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My name is Bean and this is my blog. Hence the name. If you have comments or questions, just leave them in the comments area.
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Archive for December 2006
Shorter
Posted December 18, 2006 at 02:57:46 PM by Bean
The other day, Stef and I went to my mom and dad's house to bake some cookies for a cookie exchange. While there, we tried to figure out what was different between two batches of snickerdoodles. Somewhere along the way, my mom said that one cookie was "shorter" than the other one. I looked at the cookies, which where somewhat uniform in their thickness, and asked her what that meant. I assumed that it meant that the cookies were thinner. I was wrong. Apparently "shorter" or "short" is the word that my mom (and her mom, sisters, etc. no doubt) uses to describe baked goods that have a lot of shortening in them. "Shorter" cookies are typically very crumbly and melt-in-your-mouthy. They are great for dipping; somehow crisp and soft at the same time, but never hard, chewey, or bread-like. Mmmmm... Crisco.
Chili Season
Posted December 12, 2006 at 09:17:54 AM by Bean in the Recipes category
'Tis the season! Chili season, that is. During the winter, I cook a lot of chili - and this season is no exception. Chili seems to be one of those things that a lot of men have strong feelings on, and just about everyone has their own "special" recipe. In fact, I think chili deserves it's own "special" blog entry.

I learned to cook chili by watching my mom, but my current formulation is so very far from that original recipe. I like to experiment, and through the years I've taken out things I don't care for and added things I like. I think of my personal recipe in two parts: The base and the options.
    Base:
  • Brown 1-2 pounds of ground beef in a large pan, then drain and set aside.
  • Add some oil to the pan and toss in 3-4 medium sized onions, diced.
  • After 3 minutes, add the meat back to the pan and dump in some tomatoes (36 oz or so) and 1 small can of tomato paste (with a little water).
  • Spice this mixture with 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, and some salt and pepper. All spice measurements are guesses/approximations, as I've never actually measured. Do it a little at a time, by taste.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes and EAT.
    Options:
  • Instead of using ground beef, use a mixture of ground beef and sausage.
  • Season the meat with a teaspoon of oregano and some black pepper while browning.
  • Dice 2-3 chilpotle peppers (in adoboe sauce) and add in with the tomatoes.
  • Instead of adding salt and water, add 1 can of chicken broth (or a few bullion cubes and some water).
  • Ladle about 1 cup of chili into a food processor and blend to a puree, then add it back to the chili (Spreads flavors around and thickens the chili).
  • Add a few squirts of yellow mustard.
And there you have my not-very-secret personal chili recipe. I've tried a few other options, like using steak or other non-ground meats, but I prefer the texture of ground meat in chili. I am staunchly opposed to using beans, pastas, or other fillers in chili, though I often cook small side pots of them for a "build-your-own-chili bar". For toppings, I like diced onions and jalapeņos, along with some shredded cheese or sour cream if available.

What special options do you use?
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Ticket Frustration
Posted December 08, 2006 at 02:02:48 PM by Bean
A few weeks back, I got a flat while at work. I walked to the hardware store and bought some Fix-a-Flat. After injecting the sludge into my tire, I quickly hopped in my car and started to cross the street to a gas station to fill it up the rest of the way with air, as the directions indicated. As I crossed the street, a police car pulled in behind me and turned on his lights. I pulled into the gas station and rolled down my window. When the police officer came up to me I told him I just had a flat and needed to get to an air pump ASAP, so he allowed me to pull forward. The air pump required 3 quarters, which I did not have. When I got change (from the cop), I quickly realized that the pump had a nickel jammed in the coin slot and would not work. Frustrated, I asked if I could go to the other gas station to air up. I was denied this opportunity. Instead, I had to sit in my car and wait 10 minutes for this dickhead to write me a $25 seatbelt violation.

Needless to say, by the time I was able to air the tire up and drive around, the Fix-a-Flat sludge had already hardened unevenly on the inside of my tire. So now, my front left tire wobbles when I get over 50 mph and I am going to have to have it taken off the rim and cleaned out. Hard telling how much that'll cost. Oink oink - hey piggy - Why don't you go ticket someone who is actually committing a real crime.

So, since you can't pay tickets with checks, I had to get a money order. I made a trip to the bank (which is rare - Stef usually does the banking) only to realize that money orders cost $10. The bank clerk suggested I go to Meijer instead, where they cost $1. So, made another trip, got the money order, and put it in my pocket. I realized today that I hadn't mailed it yet, and it was getting close to the court date. I decided to go ahead and walk down to the City-County Building to pay it in person - it's just a few blocks from where I work. When I got there, I saw a sign that said "Traffic Ticket Payments", but it was behind a security barricade. I waited about 10 minutes in a line to get through the security gate, but was informed by the officer that manned it that the office was closed from 12-1 for lunch and that I'd have to come back later. Great, so everyone in the whole office takes lunch at the same time. That's real fucking convenient. So much for trying to take care of anything on my lunch break.

Around 1:30, I headed back, waited in the same line, went through a metal detector, and walked up to the counter under the payment sign (which was only about 6 feet away from the gate). The clerk looked at my ticket and said "Oh yeah - thats a city ticket and they moved to the Quadrangle a few months ago" and started to turn away (as if I knew what the "Quadrangle" was). I stopped her and asked where that was and how to get there. She gave me directions and I headed out. Call me crazy, but perhaps they should change the name of the "City-County Building" to the "County Building".

I followed the clerk's directions to the Quadrangle, which just so happened to be a series of about 5 strip malls and 3 or 4 government buildings. Somehow, I managed to pick the correct building on my first try (the "Quartermasters Post" - wtf?). I made my way to the proper office, waited in another (shorter) line and finally started talking to the correct person. She confirmed that I was indeed at the correct place, but told me she had to finish something on her computer before she could help me. So I stood there, watching her hunt-and-peck her way through the previous persons crap on her computer. After maybe 5 minutes she looks up and smiles and I had her the ticket and money order. She pecks a few keys and prints me a receipt and I'm OTE.

Government agencies suck. Almost as much as seatbelt tickets.
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