Friday, March 30, 2018

Opening Day in America!

Time for that seminal rite of spring, Opening Day for Baseball!  Thanks to George Will and the Washington Post for reminding us what really counts right now - at least until October.

"There'll be two buses leaving the hotel for the park tomorrow.
The 2 o'clock bus will be for those of you who need a little extra work.
The empty bus will leave at 5 o'clock."
— Dave Bristol, Milwaukee Brewers manager, 1972

Everyone needs extra work to prepare for the season. [answers below (full disclosure - I got only 14 right)]

1. Name the fourth player (the others are Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays) with a career .300 average, 500 home runs and 100 stolen bases.
  • Mark McGwire
  • Reggie Jackson
  • Albert Pujols
  • Harmon Killebrew
2. Name the player that played in the most wins.
  • Cal Ripken Jr.
  • Pete Rose
  • Hank Aaron
  • Brooks Robinson

3. Name the last player to get 3,000 hits without winning a batting title.
  • Ichiro Suzuki
  • Derek Jeter
  • Rafael Palmeiro
  • Craig Biggio

4. Who got 30 homers and 100 RBIs in a season for five different teams?
  • Xavier Nady
  • Bobby Bonds
  • Alfonso Soriano
  • Gary Sheffield

5.  Which player struck out three times in a game just once in 13 seasons?
  • Joe DiMaggio
  • Tony Gwynn
  • Ozzie Smith
  • Ozzie Guillen
6. Who hit .461 at home but .286 on the road?
  • Roberto Alomar
  • Gil Hodges
  • Larry Walker
  • Carl Yastrzemski
7. Who was the last person to enter September batting over .400?
  • Daniel Murphy
  • George Brett
  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Rod Carew
8. What player led his league in hits for three different teams?
  • Juan Pierre
  • Napoleon Lajoie
  • Willie Keeler
  • Paul Molitor
9. Who hit .408 in a season but lost the batting title?
  • Shoeless Joe Jackson
  • Ty Cobb
  • George Sisler
  • Ted Williams
10. Who hit at least 40 doubles in 10 seasons?
  • Stan Musial
  • Tris Speaker
  • Wade Boggs
  • Harry Heilman
11. Who was the first 40-year-old with a 100-RBI season?
  • Willie Mays
  • Dave Winfield
  • Andres Galarraga
  • Edgar Martinez
12. Which player is the most recent to win consecutive MVP awards?
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Albert Pujols
  • Miguel Cabrera
  • Mike Trout
13. Who had the most career homers (399) without a 30-homer season?
  • Al Kaline
  • Andres Galarraga
  • Dale Murphy
  • Joe Carter
14. Who has the highest career batting average among players with at least 300 homers?
  • Rogers Hornsby
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Babe Ruth
  • Ted Williams
15. Who is the only non-Yankee with 500 home runs and three championships?
  • David Ortiz
  • Ted Williams
  • Albert Pujols
  • Jimmie Foxx
16. Who are the four right-handed hitters to lead the major leagues in hitting at least three times?
  • Rogers Hornsby, Napoleon Lajoie, Roberto Clemente, Miguel Cabrera
  • Tommy Davis, Roberto Clemente, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn
  • Rogers Hornsby, Tommy Davis, Roberto Clemente, Miguel Cabrera
  • Napoleon Lajoie, Tommy Davis, Wade Boggs, Miguel Cabrera
17. Who are the two pitchers to have 300 more strikeouts than walks (not counting intentional walks) in a season?
  • Bob Feller and Nolan Ryan
  • Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan
  • Bob Feller and Randy Johnson
  • Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson
18. Which player was the only batter to average 200 hits per season in his first 14 seasons?
  • Ichiro Suzuki
  • Paul Waner
  • Pete Rose
  • Derek Jeter
19. Who holds the career record for doubles?
  • Carl Yastrzemski
  • Ty Cobb
  • Tris Speaker
  • Stan Musial
20.  Who are the three pairs of rookies of the year who were later enshrined in Cooperstown?
  • Luis Aparicio and Frank Robinson, Tom Seaver and Rod Carew, Andre Dawson and Eddie Murray
  • Willie McCovey and Don Drysdale, Tom Seaver and Rod Carew, Luis Aparicio and Tony Kubek
  • Luis Aparicio and Tony Kubek, Andre Dawson and Eddie Murray, Don Drysdale and Brooks Robinson
  • Don Drysdale and Brooks Robinson, Luis Aparicio and Frank Robinson, Andre Dawson and Eddie Murray
21. Who holds the record for most four-strikeout games?
  • Ryan Howard
  • Reggie Jackson
  • Adam Dunn
  • Pete Incaviglia

22. Who struck out in a record 37 consecutive games in a single season?
  • Brad Hawpe
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia
  • Adam Dunn
  • Aaron Judge

23. What player was the first to win three MVP awards?
  • Carl Hubbell
  • Jimmie Foxx
  • Stan Musial
  • Roy Campanella
24. Who are the two third basemen with 500 home runs?
  • Eddie Matthews and Mike Schmidt
  • Eddie Matthews and Mel Ott
  • Jim Thome and Mike Schmidt
  • Mike Schmidt and Ernie Banks

25. Who was the first player to get 3,000 hits in the 20th century?
  • Eddie Collins
  • Napoleon Lajoie
  • Honus Wagner
  • Ty Cobb
26. What player had 999 walks with three starts to go in his career and did not reach 1,000?
  • Greg Maddux
  • Jim Bunning
  • Jim Perry
  • Fergie Jenkins
27. Who were the only two players to bat cleanup in a World Series at age 20?
  • Ty Cobb and Miguel Cabrera
  • Andruw Jones and Raul Mondesi
  • Miguel Cabrera and Andruw Jones 
  • Ty Cobb and Raul Mondesi
28. Who led his league in RBIs in 2014 while batting second?
  • Mike Trout
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Chase Utley
  • Johnny Damon
29. Although not in the Hall of Fame until 2017, what player reached base more than Jeff Bagwell, Roberto Clemente and Tony Gwynn and had five seasons with at least 30 doubles and 70 stolen bases (Ty Cobb had only three)?
  • Tim Raines
  • Craig Biggio
  • Alan Trammell
  • Shoeless Joe Jackson

30. What player is the only player with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 stolen bases?
  • Kenny Lofton
  • Honus Wagner
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Tim Raines
31. Who was the only 300-game winner between the world wars?
  • Carl Hubbell
  • Lefty Grove
  • Ted Lyons
  • Wait Hoyte
32. What pitcher threw a no-hitter with no walks and 17 strikeouts?
  • Don Wilson
  • Max Scherzer
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Warren Spahn
33. Who scored the most World Series runs?
  • Derek Jeter
  • Yogi Berra
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Roger Marris
34. Who was the first White Sox player to be named MVP?
  • Nellie Fox
  • Dick Allen
  • Luke Appling
  • Eddie Collins
35. Who won 25 or more games three times in the 1960s but never won a Cy Young award?
  • Sam McDowell
  • Denny McLain
  • Bob Gibson
  • Juan Marichal
36. Which player won the most ERA titles?
  • Pete Alexander
  • Roger Clemens
  • Sandy Koufax
  • Lefty Grove
37. Who is the only catcher to win three batting titles?
  • Joe Mauer
  • Ernie Lombardi
  • Eugene "Bubbles" Hargrove
  • Rogers Hornsby
38. Who led his league in batting average his first two seasons?
  • Napoleon Lajoie
  • Ichiro Suzuki
  • Tony Oliva
  • Rod Carew
39. Which player had three seasons with 40 or more homers and fewer strikeouts than homers?
  • Johnny Mize
  • Ted Kluszewski
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Joe DiMaggio
40. Who was the Hall of Famer who hit a record four triple plays?
  • Deacon McGuire
  • Joe Start
  • George Sisler
  • Brooks Robinson 
41. Bonus question: What manager said, "Our phenoms aren't phenomenating."?
  • Casey Stengel
  • Gil Hodges
  • Lou Piniella
  • Lefty Phillips

  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Pete Rose
  3. Derek Jeter
  4. Gary Sheffield
  5. Joe DiMaggio
  6. Larry Walker
  7. George Brett
  8. Paul Molitor
  9. Shoeless Joe Jackson
  10. Tris Speaker
  11. Dave Winfield
  12. Miguel Cabrera
  13. Al Kaline
  14. Rogers Hornsby
  15. David Ortiz
  16. Rogers Hornsby, Napoleon Lajoie, Roberto Clemente, Miguel Cabrera
  17. Sandy Koufax and Randy Johnson
  18. Ichiro Suzuki
  19. Tris Speaker
  20. Luis Aparicio and Frank Robinson, Tom Seaver and Rod Carew, Andre Dawson and Eddie Murray
  21. Ryan Howard
  22. Aaron Judge
  23. Jimmie Foxx
  24. Eddie Matthews and Mike Schmidt
  25. Honus Wagner
  26. Greg Maddux
  27. Ty Cobb and Miguel Cabrera
  28. Mike Trout
  29. Tim Raines
  30. Tim Raines
  31. Lefty Grove
  32. Max Scherzer
  33. Mickey Mantle
  34. Nellie Fox 
  35. Juan Marichal
  36. Lefty Grove
  37. Joe Mauer
  38. Tony Oliva
  39. Ted Kluszewski
  40. Brooks Robinson
  41. Lefty Phillips

Monday, March 26, 2018

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts

The Brave Astronaut is coming off a "lost week" - I came home from work on Tuesday and did not return to the office until this morning.  What started out as a bad cold, developed into a raging sinus infection, then a swollen eyelid.  Modern medicine (and good antibiotics) are a good thing.  In the 96 hours spanning Tuesday through Friday - I slept for about half of them.  I drank a lot of tea and orange juice, and ate some pasta and soup - I didn't have much of an appetite.

But Life Goes On.  Here at the Launchpad - we are big fans of the boneless chicken breast.  And we do a variation on this recipe, but it's always nice to see some other ways to mix it up.  Recipe from recipetineats via BuzzFeed's "5-Ingedient Chicken Dinners"

Crispy Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Prep Time 7 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 15 mins
This ultra crispy Parmesan Crusted Chicken is 5 ingredient, 10 minute magic that happens to be gluten free. The idea with this recipe is that shredded parmesan melts, tuns golden and adheres to the chicken, forming a crust. Parmesan has such an intense flavour that you don't need any other seasonings in this. It tastes like schnitzel, but the coating flavour is far stronger and crunchier (but no carbs!) but is not as thick as a traditional breadcrumb coating. Serve it with cauliflower mash with browned butter for the ultimate low-carb meal!

  • 500 g / 1 lb chicken breast (2 pieces)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove , minced (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 125 g / 4 oz / 1 1/4 cups shredded parmesan
  • 2 tbsp butter (or more oil)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Cut each breast in half horizontally to make 4 steaks. If they are much thicker than 1.75 cm / 3/4" thick (at the thickest point), pound a bit.
  2. Place egg, garlic, pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk with fork.
  3. Place parmesan in a shallow bowl.
  4. Dredge chicken in egg, then place in parmesan CUT SIDE DOWN. Press, then turn. Coat with extra parmesan, press. Shake off excess. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  5. Melt butter and heat oil in a large skillet over high heat.
  6. Place chicken in non-stick skillet (or well seasoned cast iron skillet). DO NOT MOVE chicken otherwise the cheese will slide off surface before it adheres! It adheres once it turns crispy.
  7. Press down lightly with spatula. Lift a corner to take a peek and turn with tongs when it's deep golden brown (3 minutes for me).
  8. Cook the other side for 3 minutes or until also deep golden brown and crispy (again, do not move until golden). Lightly press down with spatula. Don't cook longer than 6 minutes in total - dries out the chicken.
  9. Serve immediately!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Sliced Beef Po' Boys

SoBA questions a lot of the food that comes to the Launchpad table.  We can still get away with getting him to eat if we tell him "it's steak."  You think we can get him on board with the "it's a cheesesteak?"  From the NYT Cooking website.

Mahogany Beef Po' Boys

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 pounds beef chuck roll, sliced into 2-inch-thick portions
  • ½ cup vegetable oil, or as needed
  • 6 to 7 stalks celery, cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 2 green bell peppers, cored and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 2 jumbo carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 1 cup peeled garlic cloves, each clove halved lengthwise
  • 7 cups dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 5 loaves French or Italian bread
  • Mayonnaise
  • shredded lettuce
  • sliced tomatoes
  • sliced pickles to dress sandwiches

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place flour in a large, wide bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Add beef, dust well on all sides and shake off excess. 
  2. Place a large, heavy Dutch oven or roasting pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom and heat until shimmering. Working in batches, add beef and sear well on all sides. Transfer beef to a platter and set aside.
  3. Add celery, onions, peppers, carrots and garlic to pan; if necessary, add more oil. Sauté until vegetables are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add wine and 3 cups water. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and parsley. Stir well, add beef, and stir again to mix well.
  4. Cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until beef is very tender, about three hours. Transfer beef to a deep platter and keep warm. Remove and discard bay leaf. Using a hand-held immersion blender or stand blender, purée vegetables and any remaining bits of meat in pan juices to make sauce. Cut beef into slices. Slice each bread loaf in half lengthwise and crosswise, spread one side with mayonnaise, thickly layer in meat, wet with gravy, and top with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Oven Baked Fried Chicken

Sadly, both LBA and SoBA may be growing out of the "chicken nugget" easy meal solution of their lives.  But that is not to say that this recipe may work for them.  From Savory Nothings via BuzzFeed (a lot of these recipes featured thighs or drumsticks, but we are more of a white meat kind of family).

Crispy Oven Fried Chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 410°F. Place a dark-colored roasting pan (a baking tray works as well) in the oven to heat up.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and the milk.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, breadcrumbs, baking powder and seasoning together.
  4. Dip the chicken pieces in the flour, coating evenly and shaking off any extra flour.
  5. Next, coat the chicken pieces in the egg mixtures. Then, dip them into the flour again, this time coating very well.
  6. Take the baking tray out of the oven and melt the butter on it. Place the coated chicken pieces on the tray.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, carefully flip and bake for another 5-10 minutes (depending on how thick your chicken pieces are). Finish by broiling the chicken until it turns golden brown and crispy.

Monday, March 5, 2018

More Lunch Ideas

Last week I discussed SoBA and LBA's lunches - packed by me, when they are not buying lunch from school.  There is the problem when they would like something that we have had the night before (really, what child voluntarily asks for leftovers in their lunch?) but there is no way of keeping (or making) it warm for lunch.  They might be able to palate this however, and they would be infinitely better for them than their store-bought namesakes.  Via BuzzFeed.

Serves 1

  • 5 crackers
  • ¼ cup marinara sauce
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 5 slices of pepperoni
  • Cupcake liners (to separate the ingredients)
  • Grapes (optional)
  • Crackers (optional)


Place marinara in small container (we reused an old baby food jar) and place in lunchbox. Place crackers, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni in cupcake liners next to it. Serve with grapes and crackers.