Apr
26

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A Best Buy French Fry Cutter

Cutting french fries the easy way

Be honest, even if you are a health nut you probably want to grab pub grub from time to time.  It’s a great treat – and it almost always features french fries.

Now in pretty much every aspect of life I’d rather invest in the tools and know how to do it myself than head out and have someone else do it for me.  That goes for food too.  Now you can cut your own potatoes into fries for either frying or baking but it becomes a lot easier with a french fry cutter.

Low cost but high hassles – invest more and get one that will perform and last

I started out using a cheap $20 one that quickly failed.  For relatively little more – slightly over $60 on sale – I got a light commercial unit that makes fry prep a snap, and it’s worth every penny!

I see the same model on sale through Amazon comes with an additional fry cutter size – for $85, and it would be a good deal at that price too.  I don’t doubt it will last a couple of lifetimes if given a measure of care paying for itself several times over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quick Apple Fritters – whole grain (or not)

Homemade Apple Fritters frying

What was it Homer Simpson used to say…. MMMMMMMMMMMMMM Donuts.  For me that is more likely to be MMMMMMMMMMM Apple Fritters,  so it’s probably not surprising that I’ve played with dozens of recipes over the years  – most yeast versions.  But this quick one is the one I keep coming back to – it’s fantastic AND as a quick donut it’s a snap to produce.  While I usually make them using fresh whole ground flour they work just as nicely with white flour.

The other nice thing is this recipe is that it scales wonderfully – from 1x to about 5x which is about the maximum I can manage to make with my deep fryer before it makes sense to do up another batch of batter – but given that takes all of five minutes it’s really no hardship.  So get out your apples, heat up the oil and get ready to enjoy.

Click on the post title to expand for the whole recipe.


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Homeground flour – to sift or not to sift

Sifted home ground flour on right, coarse bran on the left

Grinding your own flour is a great way to get fresh healthy flour for your baking at dirt cheap prices.  Now the question is to sift or not to sift.

That is, do you remove some of the coarser fractions – generally the bran – or do you keep it 100% extraction.

Now, generally I just keep it whole – but if doing finer baking or doing baking for those less accustomed to full extraction it is easy to come up with a product that is closer to white simply by sifting the ground flour through a kitchen strainer. The fine flour components pass through and the coarser bran is retained.

Effectively it goes from 100% extraction to about 80% extraction.  It is fast, easy and gives a great product that is more generally accepted.

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Stanley Adventure Crock – Lid Latch Fix

Replacement Adventure Crock Latch

There’s a reason our grandparents had skills – they needed to be able to do things for themselves because they couldn’t afford to pay someone to do or make it for them.  Now we live right now in a pretty easy money environment, but because fewer folks can do it can mean more advantages for those who cultivate can do skill sets.

Take my recent trip to Cabella’s to pick up some outdoor gear.  I popped into their “Bargain Cave” and there were a couple of Stanley Adventure Crocks at the back.  Now these are three quart/ litre insulated crocks and look perfect for bringing something hot to a potluck or outing.  List price $75 plus 13% tax.  (In the states it looks like they go for $45).  But these ones, well they were marked down to a third of the price because the latches to hold the lids in place were broken.  Without the latches these were pretty much useless.

Final layers of the adventure crock latch being printed in PETG

Now clearly given the apparent prevalence of broken latches Stanley needs to address the design.  But I knew I could take advantage of the deeply discounted price and make my own replacement latches very quickly at home.

Now the replacement job would have been a bit of a pain to machine in metal – I have all the tools but still… But the project was perfectly suited to designing a beefier replacement in Sketchup and 3D printing it in PETG.  The replacement latch works great – and I have even used failure testing as an excuse to watch TV while working the latch repeatedly.  No problems!

3D printing is a great capability to add to your home, and if you don’t already have machine tools it is a great entry point into homescale manufacturing.  If you do have a machine shop I’m sure you’ll find that there are lots of tasks that a 3D printer can accomplish more easily than you could with conventional fabrication techniques.

For those of you with a an adventure crock with a broken latch here is the link to the STL file on thingverse   http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2235374