Sunday, April 28, 2013

Miki Noodles

At our local Asian market in the cooler section we discovered an amazing treasure, Miki Noodles.  These tasty noodles are versatile and easy to prepare, delicious in stir fry recipes and soups.    We have prepared Miki noodles with chicken, bean sprouts, thinly sliced bok choy, napa cabbage, thinly sliced onions, chinese broccoli and whatever else is in the vegetable drawer. 
Our favorite noodles

Rhubarb Pie

At my local grocery, we found the first fresh rhubarb of the season which turned into the first rhubarb pie of the season.  Marvelous.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Daily Bread

Happy Friday

Credit: ESO
Here is a nebula visible with the naked eye if you live in the Northern Hemisphere.  In the constellation Orion just below Orion's belt is a line of 3 evenly spaced bright stars known as Orion's sword.  The middle star is not a single star but the bright nebula shown above.  Orion's Nebula is one of the closest star forming regions to Earth and is only 1,400 light years away.  This photo was taken by the Wide Field Imager camera on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory, Chile.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Daily Bread

California Rolls

These were delicious, very economical and easy to make.   My niece Mikayla rolled these up like a pro, in spite of the fact she had never made California rolls before.  We watched this video from Ochikeron that perfectly demonstrated how to roll up your California rolls.  Cucumber, avacoda, nori, sushi rice and imitation crab meat combine for a delectable experience with wasabi or Sriracha mayonnaise.  

Sushi Rice

2 cups cooked sushi rice
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoons salt
We cooked the rice in our rice steamer, about 2/3 cup or 1 scoop made 2 cups of rice.  Mix the vinegar, salt and sugar in a microwavable glass bowl.  Heat about 30-45 seconds on high in the microwave, stir again and then gently fold the warm cooked rice into the hot vinegar mixture.  Allow the sushi rice to cool to room temperature before using. 
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Get The Money Out Of Politics

Congress Votes To Do Nothing

90% of Americans wanted universal background checks, the NRA didn't.  The NRA won and America lost.  Money in politics is the biggest threat to our democracy.    Lobbyists bearing barrels of cash overturn and twist commonsense regulations and laws in gun control, finance, energy, food production, pollution, taxes and defense.  Our government works not for the masses but for the few with masses of money. 

Voted NO
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.
Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.
Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas
Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.
Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.*
Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La.
Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

*Reid voted no as a procedural move so that he would retain the ability under Senate rules to bring up the measure again should supporters believe they've mustered enough votes to secure passage.
Source: U.S. Senate

No Keystone XL Pipeline

1,000,000 million comments submitted to the state department opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline. 

Mr. Smith's Beautiful Atlantic Beach Pie

We loved Bill Smith's Atlantic beach pie so much we had to try it again.  The pie was even better this time.
recipe here
Here is a picture of the unbaked pie shell, that took about 5 minutes to make.  Simplicity itself.
recipe here
After baking the pie shell for 18 minutes in a 350 degree oven in looks like this.
recipe here
Bill Smith has a lovely blog with beautiful and mouth watering pictures of his dishes and many recipes:
Seasoned In The South.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Hrutka, Slovakian Egg Cheese

hrutka or cirak

My mother called it certzo but my elder sister calls it hrutka (rolling the r) either pronunciation describes the same traditional Slovakian egg cheese my mother and grandmother used to make.  My wife has carried on the tradition and she makes this family recipe every Easter.    Some recipes call for beating all the ingredients together, my mother claimed that good hrutka had large flecks of white in a sea of yellow.   During my childhood these solid slabs of egg cheese, along with cold ham, cold boiled sausage, kolachkes, dark rye bread and poppyseed rolls were our traditional  Easter brunch after a long and boring church service.  It's been my experience that these traditional foods are vastly more enjoyable without the church.  


15 eggs
1 quart of milk
1 tsp salt

Crack the eggs into a bowl.  You want to break the yolks, but do not beat or stir the eggs.  Traditionally, we heated milk to a boil by slowly heating on the stove while constantly stirring to avoid scorching.  Scorching the milk will ruin the taste of the egg cheese, so if its scorched you'll have to start over.  My wife microwaves the milk on high, about 10 minutes and the milk is boiling without any stirring or scorching.  Pour boiling milk into a 6 quart pan on the stove with medium low heat, gently pour in eggs. Continue gently stirring until the eggs congeal and the liquid is clear.  Pour into a cheesecloth lined colander, drain for a few minutes then twist the cheesecloth to form a ball.  We leave the wrapped cheesecloth in the colander to drain until the dripping has slowed down.  My mother used to hang the tightly wrapped cheese ball so it could drain.  My wife places the wrapped ball in a large bowl with an inverted small bowl underneath so that it continues to drain overnight in the refrigerator.  Refrigerate overnight.  slice into 1/2 thick slices with a sharp knife. 

States United To Prevent Gun Violence

No one is injured in this fictional video, and it makes a great point.

States United To End Gun Violence

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

 cinnamon rolls ready for the oven
Finished rolls (pictures of different batches shown)

These mouthwatering cinnamon rolls have been a family staple for years.  My wife received a KitchenAid mixer for the holidays (Thanks Mikayla) and I thought it would be fun to try it out on my old Sunset recipe.  I was very pleasantly surprised by how much physical labor was eliminated by using the mixer.  The three or four minutes of cleanup was a great trade for the manual kneading.  The rolls turned out very fluffy and it only took about 6 minutes on the dough hook instead of about 10-20 minutes of intensive kneading.  This recipe is adapted from my worn and very tattered Sunset Cook Book of Breads, 1980, sadly now out of print, however many used copies are available at booksellers.

Cinnamon Rolls
2/3 cup of milk
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup water (around 110 degrees)
5-6 cups of flour
2 eggs yolks (reserve 1 egg white)
1/4 cup butter melted
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup currants (or raisins)
Powdered sugar glaze recipe follows

In the KitchenAid bowl with mixing paddle attached add 4 1/2 teaspoons of instant Red Star Yeast (or two yeast packets) to 1/2 cup of water heated to 110 degrees.  Mix well. ( I turned on the mixer and left it running on low speed while heating the milk and sugar. In a small saucepan combine milk, 3/4 cup of sugar, salt and the 1/2 cup of sliced butter.  Heat while stirring until it reaches 110 degrees the butter does not need to melt.  Add the warm milk/sugar/salt/butter mixture to the yeast in the mixing bowl.  Gradually add 2 1/2 cups of flour while beating for 3-4 minutes on medium low speed.   Add egg yolks mix well, then attach dough hook and gradually add 2 -3 cups of flour.  Knead for about 5-6 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a lightly buttered bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 2 hours.  

Push down dough to release air.  On a lightly floured surface knead dough briefly then allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Roll and stretch dough into an 18x24 rectangle then brush with the 1/4 cup melted butter.  Mix cinnamon and sugar then evenly spread the mixture over the entire rectangle, sprinkle with the currants or raisins.  Starting on the short side, roll the dough into a tight log.  Brush the long edge with water and pinch to seal.   My sister-in-law uses dental floss to cut the log into individual rolls.  I've always used a sharp knife with a gentle sawing motion to slice through the long pastry log.  Cut the log into 8 or 10 pieces, place on a cookie sheet cover with a towel and let rise for 90 minutes or until the rolls have almost doubled.  Brush the rolls with reserved egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon of water.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-35 minutes or until rolls are a deep golden brown.    Transfer to cooling rack and mix up glaze.

Powdered Sugar Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon room temperature butter
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons of butter
Drizzle the warm rolls with the powdered sugar glaze and serve at once.  The rolls reputedly stay fresh a couple of days if wrapped in plastic.  Ours never last that long. 
Cinnamon rolls after glazing

The Daily Bread

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy Friday

NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and R. Gendler (for the Hubble Heritage Team). Acknowledgment: J. GaBany
Messier 106.  This magnificent spiral galaxy lies 20 million light years from Earth.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

President Obama On Washington's Shameful Day

President Obama:

But instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill. They claimed that it would create some sort of "big brother" gun registry, even though the bill did the opposite. This legislation, in fact, outlawed any registry. Plain and simple, right there in the text. But that didn't matter.

And unfortunately, this pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose, because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners, and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators. And I talked to several of these senators over the past few weeks, and they're all good people. I know all of them were shocked by tragedies like Newtown. And I also understand that they come from states that are strongly pro-gun. And I have consistently said that there are regional differences when it comes to guns, and that both sides have to listen to each other.

But the fact is most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn't want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun. There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn't do this. It came down to politics -- the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections. They worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as anti-Second Amendment.

And obviously, a lot of Republicans had that fear, but Democrats had that fear, too. And so they caved to the pressure, and they started looking for an excuse -- any excuse -- to vote "no."

One common argument I heard was that this legislation wouldn't prevent all future massacres. And that's true. As I said from the start, no single piece of legislation can stop every act of violence and evil. We learned that tragically just two days ago. But if action by Congress could have saved one person, one child, a few hundred, a few thousand -- if it could have prevented those people from losing their lives to gun violence in the future while preserving our Second Amendment rights, we had an obligation to try.

And this legislation met that test. And too many senators failed theirs.

I've heard some say that blocking this step would be a victory. And my question is, a victory for who? A victory for what? All that happened today was the preservation of the loophole that lets dangerous criminals buy guns without a background check. That didn't make our kids safer. Victory for not doing something that 90 percent of Americans, 80 percent of Republicans, the vast majority of your constituents wanted to get done? It begs the question, who are we here to represent?

I've heard folks say that having the families of victims lobby for this legislation was somehow misplaced. "A prop," somebody called them. "Emotional blackmail," some outlet said. Are they serious? Do we really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don't have a right to weigh in on this issue? Do we think their emotions, their loss is not relevant to this debate?

So all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington.
President Obama's full remarks on the republican filibuster of the bill for mandatory background checks.

The Daily Bread

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Demand Action

Hamburger Stroganoff

Last week, I asked my wife what she would like for dinner.  "Beef Stroganoff, but I want my old recipe, in the copper recipe box", was her quick reply.  When my wife and I were both working she used to make this for dinner on busy weekend nights.  Served over rice, hamburger stroganoff, despite its looks, is a tasty and nourishing staple.   My wife received this recipe from her friend Cheryl almost 30 years ago.   The only change I made to the original recipe was substituting  fresh mushrooms for canned mushrooms which I've never been fond of. 

Hamburger Stroganoff

1/2 cup minced onion
1 clove garlic minced
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. mushrooms cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream

Cook the onion in a tablespoon of olive oil, until close to translucent then add the hamburger, salt and pepper.   Brown the beef slightly then add 2 T of flour and the garlic, brown the flour in the pan, a couple of minutes.  Add the cream of chicken soup, mix well and remove from heat but keep warm (mixture will be very thick).  In a separate frying pan, cook the mushrooms in a little butter or olive oil, cook the mushrooms until they have released their water and are slightly browned.  When ready to serve add mushrooms and sour cream to the pot with the hamburger, serve over rice or egg noodles. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Great Pie: Bill Smith's Atlantic Beach Pie

Yesterday, listening to NPR on my way home, I heard a woman describing an incredible pie she discovered.  She called it the "oh, my god" pie, really.  I was dubious of her claims, but then she described purchasing one of these pies which her husband proceeded to accidentally sit on, but she ate the squished pie anyway.  Now that intrigued me.  We had all the ingredients for the pie and it was very simple and quick to make.  

Recipe: Bill Smith's Atlantic Beach Pie

For the crust:
1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
1/3 to 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
For the filling:
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice or a mix of the two
Fresh whipped cream and coarse sea salt for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crush the crackers by hand,  then add the sugar and butter.  I used my hands to cut the butter into the crackers  and used the full 1/2 cup of butter.  Bill's recipe instructs: "then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough."  My crumbs never held together "like dough" about 4 minutes of kneading and it was more like a casual cohesion, I decided to call it quits and press into an 8" pie plate.  Refrigerate the pie crust for about 15 minutes.  Then bake the pie shell for 18 minutes.    Beat the egg yolks into the sweetened condensed milk, then beat in the citrus juice until all the ingredients are very well mixed.  Pour into pie shell ( shell does not need to be cold) and bake for 16 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thoroughly chill the pie before serving (about 2 1/2-3 hours, thanks Anon).   The "casual cohesion crust" held together rather well, and the pie was marvelous.  Its a silky smooth and crunchy texture, salty, sour and sweet combination that brightened the palates of all four of our taste testers.  They all agreed this is great Pie!   Thank you Bill Smith and NPR for sharing the recipe.

Bill Smith has a lovely blog with beautiful and mouth watering pictures of his dishes and many recipes:
Seasoned In The South.

Happy Friday

Image Credit: ESO, VLT
The Carina nebula visible only in the Southern Hemisphere, is 7,500 light years from Earth.  This photo was taken by the VLT (Very Large Telescope) operated by the European Southern Observatory in Chile. 


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Thursday, April 11, 2013