Friday, August 25, 2017

Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Cilantro-Lime Thousand Island Dressing

I made some Thousand Island dressing a while back. It was good, but conditions on the ground made me tweak the recipe a bit.

The traditional recipe calls for a hard-boiled egg chopped, minced onion, and parsley. 

However, I didn't feel like snipping parsley in the dark (I made the dressing at night), I prefer shallot over onion, and I had cilantro in the fridge. 

1 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup of ketchup and Sriracha chile sauce
2 tablespoons of dill relish
1 tablespoon of minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro
Small sliver of lime (think of a small cut-up bar lime used in a gin and tonic) squeezed
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Throw the ingredients together into a bowl and whisk until smooth. 

Music Friday: "You Don't Mess Around with Jim"

The past couple of days I've been listening to Jim Croce's Greatest Hits

This is one of my favorite songs from those selections. 

That dude had a fine mustache. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Band Names Gratis Part Six

As I did once in 2012couple of times in 2013, another time in 2014, and again in 2015, I'm providing some band names I've thought of. 

Here they are:
  • 400 Hundred Pound Hacker
  • Friendzone
  • We Heart Cersei
  • Winter
  • Coming and Going
  • Squirrel Proof
  • False Equivalency
  • Yellow Hammers
  • Sex Towels
  • Cheap TP
  • Adult Education Dropouts
  • Bike Sharers
  • Freak Flags
  • Peyote Coyotes
  • Avocado Nuts
  • Bond's Dead Girlfriends
  • Daredevil's Dead Girlfriends
  • Sweet Xmas
  • Mange
  • Hazard a Guess
  • False Prophets
  • Hooligans
  • Quagmire
  • Conscious Quagmire
  • Flip-Floggers
  • Fog of War
  • The Sham
  • Plausible Deniability
  • Plausible Undefinability
  • Comma Splicers
  • Fused Sentences
  • Run-ons
  • Fragments
  • Preposition Danglers
  • Zingbots

    Tuesday, August 22, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    If you'd like to read a detailed, informative, and intelligent perspective on MoscowDon's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, read "Trump Flip-Flops on Afghanistan, Opts for Years-Long Quagmire." Cole relates six reasons why the Taliban is so powerful, reasons why providing more troops isn't going to do much at all. The last sentence is acerbic but spot on: "If Afghanistan's curses are corruption, fanatical identity politics and a hatred of globalization, its more problematic organizations resemble most of all ... Trump's base." 

    In somewhat more positive new, Grist reports that "California Defies the Claim that Environmental Regulation Kills Economic Growth." The state's cap-and-trade law is reducing emissions and spurring innovation. As the report's main author relates, “The narrative that strict environmental policies that impact large parts of the economy are always bad is simply not the case. These policies have pushed innovation, and innovation is always good in a capitalist system.”

    Unfortunately, that report doesn't take into account California's water problems. 

    And don't get me started on Arizona. 

    Friday, August 18, 2017

    Music Friday: "Sir Duke"

    This song rattled across my iPod shuffle this morning when I was doing errands. 

    Good ole Stevie Wonder...

    Have a good weekend, folks. 

    Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Fumbling Toward Culinary Talent: Green Chile Chicken Chili

    I got this recipe from the magazine Cooking Light, but I made a few modifications. 

    3-4 cups of chicken stock
    4 cans of Northern beans, rinsed and drained
    2 cups yellow onion, chopped
    2 shallots, chopped
    3-4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tablespoon of flour
    2 tablespoons of ground cumin
    4 4 oz. cans of mild chopped green chiles
    2 cups of shredded chicken
    4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
    olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Sour cream 
    Sliced avocado
    Chopped cilantro 

    Put a cup of stock and 2 cans of beans into a blender and blend until smooth. Eat olive oil in stock pot on medium-high. Add onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, add shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes, add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 

    Sprinkle flour over aromatics and cook for a minute. Add cumin and chiles and cook for a minute. Add the stock-bean mixture and the rest of the stock and drained beans. Add salt and pepper. 

    Reduce to medium heat and let the concoction simmer for about 10 minutes. Add chicken and cook for a 5-10 minutes. 

    Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a few slices of avocado, and some cilantro. 

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017

    Random Notes from a Crank

    With the current state of affairs related to the despicable nonsense in Charlottesville and the brazen know-it-all unintelligence of the U.S. president, it's no wonder that I'm watching old episodes of The Twilight Zone. I don't like the current reality in so many different ways. 

    From what I gather, the Neo-Nazis and KKK and various white supremacists got together in Charlottesville to protest the taking down of Confederate monuments. While I know this may be an unpopular opinion, I tend to lean toward keeping Confederate monuments. Here is why. 

    Many of those monuments were erected in the extreme era of Jim Crow America. I personally think they are a stain on American history and should be kept up to show people how institutionalized racism was and is. There's no reason to sugarcoat American history. As Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz has documented in her fine An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, from the the outset the European vision for America was fueled by white supremacist beliefs. 

    In another line of thought that is popular around social media these days, the monuments could be similar to participation trophies, which could be an apt way to think about them. But it's troubling that monuments were erected for a group who wanted to secede from the country because of "states' rights," which is just another way to say they wanted certain states to have the ability to enslave people of color because of their white supremacist ideologies based on bullshit and the Bible. 

    I went to grad school in the Deep South, and on a number of places at the University of Alabama there are placards that recall the glory of the lost cause. I remember one in particular that, if I remember correctly, references a "War of Northern Aggression." 

    For me, when I read it, I found it to be an anachronism that tells how far we've come as a country and how we still have a long way to go.  

    This is why I have mixed feelings about tearing down Confederate monuments. 

    But to just be clear, MoscowDon is a complete moron, and I denounce the racism of the groups who gathered in Charlottesville. 

    My uncle and father enlisted in World War II to fight Nazis, and to see people defending their crazy-ass beliefs sickens and troubles me. 

    Friday, August 11, 2017

    Music Friday: "Burning Stars"

    On his Twitter feed, Jason Isbell recommended this album. I took his recommendation and bought the thing. 

    It's good - thought-provoking lyrics, softly subtle arrangements, and interesting surprises within. 

    Here's one of my favorite songs from the album. 

    Random Notes from a Crank

    Last weekend, as usual, we spent a small fortune on school supplies for my kids. 

    On Sunday I took my daughter to the last day of the county fair. She found a few of her friends, so I just sat on a bench and people watched. County fairs are prime targets for people watching. Here a few of my observations:

    • I don't get some articles of clothing that people wear. 
    • People who wear hi-tops for regular walking-around shoes probably aren't that good at basketball. 
    • Corn dogs and fruit shake-ups are hard to resist.
    • Either there many Cubs fans in my area of Illinois (there are more Cardinals fans), or a number of people have jumped on the Cubs bandwagon.
    • I'm not about fat-shaming people, but Americans need to get in better shape, myself included. 

    Check out Greg Fuchs' poem, "Make America Again," from Brooklyn Rail

    Friday, August 4, 2017

    Music Friday: "Love and Happiness"

    A while back I picked up a greatest hits album from Mellencamp called Words and Music. I had forgotten how much I like "Love and Happiness." Like "Pink Houses," it's not a positive portrayal of America. 

    It's dated to the time period when he wrote it, but the general problems he tackles are very much with us still. 

    When I play the song in the car, my kids are taken aback by the screechiness of the trumpet about midway through the song. I like the dissonant start to the trumpet in the song. I think it works well with what Mellencamp is saying.