Monthly Archives: May 2009

Some interesting baseball-related news

Photo Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Photo Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

– Most notably, Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court is Sonia Sotomayer, who, as Sports Illustrated points out, has dealt in the sports world. It’s kind of cool that that happens. She’s handed down decisions about MLB’s strike and the age-limit in the NFL.

– Those baby birds over in Memphis defaulted on their municipal bonds. It was mentioned in an article by Bloomberg and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

– The former International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame is soon to be a Nike Store, according to the St. Louis Business Journal. Interesting transition, no?

– There’s potential that Jack Buck will have a highway named after him, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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Underwear sales indicate recovering economy?

There’s a very interesting hypothesis by Alan Greenspan: men’s underwear sales can predict when the economy is actually recovering. The idea is that men stop buying underwear during bad economic times because few people actually see them. So, when they feel comfortable with how the economy is, they’ll start buying underwear again.

In case you’re wondering, according to the blog post, underwear sales have leveled off, not risen, so we’re not out of the woods yet.

Pizza in the oven!

One of my favorite things about coming home is the use of a full-size, clean, well-stocked kitchen. Of course, I’m not without when I’m away, but there’s always more at home. I think this is one of my mother’s favorite things too, because that means less work for her on the dinner front. So over the past couple of days, I’ve been working up to tonight’s dinner: Homemade Pizza! I used recipes out of Pizza to create 2 pizzas and also my own recipe for cheesy bread.

Part of the inspiration for this is having the time and materials, and the other part is the many posts about pizza at The Kitchn, one of my favorite foodie blogs.

Here’s the biggest secret:

Coat your hands in oil when working with the dough. Lots of people use flour. I’ve never gotten the hang of it, so I pour way more veggie oil on my hands than is natural, and it works beautifully! If I’m getting ready to spread the dough, I pour over the dough and the excess falls onto it and it makes the spreading so much easier.

But anyway, onto the recipes!

Dough:

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 ¼ cups ice-cold water
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon table salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 ¼ cups bread flour

Dough, post-mixer form

Dough, post-mixer form

1.    In a small bowl, stir the yeast into the lukewarm water. Set aside until it dissolves, about 5 minutes.
2.    Combine the cold water, sugar, salt, and olive oil in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.
3.    Mix the two bowls and flour together in a mixing bowl using a dough hook. Mix on low speed for four minutes. Rest for 2 minutes. Mix for another 6 minutes.
4.    Divide dough into thirds and place in bags. This is much easier to do with vegetable oil all over your hands. Put the bags in the fridge for 2 days.

Sauce:

Prepare to be sauced! (Cheesy, yes.)

Prepare to be sauced! (Cheesy, yes.)

1 can diced tomatoes in juice
1 can tomato paste
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¾ teaspoon table salt

Combine all the ingredients together!

Meatball Pizza, ready to go

Meatball Pizza, ready to go

Meatball Pizza:

1 portion dough
½ of the sauce recipe
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Meatballs

1.    Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
2.    Roll the dough until it forms a 12-inch crust. This is much, much easier to do if your hands are coated in vegetable oil.
3.    Spread the sauce over the dough. Sprinkle the garlic over the sauce. Sprinkle the cheese over the garlic. Cut the meatballs in half and place on top of the cheese.
4.    Cook for 12 minutes.

Italian Sausage and Bell Pepper Pizza

Color is very important

Color is very important

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow bell pepper
1 small red bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon table salt
1 portion dough
½ recipe sauce
1 Italian Sausage, sliced into ¼ in. pieces
2 cups mozzarella cheese
¼ pound bulk Italian sausage, separated into chunks

1.    Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
2.    Warm the olive oil in a skillet. Sauté the bell peppers until crisp-tender. Add the garlic, oregano, cayenne pepper, and salt and sauté for another minute.
3.    Roll the dough until it forms a 12-inch crust. This is much, much easier to do if your hands are coated in vegetable oil.
4.    Spread the sauce over the dough. Place the peppers on the sauce. You’ll probably have more pepper than space, so feel free not the place all the peppers on. Place sausage slices around the pizza. Top with the cheese. Spread the bulk sausage around the top.
5.    Bake for 13 minutes.

Warning: The dough may not hold all the toppings well. Be prepared to use a fork.

Cheesy bread is an excellent appetizer

Cheesy bread is an excellent appetizer

Cheesy Bread:

1 portion dough
Shredded cheese of any sort
Select spices. The ones I use are:
Basil
Cilantro
Parsley
Thyme
Oregano
Black pepper
Garlic powder
Cayenne pepper

1.    Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
2.    Roll the dough until it forms a 12-inch crust. This is much, much easier to do if your hands are coated in vegetable oil.
3.    Sprinkle liberal amounts of spices and herbs on top of crust. Use more than you think you need because that’s going to be most of what you taste once you eat it.
4.    Sprinkle liberal amounts of cheese on top.
5.    Bake for about 7 minutes.

Credit Card News

There’s been a slew of credit card news lately…Here’s a recap:

– Time has a blog post about who to blame for the credit card mess: issuers or users?

– Jim Gallagher from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a column on the reaction to credit card reform

– American Express is going to cut jobs, according to the Associated Press article

– Senate voted to pass a credit card reform law, according to a NYT article

– There’s a WSJ blog post on what the law does

– NYT has an article on how banks might make up for the lost revenue

Photo courtesy of NYT

Photo courtesy of NYT

Women donating money

According to the WSJ blog “The Wallet,” some charities are seeing more donations coming there way. Why? Because women are in charge of the money. And apparently, the alma mater isn’t getting the money. I appreciate that because although I love my school, I don’t think that its the neediest of needy donation-getters.

Of course, these women are pretty up there money-wise, including Jennifer Buffett, daughter of Warren Buffett, and Abby Disney, who is related to Walt Disney.

Says the blog,

“The economic clout is already there: Women control almost 60% of the nation’s wealth and 80% of its purchases, while occupying about half the managerial and professional jobs in the U.S., according to research from OppenheimerFunds Distributor.”

Interesting, isn’t it?

Pork Chops with Apples

I know that I haven’t posted anything in a week, but its finals week and life is a little…hectic.  However, for my apartment’s end of year dinner, I’m making Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples! It’s a Tyler Florence recipe that I’ve adapted to fit my budget/life.

Here’s the adapted recipe:

Ingredients:

Brine:
1 gallon water (free)
1 cup brown sugar (roommate had some)
2/3 cup salt (in the cupboard)
1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate (.88 a container)
1 tsp pepper (in the cupboard)
1 tsp thyme leaves (in the cupboard)

Pork Chops:
4 pork chops (on sale for $4.47)
Olive oil (in the cupboard)

Apples:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (in the frig)
3 Granny Smith apples ($2.27)
1 tsp thyme leaves (in the cupboard)
¾ cup Apple Juice concentrate (.88 a container)
3 tablespoons brown sugar (roommate had some)
¼ tsp cinnamon (in the cupboard)
lemon juice (roommate had some)

Combine ingredients for the brine. Let sit in the fridge for an hour and a half. (I started ridiculously early on this experiment and didn’t realize it. You’re actually supposed to stir to dissolve the sugar and salt, but I figure letting it sit for a long time will do the same thing.) Submerge the chops in the brine and let sit for 2 hours — no longer.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the chops and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Put skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil. Lay 2 pork chops in pan and brown for 4 minutes per side. Remove to baking pan. Brown the remaining chops and add. Put in oven and roast for 30 minutes.

Melt butter in a clean skillet. Add apples and thyme and coat in butter. Cook and stir for 8 minutes. Toss in the apple juice concentrate. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Squeeze in lemon juice and simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon apples over the pork chops.

If you compare the recipes, you’ll see that there’s a lot missing, and that’s because I wasn’t going to go and buy a bunch of spices the week before moving home, or because I don’t like raisins.

Overall, it was a big hit. I used way more apple juice concentrate than the recipe called for, but even that worked out really well. I highly, highly recommend this recipe.

I wouldn’t use it as a quick, family meal, but would work really well for one of my family’s Sunday suppers that fortify us for an entire week. And it served really well as the end-of-year dinner for us too. Something special, but not over the top.

Way to go, Tyler Florence!

Rick Ankiel is hurt and other Cardinal News

For those of you who haven’t figured it out, the St. Louis Cardinals are my favorite sport’s team Ever. And Rick Ankiel is one of my favorite Cards. Which is why I am so sad that he’s hurt.  Here’s a recap of some of the coverage:

He’s out of the Hospital

X-Rays are negative

He’s Unable to Play

Now he’s on the DL

– For the most unusual place the news has shown up: The Gay sport’s blog

In other Cardinal-related news:

– The operators of Ozzie’s bar and Pujol’s bar are fighting. Read the story here.

– In more All-Star news, there’s going to be a 5k run for cancer awareness. Click here for the story.