Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cookie Deadlines

I just realized that I have just about run out of time before the annual "Flea Fling" this weekend. It's a big fund raiser for the Historical Society...lots of donated stuff to buy...a large multi family garage sale as it were. I promised to bake biscotti again this year and since I will be on the set up crew Friday that means today and tomorrow are the only two days I have left to bake a few batches. I normally just do walnut and cranberry but I think this year I will also so some pecan and apricot just for some variety. They are always a big hit and sell out so it is a worthwhile effort. Starbuck's donates the coffee for the event and these biscotti are terrific with it. I also have a new chocolate cookie recipe from this month's Saveur that I am going to try and if it is nice I will bake a few batches of those as well....everybody loves chocolate(especially moi!). I'll share the recipe here as well if they are a good as the picture in the mag.

All my garden work is up to date(more or less) so I am going to go fire off the oven and get a few batches of cookies out of the way.

Hold Your Nose and Vote

Digby says it better than I but...

Here is the thing. We can all agree that, so far, the Obama administration and the Democratically controlled Congress haven't managed to turn the U.S. into Valhalla. You'll get no argument from me about how disappointing things have gone. Doubling down in Afghanistan really sucks. The half-assed medical insurance bill was truly disappointing in almost every way. Don't Ask Don't Tell is still there. The FDA is still hamstrung over food safety and we don't have anything near a coherent climate bill. The list goes on and on and is disappointing at every turn. A lot of this is due to the President's obstinate insistence on bipartisanship but a lot is due to the insane antics of the GOP and the broken rules of the Senate. There are multiple reasons things aren't coming up roses for us progressives. I'm not happy and you're not happy but the fact that we could be happier is no reason to get stupid.

If Democrats, Independents and other progressives stay away from the polls this election because they didn't get everything they wanted in the first two years of Obama's tour and turn the reigns of Congress back over to the insane GOP then the only word for it is stupid. The way forward is going not backward. Even one step in the proper direction, or even a half step is better than turning around and heading for the dark ages, which is truly what we will be doing if we let these certifiably insane people get back in power. The results of GOP governance are as plain as day and we are living with that result today, with recession, high unemployment and the threat of a deflationary spiral clearly there. Because of the GOP we are still fighting two wars and facing trillions of dollars of unnecessary debt. Regardless of whether we want to admit it or not the 8 years of George Bush and GOP rule have made the U.S. a second class nation that is daily falling further and further behind other more wisely governed countries. If you think that turning away from the Democrats, as bad as they are right now, and turning toward the GOP and the Tea Party crazies is the answer you are one sick puppy and should really seek some professional help.

This election is not about rewarding the Democrats and Obama for a job well done or punishing them for a job poorly done  but one of defense and voting for the least evil and distasteful. Put your disappointment in your pocket and realize that not voting Demoratic and returning the GOP to power is the worst possible of all scenarios for the country. As badly as you and I feel we have been betrayed by Obama and the Dems, and we have, it is nothing compared to screwing we will get from the Republicans.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Memorable Meals

I've thought about it quite a bit and it is not fair to single out one for the honor. There are just too many meals that stick out in my mind but I'll list three.

In the early 50's my grandmother's house on Sunday afternoon after church was the gathering place of pretty much every bit of family close enough to make an appearance. The food was just good grandmother food...pot roast, meat loaf, fried chicken and all that but there were always grandmothers yeast rolls and one of her homemade cakes and at least one or two pies. Sometimes there were so many of the family there that we had to eat in shifts with spill over from the dining room into the kitchen but there was always plenty of food. Always a relish tray with an assortment of homemade pickles and always a big bowl of home canned green beans(cooked with bacon of course) and usually mashed potatoes. There was also always a bowl of stewed fruit...apricots, peaches, apples, figs, whatever. It was a rule of my grandfather that every meal would have stewed fruit  and hot fresh bread...rolls, cornbread, biscuits, light bread but all homemade and usually very recently from the oven.
My first "real" duty after boot camp and electronics school was with the American embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus. Yeah, I had gone from somewhat rural Virginia to Great Lakes for the Navy and from there to San Diego and Mare Island, Ca. but Cyprus was really away from home. Those of us Navy types attached to the embassy were officially part of the United States Information Service but the reality was we were spying on the middle least electronically. One of the perks of working at the embassy was access to the boathouse and boats in Kyrenia. On my first trip there the older Greek man that was the caretaker of the boathouse made a run to the kebab stand for us few that were spending the weekend. He collected a pound from each of us and returned with kebab sandwiches. This was new to me and probably the first time I had ever actually eaten lamb. The sandwich consisted of small cubes of grilled lamb, tomatoes, lettuce, parsley, a squeeze of lemon and a bit of Greek cheese stuffed into a large pita bread. I can still taste that first amazing bite. I must have eaten hundreds of those sandwiches in the year and a half I was stationed there. I have tried for more than 30 years to replicate the taste of that sandwich here at home but have only managed a pale shadow of an effort.
A couple of years ago I was fortunate to have a client in Nasu, Japan. I spent three weeks there and during that time had some wonderful Japanese food. One, however, stands out. Upon the recommendation of one the client's folks I went to a small tempura restaurant in some off the beaten path back alley in the middle of Nasu. In spite of my complete lack of Japanese language skills I managed to convey to the owner/chef that is was his choice. This place was small, I think maybe ten people could be served and 5 of those were at the bar. Being a single I was at the bar and I watched and ate as the elderly tempura master cooked course after course and served it to all of the patrons. All of us, it seemed, had taken the 'hit me with your best shot' option. I recognized most of it but not all... however what ever it was every bite was absolutely perfect. I drank way too much sake that night and had to have a taxi take me back to the hotel but that is probably the only meal I have ever had were each offering was perfect and obviously created by a master.
I could recite others but these stand out as such recurring and perfect memories.

It's Hot In L.A.

Of course the jury is still out on climate change but yesterday, in what should be a pleasant September day in  autumn, the weather station in central L.A. recorded a temperature of 113 degrees. That's the hottest temperature ever recorded since they started keeping records in 1877. The last time the record was broken was in 1990. Just saying.

Best Meal Ever?

The latest issue of Saveur arrived yesterday and I think I have mentioned before that it is probably the only magazine I always read cover to cover. The feature this month is The 25 Greatest Meals. It is by 25 different well known people recounting in a page or so their most memorable meal. Interesting what some of them remember as a greatest meal and not at all what you might expect. Anyway, since I read the magazine last night and this morning I have been trying to sort out what I might say was my greatest or most memorable meal and I haven't been able to come up with it yet. I will, but there are a lot of memories to sort through.

What would you say was your most memorable meal? If judging by the articles in the magazine it doesn't have to be some stupendous feast but a meal that you will always remember whether it be because of location, company or actually the food or some combination of all the things that went into making it a great memory.

I'll have my choice after a few hours of quiet gardening and reflection. I have to get the branches stuck in the ground by the peas so they will have something to climb on. With all the rain it will be muddy but the cool weather and rain have caused the peas to burst forth and they need support today.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rainy Sunday

Since it was a much needed rainy day yesterday Madam and I decided to go to the Booth  Western Art Museum in Cartersville to see the newly opened exhibit of photos by Ansel Adams. What is unique about the exhibit is that these are all prints done by Ansel himself in the darkroom and not by an assistant. I have always been a huge fan of his work and used many of his techniques in my years of darkroom work. There are a 141 prints in the exhibit and they are all just amazing. If you are in the Atlanta area in the near future and have some time, a trip to the Booth for this show and the rest of the museum is really worth it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Not Fall Until Tomorrow

Still supposed to reach 90F today so I won't accept that it is fall yet. Supposed to cool down by 10 degrees tomorrow however. Going to spend the morning undoing stupid in the garden. I dumped my kitchen compost bin into one of raised beds a while back. Two weeks ago I tilled it and planted carrots and spinach in it. Today I will spend a couple of hours pulling out tiny tomato plants...hundreds if not thousands of them. The compost evidently didn't get hot enough to kill the gazillions of tomato seeds that wound up there during all of  our canning this summer. I should have known better but it looked composted enough. Fortunately tomato seedlings are pretty easy to spot and quite different than either spinach or carrots...tedious but not impossible. The things is that every time I till this bed now I will have to deal with a new flush of tomatoes...probably for a couple of years tomato seeds are very resilient. Bummer.
It does remind me of a neighbor who had a couple of loads of supposedly composted stuff spread on his lawn a few years ago. Much to his chagrin it was was mostly waste from a vegetable processing plant and it wasn't long before he had an entire lawn of tomatoes, cucumbers and sundry other stuff.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The GOP Wants Us Rubes In the Dark

The DISCLOSE Act (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections) died again today. The GOP held strong and kept it from reaching cloture. Even though it seems like a good and open proposal the GOP is having none of it. It light of the Citizens United ruling, the Dems thought it made sense to require corporations and other interest groups that pay for campaign ads to identify themselves. You know, so we know whose money is behind who and all. I sure think it is a good idea.
Back in July, every Senate Republican blocked the chamber from even debating the bill. Today, every Senate Republican did  exactly the same thing.
The Senate on Thursday once again blocked consideration of a controversial campaign finance measure that would require greater disclosure of corporate campaign spending.
A cloture motion to begin debate on the DISCLOSE Act fell short on a 59-39 vote. The outcome likely puts the legislation on the back burner until after the midterm elections, but it is unclear whether Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will try to take the issue up again during a lame-duck session.
While the money has all been spent this election cycle it would have been nice to see the game made clearer in 2012. Oh well, that's what happens when you have a completely dysfunctional legislative system. IF "only" a 59-member majority supports something it necessarily dies.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Speaking of Hot and Stupid

The Climate Change Deniers are losing ground again. More and more studies are showing that the infamous hockey stick is a reality and even worse that predicted.

There are such big problems to deal with and yet our incompetent leadership can't even deal with the fact that LGBT folks are in the military, needed in the military, and doing a good job in the military. They were there at Gettysburg, the Battle of the Argonne, Iwo Jima, and every other battle our military has seen. They fought and died heroically. That the puckered up assholes in the GOP can't see it and honor it really shows you where their hearts live.

Still Too Hot

It's the last day of summer or the first day of autumn depending on how you look at it. Today is the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere...for you guys down under it's spring! Now I just wish the weather would recognize the change. It was 93F here yesterday and absolutely nothing like the beginning of fall.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Six Weeks

It's six weeks until the mid term elections. The latest Gallup generic, for what it is worth, has the Dems with a 1% majority. Yeah, yeah the suits say the recession is over but millions are still  under/unemployed and millions have or will lose their homes and it still looks like Social Security, Medicare and a whole host of social programs are going to take a hit. The electorate is cranky and disillusioned and regardless of the progressive stuff accomplished so far, in spite of the GOP, the party in power usually takes a punch in the mid terms if things are not going well...regardless of whose fault it is.
All I want to say is that all you disillusioned progressives and Obama supporters or independents that are not enthused about the upcoming election had better get off your 'glass half empty asses' and hold your noses and vote for anyone but a Republican and especially a tea party Republican. What they are planning to do and can do if they reach a majority is criminal and will set the U.S. back generations more than they have already. We have so much to lose if they win it is virtually unthinkable.

Just vote.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fresh Pasta

I don't do it enough. I take the easy way out and use dried. I made the spinach lasagna noodles today for my catering gig on Wednesday(3 pounds of it). The trimmings turned into dinner for Madam and I. Just a little butter and Parmesan (Reggiano, of course) and the fresh spinach noodles. Simple but oh so good. I need to remember how good fresh egg pasta is over dried.
The thing is that fresh pasta is so easy and cheap. Yeah it takes a few minutes and you have to actually get your hands dirty but the results are so far superior to the dried stuff it is a no brainer.

I make a pound at a time which equates to 3 large eggs, 12 ounces of all purpose flour(about 2 1/4 cups) and a teaspoon of sea salt. If you are making a spinach pasta then add a 1/4 cup of chopped spinach squeezed as dry as possible. A 10 ounce package of frozen chopped spinach turns out to yield 4 ounces of chopped spinach once all the water is squeezed out. Put everything in a food processor and blend for about 30 seconds and you have pasta. Take it out of the bowl and knead it for a minute to bring it together and you have it. You can also do it the traditional way on the counter...just make a hole in the center of your flour and put the three eggs in it with the salt and gradually bring it all together into a dough. Not hard but a little work. There is a little 'feel' to it but the dough should be workable not too dry and not too wet. A little practice will get you there. The FP is much faster. I have a pasta machine to roll out the dough but you can roll it by hand as well. Once you have homemade egg pasta you will be spoiled and the thing is it cooks it like a minute and a half. It is really brilliant.
If you don't need a pound of pasta then just remember the formula 110 grams/4 ounces of all purpose flour to each large egg and a 1/4 tsp salt. That will make one serving of pasta. Depending on the moisture of your flour and the size of your eggs you might have to adjust a bit but once you get a dough that holds together but is not sticky you are there. Once you have the dough you can make all kinds of pasta from lasagna to angel hair and even ravioli. If you don't make your own pasta you are missing a great food experience.
Once you have the basic whole egg pasta thing whipped you can advance to yolk only pasta which is a little harder to work with but an order of magnitude more delicate and tasty.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kitchen's Busy

Suddenly the kitchens' busy. Yesterday was our friend Kelly's birthday party which required a large bowl of guacamole. Today is a little birthday thing for Mini Monk. She had to come down this way to trim some horses' feet nearby so the whole bunch came and we'll have a little celebration. Have to do her favorites so it is mac and cheese(the old fashioned kind made with a bechamel). Wiener Schnitzel, grilled pineapple, yeast rolls and an apple tart for pudding.
Wednesday I am catering a luncheon for a friend's book club meeting, about 24 ladies. Wild mushroom lasagna with homemade spinach pasta and smoked mozzarella and prosciutto. Individual pecan pies and cheese cakes for dessert. I'll make the spinach lasagna noodles tomorrow and the whole casserole on Tuesday so I'll just have to bake it Wed morning. The dough for the rolls can be made Tuesday as well and so can the desserts. I have to ready to be at the venue by ten am so I won't have much time to fuss around on Wednesday.
Like I said I'll be in the kitchen for a few days.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Food Safety Bill Is Held Hostage By An Idiot

As I said in an earlier post....the news is getting more insane every day. A good example is the latest on the food safety bill (HR 2749). Even after over 1,300 people  have suffered salmonella-related illnesses in the past couple of months due to eggs that should have never been on the market the Senate is getting ready to send the food safety bill to the toilet. The bill passed the House easily over a year ago with support from several dozen Republicans. It is sponsored in the Senate by three Democrats and three Republicans.
These egg related illnesses span across 22 states and all of them could have been prevented had the "holes in the country's food safety net." been plugged by this bill. One would think that passing a food safety bill would be a "Duh" thing. It would be insane for the Senate to leave in October without following up on the House bill and enacting some tighter food safety measures wouldn't you think?

And yet, there is a good chance it will die. The far-right idiot senator from Oklahoma would like you to believe that he thinks spending offsets are more important than the salmonella poisoning of thousands of Americans.
Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday the Senate will not take up long-pending food safety legislation before the Nov. 2 elections, citing a Republican senator's objections.
Reid announced on the Senate floor that "we're not going to be able to get this done before we go home for the elections." Reid and Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin have been trying to move the bill quickly, but Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who has a long list of concerns about the legislation, has blocked them.
Reid said Coburn's objections mean that the bill (HR 2749) will not be completed before the Senate departs Oct. 8 for the midterm election campaign. "It's just a shame that we can't get this done," Reid said.
Reid, D-Nev., could push the bill through the Senate by filing procedural motions to advance the legislation over Coburn's objections, but doing so would require days of the Senate's time.

So Tom Coburn wants you to believe that a measly $1.4 billion cost over 5 years for this bill is way too high to make our food safer when that same Tom Coburn doesn't have the least bit of a problem supporting extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans at a cost of $700 billion over the next 10 years. This is probably the cheapest bill the Senate will undertake this year but it is way, way too much for Tom.

Why is this not headline news? The poison eggs sure got plenty of ink yet Tom Coburn willing to poison thousand more Americans is not newsworthy. People better figure out pretty soon that the ongoing GOP obstruction and failure to govern  is hurting the country fiscally and in reality.

No Blogroll

Techie thing--
I had to turn off the blogroll since it was causing both Firefox and Chrome to alert on "attack page". No word from the the blogrolling folks about a fix or solution so for now the rpc is turned off.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quiet, Very Quiet

Yeah, it's quiet around the old Fallenmonk place. I'm trying to take advantage of the little spell of coolish weather to get the garden back to some reasonable order. All the tomatoes are out and the area tilled. Cabbage and broccoli are all planted and the beets and turnips are going in today. Carrots and spinach are just peaking through in the raised beds and the peas are soaking for planting tomorrow. Chard, lettuce and the like are going into their little peat pots this afternoon and will ready for the garden in a couple of weeks. Supposed to get back into the daytime 90's over the next few days but thankfully the nighttime temperatures are supposed to fall into the low sixties... these cool nights will help get the soil temperature down to something the plants can live with. Still no rain the forecast as far as the eye can see.

Besides, on the news front things are so stupid as to defy description. We have shifted into a cartoon somehow and what's even worse the writing is awful. Very painful to see the country go down the tubes like this...better for me to pay attention to something I can watch grow and eat.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Finally A Break In the Heat

Woke up to 60 degrees this morning as predicted so it is a day of gardening. This is the first break in an awfully hot summer and I am woefully behind in the garden. I've got cabbage and broccoli plants that want to be planted, beets that need to go into the ground and sundry other chores that need doing. Tomatoes need removing and cages stored, sweet potatoes dug and cured, compost to be turned and on an on. I'm even going to wear bib overalls this morning in recognition of the cool day as it is not supposed to get much over 85. I'm off to the garden.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Bacteria Ate It, Not

In spite of what BP and some in the government are telling us, it appears like quite a lot of the leaked oil has found its way to the bottom and was not, in fact, consumed by hungry bacteria. It is just laying there and probably will be for quite some time. It is also no surprise that dead fish and shrimp are being found under the layer of oil. NPR:
The Research Vessel Oceanus sailed on Aug. 21 on a mission to figure out what happened to the more than 4 million barrels of oil that gushed into the water. Onboard, Samantha Joye, a professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Georgia, says she suddenly has a pretty good idea about where a lot of it ended up. It's showing up in samples of the seafloor, between the well site and the coast.

"I've collected literally hundreds of sediment cores from the Gulf of Mexico, including around this area. And I've never seen anything like this," she said in an interview via satellite phone from the boat.

Joye describes seeing layers of oily material — in some places more than 2 inches thick — covering the bottom of the seafloor.

"It's very fluffy and porous. And there are little tar balls in there you can see that look like microscopic cauliflower heads," she says.

Not Good for the Bobbies

While the U.K. is not the safest country in the world it has always seemed to me to be much more so than the U.S. They have their crime but it doesn't seem to be on every corner as it does here in the U.S. That is apparently going to change pretty soon if  the British Conservatives get their way. Note also that British Conservatives are mild mannered chaps compared to our teabagger GOP types of today. One might even consider them a 'liberal Republican' in the U.S. even if there is no such thing today. The across the board  25% budget cuts in the UK will go way too far and there's strong reason to believe the extreme actions will trigger a double dip recession and, of course, increased crime.
The head of the Police Federation today said "a touch of ideology" and bad advice to government from thinktanks had left the police service facing cuts that could leave up to 40,000 officers out of a job.

Paul McKeever, the federation's chairman, warned that some forces would be "devastated" and said the proposed cuts would leave the public less safe.

He said the most vulnerable in society would be worst hit, adding: "It is likely that crime levels will go up."
A lot of people don't realize that the British Bobbies were the first professional police force in the world and were founded by Robert Peel in 1829. They were the model for police forces around the world. It is a shame to see them savaged this way and it will be really too bad for the everyday Brit who will suffer the increased crime. Full disclosure: I have a good friend who is a police officer in the UK. She is smart, dedicated and truly professional and while I don't know if she will be affected it would be a shame for the people of Britain to lose such people.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Old Book on the History of the New River Settlement

While I was in Virginia last week Madam and I spent some time at Mom's cleaning and straightening up. Years and years ago the public library in the little town of Narrows went belly up and my Dad bought a bunch of the books that were sold. One of those was "A History of Middle New River Settlements and Contiguous Territory" by David E. Johnston published in 1906. I had seen it before on the shelves and I had already 'rescued' all of the genealogical books but somehow had skipped this one. This time I brought it home and have begun reading it. As I may have mentioned here before, my family were original Virginia colonists and some of the earliest pioneers to move into the Appalachians, so this is really a history of mine and the other families that first settled along the New River in Western Virginia and what is now West Virginia.

I knew a little of the history of the area as a result of my genealogy research but never the detail as covered in this book. I'm just barely into it and just now have reached the Revolutionary War. I had no idea that from the 1650's to the 1770's as whites were trying to expand into the area that they met some very serious resistance from the Native American tribes that used the area for hunting. While the Cherokee seemed to be pretty friendly(much to their later regret I suppose) the Shawnee from the Ohio valley were constant raiders of the settlements and these raids continued through the Revolution and beyond. Roving bands of Indians would attack, murder the family and burn farm after farm and many times take children hostage back to Ohio. I had read of the occasional confrontation with Indians but it was evidently a constant burden on the settlers and many a family was lost to these raids. Fascinating reading and it evidently wasn't all turkey dinners and pumpkin pie back in those days.

Update: corrected "wasn't all turkey dinners" from "was all turkey dinners"

Another September 11th

Today marks the anniversary of the terrorist's successful attack on the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon and the unsuccessful attempt at using Flight 93 for further violence. Approximately 3,000 people died that day and it was truly a tragedy. Unfortunately, another tragedy has emerged which has tarnished and belittled the loss of life that day. During the years since 9/11 the government that failed to protect us from what happened that day has used the event to waste hundreds of billions of dollars warring against the people of Iraq who were innocent of any participation in the 9/11 attacks, used the fear of 9/11 and further terrorism to trample on the American people's rights and spent vast sums of money creating huge new government bureaucracies to further the trampling of our rights in the name of fear. The terrorism of September 11, 2001 was bad enough but the real tragedy of that day is and was its aftermath.

Friday, September 10, 2010

San Bruno Fire

Looks like San Bruno, Ca is hit hard by the natural gas explosion. I know  the are very well and it is very densely populated. It's pretty hilly as well and that will make fire fighting on a large scale even more difficult. Couple this with the fact that a major waterline was compromised by the explosion and it is nothing but trouble. I hope injuries and fatalities are minimum but this is a big one. These huge pipes of natural gas run all over the place and you would probably be surprised at how close one is to your home. According to hearsay some residents have smelled gas for a few days and if that is so the gas has been leaking and accumulating for a while which explains the huge explosion. Good luck folks.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Voting Against Your Self Interest

We've been told over and over that voters will vote their self interest...the old "bread and circuses" shtick. Steve Benen has a graph from Tim Noah's Slate series on "The Great Divergence" that speaks volumes about the difference, for the regular American, in Democratic and Republican administrations. It says a lot and you really have to ask yourself, with this evidence, why American votes continue to elect Republicans when all evidence says that they are voting against their self interest. Here is the telling paragraph...
Under Democrats, the biggest income gains were for people in the bottom 20th income percentile (2.6 percent). The income gains grew progressively smaller further up the income scale (2.5 percent for the 40th and 60th percentiles, 2.4 percent for the 80th percentile, and so on). But under Republicans, the biggest income gains were for people in the 95th percentile (1.9 percent). The income gains grew progressively smaller further down the income scale (1.4 percent for the 80th percentile, 1.1 for the 60th percentile, etc.)."

I am obviously going to read the whole series by Mr. Noah. Very interesting indeed.

Even Again

I don't usually give much credence to polls and I don't to the latest Gallup poll on the generic ballot. It is interesting however that the media made much ado about the GOP's 10 point lead last week but when the same poll of voter preference showed the Dems and Idiots tied at 46% this week you get nothing but crickets.

It's Cookie Jill's Birthday

Happy Birthday Cookie Jill! It's my birthday too and we should both enjoy the achievement.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Amercians Are Obvioulsy Into Pain

American voters appear to understand that the Democrats are better at governing than the Republicans and that they are better than the GOP at running the nation's economy but they are leaning toward voting Republican this fall. Yes, this is insane and there is no rational explanation other than just frustration and lashing out. It is going to be ugly come January unless something changes pretty radically. I am sure not looking forward to a GOP congress. They have managed so much destruction as a minority that as a majority it will be epic.

Monday, September 06, 2010

I'm Back

Back from Va.. Mom is in a nursing/rehab home for a while but looks pretty good and I could actually see improvement in the 3 days we were there. Not happy about where she is so maybe that will make her that much more determined to get the physical therapy done and get out. Traffic wasn't too bad until I hit Georgia and then I got slammed. I went the short way, straight up through the mountains to Asheville, NC, then Johnson City, TN, Bristol, Va, Wytheville, Va to Princeton, W.Va. Great traveling weather and the weather in the mountains was brilliant. Probably 15 degrees cooler than here. Nice relief.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Off Line

Gotta go to Virginia for a few days. Monk Mom had a fall and is in the hospital. No computer access in the hills of Virginia except maybe in the hotel lobby. Probably quiet around here until Tuesday at the earliest. Not the best weekend for a 400 mile car ride but....

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Little Different Ratatouille

Trying to keep the last of the Japanese eggplant from going to waste so I've fixed eggplant for two straight dinners. The first night was just slicing the eggplant lengthwise into about 1/4 inch thick slices, brushing them with good olive oil and putting them on a baking sheet. Top with a slice of fresh tomato, a sprinkle of dried oregano and some grated Parmesan...drizzle with a little more EVOO then bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes until the cheese was nice and toasty. We had it with warm flatbread as a main but it would also make a good starter.

Last night Madam suggested ratatouille. Instead of the regular method I decided to roast the eggplant, squash, and peppers separately and then add them to the saute of onions, tomato and garlic. It turned out nice as the veges kept their shape and the whole thing didn't turn into a mushy mess. I'll do it that way again. Upon Madam's suggestion I served it on top of some focaccia  bread cubes that I browned a bit in a little olive oil. It made a nice addition. I would suggest that if you use fresh tomatoes like I did that you just use the outer part and cut away the seeds and pulp or it will make the dish too wet. As I have said before I am not a huge fan of aubergine but this was pretty good.

Final Picture...I Promise

Ok, all finished. Benches built and in place and all the landscaping complete. I'm afraid I am going to have to spend another $50 on a shade cloth however as there is still too much sun and the greenhouse is over heating in the late afternoon. I've got a fan going in the door but the temperature is till hitting 100F. Just too hot for sprouting seeds.