Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cable Wars

The NSA and the FBI have nothing on Comcast, whose software and web crawlers must be programmed to report back to Central Command when Comcast and its new archrival are mentioned together anywhere on the web. I learned this this afternoon when a gentleman who works for Comcast sent me a comment about my last post "Mandatory Cable".

How Comcast found my post is intriguing, for I am in the top ten most obscure blogs on Planet Earth. If I have 35 readers a day 30 of them are Russian spambots and the loathsome "Vampire Stat" and "Zombie Stat". I have perhaps eight regular readers and two of them are a best friend and my brother.

No cable company need be concerned about anything I say for good or ill about them for my comments and opinions pass quickly into the black hole where all things written that remain unread go.

Maybe the President should have put Comcast on Edward Snowden's trail in Russia instead of the usual Federal foxhounds.

If Comcast could find my blog, they could find Snowden-

Mandatory Cable

A few years ago, after cancelling Comcast Cable and living without it for two years, I decided to bring it back, thinking television and movies might have changed and become worth watching again-

I called Comcast.

But the Comcast Lady was confused. "We have you down as deceased", she said.

Obviously. For only dead people cancel their cable.

I was thinking of getting rid of it again. Anything I want to watch is on Hulu a day later. For free.

Then the lease renewal letter came, and my rent increase was not the usual 25 dollars. My rent was going up $125.00. My landlords were now graciously providing me and everyone else with wireless Internet and U-Verse Cable.

Wireless Internet is most welcome in my house, for Comcast kept me tethered to a short leash,and there was no blogging possible on the porch or the kitchen table. I was trapped.

Now, I can roam!

I am ambivalent about the cable. U-verse provides 300 channels, including 90% of the "premiums". Unfortunately it does not have the real time Weatherscan radar channel, which I check more than any other, since I spend so many mornings in other peoples' gardens working and really need to know when thunderstorms loom-

I guess U-Verse thought I needed a little black, superfluous box more than I needed radar or the Hallmark Channel. They sent a DVR.

I do not need a DVR to record programs from 300 unwatched channels. If I want to watch "Grimm" (and I might), and if I miss it, I can watch it on the computer a day later. I told the U-Verse lady in Miami that I did not want the DVR. "But it's included in the package!" she protested, probably knowing she was dealing with another cranky old resident of Codgerville.

"You are going to love that", a friend said.

No, I am not. It is just another thing that needs to be dusted. I have just spent a month clearing out the clutter and leaving it down at the trash station for people anxious to add more clutter and do-dadery to their lives. I gave away old picnic baskets, a year's worth of food magazines, plant stands, pointless vases, baskets- Many treasures left for the lucky at that dumpster. My tiny apartment had been stuffed with stuff like a pinata. Every time I moved or turned around I bumped something or knocked something off or down.
And just as I have achieved a decor somewhere between Bohemian cozy and Scandinavian Sparse, this little, black, unwanted box moves in.

It is going to have a lonely life.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cream of Lady Pea Soup

The Johnny Howell Farm Truck has Lady Peas again this summer at the Davidson Road Methodist Church in West Meade.(They are there Tuesdays and Fridays from 2pm to 6pm).

I wrote a post last summer about them in which I called them "The Truffle of the South". I stand by it!

I bought a pound yesterday. I decided to cook them in broth till tender and then to puree them to see if they would make a summer soup that would be good hot or cold. I expected the soup to be similar in texture to Split Pea Soup, as indeed it was. I expected to add some heavy cream, perhaps half a cup, But when that time came, cream seemed too obvious, and I went off in a different direction-

Canola oil. Several tbs to saute the onion, with 1 heaping tablespoon of bacon dripping added.

1 white or yellow onion, diced and sauteed till golden in Canola oil. Add a little sea or kosher salt to sweat the onions-

1 pound of Lady Peas

3 cups of chicken stock or broth. (I use Orrington Farms Broth Base and Seasoning, which I reconstitute with hot water).

1/2 cup buttermilk (Use liquid measuring)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning, or more if you want more heat.

Saute the diced onion in canola oil over medium heat till it turns golden. Then add the Lady Peas and 2 cups of the chicken broth.Add the Cajun seasoning and salt to taste. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat until the peas are tender.

Now put the peas and broth in a blender and puree. Then pour back into the saute pan and add the third cup of chicken broth and the buttermilk.

Serve with croutons. Wonderful hot or cold, but please note that on the second day any leftover soup may have thickened and may need some water added before serving.

*Note- There are many kinds of Southern Field Peas, and I would think some might be substituted for the Lady Peas. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Tee-Tiny Experimental Kitchen- Fava Beans, Zucchini, and Roasted Red Peppers

This is a magnificent dish, and the addition of Helba, or ground Fenugreek makes it sublime. You can prepare it in under an hour, since the beans and roasted red peppers are canned and already cooked. How wonderful this would be with roasted or braised lamb!

1 15 oz can fava beans

1 medium onion, white or yellow,diced and sauteed in olive oil until golden

2 minced garlic cloves

Olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Cumin to taste, start with 1 teaspoon

Ground Fenugreek (Helba) start with 1/4 teaspoon, taste and add more as desired.

One 6 to 7 inch zucchini,diced

3-4 whole roasted red sweet peppers, cut into small pieces

1/3 cup chicken broth or stock

Saute the diced onions in a large saute pan. Use a generous amount of olive oil, and add some sea salt to help sweat the onions. Add the cumin and fenugreek and mix well, then add the diced zucchini when the onions are golden.Add the minced garlic, and then the diced roasted peppers and canned fava beans. Taste, as you must always do and add more spices or salt as you desire. Lastly add the chicken broth and cook covered on medium low heat until the zucchini is soft. Remove the cover and allow the chicken broth to reduce away until only its flavor is left and the mixture is thickened and not watery.

This should feed four people.

* A note about Fenugreek-

Fenugreek is used in curries and in Middle Eastern cooking. It has an exotic Maple sugar like aroma.It is available in better groceries, Middle Eastern grocers, and of course, on the Internet.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Storm

I was about to post these pictures on July 10 when these thunderstorms caused a power surge that blew out my cable modem, even though it was on a surge protector. These are ominous clouds, and the lightning that came with them knocked me off line for weeks-

Internet Service Restored at Last

Weeks ago a thunderstorm blew out my Comcast modem.. I called to get a new one. No modem came. I called again. No modem.
I called again and got more runaround. The apartments I live in are now including U-Verse in the rent, and I think this is why Comcast ignored me, since they knew I would be dropping them when I renewed my lease.Anyway, the Tee-Tiny Kitchen is back in business and I hope to post soon!