the_bombTue Oct 24 15:56:24 2006politics
--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

--AZ-01: Rick Renzi

--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

--CA-04: John Doolittle

--CA-11: Richard Pombo

--CA-50: Brian Bilbray

--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

--CO-05: Doug Lamborn

--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

--CT-04: Christopher Shays

--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

--FL-16: Joe Negron

--FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

--IL-06: Peter Roskam

--IL-10: Mark Kirk

--IL-14: Dennis Hastert

--IN-02: Chris Chocola

--IN-08: John Hostettler

--IA-01: Mike Whalen

--KS-02: Jim Ryun

--KY-03: Anne Northup

--KY-04: Geoff Davis

--MD-Sen: Michael Steele

--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

--MN-06: Michele Bachmann

--MO-Sen: Jim Talent

--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

--NV-03: Jon Porter

--NH-02: Charlie Bass

--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

--NM-01: Heather Wilson

--NY-03: Peter King

--NY-20: John Sweeney

--NY-26: Tom Reynolds

--NY-29: Randy Kuhl

--NC-08: Robin Hayes

--NC-11: Charles Taylor

--OH-01: Steve Chabot

--OH-02: Jean Schmidt

--OH-15: Deborah Pryce

--OH-18: Joy Padgett

--PA-04: Melissa Hart

--PA-07: Curt Weldon

--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

--PA-10: Don Sherwood

--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

--TN-Sen: Bob Corker

--VA-Sen: George Allen

--VA-10: Frank Wolf

--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

--WA-08: Dave Reichert

"Jambalaya" Salad with Chicory Stout Ice CreamSat Sep 3 22:11:33 2005cooking

The "Paper Chef, New Orleans" was just too tempting to pass up. On top of that, when I went to buy shrimp, they had live crayfish at $3/lb. This definately needed to find its way into my meal. Jambalaya is possibly my favorite New Orleans food, but it's been a bit warm around here for a big steaming pot of rice and leftovers. Substituting Orzo for the rice and turning it into a pasta salad seemed like it might work. The celery, bell peppers and most of the tomato are tossed in after the pan is off the heat and stay pretty crisp. My notes say the base "Stout Ice Cream" recipe came from Emeril, but I can't find it on the FoodTV site.

"Jambalaya" Salad

1 pound whole prawns (.5 - .65 pounds cleaned)
1 pound crayfish (.25 - .4 pounds cleaned tail meat)
.5 pound boneless, skinless chicken bits cut into strips (breast, thigh, whatever)
.5 pounds good andouille sausage cut into pieces ~.25" thick
.5 cup chopped celery
1 cup bell pepper cut into bite size pieces (green and/or red)
1 pound plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
8 oz Orzo Pasta
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons dried oregano
.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
.25 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
.25 teaspoon crushed red pepper
.25 teaspoon crushed coriander seed
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 half red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vegatable oil
.25 cups hoppy american ale (Stone, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, etc)

Add the salt, coriander, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, black pepper, bay leaves, half of the oregano and two of the garlic cloves to a large pot of water. Bring the water to a full boil. Toss in the prawns and crayfish in small enough batches that the water returns to the boil quickly (maybe not so important if you're not using live seafood). Cook the seafood for 3-5 minutes, then remove from the boil and set aside.
Cook the Orzo as indicated by the manufacturer for use in a salad.
Using a large skillet or heavy pan, add the vegatable oil over medium high heat and add the sausage. When some of the fat from the sausage begins to render out, add the chicken pieces -- trying to place the chicken between pieces of sausage. Take about a third of your tomatoes and place them cut side down in the pan. Add the remaining garlic and oregano. Turn the chicken and sausage pieces occasionally to ensure browning on all sides. When the chicken appears to be done, add the beer and deglaze the pan. Then add the orzo and the seafood. Toss to coat, and keep on the fire just long enough to heat the seafood.
Take the pan off the fire and add the vegatables. Mix well and serve.

Chicory Stout Ice Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean
8 ounces Stout (preferably homebrew, or something matching BJCP Style 13E)
6 tablespoons sugar
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons corsely ground chicory coffee (Café Du Monde or similar)

In a small sauce pan, simmer the stout over medium heat until it has reduced by two thirds. While the stout is reducing, in a medium sauce pan mix the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla bean over medium high heat, stirring constantly and bring just to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and add the coffee. Allow this to steep for 4 minutes and then strain. Whisk in the egg yolks and the reduced stout and then return to the heat. Stir constantly until the mixture reaches ~175F. Remove from the heat, cover with plastic wrap (pressed down to avoid a skin) and refrigerate until the mixture reaches 40F. Place into an ice cream freezer and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Freeze and serve.
Lager PizzaWed Mar 2 11:24:05 2005cooking
Decided to try making a pizza dough with a brewer's Lager yeast. It worked out fantastically. Possibly one of the best pizza crusts I've ever had. Naturally, I made way too much. My next experiment will be a crust made with the trub off my current batch of "Mystery Ale". It's just ready to go into the secondary fermenter though, so that's at least a week off.

The Crust:
200g Unbleached All Purpose Flour
300g Unbleached Bread Flour
15g Finely ground sea salt
6g Saflager Dry Lager Yeast
~1l Warm Water

Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled, form into single pie-sized balls, and refrigerate for at lest 24hrs. Let the dough return to room temperature before using.
Tart CrustSat Jan 15 21:18:08 2005cooking
Another recie from Jeffery Steingarten. Well, it's actually from Maury Rubin, but I got it from Steingarten. It's become a standard for me, and people keep asking for it, so I might as well save it somewhere I can find it.

6.5oz Unsalted Butter (13 Tbsp) in small pieces
1 large egg yolk
.75oz Powdered Sugar (1/3 Cup firmly packed)
4 tsp heavy cream
1 tsp Vanilla Paste (optional)
8oz unbleached AP flour (1.5 cups)

With a pastry knife, cut together all the ingredients except the flour until it forms a loose mixture. Gradually stir in the flower, until the dough comes together in a firm ball. Refrigerate for at least an hour, then roll out to about 1/8 inch thick, and fit into your tart pans. Freeze for at least an hour, then bake in a 375F oven, under weights 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
BeignetSun Jan 9 17:58:41 2005cooking
A friend has decided to kill me slowly, by giving me a deep fryer for my birthday. Evil. Very evil. Took it for it's first spin tonight, with a beignet recipe from The New Orleans Cookbook (an interesting, but far from fantastic cook book). They turned out really well. Whipped up some nice Café Au Lait with some chicory coffee from the asian food store, and ate until we felt like popping. Unfortunately, I think the peanut oil we used wasn't the best choice. Didn't affect the taste of the pastry so much, but it definately lingers in the mouth. Café Du Monde recomends using cottonseed oil, I think I'll have to try that soon. The problem with owning a deep fryer is that everything looks like fry-fodder. Makes a man feel Scottish.

Beignet Recipe
1.5 Cups Warm Water
1 package dry yeast
.5 Cup Sugar
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 Cup Evaporated Milk (PET Cream)
7 Cups Flour
.25 Cups Crisco
Powdered Sugar to top

Bloom the yeast in the warm water, add the sugar, salt, eggs and evaporated milk and stir well. Gradually add half the flour, and stir until smooth and thouroughly blended. Cut the shortning into a cup of the remaining flour, and add that to the wet mixture. Slowly add the remaining flour until the dough gets too stiff to stir. Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight.
Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/8 inch and cut into rectangles 2.5 by 3.5 inches. Fry at 360F for 2-3 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar and serve hot.
Lost in the BarrensFri Dec 31 16:17:01 2004books
I guess I've always liked Farley Mowat, though I never really stopped to think about it. Never Cry Wolf has been one of my favorite films for a long time, and a few years back, a friend passed on a copy of The Boat Who Wouldn't Float that I enjoyed, but I never really went looking for his other work. I can't figure out why. Lost in the Barrens is just the kind of book I would have loved as a kid (yes, I still frequent the "young adult" section at the library) and is a lot like some of the Sandy Steele or Louis L'Amour books that I did dig up back then.
Power BallWed Dec 29 13:56:54 2004toys
Seems silly, but this little "Gyroscopic Exerciser" is really kinda cool. Fascinating in the way a "Sit and Spin" was when you were a kid, but it definately gives your forearms a workout. I'm tempted to spend the $20 to get the digital readout, displays your peak rpms, etc. Fun toy.
TJ's Smooth & MellowWed Dec 29 12:06:07 2004coffee
Some days I think I've just been totally spoiled by living in the SF Bay area, but I guess really it's just a matter of acclimatization. It's true with beer, and it definately seems true with coffee. Anyone who's had a cup of my brew will tell you that I tend to like it strong and dark. This new TJ's blend is weak and light. Not much body and a strange paper-bag mouth feel. Yuck. I guess for once it's a good thing they sell you 14oz not a full pound.
NakedSun Dec 5 19:26:49 2004books
David Sedaris is one of those authors that it seemed like everyone I knew was recomending, and after 3 years I finally got around to picking up one of his books. Naked, one of his better reviewed books, is a bizzare rambling collection of Sedaris' memories; touching one minute, absurd the next and hardly ever predictable.
The Man Who Ate EverythingFri Dec 3 13:51:26 2004books
In typical fashion I read Steingarten's second book first. It's amazing what a difference five years of experience can make to an author. While this volume did have some high points (his giddy pro-olestra trip, a damn fine sounding pie crust) it's just not at the same level as his second book and at times it seems more like he's obsessing than exploring. I just noticed that both volumes are the same length, but this one took me more than twice as long to get through.
No Deep HouseTue Nov 30 09:03:20 2004music
I've got the office to myself for a week, and I've been eagerly awaiting a full work week without Deep House music. Yesterday centered around Tom Petty, Gordon Lightfoot and 10,000 Maniacs. Started this morning with Bjork's Selmasongs which is probably as "dancy" as I'm going to get. I smell a Brian Eno marathon brewing.
Brownies 2.0Sun Nov 28 10:27:37 2004cooking
Trying to bake brownies for brownie sundaes. Turned out even better than I expected. Definately a keeper.

3oz 70% Chocolate
2.5oz Mexican Drinking Chocolate
10Tbsp Butter
1 1/4C Sugar
3 Eggs
2tsp Vanilla
1C Flour

Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat or in a double boiler. Take the mix off the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla and eggs. Stir gently until mixed. Add the flour stiring as little as possible, until most of the flour is absorbed. Turn into a well greased 8x10 pan, and bake for 30min in a 350F oven.
Chewy, chocolatey, but not really fudgy... and the cinnamon and whatever in the mexican chocolate really makes things interesting.
Back 40 BBQSat Nov 27 17:00:40 2004eating
This was our second trip to Back 40 in Plesant Hill, bur our first time eating in. An altogether mediocre experience, but we'll probably go back. An appetizer of potato skins (4 skins, nearly 2lbs) was way overboard, and not very tasty. Both the Clam Chowder and Vegetable soups were nearly inedible. A 25oz draft beer was $5.50. Sausage, mediocre. Beef ribs -- juicy, but stringy and a bit tasteless. Smoked Pork and Pork ribs -- divine. Really. Fucking. Good. I forgot to ask to try some of their alternative sauces, but their standard sauce seemed to have a bit more kick to it this time than when we last tried it. Next trip will involve a full rack of pork ribs, no sides, no appetizers, maybe we'll even smuggle in our own drinks.
Bourbon Apple PieThu Nov 25 22:31:09 2004cooking
The filling for this one worked out even better than I expected.

2.5Tbsp Small Pearl Tapioca
1C Granulated Sugar
1/2tsp Ground Nutmeg
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
2oz Bourbon
Pie CrustThu Nov 25 22:29:20 2004cooking
I've always thought that the crust of a pumpkin pie should be slightly savory, to offset the sweet custard, and to play off the flavor of the pumkin itself. The pie we made today turned out quite well.

1 1/4C AP Flour
1/3C Butter Flavored Crisco
2Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2-3Tbsp Ice Water
1/8tsp Tumeric Powder

1lb Baked Pumpkin
2/3C Evaporated Milk
3 Eggs
3/4C Sugar
3/4tsp Cinamon
1tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp ground nutmeg

Pie bakes at 375F for 30min with the crust protected, then 25min uncovered.
AluminumMon Nov 22 23:14:26 2004welding
First time playing with aluminum. It's an interesting metal. With it's relatively low melting point and it's high surface tension, it behaves so strangely. I can see why a lot of people don't like to work with it. Walked away with burn number two for the welding class, so it must have gone fairly well.