Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
While much of Iraq lies in ruins and it's residents continue to be without electricity 3 years after the war officially ended, plans for the new U.S. Embassy in Iraq are underway. Dubbed "George W's Palace," the US Government is building the largest U.S. Embassy in the world in Iraq along the banks of the Tigris. Architects claim that it will be visible from space, larger than the Vatican city and big enough to contain four Millennium Domes. The sheer size of the complex, 104 acres, suggests that we might be spending a lot longer over there than some of us may have hoped for.
Read the full article here.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Thursday, February 8, 2007
My aunt Cheri sent me this recipe for authentic guacamole by way of an amusing anecdote. I thought it was pretty amusing, as well as sounding quite delicious, so I figured I'd share it with my readers. The story appears below, as told by Cheri Kennedy-the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
My cousin Robin Bee makes the best guacamole that I’ve ever eaten in my life. Just ask her how good it is – she’ll tell you! Even though she did so very reluctantly, Robin shared her secret recipe with me when she and I compiled a family cookbook that included - not only recipes - but some stories from our aunts, cousins, mothers, and sisters who contributed their favorite recipes to the cookbook. We distributed our creation at the Brosch Family Reunion in 1991. The Brosches are my maternal grandmother’s family and most of them still live in southeast Texas.
When I first asked Robin for her guacamole recipe, she flatly refused. I asked her at least two more times with the same result. Finally, hoping to appeal to her sense of vanity, I told her, “This is no joke. People really don’t know how truly wonderful guacamole is made. You should share your secret with the family.” That did it!.
I could almost see her puff out her chest as she said, “You’re right. Even some Mexican restaurants can’t do it right--make that many Mexican restaurants can’t do it right. I don’t understand why I was blessed with the knowledge of how to make the ‘True Guacamole,’ but I was; and it has indeed been a blessing in my life. I’ll share it with you because you’re blood kin - and it’s important that I share this knowledge within the family.” Robin admonished me to be cautious about passing this recipe on to strangers.
Robin started dictating the recipe to me by telling me how to choose avocados at the grocery store. The ones with the rough skin are the best. The great big ones with smooth, shiny skins are great for splitting in half and filling with some sort of meat or fish salad, but they’re too wet to make really good guacamole.
“So, you’ve found the right avocados,” Robin continued. “Now you want to gently press on them and feel how much they give to the pressure of your thumb and forefinger. If they don’t give at all, you won’t be able to use them for three or four days. If they give too much, they’re past their prime and should be sold at a reduced price. You’re looking for avocados that are prime – somewhere between hard and mushy, but leaning towards soft, pliable, ripe – you know - perfection.”
This takes practice! If the entire avocado pile in the grocery store is too hard, Robin told me to bring a couple home with me anyway. I’d just have to wait to make the guacamole. She instructed to put the avocados in a paper bag and then put it in the kitchen window. Or, since I had a gas stove, I could put it in the oven, but take it out if I planned to bake anything. The avocados should just sit there, undisturbed in the paper bag for a day or two or three. Then I could open up the paper bag, say hello, and squeeze them once a day until they meet the “squeezeability” test (which she reminded me she had explained previously).
“So,” Robin went on enthusiastically, “somehow you have acquired avocados that are ready to die for guacamole. Now we can get on with the actual recipe part.” She said, parenthetically, “You will need to taste this concoction until you think it’s right.”
Robin’s instructions were to peel three avocados and remove the seed. Save the seeds, but throw the peelings away, or compost them. Put the flesh of the avocados in a bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Using whole peppercorns and a grinder, grind black pepper over the avocados, using more pepper than salt. Cut a lemon in half; but before you cut it, roll it back and forth on the kitchen counter, pressing it down while you roll it, to get more juice from it when it’s squeezed. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the avocados in the bowl.
Now talking freely, Robin continued. “With a pastry blender or a potato masher, chop, mash, cut, etc., the avocados until they are still partly chunky, but mostly mashed. Stir this mixture with a fork, just a little bit. Now taste it. You can either use a fork or your fingers to hold the guacamole for tasting -- or, a tortilla chip,” she said as an afterthought.
At this point, Robin put her hands on her hips and looked directly into my eyes. “Here’s the secret to GREAT guacamole,” she said with utmost gravity. “IT’S THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE LEMON AND THE SALT. At this point, you’ll most likely need to add either more salt or more lemon juice, or more of both. You have to keep tasting after each addition in order to get it right.”
“After you’ve gotten it right, you can add some very finely minced onion, very finely chopped tomato, minced garlic, a dusting of cumin, minced cilantro, or a sprinkling of chili powder. But don’t add all of them – just maybe two or three of the above. NEVER ADD SOUR CREAM. If you add sour cream, you are making dip, and that’s not what I’m teaching you here. If you think you can put mayonnaise or salad dressing in this, you’re wrong. Adding either ingredient is a dreadful, terrible mistake. Don’t’ even think of trying it.”
“Now,” Robin went on, “Put this guacamole in a terrific-looking bowl. If you have to wait a while before it’s going to be eaten, stick a couple of those seeds I told you to save on top and the guacamole won’t turn black. Really! Serve it proudly on shredded lettuce as a salad, or with tortilla chips as an appetizer, or with flour tortillas, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, etc, in a burrito.”
I asked Robin where she learned to make guacamole like this. She told me she didn’t remember, but she thought perhaps her Grandmother Bee may have taught her when Robin first expressed an interest in cooking. She remembered her grandmother making it for Christmas Eve gatherings. Robin told me she’d found a recipe for avocado salad in a book of clippings her grandmother collected that was very close to the way she makes her “True Guacamole.”
Just before I finished typing out Robin’s recipe for our recipe book and she was getting ready to go home, she told me I should add this note: “You can make avocado seeds sprout by sticking toothpicks in them and balancing it end-down over a glass of water, but I never understood which end should be down, so I can’t really help you get you own avocado tree for your back yard. But I read somewhere that it works. Go to the library for more information.”
Posted by Zack Warren at Thursday, February 08, 2007
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Over at the Stephen Colbert fansite, nofactzone.net, rumors have been flying around about a possible new flavor of ice cream from Ben and Jerry's. It's reported that "Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream", will be vanilla with fudge covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl. Mmmmm....tastes like truthiness!
This will be sure to elicit a snicker or twol. Here is a nice collection of quotes from our nation's leader. Thanks to mytrashsubstance.blogspot.com!
"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?" George W Bush,
"I don't feel like I've got all that much too important to say on the kind of big national issues." George W Bush, 20/20 ABC, 15th September 2000
"The important question is, How many hands have I shaked?" George W Bush, New York Times, 23rd October, 1999
"The fact that (Gore) relies on facts - says things that are not factual - are going to undermine his campaign." George W Bush, New York Times 4th March 2000
"If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign." George W Bush, Hilton Head,
"I didn't -- I swear I didn't -- get into politics to feather my nest or feather my friends' nests." Bush Jr., in the
"I'm a uniter not a divider. That means when it comes time to sew up your chest cavity, we use stitches as opposed to opening it up." Bush, on David Letterman (who had just had open heart surgery), March 2, 2000. (the audience booed)
"There ought to be limits to freedom. We're aware of this [web] site, and this guy is just a garbage man, that's all he is." George Jr., discussing a web site that parodies him
"It's not the governor's role to decide who goes to heaven. I believe that God decides who goes to heaven, not George W. Bush." George W. Bush, in the
"It's your money. You paid for it." George W Bush, LaCrosse,
"Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods." George W Bush,
"I think if you know what you believe, it makes it a lot easier to answer questions. I can't answer your question."George W Bush,
"It's important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It's not only life of babies, but it's life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet." George W Bush,
"The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case." George W Bush, Pella, Iowa, as quoted by the San Antonio Express-News, Jan. 30, 2000
"I understand small business growth. I was one." George W Bush,
"It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it." George W Bush, Reuters, May 5, 2000
"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." George W Bush, Greater
"They misunderestimated me." George W Bush,
"Redefining the role of the
"Then I went for a run with the other dog and just walked. And I started thinking about a lot of things. I was able to-I can't remember what it was. Oh, the inaugural speech, started thinking through that." George W Bush, Pre-inaugural interview with U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 22, 2001 issue
"I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well." George W Bush,
"I've coined new words, like, misunderstanding and Hispanically." George W Bush, Radio-Television Correspondents Association dinner, Washington, D.C., March 29, 2001
"It's very important for folks to understand that when there's more trade, there's more commerce." George W Bush,
"We spent a lot of time talking about
"One of the interesting initiatives we've taken in
"I don't want to get, you know, here we are close to the election - sounding a knell of overconfidence that I don't feel." George W Bush, on TV with David Frost, Election Day, 6th November 1988
"All I was doing was appealing for an endorsement, not suggesting you endorse it." George W Bush, at a meeting of the National Governers Association, 3rd February 1992
"Please just don't look at part of the glass, the part that is only less than half full." George W Bush on the outcome of the previous day's gubernatorial elections, 6th November 1991
"I will never apologise for the
"Boy, they were big on crematoriums, weren't they?" George W Bush, after touring the Auschwitz death camp, Chicago Sun-Times, 29th January 1992
"There are some great admonitions in the Bible, talking about, you know, don't try to take the speck out of your neighbour's eye when you've got a log in your own. I'm mindful of that." George W Bush, Sam Howe Verhovek, New York Times Magazine, 13th September 1998
Bush: "I talked to my little brother, Jeb - I haven't told this to many people. But he's the governor of - I shouldn't call him my little brother - my brother, Jeb, the great Governor of Texas."
Jim Lehrer: "
News Hour With Jim Lehrer, PBS, 27th April 2000
"Desert Storm. We sold a lot of tickets." George W Bush joking about the commercial advantages of being George Bush's son, and part owner of a baseball stadium, Larry King Live, CNN, 16th August 1992
"You're all going to hell." George W Bush joking about what he would say to Israeli Jews upon arriving in the Middle East in 1993, Austin-American Statesman, 1st December 1998
Question: "When you're not talking about politics, what do you and your father talk about?"
To David Fink of the
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." George W Bush, CNN, 18th December 2000
"It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas." George W Bush,
"There is a lot of speculation and I guess there is going to continue to be a lot of speculation until the speculation ends." George W Bush, on whether he'll run for President, Austin-American Statesman, 18th October 1998
"Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness." George W Bush, CNN online chat, 30th August 2000
"Laura and I really don't realize how bright our children is sometimes until we get an objective analysis." George W Bush, Meet the Press, NBC, 15th April 2000
"As Governor of Texas, I have set high standards for our public schools, and I have met those standards." George W Bush, CNN online chat, 30th August 2000
"After all, religion has been around a lot longer than Darwinism." George, September 2000
"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test." George W Bush,
"When it comes to the overall story, the long-term view of the campaign, it's so important for the campaign to set the long-term view." George W Bush, Brill's Content online, September 2000
"Will the highways on the internet become more few?" George W Bush,
"Put the "off" button on." George W Bush, Associated Press, 14th February 2000
"This is an impressive crowd, the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite. I call you my base." George W Bush, Al Smith Memorial Dinner in
"When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were. It was us vs them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who they are, but we know they're there." George W. Bush, 21 Jan 2000
"These people don't have tanks. They don't have ships. They hide in caves. They send suiciders out." George W. Bush, speaking about terrorists, Portsmouth, N.H., Nov. 1, 2002
"People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you." George W. Bush,
"See, we love, we love freedom. That's what they didn't understand. They hate things; we love things. They act out of hatred; we don't seek revenge, we seek justice out of love." George W. Bush,
"There's only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids upon the death of their loved one. Others hug but having committed the troops, I've got an additional responsibility to hug and that's me and I know what it's like." George W. Bush,
"I think war is a dangerous place." George W. Bush,
"The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself." George W. Bush,
"The Ambassador and the General were briefing me on the....the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice." George W.Bush, 28th October, 2003
"The world is more peaceful and more free under my leadership." George W Bush, White House, Oct. 28, 2003
"The will of the
"There's a lot of things that there's misconceptions. Evidently it's a misconceptions that Americans believe that Muslims are terrorists." George W Bush, Aboard Air Force One, en route to Australia, Oct. 22, 2003
"Just remember it's the birds that's supposed to suffer, not the hunter." George W. Bush, advising quail hunter Pete Domenici, Roswell, New Mexico, Jan. 22, 2004
"See, one of the interesting things in the Oval Office - I love to bring people into the Oval Office - right around the corner from here - and say, this is where I office, but I want you to know the office is always bigger than the person." George W. Bush,
"In my judgment, when the
"More Muslims have died at the hands of killers than -- I say more Muslims -- a lot of Muslims have died -- I don't know the exact count -- at
"Saddam Hussein said, I'm not going to expose my weapons, I'm not going to get rid of my -- I'm not going to allow inspectors in, he said. But this is the same man who had used them. So I had to make a decision -- do I trust the word of madman, or do I remember the lessons of September the 11th?" George W Bush,
"I want to remind you right quick what this country has been through, and the challenges this economy had faced over the last three years. First, we went through a recession. That means we were going backwards." George W Bush,
Yes, you read that title right. It seems that the latest hair treatment available in upscale beauty salons involves the application of bull semen. The bull baby batter is massaged into the hair and blown-dry for a glossy shine with extra hold. Wonder if it was inspired by the infamous hair-gel scene in There's Something About Mary? Read the article here.
You've heard the phrase "water under the bridge" before, right? Well, check this out.This water bridge in Germany is about 2700 feet long and connects two main shipping canals. It took over six years to build at a cost of around a billion dollars! Read the article here.