Chuckles of the Day




Retiree

A single woman ready to retire was cautioned by all her friends to arrange direct deposit for her social security check.

She was leery about it, but because so many people advised her, she decided to try it.

The first three months, on the first, she went to the bank to be sure the money had been deposited. Each time unbeknownst to her she was observed.

On the fourth month when she came out of the bank a man accosted her and asked for her money.

She told him she didn’t have any. He told her he’d been watching her for three months, and knew she had money. Then he frisked her.

Finding nothing, he said, “but I watched you for four months. Aren’t you cashing a check?”

‘No”, she said, ‘but if you’ll frisk me again I’ll write you one”.

* * * * * * *

Memory

An old man was asked by his wife to go to the deli and get her a salami sandwich on rye with a pickle on the side. She asked him to write it down.

He insisted he didn’t need to write it down.

She argued with him to write it down. He repeated, “A salami sandwich on rye with a pickle on the side”. He then left for the deli without writing it down.

He came back with a bagel with cream cheese.

She looked in the bag and said, “I told you to write it down! Where is my pastrami sandwich on an onion roll!?”




Do Bones Add Flavour to Meat?

J. Kenji López-Alt wrote . . . . . . . . .

You hear it all the time. Grill that steak with the bone in. Buy a bone-in roast. Chefs and cookbook authors alike all say it, claiming that the bones will add flavor to your meat. I was skeptical (as I often am), so a few years ago I ran a series of tests to determine whether there was anything to the flavor claims, as well as whether or not there might be other non-flavor-related advantages to cooking with bone-in meat. We’ll get to the results in a moment, but first, let’s talk about what bones are made of and where that potential flavor may be coming from.

Bones come with three things: the actual hard calcified bone matter itself, the marrow within (which can be of red or grey varieties, the latter being the tasty fatty stuff you get at fancy restaurants and steakhouses these days), and the bits of connective tissue and fat that cling to its surface.

The bone matter itself (think: Halloween skeleton) is largely flavorless stuff that takes a long time to dissolve in water or fat, and thus doesnt contribute much to your meat, flavor-wise. The marrow is locked deep within the bones and can’t be extracted efficiently unless the bones are cracked or sawed in half. Since you aren’t serving cracked bones in a roast or a big steak, this shouldn’t be much of a contributor either.*

Have you ever tried making a stock with whole, uncracked beef bones with no connective tissue? It doesn’t work. You get a few dissolved minerals but not much aroma. To get flavor and body, you have to break the bones down and make sure that they host some connective tissue on their surfaces.

Finally, there’s the connective tissue and surface fat. Here’s where we might be able to make a case. Everybody knows that the tastiest bites of a prime rib are the sinewy, fatty bits you gnaw off with your teeth from the bone, right? So some of this great flavor surely must be making its way into the meat, right?

How Does Your Water Flow?

Well not so fast. Despite the fun mental image, a piece of meat is not a sponge. Liquid does not flow freely in and out or within it. Don’t believe me? Try this test. Dry the surface of a steak thoroughly with paper towels, then squeeze that steak as hard as you can. Go ahead, squeeze. Have your buddy the gorilla lend you a hand if he’s free. Try and squeeze some liquid out of there. That steak you’re holding is around 70 percent water. Surely you can get a few drops out of it? No?

Unless you’ve got superhuman strength, you won’t see much liquid coming out, and that’s because the liquid inside a steak is securely compartmentalized. It’s for this reason that most marinades are largely ineffective at delivering much more than a surface treatment to meats. Even marinating overnight will only get you a couple millimeters of penetration. What chance do any flavorful compounds from the bone have in entering your meat during the mere hours it spends in the oven?

Ah, you might say. But doesn’t that change when you start cooking? Surely water and flavor flows around more easily then?

It does! Moisture does start moving once you begin cooking meat and its muscle fibers start contracting. But it doesn’t float freely; it doesn’t ebb and flow. In fact, it only moves in one direction: out. There’s nothing that would cause juices from an exterior portion of the meat (the bones) to move towards the center.

Now all of this theoretical talk is fine for us to theorize, but we’re people of action, are we not? We demand empirical evidence!

I’ve got some of that!

The Test

To test this, I cooked four identical roasts. The first was cooked with the bone on. For the second, I removed the bone, but tied it back against the meat while cooking. For the third, I removed the bone, and tied it back to the meat with an intervening piece of impermeable heavy-duty aluminum foil. The fourth was cooked completely without the bone.

Tasted side-by-side, the first three were completely indistinguishable from each other. The fourth, on the other hand, was a little tougher in the region where the bone used to be.

What does this indicate? Well, first off, it means the flavor exchange theory is completely bunk—the completely intact piece of meat tasted exactly the same as the one with the intervening aluminum foil. But it also means that the bone does serve at least one important function: it insulates the meat, slowing its cooking, and providing less surface area to lose moisture.

Bone on its own is actually a superior conductor of heat than meat. However, bone is not solid—it has a honeycomb structure that includes many air spaces. Just like air spaces in home insulation guard against temperature fluctuations, so too does the bone protect the meat closest to it. This is where the expression “tender at the bone” comes from (meat near the bone is less cooked, thus more tender), and why it’s important to insert your thermometer away from the bone when testing temperature; Testing close to bone will give you an artificially low reading.

And of course, the other advantage to cooking with the bone on is that it gives you all that wonderful gristle and fat to chew on.

Bottom line: The best way to cook your beef is to detach the bone and tie it back on. You get the same cooking quality of a completely intact roast with the added advantage that once it’s cooked, carving is as simple as cutting the string, removing the bones, and slicing.

Source: Serious Eat

What Is for Lunch?

Kuroge Wagyu Rice Bowl Set at Yoshinoya in Tokyo, Japan

The beef used is ranked A3 or above and sliced to a thickness of 4 mm. The rice bowl is served with kimchi and miso soup.

The set is sold at a special price of 1,419 yen (tax included).

Daily Half-Hour Walk Can Greatly Boost Survival After Stroke

Robert Preidt and Ernie Mundell wrote . . . . . . . . .

After a stroke, survivors can greatly increase their odds for many more years of life through activities as easy as a half-hour’s stroll each day, new research shows.

The nearly five-year-long Canadian study found that stroke survivors who walked or gardened at least three to four hours a week (about 30 minutes a day), cycled at least two to three hours per week, or got an equivalent amount of exercise had a 54% lower risk of death from any cause.

The benefits were highest among younger stroke survivors. Those younger than 75 who did at least that much physical activity had an 80% lower risk of death, according to the study published online in the journal Neurology.

“We should particularly emphasize [physical activity] to stroke survivors who are younger in age, as they may gain the greatest health benefits from walking just 30 minutes each day,” study author Dr. Raed Joundi, of the University of Calgary, said in a journal news release.

One U.S. expert in stroke care said more needs to be done to help people who survive a stroke get active.

“It is important that stroke neurologists enroll their patients in exercise programs, because encouraging exercise/physical activity may not be sufficient,” noted Dr. Andrew Rogove, who wasn’t involved in the new research. He directs stroke care at Northwell Health’s South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y.

The new study included nearly 900 stroke survivors, average age 72, and more than 97,800 people, average age 63, who had never had a stroke. All of the participants were followed for an average of about 4.5 years.

After accounting for other factors that could influence the risk of death (such as age and smoking), the researchers found that 25% of the stroke survivors and 6% of those who’d never had a stroke died from any cause during follow-up.

Among the stroke survivors, 15% of the people who exercised at least the equivalent of three to four hours of walking each week died, compared to 33% of those who didn’t get at least that much exercise, Joundi’s group reported.

The bottom line: “Our results suggest that getting a minimum amount of physical activity may reduce long-term mortality from any cause in stroke survivors,” Joundi said.

“Our results are exciting, because just three to four hours a week of walking was associated with big reductions in mortality, and that may be attainable for many community members with prior stroke,” he said. “In addition, we found people achieved even greater benefit with walking six to seven hours per week. These results might have implications for guidelines for stroke survivors in the future.”

One other expert noted that although the study couldn’t prove cause and effect, there was a “dose-dependent” trend in the findings: As the amount of exercise rose, the risk of dying during the study period fell.

“This study is important because it establishes a dose-dependent response between physical activity and mortality,” said Dr. Salman Azhar, who directs the stroke program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Azhar, who wasn’t involved in the new research, stressed that stroke survivors’ ability to be mobile and exercise of course varies greatly from patient-to-patient. He noted that many patients who had “functional difficulties,” other illnesses, financial issues or a lack of family support did not provide information in the study on just how much activity they engaged in each day.

“This is the very group that would tend to have less physical activity and have a higher risk of dying,” Azhar noted.

So, he said, “the challenge remaining is how to overcome the obstacles to increase physical activity in stroke survivors in the community, especially when resources are limited, and [other illnesses] exist.”

Source: HealthDay

Lamb in Bell Pepper Cases

Ingredients

4 large green and yellow bell peppers
salt
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
8 oz lean ground lamb
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped blanched almonds
4 tablespoons plain unsweetened yogurt

Method

  1. Cut the tops from the peppers and set them aside. Scoop out the core and seeds.
  2. Blanch the peppers and the tops in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the meat over a moderate heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove it with a slotted spoon.
  4. Fry the onion and mushrooms for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  5. Return the meat to the pan and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and stir in the breadcrumbs, lemon rind, lemon juice, parsley, almonds and yogurt. Mix well.
  7. Stand the peppers upright in a baking dish that just fits them. Fill them with the meat mixture and replace the lids.
  8. Pour 2 inches of water into the dish, cover with foil and bake in a 375°F preheated oven for 50 minutes.
  9. Remove the foil 15 minutes before the end. Serve the peppers hot, with brown rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Cooking Naturally


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