The Red Cross of Canada accepts online donations (Visa or Mastercard) here. Cash (credit card) donations are the best way to help during a crisis like the earthquake/tsunami situation in Asia. It puts resources in the hands of relief workers right away, with little or no delay.

The coastline areas affected by the tsunami are devastated, but things are unaffected just a kilometer or two inland, so it is possible to get food and water to the survivors quickly, and to provide shelter away from the devastation. But they need money. Now.

Update: since I posted this, the Red Cross site has become very slow to load — which is probably a good sign. You can phone the Red Cross at
1-800-418-1111, or you can try Unicef’s donation page.

Beer and chili

Sleeman Fine PorterI’ve posted a review of the "limited edition" Sleeman’s Fine Porter over at A Good Beer Blog.

In the review I mention that a pot of chili was bubbling away on the stove as I tippled. Actually, it was a pan of chili, to be precise. A big, well-seasoned, cast iron pan that I’ve been using for about 15 years.

Chili is one of those dishes for which much discussion and controversy exists, with various camps claiming authenticity, others dismissing the authenticity argument in favor of creative new varieties, etc.

A few years ago I did considerable research into the art of making chili. As a result, every batch I make is different because there are so many ideas to try. Also, the concept of chili is so variable that there is no need to stick to a specific recipe or formula.

The chili I made last night — which we will eat tonight — is made with shaved beef (not ground) has virtually no tomatoes in it, hardly any beans, and is finished with dark chocolate.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write everything down as I made it, but I will try to recall the process and ingredients and will write it down, because this promises to be one of my better batches. If anyone is interested, I might be convinced to share the recipe…

Update: there’s a photo of the chili on Flickr, here…

Dream spam

Oh, great. Now even my dreams get unwanted advertising.

Early this morning I had a flash of a dream in which I saw the corner of a New Orleans-style hotel. A professional broadcaster’s voice said “Independently owned! Personalized service!” Then this really ugly guy appeared, wearing glasses, and he said with a Southern drawl, “I’ll come in thar and wake you myself if I haff to!”

dream spam!

(I didn’t get the name of the hotel.)

The inevitable leftovers

We planned our Christmas dinner well, so there were not so many leftovers. Enough turkey for about four sandwiches and some chunks that are good for dropping into soup. There was also a big pile of mashed potatoes (I made and froze two shepherd’s pies today), some green beans (into tonight’s soup) and some (un)stuffing (into the freezer to serve as a side dish someday).

But no Christmas dinner leftovers story is complete without a description of the inevitable turkey sandwich. Some folks like to gussy their leftover turkey sandwich up with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and other leftovers, essentially re-creating their Christmas dinner.

Not me. I’ve always preferred simplicity. For me, the ideal leftover turkey  sandwich is composed of white meat, abundant salt and pepper, and a good squirt of French’s yellow mustard on white bread (ideally a lightly toasted baguette).

On the side, ideally, are a dill pickle and some leftover stuffing. Lucky me! That’s exactly what I had for a late lunch yesterday!