Friday, December 6, 2013

When Gleeks go off

Yes, Jen's a Gleek.  But the way the show's gone downhill lately has her about to give it up.  Especially tonight's episode.  I'm sitting at the computer and I suddenly hear:

"Omigod!  You didn't just jump the jumped a whole mess of sharks!  And then got torn apart and eaten!"

Is it possible to actually sprain something laughing?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mashed Cauliflower and Cajun Parmesan Chicken

Let's have dinner! 

I got the original mashed cauliflower recipe from Albert Burneko at Foodspin.  He cusses a lot, but that's because he's one of those East Coast city boys who's trying to compensate for the fact that he actually lives there by choice.  Whatever--the dude can cook.  I've tweaked his recipe a little because that's how I roll.

I started with orange cauliflower, since it was on sale, tastes the same, and has lots of that Beta Carotene that us old folks need in order to put off the day when we run our Cadillacs into the side of a building because we didn't see it.  On top of that, you'll need whole milk, or heavy cream, or evaporated milk(which I went with).  Also, a heapin' helpin' of cream cheese, some black pepper, a whole mess of grated Parmesan and a couple of tablespoons of minced garlic because, garlic.  Preheat the oven to 400.

The first thing to do is shave all the leaves and trunk off the cauliflower(which I swear has been genetically altered to be fully half leaves and trunk), and then chop it up into sections, which will reduce your steaming time.  I realized, just before I started, that I did not, alas, have a steamer pot.  However, I do have an electric wok, a large pot screen and some water, so with a bit of redneck engineering, I had it steamed in a little under 30 minutes.

Now, let's toss our steamed cauliflower in the blender with the rest of the ingredients:  about a cup of milk, 1/2 cup of Parmesan, a dusting of black pepper, a pinch of salt and the garlic.  Blend to a smooth consistency and pour into a baking dish.  Break out some grated mozzarella or whatever cheese crust you fancy, and top your cauliflower with a layer of cheese, a bit more black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  Bake about 20 minutes, or until the surface starts to brown and bubble.

(Sorry about some of the blurry shots--my camera's apparently decided to be slow on the uptake at random.) 

Now the Cajun Parmesan Chicken.  Ramp the oven up to 450, and break out your chicken.  I'm using tenderloins, but any Boneless Skinless Chicken Parts will do.  You'll need some grated Parmesan, some bread crumbs of some sort--Panko, Italian, Plain, whatever--and Boar's Head Remoulade, which I picked up at Fry's one day and decided I'd better do something with.

(Ignore the beer, it has nothing to do with the was what I was drinking when I put all this together.)  Mix equal parts Parmesan and bread crumbs.  Coat your chicken with the remoulade, dredge it in the bread crumbs, and toss it on a lined baking sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes.

Jen gave it a thumbs-up, and we definitely have leftovers on the cauliflower, which will give us side dishes for the rest of the week.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A few words about beer-boiled brats

Now, let's get things clear; we're speaking of bratwurst.  German sausage.  Under no circumstances should you boil your children in anything, even if they did just wreck the new Benz.

Jen was all nostalgic for a taste of the Northland, so we did up some beer-boiled brats(pronounced "brahts").  For those who are curious about this delicacy, a few tips are in order, thus:

1)  Johnsonville is synonymous with bratwurst.  Period, end of story.  Ask anybody from Minnesota, Wisconsin or any other north-central state--if it ain't Johnsonville, it ain't a real brat.

2)  When beer-boiling, use a real, straight-up German beer, such as Beck's.  This will add something amazing and wonderful to the brats, known as "flavor."  Cooking with American corporate beer is on the level of using soda water, for all the taste it ends up adding.

3)  Use just enough beer to cover the brats in your pan/skillet/whatever.  Boil, covered, for about 10-12 minutes and they're ready to go.

4)  Brat purists top them with sauerkraut only, though some people consider relish and/or mustard to be acceptable toppings.  If you put ketchup on a brat in Minnesota, I'm pretty sure you can be legally shot.

It's a simple and hearty meal.  Give it a try sometime!

Playing with fire

So I got a birthday present from my wife...something I've wanted for years.

Yep, it's a welder.  It won't build a battleship or anything, but it's pretty good for anything I'd need to do.  Once I got everything set up, I decided to take a couple of lengths of scrap rebar and an old washer and make my first project.

It now hangs on my garage wall.  Thank You, Lord, for all the blessings You've bestowed upon me.  Please help me never to take them for granted.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stuffed Sweet Peppers

At a friend's birthday party last week, I came across a killer hors d'oeuvre, and just had to get the recipe.


one bag of sweet peppers

1 lb.  bulk sausage
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
8 oz .cream cheese


Halve, core and seed the peppers.  Mix the cheeses and sausage together, stuff them with the sausage mixture...

...and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Oh, yeah.  Good stuff right there!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Remember these names.

Andrew Ashcraft

Anthony Rose

Christopher MacKenzie

Clayton Whitted

Dustin DeFord

Garret Zuppiger

Grant McKee

Jesse Steed

Joe Thurston

John Percin Jr.

Kevin Woyjeck

Eric Marsh

Robert Caldwell

Scott Norris

Sean Misner

Travis Carter

Travis Turbyfill

Wade Parker

William "Billy" Warneke

These are the 19 men who died fighting the Yarnell Fire.  Every one of them died a hero's death.

Take a moment to remember and pray for those who stride boldly into hell on behalf of the rest of us.

May the Lord bless and keep your souls, gentlemen, and may He watch over your families and friends in this their time of grief.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Another night at home

Jen:  There's a T-shirt of Schroedinger's cat vs. Pavlov's dog.

Me:  Who won?

Jen:  Looks like the cat.

Me:  But, being Schroedinger's cat, we don't know if he won, really.

Jen:  Well, we don't know until we check, but until then, he has both won and lost.

Me:  This is why I love you...!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Restaurant find: San Diego

Well, my wife and I decided to take a weekend jaunt to San Diego(pictures to follow), and we found a truly wonderful sushi joint right off the beach.  Since I love good food in general and sushi in particular, I had to share this with all my nonexistent readers.

We entered Sushi Kuchi and were greeted and seated pleasantly and promptly.  Edamame with sea salt was provided as an appetizer.  For beverages, my wife had a Coke and water and I had an Asahi.

Dinner was the Salmon & Shrimp Roll for Jen and the Rose Roll for me.  Both were fantastic, in presentation and flavor.  The Salmon and Shrimp Roll came on a square plate with a lemon topped with literally flaming pink sugar. 

It had a subtle, delicate interplay of flavor and texture that kept every bite interesting.  You can see some of the Rose Roll in the background.  Its presentation was a bit more understated, but that certainly didn't harm the experience at all.  The Rose Roll has a spicy kick which--while authoritative--never crosses over the line into being overpowering. 

As we finished, we were treated to a deep-fried dumpling of lobster and crab, cut in half, sort of like an after-dinner mint for two.  Jen decided to have the Green Tea Ice Cream, which came in a just-right portion, topped with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup.

And the whole experience came to less than thirty-four bucks.  (You'd better believe we tipped well!)  The night before, we'd eaten at our hotel restaurant, which was about ten bucks more expensive and consisted of preprocessed frozen crap.  Thank heavens we discovered this gem of a place, to end our vacation on a high note.

If you're in San Diego for any reason, I cannot recommend SushiKuchi enough.  For quality, presentation, taste, service and value, I give them five 'Forks Up!'

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dang, I'm old.

I remember when the only modifications I cared about involved vehicles that went very very I'm concerned with modifying a sprinkler system.  Yep, I'm officially an Old Fart.  I'm still not rocking the black socks and garters with bermuda shorts, though...yet.

So I've got four sprinkler systems on this house.  The previous owner set them up on two different timers, for reasons I will never comprehend.  Here's the timer he had operating the lower two sets:

Yep, it's an old mechanical timer, which you actually had to screw pins into, in order to set.  On the back, it's engraved "Property of Fred Flintstone," which gives you an idea of what I was dealing with.  A while back, I was wandering around the local Ace and found a timer on clearance that didn't involve screw-pins, wheels or pterodactyl spit.  So I replaced Timer Number One.

OK, that worked well, but the upper sprinklers were still:

a)  On another timer

b)  On a timer that had been beaten to hell by the wind and wasn't working great anymore. 

So, time to get rid of this thing that had been unceremoniously tacked to the phone pole out back.

When I opened it up, it just got me more curious about the mental capacity of the previous owner.  This thing has 12 terminals.

He could have run every sprinkler in town off this one box, yet he went with the Stone Age POS pictured earlier, for the lower system.  Apparently, it was easier than running 100' of wire.  Maybe in his world.

It took me a while to get it all set up.  I tore apart the old wiring, put it together using the new input wires to the Orbit timer, ran the ground to the old ground in the upper system and couldn't understand why it wouldn't work.  I ran around in circles, both physically and mentally, until I realized:  "Common Ground" means COMMON, you jackass!!  So I ran another ground wire from the lower system ground and it worked like a charm. 

And so now all the sprinklers run off one timer.  A more pathetic thing to be proud of, you will probably never find, but I'm happy about it.

For my next trick, I'm going to do something about this...

At least I know my way around bikes better than household electrics.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Steak Marinade

Mrs. Wraith prefers her steaks unadulterated, but even she thinks this turned out well.

1 cup roasted red pepper-infused olive oil (You can make this yourself, or, optionally, add one chopped red pepper.)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon-style prepared mustard (Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon...?)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper (Alternately, substitute "Lavender Pepper," available from [Terra Verde Farms is NOT compensating me in any way--I just like a lot of their stuff.])
1 medium onion, sliced
3-4 large cloves garlic, minced

Mix. Marinate meat. Cook. Eat.


Best enjoyed with a cold beer, IMNSHO.

This is simply a base. Mrs. Wraith has serious stomach issues, but considers this flavorful and not painful. Feel free to add your choice of hot sauce and other stuff.

For every one pound of ground meat, add:

3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp horseradish

Mix thoroughly, cook to taste(I prefer rare), and then try to tell me your guests and family don't love 'em!

Indian/American Chicken

Got some chicken defrosted but you're at a loss for a recipe? Take heart. I just put together an Indian/American fusion dish that turned out pretty good.

Get a casserole/baking dish large enough for the chicken to lay flat. Grease well and fill with chicken. Salt/pepper chicken to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375, and grab a large mixing bowl.

Dice one small to medium yellow onion.

Add it to the bowl, along with:

One can of Cream of Chicken soup.

Two cloves of finely chopped garlic (or two tsp. minced garlic).

Two tsp. hot curry powder.

One tsp. Dijon mustard.

Mix ingredients thoroughly, and coat chicken with mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Mrs. Wraith liked it, but said it had a touch too much fire(I used garlic jalapeno mustard in place of the Dijon, though). If spice isn't your thing, substitute mild curry powder.

Any suggestions for new ingredients to try are more than welcome.

Southwestern Curried Tater Tot Hot Dish

Anyone who's ever lived in the Northern Midwest is familiar with the "Hot Dish," or what strange other tribes call a "Casserole." It's some good stuff, as comfort foods go. It's easy to make, it's filling...and it's more bland than Mitt Romney eating a cucumber and white bread sandwich in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. So, in my own inimitable style, I decided to fire it up a bit with an American/ Indian/ Southwestern fusion vibe.

Southwestern Curried Tater Tot Hot Dish


1 lb. ground beef

1 tsp. garlic salt

1 chopped white onion

3 tbsp bread crumbs

3 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp rubbed sage

1 tsp cayenne (red) pepper

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 soup can milk

1 32-oz pkg Tater Tots

Preheat oven to 375. Crumble beef and garlic salt into 9x 13 baking dish, add onion, sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Combine the rest of the ingredients, mixing well, and pour over meat mixture. Top with closely-spaced Tater Tots and bake for 1 hour.

Comfort with a betcha!

Mozzarella Tilapia

Mrs. Wraith thinks it's a keeper.  A very quick and simple recipe, and it's even healthy.

1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. curry powder
1.5 tsp. dried parsley
salt & pepper
basil olive oil
2 tilapia fillets

Preheat oven to 400*.  Combine the first four ingredients in a shallow dish.  Season fish with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and dredge in the ingredient mixture.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.

As always, feel free to experiment with different variations.  If you've come up with a good one, let me know!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Six. Years. Old.

No, I'm not talking about a young Scotch, an old tequila or that McFry I found under the seat of my truck that still hasn't decomposed.  I'm talking about the drummer in this amazing video.

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I am dumbfounded.  Rock on, Avery!!


UPDATE:  OK, I don't know why the embed won't work.  Try THIS.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Crispy Creole Chicken

Okay, folks, we're gonna rock some chicken breasts today.  Here's what you'll need:

1/2 c bread crumbs(I use the Kroger plain variety)
1 clove of garlic, minced, or a spoonful of pre-minced garlic
1.5 tbsp creole seasoning(Zatarain's.  Period.)
4-6 chicken breasts
Italian dressing

Get a big Ziploc bag and marinate the chcken in the Italian dressing for about an hour.  When 50 minutes have passed, preheat the oven to 325* and start preparing the coating.

Mix the Creole seasoning, bread crumbs and garlic in a shallow bowl.  Coat the chicken with the mixture, arrange in a cooking-sprayed baking dish, and bake for 45-50 minutes.

We ate well tonight.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A new immigrant

One of our soldiers repays a feline friend for his kindness...

"I'd lost hope in myself. I'd lost faith. Then all of a sudden this cat came over, and it was like ‘hey, you are you,'" he said.

But that same act of kindness made it clear to Knott that if he wanted to do what was best for Koshka, then he had to get his beloved cat out of Afghanistan and to his family home in Oregon.

"He pulled me out of one of my darkest times, so I had to pull him out of one of his darkest places," he told the station.

And people wonder why I love cats...because this is what they can do for us, if we let them.  God bless you, Sgt. Knott, and little Koshka as well.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Guinness-Braised Beef Brisket

This is how we roll around Casa del Wraith on St. Paddy's Day.  It's crockpot cooking, so it's easy--just toss it all together, set it and forget it.

2 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 12oz. bottle of Guinness stout
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried dill
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-salt beef broth
6 black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 (3-pound) cured corned beef brisket, trimmed*

Combine first 11 ingredients in a large electric slow cooker, stirring
until well blended; top with beef. Cover and cook on HIGH 8 hours or
until beef is tender. Remove beef; cut diagonally across grain into
1/4-inch slices. Discard broth mixture.

The great thing about this dish is that, if you find a good deal on brisket, it's dead cheap.  OK, you might have to buy a whole six of Guinness, but that means you'll just have to drink the other five yourself.  Boo hoo.  So eat hearty, be merry and wear something green today.

*  Briskets usually come with a spice packet.  Remember to make sure it doesn't go into the crockpot with the beef.  DAMHIK.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New to the blogrolls

Cookrookery, featuring, at times, the culinary stylings of Christopher Baldwin, creator of the awesome webcomic SpaceTrawler.

I promise, I'm not abandoning CC&C...I work very long hours most of the week, and therefore have little time to do anything other than snarf down some fast food and a couple of beers, shower, pass out, wake up and do the whole thing over again.  But, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, Guinness-Braised Beef Brisket is coming up.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cheesy Bacon Dog Casserole

Hey, we all gotta die sometime, and if it's by cholesterol poisoning, so be it.  You make this at your own risk.  Not responsible for heart conditions, colon blockage or expanding waistlines.

Wraith's Cheesy Bacon Dog Casserole From Hell

3 cups cooked macaroni
4 hot dogs, sliced 1/4"

4 strips of bacon, sliced in thirds

1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 cup shredded cheese

6-8 slices pepper jack cheese
4-6 oz. crushed Doritos


Preheat oven to 350.  While the oven is heating, cook, drain and crumble the bacon.

In a 9x13 baking dish, combine macaroni, bacon, hot dogs, shredded cheddar cheese and soup.  Top with pepper jack slices.

Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbling.  Sprinkle with crushed Doritos and bake for another five minutes.  Serve. 

Duck the objects your wife throws at you for blowing her diet.

Friday, February 22, 2013


I present a bunch of cute kitty pictures, because everyone else is doing it and I hate feeling left out.

WARNING:  Rest of blog TOTALLY NSFW.  Read at your own risk.

Here's a couple:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

An old standby

Mrs. Wraith had a bad day yesterday, so the obvious solution was comfort food.  Tuna casserole, anyone?

Wraith's High-Class Tuna Casserole

3 cups cooked macaroni (I used shells)
1 can tuna, drained(give the juice to the cats)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
3-4 oz. black olives
1/2 onion, diced
olive oil

Heat oil in a small pan, saute the onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes.  In a 9x13 baking dish, combine onion, garlic, olives, soup, tuna and macaroni.  Mix well, top with cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

I've got a hotdog casserole in the works.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

On Whisk(e)y

Brigid waxes poetic about the greatest of all distilled spirits...

The picture was taken north of Big Bro's place in January. The moon was building, the air was quiet, the earth a motionless sphere in cooling space. We stepped outside and breathed in the cold, across which the faint scent of a fire touched our palates with smoke. Above, the night streamed in thick indigo threads, beyond which lay myriad points of crystal lights. It was a good night for a small glass of whisky.

Whiskey vs. whisky? The difference between whiskey and whisky seems simple but it's not. Whisky typically denotes Scotch or Canadian versions and whiskey denotes the Irish and American beverages. Although both spellings are of Celtic origin, there are substantial differences between the countries products, include the selection of grains, number of distillations, the maturation period and the type of still and barrels used. Each country's style has its own unique characteristics to savor and there are some further divided into sub categories like bourbon.

Irish vs. Scotch? Unlike Scotch, the malted barley in Irish whiskey is dried in enclosed kilns, not over peat fires, and lacks that distinct smokiness of Scotch whiskies. Irish whiskeys maintain the natural flavor of the barley, fragrant, with a unique roundness of body. It's an enjoyable drink indeed, but not the beverage of this cold winter evening.

A good, smooth, complex Scotch can be your saving grace on a cold, dark night.


During World War Two, Hawai'i discovered one of the most vilified meat products in history...and, having no culinary prejudices on the subject, developed a great taste for it.

Yes, fried Spam long ago became a staple of Hawai'ian cuisine, particularly in regard to breakfast.  The usual accompaniment would be straight scrambled eggs, along with a papya or grapefruit half, or a serving of pineapple.  I spent the first decade of my life on O'ahu, so, when I make a Hawai'ian breakfast, I call it a "Local Boy."

This time, however, I'm replacing the scrambled eggs with my Dirty White Eggs, so I guess this is a "Dirty Local Boy."  You'll need Spam, pineapple rings, eggs, an egg separator(or not, if you can actually do it by pouring it back and forth between the shells--I'm not that coordinated), sage, white pepper, oregano, curry powder and red pepper flakes.

I came up with Dirty White Eggs in an attempt to make things a little healthier at the breakfast table.  The ingredients vary a bit each time, as I'm always experimenting with new combinations, but this is the standard starting point.  I prefer a 4:1 ratio, so for every four eggs' worth of whites, I use the yolk of one.  After this picture, I cracked a whole egg into the bowl.

So, we have the Dirty Local Boy: 

the whites of four eggs
the yolk of one egg
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
dusting of white pepper(be careful--it's very fine and you can end up overdoing it)

Mix thoroughly and set aside.  Heat up a nonstick or oiled skillet on high heat.  Start cutting your Spam in 1/4" slices...

...and fry them about 2-3 minutes on each side.  They'll turn a deep crimson color and get crispy pretty quick.  Remove from pan and fry your pineapple rings...

...for about a minute each side.  Then scramble the egg mixture to desired consistency and serve.
So, if you can't be in Hawai'i, you can at least pick yourself up in these cold and dismal months with a bit of island flavor.  Shaka, brah!

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Sam and Glock are normally engaged in battle, but they both love Mom enough to call a truce once in a while:

Just a little dose of cute for ya.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Relationship Danger Signs

This is an article I should have read and memorized at the age of 13.  Unfortunately, it wasn't written yet, so I had to learn the hard way.

Read and pass on to any youngsters in your life.  Many of these tips work for both genders.

Knowing that your judgment is clouded, it’s important to enter any serious relationship with both your head and your heart. You need be able to distance yourself from the powerful emotions you’re likely feeling in a new relationship so that you can notice any red flags that might indicate that you’re destined for a relationship from hell. This is doubly important if you’re considering marriage.

But what sort of red flags should you be on the lookout for? While every man has his own personal relationship red flags or deal breakers, psychologists and marriage experts have found there are a few general red flags you should be aware of. Most of these are patterns of behavior in your partner that will likely (not definitely) result in a troubled relationship down the road.

Because people are usually on their best behavior at the beginning of a relationship, some of these red flags won’t appear for awhile. According to Dr. Van Epp, it’s usually around the three-month mark that deep-seated patterns start to manifest themselves. This delay is why he and other relationship experts recommend that you take romantic relationships nice and slow.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spicy Sake Ahi

I gotta admit, I love Trader Joes.  Great folks, good food and unbeatable prices.  When one opened up here, I wondered what all the fuss was about, but when Mrs. Wraith insisted we go, I found myself amazed at the selection and value.

Last time we went, we ended up bringing home some ahi steaks, and I decided to make an experimental marinade.

Here's what you'll need:  Ahi steaks, a Ziploc bag, green onions, soy sauce, chili garlic paste, sake, ground ginger...

...and ground mustard.  Chop the green onions, reserving some of the tips for garnish.

Add 1/2 c soy sauce, 1/3 c sake, 2 tsp chili garlic paste,

And 1/2 tsp each of the ground ginger and ground mustard.

Close the bag and shake well to mix.  Add the ahi and marinate for a couple of hours.  Sear each side, then cook about 10 minutes on medium-high heat.  Garnish with onion tips.

Mexican Twinkies

Living in the Southwest, there's a lot of culinary bleedover from our southern neighbors.  Since our Twinkie supply appears to be in jeopardy due to the Hostess bankruptcy, I figured I'd spread the word that there is hope for the sweets-deprived.  I present to you the Turbo-Twinkie:  El Gansito!!

These things make Twinkies look SO last century.  Sponge cake, unwhipped cream filling along with strawberry jelly, all wrapped in chocolate and garnished with chocolate sprinkles.  Guaranteed to blow your diet straight to hell, but well worth it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


There are quite a few feral cats running around our little part of the world, including a couple who come to visit us on a regular basis.   I've noticed there's quite a few cats like this around--fluffy and narrow-faced. Maybe we're starting a whole new breed.  They're too skittish to get near, but they've gotten mostly used to us, or at least used to the food.  Meet Stumpy and Cloud:

That was taken on a nice day, as opposed to today, when it's been pouring rain and the poor little bedraggled things were sitting on the back porch begging.
Some folks ask why we bother feeding strays.  It's a double layer of home protection, really.  Spike, Sam and Glock take care of any vermin that gets in, and hopefully, Stumpy, Cloud and their buddies will keep them from getting in from the start.
Besides, they're cute little guys, and it's kinda sweet having a couple of contented puffballs relaxing on your porch.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

On idiocy

Wraith:  Hey, they have Hello Kitty squirt guns now!

Mrs. Wraith:  Really?

Wraith:  Yeah, and a 5 year old girl was just suspended for just talking about hers.

Mrs. Wraith:  Why, because it's a squirting pussy?

Wraith:  (chuckle)  Good one.  No, apparently it constituted a 'terroristic threat.'

Mrs. Wraith:  I like my explanation better.  It makes more sense.

Wraith:  Point.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What Mrs. Wraith puts up with

Mrs. Wraith:  I bought some intellectual reading material yesterday.  Holds up a copy of Astronomy magazine, with a big headline reading, "When Stars Go Bang."

Wraith:  You know what happens when stars go bang.  Astronomers film it and they make star porn.

Mrs. Wraith:  Omigod...

Wraith:  Bowm-chicka-wow-wow...

Mrs. Wraith:  Heads into the bedroom.  I'm not listening to you...

Hey, she had her chance to run away, and she still said "I do."

It's not an unexcused absence!

The dog ate my homework cold ate my plumbing.  Really.

The moron who built this place ran all the water on the property through a shed out back, with a shutoff valve that was nonfunctional.  So when the uninsulated pipes blew up from the recent cold snap, there was no way to stop Prescott Falls other than shutting off all the water to the house.  This is not helpful for such things as cooking, washing the resulting dishes, flushing the toilet, or basically anything.

Now, there was a positive side, at least for me.  When the first thing you see in the morning is a beautiful naked woman standing in the bathtub looking like an even hotter Venus on the Half Shell, that can't help but make your day a little brighter.  When said woman is doing so for the purpose of taking a shower from a couple of cooking pots with stove-warmed water(and definitely NOT happy about it), however...

Well, it is what it is.  Luckily, one of our brothers in the Eagles is a plumber, and managed to solve the problem once and for all, at a more-than-reasonable price.  Once it gets warmer, I'm tearing that damn shed down so that one stone may not stand upon another.  I'll use the lights, sink and AC in the garage, the siding to fix some broken skirting, the frame for firewood, and the leftover drywall and shingles to throw at solicitors who ignore the sign.

As for the leftover concrete pad?  Maybe a big-ass BBQ pit, or if we can score a great deal on a hot tub...

Anyway, I'll be back in full swing in short order.  And Glock just jumped up in my lap and farted.  You probably didn't need to know that, but if I have to suffer through it, you at least have to read about it.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I've thought the same thing...

"Man has dominion over the animals, a right as fundamental as others we have to protect and sustain our family. But it's a role that should be exercised, not just with pride, but with humility, honoring the stewardship we have been charged with, just as we should honor the laws of our God and our community."

Take some time and RTWT at Home On The Range

Cookin' it Old School: Pork Chops in Sour Cream Sauce

When my mother passed away, I had about six days to travel 1600 miles to another country, get everything squared away, and get back.  I couldn't take nearly everything I wanted to, but I made sure to grab her cookbooks, which included some very old ones. I find it fascinating to see how folks cooked when they were closer to their food, before the days of instant this and microwave that.

We did a Costco run the other day and came back with, among other things, a 9-pack of pork chops, each one of which is the approximate size of a Cadillac. So I broke out this gem:

(Sorry...I've no idea why my phonecam keeps rotating things and getting all weird.)

...and found a great recipe.  My changes are annotated below the copy.

Pork Chops In Sour Cream Sauce

4 shoulder, rib or loin pork chops or pork steaks*
1 1/2 tsp instant minced onion or 2 tbs chopped onion*
1/8 tsp instant minced garlic or 1 clove garlic, minced*
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup catsup or chili sauce*
2 tbs brown sugar
1 bouillon cube or 1 tsp instant bouillon*
2 tbs flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream

In fry pan, brown chops on both sides.  Add onion, garlic, 1/2 c water, catsup, brown sugar and bouillon.  Cover and simmer 30-40 min until tender.

Combine flour with 1/4 c water.  Remove chops to heated platter, add flour mixture to cooking liquid.  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens.  Reduce heat, add sour cream.  Heat, but do not boil.  Serve over meat along with noodles or rice.

*  So, we only used three of these chops...the damn things are about 1.5" thick, and it's more than enough for us.

For onion, I had some shallots that were almost past their prime, so I minced and substituted them.  Shallots are right there in the onion family, if a little stronger.  Should have a little more bite, but nothing too drastic..

For garlic, I tossed in about 2 tsp of pre-minced garlic, because, well, garlic.

The choice between ketchup and chili sauce was obvious; when cooking from a mass-produced American recipe book, use the highest heat they recommend.  For Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and other cuisines, use caution.  Chili sauce it is.

I did the bouillon cube, since I wasn't going to open a can of beef stock for a freakin' teaspoon.


It made a very nice, understated but enjoyable and filling meal.  A thick, comforting sauce with a noticeable sweetness blanketing the whole experience.  I'm thinking of tossing in some hot sauce or hot curry powder next time to spice it up a bit, though Mrs. Wraith isn't sure about the idea.  Either way, it's a keeper.