client E was dropping by my place around noontime with a cd delivery for a new project starting next week. i cleaned up some clutter, making sure the house at least looked respectable, and turned on the heat for some added warmth. it's another flash project, i'm hoping to get my hands on the original source files. if not, the client suggested using a flash decompiler (didn't even realized those things existed). the project isn't due until the first week of january but the bulk of the coding will take place within the next 3 weeks.
i left the house just once, to pick up some boxes of kleenex (3 pak/$3.75) that i forgot to do yesterday. i somehow managed to catch a light cold within the past few days, some sneezing and runny nose, but none of the throat itch that usually goes with allergies. there was a long line at the checkout counter which made me do some more browsing, and a got a box of gallon-sized freezer bags (26 bags/$2) as well, for future marinating purposes. walking back home, the wind was blustery and despite the ominous grey clouds in the sky, the rain held off for much of the day.
i've since retired my usual chef's knife from the wooden knife block and replaced it with the OXO santoku (MV55-Pro good grip). the santoku is just a better knife by many magnitudes. never one to blame the equipment, i figured my poor kitchen cutting skills were more personal. but turns out it was the knife all along! i have a set of farberware cutlery, which i thought were okay. i don't even remember buying them, so they must've been a hand-me-down, although they looked new at the time (maybe i just forgot i bought them). they're all serrated for some reason, which for a non-knife-pro like myself, i figured that gave me more cutting power. but know what else is serrated? saws. and that's exactly how these knives cut, not by fine slicing, but by rough sawing. the metal is also thin enough that i feel like i can bend the knives. knowing the poor quality of my kitchen cutlery, my parents even gave me another chef's knife, but i never had much cutting success with the replacement (about the same) so i went back to the farberware chef's knife, out of habit. so it was for the past 8 years, until i finally got my hands on a cutting tool that can actually cut. the oxo santoku is heavier and harder, which makes it easier to cut. did i mention how sharp it is? while slicing quinces, i cut through a bit of fingernail and some skin. not enough to draw blood, but definitely makes me respect the knife's potential.
in the early evening i decided to taste test one of the finished jars of quince jelly. it tasted much better than the jelly bits i had previously, a blend of sweet and sour mixed with some other complex savory flavors. i also wanted to find out if the jelly was in fact solid enough to eat. it's still kind of soft, but definitely solidified.
i talked with my father, who told me he mixed my jelly bits and his quince "juice" from last season and reheated the mixture with some additional sugar until it became jelly. i still had 1-2 cups of quince "juice" that he gave me last year and decided to boil it again in the hopes of turning the liquid into jelly as well.
this time i wouldn't scoop off the white stuff on the surface, which was jellified bubbles. instead i kept on stirring the mixture, churning the foamy bits back into the liquid. while the boiling liquid smelled like sweet potatoes yesterday, this recycled quince juice smelled more like fermented fruit, which probably was what happened over the course of a year (that may also explain why the lid exploded off). i learned from my mistake yesterday and waited until i had a completely solid jelly droplet on the cold plate before finally stopping the boil.
earlier i'd emptied out a relish jar and sterilized it in boiling water. into this jar i poured in the reboiled quince juice, now quickly solidifying into jelly with anything it touched. i tasted some excess jelly. the flavor isn't as good as the ones i made yesterday. also the consistency is different: this jelly had flecks of partially dissolved foam mixed throughout; my jellies from yesterday are just uniformly translucent because i scooped up all the foam instead of mixing it back with the jelly.
for dinner i cooked up another cornish game hen along with some potatoes. pau came home around the time i was eating, and told me katarina would be dropping by later. it's stressful enough to have just one roommate, but when they bring friends over, it can get a little old. fortunately they went to pau's room to watch movies from the computer, but the volume was distractingly loud. i also felt bad if they thought they couldn't use the living room (although watching movies on a laptop is probably the same experience regardless of location).