Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Okay, I'm back . . .

but ONLY for recipes people! And only if they're really good.

So, chocolate grandmarnier cake.

Boil 1/2 c. water and 1/2 c. sugar and add 1 stick of butter cut into ten pieces until it dissolves. Take off the heat then add 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate cut up into 1/2 inch pieces. Let sit 5 minutes then whisk till the chocolate mix is smooth.

Meanwhile, beat up 6 large eggs, whisking them with the grated zest of one orange and 2 T. grand marnier liquor.

Whisk the chocolate into the egg mix until blended.

Butter an 8 inch cake pan. Put wax paper on the bottom and butter it.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake in a water bath at 350 for 40 minutes.

Cool on a rack, invert, and serve with coffee ice cream.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Stick a fork in me I'm finished . . .

I'm done blogging. Got no more to say and it really doesn't matter.

The world will go on.

Final advice to young people:

Unplug, tune in, and get in touch. Live a life of menaing. Get off your cell phones, your internet, your ipods, your television, your email, your text messaging, and your video games - permanently.

Plant a tree, grow a garden, listen to the waves, the wind, and the birds; read a book, listen to a symphony, look at a painting, talk to a friend and not a stranger online, bake a chocolate cake.

Stop anesthetizing yourselves with a million clicks a day and the flash of ten thousand web sites and live a life that's meaningful.

The world won't change because of the web - it will only grow more moribund and distracted.

I'm done with all this tech crap - it's ugly and depressing. Don't look for anything further here: la comedia e finita!

Alright, hey thanks, you've been a great audience. I'm outta here - thank you and good night!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Presidential Politics.

This is a rare picture of HE's flirtation with presidential politics. The picture shows me on the campaign trail in 1964 as chair of the Bald-Headed-Droolers party. The finger raised in the air shows the only direction the party had to go in that year. Had I won, it would have been that finger that was on the nuclear button. Wow. In terms of numbers, I also think the raised finger represents the number of votes I received, but I'm uncertain as I had not yet learned to count.

Running that year was a rich and rewarding experience. Out on the hustings I learned much about the American People, and shmoozed with the famous, the powerful, and the well-connected. I knew that networking would be key if I was to be viable as a candidate in '68 if I blew the '64 election. Below is a picture of me discussing orange futures and their impact on the California economy with Nelson Rockefeller.

By 1968 it was time for a new, more conservative and conventional approach. Here I am running on the Large-Foreheaded-Elephant-Eared-Bow-Tie-Future-Total-Geek-Of-America-Will-Never-Be-Dating-Material-Oh-God-A-Plaid-Suit-Ticket. This was even less successful than my previous bid, and effectively ended my career as potential presidential material.

Politics is a cold cold profession, and I only found out years later in Ms. Mize's 8th grade civics class that the reason I received such a small number of votes was that I was too young to run. It also would have been nice if someone told me I had to file as a candidate and the lack of press coverage surely didn't help. The above photo in 1968 is historic for me because that was the last year I didn't have a beard. (Sixty-nine was the Summer of Love and we let it all hang out!) Alas, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. was a country to which I was never destined to visit. Fata alia parabantur . . . .


Thursday, December 07, 2006

HE's Identity Revealed!

An APB has been issued for outstanding warrants on HE. Since this most recent photo, taken in 1967, he is suspected of having gone through puberty, grown a beard, developed brown curly hair, and grown by approximately four feet. Some reports have him putting on as much as 200 lbs since this photo.

He is suspected of having several outstanding speeding tickets in Oregon from the early 1980s, poaching dungeness crab out of season, doing a massive TP job on Murray road in 1981, and he is also suspected of smuggling mind-altering substances inside stuffed kangaroos. He reportedly discourages searches of his stuffed kangaroo by chewing the ears and drooling on the pouch.

Upon attempting apprehension he will reportedly puff out his cheeks and hold his breath in a royal snit. He occasionally uses his enormous ears to elude would-be captors.

Do NOT, repeat, DO NOT try to apprehend. He is armed with Latin syntax and reportedly forces any who try to arrest him to sight read the proemium to Tacitus' Agricola.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Ah Wilderness! (Or, This Old House!)

This is the wild, rugged, and beautiful north Oregon coast; for those of you who don't know the west coast, vistas such as this stretch from Astoria all the way down to southern California. Somewhere nestled in these hills and mountains in the above picture, about 600 yards from the beach, is this . . .

In 1973 my father had a friend who fell ill and wanted to unload an old beach house he had started to fix up. The house was built in 1942 and at the time looked like this (the picture was taken in 1983, but hadn't changed much in 10 years).

At the time this was the view from the house . . .

though it has changed. The little house in front of them burned down a few years ago (it belonged to a doctor from Portland and was a vacation property - fortunately no one was hurt), and they rebuilt, but on the lot to the right. So there is slightly (though only slightly) less of the northern Pacific in view of the house.

This is my mother on the ocean side of the house in the late 1980s . . .

In late spring early summer of 1987 my parents, who had been both laid off due to company closures and other factors, moved down to the coast for good until this year, when age and illness forced them to move nearer to my sister. HE is now the owner of the house (which he took over to help his parents financially). In the mid 1980s they were in their early 60s. They took some savings and added on to the street side of the house (a bedroom and utlity room, as well as a detached garage). This was the result . . .

My mother and father did some fairly nice landscaping on the place over the years, and it's fair to say that my mother had an addicition to gardening and flowers, both of which I share . . .

Below is a rather poor picture of the mainstreet of downtown Cannon Beach. In the 1970s it was a rustic hippie hang-out. I remember it consisted of The Keg Room, Bill's Tavern, the Cannon Beach Bakery (renowned for its Haystack Bread), Bruce's Candy Kitchen, Lotus Land, a handfull of seafood restaurants, the Sandpiper Souvenir Shop, a gas station, a hardware store, and a few hotels and cabins. Its population was 850, but in the past 30 years it's boomed to a whopping 1250. Almost all the original shops are still there. It has maintained its rustic, pioneer style buildings, and strict zoning laws maintain both its sceneic beauty, and its rustic charm. There are no corporate chain stores allowed, with the exception of the local bank, so each business is locally owned and run. My parents' house is about three miles south of town, so on busy beach weekends (such as the big sandcastle contest in late June) when the town may swell to 30-50,000, the house is usually dead quiet - except for the roar of the Pacific.

A block and a half down from my parents' house you come to this . . .

. . . and a little further south are these . . .

The above photo was taken on a cold January night. HE grew up playing on these very rocks, and exploring (and sometimes jabbing) the various sea creatures that live on them - which may explain why I came very close to going into the sciences instead of Classics, and why I went through a very long "marine biology" stage (in addition to my youthful flirtation with dinosaurs!)

Sunsets can be quite spectacular over the Pacific . . .

. . . and the Amazon is not the only place with old growth rain forest. The North Oregon Coast consist largely of virgin forest, where you walk past trees that have existed since the discovery of the continent, with thick layers of green everywhere.

They do not call it the sunset west . . .

for nothing; the place is at its most dramatic during December storms and sunny summer evenings when the golden glow of the sun pervades the wind swept barren trees and your spirit . . .

On the whole, it is a good place for a classicist, since classicists are often people in desperate need of perspective. So, some perspective. This place is for everyone's enjoyment. It was here and it was beautiful the day that the first native American and the day that Lewis and Clark first laid eyes upon it . . .

. . . it was here when Caesar slaughtered the Eburones, when Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, when men killed one another on the Somme, when the Babylonians built the first Zigarat, when the first human realized that a seed put in the ground could yield a steady supply of bread, when Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, when Jesus broke bread with his disciples, when Pliny mused with what statues to decorate his villa. This place has always been here . . .

. . . and it will still be here when all those things are done and forgotten, when we are no more, both as individuals and as a species. So take some friendly advice, and come with me, pour a class of wine that the sunrise sides of these hills produce in great abundance, and soak in some perspective for a little while.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Penne all'arrabiata

In 1/4 c. olive oil sautee 4-5 cloves chopped garlic for about 1 mintue, stirring constantly. Throw in 1 medium can of chopped tomatoes and 1 big pint (20 oz.) homemade tomato sauce. Swoosh out the extra sauce with a splash of red wine. Simmer on low heat to facilitate 1/3 evaporation of the sauce. Add in 1/4 t. hot red pepper flakes (more if you want it hotter).

Meanwhile, bring to a boil 4 qts. water. Boil penne as per directions.

Pour sauce over penne and serve with parmeasan cheese.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Conservatives Rejoice!

Given the way HE eats, fortasse non est longus huic mondo, Eheu! But these will send him out with a smile under the smile of the one who bids him go (to paraphrase Marcus Aurelius):

Fennel and Sauteed Pear Salad:

Shred 1 bulb of fennel in a grater with large holes. Mix with 1 T. dried currants, 1 T. champagne vinegar1/4 t. sea salt and 1/8 t. pepper. Let stand at room temperature 30 min. Put salad plates in warm oven to heat gently. Quarter 1 pear lengthwise, core, and slice lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices. Sautee pear gently in 2 T butter, browning on both sides. Place small amount of fennel and pears next to each other on warm plates and serve. Serves 2-4.

Puree of Butternut Squash Soup with Fresh Orange and Spice Cream

In a large saucepan heat 2 T butter; add 4 c. cubed butternut squash and 1 medium onion roughly chopped. Cook til the onion is translucent but not brown. Ad 3 c. low sodium chicken broth and 2 T honey or sugar; add ½ - 1 c. fresh squeezed orange juice (according to taste). Simmer 30 min. til squash is tender; add some salt and pepper. Transfer soup to food processor and puree it. Taste and adjust seasoning – if too thick you may want to add a bit of water. Mix together 6 T crème fraiche and ½ t. nutmeg with just a hint of cayenne. Serve soup in bowls with dollop of cream.

Roasted Duck Breast with Maple-Rosemary-Juniper Glaze

Combine 2 3inch sprigs of rosemary, 6 cracked juniper berries, and ½ c. maple syrup; cook in small saucepan til the glaze is reduced by half. Now score the fatty side of the duck (use 6 duck breasts) and season with salt and pepper. In a heavy skillet on medium heat cook the duck breast fat side down 10 minutes. Spoon off and save the fat (for cooking veggies, etc.) Preheat oven to 350; flip duck so it’s fat side up in the skillet and roast 10-15 minutes depending on how well done you like it. Remove from skillet and brush with glaze. Cut in slices, arrange on platter, and drizzle with remaining glaze.

Chocolate Espresso Cake

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter an 8 inch cake pan and line bottom with kitchen parchment (butter the parchment and lightly flour the pan – I like to use coco instead of flour when baking with chocolate). In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat melt 5 oz. semisweet chocolate (chopped) and 3 oz. German sweet chocolate (chopped) and 1 stick of butter (4 oz). Set aside. With a mixer whip 4 eggs at room temperature, ½ c. sugar, ¼ c. brewed espresso or double strength coffee cooled to room temperature and 1 T very finely ground and sifted espresso beans and ¼ t. salt. Whip together for on medium high speed for 8 minutes or so then mix in the butter/chocolate mix; sift in ¼ c. flour over the batter and fold in. Pour batter into cake pan and cook 25-30 minutes til a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes then remove from pan. Serve with whip cream or coffee ice cream.