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We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others. — Will Rogers

Days: 7. Grocers: 6. Peppers: 0. 2005.05.03.02:32

I am utterly failing in my efforts to locate and acquire cherry peppers (also known as "baby bell peppers"). These are bell peppers that are roughly the size of habanero peppers, or smallish jalapeños. But they have the same general flavor as full-sized bells.

I want them for this recipe, which I know isn't vegetarian. But they looked really amazing on the episode of The Naked Chef that I saw them on.

Thus far, I have tried the following places with no luck:

  • Safeway (long-shot, but it's the closest)
  • Trader Joe's (not big on produce, to be fair)
  • P&W Market (fairly upscale, I went to the one on Prospect and Saratoga on the edge between San Jose and Campbell)
  • Whole Foods (I was sure they would have them)
  • Costco (Worth a try)
  • Milk Pail Market (On California St. in Mt. View just before Palo Alto)

The Milk Pail Market was really nice. Open-air, great prices on both produce and dry goods (this is where I'll go for lentils from now on). Great selection of cheeses (I tried Vella Farms' Dry Jack for the first time over the weekend, and now here's a more convenient place to get it). But no cherry peppers.

If anyone has an idea where I might find this elusive breed, use the e-mail link on the home page to let me know?

(Edit: I had the days and grocers numbers off by 1. Doesn't everyone count/index from zero?)

# [/food]

Bachelor Cooking Hazards: The Blender 2005.04.14.06:54

I set out to make the lentil-sweet potato soup again, but let's just say things didn't go by the recipe plan this time around.

First off, I set out lentils three days ago. But the next day I was too busy (and too beat) to make the soup. Only I didn't think about the lentils, and when I looked at them last night, they had sprouted roots. OK, toss those out and start a new bowl soaking for tonight.

Then tonight I'm still home too late, but I don't want to waste another cup of lentils, so I decide to go ahead and make the soup for later eating. Things started out OK, as I timed the chopping of the onions and sweet potato to the heating of the oil. I also put a frozen pizza in the oven for the actual dinner itself.

Now things start going badly.

First of all is the unfortunate blender incident. I'm trying to pureé the lentils with some water, but the lentils are sticking to the side. I get a wooden spoon to try and nudge them downward. I swear I've seen this done before. But clearly I lack the practice and/or general coordination to do this. I hit the spinning blades, and you can just imagine what happened.

Red lentils freakin' everywhere. In the sink. On the countertop. On the floor. On my shirt. I wouldn't be surprised if they were in my hair. It's like a lentil-bomb exploded in my kitchen. Walking to the computer, I looked down and found one on my sock.

But I had enough to go ahead and go forward with the soup. The onions were nicely browned, and the sweet potato lightly so. So I mixed in the rest of the water and added it all to the pot.

It's important to note that that my burner (electric) was on TWO, on a scale of TEN. It had seemed fine when I was browning the onions. I was checking on the soup every so often. But when I checked on it again, it was ruined. In the period between checking, it had all burnt on the bottom of the pot. It was at a raging boil, the soup. At a setting of "two", I really thought it would be simmering, as intended. There's gotta be something wrong with my stove, I guess.

Good thing I had the pizza.

# [/food]

Salmon With Indian Spices 2005.04.10.01:42

This is an extremely simple recipe. I was amazed at how quickly and painlessly it went the first time I made it. I recently made it for friends, and they loved it.

I got this recipe from the show, "Everyday Food" on the Food Network channel. Since I don't know if it is published in a cookbook anywhere, I don't know if I am treading on a copyright. If I learn that I am, I'll take the post away.


  • ¼ cup plain yogurt (lo-fat is fine)
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 salmon filets, 6-7oz. on average

Combine the yogurt and all the spices. Mix by hand thoroughly until completely blended and smooth.

Place salmon filets on a broiler pan or sheet that has been greased with olive oil or cooking spray. If filets have skin, put the skin side down on the pan. Spread the yogurt/spice mixture over the filets, top only (not on the sides). Spread it thickly, covering the top of each filet as completely as possible.

Put under a broiler for 12-14 minutes, or until filets are cooked through. Remove from oven and serve. The mixture should form a sort of "shell" on the top of the fish.

# [/food/recipes]

More Cooking: A (Semi-)Original Recipe 2005.02.07.02:03

In my on-going quest to cook more and better, I've made the following soup that turned out incredibly good. However, this isn't quite my recipe; it's a combination of the original soup, a recipe from Riverbend's recipe blog, with some changes suggested by a friend who's cooking put a lot of extra weight on my frame. The original is itself very tasty. I made it first, before experimenting, and you may want to as well.

(Eventually, I'll use something like RecipeML, if I find a useful application to make it worth adopting.)


  • 1 cup dry lentils (red)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • Vegetable or corn oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

You have two choices for preparing the lentils: Soak them in cold water overnight (at least 8 hours), or cover with cold water and cook at medium heat for one hour. If cooking, check every 15 minutes or so to make sure the water has not completely evaporated. I prefer soaking them in favor of a shorter cooking time.

Peel and chop the onion. Peel and cube the sweet potato. Set both aside.

Empty the lentils and a small amount of their water into a blender or food processor. (If you cooked the lentils rather than soaking them, allow them to cool before this step.) Blend/process until roughly the consistency of applesauce. Add three cups of water and blend again.

Sauteé the onion in 5 tablespoons of oil until golden brown. Add the sweet potato when the onions are about halfway to brown.

Add the lentil mixture to the pot, and set over medium heat. Add the curry powder and brown sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the soup over the medium heat for one hour, stirring as needed.

When done, the soup should be the consistency of cream of mushroom. Depending on how finely chopped and diced, some of the onion and potato will have completely cooked down. The soup will be a greenish color, almost that of split-pea soup.

I usually eat this with baguette bread topped with sliced brie and sprinkled with toasted almonds, the whole assembly put under a broiler until the brie is melted and the almonds browned.

# [/food/recipes]

Holy Cow, I Can Cook! 2005.01.25.07:18

For those that don't know, I decided back in December to give vegetarianism a fair try. This meant, among other things, that I would have to start cooking at home more. For one thing, there are limited vegetarian options. For another, I just needed to be eating out less in general, both for healthier eating and for the sake of saving money. The catch is, I haven't done any real cooking since I lived in Denver. Pasta, microwavable stuff. The occassional pre-prepared meal from Safeway that I could bake. That wouldn't do for this new diet, though.

So far, I've been subsisting on mac & cheese, pasta, and eating out. I've also been building up my kitchen for "real" cooking, with spices and various staples (lentils, flours, etc.). Well, today it was time to finally suck it up and see.

Wow, I can fuckin' cook.

Tonight's dinner consisted of Eggplant and Labna (yoghurt sauce), followed by a dish from one of my cookbooks called, "Spicy Lentils with Spinach". And it was good. I can't reprint that recipe for copyright reasons, but basically it consisted of green lentils simmered with onion, spices (ginger, cumin, garlic), fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint) and baby spinach leaves. I was sure it would taste like ass when I took the first bite, but on the contrary. It was very tasty.

Now, neither dish came out perfect. The eggplant was overcooked and mushy, mainly because my understanding of "cook until golden brown" was probably a darker shade of brown than was intended. The labna was great, but I poured too much of it over the eggplant. The lentil dish cooked well, the lentils just the right level of tender. But I didn't cut up the onion as finely as it should be (not to mention, I cut a finger while chopping it), I used a little too much lemon juice, and I scalded the onions before adding the other ingredients.

But ya know what? It still rocked. And I have leftovers.

# [/food]

Turkey Day '03 2003.11.28.04:30

Once again, my devious plans for world domination have been foiled by the sedative powers of tryptophan.

Pasha, the friend I'm staying with, has always been an amazing cook. But this year, she's made what I believe to be the best turkey she's ever done. Factor in home-made rolls, green bean casserole, fruit salad, and all the usual Thanksgiving trimmings, and you get one very bloated me. We didn't even get as far as the pies, let alone the chocolate-frosted peanut-butter brownies.

Thanksgiving week is never the time to be worried about your weight.

# [/food]

(Im)Proper Disposal of Old Foodstuffs 2003.08.06.06:11

Some time back, I made home-made pickled peppers with fresh jalapeños in apple cider vinegar. They were tasty on rice, and great on nachos. But I don't really know how long they should be let to set, and after getting sick last week I hadn't touched them in 6+ days. So I decided to throw them out. I'll make more, later.

So, since there was a lot of fluid, just throwing them in the trash wasn't an option. That left the garbage disposal. After cleaning out the dishes and such, I made sure I had hot water running and poured them down. Flipped the switch, and off they went in a frenzy of grinding. Well, off went the material component of the mixture. The aromatic essence lingers on.

Which is to say, my kitchen reeks.

# [/food]

Who Am I:
Randy J. Ray
Software Engineer


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Programming Web Services with Perl

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Computer Science & Perl Programming

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