Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for December 26th, 2007

Chipotle ribs

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This sounds very tasty—and is among the “10 best recipes of 2007” in the LA Times:

Chipotle ribs
Total time: 3 to 4 hours, plus overnight marination
Servings: 6 to 8

Notes: These succulent ribs, spiced with Mexican oregano and chipotles are from Regina Schrambling’s April 18 story about cooking meat slowly at low temperature, for serious tenderness and concentrated flavor.

2 racks (5 to 6 pounds total) baby back or spare ribs
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Juice of 2 large limes
4 to 6 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 cup peanut oil

Wash and pat the ribs dry. Remove the silver skin (the membrane on the underside of the ribs): Nudge a blunt knife or the back end of a spoon between the ribs and membrane. When enough membrane is loosened to get a good finger hold, simply pull the membrane off the rack — it should come off fairly easily.

Lay the ribs in a glass or ceramic dish. Combine the salt, sugar, oregano and cumin and mix well, then sprinkle evenly over both sides of the ribs. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the ribs from the refrigerator, uncover them and let them come to room temperature over 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, chipotles and oil. Wipe or rinse the ribs to remove the excess salt and sugar, and dry the meat well. Lay them on a baking sheet and spoon the mixture evenly over the ribs.

Bake the ribs until they are tender (a knife inserted between the ribs will slide in with no resistance), 3 to 4 1/2 hours. Slice the ribs to separate them and serve.

Each of 8 servings: 667 calories; 35 grams protein; 5 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 56 grams fat; 18 grams saturated fat; 168 mg. cholesterol; 368 mg. sodium.

UPDATE 2: One discovery: to get a good fingerhold on the membrane, use a paper towel. The membrane does indeed come right off when you pull it.

The salt etc. brought forth liquid from the ribs. I poured that off the next day and rinsed the ribs as described, drying them thoroughly. Then I used the food processor (the little bowl, in the Kitchenaid) to “mince” the chipotles with the lime juice and olive oil (which I prefer to peanut oil).

They were great after 4 hours, but might have been slightly better at 4 1/2 hours. Best damn ribs I ever had! Partially the prep, partially the low cooking temperature.

UPDATE 3: I got a baking sheet with a raised edge. It did a much better job than the roasting pan I was using. I suspect that at the low roasting temperature it’s important that the pan have very low edges so the cooler air can spill off. Also, because of the low roasting temperature, it is indeed important to let the ribs sit at room temperature and uncovered for two hours so they have a chance to warm up.

Another change: to the dry rub (salt-sugar-oregano-cumin), I added Penzey’s Bicentennial Rub in an amount equal to the cumin. Very good idea.

UPDATE: I got a question about chipotles in adobo (see comments), and that made me look up links, and I stumbled across this recipe:

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Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

How the salesperson knows when to pounce

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Because you tell them:

The USA Today quiz below, which makes a reference to a customer’s “buying signals,” got us wondering, what are our “tells” when we’re in the store? It turns out there are all sorts of places online to help us with this bit o’ self-knowledge.

Whether our prospects like it or not, their bodies and words say it for them,” writes Laura Laaman for Business First. She lists a few basic signals salespeople should look for, which you may be providing without knowing:

  • Your prospect retakes possession of the product after your presentation.
  • Your prospect takes mental possession of the product or service. She could, for example, ask about the warranty. A novice salesperson thinks, “She’s concerned about the warranty.”
  • When one person asks permission of another. This can happen verbally or nonverbally. The reason a person initiates the “what do you think?” look is because he thinks it makes sense to move forward but wants reassurance from another person. If your prospect is shopping alone, he could look to you or ask for your opinion, and say something like: “Which model is most popular?”

Why is it so important to react to these buying signals immediately? Because they go away almost immediately. Buyers’ remorse sets in quickly, so hearing and reacting to the buying signals instantly often is the difference between a sale or not. An exception to this rule is when a customer asks about delivery or installation time.

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Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 7:13 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

Video is in two parts

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Both parts interesting:

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 3:44 pm

Posted in Music, Video

Another intermediate evolutionary form

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One thing that evolution deniers talk about is the lack in the fossil record of intermediate forms (e.g., from fish to land animal; from land animal to whale). Of course, when such forms are in fact discovered, they seldom say, “Oh. Guess I was wrong. I need to rethink this. Perhaps a tribal document telling a creation myth thousands of years old might be incorrect about the actual origins or various species.” Here’s the latest:

Scientists have discovered the missing link between whales and their four-footed ancestors. The result is reported in this week’s issue of the journal Nature. The research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Scientists since Darwin have known that whales are mammals whose ancestors walked on land. In the past 15 years, researchers led by Hans Thewissen of the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM) have identified a series of intermediate fossils documenting whale’s dramatic evolutionary transition from land to sea.

But one step was missing: The identity of the land ancestors of whales.

Now Thewissen and colleagues have discovered the skeleton of Indohyus, an approximately 48-million-year-old even-toed ungulate from the Kashmir region of India, as the closest known fossil relative of whales.

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Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 1:22 pm

Posted in Religion, Science

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Removing the refrigerator’s crisper drawers

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The Unclutter has an interesting article. (I can’t link directly to it: I get a 404 error when I try.) I was going to remove the crisper drawers, but: bad design. The shelf above the crisper is opaque rather than transparent, so I wouldn’t be able to see the stuff pushed to the back of the space were the drawer removed.

We joke in our home that the refrigerator’s crisper drawer should really be called the molding drawer. It seems to be the place where fruits and vegetables go to rot. We put things in, forget about them, and then find them weeks later covered in a green goo. Also, when you put fruits and vegetables in the drawer, all of the healthiest items in the refrigerator are instantly out of sight. Only the pizza leftovers and soda pop are right at eye-level.

A number of months ago, I started to wonder about my refrigerator and if the crisper drawer should even be used at all. I then went on a quest to learn about the fruits and vegetables in my refrigerator and the best ways to store them. The information I found was enlightening:

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Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 1:19 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

Astounding quotations

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Sometimes when you hear what someone said, you mutter, “What were they thinking?” But sometimes you don’t, because it’s perfectly obvious that they weren’t thinking at all. Glenn Greenwald has a great collection of quotations by various politicians and media figures, some of whom probably lack the capacity for thought. Read and marvel.

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 1:16 pm

Posted in GOP, Media

Astronomical photo

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Take a look. The universe is vast, mysterious, and beautiful.

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 11:49 am

Posted in Science

Losing weight

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I mentioned a while back a brief episode of sickness. It included nausea of the active sort (vomiting): unpleasant and unusual. It’s been a long time since I vomited, and my abdominal muscles were sore afterwards from the effort.

I decided to tweak my response to feelings of hunger. I would interpret those feelings as nausea, and would eat as I would if nauseated: just enough to make the feelings go away.

So I’ve been eating quite lightly—even the Christmas dinner was not so much food as in the past. And I’ve lost 4 lbs so far.

And it turns out to be easy: I feel somewhat hungry, think, “Uh-oh, nauseated,” and go eat just a little to “settle my stomach”—perhaps a cup of miso soup and a salad. I still pay attention to balance (carbs, proteins, and fats) and eat foods that have all the nutrients I need. For example, I still eat the same breakfast cereal recipe as previously, but I separate the amount I cook into two portions for either two breakfasts or perhaps breakfast and part of lunch or dinner.

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 11:27 am

Posted in Daily life

The high cost of “tough on crime”

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In particular, the high cost of following one single approach: police, arrest, prosecute, imprison. Other alternatives that have proven more effective are ignored (mainly, I suspect, due to ignorance rather than ideology, though certainly there’s an ideological component to the desire to punish), and the effect is an ever-increasing prison population and thus ever-increasing costs and an ever-increasing criminal class. The US imprisons more of its population than any nation on earth. And in California, we’re going broke doing it. I wonder what effect one change would have: making marijuana legal in California—growing it, selling it, buying it, using it. Regulate it like alcohol. Now obviously it would still be illegal at the Federal level, but that would not impact the state budgets: the Feds could police, arrest, prosecute, convict, and imprison, but the state would bow out of that particular picture altogether. Nevada is already working toward legalization (at the state level); can California be left behind?

The story at the link above:

 When a judge put Robert Sillen in charge of healthcare in California prisons, the medical staff was vastly underpaid. Software used to track inmates’ medical histories could not transfer information between computers.

San Quentin State Prison had only one phone line for incoming calls and none to dial out, isolating doctors who needed to talk to specialists and other professionals.

“It’s just shameful what the state has done,” Sillen said in an interview.

He has been trying to fix things, but solutions come at a price: Healthcare spending in state prisons has doubled in the last two years.

Sillen’s court-ordered intervention is just one reason California’s prison spending has far outpaced the swelling number of inmates, contributing to the state’s projected $14-billion budget gap, which would be the worst since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s election in 2003.

The prison population has grown by 8% since 2003, to more than 173,000. But the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s budget has exploded, increasing 79% to $8.5 billion, and is expected to top $10 billion next year.

Prison spending now is greater than that for any other major program except public schools and healthcare for the poor. The nonpartisan legislative analyst’s office projects 6% annual increases in prison spending for the next five years as a new prison and dozens of building additions are constructed and opened.

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Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 10:54 am

Posted in Daily life, Government

The Wire and the newsroom

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I really like the HBO series The Wire, as you know. (And, if you don’t already know, each episode builds on all that has gone before, so if you want to watch it, start by renting Series 1 and watching all episodes in order, then going on to Series 2, and so on.) And Variety says that The Wire offers an accurate picture of the newsroom:

 Corner a doctor, lawyer — hell, even a forensic criminologist — and they’ll cite chapter and verse about the dramatic liberties that movies and TV shows take with their professions.

Journalists are no exception, yet after years of grasping for even a moderately realistic portrait, they can finally point to by far the most accurate presentation of their craft ever: the final season of HBO’s dense urban drama “The Wire.”

As with other ailing civic institutions — from beleaguered cops to overwhelmed schools to failing city government — the Baltimore newspaper featured in the series, which returns in January, is fraying at the seams.

Belt-tightening by faraway corporate owners is triggering layoffs and causing foreign bureaus to be shuttered, causing years of hard-won institutional knowledge to walk out the door. Clueless editors seem more obsessed with awards than news, blithely telling their overworked staff to “do more with less.” Investigative reporting, meanwhile, is too time-consuming and expensive, creating openings for those ambitious enough to cut corners — and perhaps worse — to thrive, while grizzled veterans grumble about what it would be like to work at a “real newspaper.”

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Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 10:32 am

Posted in Business, Media, Movies & TV

Heartfelt Christmas wishes

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Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 9:55 am

Posted in Daily life

Fight Alzheimer’s with omega-3

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And, you’ll recall, omega-3 from fish-oil supplements works as well as eating fish. Now it seems that omega-3 helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. (On early detection of Alzheimer’s.)

Many Alzheimer’s researchers have long touted fish oil, by pill or diet, as an accessible and inexpensive “weapon” that may delay or prevent this debilitating disease. Now, UCLA scientists have confirmed that fish oil is indeed a deterrent against Alzheimer’s, and they have identified the reasons why.

Reporting in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, now online, Greg Cole, professor of medicine and neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and associate director of UCLA’s Alzheimer Disease Research Center, and his colleagues report that the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in fish oil increases the production of LR11, a protein that is found at reduced levels in Alzheimer’s patients and which is known to destroy the protein that forms the “plaques” associated with the disease.

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Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 9:44 am

Paper shaving cream

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This is an intriguing little product for you travelers:

Paper shaving cream

Just add water to this dissolving paper shaving cream…and lather up! SO much lighter than toting a can of shaving cream in your dopp kit. (Ladies, you just might want to borrow a few leaves for shaving your legs.) 30 single use sheets in a convenient plastic container. Citrus fragrance.

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 9:41 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

Camera tsuris

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My Canon Powershot S2 IS has sickened. I get an error message—“E18”—and it turns itself off. So no Christmas photos, I fear. I have now sent two emails to Canon support, but I imagine they’re short-staffed during the holiday season. I suspect this may be a return and a board replacement. I got it only in September, so it may still be under warranty.

Update: Got a very nice and complete reply, and the camera is now on its way to factory repair in Illinois.

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 9:38 am

Posted in Daily life, Technology

Christmas dinner notes

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The jury is still out on dry-aging the roast. The roast was good, but I cooked it to 150º instead of my customary 145º to make it better for The Wife, and so by changing two variables it’s hard to know the contribution from each. I need to try dry-aging again and cook the roast to my usual temp.

However, our impressions: it was not so juicy as the past roasts, which you might expect from dry aging—but also could be an effect of the higher finishing temperature. The taste intensity was not, at least to us, noticeably different. It tasted fine, but we could not tell that it was more intense than the unaged roast. Of course, we don’t have roast so often that we have a timely comparison.

At any rate, it was good, but whether the dry-aging is worth it? Don’t know.

The freshly grated horseradish in the crème fraîche was wonderful: not too intense, not sweet, but just right. The potatoes, cooked like this (the second recipe), were wonderful. And I had bought a nice bottle of Barbera, a wine I like a lot.

We were so full that by the time dessert arrived—a cake shaped like a  handbag—we could do little more than stare at it with glazed eyes. It will have its turn, though. There’s much eating still to be done.

Molly was very attentive to all the food. She’s much more… participatory, let’s say, than Megs. But much of her attention was devoted to a plastic wrap, folded into a strip and then tied in a knot. She loves that toy: tossing it, pouncing on it, chasing it, hugging it, placing it on the table on one side of the centerpiece and then getting on the other side to lurk and pounce. She’s much larger but still, as The Wife says, 90% kitten.

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 9:36 am

Posted in Cats, Daily life, Food, Molly

Is a shave better with Christmas shaving cream?

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Well, it’s pretty darned good: I used the Cyril R. Salter Almond shaving cream that The Wife gave me: wonderful fragrance and that wonderful Salter lather, worked up with the Simpsons Duke 3 Best. Mmmm. — oh, sorry: flashback.

Then the Merkur Futur with a Treet Blue Special—really, why use anything else?—that had a shave already on it. Three passes: wonderful, each pass enjoyable.

Finally, Booster Oriental Spice, which seemed right for a Christmas holiday morning. And now I’m enjoying my coffee.

Written by Leisureguy

26 December 2007 at 9:27 am

Posted in Shaving

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