Saturday, November 29, 2008


While I'm issuing memos:

Dear New York Wal-Mart customers,

Happy? Did you get your bargains? Find the stuff you wanted? Get all your Christmas shopping done early? Save a ton?

Great, fantastic! and only one man had to die to make it happen. How proud you must be, how smug.

As far as I'm concerned, you're beneath contempt. Every damned one of you who ran over the poor man or ignored the attempts of his coworkers and the police to rescue him. I'm all for commerce and capitalism, and I have no problem with a little bit of shopping for the holidays, but damn, what kind of animals are you?

And my heart goes out to the family of this poor man, who was working a temp job. I can only imagine what was going through his head -- trying to get ahead, working, trying to be productive, trying to either pull himself up by his bootstraps or trying to make a little extra to give his family a better Christmas.

And now he's dead.

Because you just HAD to be among the first ones in.

Well, now you have to live with the consequences. I hope it weighs on your consciences a good long time.

Everything's Coming Up... Well, Not Roses

Dear Beavers,


In case you're too lazy (or heartbroken) to count 'em, that's 65 HA's... Sixty-Five.... which, not coincidentally, is the number of points the Ducks racked up against you in a Civil War upset, in Corvallis -- a game the Beavers were supposed to win easily on their way to their first Rose Bowl since the 1960's.


But don't feel too bad, Beavers. You still have a shot at the Rose Bowl. I mean, UCLA COULD beat Southern Cal next weekend. After all, we upset you. But even if that happens, you'll have backed into the Rose Bowl -- you will not have advanced to it on the merits of a victory over the Ducks. Furthermore, you'll be limping into it after having given up to Oregon 65 points -- not just the most ever scored in a Civil War, but the most ANY team has EVER scored on you. EVER.

Chew on that for a year. See you in Autzen.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Chili Reception

I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now. Yesterday, I participated in my first ever cooking competition -- a chili cookoff that was a fundraiser for Shelter Care, a local charity. The rules were pretty lax, there were only 21 entrants, but it was fun. And best of all, I placed 10th in the judging and -- get this -- second in the people's choice voting.

It wasn't my first choice of chili styles -- I used beans, to which, like Texans, I usually object, but I was appealing to the lowest common denominator, and I knew the local populace is not quite as discriminating when it comes to red chili purism.

I used four kinds of chilis -- Canned chipotles, and a fresh serrano, Anaheim, and jalapeno. I sweated my aromatics in rendered bacon fat, and deglazed after I seared the chuck roast with bourbon and porter. There were a few other tricks I pulled out, but I'm not going to reveal all my secrets.

The part that leaves me kicking myself is the fact that I lost by one vote, and found out later that everyone who participated had a vote in the popular vote -- myself included. Had I cast a vote and one on The Lad's behalf, I would have won. Oh, well, I didn't really need $150 cash. *whimper*

My one consolation was that I took second place to a fellow pro, who has owned his own restaurants. His advice to me was more heat and a little more salt.

Believe me, I'll remember that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Muddling Through

It has come to my attention that my lack of postings has caused concern among my readers. I'm touched, and sorry for the silence. I've been rather busy with work and home life, and frankly, unmotivated to blog about much of anything. Work is fulfilling but not exciting, I'm too burned out to get worked up about politics, I've had nothing to say for some time.

But I did manage something last night that I thought was worth mentioning -- I invented a new cocktail. It's based on the Mojito, but with a culinary twist. Like any good cook, I like playing with ingredients, especially giving something a twist by switching out one similar but non-identical ingredient, then going from there.

In this case, it was switching out the mint and replacing it with basil (which is related to mint botanically). From there I started building on similar switch-outs for other mojito ingredients, with the idea of replacing them with ingredients that were both similar to the ones they replaced; and that went well with basil. This is what I came up with. I'm hoping my readers can help me with ideas for a name for it:

4 or 5 medium-sized basil leaves
1 oz. honey
1 oz. lime juice
1 1/2 oz. citrus-infused vodka
6-8 oz. ginger beer
1 cup ice cubes

Combine the basil and honey in the bottom of a Collins glass and muddle until the basil is crushed. Add the lime juice and vodka, stir until the honey is dissolved. Add ice to the top of the glass, fill with ginger beer, and stir again. garnish with a lime wedge, sprig of basil, and slice of candied ginger.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Quote(s) of the Year

UPDATED 06/04/08

"someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more."

- Michelle Obama, campaigning on her husband's behalf