Monday, December 31, 2018

Onion Dip Experiment #2

It's time to try the onion dip recipe again.

Here are my notes from last time.

Here's what I'm doing this time...

Ingredients
  • 2-3 small-medium onions (2 cups finely chopped)
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups, plain yogurt
  • 2 TBS chives
Directions
Chop the onions finely. Try not to cry. They're just onions.

Melt the butter. Add the onions and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook until golden brown. You'll know they're golden brown when a spouse or other responsible adult tells you you're golden brown. It should take about 30-35 minutes.

Put the cooked onions in a tightly covered dish and refrigerate until cool. While you wait, you can tweet or write a blog post about the experience.

Once the onions are cool, mix them in a medium bowl with the yogurt, 1/4 tsp salt, the pepper, and the chives.

I know I said I was going to try adding cayenne pepper. We'll see about that, and I'll let you know. Nah, I think it's perfect as-is.

So as promised, the sodium content. The TOTAL sodium in the whole recipe is just about 1000 mg:
  • onions: 8 mg
  • unsalted butter: 0 mg
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt: 840 mg
  • pepper: <1 mg
  • yogurt: 150 mg
  • chives: 0 mg
So one eighth of the recipe (about 1/4 cup) would have about 120 mg of sodium.

Let's compare this with Lipton's onion soup mix. The mix itself has 610 mg. The sour cream adds another 40-something.

This recipe reduces the sodium by more than 80%. That's quite a savings!!

Can we get that number up to 96%? Stay tuned, I'll try that in a couple weeks!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Sausage Bread

Originally from an old friend of the family.

Sausage Bread

  • 1 box of hot roll mix
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 tsp Tabasco
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 lb sausage, hot or sweet

Mix dough according to directions on box. Let rise 45 min. Roll out 1/4" thick oval. Cook onions wish sausage (not brown). Drain excess fat. Add all other ingredients. Stir until cheese has melted. Let cool. Don't spread to edges. Roll up and pinch ends together. Shape into crescent. Place on greased cookie sheet (with edges). Bake 20 min at 400 degrees until brown and toothpick comes out fairly clean.

I'm going to try and make this with gluten free bread dough sometime soon. I'll report back.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Italian Wedding Soup

I found this great recipe for Italian Wedding Soup.

I used a one-pound box of baby spinach for the greens.

Instead of the three kinds of meat, I just used a pound of ground turkey.

Gillian's (unseasoned) gluten free bread crumbs worked very nicely.

I made the meatballs smaller - about 3/4 inch - which I find much nicer for soup.

And when you put them into the broth, it's a good idea to count them, so you know just how many you have if you're divvying them up for a large crowd. This batch served thirteen people as a soup course with a couple cups left over.

The spinach and puffed-up meatballs insisted on floating to the top, so swirling in the egg and cheese mixture was a bit difficult. I actually removed a bunch of it to perform this step!

Also worth noting: The meatball parsley should be chopped finely. And the recipe calls for a teaspoon of minced garlic - two cloves in the garlic press was just the right amount.

Garnish means "don't eat me" in Italian. Next time I'd use whole leaves of parsley and more coarsely grated cheese. (yes, eat the cheese)

Here's a pantry/fridge/freezer/shopping list for your convenience:

3 quarts homemade chicken stock (I might have used four? sorry, not sure)
1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup unseasoned (gluten free for my needs) bread crumbs
1/8 lb. Parmigiano-Reggiano (sorry, not sure how much I actually used)
3 large eggs
a medium onion
a bunch of fresh parsley
two cloves of garlic
kosher salt
black pepper grinder

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Onion Dip Experiment #1

I love onion dip. Who doesn't? People on low-sodium diets, that's who. And besides, who wants all the crap that's in those processed soup packages? Not me, thanks!

So I went looking for an onion soup recipe to play with, and I found this one. My plan was to make it the first time exactly as written, but since I had some sour cream left over from Hanukkah, I combined that with some plain yogurt (Siggi's). And instead of unsalted butter and salt, I used the Land O' Lakes spread we had in the fridge. The rest of the salt I figured I would leave out.

The mixture is way too thick for my taste, so I think instead of the cream cheese, I'll stick with all yogurt next time - Greek or Icelandic.

My dip seemed a little bland, so I added some garlic powder. I guess I wish I'd read the original recipe's comments section, because somebody suggested adding a little cayenne pepper. That seems like a better idea.

Another commenter suggested getting a better texture by putting the cooked onions through a food processor.  That seems like a lot of work, so I think next time I'll chop the onions instead of just slicing them before cooking them.

Now as for the salt, the recipe calls for cooking with a half teaspoon of salt, which I left out, though I did use a buttery spread containing about 25 mg of sodium per serving of dip. The additional quarter teaspoon of salt the recipe calls for only adds another 30 mg of sodium per serving, so I think next time, I'll leave it in. The overall sodium savings compared with processed soup mix has to be at least 500 mg. Once I have the recipe perfected the way I like it, I'll do that math.

One more thing, I put a small container in the freezer. I'll thaw it out next week and see if it's any good. Update: I froze a 5 oz yogurt container of the original unsalted recipe. It was in there for about a week and then I put it in the refrigerator for about a day to thaw. The texture was just as it was, still too thick for my taste. And taste, just the same. I would have added some cayenne, but dang it, there wasn't any in the cupboard. That will have to wait for experiment #2.

UPDATE: read all about Onion Dip Experiment #2!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Soup: Split Pea with Turkey

Thanksgiving took place under my roof, so naturally I took custody of the turkey carcass - with an eye toward soup, of course! On the other hand, I've had a hankering for split pea soup, but preferring to avoid all the sodium that ham is full of.

Enter this recipe. I used turkey broth instead of chicken. And instead of ham, I used the turkey that boiled off the bones during the broth-making. And I left out the salt (and forgot about the pepper).

It's really good!

There's still plenty of broth left over, some of which will turn into Sherry Noodle Soup. But I also plan to make a batch (or half batch) of split pea with a cup of water swapped out for sherry.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Apache Reverse Proxy for Microservice Subdomain

You've got Apache 2 running. What more does a plain-old simple HTML site need, after all?

Now you want to add a microservice, but you don't want to add more hosting. Can you add it to this existing host? Yes you can!

Here's how to add a subdomain - tictactoe.example.com - that will send requests to your microservice that's listening on port 8888.

Put the following in /etc/apache2/sites-available/tictactoe.com.conf

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName tictactoe.example.com

    ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
    DocumentRoot /var/www/html

    ProxyPass "/"  "http://example.com:8888/"
    ProxyPassReverse "/"  "http://example.com:8888/"

    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined
</VirtualHost>


Then add your site:

$ sudo a2ensite tictactoe.com

The best part is your Go code (or Rust, Ruby, Python, whatever) can just handle HTTP. You can use Let's Encrypt/certbot to add the HTTPS virtual host that will proxy secure traffic to your microservice as well.

UPDATE: Nothing getting an invalid command error trying to do this on an Apache without proxy enabled. So...

$ sudo a2enmod proxy_http

Sunday, November 11, 2018

All kinds of Ubuntu troubles (fixed)

All three kinds of Ubuntu troubles (all of them fixed)

1. Can't get Ubuntu to start up without using recovery mode? Try making this change in /etc/defaults/grub

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="nomodeset" 

But then don't forget to

$ sudo update-grub

I've lost track of all the sites I looked at that steered me in the right direction, but I was still having trouble because I'd forgotten the update-grub step!



2a. Trouble getting VNC to install and start up? Look no further than Ubuntu's own Screen Sharing feature!

2b. Once I got that working, I discovered that I could not connect using:
  • the RealVNC viewer (error: "Unable to connect to VNC Server using your chosen security setting. Either upgrade VNC Server to a more recent version from RealVNC, or select a weaker level of encryption.")
  • MacOS Screen Sharing (error: "The software on the remote computer appears to be incompatible with this version of Screen Sharing.")
Fortunately I found a video explaining the solution. Install and launch dconf Editor. Then navigate to org > gnome > desktop > remote-access and turn off the require-encryption option. Once I did this, I was able to use all of my VNC clients!