WARNING
ALL STANDARD DISCLAIMERS APPLY.  THIS DESIGN WILL NOT WORK FOR YOU, DON’T BUILD THIS.  THIS IS NOT FOR BEGINNERS. YOU OR OTHERS CAN BE HURT OR KILLED.  I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING.  EAT YOUR VEGETABLES.  DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ ON THE INTERNET.
TURN OFF THIS COMPUTER NOW.

Problem
I am beginning to have need of additional lighting in my house.  A few years ago, my eyes started to show age, and this is not a trend I expect to reverse itself.  It’s the 21st century, I’m bored with snapping on and off light switches as I move from room to room, so I’m building a few lamps I can use.  These will be especially helpful in stairwells, but also in my basement.

Goals

  • Motion activated – this is pretty easy, if nothing in the area is moving, it probably doesn’t need to be illuminated.  This also implies adjustments for sensitivity (will it trigger for me, a cat, or a mosquito) and delay (how long does it stay on after triggering).
  • Ambient light sensor – no point turning on a lamp when there’s already enough light
  • Energy efficiency – uses pennies worth of juice each year.  Ideally, this works during a grid power outage, and/or is completely self sustaining through auxiliary power generation devices like solar panels, a micro-windmill, or a windbelt humdinger.  It should be bright enough to keep me from tripping over laundry, not for reading.
  • Solid state – no maintenance required other than occasional dusting.  Zero recurrent costs.

Vision
Create a device which triggers one or more high-brightness white light LEDs.  Device will use low voltage DC power supply, centrally located to supply multiple devices throughout a house.  Device will be installable using a circular hole saw through existing drywall, power supplied through in-wall wiring.

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How to make pie good enough for cave man.

Fruit pies

This is for a full pie crust, for just the bottom shell, use 1/2 of these amounts:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup (a stick and a half) unsalted butter
1/2 cup lard
6 – 8 Tablespoons ice water

Into a large clean bowl completely free of cat hair sift the flour, salt, and sugar.  Cut the butter and lard into the flour mixture with a pastry blender.  Add 6 Tablespoons of ice water, add up to 2 more until the dough comes together.  Use the pasty blender as much as possible, chop the dough… don’t knead it (this is not a pizza, you want it soft and flaky).  When mixed, cut into two lumps and chill.  Then you can make the filling:

Cherry

4 cups (1 quart) fresh pitted cherries
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 Tablespoons quick tapioca
1/3 cup chilled unsalted butter

Blueberry

4 cups (1 quart) fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon mace
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (half a lemon)
2 1/2 Tablespoons quick tapioca
1/3 cup chilled unsalted butter

Strawberry

4 cups (1 quart) fresh cleaned strawberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 Tablespoons quick tapioca
1/3 cup chilled unsalted butter

Dingleberry
Yes, I’m kidding.

Combine the fruit, sugar, spices and extracts, and tapioca in a bowl, chill and let stand for 20 minutes.

You’re halfway done.  Go pee.  Have a cigarette.  Wash your hands again, with soap this time.  Take a break before flouring up the counter and a rolling pin.

Roll out the crust and line a 9 – 10 inch deep pan, fill with the uh… filling… stuff.  Dot the top with the butter, you don’t have to use up all of it.  Add top crust, crimp the edges very high, cut steam vent holes (carve “HARE” on top  Get it?  Hare Pie.  Nyuk nyuk nyuk).

For top crust pies, bake on top of a cookie sheet covered with metal foil in a hot oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour.  Allow to cool completely before serving.  Fruit pies will keep pretty well out of the refrigerator for a week or more if covered with foil and you washed your hands well enough while making it.

Meat Pies (WARNING!  EXPERIMENT IN PROGRESS!)

1 pound of meat (bison, lamb, turkey, beef, camel, wildebeest, kangaroo)
1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard

a few small red or gold potatoes
1/2 rutabaga
1/2 parsnip
1 cup milk (or 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup water)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Brown meat in a large skillet with the onion, garlic, oil and spices.  Dice the vegetables and add to skillet, add milk and cornstarch.  Stir while cooking for 10 – 15 minutes while the hard tubers soften some, you don’t want to cook them completely.  Turn off heat, let sit while rolling out a top crust (note: you may wish to use salted butter in this crust… just for meat pies).  Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour (until it’s bubbling through the vents).  Serve with homemade tomato ketchup, horseradish, and premium soy sauce.

Cream Pies

NOTE: if you found this recipe because you were looking for porn, sorry!

Cream pies are a little different, you only make half the crust (there’s no top) and bake the crust before filling (425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 – 20 minutes).  There’s some tricks to this… since there’s no filling, the crust will tend to shrink and bubble up in the middle, so pie weights will be useful.  The order of operation is very different from that of a fruit pie… you need the baked pie crust complete and ready to go before you start on the pudding mixture.  This is when it might be tempting to get a store-bought pie crust.  Don’t DO it, MAN!! You can make this.

Select zero or more of the following base ingredients:
3 bananas
1 cup shredded coconut
3 – 5 oz sweet or semi-sweet chocolate (or Nutella)
1/2 cup citrus fruit juice and zest from the rind

and…
2 cups whole milk
1 cup cream
1/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons corn starch
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks (bruised and beaten)
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to almost a boil (‘scald’ it), stir constantly to avoid skimming.  Don’t use a double boiler here, it won’t quite get hot enough to scald the milk, and so the filling won’t thicken properly.

  • If you’re making a citrus pie, add the zest to the milk before scalding, and then afterward let it steep for a few minutes before straining out the zest bits.
  • If you are using chocolate, melt it first, then slowly add the milk and cream.

Sift the flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt, add to the milk while stirring constantly.

  • Extra salt is optional for a citrus pie.
  • If you want to use coconut or Nutella, add that to the mixture now as well.

Whisk the egg yolks.

  • If you’re making  citrus pie, add the juice to the egg yolks.

Spoon some of the hot milk pudding mixture into the egg yolks and stir, then add the yolks to the mixture (don’t just dump the egg yolks into the hot pudding) and cook a few more minutes.  It should be getting really thick and smell really good.  Taste it (don’t burn your mouth) and add more sugar if needed, especially with semi-sweet chocolate.

  • Add the vanilla last if used.  Skip the vanilla for  a citrus pie.\
  • Use a pinch of chili powder instead of vanilla for a chocolate pie.
  • If you use bananas, spoon a little of the pudding into the bottom of the pie crust, then add bananas slices, and then spoon on more pudding.
  • Otherwise, use a spatula and pour the pudding mixture into the crust.

Once that’s done, chill and chill out.  You can’t just pop the hot shell and filling in the fridge, but from here on out, COOL is what you need.  When it’s not quite so hot, then put it in the refrigerator.

If you add a lot of base ingredients, you might need to reduce the amounts, it will make a lot, but you can always just pour the remainder into pudding cups.  Cream pies have milk and egg and so they won’t keep out of the refrigerator, they have to be chilled.  Some recipes call for additional baking, I don’t recommend this.

You can leave the pie unadorned, top with whipped cream, or…  did you save the egg whites?  Good!  Make meringue:

4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Adding the sugar slowly, beat with a high-speed electric mixer until you get soft peaks, this can take 20 – 30 minutes.  When the pie is cool, plop gobs of foam onto the top of the pie with a big spoon and broil (on high) in an oven 5 minutes until the meringue is golden brown… don’t walk away from this, or you’ll burn the meringue and the pie will get all runny.

It’s done.  Let it cool.  Don’t put it in the refrigerator while still warm, or it will get runny.  When it’s no longer warm (call it an hour), THEN put it in the refrigerator and chill out for at least 2 more hours, and while waiting don’t get any Soupy Sales ideas.

General tips for making PIE:

  • Don’t use any ingredients that aren’t at least 100 years old.  Not the actual item (ewww!), the invention of the ingredient… people have been eating pie for a very very long time, you don’t need anything exotic or new to make any of these.  Pie good for cave man!
  • Heart Smart warning: This will kill you.  Do not serve this to people without notifying them that this is real pie, and therefore crammed, jammed, and packed with real fat.
  • This is not a beginner course on cooking and baking, but it’s not difficult.  If you’ve ever put together a piece of tube frame recreational equipment for your kids in the back yard on Christmas Eve, you have the skills necessary to make a pie.
  • Use organic ingredients whenever possible.  Butter, milk, sugar, eggs, flour, and fruit can all be bought organic.  Your body will thank you for it.  Don’t be fooled by the word ‘natural’, natural is not organic.  The word ‘natural’ (as applied to food in the USA) has come to be meaningless at the consumer level through lobbying by the food industry.  Arsenic is ‘natural’.  Read the labels on the ingredients you use.  If there’s anything in them that you can’t pronounce without a chemistry reference, buy something else.
  • Cheap fruit makes experimentation more fun.  When you see a quart of blueberries for $4 at the farmer’s market, think PIE.
  • You can use white granulated table sugar, but exotic premium sugar at the ethnic grocery store will definitely make a difference.  I wish there were a standardized sweetness scale, but until that science is up another tech level, I prefer to use organic powdered sugar.  If you’re looking to reduce the sugar, you might try substituting about half the amount needed with a commercial sweetener substitute.  I haven’t done this, but there is diabetic friendly sugar substitute available.  Somebody also try a tablespoon of light unsulfured molasses and tell me how that goes.
  • In fruit pies, you can use cornstarch instead of instant (or flaked) tapioca, but the texture is boring.  The idea here is to thicken the filling so it will look good on your fork and cut in a nicer triangle.  In the cream pies, tapioca can probably be substituted for the corn starch, but the texture won’t be smooth.
  • Use real unsalted butter and actual lard for shortening.  Using these and cutting it into the flour with a pastry blender keeps the gluten fibers short, and not like pizza.  Use some muscle on this, when properly mixed you should not be able to distinguish any individual lumps of butter or lard.  Yes, you can buy lard in the store, it’s usually near the baking supplies, I usually see it in bricks or small white plastic tubs.  Lard does not contain trans fats, because trans fats were invented when people stopped using real animal fat.  If you’re worried about cholesterol, stop eating pie.  On the other hand, if you would rather sacrifice some taste, green mersh label zero trans-fat shortening bricks will work just fine.
  • Take your time rolling out the crust.  If you goof it, pick it up and do it again.  Roll it out, fold it over a few times, this makes it flaky.  If the bottom crust has a hole or seam, it will leak.  On top crust pies, seal and crimp the edges very high, it will spill, and make sure the steam vents in the top are big enough that they don’t seal up while cooking.
  • If you make a few pies and the next one suddenly seems… not difficult… you’re getting it.  There’s a reason they say ‘easy as pie’.  There’s definitely some arm work in blending and rolling the crust, but nothing else in these recipes is particularly difficult.  Maybe chocolate, chocolate is almost always difficult.

I’m currently experimenting with savory recipes… buffalo with potato, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, basil, oregeno…. sausage with cheese, onions, green pepper, cayenne… beef with cream and rosemary.   I know the cherry and blueberry recipes work well (don’t skip the mace!).  I’m still perfecting the ‘citrus’ cream pies.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space - with PIES

Whaddaya gonna do with those pies, boys?

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I have another admission to make.  I sew.  It started a long long time ago… I used to watch my mother sew when I was very young, but a year or so ago the realization that I actually know how to sew hit me.  It rekindled with just not wanting to pay $50 for shirts made overseas that didn’t fit, but my newfound stitching bug now has me making more diabolical plans.

I have in my possession four (4) red patent leather pig hides, which is enough to make a rather large coat, one my size.  As I live in Michigan, I’ll be insulating it, and of course it will need a proper liner.

The leather is pretty lightweight, the thinsulate is really thick, and the innermost liner is paper thin and slippery. I’m also using some red velvet for some of the facings.  This is definitely going to be harder than polyester-cotton work shirts. (Burda pattern 7767 rocks!)

This all adds up to a lot of planning on how to sew the liner to the coat, which seems pretty mysterious to me.  Why does it hold together?  Why would it fit?  How many needles am I going to break doing this?  The only way to find out is to do it, but there’s no material I’d bother to use to make a coat that is cheap… so do or die, this is going to have to happen and mistakes may be costly.  The leather is slightly more expensive than some Cashmere wool, so one way or another.

redcoat01

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also known as

the Stir-fry recipe (with pictures)

1 jar of “Thai Kitchen” green curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 – 1 1/4 lbs of cheap chicken meat, white or dark
1 – 2 cups of rice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 – 2 teaspoons turmeric

2 or more of the following:

a cup green beans, snow peas, or snap peas
a cup of green peas (give peas a chance)
a small yellow onion (or half of a large one)
a cup bamboo shoots (or a small can)
a cup water chestnuts (or a small can)
a cup of sliced eggplant (use small ones)
a bell pepper (any colour you like)
4 – 6 jalapeño or serrano peppers
3 – 4 large or 5 – 7 small carrots
a small rutabaga or potato
a large parsnip
a can of store-bought “stir fry vegetables”
a cup of broccoli or cauliflower
a cup of asparagus
a cup of any other vegetable (bokchoy, radicchio, parsley, broccoflower)
fresh or canned mushrooms

stir_fry_raw
“Miller Farms” boneless skinless chicken thighs (still frozen), turmeric spice, red bell pepper, “Thai Kitchen” green curry paste, “Thai Kitchen” organic coconut milk, “La Choy” fancy mixed stir-fry vegetables, “Reese” bamboo shoots, “Reese” water chestnuts, a “Texas New” yellow onion, jalapeño peppers, green beans.  For these pictures, I used half of the onion, half of the jalapeños, and everything else except the three cans on the right.

Directions:

Thaw the chicken if frozen.  Put the jar of curry paste in a wok or large saucepan, add the coconut milk.  Stir with spoon until mixed.  Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and add to the curry sauce in the wok.

chop_yer_chickenchicken_in_curry
left: a package of chicken, thawed in the microwave and sliced; right: chicken added to the curry and coconut milk, still pink and not yet cooked

Right now, before you do anything else, wash and scrub the cutting board and anything else that touched raw chicken.  The cutting board needs to be scrubbed with soap, rinsed, and then final rinsed with the hottest water that can come out of your tap.  No, I’m not kidding, get to it.

Start the rice.

Cook the chicken over medium heat stirring occasionally from the bottom to avoid burning.  Cover when not stirring to hold in the heat and ensure the chicken cooks properly.

cooked_chicken
the chicken is cooked, no pink left in it.  Don’t add the vegetables until it’s like this or you’ll have to overcook the veggies to finish cooking the chicken.  Undercooked chicken is a total bummer.

While the chicken is cooking, start chopping the vegetables.  The tougher veggies need a little longer to cook than the others, so if using carrots, parsnips, or rutabaga, chop them first.   Onions and eggplant cook pretty fast, add them last.

veggie_chop
cutting up green beans, these are really healthy and cheap

When the chicken is obviously cooked, and the rice water is boiling, add the vegetables.  The vegetables will also give up some water when cooking, so it may look like it needs extra fluid at this point, but don’t add any.  Stir occasionally and cover in between.  Near the end of the cooking, add a tablespoon of brown sugar (optional).

veggie_cook1veggie_cook2
left above: vegetables added; right: veggies cooking nicely

When the onions have become translucent, reduce or turn off heat until rice is finished.

time_to_eattumeric_rice_done
left: stir fry is ready; right: rice is ready, this is a brown organic long grain American rice with a teaspoon of turmeric spice per cup of rice added for health properties, but also has a nice color

To serve, make a bed of rice on a large plate and add a large ladle or two of stir fry and sauce.  Makes 3 – 4 large plates.

plate_stir_fry
Eat me.

Notes:

  • I recommend Zojirushi rice cookers.
    zojirushi_neurofuzzy
    I’ve seen comments on forums saying something like “Why would you spend that much when you can get brand X for less?”.  This is like comparing a Mercedes automobile to a rusty Datsun.  A Zojirushi Neuro-fuzzy will cook any rice absolutely perfectly every time and last for years, the model above is at least ten years old.  If you ever hesitated in making slow-cooked long grain rice because it was difficult in any way, you’ll need to see a Zojirushi work to believe it can be that easy.
  • The green curry paste is already pretty spicy, but adding a few jalapeno peppers will really put some heat in this recipe.  This usually cures my sinus headaches.
  • My favorite combination is chicken with onion, bell pepper, eggplant, brocoli or green beans, and white long grain rice with tumeric.
  • Other meats can be used.  Pork butt, shrimp (prawns), squid, and beef stew meat all work just fine.
  • I use a regional brand of chicken in a pack of 6 boneless chicken thighs.  It’s cheap and delicious.  Hint: After thawing it from frozen in the microwave, it will still be slightly frozen in a block.  It’s very easy to cut up when it’s like this.
  • I use a stainless steel wok that my wife got me for Christmas one year.  It sits on a small stand above a gas burner and works very well for me.
  • The vegetables can be pretty bland looking if they’re all green, use a red bell pepper to add some color if you’re serving this to others.

cat_supervision Everything is done better with Cat Supervision.

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I actually did this about 7 years ago, and I have completely forgotten why.  That’s probably a good thing.  I have a few more hobbies now to soak up time I would normally spend thinking up this kind of deviltry.


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I put another quart of Slick 50 in my car’s engine.  It’s a brand of motor oil that is saturated with polytetrafluoroethylene.  I did it when I got the car at 10K miles, and here I’ve done it again at 67K miles, which is about right.  I’ve always reapplied it at 50K mile intervals, and I think that’s what is recommended.  I drive a vanilla 2001 Volvo S60, no turbo.  It is blue.  No, it didn’t come with an “Abba” CD.

Basically, you change your oil… drain the old oil, replace the filter cartridge, and put in the right amount of new oil minus one quart.  Then with the engine running, you pour in the quart of Slick 50 oil, put on the oil cap, close the hood, hop in, and drive for about 30 minutes.  This shears the Teflon and the rest of the oil together, and the Teflon gets burnished into the metal of the inside of the engine.  I’ll let it ride for a regular oil change interval (which in my case is like 6K miles), then replace the filter and oil again.

I’ve been using the stuff for 30 years.  I’ve never not been impressed.  Back when I had a pretty old car (in the 80’s I had a 1968 Ford Mustang with a 289 cid V8), the effect was just shy of miraculous, and I’ve got friends who also have seen pretty amazing results.  The internet is full of claims and counterclaims on Teflon motor oil, I’ve always only used the original Slick 50.  I also looked up the quoted magazine article by ‘Consumers Digest’, using a microfilm reader as this was before the invention of the World Wide Web.

I did the research, I gave it a try, and it’s terrific.

I do believe in the engine additive self-fulfilling prophecy… when you put some snake oil product into your car, you unconsciously alter your driving habits in tiny ways which make the claims of the product come true.  Get some macho guy pouring a pint of DDT Carburetor Ointment in your gas tank and hell… it’ll even make your girlfriend’s tits seem bigger.  I don’t use a lot of that junk, all I’ve ever seen any of it do is glop up my spark plugs, and I don’t need a pseudo-sexy sports car to get happy.  (Wait, maybe I do.  I saw a ’68 Jaguar on the road recently.)

Okay, so it seems to me that on my 30 mile 75MPH drive I didn’t have to push down the gas pedal quite as far as I previously had to push it to go the same speed.  Nothing definite, nothing scientifically provable, no… I didn’t measure the amount of travel with a micrometer… it just didn’t seem like it needed as much gas to go.  Improved gas mileage has been the most noticeable effect for me, the Mustang got 21 MPG before and more like 25 MPG after I used it (yes, back in the early 80’s I got better mileage than I do now).

I’m not selling the stuff.  I don’t care if there are tons of articles on the ‘net that say it can’t possibly work.  I’ve used it, I know it does, so there, neener neener nyeah.  I’m saving my gas receipts and writing down the mileage, so I’ll have some hard data on the gas mileage.  There won’t be any way to prove that the oil is what caused it, but *I* will know.  I’ll post the results here when I do the math.

Drawbacks?  I sometimes wonder if my engine will ever wear out so I have an excuse to buy a new car.

To the makers… Gentlemen, thank you for this wonderful product, once again, it’s paying for itself.  For me.

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Squinky.

Today is just too adjective-challenged for a previously existing word, we need a new one… and the word for today is squinky.  It replaces smarmy.  All forms are currently available (squinkfulness, squinkitude, squinkalicious, et cetera).

Does it matter that this waste of time is what makes a LIFE for you? Hmmmmm?  Wouldn’t you really rather be involved in a series of colorful time-wasting trends?

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I highly recommend Air France and the Hôtel Au Manoir St Germain des Près in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.   I also recommend French Coca-Cola, it’s made with real sugar, not high fructose corn syrup.   What else…?  Oh, nutella crepes… I must learn to make nutella crepes.  Here are a few pics.

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
The Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, photograph taken from the south

Close-up of the north rose window of Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
Close-up of the north rose window of Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

A statue in Pére-Lachaise
A statue in Pére-Lachaise

In the Ossuary of the Catacombs of Paris
In the Ossuary of the Catacombs of Paris

A view of the Tour Eiffel
A view of the Tour Eiffel

A view at night from the Tour Eiffel of the Trocadéro
A view at night from the Tour Eiffel of the Trocadéro.
This photograph is interesting in that the top of the Eiffel is so high, you can plainly see the curvature of the earth at the horizon (no, it’s not just the camera lens)

A view from the Arch de Triomphe
A view from the Arc de Triomphe with the Tour Eiffel visible.

I took about 700 pictures, so these are just a very few. We were blessed with wonderful weather, a little cool… but no rain during the short, short time we had. The hotel room was state of the art and not small, I never met a rude person (even the beggars were polite), the security at Charle-De-Galle airport was slow (but polite and efficient), and we had a marvellous time. Quite frankly, the flights on Air France were the best I have ever flown. We will be returning soon.

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"Brazorian Enchiladas" - before the ovenMy enchilada recipe is pretty much completed.  It took a while to work it all out, exchange the ingredients and such, get the assembly process figured out.

I’m originally from the area around the mouth of the Brazos river to the Gulf of Mexico.  I don’t live there now, but I never could quite find the right “home tastes” after relocation to Michigan.  Eventually I realized that I’d have to do it myself, and started with a basic recipe and expanded on it.  I’m not a purist, this doesn’t start out with “Step One, purchase a small ranch”, it uses canned and jarred foodstuffs.  The combination and assembly are really all I bring to it.  For lack of a better name, I dub thee the Brazorian Enchilada Casserole recipe.

1 to 1 1/2 pounds of lean ground red meat
garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 small or 1 large chopped sweet yellow onion (about 1 cup)
3 7-oz cans of diced green chili peppers (18 – 20 ounces total)
1 12-oz can of green enchilada sauce
1 to 1 1/2 pounds of shredded soft cheese (Chihuahua, Muenster or mild Cheddar)
large package of corn tortillas (NOT flour!)
1 12-oz can of red enchilada sauce
1 to 2 cups prepared salsa
1/4 cup butter

  1. Brown the beef in a large saucepan.  Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper while browning.  Drain off the fat and recycle.
  2. Turn off the heat and add half of the chopped onion, all of the green chilis, and the can of green enchilada sauce.  Simmer on low heat for 15 – 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. While the filling is simmering, coarse shred the cheese.
  4. Prepare a large casserole dish by coating lightly with butter, then apply 2-3 tablespoons of the canned red enchilada sauce to the dish and tip back and forth (or spread with a spatula) to coat the bottom.
  5. Melt some butter in a dish, and warm the package of corn tortillas.
  6. When the meat and chili filling is well blended, turn off the heat and take a break before you start assembly.  It’s important to simmer in order to mix the flavors in the beef and the chilis and the green sauce, but if it’s too hot when you perform the assembly, you’ll burn your hands.
  7. Place all of the ingredients on a counter so that you can easily access them: tortillas, bowl of melted butter, meat filling, cheese, chopped onion, salsa, and casserole dish.  Keep a rag or sponge handy for spills.
  8. Take one tortilla and use a spatula or brush to lightly coat one side with melted butter.  Hold in curve of hand and add (to the buttered side) a large spoonful or two of meat filling, a three finger pinch of cheese, a two-finger pinch of onion, and a spoonful of salsa.  Roll into a cylinder and place into casserole dish with seam down so that it’s weight holds it closed.  Repeat until dish is filled.  Use all of the meat filling and 2/3 to 3/4 of the cheese.
  9. Pour remainder of can of red enchilada sauce evenly over the top of the rolled tortillas, use spatula to ensure the red sauce gets in and around the sides of the dish and the tortillas.  Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and onions.
  10. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes until cheese melts and sauce is bubbling.

Notes:

  • Step 8, the assembly step, requires practice or at least some experience to get right.  The amount of the ingredients, the size of your casserole dish, and the size of the tortillas factor into how the dish will be assembled.  Use all the tortillas if you can, cram them in there.  It’s actually pretty hard to completely screw it up, so try your best and eat the rest.
  • Look for good quality corn tortillas with a coarse grind to the corn.  If it’s made from corn flour, it’s still corn, but the texture won’t quite be right.  Just say no to regular wheat flour tortillas, if it’s not CORN, it’s not a TORTILLA.
  • If the rolled enchiladas split after you put them into the dish (or worse, while still in your hand) heat them up a little more and use a little more butter to soften them up.  You can also paint on a little red sauce after it’s in the dish.  This isn’t important, it will still taste great.
  • Heart Smart warning: this will kill you
  • Spicy food warning: It’s not very spicy.  I use mild everything and feed this to womens and little kidses, but you can add fresh shredded jalapenos, hotter salsa, cayenne, chili powder or whatever else seems right if you feel so inclined.
  • Try reversing the sauces: Put the red sauce on the inside and the green on the outside.  Try all green or all red sauce.  Green inside and red outside was what I found to be the tastiest.
  • Use lean ground beef, buffalo, ostrich, or elk.  I’m sure other things will also work just fine… red snapper, gulf shrimp, and rattlesnake come to mind, but so far I’ve only tried beef and buffalo.
  • My favorite ingredients: “Zapata” brand Diced Green Chilis, “Hatch” brand enchilada sauce (both green and red), “Camacho Tortillas” (16 corn, 13 ounces), and buffalo from TMZ Farm in Pinckney, Michigan.
  • “La Victoria” sauce (green and red) comes in a big 19 ounce can, but that and a jar of cheap salsa work well
  • I do NOT recommend “Casa Fiesta” brand enchilada sauce
  • Try bison meat and Chihuahua cheese!

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My house got scanned again. I love these trees, you can’t see anything. Could be a huge party full of drunken dancing naked people inside, might be an old coot with a slingshot right behind that tree. Ya never know, ya know?


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