November 30, 2006

New Again

That's what everything old is, if people forget about it. Unless it disappeared, that is. Dean just noticed and linked the Arguments, which has been in my Other Stuff sidebar forever. This has prompted me to go thru it and remove the stuff which has wandered off, as well as correcting the link to the Eye, which I've known for some time had changed. By the way, my son, who has been there and done that, tells me that the Eye truly sees accurately.

Even older is the Evil Overlord list that Kevin just noticed. I think I first downloaded the original version at 300 baud to a single-sided floppy, but at a minimum note the 1996 copyright date.

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November 26, 2006

Oxymoron For The Day

Scrap Essentials
Noticed at the national fabrics and crafts store while my wee wifey was acquiring supplies for a craft project more intrinsically creative than scrapbooking.
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November 25, 2006

Tartare Burgers

There's an old joke about sushi, to the effect that "I took some home, fried it up, wasn't half bad." Turns out the same is true of Steak Tartare, and the result is quite tasty. Eating finely chopped or ground, highly seasoned uncooked beef is something of a New Year's tradition around Milwaukee, but I was already grossed out by the thought before we moved here. I'm the sort who responds to a rare steak by claiming to have seen cattle recover from worse wounds than that. Highly seasoned, however, is always popular around here, so I didn't hold this recipe's origin against it.

1 pound freshly ground beef - high end lean steak based stuff, not the $.99 pound family pack stuff I usually buy
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon mustard - Dijon or suchlike
1 teaspoon whatsthishere sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
4 anchovy fillets - chopped
2 tablespoons capers -drained
6 tablespoons finely chopped onions - sharp not sweet
salt and pepper to taste

Divide the ground beef into six equal portions, and press into three inch diameter patties. Use a burger press if you shoud happen to possess one.

Beat egg yolk, mustard and sauces together. Mix in the chopped and drained stuff. Grind pepper and sprinkle salt over one face of three of the burger patties, and scoop one third of the filling thereupon. Spread the filling to close to the edge, lay the reserved patties atop, crimp the edges and press evenly. Using the burger press again would be elegant.

Cook as you usually cook burgers, to an internal temperature of 160F. I got the concept from the cookbook included with a beta-test convection oven which did not reach the mass market, but prefer to grill burgers by sprinkling salt on a hot skillet so they don't stick before some fat renders out. I myself use no other salt; you may wish to back off on the salt to taste if using this method.

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November 24, 2006

Take A Gender

Worst pun of the day.

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November 22, 2006

Word For The Day

La Quinta: Spanish for something different on every one of their billboards.

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November 19, 2006

Happy Birthday, Kim

Today being the birthday of my one-time neighbor, Kim du Toit, it is also National Buy Ammo Day. I bought some ammo. I didn't get the hundred rounds he specified, but I did get a box of 150 grain .308 for the Mauser and a box of slugs for the 20 gauge. I also finally updated his link in the sidebar, long after I should have. While I was at it, I purged the expired ones, changed a couple of others, and added a couple of blogs which link me. If anyone else figures they deserve inclusion on that last basis, let me know. The one which deliberately points someplace other than you would expect remains.

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November 18, 2006

Coffee Kissed Triple Pecan Pie

As noted, we are not doing the full-zoot Thanksgiving feast for the extended family get-together. In fact, it turns out the foster-niece will be roasting beef for the main course. My wee wifey will not, however, be deterred from baking some fancy pies, as this is as close to an excuse as she is going to get.

This one is not as sweet as her traditional pecan pie, it doesn't have the corn syrup found in most pecan pies.

1 1/3 graham cracker crumbs -- 11 whole crackers*
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup butter -- melted & slightly cooled (1/2 stick butter)
1 TBSP sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter -- melted (1 stick butter)
1 TBSP instant coffee (more to taste if you like)
2 eggs
1 TBSP all purpose flour
2 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup pecan halves

The wee wifey's grandmother always said "Laziness is the mother of invention". She said a hard working man will just go ahead and do things the old way, but a lazy man will figure out an easier way to accomplish the same thing. I only heard my own father say it a few times, and he never bothered spelling out the reasoning. Being a lazy baker the wifey hit upon the idea of using crumb crusts for almost all her pie baking, delicious and easy.

Place the crackers and nuts in the work bowl of a food processor and process until they are finely ground. Combine the crumb and nut mixture, butter, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and stir until moistened.

Press the mixture evenly across the bottom of a 9" pie plate and all the way up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly with your fingertips so it is even and compacted.

Bake until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool completely before filling it.

Filling & Topping:
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy and stir in melted butter and coffee. Stir in the sugar and the flour; mix well. Add the milk, vanilla and 1-1/2 cup chopped pecans.

Pour into the prepared pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 15 minutes longer.

At this point pull the pie out of the oven and lay the pecan halves on top of the pie, covering the entire top of the pie. Bake pie for another 10 minutes or until done.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if you like.

*can use the same amount of cookie crumbs such as shortbread cookies or vanilla wafers.

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November 14, 2006


Seems to me the animals probably enjoyed it more than the alleged perpetrator.

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November 12, 2006


While backtracking a google hit on the title of a recent post, I happened upon a wretched hive of scum and villainy which shares the name of that post. There are certainly plenty of blogs which are devoted to criticism of leftards and dhimmicrats but to me they lack an unpleasantness I feel in the politics and humor delivered by this radical left wing extremist.

It is not uncommon for conservatives to post unflattering comparisons to unflattering images of liberal figures. The question is whether there is a difference in kind or only in degree between matching John F Kerry with Lurch and matching Rush Limbaugh with John Wayne Gacy. I don't even see the similarity between the latter pair.

One thing I don't recall encountering at conservative blogs is the sneering adolescent superiority which permeates this post. Seasonal entry level positions at big box stores around here pay a buck and change over the minimum wage, and anyway, laid-off Republican staffers will only have to hold out for two years.

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I'll be picking the wee wifey up from work at 6:30 Thanksgiving morning, and the feasting will be starting at noon so as to accomodate the foster-niece's work schedule. There won't be time to roast, let alone smoke, a formal bird, so we'll be using a turkey breast for the main course. We'd really like to set a traditional table, so can anyone tell us where to get one of those plastic turkeys?


One of my readers, a regular read of mine, found something which fits the letter, if not the spirit, of my query.

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November 11, 2006

How To Clean The House

1. Open a new file in your PC.
2. Name it "Housework."
3. Send it to the RECYCLE BIN.
4. Empty the RECYCLE BIN.
5. Your PC will ask you, "Are you sure you want to delete Housework permanently?"
6. Calmly answer, "Yes," and press the mouse button firmly......
7. Feel better?

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November 10, 2006

Tough Week - Easy Recipe

Depending on how long I need tomorrow, I may work more hours this week than any time since I was on straight salary. I only have three sites to drive tomorrow, but one is by Manitowoc and the other two are in the Fox Cities. So woithout further ado, here is a Curried Lentil Soup the wee wifey threw together a couple of weeks ago. Originally, split peas were called for, but the seasoning works well with the substitution. It is simple to make and the recipe she emailed me needs little editing.

16 oz dried lentils
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium white onion -- diced small
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger -- minced
3 cloves garlic -- minced
8 cups water -- or chicken stock
1 carrot to grate in at the end (optional)
Spice blend
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons salt
generous pinch cinnamon
* 2 Tablespoons sriracha sauce - optional but we use it in almost everything

Saute the onions in the olive oil at medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and spices. Saute 2 more minutes.

Add the water and stir well. Add the lentils. Cover and bring to a boil.

Bring heat back down to medium, let soup simmer for about an hour and a half, until lentils are tender. For split peas an hour should suffice but it wasn't long enough for this batch. If you like a creamier consistancy, run about half thrru a blender or run a wand blender thru it. Grate in the carrot and serve. You can garnish with fresh cilantro if you have it on hand.

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The Long-awaited Divorce

I tried to ignore all the news about Britney and whatshisname, but I absorbed enough of it that I have concluded that their breakup is caused by irreconcilable similarities.

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November 09, 2006

Who Would Benefit?

In the comments to a post by Owen, Scott is spouting the usual drivel about tax cuts which benefit "those who need them the least". I don't know if Scott understands simple arithmetic, but if you apply a tax cut evenly across the board, those who pay the largest amount in taxes will retain the largest amount in savings.

The sort of redistributionist tax policy Scott would like to see scares me as much as the possibility that the new Democratic majority will push thru more victim disarmament legislation. For the past six years I have made my living doing contract work on development projects financed by capital investment. A tax policy which makes it less profitable to invest in such projects means less work or lower wages for me. There is no reduction in my own taxes which would be better for me than properly implemented tax cuts for "the rich".

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Dumb Questions

All more or less inspired by billboards seen in the course of today's travels:

Would people from Horicon be identified as Marshians?

Who put the bomp in the ramalamadingdong?

What characteristics give a whiskey "unexcelled mixability" and what effect do they have on unmixed drinkability?

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November 08, 2006

Queue E D?

Clint has an interesting explanation of why exit polls persistantly lean to the left of the final results. Like him, I voted first thing in the morning because I had to get to work, and like him, I didn't see any exit pollers. Altho I suspect he is right that there are shifts in voting across the course of the day, not everyone who votes when the polls open votes as a conservative. The neighbor who voted just before me is employed, but feeds at the public trough. She's the one I've mentioned who kept her Kucinich yard sign up into the spring of 2005. Showing up early enough to interview her would not shift the exit poll in the same direction as showing up early enough to interview me. The same is most likely true of the young gentleman who was registering to vote at that time. It is no secret that he would have done so with marriage in mind.

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November 05, 2006

Remember, Remember

On this day in history, a terrorist bombing was prevented, reportedly as a result of one of the plotters having warned a co-religionist to stay out of the building which was to be destroyed. This is something to consider when evaluating current conspiracy theories.

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November 04, 2006

Beef Barley Soup And The Meatballs Therein

The national chain grocery where we buy the majority of our food had a special on pre-packaged ground beef a couple weeks ago. They just resctocked, so we exercized our raincheck and got three, three pound, chubs for $.99 a pound. The wee wifey decided that as long as she was going to break them up into single meal packages, she would put them up as meatballs, and made three batches in keeping with the following recipe.

3 pounds ground beef
3/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs -- or cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon celery salt -- to 1-1/2 tsp or regular table salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 2 Tablespoons sriracha sauce -- or other hot sauce to taste OPTIONAL
1 small onion -- chopped or 1/4 cup dry onions
* granulated garlic -- to taste
3 large eggs
3 Tablespoons dried parsley

Note that if you use crackers you don't need to use salt. One sleeve of saltines yields one cup of crumbs. Unless everyone you serve likes a little heat it is probably better to add the hot sauce only at the next stage. Sriracha is subtle enough that this batch had it in both.

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Shape into 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls using a tablespoon measure slightly heaped. For cocktail meatballs, aim for 1 inch diameter with a smaller measure. To brown in oven, arrange in un-greased shallow baking pan; bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until browned.

Once cooked, the meatballs can be frozen for storage. Freeze'm first, the wee wifey laid them in an aluminum pie pan, and then bag. That way they don't stick together. Defrost by simmering in sauce or soup.

Tonight she used some of those meatballs as an ingredient in a big batch of beef barley soup. The commercial condensed version is one of the few canned soups I like; this is infinitely tastier.

1 1/2 pounds meatballs
3 medium onions -- chopped
* up to 4 cloves garlic to taste -- minced
1 bunch celery -- diced fine
* 2 green pepper -- seeded and chopped
6 cups water
4 cans beef broth -- (14.5 ounce) OR equivalent in water & beef soup base
* 2 Tablespoons sriracha sauce -- optional or use your favorite hot sauce to taste
2 cups quick-cooking barley
4 cans diced tomatoes with garlic and onions -- (14.5 ounce) undrained
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons celery salt -- or garlic salt
2 teaspoons dried basil -- or Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons instant coffee -- optional
2 Tablespoons sugar

In a Dutch oven, cook onions and celery until vegetables are tender; drain. Stir in the water and broth; sriracha sauce & meat balls & bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Add barley; cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes or until barley is tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients; heat through.

If you do not care for celery, as has been reported by comment to a previous recipe, carrots could be substituted. Frozen ones could be added at the final stage; diced fresh ones would need to be included at the start. Note that soup base, and not boullion, was called for. There is a real difference in quality. We use the Watkins brand, which the wee wifey's great-great grandfather once peddled from a horsedrawn wagon, added to the water per the packaging. Boullion has more salt and less flavor, which means adjustment is needed. The optional instant coffee serves to bring out the beef flavor - you don't taste coffee - and is part of said adjustment. The sugar serves to balance the acidity of the tomato. This batch contained two cans broth, two cans water with soupbase, coffee, no salt and all optional ingredients.

The quantities listed produce a large batch of soup. If we have any left (I ate three bowlfulls for dinner and more this morning) it should freeze quite nicely and can be defrosted in the nukerwave.

Note - details edited after posting - the wee wifey read it on her downstairs computer.

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November 03, 2006

The Right To

Keep and bare...

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