Thursday, October 30, 2008
With all the media coverage of the Phillies World Series Win of 2008, there's not much need for me to recap what happened. The Drought is Over! No more Reign Delay! WE WIN! As to be expected, South Philly erupted into a frenzy all along Broad Street. I've nearly lost my voice from yelling and screaming and running around in the cold, cheering along with thousands of other crazed Phans. It was an amazing fun time, and the amount of people swarming along Broad Street, surfing on the tops of cars, climbing light poles and otherwise dancing in the streets was a sight to behold. Back in 1980, I was all of 13, too young and not living in South Philly to enjoy the impromptu parade. In 1993, the Phillies didn't clinch the title, so our parade was delayed for the next 15 years. I had to experience the rush first hand. My neighbors, Fabrizio and Michele, their dog, Esmeralda, and I headed up to Broad and Mifflin. Later, Liz met up with us and the four of us watched in amazement and bit of shock as people packed cars 10 or more full, spilling out of windows and doors. Some sights were funny, others were scary, such as watching young kids stomp on top of cars and on occasion, break car windows. We witnessed people climbing onto the backs of pick-up trucks, dragging down the back of the cab. A flat-bed tow truck had the misfortune to get stopped at Broad and Mifflin; within seconds, people were flying onto the back of it, turning it's empty cargo area into a silver surfing platform. Stilt walkers, giant billboard sized Phillies "P", a man in Joe Biden Mask; Silly String squirting all over. It felt like New Years' Rockin' Eve! I can only imagine what the real parade will be like on Friday. Until then, enjoy the photos and video. I'm sure I'll have more to come!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Allow me a cooking diversion, to clear my mind from baseball and foul weather. Tis the season for Halloween goodies. Found this fun silicone mold at the cookware store mecca - Williams-Sonoma; six decent sized cakelets, 3 pumpkins, a ghost, a bat and a witch. If you haven't used silicone bake ware you have to try it out. Incredible details, quick release and easy to use. And this one is a Halloween theme, my favorite holiday. The cakes, quick breads really, were from a mix that is sold at Williams-Sonoma, Chocolate Peanut butter Quick Bread. I'm not much for baking from scratch, as much as I love my desserts, baking is not my thing. There are so many good bakeries around where I can just find something good, why bother to bake? Of course, there is that thing called trans fats to avoid, excess sugars, highly saturated processed goodies. To combat these devilish side effects, I've devised a way to make a box mix, even a good mix, even better and good for you. If you find yourself wandering around Williams-Sonoma pick up a package of this mix. It's not cheap, $10.50 for a package, good thing I have a discount, but well worth the splurge. To make the mix low/non-fat here's what I did:
Replace the 1 Stick of Butter with one 5 to 6 ounce container of non-fat plain Greek Style-Strained Yogurt(Fage pronounced Fae eh; Oikos,Chobani, or Trader Joe's Greek Style)
Replace the 2 eggs with either 1 whole egg and 1 egg white or 1/2 cup of Egg Beaters/Egg White Substitute
Replace the 3/4 Cup Water with 1/2 Cup Brewed and Cooled Coffee (it makes the chocolate taste more chocolatey)
Bake - 12-15 minutes, rotating the pan and testing to see if the cakes are done.
Note - the mix only works as a loaf bread or in the silicone molds. I've tried them in mini and regular sized muffin cups. The peanut butter chips sink to the bottom and caramelize, making it impossible to get the cupcakes out in one piece.
This recipe adaptation is a good way to reduce the calories and fat in any box mix. Substitute the oil and butter with either 1/4 cup or up to 6 ounces of unsweetened applesauce, or pumpkin puree. I love to switch out the liquid with coffee, juice or booze (sweeter liquors work best); as for the eggs, I don't get crazy with removing all the yolks, but I do like to eliminate some and just use egg whites. Every little bit helps. Almost makes your semi-homemade desserts not so sinful.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Good going MLB and Mr. Selig. Keep on chasing that mighty dollar. If you haven't nearly ruined baseball with the steroid crisis, the strike of 1994, surely you are doing your part to rain on the Phillies Parade of 2008. Baby, we're not dead yet. We've still go a lot of Fightin' left in us. Go PHILS!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Our first lesson went well. I figured out how to start and stop, turn and sort of park. We picked up some speed and I felt more comfortable with the car in general as our lesson progressed. I just have to figure out how to become "one with the vehicle", which unlike riding a bike, I don't know how this happens. The bicycle becomes an immediate extension of my body. A car is huge and it surrounds you. I'm not quite sure how you figure out how to drive, be aware of your surroundings and not freak out at the cars turning and stopping around you, but I guess I'll get it eventually. Everyone keeps telling me if I can ride my bike in traffic, I can drive. I hope!
After our lesson, Sue drove us up to the Bicycle Coalition's Biketoberfest celebration. We hung out at Dock Street Brewery for a few hours, and I enjoyed a few pints of Pumpkin Ale, brats and pizza. Since Sue was the designated driver, she slowly sipped one ale. A roaming photographer snapped a bunch of photos of the event, and lo and behold, Sue and I appeared in a few. Alex Doty of the Bike Coalition is talking to us, asking if we would like to buy a raffle ticket to win a new bike. It looked like a nice bike, but as neither of us needs another bike, we passed on the raffle. Now if it had been a mountain bike or cross-breed, I might have purchased a chance to win it. For $5 to $20, who could argue with another bicycle purchase? From the photos put up online at the Philly Bike Coalition's Flickr page, it looks like the right person won the Lager Bike raffle. Besides, I had too many beers to drink to allow any more driving of any sort - cars or bikes.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This is our friend, Colleen applauding a great final inning.
The parking lot might be full, but the phans are hungry for a win!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable or Olive Oil
- 4 Cups Diced Carrots (about 6 large carrots) - peeled,cleaned and medium dice
- 1 Large White Onion - large dice
- 2 Tablespoons Ginger - Minced (about a 2-inch piece, peeled and minced)
- 3 Cloves Garlic - minced
- 4 Cups Cold Water
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
- Salt and White Pepper to taste
- In a large heavy bottomed stock pot, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
- Saute/sweat the onions and carrots for about 8 minutes, until the onions turn translucent, the carrots start to release their water and the onions are starting to take on a golden color.
- Add in the minced ginger and garlic and stir to combine.
- Pour in 4 cups of cold water and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat; add the 2 teaspoons of salt and keep the mixture at a gentle simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Check the soup, when the carrots are fork tender but not falling completely apart turn the heat off.
- Strain the solids from the liquid, reserving the broth. Set the vegetables aside in a large bowl for about 10 minutes to cool before pureeing.
- Working in small batches, puree the carrot, onion and ginger mixture in a food processor or blender - CAREFULLY! The vegetables are still hot and will feel like napalm on your skin if it splashes on you!
- Use some of the reserved broth to thin the soup and to get the puree to whiz in the food processor or blender.
- Add each batch of puree back to the stock pot. When you are finished pureeing the carrot mixture, stir in the cup of pumpkin puree and any remaining broth. Stir thoroughly to combine.
- Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and white pepper. Use white pepper, since the black would appear as annoying little specks, and this soup is all about the gorgeous orange color.
- Serve hot with pumpkin seeds as a garnish (optional). Makes about 6 cups of soup.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Praying Angel and Go Phils #6 (that would be Ryan Howard by the way). Found this charming scene around 20th & Delancey Street in Center City on Saturday, October 11th.
Just when I thought all of the folks in my neighborhood had lost their minds and were all voting a McPalin Ticket, I came across this sign that just gave me pause and hope. Say no more!
I've been finding random shoes left in random places all over the city. The great thing about always having a camera is that I can snap this images just as soon as I spot them. Case in point, here are a perfectly good pair of Aerosol Shoes that someone left next to a cup of Dunkin Donuts Coffee, on top of a Philadelphia Weekly newspaper box. I have several pairs of shoe photos at my Flickr photo website. Check it out sometime. And if you care, send me photos of found shoes too. I'll add them to my growing collections.
And speaking of my photo collections, I've also been documenting cool and unusual bikes or mopeds that I've seen in my travels. On Tuesday, October 7th, we spotted this van outside of Via Bicycle loaded with used bikes and spilling onto the street behind it. Via is a used bike shop that specializes in old bikes and great repair work. My guess is there are over 100 bikes loaded up here. On another bike excursion this week, I spotted a man on a bike with a dozen or more bike wheels and parts strapped to his back, body and bike. I didn't have time to snap a photo though, so I'll have to keep on the lookout for this fellow again. I suspect he's a regular in my neighborhood who does a lot of salvaging and scavenging for scrap.
If you enjoy these photos, don't forget, you can click on my photo sight to the right of these entries. I have a Flickr Photoshow running with my most recent uploads. At my Flickr sight you can see more than 2,000 of the images I've captured in the past two years. Whew! I told you all I'm busy! My Flickr ID is Neenyd03 in case you want to do your own search!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
- 1 Pound Lean Ground Turkey
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil - divided
- 1 Large Onion– peeled & medium dice
- 5 Medium Carrots - peeled & medium dice
- 6 Garlic Cloves—finely minced
- 2 Tablespoons Cumin
- 1/4 Cup Ancho Chili Powder
- 1 Tablespoon Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon Instant Coffee or 1/4 cup strongly brewed Coffee
- 1 Large Red Bell Pepper— medium dice
- 1 Large Green Bell Pepper - medium dice
- 1 Medium Zucchini—small/medium dice
- 1 Medium Yellow Squash—small/medium dice
- 3 Cans Beans: Black Beans, Kidney & White or Pinto Beans (15-16 oz each) – drained & rinsed
- 1 Large Can Tomato Puree Sauce (20 ounces or more)
- 1 14 Ounce Can Pure Pumpkin Puree
- 2 Cups Water or 1 12 ounce bottle of a good quality dark or amber beer
- 2 Cups Frozen Corn
- 1/2 cup packed Cilantro– minced
- Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper—to taste
- Use a stock pot, Dutch oven or other large and heavy bottomed pot. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until it shimmers over medium-high heat.
- Add in the ground turkey and brown it until it is thoroughly cooked through. Remove the cooked turkey from the pot and set aside. (skip this step if make a vegetarian chili)
- Heat the 2nd tablespoon of olive oil in the same pot, over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
- Add in the onions and the carrots; saute and sweat them about 8 minutes.
- Add in the garlic, stir & cook another 5 minutes.
- Next add in all of the dry seasonings, and stir to combine & toast.
- Pour in the brewed coffee or instant coffee powder.
- Add the peppers and saute another 5 minutes.
- Add in the squash, zucchini, beans, tomato sauce, pumpkin puree and water or beer. Stir to combine.
- Add the cooked ground turkey, corn and chopped cilantro to the vegetable mixture and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Simmer for 40-60 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding in additional cumin, chili, oregano, dried garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.
- Makes about 1 gallon of chili or enough to last several meals and still freeze some for the rest of the year!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
In honor of the Phillies winning the 2008 National League Division Series, I wanted to share this video I recorded at the 1st game from the NLDS East series, taken Wednesday, October 1st. The fans were so into the spirit of the game and it seemed that everyone was standing and singing this good 'ole classic during the 7th inning stretch. Among the many memorable baseball games I've attended, this one will rise to the top of my list.