Crazy Cabbage

cabbageToday is the LAST DAY of August, and my LAST DAY of blogging every. single. day.

Can you gimme a hallelujah?

At any rate, it was quite cool yesterday – it only got up to about 65 degrees, something that is completely unheard of in late August in Texas, but very common here in northeast Ohio.  While I hate the winters here with a pink and purple passion, I can say I love the other seasons, mostly because there are seasons (as opposed to Broiling Hot Summer, which lasts 9 months out of the year, and Not Quite Broiling Hot Summer for the other 3 down in Texas).  And because it was cool, comfort food for dinner was in order.

This dish is extremely easy and inexpensive to make and it is quite tasty – and it’s not too bad for you either.  It does take awhile, because it cooks in the oven on a fairly low temperature, but don’t be tempted to cook it any more quickly or you’ll miss out on the roasted flavor that the long, slow cooking imparts.  The original recipe called for just a can of chopped tomatoes, but I like some zing in it and use Rotel tomatoes and chilies.  The original recipe also calls for it to be topped with strips of bacon, which is discarded when the dish is served, but Darling Daughter (who also loves this dish) claims everything is better topped with cheese.  In this case, she is 100% correct.

Leftovers reheat really well, and it’s supposed to freeze well, but I’ve never had any that lasted long enough to freeze.

Crazy Cabbage

serves 6

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup dehydrated onion flakes OR

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 – 10 oz. undrained cans diced tomatoes with chilies (I use Rotel)

1 1/2 pounds coarsely chopped cabbage (1 small head before trimming)

6 slices Deluxe American cheese slices OR

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 325 ° F.

Brown the ground beef, seasoned with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder, with the onions; drain if necessary.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and spread half the cabbage in the bottom.  Top with the meat and remaining cabbage; season with a little more salt and pepper.  Pour the tomatoes and chilies as evenly as possible over the top.

Cover with foil and bake for 3 hours.  Remove the foil and cover the top with the cheese.  Return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Serve immediately.

He’s a CUTE Little Guy

Well, it’s Sunday and I’m busy doing some cooking and baking (a loaf of cheese bread and a loaf of white bread).  Beloved finished his business up Friday and is spending a few days with Jolly and Little Guy.  The cameras have been very, very busy.

But What You Say Is So Interesting

But what you say is so interesting

Hi, World!

Hi, World!

I Like the Sunshine

I like the sunshine

I'll Take That One

I’ll take that one

Why So Serious?

Why so serious?

Going Out On A Limb

Today is Saturday; I have three more days of NaBloPoMo (which, once you think about it, sounds like some sort of exotic designer drug) and I am ready for it to be over.  As much as I love blogging, I cannot believe that I will ever pledge to do this again, nor am I alone in my relief that it is almost done – my friend Ginger decided to join me when I began this, and she is also apparently sick of the sight of her own admin panel.

Each month of NaBloPoMo has a “theme”; the theme for August is “tomorrow.”  To date, I have taken advantage of the fact that you don’t have to actually use the theme in any blog posting to participate, but as the month winds down I thought I really should take a stab at it before August is over.  So, I decided to center today’s post around something that has not happened yet, but probably will some time in the reasonably near future.

Tomorrow, so to speak.

It is standard practice at the Sushi Bar not to discuss politics here, or I’d start pissing off every one of my readers.  I have to say, though, that I am becoming very, very weary of the shrillness of the healthcare debate.  The lies and fearmongering of the Right are every bit as distasteful as the zealotry of the Left, who, in their self-righteous indignation, would tar and feather anyone that objects to nationalized healthcare, no matter the nature of that objection (such as the projected one trillion dollars of debt heaped on a country already so far in the red that black ink is but a vague rumor).

For the record, I do object to nationalized healthcare, mostly for the very reason I just stated.  That being said, I am also the mother of two young adults who are currently without health insurance – I would love to see easily obtainable, affordable, quality healthcare become available to those who do not currently have it.

While many of my bloggy friends have expressed very fervent opinions on this subject, many have not – but I don’t believe that is because they are without an opinion; I think it is very difficult not to have an opinion about it.  What I am going to do here, today, is open my comments section for a CIVILIZED discourse on the healthcare issue here in the United States.  I want to hear your opinions.

There are a couple of caveats…naturally.

#1 – Keep it civil, people.  While you are certainly welcome to express your opinion here, you will do it in a civil manner.  This is MY blog, and if I think you are being rude, ugly, insulting or just a great bleeding asshole, I WILL delete your comment(s).  If you persist in being a rude, ugly, insulting, bleeding asshole I will ban you from my site without so much as a second thought.  Even if I agree with you.

#2 – If things get ugly, I reserve the right to close the comments on this post without any prior warning.  Again, this is my blog and I can pretty much do what I want.  If you don’t like it, I apologize in advance, but you can always go away and never come back.  No one is forcing you to hang around here.

#3 – Speaking of closing comments, this is a limited-time offer.  I will close the comments on this post, whether I get 1 or 1000, at 5 p.m., Monday, August 31, 2009, come hell or high water.  If you don’t see this before then and want to comment, I’m sorry.  You can always email me – my public address is jpooh22(at)gmail(dot)com.

#4 – Cite your sources.  If you tell me, “The United States has the best healthcare in the history of the universe!” I want something that resembles proof.  If you come here saying, “Norway has socialized medicine and every Norwegian lives to be 132 years old, they never get cancer and have an infant mortality rate of 0!” the same goes for you.  I may just be ornery, but I don’t believe anything just because you say so.  Nor do I want to hear, “I read on the internet…” (or worse yet, “I heard on Fox News…”).  Do some research!  Give me data, and more data to back it up!  I am NOT saying you must have hard evidence to have an opinion or to state it here, but don’t come here giving me absolutes about statistics without some sort of supporting evidence.

To be honest, I am very curious as to how this is going to turn out.  I don’t have a very large readership, but I do believe that I have an extremely intelligent one and I want to know what y’all think.

Have at it, folks.

Please, Will You NOT Be My Neighbor?

Mr. RogersJason, from The Jason Show, does a series of posts called Living on Wisteria Lane, where he chronicles some of the more…amusing? activities of his neighbors.  His latest one got me thinking about our neighbors.

I’d love to be able to say that we’re on very friendly terms with our neighbors.  That we live in the kind of neighborhood where everyone knows everyone else and we have holiday parties and block parties and play bridge and all of our kids go to school together and chum around.

I’d like to be able to say that.  But it ain’t gonna happen.

We bought our house in May 2005, and moved in on June 1.  Our neighbors to the left of us immediately welcomed us into the neighborhood and brought brownies.  They are really great, except for the fact that they love dogs.  Not to say that a love of dogs is a bad thing, because I happen to love my dog too (when he’s not being retarded and running off down the street in the pouring rain like he did this morning), but they resuce, foster and rehabilitate abused dogs.

Very, very large dogs.

There are no fewer than four baying, needy animals in their back yard at any given time.  They howl and bark a lot, especially at 4 a.m., and dig holes under the fence that separate our yards.  Other than that, these neighbors are really nice folks.

It took us a little longer to meet the neighbors on the right.  They are about 15 years older than us with a grown son.  She is a sweet, lovely lady, but not exactly the brightest bulb in the chandelier; he is a retired chemist who treats her with contempt and would be the guy who yells at those damn kids to stay off his lawn…if he had the energy.  He’s a sour old grump, but since we mostly see and speak with her, they are nice enough neighbors too.

We don’t know a lot about the people who live behind us, except that he likes to mow the lawn while wearing plaid, pastel pants and lavender t-shirts, and she looks as if she was once a member of the East Germany Women’s Olympic Shot Put Team.  BIG girl.

Which leaves us with the people directly across the street.   We’ll refer to them as Mr. Doormat, who is a real estate agent, and Miss Crazierthanafuckingbedbug, who is an LVN that used to work in a retirement home part time but quit because it was just too stressful.  This was right before she bought a puppy for her son, which they kept for all of two weeks before giving it away because it was just too stressful.

I’m sure they want to be nice neighbors, but it is apparently just too stressful.

Mr. Doormat must work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, because the only time he’s home is when he mows the lawn once a month.  He has two very nice children from a previous marriage; they came to live with him briefly after Hurricane Katrina (their mother is in the Air Force and was stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi when Katrina hit; the kids refugeed up here) – his son and The Young One, who are the same age, get along really well and the older sister is delightful.  Unfortunately, they don’t come visit very often and I can’t say as I blame them.

Miss Crazierthanafuckingbedbug’s son, Rottenlittleshit, is about 4 years younger than The Young One, and she’ll be MORE. THAN. HAPPY. to corner and inform you of how her late husband suffered a heart attack and passed away when Rottenlittleshit was three and now he has emotional problems.  I guess the prescribed form of communication for a child with emotional problems is to yell, scream and screech at them constantly, because in four years I have NEVER heard her speak to him in a normal tone of voice (though to be honest, I’ve never heard her use a normal tone of voice with anyone).  Rottenlittleshit, who lives up to his name in a spectacular fashion, in turns yells, screams and screeches back at her – and with a vocabulary that would make a 20-year Navy man blush like a school girl.  He does not like The Young One, probably because The Young One has very little use for rotten little shits who yell, scream, screech and curse like drunken sailors.  This child, if he is outside at the same time as The Young One, will stand in his yard and bellow loving little endearments like “P***y Licker!” across the street (the first time he bestowed that charming sentiment on him, The Young One asked me, “Does he consider that an insult?”).

At least he’s stopped doing that in front of me.  I guess being told that if he didn’t shut it he’d be sucking on a bar of Irish Spring before he could say “A$$ F*cker” gave him pause.  But it makes me wonder if Mr. Rogers doesn’t roll over in his grave every time this Future Correctional Institution Inhabitant opens his mouth.

Blackened Ahi with Mango Salsa

I have been so busy that it was 3:30 before I realized I hadn’t posted anything today; I guess it doesn’t hurt that I worked until midnight last night and was up by 4 a.m. this morning working some more.  Which is as good an explanation as any for why I haven’t commented on any blogs today (stupid life, interfering with my fun).  Then I had a moment of panic because I couldn’t recall what I had planned to post today – until I remembered that it is Travel Tip Thursday over at Pseudo’s place.

I don’t have anything travel related today, not that I can just whip up and throw out there, but I do have an interesting recipe.  Psuedo’s post is about Roy’s Restaurants – Roy Yamaguchi is a world-renowned chef who has almost single-handedly defined Hawaiian/Asian/Fusion cuisine.  I could be exaggerating, but I don’t think so.  He has a restaurant on every major island and for Beloved and I, no trip to Hawaii is complete without a visit to Roy’s.

This recipe was inspired by Roy’s classic appetizer, Blackened Ahi with Soy Mustard Sauce (Ahi is, of course, that deeply red tuna that is so good as sashimi).  It’s a superb dish, but I really like mangoes, so I accompany it with a sweet and spicy salsa.  The tuna is best quickly seared, and served very rare.


Blackened Ahi with Mango Salsa

Blackened Ahi with Mango Salsa

serves 2

2 sashimi-grade Ahi filets, about 4 – 5 oz. each

Blackening Seasoning:

1 1/2 tablespoons paprika

1/2 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 tablespoon pure red chile powder

1/4 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper

Mango Salsa

1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup finely diced red onion

1 – 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

In a medium, non-reactive bowl, sprinkle the sugar over the mango; stir well and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.  Stir in the onion, jalapenos and lime juice; cover and refrigerate for at least one additional hour, to allow the flavors to blend.  Stir in the cilantro just before serving.

Mix all of the blackening spices together on a plate, and dredge the ahi on all sides.  Heat a lightly oiled cast iron skillet until nearly smoking and sear the tuna over high heat until desired doneness (about 15 – 30 seconds per side for rare; about 1 minute each side for medium-rare).

To serve, thinly slice and arrange the tuna on two plates; garnish each serving with about 1/4 cup of the salsa.  Serve immediately.