I got started on the installation of the ceramic water filter today. Took me a couple of hours to get it all installed. These things take time when your work area is so limited. But, eventually it was all hooked up and ready to be tested.
I started pumping with the foot pump (we don't have an electric pump, by choice). First I had to work the air out of the system before water would actually pump. Well, I never did get all the air out and I'm not sure why. However, I was able to pump water albeit, damn little of it. Our foot pump is double-acting meaning that it pumps on both the downstroke and the upstroke. Only now it was only pumping on the downstroke. The return stroke was really slow as the spring just slowly overcame the resistance of the filter element. The flow on the downstroke was pathetically anemic. There was no way that Lulu was going to be able to put up with this. Rinsing dishes would be a long frustrating exercise. Hell, just filling the tea kettle would take over twice as long as it used to. Well, as the French say, "Crappáge!"
Okay, so maybe the suction on the pump is too weak to pull the water through the filter. But maybe the pressure from the pump would be enough to push the water through. So, I switched the hoses and tried again. Still didn't work very well and besides, now the pressure was enough to cause water to leak out around the o-rings on the swiveling outlet. "Crappáge deux!" Not sure what else to do, I yanked all the new stuff out and put it back together the way it was before. This was a little tricky since I had to cut some of the hoses to get them off the hose barbs and now one in particular was too short. And I didn't have a long enough replacement either. Fortunately, I did have a hose coupler.
So, now what to do? The best solution would be to use the ceramic filter as intended. That is, as a source of drinking water only. Switch a valve, pump the water and fill your cup. But that will require an impossible-to-find-in-Mexico 3-way valve. I guess I could have Lulu pick one up while she's in Iowa and I still may. But the real problem is where the heck would we put this stand-alone filter so that it was serviceable, didn't infringe on our already meager storage space in the galley, and still be handy for filling a cup?
I went to Home Depot again today and bought another filter housing and a couple of 5 micron filters to use on the tank-filling side of things. At this point I think I may at least try plumbing the 5 micron in series with the ceramic filter and run dock water through this combo before it enters the tank. Maybe the 5 micron will cut the cleaning of the ceramic filter down to a reasonable interval, like after each tank fill rather than 2 or 3 times during each fill. If that doesn't work I'm not sure what the next move will be.
So, somewhat dejected, I decided I needed something good for dinner. Didn't really want to go out. I hadn't eaten the leftover chicken yet since I was kind of full after having lunch at Yolanda's yesterday so I still had that to work with. I also didn't want to spend a long time preparing and cooking. Just wanted something good and easy. Decided on arroz con pollo (chicken with rice). I've cooked this before starting with raw chicken and it's really good. But my chicken was already cooked so here's what I did:
Easy Arroz con Pollo
Start with Mexican rice:
-In a saucepan, brown 1 cup of dry rice in about a tablespoon or so of oil, shortening, lard, bacon grease, whatever.
-Stir the rice periodically to keep it from burning.
-Add a chopped-up small onion and stir
-Add a de-seeded chopped up habanero pepper and stir
-Just before the rice is completely browned, add 3 cloves of chopped garlic, stir.-When the rice is mostly golden brown, add 2-1/2 cups of chicken broth and stir ONE LAST TIME!
-Bring to a boil and then lower heat so the mixture just simmers. DO NOT STIR!
-Continue simmering, uncovered, until most of the broth has boiled off. DO NOT STIR!
-Toss the chopped up, boned chicken pieces on top of the rice, cover the pan, lower the heat way down and start the timer for 20 minutes.
-When the timer goes off, turn the heat off, stir the chicken in and fluff up the rice. Cover the pan and let sit for 5 minutes or so. You'll notice when you go back and stir the rice again after the 5 minutes, that the stuff that was stuck to the bottom of the pan no longer is. The bottom is nice and clean. I don't know why this happens but it always does, at least for me.
That's it. Enjoy. I know I did and I will again tomorrow because there are leftovers. And by the way, the basic Mexican rice recipe is good w/o chicken as well. Add other vegetables to it if you want. Just remember to toast the rice and always use an onion and a flavorful broth. Everything else is optional and up to your imagination.