January 30, 2010

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes

It's not hard to roast potatoes. Essentially, you toss them in a little oil, put them on a pan, stick them in a hot oven, and they roast. Check them once in a while for doneness, turn them so they cook evenly, salt and pepper them and you have roasted potatoes.

However, sometimes they come out better than other times, so it makes sense to write down the recipe so that it is repeatable. I worked from a recipe for 4 servings as a side dish, and it called for 2 lbs. of potatoes. I had 3 lbs. in the pantry, and we really like our potatoes, so this recipe will feed 6 people a side-dish portion or 4 people a little more with a bit left over. Leftovers = good.

While I didn't have fresh rosemary, I had some frozen, left over from when we had a rosemary bush in the yard. This reminds me that we'll have to plant one again this year.

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes


  • 3 pounds of Red Bliss potatoes, scrubbed.
  • 4.5 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic


  • large bowl
  • aluminum foil
  • large roasting pan

Turn the oven to 425 F. While it heats, halve the potatoes and cut them into 3/4" wedges. The wedge shape is key and gives you two sides to roast against the pan.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes in the oil, and add salt and pepper generously.

Spread the potatoes in the roasting pan. If they cannot all be arranged flat in the pan, you'll need to arrange them in 2 pans.

Cover the pan securely with aluminum foil. This will allow the potatoes to steam and cook through before we roast them.

Place them in the oven for 20 minutes.

During that time, chop the rosemary and put aside. Chop the garlic, then crush into a paste with the side of a knife and a little salt (just over 1/8 tsp). Spread the garlic paste in the bowl.

After the 20 minutes are up, remove the foil from the roasting pan and roast for another 15 minutes.

Remove the pan and flip all the wedges to their other side. Replace pan in oven for another 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the chopped rosemary over the potatoes. Replace in the oven until the skins look wrinkly and roasted about 3-5 minutes.

Remove the pan and transfer the potatoes to the bowl. Toss the potatoes to coat with the garlic. Serve immediately.


Posted by James at 9:45 PM | Comments (3)

January 28, 2010

If the No Votes Continue, Help Will Not Come

When Republicans decided to vote "no" on everything, I could see early on that their obstructionism was designed to make certain that Obama would fail to help the country. When Republicans heard me say these things, that there was a desire for the president to fail, they said I was misinterpreting. They said Republicans had valid concerns about issues like Health Care. Meanwhile, Democrats bargained away issue after issue in favor of conservative concerns. Only once in the entire process did they get a single Republican vote out of it, despite over a hundred Republican amendments to bills being considered before Congress.

If there was any doubt, you could see in the State of the Union audience that, until the president called them out on it, Republicans were sitting on their hands when applause accompanied fiscally conservative policies.

This is not an argument over fiscal conservatism or fiscal liberalism. This is an extended temper tantrum while the country is experiencing an economic Katrina. And if this continues when the super-majority is gone, it will absolutely represent an abdication of leadership responsibility during a time of crisis. It will represent the elevation of politics over your interests.

The evidence is no longer just "who was clapping at the State of the Union and who was not." Republicans are voting "no" on proposals very similar to fiscal discipline proposals they supported before Obama was in office. A perfect example is this law just passed that would require that any new spending measure must be accompanied by funds that cover it, known popularly as "pay-go."

Senate Democrats voted to adopt statutory pay-go rules for legislative business on Thursday, in what party leaders described as an affirmation of their commitment to budgetary discipline.

They received no Republican votes.

[...]Four Republican senators who opposed the measure on Thursday voted for nearly an identical measure in 2006.

Earlier this week, five Senate Republicans withdrew their co-sponsorships and support for a committee on debt-reduction, after loudly complaining about the debt.

Does this make sense to you? Do you think they should keep voting "no" hoping things get worse before the 2010 elections? Perhaps they can keep on doing it until 2012. If you're a Republican, ask Republicans to engage in governing again. It's the only way things will improve. And clearly they wouldn't listen to me.

Posted by James at 5:06 PM | Comments (1)

Thug Journalism

Remember the whole Acorn brouhaha last summer, stirred up by the questionable journalism tactics of James O'Keefe and his troupe of actors? It turns out he has less regard for journalism and the law than even previously thought.

New York Times is reporting: "After Arrest, Provocateur's Tactics Questioned." He was arrested trying to tamper with the phone system at Senator Mary L. Landrieu's district office. It's not yet been revealed what the nature of this tampering was, or whether they can prove there was wiretapping involved, but the fellow has definitely stepped into a mess that calls not only his tactics, but the trustworthiness of his journalism into question. Perhaps acting like a shock radio jock and putting it all in print is not the path to journalistic integrity after all.

This latest transgression is bad enough that prominent conservative movement media folk are distancing themselves from his recent work after cashing large paychecks last summer riding the wake of his Acorn story and generalizing wildly on it, weaving scary liberal boogieman campfire stories.

Campus Republicans can be an angry bunch, but they That NYT story reveals O'Keefe's narrow view of journalism:

"James always said, 'Journalism is putting a camera in someone's face until they do something stupid,' " said Cain Barry, who worked with Mr. O'Keefe at The Centurion, a conservative publication at Rutgers, until Mr. O'Keefe graduated in 2006. "A lot of people wanted to follow what he did."

In this case, nobody even had to put a camera in the guy's face before he did something really stupid. We just had to wait a few months.

Posted by James at 8:13 AM | Comments (3)

January 22, 2010

Health Office and Stuff

What's up with me? I've recently gone on antibiotics to defeat a nasty sinus infection. I exhausted myself so much during the semester that during break I had an on and off respiratory infection (a cold) which became a sinus problem. Yuck! Thank goodness for antibiotics. I'll be well by the time the semester starts (Tuesday).

One problem, though: the doctor told me my blood pressure was high. I suspect it's because of the illness and the cold medications. This has happened to me before. Only weeks ago I had my yearly, and my blood pressure was fine then. But when I get sick and take Sudafed, up the blood pressure goes.

I was advised to get mine re-checked after a few days. I was on campus today to drop off some student paperwork. It's the sort of paperwork that you have to drop off, then return the next day to pick up so you can walk about 10 yards down the hall to hand someone else. No, they cannot inter-office mail it there for you.

Since I was on campus, I called the Health Office to see if they would take my blood pressure. I told them I was an employee.

"No," I was informed. "We're not licensed for that."

Not licensed to take my blood pressure?

"Not licensed to treat employees. Only students."

Oh! I'm a full-time student as well.

"Well that's different! I didn't know you were a student."

That's why I told you.

"We can treat students, but we don't begin treating people until Monday." (When classes start)

Ah. So not actually different in a practical sense.

So I didn't get my blood pressure taken. Why didn't she tell me they were closed right at first? I guess she wanted me to know they don't treat employees. After talking to Ryan later, I recalled that they certainly do treat employees. They give flu shots. Why they can give a flu shot but not take my blood pressure I can't imagine.

They probably make you sign a waiver for the flu shot. I would willingly sign a waiver for the blood pressure measurement. It's the usual only-barely-makes-sense-if-at-all policy of the university.

So, I'll probably just go to the town nurse next week, or stick my arm in one of those machines at the Stop & Shop like I did last time they told me my blood pressure was too high.

Posted by James at 3:04 PM | Comments (7)

Blog Neglect

I have sorely neglected my blog, of late. I hope to be a little better this year, even with classes. Of course, by now anyone who was accustomed to coming here and reading regular updates has probably taken me off his list of frequent reads.

That's OK, the blog is partly for my own catharsis and the posts get cross-posted to Facebook, so they'll get some exposure. I think I get more discussion on blog posts there than I do here anyhow.

At the very least, I'm sure I can muster some occasional griping...

Posted by James at 2:43 PM | Comments (3)