Later On

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Shrimp scampi for lunch and picked the better of the two recipes I have

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The better of the two recipes is this one by Kim Severson. Some points worth noting:

The first step is just to prep the shrimp: peel them (and I also cut them in half crossways: peel all, then cut all) and toss them with the salt and pepper and garlic. Do that early. I cover and let sit in the fridge for half an hour or so.

The next step is cooking the shrimp in olive oil only. Then you remove the shrimp to a bowl, add the half-cup of wine, and reduce it by half. I take my time and reduce it a lot.

The final step is to add the butter, the shrimp from the bowl, and red pepper flakes if you want, heat the shrimp, then add juice of a lemon.

I use more garlic, but I like garlic: 6-8 cloves

Otherwise I follow the recipe. This is the good recipe.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 August 2017 at 12:39 pm

Kale and Collards with Shallots, Garlic, Mushroom, and (shelled) Pistachio Nuts

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I just made this (and made it up), and it turned out quite tasty.

1.5 tablespoons Enzo Bold olive oil
1/2 tablespoon Enzo Crushed Fresno Chilies Olive Oil
2 bunches scallions, sliced
2 teaspooons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 good size Crimini mushrooms, quartered

1 “preserved” lemon
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup Amontillado sherry
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown-rice vinegar (Eden’s)
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
1 bunch collards, stems minced, leaves chopped
1 bunch curly-leaf kale, stems minced, leaves chopped

shredded cheese

First, make “preserved” lemon: rinse off lemon, cut off ends, cut into slabs and then into dice. You can remove seeds if you want; I generally don’t bother. Put the lemon in small bowl and add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1.5 teaspoons sugar. Mix, let sit 20 minutes.

Next, mince the garlic and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the vegetables: chopping the kale and collards. The garlic should sit at least 10 minutes before adding to the hot oil.

Heat oil in large (11″) sauté pan, then add scallions, salt, pepper, and the minced stems of the greens and sauté for a few minutes until they wilt. Add garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté, stirring often, until the mushrooms release their liquid. This will take a few minutes.

Add remaining ingredients. You’ll have to add the greens a little at a time, allowing them to cook down before adding more. Once they are all in the pan, stir well, cover, and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check to make sure it doesn’t get dry; add more liquid as needed.

Serve in bowls with shredded cheese on top.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 August 2017 at 7:20 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands

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I highly recommend that anyone who uses olive oil (which should be everyone) read Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, by Tom Mueller. The book explained how Whole Foods could sell their Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil for $9/liter: it was not extra virgin olive oil and in fact it mostly was not olive oil at all. Actual EVOO runs more like $22/liter. The book is entertaining and informative; at the link are inexpensive secondhand copies.

As a result, I stopped buying any imported olive oil at all. As the book documents, counterfeit olive oil is pandemic, and nothing is done: not only do governments not stop it, they don’t even slow it down. I buy only California certified extra virgin olive oil that is bottled by the producers.

The blog Native Love has a list:

It was found that even 7 of the biggest olive oil makers in the USA, mix their items with cheap oils to get more profits. Namely, one of the products we regard as healthiest and a remedy for longevity has been corrupted

Apparently, even 70% of olive oil sold in the U.S. stores is fake, as they have been cut with cheaper, inferior oils like canola and sunflower oil! This is similar to the 2008 practice in Italy. This meant seizure for 85 oil farms that mixed some percentage chlorophyll with sunflower and canola to the olive oil.

The oil was mixed, colored, perfumed and flavored too, and these things made the Australian government investigate their oils. The results were awful. After that, not one brand named extra virgin olive oil got the 2012 certificate of approval.

These scams made the University of California to study 124 imported brands of extra virgin olive oil and discovered that more than 70% of the samples did not pass the test.

THESE ARE THE BRANDS THAT FAILED THE TEST: . . .

Continue reading.

A more satisfying list: the list of California Oil Council Certified Olive Oils.

Written by LeisureGuy

1 August 2017 at 1:21 pm

Busy day, personally

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Saw a psychiatrist and got my Genesight report. A few interesting findings:  The only anti-depressant that I should avoid is Wellbutrin, only one I should take is Pristiq (which is now available as a generic). (The antidepressant is purely prophylactic. In my last move—the first time I had seriously to downsize—I not only was depressed but (until the antidepressant) but had anxiety attacks, which I am sorry to tell you, are quite unpleasant. My hope is that getting on an antidepressant ind advance will preclude anxiety attacks.)

Pristiq is son of Effexor. Effexor consists of such a substance that, when metabolized, produces substance beta, which has an antidepressant effect. Pristiq is essentially consists of substance beta. It’s a tablet with a thin rubbery outer coating that has in it a single small hole: voilà! time-release. The psychiatrist said he has some patients using the generic and it works fine.

Since Pristiq does not depend on a metabolizing pathway, it’s in the “green” part of the report for everyone: any metabolizing deficiencies are irrelevant: it’s pre-metabolized.

My folic acid conversion function is normal (the folates are essential in the neural-signaling system), but a guy I know had his folic acid conversion in the red zone, which meant taking folic acid supplements would be meaningless: the problem he has in converting the folic acid to usable form is not solved by giving him more to convert. So he now has a prescription for pre-converted folate (I’m starting to see a pattern). However, if you are in the amber zone—able to convert some folic acid to folate—I think a good idea would be upping the green leafy vegetables. (Tonight I am having red kale, a red leafy vegetable, with shallots, garlic, olive oil, and—get this—fig balsamic vinegar: Enzo’s Table has some specials.)

A really great documentary: Inside Job, narrated by Matt Damon. Available on Hulu, rentable on Amazon.

An interesting report from The Wife. I made this recipe by Julia Reed again, and did it right after a rewrite (in Paprika Recipe Manager) of the method:

Melt butter in the oil in a large deep skillet over high heat. Season chops with salt and pepper and add them, browning well, about 2 or 3 minutes a side, reducing the heat slightly if chops brown too quickly.

Remove chops to a platter and pour off most of the fat. [In fact, there was not much fat. – LG] Add green onions or shallots and cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 1 minute.

Add WINE and bring to a boil, scraping brown bits off the bottom.

Stir in the STOCK and return chops to the pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer, cover and cook until chops are tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove the chops to a warm platter; cover with foil to keep warm.

Raise the heat and boil pan juices to reduce by half, about 2 minutes.

Add CREAM and boil 2 minutes more, until sauce reduces a bit and thickens.

Remove from the heat and whisk in MUSTARD and the parsley, if using. Taste and add more mustard if desired. Immediately spoon sauce over the chops and serve.

That revision showed me more clearly the sequence of additions, and tonight it’s much better.

BUT:

The “Raise the heat and boil pan juices to reduce by half, about 2 minutes.” is totally bogus. I must have gone 8 or 10 minutes, possibly more to reduce the volume by half.

I complained, as is my wont, to The Wife, who surely understands all that escapes my grasp. “Fear not,” she said. “It is a scam.”

As she explained, on-line recipe writers don’t want to write something like “Caramelize onions by stirring very frequently over medium heat for 40 mintues.”

Instead, they write “Caramelize onions by stirring very frequently over medium heat for 10 minutes.” They know it’s wrong as well as they know the sunk-cost fallacy (aka the Escalation of commitment) and as well as they know that if the recipe includes “Raise the heat and boil pan juices to reduce by half, about 15 minutes,” that half (or more) of their readers would not try the recipe. So, not to put too fine a point on it, they lie. They assume the reader will realize that the important point is “reduce by half,” not “2 minutes.”

And indeed, once I had the bit in my teeth, I reduced that sucker, regardless of time. And it’s very tasty. Indeed, when I tasted it, my immediate impression was, “This is an expensive-restaurant dish.” Really remarkably good. But change “2 minutes” in the above to “12 minutes.”

And, BTW, I found the 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard (instead of 1) tasted better to us.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 July 2017 at 7:46 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

Don’t Worry About New Alabama Mad Cow, Says CDC, but Facts Suggest Otherwise

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The USDA is supposed to inspect meat, but in order to reduce taxes (and government) they are underfunded and understaffed (thanks to the GOP), so instead of inspecting meat they have meat producers go on the honor system. Of course, producers are rewarded for the amount they ship, and rejecting animals and the meat from them costs them money, which presents an obvious conflict of interest. So we all just agree not to look at that.

Martha Rosenberg reports in AlterNet:

Don’t worry, eat your hamburger. That’s what the CDC is saying as another “mad cow” was found in Alabama in July. The cow suffered from an “atypical” version of Mad Cow (BSE), says the CDC, which occurs spontaneously and cannot harm humans. Sounds good until you read that the atypical assertion is merely a CDC “theory” and the agency admits “transmission through feed or the environment cannot be ruled out.”

There is a reason government officials are quick to defend the safety of the U.S. beef supply. Within hours of the first mad cow discovered in the U.S. in 2003, China, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea and 90 other countries banned U.S. beef. Ninety-eight percent of the $3 billion overseas beef market vanished. It has taken 14 years for the U.S. to re-establish its beef exports and other beef-exporting countries have had similar woes. If an atypical version of BSE that threatened no one didn’t exist, governments might want to invent one. In fact, the research behind the atypical theory is primarily floated by government ag departments.

In addition to losing exports, before atypical BSE was described, beef producers were forced to quarantine their ranches, search for tainted food sources and detain herdmates and offspring in a BSE outbreak. They lost huge amounts of money. The debut of atypical BSE means they can just say “these things happen,” and keep doing business.

Mainstream media sources are cooperatively repeating the government statement that, “the Alabama cow was not slaughtered, never entered the food supply and presents no risk to human health in the United States or anywhere else.” But food reporters who have covered BSE since 2003 remember that the same thing was said about the first U.S. BSE cow until both the San Francisco Chronicle and the LA Times reported otherwise.

“In an interview, Alameda County health officer Dr. Anthony Iton recalled that in early January 2004 almost a month after the initial discovery [of a BSE cow], state health officials informed him that five restaurants in the Oakland area had received soup bones from the lot of tainted beef,” reported the Times. “It immediately dispatched inspectors to the restaurants. But it was too late; soup made from the bones had been eaten. He was particularly disturbed to learn that none of the restaurant owners had received written notice of the recall and that federal inspectors did not visit them until 10 days after the recall.”

And there was more government BSE bumbling. A cow, born and bred in Texas, found less than a year after the first one (born in Canada) was suspected of having BSE, but ruled “negative” by government testers for seven months. Phyllis Fong, the inspector general at the time, ordered the more precise “Western blot” over the head of then Ag Secretary Mike Johanns and the cow was diagnosed with BSE.

After the Texas BSE cow, a BSE cow born and bred in Alabama was found. Extensive government investigations were conducted on both to find the source of the deadly disease and there was no mention of the current atypical BSE. Disturbingly, the government protected the identifies of the ranches that produced the BSE cows from food consumers, placing the interests of meat producers above the endangered public.

Government Prion Research Not to Be Trusted

BSE is transmitted by prions, invisible infectious particles that are not viruses or bacteria, but proteins. Though prions are not technically “alive” because they lack a nucleus, they are almost impossible to “kill” because they are not inactivated by cooking, heat, ammonia, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, benzene, alcohol, phenol, lye, formaldehyde or radiation. Yet government research into prion diseases—which include chronic wasting disease found in deer and elk—is extremely inept.

In 2006, BSE research had to be delayed at the National Animal Disease Laboratory in Ames, Iowa because lab workers there accused the facility of failing to properly treat infectious wastes before they were sent to the city’s treatment plant which empties into the Skunk River. The lab, in charge of confirming BSE cases, was also charged with keeping rather than incinerating dead animals for months in containers.

Nor do government protocols for human victims inspire confidence.  . .

Continue reading.

Cutting taxes is all well and good provided everything always goes right, but in general we pay taxes so the government can do its job of protecting the public, among other things. Businesses do not like it when the public is protected (thus the strong drive to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Wall Street and banks do not want consumers to have financial protection because it would cut into profits).

Written by LeisureGuy

27 July 2017 at 1:11 pm

Interesting greens today: Kale with onion, mushrooms, eggplant, and chardonnay

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I’m just going to describe what I did because it came out so well.

I cubed the eggplant (without peeling it) and tossed cubes with olive oil, Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset herbs, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I spread them on a parchment-paper-covered baking sheet and roasted them at 400ºF for 12 minutes. (The eggplant cubes will stick to foil, but not to parchment paper. I buy it from King Arthur Flour, pre-cut to baking-pan-size sheets.)

In the meantime, I put about 2 Tbsp of olive oil in my 11″ sauté pan, and sauteed

1/2 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (let sit 15 minutes after mincing)
4 medium crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped small
good pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper

Sauté that until the mushrooms release their liquid and start to become tender, then add

1 large bunch kale, chopped. Mince the stems and cook those with the onions.

Sauté briefly, then add

the roasted eggplant—this was the genius move and not really planned. It just seemed that they could cook a bit longer, so I thought, “Why not?”

Sauté for 3 minutes or so, then add

1/2 – 3/4 cup white wine

Cover and simmer 20 minutes.

It was quite tasty and the textures were interesting.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 July 2017 at 4:24 pm

Posted in Food, Low carb, Recipes

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

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