 3 minutes. I use a Kitchenaid on speed 2 with dough hook. The dough should be soft and not too sticky. You may well have to adjust either adding up to 1/2 c flour or 1/4 c water depending on the humidity and how wet the sourdough starter was. If it is repeatedly crawling up the dough hook and spinning, it is still too dry. Push down, poke a hole in the middle and add water. If it is sticking to the bowl and not rising up the hook at all, it is too wet.

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Still too wet and sticky

Once it is the right consistency, knead for an additional 2 minutes.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise until doubled. At 100 degrees this takes 1.5- 2 hours.  Don’t let it go too long (e.g 3 or 4) or the second rise will not work.

Kneed the dough rolling around on floured surface to tighten the “skin” . Lightly oil or grease the bottom and sides of a dutch oven or other large covered pan. Place the dough in the pan and let rise again for another 2 hours.

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Ready to rise the second time

Baking

Remove pan from oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

You can slash the top if desired.  However, I often seem to cause it to fall too much if I do.

Bake the bread covered for 40 min.

Uncover  and continue baking for another 10-15 min. Remove when the center internal temperature is 190 degrees.  I normally insert the thermometer probe when uncovering the pan with the remote readout outside the oven (Thermoworks Chef Alarm).

Remove from oven and let it sit in the pan for 5 min, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

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Cool to room temp prior to cutting (if you can wait that long).  Apparently my wife Teal can’t.

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Additional items

We typically freeze 1/2 the loaf as there is just the 2 of us now. The flours and yeast all are stored in the freezer as well (milk crate for my baking supplies). The whole grains an whole grain flours go rancid too quickly otherwise.

The King Arthur Flour website is a great resource for recipes, tips and supplies.

Good books on bread making include:

  • The Bread Bakers Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
  • Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller
  • BakeWise by Shirley Corriher which is the companion to CookWise, which is another favorite.

Spatchcock Turkey

We have made several spatchcocked turkeys. Each has been delicious whether on the grill (Big green egg) or in the oven.

Oven 1

The turkey was an experiment. I took a cue from Alton Brown’s “dry brining” and butterfly turkey technique.
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/…/butterflied-dry-br…/index.html…
However Teal vetoed the idea of roasting the bird on the bare oven racks (mess factor and the oven self cleaning cycle is broken) and she was less than enthusiastic about the root veggies.
So I prepped the bird per the recipe (but added oregano) and let it sit refrigerated for a day and a half. I then oiled a jelly roll pan, placed a mound of stuffing on (extra moist). Then put the butterflied 13 lb bird on top (well trimmed of fat and tail removed). 2 hours in the oven at 375 on convect – big end to the back, until internal temp of 155 and then rest for 30 min which brought the breast temp up to 175. Meat was super juicy and tasty (beware of lots of juice while carving). The edges of the stuffing was raided as the bird was resting by the hungry horde. Definitely a keeper recipe and a nice shorter cooking time alternative. For whole meal timing put the sides in the oven when the turkey is at 100 degrees instead of the usual 120.

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Oven 2   11/25/16

Variation with more aggressive dry brining. 18 lb turkey (Jennie -o). This year there was a lot of interest in spatchcock turkeys given the 80 minute turkey post on Serious Eats getting some publicity. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/11/butterfiled-roast-turkey-with-gravy-recipe.html

Here is my version.

Dry rub blend:

  •  3 TB fine sea salt
  • 1.5 TB oregano rubbed
  • 1TB thyme
  • 1.5 TB dry rosemary rubbed
  • 1.5 TB lemon pepper (Penzey’s) . Reapply 1 TB additional just before roasting
  • Fine zest of one lemon

Mix this up and then rub on both sides of the bird. Rest for 18+ hours in the fridge

In the roasting pan, place 4 carrots chopped, 2 medium onions chopped 9 fresh sage leaves, about 10″ of fresh rosemary sprigs. 1.5 c water. 1c croutons.

Add teh rack and place turkey on top with legs tucked in (to not splatter the oven)

Roast at 375 for 90 1 hour, 300 for 1 hour and finish at 375 for 30 min. The varying temp was due to the bird not being completely thawed and the thighs needing to catch up with the rest of the bird.

This was a winner and the family favorite so far. There are some imperfections seen in the photo. There were a few sample schnibbles taken prior to the photo.

The drippings were then used along with the carcase for soup stock. Simmer 3 hours and then put in the garage to chill over night. It is usually cold here in Wisconsin at Thanksgiving. This was the basis for the next day’s Turkey noodle soup. Probably the best soup stock we have made.

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Smoked Salmon

My daughter Elyse and her husband Paul went fishing on Lake Michigan for Paul’s birthday. Charter boat for 5 hours with a no catch / no pay policy. It was a Friday morning in mid September and they ended up trolling within the McKinley Marina breakwater as it was too rough to go out farther. They ende dup with 5 salmon, 2 at 17 lbs. The Boat crew said that this time of year the salmon are better smoked than fresh. So that is where I come in. I have smoke salmon and carp a few times with great success. When I came home from work there was 25 lbs of skin on filets left for me to prepare.

First we took about 5-6 lbs and made gravlax. 1.5 c salt, 1 c sugar, 3TB dried dill rubbed on the filets and then they were wrapped and pressed in the fridge for 36 hours. Pin bones were pulled with a serrated pliers. Shallow jelly roll pan on the bottom to contain the juice. After 12-24 hours drain the excess liquid.  Prior to vacuum packing and freezing to -10F to kill any parasites. Early samples are great tasting , although I am not fond of the slime.  Next time we will scale or skin first.

For the smoked fish we used 1.5c salt, 3c brown sugar and 4 TB dill . Coat the filets liberally and layer in a large bowl. Fattest / belly meat on the bottom. These went in the fridge  Rotate the filets after 18-24 hours. Leave the juice.  Best if the fillets are sliced lengthwise along the lateral line and then across about 3/4 the way through into 2-3 ” wide chunks.  Morning of smoking, take the filets out and rinse liberally in cold water. Then soak in several changes of water for another hour. This prevents the surface from being overly salty or sweet.

For smoking, let them air dry for 1-2 hours to form a pellicle on the surface. I also added more dill and black pepper. Then place in the smoker. I used a Big Green Egg with 3 level cooking grate. Put the thinnest on the bottom and thickest on the top rick. I had to use toothpicks to keep the fillets from sliding off. Next time I will use uncolored toothpicks, the colors of the party toothpicks migrated into the meat and looks wierd.

Smoke with cherry wood chunks at 185 for 5 hours. This is where the heatermeter really pays off, holding this low temp accurately for hours on end. FInal meat temp was 150. However it hits this at about 2 hours in and then you get the “stall” as the moisture evaporates and the meat temp really does not rise for the next few hours. So don’t get alarmed that the fish comes up to final temp “too early”.

Take the pieces off (yes it can be a struggle if you forget to oil the racks). Cool and then pull of the skin and scrape the grey meat along the lateral line off (so called mud line) to get rid of the bad flavor of that region.  These were then vacuum bagged and frozen. From a food safety these are just fine as is (aside from watching your mercury intake thanks to the coal fired power plants).

We ended up with just under 9 lbs of finished product.

Fillets loaded and ready to go. Note the order of loading needs to be reversed with thick belly filets on top and tails on the bottom . Toothpicks keep the fillets from sliding off.

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Heatermeter in its water resistant case , This is a great project in and of itself and saves a lot of worry on long or low temp smoking sessions. In the winter being able to pull up the current stats on you computer is a big plus. d3u_8744

Vacuum bagged and ready to freezed3u_8748

 

Stuffed chicken roll-ups

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We have been making stuffed chicken roll-ups of various sorts for a number of years. They have been a family favorites, but we keep experimenting, trying new variations on the theme. We started out with chicken breasts and they were stuffed with cheese and sometimes ham or pepperoni. Breading was a triple dip: flour, egg/milk, bread crumbs with herbs and crushed pine nuts.  However, while these were good, the breasts often were drier than we would like and I wanted to reduce the amount of oil needed for a crispy crust. So there has been an evolution. Switching from breasts to boneless thighs, moving where herbs and other flavorings would reside (stuffing, base coat/ dredge, wash, crumbs). Each iteration was a bit different.

Tonight I pushed it a bit farther and we are really happy with the results. So here is the recipe to the best of my recollection (some day I will write as I cook).

Meat

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (costco). Remove the fat deposits, and butterfly as flat as you can trying for 6×8″ or so. Pound out under plastic wrap to about 3/8″ thick. The chicken will be fragile and have holes – don’t worry.

Filling

10-12 oz chopped frozen spinach. Thaw and wring out as hard as you can.

1/4c lemon juice

3/4 c shredded cheese . We used our staple mexican cheese blend. You could use feta for a sharper flavor, farmers or Monterey jack for a smoother flavor

1/4 c pine nuts

1/8 tsp salt (the cheese already adds salt)

Mix well and break up the spinach lumps

Coating batter / wet dip

1/3 c corn starch

2/3 c milk

2 tsp granulated garlic

2/3 tsp italian seasoning

1/3 tsp sweet paprika

a few good grinds of black pepper

Whisk these together and let sit (and whisk again). It should be a very thin batter, like a crepe batter. Note the mix will thicken after sitting a few minutes.

Outer coating

2/3 c grated parmesan (green can cheese)

2/3 c corn meal

1/4 c panko bread crumbs (can omit  )

Building the roll ups

Take the very irregular and pounded out chicken thighs and lay out. Place 1/4 of the spinach mixture in a line along the best looking long dimension. Roll up – yes they will have holes and not be pretty at this point. Tie with string in 3-5 places,  to make a rough log.

Dip and roll  in the batter. Then dip and roll in the coating. Set aside to rest for 5-15 minutes (longer is better for adhesion of the coating) .

Cooking

Saute, in a preheated mix of olive oil and bacon grease (about 2 TBSP each) . Place in the pre heated pan and let brown (about 3-4 min) , flip over 180 degrees, and brown again, rotate 90 browning again, and finally flip over.

Now drain off the excess grease and  then throw the pan in the oven at 325 on convect for about 20-30 min. Cook to internal temp of 175-180. Yes it sounds high, but these are thighs – you would do breasts to 160-165.

Pull from oven  and let sit 5-10 min and serve.

 

Compared to the regular panko crumb crust, there is about 1/ 2 the absorption of the fat.

 

Salsa Day

It is now late summer and we are blessed with an overabundance of tomatoes and peppers. It is always hard to predict how well they will do so we plant 12+ of each. This summer things have gone well with plenty to eat and give away. However, much of the summer has been hot and dry and recently we have had a lot of rain. This causes the tomatoes to split and rot if not picked aggressively. This means we have gallons of tomatoes, Yellow pears, orange and red cherries up through some really nice beef steaks (Romas were a bust).  For peppers we have loads of  sweet bananas, cubanelas (sweet), jalapenos and a decent number of poblanos.

Last weekend we made tomato sauce and this weekend is salsa. Low 70s temp and rainy so it was a perfect day to be in the kitchen.

Our oldest daughter Jessie brought up the idea canning of Pineapple – tomato salsa . This sounded interesting but there are few recipes available. However we found one on Taste of Home: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/spicy-pineapple-salsa and modified it slightly.

NOTE: canning of salsa is one of the more risky endeavors and you need to follow well documented and tested recipes. This is not a time to risk a “pinterest fail” and be poisoned with botulism.  Don’t just take my word for it, read up on several of the University extension web sites prior to doing this for proper safety procedures such as:

  • http://learningstore.uwex.edu/assets/pdfs/b3570.pdf
  • http://www.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/preserving/tomatoes-salsa/canning-tomato-based-salsa-safely/
  • http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/sensational_salsa.pdf

D3U_8702

I really have to give credit to my wife Teal. She cleaned and chopped gallons of tomatoes today. On top of it she doesn’t eat tomatoes, salsa or pineapple (unless blended with rum and coconut).  We ended up with 29 jars of salsa.

Our final version was close to the original but we went for roasting the pineapple and jalapenos as well as draining the pineapple to make it thicker. Final cooled sauce pH test with pH test paper came in at between 3.5 and 4 .well under the 4.6 required for safety.

So here is our version:

5 lbs tomatoes chopped – Yellow pear, orange sungolds, yellow plum

2 large yellow onions chopped

2 sweet banana pepper chopped – preferably ripe and reddish if you have them

1 can 12-18 oz crushed or chunk pineapple  – drained (save juice for the rum drinks later)

1 can chunk pineapple roasted on skewers on the grill – go for caramelization – not black – beware it sticks badly

1 can (15oz) tomato paste.   If only there was yellow tomato paste – the color would be better.

2 large sweet banana peppers seeded and chopped

2/3 c roasted, skinned , seeded and chopped jalapenos and / or poblanos – go for a nice dark roast and bubbly skin

1/3 c cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon  salt (you can always add more later depending on your chips)

6-8 large garlic cloves minced (about 2/3 bulb of garlic)

2 tsp fresh ground cumin (seeds in your mortar and pestle – none of the pre ground stuff)

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Mix and cook at a hard boil for 15 min.. Stir frequently. If you want a smoother consistency (as we did ) use a stick / immersion blender to smooth it out near the end of cooking (yes it will clog up but just shake the skins off).

Pack into pint jars and boiling water process for 15 min.

Enjoy.

We made a bunch of conventional tomato salsa as well – that recipe will be a subsequent post .