I've been working on an article about the various Sweet Potatoes and the differences and it occurred to me how humorous the situation is. Anyone in food knows that what is called a Yam in most cases is actually a sweet potato. This is fairly common knowledge but digging further it only gets worse and it isn't just sweet potatoes who are violated in the arbitrary naming process of food.
Rest assured there is a plant called a Yam and it is edible but most American's have probably not even seen one let alone eaten it. <big word alert> The Yam is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. Monocots are one of two major groups of flowering plants (or angiosperms) that are traditionally recognized, the other beingdicotyledons, or dicots. Monocot seedlings typically have one cotyledon (seed-leaf), in contrast to the two cotyledons typical of dicots. So in short a Yam is a monocot and a Sweet Potato is a dicot - not even botanically related at very base level of flowering plants. So what you see in the grocery store called Yam is actually a Sweet Potato no matter what color it is. There are yellow Sweet Potatoes labeled as such, there are orange Sweet Potatoes labeled as Yams and there are purple Sweet Potatoes labeled however the person wanted who put up the sign. It gets worse.
In addition to a "grocery store Yam" being in fact a Sweet Potato it's not even a potato at all. The potato's scientific name - Solanum tuberosum reflects that it belongs to the Solanaceae family whose other members include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillos. That's right, you say potato, I say tomato! Potatoes are related to tomatoes and eggplants. There are over 100 varieties of edible potatoes and the Sweet Potato isn't even related because it belongs to the Convolvulaceae plant family and is known by the scientific name of Ipomoea batatas. What's interesting about all of this is the genus is ipomoea and the species for Sweet Potato is batatas ie. phonetically potato which tells you how far back the confusion goes. Anyone who's seen a Sweet Potato flower may recognize it as another close relative in the same botanical family is the "Morning Glory" flower. <end of big word alert>
- Yams are Sweet Potatoes
- Yams are not yams
- Sweet Potatoes are not potatoes
- "Sweet" Potatoes have a lower Glycemic Index than potatoes
- Potatoes are related to eggplants
- Eggplants do not make eggs (irrelevant)
- Sweet Potatoes are related to Morning Glory
- Real Yams do exist and they're not from Miami (you'll understand in a minute)
So Yams aren't yams, they're sweet potatoes which aren't potatoes and aren't sweet? Pretty much. How did this happen?
The history of the Sweet Potato in my own words:
- 750 BC an unknown Peruvian digs up a root and starts gnawing on it. Sweet Potatoes become a big hit spawning massive population growth, a couple of ruthless rulers, a box with a diseased feather and some really unruly metal clad illegal immigrants who have very little respect for local customs of ownership but I'm getting ahead of myself.
- A man from Italy wants to go boating but doesn't have the means to purchase one so he turns to begging which proves successful. He immediately gets lost in his new boat and about a month later runs it into a mound of dirt. Hungry he digs up a root and gnaws on it to much delight.
- The local Taino people who were of course overjoyed to have been finally discovered told the Italian boater that the root was called batatas.
- Not having heard of a batatas and having a slight hearing and/or comprehension problem he erroneously called it patata (you know from the rhyme potato, patata). Since the nice couple who loaned him their boat were Spanish this became the Spanish name for batatas.
- Later the English not paying much attention to anything on the stranded side of the English Channel renamed it potato. Keep in mind there wasn't such a thing yet so you have to give them some credit for their originality.
- One hundred years later another man (who due to his lack of accomplishments remains unknown) dug up another root in South Columbia (I mean America, don't get me started) drags another tuber back to Europe. It resembled the batatas but generally lacked flavor or any other discernible value so it was given to the Irish and named potato.
- Since people then named things by shape nobody noticed that the tasty batatas and the untasty potatoes were not in fact related nor did it matter - they were similar in shape so too should be similar in name.
- One hundred years later some well meaning folks needed to get some shit done and since it was a bit early in the timeline to run by Home Depot for good hard working laborers they asked the Portuguese if they knew of anyone who might want a job where pay wasn't an object. They did and offered to provide the transportation.
- The newly arrived people were famished and upon taking into their site the aforementioned roots responded with the Wolof word "nyam" loosely translated as "If you don't give me something to eat I'm going to open up a can of Chris Rock on you". As a side note the same people used to say nyam back home followed by feverish gnawing on roots as well. Food is once again named by shape. Do not confuse nyam with Miami which although has a similar amount of dirt and clingy things attached to it differs in shape on the southern end.
- Zoom forward another 100 years (thankfully history happens in nice round numbers) to the deep south when orange colored sweet potatoes were introduced. The folks there didn't want to confuse anyone by competing fairly so they decided to rename orange sweet potatoes to "If you don't give me something to eat I'm going to open a can of Chris Rock on you" but that was voted down in favor of Yam, an Anglicized version of the Wolof word nyam. Miami doesn't factor in here so we'll skip it for now.
- Fast forward to another nice round number in history and you have the USDA whom with good intentions tries to rectify the naming situation and passes regulations to force everyone to put the name Sweet Potato on every box of Yams. They failed to define the size of the text thus a new industry was born for super small typesetters.
You might say I have a long distro history so I'll add my 1.7 cents (it was 2 cents before the recession).
- Both had very easy to use but powerful administration tools.
- Wonderful menu structure
- Looked good
- Excellent hardware discovery. It could load the drivers for your blender if you could plug it in.
- Package management from the Gods when mortal man was painting on cave walls.
- unstable repositories. Software was constantly broken.
- Tons of software packages
- Gnome2 became usable for bipedal primates with large frontal lobes.
- Install process so easy a baby stuck in a mineshaft could do it.
- Everything just works and when it stops shaking a rubber chicken seems to help. If it doesn't work on Ubuntu it probably doesn't work on anything that runs Linux including orbiting brain lasers and fembots with a penchant for evil.
- Software packages broken.... sounds familiar.
- Got tired of looking at desktop color themes best reserved for a 1970s kitchen with accompanying man cave with wall to wall shag carpet.
- Moved to the Unity desktop which is targeted at a branch of hominids possessing much smaller brain functionality that have been extinct for roughly 4 million years. Possibly as a result of a poor market study with limited subject availability to question and those who they could dig up didn't have much to say.
- Including the word Ubuntu in my online dating profile has not improved love matches. In addition translating the original Swahili meaning to English only leaves me looking a bit creepy.
- Ubuntu sounds like something my kids used to say when they were a year old and needed changed. Looks like it too.
- Based on Debian so the software packages may actually work
- Uses the XFCE desktop so any sane human should feel comfortable with it.
- A bit rough
- A bit ugly
- Linux Mint DE with a port scanner vs. Clint Eastwood with a Bowie knife would be a good fight.
- Having the same name as another distribution that has broken packages gives me the shivers.
- So far every single package in the repository works. Ex Mandrake developers who must have learned their lesson.
- Doesn't talk to me like I'm a baby
- Only two packages in the repository.
- Just when I learned to pronounce Ubuntu this comes along.
There's a restaurant in Kirkland WA called Cafe Veloce thats a pretty cool place with old Italian racing motorcycles placed sporadically around the restaurant and the walls plastered with racing memorabilia. It also serves some decent food including one not so Italian dish - BBQ Chicken Pasta. I skimmed over that menu item quite a few times without ordering it because I'm in an Italian restaurant and I'm pretty sure that Kansas City is nowhere near Rome so the idea of putting BBQ sauce on pasta makes little sense. However, one day I did my normal routine and asked the Waitress to just bring me her absolutely favorite thing on the menu and this is what showed up. She was spot on the money. Considering that BBQ sauce is just tomato sauce with a little molasses added the Italians only missed it by that >< much. Had they thought a bit more about this (and a few other situations in the last 100 years, namely a couple of wars) they could have been on the winning team.
I suppose a shout out should got to the Mexicans since most great foods in the world require ingredients originating from that area which gained global distribution soon after their illegal immigrant problems got really bad (1521). If it were not for them the Italians would still be eating wheat porridge three times a day and tomatoes - the Italian Love Apples would still be unknown.
I'm not sure why people (myself included) are so against BBQ Chicken Pasta because we'll rip apart a BBQ Chicken Pizza and then when there's nothing left snort the crumbs with a straw to get our fix. I'm to the point that I don't eat pizza unless it has BBQ Chicken on it, why would I? Tomato sauce and pepperoni? Can you get more boring?
I don't have a recipe for BBQ Chicken Pasta even though it's a favorite in our house and I make it often just because I'm not happy with it yet. For the most part you just swap out one starch - bread for another - pasta. However, I've found the sauce to be a much pickier thing with the pasta because there's so much more of it. You don't want a smokey/tart/hot or very sweet sauce with this dish which leaves me experimenting on it. I've come to the conclusion that excessive heat is out and so is the amount of vinegar that a lot of BBQ sauces have. I lean more to a honey BBQ sauce with the dominant flavor being tomatoes and a hint of molasses. As soon as I'm satisfied I'll be uploading the recipe.
The other components are grilled chicken breasts, onions and sweet peppers grilled until caramelized and cilantro. I serve this with either a Penne or Farfalle noodle because both hold the sauce well. Four cups of sauce, two onions, two red bell peppers and 1 lb of chicken works well for 1 lb of pasta as a general rule.
Note: Updated for XCP 1.5b/1.6
- Network boot
- Access to Internet
- Working DHCP server
- Working DNS name resolution
This tutorial was written in the spirit of my CentOS 6 virtual machine (32 bit) installation on Xen howto which was based on the CentOS 5 version of the same. In those tutorials I created a disk, downloaded a kernel, kickstart file plus a xen config file which installed CentOS using the kickstart file. This has proven very popular since you can't install a paravirtualized domain using an install disk. This has been a very nice installation howto because you don't have to download any install CD/DVDs and you could create VMs using nothing more than a commandline login. It's also very nice because it can be mirrored locally if you're doing a bunch of them just by rsyncing a CentOS mirror locally then downloading my files and editing them.
I've recently migrated a lot of my XEN systems to Xen Cloud Platform and it's a very different animal indeed. However, I still needed a system of creating CentOS Virtual Machines in that same manner. I didn't want to download a CentOS install DVD or need a graphical login to install the OS thus this tutorial was born.
It uses the very same CentOS 6 kickstart file from my site as the Xen tutorial. It also uses the very same CentOS 6 repositories on the Internet so in a lot aspects it IS the same tutorial crafted for XCP but will be a bit shorter.
More after the jump.
I've imported four more recipes from my old site to my new one - Pizza dough, Persian Jeweled Rice, Boniatillo and Gulab Jamon. Quite a mix for sure but they're the ones that have been requested the most so they come first.
The Pizza Dough recipe has served me well and for Italian style thin pizzas cooked on a stone it's been the best recipe I've come across. The dough is easy to work with and cooks up nice.
Persian Jeweled rice is probably the most elegant and regal way that I've ever had rice. The ingredients list is a bit harder to come by since I've specified some brands but the results are very nice.
Boniatillo is a Latin American sweet potato dessert that's fairly simple and surprisingly good. You use the orange sweet potatoes (often misnamed Yams in the store) along with some citrus flavors to make a nice dessert with the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
Gulab Jamon is an Indian (dot not feather) dessert often found in Indian restaurants.
In uploading these recipes I've found that my photography skills have improved remarkably. In fact I feel a bit ashamed at uploading these photos but as soon as I make each again I'll take new ones.
In 2009 Niels Arden Oplev directed the Swedish language movie renditions of Stieg Larsson's first book in "The Girl" series - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Two years later David Fincher directed the English language counterpart to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Both are intense films with a deep storyline. Both show the grungy side of life and have enough uncomfortable moments to make some squirm. Both are exciting and I think both will be hugely successful. Both are decent films with great casts.
However, I prefer one over the other. My review can be found in my new Movie review module of the Man, the Myth, the Legend. Everyone knows I'm a huge movie buff and have a personal collection large enough to start a movie store.
The original Swedish films are all available on Netflix Streaming and the English version is still in theaters as of the writing of this blog post.
Movies Review: Dragon Tattoo VS Dragon Tattoo
Chicken is probably the most boring tasting animal on the planet, that's why when we don't know what something tastes like we say it tastes like chicken (meaning it has no strong flavor). However, chicken doesn't have to be boring at all and with a little work we can pick a good chicken, keep the flavor by cooking it right and even add to it using some specially selected herbs and vegetables.
This recipe's purpose is to molest the chicken as little as possible and add subtle other flavors. The chicken also contributes by giving up a certain amount of it's juices and the runoff from the garlic and rosemary paste which drizzles down into the potatoes and shallots making for a very nice accompaniment.
This time around I waited about 20 minutes into the roasting and added sliced Sweet Potatoes which was very nice. Also instead of using just Yukon Golds I found a bag of mixed tiny potatoes at the store comprising of Yukon Golds, Purple and Red Bliss. The best tasting out of these three in this recipe is the Yukon Golds so this mix doesn't add to the quality of the meal however it does make it pretty. Yukon Golds just have the right amount of waxy texture and the right amount of starch to soak up the chicken's juices and yet hold themselves together.
Try out the recipe and let me know what you think.
Several years ago I decided it was time to get serious about smoking meat so <joke> I lit one end of a chicken</joke>.... nevermind. What I really meant to say was that I'd gotten serious about BBQ and in time started working on the absolute best version of traditional American BBQ fare according to me. It has a nice tang in it, isn't boring with the peppers, carrots and celery and is actually quite smooth and sweet too. It's a nice blend I think.
I'm a perfectionist so I can take quite a while to get it all worked out and as soon as I do I'll upload the recipes. This recipe is for the most part done. Anyone can do Macaroni Salad right? Yes if you want plain old Mayonnaise and noodles for dinner. What I've created here I really like and make it often for my lunches even if I don't BBQ. The ingredients list is longer than traditional Macaroni Salad and a few my be surprising but you should just trust me on this one and make it. I usually use the 2lb bags of mini sweet peppers but when I can't get them I'll use regular sized red, orange or yellow bell peppers. I've specified just ONE red bell pepper to keep the cost down but if I'm making a double batch I like to put one red and one yellow or orange bell pepper in it. I've tried green but to me the flavor is too bitter for what I am trying to accomplish.
Also on the recipe I've made a note about the sweetened condensed milk. I've tried several while creating the recipe and something falls flat when I use *whatever* brand. However, I've always had good luck with Nestle La Lechera sweetened condensed milk that I pick up from the local Mexican grocery for about $1.60. If you buy it from your local white man's grocery you'll pay at least double. Since you have to pick up a few veggies anyway it may warrant seeking out the Mexican Tienda.
If you're going to use nasty iodized table salt then cut the amount in half. I don't like my food tasting like bitter soap so I use fresh ground sea salt in my recipes and you should too. Also one last note. I've mentioned in the recipe that it gets better if the flavors meld. This is very true and you'll notice the noodles soak up some of the soupiness and the flavors are more balanced the next day. If I were having a BBQ I'd make this the day before. If this isn't possible don't stress it because the worst rendition of this you could make will be better than anything you can buy from the store.
Recipe: Zesty Macaroni Salad
Note: This post will mean a lot more to those of you living in the Seattle/Tacoma/Olympia area and attempting to use public transportation. It's meant to be humorous but based in reality in a sort of depressing way.
The original Sound Transit announcement for reference.
Your current transit news from your transit news correspondent Haywood Jablomey.
Sound Transit remaps the 574 route to connect with the Sounder which goes in the OPPOSITE direction. So for those people traveling from the Airport to Seattle who want to transfer to the Sounder they can now do it at Lakewood… 35 miles from the city.
Pierce Transit after a massive service hour cut adds the 400 route to duplicate the service offered by the Sounder. Sound Transit counters by canceling a portion of the 578 route that duplicates what the PT 400 duplicates of the Sounder route thus saving tax payers $12 which is handed over to Piece Transit and immediately applied to it’s million dollar shortfall easing the tension between Piece Transit and all the cities that pay for it but it no longer services.
Sound Transit add Sunday service to the 578 for all the people who can’t connect to it using Sounder or Pierce Transit 400 due to there not being any weekend service on either.
Sound Transit discontinues the downtown Tacoma portion of the 586 because countless other services cover that route including the Oly Express which doesn’t stop at Tacoma Dome on hours ending with consonants on days ending in y (unless it’s raining then there’s a 50/50 chance due to the letter y not always being considered a vowel) resulting in 605 riders to the U District moving from a 2 seat ride to a 3 seat ride either 30%, 35% or 48% of the time.
Sound Transit extends Sounder south to get closer to 820 parking spots which couldn’t seem to squeeze near the 2283 already available stalls at Tacoma Dome Station thus encouraging people to drive south to park so they can catch the Sounder north back past their houses giving working husbands and wives a second chance to wave to their spouses and check on their lawns. Nobody else notices since the Oly Express still won’t make any sort of intelligent connection to the Sounder effectively keeping the 59x buses annoyingly full.
To discourage people from taking the Sounder Commuter Train Sound Transit has doubled the frequency of both the 590 and 594 in commute direction only thus making better use of empty parking spaces in the city that so far have not been fully utilized because in the past the buses were busy carrying people around. Coffee shops expect to see an increase in ticket sales from the hordes of ST bus drivers milling about during the day. It’s been proposed that cardboard “Occupy Wall Street” signs be added to their uniform so people won’t notice they are in fact employed bus drivers with nothing better to do.
Afraid that there may be some good news buried in the changes somewhere for at least ONE line Sound Transit has doubled the service runs of the 592 bus but stops short of actually delivering passengers anywhere useful. Options are to take the Sounder, walk a block to board the Link and travel one or two stops further north or south. Proposed changes are intended to either leave 592 riders stranded or irritated. Either is acceptable. Rumors of a conspiracy by Jamie Oliver to force long transit connection in an attempt to “slim Americans down” go unfounded. Rumors of him being awarded a second TED prize for an upcoming speech however just will not go away.
Not to leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth Sound Transit has added ONE extra ST 510 run per day to Everett. It isn’t presently clear at what time a day it runs and it’s existence hasn’t been proven.
And that’s it for this week folks. Have a happy new year.