Saturday, April 3, 2010

Waste not Want not

Did you have a happy St.Patrick's Day? I had a fabulous time. My brother came in from out of town and we feasted. If you have the pleasure of being Irish, and a Chicagoan then you probably know what I was serving. For the rest of you I will give you the menu:
Corned Beef
Little potatoes
Soda Bread
Green river soda
Grasshopper cake
Lots of Beer!!! Smithwicks is my favorite but I seemed to find a lot of half-drained MGDs lying around on my counters. The day after the supreme sumptuousness I was left with a lot of lame ducks and some of the cabbage in a salty brine of hard cold fat. I mean this stuff was an inch thick! It made me glad for every ones' hearts that I do not make this dish more often, but it also got me thinking about soap. Can a girl like me really resist an inch of hard cold clean fat? The answer is most certainly no.
I cleaned up the fat, a bit since it had floaters and spices in it. There is lots of info out there on how to do it, but I just take the biggest chunks and boil them intensely in salted water. I pour the hot mixture into another pot through a fine mesh metal strainer and let the fat sit overnight. The next day you should be able to cut it and lift it off the water with ease. From my leftovers I accumulated about 8 oz of waste fat. Since I had a lot of beer I decided to use that as my primary liquid for the soap. Try and let it sit around for a few days while the liquor evaporates. Others have recommended cooking the liquor off, but how do you know when it is fully evaporated? I don't either, so that doesn't sound like a good method to me. If you were cooking the soap you could pour it right in , but you would still have to beware of the dreaded volcano. The reason you cannot use the beer straight is that when it comes into contact with the lye it will explode-ask me how I know about disgusting brown caustic gack all over the counter tops!
Ok, so here is the recipe I used for the soap:
8 oz waste fat (you could use tallow)
8 oz olive oil
4 oz palm kernel oil
8 oz beer
2.75 oz lye
There are no special instructions for the soap. The usual add lye to water mix into fats stuff I have covered before . When you add the lye to the beer it will turn an awful orange-ish brown color. This will not retain in your soap as you can see from my soap pictured. I am sorry it is not a better image, but that was the best I could do with the web cam because my digital cam died. The Corned Beef imparts a really strong aroma and having a well trained nose, I can detect the beef smell in the soap despite having scented it really strongly. I may have to chalk this one up as a Gag gift -literally! I could just be sensitive as this soap does lather up nicely and cleans well too. This is the scent combination I used:
1tsp fresh cut grass
1 tsp spear mint
1 tsp balsam fir
You could use any combination of green scents you like, but I would recommend strongly using spearmint to help blend away any unwanted odors and keep up with the St.Paddy's theme. More to come from the notebook itself once this Easter thing passes.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo!!! Heidi, I used to render all the time. It's really not that bad. Being Irish I understand the meal all too well. Wish I could have been there.