January 22, 2006

Eating Your Brain

I welcome our new brain parsite overlords.

Posted by thom at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2006

Stop Buggin' Me

It is now actually illegal to annoy me without telling me your real name. No, really — it's true. So stop bugging me already. Passed by our corrupt... er, infinitely wise... congress and signed into law by Dear Leader.

Posted by thom at 07:29 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2006

Tempbot

Are you comfortable? The film maker has some other fun shorts too.

Posted by thom at 12:34 AM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2006

New Years Soup

I should have spent New years drinking and making resolutions but I decided to make to make soup instead. It was my favorite dish at my favorite restaurant. They were nice enough to give me the recipe for it and all this time I never tried making it because I figured it would never be as good. Boy was I wrong. So I'll never lose it I'll share with you the recipe for Shrimp Crab and Fennel Bisque. It takes a little while to prepare but is worth it.

1/2 lbShrimp (70-90 count)
1/4 cupCelery
1/2 cupCarrot
1 cupOnion
1/2 bulbFennel, no core, stems or leaves
1 teaspoonGarlic, minced
1 TablespoonTomato Paste
1/2 cupDry White Wine
10 threadsSaffron
1 1/2 QuartsWater
1/4 lbRice, Cooked
1/2 cupHeavy Cream, heated
1/4 cupTomato Sauce
2 cupsLump Crabmeat
Pernod liquor to taste
Sea Salt and Cayenne pepper to taste
Chopped Chives

Heat a large pot, enough to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Add some oil and saute the shrimp until they turn pink. Turn heat down to medium and add the celery, carrots, onions, fennel and garlic, saute until the vegetables are soft and translucent. Add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the wine, add the saffron and reduce the liquid by half.

Add the water, stock and rice. Cook for 35-50 minutes or until the rice is very soft. Using an immersion blender, puree the soupuntil there are no grains of rice left whole (this will take a while). Strain through a china cap or strainer.

Add the hot cream, tomato sauce, peeled shrimp, crabmeat. Add salt and cayenne pepper, and Pernod to taste. Divide into 6 bowls, garnish with chopped chives and enjoy.

My notes: The recipe calls for you to add shrimp twice. I only added 1/4 to 1/3 of the shrimp first because it just gets pureed so I figure you still get the flavor using a little bit. Also, I made a stock with the water and shrimp shells so that really pumps up the shrimp flavor too. I used too much cayenne pepper (1/2 to 3/4 tsp) and probably not enough Pernod. I'd probably use less next time and just keep some tabasco handy at the table. The recipe also says to cut the veggies into a 1 inch dice but since you're going to blend them all up at some point go ahead and cut them however you like. Oh yeah, I didn't actually heat the cream either — it didn't seem to make a difference.

p.s. Immersion blenders are fun. They also make great chocolate milkshakes so that's another good reason to get one. Next summer I'm going to make a nice gazpacho with it. You could use a food processor or blender instead, but cleaning it up will suck and the immersion blender is still better making milkshakes too.

Posted by thom at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2006

The Year of Red Ink

Actually the past few years the red ink has flowed freely. So much so that apparently they are running out and need more red ink:

Treasury Secretary John Snow has warned that unless Congress raises the national debt limit, the US government will run out of cash to finance its daily work in two months.

In a letter to Senate leaders Thursday, Snow said the statutory debt limit imposed by Congress of 8.184 trillion dollars would be reached in mid-February and the government would then lose its borrowing power.

"At that time, unless the debt limit is raised or the Treasury Department takes authorized extraordinary actions, we will be unable to continue to finance government operations," said the letter, seen by AFP.

Snow warned that even if the Treasury took "all available prudent and legal actions" to avoid breaching the ceiling, "we anticipate that we can finance government operations no longer than mid-March".

"Accordingly, I am writing to request that Congress raise the statutory debt limit as soon as possible."

None of this, of course, is unexpected. The odd part of the story was this:

Once the US government hits the ceiling, it comes under threat of defaulting on its debts and can lose the ability to raise future credit on the capital markets.

Snow underlined that the "full faith and credit of the United States" was a unique selling point on the markets.

"A failure to increase the debt limit in a timely manner would threaten this unique and important position," he wrote in his letter.

So he is saying we are servicing the national debt by borrowing more money to pay back the money we already owe. Again, not really a surprise. The odd part is that the treasury secretary (the country's CFO) doesn't seemed concerned about it. He's just concerned they might not be able to dig the country deeper into debt. He need not be concerned though. I have every confidence this President and congress will be able to pull it off.

Posted by thom at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)