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    • Spring of a Down, by Stirling Newberry, Chapters 1-3
      я знаю місце1 (Read the Prolog) She looked out over the land coming spring. Rather than domes and spires of Kyiv, here there were roofs to keep the hearth warm. But was forward to the eye was the fuzziness of the trees because the buds were forming across a flat plain. Life bloomed, over and above the plains north of the capital the river flow in.2 She turns […]
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Friday Night Cookout Open Thread


What are your favorite recipes? Here’s one of mine:

COLON CLEANSER TACO SAUCE

5-6 tomatillos

7-8 dried red chiles

1/2 of a medium onion

1/8 bunch of cilantro

Boil the tomatillos until soft and brown the chiles in olive oil in a frying pan.  Toss everything into a blender and puree.  Add water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.  Apply generously on tacos.

Have at it.



106 Responses

  1. Yikes, that’s some nasty taco sauce. I’ll have to give it a try.

  2. You’re gonna have to “man-up” for that…

  3. BEEF BIRRIA

    4 dried California chiles
    1 pound roma tomatoes
    ½ onion
    2 cloves garlic
    1 ½ pounds beef stew meat, trimmed of fat
    2 tablespoons vinegar
    2 bay leaves
    1 teaspoon dried marjoram
    1 inch stick cinnamon
    6 black peppercorns
    2 beef bouillon cubes
    1 teaspoon salt or to taste

    Lightly coat a heavy griddle with oil and heat over medium high heat.

    Place the chiles on the griddle and roast for a minute or two, until fragrant but not browned. Place the chiles in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand until soft, about 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, roast the tomatoes, onion and peeled garlic cloves on the griddle until spotted with brown. Remove from the griddle. Pull off any loose skin from the tomatoes.

    Drain the softened chiles, reserving 1 cup soaking liquid. Remove the stems. Open the chiles and rinse to remove the seeds.

    Combine the chiles, tomatoes, onion and garlic in a blender container and blend until smooth. Pour into a sieve set over a bowl. Rinse out the blender with ¼ cup reserved soaking liquid and add to the sieve. Puree the mixture through the sieve, discarding the solids that remain.

    Place the beef in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Pour into a colander and rinse well. Return the meat to the cleaned pan.

    Pour the chile puree into the saucepan. Rinse out the bowl with the remaining chile soaking liquid and add to the beef along with 1 cup water.

    Add the vinegar, bay leaves, marjoram, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, beef bouillon cubes and salt.

    Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook at a gentle simmer, loosely covered, 3 hours. If the heat is low enough, it should not be necessary to add more water.

    Take out the meat, place on a cutting board and shred, using two forks or a fork and a sharp knife. Return to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes, mixing with the sauce.

    Eat as a main dish with rice, or use as taco filling. For tacos, place the meat on top of hot, soft corn tortillas and top with chopped onion and cilantro, then fold and eat. The beef is not spicy, so accompany the tacos with colon cleanser taco sauce to add as desired.

    Makes slightly more than 3 cups, enough for 12 tacos or 4 servings.

    It’s even better with goat meat.

  4. Scallop Asparagus Pasta

    1 bag frozen scallops, thawed drained and quartered ( I got mine at Wegmans)
    1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2 inch pieces
    1 large clove garlic
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    1 tomato, small dice
    1 green onion, sliced
    1 tbsp butter
    1/2 cup white wine
    2 tbsp olive oil
    half a box of gemelli pasta

    Directions:
    Boil water for pasta. Add asparagus. Boil for about a minute. Remove from water and drain. Add gemelli pasta.
    While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes.. Cook for about 2 minutes or until garlic is softened and fragrant. Add wine and cook until volume is reduced by half. Add the scallops and cook until opaque. Add the asparagus. Cook and stir until all ingredients are incorporated and hot.
    Add cooked drained pasta to pan. Stir. Sprinkle diced tomato and onions on top.
    Yield= 4-6 servings.

  5. What? I thought there were 111 comments…. What a shock to find only eleven!

    (gimme more beer)

  6. I call these cheater’s calzones. Italian hubby makes real ones, but I can’t be arsed, and these are pretty good:

    1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
    2 eggs
    2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
    3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 (32 ounce) package frozen white bread dough, thawed

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and spinach. Set aside.

    Divide the bread dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece out to about an 8 inch circle. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the ricotta filling onto each circle, fold over and seal the edges. Place onto a greased cookie sheet.

    Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until nicely browned on the tops and bottoms.

    • Hey, I’ll bet Brook would eat that.

      Last night, I came home beat and she nagged me about dinner until I made the two little petite filets I had thawed out. So, I go through all of the trouble to make these steaks with bernaise sauce and rocquefort and had broiled tomatoes and it was all looking hot and delicious.

      She took one bite and stopped. “I guess I wasn’t that hungry after all.”

      Sometimes, I wonder how kids make it through adolescence.

  7. I’m going to celebrate finishing my first Knitting Homework by drinking a glass of fine boxed Merlot.

  8. I’ve found that the cardboard stays fresh for a couple of months. But, the wine doesn’t last quite that long….

  9. I’m finishing off my 2009 bottle of Kermit Lynch’s Vin de Pays du Vaucluse (under $10, just), which I purchased in a mad wonderful swirl after having a late lunch at Chez Panisse Cafe and then stopping at the Cheese Board in the Gournet Ghetto to buy a few cheeses. Decided to add Kermit Lynch’s wine shop to my roll. A delightful afternoon that would have been made more wonderful only if Hillary were President.

    BTW, I hope someone can explain what went down on this blog recently. I’m clueless. The Confluence has been a steady lifeline.

    Maybe we need more cocktail hours like we used to have back when Hillary was winning all of the primaries. Such fond memories, and I was so innocent that I just assumed my party was a fair one. Now I relish being “Decline to State,” but most of my votes will go to the “D” side (Hillary supporters, mostly) or the Green Party. The Republicans really need to reinvent themselves.

    • Oh I used to love Chez Panisse. Is it still as great as it used to be?

      • It’s often nearly perfect. I have had a few less than stellar dishes over the years, but the entirety of the meal is always memorable. This time I had the best warm chevre salad since Paris.

      • It’s often nearly perfect. I have had a few less than stellar dishes over the years, but the entirety of the meal is always memorable. This time I had the best warm chevre salad since Paris.

  10. Shrimp curry, Indian style

    Ingredients
    1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 large onion, chopped
    10 fresh curry leaves
    1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    2/3 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    1 tomato, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon ground red chile pepper
    2 pounds medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
    1/4 cup water
    1 teaspoon garam masala
    chopped fresh cilantro to taste

    1. Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan over nearly high heat. Add the onions; cook and stir until browned.

    2. Mix in the curry leaves, then season with the ginger garlic paste, coriander and salt. Cook and stir for 1 minute.

    3. Season with salt and turmeric, then mix in the tomato, chile powder, shrimp and water.

    4. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until shrimp are opaque. Taste and adjust salt and chile powder if necessary.

    5. Season with garam masala, stir and remove from the heat.

    6. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with flat bread or rice.

  11. OT (or maybe not): Today, Brooke told me a weird story. Now that she’s in high school, she’s managed to skip a couple of grades in certain subjects. She takes math with upperclassmen and a few freshmen. Most of the freshmen are asians. They tend to be workaholics when it comes to math. In fact, many of them take the class they are going to take in the fall the previous summer at a local private school because they want to have an advantage in grades. Anyway, Brooke is usually the only non-asian in her math group. She says they make a point of excluding her from their group.
    So, there’s one of these asian kids who sits in front of her. the teacher gives the class a problem and everyone works on it individually. Brooke says most of the class struggle with it. But she and this asian kid whip through it really quickly. Lately, the asian kid is getting frustrated with her. He can’t beat her to the answer. He’s not first anymore. It’s driving him crazy. Today, he got so mad he pushed her math book off her desk.
    Has anyone heard of this kind of behavior?
    She thinks it’s funny. I don’t.

    • Asian as in Chinese/Korean, or from Indian sbcontinent?
      I know there are lot of Indians in your area.

      • Chinese/Korean. There are Indian freshmen in the same level math but they are in a different class. She says they clump together because they all go to Chinese school on Saturday and share all these insider jokes and stuff. I don’t think it would bother her too much except everyone else in the class is “really old” according to her. When I asked her how old, she says 16-17. (lol)

        Anyway, they are giving her the cold shoulder which was bad enough but now one of them is taking direct action. He’s probably one of the teacher’s best students so I don’t know what she’ll do about it. But it bothers me. It’s not the book incident I’m worried about. It’s sabotage that concerns me. I just read about an incident at a university biology lab where some dude from India (but for all I know, he could have been from anywhere) deliberately sabotaged the research of a female grad student. He admitted that he was jealous of her work, it drove him crazy and he wanted to slow her down. She couldn’t figure out why her experiments were screwed up. Then she had college security plant cameras in the lab and sure enough, the dude was switching her samples around and dumping stuff into her reagents. He set her work back by six months.

        *That’s* what worries me.

        • Tell the teacher to move Brook’s desk to the other side of the room (away from the kid) — if he can’t reach her he and/or see what she is doing, he can’t sabotage her.

          • Wouldn’t it be more sensible to have him move his seat away from Brooke and his friends? I’d rather him be exiled to the other side of the room. She hasn’t done anything wrong.

            But I will definitely warn her about academic sabotage. I’ll just send her a link to the article without leading her on too much. I think she needs to be on her guard. If her grades are good this year, she will definitely be at the top of the class rankings due to the high level coursework she’s taking. She’s starting to look like a threat.

            Just wait til she starts taking Chinese next year when she runs out of French classes.

          • Fine — move his seat — whatever. Just make sure they are separated.

          • Poor kid – he’s only in high school and a female is stripping him of his mathhood.

          • Have the teacher move his seat if possible. Sounds like a good opportunity to learn about jealousy and sabotage and the lengths people will go when they have insecurity or related issues.

            And definitely have hear learn Mandarin. I have no end of fun surprising staff in Chinese restaurants when I respond to them saying thank you by saying you’re welcome in Mandarin. The look on their faces is priceless.

        • fwiw — I had a similar experience in h.s. Not the Asian part, but the being hassled by another kid bc I did better than he did on tests and assignments and stuff. I had no idea how to handle it, so I just ignored him as much as possible. In retrospect, I don’t think that helped any, but the situation never got any worse, either. Now, with all my vast years of experience, I think I’d’ve looked him in the eye and been like “Dude, seriously?”

          So perhaps it’s ok that Brooke can laugh at it.

          Are there a lot of easy ways he could sabotage her? Maybe if her teacher could at least switch her seat or something…

        • I think if you contact the teacher and let her know what is happening – she can help by moving somebody. Hopefully she would have the good sense to not give the “lets all get along speech and call it good.”

          We have a little of that happening even in the primary grades where the kids speak Korean to each other to exclude the rest of the kids.

        • Integration is hard work. Hell if I hadn’t grown up in the Midwest, I’d probably be only hanging out with Asians today.

    • Yes. It’s not really funny, though.

  12. Myiq and RD were talking about goat meat above.

    If you want fresh goat meat (fresh as in “goat killed only 2 or 3 days before”), go to your nearest Pakistani/Afghani halal meat shop. They have half goats, full goats, legs, shanks, etc They usually have arrangements with local goat farmers and get 1 or 2 goats each week. You select the part and cut you want and they will cut it for you. My wife buys even chicken from our local Afghani butcher sometimes (2- or 3-day old chicken).

    You can’t get good goat meat (not lamb) in super market these days. If you do get it, it is probably from NZ or Australia and 6 months old..

  13. If you want fresh goat meat (fresh as in “goat killed only 2 or 3 days before”), go to your nearest Pakistani/Afghani halal meat shop.
    ********
    Thanks for the advice, I would much prefer to make vindaloo with goat rather than lamb.

  14. Venison Tequila Chili:

    Ingredients
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    3 pounds ground venison
    3 stalks celery, diced
    3 cups chopped white onion
    1 fresh serrano pepper minced (with seeds left in tact)
    1 green pepper,
    1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    1/4 cup chili powder
    1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro,
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 paprika
    salt & pepper to taste
    2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
    1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
    1/2 cup gold tequila
    1/2 cup orange juice
    2 (15 ounce) cans chili beans in sauce
    Directions
    1.Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground venison and cook, stirring to crumble, until no longer pink. Mix in the celery and onion, serrano pepper & green pepper; cook and stir until tender. Season with red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cilantro, thyme, oregano, paprika, salt & pepper and chili powder. Cook and stir for a minute to intensify the flavors.
    2.Pour in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tequila and orange juice; simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 2 hours. After 2 hours, mix the beans into the chili and simmer for another 30 minutes.

    I top each serving with shredded cheddar cheese & sour cream as well as a piece of corn bread (this is the South).

    Hint: if the acidity of the tomatoes bother us, add a dash of agave syrup to chili while cooking.

  15. Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sandwiches

    •1 packet teriyaki marinade (recommended: McCormick Grill Mates)
    •1 tablespoon paprika
    •1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    •3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
    •1/2 cup chicken broth
    •1/2 cup brown sugar
    •1/4 cup soy sauce
    •1 cup chili sauce
    •1 (6-ounce) can pineapple juice
    •1 medium onion, chopped
    •2 carrots, chopped
    •8 hamburger rolls
    Directions
    Hawaiian Sauce:

    •2 tablespoon canola oil
    •1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
    •2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
    In small bowl, combine teriyaki mix, paprika and pepper.

    Coat the pork the with rub mixture, patting until all rub is used. Set aside.

    In a bowl whisk together the chicken broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, chili sauce and pineapple juice. Set aside.

    Put the chopped onions and carrots in a 5-quart slow cooker. Place the pork on top of the carrots and onions and pour half of the pineapple juice mixture over pork. Reserve remainder for Hawaiian sauce. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. The meat should fall apart easily. Remove the roast from the slow cooker to a cutting board. Using 2 forks carefully pull the meat into shreds. Serve the pork on rolls drizzled with the Hawaiian sauce or on the side for dipping. Reserve the remaining pulled pork for the Round 2 Recipes, Pulled Pork Pot Stickers and Hawaiian Pizza.

    Hawaiian Sauce:

    In a medium pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining pineapple juice mixture, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

  16. This is the best entertainment I’ve had in months!

  17. I really enjoy this site.

    http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/05/baked-creamy-chicken-taquitos.html

    The recipes are fairly easy and tasty.

    • Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

      1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
      1/4 C green salsa
      1T fresh lime juice
      1/2 t cumin
      1 t chili powder
      1/2 t onion powder
      1/4 t granulated garlic, or garlic powder
      3 T chopped cilantro
      2 T sliced green onions
      2 C shredded cooked chicken (for extra yumminess, use grilled taco chicken!)
      1 C grated pepperjack cheese

      small corn tortillas (and actually, flour ones are really good as well)
      kosher salt
      cooking spray

      Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

      Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it’s soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

      You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

      Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

      Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.

      Then roll it up as tight as you can.

      Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

      Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

      Dip ’em in salsa, sour cream, guacamole, or this dressing.

  18. Hey what happened to Wednesday.

    • I think there was a tear in the fabric of the universe, and it sucked Wednesday out of existence. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. That and I was too crazy busy to post a Wednesday news.

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