Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Eve Suppers Amongst Friends-- A bounty of seafood.

Cooking for friends is a good way for me to pass time.  This holiday season I've done a couple of nice plates that I thought I might share.

Christmas Eve -- Squid ink linguine, with Seared scallops and lobster tail medallions.
Cook squid ink linguine per normal instructions.  I sauced it with an anchovy sauce.  Seared off the scallops and lobster tail.  Served the pasta on a platter, then placed the scallops and lobster on top for contrast.

Middle of the week -- Pan seared Halibut with lime and parsley, and greek salad.
Make a greek salad as you deem fit (I prefer mine without lettuce). Dry your halibut salt and pepper, and sear in a hot pan.  After you flip it splash with some lime juice, and minced parsley and top with a pat of butter.

New Years Eve -- Shrimp Cocktails and Fennel seed flavoured risotto with asparagus and king crab meat.
Shrimp Cocktails do as per hundreds of recipes that already exist.  For the risotto, I steeped a couple of table spoons of fennel seeds in the broth that I used for the risotto.  Prepare the risotto per your favourite method.  When the risotto was 3/4 done I added chopped asparagus, so that is was al dente when the risotto is done.  I mixed cooked king crab leg meat just at serving time.

While I do enjoy good food, during the holidays I try to do it a little better.

More Later....

PS: Here's hopin' the food in 2011 is as good as 2010. In the new year I'll try to remember to take some photos before I dig in.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scallops in Calvados

Over Xmas I picked up a couple of bags of U12 count Canadian Scallops.  Yes they were frozen, but they did have a fairly low water weight so it wasn't too bad.  One batch went into Xmas Eve dinner with friends and the other batch was eaten at home with my girlfriend.

  • 6 scallops
  • 1 shallot finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup calvados
  • couple pats of ice cold butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking scallops is not a nearly as difficult as Hell's Kitchen seems to make it.  You do need a good skillet and a hot flame, but it shouldn't be rocket science. To brown anything, it needs to be "dry" so blot all excess moisture off of the room temperature scallops, I placed mine between a few sheets of paper towel, about 15 minutes before I needed them.  Put the skillet on the flame and get it smoking hot. Season the scallops with salt and pepper1. Add an oil with a high smoke point, I have been using grape seed oil. Once the oil is smoking place the scallops in the pan.  Don't touch them, don't move them, until they have got a nice golden crust, around 2 minutes for my U12s.  Flip them and wait until the scallop is just turned opaque.  Remove them from the heat and place them on a plate to rest for a moment while you prepare the sauce.

In the same pan add the shallots and garlic, once the shallots are translucent, deglaze the pan with the calvados, and reduce by half.  Wisk in a couple pats of butter to make a nice rich creamy sauce.  If there is any liquid from the resting scallops whisk that into the sauce.  Place 3 scallops per person on a plate and sauce.   The night I made this, I served it on a bed of seasoned quinoa, and a side greek salad.

For me the sweet apple flavour of the calvados goes nicely with the sweetness of the scallops.

More Later....

1 I've resorted to fine pre-ground pepper, because out of my pepper mill the pepper is course and it feels gritty on the scallops when you eat them.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hummus Recipe de Gregorio

There are a large number of hummus recipes floating on the net, and when you find one you like, use it. Here is my general spin on it
  • 2 14oz cans chic peas A.K.A garbanzo beans
  • 1 12oz bottle of tahini 
  • 1/2 the liquid from 1 can of chic peas
  • 4 lemons juiced 
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Take everything throw it in your food processor, pulse it a couple times to get stuff mixed, and then purée until smooth.  If it's a bit dry add a splash more EVO or liquid from the chic peas.  Taste and adjust lemon juice, or garlic, or salt, or pepper etc. to your taste.  I like mine garlicky and lemony, but do as you see fit. Server with  pita chips, toasted bread, tortilla chips, or pretty much anything you like to dip.  If you have the time and inclination you could pass it through a chinoise to get a really smooth purée, but a little fibre and texture didn't hurt anyone.

More Later....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Why is Pork and Pineapple Bad?

I was watching the Next Iron Chef on the tele and one of the judges (Simon Majumdar) keeps complaining about having pork marinaded or in association with pineapple. While I understand that pineapple contains bromelain and bromelain is a powerful meat tenderizer, bromelain can be denatured by heating it before marinading the meat with it.

I wonder if the chefs used papin (from papaya), ficain (from figs), or actinadain (kiwi), would the judges complain as loudly.  Conversely if they were marinading a tougher cut of meat instead of the prime grade cuts, would the judges react with such harsh words as "the meat was mushy."

I like mixing some sweet with my meats when I stir fry or make salads; grilled pineapple is very high on my favourite additions, and figs in the top five.  Granted, in grilled pineapple, the bromelain has been denatured, and I don't use "tender" cuts of meat for stir fries, but I'm not a world famous food critic, or chef.

I'll continue eating tacos al pastuer, sweet and sour pineapple pork, I like the flavour, and can accept what ever minor textural change there might be....

More Later....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mail Order Bride - Come To My Side

I married Edith Wishart in Dauphin, Manitoba July 18, 1933 in the midst of the great depression. We farmed at Makinak, Manitoba. We had a happy marriage, and raised one son and two daughters. Just when our family was all married, my wife took sick and died in June 1971. I was left alone on the farm; I was 64 and alone so I had to make a new start. No one could help me, I had to help myself. I felt there was another good woman out there somewhere, who would like a good husband. It was up to me to find her! We had taken the Western Producer for many years so I put and advertisement in the personal column and soon had twenty single women corresponding with me from the four western provinces and Ontario. Some sent pictures of themselves. I sent each one a picture of myself and corresponded with every one for a few months until some quit and some wanted to marry me right away.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sweat Rejoicing And Tears

My Wife's father, Gus Westergreen, immigrated to Canada from Sweden in the early 1880's when he secured employment at one dollar a day with William Van Horn's crew, who were in the process of constructing the Canadian Pacific Railway across Western Canada. It was a laborious, man-killing job as they laid the rails across the prairie of the Northwest Territories at a fast pace until they met up with a Chinese crew from the west coast, who had blasted a path for the railway through the Rockies over the Roger's Pass to Craiggallechie, British Columbia.

Gus stuck with the job until the last spike was driven by Donald Smith at Craiggallechie on November 7, 1885 completing the railway that linked the east with the west, and thereby fulfilling Prime Minister John A. MacDonald's national dream; a railway from coast to coast! Donald Smith was better known later as Lord Strathcona, Federal Member of Parliament for Selkirk, Manitoba. Then, Gus Westergreen was appointed section foreman on a branch line at Whitewater, Manitoba where he lived in a converted box car that also served as the first railway station at Whitewater.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Girl Friend's Diet

When I was just a young man
I was fancy free
I never thought a could could make
a patsy out of me.

One day I met a pretty girl
though she was rather stout
She was looking for a date
that is why I took her out.

I though she would not cost me much
for she was on a diet
I took her to a resturant
to show I was not tight.

How was I supposed to know
that she was Klondike Kate?
She said she was not hungry
but this is what she ate.

Oyster stew and crackers too
a chicken and a roast.
Big coleslaw and lobster claws
and heaps of buttered toast.

Pudding -- duff and other stuff
I though she would never stop
I thought I would die when she ordered pie
with ice cream piled on top.

She said she would like a little drink
but she had an awful tank
She said she was not thirsty
but this is what she drank.

She said 'here is cheers' and downed six beers
and a bottle of Sherry wine.
I fell on the floor when she asked for more
and her eyes began to shine.

I was fit to kill when I got the bill
I jumped and hit the deck
It was no joke for I was broke
and I could not pay the check.
Tom Hoy

More Later....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Poblano & Cheese Mashed Potatoes.

When I'm not doing brown butter mashed potatoes, I mix it up with doing a Roasted Poblano and Cheese mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes 
  • 1 Roasted Poblano peeled seeded and chopped 
  • 5 Cloves Roasted Garlic 
  • 4 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese Grated 
  • 4 oz Monterrey Jack Cheese Grated 
  • 4 oz Sour Cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Monday, November 1, 2010

Break The Chains From Your Heart

I sent my girl a Valentine
and asked if she loved me.
A Valentine at least not mine
is not all it's cracked up to be.

I was feeling fine till I got mine,
she said I will wait and see
if you are just a fly by night
she would keep an eye on me.

I asked my girl will you kiss me?
That made her face turn red.
She said she wouldn't kiss me
so I kissed her instead.

I asked her will you marry me?
How soon could we be wed?
Sure she said I will marry you
when everyone else is dead.

I waited till she was one hundred and one
and I was one hundred and ten
Then I asked her again will you marry me?
But she wouldn't say yes there and then.

I said my darling don't decline
please remember auld lang syne.
Darling it is now or never
now won't you be my Valentine.

You know my love will not resign
love live on eternally
Only love and diamonds are forever
break the chains from you hear and set if free.

When I think back on the wasted years
my tears like rain drops start
Why can't I free her doubtful mind
And warm her loved starved heart.

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween, What Does It Mean

What is the meaning of Halloween
Does anyone really know
Is it the time of death and destruction
That happened once long ago.

It grieved God's heart he had made man
Who's thoughts only evil had been
God vowed to destroy his creation
Is that what we call Halloween.

Only Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord
God said Noah build thee an ark
Forty days and nights it poured down rain
Noah saw no place to park.

Are we resurrectiing the ghosts of the past
And the destruction that once was the scene
There must be some good reason
For the day we call Halloween.

If we are celebrating the day of God's wrath
I am thankful that God did relent
He offered new life through the gift of his son
To all that come and repent.

Tom Hoy

More Later.....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Apple Pear Cranberry Pistachio Crisp

The best part about fall, is the bounty of fresh seasonal fruits: pears, apples, berries, and now that my flat has cooled off I can fire up the oven.  The crowning jewel to my Sunday dinner was an Apple-Pear-Cranberry-Pistachio Crisp, with a dollop of Häagan Daas Dulce de Leche Ice Cream.

For me crisps tend to be more organic, and seldom do I have an exact recipe because I just haven't been that disciplined, and I want to see where my mood and my fruit takes me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bachelor's Paradise

Once I was a bachelor --
My age was twenty-four;
I thought that I would never live
With women any more.

I had a one room shanty
That I built just for me
For I was a happy bachelor
From matrimony free!

My chair and table cost three bucks
My cook stove cost fifteen
I cooked my meals in a nice tin can
And kept things neat and clean.

I baked fresh pancakes everyday,
My food was never stale,
I sure could brew good coffee
In my Roger's syrup pail.

I took my baths at intervals
Depending on the rain,
I washed my socks four times a year;
There was nobody to complain!

And when I went to bed at night
With the blankets around me rolled,
No wife was there to snatch my share
And leave me in the cold.

No woman slept beside me
Nor babies in their cribs,
And if my snore could crack glass doors,
No elbow cracked my ribs.

And when I came home late at night
It never caused a scene,
I never heard a voice cry out:
"Oh Tom! Where have you been?"

I was not one to chase the girls
As anyone could plainly see.
Just when I thought I had it made,
The girls were chasing me!

I often hear that love was blind
But love will find a way,
One girl's love rubbed off on me,
That was her lucky day!

True love never does come cheap,
But it is worth the price,
Now I am the guy that was so shy,
I just got married twice!

Yes, once I bached then I got matched
And gave up freedom twice,
Now I have it made -- I would note trade
For all of China's rice.

No man is an isle onto himself
And now my story is told.
Although love calls for sacrifice
I won't change love for gold!

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Princess's Rose

Sunny Alberta, you are fit for a king
Where musicians play and cowboys sing.
You are named for the daughter of a famous Queen
And much of your beauty has yet to be seen.

Alberta dear you are so sweet;
The land of honey and sugar beet.
I believe my dear you are blessed from above
No the least of your blessings is brotherly love.

You welcome tourists from every land
And you are willing to lend a helping hand.
You are young in years and much alive
The year of your birth was nineteen five.

You have beautiful mountains we all know
Where there are Indians and white men but no Eskimo.
Your great oil fields are there pride of the west
As a place to live you are one of the best.

Although your family is still very small
you are the riches province of them all.
Your emblem is the Alberta rose
And your peace loving people are nobody's foes.
Like Solomon's wealth and Sheba's Queen
The half has not been told or seen.

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rosey Alberta

Alberta you are the prairies' rose
With mountains from where great rivers flows
Where sometime it rains and sometimes it snows.
But more often its sunny and Chinook winds blow.
With wheat fields that wave like heads of gold
And much of your story has never been told.
Your ranches are many with horse and cattle galore
Great highways expand this wonderful land
Where there was nothing but prairie grass before.
With cowboys and Indians all over the west
Your Calgary Stampede is one of the best.

Gas wells are many as everyone knows
While long and steady your oil wells flows.
Your tar sands contain the most oil on the earth
And nobody know just how much it is worth.

Your beautiful mountains have really good parks
Where fishing is good and there are no sharks.
We are proud of our Indians and want you to know
We live in the north but we are not Eskimo.

It is no longer the home where the buffalo roam
But where the deer and antelope play
And the big horn sheep still frolic and leap
And the sky is not cloudy all day.

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs are a regular staple in my fridge, but It took me a while to find the perfect technique, not too hard, no black ring, and easy to peel.

  1. Bring  heavily salted water to a boil. The salt increases the boiling temperature of the water.
  2. Place room temperature eggs into the boiling water and cover for 10 minutes. Check the eggs for a cracks in advance otherwise you'll have semi-poached eggs.
  3. Place under cool running water until the eggs are cool to the touch.
If you like the yolk a little bit softer a little less time, but otherwise these are the perfect texture for devilled eggs, cutting eggs into you salads, egg salad, or even eating as is. I make a half dozen to a dozen at a time, the unused, unpeeled eggs can be refrigerated for up to a week with little issue.

More Later....

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Old Crows Nest

The Rocky mountains are the pride of the west
but who stole the egg from the Old Crows Nest?
The nest has been there since away back when
now the nest egg robbers are at it again.

The old scarecrow is working at last
now the old black crow flies on past
Over the prairie she flies and hops
Just stopping to feed on the farmers crops.

Since the crow stopped laying she is starting to get fat
please put a penny in the farmers hat
There are no more eggs for the farmers poke
some poor farmers may now go broke.

Since the poor old farmer has had to eat crow
the farm backbone is beginning to show
Where in the world have the eggs all gone
did the throw them at the crow just to egg her on?

Should the farmers get together and just raise cane
until the old black crow starts flying again?
There are pros and cons and angry words
some say the old crows nest is for the birds.

The crow has stopped riding on the big grain trains
for as long as the ban on the crow rate remains.
If we close our eyes to the farmers plight
we may all soon feel the old crows bite.

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes With Roast Garlic and Goat Cheese

I was listening to The Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio, and Stuart McLean and company were in PEI.  One thing PEI is known for in Canada is Potatoes, so another PEI son Chef Michael Smith, was a guest and made the Official Vinyl Cafe dish, Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes.   Yummy, but I decided to kick them up a notch.

  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 5 Cloves Roasted Garlic 
  • 4 Oz Goat's Milk Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • Splash of Cream
  • Couple of Green Onions Minced for garnish.
I prefer the butteriness of Yukon Gold Potatoes, but you can use any good waxy potato.  While the Potatoes are boiling, you can brown the butter and roast the garlic.  Mix everything together and mash, adjust the salt and pepper to your preference. If things are a little thick or no smooth enough (your preference) add a splash of cream.  I add the whites of the green onions into the potatoes and top with the greens as a garnish.  The Michael Smith Recipe has a splash of nutmeg as well, but I wasn't feeling that so I didn't add it (this time). 

More Later....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hello America

Back in fourteen ninety two
Columbus sailed with his Spanish crew
He was never sure where he was at
his friends told him the earth was flat.
But Columbus thought it must be round
that is why America he found.
They sailed until they reached a shore
Where they had never been before
The natives there were brown and red
"This must be India" Christopher said.
They watched the natives all a-gog
When Smoke poured from their mouths like fog
Some were eating corn and spuds
they were not wearing any duds.
When Chris and crew returned to Spain
they vowed they would go back again.
When they told of great land beyond the seas
folks though they must be out of their trees.
Then some told Chris he should retire
when he smoked they though he was on fire.
Just when his pipe was glowing red
they poured cold water on his head.
They said when the smelled the nicotine
it must be hell where Chris has been.
Not everyone great history makes
Christopher Columbus had what it takes.

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Eating Internationally -- Staying home

Last evening my friend and I had a wonderful light meal after having shopped a couple of my favourite stores here in Edmonton

so we made ourselves a nice cheese and terrine (aka pate) plate.

  • Wild Boar and Apricot Terrine (Paddy's -- Alberta + BC)
  • Duck and Orange Terrine ( Paddy's -- Alberta + unknown)
  • Oka Cheese  (Paddy's --Quebec)
  • Morbier Cheese (Paddy's -- France)
  • Gruyere Cheese (Paddy's -- Switzerland)
  • Manchego Cheese (Paddy's -- Spain)
  • Mango & Papaya Cheese (Paddy's -- unknown)
  • Bocconcini Cheese with Olive oil and balsamic vinegar ( Italian Centre -- Canada + Italy)
  • California Stuffed Olives  (Italian Centre -- California)
  • Sour Dough Bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar ( Italian Centre -- Canada + Italy)
  • Polish Garlic Dill Pickles (Italian Centre -- Poland)
  • Green Figs (Italian Centre -- California)
  • French Grainy Mustard (Italian Centre -- France) 
In  Paddy's, I thought the papaya mango cheese was going to be a bit too sweet, but it really went nicely with the terrines. 

I chose the Polish Garlic Dills, when I couldn't find any "good" French Cornichons, everyone only had sweet cornichons, so I picked something with a tarter flavour.  The California Stuffed Olives, are marinated almond stuff olives, great texture and flavour, which brought some bitterness to the plate.

We sliced things up into managable sizes, drizzled the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the bocconcini, and bread.  Poured ourselves a nice glass of Spanish red wine had a very yummy and satisfying meal. 

More Later....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Patriot Memory - Convoy XL

I've recently picked up a Patriot Memory Convoy XL for my own personal use; partly to for myself and partly to test for use in the company I work for.  For a slight premium, we can fit 2 2.5" drives with hardware raid, in the same form factor as a 3.5" drive with a SATA connection.  Secondly it can be used via USB.

I personally have been using at via USB for a number of weeks and love it.  Having slightly higher redundancy on a USB working drive brings a sense of comfort to me.  I like it enough that I haven't been using my firewire drives, I can accept the performance hit of the USB vs firewire.

At the office we are contemplating replacing the single hard drive in a couple of critical work stations with a RAID solution. There are always a handful of workstations that downtime is only nominally acceptable; data loss due to hardware failure is marginally tolerated, and regardless lectures about best practices, and storing stuff on the network file servers... well we know the storey.  This doesn't prevent file deletion, but keeps the machine hobbling through a single drive failure.

I haven't ran the disks in degraded mode yet but I will and provided an addenda to this note.

Patriot also has a model that puts 4 2.5" drives in the for factor of a 5.25" drive (about the size of a cdrom drive), that looks interesting, but currently I don't have a pressing need for such an animal.  I could foresee using it in some small form factor applications though.

More Later....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Springtime and Showers

If springtime showers make you blue
I have only sympathy for you.
It proves that you don't understand
That nature's way is really grand.

Don't let the showers make you gloom,
It is rain that makes the flowers bloom.
Just smell that perfume in the breeze,
The scent from buds of blooming trees.

When wind blows with a mighty gust,
A shower helps to lay the dust.
I know some folks are hard to please,
They can't see the forest for the trees.

There is nothing that makes me sleep so sound
As when raindrops on the rooftop pound.
No lullaby so sweet as rain
Playing music on the window pane.

I seem to hear the raindrops say,
"You will not have to work today!"
Fore when the sky is over cast,
There is nothing to be done so fast.

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Monday, September 13, 2010

As The World Turns

My neighbour is in an awful stew,
he is feeling kind of down and blue.
He saunters over every day --
I listen to what he has to say;
Everything from crops to war
and what they use our taxes for.
His face is nearly two fee long --
he tells me everything is wrong.
He says his crop is very poor,
his ailing livestock he can't cure.
He is just as sure as he can be
we will soon be fighting World War III
It just could be my neighbour is right,
but it won't help to squeal with fright.
I say don't let it get you down,
A smile will help more than a frown.
One thing worrying does not help --
it does no good to sit and yelp.
If we grumble and growl from spring 'til fall
it won't do any good at all.
I tell him he should do like me
and smile in spite of adversity.
I hope he takes these tips from me
as I have been through the mill you see.
Smooth sailing does not good sailors make,
we must have faith the storm will break.
Only God can calm the sea;
I let his spirit pilot me.

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quinoa Salad: A cold quinoa salad recipe similar to a waldorf salad.

Quinoa is a South American cereal grain that has become a regular staple in my pantry. While I cook it many ways now, but originally while I was learning about the cereal I found this salad, which has become a favourite.
1 cup water
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
2 large apples, diced
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried blueberries
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans or hazelnuts
2 tablespoons toasted salted pumpkin seeds (optional)
1 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
Salt to taste

Read more at Suite101: Quinoa Salad: A cold quinoa salad recipe similar to a waldorf salad.

I started with the original recipe, but over time have evolved it.  First I always use salted water and unsweetened apple juice; secondly I've upped the cinnamon.  The original asked for red apples, I always prefer a tart apple like a granny smith, but a honey crisp or a fuji would be a nice choice as well.  Normally there are dried cranberries in my pantry, sometimes I have dried blueberries instead, I even occasionally do it as a half and half.  Similar for the nuts whichever toasted salted nuts you have in your pantry chop them up and use them.  I've also added some pumpkin seeds for additional texture and flavour.

If you have leftovers, they are great for breakfast.

More Later.....

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Sky Is Falling

My farmer friend is not like me
He is just as jumpy as a flea.
He rises at the crack of dawn
And does not even stop to yawn.

Each spring he is overcome with fear
That he won't have a crop this year.
He is sure that it will snow or rain
And there won't be time to plant his grain.
Then when it is harvest time next fall
He won't have any crop at all.

He wanders over to my place
A worried look upon his face.
He says it is going to some more,
Spring has never been this late before.

He starts pacing up and down
His brow all furrowed in a frown.
I tell him he should stop and sit
Then crack a joke so he will forget.

I say the sun will shine again
He looks at me and asks me, When?
That seems to me like asking men
Which came first, the egg or hen?

Only God knows that, you see
And that is good enough for me.
I wait for God and save my strength to
Give my life some added length.

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Friday, September 3, 2010

Black Bean Mango Salsa

Black bean and mango salsa, has become a regular addition to my side dishes; it goes nice with pork and chicken, it's even good on it's own as a salad.
1 can Black Beans
1 Large Mango
1 Medium Red Onion
1-3 cloves minced garlic
2-3 Jalapeños
2 Tbsp Cilantro
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 Limes Juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
Drain and clean the beans.  Dice the onion and mango approximately the same size as the beans.  Seed and mince the jalapeños and mix everything together.  I like my salsa tart so I use 2 limes.  Let stand for 5 minutes to let everything macerate.  Taste and adjust salt, pepper, herbs, and sweetness.  If you find it a little tart for your taste, or your mangos weren't quite as sweet, a splash of honey will take the edge off.

More Later.....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Peruvian Halibut Ceviche

I've recently added a number of Peruvian dishes to my repertoire.  A popular favourite is a Peruvian style Ceviche.
1kg Sushi Grade skinless Halibut (Lenguado), or Sea Bass (Corvina)
Juice from 2 Oranges
Juice from 2 Lemons
Juice from 12-15 Limes 
1/8 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Red Onion, quartered and thinly sliced  
5-10 cloves garlic minced 
Aji Rocoto or Aji Amarillo or Jalapeño Chiles or Habañero Chiles 
Flat Leaf (Italian) Parsley 
Salt and Pepper to Taste.

I always pay the premium for sushi grade fish just for the safety factor; I also prefer the firm white fishes to the oily fishes like mackerel or sardines.  Cut the fish into into bite sized cubes (3/4" or so), and place in a non-reactive container like a large ziplock bag or plastic bowl. Next, the olive oil and juice from all the citrus fruit into the bag and use enough lime to totally cover the fish. As a side note, I often add the lime zest from 1/2 the limes as well.  Add the slice onions, and garlic; I like a little more garlic.  I finely mince the stems of the parsley and cilantro because they add a lot of flavor, and save the leaves for garnishing the plate. I use about 1/4 cup total of the herb stems, you might adjust to your taste.  The choice of chiles (aji in Peruvian) is  trickier proposition.  Ideally you would use Aji Rocoto (chile manzano) or possibly Aji Amarillo (sorry it's the spanish page), but they are hard to find.  I use a mix of 3-5 jalapeños and 1/2->1 habañero seeded and minced.  Take special care when working with the habañero or you will be in for a world of hurt. Finally Salt and pepper to taste, probably 1 tablespoon of a nice sea salt or kosher salt, and about the same of fresh course ground pepper.  Seal the bag or cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 3 hours, agitating the works to ensure the flavours all macerate. Strain and serve, this should be enough for 6-8 people.

In Peru this would be served on a bed of butter lettuce with some sliced boiled potatoes or yams and corn on the cob.

More Later....

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Devil In Killarney

I was born in old Killarney
when I was very young.
I still recall the lullaby
my dear old mother sung.

Too ra loo ra loo ra, too ra loo ra rye
Too ra loo ra loo ra, hush now don't you cry.
Too ra loo ra loora, too ra loo ra rye,
Too ra loo ra loo ra, it's an Irish lullaby

Yes, I was raised in Ireland when I was small.
The girls they used to toss me like an Indian rubber ball.
Now I would not let them for fear they would let me fall.

Mother was superstitious, as Irish as could be.
She talked about little leprechauns and a thing she called banshee.
I listened to her stories from the time that I could lisp,
There was little men all dressed in green and a thing she called will-o-the wisp.

She said never be born on a Friday,
It is very unlucky day --
St. Patrick was born on Friday
when his mother was away!

As a boy growing up in Ireland, I was a sight to be seen,
I slid down the rocks and tore holes in my socks,
Then my mother would patch them with green.

Both father and mother were Irish so I was Irish too
They kept a pig in the parlor and it was Irish stew!
They believed in the luck of the Irish
and in kissing the blarney rock,
They claimed that the luck of the Irish
was hid in the green shamrock.

Dad had the wit of the Irish -- it was plain to see.
When I asked him if he were not Irish, did he know what he would be?
Sure I know begorra, I would be ashamed of myself, said he.

At times he would say the devil is dead, the devil is dead.
Oh, no, I said, he is not dead. I hear him in your blarney!
And buried into Killarney!

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Friday, August 27, 2010


One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a Christmas gift...
The next year, I didn't buy her a gift.
When she asked me why, I replied,
"Well, you still haven't used the gift I bought you last year!"
And that's how the fight started.....

My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while we were in bed.
I turned to her and said, 'Do you want to have Sex?'
' No,' she answered. I then said,
'Is that your final answer?'
She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying, 'Yes..'
So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend."
And that's when the fight started...

I took my wife to a restaurant.
The waiter, for some reason, took my order first.
"I'll have the rump steak, rare, please."
He said, "Aren't you worried about the mad cow?"
" Nah, she can order for herself."
And that's when the fight started....

My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at a nearby table.
I asked her, "Do you know him?"
"Yes", she sighed, "He's my old boyfriend.... I understand he took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn't been sober since."
"My God!" I said, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?"
And then the fight started...

When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first, the shed, the boat, making beer.. Always something more important to me. Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point. When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house.. I was gone only a minute, and when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I said, "When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway."
The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.

My wife sat down next to me as I was flipping channels.
She asked, "What's on TV?"
I said, "Dust."
And then the fight started...

Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, and slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the boat up to the van, and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50 mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather would be bad all day. I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed.. I cuddled up to my wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered, "The weather out there is terrible."
My loving wife of 5 years replied, "And, can you believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that?"
And that's how the fight started...

My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary.
She said, "I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds."
I bought her a bathroom scale.
And then the fight started......

After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security. The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's License to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later. The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'.
So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair. She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me' and she processed my Social Security application..
When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the Social Security office...
She said, 'You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability, too.'
And then the fight started...

My wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror.
She was not happy with what she saw and said to me,
"I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly.
I really need you to pay me a compliment.'
I replied, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect."
And then the fight started........

Anonymous Email

More Later....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Modern 3 Bears

A far more accurate account of the events of that fateful morning....

Baby bear goes downstairs, sits in his small chair at the table. He looks into his small bowl. It is empty. 'Who's been eating my porridge?' he squeaks.

Daddy Bear arrives at the big table and sits in his big chair. He looks into his big bowl and it is also empty. 'Who's been eating my porridge?!?' he roars.

Mummy Bear puts her head through the serving hatch from the kitchen and yells, 'For God's sake, how many times do I have to go through this with you idiots? It was Mummy Bear who got up first. It was Mummy Bear who woke everyone in the house. It was Mummy Bear who made the coffee. It was Mummy Bear who unloaded the dishwasher from last night and put everything away. It was Mummy Bear who swept the floor in the kitchen. It was Mummy Bear who went out in the cold early morning air to fetch The newspaper and croissants. It was Mummy Bear who set the damn table.'

'It was Mummy Bear who walked the bloody dog, cleaned the cat's litter tray, gave them their food, and refilled their water.'

'And now that you've decided to drag your sorry bear-arses downstairs and grace Mummy Bear with your grumpy presence, listen carefully, because I'm only going to say this once....'

Anonymous Email

More Later....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Poineers' Dreams

It is good to see the old folks hand in hand
walking side by side across the land
The homestead where they settled long ago
when health and strength they used to know
They think about the pioneer trail they blazed
and the shack where all their children had been raised
They can't believe how much the farm has changed its looks
They miss the fields with rows of golden stooks
And long to see things that once had been
the binder and big steam threshing machine
The straw stacks that the blower piled up high
and nights when burning straw stacks lit the sky
They miss the jolly men that formed the crew
and the hustle when the old steam whistle blew
The books who piled the harvest tables high
with everything from prime roast beef to pie
In their minds the farm is not the same
they remember the route that change had came
They never thought they would see the day
when all the former things had passed away
The country school where children used to play
now is gone forever ever so they say
Close friends and neighbours they held dear
they never though they all would disappear
The small town where they dealt close by
it is sad to have to watch i slowly die
It is strange to see what time can do
everything has changed that they once knew
The railway station where they caught the train
was a pleasure they will never have again
Then world is quickly changing so it seems
things the old folks knew seem just like dreams
In their dreams the pioneers still look back
to the homestead where they started with a shack.

Tom Hoy

P.S. I composed this poem from my own memories. I am a retired farmer. I hauled straw to fire the old steam engine in 1918 when I was 10 years old. Men were scarce then due to World War I. I have seen all the changes on the farm..... Tom Hoy.

More Later....

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Sensitive Man

A woman meets a man in a bar.

They talk; they connect; they end up leaving together.

They get back to his place, and as he shows her around his apartment.

She notices that one wall of his bedroom is completely filled with soft, sweet, cuddly teddy bears.

There are three shelves in the bedroom, with hundreds and hundreds of cute, cuddly teddy bears carefully  placed in rows, covering the entire wall!

It was obvious that he had taken quite some time to lovingly arrange them and she was immediately touched by the amount of thought he had put into organizing the display.

There were small bears all along the bottom shelf, medium-sized bears covering the length of the middle shelf, and huge, enormous bears running all the way along the top shelf.

She found it strange for an obviously masculine guy to have such a large collection of Teddy Bears, She is quite impressed by his sensitive side, but doesn't mention this to him.

They share a bottle of wine and continue talking and, after awhile, she finds herself thinking, 'Oh my Goodness! Maybe, this guy could be the one!

Maybe he could be the future father of my children?'

She turns to him and kisses him lightly on the lips..

He responds warmly.

They continue to kiss, the passion builds, and he romantically lifts her in his arms and carries her into his bedroom where they rip off each other's clothes and make hot, steamy love.

She is so overwhelmed that she responds with more passion, more creativity, more heat than she has ever known.

After an intense, explosive night of raw passion with this sensitive guy, they are lying there together in the afterglow. The woman rolls over, gently strokes his chest and asks coyly, 'Well, how was it?'

The guy gently smiles at her, strokes her cheek, looks deeply into her eyes, and says:

'Help yourself to any prize from the middle shelf'
Anonymous Email

More Later....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Remembering -- Peter Sellers

Recently I caught The Life and Death of Peter Sellers on the idiot-box, and it started my brain churning back overtime.  I loved watching the Pink Pather series as a youngster, either as a family rental, or with some luck a trip to the theatre with my mom.  

When I was older I marvelled in his performances in The Party and Dr. Strange Love. But his move that leaves me totally in awe is Being There. Based on a novel by Jerzy Kosinski, this is a total departure from Inspector Clouseau. Peter Sellers plays an illiterate gardener named Chauncey (Chance), who basically makes Forest Gump look brilliant. By a quirk of fate, Chance becomes an advisor to the wealthy.  I do need to read the novel, but it is a fine piece of cinema, that should be on everyone's must see list.

More Later....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Safari In The Rockies

You don't have to go to another land
Though you're smitten by the hunters dream
For the Rocky mountains are alive with game
And there is fishing in every stream.

You can sing and yodel to your hears content
Where the elk and bull moose call
You can feast your eyes on God's handi-work
When he paints the tree leaves in the fall.

You might see a bear if your eyesight is keen
Or a bighorn sheep on a hill
If you are so inclined you may get a sip
of juice from a well hidden still.

There are lakes of many colours
Like the patch-work on Joseph's coat
Where canyons are deep and the mountain slopes steep
You may spot a big mountain goat

For a man to become a good hunter
He must keep his sights trained on his goals
Some men get a thing called buck fever
And shoot the air full of big holes.

Where coyotes yodel and bush wolves howl
Hot on the trail of a deer
You don't have to go to Switzerland
To hear a yodel loud and clear.

This is the land where the dinosaur roamed
Where now deer and antelope play
A land where a man can be himself
I think I am going to stay.

Tom Hoy

This speaks of the ecology of the West Today.  I will be putting these kind of poems in the Centennial time capsule along with some of my pioneer history Stories that Western Producer published in their Western People Magazine... Tom Hoy

More Later....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gay Caballero

There once was a gay caballero
he came from Rio de Janeiro.
With nice oily hair and full of hot air
that is when he got a bum steero.

He was seeking a fair senorita
not thin yet not too much meata.
In a swell cabareta he met her
they drank one or two as other folks do.
The night was wet but they got wetter.

She told him her name was Estello
she said stick around me you fellow.
The mosquitoes they bite and they are terrible tonight
and you smell kike sweet citronella.

The patroner thought he was a phony
they way he was slinging baloney.
He told her she was so sweeta
he swept her right off of her feeta.

She was a dancer and singer
everyone was pointing a finger.
Her husband walked in what he did was a sin
Omega heard birds sing tweet tweeta.

He returned home to Rio de Janeiro
but he did not look much like a hero.
His wife met him there minus his hair
she almost chewed off his earo.

She told him that show was not Sarai
she jumped on his big sombrero.
Not only that she needed a rat
like Moses needed a pharaoh.

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Anthony Bourdain -- Medium Raw

I just finished devouring Anthony Bourdain's latest offering Medium Raw. Partly autobiographical, partly his rants, likes and dislikes that fans of Bourdian will enjoy. The language is still not for the faint-of-heart, as the pages and chapters are peppered with colourful language.

Bourdain talks about some people is less than a fan of, balances that with some fandom of some skilled practitioners of the culinary arts. He provides his insight in to the state of the current culinary world, and a few notes from the past.

I love his write and style, and so I enthusiastically recommend this to others. If you don't dig is work like I do, scan it and see if this will convert you.

More Later....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Good Time Charlie

Good Time Charlie liked to booze
he never knew how to refuse.
Good Time Charlie blamed his wife
he said she tried to change his life.

Good Time Charlie was a soak
he drank till he was stoney broke.
Whenever Good Time hit the booze
he said it was to drown his blues.

Charlie's wife would cry and wait
Good Time always came home late.
Singing cocka-doodle-doo hi there wife
tonight I had the best time of my life.

Charlie's wife took much abuse
then one day she cooked his goose.
When she could not take no more
she knocked Good Time to the floor.

He will never cheat again
wink his eye at some old hen.
I just got word today
Good Time Charlie passed away.

It is sad how he behaved
while his good wife for him slaved.
She stuck by him long and brave
now she is weeping over Good Time Charlie's grave.

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Friday, August 6, 2010

ACQUINE: Automatic Photo Rating - Aesthetic Quality Inference Engine

As I've been trying to decide on my final portfolio, I needed some criteria other than my personal preference. I have some friends with good eyes, but sometimes they are sympathetic to my plite.  I've already stripped what I have down, and what is left can subjected to others preferences. I'm always looking for more feedback of my photos because I have moments of brilliance, and sometimes not so much. Everything I've uploaded to my flickr account has been reviewed a few times before I think it's "reasonable", not all of it is perfect, but I liked it.  

Introducing ACQUINE, one of the most useful, and most frustrating things to happen to my photography. ACQUINE is a software based aesthetic engine;  in effect a software based photo critic.  The software scores an image out of 100, 50 is considered a portrait by a typical quality professional photog, but anything over 40 is considered an above average image.

I've uploaded a number of images and while my average is in the 40s, my highs are in the 90s and my lows are actually in the single digits!! I know it's not the final word on what is a good photo, and the designers have challenges with the engine; it is a work in progress after all.  They mention limitations of the system, but it still is frustrating.  It shows me some gems, and then totally disses some of mine and some others favourites.

If your curious about your own work give it a whirl....

More Later....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


9 is wonderful animated movie, set it a post apocalyptic world.  The human world has been destroyed by robots, and all that are left is a handful of animatronic dolls.  It is hard to talk about this movie in great detail without playing the spoiler, so I won't.

The movie starts a little slow, without much talking, so you need to exercise a little patience; it does pick up quickly. There are a number of wonderful McGuyver like moments throughout the movie that make you chuckle; a handful of others are reminiscent of Indiana Jones, great fun.

The animation is fluid; the world complex, and would make Tim Burton or James Cameron proud.  The characters are quirky, well voiced, and very charming.

Well worth a watch.

More Later....

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Friend In Deed

Some Animals are not so dumb
on human friends they like to bum
I am sure the average pussy cat
has never seen a mouse or rat.
But he knows how to act the fool
and play with grandma's ball of wool.
He loves it when she strokes his fur
he shuts his eyes and starts to purr
They say a dog is man's best friend
on him you can a small fortune spend.
On nice soft rugs he loves to sleep
he wastes no time in counting sheep.
But poochy knows a trick or two
he gives affection that is true
He greets you with a friendly yip
And does not give you any lip.
With friends like that I have no quarrel
but they are hard to keep in urban sprawl
From them some folks could take a tip
in the art of true companionship.

Tom Hoy

More Later ....

Sunday, August 1, 2010

His Still Small Voice

I am no the man I used to be
and maybe never was
But I believe the way to life
is hid within God's laws

Men have come and men have gone
they pass like a river
Some have dreams and plans and schemes
but none stay here forever

I have lived and searched for truth
for many, many years
Although I never gave up hope
I shed some bitter tears

It is not just things that others say
that I don't like to hear
But things I wish I never said
that ring inside my ear

Words are like a boomerang
be sure they are kind are true
They always travel in a curve
and come right inside my ear

I listen to God's still small voice
as he whispers like an elf
His words that give life to my soul
I have learned to speak myself

Now here is what hes says to me
my son Jesus is the key
His love and truth will make you free
he opened my door to life for thee

I fore no one to live or die
the choice is theirs I will tell you why
Persuade a man against his will
He will have the same opinion still

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blueberry Mango Peach Salad with Mango and Yogurt Dressing

While I can get fresh fruit and veg, I become less of a carnivore.  Latest yummy treat

2 Cups of Blueberries
2 Peaches
1 Mango

1/4 Cup Mango puree
1/4 Cup Vanilla Yogurt
splash of lemon/lime juice

Nice, easy, yummy; serve with a toasted bagel with cream cheese, and you be looking for seconds or thirds.  I'm so envious of people that can get this stuff fresh year round. I like my stuff a little more acidic so I add the lemon or lime juice because I like the tartness, nice offset for the sweetness of the fruit.

More Later....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Faithful Friend

Oh horse you are a faithful friend
Your springs Don't brake or fenders bend.
No gas bills rising everyday
to steal the joy of life away.
You always star, come rain or snow
and stop when you are told to "whoa."
Your fuel is good for many a mile
and your body never changes style.
With temperature that never boils
you don't drink up expensive oils.
A coat that is so nice and sleek,
you don't need polish every week.
Your brakes will never squeal or slip
or cushion ever crack or rip.
Your piston rods are nice and tight
and headlights beam both day and night.
You do not have a horn that toots
to scare nice folks out of their boots.
Your inner tubes are all O.K.
and thank the Lord they stay that way.
You are air-conditioned in the breeze
and don't need any anti-freeze.
No matter where you drivers roam
You always bring them safely home.
Your value don't depreciate
the minute you are out the gate.
You don't consume expensive gas
So live old friend and you'll get grass.

Tom Hoy

More Later....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Roast Pepper and Garlic Salad

Since I normally can get reasonably fresh bell peppers, I often make a roast pepper and garlic salad as a vegetable side dish when I cook other things.

  • Variety of Coloured Bell Peppers 
  • Variety of Chilli Peppers ( if desired)
  • Slivered Garlic, to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Cracked Black Pepper to taste
Cut and seed  all the peppers and chillies into bite size pieces lightly coat with the olive oil and a light dusting of s&p, put them in a hot oven (425->450) or toss them under the broiler.  Give them a couple of stirs so they don't burn.  Once they are soft with a few pieces starting to brown and blister, mix them in a bowl with more olive oil, the slivered garlic and more s&p to taste.  I personally don't remove the skins from the peppers, because I don't mind the fibre.  The heat from the peppers will cause the garlic to perfume everything nicely.

Alternatively, char all the peppers and chillies on a fire, under the broiler etc.; place them in a bag to steam.  Once they have cooled a bit, you can remove the skin. Chop and seed the works and mix evo, crushed garlic and season with s&p.  

You can replace the slivered garlic with roast garlic if you have it on hand, but I usually don't.

More Later....

Friday, July 23, 2010

SpinRite 6 -- The Magic Tool -- A Tale of Drive Recovery

Over the weekend I had 4 hard drives fail , 3 different models, 2 different vendors, 4 different lots.  'Twas a very bad day!! I was doing my weekend mirror, in preparation for migrating my laptop to a new hybrid drive.  Every other weekend, I clone my working drive to a target drive.  I swap the working drive with the target, and finally do a backup to a third drive. I then carry on working with the knowledge that my laptop is very recoverable.

I fire-up my clonezilla live cd, add check my target drive, and then start my disk-to-disk clone. I go to bed, because it normally takes a few hours, and dream about my new Momentus XT.  I wake up, and HORROR!!!! it's stuck, on a couple of bad blocks!! WTF!!! I told clonezilla to continue on bad blocks, but it didn't.  SIGH!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Maori Movies From New Zealand

There are a couple of great movies picturing the struggle of Maori kids trying to navigate their way through the modern world
Once Were Warriors is set in Auckland New Zealand, this is a riveting and powerful movie dealing with alcoholism and abuse. There are many moments in this movie that aren't for the faint of heart, but I believe it is a must see.  Jake Heke played by Temuera Morrison (AKA Boba/Jango Fett), plays a drunk abusive SOB brilliantly. You really want to hate him as you see the havoc he wreaks on his family after a couple (dozen) cold ones.  I had originally seen it as part of an aboriginal film festival and could see why it included at such an event. A must watch even it you do find it disturbing and troubling.

Whale Rider is about a teenage girl who must fight the patriarchal traditions of her Maori family.  She fights for the love of her grandfather, as she tries to prove herself worthy to break a generations old tradition of male  rule.  Pai immerses herself in Maori traditions and culture, but often receives the wrath of her grandfather, because she is bucking traditional roles.  This feel-good, heart warming flick looks at the softer side of a warrior culture and is worth a watch.  It might be a good way to unwind from Once Were Warriors.

More Later...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Time Capsule From My Grandma

WOW! 25 years ago my grandma put a time capsule down for me, and I finally received it.  She didn't do this for the other grandkids, just me! As think about it, so many emotions and memory come rushing back again.  I so miss my grandma (sniffle... sniffle).  It's only been a year since her passing...

The time capsule consisted of a number of photos, some poems by my step-grandpa, a few word history, and some Canadian Centennial currency (the year of my birth).  Unfortunately, the time capsule got wet, the paper damaged, the coins corroded... but it was the thought, and she thought of me.

What is funny, is that my current girlfriend has a few of her mannerisms, and that helps bring random smiles to my face.  My girl friend will be perplexed with me, as I will randomly start laughing, and I can't help it, as I see a little of my grandparents in what ever just happened.

I'm gonna transcribe my step-grandpa's poems and stories into my blog so that they may bring some joy to others.  They were deemed important enough for my grandma to pass them on, so I will deem them important enough to share to everyone else....

Thank you grandma for being you and loving me.....

More Later....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sausage And Goat Cheese Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

A new frequent favourite of mine is grilled or baked stuffed portobello mushroom, and I started looking for a rapid but simple filling.

In most grocery stores you can find packaged sausage meat, I usually grab a one of sweet italian and one of spicy italian.  I mix them together in a bowl, I then add a tablespoon or so of caraway seeds; a tablespoon or two of fennel seeds;  if I have it on hand some roast garlic, or some caramelized onions; occasionally I've added sun-dried tomatoes.  Totally depends on what I have on had or what flavours I'm craving.

Take a gilled and stemmed portobello mushroom, but try to leave the sides intact when you remove the gills, otherwise the cheese tends to escape. Add a teaspoon or so of goat cheese, and cover with the sausage mixture.  I like mine meaty so I'm more generous on the sausage, but when you cook your food do it your way.

I've baked them in a 425 oven, I've broiled them, barbecued them, I've even pan fried them.  It has totally depended on what else I have been doing.  As long as the sausage meat is cooked things are good.

Serve with some vegetables, or a salad, and a starch of your choice .... or use them for a "hamburger" the concept is what was important....

More Later....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes With Boccaccini Salad

I love summer, we are now starting to see good fresh produce, and the street markets are open so you can even get some of the local gems.  I recently scored some heirloom cherry tomatoes (silly me didn't take a snap... sorry :( ).  I headed to Spinnelli's (AKA the Italian Centre) and scored a fresh large boccaccini, some fresh basil and made me one yummy salad.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Blog Migration Completed

It's done!! I've managed to migrate everything that I intended to bring over. Only a dozen or so posts related to out dated software and sites that no longer exist, weren't migrated.

I have touched up some of the photos from my hosted gallery site, and they are hosted within itself. The rest of my images were linked to my flickr pages.  I didn't spend a lot of time re-formatting posts.  In a few I fixed some grammar and spelling stuff, but for the most part things were left as is.

I was also fun revisiting my trips to Ecuador and México; getting frustrated by some of my older rants; and composing some new ones.

Over the coming weeks, I will try to make my topics a little more focused or possibly a little more scheduled,  making you trips to my Hidey Hole worth while.

More Later....

Friday, July 9, 2010

Anchovie Pasta Sauce di Papa Joe

Many years ago I dated an Italian girl and became part of the family.  Every special occasion or anytime Papa Joe had a hankering for it, he made this awesome little quick sauce with anchovies.  His kids didn't want to touch it with a hundred foot pole, but I was all over it.  He loved me, because I would try pretty much anything he put on a plate in front of me.
  • Anchovy fillets (in a pinch anchovy paste)
  • Good Olive Oil 
  • Garlic, Minced
  • Cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Crushed tomatoes 
  • Red pepper flakes to taste

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grilled Portobello and Vegetable Sandwiches de Gregorio

Often for my friends for a medium-light meal, I've resorted to making a loaf sandwich of grilled vegetables, and they seem to be a big hit.  It has become one of my most requested dishes after my crepes. While I don't have a specific recipe I have a general technique that I do based upon what is available at the market at the time.

  • Usually I hit Save-On-Foods because I like their bread, I grab a French Loaf or a Ciabatta Loaf depending on what's there.  
  • Grab some of the jalapeño jack or monterrey jack and havarti cheeses, but I will substitute some swiss, emental, or edam in the mix as well.  
  • Some washed mixed greens, or arugula, or spinach, or lettuce de jour.  
  • Portobello Mushrooms enough to be the length of the full loaf
  • Assorted baby zucchinis, spring squashes, asparagus, bell peppers, chilies, snow peas, or what ever grabs your fancy
  • Good Tomatoes

Monday, July 5, 2010

World Cup 2010 -- And Then There Were Four

We are now at the semi-finals for Worldcup 2010, and it has been an interesting run. As usual there is always controversy over sportsmanship, diving (aka simulating), officiating, and finally goal-line technology. But over all I think it has been a good event.

The quarter finals did bring a lot of drama to the event, mostly in the Ghana-Uruguay and Spain-Paraguay matches. But now we are down to our final four teams:
  • Germany vs Spain
  • Netherlands vs Uruguay

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Library...

This takes me back to my university days where what is now Hudson's, was called The Library. It was a quaint watering hole that had the walls covered with bookshelves filled with old books.  Food was ok, but it had a nice atmosphere, so it became a favourite haunt when we had a couple of bucks to spare.

More Later....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tabouli de Gregorio

I'm a big big fan of tabouli as a salad and as a condiment for other things.  The other night I started with a recipe from Great Party Recipes and tweaked it for my own preferences.

  • 1 1/2 cups cracked wheat (bulgur)
  • 1 1/2 cups very hot salted water 
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, (8) sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
  • 2 cups fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lost Symbol

After much prodding by a friend I read Dan Brown's Lost Symbol and it was good to see him target someone other than the church.  I recently read it a second time, to ensure I hadn't missed any subtle nuances.

Much like the Angels & Demons or The Da Vinci Code, conspiracy theorists will have a field day as our symbologist, Robert Langdon, looks into the secrets of the Masons. Runing around Washington DC to ensure the safety of its inhabitance, our protagonist tries to decode the secrets and symbols  and solve the mystery presented to him.

My friend and I each had an additional laugh because we each live near a Mason Hall in our respective cities. There are many reviews of this book on the net if you care to read them detail, and even a few spoiler sites to ruin your fun.

If you have liked any of his previous books I would say give this one a browse as well.

More Later....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chocolate Crepes de Gregorio

Sometimes as an alternate to my Desert Crepes, I make a chocolate crepe instead. 
  • 1 Cup -- All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cup -- Milk
  • 1/3 Cup -- Dutch Proccess Powdered Cocoa
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar 
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
I sift all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, I mix the liquids, then gently whisk everything together until it's fully mixed. I let the batter rest for a period of time, then I make the crepes per every other recipe.  Sometimes, I make them a little richer by substituting chocolate milk for the milk.
You can fill these with what ever your heart desires. Often I use a mixture of fruit jam, and cream cheese.

More Later....

NB: I think I learned this recipe via Better Home and Gardens Cookbooks, but I don't recall.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blog Migration Update.

Well good readers, I have about 30 posts left to go, I've dropped any post dealing with the technology changes of my self-hosted services. Man it was a lot of work to get to where I am, but I have a couple of small things left to go.  Biggest issue, is doing a lightbox in my blogger blog, for my serendipity it was a simple plug-in.  Under blogger they don't have that specific one.  I can add the javascript and CSS, but it is a matter of time.

I will be posting about that as well, so I don't have to remember how to do it in the future.

More Later....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Desert Crepes de Gregorio

Often when I cook for friends or when I have a hankerin' for them, I make Desert Crepes.  Here is my basic recipe that I learned and keep comming back to after many years of trying.
  • 1 Cup -- All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cup -- Milk
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar 
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
I sift all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, I mix the liquids, then gently whisk everything together until it's fully mixed. I let the batter rest for a period of time, then I make the crepes per every other recipe.  Sometimes I make them a little richer by substituting cream or half-n-half for the milk.  It's also important to use a neutral flavoured oil, not olive oil, or a nut oil etc.

Sometimes I will add a splash of vanilla, or a touch of cinnamon for variety.
You can fill these with what ever your heart desires. Often I use Ricotta mixed with egg and cinnamon.  Fruit, or Nutella rank high on my list of favourites.  If you are feeling nostalgic and want something classical, Crepe Suzette.

More Later....

NB: I think I learned this recipe via Better Home and Gardens Cookbooks, but I don't recall.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Cup 2010 -- Cards and Bookings

I've been very confused by the bookings in the 2010 Edition of the World Cup.  I thought there was an unusually high number of yellows and reds throughout the matches I've seen.  But, when I looked at the Fifa Stats page, there had only been an average of 3.9 cards per match (as of June 22).  The 2006 Edition of the world cup set the record for the most bookings over the period of the tournament.  Using the info from wikipedia, there were over 340 yellows and 28 reds for the whole 64 game tournament, over 5.4 cards per match!!  This astounded me.

Granted the we are only 2/3 done the group matches, so there is an opportunity to exceed that number.  Conversely I have been also surprised by many of the non-bookings as well.

More Later....

Monday, June 21, 2010

Biographical Movies, Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens

Over the weekend 2 of my favourite biographical movies were on the tele:
When they are on they also always seem to be back to back so I can get a few hours of entertainment from them, even though as Don McLean referred to it in American Pie, the day music died, is recounted in these as Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper, died in a plane crash, Feb 3, 1959.  The movies aren't too campy, and do justice to the lives of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Always worth a watch....

More Later....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hero Rats...Way Cool!

Hero rats is an orginization that is training African Pocket Rats to sniff out land mines.  Way Cool!!  The rats are lighter then dogs and less likely to trip the mine. 

More Later....

NB: This was originally from my old blog as Way Cool.... 2007-06-28 13:19

Co Co Di Restaurant Is Open Again!

After over a year of waiting, Co Co Di Restaurant has a new home 11454 Jasper Ave.  They were one of several restaurants lost when the building at Rice Howard Way burnt down.  This happy little shisha bar and restaurant was a place I had frequented often for my tabouli and shawarma fix.  They also had a beautiful Lebanese style baklava.

My inaugural meal, a marinated chicken & tabouli salad, with a pot of mint tea.  They didn't have any baklava ready or I would have been noshing on that as well.  I also ran into some long missed faces and had an opportunity to get caught up on a year plus of gossip.  A very nice evening.

I don't know if they will still have weekend belly dancers, but I am glad they were able to recovery from  their misadventure. I will head back and have to provide a more indepth review of the new digs.

More Later...

World Cup 2010 -- Less Confusion

After watching more matches, it seams that the referees have becoming a bigger x-factor. I've seen some pretty incredible calls, and some even bigger non-calls.  I expect officiating to play a part in football matches, but in this World Cup it's a bigger part than normal.

I'm not asking for video replay, but maybe could do one thing similar to the NHL. The NHL has added a second referee in addition to the two linesman.  I don't expect a single referee to see the entire pitch the entire match, but an additional set of eyes couldn't hurt.

Let the players decide the outcome of the match not the officials.

More Later...

Friday, June 18, 2010

My Appologies, Blog Migration Update

As some of you may have noticed I've been a bit of a twitter and facebook spammer.  It seems that feedburner doesn't really honour the date of the post, and shows new content at the head of the queue.  It's kind of nice that new people are going to see some of my legacy gems, but there is a slightly higher signal-to-noise ratio.

I'm going to drop some of the dated product announcements as part of the migration but I still have in the order of 130 posts to come.  Some of the posts I will add an NB post my salutation, if the info has been superseded by something more relevant.

Thanks for your patience in feeling my pain.

More Later....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Cup 2010 -- The Land of Confusion

WOW!  The 2010 Edition of the World Cup has me befuddled.  I'm less than .500 on my picks for the matches. World Cup 2006, I called 39 of 48 in the round-robin, 6 of 8 in the round of 16, 3 of 4 in the quarters.  My 2006 World Cup went pear shaped in the semis.  But the 2010 Edition!?!?! Makes me wonder if I even knew anything about football.

  • Spain loosing to Switzerland
  • Greeks winning over Nigeria 
  • Americans drawing England
I didn't call some of the other drawn matches, there is still a lot of football to play but, I have to re-study my data, and will reset my thinking for the next rounds...

There has been some very exciting football, but just not what I expected or predicted... Time to watch more matches....

For now ¡Vamos México!

More Later...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Problems of Blog Migrations

I mentioned, I've just had a forced migration of my services.  Now the adventure of migrating data begins, as well as getting little things like the search engines to find me again.  My serendipity blog had over 300 entries of use(ful/less) nuggets of goodness.  Many food recipes, windows and unix server tuning tips (that I relied on having available)  are currently hiding in the ether.

People that can do a staged migration can allow the old blog to exist or install a redirect. I did not have that option, but will accept my fate, and hope my gentle readers will forgive the temporary disruption until my data gets re-populated, and re-registered with the search engines.

More Later....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Don Antonio's Mexican Foods... Yummy!

I've popped into Don Antonio's Mexican Foods a few times now, and it reminds me of a number of little family places I visited in San Luis Potosí and Monterrey México.  It's a family run place with grandma cooking in the kitchen the daughters serving tables.  It's different from Mexico Lindo, a smaller number of dishes, but everything I have tried has been wonderful.  Don't get me wrong I love the food at Mexico Lindo and will go there every chance I get, but it is nice to have a choice for Mexican food.

If you have a hankering for some real Mexican food prepared with a grandma's loving hand, I highly recommend you give it a try.

More Later...

PS... If you like your food to have some kick you need to let them know otherwise they will tame it down for the  salt and pepper is spicy crowd.