Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Now, tell me again why Valerie Plame is so

important? This is why. George Friedman (no relation, I presume, to our little Tommy Friedman who thinks so highly of himself) of Strategic Forecasting, tells us about the very real danger to our country's security of leaking even a name of a CIA employee of the Directorate of Operations, ever. Go ahead, pass it on. George says it's OK.

Now, I made a really good salad dressing for a salad for 45 teachers tonight. It is to go with a mexican food themed dinner. You probably have everything you need right now for Chili-Lime Vinaigrette:

1/2 of a 6oz can frozen limeade
3 T frozen orange juice concentrate (or 2 drops orange oil)
1 packet McCormick Taco Seasoning
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1.5 cups olive oil

Mix well at least 2 hours before serving, shaking very well before dressing the salad.

The salad is of spring greens, very thin onion sliced onions, and segments of seedless oranges cut into chunks. If I were really ambitious, I would caramelize some pecans, but - phhhhht. I'm lazy today.

Monday, October 17, 2005

It all has to do with Texas, sadly.

Now, remind me again of what Tom DeLay has to do with the current price of gas?

Ah,yes. I remember now...

Now a word about that expensive salt I was reluctant to use because it was so expensive. I'm talking about Fleur de Sel or Sel de Guerande. It's one of those artisanal food products that are just so hyped, you want to puke. Then you do something like cook a simple pork roast with it, and you become a true believer.

I had some plain-jane-not-berkshire-or-anything-expensive-like-that pork sirloin roast. I decided to pop it in the oven, but on a whim I dusted it with the aforementioned sel, before I put it on a bed of unpeeled garlic cloves and stuck it in a 400 degree oven to brown. After 20 minutes, I covered the pot, lowered the temp to about 300, and cooked it a little less than 2 more hours. The meat was sublime. I guess I will be making room in my budget for said sel from now on, and not just to put on top of my buttered baguette.

The web site linked to above is really neat. Very clever, very French without being snooty. I think you'll like it.

As an antidote to too much pleasure in life, do check out the first link, though. We will not be able to afford fleur de sel if we don't stop these greedies who, evidently, are unable to stop themselves from impoverishing us middle class types who use our credit cards to buy stuff like fleur de sel, and who keep the engine chugging.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The West Point of Capitalism Rips Grover. Really.

Lookee here for some hope for our captains of industry, Harvard Business School graduates. These guys ripped Grover Norquist a new one in the LTE's to the Harvard B-School alumni magazine, after Grover was interviewed by the magazine. Now, Harvard B-School is called the West Point of Capitalism for a reason, and remember they let W in when the University of Texas Law School wouldn't. His daddy had to get him away from cocaine, so he sent him to-----Massachussetts?????? WTF????? The home of gay marriage, people who actually pick up their dogs' shit, and every other danger known to Our Way of Life? He went to Harvard to get sober, y'all, and give him something sort of constructive to do.

No recipe, we ate out of cans tonight; I am so embarrassed...

More war on the middle class? You tell me.

This worries me. I hope it doesn't turn into another stealth campaign against an already-battered middle class. Talk about your kitchen table issues!

Maybe this recipe for fast, cheap, filling food will become an everyday dinner, instead of an after-Christmas-excess stopgap-til-payday meal. It's still good, though, and good when the nights are cold, and your kids can see their breath when they horse around at the bustop in the morning. The richer you are and the thinner you are, the more bacon you can use in it.

But watch that mortgage interest deduction thing, OK? We are all in this together.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A blast from the past, to eat...

This is going to be a little convoluted, sort of like a Garrison Keilor story, but not so interesting. I sort of doubt that I can connect it all in the end the way he does, but it will ramble like his do.

Mr. dks did a lot of hard work with no sleep for many days when Katrina victims were coming to San Antonio. (Don't worry - he actually likes working in crisis mode. I think it reminds him of his Army days) He called me last week, breathless with excitement, and asked, "Would you like to go on a date next Sunday night? You'll never guess who I got tickets to see! (Dramatic Pause) Neil Diamond!!!!!!. Some foundation donated tickets to people who worked for the Katrina evacuees, and they gave me two!!!!!"

I think my reaction left something to be desired, because he said something like, "Aw, c'mon, you might like it! I love Neil Diamond. I know you don't very much, but the tickets are worth a lot. It won't be too boring, don't you wanna go?". So I said, very lovingly, "OK. If I don't have to get dressed up, and if you don't buy the tee shirt."

So, on Sunday night, we left two hours early for the SBC Center on the east side of San Antonio. It was a good thing we left that early, because evidently there are a lot of people in San Antonio who, like Mr. dks, love Neil Diamond, and the roads to the arena were packed. I was already crabby about having to go see Neil Diamond, but I was getting crabbier by the minute with all the sitting at stop lights, cussing at non-turn-signalers, and traffic fumes. When we arrived, we had to pay $10.00 to park 1/4 mile away! But I kept that loving smile pasted on my face.

We got into the arena after my purse was checked for a camera and my cell phone inspected for the camera feature (like, yeah, I was planning to take picture after picture of Neil Diamond from the 4th row from the roof), and I had steered Mr. dks away from the tee shirts. We made our way to the nosebleed seats (that were priced at $86.00 per, btw) a "Survivor"-like adventure, because we had to climb almost to the roof up stairs as narrow and steep as a Himalayan crevasse. And we sat for an hour, while Mr. dks told me again, a number of times, he really likes Neil Diamond, while I felt as though I were in the Coliseum in Rome, and this was my "circus" part of the Roman ration of bread and circuses, thinking, "This is how they keep us voting for jerks every four years, they hypnotize us with Neil Diamond, WWF, and Nascar." I also endured a number of announcements telling us that "Mr. Diamond will perform for two hours without an intermission, and no one will be seated during the first song." To pass the time we discuss again the fact that Neil Diamond fenced saber for NYU (Little Harvard is a fencer).

OK, so 15 minutes late (remember, we are talking about San Antonio, here), the lights dim, and musicians rise from the bowels of the SBC Center, "Mr. Diamond" appears, and Mr. dks tenses with excitement. The show begins, and I am blasted so far into my past that I have hoarfrost in my hair. I can't think of one song from the past "Mr. Diamond" did not sing Sunday night. I endured. With some grace, actually, even through the patriotic light show during his "America" song.

So this week I am feeling nostalgic, amplified by finding yesterday a packing box of vinyl recordings, including, you guessed it, those of "Mr. Diamond". And stuck (probably with sugar) on the back of one of those Neil Diamond LP covers from the early '80's is a recipe I had been looking for since 1984. It is dated "Halloween, 1983, from Patti Vande Krol", and it is for "Monster Cookies". Now, I had found a few similar recipes over the years, but I wanted that original one, the one on the recipe card with the 5 roosters on it, from Patti Vande Krol. And now, thanks to Mr. dks' love of Neil Diamond, I have it again, and I am going to give it to you. The gift of this recipe does not require that you send me any Neil Diamond CD's in gratitude, it is free:

6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (yes, teaspoons) corn syrup
4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 pound margarine softened (I remember using butter)
2 2/3 cups peanut butter
9 (yes, 9) cups oatmeal
12 ounces chocolate chips
8 ounces M&M candies

Mix in order given. Form into 2 tablespoon-sized balls. Place on greased cookie sheets, and flatten with a sugar-dipped glass. Bake at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until medium brown.

"These stay chewy for weeks if sealed tightly", the recipe says. And, yes, you read correctly, there is no flour in the recipe.

I hate peanut butter cookies, pies, candies - I hate peanut butter in any way other than on whole wheat bread with a little honey; but I remember absolutely adoring these cookies, and I wasn't even pregnant when I ate them. So I can recommend them. But I don't remember how many this recipes makes, I only remember they did not last in my house the 2 times I made them.

Godde bless.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Food for thought....

So much that has been going on makes me tear my hair, I haven't had much time to think, really - just read the news with my mouth agape, shaking my head in disbelief over the ruination of the country.

But I do sees signs of hope this autumn - Goddess of Purple and her posse moved out into their own house. I didn't so much mind them in my house, so much as all their stuff and they just kept bringin' more stuff into my house every day. It was getting harder and harder to pretend to treasure the broken happy meal toy my grandson gave me as a present, or the 267th picture with "I love you" written on it by my granddughter. I mean, the refrigerator was completely covered with art and doctor appointment cards from her. But, they are in their own house which they can bring as much stuff into as they wish. Goddess of Purple is employed and enrolled in a master's program, The Ned is not only employed, but employed with health insurance, and Baby Ned is beginning to actually figure out they expect him to really write his name in kindergarten. I can dust off my hands and move on.

So I am moving on to the Courage for Congress campaign. Our friend, John Courage, is running (again) to unseat Lamar Smith in our 21st Congressional District of Texas. It would be real nice to have a congresscritter that actually represented me and my neighbors rather than the businesses Tom Delay wants represented. So Mr. dks and I have been working to help get Congress some Courage.

Just to let you know there has been some cooking going on around all those happy meals and PBJ sandwiches, here's a trick I learned from a Quebecois to make an ordinary roast chicken pretty impressive - before roasting it, even if you season it under the skin, dry the skin, rub it with softened real butter, and sift white flour over the buttered skin. Then roast it as directed by your roasting chart for that bird. When you take it out of the oven, take the skin off it in one or two pieces, then carve the bird. You can then raffle off the pieces of skin, they are that good. This is also a good strategy for roasting a turkey, but you do have to keep the breast tented until the last 45 minutes or so of cooking.

This rather dull, but heart-felt entry was made in honor of Cathy Irish, who liked my other, very rare, entries.

Godde bless!