So, I was on the internet today, and I saw a banner ad from the DOE for a site called loseyourexcuse.gov. Among other (sensible) things, the site prominently advises kids to unplug their cell phone chargers while not in use. It also claims that 5% of US electricity consumption is due to phantom power draw.
I will not debate the veracity of the 5% number. However, it is not the case that unplugging your cell phone charger will help that at all. It is no longer 1996, and cell phone chargers (and, indeed, most wall warts) no longer use transformers. Instead, they use switching power supplies. These switching power supplies cut the AC into little tiny slices and then smooth out those slices to generate DC. What they do not do is draw current when not in use.
I plugged one of my cell phone chargers into my Kill-A-Watt power meter when I first got the meter, and the charger drew "0 watts". Which means less than the sensitivity of the Kill-A-Watt.
Assume that the wall wart draws almost 0.1 watt (the minimum the meter can display) when not in use. How much 100-watt light bulb is that? Leaving your wall wart plugged in for 24 hours is like leaving a 100 watt lightbulb on for ... (24*60*0.1)/100 ... 1.4 minutes!
The whole "unplug your phone charger" thing is based on reasonable concerns about linear power supplies. Thanks to a combination of economics (electronics getting cheaper, easier to make one adapter for the whole world) and regulation (thank you, Europe), linear power supplies are no longer used; the concern is invalid.
But how, you ask, can I be sure I have a switching power supply? It's easy! If it's heavy, it's probably a linear power supply. Unplug it! If it gets hot when it's plugged in (but not in use), it's a linear power supply. Unplug it! If it only works with one input voltage, it's probably a linear power supply. Unplug it!
However, if it's light, doesn't get hot when you plug it in, and works with a wide range of voltages (it'll probably say 110-240 on it), it's a switching power supply! Leave it plugged in, and use the time to save energy some other way!
We originally had this over pan-friied grouper at Papiamento in Aruba. I decided to try to recreate it at home, which turned out to be remarkably simple. We just had it over pan-fried halibut, and it was excellent.
Saute a portion of fish (chicken might be okay, too) in a mild fat (olive oil, butter).
Remove your fishie to a warm place.
Add a little flour to the pan and cook for a minute or so over very low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula to make a roux. (This will thicken the sauce.)
Add some cream. For two, go for about a quarter to a third of a cup.
Add some capers, maybe a tablespoon? You probably want less, I really like capers. Smash the capers with your spatula and stir for a couple minutes.
A little at a time, squeeze some lemon into the sauce and stir it around. Lick the side of the spatula to taste. The sauce should taste acidic, but not exactly limey. I used about a third of a lime.
Add salt to taste.
Pour immediately over yor fishie.
Not sure how this will keep. It shouldn't crack, since there's not that much fat in it. The acid from the limes might make the cream separate, though. Anyway, it's so easy, just make as much as you need.
celery, about twice as much as you have sausage
onion, about as much as celery
carrot, about as much as sausage, maybe a little less
garlic, the more the merrier
herbs, especially rosemary and smoked paprika (also salt and pepper)
(Bonus, truffle oil)
Chop up the onion, celery, and carrot. Chop the garlic fine. Defrost the stock (which you made previously and froze, right?)
Fry the sausage in a pan. Cooked through, brown, etc. Medium heat. Probably want to use a little oil here.
Remove the sausage from the pan, add the onion. While the onion and stuff is cooking, cut the sausage in half lengthwise and chop.
You should be stirring/tossing this periodically
When the onion begins to get translucent, toss in the celery
When the celery begins to soften, toss in the carrot and garlic
Wait a little bit, then toss in the herbs and some pepper, and the chopped sausage
Before the garlic browns, add the stock to cover the stuff in the pan, and then that depth again
You might want some more olive oil here. Fat is yummy!
Taste, adjust seasoning
Bring to a boil, the turn off the heat and lit it sit a bit
To serve, fill a bowl about 1/3 full with spinach, then add hot soup. If the soup isn't super hot, microwave it up. For extra yums, add a little truffle oil. It takes away the peasant cred, but are you really a peasant?
P.S. I'm not dead.
OMG, so good. Get restaurant week reservations, go! No reservations left? It's worth it during not restaurant week, too!