Monday, May 22, 2017

Chicken Wings Seven Ways

LBA has a thing for the wing of chicken.  Mrs. BA has a good recipe, but here are a few more worth trying (from BuzzFeed).  My favorite of the list is below.

Root Beer Chicken Wings

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 cup bbq sauce
  • 16.9 ounces root beer
  • Extra bbq sauce, to taste
  • Brown sugar, to taste
PREPARATION
  1. Season chicken wings with salt and pepper.
  2. Spray your slow cooker pot with cooking spray, add chicken wings, bbq sauce and root beer.
  3. Cover, cook on low for 4 hours. Remove wings from slow cooker, place on parchment lined tray. Brush more bbq sauce onto wings, sprinkle some brown sugar.
  4. Put under broiler for 8 -10 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fun With Data

Most of you, my dear readers know what I do for a living.  I work for a government agency that is responsible for collecting and preserving the records of the federal government, primarily the "born digital" records of the government.  Every once in a while, I spot something in the paper or online that is just too good not to share.  This is one of those instances. From Greater, Greater Washington.

Population growth by census tract for cental DC and Arlington. Image by Esri.
The map above comes from a website, Esri, that is using census data to track population trends across the United States, between 2012 and 2017. The darker the blue, the more growth, the light orange indicates no growth or a decline.  In the above picture, the Launchpad is in that dark blue area at the upper right. So we're doing OK.

Clicking on the link above, will bring you to the article and then you can search your own neighborhood and see what your people are doing.  Here is the link to the Esri map.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Creme Brulee in the Crock Pot

Sold!  I love Creme Brulee.  I love the crock pot.  I have a kitchen torch.  From Dessert for Two via BuzzFeed.

Slow-Cooker Creme Brûlée
Yields 2
Prep Time 5 min
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2hrs, 5min

Ingredients
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1/4 of a vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
Instructions
  1. Combine the egg yolks, whipping cream and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. Using a dull knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and add it to the cream mixture. It should be about 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla bean seeds. You can substitute extra, if you prefer.
  3. Whisk the mixture together very well.
  4. Meanwhile, take 2 12" long pieces of foil and roll them up into a snake shape. Curl it into a circle, pinching the ends together. Place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Repeat with the other piece of foil.
  5. Place each ramekin on top of each foil ring.
  6. Pour boiling water in the slow cooker (carefully! Don't splash water on the custards) until the water reaches up about 1/3 of the way on the ramekins.
  7. Turn the slow cooker to LOW and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. When done, the custard should be set--poke it with a knife to be sure.
  8. Cover and chill the custards at least 6 hours.
  9. Before serving, sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar evenly over both custards and torch with a culinary torch until brown.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day.  As most of you know, my dear readers, I lost my mother eleven years ago.  Here's a picture of my mother with a very young LBA.  It's one of my favorite pictures.  She was very happy to have had the chance to meet her seventh grandchild and I really wish she had the opportunity to meet SoBA, her eighth - the two of them are very much alike.


Now the reason for me to still celebrate Mother's Day is in the picture below.  Mrs. BA, the mother of LBA and SoBA is a great mother and the best partner that I could ever ask for.  The Brave Astronaut Clan is on the road today to celebrate with Mrs. BA's mother and two sisters, also mothers in their own right. 
Happy Mother's Day to all those moms out there and especially to my mother, wherever she is - though she is certainly engaged in a lengthy conversation with my father - reunited now and to Mrs. BA - I love you very much!


Monday, May 8, 2017

Slow-cooker Steak Sandwiches

We've entered that time in the spring where both LBA and SoBA are playing baseball (practicing two nights a week and sometimes games on weeknights).  And I'm coaching SoBA's team - so the Clan is often not around for dinner until an odd hour.

We are going to need to amp up our prepared meal plan, cue the slow cooker. Recipe from Dinner then Dessert via BuzzFeed's "30 Delicious Things You Never Knew You Could Make with a Crock-Pot."

Slow Cooker Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients
  • 4-5 pounds chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 can (10.5 ounces) can condensed French onion soup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1 inch yellow onion sliced into 1/4" slices
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms sliced
  • 1 inch green bell pepper sliced into 1/4" slices
  • 6 hoagie rolls
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Provolone Cheese

Instructions
  1. Season the chuck roast with the Kosher salt and pepper (if you are sensitive to sodium, adjust to your taste or you can even leave the salt out altogether since you're adding broth and soup).
  2. Heat the pan (or if you can brown in your slow cooker)
  3. Add the canola oil and when it ripples and is hot add in the roast and brown, deeply, for 4-5 minutes on each side.
  4. In your slow cooker add the beef, the beef broth, the french onion soup, Worcestershire sauce, and the beer.
  5. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  6. Add in the onion, mushrooms, and bell pepper in the last hour of cooking.
  7. To serve, toast your hoagie rolls with a bit of butter spread onto the cut sides.
  8. With a very sharp knife cut your beef against the grain.
  9. Add your cheese of choice, some of the meat and top with the cooked veggies.
  10. I like to have a bit of the liquid (with the fat skimmed off on the side, but it is totally optional - but sounds delicious!)