Monthly Archives: July 2009

Making ghee the easy way

gheepourGhee is really great stuff. It’s one step beyond clarified butter, and tastes sort of like roasted nuts but also like butter, and won’t turn brown or smoke at high temperatures. There are many uses, from omelettes to Indian cuisine, popcorn or backpacking. The chefs tell you to make it on top of the stove, but that method is a pain.…The instructions are confusing and contradictory…boil, reboil?…and you don’t know the temperature of your burners, and so you have to sit there and watch it for 45 minutes, try to guess when all the water is gone, and how much brown is too much, and you’re not even done then; you still have to remove the floaters and crust. And you can very easily wreck it.
How to make ghee the easy way, in the oven, 250-275 degrees x 2 hours, no observation needed:
1. get yourself a pound of unsalted butter.
2. get yourself a pickle jar or similar glass recloseable jar; has to hold 10-20 oz. Pyrex would be best, but not necessary if you warm up the glass and cool the ghee a bit before pouring it in the jar. Wash it like hell, including the lid. Get all the water out, put the lid on loosely and let it cool.
3. get yourself an ovenproof sauce pan; the best kind has a pouring spout.
4. cheesecloth and rubber band, or a metal/plastic coffee/tea strainer desirable but optional. Paper coffee filters may clog. (Unfiltered ghee may smoke or burn slightly.)
5. set your oven on bake at 250-275 degrees preheating not required, but you do need to know if your oven thermostat is accurate. If not, consider using an oven thermometer.
6. put the butter in the saucepan and into the oven, do not cover.
7. come back in two hours and find golden liquid Ghee with junk on top and bottom. If the Ghee is still a little cloudy, put it back in for another 20-30 minutes, and turn the heat up a titch.
8. remove the saucepan from the oven without jiggling it and set it on a work surface.
9. carefully skim off anything on the surface with a spoon; you can save this stuff separately in a tiny bowl and put it on toast.
10. let the saucepan cool for fifteen minutes. again remove any floaters.
11. heat up the jar: either a) about 20 sec in the microwave, or b)screw on the jar cap and heat up your glass jar from the outside with tap water; this will prevent the glass from breaking when the hot ghee hits it (not necessary if your jar is pyrex); then remove the cap but don’t get any water inside.
12. optional: make a filter out of three layers of clean cheesecloth and rubber band it onto the top of the jar so it hangs into the jar (or position your filter of choice).

kinda like this

kinda like this

13. if you choose to hold onto the jar, put something over your hand eg a wet rag, to protect it in case you spill some hot ghee.
14. put a newspaper under the jar in case of drippage; slowly pour the contents of the contents of the saucepan through the filter into the jar. (If you’re not using a filter, don’t let the brown stuff at the bottom of the pan run into the jar, so obviously you will have to leave the last bit of ghee in the saucepan. Pity.)
15. remove the filter and put the lid on loosely and let the jar cool to close to room temperature. Ghee will solidify into a tan “grease”.
16. clean up; scrape the brown stuff from the bottom of the pan and save it with the “floaters” in the frig. Make sure the outside of the jar is clean; don’t want any slippery ghee there, but don’t get any water inside the jar.
17. screw the cap on tightly
18. refrigerated it will last for a year if you don’t get water/contamination in it; at room temp it will last for months.

You ate at an Indian restaurant?

There you go.

No, it was the mussels!

They came up undigested!

Then how could they be the cause?

It’s where my body shut down!


You know what they cook with

in Indian restaurants? Ghee.

It’s clarified butter.

You get a rancid hit of that…

God! I mean, you can imagine.

When Indira Gandhi got assassinated…

…I was watching when they

broadcast the cremation.

They doused the body

and the funeral pyre…

…in clarified butter

just to get it burning.

–The Sopranos


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Ocean temps now highest ever recorded.

ocean-temperature.Sea levels are probably the best long term indicator of the degree of global warming/climate change, along with ocean temperatures.

The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for June, breaking the previous high mark set in 2005, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Additionally, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for June was second-warmest on record [after 2005].



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Why “free market” health insurance doesn’t work

healthinsThe U.S. healthcare “system” works only for insurance companies. The rest of us are being crushed by premiums, deductibles, denial of coverage, expulsion from plans, and bankruptcy. The only people who think it works, are those who haven’t been seriously ill. Meanwhile our tax money goes to support Dick Cheney’s paranoid fantasy of world domination. This has to change.Paul Krugman:

There are two strongly distinctive aspects of health care. One is that you don’t know when or whether you’ll need care — but if you do, the care can be extremely expensive. The big bucks are in triple coronary bypass surgery, not routine visits to the doctor’s office; and very, very few people can afford to pay major medical costs out of pocket.

This tells you right away that health care can’t be sold like bread. It must be largely paid for by some kind of insurance. And this in turn means that someone other than the patient ends up making decisions about what to buy. Consumer choice is nonsense when it comes to health care. And you can’t just trust insurance companies either — they’re not in business for their health, or yours.

This problem is made worse by the fact that actually paying for your health care is a loss from an insurers’ point of view — they actually refer to it as “medical costs.” This means both that insurers try to deny as many claims as possible, and that they try to avoid covering people who are actually likely to need care. Both of these strategies use a lot of resources, which is why private insurance has much higher administrative costs than single-payer systems. And since there’s a widespread sense that our fellow citizens should get the care we need — not everyone agrees, but most do — this means that private insurance basically spends a lot of money on socially destructive activities.

The second thing about health care is that it’s complicated, and you can’t rely on experience or comparison shopping. (”I hear they’ve got a real deal on stents over at St. Mary’s!”) That’s why doctors are supposed to follow an ethical code, why we expect more from them than from bakers or grocery store owners.

You could rely on a health maintenance organization to make the hard choices and do the cost management, and to some extent we do. But HMOs have been highly limited in their ability to achieve cost-effectiveness because people don’t trust them — they’re profit-making institutions, and your treatment is their cost.

Between those two factors, health care just doesn’t work as a standard market story.

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Bush kept evidence of climate change secret

Hi res images show loss of polar ice from 2006 to 2007

Hi res images show loss of polar ice from 2006 to 2007

The damage done by Bush in so many areas can never be totally undone. Thousands have died in the US, a million or more in Iraq, while he play-acted at being actor Ronald Reagan. His worst malfeasance may turn out to be obfuscating global warming/climate change.

Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the US military. The photographs, taken by spy satellites over the past decade, confirm that in recent years vast areas in high latitudes have lost their ice cover in summer months.

The pictures, kept secret by Washington during the presidency of George W Bush, were declassified by the White House last week. President Barack Obama is currently trying to galvanise Congress and the American public to take action to halt catastrophic climate change caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

One particularly striking set of images – selected from the 1,000 photographs released – includes views of the Alaskan port of Barrow. One, taken in July 2006, shows sea ice still nestling close to the shore. A second image shows that by the following July the coastal waters were entirely ice-free.


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Kershaw v. Koufax, 7

Highland Park freshman FB. Kershaw, 51; copyright

Highland Park freshman football. Clayton Kershaw, 51

[image copyrighted; do not use without permission.]
Clayton Kershaw was a bit more pudgy as a high school freshman, played center, snapped the ball to Matthew Stafford.
Actually, it’s Kershaw v. Josh Johnson tonight.
Interestingly, Dave Cameron at Fangraphs rates Marlin ace Josh Johnson at no. 30 in trade value and Kershaw at no. 29, and Chad Billingsley at 28:

#30: Josh Johnson, RHP, Florida: 3.4 WAR
…The strikeouts and groundballs skillset is an ace package, and Johnson throws strikes too. His present value is extremely high, though health concerns and the fact that he’s a free agent after 2011 make this the highest he’ll ever rank. Still, a 25-year-old ace making $1.4 million this year? …
#29: Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles: 1.9 WAR
Kershaw’s stuff is so good that even with well below average command at age 21, he’s still a good major league pitcher. He’s certainly still a work in progress, but there’s enough present value, combined with his enormous potential, to place him here during his pre-arb years.
#28: Chad Billingsley, RHP, Los Angeles: 2.4 WAR
Here, we start to get into the list of guys who just aren’t going to get traded. The Dodgers aren’t giving up their ace – he’s 24, he’s a frontline starter who they have under club control through 2012, and even with his arbitration reward coming, he’ll be vastly underpaid the next few years. Like Kershaw, he could stand to throw a few more strikes, but that’s just nit-picking.


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Manny Ramirez grand slam home run: amateur video

I have to admit this was pretty cool. It was a close game, tied in fact, there were 56,000 people there, Manny was out of the lineup with an injury, it was Manny bobblehead souvenir night. The ace of the Dodgers’ pitching staff was struggling. The Dodgers had the bases loaded, everyone knew it was a spot for Manny, and they knew something was up when the guy in the on deck circle was called back to the dugout. They were on their feet yelling even before he came out of the dugout. And they kept it up. The Cincinnati manager came out and brought in a new pitcher, who had to trot in and then throw eight warmup tosses. All this time the fans were going ballistic. Then on the first pitch Manny deposits a line drive in the left field seats, in the area designated as “Mannywood.” It was insane. You have to see the amateur video to get the idea.

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Pose running style: does this work? UPDATED

There are a large number of videos on the web showing various aspects of pose running. This may be the best introductory one.

Further explanation can be found here, though I don’t think they really have it right. As best I can tell, “pose running” comprises short strides, decreased use of hip flexors, increased conscious use of hamstrings, and slight forward lean, with slightly flexed knee during forefoot strike. The talk about pose runners being propelled by gravity is pretty much nonsense, like a perpetual motion machine. I guess they make some money selling a belt with rubber bands that work with your hamstrings to flex the knees.
But there is something real here, and I suspect it might have to do with the “braking” action inherent in conventional knee drive/heel strike running. That is, if the impact occurs with the foot out in front of the body, then that impact tends to reduce speed. In contrast, during pose running, the impact occurs with the foot under the body. This would tend not to slow the runner, and would also decrease the impact somewhat.

I think I get it, and am going to give it a try.
UPDATE: after a couple of sessions, I think it may have some merit. But making the transition from heel strike to forefoot strike has given me some sore calves. I would recommend making a gradual transition.

I am not so sure that the emphasis on high rear kick is helpful…anything done to further elevate the foot after it leaves the ground is wasted energy.


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