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Start Date 2005-12-15 17:55:55 |Comments 161 |Entries 112 |Images 14 |

Category: food

02/01/06 07:47 - 36ºF - ID#24930

Kara's Corn Bread

Goes good with chili or meatballs, the recipes for which I will post soon. For the meatballs, it works particularly well, since those also have to be in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. I modified this from the directions on the back of the (Quaker) corn meal package.
Ingredients
1 cup ap flour
1 cup corn meal
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vanilla sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. honey
1 egg
splash of veg. oil
Tools
Big bowl
Spoon
8 x 8 pan
olive oil spray
Steps
Combine all ingredients, mix well
Pour into greased 8 x8 pan
Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

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Words: 101
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: food

01/26/06 07:16 - 20ºF - ID#24929

Kara's Bread Pudding

The only other time I've had bread pudding (besides tonight) was at a Kahunaville in Syracuse at least 4 years ago, so I"m not sure what the final result was supposed to look like. This turned out to be less like a pudding, and more like a banana crisp. Tasty, nonetheless. Bread pudding is also the perfect recipe for using up that food in the kitchen that everyone has laying around in a "good, but not good enough to eat" stage - like day-old bread, very ripe bananas and almost-funky milk.
Ingredients
Bread, ripped into small pieces or sliced into cubes.
(enough to fill an 8x8 pan)
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup oatmeal
3-4 ripe bananas, sliced
1/4 c. (half stick) softened butter
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
Tools
superlarge bowl
spoon
8x8 baking pan
Steps
Combine the bread, milk and oatmeal in a large bowl. Set aside for 15-20 minutes. Use this time to put away all your dishes and clean off the counters - you know you've been putting that off for days.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl. Mix very well. The butter can disguise itself as bananas, and you don't want to bite into a chunk of butter. Or do you?
Pat the mixture into the 8x8 pan.
Bake for at least 30 minutes, or until it's mildly crispy on top. Do not burn. The original recipe said to cool before serving, but I couldn't wait.
If anyone has a better suggestion for making it more puddinglike, please tell me!

Note: I softened the butter by microwaving it on a defrost setting for 15 second. Your microwave may require more or less time.

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Words: 283
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: celebrity

01/25/06 09:09 - 24ºF - ID#24928

the Hasselhoff

I give you ... the Hasselhoff :
first, an astonishing video
then, a haunting visual image
Anyone else have a favorite Hasselhoff link?
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/kara/24928/the_Hasselhoff.html
Words: 48
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: food

01/23/06 08:47 - 34ºF - ID#24927

Kara's Tortilla Soup

Mmm mmm good.
Ingredients
3-4 large pieces of chicken, cooked and shredded
4-5 cups of chicken broth (or use bouillion)
1 regular can of diced tomatoes
1/2 small can of diced green chiles
1 medium onion, chopped/diced
1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. cilantro
4 tortillas
olive oil
Tools
1 large stock pot
1 saute pan
spoons
Steps
Saute onion and celery (or any other veggies that tickle your fancy); set aside.
Start to heat the chicken stock.
Saute chicken in olive oil (you can use the same pan as the veggies - just don't do the chicken before the veggies).
Add the diced tomatoes and chiles to the broth.
Bring to boil.
Reduce to simmer.
Once the chicken has cooled a bit, shred or chop into little bits.
Add the veggies and chicken to the broth.
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the spices, simmer for about 10-15 more minutes.
This will give you time to make the crunchy tortillas.
Slice the tortillas into strips - about 1/2 inch by 2 inches.
Rinse out the saute pan and pat dry. Add about a 1/4 c. of olive oil.
Put on medium heat - watch for splattering!
Add the sliced tortillas and cook until crispy. Be careful, or they scorch and get too brittle.
Serve the soup with some tortillas on top. Grated cheese can be used too, but this meal was hearty enough without it!
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Words: 236
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: language

01/23/06 10:34 - 37ºF - ID#24926

Actualit├ęs

As I drove into work this morning, lamenting the fact that all morning radio show hosts sound so horribly, inexorably uninformed, I started thinking about what my own education lacks.
Math would be the obvious one, but since I did well in advanced math classes from 7th to 11th grade, that's not entirely appropriate.
Science is another possibility, but I made it to, and through, AP Chemistry in 12th grade, and I wasn't completely bad at it.
Mechanical skills would be a strong contender, but now I have an able tutor (J) who walks me through the basics of car fixin', construction, electrical stuff, and the like.
So I settled on my inability to speak or to write fluently in another language. I took three years of French in high school, as most public schools demand, and that wasn't nearly enough. I dabbled in German for a semester, but the instructor was too awful to even consider another semester. The only thing I got out of another 2 years of college-level Spanish was the ability to count to 100 en espanol. I can't even trill my r's.
Now, it's back to French. I'm great at guessing the English/Latin cognates, which makes reading a lot easier. I'm starting by reading through the Radio-Canada.ca site each morning; other suggestions for sites would be appreciated!
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Words: 226
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: war

01/20/06 11:55 - 52ºF - ID#24925

Yellow Elephants

Contrast this article by Ron Kovic (author of Born on the Fourth of July ) with the "patriots" featured over at Operation Yellow Elephant .
I'm well aware that joining the military in any capacity is an intensely personal decision. I also believe strongly that any pundit, politician, member of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists , and citizen - and their children who are over 18 - should have been the first ones on the planes over to Iraq to "bring them democracy."

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Words: 114
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: food

01/19/06 05:47 - 42ºF - ID#24924

On Events and Cakes

This past weekend, we started to look for a place from which to order a wedding cake. The actual wedding is not for awhile, but I'm a planner, and we're planning ahead. Besides, it was a chance to eat cake, something that I don't believe I have ever refused.
Some advice: don't tell the bakery staff that the cake is for a wedding. An event? Sure. A celebration? Of course. But the minute the words "wedding" or "bride" get introduced, the price skyrockets and options become incredibly inflexible. I was disappointed. How hard is it to bake 4 square cakes, of a normal, average height, with white frosting, simple light purple piping on the edges, with lots of space for fresh flowers on the top (supplied by me)? Apparently, this bakery "doesn't do that," although they clearly had the pans by which to do them.
I have a very simple idea for the cake that does not involve tiers, excessive architecture, or complicated frosting. If I wasn't worried about doing other things that day, like getting married, I'd be content with baking and decorating this dessert on my own.
Aside from figuring out who to invite and how to print my invitations, the only other thing on my mind for this "event" is finding a sparkly pair of shoes in some shade of silver or purple.
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/kara/24924/On_Events_and_Cakes.html
Words: 225
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: food

01/18/06 09:31 - 29ºF - ID#24923

Kara's Non-Desserty Pie

This is a highly modified version of Rachael Ray's Shepherd's Pie recipe. The first time I had anything like this was just a few years ago; the assembly takes a bit of work and preparation, but it made enough for two large dinner servings, one lunch and one set of leftovers.
Ingredients
5-6 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 big tbsp. plain yogurt; you can also substitute sour cream
1/3-1/2 c. milk
1-2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 c. chopped mushrooms
1-1.5 lbs. ground beef; per (e:ladycroft), you can also use a meatless product
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
paprika
Tools
large pot
large saucepan
small saucepan
colander
whisk
potato masher
rectangular casserole dish*
(*you can use a 9 inch round pie pan, but you'll probably end up with enough ingredients for two. Either make two, or adjust the ingredients down)
Steps
Peel, slice and dice all veggies.
Add potatoes to large saucepan; fill with water, add a few shakes of salt, and cover; heat on high to boiling until the potatoes are ready to be mashified.
Put other chopped veggies in a bowl; set aside.
In large saucepan, brown up the ground beef; salt and pepper to taste; use some olive oil so the meat doesn't stick or burn.
Once the meat is done, add the veggies; cook until the onions turn translucent.
In the small saucepan, combine the butter and flour; whisk until the butter is melted; add the beef broth, and whisk for another minute; this mixture will turn into a thickish gravy (but not horribly thick). Don't leave any lumps!
Once the potatoes are done, drain them, add the yogurt and milk; mash 'em up!
Put the veggie-meat mixture as a first layer; drizzle the gravy over it; you can add a cup of cooked peas at this point, but I didn't have any on hand.
Pile the mashed potatoes on the casserole; smooth with a spatula.Sprinkle some paprika on the top, and place under the broiler until the top potato layer is just browned; mine formed a thin, flexible crust.
Eat and enjoy. Add salt to taste. The worst part of this recipe is the cleanup - all those pots and pans don't fit in our dishwasher, and they fill up the sink!

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Words: 385
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: food

01/09/06 08:00 - 36ºF - ID#24922

Kara's Honey (Yogurt) Muffins, v. 1.0

I took a quick, random poll of e/peeps to see what I should try tonight: mini pies or honey muffins. The muffins won.
I read a very old cookbook at Jeremiah's grandma's over Christmas, and the theme was zen macrobiotic cooking. The main idea I grabbed from this wacky book was that cooking is best done alone, and while you're in a good mood, so that's what I did. To get in a cooking mood, I cleared off a spot on my counter, put on my apron and a headband. For Christmas, my brother crocheted me an awesome scarf with a matching headband; I wear it inside, sometimes. This put me in a beatific baking mood.
Anyway, from that same shelf, I borrowed a book called The Complete Yogurt Cookbook. This inspired me to use yogurt, that of course I made myself. Hooray for yogurt makers. It's a healthy, natural way to add moisture and nutrition to baked goods, without the hydrogenated ickiness of oils.
Here goes ...
Ingredients, dry
1 1/2 c. a.p. flour
1/2 c. corn meal (I used white corn meal)
1/4 c. sugar (to taste)*
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon (or more)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
Ingredients, wet
2 eggs
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. milk*
1 tsp. vanilla
Tools
large bowl
spatula/spoons for mixing
muffin tins and/or bread pans
Steps, short version
Combine dry ingredients; add wet ingredients; bake as muffins or bread at 350 degrees for 20 minutes +.
Steps, long version
Combine the dry ingredients. I read on a baking blog (yes, they do exist) that using more baking powder makes for a fluffier muffin, so that's what I went with.
For my next attempt at these muffins, I'm going to omit the ginger completely. Ginger adds a strong flavor, and I fear I added too much in this version. It threatened to overpower the honey flavor; instead, I may bring out the vanilla flavor even more with more extract.
I used vanilla sugar, instead of "regular" sugar. [To make this sugar, just take a container (I used an empty salsa jar), pop in a whole vanilla bean, and fill with sugar. Shake each day for a week or so, and voila - vanilla sugar. You can replenish the sugar for a long time, which is useful, as vanilla beans can be expensive.] More sugar will make a much sweeter muffin, but will also alter the texture and make it more carmelly/sticky. Alternately, you can use less sugar or use sugar substitute. Brown sugar would work well with this.
Combine the wet ingredients. Whisk the eggs with the honey (melt in the microwave if it's too stiff) and vanilla. Reserve the milk. I used "real" honey - raw, unprocessed stuff that I bought at a place called the General Store down in Colden.
Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Mix thoroughly, and add the milk (or up to 1/3 c.) if necessary. You want a "muffiny" dough. I don't know how else to describe it. It has to be thick, not runny. Fill the tins to about 2/3 - do not overfill, or else you'll have a mess.
The yield was 12 muffins and one small bread loaf. I used my (new) silicone bakeware (muffin tins) and a small loaf pan. The silicone bakeware is fantastic, leaving a lightly crispy crust and a fluffy, beautifully textured inside.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, at least 25 minutes for the bread loaf.
Store in an airtight container. I plan on eating most of these myself, just to make sure the taste of each is acceptable. Call it my rigorous quality control process.
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Words: 604
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: fun

01/06/06 01:24 - 22ºF - ID#24921

Order

Think of Wannaspell as the most anarchic Scrabble game that you've ever seen. It's as though someone took all the pieces, threw them on the floor and said, to a worldwide audience, "Ha ha, now you figure it out."
I just "played" it for a few minutes over lunch, and was amazed at how, through brief glimpses, you can see order in that chaos.
After doing the normal things that one could do (spell out my name, spell out "IMPEACH"), I tried to introduce this "room" to the joy of alphabetical order.
image
And for the next few minutes, it worked: people took the letters they needed, and restored them when they had finished their words and phrases. While not at all scientific, I think this would qualify as the type of homeostasis? There's another term from organizational communication theory that is related to this, but it escapes my mind at this point.
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/kara/24921/Order.html
Words: 158
Location: Buffalo, NY


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