Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sausage and Sauerkraut

4 slices bacon -- chopped fine
1 pound sausage -- crumbled, sliced or whatever
1 onion -- chopped
garlic!! (as much as you like, minced or mashed)
3 medium carrots -- julienne
4 - 8 oz roasted peeled red chiles -- chopped  (may sub red bell pepper, add near end of cooking if using bells)
6 oz wine (I use red)
2 TBSP mustard powder
3 TBSP red chile powder (your choice of heat level and amt.)
turmeric (I use about a tsp or a little less)
whole mustard seed (optional)  -- use as much/little as you like. Add it just after the wine & spice mixture.
1 pkg sauerkraut (32 oz) -- drained (We prefer Hebrew National but that is tough to find in Socorro, NM)
1 - 2 cups shredded cabbage (I use a mix of red and green.)

Brown the bacon and pour off most of the fat. Add the sausage, onion and garlic and brown that. We like it fairly brown.

Mix the powdered spices into the wine and let it sit a few minutes. While that is waiting cook the carrots and red chiles a little.  De-glaze the pan with the wine and spices and add the sauerkraut. When everything is nearly done add the fresh cabbage; add the bell pepper now if you are using it instead of (or in addition to) red chiles.

Serve with your favorite not-spaghetti pasta. It tastes fine with spaghetti but it just does not work well. Rainbow rotini, radiatore, penne, bow ties all work quite well.

I want to try making my own pasta to go with this. Perhaps a spaetzle made with part rye flour and caraway seeds would be good.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Narrators Make or Break an Audiobook

Hi. My name is Anne and I am hooked on audiobooks. Even more so since my sight is not what it used to be.

It's not easy to read an entire long book aloud and remain consistent in the character of the reading so this is my tip o' the hat to the narrators and performers of these works.

One audiobook I was prepared to love turned out to be an ear-torturing mess. I wanted to love this one; it is about the Yiddish language and the author read it. No, I am not going to out the book; the author is probably embarrassed enough without my little squib from an obscure blog.

There are several amazing audio performers who seem to have a magical touch about their reading or performing a book. Performing is perhaps more appropriate a term for works of fiction as the narrator has to give different voices to different characters. And be consistent! And not sneeze or get hiccups.

Nick Podehl does a wonderful performance of Foundation and Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey. He gets the voices right and the moods of the different scenes. As soon as the third book in The Collegium Chronicles comes out I am getting it! His work on two of Andre Norton's Witchworld books is also right for those books. Unlike some male readers he can convey the femininity of female characters.

Not every audio performer can do nonfiction and fiction. Scott Brick handles both extremely well. From No One Would Listen by Harry Markopolos (about the Bernie Madoff scandal) to Terry Brooks' Shannara epic fantasies he shines. His performance of female voices is excellent. I have several more of his works in my audio library, including Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow and Bad Money by Kevin Philips

At times a performer seems to almost channel the author; Christian Rodska becomes Winston Churchill while reading those books. He conveys the tragedy of the war in the four volume history of World War Two without over-emoting.

When I first heard about the Autobiography of Mark Twain I knew I'd get it if it came out in audiobook format. It has and Grover Gardner of Blackstone Audio absolutely nails it! He skipped the Mississippi accent but that does not matter. I'll be re-listening to that one this summer. He narrates the massive work by William Shirer: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I'm unsure how to describe that performance other than brilliant. It's a tough piece of history brought to life.

There are many more wonderful narrators and performers I must mention and thank. June is Audiobook Month so I should really blog more about them.

Huge thanks to all who make audiobooks possible.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just Stop

It is time for the religious people to just shut up about things that are none of their business. Mostly I am yelling at fundamentalists, Catholics and Mormons who do not like the idea that two people of the same gender can love each other. Just. Shut. Up.

You jabber about how abominable it is to be gay. You go on and on about the evilness of "the gay agenda". If there is a gay agenda I think it is just to have the same rights as anyone else. This is the 21st century and it is high time to put away the Bronze Age myths.

Mormons have their very own scandal involving Boy Scouts and sexual abuse. The Church did little to protect children -- the same children that claim are harmed by having two parents of the same gender. That is sick. Perhaps to a bigot it s better to be raped than to be in a family with two dads or two moms.

There are any number of fundamentalists who have harmed kids. Mojoey has a huge catalog of their sins on his Deep Thoughts blog. We see that in many cases these ministers are serial abusers. And the churches cover up for them. Disgusting. And yet to these "godly" folks a loving family with same-gender parents is too horrible to think about.

Do I even need to say anything about the Catholic Church? If you have missed that scandal you have been a little out of touch. Many people have come out of the abuse closet to relate to the rest of us the appalling things done to them by priests. And the horrible pope knew what was happening; he could have prevented many rapes and yet he did not. How evil. And sickening. But this bastion of all that is holy is opposed to same gender marriage.

This fall there have been way too many (one would be too many) suicides of LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) teens. If these lovely god-smitten religious people had kept their mouths shut about homosexuality would there have been fewer deaths? I think so. The bullying of these young people is utterly inexcusable and yet churches say similar things.

Proposition 8 in California banned same gender marriage. Appalling. Since when do we in the USA vote to take rights away? A lot of the money used to finance this atrocity came from religious people and churches. There is an on line catalog of bigots so you can find out if you are doing business with haters.

It is time for the god-botherers to think about what they are doing. A school board member in Arkansas wanted to have gays die. He resigned over the flap but he should have thought before expressing that hateful idea.

So just be quiet about other peoples loves. It is none of your business to poke your religious nose into the lives of people who do not share your belief in a magic sky fairy. If your imaginary friend thinks you should not engage in gay sex that is between you and your imaginary friend. If gay sex offends you take Nancy Reagan's advice to "just say no" and don't do it. But please keep your nasty-minded bigotry to yourself.

The federal "Defense of Marriage Act" must be repealed. "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is ridiculous and must be repealed. What is so tough about giving our LGBT citizens the same rights the rest of us have? If your objections are because of the writings of Bronze Age mystics who didn't know what lightning was then you really need to keep them to yourself.

Monday, October 18, 2010

End the Shame on Victims of Sexual Assault

Victims of sexual violence in the Congo are protesting the use of rape as a weapon of war. Good for them! They are in a culture that devalues women -- especially if they've been violated. It is never the victim's fault!

The Congolese women are moving from victim to survivor with their actions. It will not be easy but many important things are not.

In the USA (and many other places) we must remove the shame from the victims and survivors of sexual assault. As long as we are unnamed in news reports it will seem that no one knows anyone who has been raped. No one should be named without consent but I believe naming victims will help end the shame. I am a survivor of the kiddie porn industry and I am open about what happened to me.

I have no shame because of what was done to me. None. Not a tiny drop. If there is shame and opprobrium let it fall on those who commit the crimes. That is where it belongs. It is never the victim's fault.

A bunch of years ago a friend and I were walking in the town where we lived. We happened to be discussing flashers and what to do if confronted by one. A flasher exposed himself to us a few minutes later and we -- without thinking about it -- burst out laughing. She pointed at the creature, we looked at each other and continued laughing. Tears ran down our cheeks and we had to lean on each other for support. The flasher shrank away. We never saw him again.

Our laughter gave us both a feeling that we were in control in that situation. Flashers generally want to elicit horrified reactions but we refused to cooperate.

I am not suggesting laughing at rape; it is too traumatic to laugh at, certainly. But victims who take the power over their feelings and then their lives will be able to more on to become survivors.

It is true that living well is the best revenge.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Guinea Bird Stew

Some birds just beg to get themselves eaten. We had such a guinea -- he was mean to our chickens who actually manage to pay their way. So that bird was turned into dinner.

My friend killed him quickly, bled him out and skinned him. The meat was darker than store-bought chicken and he seemed a lot tougher.

In a small saute pan I browned gently about 1 1/2 cups of pearl barley as though I were making pilaf. That went into the crock-pot first. Then the guinea bird stuffed with half an onion went in. The other half of the onion went next to the bird.

Because this was my first attempt at cooking guinea I wanted as much of the flavor of the bird as possible so I used water as my cooking liquid. Next time, and there will be a next time, I'll use white wine, and fresh sage and rosemary to season.

I set the crock pot on high for 3 hours then turned it to low. I had about half a pound of fresh mushrooms on hand so I sliced and sauteed those and added them when I turned the heat down. The barley was nearly done then and the bird was getting tender.

Total cooking time was about 6 hours. Guinea bird tastes a lot like home-raised chicken but the flavor is much richer.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dear Politician SHUT UP

I hate robocalls. And it is primary election season here in the Land of Enchantment so the politicians are robocalling. In the last 5 days I have had over 20 calls from these ninnies who want my vote.

Like I am ever going to vote for someone who annoys me. Oh, wait. That'd be all of them.

My phone is mine. I pay my bill every month so I can have land line service. My best buddy lives 1100 miles away and we talk a lot; never could I afford that many minutes on a cell plan.

The "Do Not Call" list has spared me a lot of telemarketer calls but charities and politicians are exempt. The politicians who exempted themselves should be tarred, feathered, flogged, painted with bacon grease and staked out on an ant hill. But it'd be cruel to the ants to put such a toxic mess on them; they are a natural part of the ecosystem.

No, I will not just shut off my phone; I do not feel that I can. My son is 24 years old and a Staff Sergeant in the US Air Force. He is in South Korea right now and that may not be the best place to be. There are some phone calls a parent never wants to get but those are the calls you really don't want to miss so my phone is left on. And I hate robocalls.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream together:
1 pound of butter
4 cups brown sugar {dark or dark/light mixed}

Beat in:
5 eggs {6 if they're smaller}
3 or more TBSP real vanilla {don't use fake stuff!}

Sift together:
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt {or a little more}
2 tsp baking soda
a little nutmeg if you like it

And add to the butter sugar egg mixture. This will be a very stiff

4 cups rolled oats
4 cups Wheaties cereal {or wheat-based equivalent not cornflakes!}
2 pkg chocolate chips {semi-sweet or milk choc. or mix...}
Nuts if you like them {1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans} Mix thoroughly.

Use about 2 TBSP batter per cookie, 12 to a std. sized sheet. Bake
8 - 12 min {or a little longer if necessary} at 350 deg F. Makes a
bunch but they never seem to last...