Stupendous George Rucker Newsletter for August 22, 2017

Greetings once again,

Last week the recipe for a Bloody Mary using Mezcal and not vodka caused me to go out and buy a bottle of Mezcal called “Montelobos” and I want you to know that it truly makes a very smoky tasting Bloody Mary.  I took me aback as I did not expect the drink to be that rich with a smokey flavor.

It sort of makes me wonder why they have all this bourbon BBQ sauce when if they want a smokey BBQ sauce they should be using mezcal.  If you like the taste of smoky meat you will like the taste of this Bloody Mary.  I have not tried it neat but expect it to have a smokey burn taste.

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Francesco Leonardi was an Italian chef and food author, born in Rome, and active in the 18th century in several European countries. He concluded his career as chef of Empress Catherine II of Russia. Back to Rome, he wrote the cookbook L'Apicio moderno, ("Modern Auspices") in six volumes, first edited in 1790. In the book's introduction Leonardi sketches the first historic survey of the Italian cuisine, from the Roman age through the golden age of the Renaissance until the 18th century. He also shows a profound knowledge of international cuisines, including Russian, Polish, Turkish, German, English and French cuisines. At the end of the book, a glossary of French culinary terms evidences his awareness of the state of the Italian cuisine, at that time heavily dependent on French cuisine. Leonardi also portrays a vast list of the wines in the sixth volume. The first known recipe of a tomato sauce with pasta is depicted in this book.

Tomatoes were a product of the New World and only appeared in Italy after importation.   The species originated in Central and South America. The Nahuatl (Aztec language) word tomatl gave rise to the Spanish word "tomate", from which the English word tomato originates.

The tomato is the edible fruit of Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as a tomato plant, which belongs to the nightshade family, Solanaceae.  Nightshades, are an economically important family of flowering plants. The family ranges from annual and perennial herbs to vines, shrubs, and trees, and includes a number of important agricultural crops, medicinal plants, spices, weeds, and ornamentals. Many members of the family contain potent alkaloids, and some are highly toxic, but many, including tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, bell/chili peppers, and tobacco are widely used.

While living on the farm and watching things grow, I saw an advertisement for a huge tomato in the back of a comic book.  The ad said the tomatoes would grow up to three pounds each.  Checking  to see what would the world record for the largest tomato currently is I see it weighed in at 7 pounds and 12 ounces, a true monster.  Twice my three pound goal.

My experience is actually not that interesting but the seeds I received in the mail kept growing and growing.  My grandmother had been harvesting her tomatoes for a while mine were just were starting to blossom.  The plants were about 10 feet high and I was using a step ladder to tie them up.  Then when the first frost came I just had started to get green tomatoes.  So my entire crop was lost.  I must have needed to start the plants earlier, probably in the winter.  I think these type of tomato plants would do best in a tropical climate or perhaps a heated green house.  I went on line to see if the seeds for giant tomatoes are still available.  Well there are quite a few companies that claim to grow giant tomatoes but the closest I saw to the advertisement in that comic, so long ago was  http://robsrareandgiantseeds.com/monster-tomato-5-seeds-giant-fruit-1155/

It reads:
5 MONSTER TOMATOES SEEDS

THESE GET REALLY BIG!!!!!

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans eat more than 22 pounds of tomatoes every year. More than half this amount is eaten in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce.

Tomatoes can be easily grown from seeds.   Growing tomatoes is enjoyable and rewarding and doesn’t take a lot of space - they can even be grown in containers on patios or balconies. The main thing to remember about growing tomatoes is they need a lot of sunshine and a lot of water with good drainage.

They cost $2.50 for 5 seeds plus shipping.

It looks like you can also buy them on ebay ...except you can get 50 seeds for the same amount of $2.50.

Just for your information, I personally would rather try to find the seeds from the tomato with the world record.  I doubt if any are around as the record was set in 1986.  If you read what people do for super giant tomatoes, you find they prune the first few branches and only leave only one blossom to a cluster plus carefully look for a mega blossom (double flower) as they will become tomatoes that will be fused together and can be counted a one, etc.

The Brits currently offer a reward of 5,000 pounds if anyone can grow a tomato that breaks the world record of 7lbs 12 oz.

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An unemployed man is desperate to support his family of a wife and three kids. He applies for a janitor's job at a large firm and easily passes an aptitude test.

The human resources manager tells him, "You will be hired at minimum wage of $5.35 an hour. Let me have your e-mail address so that we can get you in the loop. Our system will automatically e-mail you all the forms and advise you when to start and where to report on your first day."

Taken back, the man protests that he is poor and has neither a computer nor an e-mail address. To this the manager replies, "You must understand that to a company like ours that means that you virtually do not exist. Without an e-mail address or internet access you can hardly expect to be employed by a high-tech firm. Good day."

Stunned, the man leaves. Not knowing where to turn and having $10 in his wallet, he walks past a farmers' market and sees a stand selling 25 lb. crates of beautiful red tomatoes. He buys a crate, carries it to a busy corner and displays the tomatoes. In less than two hours he sells all the tomatoes and makes 100% profit. Repeating the process several times more that day, he ends up with almost $100 and arrives home that night with several bags of groceries for his family.

During the night he decides to repeat the tomato business the next day. By the end of the week he is getting up early every day and working into the night. He multiplies his profits quickly. Early in the second week he acquires a cart to transport several boxes of tomatoes at a time, but before a month is up he sells the cart to buy a broken-down pickup truck. At the end of a year he owns three old trucks. His two sons have left their neighborhood gangs to help him with the tomato business, his wife is purchasing the tomatoes he resells, and his daughter is taking night courses at the community college so she can keep books for him.

By the end of the second year he has a dozen very nice used trucks and employs fifteen previously unemployed people, all selling tomatoes. He continues to work hard. Time passes and at the end of the fifth year he owns a fleet of nice trucks and a warehouse that his wife supervises, plus two tomato farms that the boys manage. The tomato company's payroll has put hundreds of homeless and jobless people to work. His daughter reports that the business grossed over one million dollars. Planning for the future, he decides to buy some life insurance.

Consulting with an insurance adviser, he picks an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances. Then the adviser asks him for his e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically. When the man replies that he doesn't have time to mess with a computer and has no e-mail address, the insurance man is stunned, "What, you don't have e-mail? No computer? No Internet? Just think where you would be today if you'd had all of that five years ago!"

"Ha!" snorts the man. "If I'd had e-mail and the internet five years ago, I would be sweeping floors at Microsoft and making $5.35 an hour."

Which brings us to the moral of the story: Since you got this story by e-mail, you're probably closer to being a janitor than a millionaire.

Sadly, I received it also.

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During my life time I have met many people, pretty much as we all have.  There was one in particular who let me grow some plants in her garden she had an 80 acre farm on Cape Cod.  Once the garden was plowed she let me have four rows about 75 feet long each.  Anyway I had more tomatoes and other vegetables, plus spices than I could ever use by my family.  That year, for Christmas I gave presents of my home made tomato and basil sauce.  I also gave jelly jars of freshly dried basil and oregano spices.

First you need to know I personally think seeds and skin should be removed if you are making a sauce.  I will start with the skin first as you already have the items around the house to do this part.
     1.  Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil
     2.  Slightly score across the base of the tomato in a cross fashion.  Then drop one tomato at a time in the boiling water.  Leave it for about 20 seconds
     3.  Evacuate each tomato to a bowl of ice water.  Leave long enough for the tomato to cool
     4.  Use a knife to make a cut around the “equator” of the tomato.  The two hemispheres will now slide off intact.

    Do not leave the tomato in the boiling water too long or it will start to cook. The idea is to only break the connection between the skin and the tomato flesh.
    An alternative way to peel the skin off after cooling it down is to (carefully) slide it off with your fingers. However, the acidity of the tomato can soon irritate under your fingernails, so be careful not to overuse this method.
    Try not to puncture the flesh of the tomato while peeling.

Now for the seeds. . .  I purchased a vegetable strainer to remove the seeds and it also pureed the tomato.  There are many schools of thought and they can also be removed easily by hand.  Some say leave them in the sauce but I think they are woody and bitter.  It is up to your personal taste.

http://toriavey.com/how-to/2012/06/how-to-seed-tomatoes/ it is easy and other than a knife and a small spoon no other tools are needed.

 If you've never made tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes before, this is a good place to start. The amount isn't overwhelming, but you'll make enough to justify the afternoon. It's also a small enough amount that you can freeze the whole batch if you don't feel like canning it.

Bottom line: Grab yourself some tomatoes and make yourself some tomato sauce this weekend. You won't regret it.  It is labor intensive but many good recipes are.

Homemade Tomato Sauce (4.6 stars)

Ingredients

    10 ripe tomatoes
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 onion, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    2 carrots, chopped
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
    1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    1/4 cup Burgundy wine
    1 bay leaf
    2 stalks celery
    2 tablespoons tomato paste

Directions

    Bring a pot of water to a boil. Have ready a large bowl of iced water. Plunge whole tomatoes in boiling water until skin starts to peel, 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon and place in ice bath. Let rest until cool enough to handle, then remove peel and squeeze out seeds. Chop 8 tomatoes and puree in blender or food processor. Chop remaining two tomatoes and set aside.

    In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook onion, bell pepper, carrot and garlic in oil and butter until onion starts to soften, 5 minutes. Pour in pureed tomatoes. Stir in chopped tomato, basil, Italian seasoning and wine. Place bay leaf and whole celery stalks in pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 2 hours. Stir in tomato paste and simmer an additional 2 hours. Discard bay leaf and celery and serve.

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I was reading an article that the Democratic Party is in the fund raising mode again.  This made me think about Hillary’s campaign.  When her run for the presidency started for the 2016 election run she wanted to accumulate  2.5 Billion dollars.  She did not make her goal but still raised 1.7 billion.  That is a whole lot of money.  I wish I could do an audit to see how it was spent as there is nothing left.

The DNC raised $38.2 million in the first half of this year, compared with the Republican National Committee's (RNC) $75.4 million haul during that period — a $37.2 million difference. As of June 30, the RNC has almost $45 million in the bank, while the DNC has just under $7.5 million, along with $3 million in debt.

Just think about that statement. . . They raised $38.2 million in six months and now have $7.5 million in the bank with a debt of $3 million.

With my calculations I see that the DNC just lost another $30.7 million dollars.  Not only are the Dem’s spending our Tax dollars like crazy but they are stealing donations from themselves.

Many Democrats are frustrated by the sluggish fundraising pace, which comes even as President Trump's sagging approval rating drives Democratic outrage across the country.

I am sorry but when you pole only Democrats you get the same error that lost you the election.  You will find that if another election were to be held Trump would win by an even larger margin.  Sorry, but if you do not see the problem it will not be fixed.  For a true pole you need both sides of the voting public.

I happen to see you are losing more from your side to my side than you do.  This is at least within my circle of friends.  But remember here in Massachusetts there are many more of those with a liberal mind set than conservative.

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Every once in a while I spout off about sharks around Cape Cod.  The last death due to a shark was in 1936.  This year we had a fisherman catch a six footer and while it was on the beach it bit him but I count that as plain stupidity. Rule 1,  “Do not stand near the sharks mouth.”  I can remember that in 2012 a person was bitten near Truro but he escaped and just has interesting scars to talk about.

Last year, locally 147 sharks were identified swimming in our waters and 100 of these tagged for research.  We know why they are here and it is not for people, it is seals as they are their primary food.   Currently the local count of seals is about 50 thousand and we will have more next year.  The population seems to be growing at 15% per year.

Think about these stats...113 people die in the U.S. from car wrecks ever day.  You are probably more likely to be killed by a vending machine than a shark.  The water can kill you as ten people drown every day in this country about 4,000 per year, way more than shark attacks.

Collapsing sand dunes can kill you.  Sand dunes have killed more people than sharks at least using records going back to 1580.  You’re more likely to die on your way to the beach. You’re more likely to be killed by another person on the beach. You’re more likely to be killed by food poisoning from something you buy at the beach. You’re more likely to be killed by an airplane landing on top of you at the beach.

But statistics are cold comfort.  Statistically, we are safe.  But in terms of evolutionary biology, there is something horrifying about being eaten alive by one of those monsters.

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The recipe for the “World’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.”  By Samantha Merritt.
https://sugarspunrun.com/worst-chocolate-chip-cookies/

© SugarspunRun. All images and content are copyright protected. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. (I have complied)

I can only assume something must have gone horribly wrong to bring you here today.

Amidst a cherry-picked Pinterest Sea of “perfect chocolate chip cookies” a Google Forest of “best ever chocolate chip cookies”, and dog-eared cookbooks of “award-winning” and family favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes, you have somehow found yourself here, face-to-cookie with the “worst” chocolate chip cookies.

I know what you’re probably thinking: It’s just a cookie, right?  I mean, they look innocent enough, golden with melty chocolate chips, crinkled edges and melt-in-your-mouth interiors… but one bite and you’re ruined for life.

These cookies will consume your life, shrink your jeans, and steal your boyfriend (I wouldn’t put it past them, anyway).

They even contain a secret ingredient.

How obnoxiously cliché, and, even more obnoxiously, intriguing.

I won’t drag it out; the secret ingredient is maple syrup.  Sure, pure maple syrup (priced per ounce nearly the same as gold) would be just wonderful, but if you have a sticky bottle of Aunt Jemima in your cabinet (as I did), that will work just fine, too.

What kind of self-respecting cookie doesn’t demand purity and quality?  Only the worst kind.

I credit this “secret ingredient” for being the greatest offender in this recipe.  It gives the cookies a subtle, caramelized flavor, as well as long-lasting chewiness and softness (these cookies stay soft for days, the cornstarch also helps with that significantly), and the flavor is to die for.

And while anyone who takes a bite will be able to detect the extra richness of flavor, no one who I shared these cookies with was able to identify any sort of secret ingredient.  Just “really, really, good cookies”.

OK, so what’s so bad about really really good cookies?

How about the fact that they will consume you as you consume them.  I’m not kidding about them wrecking your relationships.

Mom’s favorite chocolate chip cookie?  Ditch it.  You will snub your nose at every “favorite” cookie of the past and struggle to hold back scornful laughs at anyone who comments on a “delicious cookie”.  Nobody likes a cookie snob, but you will become one.

Here comes that girl again, the one who’s too good for Chips Ahoy.

Be prepared for weight gain.  It creeps up slowly, the cookies gently embracing you at first, then clinging to your thighs, your stomach, tighter and tighter until yoga pants are your only way out of the house.  If you’re worried about your significant other noticing, don’t bother, they don’t notice anything anymore, only whether or not there are cookies readily available for consumption.

Perhaps worst of all is that these chocolate chip cookies can be made so easily.  There’s no KitchenAid or any sort of electric hand mixer required to make these cookies.  They can be stirred by hand, dirtying only two bowls.

They do need to chill for 30 minutes, which would only serve as a deterrent if 25 of those minutes weren’t spent sneaking copious chunks of dough from the refrigerator

If you’ve made it this far, I fear it might already be too late for you.

It’s too late for me, unfortunately, and I’ve made these cookies nearly a dozen times in the past two weeks.  I’m swapping gym time for cookie time to keep my fridge well-stocked with dough, and the photo shoot for this post took three times as long as it should have because I kept eating the subjects.

If you can, stick to the “best ever” cookies, stick to Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies and the family favorites.  Those cookies are safe, they are your friends, made to be consumed by you.

These cookies will consume you, instead.

Good luck.

And be sure to sign up and subscribe to my mailing list to be notified whenever a new recipe is posted!


Ingredients

    1 cup unsalted butter melted and then cooled for at least 5 minutes* (226g)
    1 1/2 cups light brown sugar packed (300g)
    ½  cup granulated sugar (100g)
    2 eggs room temperature preferred
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 cup maple syrup (60ml)
    3 1/4 cups all purpose flour (415g)
    2 teaspoon cornstarch
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 cups chocolate chips I used half regular semisweet chips and half mini semisweet chips

Instructions

    In large bowl, stir together melted butter and sugars.
    Add eggs, one at a time, stirring combined.
    Stir in vanilla extract and maple syrup.
    In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
    Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients, stirring until completely combined.
    Stir in chocolate chips.
    Cover bowl with clear wrap and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes (chilling!? I told you, this recipe is the worst.)
    While the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350F (175C) and prepare cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper.
    Scoop about 2-3 Tbsp of cookie dough and roll into balls, making them slightly taller than they are wide. Place them at least 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.
    Bake about 13 minutes (cookies will appear to be a bit underdone, but edges should be just beginning to turn golden brown).
    Allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet. If desired, gently press a few chocolate chips on top of the hot cookies.
    Keep unbaked cookie dough in fridge while waiting to put the next batch in the oven, and do not place cookie dough on a hot cookie sheet.

Recipe Notes
*You do not want your butter to be too hot or it may melt the sugar and you'll have a very runny dough. Best practice would be to cut the butter into about Tbsp-sized pieces, microwave in 10-second increments (stirring after each) until it is just completely melted, and then allow it to sit for 5 minutes.

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George  - email grucker@capecod.net for a weekly copy of my Tuesday Letter ... as usual older copies posted by Walter with videos and pictures on www.capecod-beaches.com