Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

Archive for June, 2012

A Fortune Cookie Game for Republicans

Posted by middlerage on June 29, 2012

Do you remember going to the Chinese restaurant, with a bunch of friends, and at the end of the meal, when the check and the fortune cookies came, one of your friends would say, “Let’s play a game!” And the game was that when you read your fortune, you had to add “in bed” to the end. Sexual innuendo and hilarity ensued. “You will live a long life…in bed”; “A Wise Man keeps tight lips…in bed”; and so on.

Republicans reacted swiftly to yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act. They decried the loss of liberty and individual freedom, the damage the Act would do to business, and how this would hurt taxpayers. Somehow, lost in all their handwringing is the fact the ACA will help their fellow man. None of them acknowledged the damage they intend to do to the poor, the middle income, the uninsured, folks with pre-existing conditions, elderly, or college students; none of them recognized, in the name of idealism, that they intend to shaft honest-to-God people.

In the spirit of the fortune cookie game, let’s add back the “Great Unsaid” to the end of some Republican quotes from yesterday:

  • “What the court did not do on the last day of its session I will do on my first day as president… to insure that lower income people can never afford good health care” – Mitt Romney
  • “Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety… so that the uninsured will remain uninsured” – House Speaker John Boehner
  • “Obama lied to the American People. Again. Obama lies, freedom dies… just like people with pre-existing conditions who can’t get healthcare” – Sarah Palin
  • “I am fairly stunned by this outcome and can’t help but feel that the soul of our nation has just been lost… now that we have to treat college students, poor women, and low income employees with compassion.” Conservative commentator Ross Kaminsky
  • “I feel like I just lost two great friends: America and Justice Roberts… because they are making me take care of uninsured sick people” – Rep Jack Kingston, R-GA
  • “Our freedom and choice just met its death panel: the Supreme Court… which ruled in favor of the elderly, the uninsured, and the poor.” – Rush Limbaugh
  • “[…] this is a sad day… for those of us who don’t want to care for our fellow man” – Michele Bachmann
  • “The only way to stop the overreaching by the federal government, including the president’s flawed health care bill, is to elect a new president and a Congress that will repeal and replace this fundamentally flawed law… that dares to care for lower income people by giving them affordable health care” – Sen John Cornyn, R-TX
  • “The real outcome of today’s decision is to strengthen our resolve and to make sure that this law is in fact repealed… so that we can deny affordable health care coverage to struggling college students and the indigent.” – House Speaker John Boehner
  • “And that’s why when we return the week of July 9th, I’ve scheduled a vote for total repeal of the Obamacare bill… cause I’ll be damned if my money will go to help folks with a pre-existing condition!” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

(sources: msnbc, daily dish by andrew sullivan, npr)

Posted in Politicks, wtf | 2 Comments »

Killing Glaciers Softly With This Heat

Posted by middlerage on June 28, 2012

Go to this link at http://www.glacierworks.org:

main Baltoro glacier

On the right hand side you’ll see an interactive menu with a “Before and After” at the top. Click on the pic and it will bring up a panoramic photo of a glacier in the Himalayas with a “wipe” feature. “Wipe” your mouse back and forth across the image and see how our glaciers are melting.

Explore the rest of site at leisure. Worry about your carbon footprint. That is all.

Posted in Climate, Environment, short ones | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

How to Make Nice, Soft Beans

Posted by middlerage on June 28, 2012

Okay, I like beans. I like how they taste, and I like what they symbolize: rugged cowboy, or third world colors; perhaps basement revolutionary, or exotic Caribbean sunsets. If the feudal lord got the big juicy haunch, and the little people went on to develop wonderful sausages, scrapples, and head cheeses out of the leavings, then beans are a step more folksy and basic. Beans are the cheap, healthy protein of the masses. For some nutritionists, they are angelic – heart healthy sources of fiber, vitamins and protein. For paleo-nutritionists, they are the devil – full of toxins that must be cooked away, and long chain molecules that our human gut supposedly hasn’t evolved to digest. Yet.

Pshawww. I love beans, and I digest ’em just fine.

Now, I’ve been cooking beans ever since I left the family nest, and in that time, I worked hard at trying to make them soft, but they always came out fairly al dente. No matter, it didn’t bother me, and I happily chewed away on my own fixin’s. Then I got married. The lovely one wasn’t similarly impressed with “half way” beans. She put her foot down. Pipples been eatin’ soft mushy beans forever, and she reckoned we oughta be doin same. Well, I scratched my head, an’ fretted cuz I’d truly worked hard at makin ’em right, but somehow they always came out a bit tough. I read recipes, in books and online. I would soak them over night, boil ’em all day, make sher they had plenty o’ water and heat. I even tried a “pre-boil” and then over night soak. No luck.  No matter whad I’d do, they’d come out edible, but definitely not soft.

Finally, after some experiments – of which the lovely one deserves most of the credit – we discovered the secret(s) to making nice soft beans. Not only that, but you can cook them from dried-to-ready in about four hours! No need for all this “overnight soak” gibberish. Herewith, is a recipe for cookin’ beans, and ignore the silliness (I mean “directions”) on the package – they’ve never done me any good. We give you two, magical, super secrets that will allow your beans to come out soft enough to serve in a nursing home.

Nice, Soft Beans (vegan, but it’s easy to add your favorite meat: a haunch of venison, some Louisiana sausage, maybe some fatback)

Dried beans                                               1 onion, rough chopped                                         olive oil

                          cloves of garlic (to taste)                           salt, pepper, favorite seasonings

                            favorite veggies, roughly chopped (bell peppers are always a fine choice)

un baggage du dried beans

Step 1: Slowly pour the dried beans into the bottom of your pot – watch carefully for small stones and pieces of dirt. You’d be surprised at how often little pebbles are mixed into a bag of dried beans. Don’t want to find one of those with a tooth!

Step 2: Pour the beans back out and into a colander. Rinse under the faucet. Rinse out your pot, too, and return beans to pot.

Cover the beans with about an inch of water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and then shut off. Let them soak for approximately an hour. Go take a nice nap.

Step 3: Once you’ve soaked them, pour the beans back into the colander and rinse off again. There seems to be some anecdotal lore that this step reduces the “le gaseuse” of the beans. Always a good thing.

Step 4: In the empty pot (make sure it’s dry – you can always give it a quick heat on the stove to dry), pour a liberal splash of olive oil and saute half of your chopped onion and garlic cloves. It’s up to you, but if you go for a bit of burn, a bit of carmelization, then you will add flavor. Adding onion at this stage is a trick we learned from some Brazilian people the lovely one used to nanny for.

Pour your rinsed beans on top of the sauteed onion and…

{here is magical, super secret #1 !!!}

barely cover with water. Place pot back onto burner and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, cover and simmer.

barely cover beans with water

I’d love to know the scientific reason behind this magical super secret, but for some reason, having just a bare minimum of water – rather than a full pot – helps force the beans to come out nice and soft.

For the rest of the cooking, keep a relaxed eye on your beans, and make sure they don’t cook dry! I like to keep a ewer of water by the stove and just add dribbles when the water level is getting too low. The secret is to keep the beans barely wet.

Step 5:  Season! Yummy seasoning makes the world go around. I’m a big fan of oregano. Also, originally hailing from New Mexico, I like to add chile – sometimes dried whole peppers, sometimes crushed, sometimes powdered. Red or green. But you’re not required to make spicy beans. Cuban black beans (yum!) are not spicy at all, nor are southern beans (especially yummy poured over cornbread and topped with collards!). Even if you don’t like spicy beans, you might try just a hint of black pepper.

But whatever you do…

{here is magical, super secret #2 !!!}

do not add salt!

I dunno what it is (again I’d like to know the science) but salt makes the beans tough. Don’t worry – we’ll add salt later! You can’t live without salt, and if anything makes the world go ’round, it’s salt (and, well, sugar, but anyhoo…)

Step 6: Check on the beans. See if they are getting to a proper state of mushiness.

Once your beans have cooked nice and soft, you can add salt, to taste. A good cook follows a recipe, and adds the correct

Beans mushy? Now you can add salt.

measurement of salt called for. A great cook hovers over the pot and adds any old amount of salt, meanwhile constantly taste-testing and getting the saltiness just right. (Also, I dunno the quantity I added, so this makes me sound cool. I just wing it.)

Step 7: And a bonus, magical super secret… Late in the game, say about ten or fifteen minutes before you are ready to stop cooking, add your remaining chopped onion, and your chopped veggies or bell pepper. If you throw everything in at the beginning, they get boiled down to a tasteless mass. Your veggies are the last thing you want to add.

One pot cooking is extremely handy and easy to do, (and thus very attractive to men). It took me years before I learned that throwing all my ingredients in at once was novice cooking. Nothing satisfies the tastebuds like hovering over the pot and adding ingredients in their own time.

Voìla’: Now that’s a nice bowl of beans!

Posted in Recipes | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

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