Sunday, August 14, 2005

Grad Student Chili


2–3 Tablespoons Olive oil
1.5 to 2.0 pounds hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small can green chilies
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Beer
1/2 cup strong brewed black coffee
1 128 ounce (794 grams) can of crushed tomatoes
2 12 ounce cans of beans (424 grams per can)
5 Tablespoons Chili powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (or crushed cumin seeds)
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the onion and garlic, saute briefly, then add the hamburger. Cook until the hamburger is lightly browned, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the beer and the coffee. Cook for five minutes, stirring it once.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes, with their juice, the beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, partly covered, for half and hour, stirring it every ten minutes or so.
  6. Taste the chili; season to taste, and cook a little longer, say, thirty minutes to an hour
  7. The most important thing is to taste the chili, and adjust the seasonings accordingly.
  8. Garnish with chopped cilantro, onions, and grated cheese. Serve with tortillias, grated cheese, cornbread, or over rice or baked potatoes.


Trader Joe's frozen garlic is Just Fine. Omit the beer or chili as long as the same amount of liquid is used. Substitute broth (beef, chicken or vegetable. Use ground turkey, or tofu, if you'd rather. You can extend the chili, by adding another can of beans, or a can of corn. Chopped green pepper, celery and mushrooms are nice additions; saute them with the onions. The chili is better the next day, and freezes well. You can even freeze the cooled chili in Ziplock bags. Make sure the bags are tightly sealed, and don't over fill them.

To those who ask why this is "grad student chili" . . . I started making it as a grad student, and it's well suited for cooks on a budget since it's easily extendable and it uses ingredients that are fairly common. Plus it includes two staples of many grad students' diets— beer and coffee. I confess, I started using the beer because I had some and didn't drink beer, but it does add something.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Culled from Twenty Years Ago

Michael culled these from lower level English composition classes in the early 1980s.

  • "Maturity and experience come with age."

  • "Most spectators see Formula One drivers as people who stop at nothing to win."

  • "As an end product of each class, I received a letter grade from A to F, excluding E."

  • "When reality finally sets in, the true fan will feel as though a close freind [sic] had died."

  • "Students are now in school to get degrees so they can get a descent [sic] job."

  • "The two city council candidates do not frequent the pool thusly they did not have enough information to make a valid claim that the department wastes money on lifeguards."

  • "The president is only a figurehead with a birthright position."

  • "It was a very encomppassing book which captivated my attention until the very end."

Monday, June 13, 2005


This is from a poster RAL and CDL gave me, and that is an enlarged photocopy from an unknown book.

2 people 2 signals
3 people 9 signals
4 people 28 signals
5 people 75 signals
6 people 186 signals
7 people 441 signals
8 people 1,016 signals
9 people 2,295 signals
10 people 5,110 signals
11 people 11,253 signals
12 people 24,564 signals
13 people 53,235 signals
14 people 114,674 signals
15 people 245,745 signals
16 people 524,272 signals
17 people 1,114,095 signals
18 people 2,359,278 signals
19 people 4,980,717 signals
20 people 10,485,740 signals
21 people 22,020,075 signals

A mathematically inclined friend thought the equation that explained the relationship between the People and Signals was


Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Wycherly's Country Wife

I culled both of these sentences many years ago from a paper on the Restoration play The Country Wife by William Wycherley.

  • Horner's action in this play is mainly based on manipulating other characters orally.
  • Horner's manipulation of Sir Jasper Fidget continues when he pretends to be impotent.

Friday, May 6, 2005

Red Potatoes with Lemon, Parsley, and Olives

2 pounds of red potatoes
1 lemon
3 tablespoons Olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh Parsley
Several cloves of Garlic
1/3 cup olives, pitted
Salt to taste
1 well-oiled 9 x 13 inch pan
  1. Slice the potatoes, unpeeled. They should not be sliced too thinly.
  2. Thinly slice the lemon, peel and all, being careful to discard the seeds.
  3. Mince the garlic.
  4. Chop the Parsley
  5. Toss everything except the olives, with the olive oil, then spread evenly in the x 13 pan.
  6. Bake at 425F for an hour, stirring everything two or three times.
  7. Add the olives during the last five minutes of cooking.
The recipe is from T. Carter who found it in Fine Cooking March, 2004 and posted it here and wrote:
The recipe called for oil-cured olives . . . The potatoes are supposed to crisp while the lemons caramelize.
The thinner you slice the lemons, the happier you'll be. I've found a knife with a serated edge works best. Do try lemon varieties; they all taste slightly different. The recipe doesn't call for it, but when you add the olives, a sprinkle of salt and pepper won't go amiss.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Eachard on Plain Language

As if plain words, useful and intelligible instructions, were not as good for an esquire, or one that is in commission from the King, as for him that holds the plough.

John Eachard, 1670. Some Observations Upon
the Answer to an Enquiry into
the Grounds and Occasions
of the Contempt of the Clergy

Cicero on Human Language

The one point in which we have our very greatest advantage over the brute creation is that we hold converse with one another, and can reproduce our thought in word.