Wednesday, March 23, 2011

If You Can't Join Them, Then BEAT Them

The end of last year I bought 2 batches of beads that were shipped from China.  Normally I avoid any product from China but these beads were something I had been looking for.  Supposedly they shipped right away but it took over 3 weeks to arrive.  

And when they did finally get here, they were not anything I could use.  I had to make the decision to try and communicate with them in China,  to send them back or to just keep them and try to resell them.  

Another sore spot that I hear alot about is drop shipping.  Many buyers have been burned by drop ship companies and alot of sellers have suffered even more. 

So that got me to thinking about my eBay listings.  eBay allows us to add Custom Item Specifics so I thought that I can let folks know that we are in the US and  and ship all our items ourselves.  

How do I do it specifically?  I use 2 blank Custom Item Specifics slots.  In 1 I put "In Stock" and then in the adjoining slot "Ships Immediately from CO, USA"

The 2nd line says "Pay Before 12N Mt Time" and adjoining "Sent same business day".

Both these custom boxes show up at the top of the listing and are searchable and they are something a potential buyer sees first in the item description. Hopefully both these little details will help buyers make a decision favorable to one of my listings. .

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Make BROWNED FLOUR for Gravy and Sauces

While we were living in New York several years ago, I was interviewed and featured on the cooking page of the Sunday Newsday newspaper.  The recipe was for New New Mexico Red Chile (sauce). The reporter tests every recipe and for the life of her could not get the flour to brown - a key element in my Chile sauce and gravy.

Browned flour is nothing more than toasted flour. I start with several cups of plain, white, all purpose flour in a large skillet or stove top wok.  The pan will need be very dry and on medium high heat.

Using a rubber spatula, I stir the flour every few seconds - not constantly but often.  As it heats up it will start to stick to the bottom of the pan.  At this point you may want to turn the heat down alittle and stir more often.  As it starts 'toasting' it will be turning a pretty tan color. The flour may form little balls too, so just crush them with the back of the spatula.  

Take it off the heat just before the burn point.  It will really be wanting to cling to the pan on the bottom toward the end. Some really dark crust will be OK, but not too much.

Immediately remove it from the heat and keep stirring because the pan is hot and it will keep cooking. 

I put a strainer (not colander ) over a large bowl and start straining the flour into it.  Since there could be alot of flour dust, be careful when you breathe in!  There will be some pellets left in the strainer. 

I find I can press some of them through but for the most part they could be burned bits and bitter tasting. 

Once it is all strained I store it in an airtight canister / jar and use it as necessary. 

The cooked flour not only gives a more rounded taste to the gravy or sauce but it also gives it a deep rich brown color.