Archive for October, 2015

Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Sixty-One!

October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!  In case you didn’t know, pumpkin is actually a fruit, NOT a vegetable.  And I would hazard to guess that pumpkin pie is the most popular and frequent way to prepare this fruit.  Pumpkins belong to the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes cucumbers, melons, squash, and gourds.  Here are some pumpkin links to help you plan your next menu (if you wish to include pumpkin) — and, due to the fact that there may be a shortage of canned pumpkin this year, I would not wait until the last minute to pick up enough to get you through the holidays.

Top 10 Pumpkin Desserts (courtesy of Taste of Home)
30 Best Pumpkin Recipes
(courtesy of Country Living)
Flavors to Pair with Pumpkin
Ten Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin


That Will Leave a Mark!

October 30, 2015

Happy Friday!  The Russian version of a cat-of-nine-tails, many a prisoner had been sentenced to the knout.


\ nout \, noun;
a whip with a lash of leather thongs, formerly used in Russia for flogging criminals.

to flog with the knout.



October 29, 2015

Here’s the next installment of manners and etiquette (courtesy of the Goops)?

I think that it would help you much
If you’d remember not to touch.
The Goops do this, and they do more,
They peep and listen at the door!
They open bottles of cologne,
And feel of parcels not their own!
But there are many stupid folks,
Who do not care for children’s jokes.

Source: Goops and How to Be Them: a Manual of Manners for Polite Infants Inculcating Many Juvenile Virtues Both by Precept and Example by Gelett Burgess.

An Oddity for Sure!

October 28, 2015

Odd can be defined in a number of ways . . . But despite all of the oddities in life (especially the 6th definition below), this is what makes each of us truly unique.  Following these definitions, I have rounded up a few of my favorite quotations on the subject.  Let’s go forth and be unique!

1. a :  being without a corresponding mate <an odd shoe>
    b (1) :  left over after others are paired or grouped (2) :  separated from a set or series
2. a :  somewhat more than the indicated approximate quantity, extent, or degree —usually used in combination <300-odd pages>
    b (1) :  left over as a remainder <had a few odd dollars left after paying his bills> (2) :  constituting a small amount <had some odd change in her pocket>
3. a :  being any of the integers (as −3, −1, +1, and +3) that are not divisible by two without leaving a remainder
    b :  marked by an odd number of units
    c :  being a function such that f(−x) = −f(x) where the sign is reversed but the absolute value remains the same if the sign of the independent variable is reversed
4. a :  not regular, expected, or planned <worked at odd jobs>
    b :  encountered or experienced from time to time :  occasional
5. :  having an out-of-the-way location :  remote
6  :  differing markedly from the usual or ordinary or accepted :  peculiar

“You have to be odd to be number one.”  (Dr. Seuss)

“You say freak, I say unique.”  (Christian Baloga)

“I am an artist you know … it is my right to be odd.” (E. A. Bucchianeri)


Conquering Your Fears!

October 27, 2015

With the approach of Halloween this coming weekend, I thought it might be useful to take a glimpse into what types of things actually trigger fear in men.  The author of the survery, Dr. Christopher Bader, reports that it is the things that can’t be controlled that men fear the most: going broke, death, heights, animals, terrorist attacks, etc.  Here is a partial list with the percentage of men that these scare the hell out of . . .

  • Death (68%)
  • Mass shooting (50%)
  • Growing old (79%)
  •  Terrorist attack (79%)
  • Heights (60%)
  • Going broke (88%)
  • Illness (83%)
  • Animals (53%)
  • Public speaking (60%)
  • Loss of job (68%)
  • Clowns (13%) — really?
  • Flying (36%)
  • The dark (26%)
  • Zombies

Source: Dr. Christopher Bader, Chapman University (Calif.), Survey of Americans’ Fears, and Men’s Health magazine (October 2015)

Not Your Ordinary Gremolata!

October 26, 2015

Traditional gremolata is a chopped herb condiment made with three ingredients: lemon zest, garlic, and parsley.  I recently found a recipe that improvises on the gremolata a bit: lime zest, coffee beans and cilantro,   Hmm, delicious!

Coconut-Braised Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes

2 Tablespoons of canola oil
6 whole chicken legs (2 pounds)
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 pound of fresh Mexican chorizo
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 dried chile de árbol, broken in half
3 cups of unsweetened coconut milk
1 pound of baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons of fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges
1 Tablespoon of butter

1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro, plus extra sprigs for the garnish
7 coffee beans, finely crushed (1/2 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons of finely grated lime zest

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Working in two batches, brown the chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes per batch.  Transfer the chicken to a large plate.  Add the chorizo and onion to the casserole and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the ginger, garlic, and chile and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.   Add the coconut milk, potatoes, and chicken to the casserole adn bring to a simmer.  Cover and braise in teh oven for about 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through.  Stir in the line juice and butter and season with salt.

2.  Meanwhile, make the gremolata.  In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.

3.  Spoon the braised chicken and potatoes into a shallow bowl.  Garnish with the gremolata and cilantro sprigs and serve with a lime wedge.

Source: Food and Wine magazine, October 2015

College Football 2015, Week Eight!

October 25, 2015

127Coming off their momentous, last-second victory over Michigan in the Big House last week, the Spartans hosted the Hoosiers of Indiana yesterday.  Wow, it was quite the dogfight through three-and-a-half quarters before the Spartans were able to pull away late in the fourth quarter to remain unbeaten at 8-0.   As of this weekend, Twelve of the top-25 teams remain unbeaten.  Ohio State was able to maintain their rank atop the top twenty-five and the Big Ten still has four teams represented (Ohio State [#1], Michigan State [#7], Iowa [#12]), and Michigan [#15].  With some upsets among the top-25, these rankings might change when the new polls come out later today.

Next up for the Spartans: a bye on Halloween weekend, then on the road to Lincoln, Nebraska, in early November to face the Cornhuskers.  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Utah (#3) losing to unranked USC.
Florida State (#9) losing to unranked Georgia Tech by six (6) points on the final play of the game.
Texas A&M (#15) losing to Ole Miss (#24).
Cal (#20) losing to unranked UCLA.

The close calls this week (games that were won by a touchdown or less) included:
Alabama (#8) defeating unranked Tennessee by five (5) points.
Duke (#23) defeating unranked Viriginia Tech by only two (2) points in 4OT.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:

Trivia in the Kitchen, Number Sixty!

October 24, 2015

Show me the heat!  Chile peppers come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and heat.  So, if you like to spice up your cooking, be sure to select the appropriate pepper for the amount of heat you are desiring.  The heat of peppers is measure in “scoville” units.  Note: peppers will vary in heat, flavor, and color from crop to crop.  Here is a list of the types of peppers and their approximate scoville ratings:

  • Ancho peppers (3,000)
  • Guajillo peppers (6,000)
  • Aleppo peppers (10,000)
  • Cascabel peppers (11,000)
  • Chipotle peppers (15,000)
  • Crushed red peppers, medium hot (20,000)
  • Jalapeño peppers (35,000)
  • Arbol peppers (35,000)
  • Crushed red peppers, very hot (40,000)
  • Tien Tsin peppers (60,000)
  • Dundicut peppers (60,000)
  • Piquin peppers (70,000)

For some other options/examples, check out this Scoville Scale.

Amazing, Indeed!

October 23, 2015

Happy Friday!  Here is a little something to get you ready for the weekend.  I really love a cappella singing, and there is no greater song than “Amazing Grace,” in my humble opinion.  So, allow me to share a new version that crossed my radar screen lately.  Enjoy!

Woe Is Me!

October 22, 2015

I’ve been witness to numerous persons delivering their jeremiads on “fairness,” only to have to remind them that life never has been, nor ever will be, fair.


\ jer-uhmahyuh d, -ad \, noun;

1. a prolonged lamentation or mournful complaint.