June 30, 2007

Emrack's Mashed Potato Casserole

My son has gotten serious about grilling since he moved to Kansas City, a community which takes barbecue much more seriously than Milwaukee. I asked him to send me his recipe, but he's still experimenting with it. Instead he sent me this, which he makes whenever he's camping in the woods (including this weekend) and occasionally on the stove at home.

4 lbs potatoes
2 lbs cheap shredded cheese
2 lb ground beef
2 onions, chopped
garlic to taste
1 cup milk

Put the potatoes, peeled if thick-skinned, in a Dutch Oven with enough water to cover. Boil until soft. Add the milk and and mash a little thinner than if they were to be served plain. mix in cheese until melted and then the beef, onions and garlic. Put the Dutch Oven back on the coals. It's done when the edges are crisp.

To make at home, use half the quantities, place in a casserole dish, and bake at 400 for one hour.


A commenter asked why the cheap cheese. The answer is because he said so. My son doesn't skimp where it matters - Grey Goose is the vodka he will settle for if nothing better is available, so he must not think that fancy cheese adds anything to this dish.

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June 27, 2007

Group Rate

I'd like to know what Brian was shopping for when he found this.

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June 26, 2007

Unstall The Install

When I bought the station wagon a year and a half ago, I also bought an MP3-enabled CD player to replace the AM-FM radio. The time to get it put in has arrived.

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June 25, 2007

It's Even Worse

Those who would like to make the victim disarmament laws in the United States as severe as those in Great Britain prefer to minimize reports of criminal attacks over there. It seems the British government prefers to do the same. The British Crime Survey caps the number of times a victim can be targeted by an offender at five incidents counted per year. There are so far thankfully few places in the U.S. where an offender could survive targetting the same victim more than five times.

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Outrage Found

I have commented in the past about the lack of coverage when gasoline prices fall. For the first time I have encountered a national media figure who wants the ungouging investigated.

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June 23, 2007

Size Does Matter

As of this week, we've been married for 69 solstices. Today, for the first time, my wee wifey expressed a desire for another couple of inches. She figures that if she were five feet tall she'd have been able to get in and out of the truck I rented for moving some of the last of what I'd left at the big house without a struggle.


That should be equinoxen, not solstices.

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June 21, 2007


More precisely, to use the classic young male distinction, iactionfigurity. I have asserted that the belief that guns are intrinsically evil smacks of voodoo. Tam sees even more primitive belief in the latest actions of the Gun Fearing Wussies.

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June 20, 2007

Quote For The Day

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws...Plato
I just happened upon this in the upper corner of a promotional weekly planner. The timing is perfect, as Deb has just collected the evidence.
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June 19, 2007


Today is the celebration of the end of slavery in the United States, or, more precisely, of the news reaching Texas that slavery in the states of the Confederacy was outlawed by Federal decree. There is a larger message of relevance today, which is that, contrary to the bumper stickers, there are problems which have been solved by war.

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June 16, 2007

Could Have Been Worse

We were listening to radio news this morning, and they reported on a case wherein a 78 year old nun had entered a guilty plea in a case wherein she had been charged with having had sex with several high school boys. When they got to the part where they mentioned that the alleged acts had taken place during the 1960s, my wee wifey's immediate comment was, "That's a relief."

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Quote For The Day

You right. Dat be's very unprofessional.
Overheard at a retail emporium near my house. Knowing that there is such a thing as professional standards is, at least, a start.
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Cashew Tuna Casserole

There are an infinite number of tuna casserole recipes out there, for the simple reason that mixing a bunch of stuff including an efficient source of protein together and throwing it in the oven is so convenient. I even found the recipe for tuna casserole with prunes, immortalized on the old Greatest American Hero TV show, but we like this one better. It came from an old Farm Journal cookbook, and has evolved a bit since.

1 packet ramen noodles (discard the flavored salt packet)
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
1/4 cup water
1 can chunk tuna
1/4 pound unsalted cashews
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Blanch the ramen by dipping the unbroken block into boiling water for about a minute. It should still be crunchy, just no longer raw. Crumble and seperate; half goes into the casserole dish and half gets reserved. Add all the other stuff and mix well. Sprinkle the rest of the noodle stuff on top.

Bake, uncovered, at 325F for 40 minutes.

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June 14, 2007

Quote For The Day

The young will marry and somehow will live, even in these times, but how in the world will they manage just now, especially in this great city of New York, is matter for anxious thought for people concerned about their welfare. Housing costs so much. Food is still so dear. Servants, if they have any, are so expensive.
This is from another book by Edward S. Martin, "What's Ahead and Meanwhile", published in 1927. My wee wifey and I are far from just starting out, and yet in today's economy we found that we couldn't afford to stay in a house with servant quarters even without any servants quartered there. Hard times indeed.
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June 12, 2007

Three Gross Months

As the jumper said 'so far so good'. I'll catch up soon.

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If you happen to be anywhere around Atlanta, help prove the power of the Internet and keep your eyes open for this stolen car. I'm afraid that it was taken to strip for parts, so massive immediate alertness is needed.

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June 10, 2007


It may not be the Thunderbolt Greaseslapper, but I've still got to admit it's cool.

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June 09, 2007

Paris In The Springtime

The news isn't just breaking, it's broken.

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It's a good thing rock concerts aren't subject to the same rules as sporting events.

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After decades of getting by with rusty scavenged lessthanwebers, I finally bought a serious grill. Still charcoal fired of course. If I want to cook on a stove, I'll do it in the kitchen. With a side chamber which makes cold smoking easy, and grills made from cast iron instead of coat hanger wire, it is well suited to gourmet grilling, but I do burgers and sauseges a lot more often than I do herb-marinated spatchcocked game hens. Whatever I grill, I use chunk charcoal and not particle board briquets, and I light them in a chimney without a drop of petroleum distillates.

Our local Lena's Market had a special last week on burger patties. Five pounds, 24 patties, for $7.99. At that price, they obviously weren't grinding up sirloins or anguses, but I didn't care, because cheaper cuts of meat have at least as much flavor, and beef heart isn't tough once it's been ground.

As per the instructions on the box, I threw the patties on the grill without defrosting. Unlike the handpressed burgers I used to grill, they never fall apart this way. I immediately sprinkled bratwurst sausage seasoning on them from a salt shaker. After a few minutes, when the tops of the patties looked well defrosted, I flipped them over. This is vastly easier with the spatula-tong combo, which is another tool no griller should be without. At this point the former bottom showed barely cooked meat between the grillmarks. I administered another sprinkling of sausage seasoning, and let them cook about twice as long. The next time I flipped them, I took advantage of the gripflipper, and waved them over a plate. The less juices you get on the coals the fewer flareups you get. One last shake of bratwurst seasoning, and then I watched and flipped them as needed so they all cooked evenly whether over hot spots or not. They didn't taste exactly like bratwurst, but they sure tasted good.

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June 08, 2007

Slip Me Some Skimmed

One hand pointed to an article whose headline described cows as giving skimmed milk, and echoed the error oncorrected. Skimmed milk is necessarily milk from which the butterfat which gives milk its mouthfeel has been removed via a process called skimming. Even if the milk from the special cows were fat-free, it still wouldn't be skimmed. As a matter of fact, what we have is more surprising, as the milk still contains a fat, but it is one more in keeping with current notions of healthfulness. Genetic engineers would love to have come up with this, but if they had there would be a hue and cry demanding a ban on Frankenmilk. Since it is the result of a random mutation (or, if you will, an act by that Designer Who, on noting a sparrow fall, tweaked the sparrow genome to see if such falls could be prevented) the same milk from the same genetics will probably be welcomed.

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June 05, 2007

You Heard It Wrong


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Given that I saw it linked overseas, I'm glad that at least one weird news story originated outside Wisconsin.

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June 04, 2007

Enough Already

Gourmet cheezburger.

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June 03, 2007

Eloi's Coming

There's an old joke, it probably predates the automobile in some other form, about the motorist who thought that he was being overcharged because all the mechanic did was tap the carburator with a hammer. The mechanic's response was to rewrite the bill, with a seperate charge, bearing most of the expense, for knowing where to hit the carburator (handy hint - stuck float valve, near the fuel inlet). The motorist actually got off easy. Plenty of mechanics would have sold him a rebuild at twenty times the price.

There is a blogosphere discussion going on about people who do not have basic material plane skills, and sometimes even disdain those who do. Getting overcharged for auto repairs is only the beginning of these people's problems. H.G. Wells postulated a future in which mankind has divided into those who produce and those who consume. Altho from my point of view, the Morlocks would have the better of that world, it behooves us to avoid such a future, and it is up to us Morlocks to do that.

This can be done at the most elementary level, as my wee wifey has done by working with Girl Scouts, first as a leader and now as a trainer of leaders. When she took her girls camping, her goal was not to teach them wilderness survival skills. It was simply to show those who had never been as far from home as a heated cabin, and those who had never prepared a meal more complex than cold cereal and milk, that they could do things they'd never done before and have fun doing them. Hopefully they carry this knowledge over into adulthood, and when the time comes to figure out which end of a screwdriver to use, or to survive a disaster, they can draw on what they learned and proceed.

For those who think I am exaggerating the divide, consider how far apart those who think we should be able to arm ourselves for self-defense, decide what substances and risks to expose ourselves to, and arrange for our own health care, and those who believe all of this should be handled on our behalf by the government.

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June 01, 2007

I'm A Walker

I think my life could better be described as a neartlek.

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It Was...

Forty years ago today.

As for the silly rumors about clues that Paul was dead, I had many of those clues brought to my attention by the teenybopper next door, prior to the date some disc jockey claims he made up the rumor. Only thing was the clues were supposed to prove that the Beatles had moved to Brazil.

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We do not live in the same real estate market as the housing bubble blogger. That may be why one week after we listed our big house for sale, following the agent's recommendation that we list for 20% over the price we were willing to accept, we have a written offer of 14% over the listing price.

With more money coming in, and a contract to have the house ready for occupancy in three weeks, I am eager to deal on the items for which I have previously posted advertisements. In particular, I do not want to have to haul that big industrial-grade bandsaw, which could be converted for wood or metal, to the dump. I invite you all to review the listings, and make me offers. Since I do not want to refuse them, they will be considered reasonable.

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