I was going back through recipes from my old site to put up here and I was shocked at how poor my food photography was so I made Moussaka for the sole purpose of taking new photos. That and Fred Meyer had Aubergine for $1 each which is pretty good.
Moussaka is one of my favorite Greek dishes to make even though I'm definitely not in the eggplant lovers club. The way I feel about eggplant is that if you could tenderize a slug but keep the sliminess you'd have an eggplant. However, the meat and flavorings in Moussaka are nice enough to overpower any anti-eggplant reactions I may have. My favorite part though is the Béchamel Sauce poured over the top. The recipe calls for parmigiana and feta cheeses but I did parmigiana and a cave aged Gruyère which worked out nicely. I also like Moussake with potatoes in it which I didn't have (and was snowed in) so that went. For meat lamb is best, 50/50 lamb beef is next and just beef being last. However, beef is still enjoyable because of the spices and red wine in it. I used a Ste. Michelle soft red blend that I had uncorked already. My favorite wine for this dish is a Côtes du Rhône blend of Granache and Syrah. If you don't put wine in it you'll definitely notice but I'm not sure the type of wine is as big a deal as in other recipes. I see recipes that use white wine though and I'm not so sure about that. This is a hearty dish with hearty flavors, red seems to go better.
For those of you who haven't heard of SOPA it's an act in Congress designed to stop piracy. This is a good thing however, it's designed in a way that will result in sensorship without review. For instance, if you have a business all a competing company has to do is accuse you of piracy and your web hosting company will have to drop your account. There is NO review process. This by far the wrong way to accomplish this. If you feel the need to speak out against SOPA you might want to consider signing Google's takeaction site.
If you want to know more about SOPA check wikipedia. Be aware that today January 18th wikipedia will go off the air against SOPA. So check back tomorrow.
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.