Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dill Dip

I made this as a dip for Buffalo Wings, but it would work well with crackers or chips.

  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 4 T. minced sweet onion
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3 T. fresh dill weed, chopped, or 1 T. dried dill weed

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate 4+ hours to allow flavors to blend.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sweet Onions With Cheese

I made this last night and spooned some over cornbread that I had on-hand. This was a great main course, but minus the cornbread it would serve well as a side dish.

  • 2 sweet onions (softball-sized)
  • 1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 T. butter
  • 3 T. flour
  • 1-1/2 c. milk
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • Black pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Peel and coarsely dice onions.
  3. Slightly pre-cook onions in a microwave at high for 4 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt butter over medium-low heat in a sauce pan.
  5. When butter has melted, add flour and whisk to mix thoroughly.
  6. Continue to heat, whisking frequently, until the roux is slightly browned.
  7. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking and heating until thickened in between additions.
  8. After all the milk has been added, remove the sauce pan from the burner. Add salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.
  9. Arrange onions and cheese in layers in a greased 2 qt. casserole dish.
  10. Pour the sauce over the onions and bake for 50 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Grasshoppers Pickup Number 19

This week's basket contained:
  • 4 chicken wings
  • 4 bratwurst
  • 2 turnips
  • 5 hydroponic tomatoes
  • 1 bag of baby carrots
  • Salad greens
  • 3/4 lb. wheat berries

Chicken wings give me the chance to make a really fun dish. I'm thinking hot Indian spices and chips on the side. We'll see. The bratwurst will go in buns... duh.

These are real baby carrots--not massive carrots carved up to look like skinless baby carrots. I'm considering cooking diced turnips and baby carrots with butter and a little sugar as a side dish. (I have a variety of meats in my freezer that I need to use.)

The tomatoes would be good sliced and augmented with a little mayonnaise and freshly cracked black pepper.

The salad greens will be mixed in with store-bought veggies to make a bag of salad.

But, um, wheat berries? I thought this was brown rice until I read the Grasshoppers newsletter that declared it to be wheat berries. Nothing to say but "research is required".

Monday, January 23, 2012

Valentine's Day Locavore

I just have to share these Valentine's Day specials from my CSA, Grasshopper Distributions. This is like so fucking cool.

 Grasshoppers now has Locavore Meals designed for a Romantic Evening for Two.

1 Blue Dog Baguette
1 10oz. JD Country Butter
1 bottle Rattlesnake Farms Garlic Salt
1 head Bibb Lettuce
1 lb. Tomatoes
1 bottle Basilicata Salad Dressing
1 4oz. log Plain Capriole Goat Cheese
1 pk. Lotsa Pasta Butternut Squash Ravioli
Plus, 1 Solid Chocolate Love Puzzle from Stellar Sweets

ZitiThe Locavore Italian (Pesto) Meal for $47.50 comes complete with:

1 Blue Dog Baguette
1 10oz. JD Country Butter
1 bottle Rattlesnake Farms Garlic Salt
1 head Bibb Lettuce
1 lb. Tomatoes
1 bottle Basilicata Salad Dressing
1 4oz. log Plain Capriole Goat Cheese
1 pk. Lotsa Pasta Ziti
1 pt. Basil Pesto
Plus, 1 Solid Chocolate Love Puzzle from Stellar Sweets

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WoW: Where I'm At

Biroc: Level 85 Paladin

I finally did it. I advanced one of my characters to level 85. In the hands of a seasoned guild player, Biroc would be an awesome force. He has quite a few spells that could heal/support/enhance members of a group. Since I've always been a solo player (apart from a couple of 2-person sorties), I don't think I could live up to the role of "Healer" in a raid party.

Biroc is making some nice armor these days with his Blacksmith skill. This is a fairly good source of income although it costs a bit of gold to put a high-level item for sale at the Auction House. He can also feed my enchanter, Rima, with items to disenchant.

My Paladin carries a shield and is a very tough target in a fight. His healing spells guarantee that he'll be in the fight for a while no matter what.

Since he's achieved level 85, Biroc won't be seeing action for a while. I'll be spending my WoW time advancing my other characters.

Diabolik: Level 81 Rogue

I'm currently advancing my Rogue along the path to level 85. I find that there are some quests that are just too difficult for a Rogue (at least, with my own personal WoW skills). For instance, when tasked with the assassination of a high-level mob that spends his time flying, a Rogue has to give up her primary advantage: striking while stealthed.

Diabolik is advancing her Herbalism and Alchemy skills. She's also feeding my Scribe, Rima, with herbs for milling.

Rima: Level 80 Druid

My Rima is like the mother ship. She's been hanging out in Stormwind City catching items for auction that my other characters throw her way. Glyphs are a high-profit commodity and she has been doing a banner job of maximizing ROI. It may take a while, but after my Rogue achieves level 85, Rima will be flexing her combat muscles once again.

Megarid: Level 80 Hunter

It's been a while since Megarid has seen action. He's just chilling out and checking his mail ever few weeks. Eventually he'll be called upon to press on to level 85.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Winter Vegetable Stew

I had tons of vegetables from my CSA. This is my way of using a lot of them in one recipe!

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Daikon radish, peeled and sliced
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 t. garlic powder
  • 2 t. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 2 T. dried parsley
  • Water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced


  1. Combine all ingredients except mushrooms and tomatoes in an 8-quart stock pot and add water to cover.
  2. Set burner at medium-low and simmer for about 3 hours.
  3. About 20 minutes before serving, add the tomatoes and mushrooms.

For the ultimate in enjoyment,. serve with cornbread and have a bottle of Worcestershire sauce on hand.

Note: The objective is to nearly fill an 8-quart stock pot with chopped/diced veggies. Use whatever vegetables are available!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Grasshoppers Pickup Number 18

This week my basket contained:
  • Beef brisket
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 7+ parsnips
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch red leaf lettuce
  • 2 turnips

I don't think I've ever cooked a beef brisket. I will probably marinade it in the fridge in something good and then cook it very slowly in the oven. The ground beef will most likely be used for hamburgers... unless I have the opportunity to make a batch of enchiladas.

The parsnips are wild. Some of them are very tiny indeed. I believe I'll want to make a stir fry with the smaller parsnips along with one of the Daikon radishes (that I still have in the fridge from the previous pickup).

The squash, sweet potatoes, and turnips should go into a root vegetable stew. I recently roasted some winter vegetables. They were quite good that way, but with the weather turning cold, a nice, hot stew with a piece of homemade bread just sounds wonderful.

The lettuce will be added to the salad I already have in my fridge.

I'm not sure about the tomatoes. They might go into my veggie stew.

Just between you and me, I'm kind of glad I didn't get an acorn squash. Those things are a pain to peel! And the "meat" is pretty thin. Butternut squash rule!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thoughts About "Dr. Who"

I know I'm a latecomer as a Whovian. Be fair: I don't have cable TV. I don't have TV for that matter.

When I bought my Kindle Fire I was already a subscriber to Amazon Prime. I knew this gave me the right to view selected movies and TV shows, but I didn't pay much attention. I had plenty of entertainment available in the form of MST3K (and related) DVDs. Being an owner of a Fire gave me the incentive to poke around the list of free content at Amazon. I found that...

...The first four seasons of Dr. Who where available to me without additional cost.

I had a Christmas vacation, I did. What to do? Let's watch some Dr. Who.

I've always thought that the quality of British television far exceeds that of 99% of the American crap. Nevertheless, I remembered the original Dr. Who series as being mostly boring (in spite of the charming characters). The new Dr. Who has quality on every level. The writing, characters, acting, editing, and special effects are all top drawer. Even when there's not a lot of "action", there is suspense and clever dialogue. An American series would probably just splice in a bunch of explosions.

I used to enjoy watching The X-Files when it was broadcast. The characters were compelling and the suspense in each episode was tense. What it lacked was any kind of over-arching story line. There were too many loose ends. I'm pretty sure that the writers had no clue where the series should go.

The story line of Dr. Who, on the other hand, seems to be guided by a confident hand. Viewers can be confident that teasers dropped in one episode will eventually come to fruition.

So, yeah. That's my admittedly "stratospheric" impression of the new Dr. Who.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A 1-Click Mishap at Amazon

I guess it had to happen sooner or later. Last night as I was preparing to watch an episode of Dr. Who streamed from Amazon, I accidentally clicked on a link that instantly purchased a license for said episode. I was blind-sided because I knew that I had the right to stream the episode by virtue of my $79-per-year subscription to Amazon Prime. To me, it didn't make any sense that Amazon would offer to let me watch a show for $1.99 when I had already paid for the privilege of watching it.

What really frustrated me though were my fruitless efforts to back out of my mistake. With most 1-Click purchases, you can cancel the order for any reason prior to the order being shipped. It turns out that 1-click purchases of digital media are irreversible. I find this policy absurd and indefensible. I spent maybe 20 minutes poking around on Amazon's web site trying to find a usable "Contact Us" page. There were plenty of FAQs and Help pages, but their contact information was very well hidden. I finally discovered a usable page via Google search.

Amazon did reverse the charge after warning me that 1-Click purchases of digital media are non-refundable.

I like the convenience of 1-Click purchasing, especially when shopping on a Kindle or my Droid. I always assumed that I had a safety net if I accidentally clicked a purchase link. Now that I know this is not true, I've disabled 1-Click on all devices. Curiously, the "Buy now with 1-Click" buttons still appear.