Fixing the espresso machine

Andreja_premium Well, after 7 years of almost daily use, it appears that the pump has failed on my Andreja Premium espresso machine.
The machine uses a 52W, ULKA EAX5 vibe pump – and as it turns out, this is a fairly commonly used pump in espresso machines.  I also found prices varied wildly.  The dealer where I purchased the machine originally sells the replacement pump for $95.  I found a replacement on Ebay for $39.99.
Ulka_52WattAfter getting the new pump swapped in, the machine seemed to be working fine.  Then, this morning, it seemed to have stopped again 🙁
So, removed the casing from the machine and hooked the water supply back up, and this time I tested things out  with the cover off.  This allowed me to see the water flow.  Everything worked fine. Maybe I kinked a hose as I put the machine back together?
I carefully put everything back together – making sure no hoses were kinked, and tested the machine again – everything was 100%.  This morning, the timer kicked in and turned the machine on at 6:00 AM, and at 7:00, I pulled a double shot with no issues.  I think that the shot was up there with some of the best that I’ve done!
Something I came across, that might be useful in future, is this page describing the process of repairing the ULKA pump itself – with lots of photos and additional comments from other readers.  I still have the old pump just in case.  They certainly aren’t that complex!

Creamsicle Juice

The sweet potato adds a creaminess to the juice that reminded me of a creamsicle.

Creamsicle Juice
Recipe Type: Beverage
Author: Ray
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
This was a wing-it concoction that really surprised me with how great it tastes!
Ingredients
  • 1 lg sweet potato
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1/2 large gold beet
  • 2 navel oranges (peeled)
  • 1 golden delicious apple (cored)
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled)
Instructions
  1. Juice all ingredients, and pour over ice if you like…. enjoy!

Ground Beef Curry

Ground Beef Curry
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Ray
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
This was quick and easy to prepare, and tasted great! Next time I will add an extra Cardamom pod and a few extra cloves though
Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. med. curry powder
  • 1 tbsp. Garam marsala
  • 2″ stick of cinnamon
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion – diced
  • 2 med. sized sweet potatoes – diced
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper – diced
  • 1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can consomme
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. Brown beef and drain fat
  2. Add olive oil, curry powder, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and heat for a minute
  3. Add onion, sweet potato and red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to turn golden.
  4. Add diced tomatoes and consomme. Stir and scrape bottom of pan.
  5. Reduce heat, add frozen peas and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes or so.
Notes
Serve over freshly cooked basmati rice

a new fridge!

A few months back, our fridge packed it in – fortunately we had a second fridge and figured that we could get by just using the one fridge. Well, after a few weeks, we decided that one fridge was not enough.
So the research began, and after some shopping around, we decided that we would up the budget a bit and had a new Samsung fridge delivered.  Was able to get a next day delivery, so that evening, I ran a new water line into the kitchen to supply the fridge water & ice dispenser.
All was good until I realized that the fridge was not going to fit through the front door (or any other door) of our older house.
Front view of Samsung fridgeSo the fridge was delivered to the garage – and the next day, after removing all the doors and door fronts from the fridge, and the screen & main doors from the house, the fridge was in the house! Great! Until another Homer moment…. the entrance into the kitchen was too narrow as well!
So, out comes the reciprocating saw, so quick work of the entrance and the fridge was finally in place.  It fit perfectly into space where the old one was – but this new one has way more space – almost 26 cu.ft. in a 30″ opening.
A little more work than anticipated, but  well worth it!  Love the space and functionality that the new fridge gives us.

Mushroom and Apple Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Mushroom and Apple Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Ray
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
Tasty, quick, and affordable
Ingredients
  • 1/2 white onion – chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. fresh white mushrooms – chooped fine
  • 1 yellow pepper – chopped fine
  • 1 granny smith apple – cored and chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin – ground fine
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. perpper
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 pork tenderloins
Instructions
  1. Slice temderloins length-wise, without slicing through
  2. Lay flat open, cover with plastic wrap, and pound so that tenderloins are approx. 1/4″ thick
  3. Mix brown sugar, salt and pepper in small bowl
  4. Spread mixture evenly on both sides of tenderloin
  5. Heat olive oil in skillet, and fry onion until translucent
  6. Add cumin, cinnamon, sage and thyme, yellow pepper, apple and mushrooms
  7. Reduce heat and cook til apple is soft
  8. Preheat oven to 400*F
  9. Divide and spread stuffing evenly across length of each tenderloin
  10. Roll up, and tie together.
  11. Add a little more olive oil to skillet, and turn heat up
  12. Sear each tenderloin evenly on all sides
  13. Remove from skillet and place into 9×13 baking dish and place into oven.
  14. When internal temperature reaches 145*F – 150*F, remove from oven (about 40-45 minutes)
  15. Place tenderloins onto carving board, cover with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes