after a quick check of the weather to make sure i wouldn't get rained on, my next stop was the somerville target. they had a 10" mesh colander ( about $10), exactly what i wanted. they had a small selection of canning jars, 4 pint-sized containers for about $5, too expensive i thought, and i needed empty jars in bulk. the jars would have to wait, i wouldn't need them until tomorrow anyway, when i actually begin the canning process.
on my way home i realized i made a tactical error as it began to rain. my instinct was to rush home to avoid getting soaked, but i forced myself to calm down, since slippery roads plus high speeds often result in accidents. when i finally got back, i ran inside the house to get the rain cover for the bike and a towel to wipe it down. but as quickly as the rain had started, it just as quickly stopped. i knew this was only temporary and put the cover on anyway.
the conference call in the afternoon happened right when the city of cambridge was delivery new recycle bins to the neighborhood. every household would get a large industrial bin, regardless of whether or not you had the room for it. space is already at a minimum (ask anyone who's tried to park here) so it must be some kind of cruel civic joke to distribute these oversized industrial containers. after my call was over, i went outside and wheeled the two bins to the side of the house, where they sat like 2 road blocks.
of the two bikes sitting in my basement, the trek was the least rideable, with a flat rear tire. fortunately it's an easy thing to fix. i went into the basement with my tools before realizing its one of those quick-release tires. i rinsed it off in the backyard before bringing it inside, where i cleaned it again in the bathtub before transferring it to the kitchen floor on top of some newspaper. i'd never worked on any other tires other than my own, so this was a new experience for me. with the tire tools it was a snap to remove the tire and the tube, much easier than on my bike, where the fit is extremely tight.
i was surprised to see a patch on the tube. that could explain the flat. that was until i saw 3 other patches, with one almost right on top of another. talk about cheap! better to replace the tube than try and patch it a 5th time. the tire itself wasn't in very good shape either. although it still looked new, the rubber was cracked throughout much of the circumference. maybe this could explain all those flats. in a pinch though, the tire still seems usable, but the tube definitely needs to be replaced. once i get the tire fixed, it's time to move on to the brake and gear cables, which i've never replaced before.
i did some more household cleaning today with a magic eraser. how does that thing work anyway? magic like this makes me think it might be toxic somehow. after "erasing" the kitchen sink and counter, i moved onto the bathtub. i wonder if my roommate even notices how the house seems to be clean all the time? it's not the work of elves i tell you!
so finally i got around to cooking a 2nd batch of quince jelly. i wasn't going to do it today because i didn't have my jars yet until i realized i wouldn't need them until tomorrow. i still have enough quinces at my parents' place to make 2 more batches of jelly, and i wanted to use up this 2nd batch before they spoiled.
some of the quince fruits weren't in the best of conditions, but since they'd be boiled and mashed up anyway, it doesn't make a difference. i read that immature quinces have more pectin anyway, so whether they're yellow or green, they're all good. i removed the seeds though. not sure the exact reason, but i figured they might be bitter. i was also reusing the cheesecloths i had from the first time around. they were in surprisingly good shape, completely free of smells considering that they'd been soaking in quince pulp. once sliced into quarters, the quince pieces were submerged up to an inch of water and set to a medium-high boil on the stove. boiling quince has a nice smell, delicious enough to make me want to taste it despite the sourness.
it took about 45 minutes for the quinces to soften enough that i could mash them up with a wooden spoon. once i smooshed enough of the quinces, i blend everything with a hand mixer. i was still boiling when i began mixing, which is a mistake, because i could feel the mixer getting hotter as the metal blades were conducting the heat. i turned off the heat and moved the pot to an empty stove before mixing again, stopping every once in a while to let the mixer cool down. it didn't seem like i was getting a finer mash as i did the first time, but there were less large pieces (and more smaller chunks).
once i figured i couldn't mix the quince any finer, i poured everything into my largest pyrex bowl and washed the stockpot to get it ready to catch some filtered quince juice drips. 5 lbs. of quince creates enough mash for two mesh colanders and there was still plenty of room for more mash. i could hear the juice dripping as soon as i began scooping quince pulp (with a mug) into the cheesecloth-filtered colander sitting on top of the tall stockpot. with my other setup, because the pot is shorter, i didn't really hear any dripping even though i knew it was happening when i took a peek.
so i'm going to let them drip overnight, and tomorrow morning i'll combine the juice content of the two pots. i should have about 8 cups of purified quince juice. if i get anymore i'll attribute the higher yield to the new mesh colander.
pau came home alone, much to my surprise, since thursday is the big bang theory night, and the past few thursdays katarina has come over. i guess he really was serious about getting sick of his friends. i heated up some corn chowder for dinner while pau made some fries and a piece of porkchop. he put the window fan on before he began cooking, without any prompting from me. afterwards the house was odor-free, i wouldn't even have known he'd been frying.
last week he ordered a pair of knockoff wii steering wheels he saw on ebay (i think they were $1 for a pair, with $5 shipping). he said even if i didn't want them, he'd give them to me anyway because they were so cheap, and he wanted to play mario kart. i managed to acquire a copy of said game a few days ago and finally burned it onto a DVD when the steering wheels arrived today. we played a few rounds, pau beating me every single time. it was also a lesson in cross-cultural swearing, me with english, pau with spanish (or is it catalan?).
later in the evening i introduced him to boom blox. i figured if anyone would be good at this game, it'd be a physicist. once again, he won every game we played.