Classic Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, certified D.O.P. if possible
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste

Steps

  1. Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and crush them with your hands
    1. Afterwards, fill the can about 1/4 to 3/4 way with water; slosh around to capture the tomato juices and bits, and set aside for a moment.
    2. Use more water if you want a lot of sauce, or are finishing meatballs, or want it to simmer for a long time.  Use less water if you don’t have much time
  2. Slice the garlic cloves as fine as you can
  3. Put the pan on medium heat and add the olive oil
  4. When the olive oil starts to shimmer, toss in the garlic and let it sizzle
  5. BEFORE the garlic starts to brown, pour in the tomatoes, followed by the water from the can, and sprinkle on the oregano and pepper flakes.  If you’re using fresh basil, lay it on top.
  6. Turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.  It will get a nice orange-y color to the top.  You can reduce it until there’s no visible water, but no more than that – remove it from the heat if you reach that point!

Notes

  • This recipe is great because it’s tasty and doesn’t take a lot of extra work, but it does take time.  Expect prep plus cooking to be an hour.
  • You really want to use a heavy stainless pan, 12″ or larger.
  • Our local grocery store carries canned whole San Marzano tomatoes, and they are certified D.O.P., but they already have basil added (so we don’t actually put additional basil in).
  • I’ve tried using canned crushed tomatoes but it messes with the texture and flavor.  Crushing them yourself is easy yet so satisfying.
  • Our best experience was making meatballs at the same time, and finishing them off in the sauce.  The sauce picked up some extra flavors that made it sublime.

Source: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015987-classic-marinara-sauce

Sausage and Vegetable Roast

This is a kind of suggestion-type recipe, throw in your favorite vegetables and ignore the ones you don’t like (or don’t want to do today).

Ingredients

  • Two medium-sized red potatoes
  • 1 head of broccoli (or cauliflower)
  • 2 bell peppers (use two different colors, for the look)
  • 1/2 pound green beans (a couple of handfuls)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 3/4 pound of sausage
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Steps

  1. Heat up an oven to 400° F
  2. Cut up the potatoes into small (less than 1 inch) pieces. If they’re too big they won’t cook fast enough
  3. Cut up the broccoli, peppers, and asparagus into comfortably-bite-size pieces, and snap the stems off the beans
  4. Slice the sausage into “coins”
  5. Toss veggies, sausage, cheese, and spices into a large bowl with enough olive oil to lightly coat everything (a few tablespoons)
  6. Spread out onto a couple of pans
    1. Everything should be a single layer; doubling up will lead to a mix of burnt and raw bits
  7. Bake for 15 minutes
  8. Flip the veggies and reverse the pans top to bottom
  9. Bake for another 10-15 minutes

Serve with brown rice!

Variations

Swap in a cup of any of the following:

  • butternut squash
  • zucchini
  • sliced carrots
  • a sweet potato
  • turnip
  • radishes
  • sliced jalapeños
  • cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • red onions
  • mushrooms

Failed to retrieve directory listing

filezilla connection log with "failed to retrieve directory listing" error

Filezilla’s opaque error

I occasionally run a local vsftp daemon on my development machine for testing.  I don’t connect to it directly — it’s used to back up unit tests that need an FTP connection.  No person connects to it, least of all me, and the scripts that do connect are looking at small, single-use directories.

I needed to test a new feature: FTPS, aka FTP with SSL (Not to be confused with SFTP, a very different beast.)  Several of our vendors will be requiring it soon; frankly, I’m surprised they haven’t required it sooner.  But I digress.

To start this phase of the project I needed to make sure that my local vsftp daemon supports FTPS so that I can run tests against it.  So I edit /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf to add some lines to my config, and restart:

rsa_cert_file=/etc/ssl/private/vsftpd.pem
rsa_private_key_file=/etc/ssl/private/vsftpd.pem
ssl_enable=YES

But Filezilla bombs with an opaque error message:

Status: Resolving address of localhost
Status: Connecting to 127.0.0.1:21...
Status: Connection established, waiting for welcome message...
Status: Initializing TLS...
Status: Verifying certificate...
Status: TLS connection established.
Status: Logged in
Status: Retrieving directory listing...
Command: PWD
Response: 257 "/home/dad" is the current directory
Command: TYPE I
Response: 200 Switching to Binary mode.
Command: PASV
Response: 227 Entering Passive Mode (127,0,0,1,249,239).
Command: LIST
Response: 150 Here comes the directory listing.
Error: GnuTLS error -15: An unexpected TLS packet was received.
Error: Disconnected from server: ECONNABORTED - Connection aborted
Error: Failed to retrieve directory listing

I clue in pretty quickly that “GnuTLS error -15: An unexpected TLS packet was received” is actually a red herring, so I drop the SSL from the connection and get a different error:

Response: 150 Here comes the directory listing.
Error: Connection closed by server
Error: Failed to retrieve directory listing

Huh, that’s not particularly helpful, shame on you Filezilla.  I drop down further to a command-line FTP client to get the real error:

$ ftp localhost
Connected to localhost.
220 (vsFTPd 3.0.3)
Name (localhost:dad): 
530 Please login with USER and PASS.
530 Please login with USER and PASS.
SSL not available
331 Please specify the password.
Password:
230 Login successful.
Remote system type is UNIX.
Using binary mode to transfer files.
ftp> ls
200 PORT command successful. Consider using PASV.
150 Here comes the directory listing.
421 Service not available, remote server has closed connection
ftp> quit

Ah.  Now we’re getting somewhere.

A quick perusal turned up a stackexchange answer with the assertion that “the directory causing this behaviour had too many files in it (2,666).”  My own directory is much smaller, about a hundred files.  According to this bug report, however, the real maximum may be as few as 32 files.  It’s not clear to me whether this is a kernel bug, a vsftpd bug, or just a bad interaction between recent kernels and vsftpd.

Happily, there is a work-around: add “seccomp_sandbox=NO” to vsftpd.conf.

Since vsftpd’s documentation is spare, and actual examples are hard to come by, here’s my working config:

listen=YES
local_enable=YES
write_enable=YES
chroot_local_user=YES
allow_writeable_chroot=YES
seccomp_sandbox=NO
ssl_enable=YES
rsa_cert_file=/etc/ssl/private/vsftpd.pem
rsa_private_key_file=/etc/ssl/private/vsftpd.pem

Cup-Eggs, Keto style

Terrible photo including my nasty muffin tin. But they are very yummy.

We can take the long personal story as read, yeah? Straight into the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 2 or 3 glugs* of heavy cream
  • diced peppers (two colors, at least, for the pretty)
  • Mexi-cheese

What is a glug, you ask?Tip over the jug, and stop pouring when it has made the glug noise the stated number of times. Yes, it is a technical term!

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350.
  2. Mix all 12 eggs and the cream in a bowl using a whisk or a fork. It should get a little frothy, but not too bad.
  3. Pull out a muffin pan, and either spray the cups with cooking spray, or use cupcake papers (which is what I do because my muffin pans are ancient and rusty).
  4. Pour a roughly equal amount of egg/cream mixture into each cup.
  5. Drop some of the peppers into each cup.
  6. Drop a good-sized pinch of Mexi-cheese (or the shredded cheese of your choice) into each cup.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Understand – these are all guidelines. You don’t need to use peppers (asparagus is yummy), or Mexi-cheese. If you can’t handle dairy, coconut oil is a great substitute. Try things! Make mistakes! Enjoy!

Aye, lads…

Aye, lads, it’s chilly

But not as chilly as our boy Willie!

You see, he’s dead.

So goes an old family refrain. It comes out often during the winter, especially when someone remarks that “it’s a bit chilly.”

There’s a particular cadence, too:

Person 1: “Aye lads, it’s chilly.”
Person 2 (not in the least bit somber): “Not as chilly as our boy Willie.”
Everyone (in a cheerful chorus): “You see, he’s dead!

We’ve lost the genesis of it, but Megh thinks there was a second refrain as well. “Something about being colder than a witch’s tit,” she says, but can’t remember more.

Super Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

Source:

Genius Kitchen’s Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

Notes:

  • Use metal cookie sheets, not a baking stone. You’re going straight from the fridge to a nice hot oven. The stone will not survive the transfer.
  • Use plenty of flour on your cutting surface.
  • Cut the dough into pieces of about a third of the dough each, and only pull one of them out of the fridge at a time to roll out and cut.
  • You are going to use so much plastic wrap with this recipe.
  • Its totally worth it.
  • To get the different colors of frosting, I usually get the biggest thing of vanilla frosting I can, and food color bits of it in sandwich bags. Cut off the tip of one corner and hey-presto decorating bags!

Ingredients:

  • 6 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c softened butter
  • 1 c brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1 c unsulphated molasses

Directions:

  1. Sift together the first three ingredients in a side bowl (not the one you plan on mixing everything in, you will regret that if you try)
  2. In a mixer with a big bowl, cream butter and sugar
  3. Add spices & salt, then eggs, then molasses
  4. Slowly add flour mixture (not kidding about the speed – try to do it fast, and the whole thing explodes into a powdery mess)
  5. Combine everything at low speed
  6. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap, and chill for an hour
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  8. Put down parchment paper and flour it really well
  9. Roll to 1/8 inch thickness (WHO ACTUALLY DOES THAT? I usually do 1/4)
  10. Cut with cookie cutters, and place them on the cookie sheet
  11. Chill the sheet with the cookies on it for 15 min
  12. Go straight from the fridge to the oven
  13. Cook for 8-10 min
Cool completely before decorating.

Disney Memories

Way, way back, before there was an internet or any technology really, there were kids, and a postal service, and Disney, and life was good.  Not great because the world was still black and white, but it was still pretty good.

Young Meghan wanted the Disney to become one with the kids, so she used the nascent postal service, with their pony expresses, clipper ships, and smoke signals, to ask Disney to come to her school.  To their credit they did reply via the same route, but alas they lacked the technology to be in multiple places at once and declined her gracious invitation.

disney replies, they won't come

I uncovered this letter, framed, while we were cleaning our room.  (Yes, even adults who were once children must clean their room from time to time.)  Meghan refused to keep it, so I have scanned it for posterity and posted it to the internet for eternity.

BMG

meghan @ blue man group
The ushers passed out strips of paper as we entered, suggesting we “turn it headbands or scarfs, or whatever you like.” Meghan liked a hair bow.

I got a text from my sister-in-law on a Thursday: would you like a pair of tickets to see Blue Man Group this Sunday?  Something came up and we can’t use them.

Always quick on my feet, I got back to her over an hour later, asking her where (even though there’s only one place in the area).

Both girls declined repeated offers to go with me.  Apparently I smell bad or something, but opportunity only knocks once.  At least Meghan was willing to go, but only after I promised to keep to the speed limit this time.*

audience

The show was hilarious and high-energy.  It does appear to evolve over time, as it’s not the same show that we saw last time – except for the general tenor it was basically a new show to me.  If you too haven’t seen it in twenty years, go again.

*this is a short story: before Meghan and I were married we went to see Blue Man Group with Kennon and Katie.  While cruising down the Massachusetts Turnpike I was pulled over for “speeding and weaving.”  I disputed the ticket because I honestly don’t think I was speeding when the cop saw me (I now freely admit to having been speeding earlier) and the weaving charge was just plain stupid.  I was half successful.