Pear and Prosciutto Pizza February 7th, 2011

I recently had a spectacular pizza. The ingredients are below and I’m going to try to make it at home.

Ingredients:

  • Prosciutto and Pears (sliced)
  • Crumbled gorgonzola
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Crust prepared with olive oil and honey dijon mustard
  • Maybe some chives sprinkled on top?

Attempt 1

Ok, my first attempt is in the oven! Here’s what I did.

Making the crust:

  • Use Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast
  • Mix packet of yeast, 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 2/3 cup of warm water, 3 tbsp olive oil. Gradually add flour and knead into dough ball. I also added about 3tbsp of Grey Poupon dijon mustard to the mix
  • Transfer to pizza pan
  • Mix about 3tbsp dijon mustard and olive oil in a bowl and mix up. Top the pizza crust with this sauce.
  • Cover generously with shredded parmesan cheese (I meant to get mozarella but got home with the wrong thing) – about 2.5 -3 oz
  • Add about 3oz of sliced prosciutto to the top
  • Thinly slice 3/4 to a whole pear and and place on top
  • Add 2oz crumbled gorgonzola
  • Slice some fresh chives and sprinkle on top
  • Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes

This came out close but not quite to what I was going for.  Next time, I’ll go for a thinner crust.  Also, I would switch to mozzarella vs parmesan and pre-mix it with the gorgonzola.  Some of the better pieces either had more even gorgonzola distribution or pear slices that came with the gorgonzola and a kick of mustard.  The combination of pear, gorgonzola and mustard taste was the best part but it wasn’t even across the entire pizza.

Asparagus with Mustard Sauce February 7th, 2011

When eating on my own, I’m terrible at remembering to pair a veggie with a main dish.  This one is my easy go-to for when I’m running out of the store and need something.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • Chopped parsley

Other supplies:

  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Pepper

Click the tips off of the asparagus.  Add teaspoon of salt and asparagus to boiling pot of water.  Cover and boil for a couple of minutes.  Whisk 3tbsp olive oil, 1-2 tsp dijon mustard, 1tbsp red wine vinegar, pinch of chopped parsley, and some salt an pepper in a bowl.  Drain asparagus and drizzle sauce over the heads.

Adapted From: Jamie’s Food Revolution

This was a real treat when I discovered it the first time.  It’s simple.  I used to buy full trouts and fillet them but I think it will work with just about any white fish fillets.

Main ingredients:

  • Trout fillet (about 7oz) or other white fish
  • Lemon
  • Oats (not instant – a couple of handfuls)

Other supplies:

  • Olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt an pepper

Preheat the broiler to the highest setting.  Cover a baking sheet with olive oil and put fillet(s) skin down on it.  Season fillets liberally with salt and pepper.  Smear a teaspoon of mustard over each fillet and rub in with your fingers.  Put a handful of oats per fillet in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Spread oats over top of fillet.  Pat down, add oil and pat again.  Broil for about 10 minutes.  Oats should be golden brown.

Adapted from: Jamie’s Food Revolution, p253

Total time: about 20 minutes

The fillets tend to be pretty small and never fill me up.  The original recipe suggests adding watercress as or babe potatoes.  Whatever it is paired with, make sure it is substantial.

Pesto Salmon With Green Beans February 7th, 2011

Salmon and Pesto, two of my favorite things.

Main Ingredients:

  • 7oz-ish salmon fillet
  • handful of green beans
  • lemon

Other Supplies:

  • Green Pesto (1tbsp)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Aluminum foil

Source: JFR p.248

Time: 15-30 minutes

Mediterranean Pita February 6th, 2011

So a few months before I left Denver, I fell in love with this new fast food place: Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill.  The main thing they do is pitas chock full of goodness and I’ve been meaning to figure out how to make them myself.  I would typically add the following stuff to it:

  • Seasoned Rice
  • Hummus
  • Red Onion
  • Vegetable Salad
  • Mediterranean Garlic or Tahini sauce
  • Chicken
  • Feta Cheese

This makes a great single serving meal and I’m going to see what supplies I need on hand to whip one up.

Quiche February 6th, 2011

I used to make Quiche’s in college and I absolutely love them.  Here’s an easy one:

Main Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a 15 oz package rolled refrigerated piecrust (1 piecrust)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped cooked ham, chicken or crabmeat (abour 3.5 oz)
  • 1.5 cups shredded swiss, cheddar, monterey jack and/or havarti cheese (6 oz)

Other Supplies:

  • 1.5 cups half-and-half, light cream or milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • ground nutmeg (dash)
  • all purpose flour (1 tbsp)

Prep: 25 minutes, Bake: 52 minutes, Stand: 10 minutes

Can also add: chopped fresh spinach (up to 3 cups), mushrooms, tomatoes

Source: BHG p238

Cooking Again February 6th, 2011

I was thinking that after I moved to Seattle, I’d get serious again about cooking my own food instead of just eating out all the time.  I really do enjoy cooking and I love eating what comes out of the kitchen, but I find that I have a problem actually planning ahead for it.  When I was working a regular job and living in a normal sub-division, the problem always was getting home and then realizing I wasn’t prepared to make anything.

Now that I’m in Seattle and I have four grocery stores within a few blocks, I have made a new excuse.  I’ve gotten in the habit of going to the gym around 6 or 7 and then coming home.  I get pretty famished shortly after that and don’t have anything to actually make a meal with.  Of course, it doesn’t help that in addition to plenty of places to buy ingredients, there are a million great restaurants!

Well, I’m going to start filling this blog category up with the random ideas for things to make and ingredients so that I’ve got it with me when I’m walking home and can just go get the stuff to whip up a meal really easily.

We’ll see how it goes and what my next excuse ends up being. :)

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How does a non creative person generate map markers?  I pulled out an old tool The Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer to construct some simple 3d scenes and render them to icons.  A little bit of ImageMagick and a Makefile, and I’ve got shiny new map markers:

That’s enough to get me going for now.  I’ll add more colors and other bits later as I need them.

Here’s the GitHub: https://github.com/stellaeof/cgmarkers/tree/master/mapmarkers

I haven’t played with PovRay in almost 20 years.  It’s amazing that its still alive and being improved on.  Back then, rendering something like this on a 12MHz PC would have taken hours, if not all day.  On modern gear, its just a few seconds.

iphone safari scaling weirdness January 27th, 2011

So, the iPhone 4 has a high resolution display: twice that of the original at 640 pixels wide vs 320.  For a variety of reasons, however, the CSS unit affectionately known as px stays fixed with respect to its physical size instead of being an exact representation of the actual dots on the screen.  This is actually all fine and good, because it means that the thing we think of as a “pixel” is still roughly the same size on the mobile device as it is when we see it on our computer monitor, meaning that we can actually read the text as expected without a magnifying glass.  It’s also how the W3C specs were designed, but can be counter-intuitive if you’ve thought for all this time that “px” = dot, which it does not, except on a large majority of the most common display devices: computer monitors.

The iPhone mostly hides all of this from you, presenting all coordinates on the device as being 320px wide vs the full resolution of 640 dots.  This should just be fine.  If you’ve got something higher resolution to display, either fractional units or imagery with a higher density of dots will be rescaled to preserve the distinction.

However, today I noticed one startling thing: If I use the Apple meta tags to force the webpage into native resolution, I get roughly twice the framerate for image manipulation.  Now, you are surely thinking, of course you do because you just removed a rescale operation from the pipeline.  But this is not the case.  The maps library is already rescaling all of the imagery for display and in theory, the iPhone should be just incorporating its own display scale settings into the transformation matrix, resulting in no further work.  However, if I run at native resolution, with image scaling being done by hand in JavaScript and asking the poor iPhone to juggle 4 times as many pixels, I get twice the speed.  The maps library precisely tracks my finger movements with no lag and feels completely native.

To be fair, I do not yet know whether this is actually a rendering issue or a problem with the touch events.  It almost seems like the touch events are being averaged too much when being delivered to an element which has the native 2:1 scale factor applied to it.  I haven’t been able to get precise measurements, but the event stream looks “coarser”, maybe only containing 1:8 the resolution of when running at native scale.

I did verify that using the CSS zoom property produces the same speedup.  For example, zooming a parent element to 50% and then sizing its child to twice normal size creates a high-resolution region on the screen and the events delivered to that region are crisp and precise.

Even though my first experiments with this made me think that the graphics rendering was actually binding up, the zooming and handling very large canvases kind of leads me to believe that there’s plenty of render bandwidth.  If the issue is just related to touch event averaging, then this means that we can get much more precise touch events out of WebKit by targeting a zoomed div.  It really shouldn’t make a difference, but I can imagine some engineers at Apple being faced with this new native zooming and dividing everything, including the internal averager that the touch processor uses, resulting in a touch event stream on hi-res displays in WebKit that is much coarser than it should be.

Stay tuned… with a solution in hand, now I just need to find out why it works.

Introducing AssetServer January 16th, 2011

Asset Server Project Homepage

Managing all of the resources that go with modern web development drives me a little crazy. Often times, you just want to be doing a little bit of pre-processing and assembly in a way that is guaranteed to be identical across your dev environment and production. AssetServer handles this by providing a development environment for managing dynamic resources as well as a CLI for snapshotting it for static deployment.

I’ve been working on this for a while and it still has a lot of work to be done, but I finally got some of the docs done and am putting it out there for anyone who wants to have a look.