Please Feed Us

Friday, October 29, 2010 20:46 Posted by Leo Saumure 1 comments
Kristie and I will often select our weekly dinner menus based on a theme, like Breakfast for Dinner Week, or Mexican Week, or Asian Week.  Well, this week we want to try something we've never done before, and that is put our fate into your hands.

We've scoured the web to find 10 prospective recipes for next week, and we'd like you to decide which are the top five.  Here are the recipes:

Ok, so here is how it works.  Check out the recipes we've posted by clicking the links above and then use the form below to vote for your top five.  Next week, we'll tally up the results and then blog about each recipe.

Haddock and Potato Soup

We found this recipe website a while back called Kayotic Kitchen, and haven't been disappointed by any of the recipes we've tried yet.

Today we made the Haddock and Potato Soup.  Holy Yummers Batman!

Here is the recipe.  Her recipe is broken down into 9 steps, but it is really very easy.  Be sure to checkout the blog itself.


Haddock and Potato Soup

Ingredients:

9oz haddock
1 cup left-over mashed potatoes
1 medium onion (diced)
1 large leek (Diced)
3 1/2 cups milk
2 bay leaves
flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp cream
1/2 to 1 tsp mustard
pepper
salt

Directions:


  1. Cut the haddock in small pieces.
  2. Get 2 tbsp all-purpose flour in a bowl and add a tiny splash of milk. Stir well to turn it into a lump-free concoction.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp butter and cook the onions and leeks, over low heat, for about 5 minutes. Until they start to soften.
  4. Pour in the flour mix, stir to coat the vegetables with it and cook for an additional minute.
  5. Bit by bit (and while stirring) pour in 3 1/2 cups of milk. Season with 1 tsp salt, pepper and add 1 or 2 bay leaves
  6. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer, over very low heat, for about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the bay leaves after 15 minutes and add the haddock. Simmer the soup—depending on the size of your haddock pieces—for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. Finish the soup with 2 tbsp cream, 1/2 to 1 tsp (Dijon) mustard, 1 cup of left-over mashed potatoes and the chopped parsley.
  9. Warm everything for a few more minutes, check the seasoning and serve with crispy French bread. This is the life, guys, this is the life!

Damn You Steve Jobs (Part Deux)

19:41 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
iPods are Broken
Ok, I ranted once before about the problem with my iPod alarm.  Now, I've been noticing that after syncing, it will begin playing a podcast where the last podcast ended off.

Although I do have a lot of music on my iPod Touch, I don't actually listen to very much.  I primarily use my iPod for listening to podcasts.  I like doing this as it gives me a chance to be learning when I'm doing other passive tasks such as walking, running, etc.

So here is what is happening.  Lets say I'm listening to the Quirks & Quarks podcast from CBC, and I stop listening to it after 23 minutes.  Then, I go about doing other things, and leave the iPod as it was when I stopped listening to it.

Later, the next morning, I will connect my iPod to my computer to download the latest podcasts.  Then, instead of resuming Quirks & Quarks, I decide to listen to a different podcast.  When I click play for the new podcast, it will start playing the new podcast where the last one ended off.  So in this case, I would have missed 23 minutes of the podcast that I was listening to!

Yes, I know it isn't a big deal to rewind with an iPod, but it is the principle of the thing.  Apple made its mark by saying switch to Apple products, because PC products all suck, and break, and smell like rotten fish poop, etc.  Yet their products, as of late, have been fail after fail after fail!

I'm just saying it isn't that hard to get a good reputation, but it seems really difficult to be able to keep it!

Guacamole Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing

We made a really good salad today that you have to try! At least as soon as the weather warms up in Canada again. :-)  It was adapted from two separate recipes, but I think they combine to make a wonderful dish!

Guacamole Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing
adapted from Pink Parsley & Life's Ambrosia

Salad:
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 large yellow tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (12-ounce) can of whole kernel corn
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
1 Tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper, seeded (1/2-1 jalapeno)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 ripe avocados, seeded, peeled, and diced
  1. Combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl, except for the avocado and toss well.
  2. Just before serving, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room

Dressing:
1 large avocado, pitted, skin removed
2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 jalapeno, chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt to taste
  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Cover and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Serves 6

Walk to Work Days

14:52 Posted by Leo Saumure 2 comments
In lieu of some of our running days, Kristie and I have started walking into work a few days a week.  At the moment it is kind of sporadic due mostly in part to the weather.  Because a large portion of our walk takes us through Trelissick Park, which has natural paths through out the Ngiao Gorge, the paths can get quite muddy; with the steepness of many of the trails, it would be unwise to venture down without proper hiking attire, for example waterproof shoes).


View Walk to Work in a larger map

The walk itself (see the map) shows that it is about 3.79 km, to Kristie's place of work, and 6.93 km to mine.  What the map doesn't show however is the topography that makes up Wellington.  Kristie and I live in Ngaio,  which is situated pretty much at the bottom of a small valley.  To get to Trelissick Park is all up hill, then once there it is a steep climb down.  When you reach the bottom of the gorge, every direction you go is up hill.

Climbing out of the gorge, when going into work isn't too bad, but we get huffing and puffing.  Once out of the gorge you emerge into the back streets of Wadestown, but even though you're on the roads, it is still a steady climb for about another 1.5 km.  Then we descend until we reach Kristie's work.  From there you're pretty much on the flat as downtown is built along the waterfront.

Coming into work isn't too bad, but I've got to say that coming out of the gorge, when going home is quite the hike.  For those in Edmonton, picture walking up the steps to the Hotel MacDonald, minus the steps, and about twice as long.

We're hoping to make this more of a semi-daily experience as the weather permits.

Boring, but We've Got Cookies

Friday, October 15, 2010 21:50 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Just a quick post to say that due to our lack of sleep over the past week or so, Kristie and I went down for a Friday nap today at about 5:00 pm and didn't wake up until 8:00 pm!

With nothing on TV here in the spring, other than maybe reality TV (and not the good reality TV either, one of those crappy spin offs from Rock of Love), we decided to try a new cookie recipe.  They turned out to be excellent!  You should totally give them a try.  No, not you...you don't get to have cookies.  But YOU should totally give them a try!

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies
Source: Allrecipes


INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

DIRECTIONS


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking soda; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the white chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. For best results, take them out while they are still doughy. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.


Serves a whole heap!

Prebaked

Post baked

In Search of a Full Night Sleep (Part Deux)

Last Night:

Walnut: Pst...Leo.  I have to go pee!
Leo: Not now Angus, go back to sleep!
Walnut: It's not Angus, its me Walnut.
Leo: Awwwww....
Walnut: Leeeeeeeeooooooooooooo...
Leo: Alright!

P.S.  To all of you mothers out there, I understand the lack of sympathy. 

In Search of a Full Night's Sleep

I have to go pee.
I don't know if I've discussed this before, but every now and then Angus gets on a kick that gets him up in the middle of the night, and in turn gets me up in the middle of the night.

The scenario is like this: We've gone to bed at our regular time, after a day of regular things, and in the middle of a sound sleep, usually around 2:00 am or so, he jumps out of bed and starts scratching at the bed.
Angus: Pst....Leo....I have to go pee.
Me: Not right now, go back to bed...
Angus: Leeeeeeeeooooooooooo....I have to go pee!
There is no arguing with this guy either.  Once he has something in his head, he won't stop until he gets his way.  This usually goes on for a two or three nights, and then it is back to sleeping through the whole night.  There is no accounting for when it will happen either.  We pretty much follow the same routine every work day:

  1. Get home
  2. Walk Dogs
  3. Make Dinner
  4. Feed Dogs
  5. Play with Dogs
  6. Take Dogs for Bathroom Break
  7. Go to Bed

On the days when Angus does get up, he'll sometimes throw in a twist here and there by getting a nice long drink, or instead of taking a quick pee, he'll sniff around for a few minutes before peeing.

What I don't get is he can last an entire work day without having to go, why can't he last through the night?

Bottom line is for three nights out of the month, I'm pretty tired and grumpy.

There Is No Accounting For Taste

Friday, October 08, 2010 09:32 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
I have been working on creating a new database application for work for the purpose of taking interpreter bookings, and I am almost ready to start rolling it out.  Yesterday, I was demonstrating some of the things that I  have incorporated into the application to other staff members; highlighting things like stability, validation, and generally trying to point out why this application is much better than the old application.

While demonstrating the application, I was asked about things like the ability to batch invoice generation by agency and venue.  To which I replied that it is not only possible, but it is almost as easy as flipping a switch.  I went on to show them how quick and easy it was, and then produced a few batched invoices....They were all in awe!

This is going to make life so much easier!
This is wonderful!
I have noticed similar instances when they have asked for other features.  When I tell them how easy it is to do, they are almost always incredibly enthusiastic.

I find this very interesting as I have spent so much time on the design of this application, ensuring that it was setup properly so that regardless of what we threw at it, it could expand along with us as the organization grew.  But the end user doesn't care about the design.  They expect that the application will work properly and can expand along with the business.  What they don't seem to realize is that when they ask for these features to be incorporated (e.g. adding/revising/removing different price structures based on agency type), it is because the application is designed properly that the features they request become easy to incorporate.

This is a bit of an over simplification, but I guess you could compare it to someone who designs a house.  The house owner generally doesn't care about how cleverly the space was designed, or how the designer uses interesting features, etc.  The house owner simply cares about having good closet space, enough light to work and doors that don't squeak when you open them.

I guess I'll just have to appreciate my ingenuity on my own.  *sigh*

Sweet Potato Lasagne

Sunday, October 03, 2010 20:53 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Kristie and I made an excellent Sweet Potato Lasagne today.  Which is  the amalgamation of two separate recipes, so I can't really direct you to one particular recipe.  The recipe itself was inspired by a couple of our friends who came to visit us here in NZ last year.

Here is what we came up with:


Sweet Potato Lasagne

Ingredients

Filling

2 tbsp Olive Oil
5-6 Small Sweet Potatoes, thinly sliced
2 Zucchini, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cup Mushrooms, sliced
3 Cloves Garlic

Cheese Sauce

1 brick Cream Cheese
250 g Ricotta
1/4 c Basil
1 1/2 c Mozza/Cheddar combo

White Sauce

3 tbsp (50 mL) vegetable oil or butter
¼ cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour
4 cups (1 L) 1% milk, hot
1 tsp (5 mL) salt or to taste
¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper
generous pinch nutmeg
pinch cayenne
2 cups (500 mL) grated mild cheese (e.g. Lappi or mozzarella)
¼ cup (50 mL) grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Directions

  1. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, minced, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the sweet potatoes and the mushrooms, and bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet for 20 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables are roasting, mix ricotta, cream cheese, goat cheese, basil, 1 clove garlic, minced and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Melt butter in a large saucepan, whisking in flour. Cook gently, without browning, about 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in hot milk and bring to a boil, stirring until mixture thickens. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne to taste.
  4. To assemble, spoon about ½ cup (125 mL) sauce over the bottom of an oiled 9- x 9-in. (2L) baking dish. Line with a layer of noodles, then a layer of roasted sweet potatoes. Spread with 1½ cups (375 mL) sauce and half the grated mild cheese. Repeat layers.  Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano.
  5. Cover lasagne with foil, and bake in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for 45 minutes.  Remove Foil and bake for another 15 minutes.  Let cool for 15 minutes.