Monday, December 20, 2010

Dessert: Glazed Orange-Poppy Loaves

This one came out of a Rachel Ray magazine.   5 stars, totally delicious!  No picture on this one, but posting the recipe (and my modifications) to save for posterity (so I can come back to it too!)  I converted all the amounts to metric, and measure most things by weight, as Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food claims it is much more accurate (plus it appeals to my geeky nature.)

Ingredients
  • 360g All-Purpose Flour
  • 14g Baking Powder
  • 21g Table Salt
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 256g Whole Milk (add some cream or something if you're using 2%, this recipe works better with the expected amount of fat!)
  • 82g of Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 403g Granulated Organic Sugar
  • Zest of 2 Oranges, and some of the fresh squeezed juice
  • 3 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds
  • 130g Confectioner's Sugar (or run regular sugar through a blender until it is very fine)

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/177C
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then run through a sifter/strainer to ensure thorough mixing.
  3. In a separate bowl, gently whisk together eggs and milk (we don't want to generate lots of air bubbles)
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir by hand until just combined.
  5. Stir in the Granulated Organic Sugar, Orange zest and Poppy seeds.
  6. Line two or three small loaf pants with parchment paper, lightly grease and dust with flour, put no more than 2 inches of batter in a single pan (they get stuck to the sides really easily if the loaf size is larger)
  7. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.
  8. Remove from loaf pan, and cool on a wire rack about 10 minutes.
  9. In a bowl, add the Confectioner's sugar and whisk in freshly squeezed orange juice until nice and smooth in consistency.
  10. Spoon the glaze over the bread, starting in the center and letting it ooze all over the sides.
This came out really well, and we will be making it again and again!

Dinner Tonight: Beef Stroganoff

So, last night I tried my hand at making Wild-Mushroom Pasta, based on a recipe from Epicurious (which turned out great, but sadly no pictures of it when it was plated!)

It was delicious, but I made way too much and so we have a huge container of it in the fridge.   I decided to take that, and a package of "stir fry beef" (cheap beef, cut into thin strips) and try my hand at Beef Stroganoff.

This is my first attempt at writing up a recipe, so I apologize in advance.

Ingredients
  • Some amount of leftover Wild-Mushroom Pasta
  • Butter (a few tablespoons)
  • Mustard (1 tablespoon)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Red or Marsala Cooking Wine (a splash)
  • Large Onion
  • Beef, cut into thin strips (1/2" x 1/2" x 3")
  • Beef, Chicken, or Vegetable Stock (1 cup)
  • Sour Cream (1/2 cup)
  • Fresh Dill or Parsley (chopped, for garnish)

Directions
  1. Chop up the onions into small pieces (1/2" by 1/4" roughly)
  2. Heat up the butter in a skillet or dutch oven with a lid on medium low heat.
  3. Cook the onions, covered, for 3-5 minutes until tender.
  4. Add the beef and stir, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the mustard, broth, wine and simmer for about 5 minutes, until roughly half the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Remove from heat, stir in the sour cream and taste and adjust salt/pepper to your liking.
  7. Mix in the leftover Wild-Mushroom Pasta
  8. Plate it and garnish with the Dill and/or Parsley

I ended up with a nice, "light" flavored Stroganoff.   If you like yours with more kick/bite/spice/whatever, you'll probably want to add some other things.   I steamed some broccoli to go with it, but that wasn't terribly interesting so I didn't write about it.  :)

Here's what it looked like:
Lazy Beef Stroganoff
While I won't win any awards for plating, it was simple, quick and yummy.  And also, in a household that often doesn't finish its' leftovers, a great way to get extra mileage out of your food!

Cooking for Geeks

I recently picked up a copy of Cooking for Geeks, which I have barely been able to put down!  I'm not sure why, but somehow in the last month or so I've gotten really interested in cooking (and hopefully, eating some of that cooking so I can gain a few pounds and become a normal weight!)

Being a geek, and becoming interested in cooking, I couldn't help but check out this title.   It's got excellent descriptions of physical and chemical changes that food undergoes when it cooks, why things are cooked the way they do, how recipes "work", using many analogies perfect for our profession (condition?).

I'm going to start posting articles about meals I've prepared, and links to other articles that are inspiring to me.   Hope you enjoy!

Here is the book, if you're interested:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

SQL Reporting Services 2008 - Empty Home Page

Hi All,

I had a fun issue today with SQL Reporting Services 2008. After creating my first report and successfully deploying to the Report Server (all local on the Development Machine, running Vista Ultimate 64-bit with IIS7), I tried bringing up the Report Manager at http://localhost/Reports. I was dismayed to find a blank page! Neither my Report nor Shared Data Sources folder were visible. I queried the Report Server DB to confirm that there were entries in the Catalog table. I checked the Users, Roles and PolicyUserRole table and everything looked to be set correctly for my login. I found the answer at Jarosław Dobrzański’s blog. I had to right-click my Internet Explorer icon and choose "Run as Administrator." After doing that and navigating to the Report Manager, everything showed up as expected!

Thanks to Jaroslaw for the help, and thanks to Microsoft for making it easy (NOT!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Awesome Free Visual Studio Plugin

While working on some code this morning, I noticed a link on my Start Page in Visual Studio for an Add-In (CodeRush Express) that gives you 60+ new (and really useful) Refactorings, as well as some nifty navigation helpers in the Code Editor. It works in both VS2005 and VS2008 for C# and VB. As with most tools, I'm sure there's a slight efficiency hit while you learn the tool, but I can see where it will save me a whole bunch of typing/time! They've got some non-free versions of course with more stuff too, but I'm pretty happy with the Express features.

Thanks to DevExpress for giving away this cool stuff!

You can read the article / watch tutorial videos / download it from this page:
http://www.devexpress.com/Products/Visual_Studio_Add-in/CodeRushX/

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hello, World

Hi everybody. I often spend time trying to figure things out (either technical or musical), and often find good help in various blog articles. This is my effort at sharing what I've learned, and hope at least someone out there finds something useful here.

Thanks for reading,
-Blue