Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Chickpea Vegetable Soup

What follows is a variation on a recipe I found in a recent issue of cooking magazine.

1 bunch of kale
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/4 head of green cabbages, chopped 
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons of rosemary, finely chopped
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
6 cups of chicken stock
2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed
1 large can of crushed tomatoes

Take the kale, cut the stems out, and pulse it in a food processor until finely chopped. Put that in separate bowl. Rinse out the bowl if you like because you'll be using it again. 

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil to medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, cabbage, garlic, jalapeño, onion, and rosemary. Add salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium, stir, and cover the pot. Periodically stir the veggies over a 10-15 minute cooking period. 

Add the stock, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Let that go for about five minutes and then transfer 4 cups of soup to the food processor. Pulse 4 or 5 times, so it's coarsely pulsed. 

Transfer that back to the soup pot, add the kale, and season to taste. Simmer for 15-20 minutes while stirring every once in a while. 

Sunday Hangover: Auburn

This one was entirely too close for my comfort. But a W is a W. 

While Derrick Henry probably would deny that he's tired, I'm sure he is. He was an absolute BEAST yesterday. 

His performance reminded me of the when Mark Ingram took over the South Carolina game and scored a decisive touchdown late in the game to seal a victory. 

Henry scored a touchdown in the last minute of the game, but the decisiveness of his work was milking clock and running the ball for first downs when the defense knew he was going to run the ball. 

Stats wise, Henry had 48 carries for 271 net yards and the one touchdown. The longest run he broke off was 30 yards, so the carries just piled up: 5 yards gained here, 8 yards gained there, 4 yards gained here, 12 yards gained there, and so on. 

And how about Adam Griffith. While I know Alabama wanted touchdowns instead of field goals, Griffith had field goals from 26, 40, 26, 50, and 47 yards. 

What surprised me in the first half was that Auburn was able to run the ball a bit on Alabama's defense, yet they turned it around in the second half and held the Tigers to only 91 net yards gained in the contest. 

Next up is Florida in the SEC Championship. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Music Friday: "No Rain"

Here's a classic from the past. 

Because it's been raining so much around these parts, these seems appropriate. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Angel Hair con Zucchini

I had an extra zucchini from when I made the vegetable stew, so I decided to use it and follow the principle of KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

What follows is basic dinner you can whip up in about ten to fifteen minutes. 

1 medium zucchini, cut into medium-size half moons
1/4 cup of finely chopped yellow onion
1 garlic clove, chopped into big chunks
A couple of fistfuls of angel hair pasta (I used leftover pasta)
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
Healthy smudge of Italian seasoning - I used Penzey's Tuscan Sunset
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 small lemon wedges

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. First, put in the onions, sweat those for about five minutes, add in the garlic for a minute, and dump in the zucchini. Cook until the zucchini is fork-tender. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the butter until it melts. Add the pasta and mix thoroughly with tongs, so the pasta sops up the olive oil and butter mixture. Move it to a plate or bowl, top with Parmesan, and then squeeze the lemon wedges on top. 

Eat and later take a nap. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Slow Cooker Vegetable & Bean Stew

Crock pots are wonderful machines. Just dump some stuff in them and slow cook away. What follows is a recipe for some vegetable stew.


1 46 oz. can of tomato juice
3 cans of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1 can of beefy mushroom soup (or French onion might work well too)
1 zucchini, chopped into medium-sized chunks
1 yellow squash, medium-sized chunks
Half of a green cabbage, chopped well
2 small cans of baby lima beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Half of a yellow onion, chopped finely and sautéed until brown
4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
Strong smidge of ground cumin
Strong smidge of chili powder
Smidge of Penzey's Northwoods seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste


Dump all of the juice and tomatoes into the crock pot. Chop the vegetables and combine into the pot. Add all of the drained beans into pot also. 

Brown the onions, take them off the heat, and add the garlic for a few minutes. Dump those aromatics into the slow cooker. 

Add the seasonings. Cook on low for 8-9 hours. 

Sunday Hangover: Charleston Southern

I was a little concerned about this game. I didn't think they'd lose, but Coach Saban's reminder in one of his press conferences about Georgia Southern running all over the 2011 squad got me skittish. 

Apparently, he did the same for the players. 

Alabama, as one would imagine, dominated the game - to the extent that the starting quarterback and running back weren't even playing at the end of the second quarter. 

Derrick Henry looked good as usual: 68 yards on 9 carries with 2 touchdowns.

But what I really wanted to see was the two backup running backs getting some solid playing time, and they did. Both Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough had strong games. Harris is a shorter back and hit the holes pretty well. Scarbrough, though still reportedly not 100%, looked like a slightly shorter version of Henry. 

As for receivers, it was good to see Cam Sims play quite a bit. He's a big receiver who has a lot of promise. Next year I expect him to make a much bigger contribution. The Tide will have a solid receiving corps with Ridley, Stewart, Foster (who is out this season), Sims, and Charlot in '16. 

The star of the contest on Senior Day was senior Cyrus Jones. He had two punt returns for touchdowns, intercepted a pitch, and played well at his cornerback position. 

Next up is the Iron Bowl. The Tide must win this game. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Music Friday: "Don't Come Around Here No More"

For the U.S. House of Representatives this week, this tune seems appropriate. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Hangover: Mississippi State

A score of 31 to 6 sounds like a blowout. 

The game in Starkville sort of was but wasn't for a good while. 

The Tide offense was bottled up for a good while until three big plays in the first half: A 69-yard punt return for a touchdown by Cyrus Jones, a 60-yard passing touchdown by Calvin Ridley, and 74-yard run for a touchdown by Derrick Henry. 

A big loss in the game, and season, is Kenyan Drake breaking his arm. He's out for at least three weeks. That's a big blow because the running depth behind him are freshmen who haven't seen much playing time: Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough. 

They'll get plenty of reps this coming week and probably lots of playing time against Charleston Southern, the game in T-Town before Alabama travels to Auburn to play in the Iron Bowl. 

The most impressive part of this game was, once again, the Tide defense. They sacked Dak Prescott 9 times. They had 4 quarterback hurries, 7 passes broken up, and 11 tackles for loss for 58 yards. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Music Friday: "Holiday in Spain"

A holiday in Spain sounds really good right now. I thought about this song after hearing "Raining in Baltimore" on my iPod's shuffle. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Hangover: LSU

Five in a row. 

The Crimson Tide has defeated the LSU Tigers five games in a row. 

Besides two mistakes--Mattias-Smith getting beat on a long pass via a corner blitz and Henry fumbling in the fourth--Alabama played really well, especially the defense that held Fournette to 31 net yards. That's the guy who has been repeatedly called "the best player in college football."

Derrick Henry's actions and stats might counter that talking point. Henry had 210 net rushing yards on 38 carries and three touchdowns. He's a beast and has the pundits seriously considering him, finally, in the Heisman race. 

Kenyan Drake had a good game too with 68 net rushing yards on 10 carries. He also had 40 yards on three catches in the passing game. 

Another big star in the game was the defense of Alabama. Except for a few plays, they just whipped the offensive line of LSU. It was beautiful. 

Next week's game is worrisome because Mississippi State has been playing well, and Prescott is a very dangerous quarterback. He's been running a lot more this season, and true dual-threat quarterbacks usually give the Tide headaches. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Music Friday: "Burdens" & "Doing It Right"

I read about The Yawpers from a post on HearYa last week. 

I've been listening to the band's album, American Man, quite a bit since I picked it up. 

If you enjoy steady driving rock-n-roll, you'll probably like The Yawpers. The second video is macabre, so fair warning.