Italian Beef

03/04/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

Italian Beef, if you're in the Chicago area, Chicago Beef from the outside, or sometimes, Chicago Italian Beef Sandwiches, which is kinda like calling a Cheese Steak a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. Forgedaboudit.

I'm from the Philadelphia area, but I lived north of Chicago in the early 80's [and owned a house for longer, but the first wife got that one &#59;) ] between my Denver and California living experiences. This recipe takes a half a day, and the sandwiches are eaten tomorrow, but it's really, really incredible.

Being Italian in heritage, I didn't have any trouble combining family recipes, with stufato di Milano recipes, and what I read about and talked about when I was in Chicago to come up with this dish, that I've been cooking for 25 years or so.

I use a porcelain coated, cast iron pot with a lid. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F, with the pot in it. While heating the oven, take 3, yes, three heads, not cloves, heads, of garlic, and peel each clove, leaving each whole, except for removing the root end and any green at the tip of each clove. Take two celery stalks and one parsnip [or carrot, if you can't find parsnip] clean, peel, trim, and break into three or four large pieces. When the oven and pot are hot, put the pot over a medium flame, add olive oil to cover the bottom, and sear the [~ 5 pounds] tied sirloin of beef on all six planes. Here are some pictures...

Each end, and one long side have been seared in this shot of the second side being seared.

Searing the second side of the beef

And then the next side.

Searing the next side of the beef
Click to view original size

After all sides have been seared, add two glasses [approximately 12 ounces] of red wine, and the vegetables.

Wine and vegetables over the seared beef
Click to view original size

  • "Toast" a tablespoon or so of tomato paste in the olive oil for about a minute.
  • Put the pot with the beef, vegetables and wine back in the oven, and cook at 375°F for five minutes on each of the four long sides to complete sealing the beef.
  • During the last five minutes, set the temperature on the oven down to 275°F.
  • For long cooking like this, I prefer dried herbs; fresh herbs should be added only near the end of cooking; so, the dried herbs to be added here are two bay leaves, and 1/4 teaspoon or a large pinch each of oregano, thyme, sage, and parsley.
  • Plus toast and grind about an half-teaspoon of the spice, coriander.
  • Add a rich vegetable or beef stock, and enough water to submerge the beef about half way.

The beef in the pot in the oven showing liquid and bay leaves
Click to view original size

Cover with the lid, and let cook at 275°F for three more hours, turning over each hour.

If you can't wait until tomorrow, you can add a small potato or two per person, cut into quarters, during the last half-hour of cooking, and leave the pot uncovered. Add a salad, and you have supper tonight. Only slice off as much beef as you need tonight, and leave the rest whole to chill, so you can slice it very, very thin tomorrow. Also, save all of the cooking liquor, pass it through a fine food mill and refrigerate. Update: I should point out that you should remove the bay leaves before passing the liquor through the food mill, the carrot and celery are optional, but the garlic is a must to go through the mill with the liquor.

Ah, but the sandwiches are the real treat. Especially the relish.

  1. Take 1 clove of marinated garlic per sandwich
  2. Add celery, pearl onion, carrot, whatever from a jar of hot giardiniera [what my family called suttacel] or from a mild giardiniera plus a marinated hot pepper or peperoncini,
  3. and two strips of roasted red pepper per sandwich
  4. Chop with a mezzaluna or knife until minced but not a paste

For the sandwich...

  1. Preheat an oven, maybe with a pizza or baking stone, to 400F
  2. Take the "au jus" from the roast, which you had, yesterday, passed through a food mill with the fine mesh, to make an incredibly rich, thick gravy, out of the fridge and remove any solid grease from the top
  3. heat the gravy to boiling, and if too thick, add hot water and boil some more
  4. Take the beef out of the fridge from yesterday
  5. Get your sharpest carving knife and sharpen it further
  6. Slice the beef very, very thin
  7. Wet your hands and "dry" them on the rolls on which you'll make the sandwich, and put the rolls into a 400F oven for three minutes
  8. Split the rolls and spread a tablespoon of the "relish" on each half of the roll
  9. Dip the beef in the gravy, making it as wet as you want, and pile it on the bread
  10. OMG - enjoy, enjoy, enjoy

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Hail on the Coast

02/23/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal

We have hail. Yep, little hailstones bouncing off the deck. If we're having hail here, there might be sleet up on Skyline Drive [CA Rte. 35]. But you never know with our microclimates changing the weather every few miles. Woe the commute in the morning.

 

No Update for PalmOS

02/18/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Computers and Internet

I told my partner that I was logging off from Adium to allow my MacBookPro to restart after doing the three updates currently available, one is a security update, one for the changes to Daylight Savings Time in the USA and Canada, and one is a Java for MacOSX 10.4 update that also accounts for the DST changes. This prompted her to ask if there was an update for our Palm Lifedrives. After checking Palm, Access, forums and Google, I would have to say there isn't, at least not yet. I'm not sure how my Mark/Space Missing Sync with it's time sync conduit might handle this, once DST actually begins, but there is a related discussion going on in their forums, as well as one in the Palm forums.

As an aside, I am really interested in the Access NetFront Browser 3.5, which I found along the way, but that will have to wait for another day.

Adapting what Scott [SGruby] gave in the Mark/Space Forum, and what Alan Grassia gives in his blog, here's a manual solution for handling this problem. Hopefully, Access or Palm will come out with an update to resolve this issue. One thing to keep in mind is that while the USA and Canada are changing to these new rules, Mexico is not, and I have no idea what other countries are doing. And even within the USA, not all states use DST. You're going to have to adapt every city in your time zone database to get it right, especially if you travel a lot.

  1. Go into Preferences from your Palm's application launcher
  2. Select Date & Time
  3. To the right of Location, select the last item in the drop down list "Edit List..."
  4. Select a time zone by city, such as San Francisco
  5. Select Edit, a screen will appear listing Name: cityName, Time Zone, a checkbox "This location observes Daylight Savings Time", Start and End.
  6. To the right of Start:, select the rule shown and reset it to be the Second Sunday in March, by selecting March in the months listed at the top, then "Second" from the drop down list to the right of "Week:" and "Sunday" from the drop down list to the right of "Day:".
  7. Select OK
  8. Select to the rule shown to the right of "End:", and reset it to the first Sunday in November, by selecting November in the months listed at the top, then "First" from the drop down list to the right of "Week:" and "Sunday" from the drop down list to the right of "Day:".
  9. Select OK
  10. Check that the Start and End rules are what you need, Select OK
  11. Repeat for each City of concern to you. For me, this was...

    • Berkeley
    • Chicago
    • Dallas
    • Denver
    • Los Angeles
    • Los Gatos
    • Montara
    • Montreal
    • Moss Beach
    • New York
    • Oakland
    • Pacifica
    • Palo Alto
    • Redwood City
    • Redwood Shores
    • San Carlos
    • San Francisco
    • San Jose
    • Santa Clara
    • Santa Cruz
    • Seattle
    • Toronto
    • Tulsa
    • Washington, D.C.
  12. Select Done

You may note that I've added a bunch of cities. This is to better use the "location" feature in the calendar applications that I use.

 

Abruzzo Polpettine

02/10/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

On this rainy Saturday in Northern California, I'm going to make some "comfort" food, Maccheroni alla Chitarra con Polpettine, though actually I'm making more of a Ragù. Comparing this with spaghetti and meatballs from your local pizzeria would be just wrong. &#59;) I've been wanting to make this type of ragù since I read Gianugo Rabellino's use of ragù in lasagna.

Maccheroni alla Chitarra is a slightly thick egg pasta, made by using a rolling pin to pass the sheet of pasta through a Chitarra - basically a wood frame strung like a guitar. The pasta is made just of flour and eggs, or, if necessary, you can use fresh, store-bought [COTS] :) linguine. I don't do anything different here, so I'll let you find your own recipe for this.

My meatballs are a bit different than even what my Grandfather would make, and Abruzzo Polpettine are smaller than those which with you may be familiar - some say about the size of the fingernail on your little finger, others go a bit larger and say the first joint of your little finger. I make them about half-way between those two gauges.

Let me start with the pesto controversy. What is a true pesto? From Giuliano Bugialli's Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking, classic pesto includes olive oil, walnuts, pignoli, basil, spinach, garlic, Parmigiana/Romano/Sardo and even pancetta. He has a full explanation of pesto in The Fine Art of Italian Cooking. For the good, old fashioned Genovese pesto, described with passion, see "The Sunday Post, al pesto" by Gianugo Rabellino.

I use a pesto in my meatballs, one of parsley (one bunch, leaves only), walnuts (12, shelled and toasted), garlic (3 cloves peeled), olive oil (1-1/2 cups), sea salt, cracked rainbow peppercorns, and Parmigiana (8 ounces).

I also make my own breadcrumbs. I keep a bread collection of various crusty peasant breads and baguettes. Grab one of these, and slice it about 1/8-inch thick, until you have a cup or so of bits. Since they're stale, they'll crumble somewhat. :p

To make the meatballs (polpettine):

  1. soak the breadcrumbs in cream - just enough to wet them
  2. stir in 3 tablespoons of pesto
  3. one whole egg per pound of meat plus an egg
  4. mix in 3/4 pound very good quality ground beef [I like Creekstone Natural from Piazza, if you're nearby]
  5. and then 1/2 pound each of ground pork and veal
  6. one-quarter of a medium red onion, diced and sautéed
  7. grate nutmeg and ground in salt and pepper to taste [though please don't taste raw eggs or pork

Mix the above really well, roll in your hands to form balls about 3/16-inch in diameter, and brown in olive oil, bacon fat or grease from browning diced pancetta.

At your butcher, get 1 veal shank per person, and have it split in half [as for osso bucco]. Brown and set aside. Sear each piece of veal on all sides, and set aside.

I use a cast-iron, flat bottomed pan with high curved sides that make it look like a bowl - soft of like a Mediterranean wok to do all this sautéing and browning. To make the ragù, I leave the veal and polpettine in this pan, deglaze the pan with red wine, such as Montepulcianto D'Abruzzo, cover the meat with marinara, and bake in the oven for an hour or two. The marrow from the veal shank adds incredible richness to the sauce. Before serving, remove the oven, remove the meat and set in serving dishes, add a half-glass of heavy cream, and bring the sauce back to a boil on the stove top, toss in the just barely under-cooked pasta and cook another two minutes until the pasta is al dente, remove from the heat and stir in some ripped apart basil leaves.

Serve a salad, then the pasta covered with the ragù and meatballs, then the veal with a side dish of green beans sautéed with calamati olives & soffritto [find for soffritto in this post for a good explanation of aromatic vegetables stewed in oil and used for flavoring other dishes].

Enjoy.

 

Grok

02/08/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Blogging

I read through a lot of blogs in a given day, racing through RSSOwl, my feed reader of preference. Some I read to find a good item for our OSBI (Open Source Business Intelligence) Daily. Some to keep abreast of what's happening to enable the TeleInterActive Lifestyle. And some for personal edification.

I was amazed today as to how often I came across someone using the word "grok". I've been happily seeing more adoption of this word, but today it seemed nearly every blog, article or news item I read had the word "grok" at least once.

It was always used correctly: "to fully and deeply understand"; but I can't help but wonder how many of the authors using "grok" grokked the word's origins. It's Martian and not from any Terran language at all. It comes from the fertile mind of Robert A. Heinlein, and was brought to Earth by Valentine Michael Smith in Heinlein's wonderful 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land.

The word "grok" is only poorly understood by us earthbound folk, as it is deeply related to the Martian religious practice of eating their dead while overseen by the spirit of the newly departed. Here's the best explanation I can find in the novel.

"... a Martian dies when he decides to die, having discussed it with and advised by his friends and having received the consent of his ancestors' ghosts to join them... One second he is alive and well, the next second he's a ghost with a dead body left over... his closest friends eat what he no longer has any use for, 'grokking' him, as Mike would say, and praising his virtues as they spread the mustard. The new ghost attends the feast himself... by which [ceremony] the ghost attains the status of 'Old One'..."end quotation
-- Jubal explaining to Duke, chapter xiii, in Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

Here's some of the places I've enountered "grok" today.

And more, for a total of 23 different blog posts. I do hope they remembered the mustard, and used a good quality one like Sierra Nevada stout & stone ground. &#59;)

 

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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

View Joseph di Paolantonio's profile on LinkedIn

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