Friday, August 26, 2016

Guangzhou, China

So I am in Guangzhou, China in a “suburb” of Guangzhou called Renhe Town, in the Baiyun District.  I put “suburb” in quotes, because this is very urban.  Tenement like housing with apartments and flats, but with strong rural ties and beginnings.  It has its own market and Is very self-contained.  It reminds me of what Brasilia wanted to be, a utopian community where you never had to leave the building to get all that you want or need. 


Since I left the airport eight days ago, I haven’t seen a white person. Several people have spoken to me in English, one, my wife, two, a nine old Canadian visiting her grandmother, and last night a young woman working in the market where I’ve been accused of buying beer.  She said, “You like Beer?” Go figure.  I noticed tonight that she has a fifth of Jim Beam high on the shelf (as though it were special).  She asked, “Do you want to buy that?” She queried me about my living (read: staying) nearby.  I said yes.  But I won’t buy the whiskey till next week. 


When I am out on the streets often I see 4 or 5 year old children who look at me as if they’ve never seen a white person before.  I assume this is true.  One child literally asked me, “Why are you white?”


There has been a lot of family around my wife during my stay including several cousin reunions. There is a lot of visiting, for a couple of reasons, one being several cousins visiting from Malaysia.  When a lot of friends and family show up it ends up at the same local restaurant.  I have had Dim Sum and lunch and dinner (all more than once), and since I have been here before, most of a fairly sweet bottle of Chinese “Brandy” (whatever that means), compliments of my wife’s Uncle (we drank actual cognac together, last time I was here). 


I have been here a few times now.  I am starting to know my way around and know the neighbors and the shopkeepers, and they know me.  I am learning to find what I need, but still fear getting lost.  Right now I think we want to try to find a blender, and another pound of ground coffee.  We may have to wait till we get to Vietnam for that.     

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Beef Short Ribs

4 Tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons Peanut oil
4 short ribs
2 sticks of celery with tops
1 sweet onion chopped
1 head of garlic cleaned and crushed
1 small bag of carrots
1 regular sized can of chicken stock or broth. 
1 large potato chopped
1 teaspoon thyme and marjoram
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 or to whole allspice
5-8 whole peppercorns
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Cut the short ribs in to thirds.  Brown in the butter and the peanut, and set aside.  In the pan add the celery, onion, shallot and garlic and cook for a few minutes over medium heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Braise over low heat for about three hours.  Serve over rice, or not. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Big Rain.  We're in Guangzhou, China and it's been raining about 24 hours straight.  It sounds a bit like a discordant steel drum band. I think it's raining about ½-1 inch per hour.  It's a bit crazy but we managed to get around today without really getting too wet.    

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

South of the Tropic of Cancer

Although we are south of the Tropic of Cancer, yesterday it snowed in Guangzhou. No one I talked to could remember that happening before. Today, the sun is out for the first time since o arrived in China.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, January 18, 2016

Beer shortage in China ... it's really Jack that I can't find.

So it's pretty hard to find Jack Daniels here in China, and I can't seem to land in a hotel with a bar in it, and the stores don't seem to have any beer that contains alcohol or any wine that we can identify is drinkable. So I resorted to drinking Mou Tai, with a 3.2 % Tsing Tao chaser. It reminds me of gasoline mixed with the flavor of flowers. Followed by watery beer. I'm reminded of reading a book called "The Sex Lives of Cannibals". Chapter 5 is entitled "The Great Island Beer Shortages" or something like that.

It's near freezing here in Suzhou and since I'm on a tour, we are outside or on a cold bus, and maybe in some cold building. My joints ache.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Honeymoon in Europe

So ... we got married and now on our honey moon in Europe.   We spent three days in Roma, three days in Firenze, and two days in Venezia.  Now we are in Zurich and it's Christmas eve.   Today we take a TGV to Paris.
My bride.

Zurich see.

For about 20 years, I have been saying, let's go somewhere for Christmas, and now, we will be in Paris.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

One Day in the Fall

There's one day every year.  It always happens.  In California, winter sneaks up on us, Fall happens on a day in November, leaves turn, there's a freeze perhaps.  Suddenly, it's gone, Summer is gone. 

One Autumn day, in the day or during the night there is a sound.  It's the sound of migrating geese.  These are not the local geese, the ones flying low and comfortable in this urban splendor.  These are geese flying to some distant paradise, far above the ground, unconcerned with the local parks, and other whatnot. 

I hear the sound in the dreams of my youth. It is a sound of October, November.  A decisive symptom of Autumn.  A chill rises in the air and the geese cry out in the night.  I hear this sound every year.  And I am taken back, to a place where I used to hunt geese. 

Today, I arranged to hunt geese in the place I hunted in my youth. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Change a Build Number in Jenkins

So you want to change a build number in Jenkins ... I searched the web all over the place and it's not out there.  So here it is.  Many people ask the question, but mostly ridiculous answers exist, mainly in the form of "You don't want to do that" or "Why would you want to do that?"  This is not helpful.

Although I admit that most of the reasons for needing to do this are probably misguided - even my own -- there may arise a legitimate need to do this.

Mine arises because the build (misguidedly) uses the Jenkins internal build number as part of the jar/Artifactory version string and I have moved the build to a new Jenkins server.  Doing this effectively resets the build number to one, which will result in overwriting an existing artifact on the repository.

To change the build number.  Change directories to the Jenkins job directory on the master.

cd  {path_to_jenkins_master_home}/jobs/{job_name}

Edit the file nextBuildNumber and change (advance -- I am not sure you can go backwards) the build number to the one you want to use.   Shelve the build and unshelve it to reload the job from the disk.  This allows reloading the job without restarting Jenkins.

When I ran the job it produced an error regarding the lastSuccessful and lastStable directories -- located in the same directory -- not being empty so I had to move those out of the way, at which point the next build correctly ran. 


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pacific Red Snapper Hash

The other day I had a very remote craving.  It was a craving brought up from my past, probably brought up by my recent efforts to reconnect with my graduate school friends who now live in Europe.  I have been craving the snapper hash from Bijou Café in Portland.  It's unusual to have a craving from events 20 years ago, but here they are.  In the mid 90's I went more than a few times to Bijou in Portland Oregon for the snapper hash. 

I searched the web and it looks like I would have to go to Zarela's in New York, if I want me some snapper hash. 

Or make it myself.  The garam masala and cumin combine to give this an occasionally surprising background palette.

Serves 4

3 T. Oil
Cornstarch for dredging
2 eggs scrambled
Panko Japanese style bread crumbs
1 pound of Pacific red snapper fillets, cut into 1-2 inch chunks 1100 g
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into half inch cubes 900 g
1 medium onion, chopped fine 350 g
1 small shallot, chopped  60 g
3 scallions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed  
1 jalapeno (optional) 36 g
1 green bell pepper, chopped 115 g
1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
Pinch of cumin, cinnamon, ground cloves and garam masala
Salt and pepper

Saute the vegetables and spices in the oil until the onions are soft. Add the potatoes. I added a little water and covered, so the potatoes might cook a bit from the steam.  Cook on a medium fire till brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile dredge the snapper in cornstarch, Egg and panko and cook in another pan. 6 minutes on the first side an 4 minutes or so on the other.

Flip the potatoes and as the potatoes brown on the other side, gently add the finished snapper to the top of the potatoes.   When the potatoes are cooked, server with tabasco or Sriracha Mayo or lemon.

Green Chile Soup

For the locals here in coastal California, the green chile soup at Duarte's Tavern in Pescadero is a  standard among delights and well worth the drive out there to have some. 

Rumor is that the recipe starts with two large cans of green chilies, and a can of cream of chicken. noodle soup. 

I usually don't cook like that. Try it like this.

10 Anaheim peppers
1 pasilla pepper
1 jalapeno pepper (optional)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 medium onion
1/2 medium shallot
5 cloves garlic peeled and smashed (in the Martin Yan way)
4 T butter
1/2 cup water
1/2  cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream

Split all the peppers in half and remove the seeds and the pith.  Roast the peppers on a baking sheet in a very hot oven (500 degrees) for 1/2 hour. allow the pepper to cool in a bowl for about a half hour to capture the juices. Peel the peppers and remove the stems.

In a medium saucepan, saute the onions shallot and garlic in the butter.  Add salt and pepper. Once the onions are transparent, add the chilies and the stock, and bring to a boil.   Puree with a hand blender.  Add the cream and the sour cream.  Heat to just simmering. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I asked my French friend about her wonderful dinner (twenty years ago) of bouillabaisse and other French magic, including a pear dessert saturated in red wine.

 Here is the recipe [for the Bouillabaisse], from my old book by the Scotto sisters
Vider, étêter, écailler les poissons, réservez les têtes et les arêtes. Couper les plus gros en tronçons de 4 cm et laissez les autres entiers; lavez-le et épongez-les.
Lavez les tomates et hachez-les grossièrement. Pelz oignons, carottes et poireau. Emincez finement le poireau, l'oignon et le cèleri. Coupez les carottes en fines rondelles.

Fiates chauffer l'huile dans une cocotte de six litres, ajputez les têtes depoisson et les arêtes et mélangez cinq minutes sur feu doux. Ajoutez les tomates, les carottes, le poireau, le cèleri et l'oignon et mélangez jusqu'à ce que les légumes blondissent. Ajoutez le thym, le romarin, le fenouil, le laurier, le zeste d'orange, les gousses d'ail entières, les tiges de persil, le safran, sel et poivre. Versez le vin blanc, laissez cuire 45 minutes à feu très doux.

Au bout de ce temps, retires les têtes et les arêtes, ainsi que les branches de thym et toutes les aromates. Mixer le reste pour obtenir un velouté.

essuyez le cocotte et versez-y le velouté. Porter à ébullition sur feu doux, et ajouter les poissons en commençant par ceux dont la chair est la plus ferme (seiche, congre, baudroie, rascasse, rouget) puis ajouter ceux dont la chair est plus tendre (vive, saint-pierre, loup, sole, barbue) en laissant l'ébullition reprendre entre chaque opération. Ajoutez les crustacés. Laisser frémir dix minutes, puis égoutter poissons et crustacés et dressez les sur un plat. réserver au chaud. Versez le bouillon dans une soupière et servez-le chaud sur des tranches de pain frottées d'ail. servez les poissons ensuite.

Here is what you need : 3 kg de poissons et crustacés mélangés. 500 grammes de tomates bien mûres. 1/2 litre de vin blanc sec. 2 carottes, 1 oignon, 1 poireau, 10 gousses d'ail, persil, cèleri, thym, romarin, zeste d'orange, laurier, six filaments de safran, 4 cuillérées d'huile d'olive, pain grillé.

This would serve 8 persons. In Marseille, they often serve it with rouille, which is basically a garlic mayonnaise with a dash of red hot pepper.

Will make you busy a whole day, though, but I guess you enjoy that.
Bon, je vais dîner, A bientôt

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Red Lentil Soup -- Shorbat Adas

This is a traditional Middle Eastern soup called Shorbat Adas.  The Mediterranean Wraps shop on California in Palo Alto has an excellent lentil soup which of course I couldn't quite replicate.

3 ounces of bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups of red lentils
 4 cups of chicken or garden stock
3 cups of water, plus more to thin later
1 tsp cumin
3 dried limes - cut into them slightly with a sharp knife in 2 or 3 places
2 limes
1/2- 1 tsp salt (to taste)
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
½-1 teaspoon turmeric
2 large carrots, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced

First sort the lentils for any stones, grains, or sand. Wash thoroughly and drain.

In a large pot, over high heat, add the olive oil and bacon and slowly render all the fat. Remove the bacon and reserve for garnish. 

Add the vegetables and toss lightly until fragrant and the onions soften. Do not brown it.
Immediately add the lentils and spices. Stir well. The lentils will absorb the oil and heat up and roast.   
When the pan starts to crackle a bit add the broth and the water.

Once the soup begins to boil, reduce heat. Simmer for about 40 minutes, uncovered.

When the lentils are softened and cooked, Add the juice of one lime, puree with a hand blender, avoiding or removing the dried limes, and remove from heat. If the soup looks too thick to you, you can add more water over low heat and stir until homogeneous.

Sprinkle with paprika, serve with lime wedges and pita bread, and garnish with the celery tops and the reserved bacon.  I paired this with a chilled beaujolais for a nice early spring lunch.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Veal Ragoût, Blanquette de Veau

I read the Professional Chef recipe for the Blanquette de Veau, a classic veal stew.  Then I read this. Then I went my own way.

1 1/2 lbs.veal tenderloin, salted and set aside (I used chops, which I boned and trimmed)
1 pint pearl onions, peeled
2 tablespoons butter
6 cup stock (veal or chicken)
Bouquet garni: 1 thyme sprig, 1 bay leaf, parsley stems, 6 peppercorns, 2 cloves garlic, sliced and 3 cloves wrapped in a leek green.
1 celery stalk cut down to 1" 
1 large carrot, chopped.
1 leek, sliced in half in 1” pieces
1 teaspoon coarse salt
4 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons vermouth
2 tablespoons Cognac
1 cup veal demi-glace 
 3 egg yolks
½ c heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley
Take the veal bones and the fat you trimmed off the meat, bouquet garni and stock and put in a large pot.  Simmer on for 1½ hours. 

While you are doing this, take ½ c of the stock from the pan and 2 T butter and simmer the mirepoix and leeks, covered for 10 minutes.  Remove and reserve the vegetables and the glaze.

After 1 ½ hours, strain the stock, and feed the meat bits to the dog. Add the demi-glace to the stock.  You should have around 4 cups.  
Add the veal cubes to the stock*.  Cook for about 15 minutes over very low heat… barely a simmer.   
Remove the meat and strain the broth over a fine mesh.  Reserve the stock for the velouté and reheat on the stove.  Clean out the pan and place the meat and onions with the glaze in it.  Cover. 

Make the veloute. In a new pan, melt 4 T butter slowly, then add the flour and stir it in –– let it cook for a few minutes but do not let it brown.  Slowly add the stock, whisking. Add vermouth and cognac. Cook it over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring regularly. 
Whisk the egg yolks and cream together and slowly add about 1 cup of the sauce to temper the eggs. Slowly whisk this back into the reserved stock and combine this with the meat and vegetables and cook over a low heat. Do not let it boil or the egg will curdle.  When everything is hot, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve over rice or pasta.  

Garnish with parsley.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tourin, French Garlic and Egg Soup

A head of garlic, chopped fine
1 T. olive oil
1 tablespoon water
water — 1 liter, boiling and salted to taste
1 egg, separated
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Toast the chopped garlic in the olive oil. Add the flour. Mix well, then cook until the garlic soften and brows a bit. Add the salted water, and cook for 10 minutes. In a separate dish, mix the egg yolk, pepper and vinegar. Add the egg white to the soup, first tempering in a separate bowl with a whisk, so that no large pieces of egg white form. Cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the egg yolk mixture, again tempering to avoid coagulation.  Serves 2.
Top with croutons and a parsley sprig, Serve hot. Bon appétit.

There's a nice article here describing this French classic. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup


Remnants of a roasted chicken
Cold water to make 1 gallon
1/4 cup olive oil 
1 onion
1 medium celery stalk (I like to pick one with leaves on it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 whole allspice
2 whole cloves
5 or 6 whole peppercorns
A dash of nutmeg (less is more, we just want to fill the background with some bass tones) 
A beer (for the chef) to deglaze the pan

I roasted a chicken a couple of days ago and we ate the legs for dinner.  We stripped the back and the dog had that so I started with all the bones and 2 breasts and 2 wings.  Roughly chop the onions, celery and chicken wings.  Brown the chicken in the olive oil in a stock pot.    Add the onions and celery and cook for about 8 minutes.  Do not allow the glaze on the bottom of the pan to actually burn. 

Add a little beer to the pan and scrape the glaze off the bottom of the pan.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and bring the temperature up to a simmer.   Simmer for 40 minutes. It is important to skim impurities off the surface along the way, so they don't break down and cloud you stock.  Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Strain through a chinois. Ice down in a sink.  You can refrigerate this for a few days.


1 Onion
Several small carrots cut into coins
1 or 2 celery stalks diced
1 teaspoon thyme
2 breasts of chicken (diced or shredded) 
2 ounces egg noodle or pappardelle
4 leaves of black kale  (shredded}
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

Cook the mirepoix in the oil and reduce heat to medium for about 8 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the carrots and pasta are cooked.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Gumbo, Gumbo.

Here's my recipe for Gumbo. Unless otherwise noted dice everything. Serves 8.

1/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3 or 4 Andouille Sausage ( 9 to 12 ounces, sliced)
8 ounces Chicken Breast
1 1/4 pounds of Peeled and Deveined Shrimp.
1 Bell Pepper
2 Small Onions
2 Celery Stalks
1 Shallot 
3-4 Clove Garlic
1/4 c. Flour
2 quarts Chicken Stock
8-12 ounces of Okra (Sliced)
1 t. Onion Powder
1 t. Red Pepper Flakes
2 Roma Tomatoes
2 Bay Leaves
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 t. dried thyme
2 t. Fresh Thyme
3 t. Fresh Parsley
2 Pinch Salt
1/2 t. Black Pepper
4-5 Green Onions 
1 c. White Rice
1 T. File Powder

Put the oil and the butter in a large pot (4 quart).  Saute the sausage for a minute or two then add the chicken. Once these are well browned remove and reserve.  Add the trinity (Bell Pepper, onion and celery), plus the shallot and the garlic.  Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, until soft and gently browning. Add the flour and slowly roast while whisking until it changes to a mahogany color.   

Add the stock to stop the cooking of the roux. Bring to a boil and add the rice, okra, onion powder, red pepper, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire,  thyme, parsley. sat and pepper.  Return the sausage and chicken to the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes to cook the rice.

Add the onions, shrimp and cook for 4 minutes, turn off heat then whisk in the file powder,  Serve with Tabasco sauce.


Chicken Fricasee a la Martha

Last night's project essentially was too learn to make and use a liaison to finish a sauce.  So I made this recipe1, which uses somethng that sounds a bit like a Normandy sauce.  Everything went buttery-creamy smoothly.

 The ingredients.

The liason. 


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Seven Virtues Minestrone Soup

There a whole lot of history around the Seven Virtues and this soup, but I am not going to offer any pretense of knowing things Italian, including culture and history.  I am not Italian and this isn't my grandmother's recipe.  It's my first effort on a traditional classic favorite.1  I did soe research on the subject and then went shopping. 


Pair of pigs feet
Small Onion
Several Cloves of Garlic
Black Peppercorns

Simmer together till the meat is falling off the bones. For me, this was about 2 and 1/2 hours. Chill overnight. Skin and debone.  Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, heat stock and strain.  Reserve the meat and skin, if you want to add that back to the soup.   Cut the skin into small pieces .

500G of beans. 

I was unable to find Cannellini beans.  So I substituted Small white beans. 

Soak overnight:

Small White Beans
Black Beans
Black Eyed Peas

Rinse only (so do that tomorrow).

Fava Beans
Fresh Peas (Add with the fresh veggies and pasta)

Drain, rinse and cover the beans with water and cook 45 minutes, I added the lentils and the fava beans after the cooking started at 30 minutes.    

In the pan with some olive oil add the root vegetables, garlic, oregano, and parsley.

3 Carrots
1 Onion
1 Small Turnip
1 Potato
1 t. Parsley
1 t. Oregano

Once these are soft add the pork stock back in. When the beans have cooked for forty five minutes add them in to the stock.  


3 ounces of Pancetta
3 ounces of Prosciutto

Start to add the fresh veggies,

2 Stalks of Celery   
½ Small Cabbage
Black Kale
½ Cup Peas
3 Tomatoes Chopped

Add in some pasta if you’re into that.

The soup is done when the beans are cooked about 45 minutes after the beans are added back to the stock. 

Serve with grated parmeson or pecorino.  

1. provided a lot of the inspiration for this effort.