Monday, July 07, 2008
Smoker Follow-up
Since the turkey came out well, I've decided to post my recipe for smoked chicken salad. Here goes:

Smoked Chicken Salad
One boneless chicken breast
2 tblsp hickory chops
salt & pepper
one cup smart balance mayonaise
six romaine lettuce leaves

Dry rub chicken breast with a small amount of slat and pepper. Smoke chicken breast in Cameron smoker with wood chips under drip oan (I used hickory) about 20 minutes. Remove smoker to oven and roast at 350 for an additional thirty minutes or until cooked through. remove and let rest until at room temperature. Dice chicken. Chop romaine leaves as if makng a Cobb salad. Combine chicken, mayonaise, lettuce. Mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Note that this recipe really benefits from a little extra fresh ground pepper.

I got the idea for this recipe from a little deli one Centre street by the courthouse. They serve a chicken salad that is heavily peppered where lettuce is mixed in with the salad. (I think they use iceberg). This makes an excellent sandwich served on crusty bread.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Recipe of the Day
One of Base10's buddies recently bought an outdoor smoker. We were chatting about it and I decided to break out my Cameron Stovetop Smoker to try a few ideas. Anyway, I smoked a chicken breast and made chicken salad (good) and then tried a thin piece of skirt steak (really good). After that I decided to try something different. I smoked a turkey breast and made soup out of it.

Smoked Turkey Breast
1 small turkey breast half (without skin)
2 tblsp hickory chips

Dry rub the turkey with salt and pepper. Place woodchips in center of smoker below drip pan. Put drip pan on top along with rack. Spray lightly with cooking oil. Place turkey on rack. Close smoker. (I was able to close the smoker, but you can also seal with foil if it's too large). Place on stove on medium to high heat. Smoke until wood stops burning (about 20-30 minutes). Place entire device in oven a roast until cooked through (approx 30 minutes).

This was delicious sliced. But I was curious how it would translate to soup.

Smoked Turkey Soup
2 qts water
1 small onion
1 medium sized potato
4 stalks celery
Teaspoon chopped frozen basil
Teaspoon Chopped frozen garlic
1/2 lb smoked turkey meat
2 stock cubes
1 large bay leaf
1 medium carrot
1 cup egg noodles
Salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients (except noodles) into a large soup pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a steady simmer. Let cook for about an hour. When done, soup should have a nice smokey flavor permeating all ingredients. Add noodles and simmer until tender, stiring occassionally.
Kindle Review
Base10 broke down and bought a Kindle with his stimulus check this week. I just got it and have been using it steadily. While I had my doubts, I must admit it is a pretty neat device. Whether it is the future of reading as some people claim remains to be seen. YOu can check out the official product page here.

The "e-ink" technology that is used by this and other devices is remarkable. I was able to read on the device for an extended period of time without getting the eyestrain that I normally get when reading off of an lcd or crt screen. With the good come the bad though. There's no backlight. While the device is easy to read in daylight, you need good ambient light to read (much like a real book). BTW, it's excellent on the subway.

The kindle store is very well done, having all of the current bestsellers. The device also has potential in the academic arena. Princeton has announced its support for textbooks on the device.

As far as other content goes, you can get subscriptions to magazines (I tried Time) newspapers (I tried the Times and the Journal) and blogs. The blog feature seems superfluous since you can read RSS feeds with the browser on the device. I also don't see the need for the magazines, since the content will at most be updated only weekly. I do find myself reading the newspapers on the device regularly. It's nice to have the Times available on the subway without having an internet connection.

It is not a perfect device. It seems to toy-like. I would like the device to have aq little heft to it. In addition, the side buttons that control paging are overly sensitive. In addition, the design team should have taken a lesson from Apple--the color scheme for this device is rather dull.

All in all, I'm happy with it. But I'm still learning how to use it.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Tonight's Recipe
Base10 is cooking tonight and Mrs. Base10 is at her weekly ballroom dancing course I have had a corned beef in the fridge for a while, so I decided to make it.

2-3 lb. corned beef (I'm partial to Freirich--they're very good quality).
2 large carrots
1 1/2 lbs small red potatos
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic

Chop onion and peel garlic. Add to crock pot. Lay brisket over onion and garlic fat side down. Add water to barely cover. Add chopped carrots and whole potatoes. Cook on low for 8 hours. Thin slice corned beef. Serve with vegetables.

Option 1: You can take a cup of the fluid and reduce. Add a tablespoon of flour to 2 ounces of cold water and mix vigorously. Add to reducing stock. Add dash of gravymaster to taste.

Option 2: Quarter a whole head of cabbage and place in crock pot one half-hour before completion. I'm not particularly fond of corned beef and cabbage (the so-called boiled dinner) but some people are.

Base10 loves crock pot recipes because--unlike most recipes which require some degree of precision--they are incredibly vague about cooking times. Some recipes leave the range of cooking times from 8-10 hours. Eight to ten hours! Anyway, I'll get back to you about how it turned out.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Protesting Discrimination Against Short Native Americans!
Not exactly. A high school in Ohio has canceled a student production of Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" because of protests by the local NAACP chapter. The reason for censoring this production? The original title of this classic murder mystery was "Ten Little Niggers" in 1939, although most people are more familiar with the 1940 title "And Then There Were None." Just a couple of points here: (1) there are no racial issues in this story whatsoever, (2) it is the world's best selling mystery novel of all time, and (3) the n-word does not have the same connotations in the UK as it does in the US--in 1939 or now. This is just appalling.
Shitake and Asparagus Quiche
This recipe went over very well on Thanksgiving. I thought I'd share.

1 bunch asparagus spears (large)
3/4 lbs Swiss cheese
8 eggs
2 frozen pie crusts
16 shitake mushrooms
1 cup heavy cream
milk as needed

Grate Swiss cheese, thinly slice shitake tops and trim asparagus spears by breaking in half. Discard root ends of asparagus. Cut head ends lengthwise. Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Combine 8 beaten eggs with heavy cream. Add salt and pepper. Place equal amounts of mushroom slices, grated cheese and blanched asparagus in each pie shell. Pour egg and cream mixture over pie contents. (Depending on size of pie crusts, add milk or eggs if additional fluid is needed). With a fork, carefully mix contents so they are evenly distributed in pie crust. Place in 350° oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center is dry. Remove and let set for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 2 pies.

This is delicious served with a salad and a glass of white wine.

The Power of Stock Options
Google apparently thinks it can violate the laws of physics by putting a little "g" in front of any newly produced invention. They believe that renewable energy that is cheaper to supply than coal can be achieved in a few years. Good luck. And remember this is a company that's trading at fifty-two times its earnings.
I Blame Global Warming
"Iceland best place to live, Africa worst: UN" - Reuters.
Creepy Transvestite Story of the Day
"McDonald's Worker Attacked By Cross-Dressers" - Fox News.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Base10 did get to try some absinthe over the weekend. Review: surprisingly palatable. It is however certainly not a drink for the faint-hearted. I tried it neat, but the traditional way to serve it is with water and a dissolved sugar-cube (not the melted, as I thought). I'll try that soon. But not too soon.
Kindle Success?
Base10 posted this item about the new Amazon ebook reader Kindle and speculated it might be the next big thing. It might not be the next big thing, but it did sellout real fast. This in spite of poor reviews and much tech guru criticism. Interesting
You Decide!
Do Americans prefer a president who watches Sportscenter or one who watches HGTV? I think the answer is clear.

A Drudge twofer!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Happy Thanksgiving!
Base10 is with his inlaws with a pork loin and some quiches. (One is asparagus and shitake mushroom. I may post the recipe online if it turned out well). Football is on, the food is on and the annual tryptophane high is coming. Life is good. Happy holiday to everyone!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Market Pessimism Roundup
If you're in the market, today's roundup of news and analysis will not give you confidence. First, Nouriel Roubini recently predicted losses of up to a trillion USD and a hard landing recession in the US. Today, he is gloating that one of the Financial Times bloggers picked up on his forecast of a "generalized systemic financial meltdown."

While it's not hard to dismiss Roubini as a doom-and-gloomer, it's much harder to dismiss Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson. He concurs that the US is headed for a hard economic downturn in a piece in the IHT. Other economists have commented on his column. Greg Mankiw called it "surprisingly pessimistic." Tyler Cowen writes: "It is amazing how pessimism and the desire to blame will cloud men's minds."

But, Goldman Sachs estimates that total mortgage related losses to financial institutions may be over $2 trillion. It should be noted that this particular economist, Jan Hatzius, predicted that US housing was overvalued by 20% back in March of 2006. (No stretch there really, but it's not like he's not being consistent).

At least what happened to China won't happen to us. The Chinese economy just shrunk by 40%, which, I suppose, is equivalent to the US overcounting GDP by everything west of the Mississippi.
Kindle Reader
I was discussing this with my students last night and thought it was interesting. Amazon has just begun selling the Kindle, an ebook reader that they hope will become the next big thing.

Maybe it will be--if not this device, maybe the next version. Even though it does look kind of dorky and given the $400 price point, it's tempting to say that this is Amazon's Foleo, I don't think so. The Foleo didn't fill a niche, this device does. The ebook market is a tiny fraction of the publishing industry. If the industry can get people to shift to reading books electronically, printing and distribution costs disappear. But why would one use this device instead of a laptop or tablet? As someone who uses a tablet and reads a lot of academic papers in pdf format, I can tell you that this is not an option. It is very difficult to read on an LCD screen for any length of time--especially when you're on the wrong side of forty. The high contrast e-ink that these devices use is supposedly much more readable.

The other issue is battery power. If you need to read a lot or need access to a lot of reference material (like a physician, say), but don't need the computing power of a laptop, this device is for you. According to the product page, you can get two to three days of battery life out of it as opposed to the two to three hours of a laptop/tablet. The other innovation is that the devices are connected to Sprint's EVDO network with no cellular contracts or fees to the end user (costs apparently picked up by Amazon). Users buy books, or magazines and newspapers for a monthly subscription, and the material is downloaded instantly. There is experimental pdf support (this is what's stopping Base10 from buying it right now) and even an experimental text-based browser.

There is a market for a device like this. Base10 has looked at the Sony Reader, another device of this type, and didn't think it was all that. If this is different, and pdf's are readable on it, I would buy it instantly.

UPDATE: Arnold Kling on the economics of the Kindle.
Why Christmas Comes Before Thanksgiving
Gregg Easterbrook--one of Base10's favorite football and political columnist who has alas been neglected lately--ponders in a touching way why Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year:
Why does the Christmas celebration start earlier every year? The commercial reasons are obvious; many retailers do a significant portion of their business during Christmastime, so the sooner the sleigh bells ring, the happier stores are. This year, retailers are said to be worried that gasoline and home-heating prices are poised to soar, so they hope holiday shoppers will spend before that happens. But there is a deeper reason Christmas starts earlier each year: We want to live in the Christmastime world, and this has nothing to do with religion. In the Christmastime world, children are happy, family is gathered round, and all the year's exhausting and stressful overwork has at least led to a pile of presents. Candles are lighted, and we listen for a sound in the distance. Just as our ancient ancestors must have dreamed of living always in the moment of the harvest, we want to live as long as possible in the moment of the holidays -- regardless of faith, since Santa comes to everyone. Christmastime also evokes the strongest positive memories of most people's childhoods -- of presents, singing, anticipation, and the adults forcing themselves to get along. The Christmas weeks are the time we believe all is right with the world, whether or not we actually go over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house. We want to enter the time of believing all is well, so every year we push up the start date.

This explanation resonates. The harder we work, the more we want the at-least-faux goodwill during the holidays.
Who You Callin' Vermin?
It would sure take a lot of Raid to get these out of your house.

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