Monday, June 1, 2009
Boiled Leather and In the News Today.
I woke up this morning thinking about boiled leather, practically any fantasy book you read has soldiers wearing boiled leather and although it kind of seems obvious what it is, I suddenly realised I wasn't sure. Turns out that boiling leather makes it hard and brittle and whilst it was still in its 'just boiled' state it was made into scales from which armour can be formed. Funny really, something you read about and kind of accept without really knowing much about it. I don't know, but am assuming it was cheaper and/or more available than metal armours plus being easier to use although whether its protective powers were so good I don't know. Today being the 1st of June is, apparently, the beginning of the hurricane season. The big concern these days is about what they call pop up storms. Once upon a time, all Atlantic storms began by tropical waves off the coast of Africa, now because of warmer waters, they are finding storms beginning much closer to the American mainland and therefore not giving forecasters much warning of their existence. There are lots of innovations to strengthen buildings against these winds - for a number of years they have been building mobile homes which had storm ratings, we lived in a category 4 home. In our case it wasn't so much the home itself as all the trees which had a tendency to snap in a storm and therefore became a great danger. Sam Champion, the GMA meteorologist, was at a Florida hurricane experimental station where they test new ways to keep buildings in one piece during such storms. One of the news headlines this morning is about the missing Air France jet which took off from Rio de Janeiro headed for Paris and which seems to have completely disappeared - the last message received talked about turbulence and electrical shorts and that was it, it just vanished from both radar and radio contact. They have already been looking for wreckage and so far have found nothing and no-one has any idea what has happened. Apparently radar cannot follow a plane across the Atlantic, but radio communication can and that just died. There were 228 people on board. The French say that the jet would have run out of fuel by now so that wouldn't give much hope. So Susan Boyle came second which in my opinion was wonderful. She is set for life if she can handle the pressure. However, the news this morning says she is in a clinic resting as the strain has been too much for her. Piers Morgan, one of the panelists, was interviewed on GMA this morning and says she is doing well; he talked to her for a while yesterday. He also says a lot of the press reports about her were false publicity - I tend to believe this as I know from experience how press reports can totally change and exaggerate something trivial. There are video clips on YouTube if you want to see her finals' performance, she went back to I Dreamed a Dream which she sings beautifully and I believe has more confidence with. I sympathise with her greatly, I know I couldn't take that pressure. Just got this recipe from Mushrooms Canada today and it struck me as somewhat unusual so I thought I would share it. Bistro Mushroom and Salmon Salad Mushrooms Canada This recipe is an Excellent Source of Protein and a Source of Fibre. A new version of the classic Niçoise salad, which is lower in carbohydrates because mushrooms replace the potatoes. Serve with a whole wheat baguette for a light meal or luncheon. Dressing: 1/2 cup olive oil 5 tbsp lemon juice 2 tsp Dijon mustard 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 tsp Each salt and pepper 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill Salad: 1 lb. fresh Mushrooms, thinly sliced 8 oz. green beans, halved 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced 12 Romaine or Boston lettuce leaves 2 cans (213 g) red sockeye salmon, drained 3 hard cooked eggs (optional) 1/2 cup slivered black olives (optional) 1 large lemon, cut in wedges Fresh dill sprigs (optional) In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and dill together. Place mushrooms in a large bowl; pour ¼ cup dressing over and stir to coat well. Marinate at room temperature 15- 60 minutes. Meanwhile add beans to boiling water and cook until tender-crisp about 4-5 minutes; refresh under cold running water and drain well. Add tomatoes, beans, onion and remaining dressing to mushrooms; toss to mix well; arrange lettuce on large platter or on individual plates. Spoon mushroom salad onto lettuce leaves; remove bones from salmon, breaking into chunks and place on top of salad. Slice eggs or cut into wedges and arrange on top of salad if using, and garnish with olives if desired. Garnish with lemon wedges(to squeeze over salmon) and dill sprigs. Serves 6 Tips: * Substitute 2 tsp dried dill weed for fresh dill and add 1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley to the salad. * Kalamata or Nicoise olives cured in oil or brine are more flavourful than canned. Variations: * Omit canned salmon and top salad with grilled fillets of salmon or cold poached salmon. * Substitute canned or grilled tuna for salmon and replace dill with tarragon. Have a great day.