Later On

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

Archive for September 28th, 2020

New approach to Other Vegetables

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I do follow Greger’s Daily Dozen (see this post), and till now for Greens I have cooked a combination of greens — any three of rapini, lacinato kale, green kale, red kale, collards, spinach, chard, red chard, cabbage — along with some allium (garlic always and scallions or leeks or red onions) and often a lemon, sometimes also kalamata olives.

And I’ve done the same with other vegetables: a big mix of a lot of different vegetables. But lately I’ve been attracted to cooking a smaller variety (and amount), moving the variety toward a series rather than in parallel. So tonight I took only some of the Other Vegetables I had bought to cook and made a kind of Mediterranean dish that turned out quite good. Remembering Dr. Greger’s point about the importance of recipe names, I offer:

Eggplant Power Fennel

I used my All-Clad 12″ fry pan (for which I purchased an aftermarket lid).

First I peeled .

6 cloves garlic

and sliced them thinly using my little garlic mandoline. Those I set aside to rest.

1 good-sized leek, sliced including the green part (rinsing is important in the green: lots of dirt)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive

I turned the heat to medium and let that begin to cook while I prepared the rest:

1 Japanese eggplant, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 bulb fennel, fronds chopped, quartered and cored and sliced thinly
•  about 1/2 cup — perhaps a little more — sun-dried tomato (not packed in oil), chopped
•  8-10 mushrooms, sliced or chopped (didn’t think of these in time, but next time for sure)

When the leek had cooked down a bit, I added the garlic and cooked that, stirring, for about a minute, then added eggplant, fennel, and tomatoes. I cooked it for a few minutes, the added:

2 cans Ro-Tel original tomatoes (this is why I did use a cast-iron skillet)
about 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
about 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
about 2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
about 1/4 cup tomato paste (from a tube)
about 1/2 cup or a little more pitted Kalamata olives
about 1/3 cup Shaoxing wine (or sherry)
about 1 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce
about 2 tablespoons hot sauce (next time I will use crushed red pepper — or chipotles in adobo)

I stirred well to mix, covered, and simmered for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally

To serve, I put into a bowl:

1/4 cup cooked beans and
1/4 cup intact whole grain wheat
1 cup of Eggplant Power Fennel

I topped it with a sprinkling of

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

It was extremely tasty.

Written by Leisureguy

28 September 2020 at 6:46 pm

Semi-good news on Photos and my photo library

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I finally remembered Time Machine and located my most recent back-up. Unfortunately, I have been lackadaisical about doing back-ups, so the most recent copy of the library was 25 March of this year. Still, I was able to retrieve the bulk of it.

And now I have put a weekly reminder in Calendar to remind me to do a backup. That is somewhat like locking the barn door after the horse has bolted, but still…

Written by Leisureguy

28 September 2020 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Daily life

Daily Dozen newsletter: Flaxseed and Nuts & Seeds

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The Daily Dozen calls for 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed daily (and I do that, using a little whirling-blade grinder) and 1/4 cup nuts or seeds (usually walnuts or pumpkin seeds, occasionally pecans or peanuts). I also have soaked cashews and then ground them to make a sauce or salad dressing. The current newsletter’s focus is on those two. From the newsletter:

Greetings, fellow green-eating machine! Now that we all know just how many ways there are to eat your greens, let’s take a look at the nitty gritty of Flaxseed, Nuts, and Seeds!

We’re covering another power pair this week: Flaxseed – which gets its own Daily Dozen checkbox – and Nuts and Seeds. Why does flax get such a premium spot on the list? What is the evidence in support of flax? Which nuts are the healthiest options? Let’s shuck off our preconceived notions and take a look at just the flax!

Quick Tips

Flaxseed – mix ground flaxseed in with oatmeal, smoothies, homemade salad dressings, or just sprinkle it on top of your meals. [This grinder works well. Also good for grinding fennel seed, whole allspice, etc. – LG]
Nuts and Seeds – use in oatmeal, salads, smoothies, and pasta dishes. Cashews, sunflower seeds, and tahini can be made into creamy dressings or sauces.

Fast Facts

  • A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of flax seeds (a source of lignans) in breast cancer patients finds flax appears to have the potential to reduce tumor growth—in just a matter of weeks.

Tasty Recipes

Super Salad With Garlic Caesar Dressing & Hemp Hearts

Add bite-sized dices of steamed or sautéed tempeh to this salad for a pretty perfect entrée.

Fruit and Nut Bars

In need of a healthy go-to snack that both kids and adults will enjoy? Check out these tasty fruit and nut bars. Mix and match the dried fruit with what you have in your pantry

Easy Oatmeal Bowl

Here’s a simple Daily Dozen inspired breakfast bowl – as seen in our Evidence-Based Eating Guide.

Top Viewed Videos on Flaxseed, Nuts, and Seeds

Which Are Better: Chia Seeds or Flax Seeds?
What effect do chia seeds have on weight loss, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation?

Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence
Nut consumption does not appear to lead to the expected weight gain. How is it possible given how many calories they have?

Flaxseed for Hypertension
Extraordinary results reported in a rare example of a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of a dietary intervention (flaxseeds) to combat one of our leading killers, high blood pressure.

See also Flax Seeds topics page and Nuts topics page.

Written by Leisureguy

28 September 2020 at 1:13 pm

Some excellent tips on making scrambled eggs

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I’ve pretty much stopped eating eggs (after watching this brief video), but The Wife has a couple of scrambled eggs each morning for breakfast, so I sent this article to her. It begins:

Scrambled eggs are one of the ultimate throw-together meals. Less work than even the easiest poaching, and less fuss than a standard fried.
Still, who hasn’t overcooked scrambled eggs into rubbery unpleasantness? I know I have. Here are a few tips to success, as well as strategies for cooking your eggs exactly the way you want them.
Consider a nonstick skillet. I know, some of you are going to swear you make great scrambled eggs in your well-seasoned cast-iron. And if you do, don’t let me deter you! But for anyone who has struggled with eggs sticking or burning to the skillet, nonstick can be a lifesaver. “Most pans, even the really good ones, are actually filled with little cracks and crevices,” Joseph Provost, a chemistry and biochemistry professor at the University of San Diego, told me last year. Provost, who co-wrote “The Science of Cooking: Understanding the Biology and Chemistry Behind Food and Cooking,” explained that when a pan is heated, the metal expands, which means eggs can get trapped in those microscopic cracks, where they then stick and burn. The coating of a nonstick skillet provides a smooth surface and separates the food from the metal.
Use a smaller skillet. One of the easiest ways to guard against overcooking is using a smaller skillet. My 12-inch nonstick skillet is great for when I want a very thin omelet for folding onto a sandwich. The greater surface area, though, means it’s all too easy for the eggs to dry out quickly. When you want actual curds (whether dense and creamy or light and fluffy), consider dropping the skillet size to 10 or even 8 inches, depending on how many eggs you’re cooking.
Salting. From a taste perspective alone, I have found that adding a little more salt (I favor Diamond Crystal for its easy-to-grasp grains that nonetheless dissolve well) than my instincts would tell me has made a marked improvement in flavor. My eggs have gone from blah to, wouldn’t you know, well-seasoned!
But there’s another reason salting is important for scrambled eggs: It can actually improve the texture. As Harold McGee explains in “Keys to Good Cooking,” heating eggs (more on that below) causes the proteins in both the yolks and whites to stick together, or coagulate. The more that happens, the more dry and rubbery the eggs get. The goal, then, is to keep those proteins from getting too close and squeezing out water. Salt can help achieve that. In “The Food Lab,” cookbook author and food science guru J. Kenji López-Alt explains that the salt serves as a kind of buffer between the proteins. For the best effect, he recommends salting eggs at least 15 minutes before cooking (while you assemble other ingredients/preheat the skillet, perhaps) to allow the salt to evenly dissolve, though just before cooking also helps. He found that salting toward the end of cooking produced tougher eggs that wept liquid.
Similarly, in “Salt Fat Acid Heat,” Samin Nosrat suggests “a few secret drops of lemon juice” in scrambled eggs. Like salt, acid affects the way proteins bond, in this case affecting the speed and density at which the they coagulate. . .

Continue reading for more tips.

BTW, I not only don’t eat eggs, I also don’t add salt to what I cook.

Written by Leisureguy

28 September 2020 at 12:21 pm

Making a nifty butterfly knife from a bearing case

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Written by Leisureguy

28 September 2020 at 11:12 am

Posted in Video

If the NY Times story is “fake news,” why doesn’t Trump release his tax returns to set the record straight?

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a good comment:

This is about more than one man’s personal tax scams. Donald Trump is a liar, a cheater, and a crooked businessman, yes. But he’s also taking advantage of a broken, corrupt, and unequal system that’s built for people like him to do what he did.

Trump paid a lot more in taxes in some foreign countries, which undercuts the statement that the US tax system is particularly hard on the wealthy.

And Heather Cox Richardson has an excellent column, well worth reading in its entirety:

Late this afternoon, the New York Times published the story we have been waiting for since 2016: the story of Donald Trump’s taxes. There was never any doubt that whatever was in those taxes was bad or he never would have worked so hard to hide them. But the picture the New York Times story revealed was worse than expected.

The New York Times obtained more than two decades of Donald Trump’s tax information, including that of his companies, through his first two years in the White House. The picture they paint is of a man more than $300 million in debt; whose businesses are constantly losing money; who deducts personal expenses including houses, airplanes, and $70,000 in hairstyling; who is fighting with the IRS over the repayment of a $72.9 million tax refund which, if it has to be repaid, will run to $100 million; and who in his first year in office paid the most income tax he had paid in a decade: $750.

That’s not a typo.

In 11 of the 18 years the reporters examined, Trump paid no taxes at all. He has, however, paid taxes elsewhere. In 2017, Trump paid $750 to the U.S., but paid $15,598 in Panama, $145,400 in India, and $156,824 in the Philippines (rather undercutting the idea that American tax laws are too harsh on the very wealthy).

The information illuminates a number of the shadowy puzzles of the Trump presidency. It shows that he was deeply in debt in 2015, and was, as his former fixer Michael Cohen said, eager to rebuild his brand by running for the highest office in the land. He had a bad habit of running through cash and accumulating huge debt, a pattern that showed up first when he ran through the money his father gave him, and then when the brief popularity of The Apprentice put $427.4 million into his pocket. He threw the money from The Apprentice into failing golf courses.

The presidency has injected cash into Trump’s businesses, as lobbyists and foreign governments invest in them, but he is still losing money. The Times notes that “within the next four years, more than $300 million in loans—obligations for which he is personally responsible—will come due.”

This, of course, means that Trump is a huge national security risk. He owes money—to whom we don’t know—and he does not have it to pay his debts. It is no wonder that a bipartisan group of nearly 500 national security officials, past and present, last week endorsed Biden for president. According to Defense News, the list included “five former secretaries of the Navy, two former Army secretaries, four former Air Force secretaries, two retired governors, and 106 ambassadors.” Retired General Paul Selva, who served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the first two and a half years of Trump’s term, signed the letter.

The tax returns also suggest that Trump’s desperation to stay in office is sparked by the 1973 Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel memo saying a sitting president cannot be indicted. Former inspector general of the Department of Justice Michael Bromwich tweeted “Trump knew something we didn’t when he started balking at the peaceful transfer of power. If he loses the election, he faces federal and state prosecution for bank fraud, tax fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud, as does his entire family. No OLC memo will spare him.”

Among other things, the information revealed that Trump wrote off about $26 million in “consulting fees” between 2010 and 2018. This reduced his taxable income, but it appears it might have simply been a way to give money to his children without paying taxes on it: his daughter Ivanka appears to have received $747,622 from the Trump Organization in consulting fees, despite being an employee there.

Remember, this is the information Trump chose to tell the IRS. It seems worth wondering what he did not tell them.

The Times says it will not release the actual documents in order to protect its source(s). It also says it will continue to drop more news from this trove over the coming weeks.

A piece from Michael Kranish at the Washington Post today reinforced the New York Times story. Apparently, when he was on the verge of personal bankruptcy in the 1990s, Trump tried to trick his 85-year-old father, who was sliding into dementia, into signing a codicil to his will that would cheat Trump’s siblings out of their inheritance and give Trump control of his father’s entire estate. Trump’s mother stopped her husband from signing it.

Trump had a press conference scheduled for shortly after the New York Times story broke. When asked about it, Trump claimed the story was “totally fake news,” although a lawyer for the Trump Organization could only try to refute the story with misleading information. After the conference, CNN’s Ana Cabrera pointed out that Trump could stop the New York Times story if it were wrong by “releasing his tax returns, by making them public.”

This evening, news broke that Trump’s former campaign manager, Brad Parscale, has been hospitalized after threatening suicide. While most commentators simply noted the story and warned against making this particular personal story political, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said: “Brad Parscale is a member of our family and we all love him. We are ready to support him and his family in any way possible. The disgusting, personal attacks from Democrats and disgruntled RINOs have gone too far, and they should be ashamed of themselves for what they’ve done to this man and his family.” There is no evidence linking Democrats or anyone else to this incident.

The big New York Times story came on top of yesterday’s big story: Trump’s announcement that he has nominated Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, to take the seat formerly held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Barrett clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and like he was, she is an originalist. In a speech, she explained: “The constitution means what it meant to those who ratified it.” Scalia “interpreted that text as people would have understood that text at the time it was ratified…. if we change the law now to comport with our current understandings or what we want it to mean then it ceases to be the law that has democratic legitimacy.” Change must come from new laws and new constitutional amendments, not from the courts. Like Scalia, Barrett resists “the notion that the Supreme Court should be in the business of imposing its views of social mores on the American people.” This understanding does not bode well for the Affordable Care Act, which the court will begin to review on November 10, just a week after the election.

Trump elevated Barrett from her professorship at Notre Dame Law School to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on May 8, 2017, and the Senate confirmed her the following October 31. Now 48 years old, she is in line to join the Supreme Court.

Lindsey Graham (R-SC), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has laid out a lightning fast schedule for Barrett’s expected confirmation. Today he told the Fox News Channel that his committee will approve her by October 22, so she will be on track for a full Senate vote before the end of October. It will be one of the fastest confirmations for a Supreme Court justice in history.

This is a huge scandal. In March 2016, when President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court after the death of Antonin Scalia the previous month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) insisted that it was inappropriate to confirm a justice so close to an election. That was ridiculous, of course, in our history 14 justices have been confirmed in an election year before the election (three more have been confirmed after it). But no Supreme Court justice has ever been confirmed later than July before an election. Now the Republicans are fast-tracking a nominee while people are literally already voting. And the president has said he wants Barrett confirmed because he expects the election results will be thrown into the Supreme Court where, presumably, she will vote in his favor.

Barrett is a devout Catholic who is a member of the charismatic Christian People of Praise community. Concern about the gender roles enforced in that patriarchal community have prompted her supporters to claim that her opponents are anti-Catholic. This claim is odd when both the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, and the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, are themselves devout Catholics who have endured Republican attacks on their faith, including Trump’s declaration that, if elected, Biden would “hurt the Bible, hurt God…. He’s against God.”

Rather than being prompted by concern for religious freedom, Republicans insisting that Democrats are anti-Catholic falls in line with a pattern identified by Brian Fallon, former director of public affairs for the Department of Justice and now the executive director of Demand Justice, which has tried to stop Trump’s packing of the federal judiciary. “It is a long running tactic of Senate GOP that, when they are about to do something unpopular, they invent some grievance to ‘psych’ themselves up and act like Dems forced their hand. This is why they are desperate to act like attacks on Catholicism are lurking out there.”

Today, Biden urged senators, many of whom he knows personally from his decades in the Senate, to de-escalate their stance on Barrett and to “do the right thing.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

28 September 2020 at 10:32 am

Software tsuris but a great shave with Sherlock and the 102

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I’ve hit a stumbling block. I upgraded my Mac OS to Catalina (a mistake, as it turns out) and now the Photos app will not work — not only can it not read my photos library, I cannot even open the app. Whatever I try to do, it shuts itself off.

I did a quick search for photo-editing software for the Mac, and one free option is Google Photos. I uploaded the photos, did a quick edit, and now I have an edited photo, but I have not figured out how to download the photo file to my Mac. What I finally did was do a screen capture, shown above. — update: I found the download option, and now the photo above is from the downloaded file.

I did go to Apple Community forum and I see that currently there are more than 300 posts about have problems with the Apple app Photos after an upgrade to Catalina. Be warned.

The shave itself was (thankfully) superb: Sherlock is a very pleasant tobacco-fragranced soap (and aftershave), and of course the iKon 102 is a wonderful slant. Three passes to perfect Monday-morning smoothness, followed by a splash of the aftershave and a good bout of frustration with the software — which, for some reason, did get me stirred up as such frustrations have so often done in the past. I imagine that it’s because I fully recognize that the problem is external to me (plus, of course, I did find some workaround — now if I could only figure out how to move the photo file from Google to my computer….)

Hope your day started bettr.

Written by Leisureguy

28 September 2020 at 10:19 am

Posted in Shaving

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