Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

There's plenty of folks who have spoken words much finer than I can compose.  I'm simply one small, tiny part of a giant tapestry that goes back for hundreds of years, and when I shake the hands of men who have endured trials that any modern man would consider life-breaking, I can only offer humble thanks to the men who paved my road for me.

This year, instead of just thanking a vet, try volunteering with a local veterans organization.  Put action to your words.  Join the American Legion, or the Patriot Guard Riders.  If you're a vet, join the VFW.  I listened to a Lieutenant Colonel give a speech, and his dominant theme is that we still need to serve if we're committed to keeping America great.  He's right.  You can't just go home anymore and think that everything is going to be fine.  As we can see, it's not.

Being a veteran means that at some point and time, you have offered yourself to the service of your country.  It doesn't mean that your service is over, or that you can relax.

But it does mean that you have my thanks, and the thanks of millions of Americans who understand what you've given.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Be a Man, make some bread

Ok folks, here is my simple, easy bread recipe.  This is one of those things that you can futz with all you want, as it's just a basic loaf of bread.  Actually, this recipe will give you two to four loaves, depending on how big you make them.

You're going to need:

6 cups of white flour.  I use the "Better for Bread" high-gluten flour.
2 cups water
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt.

Let me start by saying that I use a stand mixer to mix my dough.  You can do it by hand, it just takes a lot more effort.

Warm up your water.  You want it no more than 100 degrees.  If you can pour it over your wrist without discomfort, you should be good.  Dissolve your sugar in the water, and then add your yeast.  Let the yeast get happy.

While the yeast is getting happy, put TWO cups of your flour in a mixing bowl.  Cut the butter into small cubes, and toss it in.  Add the salt.  Once the yeast is happy, and you can tell by having a layer of froth on top of the water, pour the water/yeast mixture into the flour.  Mix well.

Once you have your water/yeast/flour mixed, change to a dough hook.  Start mixing again, adding your flour in ONE HALF CUP AT A TIME.  This is important.  Due to the fact that we're measuring out our flour by VOLUME and not by WEIGHT, the actual amount of flour you're going to use may vary by as much as a cup.  By adding your flour one half cup at a time, you're giving the flour a chance to mix in the dough, and not adding too much flour. 

You can tell you've added enough flour when the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and it doesn't stick to your finger when you poke it.

Now that your dough ball is mixed, you have to knead it.  Spread some flour on a flat, clean surface and turn your dough out of the bowl.  Knead it until it's smooth.  If the dough begins to "break", or you see it tearing as you fold and knead it, stop.  It's been kneaded enough.

Put the dough into a bowl that's been oiled.  Cover it with a damp towel or some plastic wrap.  Let it rise.  The dough is going to double in size, so make sure you have it in a large enough bowl. 

Here is where you can play around.  After the dough is risen, you can punch it down and let it rise again.  The more you punch it down, the smaller and more evenly dispersed the air bubbles in the dough will be.  If you only let it rise once, you're going to get larger, uneven air pockets in your bread, which gives it a rather rustic feel.  If you really want a rustic bread, don't bother with the bowl.  Shape it into loaves, let it rise, and then pop them in the oven when they're risen.  I normally punch the dough down one or two times.

After the last rise, however many you do, turn the dough out of the bowl onto your floured surface again.  Punch it down, and cut it into about four pieces.  You can ball these pieces up and put them into bread loaf pans, or you can roll them out into long loaves and put them on a sheet pan.  For a little different flavor, roll the dough out flat, sprinkle a light coat of rosemary into the dough, and then roll the dough into a long loaf.  Let the dough rise one more time.  This is a good time to pre-heat your oven to 410 degrees.

Once your loaves have risen that last time, place them into the oven at 410.  Bake for fifteen minutes.  Rotate shelves, and cook for ten more minutes.  Pull them out and let them cool just enough to handle, then cut a piece off, put some butter on it and eat it.

That's it.  Easy, simple, NO PRESERVATIVES, no crap, no junk, and it tastes great.  You can add just about anything you want to this bread to change it up - spices, different herbs, an egg, you name it.  Or you can just make it plain, and turn it into french toast, or sandwiches. 

Don't let it sit out too long.  Remember, there's no preservatives, so it won't stay "fresh" for more than a couple of days.  Goober recommends freezing it outside of any wrapper for a day, and then pulling it out and sealing it in a vacuum bag to avoid getting freezer burn. 

There you have it.  Bread, made by you.  Go for it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Why is nobody beating his face in?

Where I come from, screaming in someone's face is a sign of aggression, and should be responded to accordingly.  Beat.  His.  Fucking.  Face.  In.  Stomp a mudhole in his ass, and maybe the next time he feels froggy he won't go screaming in respectable people's faces.

In any case, video cameras are exposing just what a collection of freaks and losers the Occupy camps are.  And Obama endorsed!  Don't forget that, especially when the reports of rape and sexual assault keep coming out.  Obama-endorsed rape camps.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Herman Cain Scandal

Why I'm not jumping on the "Kill Herman Cain" bandwagon.

Suspicion number one:  Gloria Alred.  If there ever was a Democrat smear merchant, it's her.  I wouldn't trust her to tell the truth during an election cycle if you paid me a million dollars.

Suspicion number two:  Three unsubstantiated accusations, including a woman who was released from her confidentiality agreement who suddenly says she doesn't want to talk, and then this woman comes forward.  Too many coincident.  I don't believe in coincidences.

I'll wait and see what happens, but for right now, I'm not buying the crap that the Left is trying to sell me.

Nice photo there

I mean, nothing says "freedom!" like dancing on the American flag after you spatter it with paint.

Anti-American fuckheads.

Been getting into massive debates about the Obama-Endorsed rape camps that the Flea Party has turned itself into.  Some people still think the Flea Party is worth more than whale shit, and I'm trying to disabuse them of that notion.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Be a Man, Food Production

I'm sure that as I write this a whole lot of people are going to be nodding their heads.  But for those who don't, I'll break it down for you - a real man knows how to take raw ingredients and make a full meal.  And I do mean "raw".  I'm not talking about grabbing a pre-packaged steak at the supermarket, I'm talking about grabbing the entire beef tenderloin, cutting the sliverskin off, and cutting nine steaks off it.  Not cutting up bread and rubbing garlic on it, but taking flour, salt, sugar, water, butter and yeast and turning out a loaf or two.  Making your own sausage.  Jams, jellies, preserves.

Making your own FOOD.

Why do it?  Because it's something that everyone needs to know how to do, as you cannot always be guaranteed a supermarket will be nearby.  And because if you ever pick up a package of food and read the ingredients, you will invariably find something that you cannot pronounce unless you're a chemistry major, and a whole host more that you just don't want to put into your body.

Look folks, corn syrup is not natural.  Your body cannot break it down.  High Fructose Corn Syrup is in damn near everything, and it's nasty.  You don't need it, I can guarantee that it's not doing you any good, and I can also guarantee that if you're a normal person you're eating absolute SHITLOADS of it without even knowing it.

There's also the fact that making your own food is cheaper.  I can make my bratwurst for about $2.00 a pound.  Try to buy a pound of brats for two bucks at the store.  And my bratwurst tastes better, is healthier for me, and causes my friends to commit homicide for a chance to get some.

Now, what does it take?  Time, and a few kitchen implements that you might not already have.  If you have a Kitchenaide type stand mixer, you can make sausage, bread, just about anything.  We found a meat grinder/sausage stuffer combo on sale, so we picked that up.  Any hunting or outdoors supply store will have meat grinders, sausage stuffers, all kinds of utensils you might need.  The local Gander Mountain has collagen casing and natural hog casing for sausage as well.  Most department stores will have some sort of bread machine if you don't want to actually turn out a loaf by hand.  Bread can be frozen if you make a bunch of loaves at once, so I normally do three batches and the Mrs. tosses most of it in the freezer until we need it.

So the next round of Be a Man will focus on food production.  I figure it'll be nice to talk about something other than how Obama and his cronies are ruining this country.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sleeping in?

Tried it.  Still woke up nice and early without any alarm clock.

When you've been waking up at O-Dark-30 for years, your body just figures "Fine, bastard wants to wake up early?  He's gonna wake up early!"

Papa's got a new set of wheels

Well, it finally happened - I bought an new (to me) vehicle.  My job is going to require me to travel just as much as it did last year, only I'm going to be driving to a majority of the duty.  I get paid mileage to drive to my TDY, but my poor old Nissan truck just wasn't going to make it.  Too many miles under the hood, too many things starting to wear, and I didn't want to get stranded in Chicago or St. Louis with a truck that's hit it's limit and has died.

So, I went down to our local trust-able dealer, found something within my price range that would be a good little runner for me, and bought it.  My truck is now going to be passed down to the Ragin' Step-Son, who will learn to drive on a manual transmission.  Which means that this truck will end up serving three generations of the Ragin' Family.  It's got over 235,000 miles on it right now, and the engine is still good.  It's the rest of the truck that's falling off.  I've had lots of people tell me that a V-6 engine doesn't last very long.  Mine sure did.  It got me through Seattle, Puerto Rico and now Wisconsin.  It had a few major repairs, but fixing it up was cheaper than buying a new vehicle, and dammit that was MY TRUCK.

I actually apologized to it when I brought the new one home.  How messed up is that?

Anyways, it'll get driven a lot less now, but it's still ready to go.  I'll use it for hunting, hauling trash, and teaching the step-son how to drive.  He'll use it when he absolutely needs to get somewhere, and we aren't available.  It ain't dead yet.