April 29, 2006

One Simple - One Complicated

Last weekend's belated Easter feast featured, along with the ham recently described, a couple of our standards and a couple of new recipes being tried for the first time. Both of the new recipes were great successes, altho ordinarily they would be not be used in a single context together.

Pineapple Casserole

This one was chosen simply to complement the pineapple ham. It is exceptionally simple, and would be a good one to assign to a young cook as a first contribution to a major meal. As posted where we found it, the pineapple was to be ring slices, layered. The chunks make it easier to prepare, serve and eat, and I don't think the reduction in elegance is significant.

2 large cans pineapple chunks -- drained
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons flour
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese -- shredded
1 sleeve Ritz crackers -- crushed
1 stick butter -- melted

Mix pineapple, sugar, flour and cheese. Place in casserole dish. Top with crushed crackers. Pour melted butter over casserole. Bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes.

French Carmalized Onions

This one, on the other hand, requires an experienced cook, both because it requires patience and attention and because it is liable to burn if you don't know what "about to burn" looks and smells like. I would strongly recommend using a gas stove rather than an electric one for this recipe. I always do, but this is one where it really makes a difference. Raising and lowering the heat during the cooking process helps release the natural sugars in the onions, and a gas stove gives much better response for temperature control. Note that the onions should be quartered before slicing, as otherwise you wind up with stringy rings.

3 lbs. onions -- sliced 1/8" thick
8 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the onions. Cover and cook over low heat 30 minutes.

Remove cover, raise the heat, stirring to keep the onions from sticking. As soon as the onions begin to brown - in about 10 minutes - lower the heat.

Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove cover, raise the heat, stirring to keep the onions from sticking. Cook for 10 minutes.

Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the vinegar, salt and pepper. Turn the heat to high and stir with a wooden spoon until the vinegar is evaporated ~ about 5 minutes.

This dish can be made in advance. To reheat: cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

Posted by triticale at 07:46 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 28, 2006

Whiner Jeez

Caring people are upset because a woman in Milwaukee died of carbon monoxide poisoning trying to stay comfortable on a cool day after the mean old power utility cut her service just because she owed them $9000. That sum would cover three years heat and electricity for my house, 4800 square feet, drafty, multi-bulb chandeliers in the master bedroom, the kitchen, the foyer and all three parlors, and three computers running 24/7. In other words, she had been getting slack from We Energies for an absolute minimum of three years and probably much longer. They probably would have cut her even more slack if she'd given them the money she spent on a generator and an electric heater. The only thing the utility did wrong in this case was letting her get this deep in dept instead of cutting her off a long time ago.

On a somewhat related note, a heating service company in the Milwaukee area had been running radio ads offering a free carbon monoxide inspection in order to get their sales technician into your house. They cite a statistic on carbon monoxide deaths due to heating equipment. Even before this incident I was annoying the wee wifey by muttering about how few of those deaths were malfunctioning furnaces as opposed to misuse of other stuff.

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April 27, 2006


I know what the rest of the acronym stands for...

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April 26, 2006


An armed society is a polite society.

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April 25, 2006

Left Behind

The sad tale of those who do not cross over.
Hat tip - Bill Quick.

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Doc's Adore

If anyone in the Kansas City area is interested in adopting a puppy, my son has a neighbor whose Labrador Retriever is expecting. The puppies should be as interesting as the conception; the father is a miniature dachshund.

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April 24, 2006

Fuzzy Thinking

Living as I do in an emerging urban neighborhood, I see a lot of bumper stickers with which I disagree. One common one caught my eye this morning, and I finally realised just how wrong it is. "Peace is patriotic" is exactly the same grammatic and epistimological error as "Patriotism is peaceful". The two words describe different sorts of things which cannot directly be compared. One could assert that a belief in the importance in peace is patriotic. This would not represent the same sort of error. Given that the word "peace" in that statement would remain a gloss for "not resorting to icky unpeaceful activities in the face of an idealogical enemy which has committed acts of war against our nation and has sworn to destroy it" the thinking would remain fallacious.


This isn't the only bumper sticker out there with an error in it's English usage.

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April 22, 2006

Not The First Time

The Marquette Warrior blogger notes that "[f]or a liberal ACLU lawyer, Dershowitz is making a lot of sense" in rejecting Moussaoui’s defense team's use of the "abuse excuse".

For a liberal ACLU lawyer, Alan Dershowitz is impressively capable of putting the law ahead of his avowed liberal beliefs. He is on record as defending the Second Amendment's identification of an individual right despite an acknowledged hatred of guns.

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April 21, 2006

Injection Is Nice

The foster-niece who will be our guest at this Sunday's belated Easter feast (she and the wee wifey both worked last Sunday) likes canned ham baked with pineapple as the festive main course. Jewel had a spectacular price after Easter on huge bone-in shank hams so we decided to try a variant on the theme. We also decided to try the Acadian Injectors which had been sitting in the kitchen drawer for donkey's years. Between a 10 pound shank portion and a 12 pound shank portion we injected a 64 oz. can of pineapple juice, putting an entire syringeful (I'm guessing around 30 cc) every couple of inches. One thing we learned is that the good injector, with a proper metal Luer lock on the needle is worth the extra pittance. the cheap one snapped off early in the shooting up of the first ham.

Each ham was cooked separately, in a covered roaster which was lined with lumnum foil. We poured a cup of cola (cheap store brand; I doubt name brand would have made a difference) over the ham before starting, and another halfway thru. Roasting was done at 400 degrees F. Twenty minutes per pound produced a ham which might need a little more cooking in near the bone; it is going to get sliced and grilled on Sunday. Thirty minutes per pound produced a ham which was a little overcooked at the periphery, but was falling apart tender. Both tasted absolutely delicious during initial experimental nibbling.

By the way, if I have the time I will make up a batch of my previously posted pineapple barbecue sauce for the grilled ham and the burger patties which will also be part of the feast.


I grilled the ham without any sauce, and it was a great success. Next time, however, I will not trim before grilling. The few bits of fat I left turned into the finest pork crackling I've ever tasted.

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April 20, 2006

The Hall Carbine Affair

As part of my exploration of the Psilocybe Cubensis mushroom, I have been reading the works of R. Gordon Wasson, who introduced the Anglosphere to the 'shroom back in the mid-Fifties. The Milwaukee Public Library has in their collection an early book by him, an exploration of the folklore and documentary evidence regarding JP Morgan's role in the purchase and resale of obsolete surplus firearms at the start of the American Civil War. The deal itself was somewhat shady, but Wasson provides documentary evidence that Morgan's only role was lending money to one of the principals based on the impression that it was a legitimate transaction. Altho the legend that Morgan got his start as a financier by selling defective arms to the US military has largely disappeared, a websearch produces several instances of an essay which presumes it to be true but uses it only as a lead-in to a description of how John D Rockefeller financed the Communist takeover of Russia.

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True Colors

Democratic sleeper agent Mark Belling has carried out the operation for which he has spent years establishing himself as a conservative talk radio host in Milwaukee. He has called upon his listeners to vote the Republican State Legislators out of office because they "aren't conservative enough". He is then going to resume his cover, and when the Democratic Legislature passes the Taxing Body Protection Act, a few common-sense gun safety laws, and formalization of voting rights for Illinois public service union members, he will abuse any caller who does not use the correct phrasing to agree with him how horrible all this is.

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April 18, 2006

Quote For The Day

As Mr. Klein notes, the crucial difference between the candidates in the 2004 presidential race came down to one sentence in George W. Bush's stump speech: "You may not always agree with me, but you'll always know where I stand."
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I have an avowed policy of disregarding Milwaukee's major newspaper because of the editorial board's position on gun rights. If Owen's link had been a mere "Heh, indeed" I would have ignored it, and I'm glad I didn't. Altho this columnist misses an important detail about the TEC9 (it's scary looking (think Big Trouble In Little China) but also inaccurate and unreliable) his overall point is spot on. They should put this guy in charge.

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April 14, 2006

April Music Mode

This month I am listening to music suitable to this post from Dean Esmay; music from groups such as the Beach Boys and the Ventures, as well as less known ones. I am also listening to music which went into the development of this sound, ranging from Hawaiin slack key guitar to the swing of Speedy West. I will of course necessarily change genres the first of next month.

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April 12, 2006

Old Hippies

On the MSN page I have to go thru to check my triticale hotmail, and noticed a link about "aging gratefully". What came to my mind of course was silvertip dancing bears and the ease of munching veggie burritos while wearing dentures. Instead it turns out that the phrase shows up in the title of a new book about making the most of the aging process. Mmmm, OK.

Speaking of old hippies, I'm coming up on the big Five Oh. Not the birthday, it passed a few years ago without much attention to the zero involved. I'm a day or so away from 50,000 visits as counted by Sitemeter. If that pretty number results from a blog link, I'll link back; if it comes from a search engine I'll toss out more googlebait.


I reckon this fits the topic somehow.

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April 11, 2006

The Birthdate Thing

This is the current variant of the "let's all answer the same question" meme, upon which I happened at Ith's. Go to Wikipedia and look up your birth day (excluding the year). List three events, two births and one death, including the year. Seeing as how I happen to have a cool birthday, here I go:

December 17th


1903 - The Wright Brothers make the first powered heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1935 - First flight of the Douglas DC-3 airplane.

2003 - SpaceShipOne flight 11P, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes the first privately-funded manned supersonic flight. My recollection is that their original hope was to make an actual space shot on this date, but lost some time due to development difficulties. It was still a worthy centennial observation. I'd like to think that the date was also chosen deliberately for the Douglas flight.


1873 - Ford Madox Ford, British writer (d. 1939)
1903 - Erskine Caldwell, American author (d. 1987)
1942 - Paul Butterfield, American harmonica player (d. 1987)


1967 - Harold Holt, Australian Prime Minister, believed drowned, (b. 1908)

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April 08, 2006

Missed It Again

I wouldn't actually observe it, given my use of Lent as a framework for abstention. Anyway, a belated Happy Bicycle Day.

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Pecan-Rum Pumpkin Pie

Here's another winner from the wee wifey's collection of Blue Ribbon Recipes; sure to make as big an impression on your guests as it does on contest judges.

Honey Pecans for Garnish:
1 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup vegetable or peanut oil

In a saucepan, combine pecans, honey, and water, and boil for 5 minutes. Drain pecans and return them to the empty saucepan. Sprinkle with sugar and toss over medium heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat and continue tossing pecans with sugar until they are evenly coated. Set pecans on wax paper for 15 minutes to dry.

Heat oil to 375 F and deep-fry pecans for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on a linen towel (as they would get paper towel fibers stuck all over them).

Sugar Icing
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons dark rum
powdered sugar

Beat butter with rum; add enough confectioners' sugar to make a stiff icing of piping consistency.
Note: You may use whipped cream in place of icing, but really shouldn't

1 cup pecans -- coarsely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter -- at room temperature
1 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup cooked pumpkin (canned is 0.K.)
2 eggs
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 baked 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Mix chopped nuts, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and butter; spread in bottom of pie crust. Blend milk with cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg. Mix pumpkin with eggs, 2/3 cup brown sugar, rum, and ginger Then mix together with milk and spices. Carefully spoon filling into baked pie crust. Bake 10 minute. at 450 F, then reduce oven heat to 350 F and bake for 35 to 45 minutes longer, or until filling is set. Let cool completely. Garnish with sugar frosting and pecan halves.

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April 05, 2006

Not About Capital

Photon Couriur linked a blog post about a Dutch parliamentarian who condemns educated women who choose to stay home to raise their children for "wasting capital". In debating her use of the word capital, both bloggers missed a more basic point, that this is a prime argument for the seperation of school and state. When you allow bureaucrats to pay for education, you give them a basis for believing they can decide what should be done with that education.

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Shoe Nuff

This home business is located around the corner and up the street a few blocks from me. Note that altho I have obscured the phone number I have done nothing to the lettering. Also note that the sign was professionally produced and has been there for some time now. The building is a duplex; I presume it is the other unit which is for rent.


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Bumper Sticker

In case of Singularity, this car will self-navigate.

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Hey Y'all

Now that we know what these people are planning, arrangements must be made to welcome them. Pack some extra Co'Cola and some chicken. They won't want to share your beer, and they probably won't eat any barbacue pork even after you explain that it's been cooked long enough to kill whatever slop the hogs ate.

Most important of all, yoou will need to educate them regarding the details of the sport; the rules, the cars, and the drivers. Hopefully, their mullah will issue a fatwa regarding restrictor plates.

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April 04, 2006

Down Word Spiral

This sort of stupid preoccupation is one reason that really large corporations tend to be less profitable than smaller ones, and also one reason I've almost never had employment which registered on the Establishment Survey.

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April 01, 2006

April Wassail Punch

Several winters ago, back when we lived in Chicago, my wee wifey's Girl Scout troop planned to go Christmas carolling, but on the scheduled date a severe snowstorm forced cancellation. Because the girls were so disappointed, she agreed to keep practicing the songs and to take them out to sing them when the weather permitted. She checked the calender, found a suitable date on which a meeting was scheduled, made appropriate arrangements, and worked with them on the songs every two weeks until the nice weather arrived.

On the selected day, the girls trooped out from the church where the meetings were held, and arranged themselves in front of the first house on the side street. After they seng their three Christmas carols, the neighbor said, "Why thank you, girls. That was really special. All I can do in response is say APRIL FOOLS!"

The following punch recipe is traditional at Girl Scout gatherings. It is always enjoyed, but doesn't always make up for the negative aspects of the occasion.

2 2 liter bottles ginger ale
2 1 gallon cans fruit punch
1 large tub rainbow sherbet

Pour soda and punch into a dented aluminum stockpot, and float entire lump of sherbet on top. Serve in little paper cups.

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