Sunday, December 30, 2007

Albondigas recipe for the New Year!


Doug's Albondigas Soup Recipe (also known as Mexican Meatball Soup)

Overall Preparation Time: about 2 hours

Ingredients:

Group 1 - -

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove (chopped, minced, mashed)
1 large brown onion (quartered/chopped)

Group 2 - -

6 carrots, sliced
1/2 pound french cut green beans, chopped (canned/drained is fine, fresh is better)
1 stalk of celery, sliced
1 green onion, sliced
1 pinch of chili powder
1 lime, cut (you will squeeze all of the juices into pot when the time comes to add this item, then discard the rest)
1 green bell pepper, gutted and cut into pieces about same size as carrot slices
1 can of tomato sauce, 8 oz.
1 can of diced tomatoes, 14 oz.
6 cans of chicken broth, 14 oz.
56 oz. of water (fill four of the chicken broth cans)

*** optional: pinch of crumbled oregano leaves, pinch of basil leaves. Fresh preferred. Soup is good without these spices, but it has a nice flavor with them as well. Try it both ways, see which you prefer.

Group 3:

(1) 1/2 pound of fresh ground beef
(2) 8 oz. packages of Farmer John Original premium pork links
1/2 cup of white rice/uncooked
2 large pinches of parsley flakes (fresh, chopped as fine as possible; or dried flakes are fine, but once again, fresh provides a better taste)
2 uncooked eggs

Group 4:

Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Cilantro (leaves only - remove stems)

Preparation:

Group 1 - Heat oil in over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute' until tender, about 5 minutes. Place all items in Group 2 into large pot, high heat. Add Onions and Garlic to pot. Bring to boil, then lower heat to low/medium and simmer for about 30 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, combine all items in Group 3 in a large mixing bowl, adding about 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a reasonable amount of fresh ground pepper. It is best to mix it by hand. Be aware, if the items just came out of the refrigerator, it will be very cold on the hands. I tend to mix it for about ten minutes, or at least until it is obvious that the meat, rice, eggs, and parsley are thoroughly mixed.

After the soup has been simmering for 30 minutes, make walnut size meatballs out of the meat and drop them into the soup.

Cover, and bring the soup to a boil. Then, lower the soup to a low heat and let it simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

Season and garnish with the items (to your preferred taste) in Group 4 after the soup has simmered for an hour.

Be aware, Cilantro is strong, and some prefer it to be used sparingly. The soup is fine without it if you are unable to locate cilantro, but cilantro has a uniquely Mexican flavor that really adds to the soup.

Added note: I have made the soup with a chopped up potato, and sliced Italian squash before, and it was good, but I prefer to use these two items in my tortilla soup - a recipe I will have on this site someday in the future. There are many ways to make Albondigas, and some even use Chipotle Sauce. After years of experimentation, I have only come across one restaurant that I think makes better Albondigas than me. But hey, that's just my opinion.

Enjoy the soup.

Tomorrow night I plan to post my salsa recipe.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My recent introduction to a Yahoo Group I recently joined

This is to properly introduce myself, my history, and my convictions.

I was born in 1966, which makes me younger than some, and older than
a many or a few. Such a year of birth enabled me to graduate from
high school in 1984, the same year I turned 18, and the first year I
could vote (making me what some call a Reagan Baby - and of course I
voted for Reagan that year). 1984 was also the year I planned to
begin going to college, which was an easy choice since I had both
athletic and academic scholarships at a number of Universities
(baseball and long distance runner), and so my wise choice at that
time was to instead make my girlfriend pregnant, get married, and
enlist in the U.S. Navy.

OOPS.

Then, a little less than a year later, on July 1, 1985, I died.
(link to my radio show titled: The Day I Died)
On that date my newborn son was three months old, my marriage was
eleven months old, I had been on board my first sea-going command
seven months, and none of that mattered. Death had reached me and
it was all over.

Or was it?

After an estimated two hours of lying on the roadway bleeding
profusely (1:30 AM on a lonely highway), and not breathing for the
final twenty minutes (ah ha, impossible, you say - that's why it is
called a miracle) before I was found, my lifeless body was flown to
Palomar Memorial Hospital by Life Flight. They got my heart beating
again on the way there, and three days later they retired the
respirator that I had needed in order to breath up to that point. A
week and a half deep coma kept me in intensive care, and then when I
opened my feeble eyes, two more months of non-cognizant life as a
vegetable followed, none of which I remember. Suddenly, one day,
strapped to my bed because I had been tugging on the tubes in me and
taking swings at the doctors and corpsmen, I woke up and
said, "Where am I?" It took two years to rehabilitate to a point
that I could return to duty, during which time I learned how to walk
again, suffered on average 80 epileptic seizures per day, struggled
through brain damage that reminds me to this day that I am not the
person I once was since the high intellect center and memory center
was damaged, endured (and still endure) a constant ringing in my
left ear (an ear that is now deaf), and a variety of other things.
My left knee limps sometimes, reminding me of the damage to that
joint. The scars each have their own tales, from the one on my face
that reminds me how horrible I looked when my family saw me in
intensive care for the first time with my cheekbone exposed, to the
scars on my legs and back the told doctors my ability to function
physically was going to be severely hampered. After trying me out
on another sea command, the Navy realized I was not fit to continue
my service as a U.S. Naval Sailor, and put me out with a medical
discharge.

When I was intensive care the doctors told my mother and wife that
they gave me no chance to make it, so start making funeral
arrangements. And, if for some unbelieveable chance I somehow
pulled through, be aware that I would be severely mentally retarted.

The doctors were wrong.

When they discharged me from the Navy the doctors told my wife that
I would need to be closely monitored, and that because of certain
traumatic injuries, it did not look like I would live past the age
of thirty.

And after hearing the story people tell me, "Wow, man, you were one
lucky son of a gun."

Luck, my friends, had nothing to do with it. As I like to tell
people, "Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet."

Yes, that's right, I give God the glory for my survival.

But my struggles were not over. My wife, though devoted to me, also
battled me daily over my archaic belief in a God that allowed me to
die, go through all of that pain that eventually led to my
rehabilitation, and left me a partial human being. How could He be
a God of love? Why didn't he just mercilessly allow me to die? My
response was, "No, it is because of that accident I have been given
the chance to live."

Thing is, later she admitted that all along she knew I would
survive. Something told her so long ago that my life would not end
so easily or abruptly. So, she took care of me, assisted me, and
remained with me during those difficult years.

Then, three years ago she asked me if she could go to church with
me, after twenty years of calling me a self-righteous hypocrite.
And then, during the alter call, she went forward, and accepted
Jesus as her God and Savior. Now, with our marriage in His hands,
our relationship has become the vessel of faith I have always
dreamed it would become.

So the story about me is a story of miracles. I survived when I
should have died. I rejoiced when I should have crumbled and cursed
Him. I am a functional adult when I should be a vegetable. I have
a happy marriage to a wonderful Christian woman when I should be, by
societal standards, divorced. I had my last seizure in 1993 after
my brain decided to re-route its electrical signals. I walk when I
should be in a wheel chair. And I an an independent, self-reliant
Conservative, when after all that I've been through you would think
I'd want to be a dependent slave to the system that paid for my
hospitalization when I was in the military.

I began blogging at Political Pistachio (www.politicalpistachio.com)
in March of 1996. My site went from a two or three hits a day site,
to a now 4,000-5,000 hits per month site. I own over 50 pages,
blogs and sites, a dozen of which I am active on either daily, or at
least a few times per week. My Blog Talk Radio show began in
February of 2007 and now is in the top ten most listened to shows
among over 1,500 Conservative shows.

Not bad for a vegetable, huh? And guess what? I give credit where
credit is due. I give all the credit and glory to my Lord and
Savior, my God, Jesus Christ.

Well, how's that for an introduction?

And thank you for the warm welcome. Thank you for making me feel at home.

Oh, and one more thing, remember early on in this post where I
said "OOPS" after indicating that I took a sharp turn away from
college and into a young marriage that only led me into the clutches
of despair and tragedy? I know that had I have gone to college, and
done the things that my faith would have led me to do, I would have
avoided going through all of that pain and suffering. Had I have
listened to the Lord originally I would have taken a different
path. But that does not mean that the path I took is the wrong
path. Through the storms and trials and tribulations of my life I
have grown strong in the Lord, He has built within me character that
I would not have if I had taken another path. Because of that path
I took my wife and I have a strong Christian marriage forged from
the fires of trials and tribulation, and we have two wonderful
children as well. No, I don't recommend people take the hard road,
but for me, that is where my life took me based on the choices I
made as an individual. I am highly educated, educated by the
highest professor in the Universe, and He decided to train me
specifically in the school of hard knocks. And through that
education of storms and trials and tribulations I have become who I
am - and I thank God for that. Yep, there is no OOPS about it. I
am the man He meant me to be, and I am still growing and learning to
be the servant He desires me to be. No regrets. He has taken the
tragic events of my life and used them for His glory, and I am
humbled that He would use a lowly servant such as I for such a
calling. Glory to Him in the highest.

Amen.

God Bless.