Parte 0: Italian Road Trip September 2019

It’s not every year that we get TWO trips to Italy. Last time our focus was Tuscany. This time was a mix of new and old destinations in Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, showing Sarah’s mom some stuff we knew, and some we didn’t. Clearly this is going to have to be split into several different posts. We took way too many pictures to cover it all in one post. Stay tuned for individual segments to follow.

The Route

Continue reading Parte 0: Italian Road Trip September 2019

Vegetable Broth

A good solid broth makes all things possible! And a vegetarian one is accessible to everyone. This recipe is very simple and can be personalized to your own taste or use case. The amounts shown are what I use for an 8-liter (roughly 8 quart) pot.

1-2 onions, root end trimmed and sliced in half
3 carrots, trimmed and cut into 3-4 pieces
4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into 3-4 pieces
1 bunch parsley
1 clove garlic, lightly crushed
5-6 sprigs thyme
10 peppercorns
2 T salt
2 T soy sauce or tamari

Add all ingredients to a large soup pot, fill with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a bare simmer and allow at least 2 liters to cook off. Filter and adjust seasoning as desired.

Whoa! Air!

For the last eleven months I’ve been cultivating a beard. I told everyone at work I’d shave it when we reached a certain milestone at work. Well, the work thing finally happened today. True to my word, the beard is gone, as of about 20 minutes ago.

I’m not excited about shaving (nearly) every day again, but I do look forward to eating without

  • straining my food like a baleen whale
  • giving food particles hundreds of jumping-off points as they try to land on my shirt
  • hogging the napkins
Continue reading Whoa! Air!

Fast Break to Berchtesgaden and Burg Hohenwerfen

We planned a rendezvous with some of Sarah’s extended family months ago and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

We’d been to Berchtesgaden before, several years ago, in that dark, rainy period before Christmas. Visiting it in the summer was a very different experience! Also, this time we stayed in the Kempinski hotel above the town. We were only there one night — just long enough to catch up with the fam and send them back on their way home to the USA.

Continue reading Fast Break to Berchtesgaden and Burg Hohenwerfen

Again with the passwords

TLDR:

  • Don’t re-use passwords, ever.
  • Make the passwords you use cryptographically strong — adequate length, no stock phrases, and a mix of cases, numbers, and symbols can’t hurt. Lots of sites are dumb about these rules.
  • Use a system that works for you to generate and store them: Password Safe, KeePass, 1Password, LastPass, whatever. Google them.
  • Retire old passwords, and replace them with completely unrelated new, better ones.

Bonus Points:

  • Use a password system that replicates across all your devices (lappy, tablet, desktop, phone).
  • Save yourself some headache by generating human-readable (but still of acceptable complexity) passwords for when you do have to read from one device and type/tap into another, or read one off to another human.
  • Set your password system bug you to update your passwords periodically.

https://pw.cliff1976.net is my gift to you for generating those.

Continue reading Again with the passwords

Cutting Winter Short in Catalonia

Oops! This post has been lurking in our drafts for a couple months. Sorry about that!

We needed to get outta town for a change of scenery after getting most of the way through the winter. Plus, it was a chance to celebrate a milestone and a Hallmark Holiday.™ Barcelona was the right mix of travel effort, climate, and activity.

Continue reading Cutting Winter Short in Catalonia

Basic Pizza Sauce

This came together as the amalgamation of at least 6 different pizza sauce recipes. Skip the pepper flakes if you prefer it mild. When cooking, I like to leave the sauce slightly thinner than optimal. We make pan pizza at home, so the thick crust needs a longer bake than the toppings. We bake the crust for 10 minutes with sauce only, then 10 more minutes with cheese and toppings. The first bake allows the sauce to evaporate extra liquid.

1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 14.5 oz/400g can whole stewed tomatoes
1/2 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
large pinch salt
large pinch sugar
1/2 t whole fennel seeds
large pinch dried red pepper flakes (optional)
1 small onion, peeled and halved

Heat a small saucepan to medium and add butter and oil, cooking until milk solids just start to brown. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until very fragrant. Add tomatoes and juices to the pan. If you like your tomatoes chunky, add them to the pot whole and break them up with a spatula; for smoother sauce, run them through a food processor first. Stir in all of the rest of the ingredients plus a half-can of water, bring sauce to a simmer and cook on medium-low for one hour or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove onion, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.