The blog that's gotten one comment ever! Thanks mom!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Green Chile Chicken Pot Pie

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium, medium high heat in a heavy enameled dutch oven (Le Creuset ftw). Season four boneless/skinless chicken breasts, then sear in the pot, about five minutes per side, then transfer to a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 350 for fifteen minutes. While that's cooking, add another tablespoon of olive oil, and add a diced onion to the pot, reducing heat to medium low. Add a pinch of salt to help draw out the moisture from the onions, and scrape all the tasty chicken bits from the bottom of the pot, it should come fairly clean. Once the onions are clear, add a few cloves of minced garlic, and let that cook for around five minutes. Remove the onions, and add another tablespoon of olive oil. Add two tablespoons of all-purpose flour, and whisk to aborb the oil, adding more oil as needed until you've got a nice roux. Toast on medium low heat for around 20 minutes, we don't need it too dark for this. Once you're happy with it, add chicken stock (less than 32 oz) slowly until the desired thickness is reached, maybe a bit looser as it will thicken with further cooking. Bring to a simmer. Add a cup of milk, and a cup of whole kernel corn and a cup of diced carrots and peas, we just used frozen. Add back in the onions and garlic, take the chicken and dice it into roughly one inch cubes, and add it back in. Add about a half cup of good roasted green chilies that have had the end cap and seeds removed and then been diced. Let simmer for around 15 minutes, stirring frequently. At this point, add your pie shell. Just lay it on top of the bubbling goodness. I used a pie dough recipe from America's Test Kitchen, which turned out phenomenal. Use a sharp knife to cut a few slits to let the bubbles release steam, and place into a 375 degree oven on the middle shelf. Cook for 20 minutes, then turn on the broiler and watch the crust till it is golden brown and delicious. Remove, let cool a bit, serve and enjoy.

This was the first time I've made a recipe from scratch, not counting stealing someone else's pie dough recipie. Although my skills in the kitchen improve, I'm by no means ready to tackle pastry without a guiding hand. How'd it turn out? It was really, really good. But there were plenty of ways we could have improved it. With the crust just floating on top of the stew, it shrunk from the edges a bit. Next time, I'll transfer the stew to an oven safe cassarole dish, and then place the crust over that, allowing it to adhere to the side and hopefully avoiding the shrinking a bit. It was also crying out for potatoes, I wish I had thought to include some. And I thought the green chile, although present, wasn't enough. It was a really good chicken pot pie, with a hint of green chile. My other two tasters thought it was plenty hot though, so your mileage may vary.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sometimes I wonder...

...if I'm really bad at my job. I try, I really do. But the failures are always there, and the successes rare and unheralded. Success at my job is the absence of failure. My job is to find failure. It wears on the soul.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What I'm doing this weekend

Janie and I are spending the weekend babysitting our nephew Tade. He's the guy with the better smile in the picture above. We took him to a park in his neighborhood, which features an old farm turned museum/petting zoo. J just about freaked out about the two week old goats in their pen. I'm sure she'd have kidnapped one (get it?) if she thought she could get away with it. Tade had a good time too. He's upstairs napping now (we're staying over at Tara and Drew's to make it easier on ourselves). Hope everyone's having a good weekend!

Friday, March 20, 2009

So say we all...

Battlestar Galactica made it's final bow this evening. I'd like to thank the writers, actors, and everyone who made it possible. Rarely does a TV show move me to the degree BSG managed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So true...

XKCD, the funniest, smartest webcomic featuring stick figures in all of history, nails this one out of the park.

NOTE: My layout doesn't like wide images, and I'm lazy, so click the image above to see the full comic.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Watchmen review

So, yeah, I watched it several weeks ago now, but I thought I'd follow up with a little mini-review. I think that the movie accomplished what it set out to do. Many of the scenes are such a tremendous homage to the actual work. But I think what had to be omitted as being unfilmable will remain the parts of the story that made the graphic novel such a stirring tale. I know leaving out the newspaper man and his 'Tales of the Black Freighter' reading companion make sense from a film making standpoint. But the lack of that human side of the story is what will keep the movie from coming anywhere near to the impact the original had.

Although that's my main complaint, there is another. In the graphic novel, violence is implied. You know horrible things are happening, but you are not always witness to it. The movie throws this subtlety out the window, allowing us such wonderful moments as watching a man get his arms sawed off. Yes, this was in the comic, it happened in the story, but you weren't forced to watch.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I admit it. I didn't read it until last month. I'm not a very good geek. Despite having friends into comic books when I was growing up, I never really got into them. You knew the big ones of course, but I knew Spiderman and Batman from their tv shows, not from their comic books. So it's really no surprise that Watchmen slipped past my radar. In the time frame it came out in, I was far too busy helping Mario save the Princess.

In any case, I've now rectified my mistake, mainly on the strength of the first trailer I saw for the movie. Books have inspired many a theatrical take, and if it looks like something I'd enjoy, I always try to read the original first. I actually read the entirety of the Lord of the Rings to my wife before letting her see the films. So I borrowed a copy from a friend and devoured it.

We're going to see it at an IMAX theater, which means an hour drive to get there, in traffic right after work. Not looking forward to that part. But to the movie itself? Very much so.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On baby budgets

So last night, both before and after our birthing class, J and I went over her proposed budget for 2009. There are big changes afoot, partially due to the economy, but mainly due to the bundle of expenses due in June. As part of that, we're going to work on drastically reducing our eating out expenses.

My work's around a 20 minute drive from home, so running back for lunch isn't too easy. Up to now, I typically would walk/drive to someplace close by and pick up something for lunch. Meals averaged probably around $10. That's really not so great. So I'm going to start bringing in leftovers, and keeping sandwich fixings in the office fridge.

The only issue with leftovers is that you have to heat them up. Our office microwave sports a busted LCD, making it critical that you depress the 'clear' button before entering any times. It's a bit like the Predator's wrist-mounted bomb.

We'll see how it goes. I do think it's likely that I'll slip up on Tuesday's at least. Local favorite Big City Burrito has a potato burrito special for $3.50 with a drink. How can I say no?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another parental visit

Janie's folks have been driving up to see us with increasing frequency since Janie became pregnant. I have a feeling this will culminate with a live in grandma for the first few weeks after the baby actually arrives. Janie and her mom are really close, and they spent the weekend shopping for baby stuff, like curtains for the nursery. J's parents also helped us get that painted. Just have to remove the tape tonight, and we can clean it up and start moving the baby furniture in.

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