Sausage & white bean soup

Very loosely adapted from a recipe on a saltine cracker box:

  • 1 pkg. Conecuh sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • I cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 15 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 x 19 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • salt, to taste (I used ~1 tsp)
  • 5 oz package spinach

Sauté vegetables in oil until soft, then add sausage and cook a few more minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and broth, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Taste for seasonings, adding salt to taste. Turn off heat and stir in spinach until it wilts. Serve with a fresh loaf of bread.

Moravian Sugar Cake

Moravian Sugar Cake

My Aunt Nellie used to get Moravian Sugar Cake from a bakery in North Carolina when we had Christmas at her house in Tennessee, and later my mother made a tradition of baking it for Christmas morning. This isn’t exactly her recipe (which made 7 cakes!), but is close enough and makes a more manageable 3 cakes.

Dough:

  • 1 egg
  • 14 cup butter
  • 12 tsp salt
  • 12 cup mashed boiled potato
  • 13 cup sugar
  • 312 cups flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 34 cup reserved potato water

Topping:

  • 14 cup butter
  • 13 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Peel and boil a small potato until soft. Mash potato and reserve 34 cup of the water.

Rehydrate yeast in the reserved potato water.

Combine egg, butter, salt, mashed potato, and sugar in a mixer and mix with a paddle for 4 minutes. Switch to the dough hook, add the remaining ingredients, and knead for about 10 minutes.

Turn the dough into a large buttered bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour and a half.

Punch down, divide dough into three equal portions, and press each portion into a buttered 8 x 8 foil pan. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Mix together topping ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Poke indentations all over the top of the dough—my mother uses the handle of a wooden spoon; I use my fingers. Pour the melted topping over the cake, spreading with a pastry brush as needed.

To bake immediately, let rise for another half hour or so. Otherwise, refrigerate overnight. Can also be frozen after rising. Thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.

Bake at 400F for 18 minutes or until done.

Yeast rolls/cinnamon rolls


flickr photo shared by ted_major under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license
Bad school cafeteria food is such a cliché that it hardly needs mentioning, but the elementary school cafeteria of my childhood had the exception that proves the rule: cinnamon rolls. I recently acquired a copy of the original yeast roll recipe* that was the basis for the rolls and adapted it for a more sane quantity. The recipe works nicely to make one pan of dinner rolls and one pan of cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

Dough recipe:

  • 1⅓ cups warm milk
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5½ Tbs butter, softened
  • Cinnamon-sugar for cinnamon rolls

Mix milk, sugar, and yeast in the mixer bowl and let yeast rehydrate for a few minutes. Add half the flour, salt, and butter and mix into a batter. Add remaining flour until it forms a dough and switch to the dough hook. Knead with dough hook on medium speed for 10 mins. Butter a large mixing bowl, add the dough and turn to coat with butter. Cover and let rise for a couple of hours. Punch down and divide in half to make two pans of rolls, two of cinnamon rolls, or one of each.

Rolls:

Shape into 12 balls and put into a 9-inch cake pan. Let rise and then bake at 400F for 15 mins.

Cinnamon rolls:

Pat or roll dough into a rectangle about ½ inch thick, roughly twice as long as wide. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and roll into a log. Cut into 12 slices and put in a 9-inch cake pan. Let rise at room temperature to bake immediately or cover and let rise overnight in the refrigerator to cook for tomorrow’s breakfast. Bake at 400F for 15 mins.

*Original version in case you need to produce institutional-size quantitites:

YeastRolls

103 miles later

After the Hot Hundred:

After the Hot Hundred

Pots de Crème au Chocolat


flickr photo shared by ted_major under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license
Which is to say, chocolate pudding. This is based on a recipe from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook. We’ve made both of his pots de crème recipes, and frankly he was phoning it in on both of them—it’s obvious that neither of these recipes was tested. The cooking time was way off (15 minutes? try 45), and this particular recipe needed twice the chocolate it called for (though to be fair, how many recipes would really suffer from a doubling of the chocolate?).

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 oz sweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli’s milk chocolate chips)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325F. Heat the cream in a double boiler. When it is just scalded, stir in the chocolate chips until melted and blended. Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl. When the chocolate mixture is melted and smoothly blended, slowly add to the egg yolks a bit at a time, stirring well so the eggs don’t scramble. pour into 6 ramekins and cover each with foil. Bake in a water bath for 45 minutes or until set. Chill and serve with whipped cream.

shn>mp3 from the command line


flickr photo shared by sickmouthy under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

YACLP—Yet Another Command-Line Post: this time, it’s how to convert Shorten files (an obsolete lossless audio codec) to mp3 for portable listening. Most of the time, I use SoundConverter to transcode from lossless formats to mp3 for portable listening. For some reason, however, SoundConverter can’t find Shorten, even though I have it installed. I suppose if I knew where it was looking, I could put in a symlink to where it really is. Or I can just dig up something that works from the command line. Thanks to this handy thread by shantiq from UbuntuForums, here’s one command that will convert a whole directory full of shn files. Just cd to the directory holding your shn files and do the following:
for f in *.shn; do ffmpeg -i "$f" -ab 320k "${f%.shn}.mp3"; done
If you really want to do it shipshape and Bristol-fashion, you could use shntool to convert to flac and tag the files with appropriate metadata and then use SoundConverter to go to mp3, preserving the tags from flac:
shntool conv -o flac *.shn
For tagging, renaming, and adding track numbers, I’m a big fan of Ex Falso, and for an audio player, I like DeadBeef for its simplicity.

OpenShot won’t export audio? We can fix that.


creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by geek_love13
Disclaimer: once again, command-line geekery follows. Disregard at your convenience.
I love OpenShot video editor for Linux (despite the occasional bugginess inherent in all things Linux) and desperately look forward to the release of the Windows port for my office PC.

In the meantime, I occasionally use OpenShot on my personal laptop to edit videos for class. This week, when I tried to export a video, a new one popped up: exporting video removes audio. After a little searching, I found that the problem is a bug in Ubuntu rather than OpenShot, and thanks to this post on Ubuntuforums, there’s an easy command-line fix. Open a terminal window (ctrl-alt-t) and enter the following commands:

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sunab/kdenlive-release
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install libmlt6
  • sudo apt-get install libmlt++3

Re-start OpenShot, and Bob’s yer uncle.

Splitting a flac file by cue sheet


creative commons licensed ( BY-NC ) flickr photo shared by jantos
Command line geekery follows. Ignore as you see fit.
Got a large flac file and a cue sheet rather than individual files? Here’s a handy command line trick to automagically split it into individual tracks:
~$ cuebreakpoints "filename.cue" | shntool split -o flac "filename.flac"
More details (including necessary packages) from On Ubuntu.

Carrot salad

IMG_0379.JPG

I picked up some carrots at the farmer’s market this morning and came up with this salad to have with dinner tonight. Sorry, but no measurements because I eyeballed everything. Precise amounts don’t seem too critical here, anyway.

Salad:

  • carrots, chopped
  • onions, chopped
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • craisins

Dressing:

  • juice of 1 lime
  • dollop of mustard (maybe a teaspoon, maybe less?)
  • olive oil

Combine salad ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss with salad.

This is why you don’t buy cheap-ass tools.

bent chain whip
That $8 chain whip may work for removing a cassette from a freehub, but it’s woefully inadequate for loosening a fixed cog after months of mashing up hills. Bent out of shape without budging the cog. Even the rotafix method barely got it loose.

Coming soon: a DIY chain whip with some serious leverage:

DIY chain whip