Sunday Evening Open Thread

I love to cook, but I don’t usually bake — it requires too much precision. But I made some blueberry scones today that turned out pretty well:

scones

I used a recipe from Epicurious, modified slightly to account for the dearth of Meyer lemons (had to use regular instead).

My kiddo is on a road trip, which makes me nervous as hell. So I’m cooking and baking up a storm as if that will keep the forces of evil luck at bay. It doesn’t make any sense, but it’s that or Xanax.

Next on the menu: fish tacos. What are you up to?



Late Night/Early Morning Open Thread: All You Can Eat Buffet

Thanks to commenter JCJ for the recommendation, here’s the Brook’s Falls live feed bear cam from Katmai National Park in Alaska. So tune in and watch the grizzlies eat all the salmon they can eat!



A Late Night Snack

With TaMara’s move it seems like forever since we’ve had a recipe post. So I’ve broken out the emergency tiara, frilly apron, and matching oven mitts and we’re under way!

We’re keeping it light tonight because of the summer heat. First up is a broccoli quiche.

Quiche

And here’s the recipe:

 

1 9 inch pie crust

5 eggs

1 ½ cups 1 % milk

2 cups of shredded cheese (officially the recipe calls for Swiss, but I like to use the six cheese Mexican blend)

¾ tsp salt

¼ tsp cayenne red pepper

¼ tsp sugar

Broccoli cut into tiny florets

1/3 cup minced scallions

(This is a vegetarian quiche, but if you want to add ham or bacon or crab or shrimp just toss it on in)

Heat oven to 425 degrees, Prepare a nine inch pie crust. Grease a deep pie pan/quiche pan, place the pie crust in it, and crimp the crust.

Sprinkle cheese and broccoli and onion in pastry lined pan. First cover the bottom of the crust with a layer of cheese. Then cover that with the minced scallions. Then cover those with another layer of the shredded cheese. Cover this with the broccoli florets and then a final layer of the shredded cheese. If adding a meat or seafood product, put 1/2 of it with the scallions and 1/2 with the broccoli.

In a separate bowl beat the remaining ingredients together and pour over the quiche filling in the pie pan.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce oven temp to 300 degrees. Bake for 30 min longer or until knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean. Let stand 10 min before cutting.

Next up a cool, refreshing, and simple mixed melon and pineapple salad.

Fruit-Salad

This really doesn’t require much of a recipe. I balled out 1/4 of a watermelon and 1 cantaloupe. I then chunked up one fresh pineapple and mixed it all together. Then into the fridge to chill before serving. I wasn’t going for anything fancy here, but use whatever fruit combinations you like the most.

And for the dessert, something light(er) and summery: Lemon layer cake with lemon buttercream frosting.

Curd_Crumb_Coat Cake_Side Cake_Top

The first picture is of the cake crumb coated with lemon curd. An important note: I did not candy the lemon wedges; they are purely for decoration unless you’re channeling Stonewall Jackson and like sucking on lemon wedges. In which case, knock yourself out, enjoy your forced march up the Shenandoah Valley, and DUCK!!!!

This isn’t my recipe, nor one that I’ve been using for years and don’t remember where I got it. So I’m just going to link to where I got it from rather than post it. It is very, very easy to make. I did not, however, make the cream cheese lemon frosting that is at the link. Instead I just made a basic buttercream and added the zest and juice of one lemon and 1 teaspoon of lemon extract to make a lemon buttercream.

Enjoy and open thread!



Zika-Skeeto-Infested Hellhole (Open Thread)

We went birding this morning but got off to a late start, which is a recurring theme in our birdwatching chronicles. Whose fault is that, I wonder? Hmmm? Hmmmmmm? Anyway, here’s where we set off with our field glasses; it’s a park along the shores of Tampa Bay:

shoreline june 2016

Looks nice, doesn’t it? But in fact it is a zika-skeeto-infested hellhole! We’re used to slathering ourselves in Deep Woods Off and sunscreen before even going out to check the mail, so of course we’d sprayed ourselves down thoroughly. But the mosquitoes were so thirsty for our blood that they dive-bombed our eyeballs and burrowed into our ear canals. Not pleasant.

We didn’t see many birds due to the aforementioned late start and because the tide wasn’t optimal for shorebirds. But we did see this antediluvian critter:

snapping turtle june 2016

I believe it is a snapping turtle. It had just emerged from a weed-choked canal, hence the crap on its shell. We weren’t sure if it was a snapper or an alligator turtle, which looks very similar only with more ridges on the shell. But we decided it was a snapper.

We also saw this lovely pelican flying around hunting for fish:

pelican june 2016

You can always count on pelicans around here. Even if every other bird is hidden away from the heat, the hardy pelican will still be in evidence. Ibises too, but they are as common as pigeons around here, so I didn’t bother taking a picture of those goony birds.

We saw plenty of eagles and ospreys in their nests, but they nest so high up it’s not worth getting a shot unless you have a camera with a telephoto lens. All I had was my iPhone and field glasses, which I used in combination to get a shot of St. Pete across the bay:

st pete june 2016

Yeah, no. That didn’t work too well. Maybe someday I’ll get an actual camera. But with that, we beat a hasty retreat, down approximately a pint of blood each thanks to the relentless mosquitoes.

Now I’m figuring out the order in which I will run a bunch of errands and generally procrastinating on cleaning the house. I’ve got a houseful of people coming over tomorrow to celebrate three things at once: Father’s Day, our daughter’s graduation from high school and the annual summer departure of the snowbird relatives.

I’m planning to make ropa vieja and yellow rice since it’s the sort of thing that holds up well when people are showing up at unpredictable times, and it doesn’t require use of the oven — it’s too goddamned hot to use the oven!

I will also make a key lime pie since that is my hubby’s favorite dessert and perhaps roasted shrimp cocktail, plus a big old salad. What are you up to today?



Deadbeat Donald & The Art of the Steal + Pie: Not Just for Trolls!

Valued commenter Immanentize shared a couple of tomato pie recipes with me the other day in response to my recent Attack of the Killer Tomatoes thread. Here’s the pie:

image

I trust it will taste as good as it looks and smells.

Speaking of trolls, Combover Caligula was in Tampa today (my closest media market). He said something that made my blood run cold even on this very hot day:

“I’ll be here so much, I’ll be in Florida, I’ll be with you so much over the next five months that you’re going to say, ‘Please keep him the hell out of Florida. He’s driving us crazy.’”

That clown car done left the big top parking lot a long time ago, Hair Furor.

But if there’s any justice, things should get more heated for Deadbeat Donald since a USA Today piece exposed him as a serial stiffer of working folks. Here’s a NY Mag summary:

USA Today has posted an explosive investigative story about what appears to be a deep aversion presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has to paying his bills. The short version: USA Today claims that, based on what looks like some rather impressive reporting, Trump has for decades looked for just about any excuse he could find to stiff everyone from plumbers to — can’t make this up — lawyers who represented him in non-payment lawsuits.

The longer version is something of a bloodbath for Trump: “At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work,” writes USA Today’s Steve Reilly. “Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.”

The striking thing about Reilly’s article is that there’s no standard script for why a given person or company didn’t get paid in full by Trump — he seemed to withhold payment rather capriciously. While Trump would often claim shoddy work as his reason for not ponying up, Reilly presents pretty overwhelming evidence that in many, if not most, of the cases, this was not a credible claim.

This tendency to screw people seems in line with Fuckface von Clownstick’s general philosophy of grift, including the Scam U thing. I’m guessing a not-insignificant percentage of the tradespeople and service providers The Cheato fucked over outside of the Scam U context might be willing to tell their tale of woe in an ad.



Turkeys, Turtles and Pie — Oh My! (Open Thread)

We went hiking yesterday at an inland nature preserve near Brooksville, Florida. It’s called Chinsegut, and we’ve been there before. It’s a lovely place with easy trails through sandhill and hardwood hammock habitats:

Chinsegut June 2016

It’s usually an easy hike, but yesterday, it was hotter than a red-headed roofer. We got a late start, so we were traipsing through the woods during the suffocating heat. The birds had more sense than we did — they mostly stayed hidden in the woods. But we did see a couple of wild turkeys on the way to the preserve:

wild turkeys June 2016

We also saw the gopher tortoise pictured below on the trail. It was greedily devouring a plant when we first noticed it. I interrupted its meal long enough to take this photo:

gopher tortoise June 2016

Gopher tortoises dig burrows all over the place, so you have to watch your step around them. They are otherwise harmless, unlike this snapping turtle* we saw, which gave us the most evil look, as if we’d trampled its eggs (we hadn’t). They can be nasty customers, so we kept our distance:

snapping turtle June 2016

After a relatively short but sweaty hike, we figured we deserved a treat, so when we got home, I made this peach pie, pictured below when it was still hot and bubbly, fresh from the oven:

peach pie June 2016

I need to work on my crust-crimping game, but the pie is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. The trick is to mix the sliced peaches and half the sugar in a bowl and let it set for a bit. Then put a colander on a saucepan, dump the peaches into the colander to drain and return them to the bowl.

Then you boil the sugary peach juice in the saucepan until it reduces down to a syrup and add it back to the peaches. That way, your pie won’t be too runny, which is always a danger with peach pies.

Anyhoo, that’s what we did with our Saturday. Today is the last day of our vacation, so we’ll have to make the most of it. We’re still deciding how — baseball, beer and BBQ are under consideration. Got any plans today?

Open thread!

* A couple of commenters pointed out that this is probably a Florida softshell turtle. I think they’re right.



Late Evening Open Thread: And Now for an Opposing Viewpoint!