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Monday, October 3, 2011

Money Grab, Preps With Leftovers, Caveman!

Debit card charges. Bank of America is now going to charge customers a $5 fee to use their debit cards each month.  This is just like banks did with ATM cards.  They get you addicted to using them, then they start affixing fees to access your money - even though it's MUCH less expensive for them to deliver the cash via a machine instead of a human teller.  

Bank of New York, I believe, is now charging customers a service fee for making deposits.  Why dat?  They can't make any money lending it out - in fact, it costs them money, as they must pay the FDIC insurance fee.  No one is borrowing money - regardless of how low the interest rates might be - so they've got to make it up by charging you to warehouse your own money.

Do you need more reason to take your money out of the bank?

Occupy Wall Street protesters:  Growing, and spreading [link].

Gotta say, I agree with the general premise, but they need focus.  Too many folks with differing causes.  Stay focused on the banks and the bailouts, and they'll get some popular support.

As Ol' Remus says, "Stay away from crowds."  So far, the protests have focused mainly on cities with Federal Reserve Bank branches.  The SF Fed is located right next to the first BART (subway) station that enters San Francisco.  If their protest spread to the BART station, business in SF would be seriously hindered.  This same line goes all the way to the SF airport as well, so that could mess things up as well.


Made up a batch of cream cheese with some fresh milk that was on its way to not being fresh any longer.  In the past, I've made a non-rennet cheese out of non-fat dry milk that was getting a bit gamey ["Gettin' Cheesy" link].  This time, I made it out of some fresh 2% milk that was a week past it's expiration date (still smelled and tasted great).

I brought about 3/4 of a gallon up to 180F, and added 2 tbs of white vinegar, gave it a stir, and..... nuthin'.  It wouldn't break into the curds and whey.  I eventually added another tbs and turned the heat back on and it broke up very nicely.

It was MUCH softer than the dried milk stuff.  I'm guessing that was because of the added fat.  I poured it into a cheesecloth-lined colander, where I rinsed out the vinegar with warm water.  I let that drain a bit more, and decided I was going to make a cream cheese of sorts.

I added dehydrated onions, garlic powder, salt, black pepper and perhaps a quarter cup of milk and stirred it all up.  Awesome!  I filled up some ramekins with the cheese spread, and it will adorn my morning bagels over the coming weeks.

I made up some killer Asian-style spare ribs this weekend.  Knowing I'd have lots left over (I have difficulty not cooking for an Army, even though it's just me and my wife!), I decided to do some prepping with beans and the leftover ribs.  I reserved the excess marinade, plus the drippings from the ribs (I cooked them in the oven).  The marinade was a homemade teriyaki sauce.

First up, I took my overnight-soaked beans (4lbs dry), added them to a pot with sauted onions and carrots.  I covered them with water to about an inch over the beans.  I then poured in the reserved marinade (about 1 1/2 cups) and let the beans soak in some of the flavor.  I brought the beans to a boil and let them go for about 45 minutes.

While this was happening, I got my canner, jars, lids and rings ready, and started taking the meat off the ribs.  I ended up with about 3 cups of shredded meat.  I broke this into 10 piles (my canner holds 10 pints).

I pulled the 10 jars from the canner (where they were in 180F water) and put one pile of meat into each.  I then filled each jar with beans to within an inch of the rim.  The jars were then filled to within a half inch of the rim with the bean broth.

Ten pounds pressure for 75 minutes, and I have ten pints of Asian BBQ beans on the shelf!

I still had a butt-load of beans left.  I cooked them - without meat - for another 4 hours or so.  I then followed  the dehydrating process outlined in a post I did way back in 2009 ("Dehydrating Beans" [link]).

When I did the beans for the post in 2009, they were unflavored.  This batch has the Asian BBQ flavoring, and are very, very good.  Two thumbs up!

They'll go with the rest of my Just Add Water [link] preps.

You know how to make a great teriyaki sauce, right?  Equal parts soy sauce and sweet - brown or white sugar, or honey - is the key.  Then I usually add some orange juice, grated ginger, Chinese Five Spice and some hot chile/garlic paste.


Hey, did you see the mini-documentary, "I, Caveman [link]" last night?  Pretty damned interesting.

Basically, it was about 10 regular folks to go out into the wilds of Colorado for 10 days.  They can only use the tools of the caveman to survive.  They were given two days worth of water, caveman clothes, and a shelter (they also got a two day survival course prior to being set out on their own).

Good Lord, are we a soft bunch of humans.  The main thing I got from it was, in the event of a societal break-down where we are forced to form small groups for mutual benefit, the first rule will be, "Don't work?  Don't eat!"

Spoiler Alert!  The scientists that were watching these folks realized they had little or no chance of supplying themselves with enough protein.  They introduced one of the first primitive weapons, something called an "atlatl".  It's a dart/arrow flinging contraption.

Somehow, these folks brought down a bull elk with this thing.  Holy crap!

A magazine called, "Make" has a PDF of an article [link] that includes instructions and diagrams for making one of these things, their darts and how to use it.  Pretty cool...

Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Andrea said...

You're just a fount of information today, aren't you?

I'm going to try the cream cheese very soon. We found a small, local dairy recently that sells the most delicious milk...and I think it will make some really good cream cheese.

I'm going to be putting up beans today too. I've found it extremely convenient to have home-canned beans on the shelf for a quick pot of chili or whatever. I have a goodly amount of leftover ham/fat and I'm going to put up some ham and beans and pork and beans. When you're rural, a ready to eat quart of ham and beans is about the closest thing there is to 'fast food'.

Anonymous said...

I have no love for the banks but the missing part of the story is that congress stepped in and reduced bank fees in an effort to garner votes. Should congress be telling a business in a free country what it can charge? I suspect that with very few exceptions all our complaints and problems stem from politicians passing laws to get favors or votes.

Chief Instructor said...

Andrea, it seems like the lower the temp you're able to get it to break at, the softer the cheese. After I had rinsed it all out, the curds were this light, almost airy stuff. It's so good!

Anon, point very well taken. Over my 30+ years as a community banker, I saw obscene amounts of government "suggestion," as well as outright specific direction with regards to fees and charges.

Free market? Surely you jest! We can't leave market forces in charge of setting pricing, like they do with supermarkets, or oil change shops, or cell phone service, or anything else that many people use.

Don't even get me started on the Community Reinvestment Act and how that brought on the real estate "crisis"!

That being said, protesting against "the government" won't do anything. Where do you protest? Against whom do you protest? Doing these protests against the Fed's proxies at least has a chance of making some sort of impact. A low probability, but at least a chance.

Protesting at the ballot box has proven itself equally impotent. You can change the appointed Secretary, but the "machine" lives. The lifer bureaucrats live on forever. And they're the real power.

Dave, RN said...

" these folks brought down a bull elk with this thing"

IT was actually one person Rob Wolf. He is a well known paleo lifestlye blogger. He'd beenpracticing with that weapon for weeks and the producers encouraged that.
Rob was probably the only one that could have pulled it off... and he did.