Thursday, December 24, 2015

A perfect day

Great weather, I can see the mountain clearly. Got up, posted some research on Instant Checkmate, (don't bother), bad choice. Took Yogi to the Wailua Dog Park, nice people, nice dogs. Had a great trike ride, stopped at Chicken in a barrel for a plate lunch rode the path to Pineapple dump and ate it. Came home, saw two different pods of whales blow.

Friday, December 11, 2015

John, Vicky and Cache for dinner

We are hosting another couple tonight. Here is the playlist:

Cold chicken and potato soup with roasted corn on top.
I cooked the carcasses of three rotissarie chickens on low in my crockpot for 24 hour until the bones were falling apart. Strained the broth. Cooked two potatoes. blended together. Spices were salt, fennel, thyme. Added just a hint of lemon and cooled. Before serving, added a heaping teaspoon of feta cheese to each bowl, stirred, then two flat teaspoon pieces of ripe avocado. Put a tiny pinch of chili powder on the top, put the crunchy corn on top of that.

Cordon Bleu on a thin corn bread
In my large Saute' pan added just enough cornmeal to cover the bottom, added egg white and shook it even. Placed a piece of Costco no nitrates Canadian bacon for each serving. Cut a chunk out of a smoked gouda wedge. Placed Gouda on the bacon. Turned the heat on low and covered with a dome. Cut long slices of chicken breast. As soon as the gouda was soft, cut the heat, placed the chicken. Garnished with Siracha.

Smoked meat from baby back ribs in sweet potato cups
Lemon potatoes, monchong marinated in rice vinegar with smoked salmon garnish
Chocolate/ginger/walnut/coconut on a gluten free ginger snap

Friday, November 27, 2015

Turkey and lemongrass chowder

As described in Costco Basin Potatoes, I left the lemongrass and anything that drained off from cooking the turkey that was in the bottom of the crockpot, threw in the bones, I threw in two more of the potatoes, filled with water and cooked it on low in the crockpot all night. The next morning I removed the potatoes and chopped them into chowder size chunks, and strained the mix into a pot and threw away the bones and lemongrass. Now that we have the broth with potatoes, it is time to build the chowder.

I added 1 cup leftover dark meat turkey, 1 cup celery cut up fine, 1/2 small onion, and 1/2 cup carrots. I also added 1 and 1/2 cups of the potato/cheese mix from yesterday.  I cooked on low for 30 minutes stiffing often, until the soup really begins to thicken there will be a tendency for everything to settle to the bottom and burn. Then I put it in the fridge to rest.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Costco Basin Gold Potatoes - Thanksgiving

We flew to Kauai on Monday and went to Costco Tuesday morning to reprovision the house. There was a huge bag of potatoes, but they looked really cool, some of them were the biggest potatoes I have ever seen. We were invited to John and Vicky's for Thanksgiving along with Rudy and Shanda.

I found a piece of a turkey at BigSave, turned out to be all dark meat, but it fit in the crockpot. The lemongrass had grown while we were gone, so I cut a big bag of it and lined the bottom of the crockpot with lemongrass, a bit of salt and a few flakes of red pepper. Put the turkey on the lemongrass and covered it with more lemongrass and cooked overnight on low with the lid off. It worked great. Lemongrass flavor infused the turkey meat. I took the largest potato, cut it into chunks boiled it in lemongrass tea and salt, when they started to get soft, I moved them to a skillet and lightly pan fried them in a bit of hemp oil. I placed them in a baking dish and covered with a bit of cheese and fennel and broiled just enough for the cheese to stick to the potatoes. I kept the lemongrass tea on heat for a reduction.

Took the meat off the bones and toothpicked meat to the potatoes. Could not find GF flour for a roux, (we have been gone since March), so used corn starch to thicken and spooned the sauce on top. Garnished with a bit of sprinkle cheese.

These potatoes seem like they can be worked with. Put four in the crockpot on low for six hours. Peeled them for another dish. Smashed them up. Added a cup of sprinkle cheese, a bit of salt and fennel. Mixed it all up. It was like dough. Measured just heaping tablespoons, rolled into a ball, made a pooka with my finger and filled with pulled pork and sprinkle cheese. The four odd looking ones are smoked salmon since Rudy does not eat pork.

For supper, I took the potato skins, covered with a bit of cheese cooked up a fish in oil and fennel pretty good. The next day, before we left for thanksgiving I put the bones with the leftover lemongrass that was on the bottom of the crockpot, covered with water and tossed in a potato. I am headed over to pull the potato and set the crockpot to low. Tonight or tomorrow, I will finish and make a lemongrass turkey chowder.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Another miss at Lake Tapps Community Church - Snow Crab legs

I can cook, I know how to prepare and season food. But that does not mean that I make the right choices for my demographic. Last night was mission's focus potluck at LTCC. Missionaries really do go out of their way, so I wanted to do something special.

Four pounds of snow crab legs paired with Idaho potatoes coated with smoked salmon chowder. And we didn't skimp; 1.5 pounds of smoked salmon.

They ate some of the crab legs, but not all, almost none of the potato casserole.

The apple walnut bars sold fairly well, but I think it is because they were the only Gluten Free dessert. Sometimes you just shake your head and keep on trucking.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

LTCC Small group mushroom soup and four kinds of cornbread

Members at Lake Tapps Community Church are encouraged to be part of a small group. Our group starts with soup and bread before we worship and study. It was our turn to bring the food.

3 potatoes, chopped into blendable chucks
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
Place in blender, cover with water, blend
Place in a large pan, lowest possible temperature
1 lb organic sirloin steak, cut into small chunks, add to mix
The white part of one leek, quarter it before cutting and be very careful to rinse well, they are sand magnets
1/4 cup cooked spaghetti squash
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup cooked mixed sprouted beans, (lentil, mung, adjuke)
1 link Field Greens or other vegan sausage
1 lb sour cream
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 stick butter
12 cloves dried garlic cut in half
1/2 cup dried morel mushroom, cut big enough they show up on a spoon
Cook several hours on lowest possible heat
1 hour before serving, turn off the heat, stir in 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
It should be a very thick soup
Spices: Tamari gluten free soy sauce, salt, black pepper, rosemary, smoked paprika

Cornbread, use your standard, "go to" cornbread recipe, preferably unsweetened. Make small batches in an 8" Saute´pan. That is small enough to cook the cornbread on the range and finish the top with the broiler. Add things to make each batch interesting and different. People will think you went to a great deal of trouble. These are:
- Just cheddar cheese and a bit of salt for people that aren't that adventurous
- Spaghetti squash and feta cheese with tomato sauce and more feta on top
- Tomato sauce and basil for people avoiding lactose
- Club, (turkey, ham, pickles, cheese)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Smoked Salmon Chowder

I was bombing through the WinCo supermarket to get some clam juice and noticed a 3 oz. pouch of smoked salmon. I know Ivar's has a lovely smoked salmon chowder and found this recipe to base lunch on. The salmon isn't as good and a high end smoked salmon like Seabear, but it is half the price and the 3 oz. packet would be really convenient on travel.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Seafood salad

When you want some lighter fare. Buy a bag of cooked frozen crab claws, (let thaw), a cucumber, pick a cherry tomato or two from the garden, poach some crab and scallop in chicken broth and cut the scallop finely, add some diced red onion if desired.

Wrap the crab and scallop with a thin slice of cucumber into a patty, sprinkle with ground annato, place the crab claw on top. Put a half cherry tomato and a quarter of lemon on the side.

Cut a loaf of fresh French bread into thin slices, toast, add some Ghost Pepper Cougar Cheese, broil at 425 until the cheese bubbles, let it cool till it is crunchy. Lean against the crab scallop patty. A lovely light lunch on the American Cruise Line Puget Sound Trip.

(OK, I made the ghost pepper cheese up, it was Parmesan, but a man has to have dreams. )

Ivar's Acre of Clams

SANS Seattle was running this week, so Kathy and I thought it would be nice to take a couple of the instructors and staff, (Chris, Jake, Suzy), out to dinner. We scored a table for five with an ocean view. The place looks fantastic after the remodel. We ordered Pancetta Prawns and Calamari for the table. Chris had the Oyster Sampler as a starter. Each of our guests had Salmon, I had the Halibut, Kathy had the acre of clams. It was good but not great.

IMPORTANT: Ivar's now includes the gratuity in the price of the food, so there is no tip line on your bill. This is an interesting trend.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

LTCC Prayer Breakfast did not like the potato skins

In my previous post, I described the process used to create the potato skins. The men hit the lasagna pretty hard, but the potato skins were a no go. They wiped out the scrambled eggs that come in a carton, all the sausage and pancakes, but passed over the potato skins like the Angel of Death in Exodus 12:23. Well heck, they had only been out for an hour, so I took them home, put them in the blender, added enough water to blend. Then I added a 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup of gluten free flour and a teaspoon of baking powder.

This is my "dough", so now we can make an assortment of pastries. I am hosting my brother starting today, so having some snackage is a good thing. I will make an assorted plated for us and one for the church tomorrow. I am going to make moist pastries first, then add some more flour and make crunchy ones.

I took two large non-stick saute´ pans and dropped the dough in by tablespoons. Put in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees to get a bit stiff. As soon as I pulled these pans, I put in one more. The first three pastries are:

  • Horseradish and pickles, put a bit of creamed horseradish on the pastry, covered with a dill pickle, added enough cheese for the melted mild cheddar cheese to melt and "glue" the pickle to the pastry.
  • Fresh Cremini mushroom, salt, garlic powder, enough cheese for the melted mild cheddar cheese to melt and "glue" the mushroom to the pastry.
  • Nitrite free ham, a dab of Dijon mustard and enough cheese for the melted mild cheddar cheese to melt and "glue" the ham to the pastry.

Added a couple tablespoons of gluten free flour to the dough, stirred well. For the next set, I will not put them in the oven first, I made smaller portions, about 3/4 tablespoon dropped onto the pan. The second set of three pastries are:

  • A slice of our garden grown hot peppers pushed into the dough.
  • One half of a garden grown cherry tomato pushed into the dough.
  • Feta cheese pushed into the dough.
Added a bit more flour, target is bread dough consistency, these should come out crunchy. Covered my cutting board in Parmesan cheese, rolled the dough balls in the cheese.

Hmmm, there is a bit of dough left, took a medium saute´pan, made a rustic crust. I have some leftover spiced chicken, maybe a type of pizza.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Chris Mintz breakfast lasagne

(There are four dishes being made. The lasagne and potato skins are for men's prayer breakfast tomorrow. Our prayers are with our brothers and sisters in Oregon.)

Chris Mintz Breakfast Lasagne

12 medium russet potatoes
2 cups ham
3 pounds sour cream
1 cup oatmeal
2 pounds shredded cheese, (I used mild cheddar)
2 sprigs rosemary chopped fine
1 bunch flat parsley chopped fine
1 large onion
Salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Cut the skins off the potatoes, set them aside. This will leave you with blocky somewhat skinless potatoes. Cut them into slabs about 1/4" thick to be the "noodles" in the lasagne.

Mix ham, sour cream, oatmeal, rosemary, parsley, onion, if it is too thick, thin with egg white.

Layer potatoes in the bottom of a backing pan and cover with the sour cream/oatmeal mix. Try to make sure to cover all the edges and spaces between potatoes or the cheese will stick to everything.

Cover with shredded cheese, add another layer of potatoes, cover with cheese, add your last layer of potatoes. Using a large spoon take about 3/4 cup of the sour cream mixture, thin with egg white, spoon over the top row of potatoes cover with cheese. Cook for an hour at 350 degrees. Make sure it is totally cool before cutting.

UCC Solidarity Potato skins

1 carton vegetable broth poured into a saute´pan.

Take the set aside potato skins place them in the pan. Add pepper, paprika, red pepper to taste. Before you add salt, read the broth carton, mine had enough salt already. Simmer till cooked to your preference, I wanted to taste the onion, so I fully cooked them, if you want the onion fully cooked, cook them to al dente.

Remove the potato skins with a slotted spoon. Place in a large saute´pan cover with sour cream oat mixture, cover with cheese, cook a bit at 350, finish with broil.

These are the potato skins, the port loin is next

Yes, I am a Christian Pork Loin

Take the remaining sauce, place in a smaller saute´pan. Add a pork loin to the sauce, it is ok if it does not cover, we are going to flip it. Put any leftover potato parts you have or cut some more. Cook on a low temperature, smallest burner, lowest setting for about 40 minutes, (this is a great opportunity to use a meat thermometer. At 20 minutes flip the pork and move some potatoes around. At food safe temp, remove the pork and let it cool some before cutting medallions.

15 minutes before serving. Bring the sauce to a boil, add a splash of olive oil and some dried porcini mushrooms. If they do not thicken the mix enough by absorbing the liquid, finish with your favorite thickening system.

We will not mention the name of the shooter chocolate and cherry

Place a gluten free ginger snap for each person on a saute´pan. On top of that add a piece of fudge, (any chocolate will do almost). Cut a slit for a dry cherry. Add a peanut butter chip to any flat place you can find. Let the chocolate soften just a bit in a warm oven. Just before serving give it a dash of Irish cream.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

North Star Winery

Today, in the Zephyr, Taste Vacation, Washington Wine Tour, we had the breakfast buffet at the Marcus Whitman hotel. For such a high end hotel, I was hoping for more than a scrambled egg buffet. Then we left to go visit Delmas wines, a small producer  of extremely premium wine in the Rocks, Columbia Valley's newest AVA. Steve Robertson was very instructive and explained what they do to take advantage of their unique, 10 acre, Oregon AVA. He is completely sold out of the only wine he makes, so there is no tasting or tasting room.

After we left, we went to to Tranche cellars.  They were busy, the harvest is underway, but they still took the time to share their unique approach to winemaking. We ordered a case of A slice of Pape.

The highlight of the day was Northstar Winery. Oh my, that is quite an operation. We didn't really do a wine tasting, instead we took a course in wine mixing. That was incredible, if you ever get the chance to put a group of 14 together, this is not to be missed. You get to keep the bottle you create, I don't think we will age these two very long in case of contamination, but want to share it with someone special, maybe the Seattle conference.

We ordered a case of their Merlot, we plan to lay it down till 2018 and then we will try a bottle and decide what to do.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


The star line car service was on time. Good thing, we ran into traffic. Got to the airport and discovered I did not have my drivers license. I have flown two million miles and never made that mistake. TSA was nice though, just enough extra screening to make sure you don't do that again. We had time to get a snack, pulled into Anthony's and shared an overlooked $35 halibut, but had a great view of the kitchen. Alaska airlines was on time and easy to manage.

We found a taxi to Richland Hampton Inn. It was nice but not as nice as the Hampton Inn in Dupont Washington. We had dinner at the Fox and Bear we both ordered Dover sole pretty good then we retired to the hotel and went to bed we had a hotel breakfast this morning on the great Columbia River and quiet time in the room waiting for the adventure to begin.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tagaris BoarDoe 2013 Mix

Kathy and I are waiting for the car to take us to the airport. While we pack, we enjoyed a 2013 red wine mix from Richland WA. Grapes are sourced from several vineyards: 32% Merlot, 31% Cabernet Franc, 22% Cabernet Savignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 6% Malbec. From what I can tell from the web, the mix changes year to year, possibly based on what is available, possibly as they fine tune.

On the nose it was tannins first, fruit a distant second, right after opening. We let it breathe for 30 minutes until the fruit arrived. Very drinkable table wine after breathing for an hour, possibly a great second bottle, "young wine" while entertaining. It is a lighter purple garnet color, I think the bottle said 13.5 % alcohol. If you made me do the flavors, (not my strong suit), I would go with plum and blackberry with mineral notes; think Wahluke AVA Bordeaux blends.

My guess is that this bottle will find its place in a couple of years. Kathy and I do not have infinite storage space, but I think we should pick up a couple more bottles and label them for 2017. I know Tagaris has done winery tours in the past, and judging from their plantings, they are set up to do some creative things. Maybe we can get in position for a tour next year. Found them on Facebook and signed up on their mailing list; who knows.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Venison chops, mushroom gravy, blond quinoa

1 Venison chop per person
1 tablespoon olive oil
Place in a saute´ pan, cook at your lowest temperature covered
When you flip them add black pepper
Brown on both sides, still red in the middle
Add 1 teaspoon red table wine
Put the salt on the side, two minutes before serving cook uncovered, high temp, after 1 minute flip, finish and serve

In a saute´ pan add 1 package sliced cremini mushrooms
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
The white part of 8 green onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons marsala wine
2 tablespoons red table wine
Spices are salt, black pepper, garlic
Cook till the onions are bedraggled
Thicken with roux

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
Cook till the tails are showing
Let settle ten minutes to absorb any remaining water
Transfer to a saute´ pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil
Cut all the green onion tops into 1/4" long pieces, add to pan
Spices are salt, black pepper, paprika, (don't be shy with the paprika)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Alligator wedges, porcini and potato shreds

This is a recipe you can make camping in the woods or in a survival situation. I like playing with dehydrated shredded potatoes. I would like to see a source with no preservative though. They sell them in the bulk foods at WinCo. I just covered them with water in a large saute pan, took a handful of dehydrated vegetables, tossed in some porcini mushroom and a bit of salt and garlic. Stir several times so everything hydrates. Then I opened a 1 lb can of Alligator sirloin, warmed it up with a little bit of salt, the little bits I saved for chili tomorrow. I found some green onions from the store, camping you can often find these near grass. Seasonings are black pepper and smoked paprika. I garnished with dried peas, dried corn and some almond slivers from you know where.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wild boar, porcini and pasta

Kathy and I were out today in Puyallup on our way back from JBLM and she was hungry, we chose a Mongolian grill, which was pretty bad. But hey, we were so close to Butcher Boys, we decided to press on. I got some alligator, venison and a bit of boar.

Kathy wasn't hungry, I had just a little bit of brown rice spaghetti left, so I broke it in half an covered it with hot water and put it on high. I added some dried porcini mushroom and dried mild garlic cloves. Then a few green stuffed olives cut in half. The only spice I added was fresh ground pepper. Waited on salt till the end. Garnished with a few pine nuts. Very pleasant.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Seattle go bag and evacuation plan

The area where we live has the potential for natural disasters. One is that volcano in our backyard, the majestic Mount Ranier. The odds of it erupting without advance notice are near zero, but it has caused mudslides, (Lahar flows), similar to what happened in Oso. These have happened enough times that one must consider that threat. We are not in a flow path, but all evacuation paths out are. So, one part of the plan has to consider staying put. The basic essentials would be food and water.

Earthquake is a different issue. The New Yorker article on a Seattle area earthquake may be sensational, but it is also a call to action. Most of the time we are East of I5, but when we cross West we need to consider our evacuation route. When at home: run to the garage, open both garage doors, grab the go bags and helmets, throw into a vehicle, (when possible point the vehicle to the street).

I finally got around to building a go bag. The current inventory is, (top left to right):
Row 1: Family Lifestraw water filter, personal water filter, 2 candle lanterns, (loaded), 9 nine hour candles, 2 dust goggles, 1 unopened lighter.

Row 2: 4 space blankets, titanium camp tool, surgical set, 2 8 oz. smoked salmon best before 2019, so I will put a google reminder to eat in 2018.

Row 3: Cheapo plastic poncho, (I have a great Swiss Army one, but it takes up a lot of space, need to look for a simple goretex one for each of us), rechargeable very bright flashlight/stun gun, need to recharge every couple months, 2 waterproof flashlight/locator strobes, each with a loud whistle with compass and thermometer and a family sized first aid kit.

Kathy with her dust goggles.

Whoops, forgot sanitation items. Added a ziplock bag with one large bar of soap, hotel size soap, 2 shampoo, exfoliating facial cleanser, toothpaste, mouthwash, lens cleaner wipe and pre-threaded hotel sewing kit.

Whoops, forgot my Lansky Blademedic. This is a fantastic field tool. It is out of the drawer and into the go bag, I have other tools to do everything it does in the house.

The most important thing that is missing is one of those hand crank flashlight weather radio. I am going to hang the bag in the garage and put all the "go" stuff in the same area. The first aid kit did not fit in my Black Diamond Demon Duffel. These are the bags Kathy and I took for our bareboat charter in Tahiti where you are very constrained about your luggage.

I thought we were making progress, then I was talking with a lady who said she has a helmet, (climbing with headlight). So I ordered two helmets from a military surplus outfit and will outfit them with lights. I will also paint them with high visibility orange.

Kathy with her surplus helmet before outfitting

Need to purchase or do:

  • Replace shed by Joe Cheff's house. Same footprint, but taller.
  • Wrecking bar
  • Additional food and lifestraws. The food should be well chosen so we are willing to eat it. We can get water from the lake and purify it.
  • Additional shed for food and water storage, it can go on the concrete pad the previous owners poured for a hot tub. Would it be possible to buy one of these plastic sheds and make it look nice? Consider a propane powered refrigerator. If we are feeling wealthy, consider removing the blocks and replace with a poured wall.

Viva Mexico

This is one of my three favorite Mexican Restaurants in Washington State. The other two are Las Margaritas in Auburn, and Frida's in Anacortes, (and we hope to revisit Frida's soon).

We pulled in for an early supper. Kathy had the Enchilada Special and they created it gluten free and I had the #26 Carnitas Al Diablo style. They also made Kathy a Margarita from scratch since she does not like them too sweet.

I love the decor, I love the food. If you find yourself driving between Tacoma and Olympia on I5 and need a break, take exit 119 and work your way to Dupont city center, (1455 Wilmington Drive).

Hiring Our Heros - Soldier4Life - JBLM

Today, Kathy and I headed to Joint Base Lewis McCord for the Soldier for Life/Hire conference at the American Lake Conference Center.  The basic idea is to help those who served our country get the training/education/employment they need to re-enter civilian life.

We received email instructions today, but they came after we left the house and the print was so small on my iPhone, I couldn't make it out, but I could tell there was a gate I was supposed to go to off Steilacom-Dupont road and something about Integrity gate. Heck, that has to be off exit 119, I know, because that is the way to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in Washington State. From I5, I could see what looked like a gate to the East, so I turned left on Steilacom-Dupont road. It was a gate alright, but no label, until you were halfway down the feeder road; Dupont gate. I pulled up to the nice man with a machine gun, drivers license in hand, and explained I was looking for Integrity gate. He said this was Dupont gate and he would have to turn me around.

Turning around, as I came to be an authority on the subject, entails them keeping your license until you turn around and they give it back to you on the way out of the gate.

He signaled a nice young lady, also with a machine gun, and I turned around and she gave me my license back with some driving instructions. Drive the other way down Steilacom-Dupont, you will hit a dip, turn right, can't miss it. So I did. Hit the dip, turned into the D street gate. Did the turnaround. Instructions were, drive the other way on Steilacom-Dupont, when you get to a stop light, turn left, that is Integrity gate, can't miss it.

Got to the light, turned left, there was the sign, Integrity gate. Integrity gate has to be one of the most beautiful military gates on the planet. It is huge, lanes everywhere. Showed my license to the nice man with the machine gun. He beckoned another nice man with a machine gun over. He said they had been briefed on this. He told me pull over, he had spoken with an MP who would help me. The MP said I needed to go to the Visitor's Center. It was off of exit 122. Now we have to turn you around.

Off we went, back down Steilacom-Dupont, North on I5, I could see the gate from the highway, pulled in. Nope, the visitor center is off exit 120. This time a man in a uniform that look like a State Trooper turned me around. But he gave accurate directions to the Visitor's Center. If you are driving South on I5, watch for the signs to JBLM Main. It is going to look like it will dump you back on I5, but at the last minute you can exit to JBLM Main.

It was just like every other visitor's center at every other base I have been to in my clearly misspent life. Everyone has to "pull their own ticket", kind of like they often do at DMVs. When your number comes up, you go to that window. Kathy and I had consecutive numbers, I was at Window 1, she was at Window 5. She got her vehicle pass and ID in five minutes. I got called back to the window four times. "Who is your sponsor?" "What is this event?" "How many people are coming?" The answer to that by the way is at least 1,000 people all hoping to help veterans. But after 20 minutes I got my pass and ID.

There might, it is within the realm of possibility, that there will be a bit of chaos tomorrow morning.

Smoked baby clam and shrimp chowder conbread

5 heaping tablespoons skinny shrimp chowder
3 heaping tablespoons roasted corn
1 3.75 oz. package Geisha brand smoked baby clams in cottonseed oil
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 level tablespoons egg white, (or you can use one egg)
Garnish with smoked paprika
Optional: A level tablespoon of parmeasean cheese will give it a bit of a bang, but I was not allowed dairy when I made this.

Stir right in a small sauté pan using your finger or a small plastic spoon, I used 8". Place in oven at 350, no need to pre-heat, your cornbread will be ready about five minutes after the oven reaches 350.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Second half of your life

One of the Facebook comments to my previous Lake Tapps post included this:

My wife Chelle, who took your class 15 years ago in Hawaii wanted me to share this with you. 

As an aside: She says she still remembers the class fondly, it was amazing and showed her that InfoSec was not a career path that she desired, she wasn't "anal" enough. 

In July, she was in Hilton Head SC visiting a girl friend she went to high school with. They were discussing the rules enforced by the HOA, and she was introduced to the concept of PIP. (Previously Important People.) Apparently, while they no longer have that role, PIPs still act and expect all the treatment, cow-towing, and benefits that go with being a VIP in that HOA. Suffice to say it is very interesting getting things approved or changed in that environment.

Acronym soup! Never did figure out what HOA stands for and am thankful that Lee explained what PIP stands for, (Previously Important People), and that is an interesting, perhaps scary, thought.

And it brought up a memory. On the bookshelves in my Hawaii office are some Peter Drucker books and in one of them there is a short discussion on the title of this post. I read that passage over five years before I semi-retired, and nothing else Mr. Drucker has written has stuck with me so well. I understood the importance to my psyche of having something else to do, something else that mattered. Yet whenever I considered finding my second half, I drew a blank. I even set a Google calendar recurring event quarterly to ponder this, no change, no insights.

While I was up on Facebook, I saw a post by one of the men that inspired me to really jump into security, Gene Spafford. I still remember a speech that he gave at the Boston Computer Museum. He said, "There are only going to be so many people that are successful in this industry and they will be the ones that apply an engineering approach to problems."

Anyway, the post on Facebook said:

When I was much younger, I'd watch the "In Memorium" on the Emmys and Oscars, and wonder who some of the people were. Now that I'm older, I feel pangs of sadness when I see so many familiar faces, representing so much talent and joy brought to so many. I guess there is something to being explictly[SIC] missed by so many for at least a few seconds, but to have their image in films and memories live on.

What legacy will each of us leave?

Whoa! This is clearly a night for self assessment. I wrote a book once on Ecclesiastes, and this legacy concept came up.

"A man might have a hundred children and live to be very old. But if he finds no satisfaction in life and in the end does not even get a decent burial, I say he would have been better off born dead. I realize that his birth would have been meaningless and ended in darkness. He wouldn't even have had a name, and he would never have seen the sun or known of its existence. Yet he would have had more peace than he has in growing up to be an unhappy man. Ecc 6:3 – 5 NLT

Here Solomon gives a significant warning. If you have 100 children and don't get a decent burial, what does that mean? It means you have alienated your children. We have got to invest in our children, in fact all of our family."

The world, it appears, is hard on PIPs. Here are two posts to spur us each on One, (be sure to read to the bottom, it is quite humorous), and Two.  Finally, there is a great post from the Drucker Society on the second half of your life, I read it before starting this post and will read it again when I am done. 

Lake Tapps Community Church Members Meeting was today

Meeting was immediately following second service. All summer we have been going to first service. We ran into a number of people from second service that thought we had drifted away from the church, or even the faith.  Anyway, before we left for church, I took advantage of the extra time before second service to catch up on my latest LinkedIn post. Training cyberwarriors is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and Laura Lee really came through with insightful content. I was replying to some of the really great comments when Kathy repeated herself. She said, "Because of our last name, we are supposed to bring a something or other or a salad."

Hmmm, Kathy you said that last night. But small group isn't till tonight, I was going to do that grape and walnut salad you like, but can't do it too early since I cut the grapes in half, (here is a great trick for cutting the grapes); they will get squishy.

Then my heart went bump, bump, bump. Wait a minute, it's not for small group is it? They are having a potluck at the member's meeting; right? Looked at the clock, it was 1020. Kathy says, "I will take care of it".

Oh no, you get ready, I am on my way, (I dearly love Kathy, but with her kitchen knife fu, we will be in the emergency room in minutes if she tries to go fast). As I climbed the stairs to the kitchen, I tried to channel Bill Kertsos, my old boss from The General Store, (I worked as a cook while waiting for my government job clearance).  He was a believer in Christ and the fastest and messiest cook I have ever worked with, (and I have worked in several commercial kitchens).

Grabbed the large cutting board, set it right next to the sink, the Ken Shun knife, two romaine hearts, (you know that bit about always tear lettuce, don't cut it ... they were kidding). There is some leftover wild rice pilaf in the fridge. Bang. Added a couple celery stick hearts. Couple tomatoes from the garden for color. Hmmm, this is getting too wet. Cremini mushrooms are tough, let's cut them up. Handful of roasted corn, they sell them in the bulk aisle of WinCo. Still too wet and I haven't done the dressing yet, yikes. Handful of the dehydrated vegetable soup, (dried onions, carrots, celery, green and red peppers), they will add a bit of crunch and dry things a bit. Going to need to minimize liquid dressing. Salt, black pepper, paprika, allspice and just a touch of Bragg's organic cider. Taste. OK, this could work. Taste again, hey wait that is hunger, not cooking. Package it up in a used baby spinach leaf plastic box. Found a salad server, downstairs putting on my surgical boot at 1040. I will meet you at the car, put the salad in a safe place. Started the FJ. Kathy comes out, we are rolling. We live close, I may have exceeded the 35 MPH speed limit slightly, I may have run the light yellow, but it was still yellow when I crossed the intersection, saw it in my rear view as I was checking for law enforcement officers, turned into the driveway, slowed down, it is 1050. Now I am trying to channel my holy, calm and saved demeanor as I walk into the church with my Bible and salad with tongs.

Find a seat, on the aisle, (members are supposed to in the middle towards the front, but you try that when you are taking medicine that requires at least 6 liters of water a day). Breathe.

After the sermon on John 9, (good job Pastor Tim, the blind guy really did have an impressive attitude), we all reset the sanctuary from schoolroom style to 8' rounds, dining style. While I am rolling my table, I am thinking about the food I saw when I dropped off my salad and the number of people. Hmmm, we may need one of those loaves and fishes miracles. I signal Kathy, let's go let Yogi out and come back for the meeting. We try to leave without being spotted. In the car, I said, I don't think there is enough food and we can't be sure what is in the food, I will whip something up. Kathy takes care of the dog. I go up to the kitchen, it was a disaster, I uttered the classic words from Yogi's breeder when Rambo ate his crate, what happened here, (I really did channel Bill Kertsos). I had two cooked, low fat, burgers left from the Loco Moco and heated up two bowls of Skinny Shrimp Chowder. Ate, stuffed Yogi back in the crate, meeting had just started, as we walked in I noticed the food table was totally empty, stripped bare, it was either a plague of locusts or a bunch of hungry Christians and I was glad I was not there to find out which.

As we walked in, the meeting had just started. It was, well, a meeting. They appeared to be running it by some form of Robert's rules of disorder. Uh oh. I am in trouble, they are going below my fact input rate. You know that movie Short Circuit, where Number Five keeps saying, INPUT, INPUT, I am that robot. I used to be some sort of big shot in the computer security world and when I would stick my head in a classroom to see how an up and coming instructor was doing, I had to be really careful for two reason, if they saw me they tended to self destruct, (Stephen Northcutt is in my classroom, AHHHHHHHH), but worse, because I wanted to fall asleep immediately, the room is dark for the projector and I know that junk. In fact, it is far worse for me and meetings. I was going to major in urban planning, but they required you to go to three meetings that were open to the public and write up what happened. After a few hours of, "I was born in Stafford country, I am going to die in Stafford county and this is why your proposal is foolhardy at best", I changed majors. This was similar to that right down to people asking a "question", the kind that go on for three minutes and sound more like a comment. And of course nobody wanted to use a mike to ask a question and they were all practicing speaking softly in a room with over 200 people. Pair that with a moderator that will not repeat the question, even if you ask him to and I had this image in my mind's eye.

It is all good though. Most of what they want to do is both Biblical and reasonable. I will try to peek at the, (I assume, 501c3), incorporation documents and cross reference them to the new proposal. The number of members being less than 50% of attendees was eye opening, but not concerning. I never took the membership thing too seriously, historically Kathy and I are a product of a California Cult called Calvary Chapel and they do not have members. I thought the yearly affirmation thing for all the elders and deacons was a bit odd. I guess I will need to put it on my Google calendar every January to say, "good job elder Smith", "way to serve deacon Brown". But all in all this is a lot less scary than the time I was cornered by a bunch of Pentacostals who weren't going to let me go until I spoke in tongues, (I had been warned that might happen and practiced saying tie-a-tie and buy-a-toyota-or-honda really fast).

Yes, I am kidding and no, I don't *really* try to channel Bill.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Loco Moco revisited

It all started when we went to Wal-Mart, because they have the best waterproofing spray in their camping/tent department and Kathy and I have brand new long wool capote's and a cold, wet, (but exciting), cruise in our near term future. While I was there, I picked up some organic 1% milk and on my way to checkout noticed some lowfat, (93% lean). pre-made burgers. I haven't had red meat in a couple years and succumbed.

The next morning, I woke up at 6:00 AM, hungry, and there was one thing that would satisfy, a Loco Moco! We haven't had white rice in the house ever, but I did have some leftover wild rice pilaf. Ditto, no cans of brown gravy, sorry, that is not how I roll, but I wanted that Loco Moco. Hmmm, I do have some Porcini mushrooms, put them in hot water, add salt and garlic and we are off to the races for a brown gravy of sorts. Essentially poached the burger in the developing gravy, the red color is from a Caribbean inspired seasoning salt from the amazing Grocery Outlet. Started the egg over easy, got it ready for the flip.

Heated up the wild rice pilaf in the microwave and ready for assembly.

Kathy, who rarely eats breakfast did not leave a crumb. It really is an amazing flavor and this is an approach you can feel good about from a health perspective.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Skinny Shrimp Chowder

There are many that would debate whether you can make a chowder w/o dairy products. While they argue about it, here is a recipe.

2 skin on russet potatoes cubed (cut a slice off the potato so it will be stable enough to cut slabs. Cut the slabs into strips. Cut the strips into cubes.)
1 onion
6 celery heart stalks, diced
1 small red bell pepper, don't cut too small or it will disappear
12 oz uncured bacon, cook, remove the major fat areas, you will end up with about 8 oz.
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
6 cloves dried mild garlic
1 handful roasted corn, (they always look for corn in chowder, roasted has a bit of an attitude)
1 hot pepper, cut in big enough pieces that you recognize it in the spoon
1/3 cup cole slaw mix, unseasoned
1 box unsalted chicken stock
1 minced carrot, (optional if you want a bit of sweetness, keep in reserve, don't add to pot in the beginning)
Put everything in an adequate sized pot, turn it on a low heat, don't spice it, don't think about it for at least 45 minutes and an hour 15 is far better.

20 minutes before serving, rinse 12oz raw, deveined, small tail off shrimp, (try to use something bigger than salad shrimp, I used 60 count and that was about right), add to mixture.
5 minutes before serving add carrot and 2 teaspoons Ivar's tarter sauce NOTE: this is where the "white" comes from, once you add this simmer is the highest temp you can go else you will have little white spotlets. Buy the cookbook and make it, or check this web page for stores that carry it.

Before serving inspect the seasonings and spicing:
Thyme is the ruling spice of a chowder. Fresh is strongly preferred. At least 6 stems, 4 stripped, 2 cut in half and used as garnish.
I like smoked paprika and a bit of white pepper.
If you add tumeric for a golden color, be very conservative.
A little bit of cream of horseradish works for some people, I use it, but in moderation in deference to Kathy.
You can add a tablespoon of a fairly dry white wine, it will not change the flavor of the chowder one bit, but may make you feel French.
Try to avoid the temptation to use lemon, you introduced a bit of Meyer's lemon in the Ivar's tarter sauce, try to hold at that point.
DO NOT use any tomato products, it is illegal, (sort of, but seriously it is not done).
Salt is the last thing you add. People can add more at the table if they want to.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

2003 Nonno Giuseppe Zinfandel - Neese Vineyards - Redwood Valley

Kathy and I decided to share a bottle of wine and broke out an old friend. I wondered if I should decant, but poured very carefully and left a little in the bottle. At ZAP 2006, it scored 8/8.5; what has nine more years in the bottle done for it?

In appearance, it is the classic Zinfandel purple, bright, not too dark. Even for its age, the wine is still crystal clear. The cork had "purpled through" about 1/8", cork shows age, but was in perfect condition. The bottle has been turned 1/4 of the way monthly since we purchased it.

On the nose, it was aromatic, (raspberry and spice), as soon as the bottle was opened. I could not sense even a hint of pepper, though that is a Zinfandel hallmark.

I waited ten minutes after opening for the first taste. Classic medium sweet, medium to full body, low level of round tannins, amazingly well balanced for a 14.8% with a plum flavor, though I would not call it jammy. Tested the finish; took a small sip, swallowed it and focused on my tongue. The first change happened in the first three seconds, a short finish, but after the half-life it was stable for 8 seconds, (kinds of reminds me of Kathy's kayak, incredible secondary stability). Let it sit for thirty minutes to breathe before tasting again, tannins are stronger and I can smell the pepper.

I would move the 85 to an 87, (not gold medal material), but a fine example of a Redwood Valley Appellation modern wine.  Depending on who you talk to, a Zinfandel can be stored 10 - 15 years. This bottle was still stable, but if you've got em, pop em, it isn't going to get better than this.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tour Guide Yogi's cheatsheet on Bostonian Twitter

Cool Boston Organizations and News
@BostonInnovation geek stuff, a must
@Bostonmagazine Boston magazine, a must if you are visiting or live there
@Boston_crime crime reports as they happen, no where not to go
@cambridgechron the oldest continuously published newspaper in the USA. They are a constant source of local news.
@Boston_CP Boston City and Press, more Boston news
@Bostonnewsnow even more news
@Bostonupdate news, it isn't all local lots of national and international as well
@Massnonprofit this is the twitter feed for Boston nonprofit news
@MITEReview MIT E Review, thought leadership in business
@talentculture the scoop on social events especially green and innovation
@northendpads if you are looking for a place to stay in Boston

Boston Sports
@redsoxbuzztap up to date news on the Boston Red Sox
@peteabe baseball writer for Boston Globe
@citysports news about sports especially about running, many stores in Boston area
@4SportBoston more sports

Boston Business Worth Following
@Hollandmark Advertising and brand management

Get a Boston Job
@jobboston if you like Boston so much you want to stay there you need a job
@tj_bos_ma_comm another jobs site for Boston

Boston Thought Leaders

@Ryan_Mcbride is the correspondent for Xconomy, innovative business
@ScottKirsner is another innovative business writer, these guys are starting to get me interested in another startup
@alparker is a source of high quality Boston posts and links

@SarahCortes is well connected in Boston and Information Security

Chef Yogi's Guide to food in Boston

We have already mentioned that Chinatown is a block away, and Shabu Zen for one is not to be missed. For lighter fare, try the snack menu at Jacob Wirth and the Jaegerschnitzel really hits the spot. Another insider tip is Dim Sum at Chow Chau City, I think it slightly tops China Pearl. My Thai serves vegan Thai choices. And almost every eatery in Chinatown has a lunch special. I will update this shortly with more great places to eat that are easy to walk to, but here are some thoughts from Mike Poor from Inguardians and the Chief Gastronomical Officer of about places to eat. Note, some of these may involve a cab ride. Or consider the bus, Boston has one of the most advanced transportation systems going, you can even check the status of their buses on Twitter here is bus 111, the MBTA, manages the "T", their subway system. The T stop is about 100' from the Hyatt Boston, the conference hotel. A ride is only $2.00 each direction, a daily pass is $9.00 and a seven day pass is $15.00 and you can purchase your ticket about a block from the hotel.

  • Tapas at Dali Restaurant ( Great atmosphere, always relatively full so recommended to get a reservation. Huge delicious jugs of sangria and a wide array of tapas, from squid ink croquettes and rabbit to garlic shrimp and angry potatoes. It is rumored you can find your life's true love there.
  • For a truly Bostonian experience, I highly recommend the Union Oyster House ( It's Americas oldest restaurant, and pretty darn cool. If they can't get New England seafood right, no one can. I'm a big fan of their mussels or sharing the Hot Oyster House Sampler appetizer. Follow with a lobster pot :-) Citysearch voted Union Oyster House best clam chowder in the city, watch out if you have any really big clams though, they recently brought up over 100 hand grenades with the clams. Imaging being on a small boat with 100 grenades! 
  • A place I've been to a number of times is: This is a Mongolian style grill that just has a happening atmosphere and good fresh ingredients. It's inexpensive, and is usually full, trendy, and upbeat. Good casual inexpensive night out.
  • An unusual favorite for me... a dessert restaurant called Finale Pretty much every amazing dessert in the world in one place. Sure, that's probably a stretch, but just look at their website pictures and menus:
  • I know I didn't include any of the infamous Back Bay restaurants, a bunch of them are chains, Mortons, Ruth's Chris, Smith & Wollensky. David Fitzgerald recommends Capitol Grille 359 Newbury Street as the best for the buck in the area.
Mike is right, there are tons of Italian restaurants and not just Back Bay and they are my thing and they are Tim Mugherini's as well. Tim recommends, Italian anywhere in the North End and while you're there check out the Improv Asylum Tim says the best Sushi and Korean Barbeque is at The Apollo a few blocks from the conference location in Chinatown. He also recommends the Stanza for Scotch and Cigars and if you are looking fora great bar to hang at, The Rattlesnake, If you do not want to walk that far, the closest great Italian place to the Hyatt is Via Matta, a Piedmont inspired restaurant just on the other end of Boston Common. SANS 2011 will be in August, perfect evening walking weather for Boston and it is worth considering a ten minute walk to the North End. There are a ton of great choices. You cannot go wrong on Hanover and Salem street. La Dolce Vita, Antico Forno for casual dining and pizza, get some of your classmates and do family style at Giacomo's Restaurant, spend a bit more and go upscale at Terramia and I could go on fifteen more minutes. Most of these restaurants are small. Some are literally Mom & Pop places. He'll cook, and she'll oversee the dining room. Little to no advertising, word of mouth only. A cheap alternative to Finale, for those near the North End is Mike's Pastry near the Paul Revere House.

Fannuiel Hall is within walking distance and that area of Boston is wall to wall restaurants.

If you walk across Boston Common you will find Figs, which is a fun Pizza Place. I am always finding a new favorite pizza place, but this has to be in the top ten. Close by is The Paramount, I guess you would call that American Cuisine, reasonably priced, good food, generous portions and that will make you appreciate the walk back across the Common.There is also Silvertone Bar and Grill for a pub experience downtown.
Andrew Williams suggests the South End which is walking distance from the Hyatt and filled with great bars and restaurants. A few favorites: 

  • The Beehive. Great nightlife/bar, live music and good modestly priced food.
  • Anchovies. Fun/lively bar scene and great Italian food. One of those dark kind of small places that is a little loud and lots of fun.
  • Delux Cafe. You'll either love it or hate it. Small bar/restaurant with Velvet Elvis on the wall, cartoon network on the TV, and Christmas lights behind the bar year round. Great cheap food. The menu is small and a bit eclectic. So might not be a fit for large parties trying to satisfy a variety of tastes. Bring cash. No CCs accepted.
  • Not in the South End, but my favorite restaurant in Boston is Todd English's Olives. I know this has become a bit of a franchise, but this one is the original. Great combination of a high end food, cool atmosphere, and fun bar. You can wear jeans or a suit and fit right in. They don't serve this anymore, but back in the day they used to serve 20 oz Rolling Rock bottles on ice. Never saw this before and haven't since. Don't get scared off by the Address of "Charlestown". Charlestown is a neighborhood of Boston, and a great destination as well (short cab ride from Hyatt). Lots of other bars and restaurants in this hood. Also the perfect place for anyone interested in seeing/walking some of the history of Boston. Paul Revere's house, Bunker Hill, USS Constitution are all in Charlestown.
  • You and I know Legal Sea Foods is a chain, but they don't know that in Boston, great Clam Chowder, almost as good as a Seattle chowder, easy walk from hotel.
  • Jim Murphy Laurie Zirkle, and Dennis Kirby suggest: No Name Restaurant – Seafood restaurant which is the oldest restaurant in Boston (according to them!) and very casual and inexpensive in the South Boston waterfront area and it is a cab ride from the conference hotel. I have never been there, but it is on the list for the next time I am in Boston, it got more recommendations from my friends than any other eatery. 

Tour Guide Yogi's scoop on prehistoric Boston

The Shawmut Peninsula was originally connected to the mainland to its south by a narrow isthmus, Boston Neck, and surrounded by Boston Harbor and the Back Bay, an estuary of the Charles River. The name was originally Mashauwomuk, but the settlers could not pronounce that and besides, the people of Boston were developing their unique version of English and wouldn't have left it that way for anything. 

The original site of Boston before the land grab was less than 800 acres. Then the peninsula with its distinctive scoop bays was shaped by glacial erosion and deposits left by retreating glaciers at the end of the last ice age, the previous inconvenient truth. Several prehistoric Native American archaeological sites, including the Boylston Street Fishweir (wooden fishing cages) made up of 65,535 wooden stakes, lead scientists to believe pre-Massachuset-Algonquin Indians used base 16 math. They also placed longer sharpened stakes around their villages that could be used as either spears or as a very large counting sticks. Each stake had a bow drilled pattern between 0, (no pattern), and 15, which in Mashauwomuk was called Eff, (not to be confused with 3839), and usually shortened to just F.
Eff or F counting stick pattern

Ancient village located where Shabu-Zen is today

Several other fishweirs excavated during construction of buildings indicate the ancients had mastered harvesting fish over 7,500 years before present. According to Wikipedia, "Research on climate change and evidence from study of fish weirs and sediments under the Back Bay indicate the ocean level in the Boston area has risen more than ten feet in the last 6,000 years." Other scientists vigorously dispute this, claiming it is simply the result of tidal surge a la the Bay of Fundy

The organizers of SANS Boston 2016, August 1 - 6, invite you to join them and the 2nd person to register will be the recipient of an applewood counting stick, radiocarbon rated to be at least 0x1E61 Mashauwomuk standard weeks old.

Mashauwomuk applewood counting stick

Ancient Bone Counting Sticks

Tour Guide Yogi's insider scoop on the Boston Tea Party

It all began with a complicated tax increase by the British Parliament called the Tea Act in 1773. Even though the US Congress prides themselves on inscrutable legislation, it is an imported skill.

Tempers flaired, sales of Tea dropped. All of the colonies except Massachusetts, sent the tea back to England. Next the Dutch began to smuggle tea into the colonies starting a long history of counterfeit tea.  

Paul Revere famously observed that the tea consignees, the people that accepted the tea and managed the tariff were sons of the Governor and coined the phrase nepotism. The tea party, referring to the act of dressing like Mohawk Indians, (the Mohawk nation later sued for image infringement), boarding the ships, and throwing the tea in the harbor, was followed by free drinks at the Bell in Hand Tavern hosted by the Sons of Liberty

Three ships were in Boston Harbor, the Dartmouth, Eleanor and the Eager Beaver, while a fourth, the William, sunk on the sail across the Atlantic. In all, it is believed 90,000 pounds of tea were destroyed; however, Thomas Crafts and George Hewes were both observed to have bulging pockets as they left the Dartmouth, which was the only ship to carry merchandise from Republic of Tea. The Boston Tea Party set off a chain of events in the bay state to include the burning of The Peggy Stewart, another tea vessel, the American Revolution, a switch from tea to coffee that remains a trend to this day, the creation of the United1k status, the salt protest, the Boston Tea Party Swing Dance competition, and the McDonald's Lobster Roll. It established the concept of no taxation without representation which remained intact until January 20, 2001 when then 43rd president perfected the art of printing money and increasing the deficit

The Tea Party movement continues to this day. They are currently trying to decide whether to support Donald Trump. However, he doesn't drink either coffee or tea which divides the party, (some are concerned he might not really be American). At SANS Boston 2016 we will be serving tea from the original Boston Tea Party courtesy of the Thomas Crafts estate.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tour Guide Yogi's Guide to the Culinary History of Boston

One of the great reasons to visit Boston for SANS Boston 2016, August 1 - 6 is the food. This list should help get you salivating.

A Brief Culinary History of Boston

You are probably aware of the nickname "Beantown", because from the earliest days Boston has been awash in molasses to convert to rum are a result of the triangular trade route between the West Indies, Boston,and West Africa in the days of slavery and even after.

They cooked the beans in molasses, Boston Baked Beans. Molasses, Rum and the by products of both are in other famous dishes as well such as Gingerbread and Indian Pudding. This important staple was sold by the bite, (the number of beans in the dish when served family style). Picky eaters chose the Kilobite, the Megabite was most common and if you were really hungry nothing but a Gigabite would do. That is really my limit, but descendants of the Shakers can consume a Petabite at the Boston Bean Eating Contest.

Beans are OK, but food started to get serious in Boston at the (Omni)Parker House Hotel, America's longest running luxury hotel, (150 years running and the carpets are still not worn out). It was founded by Harvey D. Parker in 1855, and many famous people ate and entertained their mistresses there, (ask for the Ashley Madison suite), including Jesse James ( yes, both the outlaw and the dude that cheated on Sandra Bullock ), but the big moment for Boston was when Parker recruited Top Chef Master finalist Sanzian for ten times the going rate. Sanzian’s versatile menu, quick fire, and innovative vending machine cuisine such as Boston Schrod, a fish dish generally finished with a Ritz cracker crumb topping packed the house. He also developed the Parker House Roll and Boston Cream Pie, both of which you should try when you visit Boston.

I personally feel Sanzian’s finest hour was a cut of beef that includes the tenderloin and strip loin, the Parker House, but some moron misspelled it and now less educated steak house afficianados call it the Porterhouse.

It is pricey, but you should consider visiting Parker's Restaurant at the Omni Parker House Hotel and enjoy classic New England favorites. Guess who worked in the Parker kitchen, Emeril Lagasse, (Emeril is famous for deviating from Sanzian's "trinity" as he only used three spices in his entrees: ground black pepper, parsley and sage). Ho Chi Minh served as a baker in the bake shop from 1911 to 1913, and Malcolm Little, better known as black activist, Malcolm X, was a busboy in 1942. Today, the leading chef is Jody Adams at Rialto, best known for her signature dishes such as Pettini, (saffron-steamed clams and mussels, tomatoes, AKA Manhattan clam chowder), and Concord grape gelato, AKA grape jelly).

A couple more Boston dishes that are not to miss, Maine Potato Candy, and clam chowder, (Boston's chowder is second only to Seattle's). The place to have chowder is the Olde Union Oyster House, the nation's longest running restaurant, (served by President Obama on Air Force 1). Chowder started simply enough, milk based fish soups were big in England and France in the 1800s.  A tavern named Try Pots substituted clams for fish, (New Englanders love their clams). If you ever want to start a fight among Bostonians remark, "Do you think it would be OK to put a couple spoonfuls of tomato sauce in Clam Chowder to give it a bit of a blush color"? If you think Democrats and Republicans are divisive, try tomato and chowder. In 1939 in Maine they attempted to ban tomato in chowder, but the measure did not pass.

Thrillist Boston Food guides

12 Best places for Breakfast in Boston. This list is skewed to someone with a sweet tooth.
Best bacon dishes in Boston. The clam and bacon pizza at Area Four is surprisingly well done.
8 Best Korean restaurants in Boston. Want to get past Kimchi and Bulgogi?  Try the Soulongtang, (Korean oxtail soup), at Seoul Soulongtang.
10 Best Italian restaurants not in the North End. Mike Poor was the first person to point out to me that the North End was getting a bit cliche. This link gives you some some alternatives.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Al Lago - Sumner

I thought it might be fun to go out tonight. So we put the puppy in his crate and headed to Al Lago. Kathy is not big on meat, but once a year she devours a steak and she likes their Filet Mignon better than any other, (She has tried Ruth Chris, Shula's, Morton's and Dan Marino's where you can pair your steak with Boone's Farm wine in plastic cups .. did someone say they are closed). I had the Halibut. We decided to share a bottle of Tamarack Firehouse Walla Walla blend, (and what a blend that is).

Our primary server was Tom and he said that Yogi would be welcome on the outside patio, so if we have a good opportunity at lunch we will do it before outdoor patio season closes. The feeling in my bones is an early wet season, we didn't get a lot of Zechariah 10:1 action in the spring, so it would be great now.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dive, dive, Fresh Start Hyperbaric

This was my first experience in a hyperbaric chamber. In all I did about a dozen "dives". I did some research and Fresh Start looked like the easiest drive from my house. I did call Pure02 in Buckley a couple times and left a recording, but never heard back. Everyone at Fresh Start was careful and kind, the facilities were nice and clean. Martina will work with you. I certainly recommend it. Now the $60,000.00 question is does hyperbaric work? I surely am not qualified to answer that. I had a wound that would not heal and wanted to give the antibiotics every chance to work. Well the wound healed so that is probably a mark in the plus column for the therapy.