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Archive for April, 2009

Green chile pork stew

I cooked the recipe below for a Easter weekend dinner tonight for the Heisterman’s and us. And I was proudly reminded of how fun it is too cook!

* 4 pound pork butt, trimmed of fat
* 2 yellow onions, quartered
* cumin
* 2 bay leaves
* dried Mexican oregano
* Kosher salt
* green peppercorns
* cayenne pepper
* Chile Verde, recipe follows
* 4 tbsp butter
* 4 oz. heavy whipping cream
* Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
* flour tortillas (buttered and warmed)

Chile Verde:

* 1 1/2 pound fresh poblanos
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
* minced garlic
* 1 seeded jalapeno pepper chopped
* dried Mexican oregano
* salt
* ground cumin
* 4 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 3 cups chicken stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth
* 1/2 bundle chopped fresh cilantro

Directions for pork:

Season pork butt with salt and pepper. Brown pork butt in skillet with olive oil.

Place pork butt, yellow onions, cumin, bay leaves, Mexican oregano, salt, black peppercorns and cayenne in a large saucepan and cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil.

Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes, skimming the surface to remove any fat scum that forms.

Directions for chile verde:

Roast the peppers by placing them on an open gas flame, turning them frequently with tongs until all sides are charred black, about 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternately, the peppers can be roasted under a broiler, or on top of a gas or charcoal grill.) Place the blackened peppers in a plastic or paper bag, and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Peel the peppers, and remove the seeds and the stems. Chop the peppers and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapenos, oregano, salt, and cumin, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring, without allowing to color, for 2 minutes. Add the chopped peppers, and stir well to combine. Add the chicken stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Stir in whipping cream and butter. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

The happy marriage:

Cube/shred the drained pork. Use boat motor to puree chile verde. Add pork to the chile verde pot. Use boat motor to puree remaining stock from the pot that was used to cook pork. Add ~1/4 of stock to thin chile verde. Bring to a simmer over medium heat to reduce for 1 hour.

Remove the chile verde from the heat, add the cilantro, and adjust seasoning to taste. Top stew with shredded Monterrey jack cheese. Serve with warm, buttered flour tortillas.

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Social networking, advertising and scams

Last night I launched an ad campaign for HartzVictims.org on Facebook. If you’re not on Facebook, you should be. It’s today’s tight-rolled pant leg; the new slap bracelet. As of April 1, Facebook officially replaced mimeograph AND microfiche.

Since launching my own ad campaign, which is money out of my pocket (albeit for a great cause to raise awareness about over-the-counter flea & tick products for pets), I’ve really started focusing on ads that are served on Facebook. There are lots of great ads on Facebook. One that I see frequently is for OtherInBox. OIB is a fantastic email service that I use and that I recommend you use, too. How’s that for an unsolicited ad?! But really, I use OIB a lot and it’s helped almost eliminate spam that I receive to my personal inbox.

However, there are also a lot of bad ads that Facebook approves. There are a ton of “Get Rich Fast” ads…

Take this one for example:

That ad takes you to JasonGetsRich.com. Cool! Jason will show you how to get rich fast for “posting links on Google”. What does that mean? How do you post links on Google? I don’t know how to “post links on Google” and I’ve been a “Web guy” for 15 years. I know how to get my websites to show up on Google, but couldn’t tell you how to post links on Google. So, for $2.95 to cover shipping (of what?), you can get your “Google Kit” and start earning $5,000 per month! If 1,000 people per month send Jason $2.95, that would probably make him very happy. Hell, I’d be very happy. And that’s a conservative number. In one day, my very-targeted ad for HartzVictims.org hit 20,000 people today, and only 19 people clicked my ad.

The majority of the ads you see on social networking sites and in email are Bullshit.

Jason tells us that he was an account manager for a pipe manufacturing company. He’s recently married. He and his wife are beautiful – and now they’re rich, granted they were planning on postponing their wedding until Jason found out how to get rich online. They now have a Range Rover!

Check out ‘his’ site. Read it carefully. Would you buy into it? Think hard about it. Be scrutinizing. It’s tempting. Times are tough. Lots of people make a ton of money via the Web.

Take a look at how ‘Jason’ wants to make his site strike a personal chord:

The code basically says, “This is Jason from [insert city based on your computer’s IP address]” Makes you think you can trust him, right? He’s in the same city as you.

Be scrutinizing, folks. If you ever have a question about what’s online, exercise your right to be humble and unknowing. Ask me or your resident geek.

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Snakes

Mom and I were hanging out by the driveway at her house this past weekend when Mom decided to walk to the mailbox. Shortly after embarking, she called for me. I ran over to see that she was looking at a 3′ snake in the grass to her right. I ran back to the house and grabbed a couple cameras to shoot some video and take some photos.

Fast forward to tonight… Elise had her monthly church meeting tonight, so it was just me and the Zombie Eater. When Daddy is on nighttime duty, Maly usually requests that we watch videos on my computer. Said videos usually require that Maly be the star. Tonight I opened iPhoto and showed her the video of the snake that her grandma and I found on Saturday. She was very intrigued and asked, “can snakes bite you?”

Being the protective father that I am, I made sure that she was fully aware that, “YES! SNAKES WILL BITE YOU AND KILL YOU DEAD!” I said this only because we have rubber snakes that we keep in the backyard to ward off grackles and ninjas. Ninjas are afraid of snakes, just in case you weren’t aware.

Maly likes to play with her friend snakes by pretending to put lipstick on them and pet them.

To add emphasis, I did a quick YouTube search for snake bites to find this video:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2UPOL2ss1c[/youtube]

12 seconds into the video and I successfully made my daughter deathly afraid of snakes. She hunkered next to me while clutching onto my arm.

I made sure to tell her that snakes are beautiful animals and deserve much respect (as indicated in the text at the end of the video). I then told her to be very careful around snakes and never to touch a real snake unless with her mom or dad.

Otherwise I could totally see her walking up to a rattlesnake in Cat Spring saying, “Ooooh, Daddy, he’s cute. Can I hold him?”

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The intricacies of passport portraiture

In order to travel to Mexico this summer, we are now required to have passports. Elise has been diligent in expediting this process for us. She called me at work at 4:45 this afternoon and said she and Maly were close to the downtown post office, and I was to be front and present to have my photo taken and fill out the passport application. I was at the post office 15 minutes later only to find that we were too late.

Elise and Maly had come from Walgreens after having Maly’s passport photo taken. While at the post office, we learned that Maly’s photo would be rejected because she had a barrette in her hair. So, we left the post office and headed back to towards the house with a stop at Walgreens.

It took Elise, me and Rodney, the kid running the photo desk, to get Maly to pose properly (sans barrette) for her “correct” passport photo. That process proved to be painstaking. At one point, Rodney had customers waiting for him at the counter, so he handed me the Kodak Easyshare point-and-shoot camera and told me I could take the photo.

So there I am, my child is standing on a chair with a projector screen behind her, which blocks the employee break room, and I’m in charge of the Official Walgreens Passport Photo Taking Camera, which wrote to a floppy disk and was powered by vacuum tubes.

So I took the passport photos of my daughter in a makeshift passport photo studio at Walgreens that resembled my 6th grade social studies classroom.

And I had to pay $8.66 for the service that was rendered.

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