Pasties and Printing

Friday night started out with a trip to the Schaumburg Rockler woodworking store for threaded inserts, so we could bolt the presses down, and an oak board to bolt the little press down to.  After dinner (Chinese, Hunan Beijing), we went to Ace Hardware for bolts. When we got home Ron warmed up by setting up the board for the small press, then put the big press in place on the workbench. We had a small oops in location, as the press runs into the blind in operation. Robin took the board downstairs to trim to length, use the router on the edges, and finish it while  I started setting up my press for Christmas cards. It involved a fair amount of flailing around, but I finally got it done.

Saturday morning I started printing. Several test cards and 50 cards didn’t take long to do, and covered most of the horizontal surfaces in the room, which includes the 2’x4′ table we’d put up opposite the bench for the paper cutter and creaser.  Meanwhile, Ron was working on calling cards for Xaplet Minor.

Saturday afternoon was Cookie Lab and the vague skeleton of a MuseCon meeting. Robin made ginger cookies (not gingersnaps, he wanted something more chewy), while Ron and I socialized. We headed home about dinner time.

Saturday evening I carefully removed the Santa Claus block from the chase for my press, filled in the space where it was, and put the words “Merry” above and “Christmas” below.

Sunday morning started out with breakfast at Billy’s. Over breakfast we discussed what to do for dinner, and pasties came up. Robin agreed to make pasties under my guidance, and then Ron came up with idea of curry pasties, made with ground lamb. Robin countered with ham and cheese pasties. And the next stop was the grocery store.  Ron also suggested that  “Pasty Lab” could be fun.

Pasty fillings procured and dropped off at home, Ron and I ventured out to Office Whatsit for bulldog clips, to string on a line to dry printed things on. I’d first thought of binder clips, but I was afraid they’d leave pinchy marks.  Unfortunately, Office Depot only has packages of 36 bulldog clips on-line, not in their Arlington Heights store. So we got a package of tiny binder clips and a package of coated large paper clips. Also a couple more cartridges for the label printer, and some more inexpensive cardstock for things like test prints and putting on the top and bottom of a stack to be cut. I suggested not-white to make it easier to tell from the good cardstock I bought, and the Neenah Astrobrights “beige” looked too yellow, so we got light gray.

Back home again, Ron strung up a line by the spare bedroom door, over the table with the cutter and creaser:

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It’s hung down low enough I can reach it to hang things on.

Then I started printing the words on my cards. The Santa was printed in red, the text in black. This is a test print, before I had the ink quite evenly distributed on the ink disc, so the letters are a little light. Its printed on French Paper “Smart White”, which is a very bright white in person. The inside is blank:

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Folded, the card is the size of a quarter-sheet of paper. After cleaning up my press, I went downstairs to help begin pasty production. While Robin and I were baking, Ron set up and printed samples of all our type (which he’d actually started setting up Saturday night), as well as some of the cuts (image blocks), as you can kinda see in the first picture above, hanging on the line.

We need to get at least one font of a nice large type. “Merry Christmas” is in 14-point, and my Parsons is 18-pt (waiting for my spaces . . . not patiently), I’m thinking something in the neighborhood of 30-point, maybe 24.

Pasty Purist Warning

Pasty Purist probably want to just look away for a while.

We made Stupid Amounts ™ of pasties.

First up was the curry pasties. We’d gotten ground lamb at Eurofresh, as well as Dal Tadka, which is yellow lentils in a curry sauce (Swad brand, microwave and eat). I chopped up a big onion, and we cooked that with the lamb, then added the Dal Tadka. It wasn’t a lot of legumes, and we were out of canned white beans, but Robin found another Swad meal of garbanzos in sauce. He added that, and cut up paneer (amazingly tasteless Indian cheese), and let it cook to get some flavor into the paneer and to reduce.

As I was finishing chopping the onion for the curry, I had the “duh” moment of using the food processor for onions. So we did that for the next two flavors. Which meant the onions were finer than I usually cut them for pasties, but it was much faster.

(Understand that we were actually working on all three varieties of pasties we made simultaneously, in various stages for each type, not linearly as described)

For the ham and cheese pasties we cooked the moisture out of the onions, and diced the canadian bacon or eastern-European bacon-ish hammy yummy pig substance. Once the onions were done we added the pig, let it cool a bit, and added the shredded cheese.

For the traditional pasties we had beef (coarsely ground skirt steak), a half a rutabaga some potato in chunks, and onions. No carrots and we limited the roots in general to try to keep the carbs under control. I sautee the onions and meat together, and boil the roots until mostly done for pasties, as it happens.

I demonstrated how to make the first double-batch of crust, then put that in Robin’s charge.

I rolled and filled the curry and ham and cheese pasties, although Robin had said he’d do the ham and cheese and traditional pasties. But I had him helping on the curry pasties, so it seemed fair. I did a couple traditional ones, then turned it over to him while I took a break. Then he rolled out dough while I filled – which my wrists appreciated.

We made the pasties small, so that a dozen fit on a half-sheet pan. We had a 14 curry, 8 ham and cheese. and 17 traditional. We ate three of the traditional for dinner, and about half of the remaining traditional and curry went into the freezer. I had a ham and cheese for breakfast, it was good. So was the curry one I had for lunch. Fortunately, the filling seems to have mellowed, or the crust helped tame it, I wasn’t sure from tasting the filling alone if it was going to be too spicy for me.

Pasty Purists can now safely resume reading

Purist-safe summary: we made 17 mini traditional pasties, a little light on the carbs in the filling. They were yummy.

Yummy, but could have used more black pepper. And I’d forgotten that we were out of ground celery seed. But not-quite-perfectly seasoned homemade pasties are still pretty good.

And before the last batch of pasties was baked I’d done the dishes. Go me. And now Robin knows how to make pasties, at least as far as I can demonstrate, since the only recipe I have is for the crust.

Stiff back this morning. I think its complaining about all the pasties. Last night Ron said he hadn’t meant Robin and I should do “Pasty Lab” right then and there

After dinner I went upstairs and cut and creased paper for more cards. I’d been thinking of doing the snow/winter goddess in blue, and I thought she’d look good on the grey paper. Although both it and the better white paper are both 110 pound, the gray is only half to 2/3 the thickness of the white. I suspect the ink is going to take longer to dry on it than the white, as it does on the other, mystery cardstock we had floating around the house. Anyway, here’s the block locked up in the chase:

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I think I’m going to put “Happy Holidays” on the inside of the card for these. Our blue ink is pretty dark, I’m thinking of lightening it up some for the image, and using it straight up/darker on the inside for the words. I’m probably going to do them in two passes anyway for various reasons.

For the white cards I cut & creased last night I’m thinking of using one or more of the two-color sets of blocks we have. We have holly leaves with berries, a wreath with, IIRC, berries, and poinsettias and candles. I’ll have to mix up some green, and be careful about setup and registration for the second passes, but I’m gaining confidence.