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I love this recipe because it’s dead simple, goes from dry beans to delicious soup in a little over an hour, and most of that time is unattended cooking!

Fortunately for all of you I’m not a food blogger worried about SEO, so I don’t have to ramble on to a certain length and can skip straight to the recipe.


I have a project I call “Clubcar.” It had its genesis in my frustration at the pathological inability of a group of coworkers to chose a lunch destination, coupled with our general dissatisfaction with the day-to-day functioning of most other automated decision systems.

It was also a complex enough problem that it seemed a good way to learn Rails. Because it was my first Rails project I was as yet unfamiliar with many Rails idioms and practices. I reinvented a few wheels that really should have been patterns.

I am now going back and spending time cleaning up the code base and extending it to allow more than just the original group to use it, since several people have expressed interest in it.

One of the wheels I invented was authentication. Since a wider audience needs a much more robust authentication (and authorization, but that's a separate issue) system, now is a good time to rip out my simple implementation and use one of the off-the-shelf solutions with far more features, and far fewer bugs.

And here's the rub. By far, the most popular solution, acts-as-authenticated (and its REST-ful progeny: restful-authentication) are primarily code generators. The expectation is that you'll use them in a new project to generate the models, views & controllers that make up your authentication system. This has presented two problems, one practical, and one philosophical.

The practical: since my system already has all of these things, I tried to carefully shoehorn the generated code into my existing framework. It was a mess, I felt I'd painted myself into a corner, and the project stagnated.

The philosophical: while I was despairing and frustrated over the shoehorning, I began to wonder: why is the Rails community as a whole, which has “DRY” (“Don’t Repeat Yourself”) as a mantra so enamored with code generation? Even if it's not you writing the code, it is still repetition that makes the project harder to maintain, makes it harder to incorporate fixes and features from later version of the tool, and seems to fly in the face of not only DRY but good object-oriented design as well.

I set the project aside. In returning to it (now that I need to amuse myself on the train again occasionally.) I decided to once again look for alternatives.

I have stumbled upon Authlogic, a plugin that seems to be written by someone who shares my misgivings. It's also extremely well documented, highly configurable, and has a complete API for extension.

Fair warning: I haven't actually started moving my project to Authlogic, and I may yet find some fatal flaw. But I'm very much looking forward to trying it out, and if I do happen to find a flaw, perhaps I can patch it, and everyone using it can benefit immediately, not on their next project!

ETA: I just sent the author some fan mail, because it makes me that happy!

Reaping What I've Sown


For once, I'm using that metaphor for something positive!

After a most delectable Thanksgiving dinner[*], I contemplated the carcass of the bird and said "We can't just throw that out," (You can take the boy out of New England, but you can't take New England out of the boy) "I'll make stock!"

So I gathered up a mirpois, some additional aromatics, and some leftover herbage, and put the bird on to boil.

[Note to future self: wishing either of your 8Q stock pots are large enough to handle 4lbs of carcass doesn't make it so. If you plan to do this again, buy a proper stock pot!]

10 hours of boiling, scumming, and topping off later the bones had given up quite a bit of collagen, but there was still some left. On the other hand, it was 1am and it would take about an hour[**] to cool the stock to the point it could safely be stored in the refrigerator. So I pulled it, strained it through cheese cloth and started the cooling process.

When I finally dealt with it, I found that while it wasn't as gelatinous as it might be, it was most assuredly more than a mere broth! Success![***] I then dutifully broke out the muffin tins and portioned it into 1/2 & 1c amounts, plus a few pints and into the freezer it went.

And now, with Chiara off at a baby shower, I went to the kitchen to contemplate lunch. Once there I was hit with a revelation like a bolt of lightning:


Another mirpois (diced this time), one of my frozen pints, a little salt, a little pepper (ok, a lot of pepper. Probably too much, my nose is still running) and some egg noodles I didn't know we had. (Yes, I threw it all together into the pot at the same time, sue me.) Finished with a squeeze of lemon juice.

In a word, sublime.

[*] I think Chiara's tired of me raving about the carmelized onion & balsamic gravy that she couldn't eat, but really, everything we ate was fantastic. That gravy, however, was a mind-expanding substance.

[**] In the other stock pot, surrounded by ice, with two frozen nalgene bottles full in the middle to speed the process. That's all AB's idea.

[***] Ok,I also found it to be a bit murkier than I might like, probably meaning that I cooked it too high and didn't scum as effectively as I should have. It was also curiously lacking in schmaltz. Oh well, for a first (solo) effort, it wasn't bad.

Jade Monkeys


Two people, both very dear to me, went through hell together. From out of that torment, they formed a bond, and acquired this recipe. Today, I toast them and share it with you:

Jade Monkeys
makes 2

3 oz. Midori
1 ½ oz. Bacardi Limon
6 oz. Pinapple Juice

Fill shaker with ice, add ingredients, shake until well mixed and well chilled. strain into two martini glasses. Enjoy.

Unrelated tidbit: drinking in the middle of the day wearing nothing but a bathrobe can make one feel a bit like Hugh Hefner. This is better than the alternative.

Related tidbit: don't let the froofy girly drink exterior fool you. This will fuck your shit up if given the opportunity. Probably because they taste like candy.



Our kitchen is now permeated by the wonderfully pungent aroma of tamarind, ginger, and chaat masala. There are other scents laced through it, but right now the overpowering aromas are from the cooked portion of the chaat that I'm building for tomorrow. (It's a wonderful balance of pungent, sweet, savory, and hot that I love about Asian cuisines generally, and Indian cuisine in particular.)

Yummy! Now, on to the egg-strudel concoction, and finish by attempting to recreate the "Hair of Fenrisúlfr" Bloody Marys I made years ago. (Damn my drunken experimentation)

Scorching Scovilles and Belgian Brews


I don't mean for this to cause any undue duress. I know there will be some of you for whom this is impossible, and I'm truly sorry for that, but I must ask the rest.

Speaking of Millennium (as I had been), I found out about a great event coming up there:

Regardless of where they land on the Scoville Scale, chiles of the heirloom variety are ever so tasty, especially when they peak at the end of our Indian Summer. Whether they are fiery red hot, sultry & smoky, or lusciously sweet, Tierra Vegetables grow the best peppers north of the border. Eric, Jason, Anne and fellow kitchen crew (with the help of some floor staff) will hand pick through thousands of these spicy nightshades searching for only the most perfect to land on our menu.

After all that pepper harvesting, the creative culinary geniuses will retreat to the stoves, ovens, dehydrator & smoker, to produce one of the raciest menus we offer all year. How much capsaicin can your palette handle? Don't worry, we thought ahead. Beer pairings from Philly's Monks & Nodding Head & Sonoma's Russian River Breweries will be eagerly standing by to squelch the fire.

Chiara hates peppers, so I'm on my own on this one. Any interest? Details on their events page. Oh, yeah, it's pricey, but the food there is nothing short of amazing.

...Since they try to lean toward vegan I probably shouldn't rain on their parade and suggest that beer is no better than water for quenching the fire, and the only really effective means is milk.

No Better Way...


(I'm more than a little behind, this should have been posted Thursday night, and all the entries that have been rolling around my head will continue to do so)

I could think of no better way to celebrate(/honor?) his birthday than with a dinner at Millennium. Everything I've ever had there was FANTASTIC, and all of it happens to be vegetarian (in fact, most of it is vegan).

[Thursday night]'s meal just kept getting better and better, and dessert was an exquisite confection I would have been too wary to try anywhere else (they're known for bringing together odd tastes that just work in ways that are indescribable!)

I had:

Zucchini Napoleon
layers of corn-orange cauliflower salad & lemon macadamia nut "cheese", basil-garlic oil, sweet pepper "cream"
Blackberry BBQ Tempeh
warm roasted corn, sweet pepper & brown rice salad, orange vinaigrette ginger cucumber pickle, toasted pecans
Terrine of Avocado & Lemon Ice Cream
Pasolivo extra virgin olive oil, red Hawai‘ian sea salt, lemon vanilla bean syrup

"Run with the Bulls!"


Ok, this has to be another sign of the impending apocalypse. It's just wrong on SO MANY LEVELS.

But, as usual, Mike's perspective cracks my shit up.


| | Comments (1)

I have come to the conclusion that there are few problems that cannot be made much better by a sufficient application of Junípero martinis (well, Gibsons really. Pearl onions are yummy!).

Also, I have the bestest sweetie in the entire world. She's smart, and sexy, and she seems to think I'm cool.

And my big, fat, hairy pussy is the cutest thing on four legs. Even if he's a little prick.



I have a new favorite sandwich. It may not qualify as a perfect sandwich, but it has many of those elements, nonetheless.

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