Grant McWilliams

Calphalon joins the ranks of Al Clad

I was cooking sweet potatoes in a bed of salt the other night and I hear a pop from my oven. Thinking a sweet potato skin had popped I opened the oven door and it was in fact my glass lid to my Calphalon Saute pan. Yes, it shattered at 400 degrees. Thank you Calphalon, I'll remember that when I replace it.  

With that in mind I wonder about the quality control of major brand names. You may recall that I had the "copper" core of my Emerilware made by Al Clad melt out and to my surprise find out the copper was in fact aluminum. Strange, it was even colored copper on the outside. I of course wrote an article and took pictures as well. 

I didn't pay a ton for the Calphalon pan but Amazon is listing it at $175 and on sale for $75. I think for either price the lid should withstand normal oven temperatures. 

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Format MyDocs as ext3

Fat32 is a very poor filesystem and Nokia chose it for the n900's MyDocs directory so Windows users could view their files if the n900 is plugged into a Windows PC via USB cable. Those of us who use the n900 on Linux machines (or use SSH/SFTP to access files) have the flexibility to use a better filesystem.



sed -i '1d' /usr/sbin/mmc-mount

echo -e '#!/bin/sh\ncase "$(sfdisk -c $(echo $1 | cut -c1-12) $(echo $1 | cut -c14))" in\n  43|83)\n    mount -t auto -o $3,noauto,nosuid,noatime,nodiratime "$1" "$2" > /dev/null\n    ;;\n  *)\n    '$(cat /usr/sbin/mmc-mount)'\n    ;;\nesac' > /usr/sbin/mmc-mount

sed -i 's/\(| 1e\)/\1 |43|83/' /usr/sbin/

umount /home/user/MyDocs

sfdisk -c /dev/mmcblk0 1 43

mkfs.ext3 -m 0 -L "Nokia N900" /dev/mmcblk0p1 /dev/mmcblk0p1 /home/user/MyDocs

chown -R user:users /home/user/MyDocs

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Put some charcoal on the fire

I was wandering by the local Quality Food Store (QFC) recently and noticed that due to it being spring and everyone wanting to BBQ they had a nice display set up with a grill and many bags of charcoal brickets but something was off. Upon closer inspection the grill they decided to surround with brickets wouldn't even be able to use them... because it was gas.  Maybe they have a package deal - if you buy the grill you get a free back of charcoal....

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When the right hand doesn't know....

You just have to wonder sometimes what the left hand is doing. Especially if you're the right hand. I was browsing LivingSocial looking for great food deals and I noticed that there were 8 (count them) hits for Indian food so I clicked on it and I got this message. Last time I checked 8 was still a positive number.


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Media Validator

Media Validator - $1000.

Last pumpkin of the season

Regular readers of the Man, the Myth, the Legend will know that I'm a big fan of pumpkins. See my previous pumpkin articles as proof. This year I did a Pumpkin Smackdown article on the best pumpkin varieties and tested based on flavor, texture, cookability, longevity and availability.  As you may recall I rated the Rouge vif d'Etampes (Cinderella) pumpkin the winner. Most other pumpkins even if they have decent flavor fall down in one way or another. Since I refuse to use "pumpkin" from a can my pumpkin buying season is fairly limited to October and possibly some of November due to the popularity of pumpkins at Halloween for the humans and the somewhat related popularity of pumpkins as food for farm animals in November. I put quotes around the word pumpkin in the previous sentence because what's in the can is listed simply as pumpkin alone in the ingredients list and yet it's BROWN. Pumpkin is NOT brown as you'll see in the photo in this article and in fact it's very very orange. I'm not sure why a can of nothing but pumpkin ends up being brown but I'm skeptical that they found some unknown variety of pumpkin with brown flesh. Until that mystery is solved by Scooby and the gang I'll stick to fresh pumpkin that happens to be bright orange. 

With that in mind you may recall from my Pumpkin Smackdown article that the Cinderella excelled on longevity. If left alone and their skin is not broken in any way they'll last up to 6 months. My daughter Natalya brought me several Cinderella pumpkins in late October. I cooked my last one tonight - 5 whole months later. A lot of people tell you that pumpkins need to be stored in dark cool places etc. but these pumpkins were stored in the front room under my Chippendale era Buffet at room temperature for 5 months. The trick is for the air to be dry (no garages) and to never break the skin. If you nick the pumpkin's skin you have to cook it within a day or two or it will rot. If the pumpkin is stored in a damp location it will rot. The longest I've ever kept pumpkins has been inside the house in a warm dry environment where they didn't get damaged. 

This pumpkin was a very large one which is why I waited until the very last moment to cook it. Because of it's size it wouldn't fit on my half sheet pans thus I had to cut it across the poles (instead of around the equator) and cook one half at a time taking nearly 6 hours. The meat I was able to retrieve from it will probably get me another 6 loaves of pumpkin bread and maybe another pan of Pumpkin Lasagna.

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Honey Barbecue Chicken Pasta

We have some meals around our house that we cook often but there's no recipes attached to them. This is in part because it's all by taste and also because I haven't gotten serious enough to focus on making them recipes. One of those meals is Barbecue Chicken Pasta. This might seem out of left field until you realize that most people have no problem eating Barbecue Chicken Pizza. For the pasta rendition we substitute noodles for the pizza dough and add in some nice caramelized veggies. We're not exactly forging new trails here with grilled chicken, boiled noodles and sauce. However, what makes this meal a bit more complex and the reason I don't have a proper recipe for it is the sauce. There's a million jarred BBQ sauces on the store shelves but the problem is that none of them fit this dish. Most are too smokey, too hot, have too much vinegar bite or are too sweet. Since I just knocked out the four dominant flavors of BBQ sauce you may wonder what my vision is. I want a sauce with no smokiness, no heat, a touch of sweetness to complement the caramelized onions and peppers, a touch of zippiness and a whole lot of tomato flavor. What I want is a BBQ flavored tomato based sauce that's bright and lively but not overpowering. You'd think that with 30 million jarred bbq sauces that someone would have that combination but so far I've not found it.

Following is the very rough recipe. I'm not happy enough with it to put it in the recipebook on this site. Later when I get the sauce dialed in I will but for now it's just a blog post. Forgive me for being just a bit vague on things.

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Read more: Honey Barbecue Chicken Pasta

Pumpkin and Mascarpone Lasagna

It's been a while since I put up any recipes but I recently hosted the end of the quarter potluck for my classes and so in doing that spent most of a day cooking. On occasion I have a vegetarian student and I pull out the old favorite - Pumpkin and Mascarpone Lasagna. It also just so happened that I had just enough pumpkin left from my second to last pumpkin of the season. The recipe calls for 2 lbs which is quite a lot and I had exactly that.

The nice thing about this recipe is that it's nice, light and a bit exciting. The reaction you have after eating this is the same as the reaction from Butternut Squash Ravioli - you wonder why people limit themselves to boring meat/cheese and red sauce noodles. The flavors are bright and exciting, meat or cheese lasagna is boring and drab. Maybe it's not for everyone but so far every person I've fed it to really liked it and in addition it's good for most vegetarians (has dairy and eggs) and like many non-meat foods, it's cheap. In fact as I made it the cost is roughly $1 per slice of lasagna and half that cost comes from cheese. Shop around and you may be able to make it for less. 

The Recipe: Pumpkin and Mascarpone Lasagna

Note for anyone not willing to eat eggs they can just leave them out of the Bechamel. It will be less fluffy but still very nice.

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the Man, the Myth, the Legend asleep?

There's been a long drought of articles here at The Man, The Myth, The Legend and for that I apologize. The only thing I can say is life has gotten more complex and very busy. I started a new relationship and the school quarter is ending thus most of my time/energy/motivation has gone into those things. As I find balance I should be able to get back to posting more often.

A note to my readers though, looks like we'll push past 2 MILLION unique visitors this month. It took 4 years to get the first million and only since September to get the second. This is a huge milestone and I hope the increased traffic continues. I'd like to see more commenting of course though.

Another announcement is that I'll be pushing the Recession Chef articles out to a new website - Don't get too excited yet as I'm still working on it but you can wander over there and tell me what you think if you'd like. I'll still post general food blog posts here and I'll repost Recession Chef articles here (or at least promote them) but all articles having to do with "Eating well on a recession budget" will be posted there. That content will go toward the book. If you'd like to follow the Recession Chef on Google+ (where all the cool kids hang out -  Oh my gosh, Facebook is sooo MySpace!) you can circle the Recession Chef Google+ page.

Confusing consumers isn't good

I was in a grocery store last week and I saw that they were carrying both El Monterey Chili and Picante burritos. I've never seen both in one store and have in fact bought Chili thinking I was getting Picante only to get home and spit them back out. I'm not a fan of my frozen burritos tasting like Chili powder. If I wanted chili powder in my mouth I'd combine it with tomatoes  and make chili with it. The Picante burritos though I like and after that unfortunate incident I've had to be very careful to read the package to make sure I was in fact getting Picante and not Chili flavored burritos. 

This display though accentuates the problem - El Monterey has two products that look nearly identical. Yes the shade of red is slightly different and there are a few words that are not identical but I feel these two products need to be more unique. So let's think about having two products nearly the same, most stores won't carry both because the number of people grabbing the wrong one and then returning them probably goes up. I don't know the protocol for returned goods but I bet it's a write off. So by only being able to sell one OR the other in each store you're cutting your market in half. It would seem that by making the packages drastically different they could put another product out there and increase sales. Just an observation.


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