Archive for March, 2009

The Current Times –

29 March 09

From an e-mail the Ol’ Curmudgeon sent:

… a friend said, “What next, arm bands? Gotta admit, spooky times.”

Yes – arm bands and brown shirts to call on those who do not toe the party line. And card check to make sure you do.

“Those who do not learn from the past…” Actually, I think this crop of radical libs DID learn from the past – they are doing ALL of the things that prolonged the [great] depression and planted the seeds of socialism in this country. The followers and drinkers of kool-aid don’t seem to realize that we DO know where this current road will take us. And so do the radical libs guiding this. Then there is the middle layer (some of the Congress) who just want power and don’t give a damn about anything else.

Mob rule is here, and will inevitably lead to tyranny.


Job Searching

26 March 09

{Herself is posting today.}

Yesterday the Ol’ Curmudgeon was separated from his job after 14 years of loyal service to his corporation. He is searching for a job, and there won’t be any posts from him for a while.

Don’t despair, however, he is irritable and crabby about the political and economic situation as well as a number of other things.

As I am doing most of the cooking, I will post the occasional recipe to keep this blog going – if you, the loyal readers, don’t mind!

Squash French Style –

5 March 09

Zucchini, crookneck, and related squashes can be cooked wonderfully in a sort of French method.

The first step is to blanche the squash. Well, actually, the first step is to figure out just how much you need. For us, one zucchini or good-sized crookneck is enough for two. Anyway, back to blanching. Get enough salted water boiling to cover the squash. Don’t put in the goodie until the water is boiling. Leave it boil for 10 minutes, drain, and cool down with cool tap water to stop the cooking.

This is nice with onion and mushroom, or any combo thereof. So, chop up about equal amounts of onion and mushroom to balance the squash. Lube up a skillet with olive oil and a pat of butter and crank up the heat. When the butter stops foaming and before it browns dump in the onions and mushrooms and lower the heat. You want somewhere between a good sweat and a sauté, you want the goodies nice and warm and tender but not browned. Chop up the squash into about 1” cubes and add to the pan. Slow cook it for around 5 to 10 minutes or until the squash just begins to brown and is nice and tender.

Sprinkle a little good kosher or sea salt, don’t over-do. A few grinds of fresh pepper. A few drops of lemon juice will be nice. Add some chopped parsley and one or two rough chopped garlic cloves. Stir it all up over the heat. You don’t want the garlic to brown, just get warm and soft and it will add a lovely sweetness to the dish. Add in some bread crumbs just before serving.

That’s the basics. Enjoy as is.

Variation 1: Undercook a minute or so. Dump it into a buttered casserole dish, add grated Swiss cheese and set in a 425°F oven until it gets sizzling – probably around 15 minutes, but keep an eye on it. Brown the cheese topping under the broiler if you like.

Variation 2: Slightly undercook. Drain any excess oil. Return to the heat. Add heavy cream and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring and basting frequently.

{Herself Sez}: I’ve never been much of a veggie eater. Oh I tried to set a good example for the Three Musketeers while they were growing up. Occasionally, I would get a really good serving of something – some veggie or other. But generally, veggies are “blah” to me. I enjoy the occasional serving of fruit, but I’m not much of a fruit-fan, either. Give me meat! Give me baked potatoes with lots of cheese, sour cream and butter with a sprinkle of chopped bacon on top. Skip the chives, thank you. Give me cheese! I will eat broccoli with lots of hollandaise sauce on it (the Ol Curmudgeon makes wonderful hollandaise). I like eggs benedict (notice, no veggies and lots of hollandaise). I’ll eat a little carrots or celery with dip.

So, when the Ol’ Curmudgeon started making vegetables, I was skeptical, but willing to try them. I’ll say this – his veggies are somewhat more acceptable than the way I used to cook them. I eat more veggies than I used to because of the way he cooks them. But I’m still not a veggie fan!

Witches Reveal the Truth –

5 March 09

– about liberals. They are liars and hypocrites.

The Code Pink wackos have been blessed by the Berkley city council. They even have special parking permits to more easily enable their dwindling numbers to park in front of the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Berkeley. This makes them a government approved entity, at least in the land of the fruits and nuts.

On Friday, May 9, 2008, the Code Pink nuts staged a witchcraft rally and practiced spells against the military.

A couple of things are revealed here. Firstly, the Code Pinks really are that crazy. Second, the fundamental liberal bias is not for “separation of church and state” as they love to proclaim. Their real bias is simply anti-Christian.

If the libs were really against religion, Berkeley would have shut them down when they started with the witchcraft. Imagine the howls and ACLU lawsuits if a government sanctioned group had hauled out a Bible and tried to pray. I haven’t heard the first condemnation of these nuts from anyone on the left.

The left is really desperately trying to be as obnoxious as possible. It is not that they are against religion. Yes, they do espouse atheism. They also are quite willing to give in to any unreasonable demands of Moslems. The left has supported footbaths for Moslem students at taxpayer expense. The left is perfectly willing to support Moslem dietary demands. The left is fully supportive of the “witches, crones, and sirens” who showed up at Berkeley.

Fact is, these people simply want to be as offensive and nasty as possible to the majority of decent people in this country. The main thing that I observe about the left is that most of these people are desperately unhappy with themselves and their lives and want to make everyone else as unhappy as they are.

I don’t think that I will ever understand the logic of these Code Pinks. They no doubt think that the many attacks against this country by Moslems are no more than we deserve. “Chickens come home to roost” as one prominent kook put it. Problem is, these mental cases don’t want anyone to be able to protect himself and his family against anyone else. There is no connection between these people’s worldview and reality. No military rapidly equals no country and no freedom for idiots to play at witchcraft.

Historically, Moslems only persecute Christians. They torture and execute homosexuals. They enslave women. Is that what these liberals really want? Or are they so stupid and full of hate for the people of this country that they cannot see what will happen without the military?

It is worth noting that the protestors are getting fewer and fewer and the organizers are more and more desperate to get media coverage for their failing antics.

{{Herself Sez}} The Ol’ Curmudgeon had an angioplasty with insertion of yet another stent on the 25th. He’s back to working from home, but not writing anything for the blog. So – I’m posting some of his older (and not very pertinent) rants. He still has a few recipes left, though, so the blog will be heavy on those for a while.

Sourdough French Bread –

3 March 09

Here’s a nice sourdough version of French Bread. I suppose the real purist knows that so-called French Bread is actually fairly new – and didn’t originally come from France. The origin was in Vienna in the 1800’s. However – the French adopted it like crazy and raised it to a high art. Real French Bread is usually a pate fermente sort of thing, but I like it with the sourdough base. Not really clangy sourdough, but gently sourdough. And – for those who care – the sourdough is the original version of this wonderful bread.

The night before make up your sourdough:
50 g sourdough starter
175 g all-purpose flour
175 g water

You know drill – mix up the sourdough, flour, and water to mostly smooth paste, cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight at around 70°F to 75°F.

Next morning:

235 g fed sourdough – yeah, you may have a bit left over. Do whatever you usually do with excess starter.
1 pkg yeast – NOT Rapid Rise. Optional. If you have plenty of time you can let the sourdough do all the rising. It just takes a lot longer.
225 g water
420 g flour – either bread flour (better rise) or all-purpose (more like real French Bread)
11 g salt

Mix all ingredients on low for 3 minutes, second speed for 3 minutes. If by hand knead firmly for a good 10 minutes.

Bulk ferment 1 hour. Fold gently.

Ferment 1 hour.

For baguettes: Divide in 3 equal parts. Let rest a few minutes (10-15). Fold, press to seal the edges, then roll into logs about 15″ long on a well-floured work surface. Put the logs in the folds of a floured couche.

Other shapes: shape as you please.

Cover with greased plastic and let rise 1 hour or until just about doubled and puffy.

Baguettes: slash deeply with a lame 3 times 45° about 8″ long. Other shapes: slash with a lame as seems good to you. Don’t be shy, slash deep.

Baguettes: 25 minutes in a well-steamed 450°F oven.
Other shapes may take different cooking times. You are looking for an even, golden color.

Cool on a rack.

Couche – plain rough flax canvas cloth used to hold baguettes while they rise. The dough won’t stick to it and the fibers can help draw off any excess moisture so that the crust is thick and wonderfully chewy. If you don’t have one you can fake it with any rough, hard cloth that has no weird chemicals or dyes in it. You can order them off the web, the King Arthur web site has a nice one, but not cheap. I’ve seen some other sites with them as well, but the KA people are totally trustworthy and you can’t go wrong.

Discussion on flour. True French flour is somewhat different than most American flours in protein and ash content. I usually use the King Arthur unbleached bread flour. Works very nicely. You can get a true French flour from the King Arthur website.

However, be it noted that no less an authority than the great Raymond Calvel, dean of all French bakers, chose the King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour that you get at any decent grocery as the American flour most near good French flour in characteristics and overall taste. Hard to argue with the greatest authority in the world. Unfortunately Professor Calvel died in 2005, a great loss to the world.

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