Panettone French Toast on Boxing Day

Panettone French Toast with Bacon for Boxing Day Winter Holidays 2008
This is a picture of Panettone made into French Toast served with very crisp baked bacon

Il Panettone is a traditional Christmas bread. The best that I've found imported to the USA is La Loggia. Bauli is also good, but not as moist. Naturally leavened, it somehow survives months on a cargo ship and weeks in a refrigerator after opening, without preservatives. A tradition is to make French Toast out of the Panettone on the day after Christmas, or Boxing day. Here's my recipe. Preheat an oven, preferably with a baking stone in it, to 400ºF.

  • One egg per person, separated
  • One teaspoon of Gran Marnier, two drops of vanilla extract, a grind of sea salt and a grate or two of nutmeg
  • One tablespoon of heavy cream per person
  • Two Slices of Panettone per person

Note that there isn't any additional sugar. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks, beat the egg yolks with the remaining ingredients, excepting the Panettone slices. Fold the seasoned egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Butter a glass baking dish that is sufficiently large enough to hold all of the Panettone slices in one layer. Pour half the batter into the bottom of the baking dish, arrange the panettone slices in one layer in the baking dish, cover with the remaining batter. If possible, let it sit overnight, or at least for two hours in the refrigerator. Place the baking dish in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, then into another oven, or reduce the heat, at 225ºF for another 15 to 30 minutes. I also like to serve this dish with crisp bacon or pancetta. Cook thickly sliced bacon in a 225ºF oven for two hours. Drain the fat after the first half-hour and then arrange the bacon on paper towels and cover with more paper towels and cook for the remaining time. You might like powdered sugar over it or maple syrup. I like it plain.

Festivus Hogswatch Solstice Christmachanukwansa 2008

The winter holidays are upon us, and it's time to cook and cook and cook. Of course, the holidays are all about people, but for me, only from the standpoint of them eating what I cook. :p

Solstice

For Solstice, I made one of my favorite dishes, Maccheroni alla Chitarra con Abruzzo Polpettine, though I made it more of a ragù with the meatballs as the recipe says, veal shanks and pork baby back ribs. I made over three pounds of meatballs, as I'll be using them for Christmas supper as well. I served the veal shanks on Solstice, as that's what I like, and since it's also the day I turned 53, I figured what I like mattered. &#59;) Dad likes the pork ribs, so, that's what I'll serve on Christmas Day.

I hunt the solstice shrub on this day, traditionally, but this year I went the day before, as it rained on the Solstice. I brought it up to the living room on the Solstice and set it up to be decorated later.

Christmas Eve

Friends and relatives from around the Bay Area to Carmel decided not to brave the wet weather that we're having this year. Bunkey is still in Iraq, though this is his last year. Without the big appetites that I was expecting this year, we're not doing the traditional seven fishes this year, just four. :>> For four people. This year, we'll be having a soup of anchovies and white beans, Dad's making his tuna in marinara over spaghetti and I'm make a putanesca sauce to go with it. We're also having Chilean Sea Bass, brushed with olive oil and lemon, roasted in the oven and Shrimp Scampi. I'll be serving a latke type of side with those last made of four potatoes and two zucchinis, stripped in a mandolin (or the big holes in a cheese grater), squeezed dry, and mixed with two leeks, sliced thin and sautéed, and two eggs, patted into cakes and fried, then served with sour cream.

Part of the fun of Christmas Eve is decorating the solstice shrub and watching Hogswatch (the movie based upon the Terry Pratchett book, and my favorite winter holiday movie).

Christmas Day

Four people again will be eating on Christmas Day, so nothing too elaborate. Dad is making Italian Wedding or Holiday soup (chicken stock, spinach, teeny-tiny meatballs and cubes of parsley frittata), and I'll be making spinach & cheese ravioli with the meatballs and pork rig ragù from the Solstice and a roast chicken basted with a rosemary twig dipped in olive oil & garlic, served with Brussels Sprouts & Chestnuts, as I make for Thanksgiving.

Boxing Day

This year we're going to friends for a ham dinner on Boxing Day. I'm looking forward to eating and not cooking.

New Year's and Epiphany

Three more winter holidays are coming, and don't forget that the 12 days start too. New Year's Eve is often crab cioppino, New Year's Day is often baby back ribs in sauerkraut, ham hocks and hopping john, and other fine stuff. I'll blog about these holidays later.

That's all of that. Enjoy your holidays, whatever your beliefs, and may Peace be upon the land.

SOA-C SOA MDM SaaS

We'll be leading a session at the SOA Consortium Meeting being held at the Santa Clara Hyatt Regency on 2008 December 10 & 11. I'm saying "leading a session" because, as opposed to the normal slide deck in MS PowerPoint, OpenOffice.org/NeoOffice Impress or Apple Keynote, we'll be using a mindmap to, as the agenda says:

"An interactive session based upon a mindmap for developing a system architecture using Master Data Management (MDM), Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Software as a Service (SaaS) principles. The goal is not to talk about having an enterprise mashup with salesforce.com, but how to apply these principles to internal enterprise initiatives. We'll discuss the success, lessons learned and future of integrating MDM & SOA, and how this approach allows IT to provision business needs quickly through a SaaS approach to the users. Bring your own experiences and ideas, as we'll be expanding the mindmap in the direction you want. A PDF of the basic mindmap will be emailed to all members of the SOA-C and be included in the meeting handout. Changes to the mindmap made during the session will be posted after the meeting."

As consultants, we like to listen &#59;) and as believers in the power of collaboration, we like to leverage the wisdom of the group rather than pontificate from a podium. Indeed, this opportunity to speak came through interactions on Twitter, the so-called micro-blogging 24x7 TeleInterActive conversation. Thanks to Brenda Michelson, or @bmichelson by Twitter handle, for arranging this opportunity. The result of all this, is that we prefer to have a fully interactive session with the participants. We want the conversation to go in new and interesting directions. The way we do this, is much like the job of a community manager, but at the micro level. We're hoping that all will join in, and it's our job to assure that we maximize the value of the conversation to the group without abusing anyone's comfort level.

The point of this discussion is to explore how the concepts and principles of Master Data Management (MDM), Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Software as a Service (SaaS) can help Information Technology (IT) departments better serve their customers. We'll be exploring how MDM and SOA work in a SaaS environment from our work with several SaaS firms, how SaaS companies leverage these principles to quickly provision and respond to their customers, and how this differs from a traditional IT department responding to business users and bringing them into production.

One of the most important aspects of this area, is the idea of data services, and how Master Data Management works within a Service-Oriented Architecture to give the users what they really need: access to legacy, historical and transient data.

We'll be starting with our MDM, SOA & SaaS mindmap, collapsed to the first level of branches, and following the branches that are of most interest to the participants. We'll be extending and modifying the mindmap as we go along, and posting the revised mindmap on this blog after the session.

Thanksgiving 2008

This year we've decided not to go to The Sardine Factory in Monterey, with me cooking on the weekend. I'll just be cooking tonight and tomorrow. At the request of @IdaRose and @TiffanyAnderson via Twitter, where I'm @JAdP, here's my menu and recipes. Nothing new really. I'm following my traditions of the past few years.

As always... Don't forget to preheat your oven(s) and simmering bricks. &#59;)

Colonial Virginia Peanut & Chestnut Soup

  • Parboil raw peanuts in the shell for about 10 minutes, then roast them for another 10 in a medium oven.
  • Cut an X in the shells of raw chestnuts and roast in the medium oven for about 20 minutes.
  • Allow the peanuts to cool, and then put the chestnuts in a brown paper bag, just until they're cool enough to handle, and then shell them.
  • Cook a rich vegetable stock that includes the normal onion, parsnip, carrot, celery, bouquet garni and garlic, but also has a diced turnip in it.
  • When the stock has been simmering on the bricks for most of the day, add the peanuts, still in the shell, as well as the shelled and skinned chestnuts into the stock.
  • After about 10 minutes, remove the peanuts and allow to cool, and then shell.
  • Using a stick blender or a food mill, purée the stock, leaving all the vegetables and chestnuts.
  • If too thick, add more stock or hot water to thin.
  • Shave a raw turnip with a mandolin or slice it thinly with your favorite, sharpest knife, and add the cooked, shelled peanuts and slices of turnip to the soup, and cook for another half hour - salt to taste.

Pumpkin Soup

  • Take the "lid" off two sugar pumpkins, scrape out the seeds and fibers, and roast for two hours at 325°F
  • Scrape out the meat of the pumpkin, and allow to cool
  • Toast the pumpkin seeds in the oven - they make great garnish later
  • Bring 8 cups of fire roasted vegetable stock to a boil, add the roasted pumpkin meat, fresh thyme, fresh ginger grated, a bouquet garni of bay leaf, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, dry sherry and sautéed onions
  • Cook for two hours, then purée in the pot or by passing it through a food mill
  • bring back to a boil and tip in a cup of heavy cream right before serving

Spiked Spiced Cranberry Orange Sauce

Here's a "per bag" recipe.

  • 12 ounces fresh, whole cranberries, washed and picked over for stems or wrinkly, bursting, rotting rejects
  • 1 glass [~6 oz.] of sherry, port or mistral
  • 2 or 3 Satsuma mandarin oranges - remove the rind, cut in half along the torus cross-section and remove any seeds
  • one cup turbinado [raw] sugar
  • a bouquet garni consisting of a cinnamon stick and 5 cloves
  • Put it all in a heavy pan [I use porcelain coated cast iron] and over a high heat, stirring often during the cooking, until the cranberries start to pop, about five minutes, than remove to a lower heat [I use simmering bricks over a gas flame] to simmer until the oranges release their juices [get mushy], remove the spices and cool overnight in a heavy crock or non-metallic bowl - may be served whole or passed through a food mill or processor

Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding

A vegetarian version in a pan is what I'm making, as well as using it as the stuffing by mixing with mild sausage and stuffed into the bird. I use a mix of dried and fresh mushrooms, so the first step is to soak the dried ones [this year porcini and mixed wilds] for an half-hour in a 50/50 mix of white wine and warm water [never use stale water from the hot water tap for cooking]. The only fresh mushrooms I'm using this year are cremini and portabello.

  • 1 medium red onion, Italian torpedo if you can find it, sliced
  • two cloves of garlic, two carrots and two stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon each of unsalted butter and olive oil
  • sautée until the vegies are soft
  • About 1-1/2 pounds of fresh mushrooms and four ounces [dry weight] of the dried mushrooms are used; remove the dried mushrooms from the soaking liquor and pass the liquor through cheese cloth or coffee filter or white paper towel; rinse and squeeze the soaked dried mushrooms and then mince them; clean and slice the fresh mushrooms, and sautée the mushrooms
  • Add fresh sage, chiffonade, and fresh thyme leaves, salt and freshly ground peppercorns, finish the sautée, and add a glass of white wine - whatever you'll be serving with the meal is always best and at least a cup of the reserved mushroom soaking liquor
  • Set aside the vegies and start on the bread pudding
  • Cube some bread - less than 1/2-inch on a side; you can use heavy bread, light bread, even brioche; I prefer a potato rosemary batard and use about two loaves
  • Make the "custard" from 1-1/2 cups of heavy [not sweetened] cream, 2 cups of milk, 6 eggs, salt and pepper to taste
  • Pour the liquid custard over the bread cubes and squeeze the custard into the bread cubes until they are saturated; lightly toss in the sautéed vegies, and place in a heavily buttered casserole dish or lasagna or roasting dish [glass or ceramic, not metallic]
  • Bake at 350°F for about an hour, until the top is brown and a knife stuck in slight to the left of center comes out clean
  • If your going to use this to stuff the bird, reserve the amount that you'll need later in the day, or, if you cooked the bread pudding more than 24 hours in advance of stuffing the bird, reserve the vegies and bread that you need, and make up custard to use the day you'll be dressing the bird; add two-to-four links of broken up, cooked mild sausage to the vegie mixture before tossing

Mashed Roots with Garlic and Brown Butter Sage

Ok, ok, basically mashed potatoes with added rutabaga and turnip goodness, boiled with garlic and using a brown butter sage sauce as well as cream to get to the finished product.

  • 1/2 potato per person, 1 rutabaga and 1 turnip for every 4 potatoes [potatoes of choice are yukon gold or red creamers], 1 clove of garlic per potato.
  • Leave the potatoes whole, skin on or not as you like, cube the rutabagas and turnips, add the root vegetables, including the garlic, to salted boiling water and boil until a fork easily pierces a potato [15 minutes maybe],
  • drain,
  • [if you left the skins on the potatoes, cool and remove now if you want].
  • Put 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter per potato into the hot pan, leave the butter to melt and then wait until the edges of the melted butter turns brown, add chiffonade sage [1 leaf per potato or to taste], let it sizzle for a minute,
  • add 2 tablespoons of cream per person and stir until the cream bubbles,
  • add the root vegetables back and mash 'em with a potato masher, keep stirring until heated through. One alternative is to stir in a consistent direction until the mash is like taffy - about three hours.

:p

Squash and Potato Casserole

Roasted and mashed, or sliced thin with a mandolin and layered with the custard, this is a must for Thanksgiving.

You could be roasting the sweet potatoes whilst the bread pudding is baking. You need three cups of mashed roasted sweet potato, so start with two 8-inchers.

  • 2 each sweet potatoes yams and carnival squash, roasty, toasty and mashed
  • 1/2 cup of turbinado [raw] sugar added to the mash
  • salt as you like it and you might like paprika, cayenne or black pepper, or not
  • this custard is 2 large eggs, 1/2-cup of milk, a tablespoon of cream and you can even add pure bourbon vanilla [I have about a gallon left from my Montara Magic days] or maple syrup; add the custard to the potato mixture
  • top with a mixture of 1/2-cup brown sugar, 1/2-cup flour, 4 tablespoons melted butter and a 1/2-cup of toasted whole pecan halves
  • bake at 350°F for 30 to 45 minutes

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts

Maybe not that traditional, but the best way to prepare those little green balls that I've ever found. I really do like this dish, though I can't remember where I found it. It's not a family tradition.

  • Clean the outer leaves, and any loose, damaged or brown leaves from around the brussels sprout, slice off the woody stem, cut an X in the bottom and let sit in salt water for about 15 minutes - oh, and use about 10 sprouts and 4 chestnuts per person
  • Cut an X in the shell of each chestnut and roast at a low temperature up to an hour or at a high temperature for 10 or 15 minutes, or buy vacuum packed or jarred cooked, shelled chestnuts, for as much as I like old fashioned cooking, in this case it is a real pain in the nicta and very time consuming
  • Heat a pint of vegetable cooking stock, and add the sprouts and chestnuts, cook until tender which I've seen take as little as 15 minutes and as long as 45

Wild Mushroom and Giblet Gravy

Or leave out the giblets if you're going for Tofurkey instead. :)

Take the pan drippings from cooking the turkey and separate off the fat. While that is settling, in a pat of butter and a splash of olive oil, sauté the minced shallots, diced up giblets, and sliced mushrooms [maybe reserved from the bread pudding, maybe not]. I reserved some of my minced wild mushrooms that I had soaked earlier - add those now. Remove from the pan. Add [per cup of finished gravy desired] a tablespoon of butter and allow to brown slightly, then add a tablespoon of flour, mixing into the butter until all the butter is absorbed. Keep scraping from rue from the bottom of the pan, until the flour is cooked - about 3 minutes. Add a glass of your white wine, slowly, mixing it into the flour, and then add a glass of the dried mushroom soaking liquor that you reserved, stirring it in. Cook down to the desired thickness - there should be a cup of gravy. Add a chiffonade of sage, and some thyme leaves.

Stuffed Turkey

Here's the basics: remove the fresh turkey from the brine that its been soaking in overnight, take enough of the Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding recipe [don't mix this more than an hour in advance of stuffing the bird] with added, broken up and cooked mild sausage, to fill the body and neck cavities of the bird, put peeled garlic cloves under the skin of the bird [usually takes at least one head of garlic], brush bird with a rosemary twig dipped in olive oil and herbs de Provence before putting in the oven and as the basting method, cook it as you normally would. Add white wine and maybe stock [vegie stock, white stock - chicken and veal - or turkey stock made from the neck] to the bottom of the pan. Get the skin nice and brown, and cover with aluminum foil to keep if from burning if it's browned before the turkey is done. If you do that, uncover the bird for the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Update: I've been using the term chiffonade. Let me explain. One can only chiffonade larger leaves: think basil, sage, mint. Wash and dry about eight leaves, and make a "cigar" out of them. That is, layer them by overlapping them about half-way along the long axis, and roll them up so they look something like stogies. Sharpen your knife, the sharper the better. Slice along the "cigar" cross-section, so that your getting very thin slices of herb.

Dessert

Dad made an apple cake from the four types of apples growing in the back yard. I bought, yes, bought, a pumpkin pie. Earl is bringing Black Sambuca to serve with coffee. Stilton and crackers will also be served.

Have a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy.

I'll update as things change while I'm cooking.

Agile Project Management

In response to a comment that I left to a blog post of his in Herding Cats, Glen Alleman said "... phrase Agile Project Management, were so clearly defined". While I'm not an official source of definitions, I would like to take a stab at answering "What is Agile Project Management?". There are really four questions here:

  1. What is Agile?
  2. What is a Project?
  3. What does it mean to manage a project?
  4. How does one manage a project in an Agile fashion?

What is Agile?

Agile is a mindset, a philosophy, for software development. The Agile Manifesto lays it out quite clearly. Any software development, product management, project management or other methods that claims to be Agile must embody the mindset laid out in the Agile Manifesto. You really must read the whole manifesto. I won't copy it here, but I will discuss the main ideas. The emphasis in the Agile Manifesto is on satisfying the customer and responding to changing user needs for competitive advantage. Self-organizing teams, ongoing communication and working end products are preferable to formalized, stultifying processes. Supportive environments for sustainable efforts using simplicity, technical excellence and good design allow the sponsors, developers and users to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. Reflection on the process at regular intervals allows for continual and appropriate tuning and adjustments to the agile process.

Most of this isn't strange to project management, though the concept of "self-organizing teams" might seem a bit odd to a traditional, hierarchical organization. :>>

What is a Project?

A project is a temporary, collaborative effort to achieve a specific goal in a set time. At least, this paraphrases the definition I first saw in my first project activities in the Aerospace & Defense industry back in 1979. I've seen definitions that add things like "create a unique product", but the end result can be almost anything: a product, a pyramid, a rocket engine, a scientific advancement, a data warehouse, etc, etc, etc.

The emphasis for a project is that people and other resources come together temporarily to deliver a well-defined result by a specified due date.

What does it mean to manage a project?

Whips often come to mind. That was the main tool to manage the various pyramid building projects. &#59;) Ok, maybe not.

Project management is the skill of leading people and controlling the expenditure of resources to achieve specified goals on-time and within budget.

There are a variety of schools of thought, methodologies and guides to managing a project. I agree with Glen in that a good starting point is the Project Management Institute (PMI) Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK). I would also add PRINCE2 to that. Updated 20100308 per Jay's comments, below: The Prince2 link given is to a USA based training organization; Jay gives a link in his comments, which redirects to a UK based training and accreditation organization, APMG-UK.

I also need to step onto one of my favorite soap boxes for a moment. Project Management does not equal Product Management. Program and Portfolio Management are also unique and separate disciplines. These four professions often get confused. Product Management is a blend of marketing and engineering with the goal of translating user needs into technical specifications that result in marketable goods or services. Program Management specifies, implements and governs large initiatives that impact cross-disciplinary groups within a organization, and changes the process by which an organization conducts its daily affairs; examples are things like a Quality Program or a Decision Support program. Portfolio Management is the art and science of prioritizing and coordinating a set of Projects, often large capital projects, that may or may not overlap in goals, but definitely compete for money, people and resources. Ok, stepping down off the soap box and getting back on point now. :p

How does one manage a project in an Agile fashion?

Ah, well now. This is the point isn't it? Agile project management requires reconciling the discussion of Agile above with the definition of a Project and Project Management and developing a methodology that uses the Agile mindset of customer satisfaction, responding quickly to changing market needs for competitive advantage with self-organizing teams that reflect upon how they work and change their processes on the fly, while delivering working, valuable, as-specified results in an incremental fashion, on-time and in-budget.

Hmm, that doesn't sound so hard, does it?

Over time, we have evolved our project management methodology for delivering data warehousing, business intelligence and MDM solutions in such a way that, in the words of Todd McGrath of supergloo, inc. have become quite agile, and are now deliberately agile. We've gone from five dimensions of a project to eight over the eight years that IASC has been in existence.

Here's a mindmap that gives you an idea of what we're doing. Though there's a lot more to discuss about this, including the strategic, tactical and implementation tracks, and how iterative waterfall and agile mindset must work together to keep everything and everyone working a sustainable fashion, without burn-out and without missed deadlines, while learning from each iteration, and responding to changing user needs.

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The TeleInterActive Press is a collection of blogs by Clarise Z. Doval Santos and Joseph A. di Paolantonio, covering the Internet of Things, Data Management and Analytics, and other topics for business and pleasure. 37.540686772871 -122.516149406889

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