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The Ultimate Cheesecake & Thoughts for the Modern Age
The Ultimate Cheesecake
The Ultimate Cheesecake
May this information find you well and your heart at peace.
Let's start by setting the oven temperature to 325 degrees fahrenheit. I had to spell out fahrenheit because I don't know enough about computers to add the appropriate degree sign.
The thing that sets my cheesecake apart from all others is in the use of extracts. The original recipe calls for vanilla extract. I divide and blend the extract into thirds, using vanilla, lemon, and almond extract. Personally, I use all pure and natural extracts. About 3 tablespoons of the blended extract for the entire recipe, or about 1 tablespoon for each extract. All my ingredients are pure and natural. It's expensive, but this cheesecake is worth it.
First , the crust: One cup graham cracker crumbs, blended with 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of melted butter, and 1 tablespoon of the blended extract. Although the original recipe does not call for extract in the crust, I consider it all important to the taste of the final product. It enriches the cheesecake in a way that speaks to the pallet. Use this to line the bottom and sides of an 8" or 9" inch pan (spring form or otherwise). Then line the top and sides of the crust with shaved almonds. Place the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes, which will allow the ingredients to set and seal themselves.
Second, the batter: Blend 1-1/2 cups of sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 lb. cream cheese until smooth. Then add 2 tablespoons of melted butter and the other 2 tablespoons of the blended extract before you finish the blending process. This will insure that the flavor of the extracts is evenly spread throughout the batter.
Pour the batter into the pan and place the pan into the oven at 325 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. At about 3/4ths of the way into the baking process, when the batter is well on it's way to setting up, line the top of the cheesecake with shaved almonds. The cheesecake is finished baking when the top looks firm and there are signs of splitting near the center. About like looking for air bubbles near the center of a pancake on a griddle.
Last, the cheesecake must be cooled. Let it cool on it's own until there is no more heat felt from the pan itself, and then let it cool in a refrigerator over night for best tasting results.
Now, as I said, this is just a standard cheesecake recipe, minus the extract. Vanilla extract gives this cheesecake a creamy taste. The lemon gives it a very subtle tartness. And the almond speaks for itself. It enriches all the varied favors of all the ingredients and sets this cheesecake apart from all others I have ever tasted. I also suggest that you drink extra rich milk with this very rich cheesecake. Rich milk seems to fit better than all other beverages.
This cheesecake is a very elegant desert that makes for a great final course. Or it stands alone as a snack that will impress anyone who tastes it.
Thoughts for the Modern Age
May this letter find you well and your heart at peace.
When I first decided on this particular title, I wasn't thinking of what "Thoughts for the Modern Age" would imply, I was focused on politics. Thus I wrote something both scattered and confusing.
Being somewhat "Liberal" in my point of view, and irritated by the likes of Ann Coulter and company, I wanted to speak out and cover all the bases in one shot. And as a result I said a lot about nothing in particular.
So, with "Thoughts of the Modern Age" in mind, let's start with politics. Specifically, I'd like to define "Conservative" and "Liberal" as I see it. Starting with basic definitions provided by "The New Lexicon Webster's Dictionary of the English Language" 1987.
"Conservative" "Desiring to preserve existing institutions, and thus opposed to radical changes. (loosely) moderate, cautious, a conservative estimate. (pop. of ideas, views, etc.) old-fashioned - considered to involve little risk, a conservative investment - tending to preserve..."
"Liberal" "Giving freely, giving more than is necessary or usual - generously large, more in quantity than is necessary or usual, a liberal reward - involving a general enlarging of the mind beyond the merely professional or technical, a liberal education - not subject to the common prejudices or conventions, a liberal mind - admitting more than is directly expressed, not sticking to the letter, a liberal interpretation of the rules - (politics) favorable to individual liberty, social reform, and the removal of economic restraints...
In the late 50's and throughout the 60's came the coming of age of Civil Rights. What had started with the Civil War, came the seeds that would feed the political void between Conservatives and Liberals that I believe exists today. My father, raised a Southern Democrat, became Republican, like many of his fellow southerners over Civil Rights legislation. A fact predicted by LBJ, a Southern Democrat himself. But, as President of the United States, he was equally appalled by what was taking place in the south in protest to Blacks demanding equal rights. He knew that change was coming and knew that certain factions in our society were not going to take to kindly to it.
"Southern Democrat" as defined by "Wikipedia" "Southern Democrats are members of the U.S. Democratic Party who reside in the American South. In the 19th century, they were the definitive pro-slavery wing of the party, opposed to both the anti-slavery Republicans (GOP) and the more liberal Northern Democrat...After the Civil Rights Movement successfully challenged the Jim Crow laws and other forms of institutional racism, and after the Democrats as a whole came to symbolize the mainstream left of the United States, the form, if not the content, of Southern Democratic politics began to change. At that point, most Southern Democrats defected to the Republican Party, and helped accelerate the latter's transformation into a more conservative organization."
The Republican Party, in response, embraced the Southern Democrat rebellion that swelled their ranks. A major Conservative mantra from that point became criticizing Judges who legislate from the bench. Namely, the Warren Court, for the many decisions that helped bring about the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's, and allegedly advocating "socialism". Example "Brown v. Board of Education", and "Roe v. Wade". As women in this country had as much a stake in the Civil Rights Movement as did minorities.
"Socialism" as defined in "Webster's" "A political and economic theory advocating collective ownership of the means to production and control of distribution. It is based on the belief that all, while contributing to the good of the community, are equally entitled to the care and protection which the community can provide. The theory assumes different forms according to the relative stress laid on it's social, economic and political corollaries. Thus Marxian socialism is concerned very largely with the economic issues, and postulates the communal ownership and control of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. Christian socialism stresses the political aspect, making the theory a way of life. Democratic socialism stresses the political aspect, accepting a compromise in the economic field between state and private enterprise. All forms of the theory agree in being opposed to uncontrolled capitalism and in seeking equal opportunity for all members of the community."
"Accountable" as defined in "Webster's" "Answerable, bound to give an explanation - able to be explained..."
The housing bubble that burst creating this present financial meltdown, was built on the reckless practices that Wall Street and the Big Banks had created. As defined under the definition of "Conservative", everything these people did to create this economic down turn goes against everything discussed within that definition. "Cautious" "considered to involve little risk". Yet, these same people spend and have spent billions of dollars to avoid anymore accountability than they absolutely had to face. Focusing all their energy on trying to paint this President as the very definition of "Socialism", and in the process trying to paint Government intervention as the root of all ills that face this country.
A major mantra of this present political season for the "Conservatives" has been focused on deregulation. By making the argument that over regulation of industry costs jobs. But, what is the truth. Regulation came about as the result of public outcries where industry abuses were being challenged. Issues of safety and fair working conditions in the workplace demanded some kind of action. The courts and Congress are filled with cases that make this point. Because without the courts or Congress getting involved there were incidents like Ludlow, in Colorado in 1914 that forced the corporations involved to account for themselves.
"Ludlow, Colorado" as defined by "Wikipedia" - "The Ludlow Massacre was an attack by the Colorado National Guard on a tent colony of 1200 striking miners and their families at Ludlow, Colorado on April 20, 1914...Historian Howard Zinn has described the the Ludlow Massacre as "the culminating act of perhaps the most violent struggle between corporate power and laboring men in American history." Congress responded to public outcry by directing the House Committee on mines and Mining to investigate the incident. It's report, published in 1915, was influential in promoting child labor laws and an eight-hour work day."
Does de-regulation mean, that corporations want the right to work people to death to preserve their bottom-line?
What is apparent in this modern political environment is that the public outcry "Main Street not Wall Street!" has gone relatively unheeded. Where the Tea Party is well financed and well organized by the same people who have been spending billions of dollars to control and manipulate legislation in Congress. The "Occupy Wall Street Movement" has been disrupted and campaigned against by the same financial supporters and organizers of the Tea Party.
"Interdependence" "Webster's" - "Dependence of two or more things on each other."
Our society has been at the root of progress in the world for more than 200 years. We took the industrial revolution by storm and made it an American enterprise. Moving and shaping the world like no other country in the history of the world. Creating the highest standard of living the world has ever known. And yet, there are still factions in this country that don't gasp the basic fact, that what has made us great is our universal appeal to all people of the world as the "land of opportunity". How else and where else does a black man become President of the United States.
"Collective Bargaining" as defined in "Webster's" - "Direct negotiating between trade unions and employers. The term is generally used for the settlement of wage claims and improvement of working conditions for all workers of one union (or of several), by a collective agreement. The organization into trade unions of workers within the same industry or pursuing the same trade gives the unions the power to meet employers with unified demands and excludes local individual bargaining."
There is the struggle in our country for all people to be heard and responded too. "Collective Bargaining", labor unions has to some degree made being heard more possible. Where the corporation has the money and lobbies available to them to be heard, the average individual has the union. But, only in so far as unions are available. An individual has the courts, but only when and if there is sufficient ground to employ a class action claim. Outside of that there is not much an individual can do to demand action.
Wisconsin has literally destroyed collective bargaining in their state. But, collective bargaining is thriving in the NFL. What is the fundamental difference? As I see it, "GREED"! Corporations will jump at the chance to protect their bottom line. But education, as an example is a lot harder to find a profit. So, schools have popped up all over the country offering specialty courses at expensive credit hour rates, and banks offer up student loans with heavy rates. An education these days costs as much as it costs for a house or a car. And the real money maker in this market is default on loans.
I define "Conservative" as a "Closet Liberal" in sheep's clothing. Who else would throw the rule book out in the name of profits at all costs, and sink our economy. And, then turn around and blame it all on the socialist leanings of the very corporate media they control.
I define "Liberal" as the only thought process in this national ready to face the reality we have created for ourselves. Knowing that the changes headed our way are not going to go away without establishing a unified front. As the biggest consumers on the planet our example must be to show the world that we are not mindless buffoons, religious fanatics, or capitalist clowns.
As for politics in America, Socialism defined as interdependence is not a threat to the American way of life, it is the only way we will all survive, and survive well.