Later On

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

Archive for January 17th, 2011

OMG: Look at these Marsala Glazed Mushrooms

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Don’t those look great? Sound easy, too—so long as you know the trick (at the link).

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2011 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Food, Recipes & Cooking

OneNote is it

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Okay, I finally found something that fits the way my mind wants to approach this book: OneNote. I have OneNote 2007, and tonight I opened it, created a new notebook (for the book I’m writing), named the first section "General" and wrote on the first page of that section a paragraph on how I planned to use OneNote. Then I created a section "Recipes" and each page is a recipe. If I copy a recipe from the blog to OneNote, it automatically appends the source URL. It also date and time stamps the last modification to each individual entry on  a page. (OneNote pages can be somewhat freeform if you want, as most do.)

Of course, much of the stuff I’m writing, I’ve been thinking about, but it’s great to find a program that accepts it comfortably as I’m comfortable in presenting it.

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2011 at 5:56 pm

Posted in Software, Writing

Don Quixote

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I’m still greatly enjoying the Edith Grossman translation of Don Quixote (link is to hardbound edition—I would not want to read a book this size in paperback; YMMV), though I’m surprised and regretful that the publisher failed to include a bound-in ribbon bookmark. In this sort (and size) of book, I think that is de rigueur.

But to the point: if we were in a St. John’s seminar, I would definitely ask, “Why does Don Quixote mistake windmills for giants and flocks of sheep for armies, but the terrible fulling hammers remain fulling hammers? In fact, in talking to Sancho Panza after they learn that the terrible noise was caused by fulling hammers, Don Quixote comments on how they might pretend that the fulling hammers are giants, etc.—this from the guy who attacked a windmill thinking it was a giant.” Then I would read this comment made by Don Q (page 150-151 in the Grossman translation).

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Don Quixote’s remark seems surreal, given the earlier events and happenings. OTOH, we do know that DQ is mad.

Still, it’s something I’d like to have a little seminar discussion about.

UPDATE: It’s as though the fulling hammers have some stronger kind of reality, a reality so strong that DQ’s madness cannot cloak it—i.e., the reality of the fulling hammers is stronger than the reality of the windmills and sheep, stronger in the sense of being resistant to DQ’s madness.

So why? Is it that the fulling hammers made him afraid? No—hasn’t he been afraid from time to time in earlier adventures? — Now I need to go skim over the earlier stuff.

UPDATE 2: Right after the strange fulling-hammers episode, where DQ not only gives no fantastic interpretation of the fulling hammers, but even talks about “pretending” they were giants—right after that episode that Don Quixote encounters Mambrino’s magical helmet, which is in fact a shiny brass barber’s basin. Sancho Panza points out that it’s a barber’s  basin, and DQ says, in effect, “Yes, I see what you mean: it looks exactly like a barber’s basin. Some rogue must have melted down half and reshaped the remainder to look like this.”

That is, DQ does indeed see the same physical thing now that SP does (unlike the windmills or the sheep), but he interprets it differently. The physical object has become, in effect, a signifier, and DQ’s interpretation of its significance is…, well, special. But isn’t it odd to see some physical thing acting like a word? (Like a word iIn that it points to an actuality that is beyond itself.)

UPDATE 3: And what is especially odd is that the entity signified by the physical object (the basin) is itself fictitious, being a magic helmet in a novel about knights errant.

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2011 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Books

Cool sweet-potato recipe idea from Elizabeth Yarnell

with 3 comments

The idea is this: roast sweet potatoes until done, mash with butter, and add chipotle powder. Smile

You may want to look at her post. She boils the potatoes – to my mind, that means pouring water-soluble vitamins down the drain.

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2011 at 2:23 pm

One-pot lamb curry experiment

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This GOPM is cooking now:

4 scallions, sliced thinly
1/2 cup converted rice
1/2 lb lamb shoulder arm chop, cut into small pieces, fat removed
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp Penzey’s hot curry powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into 12 (3×4) or 16 (4×4) little chunks
3 large domestic mushrooms, sliced
1/2 bulb fresh fennel, cored and sliced thinly
1 package frozen peas and pearl onions
good sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes
1 head cauliflower, florets removed and sliced
1/2 cup low-fat coconut milk
juice of 1 lime

Those are the layers, bottom to top. I’m cooking it now. I’ll update with results. As always, this constitutes two meals.

I have to say that I prefer the shape of the Texsport 2-qt Dutch oven (tall cylinder; $24.47) to that of the Cajun Classic (squat cylinder; $33.60). The Cajun Classic is enameled, but for quite a few things that will make no difference. [UPDATE: The Texsport turns out to be, in actual measure, 2.5 quarts—i.e., 2 quarts plus 2 more cups. The extra room just is filled with vegetables, so no problem—I do measure starch and protein carefully. – LG]

Of course, there’s also Le Creuset, at $140. Too much.

Lodge makes a pre-seasoned cast-iron 2-quart “serving pot” that would work as well, but it looks like the squat cylinder type. $30 for this one.

More expensive (retail at $187, on Amazon for $100), Staub’s 2.25-quart round enameled cast-iron cocottes would be an excellent size and comes in some great colors. I don’t want to go to 3 quarts, though that size is easily found, because I will be maintaining my target weight, and cooking larger quantities for a meal doesn’t seem the direction to go. But an additional capacity of 1 cup would often be handy. (Of course, the food cooks down in the oven.)

UPDATE: The dish is excellent and nicely spicy. I probably could have added two servings of the coconut milk (i.e., a total of 2/3 cup), but it really wasn’t necessary.

I am figuring out why I like this approach to meals:

1. The 2-qt pot size keeps the meal from sprawling out of control—and, because you cook exactly two meals (e.g., half the pot of the lamb dish was my lunch and the other half will be dinner): thus, no leftovers.

2. I immediately get out of the way the two parts of the meal I have to be careful about: the starch (goes at the bottom, right on top of the onions, so added at the beginning) and the protein (goes right on top of the starch).

3. Once I have the starch and protein in the pot, I can cook the way I enjoy: adding things that catch my eye until the pot is full. “Things” refers to vegetables, spices, herbs, and condiments. Obviously, I observe a theme that directs the selection, but I pretty much just look around the kitchen for whatever might fit the theme.

4. I enjoy using small amounts of vegetables, as dictated by the pot dimensions: using 4 mushrooms, for example, or 6 spears of asparagus, or 1 carrot: I get more meals from the same amount of food. (In the past, of course, I cooked much more and ate much more and was much bigger.)

5. Cook once, eat twice—or, One prep, two meals.

6. Clean-up is one easy-to-clean pot.

7. Food tastes great—at least the ones that I think were real successes, including this lamb curry (and I want to try it with red lentils, too), the chicken-mushroom-spinach dish (which was also exceptionally colorful), and the Chinese-ish pork dish with rice and cabbage, though that needed more soy sauce and more crushed red pepper.

8. I’m eating more vegetables and a greater variety of vegetables.

The bell peppers, BTW, add excellent color to the dish. I’d use them for that if for no other reason.

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2011 at 1:23 pm

Climate change: Rising water threatens North Carolina

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States are starting to plan, but I guess the idea is that we’ll just let global warming happen and see how it works out, rather than take steps to halt or reverse it. Guts or stupidity or both, I’d say. Bruce Henderson reports for the Charlotte Observer:

The sea that sculpted North Carolina’s coast, from its arc of barrier islands to the vast, nurturing sounds, is reshaping it once again.

Water is rising three times faster on the N.C. coast than it did a century ago as warming oceans expand and land ice melts, recent research has found. It’s the beginning of what a N.C. science panel expects will be a 1-meter increase by 2100.

Rising sea level is the clearest signal of climate change in North Carolina. Few places in the United States stand to be more transformed.

About 2,000 square miles of our low, flat coast, an area nearly four times the size of Mecklenburg County, is 1 meter (about 39 inches) or less above water.

At risk are more than 30,500 homes and other buildings, including some of the state’s most expensive real estate. Economists say $6.9 billion in property, in just the four counties they studied, will be at risk from rising seas by late this century.

Climate models predict intensifying storms that could add billions of dollars more in losses to tourism, farming and other businesses.

While polls show growing public skepticism of global warming [thanks to the GOP – LG], the people paid to worry about the future – engineers, planners, insurance companies – are already bracing for a wetter world.

"Sea-level rise is happening now. This is not a projection of something that will happen in the future if climate continues to change," said geologist Rob Young of Western Carolina University, who studies developed shorelines.

Nobody knows how high or fast the sea will rise. Water isn’t likely to submerge all the state’s low coastland because landowners will fight back. But the coast we know, with its fringe of salt marshes, its fluffy beaches and old harbor towns, might look like a different place a few generations from now.

That won’t be the work of rising water alone, but of quirks in North Carolina’s coastal topography. The flat ground means even a small increase in water level will spread far inland. The coastal plain is also sinking, the geologic legacy of the last Ice Age.

Sea-level rise magnifies two other powerful forces . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2011 at 9:27 am

Cool: New 10 Commandments lawsuit, from the other side

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Ed Brayton:

My friends at Americans United for Separation of Church and State have filed a very interesting lawsuit against Johnson County, TN, for refusing to approve a display about the history of the separation of church and state in America. You can read the complaint here and it’s a very interesting legal strategy that uses the religious right’s own legal tactics against them.

The county had originally put up just a plaque of the Ten Commandments. Faced with legal action, they then put up a larger display that included the Ten Commandments and other plaques with quotes from the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Supreme Court rulings and other historical sources. This is similar to what is done with nativity scenes — throw some secular symbols around the religious core and the courts will let it slide by.

But in doing so, the county also explicitly declared the courthouse to be a public forum:

After receiving complaints about the Ten Commandments plaque, Defendant did not remove it. Instead, Defendant adopted a Policy Governing Placement of Displays in the Lobby of the Johnson County Courthouse ("Policy"), which purported to create a "limited public forum" for displays that "directly relate to the development of law, the universally-valued principle of equal justice under the law, the history and heritage of the law of Johnson County, State of Tennessee, or the United States, and/or the specific function of the Courthouse itself."

So a local resident took them up on that policy and submitted a display taking the opposite position but citing the same sources. You can guess what happened:

Pursuant to the Policy, Plaintiff Ralph Stewart, who served five years in the Marines as a commissioned reserve officer, subsequently submitted a written proposal to display two framed posters, entitled "On the Legal Heritage of the Separation of Church and State" and "The Ten Commandments Are Not the Foundation of American Law." These displays consisted of quotations from the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Supreme Court cases, and other law-related historical sources. Although Defendant denied Mr. Stewart’s request on the ground that the posters did not fall within the subject-matter of the public forum created by the Policy, Mr. Stewart’s display covers the same subject-matter–and quotes from many of the same sources — as does the Second Ten Commandments display. The only material difference is the viewpoint expressed.

So now the AU has filed suit on Stewart’s behalf. This is a brilliant strategy. The county established a public forum so they could then say that whatever is on display is not government speech. But once you establish a public forum, the law is clear that you cannot restrict access to that forum based on the viewpoint being expressed.

And ironically, the line of cases that establish that law is one that was created by religious right attorneys seeking access to public forums for religious groups — Mergen’s, Lamb’s Chapel, Rosenberger and other cases. This was Jay Sekulow’s brilliant strategy to use the free speech clause and the concept of viewpoint discrimination to gain a place for religious speech on public property (and it’s the constitutionally correct position as well). And now it’s being used against them. I like it.

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2011 at 9:21 am

Welsh Rabbit

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Recipe from Myra Waldo’s Beer and Good Food. She has several variations and is one who uses “rarebit” because the joke flies over her head.

2 Tbsp butter
4 cups (1 pound) grated Cheddar or Swiss cheese
3/4 cup beer
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dry mustard (and wouldn’t you use Colman’s? – LG)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg

In the top of a double boiler or chafing dish, melt the butter. Place over hot water and add the cheese; let melt. Mix the beer with the salt, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce; gradually add to the cheese, stirring constantly until smooth.

Beat the egg yolk; add a little of the cheese mixture, stirring constantly to prevent curdling. Return to balance of cheese mixture, mixing steadily. Serve on butter toast. Serves 4-6.

Variation: Buck Rabbit

Place a lightly poached egg on top of the Welsh Rabbit for each serving.

UPDATE: Sounds like an excellent recipe here.

UPDATE 2: The Eldest offers this one:

Scottish Fondue
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 pound grated mix of cantal, cheddar, Swiss, and/or Muenster cheese
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (or cornstarch)
3 tablespoons Scotch whisky
Salt and pepper

UPDATE 3: Mark Bittman’s recipe sounds good.

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2011 at 9:19 am

Sandalwood

with 10 comments

An extremely pleasant shave, sandalwood throughout. Terrific (and fragrant) lather using the Rooney Style 2, then the Hoffritz Slant Bar (looking quite spiffy in its rhodium plate) with an Swedish Gillette blade removed the stubble very smoothly. On the final pass, I did pick up the Eclipse Red Ring and used that. A splash of Sandalwood, and I’m on my way.

Written by Leisureguy

17 January 2011 at 9:13 am

Posted in Shaving

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