Friday, September 30, 2016

Heirloom Tomato and Cheese Pie

Inspired by this amazing new cookbook.  My cover of the cover recipe!
My take on it.
So delicious!

Morning Glories in the Late Afternoon

On a day of rain and drizzle.  And a little safe place for a little pollinator.

A friend in a friend indeed!

24 Hours of Rain...

Democracy in the Show Me State!

Republican Party, incumbent
I did something today that I would venture to guess not very many other people did. I live streamed the one and only "Candidates Forum" for the Missouri Senate Race. It was held in a hotel meeting room in Branson and sponsored by the Missouri Press Association. There were five candidates present:

Roy Blunt, Republican Party, incumbent
Jonathan Dine, Libertarian Party, challenger
Jonathan McFarland, Green Party, challenger
Jason Kander, Democratic Party, challenger
Fred Ryman, Constitution Party, challenger

Libertarian Party, challenger
A panel of journalists were given turns asking any question they liked and then each candidate had 30 seconds to respond in turn until all 5 each had a chance to respond.

It was fascinating.

Blunt and Kander were so beyond the league of the other gentlemen on the stage in both their range and depth of answers and certainly poise in answering. I felt especially sorry for Jonathan McFarland who hemmed and hawed his way through every answer--getting across his sincerity loud and clear, but little else.
Democratic Party, challenger
Jonathan Dine wants to decriminalize ALL drugs and get rid of all the outrageous regulations and rules, and Fred Ryman wants to save Missouri from the Federal government, period...state's rights, baby--all the way. Blunt stressed his bi-partisan ways. A move clearly meant to woo back independents disaffected by the Senate's obstructionist gridlock record under Mitch McConnell. And Kander stressed his work ethic (in contrast to Blunt and the do nothing Senate) and his service in the military and as the state's elected Attorney General. 

Green Party, challenger

Constitution Party, challenger
I've already made my bed in this horse race by investing now $200 in Kander. It was an interesting exercise in state level Democracy. It took place between 2:30 and 3:30 CST today, so I'm sure by design all that most Missourians will get is a sound bite or two and excerpts in tomorrow's news paper articles on the event. Shame really.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Trump Needs A Whambulance!

Autumn Prep 4 Spring!

Autumn is a time when the gardener needs to replenish their bulbs.
 My Asiatic Lilies will get 9 new members.  This year there were only three where once there had been dozens.
 Tulips are beautiful and hopeless in my gardens with so many voles to love to eat their bulbs.  So this collection will go into a large planter on my front stoop.  Sweet!

 Many Narcissus to plant all along my driveway!
 Belladonna Amaryllis OR Magic Lily to create a new focal area in the circle garden in the backyard.

And Hyacinthus galore along the back walk in the narrow garden in front of the steps to the basement.  Here's hoping for an amazing spring!

What I'm Listening to #121

So totally retro and purchased from across the pond!  But good, so fun and so good!

Vulnerable House Seats in the Sunshine State: part 8

Florida is operating under a new map that was redrawn to right unconstitutional shenanigans in the previous map created by the state's Republican Congress.  The old map was taken to court and where the new map was mandated.  As a result, a handful of districts have become more competitive, and one district has become less in favor of the Republicans.  Ergo, in the aggregate the benefits falls in favor the Democratic Party.  Add to that the whole-sale alienation of 1) Black voters, 2) Latino voters, 3) Women voters, 4) Jewish voters, 5) Young voters, and 6) Immigrant voters and you've got a pretty likely scenario for down ticket advantage to the Democrats.

A) Florida's 2nd.  The present incumbent is Democrat Gwen Graham who benefitted from the previous map's concentration of African American voters in the northern counties that abut Georgia.  Without them, the new boundaries of the district favor Republicans and so the Republican Candidate, Neal Dunn is the likely winner by virtue of demographics.  Dunn is a Republican in the good old Tea Party mold.  His challenger is Democrat Walter Dartland who is a retired Deputy attorney general for the state beat out his primary challenger by 133 votes and will surely loose to Republican Dunn in the general election.

B) Florida's 7th.  The seventh has been redrawn to represent a more balanced demographic, and pits 2 term Republican incumbent, John Mica against Democratic challenger and political newbie, Staphanie Murphy.  Mica is fairly lack-luster member of congress who champions veterans and small business owners.  Murphy is well positioned to take on Mica on these issues as a former National Security Specialist and small business owner.  This is a very close race in a borderline district with a incumbent who has built up his war chest for just such a vibrant campaign.  Too close to call is my call.

C) Florida's 10th.  Currently held by Republican Daniel Webster (who only last year saw himself as a viable alternative candidate for Speaker of the House when John Boehner quit, now has chosen to quit himself after having his district redrawn to favor Democrats.  An open seat being contested by Val Demings for the Democrats and Thuy Lowe for the Republicans becomes that rarest of all political transitions, a seat held by a conservative white man suddenly becoming a contest between two minority women.  Lowe is immigrant from Vietnam who has thrice now run for Congress, each time unsuccessfully, and Demings is an African American former Police Chief of Orlando.  I give this one to Demings...after all, I would want to the Lowe's streak broken.

D) Florida's 13th  The incumbent in Florida's 13th district is Representative David Jolly, a first term Republican who has drawn one of the worst cards in the deck of House elections this season.  Between the tweeking of his district in the redrawing of the state's map and the decision of his opponent, former Florida Governor Charlie Crist to seek the seat for the Democrats--well, as the Bible story goes: The writing is on the wall--er, ballot--for this one.  Without any need to introduce him, Charlie Crist will add United States Representative for the House to his Resume in November.

E) Florida's 18th  This is a swing district presently held by Patrick Murphy who is now running for Florida Senate.  An open seat and here are the candidates: Hoping to retain the seat for the Democrats is Randy Perkins, and seeking to swing it back to the Republicans is Brian Mast.  Perkins is self-made small business owner who is running a grassroots populist campaign emphasizing social safety net, public option healthcare, and women's rights issues (he is also the father of 4 grown daughters...)  Mast is a double amputee (a fact he features in all of his campaign adds) Iraq war veteran who wants to repeal Obamacare, protect gun rights, privatize Veteran healthcare and re-militarize with an eye to escalate conflicts with Iran and Russia.  All I can say is that I sure hope Perkins wins.  I'm giving him the edge.

F) Florida's 26th  One term congressman, Republican Carlos Curbelo is facing a return fight with previous Democratic congressman Joe Garcia.  Garcia was famously derided for getting caught picking his nose on camera during a congressional hearing and lost a close race in a midterm election that favored Republicans everywhere.  Now the tables are turned.  Garcia keeps a hanky in his pocket, and the district's tweeking slid it in the direction of a more Democratic demographic.  I give this one back to Garcia--BUT there is a very interesting caveat.  With Marco Rubio running Senate and his seat of political power residing in areas of this district, his presence on the ballot could tip the needle in favor of Curbelo.  We'll see what matters more, support and redemption for a duplicitous former favorite son, OR the none stop insults and buffoonery against Latinos and minority voters by the Republican top of the ticket.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Romeo Roll

Not a food, but a good boy preparing for our first cold night of autumn!
 Cutest pootsies ever!

Mediterranean Roasted Chicken

 I started by cooking a couple of strips of Bacon for breakfast and then used the fat to start the cooking of the Chicken Thighs (skin on and bone in)
 Next I gathered the veggies with an eye to aromatics.  1) Olive Oil, 2) Parsley, 3) Carrots, 4) Onions, 5) Celery, 6) Baby Portobello Mushrooms, 7) Dried Apricots, 8) Mediterranean Olives, and 9) Capers
 Assemble in skillet with some Chicken Stock, too.  Season with: minced with Garlic, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Salt and Pepper.  Cover and slow roast on stovetop (2-3 hours)
Served with couscous prepared with diced Zucchini and Broccoli.

Pineapple Sage

Pineapple Sage was my choice for a planting along the narrow garden next to the basement stairs (along with some red begonias)  The sage started out at about 6 inches tall, and now!  It's a veritable hedgerow.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Inspired Breakfast!

Sometimes I just crave vegetables--like I'm channeling the witch from "Into The Woods"!

So this morning I did the following:

1) I grabbed some florets of Broccoli, a couple of stalks of Asparagus, a couple of Scallions, 2 inches off the end of a Zucchini and to baby Portobello Mushrooms (technically a fungus, I know), and chopped them up, tossed them in some Olive Oil and roasted them lightly for about a minute, it's very tricky, you gotta get it just right or you'll make charcoal before you know it!

2) I toasted an English Muffin

3) I scrambled two eggs

4) I made a cup of Hollandaise sauce.

5) I chopped up some fresh Parsley

Finally, I set the toasted English Muffins on a place, placed the scrambled eggs over them, added the roasted vegetables, poured on some of the Hollandaise sauce and then garnished with the fresh parsley.  I think I could eat this for breakfast every day!

National Arboretum: Asian Collection Exploration

 On this most lovely day, my Romeo and I went to the National Arboretum, but this time we skipped our favorite Fern Bank trail, for the Trails of the Asian Collections. This is a series of wooded areas planted to form the following Gardens: A) Korean Hillside, B) China Valley, C) Asian Valley, D) Japanese Woodland, and there is a Camellia Collection, a Pagoda, and a Gate to the Anacostia River. We did not get to every trail, but spent about an hour wandering up and down the trails and discovering the remnant blossoms of summer. I have to include the first photo--it's in the truck on the way and Romeo (buckled in from the back of his harness) always sits up so straight and tall! I love this kid so much.

 I've always found it fantastical that a meteorite wiped out the Dinosaurs but still managed to leave somewhere some vestigial outpost of life as to spare things like ferns and Ginkgos, and Magnolias, and Conifers through a period of tens of thousands of years of ecological devastation and climate disruption to survive pretty much intact into our present era.
 Romeo does love our National Arboretum adventures!

 He has the unbridled, if harnessed, curiosity of a curious cat.

 To take him a place with such beauty and so many plants to smell, and all he wants to do is smell is gravel.... Oh well!

 What's at the top?

These are the gardens nearest to where we had to park. The Dogwood Gardens, which are naturally more interesting in the spring.