Anisette Cookies for Pat’s Birthday

It is Saturday when I write this.

I’ve been up all morning and into the afternoon baking.

You see, this is a family tradition that some good friends have had the pleasure to enjoy.  For years instead of buying something that will end up in a landfill or forgotten in a drawer, I have been baking gifts for friends and family.

This one baking stint isn’t over yet, I’ve got more to do tomorrow.

I was going to make Fudge, but this isn’t winter and it would be a mess by the time it made it to New Jersey.

So I baked the Coconut Cookies from this blog.  It makes 24 1 ounce cookies, and I am keeping 6 here for myself.  I’ll have those at work.

There’s more to bake tomorrow, and it won’t be a surprise that it will be my own chocolate chip pecan cookies.  No, this recipe I won’t share, and there are plenty recipes similar out there.   Try the internet cookie recipe it is based off of that but I have tweaked it to make it my own.

But I did get to wanting some Anisette Cookies, like when I was a wee brat.  Mom would bring these home often enough that I got to think of them as something everyone had.  Nope.

This recipe is quite similar in taste.  I will be adding a little extra Anise Extract since I enjoy a strong licorice flavor from time to time.  The taste in this recipe is “Authentic” instead of being a “Kick in the pants”.  If you came from an Italian family, this is familiar.

First the ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 cup butter, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons anise extract
  • 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 -3 tablespoons milk

Now the Process:

  • Wet ingredients – to a stand mixer, cream your butter.
  • Add the sugar and the eggs.
  • Finally add the Anise Extract.
  • Hold back the milk at this time!
  • All ingredients are to be added one at a time, as things incorporate.
  • Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl sifting them together.  Using a sifter isn’t absolutely necessary, I just tossed it in the stand mixer with all the wet stuff while it was running but you could use a fork in a big bowl if you chose to.
  • Trust me it isn’t fussy.
  • Finally, the milk is to be added to the stand mixer one tablespoon at a time.  The ending dough will be soft and pliable, but not sticky.  Think of that play-doh you had as a kid – Modeling Clay.
  • To Bake:  The resulting cookies will double in size and be rather soft inside like cake.
  • Spoon out 1 level tablespoon amounts into balls on Parchment Paper spaced evenly.
  • I got 15 cookies per “regular sized” cookie sheet, and really they don’t get all that big.
  • Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  • Bake the Cookies for 10 to 12 or so minutes – they will NOT get golden brown except on the bottom.
  • The resulting cookies will be soft.

Oh, and, Sorry Pat, you’re only getting about 1/2 of these.  They were GOOD!

Happy Birthday Pat

Happy Birthday, Pat.

By today, you will ggt The Box.

You know, that box I was talking about last week.

Three kinds of cookies, and maybe more.  Depends on whether I found anything else to toss in there.  Everything was baked by hand.

We’ve been doing this for years, the back and forth of boxes of goodies.

The day itself?

Well here’s what went down that Saturday.

I got up late, and since I was half asleep from taking Melatonin to sleep, I was groggy.  A double mug of full Real Coffee.  You know, that bag of beans you see?  Guatemalan Estate Grown Antigua Huehuetenango roasted to just before Second Crack.

What that gibberish means is that it’s a Medium Roast, full flavored and complex.  The bitter has been roasted out.  A Central American Coffee is never to be roasted dark, it kills the flavor.

Anyway, it’s all for you, on your day.  Or about a week before your day.

We’ve been in the house working on furniture, playing Bollywood music and having a great time listening to bouncy stuff we couldn’t actually understand.  Good day for it.  Saturday.  Almost dinner time at this point, there has been so much to do.

The last of the coffee will be roasted soon and bagged for the trip.

Oh coffee.  There is a rule of Fifteens:

15 minutes Ground.

15 days Roasted.

15 months Green.

Grind the beans and brew within 15 minutes for peak flavor,

Roast the beans and grind within 15 days for peak flavor,

15 months to roast the Green Beans.

or something like that.  So don’t save it, after all The Holidays are coming, and there is bound to be more.

Happy Birthday Pat!

2203 Posts? Yep it kept ticking for five years!

This blog.  It’s been a part of me for five years.

I started it with a hello world post.  Everyone seems to.  You find your way back to it if you are interested.

I actually found that I enjoy writing.  I do get wordy, some of these posts are over 1200 words.  Almost all of them are off the top of my head.

Things got slower after a while.  You know, that New Blog Smell wore off.  I was writing about things that happened here in Wilton Manors, and the City Government scene.  I had to stop going to the commission meetings after a while, they were going well into the night and frankly I fall asleep at 10pm on a late night.  Doing that in the commission chambers when the meeting ended at 11pm would be sending the wrong message.

And I am actually quite in awe of the job that the commissioners do here, on average.  If you pay attention to your own city government, you’ll find a few rotten apples here and there and a couple decisions you can’t stand.

No comment there about specifics.

But since this is an “Anniversary Post” for the 2200th posting that happened over the weekend, I figured I’d do the old school Top Ten List of all times.  Since everyone seems to hit the same postings over and again, why not?

So from the most popular post to the 10th most popular post, here it is.

Most popular post:  The Gold Medal Flour Biscuit Recipe.  Trust me, this is an excellent recipe, I use it all the time when I want to show off.  If I really want to show off, I make home churned butter by putting the cream in the food processor and running it for 5 minutes or until I have butter and buttermilk in there.  Works like a champ!

#2:  Two Cycle Engine Repair – I replaced a primer bulb on a weedeater and apparently I did a good job of it since I still use the machine, 4 years later.

#3:  Simply Hired and the User Experience -The website simplyhired.com is not one of my favorites, and I wrote why and showed why they need to change.  They did incorporate a few changes of mine, and continue to change.

#4:  Puns and One Liner Weekend – A List of puns.  I really debated long and hard about posting Jokes here.  Then I realized that people actually enjoy the silly things and this blog gets hit heavily for them.

#5: GFS Marketplace Review – GFS Is a Wholesale marketer of foods and restaurant supplies.  They also sell directly to the public.  I’m quite happy with the store, but their coupons truly annoy me.  The software that they use to create the coupons, on your PC, require that software be installed.  Since nobody has told me what that does on my machine, I can’t say I trust the software.  BUT the place is really quite good, and the staff is friendly.

Rounding out the rest of the top 10:

#6:  An Impatiens Flower Picture – This variety is no longer sold and went extinct.  Impatiens are now larger.

#7:  Jewfish Creek Bridge Picture – The view you get when you enter the Florida Keys.  This is what I think of as the “border” although I may not be technically correct.

#8: Canning 1, Pineapple 0 – Although I am a good cook, sometimes my recipies don’t work!

#9:  Hotmail Annoyance: Turning off Hotmail’s former interface behavior of hotkeys.  I hated hotmail, and I hatie Outlook so much more.  Microsoft has turned evil since Ballmer left.  I can’t believe I am saying nice things about Ballmer since he was the punchline to a joke but there you have it.

Finally

#10: Sister Mary Ann’s Gasoline – Yes, another joke.  Apparently loads of folks liked her story!

Celebrating Craig’s Birthday by the Sea

There has to be a reason, a good one, to drive 100 miles.

Actually it was drive 100 miles, get stuck in traffic for a solid hour at a walking pace, see some beautiful scenery, and finally end up slightly lost.

Yes, we had GPS.  But we had been there before.  We also knew where we were going, but like the saying goes “Not all who wander are lost”.

While I’m dropping the old hackneyed sayings, sometimes the journey is the destination.

Plus I really do like going for a ride in the car.

Next time, we bring Rack, I promise.

You see, Craig came down.  He’s a great friend.  We have known each other for years now, probably safe to say decades.  Knowing he’s from up North, way up North actually, and had never been South of Orlando before, I had to get him to touch toes to the Keys.

I know of a great restaurant down there.  We all do if we go there enough, so I’ll save its name.   Why am I not telling you?  Take me there and I will, but it was crowded enough.  It sits just on the South side of the key, on the water, in a cove.  Ok, so I have described about half of the restaurants in the Keys, from Key West to Key Largo and every place in between, haven’t I?

Good.

You’re looking at the view I had for lunch on Sunday.  I purposely put my arm on the railing, in the sun.  Just the right one.  I wanted a little bit of tan.   I can still see one arm darker than the other a couple days later, and I wasn’t looking to sit on a beach. 

We sat there, I had my Fish and Chips (Mahi Mahi, actually), and a bottle of some rather excellent beer, and some incredible conversation with Craig, Kevin, the waitress, and some of the surrounding tables.  There was, typical to the Keys, plenty of things to watch that were natural.  Just below us were some small fish, and a fish I kept calling a Grouper.  It could have been a Grouper, but might not have been.  That doesn’t matter, it would have made a great meal for two from the size of it. 

The children around us were thankfully well behaved, and I have no doubt that the waitress would have followed the instructions of the sign on the bar “Loose or Unattended Children will be fed to the Tarpon”.

Keep your kids quiet, and at your table.  No matter how much you love them, others will find them annoying.

But we sat there taking in a 2 hour lunch watching the boats come in.  This was one of those places that while you’re enjoying the jazz brunch, debating whether the singer is lip synching or not, and having fun telling R-Rated stories to the waitress, time goes on around you.  I’m not the kind of person who is used to sitting tight for a meal, I tend to be one of the first to finish and one of the first to want to leave.  But for once I was content to sit there and watch the little boats come by. 

Lucky dogs on that one there.  There were two.  One stayed with the owners, the other got bored and went back to the boat and curled up under the shade.  I’m with the dog, it would have been a great place to kick your feet up and watch things go by, slowly, at the Keys pace.

Having finished our main course, the waitress brought Craig a slice of Key Lime pie, and another waitress and the Jazz Singer to sing him a happy birthday while he sat there under the umbrella, smiling away.

You have to admit, if you’re going to take two hours to get to lunch, sit in a 20 mile backup, and have lunch by the water, this was a great way to do it.

So, Craig, if you’re looking for something to do on your next birthday, I know a great restaurant, by the water, with an amazing waitress, good food, interesting lip syncing or singing (we’re not completely sure), and an entertaining view.

We’d like to have you back.  Besides, it gives me an excuse to take a good friend to a jewel that I won’t readily tell people where it is.

Happy Blog Day, 2000 Postings Or So

Yeah so I might be a day or two early on this.

There are a couple posts already in the chamber so I’ll do this today.

2000 postings.  The blog has been around for a while.  Who knows how much longer.  Basically as long as I have ideas, I’ll post them.

A view inside my empty head about this though.  I make it a point to not strictly “Reblog” things.  Copy and paste.   If I do something, the recipes are an excellent example, I try my best to add to them and explain how I did it.

Otherwise it’s just navel gazing and narcisistic.

But, people do love those recipes.

I have a small “first read” audience.   I haven’t been posting it in my own facebook feed because frankly that sort of thing gets boring.  I have a group with some people who wanted to be a part of it.  They’ll get my blather and a direct link to today’s article.

The “second read” audience fall into my grasp mainly via Google and other search engines.

That shows in what the top five articles are for the blog since I started.

And I do try very hard not to revisit topics unless I can add something to it.  I got something wrong?  Time for a new post.  Got something right?  Let it rest.  Dunno, maybe that’s just the way I am

The Gold Medal Biscuit recipe.  Apparently people are searching for biscuits and coming here to read the recipe.  Probably the best biscuit I have ever made.  The secret is in the butter.  Now, if you want to make something obscene, toss a biscuit in the skillet and pan fry them like a donut.

Mmmm Donuts!

Two Cycle Engine Repair.  Say what you will about this blog, I’ve got depth.  If I can write about replacing the bulb on a string trimmer one day, a recipe the next, and photography the third… well you get the idea.  I’m That Guy.  Show me an adult man who doesn’t at least glance at the pile of crap your neighbor tosses out and wonders if he can fix that thing, and I’ll show you a man who has lost his soul.

That goes for many women I know too.

Simply Hired User Experience.  Believe it or not, people get paid quite a lot to do this sort of systems analysis and user experience analysis on large websites.  In the case of Simply Hired, they changed their format.  It still stinks.  Maybe I will write another blog article on how clunky it is now that they reskinned it to look all “kewl!”.

Or not.

The Impatiens Picture.  I do a lot of Photography.  Or you could say I do a lot of what passes for Photography if you’re a hack at it.  No matter what you think of how well, or how badly I take pictures, this single picture is the most popular one here in Ramblingmoose and http://www.southernmostmoose.com 

I have been told that all of the small Impatiens have died.  Literally, everywhere.  The same flower exists but they’re a taller variety.  The little ones everyone loved?  Gone.

And finally, rounding out my top five:

The Jewfish Bridge picture in the Florida Keys. This is the first “real” bridge you hit when you’re going to the Keys.  It’s dramatic and a beautiful view.  It’s really difficult to not get a picture that you will like.  Then you roll into Key Largo and start about 100 miles worth of driving in slower highways before you get to Key West.  My suggestion is to time it to hit the Seven Mile Bridge at sunset in a convertible. 

No, you may not borrow my Jeep.

That’s it for today.  Enough navel gazing.  I don’t have any oranges left.

As for how much longer will I keep doing this?  As long as I have time, ideas, and things I think may be interesting to my friends and family.  I don’t guarantee it will go on forever.  I don’t even guarantee it will happen tomorrow, after all I did  miss a day once. 

One Single Day.

If you really do enjoy this, feel free to complement me.  If you’ve got an idea for a topic, let me know.  If it sparks my curiosity, I’ll write about it.

Like the jokes.  The “first read” audience generally does not like my jokes.  Guess what?  They’re popular.  The number 7 article is about Puns and One Liners.

So I’ll keep posting those on the weekends for now.  If I get a better idea, then I can always push the jokes off for a day!

Happy Unbirthday or Why I Became 110 Years Old on Facebook

I admit it, I read too much.  It’s part of staying up to date in any sort of technical career.

I came across article after article about sharing online.  People share too much data about themselves. 

What they’re wearing, well that’s kind of harmless right?   No, not really if you have a stalker.  Look for that person in that shirt over there and …

What they are cooking for dinner?  I’m doing that all the time, but apparently I’m doing it right.  Why?  Well you can see what kind of furnishings you have in that kitchen.  Is there a house alarm on the window?  Good, you can break in there.

Oh look, beautiful vacation pictures!  They went to Hawaii, they won’t be back for a week.  Nice TV in the living room in the other picture. 

Not Anymore, Inspector Clouseau.

Get the picture?  Or rather you don’t?

It was one after another. 

An article was warning people about putting controversial items up on their Facebook feeds.  After all, if you are radical, your next company or even your current one won’t want you.  Nobody wants someone who rocks the boat, right?

I’ve been self editing that sort of thing for years.  I hardly ever post anything that is “out there”, usually everything is supportive, and I’m liking things more than anything else. 

That’s a problem too.  If you just Like things on Facebook, it has been shown that things get “weird”.  Your feed starts to show things that are more intense than the things you actually like.   For example, if you like animal causes like the local SPCA or Rescue, and I definitely do, you start seeing things for PETA.  PETA is “controversial” to many people because of their “radical” vegan outlook. 

“Nothing with a face” is their motto, and animals first.  They go a bit too far for me, I’m a carnivore, still.  But I do support that they are out there. 

You see the point, things keep getting more “radicalized” if you like absolutely everything.

One of the “data points” that came up recently was about identity and credit card theft.  If “they” have a few things like your name, birth date, and a few other obscure things, “they” can get you a credit card. 

For themselves.

How do they get that? 

You used to get a phone call from someone saying they were from the “Credit Card Bureau” and they would want to “verify a few details”.  You’re done if you answer that question. 

First off, YOUR credit card company would never call for that.   I have been called by one questioning whether I was really in Florida once, but yes, I was at the beach and it is a lovely day and I wanted to get something in a shop, so please do put that charge through.

One other time, it was after I ordered something from www.Rakuten.com and almost immediately started getting weird charges.  Five Minutes Later I got a call from my credit card asking me if these were valid.  Nope, and thanks!  They stopped that in the bud and I can not recommend http://www.Rakuten.com as a result

So one of the most important details they said you should never share?

Your Birthdate.

I immediately went into Facebook.  Facebook’s business is getting information from you in a “soft” matter.  It is what they are doing when you click on Like. They are building a profile of you.

It is what you signed up for, and personally I am OK with that end of it.

What I didn’t like was when I went in to hide my birthday as a recommendation of that security article, I couldn’t. 

Facebook would not let you hide your birthday from “everyone”.  You had to keep it visible to your friends.  That was the most limited you could go.  Mind you there are a lot of friends in Facebook that you collect through the years of use, and by now it really is “Years” of use, that you really don’t know.  Some of them you will never meet, and some of those that I will never meet I consider that a shame.  Some really neat people I have “met” over the years and “friended” that I will never run into, or never run into again.

Others, Who knows what they really are.  They go silent or something happens and they drop away.  You may have said something inappropriate or what have you. Can’t really say that happened much to me, but it does happen.

So I changed it.

I moved it from my real birthday to the oldest possible date I could.

January 1, 1905.

I’m expecting a nasty email from them at any day now.

So if you wished me a happy birthday yesterday, thank you, I know you care.  Or I know you had a knee jerk reaction to seeing the thing. 

I do know that those that wished me happy birthday yesterday were those who I know well, and I did appreciate the well wishes then as I appreciated them and their well wishes every day.

But it’s not my actual birthday and I am not 110 years old.

If I have to change it again, I think I will make myself 32.  I met my partner then, life was looking up, things were going into a time that just kept getting better.

I’ll stop there, I don’t want to share too much.

But Happy Unbirthday to me!

Was I right to do this?  I’ve been told I’m getting paranoid.  Perhaps I am.  I don’t know.  But I feel good about “This”.

If you are a friend and you perhaps feel a bit manipulated, I apologize completely. 

My bad.
Mea Culpa.

It was not my intent.

Happy Birthday Pat

Somewhere in the beautiful and fabled land of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, there lives a woman. 

You may know her, but you probably do not.  If you don’t that is your loss, because I do.

She’s my sister.  If you do know her on Facebook, wish her a happy birthday, I know she will appreciate the thought.

I won’t put her picture up here, she never liked it when I took them of her so I don’t have too many to share.

A couple weeks ago, I sent her a “Care Package” for her birthday.  I purposely did it early.  Packed it chock full of goodies that I know she likes.

About a half pound of my best home-roasted coffee.  Ground to Espresso Grind, roasted to Second Crack – A Full City Plus or French Roast if you know the lingo.

There were three jars of homemade jam in there.  Cherry Jelly, Lemon Curd, and Key Lime Curd.  The Curds are a recipe that I posted a while back.  It works great with any citrus fruit that I have tried it with, including Grapefruit. 

There was also a birthday card in the box.  I wrote a note for her, by hand of all things!  Yeah, really, I write on here sometimes as much as a thousand words a day and I actually put Pen to Paper and scrawled out something for her to read.

I also tossed some random things in there because I do that sort of thing.  Just a few things I thought would make her scratch her head and wonder whether I have lost my mind, because I generally have. 

I’m sure it all made her smile.

The reason why I sent it early was so that it would be there roughly at her husband Mike’s birthday as well.  Mike’s a great guy, and I have to say I was truly happy when they got together and built a relationship, then a marriage, then a life together.

Thanks Mike for all of that.

So Pat, nothing else is coming in the mail, but if there is any of the jam or the curds left, I suggest a little on a toasted English Muffin with some cream cheese.  It’s excellent.