May 2, 2016

My Doner Kabab

By Glenn

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I am a huge fan of the doner kabab.  On a research trip to England as a graduate student, I would buy one several times a week for supper.  The gyros in the US are simply not the same.   This effort was my attempt to get closer then the gyros.  Obviously I could replicate the spit, but I could approach the flavor.

I started with a boneless leg of lamb.  One end is usually intact while the other naturally separates into pieces.   I cut the intact end into cubes 1.5 inch, and then realized they would cook better if I halved the cubes, making them flatter.   The other end I turned into ground meat using a Kitchenaid grinder attachment.

Next came the seasoning.  I could find no consistent pattern online for doner kabab spices.  After sorta through a dozen or so, I settled on the following:

  • Ground Cumin tsp
  • Ground All spice tsp
  • Turmeric tsp
  • Cardamon tsp
  • Ginger tsp
  • Cinnamon tsp
  • Dry Orange peel tsp
  • Ground black pepper tsp
  • Nutmeg .25 tsp
  • Ground Clove .25 tsp
  • Herbs de Provence tsp

I laid an even layer  of the lamb cubes in a deep rectangular dish and coated them with about half the spices.    After rubbing in the spices, I poured a drizzle of olive oil and then sprinkled with salt.  It marinated for about three hours.

Next, I turned to the ground lamb, adding the spices as well as an egg and Italian bread crumbs.  I shaped the meat into a sausage shape using plastic wrap and placing a metal skewer in the center.  Once the meat was a 1 inch tube, I flattened it into an oval patty.  Below is 1/2 the meat.  I froze the other half to enjoy another day.


I grilled the meat on a BBQ pit will above the flame on a raised grill pan, coating both sides lightly with sunflower seed oil.  The rendered fat cause the flames to jump, and the meat cooked quickly in about 3 minutes for each side.    If you don’t have access to a BBQ grill, you can always use the broiler in your oven or pan-fry.


The smell was divine as it cooked.  The flavor was really close to a real Mediterranean lamb kabab.  I served it in pita with cabbage and topped with a home made Tzatziki Sauce.


Don’t forget the wine.  We had a Chianti.



April 17, 2016

Cutting government spending now hurts everyone.

By Glenn

This chart from Brad DeLong has to be my favorite for understanding “what’s missing?” or “what’s different?”. The one area of the economy that is going down is government spending. If conservative economics were correct, the economy should be rocking. Instead it is making slow but steady progress. Voters need to stop punishing government workers with job cuts and wage cuts. These cuts are hurting everybody.


April 4, 2016

Pan-Seared Scallops

By Glenn

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Reminder to self: Why you should cook with ‘dry’ scallops

SS: Is there any way to freshen up wet scallops, or any trick to making them a little bit better?

MB: Yes, we do have a little hack to help make wet scallops better, to cover up that chemical flavor taste. Soak them in 1 quart of cold water with 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of salt for 30 minutes. You almost can’t tell the difference.


November 16, 2015

“How do we move forward? in Syria”

By Glenn
“Strangely today you are touting that Obama has been wanting to go to war when mostly he has said that he is going to get us out of it. How about we move on and not just continue the political spin? “
Actually, what I have said is President Obama has continued to wage war and has asked for Congressional authority to expand the war. Conservatives have denied that he is using the military, ie ignoring Syria, and demand that he do more, but refuse to authorize him to do more.
How do we move forward? As I’ve said many time, we should evaluate the situation using the Powell Doctrine. No one, including the President, has answered all of these questions.
Is a vital national security interest threatened?
Do we have a clear attainable objective?
Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
Is the action supported by the American people?
Do we have genuine broad international support?
With the attack in Paris, we know are closer to answering some.
Is a vital national security interest threatened? Yes, a NATO ally has been attacked. US National interests are now at stake.
Do we have a clear attainable objective? No. Defeat “radical Islam”? Eliminate the territorial control of Daesh? What/who takes its place? Assad? American/Coalition forces? How many Americans for 15 million Syrians? Will we be welcomed as liberators? Should the Kurds get their own state? How will the Iraqis, Iranians and our NATO allies the Turks respond to that?
Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed? No
Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted? No. Keeping Assad in place would be the quickest path forward, but that would mean giving “Putin a victory”. Is that an acceptable trade off?
Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement? No. This would requiring a complete restructuring of the Middle East.  There would be not guarantee of success.
Have the consequences of our action been fully considered? No.
Is the action supported by the American people? No. the polling is 50/50 right now, but it is always stronger before rather than after an invasion.  There must be a real Declaration of War to hold politicians accountable.  Taxes must go up to pay for the war.
Do we have genuine broad international support? Yes, the President right now is coordinating an international response. This didn’t exist before Paris.  We also need to acknowledge that the Iranians are our allies in the fight, and that the Saudi’s are our enemies.
October 11, 2015

Promoting Responsible Gun Ownership

By Glenn

Rewriting the Second Amendment has made us all less safe, particularly Police Officers and Children. Guns should be treated like cars. Owners should be trained, licensed and have insurance, then we could have real responsible gun ownership.

The authors of the Constitution understood their own language.  In fact, they confronted many of the same issues that we do today.  Madison and Jefferson knew guns and college campuses don’t mix well.

No Student shall, within the precincts of the University, introduce, keep or use any \spirituous/ or vinous liquors, keep or use weapons or arms of any kind, or gunpowder, keep a servant, horse or dog, appear in school with a stick, or any weapon, nor, while in school, be covered without permission of the Professor, nor use tobacco by smoking or chewing, on pain of any of the minor punishments at the discretion of the Faculty, or of the board of Censors, approved by the Faculty.

Yet the conservative media and politicians continue to push false narratives that are historically ignorant and intellectual dishonest.  No, gun control didn’t promote the rise of Hitler.  Hitler played on racial hatred, a sense of victimization and a “call to arms.”  No, Europe and the Jews did not submit quietly to Nazism.  The German people voted to support a vast war machine built to impose the master race’s will.

We are not helpless in the face of these senseless massacres.  We should not tolerate this insane fetish.  We can, and should, demand responsible gun ownership.

July 28, 2015

Lincoln won the election of 1860

By Glenn

Why did the Slave states rebell? Abraham Lincoln won the election of 1860. What upset them about losing the election? What did Lincoln say? We know he didn’t do anything as President because the slave states seceded BEFORE he was inaugurated? What did they fear? Read Lincoln’s own words from 1859.

We must not disturb slavery in the states where it exists, because the Constitution, and the peace of the country both forbid us — We must not withhold an efficient fugitive slave law, because the constitution demands it —

But we must, by a national policy, prevent the spread of slavery into new territories, or free states, because the constitution does not forbid us, and the general welfare does demand such prevention — We must prevent the revival of the African slave trade, because the constitution does not forbid us, and the general welfare does require the prevention — We must prevent these things being done, by either congresses or courts — The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both Congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it —

Lincoln wanted to stop the spread of slavery. Southern states feared the entry of new, non-slave states, upsetting the balance in the Senate. They saw the eventual death of their way of life, a way of life founded on white supremacy and the ownship of human cattle. They feared the growing call for racial equality and human freedom.

July 13, 2015

Who Should Modern America Honor?

By Glenn

The debate over the Confederate flag has finally forced America to confront its past.   In Louisiana “the mayor of New Orleans is proposing the most comprehensive plan yet to achieve lasting racial reconciliation in the wake of last month’s mass shooting in a South Carolina black church. Mitch Landrieu wants to dismantle a historic city statuary that honors key figures of the civil war, and rename a major parkway whose namesake led the Confederacy.”

His proposal starts with the fact that the Confederate States of America left the United States of America to protect the states’ right to legalize race based slavery.  This was their great “moral cause.”   Whites in the South feared they would lose their position as the superior race. Yes, there were other issues, but this issue dominated all others during the war, during reconstruction, during Jim Crow and during the Civil Rights era.  Do the Southern politicians, generals and soldiers who waged that war against the United States of America deserve our honor?  Our respect?  Our admiration?

Read the rest of this entry »

March 21, 2015

Pan Seared Duck Breast

By Glenn

European grocery stores have a much wider range of meats than American stores.  This wonderful duck breast was prepackaged and obviously not a luxury item.   I bought this beauty at the Monoprix.


Scored duck breast on the left. Fresh plum reduction on the right.


On low to medium heat slowly render the duck fat while drinking pastis.


Once the fat has render, turn up the heat and sear both sides quickly.




Seared Duck Breast with plum sauce. Roasted eggplant and rice on the side.


February 17, 2015

America is exceptional.

By Glenn

America is exceptional.  It was the first nation founded on science, separating church and state and social contract theory.  These ideals, while not actualized at first, allowed Americans to mature and grow.  These ideals provided a pathway to building Modern America with its large middle class and diverse population living in peace.

Today’s conservatives fear and hate Modern America. They want to return to the failed polices of the past.  They reject science as “just a theory” or simply “punt” when confronted directly with “tough questions.”  They insist that politicians, teachers and coaches control and lead prayer.  Conservatives reject the notion that We, the People of the United States of America, can expand liberty beyond traditional, divinely inspired limitations.

We must reclaim, proclaim and protect American Exceptionalism if we are to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.   We must insist on real history that teaches the successes of science, separating church and state and social contract theory as well as teaching the pain and suffering that steams from superstition, theocracy and blind obedience to tradition.   American exceptionalism means rejecting these mind numbingly, short sighted, anti-intellectual politicians who mean to tear down Modern America and replace it with a dystopian fantasy.

At a certain point moderate conservatives must step forward.  Will they?  Will they in time?   How much damage will be done before they say enough?

Fifty-one percentage of America has already made the choice.  Our Federal system and Electoral College, however, has placed great power in the hands of the far right.  It is up to the moderate conservatives to make a choice.  Destroy Modern America?  Embrace American Exceptionalism?