Vidalia Onion Pie

Thanksgiving is next week – crazy how quickly time flies in the fall.  Since I love to cook, I decided to include a ‘staple’ from my holiday table menu.  Haven’t posted a recipe in quite some time. This one is worth the wait, though.  If you like onions, that is.

Vidalia Onion Pie

  • 1 1/2 cups finely crushed buttery crackers
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter – room temperature
  • 2 cups thinly sliced Vidalia onions
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt/pepper or  favorite all-in-one seasoning type to taste

Mix crackers and 4 tablespoons butter until blended.  Press into bottom and sides of 8-inch pie pan.
Melt remaining butter in cast iron skillet with salt/pepper. Saute onions until tender, then arrange onions over cracker crust.
Beat milk and eggs until smooth consistency, then pour over onions.  Sprinkle cheese over mixture.
Bake in oven preheated to 350 for 35 minutes or until nicely browned.

Recipe courtesy of Traverse Magazine reprinted from Nov 1992 issue of Bon Appetit.

I love onions.  My grandmother used to eat them  raw.  Me, I just saute – in my cask iron skillet, of course.  That smell is amazing.  It brings perspective to the otherwise daunting task of meal preparation.

(Pause)

I really have nothing else to say about onions.  However, I will close with a parting thought/challenge -  Ponder the complexity that is the onion.

onions have layers

Enjoy!

contributing to the delinquency of my minors

I AM a bad influence on my children.  This time, I blame my mother NOT retail.  Go figure, eh?   I’m sure if I thought real hard I could somehow angle it to blame retail,  but for now – it’s all Mom.  Since I’m already  #WANTED, this altercation should come as no surprise.

popcorn just doesn’t cut it

I love dessert – especially when watching movies.  Moreover, I love going to the movie theater.    I usually wait to see first run films for a few weeks because crowded theaters really suck.  Everyone has their own agenda AND it usually doesn’t correspond with mine – watching the movie in quiet without distraction.

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/saturday-night-news-segment—movie-critic/n9321

Also, retail hours and parenting schedules dictate accordingly.  So when I finally get to go to the theater, I want to go on my terms.  Deciding what treat I want is a crucial part of the master plan. Furthermore, I can honestly guarantee concession will NOT have the dessert I crave on any given visit.  Oh, I love coffee, too.  If the theater even offers coffee – it’s a Keurig or it has been sitting on the burner since the usher shift began. Five hour old coffee can never, ever be considered  ‘Fresh Brewed’.

BYOC, baby

So how does this all come together?  It’s me.  Seldom does that happen.  But, when thinking of creative ways to to get my culinary contraband into the theater without getting stopped by the usher police, I’m that good.  Let’s face it, ushers at  movies theaters are a different breed.  The majority could care less about, well, anything.  However, when it comes to smuggling in ‘outside food’ – things change.  WARNING: never challenge a theater employee when popcorn or Raisinettes are  involved.

a learned behavior

When I was growing up, my mother loved the movies as well.  It was cheaper forty years ago.  Besides, there were seven of us – she needed something to occupy our time.  To keep things affordable, she ‘creatively smuggled’ items into the theater.   That woman had talent.  And, luggage for a purse.  She could fit an entire six pack of pop in her purse.  True story.  You go, Mom!

my best effort to date

My son and I were going to see some Super Hero movie.  I wanted cake.  Unfortunately, the cake to-go container was rather cumbersome.  And, it needed to remain level.  I had the Thermos of coffee hidden, but the cake was … problematic.  As we stood in the parking lot, my son had a Flash of Genius.  His hoodie.  I’m not talkin’ pocket shit either. I’m talkin’ hood. Red Velvet cake was at stake. This was important.  I placed the cake container inside the hood of his hoodie.  It was perfectly level.  All I had to do was adjust the surrounding material to camouflage the contents.

A proud moment in deed!

Opening soon:

Murder on the Orient Express

Side note: Graydon Carter editor of Vanity Fair tried to smuggle a Starbucks into a theater once.  That didn’t go so well.  He was mad and penned his ‘discontent’  in a monthly Editor’s Letter of Vanity Fair.  Me, I just have this blog.  I’m good, though.

Oh, my gourd!

Well, this past Saturday (Oct 28, 2017) marked the official end of the annual Farmer’s Market.  I’m not that sad, though.  I mean I love the thought of going to the Farmer’s Market, but the actually going part is where my issue arises.  I blame retail.  Trust me, this one is totally legit.  One of those ICD-10 PTSD subcategories caused by years of customer service.  Translation: I hate people and avoid crowds whenever possible.

Also, I went to college at the University of Iowa.  The entire state is practically a farm. In comparison, anything else is kind of a disappointment.  However, Traverse City and the surrounding area do this agricultural thing quite well.  This ‘farm-to-table’ concept is serious shit.  These people know how to farm and like to eat.

brief history:

In July 1806, President Thomas Jefferson bought beef, eggs and assorted vegetables at a Georgetown market. In the first decades of that century, most cities with at least 30,000 people sponsored municipal markets.  After the Industrial age, suppliers of food and other goods gathered to retail their wares  in broader markets.  Trading Posts began the shift toward retailers who sold products other than their own.  The General Store contributed to the rift between supplier and customer even more.  From there, the downward spiral continued to increase the distance from the farm to the table.  That, and the stupid concept of enabling the lazy ass customer.

benefits for communities with farmers’ markets:

  • help maintain important social ties, linking rural and urban populations
  • providing outlets for ‘local’ products, farmers’ markets help create distinction and uniqueness
  • reduced overhead: driving, parking, etc.
  • better variety of foods – seasonal offerings, organic foods, pasture-raised meats, free-range eggs and poultry, etc.
  • a place to meet neighbors, chat
  • a place to enjoy an outdoor walk while getting needed groceries

Evidence seems to show that overall prices at a typical Farmers’ Market are lower than prices at a supermarket.

Jimmy goes to the ‘Market’

here’s my beef:
  • the parking fiasco is a fucking disaster – so dumb.
  • ‘fake’ regulars – you know those people who could give two shits about anything other than telling their friends – “we did the market”.  These are the majority of the people Jimmy interviewed.
  • dogs DON’T belong at a Farmer’s Market.  Hell, even friends that are dog lovers agree. Certain people shouldn’t be allowed either, but that’s beside the point.  Unfortunately, it’s THOSE people who bring their dogs.  Then again, half these dogs are medicated.  So, … .  #doggie downers
  • ‘erratic’ walking patterns – stopping, then loitering IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WALK WAY without notice.  “Move to the side, Bitch.  Move to the side.”
  • seasonal doesn’t always co-inside with my menu planning.  Translation: I waste a lot.
  • way too touristy – those matching  ‘Traverse City sweatshirts’ are a bit much.  Idiots – go get your damn flu shot instead.  That’s what every other tourist does when visiting.  Or so I’m told.
 about the title:
I think it’s hilarious. And appropriate.  Gourds are a fall staple, ya know.  Besides, I ain’t got nothin’ else.
Happy November!

Schoolhouse Rock

My daughter was studying the Constitution in history class last week.  When she asked me a simple question about the Preamble, I immediately started humming the Schoolhouse Rock rendition.

We the People, …

Yeah, that didn’t go so well. I should stick to singing ‘Carpool Karaoke’ scales. She stopped me cold.  “Our teacher gave us the link, Dad,” she snarled, looking at me in a way only teen aged daughter’s can when embarrassed by the mere existence of parents.  Luckily, I was able to answer her question.  After I was dismissed, I couldn’t get that Preamble tune out of my head.  I loved the Schoolhouse Rock shorts.  So creative – such good memories. (side note: I was a Saturday morning cartoon slug.)

Elementary, My Dear

On the morning of Saturday January 6, 1973, Schoolhouse Rock premiered with a set of three-minute shorts that played between regularly scheduled cartoons: “My Hero, Zero,” “Elementary, My Dear,” “Three is a Magic Number,” and “The Four-Legged Zoo.” Over the next 13 years, those and other episodes of Multiplication RockGrammar RockScience Rock, and America Rock made things like a beleaguered bill awaiting ratification a cultural touchstone for a certain generation.

(Here’s a)  look back on the original run of catchy tunes that are still worth watching.

1. The series was originally called Scholastic Rock. The name was modified when the publishing company Scholastic, Inc. hired a lawyer who insisted they change it.

2. All of the songs were vetted by educational consultants from Bank Street School of Education.

3.  The original series run lasted from 1973 to 1985 , ultimately winning four Emmys.

4. The idea for the show first occurred to David B. McCall while vacationing with his family at a dude ranch in Wyoming. His son was struggling with learning the multiplication tables but, had no trouble at all memorizing Rolling Stones lyrics. Upon returning to the office, jazz pianist Bob Dorough composed a jingle about mathematics – “Three is a Magic Number”.

5. In “The Preamble,” all the names in the voting booth are people who worked on the song.

6. The University of Michigan Medical School and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons called to ask for ‘Telegraph Line’ to help introduce the nervous system to first-year medical students.

7. The airing of “Three Ring Government” was delayed for several years because executives at ABC were concerned that the FCC and Congress would resent being compared to a circus and threaten their broadcast license renewal.

From what I remember, “Conjunction Function” was a ‘fandom’ favorite, but not one of mine.  “Figure Eight” was way overrated.  I like the thought of “Interplanet Janet”, but also thought she was kinda … creepy.  “Verb” was truly “What Was Happenin’ “.  And, “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here” was just fun!

Lastly, I avoid talking politics in this blog for numerous reasons.  Hell, I avoid talking politics in general for numerous reasons.  But, I did chuckle at the ironic, yet formidable relevance of #7.

LOL, baby.

“Darn, that’s the end!”

CSI – Traverse City

the perp - Adam Thomas (that’s me)
the accomplice/possible stool pigeon - the maintenance dude- the ONE  who will remain nameless
the crime scene - local football field (NOTE – location withheld to protect the innocent)
the crime - trespassing
the plea - I take the Fifth Amendment
the rap sheet -

In my constant quest for physical challenges, … . STOP.  Who am I kidding?  A quest is noble.  I was just bored.  … With my current physical routine, that is. Fitness is something to be proud of though, right? Hmm … . Semantics aside, I was in a rut.   So, it truly was boredom that motivated me,  Adam Thomas, to turn to a life of … crime.

I stumbled upon the local football field by chance. Running stairs/bleaches is the quintessential cardio workout – a guaranteed buns of steel opportunity.  My timing was perfect, too.  The gate was open. I even asked the maintenance dude for permission. He was more than accommodating.  “If the gate is locked,” he said.   “Some have been known to find alternative ways of entering.”  He paused.  “But you didn’t hear that from me.

Little did I realize what his words would foreshadow.

The first time committing a crime is the hardest. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.  And so, it was a Tuesday after school started My Life changed.  The gate was locked.  Chains barred my access for the first time.  I didn’t know what to do.  As I looked around, the words ‘alternative ways of entering’ echoed inside my head. Unfortunately, there were no shaded areas to facilitate discretion.  There was a Saving Grace.   No  NO TRESPASSING signs were anywhere to be found.

I considered the alternatives – indoor workout. The decision was simple.  But then it always is when tempted with wrong doing. Without hesitation, I passed my water gallon under the fence and hopped over the top. It was easier than anticipated.  My Life of criminal misconduct had began.

Weeks of finding ‘alternative ways of entering‘ continued.  I was now a repeat offender.  Somehow, I knew my time would be limited.  And, it was.

One day, I rounded my third set and saw THE car parked on the street. Yeah, THE POLICE had arrived.  Not only that, he waited.  Fuck.  They were on to me.  Maybe my accomplice squealed.  Bastard. Options needed to be weighed.  I walked it off, eyeing potential escape routes.  I found one.  The fence was low on the other side of the field. Then, I could approach my car from behind after I circled the adjacent block.  If asked, I’d play dumb. I do that well.  I work retail.  Hell, I’d even take the Fifth Amendment.  I’s got this.

Before I could proceed, a utility truck parked across the way, blocking my escape route.  “Now what?” I cursed, continuing to workout.  I needed to focus on what minimal scenarios remained.

Within moments, things changed yet again.

The police car sped off, sirens flashing.  The maintenance dude, who will remain nameless, moved to a different location.

I acted fast.  I walked briskly to the main gate, slid my water bottle under the fence, and followed in a like manner. Hopping the fence would be too visible an offense.  Few have the athletic prowess to complete such an obstacle.  I did, though.

Within seconds, I was behind the wheel of my car.  On the run once again.  As I drove off, I considered less fortunate outcomes.  I pondered the repercussions of my actions.  I grinned at the irony.

the punishment - life sentence of customer service

I AM wanted

make that 2 apples AND 5% alcohol

But, who’s counting?

If you haven’t guessed by now, this is another entry about alcoholic beverages. I’ve been told I need to drink more.  After that pondered parental moment, drinks should be on me. Hell, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

Also, apologies on the size of that schematic diagram in the previous post; kinda large, eh?  Since I am a master of all things technical, I was able to crop it appropriately.  (sarcasm intended).   In my defense, I was worried the text would be too small if presented otherwise.  It’s a great picture; very colorful and very Fall!

answers to random apple inquiries

  1. Our family apple of choice is the Gala.  In my opinion, apples are a bit too gritty in texture. (side note: my wife is an apple snob)
  2. Apple juice is refreshing.  Apple cider is a bit much for me.
  3. I still love ‘the Mother’ -  a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar every day, baby.
  4. I enjoy the thought of hot, mulled cider, especially this time of year. But the follow-through isn’t there – too sweet.
  5. When it came time to taste test my first hard cider, I kept it local AND dry.  Tasted a bit like Riesling.

Enough about me, on with the … pomace?

That postal pictorial overview was informative.  However, I felt more explanation was necessary.
Hard Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples. The juice of any variety of apple can be used to make cider, but cider apples are best.  Cider alcohol content varies from 1.2% ABV to 8.5% or more in traditional English ciders, and 3.5% to 12% in continental ciders
  • Apples must be allowed to “sweat”, allowing excess water loss which increases sweetness.  In turn, alcohol content rises proportionately.
  • Washed apples are ground into pomace.
  • During fermentation, sweet cider changes to hard cider, fermented by yeasts.  Like beer, fermentation is temperature dependent.
  • Champagne yeast is used for most cider ‘hardening’ – it best retains the fresh fruit character of the apple.
  • Lastly, the cider is centrifuged, stabilized, and filtered before bottling.
this dude should’ve been a pharmacist
To answer the question posed in my opening comment: Angry Orchards.  Apparently, there is an equivalent of two apples in every bottle. Truthfully, I’m not going to argue with the dude in the commercial link below either.  I have anger envy. He yells at apples with a bullhorn.  The technique is tempting.  Though, corporate may have issues with that type of communication skill.  I don’t, of course.
now, about that ‘an apple a day‘ shit   
I wanted to close with a fun song about Fall or even apples, for that matter.  James Taylor recorded October Road .  A song appropriately entitled  The Apple Cider Song by Darren McCarthy would’ve worked, too.  However, neither had the desired core element. The cartoon caricatures  in this ‘Bad Apple‘ will definitely keep the doctor away.

an apple a day

WHC_processgraphic-crop copy

the parental fear of empty spaces

On January 06, 2014, I published a post entitled – ‘an abnormal fear of enclosed or narrow spaces’.  That is the definition for claustrophobia, of course.  In that offering, I commented on how my four bedroom, 2 bath house with an unfinished basement seemed smaller since two of my children were now adult size. My son is over six feet tall and 190 pounds, my daughter isn’t far behind in either height – 5’9” or weight. I won’t disclose that information if that’s okay.  She doesn’t read my blog, but …. .  You never know.

Since that was almost four years ago, my youngest has joined the ranks accordingly.  She is 14 years old, 5′ 6” and  … . Let me just say, appropriately percentiled.  The house seemed even smaller.

But  – it’s not. Unfortunately.

My son finished up two years at the local community college and transferred to a University downstate.  My second child, the hockey player,  was shipped, or should I say skated, off to Canada to  complete her senior year at a hockey academy.  We are all hoping the decision will equate to college opportunities education alone can’t extend.  Translation – scholarships.  Therefore, only my youngest daughter remains at home. Alone.  She eagerly accepts the abundant, over-compensating attention showered upon her.  (sarcasm intended)

And -  I’m sad.  Unfortunately.

Well, of course I’m sad. This IS parenting.  However, now I have a shitload of time on my hands I have no idea what to do with.  For the last two years, I have been sharing the commute  148 miles ONE way for hockey practice and ‘home’ games.  Then, MapQuesting the hell out of Michigan and the surrounding states for tournaments.

Downside to downsizing -

  • I over cook at every meal.  In the past, I’ve always made extra, anticipating left-overs.  Now, even when I try to make less food, I fail miserably.
  • I have to cut the grass AND take out the garbage.  The worse part. I don’t get yelled at by my daughter for cutting the grass incorrectly.  My son has scolded me for taking out the garbage, by the way.
  • Material for blog posts have taken a serious hit.  My kids kept me hip on what is fad and fabulous.  Now what? I’m old.
  • I rarely do laundry.  Even my youngest started doing her own.  Probs best not to touch her clothes.
  • There are so few dirty dishes, the dishwasher only runs, like, every third day.
  • I had a gallon of milk actually EXPIRE! What the fuck is that all about?
  • I don’t bake anymore.

I realize a few of these outcomes are supposed to be good things.  But, … . Heavy sigh!

I will spare further details of my postal, parental meltdown. To be perfectly honest, that’s all I really had.  Still, I will move forward.  I gave myself September to chill.  It’s October.  So, I’ve decided to focus on … me.  Don’t get me wrong.  I will never deny my youngest any opportunity.  But, hell, I need a little attention. I AM so overdue.

No worries while I fearlessly ponder ‘open’ spaces.  One thing will NEVER change.  I will always be Random and full of … Nonsense.

a cautionary tale

I’m hatin’ again.  Once again, it’s at the pharmacy.  Honestly, there are few things I don’t hate at  the pharmacy.  This hate is different than previously posted predecessors. The onset was  gradual.  The blame – the American consumer, of course.  Why wouldn’t it be?

Hand sanitizer

Before I continue, I should qualify something.  The concept of hand sanitzier is actually plausible and practical.  And, it’s a pharmacy – everyone is sick.  I get that.  But, when a seemingly harmless task like applying hand sanitizer becomes obnoxious… .  Then, only then, is it blog worthy.

Professional Observations

the product – the smell makes me gag.  Always has, always will.

demographics –  creepy, late-middle aged males use it in public more frequently.  Women are ‘closet’ users; subtle in their application technique.  The reason –  a ‘private’ stash is always in their purse.

application – This IS my hate. Worst, most common occurrence –  someone walks up to the pharmacy counter,  pumps the display bottle at least 3 times, then massages the gel onto their hands slowly and methodically. Oh, did I mention the person breathes heavily and often moans?  Well, they do. It’s fucking disgusting. Get a room and clean up after yourself.

The ‘Goodline’ News

According to a recent World Health Organization report, obsession with germ killing has resulted in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, thanks in part to our love of hand sanitizer. Last December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration put the antimicrobial army on notice, informing the makers of antimicrobial soaps that they will have to prove that their products work better than soap and water. Consumers have been urged to resist overusing antimicrobials. More ominously, the FDA stated “Some data suggest that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients used in antibacterial products — for example, triclosan (liquid soaps) and triclocarban (bar soaps) — could pose health risks.”

However, many hand sanitizers, like Purell, are alcohol based and have not been named as a cause of bacterial resistance.  Still, these products have concerns of their own.

http://time.com/96112/why-im-breaking-up-with-hand-sanitizer/

Five Hidden Dangers of Hand Sanitizer

  1. Antibiotic resistance - Triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Using hand sanitizers may actually lower your resistance to diseases by killing good bacteria, which helps protect against bad bacteria.
  2. Alcohol poisoning  
  3. Hormone disruption - The FDA says triclosan may lead to hormonal disruptions and cause bacteria to adapt to its antimicrobial properties, which create more antibiotic-resistant strains.
  4. Weaker immune system
  5. toxic chemicals

Granted, these dangers are redundant and relatively weak.  Alcohol poisoning? I know it sounds ridiculous, but there are the OCD types that even slather the shit on their face.  You would think a dermatitis rash would warrant more concern.  But it doesn’t.  I realize little can be done about obnoxious hand sanitizing offenders – except to make fun of them, of course.  Therefore I will close, leaving Andy Samberg to deal with the … clean up.  According to him, you can never have  ”too much Purell“.

https://www.purell.com/yolo-snl/

You Only Live Once, baby!

Hootie goes country

My oldest daughter listens to country music all the time.  This is NOT a gene from the Thomas ancestry.  In fact, I don’t think it’s a generational trait at all – definitely a learned behavior.  Old Dominion and Carrie Underwood are her favorites.  On our many hockey road trips over the years, I’ve been  progressively introduced to this musical genre.  And, I like.  By the way, Carrie Underwood can sing.

I am more into main stream, semi cross-over into pop country acts.  The hard core hold outs are still a bit too twangy for my taste.  One thing I appreciate about country songs are the lyrics – there’s a story inside.  Granted, the majority of themes deal with heartache. Still, it’s quite refreshing NOT listening to one phrase being repeated 23 times in a 3 minute song.

Some country singers have totally switched to pop, leaving those country roots behind.  Rarely is an artist talented enough to do the reverse cross-over.

Darius Rucker (born May 13, 1966) is an American singer and songwriter. He first gained fame as the lead vocalist of the Grammy Award-winning American rock band Hootie and the Blowfish which he founded in 1986.  The band released five studio albums with him as a member and charted six top 40 hits.   Rucker co-wrote the majority of the band’s songs with the other three members.

Hold my Hand

Recently, I listened to the entire Cracked Rear View album.  For research purposes, of course.  I gotta tell you something. With a few minor changes – add a flat here – delete a riff there – almost every song on that ‘pop’ album has country potential.

He released a solo R & B album in 2002, but did not chart any singles. Six years later, Rucker signed to Capitol Nashville  as a country music singer, releasing an  album later that year. The first single released from the album made him the first black artist to reach number one on the country song charts since Charley Pride in 1983. It was followed by two more number one singles. In 2009, he became the first black American to win the New Artist Award from the Country Music Association, making him only the second African American to win any award from the association.  A second album was released on October 12, 2010.  His fifth country album drops October 20, 2017.

If I Told You

Few artists survive solo careers after ‘the band’  disbands.  The body count of musical industry casualties is an accepted standard.  However, Mr. Rucker appears to be destined to succeed in country. Personally, I think it was a good choice.  Besides, he  seems like a sensitive guy.  Remember – dolphins make him cry.

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