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Major Nikon

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Member since: Tue Sep 13, 2011, 12:26 AM
Number of posts: 32,970

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Free Kindle book on 50th anniversary of Birmingham church bombing

While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age during the Civil Rights Movement

Publication Date: February 1, 2011
On September 15, 1963, a Klan-planted bomb went off in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Fourteen-year-old Carolyn Maull was just a few feet away when the bomb exploded, killing four of her friends in the girl’s rest room she had just exited. It was one of the seminal moments in the Civil Rights movement, a sad day in American history . . . and the turning point in a young girl’s life.
While the World Watched is a poignant and gripping eyewitness account of life in the Jim Crow South—from the bombings, riots and assassinations to the historic marches and triumphs that characterized the Civil Rights movement.
A uniquely moving exploration of how racial relations have evolved over the past 5 decades, While the World Watched is an incredible testament to how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004JZYB20

How to make the perfect egg

Today I did an experiment on how you can make the perfect egg with nothing more than a 7 qt crock pot, a thermometer, and a up to a dozen eggs.

This is a follow-on to my perfect eqg quest post, simplified greatly. I wanted to reduce the procedure to more or less cookbook so that someone could get a baseline on what the perfect egg starts to look and taste like so they can experiment from there.

1) Turn on your 7qt crock pot and add 2 liters of hot water from the tap. Add 3 cups of boiling water. Stir and measure the temperature. It should be somewhere around 130F.

2) Put the lid on and allow the water to come up to 155F. This should take about 30 minutes or so.

3) While the crock pot is coming up to temperature, put a dozen eggs into a bowl and fill with hot water from the tap. Every 10 minutes, empty and fill with more hot tap water.

4) When the temperature in the crock pot reaches 155F, put in the dozen eggs, replace the lid, and turn off the crock pot. I also put a couple of tea towels on top of the lid to increase insulation.

5) Set a timer for 25 minutes.

6) After 25 minutes turn the crock pot back on and set the timer for 5 more minutes.

7) After 5 minutes, add about 1.7 liters of boiling water to the crock pot and replace the lid. Set the timer for 5 minutes.

8) After 5 minutes, remove the eggs and place inside a bowl filled with ice water for 5 minutes.

9) Serve as you would poached eggs. I like to put two of them in an ice cream bowl with a little salt and pepper.

What this does is it brings up the yolk of the egg to 150F or so which produces a perfect custard like yolk. The last 5 minutes at a higher temperature cooks the whites just a bit more and keeps them from being runny without becoming rubbery.

I store the eggs in the refrigerator until ready to serve. On serving I empty the contents of two eggs into a small bowl, microwave for about 25 seconds and serve with a bit of salt and pepper.

The quest of the perfectly boiled egg

Boiling an egg may be one of the simplest culinary chores, but believe it or not it can also get quite complex. If you're a big fan of scrambled eggs, you probably know that the best ones are made when the eggs come up to temperature slowly and evenly, which means low heat stirred often. The reason for this is because there are a few different proteins in the eggs which congeal at different temperatures.

There are two basic methods employed which are the soft and hard boiled eggs. The soft boiled egg is really just a reduction in time from the time required for the yolks to fully coagulate. The result is the yolks will be less firm than the whites due to the eggs cooking from the outside in. The biggest problem (at least for some) is that the whites tend to get rubbery from overcooking while the yolks are still undercooked. The quest for the perfect tender white and the perfect custard like yolk is never ending.

For centuries cooks have known that the best boiled egg is not boiled at all!

I love eggs and always keep a dozen in the refrigerator. Even though I seek out the best dates from the market when I buy my eggs, often I don't use them prior to their expiration date. Since I hate to throw out food and especially good sources of protein, I am always looking for uses for them prior to expiration. One easy solution is just to hard boil them, which effectively pasteurizes the eggs and extends their shelf life, but I don't particularly care for hard boiled eggs. Soft boiling them is a partial solution, but soft boiled eggs should be eaten right away unless you know for sure you have reached pasteurization temperature and time (more on this later). Sous vide eggs was a very interesting compromise for me. Pasteurization is a function of time AND temperature. So by cooking eggs for a longer time at a lower temperature you not only pasteurized them, but you also got something quite similar to soft boiled eggs. This presented it's own challenge. The egg yolk actually coagulates at lower temperatures than the whites. So in order to get custard like yolks, you were often left with runny whites (kind of the opposite of a soft boiled egg).

The good news is that you don't have to use boiling temperatures at all, and there's just a few things you need for countless experimentation. All you really need is a cooking vessel (I recommend a 7qt crock pot or a cast iron dutch oven), a thermometer, water, and eggs.

1) First a note on pasteurization. If you are reaching pasteurization time and temperatures, you can extend the shelf life of your eggs by a few days. So how do you know if you are there? Well a good rule of thumb is that if the yolk is not runny like a raw egg, even in the center, you have reached pasteurization. While it is possible to reach pasteurization with runny yolks, you know if you are beyond that stage, pasteurization has been achieved. You don't have to get to the firm yolk stage for this to happen. There are many custard like stages that happen prior to the yolk firming. All you are really looking for is that no part of the yolk is as runny as a raw egg.

2) Next a note on egg cracking. Eggs that are close to their expiration date will crack more readily than eggs which are fresh. What I do is prior to cooking I will soak my eggs in hot tap water for about 30 minutes or however longer it takes before I need them, replacing the water every 10 minutes or so. This brings the eggs from refrigerator temperatures to well above room temperature in the middle. If you have a problem with eggs cracking, absent rough handling getting them into the water bath the biggest culprit is temperature shock. The expanding gasses inside the egg can only escape via the egg pores and if they try to escape too quickly, the egg will crack.

3) The basic idea here is that you are going to use a temperature that begins at something less than boiling, then you are going to put the eggs in and turn off the heat. You will then allow the eggs to cook with just the residual heat contained in the water and cooking vessel. By varying the starting temperature, and the time the eggs are in the water bath, you can vary the consistency of both the yolk and the whites. Higher temperatures and faster cooking times will result in whites that are more dense and yolks that are less dense. Lower temperatures and longer cooking times will result in yolks that are more dense and whites that are less dense.

First I will describe a basic method using a 7qt crock pot (which I recommend). A 7qt crock will do a dozen eggs quite nicely. Fill the crock pot half full with a combination of boiling water and tap water until you get to 20F below your target temperature. For instance, if your target temperature is 170F, you will want your water temperature to be 150F. Turn the crock pot on high until your target temperature is reached. This will take about 30 minutes or more, which gives you time to perform the procedure listed in paragraph 2.

When the water in your crock gets to your target temperature, gently put the eggs into the water bath and turn off the crock. Put the lid on and allow to rest for your target time. If you like firm yolks and whites, I suggest going with a target temperature of 170F and a time of 30 minutes. If you like a consistency that is less firm for either the whites or the yolks, vary the two parameters per paragraph 3.

After your target time has been reached, take one of the eggs out and try one. If the eggs are ready, take them out of the water bath and rinse them off in cold water for a few minutes before refrigerating. This will arrest the cooking process.

Edited to add subsequent posts:

Here's another variation from the basic method:

If you follow the link I provided previously, there's a pretty handy chart which shows the coagulation level of the proteins in the white and yolk.


  • 144F White: Begins to set, runny [font color="orange"]Yolk[/font]: Liquid
  • 147F White: Partly set, runny [font color="orange"]Yolk[/font]: Begins to set
  • 151F White: Largely set, still runny [font color="orange"]Yolk[/font]: Soft solid
  • 158F White: Tender solid [font color="orange"]Yolk[/font]: Soft solid, waxy
  • 176F White: Firm [font color="orange"]Yolk[/font]: Firm
  • 194F White: Rubbery solid [font color="orange"]Yolk[/font]: Crumbly texture


The first thing you do is pick a consistency level for your yolk on the right. It will not be possible to get a consistency level for the white to be less than this point on the chart, however you can go the other way. If you want a yolk that is just beginning to set and a tender solid for the white, what you would need to do is hold 147F for a period of time(10 minutes or so), then raise the temperature to 158F.

Depending on your cooking vessel, this will take a bit of experimentation. For a 7 qt crock the temperature will drop about 8-10F when you put a dozen eggs in(provided they are room temperature or higher). So you would heat the water to 157F, put the eggs in, wait about 10 minutes, add some boiling water till the temp gets to 158F and then let the eggs sit in the water bath for about 5 more minutes or so.

Here's a trick regarding temperature measurement:
I remove the knob from the lid for my 7qt crock pot. This gives me a hole to insert my temperature probe. So I can make temperature readings without having to hold the lid off. I record the temperature every 5 minutes so I can make a simple temperature profile in my cooking journal.

The word "consent" has one meaning to those who are fully literate

I've already explained this to you and provided a proof for my assertion, vis-à-vis Webster's dictionary. If you want to feign illiteracy, more power to you, but I'm not going there with you. So the answer to your question is yes, I'm pretty sure it is nonsense, by definition.

Coercion, age, and sobriety (at least when it reaches the point at which consent is incapable) are all valid reasons why consent does not apply. In the case of coercion, if someone where holding a gun to a person's head and compelling them to perform a sex act, then consent clearly does not apply. All of these things are already covered by applicable laws other than prostitution itself and someone in violation would almost certainly be prosecuted under those instead of prostitution as the penalties are considerably higher. However, that's not what you are talking about at least near as I can tell through the gibberish. You are trying to justify illegalizing consensual (using the fully literate meaning of that word) sexual activities. The simple rule I live by is that if sex is consensual between adults, it's none of my business. It's a pretty simple concept really and it applies in all sorts of situations other than prostitution. This doesn't mean I believe the activity shouldn't be regulated. I just believe in addressing problems directly, rather than addressing symptoms of problems or things that are only casually related to problems.

Your idea seems to be based on the idea that you are in a superior position to those involved in prostitution and therefore can and should make moral choices for them. I tend to think that there's already too many involved in that business. The reason I said I have more respect for the rad-fem argument on prostitution is at least they believe all prostitution is rape. I really don't see much difference between your position and hardcore social conservatives who oppose prostitution for puritanical reasons. Then again, at least those people have a book they can reference for legitimacy. You can't seem to even reference the dictionary for yours.

Just sayin'

They will continue to engage in it because they know it succeeds occassionally

So if 1 out of 20 of their alerts succeeds, for them it is not frivolous. It's just 19 missed opportunities to make DU suck a little more. Ironically some of the same posters are the first to complain about people trying to shut them up.

The behavior is well described here:
Psychological projection was first conceptualized by Sigmund Freud as a defence(sic) mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world instead. Thus, projection involves psychically expelling one's negative qualities onto others, and is a common psychological process.[1][2] Theoretically, projection and the related projective identification reduces anxiety by allowing the unconscious expression of the unwanted unconscious impulses or desires through displacement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

The usual suspects make a big deal about it if the subject is breached

Even when those who breach it are prominent feminists. I posted this sometime back and evidently that makes me a rape apologist because those who engage in such mindless defamation are too lazy to look up the qualifications of either one of the authors.





http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3379584

So please tell us what the point is exactly

First off, your subject line "men can do better" is a bit ambiguous. Everyone is capable of better. By saying men can do better you seem to suggest that women are exempt from the need for self improvement. At best, this statement is cliche'. At worst, it's simply taking a stab at men by reminding them that they are substandard compared to women.

In the first sentence of this post you substitute, "man" for patriarchy, as if both of those things are synonymous. This is the mistake that many feminists also make (for many of them it's intentional, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you don't know any better).

Next you seem to suggest that anyone would want to be defined as animalistic, stupid, and monolithic in the first place and that we should bow at the knees of feminism and thank it for trying to make us "better". This is possibly the most ridiculous part (although the rest certainly comes close). More than a few feminists, including many right here on DU, continually remind us that most, if not nearly all men embody the image of what you think feminism is working to spare us from. In other words, they are working to reinforce that image, and their idea of making us "better" includes lecturing us from their platform of high and mightiness.

Feminism itself is hardly monolithic. The only thing all feminists really have in common is they are social activists who campaign for the rights of women. Anyone who posits that the whole of feminism is anything beyond that is simply pulling it out of their ass with predictable results. It's not the purpose or intent of feminism to make men "better". Anyone who claims as much is not speaking for all of feminism and shouldn't pretend to do so.

Rye sourdough pancakes: Updated with pictures and alt methods for non-sourdough

When I was a kid, my dad used to make sourdough pancakes. His recipe has been lost to time, so I decided to take a stab at developing my own recipe. I was astounded as to how well this turned out. This was really more of an experiment. Since I am using 25% rye flour and fermenting overnight, I expected the result would be a very dense pancake. To my great surprise the opposite was true. The pancakes rose well on the griddle and the result was a light and fluffy pancake that has a lot more flavor than any pancake leavened with baking powder. The rye flour adds a bit of structure, so the pancakes also stay light after cooking instead of deflating a bit after you take them off the griddle. I actually doubled this recipe so I could have next day pancakes tomorrow. After doubling the recipe I made 10 large pancakes with enough batter left over to make about 3 more perhaps, so I'm estimating the single recipe yield to be about 6 large pancakes. Just a small amount of real maple syrup goes great with these and I highly recommend it.

My daughter has a friend sleeping over, so the litmus test was to see how well they liked it. They loved it and my daughter said she wants to have them again.

This recipe assumes you are feeding your starter daily. I always feed mine in the morning. If you are storing your starter in the refrigerator and not feeding it daily, you may want to get started a day or two earlier and leave your starter out at room temperature and feed daily for a day or two to revitalize it.

Ingredients:
150g a/p white flour
50g rye flour (You can substitute whole wheat or white flour if desired)
200g water
200g starter

3 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda (sifted)
1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
56g melted butter (1/2 stick)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Feed your starter in the morning as usual. About 8 hours after feeding and about 8-12 hours prior to cooking, mix all the flour, water, and starter well inside a large mixing bowl, cover with cling wrap and store in a warm (70-75F) place overnight. The colder your kitchen is, the earlier you need to mix the overnight ferment.

The next morning preheat your griddle and mix all the remaining ingredients well in a separate mixing bowl. Combine everything together and use a folding action to mix the batter using a spatula or your hand. You will lose some of the bubbles you developed overnight during mixing, but the idea is to keep as many of them as possible for a lighter pancake. This will take a few minutes, especially if you used rye flour, but be patient and resist the urge to use a whisk or electric mixer. Once all the ingredients are combined, the batter is ready for the griddle.

Yield: 6 large (7" pancakes

One big advantage to using sourdough is the result will keep better than pancakes made without a natural yeast ferment. Just cover them and leave them out at room temperature like you would any other bread. They should keep fine for 3-4 days.

UPDATE: Substitution suggestions for those who want to use commercial yeast in lieu of sourdough

For the sourdough, substitute 1/8th tsp instant or Rapid-rise yeast, 100g more water and 100g more flour. Do not use active-dry yeast.
Cut the baking soda down to 1 tsp.

Keep in mind that I've never tried doing it this way for flat breads, so you're in somewhat uncharted territory. Sourdough makes for a more acidic batter, so you're going to get more action from the baking soda. This is why I specified to cut the baking soda down. You might want to add just a 1/2 tsp or so of cream of tartar to the final mix to hedge your bet. Mix it in at the very last, sprinkling it over the batter and mix it in that way.

My recipe for pinto beans

I like making pinto beans and it seems I wasn't making them the same each time. I like using pinto beans as a side dish for BBQ and since I recently bought a pretty nice smoker I wanted to standardize my pinto recipe so I could make them easily without having to think about it much. This recipe is very simple and easy, but it produces very good results. Beans are kind of like a blank slate flavor wise, so the possibilities for different ingredients are endless.

Ingredients:

1 lb of uncooked pinto beans
~3-4 cups water
1 qt stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne or black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 slices bacon
2 Jalapeno or Serrano peppers

Boil about 6 cups of water in a separate vessel. When the water comes to a boil, cover the beans with the boiling water with about 1/4-1/2" above the beans. Add the salt and stir. After 1 hour of soaking, the beans should have absorbed most of the water. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Set the crock pot to low, cover, and cook until the beans are tender. Cooking times will depend on how hot your crock pot is on low and how hard your water is, but should take around 4-5 hours. Season to taste once they are done.

Naturally the problem with beans is flatulence. This is caused by indigestible starches which pass through your digestive track to your lower intestines, where the resident bacteria flora have a field day with them. The increased action from this bacteria produces more gas than you normally would. Pinto beans are not as bad as other types, like lima beans, but the problem is still there. Using large volumes of soaking water, soaking overnight, and tossing the soaking water before cooking will help, because many of the indigestible starches will dissolve into the soaking water and can be removed. I don't like to do it this way because along with those indigestible starches, you're also throwing away nutrients which have also leached into the soaking water. My solution to this problem is very slow cooking and relatively short soak times. Slow cooking will break down those indigestible starches much better than faster cooking at higher temperatures. It also results in a bean that I think has a better texture than those cooked faster.

If I'm multiplying this recipe by at least 2-3 times I will use a smoked ham hock rather than bacon. If you want to go vegan, leave out the meat and use a bit of liquid smoke at the end to taste or flavor with something else (curry powder is quite nice).

Coffee 105: Putting it all together

This is the last in the Coffee 100 series. The rest may be found here:

Coffee 101: Brewing devices
Coffee 102: Grinders
Coffee 103: Water
Coffee 104: Coffee Beans

If you've followed the series so far, you now should have your brewing device, your grinder, a good source of water, and some freshly roasted coffee beans. Now it's time to put everything together and make the perfect cup of coffee. I'm not going to explain the methods required to brew the perfect cup with all brewing devices. Instead I'll cover the method I use most often at home and you may be able to modify this method to suit your own brewing device or at least pick up some tips to improve your own method.

The method I use most often at home for brewed coffee is the Clever Coffee Dripper. I love this little device. It only brews enough coffee for one large mug or two polite cups, but it does it extremely well, it's very simple to use, it's very easy to clean, and it offers a fine degree of control over the brewing process. If you click on the link, Tom (the owner, president, manager, worker, etc. of the company) offers a complete list of instructions for using the device, along with a couple of videos demonstrating its use, so I'm not going to detail the whole procedure and will instead clarify a few things and explain how the process works and how you can modify the procedure to suit your own tastes.

Variations

Water temperature:
Water temperature is very important. I can't stress this enough. That's why I hate most drip coffee brewers. The vast majority of them do not brew hot enough and the ones that do almost never offer you any control over the water temp. 195-205 degrees F is the temperature range usually quoted for optimum coffee extraction. Even within this range you can get some considerable variation. The coffee I am currently drinking is Columbian Microlot 159 from Dodd Coffee Roaster in Houston. I've tried brewing this coffee at 205 and much prefer it brewed closer to 195. There's a significant difference. Different coffees have different temperatures in which they produce the best results. A few premium roasters even list the recommended brew temperature on their coffee when you buy it. Some electric water kettles have a temperature set and hold point. This would be quite nice to have, but they are fairly expensive and I already had a great electric kettle before these came out, so I just use a thermometer with my kettle.

Grind level:
With a burr coffee grinder, you can vary the size of the grind via an adjustment on the grinder. Varying the grind level produces different results. A finer grind will extract faster, while a coarser grind will tend to favor longer extraction times.

Extraction time:
The normal extraction time for brewed coffee is usually quoted at 4-6 minutes. I generally prefer staying on the short end of this range and use a somewhat finer grind, however some coffees may favor a coarser grind and longer extraction times.

Coffee/Water ratio:
Now certainly some people like 'stronger' coffee and some like it weaker. In order to get these results they will typically vary the grinds to water ratio. This method doesn't really work that well as it generally leads to over or under extraction. If you like weaker coffee, brew it at the recommended levels for that brewing device and then thin it down after the fact with hot water. If you like stronger coffee, get an Aeropress. Most people are going to prefer coffee somewhere in the middle. For the Clever Coffee Dripper, I use the 33g of coffee per 530ml that Tom recommends. I weigh both the coffee and the water on a digital scale.

Preparred Coffee Storage and Serving

After you brew your coffee, unless you have just made enough servings for the amount of people you are serving, you're going to need to store the brewed coffee for a period of time until everyone is ready for another cup. Most drip coffee brewers have a hot plate, and most people who have ever used one figures out that coffee left on one for too long becomes absolutely horrid. At home, I use either an insulated glass carafe, or an airpot if I'm making a lot. A good airpot that is properly preheated will keep coffee at acceptable serving temps for up to a whopping 10 hours with virtually no reduction in quality. For home use, I like coffee storage devices that are glass lined. Anything that uses metal will impart off flavors into your coffee, however glass is not that great outside the home where things tend to get banged around, so I use stainless steel in this instance. I once bought a thermos that was stainless steel lined with tephlon. I don't recommend this as it tended to impart even more off flavors than stainless alone. If someone wants specific recommendations, you can reply here and I'll tell you which devices I use and why. I've wasted a lot of money on various coffee paraphernalia that just didn't work that well.

Most people have a favorite coffee cup. Mine is a ceramic one made by the Victor Insulating Company. This particular one is somewhat popular among coffee geeks. They are no longer made, but thanks to ebay you can still find them on the used market as hundreds of thousands of them were made between about 1940 and 1980. The Victor Insulating Company originally made ceramic insulators for the electrical distribution market. During the depression, they started trying to figure out how they could diversify their products and discovered they could make coffee cups from the same ceramic insulation material. Coffee shops quickly discovered how great these cups were and soon they were in use all over the country. A genuine one is stamped "Victor" on the bottom. They are much heavier than even heavy ceramic cups. As such they have excellent heat retention. You can find them on ebay from about 6oz size to about 10oz size. I guess for a time they were quite popular with Navy guys because many of them are stamped with logos from various Navy ships. The first one I got I found in the back of a cabinet in the break room at work. It hadn't been used in years and we were about to throw it out. I instantly recognized I had something really special. I've been using that cup for the last 15 years or so and it still looks like brand new. It was probably close to that old when I got it. It's very similar to this one.
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