Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cuba, China, ANWR and oil

I overheard a conversation at lunch yesterday that peaked my interest, the Chinese are drilling for oil off the shores of Cuba but US companies cannot. Hm, well that's not true. Second topic was ANWR, and how much cheaper gas would be if oil companies could drill there. Well again, that's not true. The Energy department in 2004 said that drilling would get the oil flowing in 9 years, and that the reduction in cost per barrel of oil would be 50 cents, crude oil futures were at $134.62 on June 20, 2008. Even at the $16 a barrel cost when the study was done in 2000 that's a savings of 3% and that's over the course of the 4 years the oil would be there.

So the reduction in cost of a barrel of oil gained by drilling would be 3 tenths of 1 percent, so the cost of a gallon of gas would go down what . . a penny? Or, you could drive the speed limit and gain 7-23% mileage efficiency, or ensure your tires are inflated correctly and gain 3% efficiency. Of course you could buy a hybrid, but instead think about buying a used car, it's better for the environment and your wallet.

What some people don't know is why we're not drilling in Alaska, well we are, to the tune of 1 million barrels a day, just not in the refuge. The refuge it self was set aside in 1960 by the Eisenhower administration and described as "one of the world's great wildlife areas. The great diversity of vegetation and topography in this compact area, together with its relatively undisturbed condition, led to its selection as ... one of our remaining wildlife and wilderness frontiers." Seems like the right thing to do to keep one tiny piece of land the same way we found it, even if it means gas costs one cent more.

Find more fuel efficiency tips here.
Read about why it's better to buy a used car here.
Read more about the Arctic Refuge at the US Fish and Wildlife's site.
Rant at JH in the comments.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Last Night's Dinner: Grilled Pizza

For when it's too hot to turn on the oven. OK it wasn't really TOO hot to turn on the oven last night but we wanted to try grilling some pizza anyway, any excuse to use the grill right?

So I made up a normal batch of dough in the morning and tossed it in the fridge for the day, we suspect the results would have been a touch better had we not refrigerated the dough, we'll have to find out. After doing some research on how to grill pizza courtesy of the foodtv website I thought I was ready to go. The biggest lesson learned there was to oil the top before you flip the crust and to apply the toppings lightly. I used up some leftover spinach to make a quick pesto for my pie, with some ham and parmesan cheese on the top I was quite pleased. My wife had her standard mozzarella and pepperoni but thought the toppings were a little heavy for a grilled pie, she's going to try tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil next time.

I was very happy with the results and I think by the third pie I had the heat figured out such that the crust didn't scorch before the cheese melted. No pics from last night but you get a dough recipe today! woo!

Pizza Dough
Makes 2 12" pies

2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 Cup hot water
3 Cups Flour ( I do half AP and half Whole Wheat)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp salt

1. Mix the yeast into the hot water and let sit about 5 minutes
2. Dump the yeast, salt and 2 1/2 cups flour into your stand mixer (use the dough hook) or food processor
3. While mixing pour in the olive oil
4. Let mix 5 minutes
5. Let raise at least an hour (I like to put the dough into an oiled bowl and put it in the oven with another bowl of steaming water then close it up for 30-60 minutes if I have time)
6. Split the dough into two equal sized portions, roll out, top and bake as you please ( We like to do them on a pizza stone in a 500 degree oven usually)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

On to November . . .

The general election is going to be a contest between a campaign who wants to scare you into voting for their candidate versus a campaign whose candidate wants to inspire you. It will be a contest between a candidate who wants to continue the failed policies of the last 8 years and a candidate who knows we can do better and is ready to get to work. The guy I know who will make the changes we need will be here in August.