Time to Take the Chill Off 

(my new furnace)
Shiny and new

Last week, we had a tech come out for pre-winter check and tuneup of the two furnaces in our house (when we put an addition on in 2003, we opted to put a second, small, HVAC system just for the new construction rather than getting a single large unit for the whole house, a decision I regret for a bunch of reasons now).

The tech started on the furnace for the addition, and called me down after looking at it for 20 minutes or so. One of the first things that he tested showed that the Carbon Monoxide level inside the heat exchanger was double its legal limit and was still climbing when he hit the emergency off switch. No immediate danger to us (and I have redundant CO detectors in the house after an incident shortly after we bought the place), but enough of a potential danger that he had to take the unit offline permanently.

So, Saturday was spent talking to burly dudes who sell heating systems.

We made a deal and were hoping for a Monday installation, maybe Tuesday. Turns out they didn’t actually have the unit I bought on a shelf and had to get one shipped. Thursday install. Oh, and the new ductwork may stretch into Friday morning.

Luckily this week has been relatively warm, but when I walked into my office Monday morning, it was 56 F, which is tool cold for my fingers to be able to type accurately. All week long during the day I’ve cranked the furnace in the old part of the house with heat and aimed a fan at the base of the stairs up toward my office door, so it’s been bearable.

They just delivered the unit, which is freakishly tiny (and I know that it’ll expand when they start building the plenum and whatever other HVAC words they’ll charge me big bucks for), and should start ripping the old one out shortly. The furnace is directly beneath my office, so likely to be a noisy day.

It’s supposed to go up near 70 degrees this weekend, so it’ll keep that new furnace smell a little while longer.

 

Update: They were done with the installation by 1:30 PM. All new ductwork, installed much more cleanly than the original install was, and also positioned so that it will be easier to service in the future.

Thanksgiving 2015 Reference

Parking this here for my reference in future years and to save me the googling.

Kenji's not mine. Mine looked pretty much like this, though.
Kenji’s not mine. Mine looked pretty much like this, though.

Most of these obviously come from Kenji Lòpez-Alt at Serious Eats, whose recipes always work better than they should. If you need to know how to make pretty much anything, Googling “Kenji {name of dish}” is the best place to start.

Main Meal

Spatchcocked Roast Turkey & Gravy

Sage and Sausage Stuffing

Horrible yam goo that Kiley likes. I needed the empty can for…

Cranberry sauce — one thing I don’t like about this one is the taste of the honey in there is too much for me. Next year I’ll goof around with this one.

Garlic mashed Yukon Golds

Honey/mustard glazed baby carrots (an old Deborah Madison recipe that I’m probably making wrong at this point, but it’s how I make it.)

Dessert

Apple Pie (I put in more cinnamon that Kenji calls for), using this infallible crust technique that he developed a few years back.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Pumpkin Ice Cream

I was going to make a batch of Jeni’s Pumpkin 5-Spice ice cream, but was out of five spice powder, and too lazy to run to the spice store just for that today.

pumpkin

This uses my version of Jeni’s base recipe that folds in proportions and techniques from a bunch of different books and online resources I’ve seen over the years. It works reliably for me in my machine. YMMV.

Also uses my vague memory of how I’ve spiced pumpkin pies in the past; probably more heavily spiced than you’re used to.

Ingredients

base
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup 1% milk
almost 2/3 cups sugar (minus 1 tablespoon or so)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder

spices
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

base, continued

another 1/2 cup 1% milk
1 tablespoon corn starch

pumpkin
3/4 cup pumpkin (Jeni says to roast your own after hunting it with a bow and arrow in the veldt. I use Libby’s from the can like a proper American)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Process

  1. Combine the ingredients from base and spices in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. While that’s heating up, combine the rest of the milk and corn starch into a slurry and keep it handy. You’ll need to re-stir just before using it.
  3. The pumpkin and salt into a mixing bowl, whisked up a bit to combine.
  4. When the base comes to a boil, set a timer for four minutes. Stir occasionally, and monitor the heat level — if this boils over onto your stove, you will not be happy with the cleanup effort.
  5. After 4 minutes, remove the pan from he heat, re-stir the milk/corn starch and stir that into the base.
  6. Return the pan to the heat and bring back to a boil, stirring to keep everything mixed and avoid lumps. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.
  7. Add the hot base to the pumpkin and mix until smooth.
  8. Pour the mixture into a gallon ziplock bag and push out as much air as you can as you seal it.
  9. Drop the bag into an ice bath and into the fridge to cool down, aiming for around 34 F. Overnight if you can.
  10. Do something else while it chills.
  11. When it’s completely chilled, spin in your machine according to the manufacturer’s directions, pack into a storage container and freeze until hard — again, overnight if you can.

Also good as a baked Alaska (pic from 2011):

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