Over Easy: Around the World

Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene.

A raid by Swiss justice officers on the Zurich headquarters of FIFA, worldwide governing body of the sport the U.S. calls soccer, kicked off a corruption crackdown that has been assisted by Charles Blazer, the former head of Concacaf, working undercover..

Amid the U.S. indictments released Wednesday, Swiss authorities indicated that they were separately investigating the processes by which the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host country sites were secured. The United States narrowly lost out on hosting the latter competition to Qatar, whose securing of the tournament has been overshadowed by concerns over alleged human rights abuses of its migrant labor force.

According to SIU law professor Dervan, part of the reason the DOJ may have launched its investigation into FIFA is because of the widely held belief that corruption influenced the body’s decision to award Qatar the World Cup — thus negatively impacting U.S. commerce and legal norms.

Representatives of the two tribes with members  in the legislative body, Penobscots and Passamaquoddies, withdrew from the Maine legislature as a protest of state attitudes injurious to the tribes’ interests.

As Dana and Mitchell were leaving, a number of lawmakers accompanied them and joined a protest held in the statehouse courtyard.

“The Passamaquoddy and Penobscot people will always have a place in the Maine House,” said House speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick.

”I hope they will reclaim their seats,” he added without elaborating how it may come about.

Technology that can meddle with the DNA of human embryos has been opposed by world bodies that are concerned about its implication for the future of the species.

The technique allows researchers to artificially insert or remove parts of the DNA.

Nascent work in the field has already led to fierce patent battles between start-up companies and universities that say it could prove as profitable and revolutionary as recombinant DNA technology, which was developed in the 1970s and 1980s and launched the biotechnology industry.

But CRISPR has also brought ethical concerns. Use of the technology provoked strong criticism from some scientists last month, after it was employed in China to alter the DNA of human embryos.

Never.Give.Up.

Sunday Food: Beef Steak for Memorial Day

Steaks on a grill
Steaks on a grill

(Picture courtesy of Liz Lowley at flickr.com.)

While a lot of the U.S. will have weather that isn’t ideal for outdoor cooking, one of the traditions of Memorial Day celebrations is a barbeque, often featuring steaks on the grill.  We all hear varying tastes for cooking and dining on steaks, but this is a review of ‘common’ knowledge as featured on wikimedia.

A steak is a cut of meat sliced perpendicular to the muscle fibers, potentially including a bone. When the word “steak” is used without qualification, it generally refers to a beef steak. In a larger sense, there are also fish steaks, ground meat steaks, pork steak and many more varieties.

As a “top-quality ingredient”, beef steaks “are perfect if properly grilled“,[1] but they can be pan-fried, orbroiled. Steak is often grilled in an attempt to replicate the flavor of steak cooked over the glowing coals of an open fire.[1] Steak can also be cooked in sauce, such as in steak and kidney pie, or minced and formed into patties, such as hamburgers.

(snip)

The word steak originates from the mid-15th century Scandinavian word steik, or stickna’ in the Middle English dialect, along with the Old Norseword steikja.[5] The Oxford English Dictionary’s first reference is to “a thick slice of meat cut for roasting or grilling or frying, sometimes used in a pie or pudding; especially a piece cut from the hind-quarters of the animal.” Subsequent parts of the entry, however, refer to “steak fish”, which referred to “cod of a size suitable for cutting into steaks”, and also “steak-raid”, which was a custom among Scottish Highlanders of giving some cattle being driven through a gentleman’s land to the owner.[6] An early written usage of the word “stekys” comes from a 15th-century cookbook, and makes reference to both beef or venison steaks.[7]

(snip)

Many types of beefsteak exist. The more tender cuts of beef, from the loin and rib, are cooked quickly, using dry heat, and served whole. Less tender cuts from the chuck or round are cooked with moist heat or are mechanically tenderized (e.g. cube steak). Beef steak can be cooked to a level of very rare (bleu, a cold raw center), rare, medium rare, medium, medium well done, or well done. Pittsburgh rare is charred on the outside. Beef, unlike certain other meats, does not need to be cooked through. Food-borne human illnesses are not normally found within a beef steak, though surfaces can potentially be contaminated from handling, and thus, very rare steak (seared on the outside and raw within) is generally accepted as safe.

Beef steak is graded for quality, with higher prices for higher quality. Generally, the higher the quality, the more tender the beef, the less time is needed for cooking, or the better the flavor. For example, beef fillet is the most tender[41] and wagyu, such as Kobe beef from Japan, is known for its high quality and commands a high price.[42] Steak can be cooked relatively quickly compared to other cuts of meat, particularly when cooked at very high temperatures, such as by broiling or grilling.

The quality and safety of steak as a food product is regulated by law. In Australia, there are National Meat Accreditation standards;[43] in Canada, there is the Canadian Beef Grading Agency;[44] in the United Kingdom, the Food Standards Agency is responsible;[45] in the United States, beef isgraded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as select, choice or prime,[46] where “prime” refers to beef of the highest quality, typically that which has significant marbling.[46] In 1996 in the U.S., only 2.4% of cattle were graded as prime,[47] and most prime beef is sold in restaurants and hotels.[46]

Eating red meat gets a lot of disapproval in some quarters, but I was always one who respects variety.   I will have steaks, burgers, roasts, sometimes but think they’re best with a healthy green salad.

Saturday Art: Jean-Baptiste Oudry

Henri, Camille, Chevalier de Berengen by Oudry
Henri Camille, Chevalier de Berenghen by Oudry
Misse and Latine by Oudry
Misse and Latine by Oudry

A painter known best for his portrayal of animals, Oudry studied and showed expertise from an early age and began as a portrait artist.   He showed mastery in art featuring animals and attracted interest from members of the court of Louis XV and support that gave him a solid profession in a comfortable life.

Through his friend, Jean-Baptiste Massé, a portrait-painter and miniaturist, Oudry was introduced to the Marquis de Beringhen, hereditary master of the royal stables,[3] for whom he painted a pair of paintings in 1727,[4] followed by a suite of landscapes in the Flemish manner. Through this connection, he was commissioned to produce the painting that made his reputation, Louis XV hunting a deer in the Forest of Saint-Germain (1730; now at Toulouse). Subsequently he was commissioned to produce numerous works for the King, who was passionate about the hunt and appointed Oudry Painter-in-Ordinary of the Royal Hunt,[5] in which capacity he produced portraits of dead game, the day’s kill. Oudry was granted a workshop in the Tuileries and an apartment in the Louvre.

M. Hultz, an adviser to the Académie de Peinture, commissioned Oudry to produce a buffet, or still-life combining silver plates and ewers, fruit and game; the work was exhibited in the Salon of 1737. Oudry timidly asked for tenpistoles for his work, but Hultz valued it much higher, insisting on paying twenty-five. Oudry was also commissioned to produce a buffet for Louis XV (exhibited in the Salon of 1743), that went to the château de Choisy, the King’s favoured hunting residence.

(snip)

Although Oudry produced excellent scenes of animals and of hunting, he also painted portraits, histories, landscapes, fruits and flowers; he imitated bas reliefs in monotone tints en camaïeu, used pastels, and created etchings. He was often sent examples of rare birds to draw.

An important patron was Christian Ludwig II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who commissioned two pairs of paintings from Oudry: Three Does Watching Two Stags Fighting and A Family of Roe Deer; and A Boar Hunt and A Wolf Hunt, both delivered in 1734.[8] He later purchased a series of large paintings of animals from Louis XV’s menagerie at Versailles. Oudry’s initial motive for painting these works is obscure. When exhibited at the Paris Salon, they had been described as having been painted for the French king; however the commission seems to come through the king’s surgeon, François Gigot de la Peyronie, who had engravings made after them,[9] and in a letter to Christian dated March 1750, Oudry wrote that they had become available for sale due to de La Peyronie’s death. In addition to the portraits of the animals from the royal menagerie, Christian also bought Oudry’s life-size painting of “Clara“, an Indian rhinoceros which had been exhibited all around Europe to great public interest.[10] The works are still at Schwerin.

(more…)

Over Easy: Placeholder

Hummingbirds arriving in NW PA, apple blossom time
Hummingbirds arriving in NW PA, apple blossom time

As there isn’t an Over Easy yet, I’ll put this up just for folks to meet and share things here with.

The Antartic Peninsula, from a report from Bristol University that was just released, has been losing ice in dramatic quantities.

Satellites have seen a sudden dramatic change in the behaviour of glaciers on the Antarctica Peninsula, according to a Bristol University-led study.

The ice streams were broadly stable up until 2009, since when they have been losing on the order of 56 billion tonnes of ice a year to the ocean.

Warm waters from the deep sea may be driving the changes, the UK-based team says.

(snip)

“Around 2009/2010, the surface in this part of the southern Antarctic Peninsula started to lower at a really quite dramatic rate, of 4m per year in some places. That’s a pretty big signal,” said Bristol’s Prof Jonathan Bamber.

“The total loss of ice per year is about 60 cubic km. Just to put that into some kind of context: 4 cubic km is roughly equivalent to the domestic water supply of the UK every year.”

Sunday Food: Mustard Greens

Mustard Greens

(Picture courtesy of Tim Sackton at flickr.com.)

This post actually was supposed to be last week for Mother’s Day, but got eaten in the change to our new system.   It was offered at eschatonblog by a friend, Hecate_Demetersdatter, and reminded me that one of the things my mom did that was awfully fine was give us a huge variety of things from the garden.

Mustard greens are quite likely uncommon in most of our diets, but are just as good as the now hyped Kale, and easy to grow and pretty inexpensive.   Hecate did them this way;

Got really lovely mustard greens from the CSA and I made this for dinner tonight, except I substituted the last cup or so of my fire vinegar for sherry vinegar and added some honey. It’s v good and I’ll make it again.

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 garlic cloves, thinly slicedr

1 large bunch greens (such as spinach, mustard greens, kale, or broccoli rabe; about 1 pound), thick stems removed, spinach left whole, other greens cut into 1-inch strips (about 10 cups packed)

1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained

1 teaspoon (or more) Sherry wine vinegar

PREPARATION

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and dried crushed pepper; stir until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add greens by large handfuls; stir just until beginning to wilt before adding more, tossing with tongs to coat with oil.

Add 1 cup broth, cover, and simmer until greens are just tender, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls if dry, 1 to 10 minutes, depending on type of greens. Add beans; simmer uncovered until beans are heated through and liquid is almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired; drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and serve.

Sounds wonderful, and I hope that if you haven’t tried them, or had them lately, you’ll get some greens and do them up, and enjoy!

 

Saturday Art: John Singleton Copley

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Watson and the Shark, by Copley

(Picture courtesy of Eric Wilcox at flickr.com.)

Colonial America produced more industry than art, but even for this time Copley gained stature in English-speaking society for his depiction of the figures of his time, and of historically and physically true representation in artwork.   His careful choice of accurate detail distinguished his portraits, and his rich surface and color renderings brought attention throughout the art appreciators of the time. (more…)

Over Easy; Placeholder

Pheasant just released yesterday by PA game commission.
Pheasant just released yesterday by PA game commission.

As there isn’t an Over Easy yet, I’ll put this up just for folks to meet and share things here with.

This from Halifax, Nova Scotia;

‘5. Marathon

Twelve thousand people will run through the streets of Halifax this weekend, all wearing shirts glorifying the $48 NSF fee charged by a bank and carrying the news of the defeat of the Persians. There will be lots of street closures.’

 

Over Easy: Around the World

Welcome to Thursday’s Over Easy, a continuation of Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner and its tradition of giving an overview of news our everyday media doesn’t cover, issues that we ought to consider outside the U.S. scene.

In an effect that might have been anticipated, the side effect/peripheral damage of our first world big crackdown on human trafficking is producing abandoned cargo folks.  The European Union asked for U.N. approval for a plan to board and destroy human trafficking boats in Libyan and international waters. (more…)