Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spud Stud

As I mentioned, during the height of the lunacy I refer to as "Winter Term", I was tagged with a food meme. The basic requirements were that the food be "peasant" food (or the American equivalent), that it be delicious, simple, cheap to make, and not too healthy.

I think the ideal dish would be my mother's fried potatoes. I was blessed with a heritage of poor working class folks on both sides of my family -- my maternal grandmother was a Dustbowl Arkie, her husband a working rancher, sailor, and plant supervisor. My father was a pastor, a sailor, a firefighter, a ranch hand, and grew up the poor son of an alcoholic carpenter/singer/migrant farmer. So I grew up with cooks who new how to really stretch a food dollar, and make very little go very far and taste very good. The following recipe is a reflection of my mother's southern roots and my northwest childhood:

Pan Fried Potato Rounds
2 lb. russet potatoes (here in Ore-Ida country, that can be as 2 or 3 potatoes)
Salt TT (To Taste)
Pepper TT
Onion Powder TT
Garlic Powder TT

Scrub and rinse the potatoes, but do not peel. Slice crossways into 1/4" thick rounds, rinse again.

Fill a 10" cast iron skillet to 1/4" deep with oil, this recipe tastes best if at least some of the oil is replaced with bacon fat. Heat over high heat. Once the oil is hot, lay the potatoes in the oil and cook on high heat, turning occasionally so that all sides get browned and crispy. If you turn them too often, they'll turn mushy. Too seldom and they'll burn. Once the potatoes are golden brown and crispy, reduce the heat to low and cover, cooking 10-15 minutes or until the centers are fork tender. Season to taste with the salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder, serve hot.

To this day my mouth waters just THINKING about these potatoes.

In the spirit of this being a meme, I'm tagging Ken at It Comes in Pints, Maximum Leader at Naked Villainy, and Ted at Rocket Jones.

Monday, March 24, 2008

That Figures

I managed to clear the financial hold and register for classes today, and one of the general requirement classes needed to graduate, First Aid (covers our PE/Health requirement as well as being specifically required for the program) is full. In addition, the Math class I need won't let me register because it says I don't meet the prereq's (I DO TOO!), and I'll bet you anything by the time I clear that up tomorrow, it will be full. I also got a Prereq block on Culinary Leadership (our capstone class), so tomorrow will be spent, like today, at the college -- while on Spring Break.

Oh, and even if I DO get into those classes, my schedule (not 21 credits but only by 3 -- yup, 18 credits) once again precludes any work this term.


UPDATE 03/25/08:

Yup, spent all morning and part of the early afternoon on campus getting as much of this mess straightened out as possible. Things went from bad to worse to better....

I managed to get the holds lifted from my Culinary Leadership class and Math class -- they were related, and had to do with the math. I took the placement tests more than a year ago, and usually in that case the school requires a retesting. I git that waived, and added the classes -- though I still have to crash First Aid. At that point I was barely keeping my promise to myself -- I was up to 20 credits. Hey, 20 isn't 21, to be fair. In addition, that meant I had to drop a culinary class to squeeze the general classes in under the maximum, then get clearance next week to re-add the culinary class. Like I said, bad to worse.

Then I went to talk to my academic counselor to double-check on my academic progress, I'd hate to finish this term and find out that I had missed a requirement. Unfortunately, she didn't have my records with her, so I'm going to have to go back to see her. But she did clear me to take 20 credits. Woot, I think, is the term. In the meantime, I also brought up the fact that I attended school at a community college in San Diego in the 1990's, but was under the impression that it was too long ago for the credits to transfer. Not so, said my counselor -- they should indeed. And since I took Geometry, Trig, and Statistics in San Diego, as opposed to the remedial math rewuired for the program, all I had to do was traipse over to testing to take an extra level of the math placement tests, and I was able to drop the Math class I'd just registered for. Furthermore, the 155 and 200 level English classes, as well as that astronomy class, all can be used in lieu of the scinece class I was registered for. DRopping those two classes were a relief on several levels: they accounted for 7 of those 20 credits, which translates into roughly 7 hours less busy stress, $511 of tuition, and Lord only knows how much in books. Overall, things are looking up. I've got my application for graduation filled out and turned in, and am sending off a transcript request to San Diego Community College District tomorrow. Now all I have to do is get the cooperative education paperwork from my boss from last summer, contact the farmers I plan to use for our spring dinner, clean the house, crash First Aid, and I'll be all set next week.

Such a relaxing Spring Break....

Friday, March 21, 2008

So Far, So Good

Today's the day by which the professors are supposed to post our grades. I've checked online, and so far, 5 of my 7 classes have been posted, and they're all A's.

Update 03/24/08:

Final tally: 6 A's, and a B+. Missed it by that much.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five Down, One to Go


Today I finished off the last of two major projects and five, count them five, final exams. Spring Break officially starts this weekend, but for me, it begins tonight -- such as it is. I'll be spending the week looking for a job for next term, trying to wrangle up the $400 I need to pay off this term before I register for next, and make sure I register for the right classes to graduate in June.

I know I've been really neglectful of my blog this term, and I feel badly -- my readers and the fellow bloggers who link to me have become something like family to me -- it's amazing how close one can feel to people one's never met in person. But between a winter dinner that had me pulling my hair out (the terrine kicked ASS, thank you), a business plan for a fictional restaurant, a menu and prep list and firing schedule for a fake catering event, and countless quizzes, tests, and a field trip all term, I was a bit... swamped.

I'm also aware that I've neglected at least one tag, and at some point I plan to do something about that, though I'd rather take a few days off before doing anything food-related that's also an assignment.

Next term will be interesting. So far I only have 9 credits of required culinary classes, but the general ed requirements I have brings me up to 15, so we'll see. I definitely won't be attending 21 hours -- I may have that many credits, though, but about 6 of those will be Co-op credits for work done in industry.

I hope to blog a bit this break, but next term, no promises.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Something About Oxen and Goring

A tip of theToque to Tree Hugging Sister at Coalition of the Swilling.

Nancy Pelosi takes her job as Speaker of the House so seriously, she's taken to speaking out of both sides of her mouth.

The controversy over the Pentagon decision to award a $35bn refuelling tanker
contract to EADS spilled into the presidential race yesterday, when a senior
Democrat suggested that John McCain, the Republican nominee, was responsible for
the deal being "outsourced" to a European company.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, said Boeing had been on course to supply the US Air Force with tankers until Mr McCain "intervened".
"My understanding is that it was on course for Boeing before. I mean, the thought was that it would be a domestic supplier for it," Ms Pelosi told reporters.

"Senator McCain intervened, and now we have a situation where the contract may be - this work may be outsourced."

Well, yes, Ms. Pelosi, Senator McCain WAS instrumental in stopping the Boeing deal. but what you seem to be... forgetting(?)... is that the reason he opposedthe deal was because it was dirty:

The air force originally chose Boeing to supply it with 100 tankers. But
Congress cancelled the deal after it emerged that Darleen Druyun, a former top
air force acquisitions official, had held illegal job discussions with Boeing
while still negotiating the deal. Ms Druyun admitted boosting the value of the
deal to help Boeing.

Mr McCain has pointed to his aggressive investigation into the Boeing
deal as evidence that he is willing to stand up to powerful corporate

The tanker scandal claimed the career of former Boeing chief executive
Phil Condit. Ms Druyun and Mike Sears, Boeing's former chief financial officer,
were sent to jail.

Sounds like just the kind of Washington Insider dirt Pelosi wants to reform:

Break the link between legislation and lobbyists by passing lobby reform.

But why is she attacking McCain for doing just what she advocates on her own website? It couldn't be because he's running for president on the ticket of the party she opposes, could it? It couldn't be, as one commenter at the coalition points out, that Boeing's plant is in a region represented by members of her own party, could it?

What a hypocrite.

Quote of the Day

A Tip of the Toque to Salena Zito.
"We have already seen the first campaign ad that John McCain is going to run this year. It just so happens that Hillary Clinton is the one that ran it."
- Dan Schnur, Professor, Political Science, UC Berkeley