Applicance fun

Well I got some bad news and some good news about some of our appliances today.  Bad news, our main fridge may be having problems.  Good news, I fixed the dishwasher – for real this time.  I’ve also learned quite a bit about coffee the past few days and as normal I’m getting a little obsessive about my new interest.So first the bad news.  Our fridge.  Remember last post when I mentioned that I was making some watermelon sorbet?  Well after blending it together in our Cuisinart – that almost got messy…turns out the batch is a little more liquid than I expected and was over the water level of the food processor.  As long as I kept the processor going the forces kept the liquid at the sides and away from the center where it could leak.  Of course that also meant I had to pour it out while the processor was still running.  Fun!  I ended up only spilling about a teaspoon though so it worked well.  Oh and the sorbet … to quote Amy “Heavenly, seriously.  HEAVENLY!”

So where’s the bad news?  Well I had to chill that mix down to 40F before putting it in the churn.  No big deal, 30-60 minutes in the fridge should do it.  But after overnight in the fridge it was still only down to 42F.  Uh oh.  Time for a fridge thermometer, and I turned it up a notch while shopping for one.  I was going to use some left over wedding gift cards at Linens N Things – but they wanted $15 for a fridge thermometer!  Bah, I got a $5 one at walmart and stuck it up…sure enough our fridge was only cooling to about 43 or 44 degrees!  I cranked it all the way up to 6, the highest it could go and now it’s holding around 39-40 but I’d still much rather see it at 34-37.  So probably going to need to have it looked it.  Guess the funky noises it makes sometimes aren’t so innocent after all.  Oh and the home warranty that the seller included for us – specifically mentions fridges as not covered.  Great.  At least we have a second fridge if we need it.  For now I’m going to be putting meats out there.  May help explain why we’ve had so many illnesses this year.

The good news?  I fixed the dishwasher again.  Glasses have been kind of hazy lately and it’s still not draining 100% I noticed.  I knew what was causing it.  That little decorative red disc that fell off of my favorite spatula the first time I washed it.  The one that’s been bouncing around near the drain hose making annoying noises.  I could see it through the drain hose but it wasn’t going through.  And sometimes it would get wedged and block the drain just right.  Thankfully the fix was simple.  I just had to pull off the drain hose and there it was – just floating there.  Took some care and a pair of long thin hemostats to get it out.  The dishwasher is now running and there are no more annoying rattling noises.  I still need to finish trimming out the cabinet opening though to quiet it down a bit more.  Just way too many openings in the cabinet right now to let sounds out.

And my latest obsession?  I’ve learned quite a bit.  I’m limiting myself to one cup a day so I can’t experiment too much.  But what little experimentation I’ve done has taught me quite a bit already.  1st – I wasn’t grinding my beans enough.  2nd I wasn’t using nearly enough grounds (apparently “cup” does not mean “cup” when you’re talking coffee.  It’s actually 4oz not 8oz.)  I was also using more water than I thought I was.   As a result I was using 2 measures of grounds when I should have been using 6.  No wonder my coffee was coming out thin like tea!  This mornings cup was radically different, much more body and flavor.

Other than some on-line research I figured this out by trying a glass of the Seattle’s best french roast that was given to us as a housewarming gift.  Since neither Amy nor I drank coffee we figured it would either go to waste or sit in the cabinet until we had a house guest who drinks coffee.  Didn’t count on me suddenly deciding I wanted to learn to enjoy the stuff.  Since it was pre-ground it gave me a first hand view of what a good grind should look like – and being a French Roast it was an interesting contrast to the Full City roast I’ve been trying.  Going to be honest, I didn’t drink a cup of it.  Brewing it all those memories of why I don’t like coffee came flooding back – the smell almost made me sick to my stomach.  But I pushed through and gave it a taste.  It wasn’t actually bad.  It was definitely a lot more bitter,  but I found a lot of the flavors to be similar to the ligher roasted breakfast blend I picked to try first.  Just more intense.  If I hadn’t already had a cup of the breakfast blend I would have drunk it – and probably enjoyed it by the end.  But with a cup in me already I didn’t want to drink the whole thing so I just sipped enough to compare.

So this mornings brew was a LOT better than the first few I tried.  Though I’m kind of glad the first few were so weak as they helped me work up the nerve to try it.  The cheap french press I bought isn’t going to last though – I can now tell why it was so cheap and why it won’t last.  I found info about “vacuum brewing” and think I may have to give it a try.  I have some spare erlenmeyer flasks, with a few stoppers and some glass tubing I suspect I can make one.  Or at least I’m going to try when I can find some stoppers and tubing.  Unless I find one one e-bay cheap.  The Cona brewers from England are a beautiful work of art I’d love to have on my counter-top…but they’re a little pricey for me.  Same for the works of art made by – wow – I’d LOVE something like that even if I wasn’t finding I enjoy the taste of this stuff.

But for now either the press or a filter in a funnel with our electric kettle will have to do.  Both methods seem to be capable of making quite a good cup based on my limited experience and research  – but neither is quite as elegant as the beautiful alcohol lamp powered vacuum brewers.  And while espresso machines fascinate me – I’m not ready for that strong of a brew yet!   Not to mention being well beyond my price range.  Maybe someday, but for now the gadget guy side of me will have to step aside – unless the inventive side of me takes over and managed to make a brewer out of those flasks.

So that’s the news for now.  Time to go make some dinner and wait for the dishwasher to finish up so I can see if the glases are better this time!


  1. We’ve got an espresso machine gathering dust in the “Mommy store” if you’re interested.

    I can’t stand Starbucks and most of the other “Seattle” brands of coffee. Your grandparents always relied on “8 O’Clock” brand and never failed to get rave reviews. Lately we’ve been using “Dunkin’ Donuts” from Costco and it’s not bad at all.

    Favorite espresso was their dark roast from World Market. I’d buy the beans and use their grinder for a medium espresso grind.

  2. I remember your machine, you were quite enamored of it last time I visited it seemed. I don’t remember just what it was though – was it a steam pressure machine or did it have a pressure pump to make the full 9 bars for true espresso? Either way I’m sure I’ll give it a try next time I visit. But for now I think it can continue to gather dust at your house.

    As for beans, I’m guessing you haven’t read my next post yet. (Highly likely since apparently I messed up when writing it and it was unavailable until just a few minutes ago!)

    I’m not so much looking for a favorite coffee, as I am looking to explore the differences between them. So I’m up for trying a cup of anything – but right now it’s the ritual of preparing the beans and brewing that I find most attractive rather than the finished cup. Those cups are growing on me though.

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