Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Brussel Sprout Salad

I saw this recipe made on a cooking show recently. I was not skeptical of it because I've always liked brussel sprouts. The only problem with them is that when they're overcooked, they stink to high hell. 

2 lbs. of brussel sprouts
1/2 cup of pine nuts, toasted
1 cup of Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
Pepper to taste
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, grated on a microplane

Rinse the sprouts, cut the butt ends, cut them in half, and chop them finely. Use a salad spinner, rinse them, and spin out the water. Toast the pine nuts. 

In a bowl put in the lemon juice, mustard, shallots, and garlic. Whisk. Slowly incorporate the olive oil as you whisk. Fold the sprouts into vinaigrette and then add in the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. 

If I had to do it again, I'd probably add a tablespoon of lemon juice, use two more tablespoons of oil, and add honey to sweeten it up a bit. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Music Friday: "Friday I'm in Love"

I heard this song today as we were coming back from Effingham for my son's travel baseball game. 

This song was played loudly on many a Friday at the Gin Mill in Kirksville, MO. 

Smooth move Coleman. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Music Friday: "Before We Disappear" & "Rowing"

Chris Cornell died yesterday

He is one of my favorite singers and frontmen. Such a distinctive voice. 

A loss to music. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

The current issue of Utne has three articles I want to share. 

The first is "Picture Day" written by a Bosnian-Canadian. It puts the refugee crisis into a more personal perspective. As she says, "Today, more than twenty years after my parents and I left Bosnia, there are still refugees in the world--hundreds of thousands of them, in fact. The current refugee crisis, fueled by wars in Syria and across the Middle East, has been immortalized by photos of families just like mine: men, women, and children sitting in bus stations waiting for food, trapped behind border fences, and holing up in dilapidated refugee camps."

Here's a good example of Girl Power: "Women Mayors Lead the Charge on Climate Change." 

A long and interesting interview with ecologist Carl Safina titled "Signs of Intelligent Life"  makes me want to buy his book, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. There are many nuggets of fact-based wisdom in the interview, but here is one of my favorites: "I think humans are the animal who embodies the most extremes. We can give ourselves credit for being the most technologically talented, the most compassionate, and the most creative, but we also must own that we're the most destructive, the cruelest, and the most violent." I have similar feelings as he does about religion.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

In a recent visit to my local CVS, I scanned the clearance liquor/wine rack. To my surprise, I found bottles of Manischewitz Blackberry wine for $2.77. It's a sweet, kosher wine that I sold at my dad's liquor store way back when. In fact, if I remember right, a Lutheran church bought cases of the Concord grape variety for communion wine. 

I'm a sucker for clearance booze racks, which reminds me of Colonial Party Mart. 

Colonial Party Mart was a liquor store back in my undergraduate college town of Kirksville, Missouri. They went out of business sometime in my junior or senior year. They were selling booze cheap as hell, probably at cost, and boozehounds  descended upon that establishment and got lots of good stuff at great prices. Unfortunately, when my friends and I got there, all that was left was mixing liquor and off brand stuff. I do think we bought some Ouzo though. I can't remember if it was the cheap stuff or one of the good Greek brands.


Figuring out how to spell that exclamation above led me to this interesting article: "What Does the Word Opa Mean Exactly?"

And that expression reminds me of the Norwegian expression of "Uffda." My mom had a plaque of that expression hanging on our back door. I need to use that expression more often. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Music Friday: "Wasting Time"

This song is popping up via shuffle on my iPod on a consistent basis for some reason. 

It's one of my favorite songs on that album. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Green Vegetable Soup

I created/adapted this soup based on a recipe that was in Cooking Light that is called "Minestrone Verde." That recipe uses basil, and I didn't have basil or leeks, and I had other ingredients that I wanted to use. I forgot to add peas, so if I make it again I might use basil, green onions, and peas. 

2 garlic cloves, minced
Half of a yellow onion, chopped finely
Olive oil for sautéing 
2 medium size zucchinis, sliced into half moons
1 head of broccoli
2 containers of chicken stock
3 handfuls of spinach, chopped coarsely
Half a box of tricolor rotini, cooked
Lots of cracked black pepper
Kosher salt to taste
Healthy portion of Penzey's Ozark Seasoning

In stock pot, heat olive oil on medium and dump in the onion and garlic. Sweat those until the onions are tender. Add the zucchini and broccoli and cook for a while. 

Once the zucchini are tender, add the stock and spinach. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and then add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes or so. Add in salt, pepper, and seasoning.  

Friday, May 5, 2017

Random Notes from a Crank

Here are some select, interesting factoids from recent Harper's Indexes (April and May):
  • Factor by which more Americans work in the solar industry than work in the fossil fuels: 2
  • Ratio of average annual number of deaths in the United States cause by drowning to those caused by gun violence: 1:8
  • Of federal research funding for drowning to funding for gun violence: 1:1
  • Percentage of Trump voters who believe he should be allowed to have a private email server: 42
  • Who believe he should not: 39
  • Factor by which sales of George Orwell's 1984 increased during the three weeks after the presidential inauguration: 90
  • Number of books on a list that a Virginia judge assigned to five teens for defacing a historic black schoolhouse: 35
  • Average percentage change in suicide rates among gay and bisexual teens after their state legalized same-sex marriage: -14
  • Percentage change since 1997 in the number of times married Americans have sex each year: -19
  • Length, in minutes, of a weekly break during which employees of a Swedish town are encouraged to have sex: 60

I'd call that last one a "nooky break."

Because of my son being on travel basketball and baseball teams and my daughter being on the volleyball and track teams for her middle school, I've gotten to visit some of the hamlets in east central Illinois. Friday we were in Teutopolis for a track meet, and that school system has one of my absolute favorite mascots: wooden shoes. 

If I'm not rooting for the Charleston Trojans, I root for the Shoes. FEAR the Wooden Shoes. 

This all leads to "10 Unique Illinois High School Mascots." The Shoes are the staunch rivals of the Flaming Hearts by the way. 

Music Friday: "Laveau Dirge No. 1" & "Here Come the Girls"

I realized Trombone Shorty had a new album out and promptly bought it. 

Check out two tunes from the new album. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Stay Positive: Iron Fist

Of the Marvel Netflix series, Iron Fist is the one that has not gotten a lot of positive critical acclaim. 

In fact, it has received its fair share of negative reviews. For example, check these out: 

I'm here to tell you that it's a decent show. 

There is some just (but minor) criticism in those reviews, but I enjoyed the series. 

One issue out there is that there was a campaign to make the main character Asian-American. I don't get that. 

Danny Rand has always been a rich white dude. Sweet Christmas. 

In comparison to the comic books, the TV Danny Rand is a bit of a darker character. Thinking back to the old Power Man and Iron Fist comics and even comparing the TV series to the current run of Power Man and Iron Fist by Walker, the comic book versions of Danny Rand are sometimes more light-hearted. 

And to think more positively, the Iron Fist series moves us toward the new series, The Defenders

And here are possible explanations to the end of season 1.