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Archive for April 30th, 2017

Turkey Thighs with Bacon, Tomatoes, and Porcini

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This started out as a Mark Bittman recipe, but I made a fair number of changes. It is really tasty:

Step 1: Take turkey thighs out of the fridge for 1-2 hours before you start so they can come to room temperature. If you use straight from fridge, it will significantly affect timing: this is a low-temperature recipe, so it takes a long time to warm up a slab of fridge-cold meat.

Step 2: About half an hour before you really get to work, mince the garlic and make the “preserved” lemons. – Mark Bittman “preserved” lemon: Wash 1 lemon, cut off the ends and discard, then slice into slabs and across the slabs to dice the lemon. Put it in a small bowl, add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1.5 teaspoon sugar, stir, and let sit 20 minutes.

2-3 slices thick bacon—or you can use 5 oz diced pancetta; original recipe called for a slab of prosciutto (mine was 4 oz, about right), diced, and with the prosciutto you used 2 tablespoons olive oil to lightly brown the prosciutto. I’ve now tried all three and they’re all good. Diced pancetta for the next one.

2 turkey thighs, removed from fridge 1-2 hours before cooking; I’ve also used 2 turkey drumsticks with good success. And salt and pepper well just before you brown them.

The following ingredients, down through the garlic, are all added at the same time, so I suggest you use a large bowl and add the ingredients to that bowl as you prepare them.

• 3 cups chopped aromatic vegetables—for example, 1 cup chopped celery (about 2-3 stalks), 1 diced carrot, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, and 4 shallots chopped (or other allium such as: 1 big onion; or, 2 spring onions; or a large leek or 2 small leeks; or, 1-2 bunches of scallions).
• Optional: 3-4 mushrooms, chopped (optional because dried porcinis added later)
• 1/3 cup barley—pearled, hulled, or pot barley (steel-cut barley)
• 1 packet dried porcini mushrooms, broken into pieces
• 1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 8-10 garlic cloves, chopped fine (do this early so the minced garlic can sit for 10-15 minutes)

• splash of sherry (Amontillado or Cream) to deglaze the pan

• good dash Red Boat fish sauce (optional but I always use: ups the umami; you could substitute 4-5 anchovy fillets (those that come in a jar, not a tin))
• 1 cup sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
• 1 cup good black olives, pitted (or not, but then be careful when you chew— I usually use Kalamata olives and I halve them: more olive per bite, and halving them detects pits)
• 1.5 tablespoon good horseradish (get it from the refrigerated section)
• 1 lemon “preserved” as described above
• 1-2 tablespoons vinegar (sherry, red wine, rice, whatever, though not balsamic, I think)

White wine, dry vermouth, water, red wine, or stock to almost cover veg. (I use white wine; original calls for red wine: to-may-to, to-mah-to.)

I tried my 10″ 4-qt All-Clad sauté pan and it worked fine, but note that the thighs sit fairly high. (Lid must fit tight for the oven cooking.) The most recent batch required the 10″ 6-qt All-Clad pot.

Get all the vegetables chopped and ready before you start—more chopping time required than I expected. And when you start putting the dish together, you do a series of steps and if you’re still prepping, it’s easy to get rattled and confused. Trust me.

Brown the bacon pieces (or diced pancetta; if using prosciutto, add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and brown the prosciutto in that). Remove browned pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Salt and pepper turkey thighs (or drumsticks) well on both sides. Brown the turkey in the bacon fat or olive oil, skin side first. Brown the skin side 5 minutes minimum without disturbing. The skin side should be well browned. Then flip and brown other side for 2 minutes. Remove turkey pieces to a bowl, plate, or pan.

At this point the pan may contain a lot of fat. Pour off fat to leave about 1-2 tablespoons in the pan. (Discard the excess fat.)

Preheat the oven to 250ºF.

Add chopped vegetables, rosemary, thyme, garlic, mushrooms, and barley to the oil in the pan. Stir vegetables as they sauté and season with salt and pepper as they cook.

When the vegetables are softened, deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry. Then add the tomatoes, olives, “preserved” lemon, and a good dash of Red Boat fish sauce if you have it. (If you don’t, rethink your priorities.)

Add liquid to almost (but not quite) cover the vegetables. (I generally use white wine or dry vermouth for this.)

Lay the turkey pieces, skin side up, on the vegetables and add the cooked bacon (or pancetta or prosciutto) on top of the thighs. Cover and cook in 250ºF oven for 4.5 hours (drumsticks) to 5 hours (thighs). Turkey meat should be falling off the bone.

Thighs: Use tongs to remove the two bones, and break up the meat with the edge of a spoon. Stir it all together.

Drumsticks: use a fork to pick off the meat (which will be tender and falling away from the bone), removing the small bones that are embedded in the meat around the main bone. Some of these are small, so pick carefully. You’ll quickly get the hang of it. Once all the little bones are out, remove the main bone, and then stir to locate small bones you missed. (Thighs are easier, obviously, but drumsticks are quite tasty.)

Garnish with chopped parsley (or perhaps minced chives) if you like and serve. This is incredibly tasty, as revised.

Turkey meat has little fat, thus the pork (bacon, pancetta, or prosciutto-and-olive oil) helps.

PS: I just had some sprinkled with coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, and I suddenly get the idea of grating some Parmesan over food as a finishing touch: umami! That’s why.

Written by Leisureguy

30 April 2017 at 4:52 pm

Scientists in many disciplines see apocalypse, soon

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Phil Torres writes in Salon:

While apocalyptic beliefs about the end of the world have, historically, been the subject of religious speculation, they are increasingly common among some of the leading scientists today. This is a worrisome fact, given that science is based not on faith and private revelation, but on observation and empirical evidence.

Perhaps the most prominent figure with an anxious outlook on humanity’s future is Stephen Hawking. Last year, he wrote the following in a Guardian article:

Now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans. Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it.

There is not a single point here that is inaccurate or hyperbolic. For example, consider that the hottest 17 years on record have all occurred since 2000, with a single exception (namely, 1998), and with 2016 being the hottest ever. Although 2017 probably won’t break last year’s record, the UK’s Met Office projects that it “will still rank among the hottest years on record.” Studies also emphasize that there is a rapidly closing window for meaningful action on climate change. As the authors of one peer-reviewed paper put it:

The next few decades offer a brief window of opportunity to minimize large-scale and potentially catastrophic climate change that will extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far. Policy decisions made during this window are likely to result in changes to Earth’s climate system measured in millennia rather than human lifespans, with associated socioeconomic and ecological impacts that will exacerbate the risks and damages to society and ecosystems that are projected for the twenty-first century and propagate into the future for many thousands of years.

Furthermore, studies suggest that civilization will have to produce more food in the next 50 years than in all of human history, which stretches back some 200,000 years into the Pleistocene epoch. This is partly due to the ongoing problem of overpopulation, where Pew projects approximately 9.3 billion people living on spaceship Earth by 2050. According to the 2016 Living Planet Report, humanity needs 1.6 Earths to sustain our current rate of (over)consumption — in other words, unless something significant changes with respect to anthropogenic resource depletion, nature will force life as we know it to end.

Along these lines, scientists largely agree that human activity has pushed the biosphere into the sixth mass extinction event in the entire 4.5 billion year history of Earth. This appears to be the case even on the most optimistic assumptions about current rates of species extinctions, which may be occurring 10,000 times faster than the normal “background rate” of extinction. . .

Continue reading.

Trump is dismantling the EPA. Corporations in general and the fossil fuel industry and going to ride this all the way down. The goal is to set profit records and make enough money to find a safe haven, wherever that may be.

Written by Leisureguy

30 April 2017 at 1:47 pm

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