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Archive for September, 2008

In my opinion, there is no better “gravy” for pasta than Ragù Bolonese, or Italian Meat Sauce.  I’ll take it over an arrabiatta, puttanesca or marinara any day.  I have taken bits and pieces from various recipes to create one that I think you will love.

Ingredients

•1 lb ground meat (you need two different meats for this.  1/2 light meat (veal, chicken, turkey, pork) and 1/2 ground chuck)
•1/2 package mushrooms–trimmed & quartered
•2 carrots–diced fine
•1 medium onion–diced fine
•6 cloves garlic–minced
•1/4 lb pancetta (or bacon)–chopped
•2 slices bread–cubed
•1/2 small can tomato paste
•1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes–drained, reserving liquid
•1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
•1/4 c. whole milk, plus 4 Tbls.
•Olive oil
•1 tsp. red pepper flakes
•2 tsp. oregano
•Salt & Pepper
•Grated Pecorino, or Reggiano cheese
  1. Pulse mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped (Fig. A).  Transfer mushrooms to bowl.  Add cubed bread, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper to processor and moisten with extra milk while pulsing until a paste (Panade) is formed.  Add meat mixture and use quick pulses until combined.  Transfer to another bowl (Fig. B).
  2. Finely dice carrot.  A mandolin works well for this application.  If you don’t own a mandolin, you should consider picking one up as they julienne vegetables quickly.  Short pulse diced carrot to produce minced carrot (Fig. C).
  3. Finely dice onion and add to minced carrot (Fig. D).  Mince garlic.
  4. When all ingredients are prepped and ready to go, heat enough oil (2 Tbs.) to coat bottom of large heavy saucepan.  Over medium heat, add onion, mushrooms and carrots.  Sauté while stirring until browned (6-10 min).  Add garlic during last minute stirring constantly (Fig. E).
  5. Add red pepper flakes, 1 tsp. oregano and tomato paste.  Sauté until well incorporated.
  6. Add reserved tomato liquid and mix well.  Add meat mixture and cook while incorporating into the tomato-vegetable mixture.  Cook on medium until no longer pink, but do not brown! (Fig. F)
  7. Add diced and crushed tomatoes and simmer uncovered until thickened, stirring occasionally (around 30-45 min).
  8. Before serving, add remaining tsp. oregano and 1/4 cup milk.  Cook down for 10 additional minutes while adjusting salt & pepper to taste (Fig. G).
  9. Enjoy with your favorite pasta!

Fig. A

Fig. A

Fig. B

Fig. B

Fig. C

Fig. C

Fig. D

Fig. D

Fig. E

Fig. F

Fig. F

Fig. G

Fig. G

Just when you thought you had seen it all in this campaign, last night John McCain announced he was suspending his campaign to fly to Washington and lend his “leadershit” to help the Wall Street bailout initiative along. In addition, he was lobbying to have the first Presidential debate postponed and that “he invited Barack to join him in Washington.”

McCain’s gambit on face seems to, as he put it, “put Country before Candidacy.” But later details reveal that it was actually Barack Obama who called McCain in the morning suggesting they make a “joint” press statement to announce their support for key principles that should be in the bill and remove Presidential politics from the mix.

It was after that conversation that McCain went on the air unilaterally to announce his magnanimous decision to suspend his campaign to work on something more important than kissing babies in Joplin. So essentially, McCain took credit for Obama’s idea and ran with it–stabbing him in the back without even the courtesy of a reach-around. That’s McCain’s idea of “reaching across the aisle” to get things done in Washington. (more…)

Palin and KissingerToday, McCain’s VP choice Sarah Palin was surgically removed from his artificial hip and allowed to meet with a few world leaders so she can get a little “street cred.” I would rather refer to it as a Priest reading Cliff Notes for the Bible while in seminary. Her main goal was to get the precious photos of her sitting down with these leaders supposedly discussing important world issues of which she has incredible insight and understanding.

While this is absurd in its own right for someone next in line for the highest office in this great country, the real alarming fact that should give cause for concern to all Americans is how the McCain campaign is shielding and sequestering Palin from ANY undue exposure to questions.  Why is it they will not let her do any interviews or take questions from the media?  Sure she did two TV interviews since being nominated.  The first with Charlie Gibson, who isn’t the most challenging of interviewers, managed to reveal how much experience she lacks.  The second was with Sean Hannity who is as right leaning without toppling over.  He basically served her up anti-Obama biased questions to which she could only agree and not be challenged.

Since then, she has been under lock and key.  So today when she met with these leaders, the McCain campaign pulled the plug on having reporters listen in on the talks.  They just wanted photographers, and no reporters.  Well, the media outlets pulled all their photogs and told the campaign that unless they allow the reporters, there would be no photo-ops.  The McCain campaign finally caved and allowed reporters in for a whopping total of 29 seconds.

This the the most alarming and frightening aspect of the McCain/Palin ticket.  The extent by which McCain handlers are keeping her from any direct interaction with press and public–save her multiple stump speeches where she stuck to the same speech that was given to her and she delivered at the DNC.  This lack of transparency and illumination into her thought processes is most certainly Stalinesque.

Suddenly his gleeful singing of “Bomb, bomb, bomb…bomb, bomb Iran” and the ease she matter-of-factly stated that war with Russia may be a possibility to protect Georgian interests has taken on a dark pallor.

HDR Image

September 19th, 2008

HDR Photo of St. Paul, MN

Today I decided to experiment with taking HDR (High Dynamic Range) images since it was such a nice day.  SO I mosied on up to the high bank of the Mississippi and took the following shot.  Basically, an HDR image is where you take several shots of the same scene at different exposures and blend them together in Photoshop.  What you get after some tweaking is an image with incredible depth and resolution.  See for yourself.

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