Saturday, December 01, 2007

Thanksgiving Recipe Extravaganza

Below I have posted most of the recipes we used in making our Thanksgiving feast, plus a couple of bonus recipes.

Sweet Potato Soup (w/ Bacon)

I found this recipe in the Nov. 07 issue of Sunset. It wasn't part of our Thanksgiving feast, but is worth putting up here because it is simple, quick, and totally delicious.

1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large leek (white and light green parts only), rinsed and thinly sliced
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs. orange sweet potatoes (about 2 large sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into ~1" cubes
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 slices of bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces (optional)

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add leek and cook until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Put sweet potatoes in the pot, add 3 cups of water (I used 2 cups of water + 1 1/2 cups of turkey stock made from the carcass of our turkey), and the salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Purée the soup until smooth. Over low heat, stir in the cream and add water to make desired thickness. Season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with bacon chips, and serve (serves 4-6).

Turkey Meatballs

I made this recipe up the other day, to make use of some of the leftover turkey. They turned out really good.

1 1/2 cups of ground roasted turkey
1/2 onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 egg, lightly beaten

Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl, until the mixture is moistened. Form into balls of desired size (we got ~12 1-inch meatballs out of this). Heat a couple of Tbsp. of oil in a frying pan (I used some of the leftover turkey fat) over medium heat. Place meatballs in the pan and fry, turning regularly, until evenly browned.

Katie's Mom's Pie Crust + Apple and Pumpkin Fillings

Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening
1/2 c cold water

Cut the shortening into the flour + salt with a food processor or 2 knives or a fork, until the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle water into the mixture by tablespoons, mix with a fork, push the bigger clumps to one side, and add more water. When all is moistened, gather up into a ball and divide into 2 equal pieces. Refrigerate for 1 hour or more. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface. Makes crust for top and bottom of a covered, 9" pie.

Apple Pie Filling
7 apples, peeled and sliced (for a 9 inch pie)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash of salt
2 Tbsp. butter

Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, mix with apples. Fill the bottom pie crust with apple mixture and dot with butter. Place top crust over, and crimp the edges together with a fork. Cut holes in the top crust to let steam escape. Place in 400° F oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Pumpkin Pie Filling
1 15-oz. can of pre-cooked pumpkin
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp melted butter
1 12-oz. can of evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1/8 cup molasses
2 eggs, beaten

Sift together sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Mix with canned pumpkin. Add eggs, melted butter, molasses, and evaporated milk. Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie plate lined with crust. Bake at 450° F for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350° F and continue baking for 50 minutes.

Pan Gravy

For each cup of brown drippings use:
2 Tbsp. fat
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup brown dripping liquid or other liquid (water, stock, etc.)

Remove meat to a warm place. Pour off and reserve the clear fat from the brown liquid. Measure the amount of fat needed into a small saucepan.
Measure the brown liquid into the roasting pan. Stir and scrape all of the brown drippings loose from the pan, heating the mixture if necessary. Set aside.
Add flour to the fat in the saucepan and whisk together until smooth. Cook over low heat, stirring steadily, until the mixture is bubbling. Remove the pan from heat. Gradually whisk in liquid and drippings from the roasting pan. Return the saucepan to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Gujerati Green Beans

1 lb. green beans
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. whole mustard seed (yellow, red, or black all work)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 hot dried red chili pepper, coarsely crushed (or 1/2 to 1 tsp of red pepper flakes)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
Pepper to taste

Trim the beans and cut into 1" lengths. Blanch, drain, cool, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the mustard seed. When the seeds begin to pop, add garlic and stir until it turns light brown. Add the red pepper and stir for a few seconds. Add the green beans, sugar, and salt, and stir to mix. Turn the heat to medium-low and sauté about 8 minutes (or until they taste spicy). Add pepper, mix, and serve (serves 4).

Katie's Mom's Stuffing

1 cup butter
2 cups diced celery
1 1/2 cups minced onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp salt
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp pepper
16 cups (about 2 loaves) day-old bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup chicken broth (for portion cooked outside the turkey)

In a large kettle or stock pot, sauté celery and onion in butter until soft. Add parsley, salt, poultry seasoning, pepper, bread cubes, and eggs. Mix well. Makes 8 cups of stuffing. If cooking outside the turkey, spread mixture in an 8 x 13 pan and pour broth over. Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes or until brown on top. I cover with foil for the first half of baking, to keep the stuffing moist.

Thanksgiving Turkey

We didn't really have a recipe for this, and B did most of the turkey wrangling. Our turkey was 13+ lbs., and we followed general instructions from the USDA. It took several days to thaw in the fridge, and then B extracted the giblet bag and the neck from the 2 cavities and rinsed the bird out in the sink. He inserted some stuffing, tied the legs together with some string, and placed the turkey in an aesthetic pose in the roasting pan. Turkey was roasted in the oven at 325° F for ~4.5 hours, until the little button popped and internal temperature was ~150°. We covered the turkey with foil for the first 1.5 hours, then uncovered, buttered the top, and basted every 20 minutes thereafter.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mmmm, Stuffing

This year we stayed home for Thanksgiving and made almost everything. All was tasty.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Warmup

Having no nearby invitations for Thursday's big meal, B and I decided on Friday that we should try our hand at doing the whole thing for ourselves (plus one turkey-crazy cat). So we filled up the propane tank, assembled a menu, made a special trip to Providence to get some needed equipment, and did most of the grocery shopping. B has also done a lot of internet research on how to handle turkey. Neither of us has ever cooked a turkey before, and I am an off-the-wagon-for-the-holidays-only vegetarian, so this will be a big adventure. And no, we are not going to deep-fry it.

Items on the menu include: one 13-lb turkey (the smallest available on Sat.), gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans w/ mustard seed, salad, cranberry-orange relish, vanilla ice cream, and pumpkin pie. Mmmm...pie.

Hopefully the leftovers will last us all the way through until we leave town for AGU.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Riding to Pont Judith Lighthouse

Labor Day afternoon, Kt and I rode down to Point Judith Lighthouse. We had quite a strong seabreeze headed down to Lighthouse, but we eventually made it desipte the clam shacks and lack of a shoulder on the last mile or so of the road. We hung out for a bit then proceeded to head up towards Narragansett. It was a beautiful day for a ride and much easier to get back with the wind at our backs. We also stopped for some fries at a clam shack in Narragansett, small but cripsy and tasty.

We will probably try the new posta maker with a recipe from The French Laundry Cookbook tonight. Possibly the sweet potato one. Mmmmmm.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Does America Run on Dunkin ?

Not all of America. I think it would have been easy to explain that the Americas, North and South, do not Run on Dunkin Donuts. Now, does the United States of America run on Dunkin Donuts. That is another question. Well, the answer again is no. As I heard on a plane,

"The only thing wrong with California is that there are no Dunkin Donuts."

Besides the insaneness of that statement, it is technically correct. I decided to find out who actually runs on Dunkin. After getting all of the current (July 2007) locations from the Dunkin Donuts website, it appears from the image below that New England, New York, and Chicago run on Dunkin. Orange dots are single locations and the pinky dots are high density Dunkin Donuts locales. There are none in California, but that is not the only problem.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Katie is gone for the weekend doing some experiments at some fancy lab. I had some major plans to cook some interesting and new food while she was gone due to all the extra time I was going to have, or I really should say, all of the extra time I was going to have to fill since she would not be there. Nuts to that.
I managed to leave my wallet in Katie's car and it left with her to help with the fancy experiments. Now from Thursday to Monday, I have no ID, driver's license, credit cards, ATM cards, and no real way to get money besides the cash I have on hand. I could use a check but would probably need an ID as well.
So I have been riding my bike to work, as I should have been doing, and I have been watching my spending very closely. No beer runs and no fancy dinners for me, although I could probably afford a trip to Phil's this weekend if I go before 7am and get the special for $1.50. Mmmmmm.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


This last weekend, we traveled up north to the Mall. It was soooo far, like 30 minutes away. After doing some much needed shopping we wandered into the Apple store and went directly to the iPhone. It was a pretty slick piece of electronics. The sound quality of the phone was pretty good for inside the store and I think one of us may be getting one within the next year or so. We may have to wait for AT&T's wireless network to improve before getting one.

Everything else about it was really cool, besides the fact it was a phone. The maps, calendar, address book, and the mail was pretty neat to a lesser extent. It was also pretty nifffffty as it had an ipod with cover flow and such. The best part will be the syncing of all the important info from a usable application rather than a dumb one provided by the phone maker or not having one at all.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ugh, Morgan

Which would you rather do:

  • List to Mr. Morgan do color commentary during ESPN/Baseball
  • Listen to the game on the radio 5 seconds ahead the TV
That was our quandary. We choose the second. Neither of us can stand Mr. Morgan. By the way, some of us also do not like Mr. Buck on FOX, I actually like him. Gimme Jerry and Don, or Kruk and Kuip, or ... How did are these people picked to do nationally televised games?

Now this is announcing: "Have some pizza!"

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Baseball Time

Ah Baseball season is here again. While I was home the last time my brother pointed me to a group that follows baseball in a different way. I was aware of the "statistics nuts" that were constantly referenced during baseball games commentary and other people complaining about "How many bases Ricky Henderson stole during night games while up by more than 4 or more runs during Passover ?" But some of the things are actually quite interesting, especially if you are just a bit mathematically inclined or want more to emerse yourself in everything baseball.

I was also a bit disappointed when one the OSX Dashboard Widgets I used during last year's baseball season to watch and follow all the teams I care about, yes there are three, stopped working. So I decided to make a widget of my own to replace the broken one. One of the things I added to my version was the determination of Win Probability and graphing that during the game. Here are some pics:
The score, count and bases are all there, just like the previous widget, but I added the pitcher, batter on the right and the team which is currently at bat. Finally there is a gauge which tells you probability of the home team of winning.
If you double click on the widget, it expands and shows the graph of win probability for each batter that is up for the entire game. If you run the mouse over one of those little red or black boxes, it will tell you the play that made the win probability change in a little box. And there is also a back so you can select the game you want and change the "importance" of the play to display those little play boxes.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Clothes out of the Dryer

For the last few (4) weeks, we have been without a washer and dryer, and hence clean clothes. We normally do clothes on a every other week basis, but since the washing machine died about 4 weeks ago due a leak in the tub and killing the motor we have had to do without. It is amazing the kinds of stuff you will wear when you are trying to stretch your wearable clothes. Last weekend, we made a special trip to the mall, which is about 45 minutes away, to pick up necessary delicates. We finally this week got the new washing machine and dryer. It is one of the new high efficiency machines and is very quite and uses very little water, plus the dryer finishes in about the same time as the washing machine. Ahhh, clean clothes.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Poorman's Implementation of Multi-Processing

Ages ago I wrote a small little program (Poorman's Implementation of Multi-Processing). Stupid little thing, it allowed me to run multiple programs on multiple computers at the same time. It was a improvement of a program that was written by myself and loads of help from my CS roommate while I was at Berkeley. When I added some improvements, I also added a queue system and came up with Now I could run using more commands than available computers and the remaining commands would just queue up.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

According to this, I never update this thing. I think someone was trying to force me to post again. Well, I was up early this morning to take Katie to the airport so she could get to Japan for a meeting. I had some breakfast and then went to work. I read this post and was intrigued. I tried it, or better yet I tried to make it work. Sorry google, first it didn't work, I modfied the source and got it to work and then found it clunky to use. What was I suppose to do with it. Yeah, I could post from my text editor, but I can do it much more easily in my web browser.

I spent a good bit of my morning trying to make it work, when I should have been working on what I inteded to do: work. So to help out the reason for my time sink this morning, I point hime to this extension for vi.

So the answer is No. No I will not post, at least with emacs client for blogger.

Friday, February 09, 2007


No, not earthquakes. Weather. A self-titled OmniNerd, again not me, decided to determine which ISH based weather service was serving up the most accurate forecasts. While the main sources like and did a pretty good job, some others like MSN did not.

Internet Weather Forecast Accuracy

While reading some comments from the linking site, I came across this gem:

For in stats, as in ethics, the n's do justify the means.
Ha! Delicious.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


The car has arrived. An entire suite of pictures and notes about the pictures can be found here or if you just want to look at the shiny new car, try the slideshow.

A complete overview is at, and a quick one is below

Standard Features:
  • 224-hp 2.5-liter DOHC intercooled, turbocharged SUBARU BOXER engine
  • 226 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm
  • Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
  • MPG: (manual) 20 city / 27 highway
  • Projector-beam halogen fog lights
  • Sport-design instrumentation with center-mounted tachometer
  • Leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel with manually adjustable tilt column
  • Performance-design front seats with fixed integrated head restraints
  • 120-watt 6-speaker audio system with 6-disc CD changer and MP3 capability
  • Auxiliary audio jack
Non-Standard Features

Friday, January 26, 2007

Birthday Bonanza

Some very sweet people got some incredibly nice things for my birthday. The best part is they all work together to form something completely awesome.

I got a set of really nice speakers which were placed in the kitchen and a Airport Express which was plugged into the wall near the speakers. The Airport Express is really nice because it allows me to stream music from my computer to it and then on to the speakers. No more connecting wires or hauling the computer with the so-so speakers to the kitchen. So nice.

Didn't think that would happen

% ssh
shell: segmentation fault ssh

This was after I installed an update for OS X today on my work computer. I had to go and install a new version of OpenSSH to fix the problem. Not entirely sure what happened, but it really sucks when the program you use every single minute stops working. I think it was a library issue but this should have been checked for. I am not really sure why OS X is using an older version of OpenSSH, but oh well. Hrrrrumph.

% ./configure --prefix=/sw --with-ssl-dir=/sw --with-pam --with-tcp-wrappers --with-ipaddr-display --with-libedit
% make
% sudo make install

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You say Ka, I say WRX

This last weekend, I went out to purchase a Ka, sorry a Car. I had decided on the type and options, plus about how much I wanted to spend. With the help of Katie and helpful advise of Consumer Reports we were all ready to haggle properly. I knew my starting price and the price I really wanted to pay, but the dealer undercut me and offered the car at invoice, or what they paid for it.

Now I have not gotten the car yet as the dealer is searching New England for the specific car that I want. I should get the new car sometime this week as well as pics. More specifics to follow as well.

Here is the Car I will be getting, but mine will be Dark Gray and will not corner as well or go as fast. Probably a good thing, I don't need to get to work in under a minute.