Saturday, November 08, 2008

Simple Soup: Potato Corn Chowder

From the Urban Gourmand series...

Pantry raids, unlike their collegiate counterparts, are an exercise in econolapse survival. Before you go all organic free-range fresh-is-best on me this is about making the best of what we have, not what we want. In this foray we have located ...

  • 1 can GV diced potatoes
  • 1 can GV corn
  • 1 can Swanson Low Sodium Chicken stock
  • 2 cups Half&Half
  • 4 oz. Bacon
  • 3 Tbls Butter
  • 2 Tbls Flour
  • 2 Tbls minced onion
  • some garlic powder
  • some pepper
Fry the bacon in a largish skillet to done but not crumbly. Drain off the free flowing bacon drippings being careful to save all the tasty brown bits. (I am going to use the drippin's later today so I saved 'em.) Drain the potatoes and corn*. Reheat the skillet and deglaze (whoa, I finally got to use that word) with the potatoes and corn infusing them with the bacon brown bits goodness. Add 1 Tbls spoon of the minced onions and stir throughly.

Once the deglazing is done add the potatoes and corn to a small stock pot (Ha! The larger of the two sauce pans I have - the 2 quart size). Add the can of chicken stock and set on the back of the stove. No heat yet.

Rought chop the done bacon and add to the potato, corn and stock mixture. Stir it all together but no heat yet. Just let them get to know one another.

In the smaller sauce pan slowly melt the butter. (BTW we are making a roux here so go slow.) Add in 1 Tbls of the minced onions, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder and ground pepper to your taste. When the onions become tranlucent add the 2 Tbls of flour.

Keep a watchful eye on this new roux. Go slow. Keep the heat low. Stir often.

Personal preference note here: I say that my roux is ready when it is frothy with largerish bubbles and appears to have expanded in the bottom of the pan by 2 or 3 times. (It is imperative that all of the flour granuals are coated with the butter or you will end up with tiny dumplings instead of a smooth soup.)

CAREFULLY add the 2 cups of Half&Half to the very HOT roux. Leave the heat LOW. Stir and then leave it alone over low heat. (Notice the theme here?)

Editorial time-out: Cooking is a present process. I believe that it is important be fully present when cooking. Cooking is a primary activity, not something done while you are doing something else.

So even though it has taken some time the roux and Half&Half have joined to make the creamy base of our chowder. I say it is done when the mixture just barely begins to bubble around the edges of the sauce pan. You milage may vary.

Add the creamy sauce to the potatoes, corn and bacon. Put it over low heat and cover. Bring the entire mixture up to a simmer (very low boil). Remove the pan from the heat keeping it covered and let it rest. Excesive cooking will cause the potatoes to break down which isn't terribly bad but I like the little cubes.)

Bonus: That half a loaf of faux french bread on the second shelf of the fridge - you know the one - slice it thick on an angle. Brush each slice lightly with olive oil, sprinkle one side with a hint of garlic powder and the pan fry (toast) until both sides are slightly browned.

Simple Soup - does a human good!

* Oh yeah, almost forgot that asterisk. When I am making a strong savory soup I will sometimes add the potato and corn liquid right in pot. In the case of this chowder I feel that the corn flavor is just a bit too overwhelming.

Read Mining Nuggets

Intellectual Discrimination: Protest groups forming now.

Intellectual Discrimination

Living in a conservative Bible-belt region when I uttered the above phrase I was quickly questioned about its political correctness. Can discrimination ever be a good thing? Isn't espousing intellectualism an elitist stance? Is combining the two some sort of insult?

My utterance of the phrase was in fact a statement of criticism.

"One of the problems with our current social situation is a lack of intellectual discrimination."
A great portion of our population appears to have stopped thinking critically. Who, in their right mind, would accept even a third of the rhetoric offered in the last political campaign. Yet there are those today who believe the half truths and innuendos put forth by radical propogandists.

In a recent conversation with an acquaintance I was impressed with the two-dimensional approach she was taking in putting forth her issues of concern. Citing the inequity of CEO and Chairperson salaries in light of government bail-out plans that involved her hard earned tax dollars. She touched momentarily on a number of hot-button topics but neglected to in any way connect the dots of real economic mechanics.

I believe this 2-D approach to opinion formation is a direct result of herd mentality coupled with a sound-bite perspective of issues. People, who's lives are already to complex, simply want to have answers that they can feel good about. Nothing legitimizes an opinion like a shared view by a group of your peers or congregation members or softball team mates. Distilled sound bites offered by authoritative mouthpieces replace personal discernment. In a 'do you want fries with that political perspective' it is much easier to take some "expert's" position than to develop one of our own.

It turns out that Intellectual Discrimination, as well as possibly being un-PC, is a great deal of hard work. Anyway, isn't that what we have leaders for? To tell us independent self-determinists exactly how we should think?

Read Don't Eat Alone

Friday, November 07, 2008

Leader or Servant: Who's team will you be on?

America has developed a "Lead the world but serve me first" mentality.

I find it curious that people do not want leaders but rather they want Public Servants. They shun governance in favor of what they believe is self-determination. They want politicians to meet their perceived wants and needs but refuse to support them as leaders of our communities, states or even our country.

This must change.

If we, as a democracy, are to survive and grow then we must move away from the 'serve me first' position. Too long the sense of entitlement has lead us to maintain a false sense of warm-n-fuzzy status quo.

This must change.

We must allow and endorse the difficult decisions that our Leaders will make to move our country forward. We must see beyond our immediate comfort zones and recognize that as a nation we must all be moving forward. To force the football analogy we as a team, under the guidance of our accepted head coach, must work together to move the ball toward the goal line. This cannot be done when players stand in the backfield and second guess the plays being called.

This is not to suggest that we are mere automatons. Team work requires the participation of each member to the level of their ability. When it is our time to carry the ball then we, as individuals, can claim the right of self-determination.

Read Listics

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Openness to Experience

Wednesday rained down on folks around here even though it was a sunny day...
There was a pall, a shroud, a haze ... why are so many of my fellow Kentuckians so ill at ease?

Kentucky is a red state - the first to be reported as such on the evening of November 4th. Most assuredly at the end of the evening Kentuckians felt no great sense of elation at the outcome of the election.

Certainly the advent of a Harvard educated, intellectually curious, eloquent newly elected president should not cause such states of malaise. A president who's every breath will be critically reviewed, analyzed and then commented on. A president who will be more carefully monitored and managed than any of the 43 before him. A president who will be more accountable to the American public than any other elected official in this nation's history.

Slowly the lecture "The Real Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives" offered by Jonathan Haidt to the TED community began to resonate for me...

Vacationing with TED

Who changed my signature?

I wonder who changed my signature? As you can see in the previous post it is intact. In the post before that I manually edited it to add the colors and the uppercase letters.

Curious, who changed my signature? Certainly I would not have left just one "<"

...very curious.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes we can!!!

Obama is President!!!

I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

1 Winner and 1 Loser

Which ever way the election turns out...


I VOTED for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Last Day: A fitting end to "Open" posts

November 2nd, 2008 marked the 1 year anniversary of my "Open" post theme. It is only fitting that on this, the last day of the 2008 Presidential campaign, that I make a definitive change in my blogging. With the close of this most involved political journey comes many needed changes.

  1. Instead of relying on the never ending litany of political gaffs, blunders and outright contemptuous media blasts I resolve to return to actual observation and commentary.
  2. I am intent on returning to process of chronicling the world as I view it through the lenses of my technological window.
  3. While still a staunch advocate for all things open my intent is to move beyond the 'stating the need' to observing and affirming the practice.
Tomorrow, hopefully, the world with have the answer to the question that has branded itself on the heart of peoples everywhere. Tomorrow, hopefully, will be the day of true new beginnings. Tomorrow I will celebrate with everyone, winners and losers, who no longer have to bear the burden of this most difficult quadriannual event.

Please go vote tomorrow!

I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Open disclosure???

Paulson's Swindle Revealed

by: William Greider, The Nation

A protester in front of the New York Stock Exchange. The United Steelworkers conducted its own financial analysis of the $700 billion bailout and concluded, in a letter to Secretary Paulson, that the bailout constituted a $350 billion gift from the American taxpayers. (Photo: Getty Images)

The swindle of American taxpayers is proceeding more or less in broad daylight, as the unwitting voters are preoccupied with the national election. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson agreed to invest $125 billion in the nine largest banks, including $10 billion for Goldman Sachs, his old firm. But, if you look more closely at Paulson's transaction, the taxpayers were taken for a ride - a very expensive ride. They paid $125 billion for bank stock that a private investor could purchase for $62.5 billion. That means half of the public's money was a straight-out gift to Wall Street, for which taxpayers got nothing in return.

Emphasis mine! Who is looking out for us?!?!?!? Hey Hank, ya gonna pay my mortgage?

I am going to vote for Barack Obama.
I am William "Papa" Meloney and I endorse this message.

. . .