Friday, August 31, 2012

Bluuuue Moooon

How often have you heard of this rare event?
Blue Moon. The second full Moon in a calendar month. The next Blue Moon will occur in July 2015-- three years from now.

Once in a Blue Moon.

Some years ago, Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon. His funeral was today. How fitting.

Happy Arbitrary 1st Birthday!

Let's PARTY!

 The folks at the shelter said she was born at the end of August. So August 31st it is!

"You ask me why I love her?"

John Wayne's America

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dear Mother Nature,

Enough's enough already! With all due respect-- and we have a lot of R-e-s-p-e-c-t for you-- it's time to attend to HS & SEC football.

Please turn off the rain.

Thank you.

Love from Mississippi,


A Sign in Every Single Classroom

It's very quaint-- provincial even. A sign with these two sentences really is in every single classroom.
As a Mississippi State University student I will conduct myself with honor and integrity at all times. I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor will I accept the actions of those who do.
 In other news... 
Harvard College’s disciplinary board is investigating nearly half of the 279 students who enrolled in Government 1310: "Introduction to Congress" last spring for allegedly plagiarizing answers or inappropriately collaborating on the class’ final take-home exam.
[hat tip Instapundit]

Rain, rain

I'm learning How-to-GIMP. Clearly, I have more to learn, but I did manage to mask the bedspread! Sort of. GIMP is a free photo-editing program (for Mac & PC). Kat has written a ebook on How to GIMP.

Yes. I am bored-- a condition I'm seldom in because I can occupy myself and have lots of crappy old books to read. But it does happen from time to time and this afternoon was one of those times. 

The dogs are bored, too. Nothing to do but keep an eye on The Weather and bark at the wind. 

Keeping an Eye on The Weather / UPDATE

Note to self: Light from behind subjects = bad photo
It's raining.

A few semi-random thoughts.


In Picayune, Mississippi Gregory Parker has died. The Weather Channel reports he was in his car when a tree fell on it. Folks at TWC then go on to lecture: Stay inside! Don't go out, you don't have to! Shut up.
[County coroner] Turnage says Parker had gone out to tow a pickup truck that was stuck in a ditch on Mississippi Highway 43 North and abandoned by its driver. He says Parker decided it was too muddy and the wind was too strong to attempt the tow.
Mr. Parker was doing his job. I'll never know who called him to go out for the stuck truck-- the local stories just rehash what's above. But you know what? If you're going to report on the circumstances of a 62 year old man's death, have the decency to get the facts straight.

Recipe: Fazolové Lusky na Paprice

Green beans paprika


2 quarts water
1 tsp salt, plus an additional ½ tsp
1 lb green beans, cut
1 C sour cream
4 Tbsp butter
¾ C onion, chopped fine
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp paprika (preferably sweet Hungarian)

Bring water and 1 tsp salt to boil in a stock pot, drop in beans by handfuls, return to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cook beans just until tender (do not overcook), and drain beans immediately. Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan, add onions, cook until translucent, remove from heat, and stir in paprika until onions are coated. Beat flour into sour cream, stir mixture into saucepan with onions, and add remaining ½ tsp salt. Simmer 4-5 minutes or until sauce is smooth, gently stir in beans, and simmer about 5 minutes longer or until heated through.

Recipe: Pork Tenderloin in Sour Cream

served with fazolové lusky na paprice
Very eastern European!

Recipe below.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My! How times have changed!

They are not puppies anymore.

A day late

and a thought short.
I was just thinking I should have ground up some Tabasco peppers & water and sprayed it on the sweet potatoes. Stupid deer.

Inside the life of Tabasco

Yellow to orange to red
Up to 100 pods per plant!
Mr. Big Food is going to make his own Tabasco sauce! 

Speaking of Tabasco sauce, from the seed packet, I learned that the name Tabasco comes from the Mexican state. During the 1850s New Orleans and Tabasco traded extensively. The McIlhenny family of Avery Island, Louisiana began growing Tabasco peppers and developed the original Tabasco sauce.

McIlhenny Tabasco Sauce has a Scoville Heat Unit of 2500-5000. Tabasco peppers are 30,000-50,000. They are hot. Just ask Mr. Big Food who tasted a teeny tiny bite of an orange one the other day.

Recipe: Hearty Sausage Supper

My kind of food!


Serves 4

16 oz jar applesauce
14 oz can sauerkraut, drained
½ C dry white wine
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed firm
16 oz can small white potatoes, drained
16 oz can small whole onions, drained
12 oz ring Polish sausage, slashed several times
1 Tbsp snipped parsley

Preheat oven to 350o. Mix together applesauce, sauerkraut, wine, and brown sugar, and put into bottom of a 2 ½ quart casserole. Arrange potatoes and onions around edges of casserole, and place sausage ring in center. Bake covered for 45-50 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Whole Foods Supper

Organic sausages. Organic sauerkraut. Organic apple sauce.
Tennessee has some funny laws, so we had to go to a liquor store to get a bottle of white wine. Other than that, it was a Whole Foods supper.

This is what happens when you understand the rules

of grammar.
You have grammatically correct signs in your stores. 

Suffice it to say that I am not a huge fan of Whole Foods-- as a store/brand. I think it panders to folks who could just as well grow their own "organic" tomatoes and make their own "organic" granola & such but who can't be bothered to do such b/c they are soooo busy with their super duper important lives.

That said, I am a fan of John Mackey who recognized that there was a market for better quality food than one finds at Kroger. 

Oh! What fun!

via NRO's The Corner.

It's probably going to rain for the next couple of days and there's only so much rain-watching a body can do. 

How much fun am I going to have looking at these data?

First thought? Moving from Ohio Oiho Oihi to Mississippi That Landmass was a very smart move.

Second thought? If you are surprised by Texas, you haven't been paying attention.  

Third? What the heck is the color-coding scheme?

On top of everything else

we have to go to stupid Memphis today. Upside? Tops BBQ for lunch. 

Off to fire up the generator-- I hope. Meanwhile, some thoughts from this morning's stroll around the World Wide Web.

The Anchoress wonders
So, let me ask you, readers — do you also “expect the crowd in power to destroy everything”? Are you arming yourselves, stocking up on food and buying generators? Or do you think everything is going to be fine, and we all need to take a breath?
Or are you, like me, just a tad wary but still hoping that the nation can pull itself together?
Steyn at NRO
No dictator will ever need to declare martial law in America. All he’ll need to do is issue a “severe weather advisory” and everyone will stay indoors until they’re told it’s safe to come out.
Marshall Ramsey has a fun hurricane survival list
13. A Sense of Humor: If you can’t laugh at a time like this, you have bigger problems than a hurricane in the Gulf.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Chance of Rain?

I'm predicting about 100% here at the Farm by Thursday.

The first thing I'd like to mention is that friend Aggie lives about a mile from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The storm surge is forecast to be 6-12ft. on top of high tide of 2-4ft. Please keep Aggie, her family and every one else down on the coast in your thoughts.

I had some errands to do in Town this afternoon and so was listening to Mississippi Super Talk off & on. Theme of the day? Responsibility. You are responsible for yourself and your family. Here's the problem. Everyone who listens to Super Talk knows this. Preachin' to the Choir. Still, as I stocked up on kitty litter, it was nice to hear.


Delicate, dry drink for the evening
  • Cocktail glass
  • Mixing glass
3/4 ounce bourbon
3/4 ounce gin
3/4 ounce peppermint flavored liqueur

Stir all ingredients together, with ice, in the mixing glass and strain into the glass

From Peter Bohrmann The Bartender's Guide (2001)

Recipe: Cheesy Grilled Tomatoes

Sunday supper
"Remove carefully!"


Thick red tomatoes, cut into thick slices
Olive oil (for brushing tomatoes)
Salt, pepper OR Creole seasoning, to taste
Shredded cheese, any variety

Brush tomato slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper or Creole seasoning. Grill on well greased grill on one side, about 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn carefully with a wide spatula, top slices with shredded cheese, and continue grilling just until cheese starts to melt, about another 2 minutes. Remove carefully.

Recipe: Barbecue Sauce II

Classic: Chicken & BBQ Sauce II
“This is an excellent sauce for pork ribs.”—Lady Helen Hardy, Louisiana’s Fabulous Foods and How to Cook Them (date unknown)


2 tsp dry mustard
Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp Tabasco
1 C catsup or chili sauce (preferably homemade—see recipes in Basics section)

Add enough Worcestershire sauce to dry mustard to make a thin paste. Add Tabasco, and catsup or chili sauce.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


From Brendan Loy's post at PJMedia:

In a bizarrely low-key press conference that seemed more focused on calming residents’ “anxiety” and vaguely telling them to “be prepared” (and then making of a series of mundane announcements about municipal matters like trash collection and parking restrictions) than on advising them to take specific, concrete steps commensurate to the risk of a possibly major hurricane potentially making a direct hit on America’s most hurricane-vulnerable city starting in about 48 hours, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu did his best Ray Nagin impression Sunday, announcing a no-evacuation, “shelter in place” plan that suggests a stunning level of confidence that a worst-case scenario won’t happen, at a time when it remains, meteorologically speaking, very much in play.

The possibility that residents would be “sheltering in place” in a “place” the could, in the worst-case scenario, be swallowed up by the Gulf of Mexico, was not mentioned.

Mayor Landrieu said he did not anticipate announcing any revisions to the plan — such as a decision to order evacuations, a possibility he explicitly downplayed — until around noon tomorrow, by which time the onset of bad weather would be around 24 hours away. Despite reams of pre-Katrina literature indicating that it takes 48 to 72 hours to evacuate New Orleans in the event of a major hurricane threatening a direct hit, and despite the experience of 2005′s rushed and incomplete evacuation so flawed that it left 50,000 people to be rescued from rooftops and such by the Coast Guard, Mayor Landrieu apparently thinks 24 hours is enough time to make an evacuation work, if one is needed.

Okay then.

I want to be fair here. I’m neither a meteorologist nor a New Orleans official, planner or expert. Perhaps Landrieu is right, and I’m wrong. Perhaps New Orleans now has plans that will allow it to effectively evacuate in 24 hours’ time. My understanding has been that that’s basically impossible, but again, I’m concededly not an expert. It’s certainly true that, by midday tomorrow, we’ll have more and better information about Isaac’s projected path and intensity at landfall, both of which remain maddeningly difficult to pin down right now. So if it’s reasonably possible to wait until tomorrow morning to make the call, that would certainly be preferable. I’m just not so sure it’s reasonably possible. I thought the decision needed to be made today, despite the admittedly imperfect information and the very significant chance of a false alarm.

Even if an evacuation can reasonably be begun tomorrow if necessary, Mayor Landrieu certainly should have done more to prepare residents now for the possibility. In contrast to Governor Bobby Jindal, who explicitly advised residents of low-lying coastal areas to prepare today for a likely evacuation tomorrow (and even urged them to voluntarily leave tonight), Landrieu was maddeningly vague in telling residents what to “prepare” for. He seemed to be advising them to “prepare” to “shelter in place” — in other words, to stock up on essentials, etc. — than to prepare for possible evacuations. Moreover, the city government’s relatively nonchalant attitude at present guarantees that most private employers will take a similar attitude, meaning lots of residents with jobs won’t feel free to take off work tomorrow to evacuate.

Continued on Next Page ->

Red Sunday Supper

Chicken w/ bbq sauce

Tomatoes brushed w/olive oil. Flipped. Brushed. Cheese. Out of this world good.
Missy, what is your problem? You were out there while Mr. Big Food was grillin'. And it's not like you don't have pork chops steak and pound cake every day.

Calm down. 

Recipe: Tomatillo Salsa

on the left
This is the salsa for chips! Or anything else, for that matter. As Mr. Big says, "This is the freshest salsa we make." Not that all of our salsas aren't fresh-- but this one really tastes fresh!

The recipe (below) begins:
The combination of tomatillos, chilies and cilantro creates a salsa with an authentic Mexican taste. In addition to making a great dip for corn chips, this salsa works well as a condiment for fajitas, burritos and quesadillas.

Recipe: Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa

on the right
This was a more involved recipe than other salsas we've made so we took the time to read the recipe through together before we began. Along the way, Mr. Big Food remarked, "No. It doesn't need to be 15 minutes," or some such thing. So we made a few changes to the original (below) and I've noted those in red. 

About Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa... . I couldn't find chipotle or cascabel peppers at the Kroger in Tupelo, so we substituted pasilla peppers. This substitution may have made a difference in flavor. That said, this is not a salsa that I'd enjoy on a chip-- although Mr. Big Food would. It's... savory (?). Deep. Having tasted it, I think that the suggestion at the beginning of the recipe would be spectacular!
“For a sensational entrée, marinate a pork shoulder blade roast in this salsa overnight in the refrigerator. Then slow-roast it for about 10 hours in a slow cooker, until it practically shreds itself. If you prefer, spoon it into warm Kaiser or onion buns and enjoy a great meal of good-ole-boy pulled pork.”

National Dog Day!

The day’s founder, Colleen Paige, said she started National Dog Day as a way to say thank you to dogs for their bravery, dedication and unconditional love. But she had another intention too — helping American learn about the plight of pit bulls.

Paige said:

“I want to focus this year on whats happening with Pit Bulls. It breaks my heart to see the plight of certain breeds like Pit Bulls...
If interested, the rest is here.

And speaking of pit bulls... 

What a handsom young Staffordshire terrier mutt!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

There's no moon out tonight.

Holy Moly!

You should smell our kitchen right now. 

Dried chilis toasted, soaked in water, pureed.

Tomatillos, Italian plum tomatoes, garlic & onion roasted under the broiler, pureed.


Add sugar, vinegar &c.

Simmer for 15 minutes-- just long enough for a quick break.

Works of Art

What a Big Life Mr. Big Food & I have! It's not uncommon at all for us to have an opportunity to do something uncommon. Yesterday, for example, we fed some starving artists and got a behind the scenes glimpse of the Art World. 

It looks small, but it was life-size!

I was surprised to see such cool stuff just laying around.

Cast yourself anyway you want!

Even the tools are works of art.

Friday, August 24, 2012

No Starving Artists Here

Mr. Big Food grilled some burgers and dogs for the artists. The only context needed is that the lid on the grill I totted in has some lid issues.

An artist to the rescue.

It begins.

Recipe: Green Bean Puff

Ha ha. He said, "Puff."

Recipe: A General's Favorite Ham Loaf

Good enough for A General

In case you are wondering... 
General James Harold "Jimmy" Doolittle, USAF (December 14, 1896 – September 27, 1993) was an American aviation pioneer. Doolittle served as an officer in the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War. He earned the Medal of Honor for his valor and leadership as commander of the Doolittle Raid while a lieutenant colonel.
Eating food like this kept the General alive a long time.
From Mrs. James H. Doolittle, Officer’s Wives’ Club, Los Angeles, Cal.


2 lbs smoked ham, ground
1 lb fresh pork, ground
½ lb graham crackers, crushed
1 C milk
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350o. Mix together all ingredients thoroughly, place in a greased loaf pan, and bake 1 hour. “Excellent served hot or cold.”

The Kitchen Table / The Things We Do for Love

Stated more precisely, "The Things We Do for Loved Ones."

  • Get up early
  • Collect grilling implements, and other things; put in truck
  • Drive truck to workshop
  • Hook trailer up to truck
  • Load grill onto trailer
  • Drive truck-trailer-grill to Starkvegas
  • Find destination
  • Unload grill; find place to store truck-trailer that doesn't involve backing up
  • Grill stuff
  • Load hot grill onto trailer
  • Return to Farm
 I think I'll have some pancakes for breakfast.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Three years ago today

Kat & Tony were married.

Mr. Big Food marked the occasion thusly:

Chicken Pot Pie

RIP: Noel Polk

via North Miss Commentor, Faulkner scholar Noel Polk has died. Polk's web page at Mississippi State is here.

The kids and Mr. Big Food were discussing Polk just this past weekend.

Recipe: Pickled Pepperoncini

Pepperoncinis are one of our favorite peppers. Should you decide you'd like to grow your own, be prepared for gazillions of peppers. The plants are prolific! I only have two this year and we have so many pepperoncinis...Mr. Big Food went looking for a recipe to make pickled pepperoncinis as you would find on an ante-pasta try. He found one on eHow!

I disagree with Morgan O'Conner (below), though. On the Scoville scale, which measures pepper "heat," pepperoncinis come in at 100-500. Bell peppers are 0; pimento, 100-500; Scotch Bonnet habaneros, 100,000 - 325,000; police grade pepper spray, 5,300,000. (From

“Pepperoncini, part of the pepper family, can add some heat to your dishes. They are not as spicy as many other peppers, so they are a good choice for those who do not enjoy extremely spicy food. You can stuff them, add them to soups and sandwiches, incorporate them into soups and stews, and even eat them plain. Pepperoncini are most often pickled rather than used plain. Pickling your own pepperoncini is a relatively simple process that can help you enjoy these peppers for months to come.”—Morgan O’Connor, eHow contributor

Recipe: Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

Because you can never have enough!


1 lb jalapeno peppers
Boiling water (to blanch peppers)
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ Tbsp fresh garlic, chopped
Dash basil
Dash oregano
Dash thyme
Boiling brine solution: 1 pint 5% vinegar, 1 pint water, 2 Tbsp sugar, 5 Tbsp salt

Poke a small hole in each jalapeno, then blanch for 4 minutes in boiling water. (The holes keep the peppers from collapsing.) Drain and pack peppers into a hot pint canning jar. Before the peppers cool, add onion, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, and olive oil to jar. Pour in boiling brine solution. (Ideally, you will have this mixture begin to boil as you begin to blanch your peppers.) Cap the jar tight and boil in a boiling water for 15 minutes. Allow to cool on racks, and refrigerate or store.

Recipe: Hot Pickled Okra

Thanks to this recipe and a couple of others, we are finally making our way through the hot pepper pods I grew and dried about five years ago!

This recipe is easily made smaller if you don't have six pounds of okra. It's so easy, you can do the math in your head!


Makes 10 pints

6 lbs young okra, washed
1 ½ quarts white vinegar
1 ½ quarts water
½ C salt (canning or pickling preferred)
10-20 hot pepper pods
10 garlic cloves, halved

Boil white vinegar, water, and salt for 10 minutes. Pack okra into hot pint jars with 1 pepper pod and 1 clove garlic in each jar. Pour boiling liquid over okra, seal jars, and process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday Night

back to normal.

Chuck Berry

Yes. I know it is Tuesday. I'm just catching up.


Mr. Big Food and I worked together for about three hours making Christmas Presents pickles.

Mr. Big Food is balancing the checkbook right now. As soon as he's reconciled things done doing Math in his Head-- I'll ask about the names of the Christmas Presents pickles.

Don't you think everyone should do math in his head? [Instapundit had a link to something about the gentrification of English. I didn't look... ] Wait...

He's off.


There's almost all of it! He's only a dime off now.

Recipe: Buttermilk yeast pancakes

This is the recipe for the pancakes I mentioned the other day. It keeps for up to two weeks! And it is good. 

Sorry, no photo as the pancakes kept getting eaten before I could get my camera. 


4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp baking soda
1 quart buttermilk

Mix together all ingredients and add the following:

1 tsp salt
¼ C oil
1 envelope yeast
6 eggs, beaten

Mix well, place mixture in a covered container, and store in refrigerator until ready to use. “Will keep for 2 weeks. Add milk to thin for crepes.”

Monday, August 20, 2012

Another Take on Giving

Since I posted about "How America Gives" earlier today, the World Wide Web has been awash in "analyses" and "commentary." One thing seems to me to be conspicuously missing. 

One of the limitations of the survey is its reliance of data from Schedule A, itemized deductions. I see this as unavoidable and, in all but the most uncommon circumstances, as not being especially consequential. Another limitation is the complete lack of knowledge of the recipients of charitable giving at every level (nationally, state, locale). Again, unavoidable given the nature of the data set, but that shouldn't stop us from putting on our thinking caps.

Most striking to the pundits, et al. is the relatively high proportion of discretionary income given to charity by folks making  $50,000 - 99,000 versus those in higher brackets. Religion vs. Godless greedy bastards? Conservationism vs. Liberal greedy bastards? Rural vs. Godless Liberal greedy City Mice? To be sure, there are many correlations to explore before anyone should start talking about causality.

Here's one-- one which my father often said-- I haven't seen mentioned: "There but for the Grace of God go I."

Severe storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes account for nearly one-half of all disasters in the United States. Floods, a probable consequence of those storms, account for-- what would you say?-- 3/4 of 1/2? 

Big rain events create disaster.

And where do folks who give live?