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Friday, July 10, 2015


There seemed to be little interest in Gun Rights and Our Constitution on Wednesday, but an uptick in readership yesterday on obsolete libraries.  So let me go on to say that I was a big fan of libraries through most of my life.  I remember carrying home from the library on Punchbowl and King several books as a youth, which incurred some combination of rebuff and respect from my gang.  I'm speculating that they thought I was somewhat different and that was mostly okay.  How times have changed.  I actually carried those books and never thought to use a wheeled backpack, where, for one, no one could see that inside were books, but also, the ease of portability.  However, nothing like that was available in those days.

When I picked Stanford over CalTech, I did so because one of the benefits provided was a job, ten hours/week in the caged rare book room of the university library.  At first I actually did not quite appreciate the wisdom of this perq, for what this assignment entailed meant two hours/day where I could study while getting paid.  Mind you, I was only earning $1/hour, but no one came into the room, which was hidden on a high floor of the stacks.  In my mind I am still thanking Stanford for providing this easier transition to college life, but a recent article on this subject indicates that the e-books will soon be the representation of even rare books.

Totally changing subjects, I created a new type of osso buco yesterday.  The term in Italian means hole in a bone.  A cross-cut veal shank filled with marrow is slowly braised in white wine, which usually is enhanced with a marinara type sauce, and served with pasta.

This sounds kind of morbid, but the above comes from the shin bone of male calves 16-18 weeks old.  This makes no sense if you look at that diagram to the right.  If you're wondering about your options, common sense tells me that restaurants reserve the upper part of leg bones, for the meat is not as tough and the marrow percentage increases.  I wonder if markets sell adult shanks, as you will braise the piece for a long time anyway and there must be more marrow.

I've long wanted to try this at home, so last week bought a piece of veal shank, but could not find any time in my meal schedule.  Finally for lunch yesterday I became chef.  However, I thought I'd invent something different, so slowly braised the shank in sake and butter.  I was worried that the marrow would melt into the sauce, but, no, the marshmallow sized--the key is find a shank with a lot of--marrow stayed intact within the bone.  Instead of adding tomato sauce I poured into the mix shoyu, truffle oil, mirin and crushed ginger.  Thus I created an Italian-Japanese fusioned osso buco (boy, try typing osso buco with the current WORD software).  I reduced the surrounding sauce until it was just thick enough, and added some sliced onions.

I placed the heavenly concoction on to a plate of sliced cabbage, and had them with a little rice, hot sake and cold Kirin beer.  Did not get around to taking a photo, but the above shots provide a representative semblance.  Next time I'll marinate in sake and truffle oil overnight, add some shiitake mushrooms and double the braising time, for the meat was still pretty tough.  However, the potential is so fabulous that I'll do this again sometime this month.

Shifting to the world economy, apparently Greek leadership capitulated and will suggest a compromised plan for rescue.  World stock markets are now recovering, and so is that of Greece.  However, the current value is only 15% of what it was 7 years ago:

The European Union is doing whatever it can to keep Greece in the Euro because if the country exits, soon to follow could be Italy, Spain, Portugal...and maybe even France.

China is an entirely different crisis.  I've long been hinting that something was rotten in China.  Now, in addition to quality of food and air/water pollution, we have a stock market crash:

The Shanghai Composite jumped 4.5% today, and is still 21% above a year ago, but there were moments this week when 90% of all shares were suspended, and $3.5 trillion in wealth were lost.  There continues to be a much larger problem:  THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT!  Two hours ago The Economist released a horror story.

Oh, oh...there are now seven ocean storms in the Pacific (none in the Atlantic):

Local TV stations have been saying that Post-Tropical Cyclone Ela, meaning she is not even now a tropical storm, will ease north of Hawaii over the weekend, bringing some rain.  I remain worried about that one computer model showing an oblique left turn:

There are two more depressions just popping up near Hawaii.  One is south of the Big Island and the other southwest.  Both, seem headed west toward Wake Island and environs.

A more serious threat is Typhoon Chan-hom, now weakened to 105 MPH, with the eye expecting to only roll over Zhoushan and skirting Shanghai:

Particularly troublesome is Typhoon Nangka at 120 MPH.  Current projections show a slight weakening, then a strengthening back to Category 3 status, with the eye now heading for south Japan:


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