Oops I Dropped the Lemon Tart, Slight Return (10th Street Supper Club)

Oops I Dropped the Lemon Tart, Slight Return

For October’s 10th Street Supper Club, I will be making a dish in homage to Chef Massimo Bottura’s “Oops I Dropped The Lemon Tart.” Chef Bottura is one of the most innovative chefs out there, and his dishes are an inspiration.

This dish is a deconstructed, i.e., broken, lemon custard pie, served with a dollop of ice cream. There are a bunch of parts, working together, but ultimately, it looks great on the plate.

Limoncello Zabaglione (custard pie filling):

  • 5 Egg Yolks
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Limoncello
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice (strained)

To make this tabaglione, you are basically making hollanaise sauce, but using sugar and some limoncello. Start with a double-boiler (a sauce pan, on top of which you can set another pan, or better yet, a round bottom bowl), filled with about an inch of water. Heat the water to a simmer (don’t boil it).

While the water is heating, mix the egg yolks and sugar together in the bowl or pan which will sit atop your double-boiler. Beat the eggs with a wisk until the egg starts taking on a lighter color. Place the egg mixture atop the double-boiler and continue beating constantly.

Slowly, add, while beating, the lemon juice, and then the limoncello. Continue beating until the zabaglione begins to thicken. Then continue for another minute or so. Remove from heat, and allow to return to room temperature, while covered. Stir occasionally. The zabaglione should thicken a bit more as it cools.

  • 5 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar

Using either or hand mixer or a stand mixer, combine all ingredients and mix on high speed until the mixture will form stiff peaks when a fork is inserted and removed.

Put this mixture in a pastry bag, and pipe onto a cookie sheet covered with either a silpat or parchment.

Cook at 275° for about 30 minutes. Outer shell will be leathery while hot, but will harden as it cools.

Lemongrass Ice Cream (garnishment):

  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 Cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 5 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 1/2 Cup Lemongrass (chopped at 1/4 inch)
  • Zest of 2 Lemons

Mix the milk, cream, sugar, honey, together in a sauce pan. Heat over a medium-low flame while stirring until sugar and honey are dissolved. Add lemongrass and lemon zest. Heat to about 180-190°F (do not boil), and remove from heat. Allow to stand for a few minutes, and then strain the lemongrass and zest from the cream.

While heating, beat the egg yolks to a creamy froth in a large bowl (should take about 4-5 minutes).

Slowly (really slowly), while beating quickly the eggs, add half of the cream. This is called tempering your eggs - you want to add the heated cream slowly enough that the eggs are not allowed to cook separate from the custard mixture. Once about half of your hot cream mixture is added, you can stir in the second half fairly quickly. Continue stiring with your wisk for another 0 seconds or so.

Cool this mixture, allow to sit over night in a refrigerator, and then finish in your ice cream maker.


Onto a plate, place the meringue cookie upside-down. Cover (sloppily) with cool zabaglione, making sure to glop some extra on the plate. Cover zagablione with a bit of pie crust, or a bit of puff pastry (what Roger and I did for 10th Street Supper Club). Add a scoop of the ice cream.


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Sous Vide Pork Belly (10th Street Supper Club)

Sous Vide Pork Belly

For September’s Tenth Street Supper Club, Chef Roger and I did some great things, but my hands-down favorite was my sous vide-cooked pork belly. It’s pretty simple, combining a nice dry rub, a short, moderately-low temperature smoke, and an afternoon in my meat aquarium.

Dry Rub:

  • 1 Cup kosher salt (coursely ground)
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 Cup cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 Cup sweet paprika
  • 1/4 Cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 Cup onion powder
  • 1/8 Cup black pepper

Prepare the pork belly by removing the skin (if needed), leaving as much of the wonderful fat as possible. Cover both sides with the dry rub, wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.

Smoke at 170°-200°F for about 2 hours.

Remove from the plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and vacuum pack the belly. Submerge in a 157°F water bath for 6-8 hours.

When serving sear the cap of the belly using a blow torch or a very hot oiled skillet.

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Gluten-free Purple Potato Gnocchi

Potato Gnocchi

Yesterday, I visited, Cool Conifers, and the lovely Arabella helped me harvest a few potatoes. Well, more than a few. A lot. Maybe 30 pounds of amazing potatoes. Russets and Banana fingerlings are great, but I really love the Purple Majesty (purple meat), and was turned on to Mountain Rose, with wonderful red and white meat. I bought way more than I should have.

Today, I used some and made Gnocchi from some of the purple potatoes. They tasted great, but the starches were a bit different, and gave the gnocchi a moderately different texture. And they were grayish.

Here’s my recipe

  • 8 oz Boiled, drained, and riced, Purple potatoes
  • 8 oz Brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped Rosemary (fresh)
  • 1 tsp Garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs

I boiled more than 8 oz of potatoes - maybe more like a pound, but I only riced 8 ounces. I think I peeled and boiled 5 potatoes, but they were about the size of large store-bought red potatoes. If you don’t have a ricer, you could simply make mashed potatoes out of them, and then use 8 oz.

Anyway, combine all the ingredients in a mixer, and mix until smooth. Immediately begin rolling gnocchi.

  • Take a 2 oz ball of dough, and roll it into a ball
  • Roll the ball into a snake, of diameter 1/3-1/2 inch
  • Cut equal portions of the snake, into 10-12 equal pieces
  • Roll each portion into a ball using your palms
  • Smash the ball using your index finger
  • Use the side of your index finger to roll one side partially onto the other (and remove it from your palm)
  • Set it on wax paper

Gnocchi is time consuming, and people will tell you you need tools. It is, and you don’t, though the presentation is nice, if you have little, even grooves on the gnocchi.

Once you’re done making the individual gnocchi, let them sit for at least a couple hours. Drying the dough will help them keep separated when you boil them.

When you’re ready to cook them:

  • Bring some heavily salted water to a boil (This is true for all pasta. Don’t use a pinch of salt, use a large handful. Do it once, then tell me how good an idea it is.)
  • Once the water is boiling, put a few handfuls of the raw gnocchi in the water. It will sink. Cook it until it floats.
  • Then cook it one more minute. You’ll get the hang.
  • Remove the finished gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon, and drain for a few seconds in s strainer
  • Toss in a little bit of olive oil. (This helps the gnocchi remain separate as you’re cooking the rest)
  • Cook another few handfuls.


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Installing AWS Command Line Tools on Mountain Lion

A lot of this probably works just fine under Linux, too.

A bunch of the tools require java, which can be downloaded from Apple, and you’ll want to set your environment’s JAVA_HOME variable (in ~/.bash_profile, unless it’s .bash_login or .bashrc).

export JAVA_HOME=/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Home

Then you’ll need to log into AWS console, and download your access and secret keys. While you’re there, download the EC2 CLI tools.

I install them into a custom directory. I like /opt, but your mileage may vary. You’ll have to change all the path declarations below, though.

Add the following lines to ~/.bash_profile (as above for Java)

export EC2_HOME=
export AWS_ACCESS_KEY=""
export AWS_SECRET_KEY=""

Next, download and install Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancer CLI Tools, and configure them by adding a couple lines to your ~/.bash_profile.

export AWS_ELB_HOME=/opt/aws/elb

Then download Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk CLI Tools, which require Ruby 1.8.7 or greater, and Python 2.7 or 3.0 (both of which are pre-installed on Mountain Lion).

You will need to create an AWS Credentials File. I’m not sure what changed, and why these tools don’t use BASH environment variables, but I use ~/.aws_credentials. You’ll also need to do this if you use the RDS CLI tools.


And then you need to create a BASH environment variable pointing to the newly created file. Put this in ~/.bash_profile.

export AWS_CREDENTIAL_FILE=$HOME/.aws_credentials
export AWS_EB_HOME=/opt/aws/eb

If you want to use a different default region (instead of us-east), you’ll need to add this line to your BASH profile.

export ELASTICBEANSTALK_URL="https://elasticbeanstalk.us-east-1.amazonaws.com

To install Amazon’s Relational Database Service CLI Tools, you will need to be sure to include the credentials file created above, and the BASH line to point to it. You will then simply need to add a couple more lines to ~/.bash_profile.

export AWS_RDS_HOME=/opt/aws/rds

That’s it. Your AWS environment is set up.

Back to work.

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Poisoning the DOM By Thumbnailing a Video

I’m building a large-scale Content Management System (CMS) for Video, tied to a Content Delivery Network (CDN), and one of the big issues we’ve identified relates to the difficulty of thumbnailing video files which are loaded into our system with missing images.

HTML5 is great, and the good folks at flowplayer.org have built a tidy little video player which enables us to display the video in a <video> element on the page. Flowplayer allows quite a lot of control over the video.

And, the wonderful <canvas> tag allows the developer to extract a thumbnail image, directly from that video.

function takeThumbnail() {
	$('#new_thumbs').prepend('<canvas id="thingamajigger' + cnt + 
		'" style="height:240px; width:428px;"></canvas>');
	var tc = document.getElementById('thingamajigger' + cnt);
	var v = document.getElementById('vidyo');

	ctx = tc.getContext('2d');

It would seem that all I have to do is call canvas.getImageData() to get a base64-encoded copy of the image, which I can then post to a server.

And, this works fine.

If the page, and the video are on the same server. I’m told that if the server hosting the image has the proper headers for CORS, then it works, too. Our CDN does not, so I cannot verify.

Anyway, when I try this with a video on my CDN, I get an exception (18) indicating that I have poisoned my DOM, and cannot access the resultant image programatically.

IMHO, this is stupid. Fucking hackers.

So, the solution, is the great folks over at Transloadit.com. Great API for doing this.

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Colorado Doesn't Need The Death Penalty

Earlier this month, almost as soon as the Colorado legislative session began, the Denver Post reported that legislators may attempt to repeal the death penalty in Colorado. I hope they do.

I’m half-tempted to launch into a diatribe about morality, and how a single innocent person dying at the state’s hands, and… But, I won’t. I’ll simply say this.

We have a government, allegedly, by the people, for the people, and of the people. I’ll agree that sometimes in our history (maybe today), our government is less by/for/of the people than other times. People are messy, and a lot of the time we do things badly. Mostly, we mean well, and we try.

But, if government is by, for, and of, the people, when government kills someone - however much that person has done to earn it - government does so in our names. Government kills for us. The person killed is killed by us. The person killed is of us.

I understand the rage - anger enough to wish death upon someone. I’ve felt it. You’ve felt it. But, when the chips are down, I won’t kill someone, and, I suspect, neither will you. To allow the state to kill based on that rage is simply rationalization. If government is us, and government kills someone, then we killed someone. I did. You did.

“Why” is just the rationalization. “Why” helps us sleep at night.

It doesn’t make it right.

So, when, or if, a bill comes before him, I hope that my State Representative, Dave Young, a man I’d like to call my friend, can risk his job to prevent the State of Colorado from ever killing someone in my name - or yours.

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Another Lesson For Online Fundraisers from Obama 2012

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Lessons For Online Fundraising From Obama 2012

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Election Prediction 2012

Well, tomorrow is the end of all that awful advertising. If you’re like me, you are really happy to be done with that. Here’s what I expect to happen tomorrow night.

  • President Obama wins with 303 Electoral Votes (OH, NH, CO, VA)
  • Presidential Election is called by 11pm EST
  • Elizabeth Warren wins MA-Sen
  • Claire McCaskill wins MO-Sen
  • Dave Young wins CO State House 50.
  • Democrats take control of CO House
  • Democrats maintain control of CO Senate
  • Colorado legalizes & regulates Marijuana for all
  • Cory Gardner (CO-04), and Oil/Gas Whore wins re-election (I predict this in 2014, too)

You heard it here, first.

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You Will Have Only Yourself to Blame

Earlier today, David Sirota tweeted from Colorado, suggesting that our Secretary of State, Scott Gessler, is gearing up to be a pivotal figure in the coming election.

He’s right. In 2010, I was close to the Betsy Markey (CO-04) campaign, and heard regular polling information which showed two different things. Some data showed that challenger Cory Gardner was up solidly. Other data showed that the race with neck-in-neck. The difference between the polling was the “likely voter” models that the polls used.

I also heard a lot about how disappointed many liberals and long-time, activist Democrats were in Colorado’s 4th district. Lots of people were unhappy that President Obama and the Democratic Congress didn’t pursue Single Payer, or they caved on Banking Reform, or they didn’t close Guantanamo Bay, or some other issue. Andrew Romanoff even led a challenge to appointed incumbent Senator Michael Bennet, based on these thing.

All of this added up to the Republican wave in Colorado, which was only broken by Sen. Bennet’s effort to paint Weld DA, Ken Buck, his opponent, as anti-woman. Bennet won by about five-votes-per-precinct in Colorado. But, it was otherwise a horrible year for Democrats in the state, as we lost the state House, Treasurer, Attorney General, and two Congressional seats.

Basically, the GOP polls were right. Those polls indicated that many left-leaning voters were disaffected and would stay home. They did.

Fast forward to today. Sirota’s point that Gessler is in a position to play a pivotal role in our election, and possibly a nefarious one, is obvious.

What is not obvious is that the fact that Democratic-leaning voters stayed home led to Gessler’s success in 2010, and his positioning himself to be able to play a role in 2012’s Presidential election. And this illustrates a significant difference between the bases of the two parties in Colorado (or at least the 4th CD). The Republicans handle their angst in their primaries. The Democrats handle it in the general. If a Republican doesn’t like the incumbent Republican, they primary him/her, and then support the winner in the general. If a Democrat is unhappy with the incumbent Democrat, we stay home for the general.

And we let people like Scott Gessler get elected.

So, when Gessler is in a position to hand Colorado to Romney, please remember: you - the guy who didn’t vote because Obama or Bennet or Markey wasn’t liberal enough - helped elect Mitt Romney POTUS.

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