The Fridge

I reckon it’s been about 2 months ago now that our refrigerator broke. To make a long story short, a technician came, diagnosed the problem, ordered parts, and the parts arrived several days later, but due to scheduling conflicts between me and the technician, the repair service got scheduled for 2 weeks later, and then, on the day he was to come, he didn’t show up, and I found out this piece of news when the day was half over and I had already missed most of my work day, that he had called in sick and there was no replacement to cover for him, so the repair appointment was rescheduled for one week later after we resolved our scheduling conflicts once again, and I arranged another day off,  and lo and behold, he came that time, on time, too, but then determined the fridge couldn’t be fixed after all, so he took the parts away, promised a refund via the mail, provided a $500 off coupon only good at Sears, which we went to on that Friday night, where we found a great fridge, bought it, and are awaiting the earliest delivery date available – one month to the day from when we bought it (gasps for air). During all this time, without a working fridge in the house, we used our second fridge, the beer fridge, located in the workshop, which was very inconvenient. Picture yourself, if you will, walking out your back door, going over to your neighbor’s house, walking into their kitchen, getting butter from the fridge, and then making the return trip back to your house, and you can begin to understand what a pain in the ass this was, and after three weeks of doing that to discover that the new fridge would not arrive for 30 more days, well, I told Brian I couldn’t do it anymore, would he bring the old fridge from the workshop and put it on the back deck, so at least, it would be a shorter trip, but it is still a pain in the ass, and we are still weeks away from resolving the fridge dilemma. And, that is all I’m going to say about that.


Recently, my co-worker, work partner, the one who covered my job for me and me for her, submitted her resignation so she could work full-time for her husband’s company. We determined that I could handle the additional duties and we had about 6 weeks to train me before she departed. In theory, it was plenty of time. But then, consider that both of us worked four day workweeks. (She took a day off every week and I took a day off every week, but we never took the same day off as we covered each other’s jobs.) So, then we were down to 18 work days for me to learn her duties. Then, of course, I missed two additional days during that time for refrigerator service and she missed several additional days with a tooth problem and subsequent root canal. Her last day at the office was April 30, so since then, I’ve been on my own. I expect it will get easier as soon as I figure out what in the hell I am doing.


Spring is always a busy season for us, what with five acres and an old fixer-upper house and summer being generally too hot to do major outdoor work projects. As soon as the winter weather breaks we get outside and get busy. We’ll be on that track until sometime in July when the heat beats us to a pulp. One big project is almost done – new columns for the front porch. This is one project that has been on our list for seven years, but, you can see by the pictures that we couldn’t put it off anymore. We were getting very afraid the porch roof was going to collapse! We couldn’t find replacement columns in the style we wanted, so Brian built them himself. As soon as he gets them painted, I’ll post the pictures.


The Wheeling Gourmet

Nic Steenhout, aka, The Wheeling Gourmet

I’ve recently discovered a new website that was created by a great chef and a cool guy, my friend, Nicolas Steenhout. The site, The Wheeling Gourmet, is, of course, a cooking site. Since I love to cook, I find perusing cooking sites a fun pastime. Some of the sites I stumble upon are okay and some, not so much. But, this site is different, somehow. Every time I visit Nic’s site, I get this feeling that there is something more, a true passion for cooking and sharing, and I  absolutely love that!  

Honestly, I do not know a lot about Nic. I know he is a Canadian living in New Zealand by way of Chicago and Savannah. I know he was once a professional chef and he co-authored a cookbook on wild meat and game.  I know he is an advocate for people with disabilities. His other site, Accessibility NZ, deals with web accessibility issues. I know he plays wheelchair rugby.

The first recipe I made was the Chicken Chorizo Clay Pot. Oh, I didn’t have a clay pot, so I used a Dutch oven.  I didn’t have mirin sauce (mirin is a sweet Japanese wine) so I used sherry. I didn’t even have any chorizo (Spanish sausage) and had to use kielbasa. (If I lived even remotely close to a decent grocery store, I would have made a quick trip to purchase those ingredients. Using the right ingredients is important!) But, even with all those changes, I loved this recipe! The flavors were incredible. I have made this again, since that first time, with the correct ingredients (well, except for the clay pot) with fantastic results.

The second recipe I tried was the Pork Medallions with Orange and Ginger Reduction. Oh, I fudged this  one up, too!   I thought I had defrosted a small pork tenderloin to use, but instead had a small package of ribs. Sheesh! The orange and ginger reduction and balsamic vinegar reduction were fabulous, though, and it still turned out to be a great dinner!

Several other recipes that are high on my list to try soon are the Braised Beef Shin with Orange and Black Olive – Osso Bucco Style, the Mousse au Chocolat, Chicken Brochettes  Marinated in Olive Oil and Lemon Juice, and Spaghetti Carbonara. Nic provides U.S. Standard measurements alongside the metric equivalents to make it easy for us Americans, too!  And, he always remembers to list the U.S.  term for ingredients like red capcium (red pepper) and kumara (a Maori word for sweet potato).

Setting up for a food photograph.

What else is cool about Nic is that he has a passion for photography and takes all of his own food photos! Typically food photographers add a lot of crap that make dishes inedible just to make a picture look appealing, but Nic cooks his food, plates it up, snaps his photos and then he eats it! Nic’s food photos are fantastic! Both photos in this article (yes, even the self photo above) were taken by Nic.

The site, The Wheeling Gourmet, is a work in progress. So, please visit it often! And, don’t be afraid to ask Nic questions, he loves to answer! And, if you are inclined to take a photo of your cooking masterpiece, he would like to see it!

Oh, and a clay pot, like the one featured on his site, is now on my wish list, in case you were wondering!

Happy eating!


Beef Burgundy

It has been raining here – a cold, steady rain – for two days. It is the kind of rain that seeps into your bones and keeps you from being able to warm up, no matter how many socks and sweaters you put on.

On Sunday, I made Beef Burgundy, a nice warm comfort meal. Here’s my recipe:

Beef Burgundy


3 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 to 2 inch chunks
6 carrots, cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large onions, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt, pepper
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 pkg. fresh mushrooms, cut into quarters
½ teaspoon thyme (or fresh, if you have it)
½ cup fresh chopped parsley.


In a 5 quart Dutch oven, cook bacon until browned. Transfer bacon to bowl. 

Add beef to bacon drippings and cook over medium-high heat until browned on all sides (about 5 minutes). Transfer to bowl with the bacon. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

Add carrots, garlic, onion to remaining drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes (vegetables should be browned and tender). 

Add flour, tomato paste, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add wine and chicken stock and heat to boiling, stirring to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of your pot. 

Add the meat and their juices. Add mushrooms and thyme and heat to boiling. Cover and bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours. 

Sprinkle with parsley to serve.