Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chargrilled Swordfish

Sandy d'Amato has a weekly column in the local paper called Kitchen Technician. It is read every week but sometimes it is ignored. Which means that at the moment his output does not appeal to me. The recipe on May 27 was a particularly intriguing one since I have tried many times to get a consistently moist outcome. This recipe not only accomplishes that but also gives it wonderful flavor with the marinade/salad dressing.

When I bought the swordfish there were two options: fresh or frozen. Since this fish was going to marinate for four hours I chose the frozen. It also calls for curly endive. Out here in the tundra, sometimes the exotic items are not readily available. I sliced/chopped up some Belgian endive and added local fresh spinach and lettuce. Not as bitter as the curly stuff but we liked it.

One tablespoon of smashed anchovy fillets is about one small can. Mix all of the other ingredients except for the swordfish and use half for the marinade. 

Enjoy this easy to make, delicious dish. Click the title to go to Sandy's original or click here to a get a pdf version.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


Not a big fan of dark ales such as Porter and Stout. They seem to be too heavy for my palate. And in the past several years I have been focusing my attention, as far as beer making is concerned, on lagers. Lighter, some a bit hoppy. Also needed some way to maintain fermentation temps in the 50's. 

Temperature science was solved for me by filching my mothers upright freezer. Mentioned it in a blog several years ago. Which means that brewing, fermenting and conditioning lagers can be done at a constant and cooler temperature.

So, when Horst Dornbusch published a smoked beer from Bamburg, Germany in Zymurgy a couple of months I thought it was about time to see how a dark lager would taste. Horst is a German ex-pat living in Massachusetts and is a regular contributor to Zymurgy. He has been involved in beer activities what seems like forever. A good place to start.

Brewed my first dark lager, a rauchbier, was brewed in early November, 2010. Rauchen in German means to smoke. Rauchbier, therefore, is brewed with part of the ingredient bill with smoked malt. Fermentation and  conditioning took about two months.

And I have been sampling a light, smoked lager for the past couple of months. If the sampling is as frequent and the past, then I will need to brew again soon in order to maintain a reasonable supply of this excellent tasting beer. If you happen to come across a rauchbier, give it a taste. You will not be disappointed.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Madness

March Madness certainly brings thoughts of basketball, hoops, round ball or whatever other name can be given to the games in March. Heretofore, the length of the tournament certainly was mind numbing with 64 teams playing over three weekends in March. This year four additional teams are being added. Let's hope that the NCAA does not duplicate their efforts in football. Not many want to watch a game when the contenders have either a .500 record or barely above it. Of course, being among the legions of Buckeye fans, I can be somewhat smug about the process. The last decade has seen the Buckeyes' hoops and football teams at the top of the heap or close to it. 

Most people think that there is only one definition to the term March Madness. And up until today I was a member of that huge body of sports fan. What changed is when wife Mary Ann returned home this Sunday AM and peered into the kitchen along with the exclamation that 'you have given March Madness a new dimension'. What she saw was 11 pounds of chorizo hanging from the pot rack drying. SWMBO (she who must be obeyed for the uninitiated) had some idea that the drying process could take up to 18 days. I tried to reassure her that the 23 links, each weighing about eight ounces, would only occupy this highly coveted spot for a couple of hours.    

She did, however, suggest/insist that a picture be taken and sent to the children along with selected others. Well, if you happened upon this site, you belong to the group of selected others. This shot showing the prized chorizos should, hopefully, persuade you that this is truly a labor of love. These chorizos are of the Spanish type to add dining pleasure to paella and many other dishes. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration since there might be some obligatory sharing with the chillin.

What do ya think?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

POA and Social Security

My Mother-in-law died January 25.A sad day, indeed. She was about to be 93. Unexpected, nope. Dementia was her commander the last several years of her life. She will be sorely missed by her daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren and many cousins and friends. She lived a long life, mainly in Wetumpka, AL. About 20 miles north of Montgomery. Wetumpka is another story.

Eula M Dickson's - Gam as we called her - POA was my wife, Mary Ann. Been doin' that for many years. All of Gam's mail was delivered to our mailbox here in the tundra. Gam had two social security numbers. the second was her late husband's number which was used for medicare purposes. Seems that the guvment can do nothing without a social security number.

Now enter the POA and the proof that was required when talking to the bureaucrats was her social security number. When Gam died, Mary Ann called Social Security and tried to tell the lady that her mother had died. Several times during the conversation the lady called my wife Ms. Dickson. The error was immediately corrected, or so Mary Ann thought. After the funeral, Mary Ann headed south to join two close friends in Florida and I headed back to the snowy tundra.

Yesterday a letter addressed to Estate of Mary Peterson arrived at our PO Box. It was dated February 2, 2011. It said 'Medicare told us about the death of Ms. Peterson. Please accept our condolences.' No need to use a speedier service since all who knew Mary Peterson knew that she was in the nether world as of sometime in January, 2011. Everyone in social security, that is. The letter was sent by her Part D insurance carrier

Quite puzzling since I had talked to the supposed deceased, my wife, just the day before on February 7, 2011. So  I called the part D carrier and of course they wanted to talk to Mary. Many hours later wife Mary Ann called to let me know that the person who declared Gam dead also did the same courtesy for Mary, to whom she was speaking. And to think this bureaucrat votes and walks among us. And she is not alone. Probably has already breeded.The picture of that is unimaginable or the outcome of the coitus between this clerk and a male is even more unimaginable.

It will take two to three days before any outcome is known. If I ruled the world you can well imagine what would be the outcome for this clerk. Mark Twain once said 'No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the congress is in session.' Let's expand that to say while we have bureaucrats with room temperature IQ's.

I considered writing to a congressperson but then remembered Mark Twain's quote. So, beware for you too will deal with the unimaginable sooner or later. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Deployment of VS 2008 With a Setup Project

Developed a program sometime ago to track Brisket, Pulled Pork, Ribs & . . . joints. Thought it was ready to go but it lacked an icon. So I spent the last couple of days trying to not only add an icon but also understanding the Setup Wizard in VS 2008. Thought that I exhausted all possibilities to find the way to deploy my little app by Googling just about every angle. Or so it seemed. 

Here is what I learned:

Open the application that is to be deployed. Next click File, Add, New Project. On the left side of the user interface, open Other Project Types, click on Setup and Deployment. On the right side click Setup Wizard. When Next is clicked the user is presented with four radio buttons. I chose the top, default, choice 'Create a Setup for a Windows Application'.

The next window will present many choices, but the main one to be chosen is 'Primary Output for {project name}'. Click next. Now is the time to add any additional files such as a help file, database, icon or any other file that is needed for the application to be deployed. Once the wizard is completed additional files can be added by right clicking Application Folder on the left panel, Add, File. Find the file. 

Next the icon that has been added to the project needs to be attached. I added two shortcuts with icons, one under 'Users Desktop' and the other in a separate folder under 'User's Programs Menu'. 

Highlight 'User's Desktop' in the left panel. Go to the Properties Window, double click on AlwaysCreate to change the value to True. Next highlight 'User's Program Menu', right click and Add Folder. Name the folder. While the folder is highlighted, go to the Properties Window and change the value for AlwaysCreate.

Highlight 'Application Folder' in the left panel. The files that were added using the wizard appear in the right panel. Highlight and right click 'Primary Output from {project name} (active)' and choose 'Create shortcut . . .'.  Hit Enter. Now is the time to rename the shortcut. No need for a suffix. Just 'Abc Program'.

After renaming the shortcut, go to the properties window and find Icon. On the right side, click on the down arrow, Browse. In the Select Item in Project, Look In, click the down arrow and select Application Folder. Double click on the icon. Click OK. Now, in the right panel of the File System folder, highlight the icon and drag it to the 'Users Desktop' folder.

Next, go through the same process for 'Users Programs Menu'. 

Hope this has helped. If you need to ask questions, click here, fill in the boxes and I'll get back to you.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Been smokin' ribs, chickens, turkeys, briskets and all kinds of meats for several years. Recently I added an indoor cooker/smoker. Smoked/cooked a couple of Cornish hens and some chicken quarters. Used apple chips indoors. The aroma and taste of the poultry is something to behold, er taste. Outstanding!

Many years ago after The Ohio State University and I could not determine what they wanted me to accomplish, I joined the army. Specifically, for a unit in Germany. Didn't matter where. Unfortunately, I had to relinquish the assignment when I applied for OCS. At that time the Army did not need many gold bars. However, I was assigned to a unit in SW Germany. Lucky me. Two years, good duty, little work and great beer. There is no bad beer in Germany.

Subsequently, since I have been brewing I heard about a smoked beer brewed in the city where I was originally assigned, Bamberg. It is called Rauchbier. For a long time I could not get my mind around a smokey beer. Then a German expat, Horst Dornbusch, wrote about his experience of making Rauchbier. What intrigued me was his description of the taste not so much as smokey but that of smoked bacon.

As we speak, um write, I am brewing my first Rauchbier. When the requisite amount of heated water was added to the grains creating the mash, the most wonderful smoked bacon aroma filled my nostrils. It will take a couple more hours to complete the brew, then 14 days of fermentation and another 30 days to condition. Christmas sounds like a good time to start enjoying my first attempt.

Will let you know. If you are in the area, stop in for a taste. I'm hopin' that the time will heal my hurt from the Yankees and Buckeyes. C'est la Vie!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Online Choices For Paying

Recently, I read an article by the author of The Haggler, David Segal, about PayPal's 'annoying demand to be "verified" by handing over their bank account information'. I ran into the same situation when I started using PayPal for customers buying my software program My Class Reunion. I thought it was a requirement so I signed up. The more I read and thought about that situation, it became evident to me that giving up all that info to PayPal was foolish. Shortly thereafter I became unverified.

To be clear, this was on the purchasing side not the receiving side of transactions with PayPal. Which meant that PayPal requires some security to collect their money. A credit card satisfies that requirement.

I also ran into an annoying part of the PayPal club. As sales on the software started to take place the money accumulated into my PayPal account. As PayPal expanded their services and many sites started including the PayPal option to pay along with traditional credit cards I would then use that 'surplus' to make payments.

On a recent purchase PayPal was the choice for payment. The order was only partially filled and the item received was not operating according to the marketing pitch. After waiting a couple of weeks and no action for a refund, I contacted PayPal thinking that they would get in touch with the seller just as any credit card would. They quickly informed me that they would only send an email to the seller and any other resolution would be up to me. They said they only come to the aid of the buyer if seller is one of their sister companies like eBay.

Made that mistake once. If there are any questions/concerns with a seller, Visa and MasterCard will go to bat for you, issue credit and then deal with the seller, unlike PayPal. PayPal seems to be expanding its presence with sellers. Caveat emptor! If protection after the sale is important, choice wisely.