31 December 2009

digging (the?) Le Creuset grillpan

The Le Creuset double-sided grillpan was my main xmas gift to the gf, who had apparently been dropping hints throughout the year (let us credit my subconscious for picking up on that, and question either my cluelessness or forgetfulness for thinking it was my own idea).

I've lost count how many times we've used it in the last week, but every time we've been pleased. last night, we did up a couple porkchops with a dry rub. by luck and/or the use of the thermapen, i pulled them at the right time. fantastic. the inside was just a bit pink, and completely delicious. the carmelization was pretty darn good, too.

when i got closer to the bone, however, i saw that it was just a bit undercooked around there. so i cut off bitesize chunks and put them back on the grill, searing the undercooked parts, and eating them right off the grill when each was done.

good god, was that tasty.

24 December 2009

salt of the month club

two years ago, at xmas, my sister played a "hilarious" joke on me. she packed a pair of sweatpants into a fake gift box from the Onion, "Salt of the Month Club." from the Onion shopping site:

No, the products aren't real. But the empty boxes are. Wrap your otherwise forgettable gift in an Onion decoy gift box, and watch their faces fall when they realize there is no such thing as...

I was indeed taken in, and having recently begun cooking for myself more frequently, was actually really excited by all the different kinds of salt I'd get to try. Once I opened it, I assume my sister enjoyed "watching my face fall".

Flash forward to today, when, for xmas, my amazing gf packaged up 12 salts from around the world, along with a book called "Salt: Your Way to Health."

i am so damn lucky.


just spreading the word on this smart-ass site.


20 December 2009

Fox's Dr. Oz

i've never seen his show, but i was "treated" to this quick-spot just now, with him dressed in scrubs and holding a football:

Why do we need all those electrolytes in sports drinks? Because without those delicious charged ions, your muscles wouldn't contract.

so there we have it. drink Gatorade or risk collapsing to the pavement, unable to move your pathetic bag of bones to an upright position.

i wonder who sponsors his show.

what is a legacy system?

from various web sites: "old computer system", "used generically to distinguish the existing or old system from the new or planned system", "existing or inherited system", "based on mainframe computer or older programming languages", "has a considerable investment in", "old or outdated", "original designers and implementors are no longer available to perform the system's maintenance"...

some years ago, i read a definition along the lines of, "no suite of tests that confirm its functionality." That was an interesting definition to me, though out of the mainstream. It also means that any just-deployed system could qualify.

I think the last one up there captures it best, though it's incomplete. imho, a legacy system is one where either 1) some component of the system limits changes, 2) the failure of a hardware component would be critical, or 3) the system cannot be extended in a reasonable manner.

in #1, I'm including in that list a lack of understanding of the system, such as when the original designers are long gone. in #2, I'm thinking of, say, an outdated compiler would be unusable should an outdated hardware piece fail (and cannot be replaced by a new piece, only another used piece).

i do not accept that a system is legacy just because of its age, or someone's desire to replace it. If an APL system written in 1978, still in production, can be compiled, extended, and deployed, and if the tools needed to maintain it still install and run on a new Dell workstation under, say, Windows 7, then what's legacy about it?

sadly, my dual g5 powermac PPC, which i bought in 2004 and is my main music machine -- and which I just upgraded to 8 gig RAM -- is about to become legacy. I just read that Digidesign, with their release of ProTools 8.0.3, is now supporting only Intel machines. Further, Apple themselves have abandoned it by requiring Intel for Snow Leopard. Though I can still run Tiger and the PT 7.3 I currently have installed, I am locked out of future changes.

it's too bad -- it's still a very capable machine.

16 December 2009

"Quaaaaaaaid..... Start the reactooooooor."

photo (taken on nyc subway) and comment courtesy my friend Emily M.

13 December 2009

headline: "NFL Defensive Backs Prevent Single Reception Entire Season"

i just watched an Eagles defensive back turn to the ref to signal "no catch", while a Giants receiver, untouched, picked himself up off the ground and ran past him.

it seems that anymore, with no regard to what happened on the field or how bloody obviously a catch was made, the defense frantically turns to the refs to plead the case that there was no reception.

you would think that no receiver ever caught the ball, ever, according to the defense.

so why bother, defensive backs? when receivers and running backs complain to the refs that they've been facemasked, they typically have a case.

i say give it a rest.

lovely lamb dinner

gf "threw together" a lovely dinner tonight, after a day of making (and me eating) xmas cookies. the rack came with yesterday's CSA pickup from Mint Creek, who feature grass-fed lamb.

and i really must toss my worse-than-completely useless Oxo meat thermometer. the lamb ended up being perfect, but the Oxo unit hindered much and helped none. i strongly suspect i'll be ordering myself a Thermopen in the next day or two.

raw milk sting


The above description is a dramatization of real events that happened recently in Springfield, Missouri, where the state has decided to spend considerable taxpayer resources running a sting operating against a family that was caught dealing -- gulp! -- raw milk in a parking lot.

Yes, both the Missouri Dept. of Health and the state Attorney General (Chris Koster) have decided that prosecuting a farm family for illegally "trafficking" raw milk should be at the top of their list of priorities. The family being targeted by state officials is the Bechard family, of Armand and Teddi Bechard, and their children Joseph, Hananiah, Kazia and Katie.

The name of the cow offering the milk is reportedly "Misty."

Not the best-written article, but worth a read. along with the Illinois law prohibiting farmers from selling non-frozen meat at farmers' markets (in addition to the IL law prohibiting the sale of raw milk), I have to wonder if there isn't some lobbying pressure being applied by the factory farming industry.

call me a conspiracist...

12 December 2009

Gene's Sausage Shop has finally opened

Lincoln Square finally has a grocery again, complete with a/the neon sign from Meyer's. Gene's is more of a Euro-style grocer than simply a butcher, though a glance at the butcher counter did look promising, including some grass-fed options.

Last time I went, there were some sausages hanging in the front window, and today was cow (see photo). It has a second floor that overlooks the first. Very crowded, very promising.

11 December 2009

Lou Malnati's crustless pizza = yum!

it's not really crustless, it has a crust of sausage. i still think Lou's has the best deep dish pizza -- and that includes the bread crust -- but now that I'm off bread, the sausage-crust pizza is an excellent alternative to scraping.

i've tried 3 so far: no toppings, pepperoni, green pepper + mushroom. Actually, the no toppings works the best. obviously, lots of sausage in every bite, and that can get a little overwhelming. Two slices more than kicks my butt.

kudos to Lou's for offering it and making it a damn good alternative.

07 December 2009

why are goods so inexpensive?

from Home Depot today, i bought a 25' outdoor extension cord and a can of black spraypaint. with tax, it was $6.23.

from Microcenter, i bought a tiny screwdriver set, packaged as a pocket pen. it was 79 cents, pre-tax.

these items are worth more to me than what I paid for them. i'd pay $20 for a good 25' extension cord. for a good set of screwdrivers, i'd be happy to pay $15. i have no issue with the quality of the these items, i simply think they're underpriced.

i assume i'm "benefiting" from cheap overseas labor and lax environmental laws, if not in the US then elsewhere. but i have to think "this'll hurt come winter." at a minimum, there's really no consumer downside to seeing these things as disposable.

this practice seems highly unsustainable to me.

06 December 2009

onside kicks

i am not digging the new (not sure how new) NFL rule that, when kicking off, you cannot have fewer than 4 players lined up on either side of the kicker.

i like seeing all 10 guys bunched together, or 9 guys on one side then kicking it towards the lone guy.

was this a competitive advantage to the kicking team? who cares? onside kicks / recoveries are exciting. i say encourage it.

05 December 2009

iPhone 3GS = fantastic upgrade

i upgraded from my iPhone 2G, and what a good idea. The performance things bumming me out about my original iphone were not so much 2G v 3G related, but some things just seemed to take forever:

  1. stopping a page load in Safari

  2. getting to the point where i could open a new page in Safari

  3. switching apps

  4. connecting to the Exchange server at work

  5. updating the emails from said Exchange server

  6. opening the camera app and taking the first pic

... and so on. Good god does the 3GS fix all that and more. I hadn't even realized how bothered I was by how long the 2G took to connect to my home wifi node.

so far, the 3G connection speed has been good, somehow better than the gf's non-S 3G connection speed. the camera, though not great, is far superior (the very first pic I took is above; taken in low-light conditions). the maps app handles zooming and scrolling much better. simply put, everything is faster.

I may have waited too long, or jumped the gun, as the first reports of the next-gen iphone "in the wild" have surfaced. And to get the pricing, I did have to re-up for a 2 year contract. But I reckon I'll be happy with this for that duration. sweet!

update: only downside is the battery life has suffered, in an obvious manner.

Brazilian steak house

my office xmas party was last night. sadly, not at Fogo de Chao, but I still ate very well at Texas de Brazil. Though rather aware of how much corn-raised beef I was eating in the process, I kept signaling for the Meat Wanderers to stop by and fill my plate.

We were offered the salad bar first; I took this opportunity to load up on some cheese, plus tomato and roasted red pepper, to nibble on between meat courses. This worked out well.

My favorite ended up being the flank steak; I don't know what they marinated it in, but it was fantastic. Even better than the bacon-wrapped filet mignon and what they were pushing as their specialty, a top sirloin. Only the lamb leg disappointed, though the other lamb parts were good.

I finished it all off with some 18-year Macallan and a few bites of a really nice cheesecake with a layer of chocolate / caramel ganache.

It is the following morning and I am still not hungry.

02 December 2009

remember those scary baby masks in Brazil?

i found this disturbing mannequin at Nordstrom.