Sacred (sort of) Music Friday: If the Lord Be Willin’

Westminster Chorus, If the Lord Be Willin’, Pittsburg, PA, July 2015

chicken paprikash

chicken paprikashI have always enjoyed the recipes of Grace Parisi. For many years she was at Food & Wine, and when Time Inc. bought the American Express line of magazines she went along and wrote for F&W and other cooking magazines in the Time family. She didn’t stay there long, though, and as far as I can tell she not actively writing for any publication. That’s a shame.

However, I have had this recipe for chicken paprikash in my database from her original Food & Wine days and I tried it recently. I thought an hour was way too long for the sauce, so I cut that back considerably. Conversely, I cooked the chicken longer than specified, as I’m paranoid about undercooked chicken.

The result was marvelous. Five stars in my database. Worth doing again.

the continuing newspaper saga

Our regional newspaper, the one I delivered when I was young, continues to make changes. Most recently they folded the local section into main section of the paper. The stated rationale was that local news was important enough to be in the main section.

Press Enterprise mastheadNonsense. This was clearly a cost-saving move, though probably necessary for newspaper survival. Still, it’s not the paper that I once proudly delivered.

Nonetheless, the changes are not all bad. As part of those changes they upgraded the features section and added two comics that I enjoy and which I hadn’t seen for a while. And on Saturdays they quietly added Miss Manners. I enjoy Miss Manners and her sharp wit. It’s nice to be able to read her smart and practical advice once again.

simpler than I realized

Did you ever come to the realization that something was much simpler than you thought? I’ve done that more often than I care to admit.

garlicFor decades I have struggled with garlic and found working with fresh garlic a pain. Peeling off the skin to get to the clove was frustrating and I often just used granulated garlic instead. I tried the 20 seconds in the microwave thing, and while that worked, it left the garlic soft and mushy.

Seems I wasn’t fully paying attention through all the thousands of hours I’ve watched Food Network shows. Take a knife and smash the clove with the side of it. The skin comes right off. No problem.

Simple. Easy. And overlooked for years.

Wow! I coulda had a V-8!

Still the One

Today Terry and I celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary, which means we’ve been together 27 years. And yes, for sure, she’s still the one.

Sacred Music Friday: How Great Thou Art

Sung by the Plymouth Summer Choir and Congregation on August 17, 2014.

The View from the Cheap Seats

View from the Cheap Seats coverThe View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction
Neil Gaiman
William Morrow; Reprint edition (May 31, 2016), 549 pages
Kindle edition $8.99, Amazon paperback $10.19

I wasn’t familiar with Neil Gaiman until I saw this book mentioned. Turns out that he is a prolific writer of speculative fiction. He has written adult novels, children’s books, and graphic novels in collaboration with an illustrator. He has also written a lot of introductions to the books of others, as well as pieces in anthologies, and even album liner notes. He’s given a lot of speeches as well.

His output in these areas has been prolific, as this book attests. It is a hefty tome, or would be had I bought the print version rather than the Kindle edition, coming in at 549 pages. The pieces are interesting and engaging. It was perhaps a bit more of Neil Gaiman than I really needed, but it engaging reading nonetheless.

kitchen calculator

CalculatorMy brother and sister-in-law gave us a kitchen calculator for Christmas. (Yes, I know, I’m running late here.) It’s very cool. You can add cups and teaspoons, you can convert Metric to English (and vice versa) and you can add add fractions. You can also can reduce recipes. You can enter that the original recipe is for six and that you want to make it for two. Then you enter the quantities of the ingredients and get the new smaller amount.

As I said, very cool.

a different sort of Toastmasters experience

Normally in a Toastmasters meeting everyone has a chance to say something. In addition to the speakers, evaluators, and table topics participants, the grammarian and ah counter (usually the same person in our club) gives his or her report, as does the timer.

ToastmastersIn a speech contest it’s very different. I have had the experience of running a speech contest, but only recently have I had the experience of judging a speech contest. More specifically, I was chief judge. In a speech contest the judges are given tally sheets and each category is worth a certain number of points, totaling a possible 100. After each speaker the judges are given one minute to tally up the points. When all the speeches are done the judges sequester themselves and compile the points. In larger clubs or at higher level venues there is an official counter. At our club contest as chief judge I was the counter. I tallied and compiled the rankings of the three judges and designated the third, second, and first place speakers. I wrote that down on an official ranking sheet and silently handed it to the contest chair, who announced the results.

Throughout the contest I said nothing. A very different Toastmasters experience.

chili-roasted cod

This recipe for chili-roasted cod almost worked.

chili-roasted codThe recipe called for coating the cod with chili powder, oregano, and salt. I omitted the salt. It also called for a mixture of melted butter, cumin and lime juice. That was very tasty.

The instructions specified baking for 5 to 7 minutes at 450. That wasn’t enough. I cooked our thick pieces longer and even gave them time in the microwave. Still not good enough.

This would have been a really delicious meal had I cooked the cod until it was flaky.