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Archive for February, 2018

Our Captain and Guide Aboard The Monarch, Otago Harbor, Dunedin, New Zealand from My Instagram

February 22nd, 2018 No comments

Columns, Getty Villa via My Instagram

February 22nd, 2018 No comments

Channel Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis), Santa Cruz Island via My Instagram

February 22nd, 2018 No comments

In The Kitchen: Peposo dell’Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef) from Food Wishes (with video recipe)

February 22nd, 2018 No comments

This recipe, found on the Food Wishes YouTube Channel, is all about the WOW! You will definitely be surprised by the amount of black pepper it uses, but once it is braised for several hours it all mellows in a wonderful flavor with a little bit of heat on the finish.

I made mine with a simple pot roast from the grocery, instead of the short ribs used in the video, but it came out wonderfully. I just cut the roast into about 6 large chunks. I would made it with short ribs though for anyone who might specially like them.

While this certainly takes a lot of time to cook, it doesn’t require a lot of attention. I did strain the sauce at the end before cooking it down as the rosemary had disintegrated and I personally don’t like chunks of rosemary needles in my food.

In The Kitchen: Peposo dell'Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

My version, just getting started

I served mine over polenta, just like the video. I have been using this accompaniment for braised meats and such for a long time. It is a great way of capturing all the juices, and the flavor they bring to the dish.

This is a wonderful collection of flavors and while I don’t often eat large cuts of meat like this, it is definitely a recipe I will make again!

One tip: If you don’t have a tight fitting lid for your large skillet or dutch over, seal the top with aluminum foil and then cover with the existing lid and crimp the edges of the foil. This really helps keep all the moist, juicy, goodness inside over the long cooking time.

In The Kitchen: Peposo dell'Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

My largest skillet with foil seal. The foil covers the entire top and then is crimped at the edges.

Peposo dell’Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

In The Kitchen: Peposo dell'Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

Food Wishes Finished Version

Some recipes have amusing, or romantic stories for how they came to be, but this peposo isn’t one of them, unless you consider making bad quality beef taste better by covering it in black pepper, amusing or romantic.

As the story goes, the workers who made terracotta tiles in the city of Impruneta, would place this stew into clay pots, and leave it their still-hot kilns overnight, where it would be ready the next morning. Since they were often stuck using less than fresh meat, copious amounts of black peppercorn was used to make the beef palatable.

Read this entire blog post – Peposo dell’Impruneta – Making Bad Beef Better Since Before Columbus on Food Wishes


Recipe: Peposo dell’Impruneta (Italian Black Pepper Beef)

Ingredients for 6 portions:

6 bone-in beef short ribs (about 8 to 10 ounces each)
1 tablespoon kosher salt to coat the beef
8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, freshly crushed
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 sage leaves
3-4 small sprigs rosemary
2 cups red wine, preferably Chianti
2 bay leaves
salt to taste, to adjust sauce

Simmer on low, covered, about 3 1/2 hours, or until fork tender. Turn occasionally.


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Categories: Cooking, Food, In the kitchen, New Food, Video Tags:

Hummingbirds at the feeder in 4k – 3 in a series [Video] (0:57)

February 21st, 2018 No comments

Hummingbirds at the feeder in 4k – 3 in a series

We have had regular visitors at our window-mounted feeder so I took the time to capture a few.

This video is available in 4k. I recently upgraded my camera and am trying it out on a variety of subjects.

Hummingbirds at the feeder in 4k - 3 in a series [Video] (0:57)

Hummingbirds are birds from the Americas that constitute the family Trochilidae. They are among the smallest of birds, most species measuring 7.5–13 cm (3–5 in) in length. Indeed, the smallest extant bird species is a hummingbird, the 5 cm (2.0 in) bee hummingbird weighing less than 2.0 g (0.07 oz).

They are known as hummingbirds because of the humming sound created by their beating wings which flap at high frequencies audible to humans. They hover in mid-air at rapid wing-flapping rates, which vary from around 12 beats per second in the largest species, to in excess of 80 in some of the smallest. Of those species that have been measured in wind tunnels, their top speed exceeds 15 m/s (54 km/h; 34 mph) and some species can dive at speeds in excess of 22 m/s (79 km/h; 49 mph).[1][2]

 

Hummingbirds have the highest metabolism of any homeothermic animal.[3] To conserve energy when food is scarce, and nightly when not foraging, they can go into torpor, a state similar to hibernation, slowing metabolic rate to 1/15th of its normal rate.[4] — Wikipedia

 

More information on Hummingbirds:

 Learn more about Hummingbirds

 

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Marble Sculpture Detail, Getty Villa via My Instagram

February 21st, 2018 No comments

Rosanne Welch (@drrosannewelch) onboard The Monarch, Otago Harbor, Dunedin, New Zealand via My Instagram

February 21st, 2018 No comments

Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii): Back Again – 5 in a series from My Word [Video] (1:00)

February 20th, 2018 No comments

Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii): Back Again – 5 in a series from My Word

This Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) returned to the garden again, so I’ll be sharing a series of video clips of its behaviors for those interested in raptors.

In this video, it’s bath time and an exuberant one at that!

Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii): Back Again - 5 in a series from My Word [Video] (1:00)

 

More information on Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooper):

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Reading – The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone – 11 in a series

February 20th, 2018 No comments

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies by by Jason Fagone – 11 in a series

Reading -  The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies by by Jason Fagone - 11 in a series

An amazing true story that had me racing through the book at a feverish pace. This book details the beginnings of cryptanalysis — the science/art/craft of making and breaking codes — in America and the amazing woman behind it all. As the author often reminds us throughout the book, Elizebeth Smith Friedman is virtually unknown despite all her groundbreaking work in cryptanalysis. She, and her soon to be husband, William were the creators and foremost experts on breaking codes and ended up training most of the cryptographers who came after them. They started their codebreaking journeys in World War I, breaking codes used in the newfangled wireless radio systems. Between the wars, Elizebeth broke the codes of rumrunners illegally importing alcohol during Prohibition. Finally. at the outset of Word War II, Elizebeth set up a dedicated codebreaking group as part of the US Coast Guard while William managed a similar group under the auspices of the US Army. Together they helped keep America and Americans safe during the war including breaking up German spy radio stations in South America and preventing at least one attack on the Queen Mary, then serving as a troop transport. Eventually their efforts led directly to the creation of the Nation Security Agency (NSA) and the auditorium at NSA headquarters — once only named for William — now bears both their names equally.

Anyone with an interest in the history of codes, code breaking or cryptanalysis will find The Woman Who Smashed Codes a fascinating read. Combine this rather forgotten history with how it affected the overall history of the times gives you an even deeper understanding of both.

Highly Recommended

** My version of this book was available from the Los Angeles Public Library in print and ebook versions.

From Amazon.com…

Joining the ranks of Hidden Figures and In the Garden of Beasts, the incredible true story of the greatest codebreaking duo that ever lived, an American woman and her husband who invented the modern science of cryptology together and used it to confront the evils of their time, solving puzzles that unmasked Nazi spies and helped win World War II.

In 1916, at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago. The tycoon had close ties to the U.S. government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code-breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman. Though she and Friedman are in many ways the “Adam and Eve” of the NSA, Elizebeth’s story, incredibly, has never been told.

In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation’s history for forty years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States. As World War II raged, Elizebeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler’s Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an Army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma—and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.

Fagone unveils America’s code-breaking history through the prism of Smith’s life, bringing into focus the unforgettable events and colorful personalities that would help shape modern intelligence. Blending the lively pace and compelling detail that are the hallmarks of Erik Larson’s bestsellers with the atmosphere and intensity of The Imitation Game, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is page-turning popular history at its finest.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library.
Check it out! † Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Books, History, Technology Tags:

Winter Sycamore via My Instagram

February 20th, 2018 No comments

Winter Sycamore via My Instagram

Winter Sycamore

Getty Villa, Malibu, California

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