Thursday, February 07, 2008

When I'm Wrong, I Admit It

I made my predictions after Iowa a few weeks ago. My guess on the outcome was (so far) incorrect, but I think my reasoning was good. The Republicans did what I thought they would not do--they will nominate John McCain. Except for his really pro-war stance, he has actually been my favorite Republican in the mix. I think he is a smart nominee for the Republicans: he will steal a number of moderate voters from the Democrats. Now, the ultra right wingers wept and wailed and gnashed their teeth over Romney's annouuncement today, but all-in-all, I think this is the only competitive choice for Republicans. And although I didn't like his politics at all, I think it is sad to see just how deep the Mormon bias still runs. I think that is why Huckabee ran in the first place. He never really had a shot, he just wanted to make sure that Romney didn't.

On the OTHER side, I'm still holding fast to my Barack Obama position. I think he'll run stronger against McCain. The polls show that Hillary does not attract the moderates like Obama does. If the Dems elect Hilary, they will have a fight to the White House on their hands. Either way, the Republicans have it tough--they are only getting out about as third as many voters as the Democrats.

For me, I'm afraid it may come down to voting for or against the war. I'm not in an income bracket that will be affected to far one way or the other by taxes, so I have to stick to the issues that resonate the loudest with me--education, the war, the environment, health care. . . . Now, for more information on why Clinton and Obama are different, I really suggest taking the time to read this. I think the most telling bit is that several advisors close to both the ghost of Clinton past and Clinton future have decided to work for the Obama campaign. As one put it very eloquently, "I'm just not sure I want that circus back in town.

Okay, that is enough ISSUE for today. On to some domestic items:

I have problems with stinky rags. Constantly. I know, I know, I should just go all disposable, but I hate the waste. The rags, even if they sit for a few hours begin to smell and then I throw them in a pile on my washing machine (garage) where they all sit together and stink until I get around to washing them about once a week. They come out not very fresh. Plantboy had an idea to microwave them. So now, after I use a rag, I rinse it really well and then microwave it until it is hot (20-60 sec, depending on the size of the rag and/or how many I put in.) I pull them out, and voila! No smell. Not even a bit. I had one on the counter for like two days I'd kind of forgotten about. Sniffed it. NO PROBLEM. Try this at home, please.

And the Greek food. Oh, the Greek Food. Look at the picture and get a pen . . .

In the top center, is a typical Greek/Caesar salad. Nothing fancy, but really yummy.

Starting at the top of the Plate

Rice Pilaf
1. Combine two parts jasmine rice with one part orzo pasta
2. Brown in a couple of tablespoons of butter
3. Add six parts (in other words, double the pasta/rice) chicken stock (use a good one)
4. Add dried herbs--oregano, basil, thyme and whatever else sounds good as well as salt/pepper
5. Boil until water is absorbed and rice is cooked. DO NOT stir it or it will get gummy.

Moving clockwise . . . .

Garlicky Dill Potatoes

1. Boil chunked red potatoes about five minutes. They should still be hard. Drain and place them back in the pan.

2. Add a couple of tablespoons butter, dill, juice from one lemon and a clove of garlic. Place the lid on the pan and shake really hard. Transfer potatoes to an oven-safe dish and bake at 350 until potatoes are done and slightly browned.

The whole meal was a little brown to be beautiful, next time I would do the same recipe but use carrots instead.

The pita bread is flat bread I bought at the store, the key here is to brush it with a little bit of olive oil and brown it on both sides so it is warm and just slightly crispy. Then you dip it in

3 parts plain yogurt, 1 part sour cream, juice from a lemon (or half, to taste), dill, salt, black pepper, and a finely diced cucumber. Mix it a couple of hours ahead and let it sit together. Even better on day 2.

Chicken Kebabs:

1. Cut up chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and put about four or five each on skewers (I used wooden ones).

2. Mix olive oil (good stuff, the kind that smells like fruit), fresh garlic, fresh oregano, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper in a dish. Drizzle it over the chicken and let it sit for a couple of hours or more in the fridge.

3. Cook on a medium on a griddle on the stove (about the same temp you'd use for pancakes!) about five minutes on each side. Press them into the pan as you cook them to make sure they cook through. They cook fast, searing on the outside with all the tasty goodness and staying tender in the center.

Delicious in the dip.

Lemonade (we went all out)

1 Cup fresh lemon juice combined with a cup of water, add to blender

Add sugar to taste: 1/2 to 1 cup

1/2 a can of sweetened condensed milk

Zest from a lemon

Blend up with about 15 ice cubes in you blender.

Happy eating!!!!!


Kimberly Bluestocking said...

The only "Greek" dish in my repertoire is totally unauthentic - essentially spaghetti with feta and couscous instead of Parmesan and noodles. I'm looking forward to trying something different. :)

I don't necessarily oppose McCain, but I really don't understand his appeal. He has a reputation as a straight-talking moderate, but lately all I've heard from him is that he's the conservative heir-apparent to Reagan. That seems kind of inconsistent to me.

Could someone explain to me why so many people are voting for him? I'd honestly like to know. Do they just see him as a safer choice than the hawkish Mormon and the folksy evangelical minister?

Yankee Girl said...

I don't like McCain at all--never have--I disagree with him on most things and am especially worried that we would end up in Iran with him as Pres--or at least in Iraq for a really long time. I do like Obama so I'm hoping for your projected outcome on that point. I'm making my Daddy proud but my grandparents are cringing right now; although to be honest I've only ever been a luke-warm Republican who votes Democrat on a state level.

On to better things: Greek food. Thanks for the recipes.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

I've read a lot of detailed interviews about McCain over the last several years. What I like about him is that he seldom waffles from his opinions just for political expediency, and that, while some politicians talk about how well they will work together, McCain actually does it. McCain is well-respected by most of his Senate counterparts, Democrats and Republicans, and much of the important, bi-partisan legislation passed in the last decade has been partly his engineering. Four years ago, it was rumored that he and Kerry even had a conversation about McCain stepping in as a running mate. I think his hawk tendencies are only really coming out because of his quest to capture the nomination.

I think government spending, however, will blossom more under McCain than even the Democrats: McCain doesn't take a hard-line against social programs and intends to continue the war in the Middle East.

And, while the war for me will definitely be a litmus test issue, if the country does stay the course in the Middle East against my wishes :), then there is nobody more qualified to be commander-in-chief than John McCain. I heard a commentator on NPR the other day--a man with a military son in the Middle East--say that he was impressed with McCain because at least he wasn't all talk. Whereas Romney talked about defense, but had five grown sons at home, McCain has two children on active duty. The father was saying that he wasn't certain he supported the war effort, but that he felt a lot better about his continued sacrifice as a father if the guy in charge was making the same sacrifice. He referred to the Bush girls as appearing to be on eternal spring break, while George Bush sent other people's sons to die. (Al Gore volunteered for Vietnam the day after his father voted in the Senate to pull out; he wanted the country the country not see his father as simply voting to keep his son home.)

As a "side" note (I know, my comment is turning into a post): I read a great editorial the other day citing the great number of deaths among civilians in Iraq. These deaths are almost entirely blamed on sectarian violence and Al Queda type groups in Iraq. Yet, at the same time, the government says that we need to continue to stay and fight because we started the events that have led to the difficult situation there. This is a contradiction. We can't have it both ways--either we take responsibility for the mess we've made, including indirect responsibility for the civilian deaths and stay until we have made it right; or we say that all we meant to do was dispose of a leader and, having done that, the Iraqis need to assume control of the rest of the problem. Perhaps it must be faced that people not used to agency are better off with controlling, warlord-type leaders. Under Saddam Hussein, the people had fewer freedoms and there was a low-level anxiety for friends and family members who dared rock the boat, but the people DID have basic services and quite a highly educated, equal society. The war-generation of Iraqis will now be one of the least educated in that country in 100 years. Those Iraqis who led the war-cry were mostly expatriats. I heard quite an incidiery and fascinating talk on Alternative Radio this week about what he termed "war crimes" in Iraq. If I can find a transcript I may post about it. Nothing like a little controversy to wake everybody up.

Yankee Girl said...

Very interstesting comment STM. I can respect McCain for his straight talking--rather refreshing from a politician. I very much enjoyed your comments on Iraq. It is such a hard situation that we have to deal with an no answer seems to be very good.

FoxyJ said...

That food looks awesome--we're having friends over on Sunday and it's going to be Greek night :)

Someone put in a little towel rack under our sink and I hang the rags on it until they dry before tossing them in the laundry. It really cuts down on the stink. I also bought a giant pack of white ones at K-Mart a while back so now I have plenty and can use a new one every day.