Rosemary Lemon Roast Chicken and Cilantro Lemon Eggplant
Dude, this chicken recipe is really, really simple. The eggplant side dish is not exactly simple, but is an unexpected combo which works rather well. I prepared these two dishes with a side of cinnamon-sugar butternut squash, which made for a coincidentally gluten-free meal.

Rosemary Lemon Roast Chicken Thighs
16-20 oz boneless skinless chicken thighs
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
leaves from 3 sprigs rosemary, or 1 tbsp rehydrated dry rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
ground peppercorns to taste

Toss ingredient together; wrap tightly in foil, and bake at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes...use an instant-read thermometer to verify that the internal temperature is 180 degrees F.

Serves 3-4.

Cilantro Lemon Eggplant
1 eggplant, 3/4-inch diced
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro; leaves chopped; stems finely chopped
1 onion, diced
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
~1 quart salt water (should taste like the ocean)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Place diced eggplant in salt water; forcibly submerge for 10-20 minutes. Drain thoroughly, squeezing out the moisture and discarding water.

Prepare a wide skillet over medium-high heat; when hot, add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add purged eggplant and sprinkle with salt; brown for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally so that each side turns mahogany brown. Remove from pan.

Add 1 tsp olive oil; add onion and sauté for 5-10 minutes until partly browned. Add jalapeño, garlic, and cilantro stems; continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add eggplant, lemon juice, and cilantro; remove from heat and serve.

Serves 4-6.

Basilica of National Shrine of Mary Queen of the Universe
One of the reasons you should visit Orlando: the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe (which has recently been raised to a minor basilica). We visited yesterday and snapped a couple of photos, and I've also added some other Flickr photos below so you can get an idea of some of the beauty it has created & shared.

mary statue

mary stained glass

more photos by other Flickr usersCollapse )

Religious art, anyone?
I visited the Ringling Museum yesterday -- here's a quick upload of my photos. If you have any Christian aesthetic whatsoever, you probably wanna take a look.

(note: RAW output on its way)

Pizzas Tonight
bbq chicken
pulled dark meat chicken, cilantro, sweet baby ray's bbq sauce, caramelized red onion, green onion, sharp cheddar

mushroom, roasted artichoke hearts, garlic, wilted spinach, tomato, kalamata olive, basil, mozzarella, parmesan

dry salami, green onion, tomato, rosemary, oregano, mozzarella, parmesan


part skim ricotta, rosemary, oregano, garlic, wilted spinach, basil, roasted artichoke hearts, mozzarella, parmesan

chicken and capers

pulled dark meat chicken, capers, garlic, tomato, caramelized red onion, green onion, parmesan

I demand freedom; come and get me!
Tags: ,

Braised Pork Shoulder and Corn Cake
Corn cake - in the style of Chi Chi's or Don Pablo's:

1 15-oz can creamed corn
2/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, margarine, or corn oil
Handful of grated cheese (optional)

Mix well to combine. Empty into a loaf pan, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into center is clean. The texture will remain rather moist, like the consistency of a bread pudding.

Serves 6.

Braised Pork shoulder

Whole fresh picnic shoulder (5-8 lbs), skin removed
1 chipotle pepper, either packed in adobo or dry & rehydrated, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Dry rub (see below)
a few dashes of liquid smoke, Hickory flavor (optional)
2 cups water

After removing skin from picnic shoulder, rub evenly with the dry rub mixture. Refrigerate covered for at least 12-24 hours.

In a slow cooker, add onions, chipotle, liquid smoke*, and water; carefully place pork shoulder on top, and cover. Set slow cooker to "High" for 3 hours; afterward, turn to "Low" and cook for another 6-8 hours. Do not touch! Do not remove the lid at any point!

Remove meat and juices from slow cooker & immediately chill and refrigerate. If desired, you may want to save the juices in a separate, taller container so that the floating rendered pork fat congeals at the surface, and can be removed easily after chilling. You may also want to check the flavoring of the meat and juices at this point, adding salt or garlic powder or cayenne powder if the flavor is not strong enough.

After the meat has refrigerated overnight, pick the meat from bones & gristle into bite-sized sections, and recombine with the juices. Gently reheat and serve**.

Easily serves 8-10, probably more.

* If you use liquid smoke, be very conservative. It is no substitute for a barbecued pork shoulder. Only use the liquid smoke to amp up the smoky flavor of the chipotle pepper, not to create a smoked pork effect.

** If you want a carnitas effect, reheat the pulled pork without the juices under a low broiler to get a slightly crispy texture. You may want to add some fat to do this properly, otherwise you'll end up with toasted meat, not crispy meat.

Picnic shoulder dry rub

2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp peppercorns, ground
1 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground cumin or coriander

Symbolism of the House
Brief ramble on the film 'Up' - definitely spoilers and commentary that you SHOULD NOT READ prior to watching. And exactly why haven't you watched it yet?Collapse )

Marco Rubio for US Senate 2010!
As soon as I found out Marco Rubio was on the Todd Long show today, I was the first caller on the radio show lined up to speak with him. My question was about life issues, and his answer was clearly and unashamedly pro-life. What this means in detail, I'm not entirely sure; but I would definitely not expect such a short and clear answer from Smarmy Charlie Crist, who would definitely talk around the issue and ask for the equivalent of fair minded words.

Later on Twitter, I caught up with Mr. Rubio:
@schotbredeweg: I appreciated talking with you today on the Todd Long show - thx for clarifying your pro-life beliefs. What about 2nd amd rts?

@marcorubio: support them 100%
I'm rather impressed with his accessibility and his forthright defense of seemingly difficult questions.

Cheerios and Organizational Cuplability
Earlier this week, some anti-Big-Government types got all worked up by the the story about the FDA accusing Cheerios of being a drug. After a little reflection, I say phooey and pshaw. The FDA (whether you acknowledge its tyranny or benefit) acknowledged something that happened as a result of General Mills' actions. To review, General Mills first claimed that their cereal reduced cholesterol, a claim putting them in a state that did actually violate the definition of food. The FDA only stepped in and acknowledged the state into which General Mills had put their Cheerios product. Got that? The FDA acknowledged what General Mills did to themselves. After that, every sour grapes conservative (myself included) complained that the oppressive FDA will soon decide which foods are drugs. They confused the policies of the FDA with the FDA's enforcement of those policies, and they also blamed the FDA organization for turning Cheerios into a drug. Remember that General Mills, under existing FDA guidelines, turned Cheerios into a drug themselves.

The same thing happens when the press tries to cover any story involving excommunication; it is the Catholic Church that excommunicates, and we should sympathize with the sinners who have been abandoned by their church. This is contrary to what happens. The bishops, trusted to uphold the unity, holiness, universality, and apostolic identity of the Bride of Christ, have the authority and wisdom to recognize when a baptized and living Christian has sinned knowingly and willingly and without penitence. It is an external acknowledgment of a separation of the sinner from the law of God and the sinner's rejection of Jesus's merciful forgiveness. However unfortunate, it is not the Church who excommunicates; it is the Church who acknowledges that the sinner has excommunicated themselves from obedience to God's church. The acknowledgment of excommunication is a serious call to penitence and reunion, not an inflicted punishment. God's punishment is His alone to give.

As Catholics, we sometimes also conflate organizational blame. Blame the government for Roe v. Wade. Blame the two political parties who keep it law. Blame the government for the 1.3M baby killings each year. Blame the government for allowing the death penalty, and blame the state governments who use it. This is the same fallacy as above with Cheerios and excommunication. Why do we lobby so hard against the death penalty and confuse it with abortion? The state acknowledges that a capital offender has violated the law of God and the law of man; in doing so, they have separated themselves from God and man, and deserve swift & humane dispatch to God's judgment. The state does not hold the death of proven criminals on their conscience any more than the Church holds the responsibility for an excommunicant's sadness or the FDA for making Cheerios a drug. It can also be confusing to think of the death penalty in terms of double effect; in that you cannot do something wrong (execution) to accomplish something good (permanently separating a criminal from potential victims). On the contrary, the intention is permanent separation of the criminal from society, since they have separated themselves from the law. Proving guilt is obviously a different matter, and establishing a justice system that can prevent the execution of the truly innocent is another matter. The fact remains that the per capita rate of death penalty usage, at least in America, is so far lower than in any other nation, and American penal systems still regularly release killers and rapists and gang leaders because of the prohibitive shared financial burden to permanently yet humanely isolate them from society.

I'm not sure where this leaves us, but it is an exercise in not complaining about general tyranny, or confusing the actions of organizations with the authority they protect and enforce. God and man have granted leaders authority over the institutions of this world. Long before man discovered God guaranteed them certain natural rights, man discovered that God demanded his obedience, even to Caesar. We can and should work to influence this world and prevent injustice, but we are only workers, not builders. Whether we agree on abortion or Cheerios or the death penalty matters not; first, we must obey the law of God to obey his servant leaders when they rule.

And another thing. The Obama at Notre Dame thing really peeves me right off. Jenkins should and will be punished; it sets a horrible example for an American church already confused in its obedience to the faith. The protesters are going to put on a respectful demonstration that Obama's abortion policy is evil and should be changed. But I can't get all incensed about Notre Dame as an organization any more than Obama is an evil organization by himself. He's still the president, whether he enforces morally objectionable policy or not, and he orchestrates the execution of laws right now. Honor is his because of his position. Work to change the laws he enforces by acting with obedience to the laws he enforces.

Index of Broadway household meals & dishes
Refer to Google Doc.


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