Saturday, November 28, 2009

Georgia Tech Versus Georgia

8:00 PM On National TV (ESPN/ABC)

You better be there if you want to watch good football...

Words From Paul "The Bear" Bryant

Useful Adages For A Football Saturday...

"But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me were always right.

It don't cost nuthin' to be nice.

It don't cost nuthin' to do the right thing most of the time,

and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breakin ' your word to someone."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Organizing My Cooking?

OK...I'll Settle For Writing It All Down Before I Forget...

So it turns out that I've spent most of the past couple of years pretty much ignoring my other Cooking Blog...called The Redneck Gourmet .

Looking at the stats it turns out that I published about 95 recipes from 2004 to 2006, and since then I've basically sat around doing nothing been too apathetic to take the time to write much of anything down on the computer because I hate just publishing ingredient lists.

My original goals and quality standards involved trying to actually describe how to cook the dish in detail, and even possibly inject some humor into the process...but it's all been beyond my mental limits and personal attitude and stamina for various reasons beyond the scope of this discussion.

Thinking back, it seems that in recent years I've been trying to "shake things up" while cooking during the holidays instead of just having the same old...same old...bird and beans and stuffing all the time.

I have to admit that sometimes my efforts have been received with a bit of trepidation or even indifference, but regardless I continue to move forward in my normal headstrong fashion...and thus...

I cooked a couple of quick appetizers yesterday which I don't think I've written up previously (and I'm too lazy to look at my archives) so I thought I'd do a double posting here this morning on this blog and over at The Redneck Gourmet.

That said, here's my method of how to cook "Oysters Rockefeller" and "Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops"

Oysters Rockefeller (by the dozen)

12 fresh oysters
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp butter
6 tbsp minced fresh spinach (or a part of a pack of frozen chopped spinach...WELL drained)
2 tbsp finely diced green onions
2 tbsp diced stemmed Italian flat leaf Parsley
breadcrumbs (as much as you need...hang on)
a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use Crystal)
1/3 tsp Annisette Liquor (or Herbsaint or Pernod)
1/4 tsp salt
Box of Rock salt
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Lemon wedges we go...first crank on the oven to 350 degrees

Meanwhile shuck your Oysters. Cut those suckers out of their shell making sure to keep the sand and crumbs out of things and set aside the better looking deeper halves of each shell to use later in the process.

Redneck Aside:

Let me remind you that real men shuck oysters...but if you aren't a real man or you're female and don't have a real man handy you can buy them (the Oysters) already shucked but then you have to also get those little sanitized store bought shells if you absolutely have to.

I, personally, having grown up in Lower Alabama in a place less than two hours from the best oysters in the world in Apalachicola Bay Florida, refuse to buy anything but fresh oysters.

(I guess that means I'm saying not to cook this recipe unless you can find fresh oysters in the shell, but I digress...)

Meanwhile...back to the preparation of our Oysters...

In a heavy skillet, melt your butter (and add some bacon grease if you have it handy), then add the spinach, onion, parsley, Anisette, hot sauce, and salt.

Now sprinkle a few tablespoons of bread crumbs on top and start stirring as things thicken. As the juice cooks out of the spinach , pay attention and if you need more bread crumbs don't just stand there...put them in the pot and keep stirring...don't look at me...

After about 10 minutes consider turning the heat off and pulling the skillet off the hot eye and then let it cool down (you can even make this stuff as much as a day early and refrigerate until you need it, but let it come up to room temperature or it will effect your cooking time.)

After you've shucked your oysters and picked out and scrubbed off your serving shells, add about a 1/2" deep layer of rock salt to a oven proof platter or cookie sheet and lay out your shells evenly spaced over the surface of the salt. The salt helps evenly transfer heat during the cooking process and also keeps the shells stable while you're filling them.

Now add one oyster back to each shell. It doesn't matter that they go back into their original shells but it helps if you put your bigger oysters in the larger shells and reserve the smaller ones for the little guys.

Place equal amounts of the spinach mixture over each oyster and spread to the rim of the shell if possible.

Slide the whole concoction into the oven and let things go for about ten minutes, then pull them back out and distribute your grated cheese on top and lightly sprinkle with more bread crumbs, return to the oven and kick on the Broiler to 500.

Let things go another five minutes or so, then pull out and serve.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops

The Ingredients:

12 medium sea scallops
12 slices of thinly sliced Prosciutto Ham
1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp sliced black olives
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
lemon juice
1/4 stick of butter
fresh ground black pepper
2 cups baby salad greens

First the credits. This recipe is based on one published by Food Network's Cooking Diva Giada de Laurentiis, except I've made some procedural and serving changes to accommodate a platter presentation with more readily available ingredients.

And here's how I put things together...

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and toss a large heavy skillet on the stove top on medium heat and put in your butter to melt.

Rinse your scallops and remove the tough "foot" or "tendon" on the side if it's still present. Put your cleaned scallops in a shallow dish and pour in a little lemon juice and let them swim around while you make the other preparations.

Toss your tomatoes, olives, and basil into a food processor and chop things finely as you slowly pour in your olive oil. Don't add all of it at once and stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl. Keep adding oil and processing to you have a thin, chunky paste...not a slurry.

Now back to your scallops. Are they still swimming in lemon juice?

Well dump out the juice, and move them into your melted butter and lightly sear them on the two flat sides. Be careful not to fully cook them now, they'll have plenty of time in the oven later to get to a medium or medium well temperature.

Turn off your heat and take them out and lightly sprinkle them on all sides with salt and pepper.

Now lay out two strips of Prosciutto and fold them in half long ways, spoon a little of your tomato/olive mixture out in the middle of each slice and top each with a scallop.

Stay with me here now, we're on the home stretch...grab some toothpicks, fold the prosciutto up around the scallops and pin the two flaps together with the toothpick vertically.

Do the same procedure with each scallop and place them in a buttered pyrex dish and pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes.

Now go pour yourself a mixed drink or a glass of wine, but stop back by and check their progress at the ten minute point. If you like your scallops well done just be careful to not dry out the prosciutto too much.

Spread your salad greens out on a large plate or platter and arrange your hot wrapped scallops around the greens, garnish with some lemon wedges, and try to not get trampled when you bring them out of the kitchen to your guests.

Regards Y'all

The Redneck Gourmet

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Update Photos Show My Progress And Insanity

Webcam Headcam Images From My Life...

OK folks, I'm sitting here in the International Headquarters of my infant company, weak and sleepy and slightly buzzed and full of confessions.

You'd be too if you were so full of Turkey and Dressing and various and sundry Casseroles and vegetable dishes and my own Seafood Extravaganza of Oysters and Scallops and frankly...

Here's how things would look from the executive offices while gazing over the monitor of my Network Server PC:

(that's a 9' wide x 5' high vintage i.e. 20 year old yet brand-new hand sewn American Flag from the "Valley Forge Flag Company" hanging there on the wall--Betsy Ross was unavailable for my commissioning efforts...)

And here's a long overdue photo of little Missy the Turbo Pup cruising down the road in her deluxe coachman sleeper area of the Chrysler 300 on the way to Indianapolis earlier this month...

And just because this came up when I dumped the digital Camera here's a look at a giant 16" Lodge cast iron skillet full of cornbread I did a couple of weeks ago to go along with a gallon cooking of my soon to be world famous "Green Butt" White Pork Chili...

Finally to the project at hand, here's the lonely metal "electrical enclosure" with some holes cut in and a terminal strip and a 24 volt power supply mounted on a DIN rail with some terminal strip modules...

I keep trying to keep the belly button high electronics workbench cleaned off but things like the giant magnifying glass to assist 50 year old eyes keep getting in the way..."the better to see you with...My DEAR..."

And here is the neural network of my new business enterprise--"Mission Control"--fully outfitted and operational as shown here:

Top shelf Radio with Rush Lindbaugh and TV with Food Network.

Mid Shelf with 400 Watt 24 Volt power supply and the Horner project PLC

Bottom shelf with "old HP laptop", IR Temperature probes, and insulated mug of Wine

Hot wire (red) installed...PROGRESS...

Warning lights this morning added..."Danger...Danger...Will Robinson..."

And soon to be finished up this weekend and delivered to the job site...resulting in ...

CASH FLOW (I hope)

Stay tuned to this channel for more engineering antics...

Avoiding A Turkey Malfunction

Tropical Thanksgiving???

Here's hoping that you don't open your oven at lunch or dinner today and find something that looks like this looking back at you...

(Idea and Image Shamelessly stolen from here)

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all....


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Government Insanity...My Personal Experience

Can I Get The Responsible Politicians To Bend Over?

The past month, in my spare know...

"spare time"

that would be my time not spent chasing goblins in my computers or working in my basement trying to make a dime building things or driving across country to spend time and money taking programming classes...

that time...

I've been spending my spare time opening mail from various and sundry local, state, and federal Government agencies, all welcoming me and my new company to the business world. Of course in the process they also enthusiastically tell me how much it's going to cost me to try to do business in their city, county, state, and/or country and attempt to earn some semblance of a living.

Don't get me wrong...I knew it was ultimately coming.

You see, having owned most if not all of three Georgia Corporations back in the 1990's, and having been in a senior management position in another company in the 1980's, I'm well aware of the bullshit the government puts you through when you try to earn a living on your own and possibly create a few jobs for others in the process.

But still...

The tone of the current bureaucratic onslaught has tilted me back on my heals a bit because of their insidious, terse, even desperate-for-cash tone delivered in their correspondence.

It's like they believe any money you have already belongs to the government before you earn it or at least collect it from your customers.

These bastards are already overtly threatening me with penalties and interest if I don't comply to the letter of their confiscatory laws (with all of the associated I's dotted and T's crossed) even before I've made one single penny, and their "fees" and "assessments" and "licenses" are starting to add up.

And doing business in the state of Tennessee is cheap compared to many if not most states, BUT...

I just want to ask this this morning...


Further, where the #$%@ do they think the money they're asking for comes from and how do they expect anyone to produce anything and offer employment to anyone else when they make it virtually impossible to do business without a lawyer and accountant looking over your shoulder every minute of every day?


I'm waiting for an answer...

(que the sounds of the crickets chirping)

You want details?

It costs $100, paid to the Tennessee Secretary of State, to file incorporation papers establishing Plastics Engineering Technologies.


Then Knox County (or any other Tennessee county for that matter) wants a minimum "fee" of $24 for a "Business License", even if I never sell anything delivered in the entire state of Tennessee or more specifically Knox County or the City of Knoxville.

And then the Imperial Federal Government of the By-God United States of 'Merica's Internal Revenue Service let me elect to be a "Sub chapter S" Corporation for tax purposes (for "FREE"), but they also sent me a letter warning about using Dividends to pay Owners and Corporate Officers rather than paying taxable salaries and let me know that they have already set up a direct deposit electronic funds transfer account in the Corporation's name.

Gee...THANKS Mr./Mrs. IRS employees...

Meanwhile, back at the state level I was just blindsided with the Tennessee Franchise and Excise Tax last weekend.

Thankfully the Tennessee Department of Revenue helpfully sent me a letter indicating that they had already considerately set up an account in the company's name and let me know that our$100 minimum "Franchise and Excise Tax" fee was due and payable by April 15th next year.

Boy...I was happy that they took care of that for me.

In that same letter they also reminded me that I have to apply for a Tennessee Sales Tax Number (I already knew that and was putting it off) even though again I'll probably not sell or deliver anything into the state of Tennessee in 2009.

The thing I learned about "State sales tax numbers" while living and doing business in Georgia is that even if you owe no sales tax, if you don't fill out the forms and make the filings on time the assholes charge you a penalty for late filing.

I ended up paying Georgia near $100 a year for a couple of years for late quarterly tax forms until I decided to start paying "Bob the Accountant" a couple of thousand dollars a year to keep the Feds and State and City and County and Herpes and Gonorrhea and Aids and Fleas and Ticks and Athletes Foot and Jock Itch out of and off of me and my property.

I guess my point here in closing is this. It's easy for the population and the media to lament the current business climate and the lack of employment for so many Americans, but then again...look at the Crap Government makes people do when all they want to accomplish is earn a living.

I say if the Government would get out of the way and get their hands out of people's pockets the level of pain and suffering would be greatly reduced and go away all together about ten times faster than it will with them standing in the way of progress.

What about this concept is there to not understand?

Is it just ME?

that will be all...for now...dammit

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Free At Last...Free At Last

Thank Anyone But Bill Gates...I'm Free At Last...

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, I have to hand it to the Norton 360 software people, because after FOUR full scans lasting about 15 hours over THREE days, today's Virus Update Download finally caught up with the bull crap that had my old HP laptop tied in knots since last Friday.

A quick scan after downloading the newest descriptions took care of things, and then I ran the free download version of the software from Malwarebytes and it found another EIGHTY things lurking on my hard drive and after evaporating them with the click of a mouse I feel Twenty years younger and thirty pounds lighter.

I also ran the Malwarebytes program on my server and it found another five things Norton didn't find.

I swear if you use your computer for anything but Facebook and games and you're online with any frequency you absolutely HAVE TO have a strict anti-virus and spyware program and further...

you have to use it regularly, if not EVERY DAY.

Look at what this recent BS has cost me...and what it could have cost me if I didn't have three computers or if it had happened a week earlier when I was out of town in the training class.

Just remember if you're a spammer or virus writer or other sniveling booger eating purveyor of computer diseases and I ever find you that there is a high probability I'll be spending three or four years in prison while you spend the rest of your life with my amputated foot/tennis shoe up your ass or sticking out of your ear.

That will be all...for now...

I Wish I Could Do Stuff Like This


There was a time...from about 1965 until about 1975--before I got my first car and discovered "women" and Frisbee--when I spent most of my spare time building models.

Mainly flying model airplanes.

You know, those things made out of balsa wood and tissue with noisy smelly little nitro-methane powered engines?

Today's hobbyists have the luxury of using really high powered electric motors and expensive lithium batteries and designs have been built that are tiny and can be flown by remote control in your back yard or a small public park, and even inside a school gymnasium.

Check out this guy's skill in the "Indoor Acrobatics Championships":

(Of course the pilot looks to be about 18 years old and still can see and has his other God Given senses and reflexes intact...I'd probably kill myself or a bystander as any plane being flown by me going through those gyrations would be doing so totally by accident...)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Who The Heck Got To Decide Puppies Couldn't Eat Onions & Chocolate?

I'd Dang Sure Change Things If I were In Charge


Wouldn't it be nice if your Boyfriend's/Husband's breath didn't smell any worse than your DOG's breath?

Or vice versa?

After all, for many households that would be a MAJOR IMPROVEMENT (and you know who you are when I say that...)

And to all of my fellow Male contemporaries out there (of all races, creeds, and national origins) finding yourself in relationships of various definitions and descriptions with anyone from "that girl/woman I met last night" or "that crazy insane bitch I met last year" and proceeding all the way to "my last year on this planet because I think that she's just hanging around to piss me off..."

I want to make a valid point here...But I digress...

You see, what got this rant started is that this holiday season finds be for once in a LooooOnNNNNG time not in charge of "ALL" or "Most of" or "a Significant Segment of" the Thanksgiving Day meal.

Since we're stuck in town this year in the process of finishing "The Epic PLC Panel Project" in time for a November 30th shipment, our next door neighbors invited us to come over to their family gathering on Thursday.

I think that it really should be considered a relief, but at the same time I'm afraid that I'm going into "cooking withdrawal" because I keep offering to make things and they keep turning me down and in spite of their refusals I'll probably come up with some appetizer like Oysters Rockefeller or Angels on Horseback or a seafood dip (but not Kitty food) or something.

These days I find that I have the overwhelming urge TO COOK SOMETHING SUBSTANTIAL at least every 48 hours.

And it has to take at least two hours to prepare.

Heck, in a pinch I've been known to take one of the Food Network's Rachael Ray's "Thirty Minute" meals, drink a gallon of wine or a pint of Vodka in front of the stove, and end up stretching that sucker out to 125 minutes, then spend the next day washing the car and the dog and the ceiling to get the grease and tomato stains off everything.

It was still FUN, and it usually ends up tasting pretty good.

In recent years I cooked Christmas dinner for or minus...with a little help here and there from Pat and from attendees with desert, and that took most of TWO DAY's in prep and final heating and I had to borrow a friend's oven because we'd moved out of the Island Condo with the double oven by then and I had every pot and bowl in the kitchen dirty in the end.

So this week all I have to do is show up if I want to, but back to my original point...

Isn't it weird that Puppies can't eat (or aren't supposed to eat)Onions and Garlic and Chocolate?

Seriously, I have to make a conscious effort to control the onion content of my dinner meals which Missy the Turbo Pup always generally enjoys with us each evening.

Last night I did an original dish I call "Caribbean Perogies" which features Mrs Paul's Three Cheese Potato Perogies and a mixture of Black Beans, Yellow Hominy Corn, along with Cumin and other spicy Mexican/Caribbean seasonings and ...

tons of ONIONS and GARLIC.

(somewhere there's a group of people of Polish descent shaking their heads...)

Any way, I have to leave the ONIONS and GARLIC out of the mixture until I can spoon the Turbo Pup's portion out of the pot, then toss them in.

This because our Vet says little pups shouldn't eat onions and garlic because they're toxic just like chocolate to them.

That's somehow just WRONG.

Then she has to sit there and Yip at me begging for a bite of my evening portion extra dark chocolate.

And another's possibly a two way street on the restrictions I guess.

If Missy can't have onions and garlic will someone please tell me if I have to stop eating a bowl full of her Milk Bone Tarter Control with my milk this morning?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Slaying The Dragon

Day Two With The Computer Version Of H1N1?

I'm really dreading going downstairs this morning...thus my reason for waiting past 10 AM to make the first journey.

I have to fire up the old HP laptop and wrestle around with the Norton Antivirus/Anti Spyware software and hopefully exorcise the demons out of it's system registers and start up files before anything productive can be accomplished.

I'm thinking I'll give the process another hour or so of my time this morning, then if I'm not successful I may reluctantly hand the machine over to Staples or Best Buy for a "PC tune up" and see if they can do anything with the stupid thing.

In the mean time I guess I'll be forced to bring the PLC and 24 volt power supply and infrared sensors and associated stuff UPSTAIRS into my office and live with tripping over the wiring this week until things get straightened out.

It's really frustrating to finally have the shop finished and the Internet installed and everything working, only to have some asshole break into my house through the wiring and give me this computer venereal disease.

I think we should catch the people that think it's funny or that financially prosper by writing viruses and other forms of "malware" and send them to Malasya or somewhere, try them, convict them, and thrash them within an inch of their lives by caining them with the kind of passion and vigor I feel right now.

I find this crap to be no less damaging than if they had pryed open one of my windows or doors and came inside and set my TV or some other expensive piece of electronic equipment on fire.

I have to go now and try to get something done, because writing about it makes me think about it and further thinking is going to make my head explode...