Later On

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

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Beef Shanks Beatrice

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I have often made Lamb Shanks Beatrice, and today I’m using the same recipe but with beef shanks instead of lamb shanks. The beef shanks, unlike the lamb shanks, are a cross section, and I used three reasonably large cross sections. I used my 4-qt sauté pan (All-Clad Copper Core), and despite my many references to it as a 10″ skillet, it is in fact an 11″ skillet, which is noticeably larger. The three shanks just (barely) sit flat on the bottom of the pan, and thus were easily browned.

I’m cooking it covered in a 300ºF oven for 5 hours. I added mushrooms at the beginning, which seems to work fine.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 July 2017 at 12:23 pm

Turkey thighs in the oven

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I’m making this recipe again, this time with diced pancetta and just a little olive oil. No excess fat this time. I noticed that, aside from the “preserved” lemons and tomatoes, there’s not much acid in the recipe, and the tomatoes are not terribly acidic. So I added 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar to the pan and to the recipe. This time I followed Mark Bittman’s original suggestion and used red wine as the liquid. Ready in 5 hours.

Written by LeisureGuy

16 July 2017 at 12:20 pm

This savory whipped cream is damn good with salmon

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1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon snipped chives

Put cream in a mixing bowl and beat with a whisk until just barely thickened. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, some freshly ground pepper, the mustard, the cayenne and the lemon zest. Beat again until soft peaks form, but don’t let the cream get too stiff. Fold in chives. Taste and adjust seasoning.

That’s from this recipe by David Tanis, and it’s very tasty.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 July 2017 at 5:49 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

I just understood the idea of mise en place

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I know about mise en place in general, which in a restaurant means preparing everything ahead of time so that when the order comes, the dish is assembled rather than cooked. Someone orders french fries and a steak. The fries are not only already cut, they are partially cooked so that a brief dip in the hot fat is all that’s required to finish them off. The steak is cooked by sous vide, so it is just slapped on the grill to sear it and heat it some more. A bernaise sauce is already made, ready to be used.

And so in the kitchen I knew about doing the prep work first: getting everything chopped and into bowls, read to go into skillet or pot.

What I had not picked up on is the other part of the restaurant idea: that doing the mise en place is its own job, independent of the last-minute heating and assembly, and so you work on it when you have time—i.e., not when the restaurant is busy, when assembly is what’s happening, but before it opens.

Of course the mise en place in a restaurant must be used for many recipes/dishes. So for example there will be chopped parsley, because surely some order will require it. But at home, my mise en place for a meal means preparing on what I’m actually going to use in that meal.

I have already noticed that I like to start my meals early—getting out the pot, perhaps mincing the garlic. Then later I may just get out of the fridge all that I will need, just so I don’t forget everything. And then the chopping, etc.

Today I was sort of bored, so I went into the kitchen and made Mark Bittman’s “preserved” lemons (which need to sit) and minced the garlic (likewise). And then since this GOPM will include shredded Brussels sprouts, I thought I might as well shred them now, since it takes some time.

I trimmed the ends on all of them, then started slicing them in half lengthwise. (I find it’s more efficient to do one single step on all instances rather than doing all the steps for each instance. For example, if I will be using chapped shallots, rather than cutting the ends off a shallot, peeling it, and chopping it, I instead cut the ends off all the shallots; then I peel all the shallots; and finally I chop all the shallots.) At that point I realized, “I’m doing my mise en place, just like it says.”

Net effect: I will now work on the mise enplace earlier in the day, breaking it free of any attachment to mealtime other than content. Tom Gilb stated in his very good and interesting book Principles of Software Engineering Management the most essential principle: Early. That’s the primary principle (and of course he states it early), and I’ve gradually absorbed it and apply it in many venues. For example, if I get an assignment one day to turn in a report a month later, I will on that very day make an outline of the report, as best I can and however brief, and note in the outline what information I might need and where I might find it. In other words, break the ice immediately. Early is the rule. Apply it. And the outline can grow as you get more information and realize better what should be in the report. (And you can see why I like Workflowy.)

So now that I (finally) get it, I’m going to start work on my mise en place much, much earlier: why not, since if you start early enough you can do it in little bits: work 15 minutes, take a break, etc. (I do understand that it helps to be retired.)

Written by LeisureGuy

8 July 2017 at 3:41 pm

Why Eating Meat in America Is Like Going on a Trip to the Drug Store

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Martha Rosenberg writes at AlterNet:

Recently, Organic Consumers Association, along with Friends of the Earth and Center for Food Safety filed suit against chicken giant Sanderson Farms for falsely marketing its products as “100% Natural” even though it contains many unnatural and even prohibited substances. Sanderson chicken products tested positive for the antibiotic chloramphenical, banned in food animals, and amoxicillin, not approved for use in poultry production. Sanderson Farms products also tested positive for residues of steroids, hormones, anti-inflammatory drugs and even ketamine, a drug with hallucinogenic effects.

This is far from the first time unlabeled human drugs have been found in U.S. meat. The New York Times reported that most chicken feather-meal samples examined in one study contained Tylenol, one-third contained the antihistamine Benadryl, and samples from China actually contained Prozac. The FDA has caught hatcheries injecting antibiotics directly into chicken eggs. Tyson Foods was caught injecting eggs with the dangerous human antibiotic gentamicin.

The Natural Resources Defense Council has reported the presence of the potentially dangerous herbs fo-ti, lobelia, kava kava and black cohosh in the U.S. food supply as well as strong the antihistamine hydroxyzine. Most of the ingredients are from suppliers in China.

Animal Pharma still mostly under the radar

Many people have heard of Elanco, Eli Lilly’s animal drug division, and Bayer HealthCare Animal Health. But most big Pharma companies, including Pfizer, Merck, Boehringer Ingolheim, Sanofi and Novartis operate similar lucrative animal divisions. Unlike “people” Pharma, Animal Pharma largely exists under the public’s radar: drug ads do not appear on TV nor do safety or marketing scandals reach Capitol Hill. Still, conflicts of interest abound.

“No regulation currently exists that would prevent or restrict a veterinarian from owning their own animals and/or feed mill,” says the Center for Food Safety. “If a licensed veterinarian also owns a licensed medicated feed mill, they stand to profit by diagnosing a flock or herd and prescribing their own medicated feed blend.”

Because the activities of Animal Pharma are so underreported, few Americans realize that most of the meat they eat is banned in other industrialized countries. One example is ractopamine, a controversial growth-promoting asthma-like drug marketed as Optaflexx for cattle, Paylean for pigs, and Topmax for turkeys and banned in the European Union, China and more than 100 other countries. Also used in U.S. meat production is Zilmax, a Merck drug similar to ractopamine that the FDA linked to 285 cattle deaths during six years of administration. Seventy-five animals lost hooves, 94 developed pneumonia and 41 developed bloat in just two years, Reuters reported.

The European Union boycotts the U.S.’ hormone-grown beef. The routinely used synthetic hormones zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate pose “increased risks of breast cancer and prostate cancer,” says the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures. “Consumption of beef derived from Zeranol-implanted cattle may be a risk factor for breast cancer,” according to an article in the journal Anticancer Research.

The European Union has also traditionally boycotted U.S. chickens because they are dipped in chlorine baths. In the U.S. it’s perfectly legal to ‘wash’ butchered chicken in strongly chlorinated water, according to a report in the Guardian:

These practices aren’t allowed in the EU, and the dominant European view has been that, far from reducing contamination, they could increase it because dirty abattoirs with sloppy standards would rely on it [chlorine] as a decontaminant rather than making sure their basic hygiene protocols were up to scratch.

Other germ-killing or germ-retarding chemicals routinely used in U.S. food production include nitrites and nitrates in processed meat (declared carcinogens by the World Health Organization in 2016), the parasiticide formalin legally used in shrimp production, and carbon monoxide to keep meat looking red in the grocery store no matter how old it really is. Many thought public revulsion at the ammonia puffs used to discourage E. Coli growth in the notorious beef-derived “pink slime” in 2012 forced the product into retirement. But the manufacturer is fighting back aggressively.

Antibiotics are the least of unlabeled animal drugs

According to the Center for Food Safety, Animal Pharma uses over 450 animal drugs, drug combinations and other feed additives “to promote growth of the animals and to suppress the negative effects that heavily-concentrated confinement has on farm animals.”

The revelations about Sanderson Farms should come as no surprise given that despite new antibiotic regulations rolled out in 2013, and even more recently, antibiotic use in farm operations is on the rise. Sanderson Farms revelations are no surprise.

Last year I asked Michael Hansen, a senior staff scientist at Consumers Union, how the 2013 FDA guidance asking Pharma to voluntarily restrict livestock antibiotics by changing the approved uses language on labels was working out. Dr. Hansen told me “growth production” had been removed from labels but the drugs are still routinely used for the new indication of “disease prevention.”

After the guidance was published, a Reuters investigation found Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms, George’s and Koch Foods using antibiotics “more pervasively than regulators realize.” Pilgrim’s Pride’s feed mill records show the antibiotics bacitracin and monensin are added “to every ration fed to a flock grown early this year.” (Pilgrim’s Pride threatened legal action against Reuters for its finding.) Also caught red-handed using antibiotics, despite denying it on their website, was Koch Foods, a supplier to Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. Koch’s Chief Financial Officer, Mark Kaminsky, reportedly said that he regretted the wording on the website.

But antibiotics are the least of the unlabeled drugs and chemicals lurking in meat. According to the Associated Press, U.S. chickens . . .

Continue reading.

Some people may think I have a jaundiced view of big business and its (lack of) ethics and its total focus on growing profits regardless of what that takes. This articles shows an example of what drives that view.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 July 2017 at 9:23 am

Oriental pork GOPM

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Layers from the bottom up:

1/2 c pearled barley
1 large bunch scallions, chopped including green part
1 carrot diced
1/3 c parsley chopped fine
1/3 c chopped celery
2 pork chops, bone removed and cut into chunks
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1.5″ section of fresh ginger root, grated
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped (should have gone with the whole pepper)
1 packet of sugar snap peas, probably a little over a cup, chopped


2 tsp soy sauce
1.5 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1.5 Tbsp Bragg’s Ginger and Sesame Vinaigrette
good couple of dashes of Red Boat fish sauce

In 450ºF oven for 45 minutes, remove and let sit on stove top 15 minutes, serve.

Nice and orientalish. I just realized that I could include in the pour-over things like Hoisin sauce.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 July 2017 at 6:37 pm

Posted in Food, GOPM, Recipes

Time for more Glorious One-Pot Meals

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As regular readers know, I like a glorious one-pot meal, a description that serves as the title for Elizabeth Yarnell’s book. The blog now has quite a collection of various GOPM recipes, usually made on the fly.

Fair warnings about the book:

  1. The recipes are extremely bland. Crushed red pepper can help, but the idea and approach are so simple that you will quickly be making up your own recipes to use what you have on hand.
  2. She and her husband are, I assume, triathletes. She says a 2-qt GOPM serves two. For normal people it will serve four—and indeed she for some reasons uses four servings of rice in her recipes. I don’t use rice at all, but rather pearled barley, and I use 1/3 cup of the uncooked barley for the 2-qt pot.

Macy’s now has a 2-qt enameled cast-iron round casserole in blueberry for $30. Although Yarnell recommends enameled cast-iron, I find that plain cast iron works well, and the Stansport 2-qt cast-iron dutch oven is $20 at Walmart. You can easily remove the two wire handles (and easily replace them if you every want to hang the pot over a fire). Season it first (rub the interior with some fat, including the bottom of the lid, and put it in a 300ºF oven for half an hour or so). I use beef fat, but you could just rub it with a piece of bacon.

The enameled pot might be easier to clean, but plain cast iron cleans up readily with hot water and the Ringer, a piece of chain mail used as a scrubber. I wouldn’t use it on an enameled pot, but on plain cast iron it works like a charm, partly because it is flexible so you can feel when there is a spot with something stuck, so you know where to scrub. I clean the pot using just hot water, no detergent. Reseason the pot as needed. You can always start over by putting the empty pot in a self-cleaning oven and running a cycle. Rinse it out well, reseason, and it’s as good as new.

Friday will see another GOPM.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 June 2017 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, GOPM

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