By now, you realize, if you have been reading this blog, that I don’t generally publish recipes for “conventional” food. I like to try and stretch the reader’s palate a little, and encourage you to try foods and combinations that tend to drift a little from what most people are used to eating.
Well, here we go again! I call this SMOGG pizza, and I am really using the term “pizza” in the more artisan, avant-garde sense. Although it’s a bread like base, and it’s covered in cheese, there’s no tomato sauce component, and there’s one ingredient that will, like many of my recipes, instantly discourage a portion of my readership. But, as always, I encourage you, no, I beg you to indulge me and give this a try. Then, if you find it does not appeal to you, by all means, comment. Rip it apart, complain, call me a moron, but do something!
I love finding new ways to use old standard ingredients, and what could be more standard than chicken and rice? This dish is going to make you find new places to shop, try new ingredients, and discover new flavors. I know it looks like a lot of work sorting out the details, but I promise you two things; First, it’s not as complex as it looks at first glance. I made this today in about an hour. Second, whatever it takes, it’s worth it.
Please continue and read the recipe. I think you will find it worth every minute.
So many things that should be really simple take a little turn and thus complicate our lives in ways that then cost us resources, mental energy, and valuable time. Each, by themselves, may not amount to much, but in today’s complex, interconnected, busy world, they add up fast and raise the energy drain it takes to just stay even.
Of course, one could opt for getting off the grid entirely, or as close to that condition as possible, but the lure of technology and progress is one just too great for me to resist, so I accept, but as you can see, sometimes complain about its consequences.
Here is one such event….
This is the first desert recipe I have posted here because we do not make desert very often, but this great Banana Bread recipe might just be the exception. Of course, it’s mostly due to having bought a nice bunch of bananas and then, a week later, having a pair of squishy brown soft ones starting to leak onto the counter.
The John Deere has found a new home in the garage of an old time farmer, who used all John Deere equipment on his farm for 50+ years. He recently retired, and needed a good reliable mower that would double as a fun activity for the grand kids (smart old man, eh?). So, since we had almost all of the grass that was left in the yard covered over with beautiful rustic pavers, the John Deere went on Craigslist, and sold in 20 minutes to the first person who called.
That made me have to bring the 43 year old Toro Whirlwind mower out of mothballs and restore it so I could mow that last remaining 16′ X 16′ patch of grass in the back yard. I bought that mower for my parents’ house back in New Jersey, when I was just a kid, and it came with them when they moved here in 1989 and has been in the shed ever since.
I tore it apart, ordered all of the rubber and fuel system parts from Briggs & Stratton directly, (one of the “O” rings was listed on their site for FIVE CENTS) and had it start on the second pull of the “Easy Spin” starter. It didn’t even need a blade sharpening as my dad used to keep it finely tuned all those years ago.
ORIGINAL JOHN DEERE ARTICLE:
When I moved into this house 20+ years ago, the entire front yard was grass. About 6000 sq. ft. of deep thick Bermuda grass that, in the peak of the summer, needed mowing twice a week.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that my old push mower was going to need a major upgrade. I started looking in the local paper for a riding mower, and soon spotted an ad for a 1983 John Deere Model 111 Hydrostatic Garden Tractor with a twin blade mower deck. Just the ticket!
It was in very nice condition, well used, but pretty clean and it started right up and ran smoothly. When I asked the owner why he was selling it, he explained that for his rather large back yard, this little single cylinder, 11 horsepower engine just didn’t have enough power to deal with the tall grass and weeds. He intended for the money from the sale of the Deere to go to a twin cylinder Craftsman. Who was I to argue? I loaded it up and brought it home.
OK, I’m a real geek when it comes to having stuff work right. People who know me also know that I will pay extra money to get an item that does a job perfectly, something that is the epitome of its designed function. Like many of you, I hate stuff that just barely works, is the minimum that some designer or manufacturer could get away with, or is built so that it just lasts until the warranty runs out. The frustration of spending money for an item you “have to put up with,” is just too much for me.
So, although I promised myself that I wouldn’t start posting articles that make me look like I’m selling a particular item or brand, or that I am perceived as a shill for a particular company, I have found one line of products that I feel so positive about that I just have to detail it here. Let me tell you what happened…
The other day I was washing my truck, I decided to do a really thorough job and pull the big rubber mat out of the bed and clean all the mung out from underneath. As I pulled it out, I noticed that it was somewhat “stiffer” than I remembered it being, and it was a little bit hard to peel out of the bed.
Immediately upon getting it removed, I saw what was going to turn into a BIG problem….. Continue reading
I found the basic recipe for this rice and peppers dish on a recipe site, and tried it. I thought it could use some tweaking, and so here is the result. I really like this as a flavorful side dish, but it holds its own as a light meal too. This one is vegan without needing any modifications.
You will notice a new page in this blog called “Spring Has Sprung.” I’m sorry about the cliché, but I just couldn’t resist after wandering around the yard this morning with my camera. Click on the page for some really beautiful flowers and marvel at nature. Click here to the page….
I got an interesting call for help this last week that turned out to be very educational and a little humbling. A friend of mine called with what sounded like a simple electrical problem on a 1951 (yes, older than I am) Chevrolet Pickup truck. He said that he had installed a retro-fit turn signal system on it, complete with a nice chromed turn signal switch that mounts to the steering column with a stainless steel hose clamp, and replacement sockets for the lights on all four corners of the car to accommodate the new 1157 double filament bulbs .
So far it sounded simple and straight forward. Further, he said the system utilizes a typical “old school” 3 terminal flasher, which was wired in series with the battery and the “new” turn signal switch. He described the problem in a few simple words; “If you run the turn signals with the engine off, they work perfectly. But, as soon as you start the engine, they stop blinking, and stay on continuously.”
Well, I have diagnosed and fixed electrical problems in Cadillacs and Corvettes with a dozen computers in them, and built wiring harnesses from scratch for burn jobs, so I really figured, “How hard could it be to fix a simple 3 wire flasher circuit on a ’51 Chevy?” That’s when the fight started. Continue reading
I just updated this post with the details of the new Radio-Controlled remote that I added to this shed lighting project at the end of the post.
A long while ago, I had a shed built to house the usual collection of gardening tools, mower, and general yard and pool “stuff.” It sits about 30 or 40 feet from my electrical box, and a local electrician quoted me $1000 to run power out to it so I could have light in there at night. I solved the problem a different way, and for WAY less money. Continue reading
Ya gotta love entrepreneurial spirit! I was getting ready to do a little cooking this morning and I removed an item from my freezer that was double wrapped in plastic bags. While the item was in perfect condition after defrosting, I noticed that the outer bag had some of that classic “freezer smell” that also sometimes pervades ice cubes and seems to be very common, judging from the number of articles I found about it on the Net.
Because some of you have asked for more food, here’s another recipe that not only satisfies on a number of levels, but this big batch almost assures some leftovers that get even better when allowed to rest for a day or two. The Germans call that “Ziehen,” which translates to “draw,” as in drawing the flavor out of the ingredients. Also, it gets you to hunt for a fabulous spice blend, common in Morocco, that you will use again and again once you taste what it can do for a dish. So, continue reading for the recipe, and a bunch of additional information. Continue reading
For my first cooking post, I’m going a little out on a limb, considering the main ingredient. You see, it’s a food that doesn’t have a very favorable reputation among average diners. Most people I have talked to about it said that they were put off by the smell, and because of that, never tasted it. Well, this recipe mellows both the smell and the taste, elevating it to new heights on the palate.
Click the link in the full article below for the full recipe. Continue reading
Hidden in plain sight, on the I-17N access road just North of Bell Road in Phoenix, is a fabulous way to while away an afternoon if you like really beautiful old cars. Continue reading
There is , to me, a certain satisfaction in making old things work like new again. Although I know a few people who have performed near miracles restoring old cars, that has proven to be way out of my league. But nearly anyone with patience, a little time, and a strong interest can relive a little of the past by restoring or refurbishing some of their old favorite bicycles from their past. Since I started my mechanical career working in a bicycle store, I decided to resurrect a few of the old Schwinns that had been in storage for many years.
This is sort of an introductory article about my Schwinn hobby, but since it was published, so many more interesting bikes and I have crossed paths. Hence, I have devoted an entire page to bicycles and their refurbishment and restoration. If you are interested in more depth, just click HERE!
This Is now Mostly “Old Hat.”
I have removed all the really old comments about my transition to Windows 10 when it was first offered to a small group of Beta testers, as all that news has gone completely stale. This article will only contain occasional updates regarding new builds, and then only if I experience a major new feature, addition, or crash.
I have been slowly converting almost all of my home lighting to LED sources. Now, while there are some things you have to get used to compared to incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, the many advantages tilt the scales for me in favor of making the switch. Read on if you want to see how I vastly improved my garage workspace. Continue reading