Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tomato Pie!


While reading the Boston Globe yesterday I saw a recipe for Tomato Pie that seemed intriguing. It is layered with cheese and tomatoes with a crust of Ritz crackers on top. Well that all sounded too fabulous not to make so I went out at lunch, stopped at the local farm stand and got some tomatoes so I could make this last night. It is a little involved and takes some time but the result was just delicious. I made a couple of adjustments to the recipe such as adding bacon and somewhat less mayonnaise. Here are some photos for your enjoyment. 

Email me for the recipe at frenchy[at]frenchyshouseparty[dot]com

Pie shell ready for "blind baking"

Put dried beans into pie shell to keep it from puffing during blind baking

Assemble your ingredients

Layer tomatoes with bacon, sauteed onions and basil

Top with cheese-mayonnaise mixture and repeat layering

Finally top with a layer of shredded cheese and bake

When its brown and bubbling take out of oven

Top with buttered Ritz cracker crumbs

Bake another 5-10 minutes till golden brown

Serve warm or at room temperature

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

OMG! Tomato Pie!

Tune in tomorrow!

Frenchy
Sent from my iPhone

A Moment of Madness

Just when you thought that things couldn't get any screwier, such as The Birthers, The Creationists, and bat-sh*t crazy girlfriends Sharron Angle and Michele Bachmann we get this:

Conservapedia: E=mc2 is a Liberal Conspiracy
 

Andy Schlafly                   Albert Einstein
To many conservatives, almost everything is a secret liberal plot: from fluoride in the water to medicare reimbursements for end-of-life planning with your doctor to efforts to teach evolution in schools. But Conservapedia founder and Eagle Forum University instructor Andy Schlafly -- Phyllis Schlafly's son -- has found one more liberal plot: the theory of relativity

If you're behind on your physics, the Theory of Relativity was Albert Einstein's formulation in the early 20th century that gave rise to the famous theorum that E=mc2, otherwise stated as energy is equal to mass times the square of the speed of light. Why does Andy Schlafly hate the theory of relativity? We're pretty sure it's because he's decided it doesn't square with the Bible.

In the entry, "Counterexamples to Relativity," the authors (including Schlafly) write:
The theory of relativity is a mathematical system that allows no exceptions. It is heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world.[1]
To what does that reference lead? Why, a note by Schlafly:
See, e.g., historian Paul Johnson's book about the 20th century, and the article written by liberal law professor Laurence Tribe as allegedly assisted by Barack Obama. Virtually no one who is taught and believes relativity continues to read the Bible, a book that outsells New York Times bestsellers by a hundred-fold
In other words, reading a theory about physics is correlated to a decrease in people's interest in reading the Bible, which means that it causes people to stop reading the Bible.
Schlafly also points to the Bible as a reason that Einstein's theory must be wrong:
9. The action-at-a-distance by Jesus, described in John 4:46-54.
Conservapedia defines "action-at-a-distance" as "Action at a distance consists of affecting a distant body instantaneously. At the atom level, this is known as "non-locality." In non-confusing terms, that indicates the ability to cause something to happen instantaneously in another location (i.e., faster than the speed of light). Since Jesus could, reportedly, do this, thus Einstein is wrong. Schlafly's evidence is John 4:46-54, in which Jesus reportedly cured someone's son just by saying it had happened.
Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
"Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."
The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies."
Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live."The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.
When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour."

Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed.
This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.
Schlafly brags on Conservapedia that he has homeschooled 185 children, all of whom do exceptionally well on standardized tests.

As with Wikipedia and other online crowd-sourced resources, Conservapedia is a colloborative effort of its users and any registered user can post to the site. Schlafly is a frequent contributor to the site, and is identified as the initial author of the entry and well as the editor of the note identified above. Schlafly did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reagan insider: "My GOP Destroyed The American Economy"

Is someone putting truth serum in the water at GOP headquarters again?

From The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch:

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) -- "How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy." Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, "Four Deformations of the Apocalypse."

Get it? Not "destroying." The GOP has already "destroyed" the U.S. economy, setting up an "American Apocalypse." 

Florida AG still wants a ban on Gay Adoption because of his "personal beliefs"

One would think that after being embroiled in a scandal that rocked Florida, the religious right, and his gubernatorial aspirations, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum would change his negative opinion of gay adoption, the very reason for the scandal.

Think again. From
Think Progress:
Fresh off his George Rekers scandal, Florida Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum is telling Florida Baptist News that he wants to expand Florida’s discriminatory adoption laws to prohibit gay people from serving as foster parents:
MCCOLLUM: I don’t believe in gay adoption. I don’t believe in involving the government in enforcing or encouraging the lifestyle of gays and homosexuals. I just don’t believe that. [...]
Q: Florida permits homosexuals to serve as foster parents. That has been used as an argument to undermine the ban on adoptions. Should homosexuals be permitted to serve as foster parents in Florida?
MCCOLLUM: Well, I personally don’t think so, but that is the law.
Q: Should the law be changed?
MCCOLLUM: I think that it would be advisable. I really do not think that we should have homosexuals guiding our children. I think that it’s a lifestyle that I don’t agree with. I realize a lot of people do. It’s my personal faith, religious faith, that I don’t believe that the people who do this should be raising our children. It’s not a natural thing. You need a mother and a father. You need a man and a woman. That’s what God intended.

My personal belief is that this guy is a slack-jawed, brainwashed, addlepated, bigoted moron, but just because this is my "personal belief" doesn't make it so (but the facts do..).

Top-ten Cadet at West Point resigns over Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy


My goodness I respect this woman!


Ranked # 9 in her class overall, she routinely "super-maxes" her physical fitness tests.  One of her blogs was featured in the Sunday print edition of the Washington Post as part of "The Gray Zone: West Point on Leadership."


In her resignation letter, she cites the kinds of experiences she is unwilling to continue to endure:
I have created a heterosexual dating history to recite to fellow cadets when they inquire. I have endured unwanted approaches by male cadets for fear of being accused as a lesbian by rejecting or reporting these events. I have been coerced into ignoring derogatory comments towards homosexuals for fear of being alienated for my viewpoint.  In short, I have lied to my classmates and compromised my integrity and my identity by adhering to existing military policy.

While at the academy, I have made a deliberate effort to develop myself academically, physically, and militarily, but in terms of holistic personal growth I have reached a plateau. I am unwilling to suppress an entire portion of my identity any longer because it has taken a significant personal, mental, and social toll on me and detrimentally affected my professional development. I have experienced a relentless cognitive dissonance by attempting to adhere to §654 [colloquially known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"] and retain my integrity, and I am retrospectively convinced that I am unable to live up to the Army Values as long as the policy remains in place.
Miller will be transferring to Yale University this fall on a Point Foundation Scholarship. She has indicated her desire to become an Army Officer should the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy be removed, and gay and lesbian people allowed to serve freely. "This is a loss to the Academy and to the Army," said Becky Kanis, West Point '91. Kanis is Chair of Knights Out, and a former Captain and company commander. "We keep losing talented people needlessly while we wait for the Pentagon's 'review.' " Miller has been blogging anonymously about lesbian culture at West Point at velvetparkmedia.com as "Private Second Class Citizen."

Had enough?

On the heels of the JetBlue flight attendant who had finally had enough of rude uncooperative rule breakers we have this story from the Cape Cod Times today:

It seems that this couple from Germany decided to buy an antique home on Main Street in Chatham. The were going to renovate it, remove an ell that was not original to the house and build a widow's walk on the roof. They also wanted to move the house a few feet back on the lot so that they could put up a fence so that their children could play in the front yard of the house. Well, the busy-body neighbors in that town (most of whom don't even live here year-round) put up a big tsimmis about it and blocked the couple's renovations on the house.


The Foulkeses ran into the protective rules in 2007, not long after they bought the unheated house on 0.44 acres of land for $1.9 million. They sought a special permit to move the building six feet back from Main Street so that they could put up a fence and let their kids out to play in the yard without any worries. They wanted to add a dormer, widow's walk and roof deck and replace a nonhistoric ell to the rear.

They planned to preserve the historic exterior and interior but were denied by every town board, Riley said, which was disappointing. He quoted one appeals board member as saying, "If you want people to buy historic buildings and preserve them, you have to be able to work together."

Photo by Steve Heaslip from the Cape Cod Times
So what did the Foulkeses do about it? They gave the house a new paint job. Apparently there are no rules about exterior paint colors on Main Street in Chatham as there are in so many other historic neighborhoods in the country. I'll bet there soon will be. I say "Good for the Foulkeses". People are always too ready to stick their noses into everyone else's business these days. 

This will be interesting to watch unfold. I'll keep you informed. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A few fun pix

Just because they're here...

Step away from the Aqua-Net!!
Seven words: Boil hot dogs. Put in bun. Serve.
I hope she doesn't hit a bump!
Little Frenchy as a child. Mommie has a lot to answer for...
Fag haters have the same effect on me! Is that wrong?
Billy Dee flogging malt liquor! NAACP on line one!
Ewwwww!!

Volstu gevolt tantsn mit mir?

Zia Francesca's Spaghetti con Polpete e Salsicce

OK... I can't help it! I am going to have to have an Italian Night at Frenchy's House Party. I have had the craziest urge for spaghetti, meatballs, sausage and gravy for months now. I finally decided to have it this Saturday night and have asked the usual suspects, Bob, Tobin and the Contessa di Pomodori for al fresco dining. I have some sausages in the freezer that the Contessa gave to me from her brother who brings them down from Boston for us. I'll prepare everything the day before and let it sit overnight so that all of the flavors meld nicely. Then on Saturday night all I'll have to do is make dessert. I believe it will be a recipe I just got out of The New York Times called "Blueberry Slump". If it is delicious, I'll post the recipe here.

A dopo!

Anne Levine's Ham Toss Update

Michael Hall has posted a more in-depth explanation of what a "Ham Toss" is and a link to Anne's radio show  archive where she discussed the event in detail. If you would like more information here is the link:


Enjoy (and bring your own mustard)!

Slow Cookers vs. Nesco Roasters

Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker
Some time ago I wanted to make a corned beef and cabbage dinner and saw a method of preparation that used a slow cooker to do the trick. I got out my 300 year-old Crock-Pot that gets used once or twice a year, followed the recipe and discovered that my Crock-Pot was now a Crock-o-Sh*t. What was to take 6-8 hours to cook took almost 18! I decided that I now need to replace my slow cooker. 

Of course I went to my current favorite food site AmericasTestKitchen.com to read any equipment reviews they had on the topic and discovered the best one was an All-Clad for $200 bucks. As I use this thing rarely I thought that I would go for their next best... The Cuisinart, but again it was at $149 a little pricey for something I hardly use. I discovered that they had a "best buy" slow cooker, the Hamilton Beach 6qt Slow Cooker (pictured above) that was only $50, plus I had a coupon from Bed, Bath and Beyond for 20% off. I went right down there and got one. It has worked marvelously for all sorts of things. The last thing I used it on was spicy tomato jam that requires a lot of simmering and stirring. I figured that a slow cooker would be perfect for that and it is!  

Meanwhile while I was trying to decide what slow cooker to buy, My dear husband, Mr. B. said that his Mom swears by something called a Nesco Roaster. I will admit that when he told me about it all I heard was "roaster" and since ATK had not even reviewed it in its slow cooker tests I filed that suggestion under "Review in 50 Years". 

Nesco Roaster
Recently a co-worker heard me talking about Craigslist and the bargains to be had there when he told me about a Yahoo Group called "FreeCycle" wherein people who have stuff to give away or want something for free, post messages on this board and try to put people together with their stuff. I went to take a look and what did I see? A woman in Hyannis was giving away a 6qt Nesco Roaster, in good condition and FREE! I went right over and picked it up. After a little cleaning it was as good as new. 

What I discovered about these roasters is that rather than having settings like Off, Low (typically 250-275F) and High (275-300F), on a slow cooker, the Nesco has a dial that lets you select a temperature from 200-425F. Also, rather than having a ceramic insert like the slow cooker, the Nesco has a porcelain clad steel insert.

Ready for the roaster
After going to the Ham Toss this past weekend I went to Stop & Shop and got a nice chicken, a couple of new potatoes and some carrots to roast in that thing for Mr. B and me. I turned the thing on and set it according to the booklet that I got and left it to cook. I found out that you cannot have anything touching the walls of that thing as the walls of the roaster get quite hot and the potatoes started to brown. I took the potatoes out and continued to roast the chicken for the allotted time. When it was done the chicken was nicely cooked... not dry at all but the skin of the chicken did not get brown or crispy at all. It also cooks hotter that the temperature gauge says I think. I suspect that this device will be great for something you have already browned before you put it in the roaster but forget about crispy skin. It'll probably be great for pork roast or pot roast or something like that. 

So the outcome is that I am glad I bought the HB slow cooker rather than the Nesco roaster but since I got this one for free I will keep it in the basement and haul it out for Thanksgiving when oven space is at a premium. 

Tune in next time for another episode of "What the Hell is she talking about now?"

Just another quick Jenny Craig update

The last couple of weeks I haven't blogged about my weight loss as it has been a little, shall we say "lacking" in the loss department. Two weeks ago I gained 0.2 pounds and last week I broke even... no loss at all. I even had to ask my counselor Kim to put me back on the program diet rather than picking out my own stuff from Jenny to eat. Well, it paid off. This week I have lost another 1.6 pounds! Thank goodness for that! Today I am wearing a shirt that I bought at The Breakers in Palm Beach when Mr. B and I were down there on Commercial Realty Advisors business more than 6 years ago, and haven't been able to squeeze into since.

Today, dieting is a good thing!

Anne Levine's "Ham Toss" this weekend

As promised I am posting some photos from the "Ham Toss" party at the fabulous East Dennis, MA home of radio personality Anne Levine and her dream-come-true significant other Michael Hall. It was held by the pool on Sunday last and was really quite a nice affair.

For a little background, Anne explained (I overheard this as she was chatting with another party guest so I probably have this all wrong) that the Ham Toss began as some by the pool frolicking by family members during a party that ended up with someone throwing a ham that was going to be cooked "et voila!" a tradition was born. You know how these inside family jokes are... Well since then I guess that they have been calling their August party a "Ham Toss". It does make for an intriguing party invitation, n'est ce pas?

The Contessa di Pomodori and I arrived at 1:00pm and were greeted by the hostess out by the pool. We were introduced to lovely guests only one or two of whom we knew but they were all quite charming (except the mother of a very noisy 10 y/o white Papillion named Abercrombie who could not keep her "baby" under control). We strolled around the extensive flower and vegetable gardens on the grounds and enjoyed shade from the fruit trees. We visited for a few moments of chatter with Anne but as she had her hostess duties to perform the conversation was a little spotty. Ah... the duties of a hostess...

We noticed as we arrived that a portable beehive oven had been brought in and a wood fire had been stoked inside. The caterers (La Cucina Amore Fine Catering) apparently bring this device to your home and bake fresh pizzas for you and your guests. As pizza is my #1 favorite food I thought to myself "Bring it on Baby!" We had the classic Margherita; sausage, mushroom and caramelized onion; fig and prosciutto, and plain cheese pizza. They had the "fixins" for many other varieties as well. Also being served were endive leaves with crab and mango, chicken tid-bits with a fresh fruit salsa; watermelon, cucumber and  feta salad with fresh mint; Israeli couscous tossed with a light olive oil and fresh tomato; and an arugula salad with a lemon dressing and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. It was absolutely lovely. 

I must say that of all of the events I went to this weekend (with apologies to my sister-in-law Julie and to Alison and Mike the Dick) this was the most fabulous. It gets three, very energetic, snaps up! I do hope we are invited to the event again next year.

The Hostess with a jar of Auntie Frenchy's "Not Quite Kosher" Dill Pickles by the pool

The Contessa examining the beehive oven


La Cucina Amore at work
Pizzas ready for the oven
Almost done!



Auntie Frenchy's Dillies

Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Perils of Being Fabulous

One of the perils of being quite fabulous is that you are invited to every fabulous event that comes along. We at the House Party are having one of those weekends now. 

Yesterday afternoon was the 1st birthday party of little Cayden, the son of our dear friends Ali and Mike the Dick. I will be posting photos and discreet commentary from that event when I can get the green icing off of my camera's memory card and get it into my Mac. 

Next up was the 40th birthday party of my brother-in-law Bob that was held at the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant/arcade in Attleboro. That was seriously crazy! I will say that I did have a good time visiting with my in-laws and Bob took the surprise in stride. Photos and a "post-mortem" on that one shortly too. 

Today it is a "Ham Toss" (don't ask Mary because I have no idea) at the magnificent Summer Palace of Anne Levine (of the New York, East Dennis, and for 16 weeks every winter Sarasota, Levines). I really can't wait for this one. It'll be the Contessa di Pomodori and me at this event. It is at 12:30 and it is 9:30 now. I'd better start getting ready!

So let me go and I'll fill you in later.