Saturday, May 23, 2009

A must read

This Imprimis piece by Mark Steyn is an excellent analysis of what happens as government is allowed to take over our responsibilities.

Then for a bit of enlightening entertainment watch this. (HT: Father Hollywood)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cooking style

Tagged for this by Adriane. Seems like a good Mother's Day blog topic. (Okay, I started it on Mother's Day, then got too sleepy to finish.)

1. What's your cooking style?

Home cooking with an experimental twist. I like to play with my recipes, adding and subtracting ingredients. I like to try to recreate meals we've had in restaurants. I learned the basics pretty well from my mom and my grandmothers: how to prepare meat in different ways, good gravy and white sauce, the right techniques for baking, preparing fresh vegetables, homemade salad dressing, etc. I've learned to spice things up, turn that white sauce to a bechamel or make red gravy, and to experiment with the basics I know. I'm a big fan of comfort food, and a lot of what I cook would fall into that category, but I love taking the mac and cheese with Velveeta that I grew up with and changing the flavor with different cheeses and spices. I love making soup, just throwing things into the post and seeing what comes out.

2. What inspires your kitchen?

My mom and my grandmas, the cooking shows I've been addicted to since I started watching Julia Child and the Galloping Gourmet when I was a kid, and the family I have the privilege to feed.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?

It's a tie:
My stockpot is used almost almost every day for either soup or pasta, but my KitchenAid stand mixer has changed my life. Seriously, baking is so much better with my monster mixer.

4. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:

Taste while you cook. Taste before salting. Taste taste taste.

5. Biggest challenge in your kitchen:

Time. I just don't have enough time to spend in my kitchen.

6. Biggest indulgence:

Quality ingredients. I spend money on good meat, quality cheeses, good spices, excellent extra-virgin olive oil, farm-fresh eggs. etc. I keep all of the extras in my pantry that I might want: pesto, tapenade, artichoke hearts, olives, roasted red peppers, good vinegar, decent wine. There are very few times that I am willing to sacrifice flavor for price.

7. Dream tool or splurge:

A set of Le Creuset pans. I have one. I love it.

8. What are you cooking this week?

Not much. This is a weird week. The boys are gone for a few days. We have things going on Wednesday and Thursday nights and a garage sale Friday and Saturday. There will not be a lot of cooking. Last week I made portabella mushroom ravioli with a light bechamel sauce, salad and bread for Monday night. On Cinco de Mayo I made beef and chicken tacos. I made clam chowder Wednesday night. On Thursday night I made chicken cacciatore and garlic mashed potatoes. And Friday night I made smoked salmon caesar salads.

9. What cookbook has inspired you the most?

Hmmmmmm. I like to read lots of cookbooks and cooking magazines, but I don't really have any one that has inspired me. I have gotten the most use--by far--out of my Red Plaid Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

10. What's the most memorable meal you've cooked in this kitchen?

That's hard. There have been so many good meals with good friends and family in this house. I guess the winner will have to be the whole beef tenderloin that I made for Christmas when Nathan and Katie Fischer joined us in 2007. It is the first and only one I have made and it was perfect! We also had twice baked potatoes, salad, bread, and a really good Pinot Noir.

Consider yourself tagged, if you would like to be.

Monday, May 04, 2009

What I've been thinking

I haven't been posting much recently because I've had a lot on my mind and not much time. The topics I want to post about all need, and deserve, a thoughtful treatment. Unfortunately, right now all I can squeeze out is a quick post.

I just finished A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America by Shelby Steele. It needs to be the subject of a really good thorough post. I marked enough spots in the book to go back over that I'll almost be rereading the whole thing. That is a post to come.

An Issues, Etc. episode on tolerance (broadcast Friday April 17) that I listened to on Friday pinpointed a lot of the frustrations I've been feeling about the whole concept, and the seeming ease with which the left is able to redefine words. That's another post. Probably tomorrow.

The media keeps pushing the idea that the reason the Republican party is in trouble is because of a "move to the right." Huh? Is this the same Republican party that had an aisle-crossing moderate for a presidential nominee? The Republican Party is in trouble because it is in large part the Democrat Party Lite. The Republican Party is in trouble because for eight years we had a President who seemed incapable of articulating or defending his actions and positions and who helped to grow government and spend money like a drunken Democrat senator.

And I can't even start on the misrepresentation and vitriol that has surrounded the coverage of the tea parties and the attitude of the Democrats about them.

All of these things tie together. They all involve agendas and the power of words and being the one who defines them. They all speak to the tremendous influence of the press. They involve assumptions and political myths. Maybe over the next couple of days I'll manage some coherent posts and tie it all together.

Friday, May 01, 2009


Pastor Horn, who, sadly, does not have a blog, posted about his favorite poem on Facebook today. That got me thinking about poetry and wondering where all of my poetry books are. I haven't had a chance to look yet, but I'm betting they're in my kids' rooms. That is not a bad thing.

What I did go looking for were my poems. I found part of them. They are dark! I'd forgotten how miserable I was most of the time in high school and my first years of college. Wow.

I have known lots of people who don't like poetry. I once thought that I didn't. I blame that on school, on English classes that have students ripping apart poems looking for meter or hidden meanings, instead of just reading them for appreciation first. (They do the same with Shakespeare, but that's another post.) I started reading poems to my kids right from the start. Mingled among the adorable rhyming board books, Mother Goose, Dr. Seuss, and Goodnight Moon, were A Child's Garden of Verses, The Tiger, Jabberwocky, and e.e. cummings.

Pastor Petersen has posted a wonderful poem he saw today at Writer's Almanac. Go read.