Campaign 2012 Begins . . .

Finally, a conservative who remembers that small government was a key part of the platform. After so many big-spend, big-government conservatives (McCain and Obama were all hand in hand about these stimulus/bailouts) it’s nice to hear some good rhetoric on the other side. I’m glad Obama won for lots of reasons and hope he is effective, but I’m very open to real fiscal conservatism if it actually exists anymore outside of speeches.

Even so, it is very, very clear from Jindal’s response tonight that you just may have heard the first stump speech of the 2012 election. He’ll be 41. That would be a truly interesting race, and from a strategic standpoint, possibly the only way to even try to contest Obama if his support doesn’t crash.

Down with the parties. Up with good ideas. There is my random, anti/pro-everyone thought tonight.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/24/sotn.jindal.transcript/

PS I’m fine. The bed thing is getting old.

Birthday

I woke up under-medicated, under-estrogened and feeling like a train wreck. I took a handful of pills and slept another couple hours and tried again. Then I had a nice day. —French Toast
and Pot Roast . I worked on getting my recipes online so I could find them easier all in one place like Shauna, but it won’t be done for a few more Sundays.

Happy Birthday to my dear sweet Birthday Buddy Michele , I’m thinking happy thoughts for you today.

Since I’m in the camp who believes our national crisis is only beginning and the natural and unavoidable consequences of our collective behavior for many decades (and not in the camp who thinks it is a creation of that evil media that is too happy to report on all those scary economic reports, and really everything would be hunky-dory if we all stopped believing the news)–I found this article a sobering and good read, thought I’d pass it along.

Rich: America in Denial

Amazing Scalloped Potatoes

Holy cow, these are so good.

Some potatoes, say 2 lbs., yukon gold is the best for this
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 c melted butter
salt & pepper.

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes with a mandolin or whatever your slicer of choice is.

Now, you can make fancy circles in a pie dish and flip it upside-down before serving but I usually just layer it however in a casserole dish and eat it right-side up. So, layer the potatoes in the bottom of your dish, use a soup spoon to drizzle cream over the layer , then do the same with the butter, about twice as much cream as butter–salt and pepper the layer lightly.

Repeat until your dish is full

Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes (if it is browned a bubbly and a fork goes through the dish easily, it’s done.)

(Remember, fat is flavor! And the French live on this kind of stuff and are thinner than we are. )

Source: Lazy man’s variation on Martha Stewart’s Pommes Anna

Oven/German Pancake

Judge me, but we eat this once a week (because we have chickens). This recipe is for two pans–we use a 12″ cast-iron skillet and a 9 x 13 stoneware pan. You can half the recipe and just do one of these

a dozen eggs
1t salt
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups milk (preferably warm)
1 Tbs vanilla

Preheat oven to 425° After it’s preheated, melt 1/4 c butter (1/2 cube) in each pan in the oven–watch it so it doesn’t brown. Blend everything above except flour until smooth, add in flour and blend only until mixed. Open the oven, pour half of the batter into each pan, close oven and cook 15 minutes, lower temp to 350° and cook 13-15 minutes more.

Set table, call family to the table, get powdered sugar ready to sprinkle–THEN Remove from oven, call attention to it’s amazing puffiness while you sugar it.

toppings:
powdered sugar
maple syrup
lemon wedges (optional)

Whole Wheat Bread

You can’t make faster homemade bread–this is where I learned about “the sponge.” If you are yeast-averse, this is perfect for you because you just add it like any other ingredient. I’ve gotten so much mileage out of this recipe—no one believes it’s 100% whole wheat because of the texture. A big mixer with dough handle is handy for this, if you’re doing it by hand or on the “dough” setting of a smaller breadmaker, just split the recipe, it’s for 4 loaves.

Denise from the Country Baker(.com) says: “This is my basic standby sandwich bread. It’s very light and delicious.”

Have on hand:

5 pounds(18-20 cups) of freshly milled Prairie Gold Flour

In mixer bowl place:

6 cups hot water(120-130 degrees)

2/3 cup honey

2/3 cup oil

5 cups of the flour

3 Tablespoons of SAF instant yeast

Mix above slightly and put cover on mixer. Let sponge for about 15-30 min. or longer. (the kids love to watch this, it’s a good science lesson)

Then add:

2 Tablespoons salt

2 Tablespoons dough enhancer(optional, produces a softer crust)

enough of the remaining flour until it cleans the sides of the bowl.

Once the sides of the bowl are clean, stop the machine and touch the dough. If it feels real wet, add a little more flour, maybe 1 or 2 cups if needed. Then knead for approximately 5-7 minutes on the lower speeds. Check for gluten development by breaking off a golf-ball sized piece of dough and stretching it real thin; if it produces ‘windows’ or parts of the dough that you can see through, then this is the developed gluten. If it just breaks apart in your hands, you need to continue kneading. However, if the dough starts to stick to the sides of the bowl, then you have overkneaded.

Take out and shape into four 8 inch loaves filling greased pans 3/4 of the way full. Cover with a tea towel and rise until double. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until done(200 degrees on an instant read thermometer stuck in the middle). Cool on wire racks. Brush tops with butter for softer crust.

Best Peanut Butter Cookies

I like this one best because it isn’t dry and crumbly like too many recipes can be.

1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup additional to roll cookies
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in egg to mixture. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Stir in salt, baking soda and flour until well combined. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in sugar. Place on baking sheet and flatten with fork. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Source: FoodTV – Cathy Lowe

Best Greek Salad

DRESSING
1 cup olive oil (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2-4 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)

SALAD INGREDIENTS
2 romaine lettuce, chopped (or use 1 large romaine)
2-3 plum tomatoes, cut in wedges (use Roma tomatoes)
1 English cucumber (peeled, seeded and chopped)
1 red onion, cut in slices
1 green bell pepper (seeded and cut into rings or sliced) (optional)
1/2 lb feta cheese, crumbled (or to taste)
1 cup kalamata olives

For the dressing; in a processor or use a wire whisk process/whisk the olive oil with lemon juice, oregano, garlic, basil, red wine vinegar, salt and sugar until smooth (start with 2 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 teaspoons oregano adding in more if desired after mixing).

Season with black pepper and chill in fridge for a couple of hours before using to blend flavors.

Place the salad ingredients in a large bowl and pour dressing over; toss to combine.

Source: This RecipeZaar recipe.

Instant Pistachio Salad

This embodies childhood holiday memories to me, and I consider it must for Christmas.

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (3 oz) pkg instant pistachio pudding mix
1 (8 oz) Cool-Whip (it’s Christmas, after all)
1/2 10.5 oz package marshmallos
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/3 c halved marchino cherries

Combine first two ingredients, then fold in everything else. Garnish with more cherries. Chill before serving.

Source: Mom