Archive for September, 2009

Two years ago I used to see large squadrons of pelicans flying along the south shore of Alameda (and thus south along the eastern shore of SF Bay) most morning I went out there. The pelicans congregate starting in late July through September, and I often saw waves of dozens and dozens of them, easily totaling 50 or more, and sometimes over one hundred.

This summer, I’ve hardly seen any. (more…)


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Bacon Kielbasa Bake

A coworker and friend of mine, L, went to Syracuse University, home of the Orangemen, who opened their football season by hosting the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. As our alma maters were meeting on the gridiron, we decided to watch together, and I decided to cook a breakfast dish I haven’t made for decades.

 My mom sent it to me in the 1980s—back before my cholesterol tested high. L has high cholesterol, too. We’re both supposed to behave ourselves. As I’ve mentioned before, this is what makes stuff like bacon and kielbasa taste so good. (The vegetarian Mrs. O fled to run errands and avoid the carnage, both in the kitchen and on the TV screen.) (more…)

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First, the pears. I’m rather amazed at how reluctant these pears are to ripen. This picture was taken in early September, and you can see how green they remain:


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Whither Weather Wear

The wife and I went to a party yesterday. It was supposed to be a pool party in someone’s backyard, sort of a goodbye to summer thing, but we had a surprise thunderstorm here in the Bay Area Saturday morning, so it was overcast, although surprisingly warm for northern California rain. (more…)

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The Chili You’ve Dreamt Of

 Years ago my roommate came home from a vacation with the original version of this chili recipe, which won a chili cookoff in New Orleans back in, oh, 1982 or so. I’ve modified it down through the years, but the main ingredients and proportions remain the same. I’ve never found any chili I’ve liked better than this — it’s ruined me for restaurant chili.

In copying this recipe once I neglected to note the cooking times from the well-worn original slip of paper, but that shouldn’t matter much. You want the initial ingredients to simmer for an hour or more. It takes a while to cook and add the meat. In the time it takes to add the final ingredients, the thickeners should do their work; at the end you can simmer it for a half hour or so, if it makes you feel better — but I can’t usually wait that long. *smile*

A coworker once spoke about his favorite chili con carne, and how much he loved the meaty flavor. That weekend I made this recipe, and the next week I brought in a container before lunch, set it on his desk, said “try this,” and walked out. That afternoon he wanted this recipe, and as his wife did the cooking, he had me cook it with her. (He complained about the beans and celery, but we ignored him.) He never mentioned the other recipe again.

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