: views from the Hill

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I've moved again ...

New location is

That should be the last move for a while. I was able to scoop up all my old posts, but my comments didn't transfer. I'll keep the site up for those who want to wander through old comments. For now. ...

Saturday, April 03, 2010

A work in progress ...

So, whilst trying to add Disqus comments (in lieu of Blogger comments which filled up with spam in no time at all), I discovered I had to move to a Blogger template to get the Disqus commenting enabled.

Fine. Whatever.

But now when things aren't working / don't look the way I'd hoped, I find I can't reinstate my old home-brew template because Blogger thinks it's busted.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Blogger comments have been up for eight hours or so ... and already I have spammish content.


I've enabled comment moderation, which really doesn't suit me, but I don't like wading through the gunk and you, gentle readers, shouldn't have to.

I'll find some alternative, but for now, there will be a delay in comments until I've deleted the obviously-not-interested-in-sal's-musings comments.

Tomorrow I'll go through and delete those that are already in place.


Testing comments

Between having to move the blog over to Blogger and having Haloscan spittle a bit and go to for-pay mode, I seem to have lost all of my Haloscan comments. Alas. They can still be found back at the old site for the blog but for now I'm swopping to Blogger comments ... yet again.

Tidal bore. Views east.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A little bit about chicken ... and rice noodles ... and chicken noodle soup - Vietnamese and Cambodia-style

I came home from my time away with yearnings for rice noodle soup from the hotel breakfast buffets -- broth-based rice noodle soup with mixed veggies and lime and sriracha. *sigh*

This week I substituted canned broth for "real" broth and that was okay for a while but today I took the chicken carcass from the roast chicken we had for supper a couple nights ago, tossed in chicken wings, onion, garlic, chicken bones from the nights in between, and ginger and concocted a tasty chicken broth.

Tonight for dinner, we had the chunky bits from the broth mixed with sriracha sauce and lime juice. (I'd bagged up the broth in 2C ZipLoc bags -- 2 quarts worth -- and put in our teeny freezer.) Tossed in chopped onion, cilantro, and shredded cheese. Folded into hot corn tortillas with chopped lettuce and ... chicken tacos!


Tomorrow's supper will be roast chicken sprinkled with spices and herbs, with smushed up roasted garlic slathered between the meat and the skin ...

The leftovers will be yet another chicken carcass for the next time I want to make a batch of chicken broth.

And so it goes. ...

Update: The roasted garlic chicken tonight was FABOO. *sigh*

I think I've migrated. ... I'm not sure I have and I'm not sure that I won't migrate again before June.

Let's see how this works.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Delicious winemaker dinner at Acquerello Restaurant

Delicious winemaker dinner at Acquerello Restaurant last night. The winemaker brought wines that the chef wanted to pair with her food. It was all =really= delish.

Before we went, his nibs said, Piemonte wines. I think we've been to the village this wine is supposed to come from. He named it. I checked. I rummaged through old digital photos we'd taken on a trip in September 2002. And, yes, we had indeed walked through the village of Serralunga d'Alba.

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We'd poked through the square and climbed up into the castle that dominates the surrounds.

We'd walked through Gaja vineyards in the morning and watched them harvesting, before we walked up to the village

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but I'm pretty sure we hadn't walked through Ettore Germano, which is a ways from the village and on the other side of the village from Gaja.

Tasty wines last night. He had a sparkling to start and a gem of an un-oaked Chardonnay before he dove into Barolos and such.

Plus Sergio Germano was a very charming man with loads to talk about truffles and wine and winemaking. Entertaining evening all around. We need to visit Acquerello more often than we do. Suzette Gresham-Tognetti makes such amazing food.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The fog burns off ... a rust bucket appears

The fog was burning off this morning, after a morning much like the ones we've been having lately. If it's not raining, it is =really= foggy in the morning and then the fog burns off and around 11A or noon we are left with a sunshiney blue day.

I was taking photos of the fog burning off ... the Ferry Building. ... 10:31A

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The SFO Bay Bridge. ... 10:49A

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About an hour later, the fog was mostly gone and one of the old military ships from the mothball fleet in Suisun Bay, near Vallejo, appeared, dragged fore, with two tugs tailing aft, headed to have its barnacles and paint scraped before it's hauled away to be scrapped.

Rust bucket. 11:42A

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Monday, February 08, 2010

[PHOTOS] Red-tailed hawk

A red tailed hawk hanging out down the hill

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Until a three-some of crows dive-bombed it until they chased it away.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cumulonimbus 03 Feb 2009

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Just a note ...

My blogging world is shredding around me.

First up, the folks who handled my comments said I'd have to pay for the service. Um. No.

While I was wondering what commenting service to use in lieu, someone/something else seems to have picked up the commenting. (Waaah?) But I still need to find a permanent vendor.

While I was still wondering what commenting service to use, I got a note from Blogger/Google saying that folks like me who FTP their blogs to their Web sites are using too many tech resources/time/help and they are shutting down the FTP service. I can either move over to Blogger and their services or find another vendor.


If you're wondering why the slowdown in blog posts, it's just me pondering my future. The blog will roll on, with a different manner of posting and a different mode of handling comments.


I'll probably freeze this blog in place and start another from scratch, which is a Royal Pain, but the easiest way to handle the transition.

(I've always been the tortoise when it comes to making decisions like this.)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lucky ship ...

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Horizon Falcon at the end of the rainbow. [26 Jan 2010]

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Storm waves. Mendocino coast

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Cliff Way. Just south of Noyo Bay. One of a handful of photos taken through the Mini's windshield. Too wet and windy out to play with my camera outside.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Storm arriving ...

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What does this photo show? Planes coming in for landing from the north, which means the wind's from the south, which means the expected storm is starting to blow in.

Friday, January 15, 2010

[RECIPE] Chicken mole for dinner last night

Last night we used up the last few pieces of chicken from the rotisserie chicken I bought for the book club meeting here 04 January. That meeting was canceled because of issues with the sewer -- alas -- and we found ourselves with a $5 rotisserie chicken from Costco for the second time in our lives.

(Why don't we buy rotisserie chickens more often? Is it because I think, "I can cook my own chicken! Why do I need to buy a pre-cooked chicken from Costco?" That Monday was a day of upsets, though, with several issues precluding a home-cooked meal for the bookers. Then, after all that, the sewer problems. ...)

We had chicken legs &c. on Monday, January 4, for dinner. Salad. Garlic bread. Chicken again the following night or maybe two.

A week later, this Monday, we took the solid pieces of chicken off the carcass and saved them and threw the carcass and the wings into a pot and made chicken vegetable soup w/ spaetzle. Finally, we're coming to the end of the chicken and have had ... eight-plus meals out of it? Amazing. (And despite me eating chicken soup w/ spaetzle for breakfast twice since the 11th, we =still= have another serving of soup and spaetzle left as well. ...)

I made mole sauce last night and popped the cooked pieces of chicken leftover from the 11th in the sauce and let them simmer a bit before serving. Delish.

Chicken Mole recipe (a snap, a cinch, easy-peasy)

Large heavy pot of a proper size to hold everything.

Add ~ 2T olive oil to the heated pan. Heat oil. Add 1 small onion, chopped. Stir around while it browns.

While it's browning, chop 2-3 garlic cloves. Put in custard cup. Add to custard cup
2T chili powder
1t ground cumin
1/2t ground cinnamon.

When the onion is showing signs of browning, toss the garlic and spices in on top. Stir until you can smell them toasting.

Add one can diced tomatoes. (I used Hunt's fire-roasted diced tomatoes w/ garlic)
Add a cup or so of Trader Joe's ménage à trois peppers, chopped. (or one green pepper, chopped)
Add 10-oz chicken broth.
Add large spoonful of peanut butter (adds some bass tones to the sauce)
Add 2 oz. chocolate, broken into smaller pieces. (Bitter preferred, but if there's no bitter in the house, any dark chocolate w/ >70% cocoa. DO NOT EVEN THINK OF USING MILK CHOCOLATE!)
Add two chipotle peppers, chopped, if you have them, or some chipotle pepper salsa if you don't, or don't worry about it if there's no chipotle peppers of any sort in the house. The flavor =is= a nice addition if you have it.

Keep stirring sauce on heat until the chocolate's melted and the peanut butter has blended in. At this point, you throw in the chicken pieces, if you are not dealing with leftover chicken.

In either case, keep stirring and bubbling until the sauce has reduced to the thickness you're happy with. (And the chicken is cooked, if you weren't dealing with pre-cooked chicken.) A bit before then, I put the pieces of cooked chicken in so they'd absorb some of the flavors before serving.

Tonight I plan to cook a few boneless chicken thighs and toss them in the (leftover fr last night) mole sauce and have an encore performance.

Delish. (And easy-peasy!)
(w/ hattip to Paula Deen, whose recipe is the foundation of this one. ...)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chicken soup for dinner tonight. ...

Chop. Chop. Chop. Garlic. Onions. Carrots. Celery. Brown a bit in olive oil. Add bay leaves, 8C water, leftover bits of a denuded roast chicken: meaty bones, wings, whatever. All tossed into the pot. Bubble for 2hrs.

Strip the chicken off the bone and tear into shreds and add back into pot. Discard bones. Retrieve bay leaves & discard.

Add some leftover chicken salvaged from the pre-denuded roasted chicken to the pot. Taste. Add Herbes de Provence. Bring to boil then shut off.

Boil some water. Make spaetzle. Strain spaetzle. (Made four batches worth so I didn't overwhelm the boiling water.) Add butter and toss spaetzle.

Reheat soup. Serve. (Me) : Spaetzle in the bowl, covered w/ soup. (He): Buttered spaetzle on the side. Soup in a bowl.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Haloscan started charging for their comment processing as of the turn of the year. I am changing comment processors and ... soon everything will be back hunky dory.


Monday, December 28, 2009

I am doing my best to keep my boat steady and my sails full.

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I am sailing into the wind and the dark. But I am doing my best to keep my boat steady and my sails full.
-- Arthur Ashe

A lone sailboat on the Bay yesterday afternoon. ...

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Why I plan to become affiliated again. ...

Soon ... some time after the holidays, I'm planning to temporarily abandon my "decline to state" status and signup as a Republican before the primaries. The CA Republican Party does not allow decline-to-state voters to vote in their primaries and I want to throw my vote to Tom Campbell for the Republican nominee for CA governor.

Sure, sure. I don't always agree with Tom's positions -- he and I don't see eye-to-eye on the health care reform debate, f'rex -- but he is a bright guy. Sharp as a tack. He thinks things through. He's amenable to changing his mind when different factors are brought to his attention. (And back when he was my Congress critter, he answered my e-mails at 3A Washington, DC, time when I dropped him notes after midnight California time.)

He listens.

Why would I change my unaffiliated to Republican-affiliated? Because Meg Whitman is the front-runner in current polls and I do =not= want Meg Whitman as the Republican nominee. And Whitman as Governor? Oh, noes! Sure, I could vote in the Democratic Party primary as an unaffiliated voter, but voting there will probably not make a huge difference in which candidate (Jerry Brown, anyone?) is chosen to run.

Tom Campbell is a =much= better choice than Whitman, but knowing the state party, he probably won't make the cut unless Meg really blows it between now and then or enough decline-to-states join (or re-join) the Republican party and vote for Campbell.

Update: For the June 2010 primary, it turns out, decline-to-states CAN vote in the Republican primary =if= you request a Republican ballot, either at your polling place on Election Day, or in advance by contacting your county elections office. Which is what I now plan to do. (Although the push this year to implement the bar failed, the push is still on within the party to bar decline-to-states from voting in future primaries, so be aware.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Last night I cooked kohlrabi for the first time.

Last night I cooked kohlrabi for the first time. (Gee. That reminds me of the first line of REBECCA: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.)

ChefRussell had served it onstuponatime, iirc, and CarolP served it up at a bookgroup meeting but me? Never. Know kohlrabi?

Bought some in Chinatown. Leaves not included. Last night I searched through cookbooks for directions. None to be found. So I turned to the Web and found the utterly delightful Farmgirl Fare blog and her paean to kohlrabi. ... Although I didn't use her recipe or any other I found on the Web, she gave me permission to cook it any ol' which-way I'd like when she wrote

Sweet and mildly flavored, kohlrabi can be braised, boiled, stuffed, sliced, scalloped, steamed, julienned, roasted, and sautéed. You can grate it into slaw, toss it into salads, slip it into soups and stews, snack on it raw with dip, and stir-fry it. You can even wrap it in foil and grill it. I've seen recipes where kohlrabi was covered in cream, sautéed with anchovies, stuffed into empanadas, fried into cakes, served with hollandaise sauce, and turned into a cinnamon brunch bake. This vegetable is versatile.

Sal's Kohlrabi:
Peel two kohlrabi. Chop into thinnish chunks, about the size of the upper joint of a thumb. Throw into a Dutch oven and sauté with some bacon fat to slightly brown the veg. Add water to barely cover and top with lid. Cook until softened and most of the water is gone. Mash with residual water. (I could've pureed in the Cuisinart but wanted a more chunky mash.) Add a generous dollop of sour cream and seasonings and a chopped green onion. Stir.

Yum. (Served two as vegetable side dish. ...)

(I also snacked on a piece or two of raw kohlrabi while I was cooking and liked it. Good addition to a veggie-and-dip platter. Kohlrabi has a texture like jicama but a more green taste. )

Monday, December 14, 2009

Truffle-palooza last Saturday night

Last Saturday was the last but one dinner for the Dissident Chef. He's putting his pirate ship into drydock so he can focus on the new restaurant that's a-building at Pier 5.

The Theme was truffles ... the fungi not the chocolate. Saturday night's menu was the long-form (we got home waaay after midnight) while Sunday's (the final final final dinner for at least a year) was a shortened version to allow folks to get to work on Monday.

Eight courses, followed by three desserts. Every course, including the desserts, had truffles either in or on or over.

(White truffle ice cream .... mmmmmm)

Photos (and menu) from Saturday's Truffle-palooza

SubCulture Dining Finally Waves Goodbye