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....