Later On

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

Archive for April 12th, 2011

Meals that fall together, and a deficiency in Canadian Socialism

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I love it when a meal just comes together. After class I wanted to pick up some light protein and decided on a fresh fillet of Dover sole—but, on the way (as so often happens) I was seduced by lovely produce I hadn’t planned to buy: I saw some luscious-looking Roma tomatoes, and thought, “Slow-roasted Roma tomatoes.” And I saw some fresh green garlic, available only in early Spring, so naturally I had to buy a handful of stalks of that, for something or other: get it while it’s available. And the fish was for dinner and I was peckish now, so I got four big shrimp to poach as a protein snack. But when we got home the first thing I did was to halve the Romas vertically and lay them out on my Silpat baking sheet, brush with the Fiery Chili Olive Oil, dust with salt and pepper, and put into a 350ºF oven. I know that 200º for 8-10 hours (or overnight) is good, but I was in a hurry.

Nice shrimp (with some chipotle sauce I had), and when dinner rolled around, I immediately took out three stalks of the green garlic and sliced those up. I still had a little liquid in the sauté pan from poaching the shrimp, so I started the garlic simmering in that while I considered my next move.

While I thought, I sprinkled a little salt in with the garlic, ground in some pepper, and shook in a bit of crushed red pepper—not enough to make it really spicy, just enough to give it body.

The tomatoes! Of course! They were far from done, but they had shrunk down a fair amount, concentrating the flavor, and I would simmer them some more. I took off four of the halves and returned the rest to the oven. The four halves I chopped and added to the garlic. That was simmering. I would add fresh parsley or basil but had neither. I needed a starch—and I had just the thing: the smoked couscous I had ordered from Quebec.

I took the package out and looked to see what constituted one serving, and—surprise! No nutrition facts! No serving size, no caloric content, not macronutrient analysis, no sodium content. So far as nutritional information, you are no better off then with a street vendor in a third-world country.

What’s wrong up there? I thought they were Socialist—a strange sort, if it is that deficient in government regulation. I knew already that they didn’t care much about the environment, but food, forchrissake!

So I went with about 3 Tbsp (scant 1/4 cup), let that simmer. I decided to give a little more flavor, oil, and liquid, and added a tablespoon of Bragg’s vinaigrette. It was pretty thick at this point, so I poured in about 1-2 Tbsp coconut vinegar, cut the Dover sole fillet (7 oz) into four pieces and laid it across the top, sprinkled it with one Meyer lemon, diced, put on the lid, kept the heat at low, and let it simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Perfecto.

Fresh strawberries for dessert. And I’m pleased at how, over the whole day, I balanced out my servings, even though eating lunch on the run (because of class). And with only 2 oz of protein in the morning (one egg at breakfast, another for lunch), I brought that up with the shrimp and the fish.

As I figured this out and totted up the counts and totals, I realized that this is what I now do. I don’t keep a written food journal, so to know what I’m eating in a day, I have to keep track in my head. And by now I feel right when it balances the way I want.

I also realized that this is exactly mindful eating: knowing what you are eating and what you have eaten, not eating anything unconsciously, without recognizing, acknowledging, measuring, and counting it. Without knowing what I’m eating, I would have trouble balancing my food intake. Some do it unconsciously, I suppose. I do it consciously.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 April 2011 at 8:57 pm

Self-directed writing course

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This came up in discussion with other students, so I thought I’d post the link again for all. I was surprised to discover that the PDF file of the exercises had been lost. I’ve replaced it and it again can be downloaded.

This little self-directed course really works, provided you actually spend 30 minutes a day, each day, doing the exercise as directed. Persist, and by the end you’ll be amazed at the number of ways—and how much—you are able to improve the drafts of your writing.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 April 2011 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Education, Writing

What to put on popcorn

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I had a post long ago with ideas for popcorn seasonings. Mark Bittman has a post of general advice about making popcorn, and he offers these seasoning ideas as part of that post:

Toss any of these with just-cooked popcorn, alone or in combination. Since some are more potent than others, start with a light sprinkle and taste as you go.

  • Chopped fresh herbs
  • Black pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Curry powder, or garam or chaat masala
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Five-spice powder
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Cayenne or red chile flakes
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Brown sugar
  • Finely ground nuts or shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • Chopped dried fruit

Written by LeisureGuy

12 April 2011 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

Interesting post on a change of view

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In spite of the fact that changing one’s opinions in the light of new information is one of the most common of life experiences—and indeed, education consists of little else—it can still be difficult. As Steve of Kafeneio would probably say, the Ego feels threatened by such a change—indeed, it seems that the Ego feels threatened by just about everything—and so some will persist in expressing beliefs they no longer hold simply because they are embarrassed to say that they have changed their opinion in the light of new realizations and new information.

So I’m impressed by this post by Louis Marinelli:

Having spent the last five years putting all of my political will, interest and energy into fighting against the spread of same-sex marriage as if it were a contagious disease, I must admit that it is hard for me to put the following text into words let alone utter them with my own voice.

Whether it is an issue of disbelief, shame or embarrassment, the one thing that is for sure is that I have come to this point after several months of an internal conflict with myself. That conflict gradually tore away at me until recently when I was able to for the first time simply admit to myself that I do in fact support civil marriage equality.

While I have come to terms with this reality internally, speaking about it, even with the closest members of my family, has proven to be something difficult for me to do.

In short, if there is an issue of disbelief surrounding my newfound support for civil marriage equality, it is disbelief from those who surround me. If there is an issue of shame, it is a result of acknowledging the number of people I have targeted, hurt and oppressed. And if there is an issue of embarrassment, its roots lie in the face-to-face encounters I have had and expect to have with those with whom I once toiled over this very contentious issue.

I understand that those whom I approach now are well within their right to disbelieve and question me and my motives. I accept that is the result of what I have done over the past few years and would therefore like to take this time to, as openly as I can, discuss the events that brought about my change of heart.

As you may already know, I was the one behind the 2010 Summer for Marriage Tour which the National Organization for Marriage sponsored and operated throughout July and August last year. It was my doing when, in March that year, I approached Brian Brown, then Executive Director of the National Organization for Marriage about sponsoring and participating in a series of traditional marriage rallies scattered around the Nation.

In fact, the tour route itself, while chosen largely by NOM itself, incorporated as many of the sites I had originally chosen and helped independently organize. Other locations were added due to strategic, political or simply logistical purposes.

Ironically, one of the last tour stops added to the itinerary was Atlanta and I bring this site up because it was in Atlanta that I can remember that I questioned what I was doing for the first time. The NOM showing in the heart of the Bible-belt was dismal and the hundreds of counter-protesters who showed up were nothing short of inspiring.

Even though I had been confronted by the counter-protesters throughout the marriage tour, the lesbian and gay people whom I made a profession out of opposing became real people for me almost instantly. For the first time I had empathy for them and remember asking myself what I was doing.

If my transition from opponent to supporter of same-sex civil marriage was a timeline, Atlanta would be indicated by the first point on the line. The next point on that timeline would be two months later…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 April 2011 at 9:48 am

Posted in Daily life

Good site to explore Esperanto

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Some good Esperanto sites:

Lernu — dedicated to teaching Esperanto — information in multiple languages about Esperanto

Written by LeisureGuy

12 April 2011 at 9:32 am

Posted in Daily life

Gluten, gluten everywhere

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Gluten intolerance (aka celiac disease) seems to be more common that I at first thought likely. The problem is diagnosis: not only does the disease present differently in different people, but many who suffer from the malady think that the way they fell is simply how they feel: it’s life.

The problem is that wheat flour is pressed upon us constantly: baskets of bread in restaurants, sandwiches for lunch, and wheat flour as a thickener in all sorts of processed food.

The most straightforward way to find whether you suffer from gluten intolerance is to go on a gluten-free diet, though that does require some thought, effort, and careful reading of food-product labels. But if you are gluten-intolerant, doing this can make a surprising difference. Take this account:

. . . That’s when I removed bread, pasta, cookies, pastries, sweeteners and essentially anything processed from my diet. I decided to go gluten-free and ditch all processed food after an extended period of feeling devoid of energy, sluggish, “blah.” I won’t lie – the first few weeks were equivalent to “diet rehab.” Weaning off the unhealthy choices I used to rely on meant giving up the little highs that got me through the day (a delicious morning latte, a comforting carb-loaded lunch).

But the sacrifice of this new eating practice (even in light of those first few sucky weeks) is nothing compared to what I’ve gained.

I’m twenty pounds lighter, generally happier and more vibrant. By ditching the foods that weren’t honoring my body I’ve ushered in a new clarity. I’ve derived a great deal of power from building my own plan, my way. . .

Here are Mayo Clinic guidelines for a gluten-free diet.

It strikes me that anyone who regularly feels sub-par should try going gluten-free for a few months just to see what happens. After all, we do not have a minimum daily requirement for gluten: giving it up is merely a minor inconvenience, and who knows what you might discover?

Written by LeisureGuy

12 April 2011 at 9:27 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health, Medical

Another fine lather

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Another very fine lather—no surprise, since I imagine Collier Row is, save for fragrance, the same formulation as the Notting Hill used yesterday. The fragrance, according to my unreliable nose, includes orange, and the lather was thick and generous. Three passes with the Elite Razor—with some additional work in polishing, since the Astra Keramik blade was on its last legs and was replaced after the shave. A generous splash of New York, and I’m more or less ready for class.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 April 2011 at 9:14 am

Posted in Shaving

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