Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Don't Know How We Get Away With It

The department is sponsoring a team for the annual Race for the Cure. Team name? "Trekking for Ta-tas."

Keeping My Cool

Although last week’s heat wave has abated somewhat, I am still staying out of the kitchen as much as possible. Unlike the spousal unit, who cleaned and froze twenty three pints of sweet corn last week. Without him, we’d starve.

Having an array of appliances that cook without heating the place up too much is a blessing, and I’m finding that my rice cooker is turning out to be one of my favorites. Rice salads are now a staple in my lunch box. Mine, not his – he’s been pretty much “off” rice since the first Gulf War.

They couldn’t be easier. Cook your rice and toss with a tablespoonful of olive oil. Put it in the refrigerator and stir occasionally to break up clumps. Once the rice is cold, add a couple of the following:

Diced Roma tomatoes
Diced cucumber
Sliced green onions
Hot banana pepper rings
Greek olives
Feta or mozzarella cheese
Parsley (lots of parsley)

Since rice tends to soak up dressing, I pack the additions in a separate container with a strong oil and lemon juice dressing (half oil, half lemon juice, pinch of salt and some garlic) and combine them just before eating.

A combination I saw recently on the wonderful blog Mennonite Girls Can Cook put cold cooked chicken together with artichoke hearts, avocado, roasted red peppers, and a dressing made with lime juice.

Note that this is all vaguely Mediterranean in concept. I’d like to come up with something that tasted Indian -- chickpeas, onions and mushrooms, perhaps, but I’m not sure what I’d use for dressing. Yogurt and garam masala, maybe?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Xena Warrior Princess

I may not have mentioned this, but our Americorps member Smitty is a strapping six foot three, broad-shouldered bundle of All-American, half-back brawn.

We interviewed for our second Americorps position last week and the winning candidate is a pre-med student who is also a competetive swimmer. Her muscles have muscles.

I'm going to be feeling just a little inadequate this winter, I can tell.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

Lord, grant that I may always be right, for thou knowest I am hard to turn. ~ (trad. Scotch-Irish prayer)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Signs That He May Be Spending Too Much Time In The Garden

He (standing in the kitchen with a jar of salad dressing in his hand): Do you want Miracle-Gro on your sandwich?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

There's Probably Something Wrong With Me....

...but I have no idea who Katy Perry is.

More Food Company Splendor

This actually isn’t a bad little cookbook, although right now I can’t see making anything from it except possibly some of the Jello recipes (it’s a lot cooler today, thankfully, but it’s still pretty humid).

The recipes include a couple of horrors – who cooks pheasant in cream of chicken soup? – but Betty Crocker dessert recipes, particularly for baked goods, are usually reliable. Here is one I think I might make when the kitchen becomes less of a “burning fiery furnace.”

Chiffon Cake

1 c. plus 2 T. Softasilk Cake Flour
¾ c. sugar
1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. salt
¼ c. vegetable oil
2 egg yolks
¼ c. plus 2 T. cold water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 t. grated lemon rind
½ c. egg whites (4)
¼ t. cream of tartar

“Heat oven (see temperatures below). Use a loaf pan, 9x5x3, or a square pan, 8x8x2 or 9x9x1 ¾. Do not grease pans!

Spoon flour into nested dry measuring cup; level off with straight-edged spatula, or sift. Blend flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Make a well and add in order: oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla, and lemon rind. Beat with spoon until smooth. Measure egg whites and cream of tartar into large mixer bowl. Beat until whites form very stiff peaks. Pour egg yolk mixture gradually over beaten whites, gently folding with rubber scraper just until blended. Pour into ungreased pan. Bake loafe cake at 325⁰ for 50 to 55 min.; bake square cake at 350⁰ for 30 to 35 min., until top springs back when touched lightly. Invert, supporting pan on clip clothespins, until cool.

Note: if you substitute Gold Medal Flour for Softasilk Cake Flour, Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting and decrease amount of flour to 1 cup. Use 3 egg yolks.”

The trick of course is the use of the clip clothespins.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


C’est l’esprit familier du lieu;
Il juge, il préside, il inspire
Toutes choses dans son empire;
Peut-être est-il fée, est-il dieu. ~ Charles Baudelaire

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

"With this certification, and in accordance with the law, on Sept. 20, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will be repealed. We will have taken the time necessary to get this done right and to ensure that service members are properly trained for a change that I believe is essential to the effectiveness of our all-volunteer force. All men and women who serve this nation in uniform -- no matter their race, color, creed, religion, or sexual orientation -- do so with great dignity, bravery, and dedication." ~ Leon Panetta.

It's about damn time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Of The Benefits Our Ad Didn't Mention

Thing 2 leaves on August 2nd and is in the process of handing off his projects to Smitty, who will replace him as assistant to our volunteer team leader. We are discussing the drill last September and giving him some pointers on the next annual drill (which will be this October).

Me: When you start identifying the numbers of volunteers needed, don’t forget to recruit a couple of assistants for yourself. Thing 2 had two of the nursing students last year helping him.

Thing 2 (dreamily): And boy, were they honeys.

Me: I've noticed that the students in the nursing program are awfully good-looking young women*. I wonder where the homely girls go?

Smitty (a recent graduate): The Sociology department.

(*this is true, by the way. They are a very pretty bunch).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Out of The Mouths of Babes

I am in a van full of county disaster types on the way to a meeting of the state Terrorism Task Force (trust me, it sounds more exciting than it is). As a special treat I am letting Smitty come along. Introductions have been made all around.

Local Senior Red Cross Person: So, what do you do at the Health Department?

Smitty: Anything she tells me to.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


The heat index is 105F and we have no A/C.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Like This Woman

The county sent me to leadership training yesterday. All damn day. I shared a desk with an RN from one of our neighboring counties. She appeared to be in her late fifties and was dressed from head to foot in varying shades of pink. The instructor, a mildly obnoxious individual, was droning on about leadership styles, the "coercive" model in particular.

Mildly Obnoxious Instructor: So while the coercive model of leadership seems to be the answer in certain settings, it really doesn't work.

Lady in Pink: It does if you know pressure points.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Eat More Salmon

Another tasty trifle from I spend way too much time at that site -- did you know they even have vintage comic books?

(Note: I'm sticking to posting stuff I can find online for about a week as I managed to break my glasses and am walking around peering at things like Mr. Magoo. Fortunately I was able to get an app't at the opthalalalal...dang. That's word is like "banana," I never know when to quit. Anyway, should have some glasses in about seven days. In the meantime, all the sharp edges of the world have become nicely rounded).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Quote of the Day

One of the latter school of the Grecians, examineth the matter and is at a stand, to think what should be in it, that men should love lies; where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets, nor for advantage, as with the merchant; but for the lie’s sake. ~ Francis Bacon.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Target-Rich Environment

Because we all love to snark at bad food-company recipes, I decided to pull a few out of this recent acquisition.

At least once a month I forget to bring my lunch and have to walk the three blocks to the hole in the wall Chinese place that, oddly enough, is just around the corner from ye olde Neighborhood Thrift Shoppe. Between their dazzling display of costume jewelry and their second-hand book selection, it's probably a good thing I don't have these absent-minded episodes more often. This week's lapse cost me a whole two and a half dollars and I got a copy of Catton's "Terrible Swift Sword" and a 20-inch gold chain along with it.

According to the inside blurb, this little book was popular enough to warrant four re-issues between 1969 and 1977, the year my copy was published. One can only wonder why. The competition was stiff but here are two of the worst -- recipes that make absolutely no culinary sense whatsoever (the runners-up include a recipe for Bearnaise made with condensed cream of celery soup. No wonder the French hate us).

Tropical Fruit Soup

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 soup can milk
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup seedless graes, halved
grated lime rind
grated nutmeg

In saucepan blend soup, milk, and lime juice. Heat; stir occasionally. Chill 6 hours or more Just before serving, bend in banana; stir in grapes. Garnish with rind and nutmeg. Makes about 3 cups.

Bologna Bundles

1 can condensed bean with bacon soup
1/3 cup choped dill pickle
1 tablespoon grated onion
1 pound bologna, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

Combine soup, pickle, and onion; place equal amounts soup mixture on each slice bologna. Fold over; fasten with toothpicks or skewers. Arrange in shallow baking dish (12x8x2 inches). Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and paprika, bake 10 minutes more. 4 servings.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Quote of the Day

There is nothing particularly glorious about sweaty fellows, laden with killing tools, going along to fight. And yet-such a column represents a great deal more than 28,000 individuals mustered into a division. All that is behind those men is in that column too: the old battles, long forgotten, that secured our nation-Brandywine and Trenton and Yorktown, San Jacinto and Chapultepec, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Antietam, El Caney; scores of skirmishes, far off, such as the Marines have nearly every year in which a man can be killed as dead as ever a chap in the Argonne; traditions of things endured and things accomplished, such as regiments hand down forever; and the faith of men and the love of women; and that abstract thing called patriotism, which I never heard combat soldiers mention-all this passes into the forward zone, to the point of contact, where war is girt with horrors. Common men endure these horrors and overcome them, along with the insistent yearnings of the belly and the reasonable promptings of fear; and in this, I think, is glory. ~ John Thomason