Friday, August 22, 2014

Meat pie? No way!! Make room for Meat Cake!!!!

Yes, these pictures are fro a couple years ago, but I thought that since I started the day out with some stuff on one type of fusion cooking that I have done, that this would follow in the same vein of just out and out weird. 

This is a meatloaf layer cake with mashed potato frosting.  It is really simple, I use a pressure cooker to cook my Yukon Gold potatoes to mash, you don't boil them, they are pressure cooked in only a half cup water and when you mash the potatoes, you add that water back in so you aren't pouring nutrients down the drain as you do when you just boil them.  Then I like using a ricer, it makes the whole process easier, and cooking should be about fast, easy, convenient and utterly delicious.  And for me, unique.




Any way, mash your potatoes, here I added roasted garlic and cheese to them.  Then make some meatloaf and just pack the meatloaf mixture into cake pans. Bake until at least 160 in the middle.  Remove, cool a bit, then frost like a cake.  You want some weird looks when you serve this, you will get them.

And now for something completely different. Fusion

Alright, I admit it, I'm a little weird.  Well, some might disagree with that statement and claim that I am a lot weird.  Either way, I do like to question the norm, the staid tried and true, and let's face it, often times boring world of culinary experimentation.  There are some notable chefs out there that claim to expand and surpass the boundaries of the culinary experience.  And most of the time I look at their stuff and think, man, that's pretty tame.  I DO some weird and incredibly tasty stuff.  It sounds weird, but this little recipe today is just so unique, so over the top, so outrageous and soooooo delicious that you have just got to try it and you will say the same thing.

It starts with leftovers.  Hey, be creative.  This is made with some leftover corned beef and cabbage.  With my unique twist.  Here I found some large pablano peppers and just roasted them under the broiler although if you have a grill, feel free to do so.  When blackened all over, remove and put in a large bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  When cooled, rub the skins off the pepper.  Take a knife and make a slit in one side and whatever seeds are in it, rinse them out.  Now take leftover corned beef and cut into large cubes.  Cut the cabbage into bite size pieces and if you cooked potatoes with it, cut them up also.  Now, in the pepper, stuff some of each into it so that it is overflowing with the corned beef and cabbage.  Heat in the oven or microwave and squirt on some spicy brown mustard and some horseradish sauce.  Serve.

Fiction, by me. Just for fun










Time to go home.

by

Roy Marshall





Lightening was all about them now, growing in frequency, and intensity.  Leonard sat on his back porch and watched the maelstrom of nature's electrical fury.  It was entertaining though, and soon Grady and Davis walked through his gate and over to the screen door of his large screened in porch.  In the dim candlelight he could see the beers in the hands of Davis and Grady had a bag of cigars. 
"Whew, this storm came up quick, I thought the monsoon was over, I mean it hasn't been humid all week." Grady said as he sat down in his usual place and took out a cigar and began to cut and light it.  "Katy. Diane and the kids are all huddled up around candles at the kitchen table, not sure what they're doing over there."
"I'm not sure how big an area has been hit with the power outage.  It looks pretty dark.  No reflected light coming from city lights off the clouds.  Thanks for the candles Len, almost tripped over Grady's big feet coming in here." Davis told them all as he opened three of the beers from the six-pack.
"You sure it was my feet?"  As they all sat and began the monsoon ritual.  Jokes, jabs, beer and cigars as they watch the display of the most powerful force of nature. 
"I don't know, could have been a tail."
"And how do you know it wasn't something else, hmm"
"Grady, we all know, it might be short, but it's thin as well."  and they all laughed at Davis's old and tired joke. 
 Nothing was said for several minutes as the lightening flashed the darkness with crystal clear brilliance in rapidly increasing intervals.  It was quite a spectacular show, with incredible variances in the types of lightening.  Arcing between the clouds, spider webbing along the lower ceiling and spectacular bursts of brilliance accompanied with booms of thunder that at times rattled the windows as the lightening touched down to the ground somewhere north of them. 
Leonard pulled out his camera from the drawer of the cabinet behind him and set up the little tabletop tripod. "I know, it's sheer luck to actually shoot lightening, but I thought that I could just make a video and then later take stills from that.  I think it might work, it's worth a try."  With that, the red glow from the top of the camera came on.  The brilliance continued.
A quick succession of bolts flashed across the clouds almost directly above them, and there, in the clouds, was a shape.  Grady dropped his beer bottle and jumped up out of his chair, "Jesus, do you see that?" He screamed at the others.
Leonard moved his camera upwards, "I think I saw something, it was big."  They all three stood and moved toward the screens, peering up, waiting for another burst of light.  When it came, it showed them a huge triangular shape sort of half in, half out of the lower clouds just north of being directly above them. 
"My god, do you see that Lenny, is your camera on, are you getting that."  Grady asked.
"It's on, what the hell is that?"  He fired back at him as the flashes of light revealed more details of a roughly triangular shape with an irregular surface.  Dark areas on it, and lighter ones as well.  It was large, like a stadium sized object lingering above them.
"Well."  Davis said softly.  The other two turned to look at him.  "Time to go home."
And just then a huge bolt of lightening slammed into the side of the house and the boom threw them backwards against their chairs and they fell over them, landing on the floor of the sun room.  Barely conscious, Leonard was the first to get his bearings back and he reached over and helped Grady to his feet.  They looked about them, and noticed that Davis was nowhere to be seen.  
"Where, where's Davis Lenny?  He was here next to me, and then, then, did you see him kinda glow.  I was thrown backward.  Where's Davis?  He was just here, and then that thing appeared.....Oh my god, call 911 man."
Just then the power came back on and the lights in his, and all the surrounding homes lit up the darkness.  The two men looked at each other, and then they moved toward the screens of the north wall of the sun room and looked up toward the clouds.  They waited for lightening to strike again, to strike anywhere so they could see the object again.  But the electrical storm that just moments ago was the most intense they had ever seen was now dissipating rapidly.  Grady looked at Leonard who was staring up at the receding clouds, transfixed.  "Lenny, where's your cell, call 911, this is big, this is real, Davis is an alien and that, that thing came and took him home man, this is freaky big."
Leonard stared at Grady then began nodding his head a moment and looked about his pockets for his phone.  Then he called for the police.  The two were so shocked they couldn't sit, or move, or even talk anymore.  It was several minutes before the operator answered. "This is 911, what is your emergency?"  The little phone squawked.  Len put it to his ear and began, "Operator, I live in Peoria and we saw a huge space ship, it was in the clouds and lightening hit my house and one of my neighbors disappeared.  The space ship took him."
Several moments passed, then, "Sir, are you saying lightening struck your house?  Are you okay, is there a fire?"
Grady ran to the side of the house and was shaking his head no.  Leonard continued, "No, there's no fire, the lightening knocked us down and our friend just vanished."
The 911 operator spoke again, "So you're okay.  Look we have had lots of reports of a UFO, and some accidents with the power outage, I, we, well, I'll try to get someone there as soon as possible."
"All right, thank you."  And then he gave his address information.  The two sat back down and began the wait.  It wasn't long, within a minute there was a siren that grew progressively louder and then a screeching in the front of the house.  Grady stood and walked around the side gate to call the police to the rear of the home.  Two uniformed officers came around the side of the house and into the sun room. 
"We received a call that your home was hit by lightening.  Everything seems okay, you guys all right?"
Len told them they were fine.
"The dispatcher also said you had the UFO on video, and someone disappeared after it became visible, is that right."
"Yeah, yeah, it was freaky.  We sit here a lot during storms, you know, just to watch, and Lenny had his camera on when the lightening flashed and we saw this huge huge rectangle thing half in and out of the clouds just above us."
"Can I see the video?" the officer asked.
Len picked up his camera and fiddled with it a moment, then replayed the video.  Lightening was flashing, then off to the side you could hear Grady crying out about the object.  The camera moved and pointed upwards and another brilliant flash blinded the picture for just a brief moment, then the unmistakable image of an enormous triangle filled the tiny view screen.  The first officer motioned for them to stop it, then took out his radio and called into his headquarters that they indeed had a video of the UFO.  Then they continued to watch as Davis calmly said off camera that it was time to go home.  Then there was a loud boom and brilliant flash of white light and the camera flew backwards and pointed toward the roof.  Then the neighborhood lights came on again.  Len turned the camera off, the two officers stood there, speechless.  After a few minutes, he asked, "Who was the person that said time to go home?"
"That was my next door neighbor, Davis.  He lives right next door." And Len pointed to the house to the East.  "He was standing there with us, then the boom hit and we flew backwards.  When I stood up, he was gone."
Grady chimed in, "This sounds weird, but I was looking right at him after he said it, and he seemed to like glow a bit.  Got brighter somehow, then the boom and I was thrown backward and I didn't watch him.  But yeah, he wasn't there afterwards."
"Did he get thrown backwards by the lightening as well?"
"I didn't see.  Lenny, did you see?"
"No, I was watching the UFO up until I was thrown back to the floor.  I didn't see."
There was another few moments of silence, then the first officer asked where the lightening struck.  They all trooped outside and using the police flashlights, they inspected the house and surrounding area only to find no evidence of burns or any destruction. 
About that time Grady's wife Katy, Leonard's wife Diane and all of their kids came out the back door and were perplexed to see two officers walking back into the sun room with their husbands.  "What's going on out here?" Katy was the first to ask.
Grady took them all back inside to explain the events just as more sirens on numerous vehicles noisily came to a halt out in the street.  Moments later six men in Air Force uniforms along with six more in fatigues all came around the side of the house and into the sun room that was rapidly getting overcrowded. 
The Air Force Major introduced himself as Thomas Kincaid, them asked what happened.  The two told the story again, they watched the video, they all looked around outside for evidence of lightening, they all returned to the sun room and stood about in silence.  The Major began again, "So tell me about this Davis person, what do you know about him.  A criminal, or anything that stands out about him?"
Len looked at him then started, "Well no, I don't think he's a criminal. He's just a guy, about mid fifties, he's nice, he says hello to everyone in the neighborhood.  He keeps his weeds cut down, not like some people."  Pointing over at Grady who then pantomimed "Me"  "I don't have any idea about his background, I didn't know I should get his FBI dossier when someone moves into the area."
"No nothing like that, just, well, did he say anything about his past, or anything unusual that would make you suspect anything odd or strange about himself?"
"No, he was just a nice guy.  Never any trouble.  Quiet.  Always ready to lend a hand, he drove me to work once when my car was in the shop.  And picked me up."
The Major looked over at him somewhat disappointed, "Okay, so what did he do?"
"He drove me to work.  Never complained either, not like some neighbors." as he pointed again over at Grady.
"No, I mean what did he do for a living?  Where did he work?"
"Oh, no he was retied.  He sold his business in Minnesota and moved here.  I think he was an architect."
"Okay, what was his name.  Do you know that?"
"Montham, it was Davis Montham."
"Like the Air Force base?"
"Yeah, in Tucson, yeah.  That is kind of weird hunh?"
The Major looked exasperated, "Okay, so you have a neighbor, who by all accounts is the perfect neighbor, moves in next door and has no visible job, and has a name like an Air Force base.  Did you ever think that was odd at all?"
They all looked around at each other, and almost in unison said, "No."
The Major just shook his head.
Grady then chimed in, "Well, yeah, but you should taste his brats.  The man made awesome bratwursts."
"You ate food that he cooked?"  Then looked around him at the others, "You all ate food he made?"  Everyone nodded in assent.
Just then there was a huge commotion from in the street out in front of the house.  As they walked around the side of the house, there were three large semi trucks with large plain trailers now parked in the road in front of their house.  Men in full contamination suits exited the rear of one of the trucks and came over to the group.  The Major began to order them around and then he walked two of them over to the group of residents just watching the operation.
"All seven of these people have had personal contact with the alien, they need to be held for contamination findings."  He then held up a small blue chip. "This is the data from the camera that shows the UFO, we need to get that uploaded immediately."
Leonard looked at his chip, "Hey, when did you take that out of my camera?  That's mine, I didn't give you permission to take it."
The Major took the four steps that separated them and looked him in the eyes, "I don't need your permission."  Then he waved over more suited men and told them to take them all away.
The two families were ushered amid numerous protests into the back of one of the trucks.  There they were subjected to numerous indignities and examinations.  All through the night.  And all the next day as well.  Finally, after hours and hours of tests and questions and grilling by inhospitable minions of some government entity that none of the inquisitors would divulge; they were all released late in the afternoon the next day.  The sight before them as they walked out into the sunlight was shocking.  Davis's home was completely covered with a large plastic tent.  Temporary buildings were erected in his yard, driveway and in the street in front of his home.  The Ford Taurus that Davis owned was without doors or seats and numerous other parts where lying all over the driveway.  The entire road was blocked off, filled with trucks, trailers, buildings and numerous military vehicles.  Just like in the movies, they treated his home like a nuclear waste site or a terrorist bomb facility.  Or a meth lab.  Or it seems, like an alien lived there.  Which it was appearing more and more likely was what happened.
They all went to their respective homes and fell into bed, it had been a long night and day.  The next morning was Saturday, and Grady awoke early and was next door at Leonard's door softly knocking.  Len answered and the two went around the house to the sun room.  Grady had a newspaper and Len turned on the little television he had on the back porch in the sun room.  Saturday morning news shows were showing pictures of Davis's house with the tent on it.  And one picture from Google as well, then they cut to images from the weather service showing the storm clouds, and then the appearance of the UFO on the radar.  Then the object just faded.  Grady was scanning the paper, and found the same images, but none anywhere of the UFO itself.
         "Len, there aren't any pictures of the UFO here, and they don't seem to have any on the TV either.  Maybe you're the only one that had an actual video.  The only proof.  Gone”
“Not gone Grady, the Air Force, or whoever that was, they have it.”
“Yeah they got it.”
Life plodded along over the next ten days.  The news eventually gave up on featuring the UFO and as the Air Force came out with a possible explanation of a metallic weather balloon that was triangular in shape and nearly 800 meters on a side, the attention faded.  With the obvious exception of the supermarket weeklies.  Their reporters, if they could be called such, hounded the families for nearly a week.  The Air Force men had forced them to sign non-disclosure agreements that threatened numerous huge repercussions for revealing any details of what happened.  Life in Peoria began to return to normal, most of the trucks left, the street was opened again, and just a few men in contamination suits remained and were only occasionally visible to the residents.
The Friday that marked fifteen day after the event, Grady, Katy and their two children were over for a barbeque at Leonard and Diane’s house.  It was Labor Day weekend and the seven of them were sitting quietly awaiting the men to finish the grilling portion of the meal.  Moods were subdued, not a lot of talking was going on.  Too much had transpired, too many shared experiences that frightened them all and shook their understanding of the world for any semblance of normalcy to return.  At least in only two weeks.
As Grady carried in a tray of bratwursts and burgers, the side door of the sun room opened and Davis walked in.  “Hi everyone, looks like a party.  And I’m sure the brats are almost as good as mine.”
 As a group, all seven turned and stared, mouths open with no sound.  Finally Leonard broke the silence, “Davis, what,… how, where have you been?
As nonchalant as ever, Davis just looked at everyone a moment, then began, “Well, I went to Minnesota to see my mother, she’s been sick.  I came home and found my house with a huge tent over it, like it’s being gassed for termites or something.  What happened, how much is it going to cost me though is the big question.”
“Davis, man, haven’t you seen the news? Grady asked as he set the plate of food on the table.
“No, not really.  My mom lives up on a lake out in the middle of nowhere about a hundred miles north of St. Paul.  Didn’t really watch TV.  She’s better thank you for asking.  Why, what’s been going on?
Leonard walked over to him and put a hand on his shoulder. “Davis, remember the night two weeks ago when we were here watching the storm?”
“Sure, that was the night I flew out.  Why?”
“We saw that huge UFO in the clouds, you told us it was time for you to go home.  Then you disappeared.  We thought, well, we thought the UFO took you.  The tent on your house is from the feds, the Air Force.  They think you’re an alien.”
“What, an alien.  I was born in Minnesota, I’m a citizen.”
“No Davis, an alien, like extraterrestrial.  I had the video that showed the UFO.  It was huge, it was right above us.  The Air Force people took it from us, they kept us all night and the next day testing us, questioning us.  We had to sign documents that we won’t talk to anyone about it.”
“What?  That’s crazy.”
“Yeah, I’m not sure what’s going to happen now.  I’m not sure if we should be talking to you.  I’ve tried to talk to the men next door, but they won’t talk.”
“Wow, well to start, when the lightening struck the house the blast of thunder was so intense it knocked me, well all of us down.  I got up and walked out to the airport shuttle that had just honked.  I have no idea why you thought I was abducted.  I have no idea why the government doesn’t want you to talk about me.  In fact I have no idea why any of you thought there was a UFO in the sky that night.  I thought it was a balloon or a blimp or something.  Or optical illusion, but I had to catch a plane so I left.  And the feds are in my home doing god knows what to it.  I need to go find out."  And with that he grabbed a brat and walked out the side door and over to his house.
Ten minutes later, sirens were blasting through the still evening silence and screeched to a halt out in front on the street.  Grady just looked at Leonard, then said, "No way am I going out there.  No way.  Not my circus, not my monkey."
They all sat down and ate a very quiet meal.  Nothing was said amongst them.  They all waited for more suited men to come get them, but no one came.  They all retired for the night.  The next morning, Leonard went outside to get his paper and saw that the tent was down, and being packed up into one large semi truck that must have driven in during the night. 
Davis came out of his house and walked over to where Len was standing.  He seemed chipper, "Well, they really didn't do a lot to the house, there was a lot of equipment in there, but no damage to speak of, not even much of a mess."
"What, what happened?"
"Well, when I told them who I was, they were pretty shocked.  They were going to handcuff me but I talked them out of that.  They took some blood and scanned me with a bunch of stuff they had sitting in there.  Pretty cool, they had my DNA profile in about 20 minutes and confirmed I was me, the guy who has been living there.  Then some Air Force officers came and talked to me.  I told them the same thing I told you.  They said they went to my mother's home in St. Paul but she moved from there a year ago.  Those guys told me they have checked out everything about my past said they thought I was real human from Earth."
"What about that thing we saw up in the sky?"
"Yeah, I asked about that, they said it was a weather balloon.  So I said why are you in my house.  The guy didn't have an answer, so they started to pack everything up to leave.  I've been up all night making sure they don't take anything.  I mean I have a lot of Hummels, I was just making sure.  But you know, these feds are not too bright, if I was an alien with technology capable of flying through interstellar space, don't they know that recreating a perfect human is pretty simple?"
"It is?"
"Lenny, sure it is.  The hard part is to find the perfect human that somewhere in Minnesota skids off the road into a tree and gets killed.  Then you create that body and take over his life and move to Arizona where there is no snow and move next door to generally nice guys."
"Man Davis, I am so sorry.  This is all mine and Grady's fault.  We didn't see you leave.  We, you know, thought you were, I don't know, transported up to that spacecraft.  Grady said he was looking at you and you seemed to glow."
"Hmmm, he saw that did he.  Well.  Now, let me tell you, transporting is a fictional concept, I actually turn back into my elemental wave form and travel a beam of light up.  But that's just between you and me."       
And with a smile on his face, he turned and walked back into his house.

The End



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cooking like a pro

Okay, so it might not be the dream of most everyone, have crowds of tuxedo dressed men and lovely ladies in evening dress all eating the food you have labored over for hours and enjoying it all immensely.  It really isn't my dream either, and it has only happened to me one time.  The work involved was tremendous, the reward was but a pittance.  However, the satisfaction was worth it all. 

Cooking for group events is still something I do for friends, and it is a lot of work, and still rewarding.  Those same techniques i use to cook for big events can still be used when cooking for yourself, your family, or your friends and for your own group events.  For me, there is no reason whatsoever to go to a fast food purveyor of high fat high sugar low or no fiber meals when anyone can be a great cook and make health and nutritious meals at home in little or no time.  My advice to everyone, use your freezer.  Make stuff, eat it, freeze the rest and eat it when you need to.  It's always better than the slop from the Gilded Arches. 

First off, so many people tell me that food that I cook, or food that they buy in restaurants is far far better in flavor than anything they can make at home.  Let me let you in on the one big secret that restaurants, well, good quality restaurants do that home cooks don't do.  They use spices, and they use a lot of them.  And they use fresh ones.  If the spices you have in your cupboard have been there since you moved into the house 8 years ago, they don't have any flavor.  Good restaurant chefs use so many spices and herbs that they never get old.  And they douse their food liberally with them.  And they also use a lot of salt.  That is one thing that I never cook with.  Once you start NOT eating a lot of salt in your food, it really opens up all the other flavors and those can be even more thrilling and exciting to your palate.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.  A week ago I cooked a bunch of food for an event for some
friends.  Not a lot, only about 50 people.  One of the items I made was lasagna roll ups. These are fun, very easy to do, can make a fantastic presentation of just be great for every day meals.  Some of my friends that were at the event, told me that these were some of the best things I ever made for them.  The secret, spices.  For these, I actually made them with Italian sausage.  They were for a group of friends that eat meat, not for me, so the menu was with a lot of meat.  Here's how they were done.  I first took 3 boxes of lasagna noodles and cooked them for 13 minutes, even though the box said to cook for 8 to 10 minutes.  I drained them, let them sit in cold water to cool them off and then drained again and just tossed lightly with olive oil so the wouldn't stick together.  Then I browned the sausage and drained it, made sure it was broken up into pretty small pieces.  Then in a large bowl I beat 6 eggs and added an entire bunch of Italian parsley that I chopped fine and 5 pounds of ricotta cheese.  Added in the drained sausage and 3 pounds of shredded Mozzarella cheese.  I mixed this in well and on a board I then would lay down one cooked noodle and spread some of the filling onto it on all but about 2 inches on the end.  I then rolled it up into a little roll and set it in a pan with a little sauce spread on the bottom.  After they are all done, more sauce and cover with parchment paper and aluminum foil on top and bake at 375 for an hour and a half.  Well, remember there are now about 12 pounds of them in the big pan.  The next thing here to look at and what it was that gave this all the flavor was the sauce.  I took a number ten can of crushed tomatoes and two 26 ounce cans of tomato puree and and added that to a stock pot in which I had taken a bottle of Merlot and brought to a boil with 1 and a half cups of my Italian spice blend, a cup of chopped garlic, a quarter cup of crushed red pepper and a half cup of dried parsley flakes.  I boiled the spices for about 2 minutes, then added the tomato products.  Brought it all to a simmer and used it to make the roll ups.  Easy peasy, quick and easy.  And the best I've ever done. 

Use a lot of spices, your system will love it, and you will soon get away from all the salt.

The next thing I made was a big hit as well.  Cheddar stuffed, bacon wrapped meatloaf bites.  Again, meat.  Not my thing, but I don't cook my food for my friends.  I've tried, meatless meatball sandwiches, stuff like
that and they all thought it was weird stuff.  But for this event, this was the bomb.  I have a nice helper, a big french loaf bread pan and that worked great to make the rolls.  I took a pound of smoked bacon and lined the pan with the strips just over lapping.  One pound for just about does the whole pan.  Then the meatloaf mixture was the easy part.  For a ten pound chub of 80/20 ground beef I took two one pound loafs of good real whole wheat bread I had baked and chopped fine in a blender.  These I did the day before and spread it out on a cookie sheet to dry.  Then I took 8 eggs and beat them with 2 cups of my Italian seasoning mix and a quarter cup of cayenne pepper and a bottle of beer..  Mixed in the ground meat well and started to make the rolls.  I just put a row of little balls of the meat mixture on the bacon and smashed them down into one long piece.  Then made an indentation down the middle.
  Next came the cheddar cheese.  I took 2 pounds of sharp cheddar in block form and cut it into long 3/8 inch cubes about 6 inches long.  Those go down into the indentation, and more meat mixture went on top.  Press that down and fold the bacon up over the meat loaf.  The you can sort of roll it out onto a long piece of foil, seal it up and place on large baking sheets and bake at 350 for about half an hour.  This just sets the meat up a bit and makes them easier to handle.  Let them cool in the fridge overnight and set up a cooling rack on a baking sheet and remove the foil from the loaf and place it on the rack with the folded ends of the bacon side on the rack.  Now bake them in a hot 425 oven for about another 45 minutes to an hour, or until the bacon starts to crisp up on the tops and sides.  The above recipe made 5 of these big meatloaves and I served them by slicing into inch and a half slices, about the width of each slice of bacon.  Then served with my Honey Bourbon Barbeque Sauce from my Frantic Foods business and everyone loved them.  Here's a couple shots of them in the process

  You don't have to go that big, but just make all your stuff with lots of spices and stop using the salt.
You know, I made a few other things for the event last week, but it just seems I get to working and i forget to take pictures of my stuff.  Some of the other stuff I made were jalapeno peppers that I cut in half and using a melon baller I scooped out the seeds and membranes and then stuffed with chorizo and pepper jack cheese.  Then I made corn muffins with cheddar and jalapeno peppers.  And one of the things I could eat was taking small Yukon god potatoes I sliced them in half and tossed with olive oil and fresh herbs then baked until well browned in a hot 450 oven.  Lastly I made home made ice cream that was flavored with Frangelico and had chocolate chips added to it.  That, was indeed my favorite.  Again, for five quarts of ice cream, I used a whole bottle of Frangelico to flavor it.  You have got to use a lot of spices, herbs and flavorings to get that restaurant taste.  I also use a lot of beer and wine in my cooking, especially when I cook for others, it does in fact add tons of flavor to anything you cook.

Don't be afraid to experiment, do fun stuff and above all else, eat healthy.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Meaning of Life

No, this isn't specifically about religion, I think I talked way too much about religion a few days ago, not the one about money (even though so so many people think of money as a religion) but this one about the purpose of religion , (Religion)

When most people think about life, they generally consider we humans as life on planet Earth.  And most people don't give a lot of thought to the rest of life here on this planet.  Who wants to think about the lower forms, snails, and gophers and wasps that sting.  Those are irritants. Most don't want to think that all that meat they consume from the Gilded Arches and other fast food places as actual life forms, if they did they would be shocked at how those life forms are raised.  Of course politicians pretty much equate the masses of humans in the same fashion.  Noisy, smelly, polluting the environment and good for one thing, burgers and votes.  Life exists here in a myriad of other forms, from the biggest, whales, to the tiniest, little viruses.  It's all life. 

Life is just a series of chemical reactions, governed by the properties of the basic laws that are absolutes in the universe, physics.  All life as we at this time know it, exists based on simple chains of chemical reactions that allow us to live, grow, procreate, and to think. Thought can be explained as a procession of events that are governed by physics as well.  Billions of neurons linked within a syntactic matrix of electrical impulses that allow the field mouse to be aware of night and day, to distinguish good seeds to eat from bad, and to stay out of the way to avoid predators.  It thinks, however rudimentary those thoughts are. Some humans prefer to believe that is just instinct, basic predetermined reactions that are part of the brain that is hereditary, and passed down from parents, to offspring.  The mouse is aware of its environment in ways that are certainly instinctive, however there is awareness.  Just as the pair of starlings instinctively chase the crow away from their babies in their nest, they have awareness to go back quickly to head off the crow's mate that tries to take advantage of their instinct to protect and left their nest unattended.  Both sets of creatures are using instinct, to protect, and to hunt, and awareness as well, to counter the actions of others  Humans think as well, on a very different scale, we have what we have termed, self awareness. When humans evolved to the point that feeding themselves was no longer the major use of their time, they became aware of themselves, and their world about them.  And after a bit of time, they asked of themselves, "Why are we here?"

Did you start reading this because you thought I had the answer?  I don't.  Personally I do look at the universe differently.  I look at life, on a larger scale.  The Dineh' believe that Mother Earth herself to be alive.  In one sense, it is.  There are complex chemical reactions going on with our planet, it changes daily.  Our home planet is a complex community of living things that draw sustenance from an ever changing and evolving substrate, the Earth itself.  And Mother Earth herself changes, it grows, it recedes, it breathes and is home to billions of varieties of lesser life forms, including man.  In that same vein of thought, our solar system itself is alive, moving, changing, creating new planets and destroying others in a vastly humongous system of chemical reactions all governed by the laws of physics.  Is it self aware?  How would we know, we don't have the capability to ask, nor to understand any sort of answer were one given.

From a conversation a few days ago I was told that there can't be any intelligent life out there in our galaxy anywhere because we haven't detected them yet.  And for there to be such advanced life, they would have had to go through the same evolution of technology that we have, and we would have found the detritus of their civilization, radio signals, that we have spewed out into the cosmos.  No signals, no life.  Concepts like that are unbelievably egocentric.  Why do you assume that life would evolve along the same path as we have.  Why do we assume that life is in fact carbon based, why not silicon, or for that matter, some gas.  And why do you assume that life elsewhere made all the mistakes and developed the same horrific attitudes about our superiority toward all other life forms that we have developed here on this planet?  The way we as a race think is that life in our universe MUST be in our form and have spent a great deal of their existence killing each other off and destroying the planet they live on.  If we think about not just Earth, but our solar system, and maybe even our galaxy as living growing, creative beings on massive scales wherein time has little meaning and those giant entities exist and our puny existence and shortsightedness would prevent us from seeing the reality of the life about us.  And prevent us from seeking to respond to the signals of life that we receive daily, and just don't understand.  The universe is populated by galaxies.  Are galaxies the purpose of life as they exhibit all the properties of life as we know it?  And we are thus little more than parasites within one solar system on one minor planet that gasps from the collective excrement of the parasites destroying the environment she has provided for them.  What's the meaning of life.  Again, we're here, deal with it.  And try to deal with it better than our predecessors.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Money money money money money money. Who, how, where, and the big one....Cancer

So who wins?  Who has the most money?  Well sure, ol' Bill Gates has mucho dinero.  And the Waltons, they got retail sewed up.  But for the new kids on the block, those wanting to go out and be the next Gates or Walton, where do they go?  You can't do as they did, no one can go out and start a software empire with someone else's operating system as Bill did, or start a new retail market and grow it into what Sam Walton did for his kids.  It just isn't going to happen.  So where do the newcomers go to make the most money?  Surprisingly, I'm not the only one to ask that question.  The financial analysts at Sageworks did some studies and found the top 10 most profitable industries for those wanting to be the next top dogs.  Number one, no surprise, law and lawyers.  Legal services.  really, not a surprise at all, very little cost, with very high returns on investments.  Well, shysters through and through.  But four of the top ten are money and financial services related.  Commercial equipment leasing is number four, with auto leasing as number 8.  Gas and oil is actually down there at number 5 and the tenth spot is support activities for mining.  That one probably doesn't include all the taverns and prostitutes, but then those are not actually on the list, but they certainly are a part of the category as stated in title heading it would seem to me.  But it's not my circus, so let's just go with actual physical mining stuff.  But there just below the middle of the list, is "medical services"  This includes dentists, hospitals, chiroquacks, and all the stuff that is necessary for the "practice" of medicine.  Now remember this list is about the most profitable industries, not the biggest companies with the biggest income.  That of course would be Walmart, with nearly 400 billion in sales they only had some 24 billion in profit.  Not exactly the most profitable.  And Exxon and all the rest of gas and oil, huge incomes, and some decent sized profit margins as well.  Of course US tax breaks along with their ability to hide profits in overseas "loopholes" make that industry incredibly profitable.  Not like being a lawyer, but then the sheer volume of income compared to shysters is off the chart. 

These lists made me wonder as to where the pharmaceutical industry was, as I was always under the impression that that industry was one of the more profitable industries around.  The thing is that they would normally be highly profitable and in the top ten except that lately the FDA fines and lawsuits for injuries from their desire to market their drugs before adequate testing is ever done on them has cut into the drug money profits so much lately as to reduce the industry as a whole from being very lucrative.

The medical profession and related services are the sixth most profitable "industries" in America today.  Now there is nothing wrong with making a profit, that's what the world is all about.  However, is making a profit by doing things that are in complete and total disharmony with what your stated purpose actually a good thing?  The stated purpose, cure the sick and infirm.  The reality, not so much trying to "cure" anyone as it is to treat symptoms of disease without ever really addressing the actual problems of the disease itself.  And yes, this is a generalization and doesn't include all doctors working diligently to cure serious maladies of the world but in fact covers MOST of the medical profession in their daily dealings with their customers, the general public.  Let me explain, if you were to go to your GP because you had a rash, your doctor would look at your rash and give you a prescription for a cortisone ointment or a corticosteroidal ointment.  Two different ointments that have marginal effectiveness against a few hundred of the more than three thousand different rashes that humans can get.  And sure, there are about twenty or so that are most common, and one or the other of those two ointments are effective for most.  And you might have about a fifty-fifty chance of him guessing correctly which ointment to prescribe.  If he's wrong, and you go back to see him again in a week with your rash even worse, then there is the other ointment.  That is the AMA proscribed methodology for treating symptoms of diseases.  The initial contact for any doctor is to prescribe medication to treat a Symptom, and not to address the actual disease causing the symptom with the hope of that working.  Do you know why Lyme disease is on the rise in America today?  Because doctors utilize this very specific methodology for diagnosis to treat symptoms, not the underlying cause.  It doesn't always work.  And quite often, as it did in my particular case, the AMA method just leads to exacerbation of other problems and as the treatments get more intense, the resulting problems become greater and more varied as ever greater and more toxic drugs with wilder and more harmful side effects are visited upon your person.  And of course there is always the other problem of just being in a medical facility you are exposed to what is fast becoming a scourge on America, antibiotic resistant bacteria.  But as long as the doctors follow AMA guidelines and treat your symptoms, as those become greater and more varied and intense as they treat the side effects from their earlier treatments, then it is pretty hard to sue them for malpractice because they followed AMA procedures.  They didn't treat your disease, or in my case the actual causes of those symptoms, they only treat symptoms.

Sometime do a search for the cause of cancer.  There are no known specific causes as to why cells turn cancerous.  Well there are some theories with the biggest being genetic propensity, but no known causative factors.  Now, along that same line of thinking, let's look at what the FDA says about vitamins, "... statements that supplementation with vitamins claim to prevent or cure any known disease cannot be made, those claims can only legitimately be made for approved drugs."   So the FDA is on board with the AMA.  Both do not want anyone to ever think that taking a vitamin supplement could in anyway help prevent or cure any disease.  Actual pharmaceutical made drugs can only do that.  Even though so much of drug company profits go into paying lawsuits to people harmed by their products as we learned a little earlier.  So, back to the internet, search for free radicals and cancer.  Now we see that free radicals within our bodies play an enormous role in the growth of cancer cells.  Scientists don't at this time think that having large numbers of free radicals in your bloodstream actually cause the cancer to begin, but they do cause it to grow at accelerated rates.  So, how do you rid your body of free radicals?  Well, you consume foods or supplements that are antioxidant in nature.  Ooooohhhh, that is sort of contrary to the set guidelines from the AMA and completely against the mandate and policy of the FDA.

Depending on who you want to believe and where you look, over 600,000 people die annually from cancer.  Cancer as an industry brings in from 200 to over 600 billion dollars annually.  That's a lot of money.  With over 260 tax exempt organizations and research facilities working to find a cure, not one has ever published any reports that eating a balanced diet with supplementation with antioxidants will do anything other than make you feel better during standard traditional treatments approved by the AMA.  The stated AMA purpose of good nutrition is to help make you stronger so that you can better survive their traditional approved therapies.  That sort of goes back to the above where the AMA therapies cause ever more serious and greater complications.

I'm never going to state that diet can cure cancer.  I'm never going to state that diet is the primary cause of cancer, we do know that genetics plays a role.  But I'm never going to believe every single thing that doctors and the AMA along with the FDA tell me about cancer, nutrition and traditional as well as experimental treatments.  Not when this simple fact about antioxidants is so blatant.  this doesn't even address all the other non-traditional therapies for cancer that have been suppressed by the AMA and FDA in the past simply because there is no money in eating a healthy diet. 

Think outside the box, especially when the box is made of greed and thinly veiled lies.

Me on Cancer  (Cancer 1) (Cancer 2) (Cancer 3) (Cancer 4)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Mad Cow Disease Plague

There has been a lot of fear driven fantasies put out by the media about terrorist attacks and their use of some pretty nasty stuff like nerve gas, dirty bombs, stolen Russian nuclear weapons, and of course, biological weapons.  There are a lot of those, from simple to make ricin, to other stuff more complex like mutated flu viruses to anthrax to plague to some other really nasty things.  There are a lot.  They do make it a reality for Americans to fear the real possible threat of bioterrorism.  We need to look around us also to discover what threats there are in our world that have the same potential to destroy human life that manufactured agents have yet are being created in wholesale quantities in our environment by industry.  Specifically I'm talking about Mad Cow Disease and other PRION related maladies.

What's a prion?  Most people have never heard of these tiny things.  In all probability it's because no one wants us to know about them.  The media (I won't go into how 6 major corporations own 99% of the general media in America, and also are big owners of agribusiness as well) don't like to do stories on prions, or Mad Cow Disease, or some of the related maladies that affect humans, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker Syndrome, or Kuru, All human diseases that are caused by prions.  Prions are little understood proteins that work within the cells, usually in the neuralnetwork and primarily the brain.  A prion is not alive, it is neither bacteria, fungus or virus.  They are protein chains that are bent.  Almost in half.  Sounds innocent enough, but those bent proteins enter neural cells and start a chain reaction bending other proteins, eventually leading to the cell failing to reproduce, to synthesize correct proteins, and then cellular death.  And when that happens, the bent proteins go out into the surrounding cells and the disease spreads.  Victims of any prion disease have a 100% fatality rate.  There is no cure, they all die.

Here is where it gets tricky.  The CDC states that it is possible that the incubation period for prion type diseases may be as long as 10 years in humans, and that there may be Alzheimer like symptoms for several years before it degenerates into full out CJD or GSSS.  At this time, they are uncertain of any links between the huge numbers of Alzheimer patients and the rise of prion type diseases.  And the big one, that pretty much anyone that is exposed to prions, via through contact with blood, or bodily fluids of infected persons with any prion type disease will in all probability contract one of the diseases. Even eating animal flesh that is infected gives you an extremely high probability that you will ingest the prions, and they will infected you.  Prions are not destroyed by cooking, sterilizing with any disinfectant, or heating in an autoclave.  There are recorded instances of people having had neurosurgery and the instruments were disinfected, then sterilized, and used on another patient with the new patient contracting a prion type disease. Read the second paragraph under the heading history here about it (CJD transmission)  It is estimated that 1 in 2,000 people in the United Kingdom is infected with prions because of the incidence of BSE (mad cow disease).

Now, this is where it gets scary.  Remember that I try to tell my readers about modern meat and how bad it is for humans.  It isn't just me being paranoid.  The USDA has this rule about steers.  They have declared that the head and spinal bones are not to be used for human consumption if the steer is over 30 months old.  This is supposed to stop the spread of prions that might be in any steer, to humans.  Those bones are not thrown away, they have two very big markets.  One is for the making of gelatin, for Jello.  And the other is to make chicken feed.  They are ground up and feed to chickens.  Now we come to the weird part, that chicken feed that drops to the chicken coops in large scale chicken CAFO's is routinely swept up, and whatever is in it, dead rodents, uneaten food (prion infected steer bone meal) dead chickens, feathers and whatever is then ground up and fed to steers in steer CAFO's.  Because it's cheap.  It also contains large amounts of arsenic, antibiotics, and again, uneaten food that is mainly genetically modified corn, soy, and canola meal.  If you read my blog at all, you know I don't like canola.  It by definition contains a toxic substance, erucic acid.  It is by law limited to 2% by weight.  Erucic acid is a cumulative toxin that builds up in an animal's liver, kidneys and, yep, brain.  And contrary to what Snopes.com or the Canola Council of Canada say on their websites, canola is a toxin. 

Today, there are over 6 million people with diagnosed Alzheimer's.  USDA rules to stop the spread of prions are lacking in any substance and do nothing to stop the spread of prions in the supply of modern meat through the CAFO model of raising steers.  At this time it is not known the extent, and I admit there may not be a problem, of just how infected our modern meat and meat products are.  And I'm pretty sure that no one wants to test it to find out.  It just might cause a collapse of the entire system. 

Pastured grass fed beef is more expensive.  But what is your life really valued at?  Or you can be like me, go vegetarian, and never eat Jello either.  It just might contain prions.  So back to the beginning of this essay, would destroying a population with an insidious long term disease that takes huge amounts of resources be the ultimate terrorist program to destroy this country.  Well, I think it is happening daily, every burger you eat just might be your downfall, and you won't know for years and years.