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How to remove a cork without a corkscrew. Or, how to ruin a perfectly good corn skewer.

January 6, 2010

To say the least, the holidays held some interesting mishaps. 

MISHAP #1:
I tried a new craft this year, inspired by one my all-time favorite bloggers, Katie Bower of All Bower Power.  She posted her ornament inspiration crafts, and I really wanted to try the one she refers to as the “bubble” ornament.  I had purchased some really great vase filler from Pier 1 earlier in the season, and it seemed perfect for the occasion.  The filler I got has three different types of glass beads (clear, frosted, and matte silver) as well as tiny little jingle bells.  Cutest stuff ever.  So I went to town on a set of dark green ornaments I grabbed from Meijer for $2.

I think they turned out really well! Can you see the little jingle bells?

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Now let’s use evil, useless mathematics to calculate the mishap. Glue gun + finger = boooooo!!

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I dropped one of the little beads onto my finger, then flung it off quickly only to realize that it was sticking to the carpet, which made me panic and pick it up with my other hand. Luckily it was already cool by then. It really didn’t hurt that bad and I thought I could finish up the project, but after about 3 minutes, I started to really feel the pain, so I quit and came back to it another day. Got a cute little decoration out of it, although much too heavy to hang on a tree. This is a tabletop item only!

Disclaimer: My fingers do not look that gross and purple in real life.

MISHAP #2

I was a part of the cast for the Christmas performance we do at our church each year, and as a way to pass the time sitting in the green room, I thought I would learn to knit.  I’m nothing if not impulsive.

So I bought some junky yarn to use for practice, then upgraded to some really nice yarn and an actual pattern a few days before Christmas.  I’m off of work for the week between Christmas Eve and New Year, so I spent a lot of time plugging away at my little scarf project. 

Again, it turned out pretty well, with just a little booger.  Not a real booger.  I made a booger.  Never mind.

Here is the proof that I did a good job:

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Ok, so I missed something and picked up a stitch somewhere.  I made it for me, and I don’t require perfection.  But it drives my mom crazy!

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MISHAP #3
I made Burgundy Chicken for Christmas dinner.  Obviously, this leads us to a tutorial on removing a cork without a corkscrew/ruining a perfectly good corn skewer.  Let’s start with a basic overview of the  major factors working against me in this situation. 

First, I do not drink.  Like, at all.  Ever.  No one in my immediate family does, and 98% of my friends do not. 

Second, I am not a wine connoisseur.  I know nothing about it and it smells like a butt.   I’m so classy.

Third, their powers combine to create a supreme and utter lack of a corkscrew in my life.  Except for the roller coaster at Cedar Point, I don’t come around corkscrews very often.  I don’t know how to use one.  I don’t know where to find one.  I have no one from whom to borrow a corkscrew.  Totally screwed.  (Oh, even I’m appalled at that joke).

Fourth, I do not own a sabre or scabbard, so I can’t do that nifty trick where the guy holds the bottle in one hand and swipes upward and away from him to slice the top off the bottle.  And no one wants my freshly severed finger/hand/arm in their wine.

Recap:  I’m completely useless when a recipe calls for wine. 

I decide not to use the standard cooking wine for some reason, and head out to my favorite market, Nino Salvaggio’s, so peruse their wine section.  Dumb.  Dumb.  Dumb.  I wandered around the aisles for 10 minutes looking for Burgundy wine and never found it.  I ended up asking the lady stocking wine on an endcap, and she said that basically meant a cheap, crappy red wine.  Good news, because spending $25 on a bottle that will ultimately have 65% poured down the drain did not excite me.

So I ended up finding a $3.99 bottle of red wine and scooped that puppy up without bothering to check if it was corked.  This is why I should stick with cooking wine… the convenient little top that screws on and off!

The next day I pulled out all the groceries and got the chicken cooking, got the mushrooms going, went to open the wine and realized my dilemma.  Luckily I had a little time until it was necessary to the cooking process, so I didn’t try to hurriedly chop the top off with a swiss army knife. 

Here are all of the attempted tools:  cheese skewers, turkey lacing skewers, grapefruit knife, drill, corn skewer, screwdriver.

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Ultimately I found that the drill with a pilot hole bit work best.  I used graduated sizes and finally just twisted the bit all around until it kind of kicked the crap out of the cork.  Then I used a flat head screwdriver to get the large pieces out.

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Of course, that caused the next problem.  I don’t know much, but I don’t think “chunky” is something you look for in a wine.

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I used a paper towl layered over a thin strainer, suspended above a liquid measuring cup to get the bits out, and after straining it twice to be sure, I was feeling good about it. Of course we lost a good corn skewer in the process. For future reference, they lack the tensile strength to dislodge a corkscrew of their own volition.

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Ultimately, the wine made it to the mushrooms and turned into a lovely sauce that tasted delicious!

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We had a sweet, quiet dinner for Christmas and enjoyed every bit of it.  Without the bits.

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I know it doesn’t look like much, but it was tasty!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 6, 2010 11:59 am

    Hi Girl!
    Thanks for the shoutout on the bubble ornament – yours are adorable…I especially love the jingle bells 🙂 Great job!!!

    XO – Katie

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