Later On

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

Archive for January 12th, 2011

Joe Pass plays "Satin Doll"

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You have to admit that he’s damn good:

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2011 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Daily life, Jazz, Video

Making my own Worcestershire sauce

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Maybe it’s time to make it. I do have the requisite one-pint jar…

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2011 at 3:08 pm

Seeing just how glorious a one-pot meal can be

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Okay, I’m trying one:

Savory Port-Mushroom Chicken

Olive-oil spray
1/4 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup bow-tie pasta (farfalle)
1/2 to 3/4 lb chicken breasts or thighs
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large Portobello mushroom, halved and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp ruby port
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp olive oil
one 3-inch fresh rosemary sprig, or 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 c cut green beans or snow pea pods

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Spray the inside and lid of a cast-iron Dutch oven with olive oil.

Scatter the onions in the pot. Add the pasta and 1/3 c of water. Stir to coat the pasta and distribute it in an even layer.

Add the chicken to the pot and lightly season with salt and pepper. Arrange the mushrooms in a layer on top of the chicken.

In a small bowl, mix the port, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, olive oil, and 1 Tbsp of water. Stir with a whisk or fork to emulsify the mustard, then drizzle into the pot.

Add the carrots and tuck the rosemary spring into a crevice. Top with a layer of green beans.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes, or until 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully cooked meal escapes the oven. Serve immediately.

That’s from Yarnell’s Glorious One-Pot Meals. I did notice I had to reject quite a few recipes as unsuitable to a weight-loss diet, though I think they’ll be fine on maintenance.

In this making of it, I used whole-wheat rotini as the pasta, and 1/2 lb chicken breast. (This serves two—or, for me, two meals.) I didn’t have Worcestershire sauce (I’m planning to make some), so I used A1 sauce. I used dried rosemary and fresh green beans, which I cut into short sections. Cutting the carrots was made much easier by the Borner Swissmar V-Slicer.

It was rather fun building the layers. I didn’t want to cook the half chicken breast (8.2 oz) in one piece, so I cut it into strips and they made a nice layer.

It’s cooking now.

UPDATE: Not bad at all, but probably a stretch to term it “glorious.” OTOH, I did substitute A1 for Worcestershire sauce. Still, I get the idea and I think with my own choices of herbs and spices it can be much better. And what I have is not bad at all.

It was a good idea to cut the chicken into strips, and I think next time I will cut it into chunks to make it easier to spoon out the finished dish: you have to push the spoon down to the bottom so you can get something from each layer.

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2011 at 2:54 pm

Stable theme

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I got The Wife (the family Web expert) to touch up this theme ("Enterprise") a little, and I think I’ll stick with it for now. Hope you like it.

Bob, she tried to fix the font. Is this okay?

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2011 at 1:32 pm

Posted in WordPress

Our own terrorist is now on trial

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Not for terrorism, though: probably because his defense would be that we (via the CIA) ordered him to do terrorist acts. Peter Kornbluh and Julia E. Sweig report in the LA Times:

In the trial of Luis Posada Carriles, which began this week in El Paso, U.S. prosecutors will for the first time publicly present evidence of the anti-Castro militant’s long career of political violence. But although the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has identified Posada as "a danger to both the community and national security of the United States," and his case is being handled by the Justice Department’s counter-terrorism division, he is not being prosecuted as a terrorist. Instead, Posada is charged only with immigration fraud as well as several counts of perjury relating to his role in a series of 1997 hotel bombings in Havana.

Still, this is a groundbreaking case. It is notable that the U.S. government, whose Central Intelligence Agency trained, paid and deployed Posada to conduct violent operations against Cuba in the 1960s, has finally decided to prosecute him. And the case is remarkable for the substantive cooperation it has produced between the Cuban and U.S. governments.

However tendentious the analogy, the government of Cuba has described Posada as its Osama bin Laden: a violent fanatic who committed unspeakable crimes and has yet to pay the price.

According to declassified CIA documents, Posada was recruited and trained by the agency in the use of explosives and in guerilla warfare during the early 1960s. In November 2000, he was caught in Panama City with a carload of dynamite and a plastic explosive as part of a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro at an Ibero-American summit. (He was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison but was pardoned in August 2004 by then-Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso.)

Posada has also been linked to repeated terrorist attacks against Cuban targets. Declassified FBI and CIA intelligence reports point the finger at Posada as the mastermind of the worst pre- 9/11 act of aviation terrorism in the Western Hemisphere: the midair bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed all 73 people on board. In 1997 and 1998, by his own public admission, he orchestrated a series of seven bombings of tourist hotels and restaurants in Havana, killing a 32-year-old Italian businessman and injuring 11 other people.

So, is he repentant? "I sleep like a baby," Posada declared in a candid interview with the New York Times in July 1998. "That Italian was sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is sad that someone is dead, but we can’t stop," he warned.

Such admissions, along with a dossier of U.S. government evidence, should have provided grounds for the George W. Bush administration to detain Posada under the USA Patriot Act when he showed up in Miami in March 2005. Instead, more than two months after he arrived, the government charged him only with immigration violations, perhaps because Posada had long been a celebrated figure in Florida, lauded by many of his Cuban exile comrades as a hero in the cause of bringing down the Castro regime. The Obama Justice Department, in April 2009, added several perjury charges relating to statements Posada made under oath relating to his role in the hotel bombings.

With such historical and political baggage surrounding Posada, the Obama administration should be commended for finally prosecuting him. Havana seems to agree, despite its disappointment that more serious charges against Posada weren’t filed.

Since Posada’s arrest in Miami, Cuba has given considerable assistance to U.S law enforcement authorities. Teams of Justice Department lawyers and investigators have traveled to Havana at least four times to interview witnesses and review evidence. Cuba was even ready to receive Posada’s lawyers in January 2010 (although they ultimately declined to go). The Cuban government has turned over video of the crime scenes and more than 1,500 pages of investigative reports on the hotel bombings. Cuba has allowed the FBI to question and depose Posada accomplices arrested in Cuba. And it also agreed to allow two lead Cuban police investigators to travel next week to El Paso to testify about the forensic evidence they found.

How much of the evidence provided by Cuba will be introduced by prosecutors . . . 

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2011 at 10:45 am

Posted in Government, Law, Terrorism

Boeuf à la Flamande

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I was looking for this recipe (aka Carbonnades à la Flamande), reminded of it by something I read in Scott Feldstein’s blog. At last I’ve found it, in Myra Waldo’s Beer and Good Food, an excellent little cookbook:

4 lbs beef (brisket, eye round, chuck)
4 cups sliced onions
4 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
2 cups (16 oz) beer
1 Tbsp vinegar
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp thyme
3 Tbsp minced parsley

Buy first-cut brisket or have the other types cut 1 inch thick. Cut into 12 pieces.

Use a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan and brown the onions in the butter. Remove the onions and brown the meat in the remaining butter. Sprinkle with the flour. Add everything else (the onions, beer, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley). Cover and cook over low heat 3 hours, or until meat is very tender.

Serves 6-8.

This is extremely tasty and an old standby. Absolutely wonderful on a cold day. It occurs to me now that after adding all the ingredients, the dish could be cooked in the oven (200ºF or 8-10 hours or 300ºF for 4-5 hours) as in a slow cooker.

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2011 at 10:18 am

It’s not the TV, it’s the sitting

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Thanks to Joel for passing along this link. Anne Harding writing for CNN’s Health.com:

Spending lots of free time glued to the TV or computer screen can hurt your heart and shorten your life, no matter how much exercise you get when you’re not riding the couch, a new study suggests.

People who spent at least four hours per day watching TV, playing video games, or using a computer for fun were more than twice as likely as those who kept their recreational "screen time" under two hours to experience a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular problem, the study found. Couch potatoes were also about 50 percent more likely to die of any cause during the four-year study.

The link between screen time and heart problems barely changed when the researchers factored in the amount of moderate-to-vigorous exercise the study participants did, suggesting that the health benefits of exercise don’t cancel out all that time in front of the tube or computer. (The researchers also controlled for obesity, smoking, diabetes, social class, and other factors.)

The study doesn’t prove that watching TV or playing computer games is inherently unhealthy, says the lead researcher, Emmanuel Stamatakis, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at University College London, in the U.K. The real culprit may be what people tend to do during those activities: sit.

Why is sitting harmful? It’s not entirely clear, but animal studies have shown that prolonged sitting slows down the action of an enzyme (lipoprotein lipase) that breaks down fats in the blood, such as cholesterol and triglycerides. When the enzyme activity slows, levels of those substances climb. This is a "very plausible explanation" for the findings, Stamatakis says…

Continue reading. The article includes this link: Health.com: 9 surprising heart attack risks, and the risk from taking calcium supplements surprised me, though my doctor already told me to cut the calcium supplement to 500 mg QD and to take the calcium with a Vitamin D supplement of 2000 IU.

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2011 at 9:47 am

Don Quixote is funnier than I recall

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Or maybe I’m just paying more attention. And certainly the Edith Grossman translation is excellent.

Early in the novel Don Quixote and Sancho Panza encounter a funeral party with a story: the poet Grisóstomo had fallen in love with the unsurpassed beauty of Marcela, a young woman of wealth who has elected to live alone as a shepherdess. Grisóstomo becomes a shepherd to court her and is rejected and ultimately dies. His friends blame Marcela with some anger for being arrogant, disdainful, and so on. Then Marcela herself shows up at the funeral—incredibly beautiful—and makes a strikingly modern speech about women’s rights—specifically, how a woman has a right to lead her own life and is not required to return the love of anyone who falls in love with her. Guilt for Grisóstomo’s death properly belongs to Grisóstomo himself.

All that sounds right to modern ears, though it must have been startling at the time. Then Marcela leaves the funeral, and such is her beauty that several of the men there are inclined to follow her, even though she has specifically said she wishes to be alone.

Don Quixote quickly makes himself her champion, and holding his lance astride Rocinante, he blocks the way and says that, if anyone attempts to follow Marcela, who wishes to be alone, they will have to answer to him.

No one’s interested in the challenge, and they all leave. Whereupon Don Quixote immediately turns and follows the way Marcela went, calling for her. I had to laugh, after Don Quixote’s fine speech and actions defending Marcela’s desire for solitude, at the picture of Don Quixote, followed by Sancho Panza, riding through the wood and yoo-hooing. “Marcela? Yoo-hoo, Marcel-l-l-l-la.”

They don’t find her and eventually lie down to rest in a pleasant meadow at one end of which are some ponies. Sancho doesn’t bother to hobble the aged and skinny Rocinante, who is old and chaste. But lo! Rocinante does indeed get flirty with the pony mares and he is beaten for his ardor, as are Don Quixote and Sancho Panza when they try to rescue him.

I’m sure Rocinante’s little fling is in some way an echo of Don Quixote (also old and chaste) following after Marcela. “Yoo-hoooooo. Marcel-l-l-l-la?”

Maybe you have to read it for yourself, but I got a chuckle—first from Don Quixote’s artless pursuit—no comment made, he simply goes to find her after everyone’s left, in spite of his rousing defense of her solitude—followed immediately by Rocinante imitating his master, as it were.

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2011 at 9:42 am

Prairie Creations Orange

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Extremely smooth and easy shave today. I began with an abundant and orange-fragranced lather that the Omega 643167 worked up from Prairie Creations Orange tallow-based shave soap. Three smooth passes with the Pils holding a newish Swedish Gillette blade, a splash of Royall Mandarin, and I ready to rush about picking up the apartment for the cleaning ladies.

I had intended to use the other tiny brush. Tomorrow, I expect.

Written by Leisureguy

12 January 2011 at 9:24 am

Posted in Shaving

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