Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hotter and Hotter

It's the last day of January and from everything I can see in the meteorological news this January has been the hottest since we've been keeping records. It's supposed to be 64F today here in Atlanta.
Eight of the warmest years  on record have occurred since 2000 and November, December 2011 and now this January will mark the warmest 3 month stretch ever recorded.... But Al Gore is still a little heavy.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It Takes All Of Us

What you are seeing in Oakland is just a preview of coming events. If we don't see any outrage then all the pain and suffering will be for naught. It doesn't take much...just a blog post or an email to the editor of the local fish wrapper. Even better a call or fax to your reps in the Senate and Congress. It won't help but at least they will know we are paying attention.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Sin

I woke up this morning with a "need" for a hot biscuit. While fresh/hot buttermilk biscuits with Kerry Gold butter and homemade apple butter are quite sinful on their own I also added country ham and crisp thick bacon. Madam extended hers with the addition of local honey. I only ate two but they were what is known down South as "cat head" biscuits. That should keep me satisfied for a few weeks....maybe.

"Pink Slime" Loses

Unless you have been a devotee of Jamie Oliver (I'm a huge fan of his shows and technique/attitude) you probably weren't aware that McDonald's (and Burger King) use a product that is a blend of "off cuts" and ammonium hydroxide to extend their burger in the U.S. Jamie labeled it "pink slime" and McDonald's has finally agreed to remove it from the their hamburger. It is only used in the U.S. (UK, Irish and European MickyD's get their beef from local suppliers.) The reality is it only raises the cost of the burger a penny or so, so why not get pure beef? No word on the fate of "pink slime" from Burger King.

An aside: If you haven't watched Jamie's show on the Food Channel (6pm weekdays on my cable) then you should. Not only is he a very creative cook but he often gathers the food from his own garden and shows you how to make the most of it. Simple but very good cooking. He is fun to watch as well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

All Done

Finally got all my seed ordered yesterday for the summer garden. Just the first step but a step. Not much new stuff except some new heirloom tomatoes from Seed Savers and a few new pepper varieties. Saved quite a bit of seed from last year so the financial hit wasn't too bad this year only about 150 bucks but that includes the 20 bucks for sweet potato plants and a lot of the seed was organic and a little more expensive.
Four straight days of work starting today at 11a which means I won't get any real time off until the weekend. It starts off badly with 11a to 8p today and then 8a to 5p tomorrow. Nice weather though and that is good since I am scheduled for the outside garden both days.
Play nice.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Not In The South

I don't know why everyone is so surprised that Mitt Romney lost South Carolina and why he is already trailing in the polls in Florida. He is a Mormon and from infancy a whole bunch of Southerners have been told over and over that Mormonism is a cult just like Scientology or Jehovah's Witnesses and just as evil as Paganism/Wicca. It is a regular theme in the Bible belt and they believe it with all their black little hearts. It ranks right up there with "black people are lazy and shiftless". There is no way in hell that a Mormon is going to get a vote from one of these Southern Baptist  or Church of God types. They have no trouble at all overlooking Newt's serial infidelity even though it is one of the BIG 10. They have no trouble overlooking his ball faced lies which again is one of the BIG 10. They don't even blink about the Catholic part. We are going to wind up with Newt winning the Southern states and Romney the Northern states and there will be a full blown Civil War at the convention.

Bumper Sticker

I spotted an interesting bumper sticker on the way home a while ago...

If we all stop voting...will they all go away?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Race For Bat Shit Crazy HQ

I always considered Texas(sorry Steve) the HQ of bat shit crazy but I was obviously misguided. South Carolina has now given Newty the nod for Prez which confirms that they are truly the HQ. While the zombie from Bain will probably wind up with the nomination in the end it does give one pause to imagine "President Newt". I know the late Molly Ivins considered her beloved Texas a wellspring of bat shit crazy and she is surely looking down and laughing hysterically as the Palmetto state challenges the Lone Star state for the title.

Just as an aside, I have met Mr. Gingrich a few times and my very reliable 'radar' effected a rather strong dislike upon shaking hands. It doesn't happen very often that I immediately dislike someone on first contact but it surely and strongly did on each occasion. I should add that I had the same reaction to my Congressman Dr. Tom Price on the multiple occasions we have met. It is also, most assuredly, not because they are Rethuglicans as I have a number of Rethuglican friends that are actually quite pleasant as long as you keep the conversation away from anything even closely political or (Goddess forbid) liberal. Many of them still even talk to me whilst knowing that I am a DFH.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bad Dreams

I need to get to bed but I really, really need the Goddess to grant me a small boon before I retire. Please gracious lady don't let me dream that Newt is the GOP nominee for Prez. I am not sure I can stand 10 months of his bile. Then again what are the options? I think the Lost Bunny of the Apocalypse would be the best choice...all things considered.


It looks like the blackout/strike was successful a both bills were put on indefinite hold today. There is power in the people when properly focused.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

No Politics

You will have noticed that I am not getting embroiled, excited, upset, angry or impassioned of the current circle jerk of GOP politics. I will wind up voting for Mr. Obama because he offers at least some hope of change. Granted it hasn't happened but there are valid reasons for why it hasn't. Patience. There is also no redeeming value in the entire GOP contingent of clowns and I just don't have the energy to erase thenm from my reality. I will do my best to ignore them and understand that I do so at my peril.
Believe this and use  it to judge your choices:

If one leader had true wisdom.

They'd quit.

Pleasant Surprise

We had all intentions of spending Sunday afternoon sort of chilled and maybe doing a few things that needed doing. Unfortunately, a friend has come down with the flu (he's a retired doctor and that's his diagnosis) asked if we wanted the tickets to a play this afternoon since he wasn't going anywhere. We happily accepted and spent a nice afternoon at the Arts Center here in town watching the Georgia Ensemble Theater's production of "Becky's New Car".  The fact that our friends are also patrons of the theater meant that we had excellent seats which was a real plus. Not all of the productions of the GET are to my liking but this one was a lovely little play and the cast, especially the lead were superb.
It is so nice to have friends that think of you when there is something like this.
Yeah, I had to shower and shave and put on proper clothes but it was worth it.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Seeds and Stuff

Finally have worked through the seed catalogs and I think I have everything identified that I need to order. Some from Park, some from Seeds of Change, some from a few other sources like Traditional and The Cook's Garden. Trying to decide what not to plant(cause I want to plant everything) is difficult enough but then you have to decide on variety...which is especially bad when it comes to peppers and tomatoes. I lean toward the heirlooms but I also need to have some variety.

I just took my sourdough baguettes out of the oven and they don't look too bad...not as much oven spring as I anticipated with such a wet dough but we'll see what the crumb looks like when they cool. I do think trying the same technique with a regular yeast poolish is worth a try. I like the "no knead" aspect of the stretch and fold method and it makes great ciabatta so a little more experimentation is worth the effort. Yes, I already make a great baguette with a combo of yeast and sourdough but you never know when you will stumble on an even better method.

The pot roast is simmering away and filling the house with all kinds of good smells mixed with the fresh baked bread aroma. I'm getting hungry!

Purged the canned stuff today as well. Everything from 2009 went into the compost and there were a lot of pickles...I definitely need to step up the pickle consumption around here. I did take one batch of last year's apple sauce that Madam deemed too thin and am turning it into apple butter.

All in all a pretty productive day off and I have another tomorrow!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter Finally

It's actually snowing this morning in Atlanta. Not expecting any accumulation but it is nice to see some winter finally. Got the day off and have already gotten my haircut and am off to the gym for a good workout. Nice wintery day so it might be pot roast for dinner. Madam has a lunch with the girls thing today so she might put the kibosh on a big dinner but we'll see. I might finally get the time today to get all my seed ordered for the spring. There will be some bread baking today though. Going to try a new method for baguettes using a very high hydration and no kneading(just stretch and fold) and a long slow fermentation with only sour dough(aka wild yeast) for leavening. I make ciabatta with a similar technique (stretch and fold) but I use commercial yeast and a regular fermentation and it comes out nice. The wild yeast only and the long fermentation out to give some nice flavor and the high hydration ought to give a very open crumb. We'll report.

Monday, January 09, 2012

TJ's Marinated Bean Salad

I got pretty close in recreating the discontinued Trader Joe's marinated bean salad. The recipe could use some minor tweaks but it is good as it is. Any suggestions welcome.

1 15 oz. can each of kidney, garbanzo, and pinto or other light bean such as cannellini rinsed and left to drain in a colander.
In the bowl of your food processor mince 2 cloves of garlic and half of a medium onion. Add the juice of two lemons and a half cup of extra virgin olive oil and a handful of parsley leaves. Whir this up for a couple of seconds and add a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of kosher salt, a teaspoon of dried oregano, and a teaspoon of dried thyme. Pulse a couple of times to blend and then (in a non reactive bowl) pour this marinade over the beans and stir to coat the beans. Refrigerate overnight and then serve at room temperature. Like I said this is close to the canned version TJ's used to carry and which I sorely miss.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Day Off

Whew! Finally a day off. Been to the gym. Baked two loaves of sourdough. Got a pot of pinto beans with the scraps from my Honey Baked ham simmering away. Finally getting caught up on what is going on in the world. Still have to do more research and order my seeds and I also need to get a Penzey's order together as I am almost out of black pepper. The last  two weeks have been way too much and thank goodness next week is down to a more reasonable 20 hours. I can live with that.
Next project is to try an recreate Trader Joes marinated bean salad. The jerks have discontinued it ( a couple of months ago) and I just used the last can I was hoarding yesterday. You can buy other canned bean salads but all of them have green beans which I don't care for canned. The Trader Joes is just kidney, garbanzo and Roman or pinto beans in a nice marinade. I think I can get close with a lemon/olive oil vinaigrette, a bit of garlic and onion and chopped parsley. I bought the oragnic canned beans the other day so we'll make a pass at it and work from there. I've searched the tubes and found nothing so I will have to do it myself.  I'll post the recipe if I get close enough as there are a lot of fans of the product judging from the internet postings and gripes about it being discontinued.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Not Really So Bad

Here is a post that is worth reading entitled: President Obama: A Radical Liberal Moderate Conservative Socialist Corporate Stooge?

Here is the great line in the last paragraph...

...the next bill the President needs to sign, aimed at Congressional Republicans, is the Cut the Crap Act; Republicans won’t out-game this president, and he seems ready to let them know it.

While I can say that I was expecting a "little" more change from Mr. Obama I cannot honestly say that he is a failure as many on the left are saying. I mean the man was handed a "bag o' shit" when you boil it down and the reality is that he prevented it from getting a lot more worse. When you consider what he has had to deal with from Congress it is amazing that he has had any successes at all. Just because the "professional left" didn't get all their blue sky dreams answered doesn't mean we haven't made progress. You really have to be a bit pragmatic about it.

May 2012 Be Better

I missed ringing in 2012 awake but Happy New Year to all. Worked Friday 9a to 6p, did a little dinner party for friends that evening and didn't get to bed until about midnight. Off to work again at 630a until 330p and therefore crashed last night at about 9.
Finally going to get cold around here tonight and it is supposed to be about 20F for the low for the next few days. Not sure it is a long enough cold snap to reduce the insect pests for next year but its a start.
Everyone have a nice relaxing 1st day of the year and don't forget your collards and black-eyed peas for wealth and good luck in the New Year. Even though it is a Presidential election year please keep focused on the positive and if all else fail there is always the Mayan thing.