With this column, I have completed my 27th year of writing a weekly humor/recipe column. Back when Linda Grosskopf hired me to take over writing "Cooking in the West" for the Agri-News, the only job description she gave me was," Just run some great recipes, write some funny stuff about your life, and have it in my email inbox every Monday morning." That sounded easy enough, so 324 columns later, I am sitting here on my laptop on a Sunday night trying to cheer up enough to write something funny to share this week.
I should stop watching the news several days before the column deadline, because watching the news is too depressing to feel like writing humor for days afterwards. Inflation is at a forty year high, the stock market has been in decline for the past seven weeks whittling away at my tiny little pension, fuel prices set record highs every day, the carnage in Ukraine rages on, illegals are flooding into the country along with phentonyl, terrorists, and human traffickers, and the best I can do is be thankful I don't have a baby that needs formula. I am not sure that I can crawl out of my depression and write something hilarious, so perhaps there is some silver lining to all of this I can write about.
The war on energy independence which is killing our economy, has to have a silver lining! Maybe electric vehicles are the way to go; although the irony that the energy to power electric vehicles comes from fossil fuels is not lost on me. I am pretty sure it is not windmills and solar panels that power those charging stations.
So I set out to research electric vehicles. I was elated to find that Ford makes an F-150 Lightning pick-up truck. Aha, maybe since I can no longer afford gasoline, I can trade my F-150 for one of those. I quickly discovered that they are going to make 15,000 of them this year. Unfortunately for me, 120,000 of them have already been ordered by consumers in line ahead of me. For a mere $95,000.00 plus $1695 in delivery charges, I could order a truck that might possibly be made within the next three years. Oh and according to the fine print, that price is likely not the price I will pay three years from now for my electric vehicle. I guess I will just get another job and keep driving my gas vehicle or maybe it would be easier to break one of our saddle horses to pull a buggy.
The real selling point of an electric truck is the Ford Emergency Back-up Power. Now, I would assume that would mean that for people like me who need to drive more than 300 miles before sitting for 14 hours to let it charge up there would be an option to store power or something. Can you imagine sitting at one of those charging stations for 14 hours before you could continue on your journey? Nope, emergency back-up power means that you can use it as a portable generator to power your house when the electricity goes out because the wind stopped blowing and the sun stopped shining, which are teensy weensy pitfalls of green energy. Is it just me or does it seem like there are a lot of issues with ditching fossil fuels?
Maybe just maybe electric vehicles are not the answer to skyrocketing fuel prices? What I really need is one of those vehicles that drives itself, because I am getting senile enough that I am going to need one soon. Apparently they are called self-driving or driverless. They use a combination of sensors, cameras, radar, and artificial intelligence to travel between destinations without a human operator. An AV (autonomous vehicle) sounds really good to me!
Not so fast! Apparently, AV’s are not exactly autonomous and also not exactly for sale. They are more like cars equipped with auto pilot, and they are not available in any showrooms. Cars that actually drive themselves from Point A to Point B are several years away. By that time, I will likely not know whether I am at Point A or Point B or where I am, but I can hope that technology advances faster than my declining rate of cognitive function.
The best thing about researching electric and autonomous vehicles is that it brought me out of my “our country is in the toilet” depression for a full half hour!
Another cure worth trying for news induced depression is good recipes such as these!
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (about 16 to 24)
2 T. lemon juice, fresh if possible
salt and pepper, to taste
Rinse shrimp and set aside. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic 1 or 2 minutes or until softened but not browned. Add shrimp, green onions, wine and lemon juice; cook until shrimp are pink and firm, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Do not overcook. Add chopped parsley and salt and pepper before serving. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley sprigs if desired.
1/4 C. granulated white sugar (for the caramelized tops)
Preheat the oven to 300ºF. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Add cream and vanilla, and continue to whisk until well blended. Strain into a large bowl, skimming off any foam or bubbles.
Divide mixture among 6 ramekins or custard cups. Place ramekins in a water bath (large pan filled with 1 or 2 inches of hot water) and bake until set around the edges, but still loose in the center, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave in the water bath until cooled. Remove cups from the water bath and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar over each custard. For best results, use a small, hand-held torch to melt sugar. If you don't have a torch, place under the broiler until sugar melts. Re-chill custards for a few minutes before serving.
6 very thinly sliced boneless sirloin steaks, pounded
1 pkg. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 C. feta cheese (can use blue or even cream cheese)
1 can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
Pound steaks flat and season with your favorite seasonings. Thaw and drain spinach and mix with cheese and mushrooms. Top steaks with mixture. Roll up and put a toothpick through each one. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until desired doneness. Meanwhile, prepare Hollandaise sauce according to package directions. When steaks roll-ups are done, serve them drizzled with sauce.
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