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I certain smart man copped out to having founded my favorite Q&A stack as a way to make us engineers write more.
It is true that we engineers hardly learn to write at school and it is a shame. Even as engineers, in order to effectively work with….all those other people, need to effectively put down what we think in pixel. And have it be easy to understand by those who don’t necessarily speak code.

And so…in an effort to follow some very good advice. And because i am painfully aware of how long it’s been since i last made a post here. I am going to try to get back to writing here. Call it ‘getting ahead of a new year resolution’. I mean, only those who start early make the most, right?

So what do i expect to be writing about? Maybe technical stuff. Lots of times i use twitter to comment on some tech news but it would be nice to get back to a medium where i don’t sacrifice grammar or punctuation for a character limit. Probably some rants about life as an engineers. Probably some dev ops ramblings. Maybe even some cooking posts again, though recent diet changes have made cooking less than fun.

So…stay tuned. And by all means, whoever reads this, poke holes at logic or grammar or ideas. It only serves to make me better at this.

Vegan baking

Marianne and I have a new obsession. Vegan baking! See, Lent started less than a month after Christmas this year which is far far too early! not enough cheesecake, not enough tiramisu, not enough real chocolate icecream….ehm! sorry! mouth watering there a bit….

So, she made some vegan peanut butter cookies…and I am responding with macaroons, which she might be careful trying because last time I checked, my brother HATED coconut flakes (weirdo!)

So….this is a modified version of this recipe. Yes, I rarely use a recipe as is because life doesn’t work that way :P

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups of sweetened coconut flakes
2/3 cups of sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 almond slivers
2 tbsp applesauce

Turn up the oven at 350!

First, I toasted the almonds in a little saucepan on low heat then went at them with a knife….a nice semi fine chop


Then, in my mixing bowl, I mixed the coconut with the sugar..cute white flakes!


Vanilla extract (real! not imitation..yesI I listen to Ina!) added to the applesauce first. Because I am all about even distribution.


And it all comes together!!


I’ll spare you the gross details but I went at the mix by hands and that was the end result


Finally, I scooped the mix using my ice cream scooper. And because my scooper is not the lever kind, that was also messy.

Please ignore my cookie sheet’s condition. An empanada incident caused some battle scars.

By now the oven should be nice and warm, I popped the cookie sheet in there and set my timer for 10 minutes. Which was enough time to upload pics and cleanup. Or, if I was already in my new apartment, just enough tine to load the dishwasher….


So…first lesson, I should get parchment paper..that’s probably why I am not gonna have nice pictures of the cookies in a plate.
Second lesson, the cookies need some serious watching….you want them toasted but not burnt on the bottom which is very easy to happen….

But hey! Vegan macaroon with some good soy chai tea? not too bad!

UPDATE!
AFter the 10 minutes the cookies were still too soft. I placed them on a greased foil paper and put that for another 20 minutes in my toaster oven at 350. THAT did the trick. The result was twice baked macaroons that were very crunchy on the outside…yum!

Stuffed goodness

This is probably gonna be the best way to get my veggies from now on..

This is a twist on this recipe. I started cooking before I could find it again and I ended up doing without some ingredients….

The cast:

- 2 eggplants..medium sized

- 1 package ground turkey, lean

- 1 medium onion, diced

- 2 cloves of garlic

- 2 tbsp tomato paste

- 1 tbsp butter (I use butter alternative…great taste nowhere near the calories)

- 2 handful grape tomatoes

- Crumbled feta cheese 

- Spices: salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes, all spice, garam masala, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme

Start by halving the eggplants lengthwise….scoop out the middle and dice that…

Turn on the oven…375 degrees

In a large skillet, heat the butter, then add the onions. 

Let the onions soften for a couple of minutes then add the garlic

After about another minute, add the diced eggplant hearts….

after yet another minute (see the pattern?) add the ground meat…..break it up with the spoon…..add the spices and leave on medium high heat for a bit…

Get the eggplants ready by putting aluminum foil in a baking dish and spraying some olive oil in there…..set the eggplant halves

Wash and half the grape tomatoes…by now the meat mixture should have some liquid in there…add in the tomato paste and mix….then add the grape tomatoes..

Let it all cook until the liquid is all gone..

Spoon the filling in the eggplants, and top with the feta cheese…

Put it all in the oven till the cheese has browned a bit and the eggplant shells are soft…

Place in plate….bring a spoon and a knife….enjoy!!!!

PS: I’m gonna miss experiments like this when Lent starts and all I have to play with is lentils, veggies and….beans…..sigh….

Tomorrow, I plan beef straganoff in the crock pot…we’ll see if it’ll be worth a post ;)

Catfish casserole

For a person who used to disagree with her mom all the time, I sure cook a lot of her recipes.

This is an oldie that I used to refuse to eat until I cooked it myself (i.e.: made my own twist). I am a very finicky tomato sauce maker. I have to have the right ratio of onions to garlic, the garlic HAS to be freshly chopped (none of that powder stuff for my tomato sauce!) and a little more freshly ground black pepper than most people use. And a bit of red wine wouldn’t hurt it either!

I am especially proud of myself for managing to take all these pics while cooking and cooking while starving. Nothing makes a girl hungry like an hour long Developers’ meeting :P

So, Here goes. (forgive the shaky pictures. I was THAT hungry)

Ingredients:
1 diced onion
1 diced thin garlic clove
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can tomato sauce
salt, pepper. Spices you like in a tomato sauce
2 fillets of catfish
1-1/2 cup of small grain wheat

Saute the oil, onions, and garlic in a sauce pan for a few minutes till they get tender. Dump on the tomato sauce. once it starts to boil, lower it to a simmer. Add salt, pepper and spices to taste (adding a splash of red wine won’t hurt) and let all simmer for a few minutes.

While the sauce cooks, wash the wheat grains thoroughly and spread in an oven-safe dish. lay the catfish fillets on top and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Once the sauce is cooked, pour that over the fish and wheat. Cover the whole thing with foil and put into a preheated oven at 350 degree.

It should not cook for long. In about 20 minutes, you end up with beautiful cooked grains and nice flaky fish :)

Whoever said you have to have white wine with fish is mean and controlling. I used in the sauce a Beujoulais wine which is a french burgundy wine. It’s a little tart but not overly dry at all. Thanks to my dear brother for introducing me to it.

Motherland?

I got into this discussion today on the phone with my Mom that we have not had in a while.

It started out with her asking me if I wanted anything from Egypt as she, my Dad and my Brother are visiting Egypt in a week, and quickly turned into a discussion of my general disdain towards anything Egyptian.

I make no secret of my malcontent with the Egyptian culture. Despite the nervous stares that gets me from Mom’s friends at church and angry comments from some family members, I still hold the opinion that the Egyptian people as a whole will never advance beyond being a third world country and will always be those people who sing about the past and look only at their feet and borrow money from most of the world while internally holding a self righteous feeling of superiority.

I could go on for a while about things I don’t like in the Egyptian culture, but it all really hit me when hearing about how my aunt was refused admission to a handful of hospital, got driven around in an ambulance till she died in the ambulance because non of the hospitals wanted to ‘take the risk’ of her dying in their hands.

So…no…I feel no loyalty, no sense of belong and no respect for the country that finds it acceptable to do such a thing….it just happens to be a piece of land where my extended family has to live.