Take a Quick Tour of the Shop

Monday, September 15, 2014

Anouncing the Website "Antiquing Brazoria County"

Why would Mertie's This and That announce a website on antiquing?

A little background

The beginning of the Mertie's This and That page in
Antiquing Brazoria County website
Mertie's This and That sells antique and vintage items among the upscale resale furniture and household items. So when other antique sellers in the area formed a group to promote the antique and vintage market here in Brazoria County, TX, Mertie was one of the first to join.

Thanks to Vic Penuel and Jeter's Old World Antiques in Angleton, TX, one of the benefits of group membership is a place in the website "Antiquing Brazoria County."

The goal of the group is to encourage shoppers to explore the Brazoria County market. There are many small businesses in our county that are not well known, some in out of the way places. The website provides a directory of shops and showcases the unique nature of each member's shop.

For some members, that means a booth in an antique mall. For some that will be a shop like Mertie's This and That. Some sell from their homes and are locally known for their skilled "repurposing of vintage items;" for them that will be a "by appointment only" listing, but still a page with pictures to show what the buyer can expect. This is a website full of pictures of the store layouts and likely item types to be had.

Now don't forget, the actual inventory has a rapid turn-over and newly obtained items will be vastly different finds. After all, how often do you expect to see the same table for sale every time you enter a vintage shop?

Where is Mertie's mentioned in the "Antiquing Brazoria County" website?

Mertie's This and That is actually mentioned on 3 pages of the website: on the Brazoria page, in the Directory, and on the Mertie's This and That page. Take a look and be sure to tell Mertie what you think when you stop by.

So what is happening in the store these days?
This area of Mertie's This and That is
filled with vintage glassware, knickknacks,
dresser and table

One constant in Mertie's This and That is change. The beautiful items she has in stock are "here today and gone tomorrow." The unusual Coca Cola table and chairs she brought in last month are already sold. She replaced it with a gorgeous wooden dining table and chair set, but I do believe those are to be taken away this week.

There are a few child rockers and some large Mexican planters left. Some of the potted plants are still available. There has been much turnover, but you can still find vintage glassware, kitchen utensils, pots and pans, southwestern crosses, tapestries, art prints, furniture, clothing, gifts and so much more. And there are still comfortable chairs by the front door for sitting, relaxing and visiting for a spell.

Wicker and dolls in an area of Mertie's This and That

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cooking with Crock Pots


Crock Pot Rules


Crock Pots for Slow Cooking.
Get yours at Mertie's This and That.
There are rules for cooking with crock pots. The rules are techniques
for rapidly reaching a safe temperature for cooking foods and staying there until the food is ready to be served. A safe temperature is above 140-145°F, the temperature that stops the growth of harmful bacteria in food.

I suspect that crock pots are made differently now, since the rules provided by Eating Well in 2004. Some other sites actually had recipes that did not conform to the rules, including recipes for meats. I have summarized the rules provided by Eating Well below.

Getting Temps High Enough, Rapidly Enough

  1. Use high moisture foods and recipes that add moisture. The water will make steam that will heat the food faster and keep it hotter than 145°F. 
  2. Defrost all frozen ingredients first. Meats, poultry and fish should be defrosted slowly in the refrigerator since attaining a temperature above 45°F will allow bacteria to grow.
  3. Do not use the crock pot to store uncooked foods because the pot cools slowly. This will delay the change from kitchen-counter temperature to the colder 45°F that prevents bacterial growth.
  4. Fill the crock pot between 1/2 to 2/3 full.
    Heat the boiling water in a teapot from Mertie's this and That.
  5. Preheat meats and poultry. You can do this in 3 ways. One is to sear the meat in a hot pan before placing it in the crock pot. Another is to heat the meat on high in the crock pot for 1 hour, then continue cooking the meat on low. Finally, you can add boiling water or broth to the crock pot of meat and vegetables and cook for the required hours.
  6. Cut up whole chickens and roasts. Large chunks of meat do not raise temperature as quickly as needed. A chunk can be the size of a chicken leg-and-thigh piece.
  7. Leave the lid of the crock pot closed until the last hour of cooking. Opening the pot will lower the temperature. The contents might not reheat in time to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
  8. Do not reheat cooked foods in the crock pot. It takes too long to heat up. Instead reheat the food in the microwave or on the stove. The crock pot can be used to keep hot foods warm.

Cooking Times for Meats, Fish, and Poultry

Herding beef cattle,
as opposed to milk cattle,
gave the cowboy the name.
Get this print at
Mertie's This and That.
Vegetables and meats can be cooked together. You can even add the vegetables during the last hour or two of cooking. A sweet potato can take 5 hours to cook on low. Potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and others can be cooked as long as the meat, but can also be added during the last 1-1.5 hour of cooking. Slice the vegetables thickly.

Different meats have different cooking times. A 4-lb. pot roast can be seared on all sides for 4 minutes/side, then cooked on low for 8-10 hrs, or 5-6 hrs on high. (see also)  A 3.5-lb pork shoulder can be cooked on low for 7-8 hrs. Chicken will be done in 5hrs on low if liquid is added. Fish will cook in 2-3 hrs on low; shrimp in a heated pot on low for 1hr. Fish should be oiled, seasoned and wrapped in aluminum foil. These packets can be placed in the  pot on top of vegetables such as onion slices.

Beans are best cooked long enough to break down the leptin protein, making crock pots ideal for cooking dried beans. After soaking overnight, 1lb  of dried beans covered with 5 c boiling water will cook on high for 2-3.5 hours, depending on the age and type of bean.

Mertie's This and That has crock pots and other kitchen items at reduced prices.