Monday, November 28, 2011

Chocolate Review: Green & Black's 60% Hazelnut & Currant

By Benjamin Skipper

Green & Black's 60% dark chocolate with hazelnuts and currants is my second foray in dealing with this mysterious currant fruit, which I've never heard of until coming across it in chocolate. It doesn't say what type of currant is used, but they taste so much like raisins that you might as well think of them as that. Hazelnuts are my least favorite nut, but paired with other things, such as toffee, I can find it tolerable and even pleasurable, so I thought to give this a try.

Like with G&B's milk almond bar the amount of nuts incorporated is very generous, ensuring some in almost every bite, and they can be easily counted by the round bumps on the back. The display side of the bar appears very "dusty" and has an amount of smudging that eliminates any shine, but has a very solid snap. Most disappointing is the weak aroma that is very hard to perceive even when smelling up close, though the sole tone of currants can be detected, and the flavor profile consists of equally matched hazelnut and currant (/raisin-y) tones against a bittersweet cocoa background, finishing with the currants becoming more apparent and isolated. The currant berries offer some moisture and stickiness, and the hazelnuts are not at all crunchy; rather, they're hard enough not to be soft, but at the same time aren't crisp, so they're in that intermediate point which has no name. The chocolate melts quickly, but with some graininess.

It has its imperfections, but it's enjoyable to say it's at least worthwhile. I tend not to like hazelnuts for the somewhat sharp sweetness that represents them, but here is a pairing where I find the flavors all get along and come off well. The chocolate definitely could use some work on its texture, as well the the appeal to the olfactory sense, but overall it's a pleasing experience I don't think you'll be disappointed in, especially if you're a Raisinets fan as I was in my non-Paleo days.

Now where can I get me some Brazil and macadamia nut chocolate?

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Video: Reasoning by Facts Rather than Emotions

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed reasoning by facts rather than emotions. The question was:

How do I know that I’m reasoning based on facts, rather than just being driven by my emotions? Often, I feel strong emotions on some personal or political issue. How do I know that I'm not rationalizing what I want to be true?
My answer, in brief:
By monitoring his thinking, a person can notice the many signs of rationalizing feelings rather than reasoning based on facts. Introspection is the key to noticing and solving this problem.
Here's the video of my full answer:
If you enjoy the video, please "like" it on YouTube and share it with friends in e-mail and social media! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

All posted webcast videos can be found in the Webcast Archives and on my YouTube channel.

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Objectivist Links

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I like to post a link to The Objectivist Roundup. The Objectivist Roundup is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome, including posts on food and health.

Erosophia hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in seeing the latest and best from Objectivist bloggers, go take a look!

Also, in my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on the wisdom of friends with benefits, obligations to help others in need, supporting political compromises, lying to a dying person, and more. It's on Sunday, 27 November 2011 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com. Please join me for this hour of lively discussion, where we'll apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous and happy lives!

Here are the questions that I'll answer this week:

  • Question 1: The Wisdom of Friends with Benefits: Are "friends with benefits" relationships a mistake? It is moral and/or wise to pursue sexual relationships with friends, even though you're not in a romantic relationship? What are some of the benefits and/or pitfalls? If it's a mistake, what should a person do to avoid such entanglements?

  • Question 2: Obligations to Help Others in Need: Do we have an obligation to help others in need? Many people think that the need of others creates an obligation to help. Is that right or wrong? Why? When should a person help others?

  • Question 3: Supporting Political Compromises: When is it morally right or wrong to support political compromises? The marijuana legalization initiative for the 2012 Colorado ballot also specifies open-ended taxation that circumvents the protections of TABOR (the Taxpayer Bill of Rights). It specifies that the first $40 million raised goes to schools. Both of these taxation items are compromises added to get voters to accept the marijuana legalization. Is it ethical to support more taxation to get more freedom from drug laws? Is it okay to circulate petitions to get this on the ballot so the voters can decide? More generally, when if ever should a person support political compromises that uphold some rights but violate others?

  • Question 4: Lying to a Dying Person: Is it wrong to lie to a person on their deathbed? Is lying in such cases justified so that the dying person can "go in peace"? For instance, a man might tell his fellow soldier dying on the battlefield that his heroism helped win a critical victory, even if it actually made no difference. Or a nurse might tell a dying mother desperate to make peace with her long-estranged daughter that the daughter called to tell her she loves her, even if that didn't happen. Is that wrong? If so, what's the harm?
After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

If you can't attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as audio-only podcasts by subscribing to the RSS feed. You can also listen to full episodes or just selected questions from any past episode in the Webcast Archive. Finally, don't forget to submit and vote on the questions that you'd most like me to answer from the ongoing Question Queue.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

The Paleo Rodeo #088

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions of the Rodeo are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
mark owen-ward presents Lose weight - melt body fat - look great! posted at new habit.

Tony Federico presents Caveman Cuisine: Jerky Ribs posted at FED - Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction, saying, "Remember in The Flintstones where Fred orders a side of ribs and they give him a rack that tips over his car? Yeah, it's a little like that."

Tim Swart presents What to do on a cold rainy day?? Make Ice Cream!! posted at Big Tim's Primal Journey, saying, "Thanks for viewing! Enjoy!"

Ruth Almon presents Can Apple Cider Vinegar Treat Your GERD? posted at Ruth's Real Food, saying, "Apple cider vinegar is an old-timer's cure for lots of ailments, but there seems to be some logic behind it. Find out why it might make a lot of sense if you're suffering from heartburn or acid reflux."

Julia Campbell presents coda alla vaccinara posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "A gorgeous, rustic Roman stew of browned oxtail simmered in red wine, tomatoes, pancetta, and aromatics."

Nell Stephenson presents Thanksgiving- Give Thanks...AND MOVE posted at TrainWithNellie.

Lauren presents Coliflor Con Pollo posted at Raspberry & Coconut, saying, "Spicy cauliflower "rice" casserole. This is a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers!"

Paul Jaminet presents CrossFit NYC: 20 Tips for Optimal Health & Fitness posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "I gave a 2-hour seminar at CrossFit NYC on Saturday, and this post presents 20 tips for health and fitness -- the talk boiled down to essentials."

Eddy presents Destroying The Illusion of Appetite posted at Health Freak Revolution, saying, "Helping people understand what really causes hunger and how easy it is to control day to day."

Eddy presents Health Byte: The Best Exercise You Can Do to Lose Weight posted at Health Freak Revolution, saying, "Short, refreshing perspective on exercise."

Meghan Little presents Paleo Stuffing posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "This recipe for delicious Paleo Stuffing is so good, non-Paleo-ers won't even know they aren't eating bread! ...It's true, we tried it out at a work party! Try this recipe with our Pecan Pie, Cranberry Sauce, and Sweet Potato Casserole for a Thanksgiving to remember!"

Peggy Emch presents How to Avoid Stretch Marks When You're Pregnant posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "We aren't doomed to stretch marks as we've been led to believe!"

Angie presents A Paleo Thanksgiving posted at Angie's Suburban Oasis, saying, "This year my family and I will be having a Paleo Feast for Thanksgiving. This post compiles several of my Paleo Thanksgiving recipes including mulled cranberry sauce, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie and roasted pumpkin seeds."

Joe Lindley presents The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet Book, Blood Sugar Symptoms, Type 2 posted at Stop Craving Sugar with a Low Carb Diet Plan or Paleo Diet Plan, saying, "In a press release dated November 16, 2011, the Mayo Clinic announced its new diet, developed to assist pre-diabetics and Type 2 Diabetics in losing weight. The positive for this diet is that it restricts carbohydrates - a good thing. The negative, however, is that it is complying with the worn-out, dis-proven, approach of restricting saturated fats - not a good thing. In my opinion this diet will be hard to follow and on top of that will probably not be as healthy an approach as a good low carb (moderate fat) or Paleo diet."

Suz Robinson presents Making Flight Food Paleo posted at The Paleo Network, saying, "How to make flight food Paleo"

Mike Smith Jr presents Health and Fitness Articles posted at Personal Hack, saying, "I have come across a new health and fitness articles directory. While there are many article submission directories, this one focuses only on health, fitness and nutrition."

Robin presents Thanksgiving Recipe: Maple Mustard Green Beans posted at Everymom To Ironmom, saying, "One of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Make extras because this is one that's worth keeping in the fridge for snacking on the rest of the week!"

Diana Hsieh presents Video: The Morality of Giving Away Unhealthy Food posted at NoodleFood, saying, "Is it immoral to give away unhealthy food? I answer that question in this video segment from my webcast."

Amy Kubal presents Thanksgiving - Don't be a Food Hangover Victim!! posted at Robb Wolf, saying, "Don't fall victim to the "Food Hangover"!!"

Vanessa presents Congress Declares SpaghettiOs a Vegetable posted at Healthy Living How To, saying, "This past week, people everywhere, were in an uproar over headlines that abound, "Congress Declares Pizza a Vegetable". If you do some digging around, you will see that this is not the whole truth. What did happen is Congress passed a revised agriculture appropriations bill, making it easier for schools to count pizza sauce, made from tomato paste, as a serving of vegetables."
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! This blog carnival has plenty of room to grow! So if you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

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Question of the Week: Barefoot Feet

By Diana Hsieh

Nike+ chip on Vibram FiveFingers Bikila

This week's "Paleo Question of the Week" is:
Do you walk, run, or workout barefoot? Why or why not?
We want to hear your answer in the comments! You're also welcome to post a comment or question on any other paleo-related topic.

If you'd like to submit a question for an upcoming question of the week, please e-mail me at diana@dianahsieh.com.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Knitting, CrossFitting, and How I'm Growing as a Person Here

By Jenn Casey

(This post was originally published at my blog Rational Jenn on October 28, 2011. I have edited this post slightly for clarity and style.)

So, you may or may not be aware that I have taken up two new obsessions hobbies over the last year. I started CrossFit in September 2010 and started knitting in November 2010. I love them both, and I'm here to tell you why.

Now these two obsessions hobbies might seem like completely opposite types of activities. You've got CrossFit, which is super-intense-lifting-running-jumping-struggling-to-breathe-active-sweating-badassedness. And that's why I love CrossFit.

Then you've got knitting, which is sitting-somewhat-calmly-hardly-ever-breaking-a-sweat-and-you-can-watch-tv-and-have-a-conversation-and-drink-coffee-while-you're-doing-it. And that's why I love knitting.

However, and perhaps you've never noticed this before, knitting and CrossFit have much in common, and I think it's their commonalities that appeal to me and why they are my two new favorite obsessions hobbies.


There's counting. And patterns.

Yes, I realize this will not appeal to those of different personality types (though that doesn't mean you have to be just like me to enjoy either one!).

But I like the counting and the patterns. A row of knitting is not unlike a round of CrossFit. Let's take an example. In knitting you might knit 2/purl 2 seven times to finish a row. In CrossFit, you might, to use an example from just the other night, do 3 power snatches and then row 250 meters seven times.

See? It's a nice little pattern you follow and when you've reached the end of the row or finished all 7 rounds, you're done!


Goals: Both big and small.

I'm a goal-oriented kind of person. There is almost nothing more satisfying to me than checking a Something off of a list.

Both knitting and CrossFit let me check off big and little Somethings all the time. Even if it's only the smallest goal--a purl or a k2togtbl, or a single box jump or a quick 200m run--I'm checking checking checking my accomplishments off my mental list throughout the process.

And as each unit get mentally checked off, I get closer to the next bigger goal--for knitting, that's a row, and in CrossFit, that's a single set of reps, like 5 pull ups in "Cindy." And for each of those mentally checked off, I get closer to an even bigger goal--the completion of a group of knitted rows that make a larger pattern, or the completion of an CrossFit round.

Finally, I complete the knitted piece or the WOD. All of those discrete unit-sized goals--each knit, each purl, each lift, each wall ball--have all added up to this bigger, more comprehensive accomplishment!


For these two obsessions hobbies, there are tangible results (no, I'm not inviting you to touch me, you'll just have to admire my muscles from afar). Over time, I have a created nice collection of knitted things, and a stronger, healthier body. I'm way stronger and in better shape than I was this time last year, and I have ever so-many knitted things in use by people in my house. And I know that by this time next year, I'll have more of the same, and on into the future. I will always have more to accomplish, more to do (and once I get a bit quicker at knitting, more handmade gifts for friends!).


SATISFYING SIGH OF SATISFACTION



Developing patience, persistence, and killing the Perfectionism Monster.

I was really bad at both obsessions hobbies at first. Well, maybe not horrible, but let's just say I've made great improvements in the last year in both arenas. In fact, I was nervous about taking up both pursuits because I generally hate doing things I'm not terribly good at, and have historically lacked the patience and persistence to stick with such things until I can improve.

Oh yeah, and I have had this ugly Perfectionism Monster lurking in my head for my entire life, which whispers things to me like "There's no way you can do this well. You're not good enough. Why even try?" Helpful, huh?

But, and this is where I've grown and continue to grow as a person here, I am not so scared as I used to be of trying new things that I might suck at. Maybe this is part of the reason it took me until my FABULOUS FANTASTIC FUN 40s to even consider pursuing obsessions hobbies so difficult (to me) as CrossFit and knitting. I'm finally at a point in my development where I can say "Oh well, if it doesn't work out, at least I tried." before finding something else to do.

Of the two obsessions hobbies, knitting was the one I was scared of doing the most. It surprised me to realize this! I think part of the reason has to do with the fact that doing a craft like knitting is more optional than getting fitter and healthier and more badassier. I definitely wanted to pursue some kind of exercise regimen--that was non-optional itself. Even if CrossFit turned out to be not my thing, I'd have chosen something else.

But knitting. . . oh, well, I think a person can do just fine without crafting. In fact, I avoided any sort of crafty thing for years and was just fine and happy and it didn't have an ill-effect on my health.

So why would I be more scared of the optional value? I think that's Mr. Perfectionism Monster whispering "If you quit it, you'll be a failure." But, as you know, nothing horrible will befall a person for giving up knitting if they hate it.

The other reason I was more scared of knitting is because I knew I was setting myself up for frustration. Sure, CrossFit (as well as just generally trying to improve one's health) can be frustrating at times--you can't quite get the form correct on a lift, or those pounds aren't coming off as fast as you'd like.

But nothing NOTHING frustrates me quite like having to undo teeny tiny obscure mistakes because once you fix one, another inevitably turns up. It makes me feel like Sisyphus. This is why I'm not a computer person--the idea of having to hunt through tons of code to fix one semi-colon sounds like hell on Earth. Unraveling rows of knitting to correct a mistake is not just inconvenient, it actually physically hurts. No. Actually.

I'm happy to report that I have pushed through this frustration and have learned how to fix mistakes more quickly and without too many swear words or physical ailments. Go me! Such a feat would have been impossible for me even a decade ago, I think. In fact, it was a decade ago that I took up knitting for the first time and dropped it because it was made me feel like Sisyphus. So there you go.

A final reason I wasn't as scared of CrossFit as I was of knitting (though I was a-skeered of CrossFit plenty, I assure you) is that I at least had evidence that I could learn to handle CrossFit. The movements are, after all, functional--things you do in every day life. So you just get better at them and are stronger and can do more of the same. Also, I remembered enough from my years in gymnastics that though I'd never considered myself any kind of phenomenal athlete, I knew I had talent enough for that, and managed to do pretty well at it.


The other people who knit and CrossFit are pretty awesome.

I've learned that all you have to do is wear a CrossFit shirt (or Vibram Five Fingers) or carry your knitting in order to wind up in interesting conversations with people.

The people at my CrossFit gym are super nice and encouraging, share your excitement about accomplishing a new goal, are willing to answer questions from newbies, and are generally up for a good discussion about technique or equipment.

My knitting friends are super nice and encouraging, share your excitement about accomplishing a new goal, are willing to answer questions from newbies, and are generally up for a good discussion about technique or equipment.

While that wasn't the primary reason I got into either obsession hobby, it's certainly a welcome benefit. :D


So there you have it! Even though at first glance these activities are seemingly quite the opposite of each other, both knitting and CrossFit satisfy my goal-oriented, pattern-loving personality, and both have required a level of patience and persistence I'd generally found difficult to summon many times in the past. Obsessions Hobbies are supposed to be enjoyable diversions from your usual productive pursuits, and in my case, I've found two that fit me very well.

And since I'm not doing CrossFit until tomorrow, I'm off to knit!

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Thinking about Thanksgiving

By Jenn Casey

(This post was originally published on my blog Rational Jenn, on November 10, 2011.)

Last year, I shared my Mostly Paleo Thanksgiving Menu, and boy am I ever glad I did, because I'm thinking about Thanksgiving again (2 weeks from today!) and that post gave me some good ideas.

See? This is the real reason I started blogging in the first place--to help me remember my own awesome ideas.

This year, it'll just be us, the nuclear family. It will be so fun, though it's nice to have friends and family over, too. Maybe next year. But Just Us means fewer dishes and less pressure to make a huge Thanksgiving spread. That's all kinds of YAY.

So here's what I'm thinking about for this year:


  • Prosciutto turkey roll (more on this in a bit)
  • Sausage stuffing because Brendan really really likes this, and I really like it, too (I know that it's supposed to be called dressing if you don't stuff it into a turkey, but we call it stuffing anyway and if you don't like it, you can . . . stuff it. :P)
  • Maybe the Rolls, I haven't decided. I think I will make them this year, because I'm pretty sure I can resist the urge to eat a million of them--bread isn't something I typically crave and when I do eat an occasional piece of bread I have no trouble eating just one piece and stopping. Also, I kind of want to make them with my kids and tell them stories about my grandmother and teach them how to make bread from scratch because it's fun.
  • Pumpkin Pie even though I have always disliked anything pumpkin, I make this for everyone else because I'm a nice person and want people to be happy. :) Also, there is something necessary about the smell of pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving week. Even though I don't eat it, I like the smell.
  • Maybe Key Lime Pie, I haven't decided. It sort of depends on if I make something for my birthday, which is the Monday before Thanksgiving. If I make something for my birthday, then I'll probably only have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. If not, maybe I'll make something else. And it also depends on if I decide to run a 5K Thanksgiving morning. I'll definitely feel better about eating pie if I've run 5K that day! Key Lime pie is my usual Thanksgiving preference, but I could go for something chocolate or cheesecake-ish.


YUM. I probably shouldn't be writing this post before lunch, because now all I can think about is EATING LUNCH NOW.

Anyway, about the prosciutto-turkey breast thing. My sister gave me this recipe years ago, and I make this every few Thanksgivings or so. I don't have an actual recipe to share with you, but I'll briefly describe what it is to the best of my memory (I could probably put together an actual, you know, recipe, but only after I remember how to do it--which won't happen until Thanksgiving).

You take a boneless turkey breast and butterfly it, which as far as I can remember means make the turkey breast into one big flat piece. Then salt and pepper the inside if you want. Next, lay slices of prosciutto over the entire slab o'turkey.

This is the fun part. You can add lots of different things on top of the prosciutto. In past years, I've tried just sage, just bunches of rosemary, and maybe thyme. I've also sauteed some green onions in butter until they're a little translucent, and then added in some spinach, and then put the spinach-green onion mixture on top of the prosciutto. Basically, add something green and flavorful--it doesn't really matter.

Then, roll up the turkey breast and tie it up with kitchen string. This is the part where it's helpful to have a helper because the turkey breast, as I recall, dislikes being rolled up with all of that stuff inside it, so having one person roll it tight and another tie it up makes everything behave.

THEN THEN THEN, OMG THEN: cover the entire outside of the rolled up turkey with, get this . . . wait for it . . . pancetta! You can use bacon if you'd prefer, but in my opinion, the pancetta is totally worth the price.

Then cook it! Oh look, here's a similar recipe I found thanks to the magic of Google and the Internets. There's no pancetta outer layer in this recipe, so it's clearly inferior to my sister's, but you get a picture of what my turkey breast roll usually looks like, and some helpful cooking hints, too.

Now I will confess that I generally prefer the dark meat on turkeys and chickens, but this turkey breast turns out moist and flavorful every time (thanks to the prosciutto and pancetta!) and it doesn't require the same amount of cooking time that a whole bird does. Which makes it a good Thanksgiving option when it's just the five of us.

Okay, now I'm REALLY hungry. And looking forward to Thanksgiving. But first--lunch!

(PS: What are you having for Thanksgiving?)

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Video: What's the Difference Between Evasion, Rationalization, and Context-Dropping?

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed evasion versus rationalization versus context-dropping. The question was:

How are evasion, rationalization, and context-dropping similar and different? When thinking over a problem I notice that these terms can often be applied simultaneously. So what do they mean – and how are they similar and different?
My answer, in brief:
Evasion is the fundamental phenomena, and the source of evil. Rationalization and context-dropping are two common methods of concealing and thereby assisting that evasion.
Here's the video of my full answer:
If you enjoy the video, please "like" it on YouTube and share it with friends in e-mail and social media! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

All posted webcast videos can be found in the Webcast Archives and on my YouTube channel.

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Video: Should I Admit or Conceal My Mistakes at Work?

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast, I discussed admitting mistakes. The question was:

Should you always own up to your mistakes? Recently, I made a huge mistake at work, accidentally discarding some very important files. When inquiry was made, I denied knowing anything about it. Should I have fessed up?
My answer, in brief:
Everyone makes mistakes, and it's neither moral nor practical to conceal your mistakes by deception. Don't evade your problems – face them openly and fix them!
Here's the video of my full answer:
If you enjoy the video, please "like" it on YouTube and share it with friends in e-mail and social media! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

All posted webcast videos can be found in the Webcast Archives and on my YouTube channel.

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Objectivist Links

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I like to post a link to The Objectivist Roundup. The Objectivist Roundup is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome, including posts on food and health.

Rational Jenn hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in seeing the latest and best from Objectivist bloggers, go take a look!

Also, in my live Philosophy in Action Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on the meaning of citizenship in a free society, the legal status of automatic weapons, forcing religious fanaticism on others, detecting emotions as tools of cognition, and more. It's on Sunday, 20 November 2011 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com. Please join me for this hour of lively discussion, where we'll apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous and happy lives!

Here are the questions that I'll answer this week:

  • Question 1: The Meaning of Citizenship in a Free Society: What should it mean for a person to be a citizen of country? Suppose that America were a free country, with open borders. What would it mean for a person to be just a resident rather than a citizen? How would that affect a person's relationship to the government? How would a person (including someone born in the US) become a citizen? Could a person be a citizen of two countries?

  • Question 2: The Legal Status of Automatic Weapons: Should it be legal for civilians to own fully automatic weapons? Should a law-abiding citizen be able to own a fully-automatic rifle? Or is that something that only members of the police and military should possess? As a law-abiding civilian, am I somehow violating someone else's rights by owning an M-16 fully automatic rifle – as opposed to the virtually identical (and currently legal) semi-automatic AR-15 rifle?

  • Question 3: Forcing Religious Fanaticism on Others: Why do religious fanatics seek to impose their beliefs on others? Most religious fanatics aren't content to practice their religion for themselves: they seek to impose it on others by law. Why is that? Why is that wrong? What can be done to combat it?

  • Question 4: Detecting Emotions as Tools of Cognition: How do I know if I am using my emotions as tools of cognition or not? Often, I have strong emotions on some issue. How do I know that I'm not being driven by them in my reasoning?
After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

If you can't attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as audio-only podcasts by subscribing to the RSS feed. You can also listen to full episodes or just selected questions from any past episode in the Webcast Archive. Finally, don't forget to submit and vote on the questions that you'd most like me to answer from the ongoing Question Queue.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

The Paleo Rodeo #087

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions of the Rodeo are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Tony Federico presents The Primal Pantry posted at FED - Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction, saying, "This is a virtual pantry of primal and paleo foods with a few "not-so-bad" items thrown in for good measure. Each item is explained in detail and you'll also find recipes, pictures, and more!"

Ruth Almon presents Mom! My Vanilla Ice Cream Has Beaver Anal Gland Secretions in It! posted at Ruth's Real Food, saying, "There are some weird things in the food supply, but beaver anal secretions? Find out where this ingredient is lurking."

Todd Dosenberry presents Buttery Coffee posted at Toadally Primal Smoothies, saying, "A coffee smoothie for a quick, easy, tasty, healthy breakfast!"

Tim Huntley presents Seriously Tasty Paleo Meatloaf posted at My Athletic Life, saying, "Megan Keatley of Health-Bent shares a fantastic recipe."

Nell Stephenson presents Coq au Vin- Paleo? Absolument! posted at TrainWithNellie.

Peggy Emch presents Have A Symbiotic Relationship With Parasites posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "The bacteria and parasites that we have been taught to be afraid of, do in fact contribute to human health."

Eddy presents Is meat more beneficial than plants? posted at Health Freak Revolution, saying, "Is either meat or plants a better source of daily nutrition?"

Julia Campbell presents world's best potatoes posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "These are the crispiest, most wonderful little potato chunks. They'd be perfect for Thanksgiving!"

Paul Jaminet presents CrossFit NYC, Kindle Edition, Obesity and Bipolar, Dr Mercola, and Wise Traditions 2011 posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "A lot of news to share this week!"

Laurie Donaldson presents Sausage and Sauce posted at Food for Primal Thought.

Joe Lindley presents Parallels between the Amanda Knox Case and the Obesity Epidemic, Arrogance posted at Stop Craving Sugar, saying, "As I watched several weeks ago, along with millions, the stressful but joyful conclusion of the Amanda Knox murder case in Perugia, Italy, I couldn't help but draw a parallel between what happened to that sweet young woman and the millions who are now suffering from the consequences of being overweight and obese.Both situations were apparently the result of mistakes on the part of individuals and institutions entrusted with protecting the public. The parallels are just too strong to ignore."

Suz Robinson presents Sleeping on the Floor? posted at The Paleo Network, saying, "Sleeping Paleo style"

Sara Bukowski presents Meals for the Week of November 6th posted at Healthy Meal Plans, saying, "The folks at Healthy Meal Plans have killed the fatted... er, goat... this week, and are dining on fresh chevon (goat meat). If you can't find chevon in your area, lamb or beef make fine substitutes."

Amy Kubal presents Testimonial - A Paleo Dietitian Helped Me Change My Life! posted at Robb Wolf, saying, "An awesome and inspiring testimonial!!"

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents Velvety Butternut Squash posted at theclothesmakethegirl, saying, "I posted a few Thanksgiving recipes, including this original from my upcoming cookbook. It's called Velvety Butternut Squash, and it's in my top 3 faves from my cookbook Wlle Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat. Happy Thanksgiving!"

Vanessa presents Gluten Free Sausage & Apple Stuffing posted at Healthy Living How To, saying, "Incredible Side Dish for Turkey Day. Want to keep the essentials of flavorful, savory stuffing without the gluten and heavy carbohydrates of traditional recipes? Healthy Living How To shares a few twists to sausage and apple stuffing, starting with the first delicious bread cube."

Meghan Little presents Paleo Pumpkin Pie posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "This recipe for Paleo Pumpkin Pie is so delicious, nobody will know its Paleo! Try this Thanksgiving recipe along with our Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potato Casserole, Stuffing, Vegetable Medley and Pecan Pie for a Paleo Thanksgiving to remember!"

Peggy Emch presents How to Avoid Stretch Marks When You're Pregnant posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "There's more to stretch marks than stretching skin! Hormones and nutritional deficiencies play a bigger role."

Primal Commuter presents Peppers and Eggs posted at The Primal Commuter, saying, "Peppers and Eggs. My Italian grandmother knew more about diet and nutrition than most mainstream dietitians and fitness gurus today. Contrary to popular stereotypes, she did not eat pasta every day..."
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! This blog carnival has plenty of room to grow! So if you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

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Question of the Week: Thanksgiving

By Diana Hsieh

Thanksgiving 2008

This week's "Paleo Question of the Week" is:
What's on the menu for your Thanksgiving feast? What are you most eager to eat?
We want to hear your answer in the comments! You're also welcome to post a comment or question on any other paleo-related topic.

If you'd like to submit a question for an upcoming question of the week, please e-mail me at diana@dianahsieh.com.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Video: The Morality of Giving Away Unhealthy Food

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday's Philosophy in Action Webcast (Nov 6th), I discussed a question directly relevant to paleo, namely the ethics of giving away unhealthy food. The question was:

Is it immoral to give away food that you regard as unhealthy? Assuming that one believes (as I do) that candy and sweets are harmful to health (especially in quantity), is it immoral to participate in trick-or-treat by giving children candy when they come to your door? Or, is it immoral to "dispose" of an unwanted gift of, say, a rich chocolate cake by leaving it by the coffee machine at work to be quickly scarfed up by one's co-workers (as an alternative to simply discarding it)? Is the morality of these two cases different because in one case the recipients are children while in the other case they are adults?
My answer, in brief:
If I give a person something, it's because I value them. So I'd rather not give people something damaging, particularly if they're oblivious to its dangers. Ultimately, however, people are going to make their own decisions about what to eat.
Here's the video of my full answer:
If you enjoy the video, please "like" it on YouTube and share it with friends in e-mail and social media! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

All posted webcast videos can be found in the Webcast Archives and on my YouTube channel.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Objectivist Links

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I like to post a link to The Objectivist Roundup. The Objectivist Roundup is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome, including posts on food and health.

The Playful Spirit hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in seeing the latest and best from Objectivist bloggers, go take a look!

Also, in my live "Philosophy in Action" Webcast on Sunday morning, I'll answer questions on admitting mistakes, body modifications, evasion versus context-dropping versus rationalization, declining too-expensive outings, and more. It's on Sunday, 13 November 2011 at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET at www.PhilosophyInAction.com. Please join me for this hour of lively discussion, where we'll apply rational principles to the challenges of living virtuous and happy lives!

Here are the questions that I'll answer this week:

  • Question 1: Admitting Mistakes: Should you always own up to your mistakes? Recently, I made a huge mistake at work, accidentally discarding some very important files. When inquiry was made, I denied knowing anything about it. Should I have fessed up?

  • Question 2: Body Modifications: What kinds of aesthetic body modifications are moral or immoral? What differentiates piercing your ears from circumcision? Is tattooing moral? Does the amount of tattoos matter? What about gages, piercing kids' ears, scarring, dying hair, plastic surgery, and so on? Where do you draw the line – and why?

  • Question 3: Evasion Versus Context-Dropping Versus Rationalization: How are evasion, context-dropping, and rationalization similar and different? When thinking over a problem I notice that these terms can often be applied simultaneously. So what do they mean – and how are they similar and different?

  • Question 4: Declining Too-Expensive Outings: How can I politely decline outings with friends that I cannot afford? Recently, a friend proposed an outing that was far too costly for my limited budget. In such cases, how do you recommend telling the person that it's too pricey? If the person then offers to pay my way, is it wrong to accept that? I don't want to be an object of charity, nor pressure my friends into paying for me in any way.
After that, we'll do a round of totally impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

If you can't attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as audio-only podcasts by subscribing to the RSS feed. You can also listen to full episodes or just selected questions from any past episode in the Webcast Archive. Finally, don't forget to submit and vote on the questions that you'd most like me to answer from the ongoing Question Queue.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

The Paleo Rodeo #086

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions of the Rodeo are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Andy your friend presents Paleolithic Nutrition or Diet: What Says the Research? posted at feel awesome, saying, "Longish post about interesting research behind Paleo diet."

Meghan Little / Angel Torres presents Paleo Tostones posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "Tostones are an amazing appetizer for Paleo Living fans!! Go and try them out and mix some hispanic flair into the Paleo Mix."

Benjamin Skipper presents Godiva's 85% Santo Domingo posted at Capital Bean, saying, "Ayn Rand liked Godiva chocolates. Let's try one!"

Ruth Almon presents Why I Will Never Eat an Egg White Omelette posted at Ruth's Real Food, saying, "Poor, innocent eggs have been persecuted for the last 50 years. And what have they ever done to anybody but nourish them???"

Tony Federico presents The Big Poppa Grok Non-Modern, Hard Work, Real Food, Diet and Exercise Un-Program posted at FED - Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction, saying, "Words of wisdom from Dave "Big Poppa Grok" Parsons. Do you GROK IT? "

Todd Dosenberry presents Strawberry Pistachio posted at Toadally Primal Smoothies, saying, "Strawberries. Pistachios. Add them to your blender with water and ice and blend. It makes one hell of a paleo drink!"

Todd Dosenberry presents Are Peanuts Healthy? posted at Toad's Primal Journey, saying, "I eat peanuts. Peanuts are not paleo. But I eat paleo. Does this make any sense? Peanuts must not be healthy... or are they? It depends on the context folks!"

mark owen-ward presents 5 foods to avoid on the run up to Christmas posted at new habit.

Todd Dosenberry presents Kombucha Fuel posted at Toadally Primal Smoothies, saying, "Kombucha and chocolate primal fuel is all that you will need for this smoothie recipe. It's simple, delicious and healthy. Perfect when you have just a minute to make a small meal!"

Julia Campbell presents tinga de pollo y chorizo posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "A delicious Mexican stew of chicken and chorizo in a spicy chipotle tomato sauce."

Meghan Little presents Paleo Tomato Bisque posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "This recipe for Paleo Tomato Bisque is perfect as the weather gets cooler and fall arrives. Try it with a Paleo BLT (made with our Fluffy Paleo Bread!). This and more at paleoeffect.com."

Holly presents 30 Nights of Paleo Crock Pot Meals posted at Holly Would If She Could.

Vanessa presents Paleo Pumpkin Pie posted at Healthy Living How To.

Riki Shore presents Soy-Vay Steak with Roasted Beets and Kabocha Squash posted at Three Squares, saying, "This is a great Fall dinner: soy-marinated steak with roasted root vegetables and sauteed beet greens. Packed with nutrition, it truly satisfies on a chilly night." [Note: Soy can be a problem, particularly for the thyroid. See MDA: Scrutinizing Soy -- DMH]

Nell Stephenson presents Nose To Tail Dining! posted at TrainWithNellie.

Peggy Emch presents Four Years Eating Raw Meat posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "I started eating raw meat four years ago and I have eaten all kind of raw meat from all kinds of places. It was weird and scary at first but the way it makes me feel totally makes up for it."

Angie presents Paleo/Primal Cut-out Cookies posted at Angie's Suburban Oasis, saying, "With the holidays approaching, i wanted to have a cut-out cookie recipe ready for the kids to make. This recipe made with coconut flour and sweetened with honey will be our holiday go-to cookie recipe. It is still a treat and we won't be making huge batches to eat all of the time, but it will allow us to still maintain our holiday traditions without eating things we are trying to avoid."

Everything Finance presents Vitamin D helps Fight Diseases posted at Stay Healthy And Fit, saying, "With the development in medical sciences new inventions have benefitted mankind in various ways"

Joe Lindley presents Native American Perspective of the Paleo Diet, American Indian posted at Stop Craving Sugar with a Low Carb Diet Plan or Paleo Diet Plan, saying, "In the article, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe relates the ill effects of sugar and gluten on his own health and those of his wife and children. He also describes how they, without much help from the medical profession, discovered that the Paleo Diet and lifestyle would be a "way out" for them - and a path to good health.It is a poignant story you won't forget."

presents The Role of Food Presentation posted at Health Freak Revolution, saying, "Good as it looks? Slash cooking and wash-up time, whilst maximising eating experience, by deepening your understanding of food and our perceived link with its presentation."

Paul Jaminet presents Around the Web; Wise Traditions & CrossFit NYC Pre-Talk Edition posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "This is my weekly survey of interesting items from Paleo blogs and news sources."

Tara presents Dark Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Cookies posted at The Foodie And The Family, saying, "Celebrating my 6 month primal anniversary with cookies!"

Kristy A. presents DIY Food Adventure: Dinner posted at Feasting on Fitness, saying, "New post on the end of the DIY Food Adventure, including some dinner ideas and how healthy eating has contributed to a healthy pregnancy as I enter the final eight weeks of my pregnancy."

Amy Kubal presents Health in a Package... posted at Robb Wolf, saying, "The best gifts don't always come in packages. What are you getting for that hard to shop for person??"

Robin presents Raising Healthy Kids: Eat Your Vegetables posted at Everymom To Ironmom, saying, "When did eating your vegetables become optional? My guide to raising kids who enjoy eating right."

Megh presents My First Giveaway: Against the Grain E-Book posted at Yolks, Kefir, and Gristle, saying, "A giveaway of a very useful book for folks who are new to grain-free/paleo/GAPS cooking."

Rational Jenn presents Thinking about Thanksgiving posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "I've got my (mostly) paleo Thanksgiving menu (mostly) planned!"

Suz Robinson presents Trolley Spying posted at The Paleo Network, saying, "Are you guilty of trolley spying too?"

Patty Strilaeff presents The Official Paleo Oxtail Soup of the South posted at following my nose....

Laurie Donaldson presents Inspiration Stir Fry... posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "A quick after-gym stirfry."

Stacy Toth presents Paleo IRL: Stacy's Confession posted at Paleo Parents, saying, "Stacy comes to terms with herself, her body, her weight and learns to accept them. You are not your weight. You may never be a supermodel. This is okay."
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! This blog carnival has plenty of room to grow! So if you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

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Question of the Week: Explaining What and How of Paleo

By Diana Hsieh

Weight Loss

This week's "Paleo Question of the Week" is:
How do you explain what you eat and why to people ignorant of paleo?
We want to hear your answer in the comments! You're also welcome to post a comment or question on any other paleo-related topic.

If you'd like to submit a question for an upcoming question of the week, please e-mail me at diana@dianahsieh.com.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

burnt carrots with parsley and garlic chips

By Julie

I hope I'm not the only one that seems to always have an endless bag of carrots in the fridge. One whose date of purchase I can only dare to guess. I don't give carrots too much thought for most of the year. My mom has the best roasted carrot recipe of the earth that I bring out around Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, and then there are the normal roasted root vegetable dishes that I throw together the rest of the winter. In the summer, they're lucky if I remember to grate them over some oh-shit-I-forgot-about-that-lettuce salads. (Oh shit, I have an aging head of lettuce in the fridge right now.)
Enter this recipe. It apparently coming from Argentinian origins, I couldn't resist. I see South American cuisine mentioned anywhere and I'm sold. And since I desperately needed to get rid of those unsightly, ancient (but still good! not floppy!) carrots, this seemed the perfect fit. Quickly cooked, charred, seasoned simply, and topped with one of the best ways to eat garlic.
I would have like to have made this on a grill. The weather has been so so wonderful. I just did it inside, though because I didn't make any other dishes to go along with it. Weekends never really include lunch for me, just a snack, like these carrots. If you are in the grilling mood and are making dinner, this would go so well with steak (with chimichurri!).
Some day I hope to travel to South America. That's kind of a dumb statement - like a foreigner saying they want to visit North America. What does that even mean?? But regardless, I do hope it. I have a tourist-y desire to visit Machu Picchu. Have I mentioned how much I like old things? And hiking, duh. I don't really like other tourists, so that might not be ideal. Patagonia?
burnt carrots with parsley and garlic chips 
adapted from Francis Mallmann's Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way 

The original recipe called for the carrots to be served on top of arugula - awesome I'm sure, I just didn't have any. It also involved fried goat cheese slices. Holy crap. Again, didn't have any.

vinaigrette
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper

carrots
8 medium carrots, peeled
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or dried
coarse sea salt and pepper
leaves from 1/2 bunch parsley

garlic chips
4 - 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil

1. To make the dressing, whisk 4 tablespoons of the olive oil into the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. Cut the carrots in have widthwise, then into sticks. Cutting them into quarters lengthwise did the trick for the most part, although if the larger half of the carrot is kinda thick, then 6ths is good. Toss in a bowl with 3 tablespoons olive oil, thyme, and coarse sea salt and pepper to taste.

3. Heat a large cast iron pan over high heat. Add carrots in a single layer and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until blackened. Flip and cook for about 2-3 minutes more, lowering the heat a tid if the pan is getting too, too hot. Do this in batches if necessary - I did two. The carrots should be tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

4. Adjust the heat on the burner to medium high and carefully wipe out the cast iron pan. Heat the oil and add the garlic (test one slice to make sure the oil is hot enough). Cook until the garlic just begins to turn brown - several seconds, tops. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Don't let the garlic get too brown, it'll keep cooking after you've scooped it out. They burn really easily and then are gross.

5. Toss the carrots with the parsley and dressing to taste. Top with garlic chips.

Try not to eat all of them in one sitting, by yourself. I almost did.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

roast chicken with smoky salsa + kabocha squash

By Julie

Well, really, the chicken is an afterthought. More like, "roasted kabocha squash with toasted cumin salt and pimentón de la vera. Oh, and roast chicken with smoky salsa". I don't know, it was all really good. And believe me, I thought loonnnggg and hard before making a winter squash. I even called my mom about it. She said, "Come on Jule, it's past the middle of September." Sold. But now, there's no turning back! Winter squash is on its way to dominating my kitchen counters. Despite how I hate peeling and cutting them (yet I will continue to, because cubed and roasted is my favorite way to eat them), they're an absolute fixture in my winter meals.
I have to say, this meal is kind of a pain. I felt like I was working on it all day. That's partially because I kept doing things in between steps. Ran an errand, went to the gym, got sucked into Cat Vortex... but to be on the safe side, I'd relegate this to a weekend meal. A nice, crisp fall weekend preferably. The oven is on a lot. It's fun to have the oven heat up the kitchen and have the windows open blowing in cool air. Since the squash and the chicken are roasted at different temperatures, most people will have to cook them one after the other. I have that second range in the basement (that has two ovens) so I can use three ovens at different temperatures at the same time. That's pretty spoiling. Do the squash first, put some aluminum foil over it to keep it at least semi-warm while the chicken cooks. You can always chuck it back in the oven the last ten minutes or so of the chicken's cooking time. The salsa requires broiling time, yet another oven temperature. I'd do this first, just to get it out of the way. If you have a kitchen helper, someone can work on the salsa while the other preps the squash.
Of course, you can always grill or stovetop (can that be a verb?) the chicken. That'll at least allow you to have both the squash and the meat done at the same time. I almost didn't want to include the chicken in this post. Unless the meat is prepared in some notable or definitive way, it's not really up my alley to post it. You don't really need a food blog to post about boiled chicken and steamed broccoli. If that's what you're cooking, fine, but I'm pretty sure you can think that up yourself. But I realized I haven't done much else than vegetable recipes recently and I did obviously eat roasted chicken with my roasted squash so I figured I'd add it in. Plus, the salsa is really freaking good on top of the chicken.
Speaking of posting recipes of interesting preparations of meat, I'm eyeing a porchetta recipe. I just need to procure a skin-on pork belly. I wish that kind of stuff wasn't so hard to find. I might have luck if I go to some sort of ethnic market. But I don't know, I mean, I'm all f*** the FDA and all, but I do hold some standards. I've smelled enough Asian fish markets to be a little sketched out about other countries' ideas of edible.


roast chicken with smoky salsa + kabocha squash
adapted from Self Magazine


salsa
5 roma, or medium sized tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 serrano peppers
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1. Preheat the broiler in your oven. Line a baking sheet with foil and place skin-side down tomatoes, peppers, and the unpeeled garlic cloves. Broil for 10 minutes. At this point the garlic will be done, so you can take that off the baking sheet. The tomatoes and peppers you can flip and broil for about 5 minutes more. I charred my tomatoes a little too much, but it was still okay.

2. Remove the tops from the peppers and skin them. If it seems a little hard, you can put them in a paper bag to steam for a bit, but I had no trouble since they're so small. A little skin won't hurt you anyway. Split them open and scrape out the seeds, if you wish. I scraped out the seeds of one and left the other.

3. Peel the skin off of the garlic cloves. Put peeled garlic in a food processor along with the tomatoes, peppers, onion, cilantro, and salt. I forgot the cilantro. I might never forgive myself. Blend to desired chunkiness. I made it a little chunkier than like store bought salsa.

squash
To peel the squash, use a sharp knife and cut away from you. It's not the most fun. You don't have to go too deep or worry about the skin in the valleys of the ridges - I actually really like bits of the skin and the layer right underneath it. It's kind of like the rind on cheese.

2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 bay leafs
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 kabocha squash, partially peeled, cut into roughly 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Heat a small dry skillet over medium high heat and toast cumin seeds for a couple minutes, until fragrant.

2. In a spice or coffee grinder, grind cumin, bay leafs and salt. Mix in paprika.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss squash with olive oil and desired amount of spice mix until evenly coated. Depending on the size of your squash, you might want to only mix in half or so of the spices. You want to at least be able to see that there are spices on the cubes. You can always sprinkle on a little more once it's done and you've tasted a cube.

4. Spread squash in a single layer in a baking pan or two. Bake for 35 minutes, or until fork tender and crisped.

chicken
thighs and drumsticks, or any other chicken pieces you'd like

Preheat oven to 450. Coat chicken in oil and generously sprinkle with coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Place in a baking pan or more and roast for about 45 minutes. If your chicken pieces are on the large size, you might need 10 minutes more. Skin should be crispy (you can crisp it up even more under the broiler for a few minutes if you'd like). Use a thermometer and check for an internal temp of 165. My thermometer never seems to be calibrated, so I just check that the insides aren't pink.

Phew! There it is! Top the chicken with some of that salsa and a bunch of those wonderful little squash chunks. Avocado is more than welcome to join.

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Monday, November 07, 2011

warm cucumber soup

By Julie

Holy crap I love dreary, drizzly days. Can someone relocate me to London? Or help me buy a cozy cottage on a moor? I am seriously the most productive on days like that. Which isn't so great if you happen to live in Denver. But, as it turns out, those days do come along a couple times a year here and it did the other day and I kicked some butt. One of my most favorite things to do on a day off is to cook in the middle of the day, for the sake of this poor blog's photographs. And what better a recipe for a dreary September day than warm, yet still slightly summery, soup?
And what's even more lovely about it is that I'm battling the onslaught of a cold. Just that horrible little drip in the back of your throat. I know it's chicken soup that you're supposed to eat, but any warm soup feels particularly good to eat when you feel kind of blech-y...even with dairy in it - aren't you supposed to not eat dairy with a cold? I don't know anything.
The recipe for this calls for fried parsley for a garnish. I was pretty excited to try making it, but I'm not sure it works all that well for a soup garnish. The crispy leaves get soggy pretty quick. It looks really nice and tastes pretty good at first, but if it's just gonna turn soggy, the mess of splattered oil is a little hard to justify. I don't know - up to you. I think the crispy little leaves would be great on top of a meat (I'm picturing meatloaf) or a paté/purée (like an eggplant dip or tapenade). They're also kind of fun to snack on, with a little salt sprinkled on.
In the original recipe, it said to cool the soup completely and either let it sit covered for 45 minutes or refrigerate it overnight. Then, to warm it back up and blend in an additional 1/2 cup of whole milk. I didn't do that. I didn't understand it. I mean, I know soup is definitely better the next day, but why do you have to wait to put in the milk? I don't even know why you need more creaminess. That being said, since I didn't do that part, I have no idea what I'm missing. It's probably the most amazing soup and it probably doesn't make your fried parsley go limp. Dammit.
warm cucumber soup
adapted from Yvette Van Boven, Home Made, serves about 6

6 cups broth (I used chicken)
2 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold would be good, though I just used russet), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (or 2 fresh sprigs)
2 medium cucumbers, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper

flat-leaf parsley leaves
high-heat oil, such as refined olive or coconut oil, or lard


1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, add the broth, potatoes, onion, celery, bay leaf and thyme. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

2. Remove the bay leaf and, if you used them, the thyme sprigs. Put in the cucumbers and simmer for 5 minutes more.

3. Remove the pot from heat and purée the soup until smooth. Obviously, an immersion blender is easiest, but you can purée in a blender too - doing it in batches.

4. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you're broth is salty, like mine was, you probably won't need to add additional salt.

5. Heat the frying oil in a saucepan over high heat to 350 degrees. You don't have to completely fill the saucepan with oil - if you're frying up a ton of parsley leaves, I'd just do it in batches so you're not wasting tons of oil. Throw in the parsley and jump back - it will splatter! Fry for about 10 seconds or so; the parsley should still be bright green. Remove the parsley with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. 

Serve the soup garnished with a heap of the crunchy parsley. Hopefully you won't be sick when eating this!

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Hsieh PJM OpEd: In Praise of Capitalist Inequality

By Paul Hsieh

The 11/6/2011 PJ Media has published my latest OpEd, "In Praise of Capitalist Inequality".

My theme is that the economic inequality that the "Occupy Wall Street" protestors oppose is not something to be condemned, but to be celebrated. Here is the opening:

For several weeks now, the Occupy Wall Street protestors in New York City and around the country have been demanding "economic justice," which includes a mishmash of leftist goals including universal health care, forgiveness of student loan debt, and higher taxes on the wealthy. To the extent the OWS protestors have a unifying theme, it's that capitalism is bad and that redistributing wealth to reduce "inequality" is good.

The Irish socialist playwright George Bernard Shaw once wrote, "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." The Occupy Wall Street protestors demanding government redistribution of wealth from the richest Americans ("the 1%") to themselves ("the 99%") would certainly agree. But as some of them are starting to learn, if their ideas were actually put into practice they'd end up being the Peters, not the Pauls.

Already, some of the OWS protestors are finding their ideas coming back to bite them...
And as to the dirty little secret that motivates many who want to "redistribute" (i.e., steal) others' wealth, read the full text of "In Praise of Capitalist Inequality".

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Video: The Purpose of Bankruptcy Law

By Diana Hsieh

In last Sunday's Rationally Selfish Webcast, I discussed the purpose of bankruptcy law. The question was:

What is the proper purpose of bankruptcy laws? When should a person renegotiate his debt with lenders, if ever? Should a person be able to wipe his debt clean by going into bankruptcy? In your July 10, 2011 webcast discussion of strategic default on mortgages, you suggested that a person shouldn't be able to do that, but shouldn't lenders be responsible for who they lend money to?
My answer, in brief:
The purpose of bankruptcy law not to give people a fresh start, but rather to peacefully and fairly resolve conflicts that arise between the debtor and his creditors when the debtor is truly unable to pay his debts.
Here's the video of my full answer:
If you enjoy the video, please "like" it on YouTube and share it with friends in e-mail and social media! You can also throw a bit of extra love in our tip jar.

All my webcast and other videos can be found on my YouTube channel.

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