Butternut Squash Ravioli

We had some delicious butternut squash ravioli at Biaggi’s awhile ago and we decided to give it a shot. It turned out amazing so I thought I’d share it here:

(the real reason I’m writing it down is so I don’t forget – I hate learning a good thing and then losing it by the time I want to give it another try).

Components:

1 Butternut squash (medium size makes 4-5 servings)
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
20 fresh sage leaves
10 tbsp butter
1 cup parmesan
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 tsp nutmeg
4 oz heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp minced shallots

The best directions ever:

Pasta:

Add 2 1/4 cup flour to a medium mixing bowl, leaving a small depression in the center for the eggs.  Mix up the three eggs in a separate bowl and pour them into the flour.  Using a fork, slowly incorporate the flour into the egg until you get a dough-like substance (it’s dough).  Knead the dough until it is fully mixed together.  Wrap in plastic wrap or a plastic bag and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.


Filling:

Cut a butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and stringy matter.  Lay skin-side down on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for ~45 minutes at 350.  It helps to poke holes with a fork for particularly dense parts.  You might also want to soften some butter and coat the outer surface.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp butter in a saute pan.  Mince the shallots and saute them and set them to the side.  When the squash is  cooked, use a spoon to scrape out the good stuff and whip it up to get it nice and smooth.  Add the nutmeg, cheese and sauted shallots to the mixture.  The filling is done!

Sauce:

Heat up a large saute pan with 6 tbsp butter.  Add the sage leaves (15-20) and saute until the butter is nicely browned and the leaves have released their flavor.  Add the heavy whipping cream to your sauce and mix it all together.  Sauce is done – check that off the list.

Putting it together:

Take out the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin (if you have a pasta maker, that makes this part really easy).  You want the dough about 1/2 mm thick or it will get too thick and chewy.  Add flour to your surface if it’s getting sticky.  Use a cup with an opening roughly 3 in as a tracing tool to cut circles in the flattened pasta dough.


Add about 1 Tbsp of the filling mixture to the center of each circle.  Crack another egg into a bowl and use the egg whites as a glue to hold your ravioli together.  You’ll want to put a thin coat all the way around the edge of each circle.  When this is done, fold it over in half and press the edges together so they don’t leak.  Drop the ravioli into a pot of boiling water and cook them for 3-4 minutes.


When the ravioli is cooked, you should have the sauce ready to add them.  Toss the ravioli in your large pan of sauce so they get a good coating.  Serve with grated parmesan and a spoonful of the sauce, making sure to include a few sage leaves.


References from foodnetwork.com: Butternut Squash Ravioli and Butternut Squash Puree

Adobe Photoshop CS5 Content-Aware Joke

Content-aware is like the hand of God applied to Photoshop image editing.  Simply select a region, hit the delete key, let the software chew on it for awhile, and whamo! It “interpolates” the background content that should be there…

Real or not? Take a look for yourself.

Content-awareness demo 1

Content-awareness demo 2

I’m actually glad things like this don’t exist or any regular person could mess around with these things… kind of like what cheap digital cameras does with photography and blogs do to website content…:)

DustyTunes Music Collection Visualization

Dusty Tunes Logo

 


Ever wanted to let a friend look through your iTunes music library remotely?   Dusty Tunes provides a quick and easy way to index and list your library online.  An easy alphabetical listing by Author allows anyone with the proper link to peruse your music collection.  Once there, guests can browse, search, and then preview or purchase  from iTunes individual songs in your collection.

The owner of the library creates a quick account and then points the site to the file iTunes Music Library.xml (typically located at My documents > My music > Itunes > iTunes Music Library.xml)

The owner can then point friends to the url (http://www.dustytunes.com/user/<owner_username>.php).  Mine is located here: http://www.dustytunes.com/user/nmeierpolys.php

Facebook Plugin for Pidgin Chat Client

Pidgin is a fantastic way to connect with AIM, Yahoo, MSN, Google and ICQ contacts.  With the help of this plugin, however, Pidgin can connect with Facebook chat as well.

I’m pretty sick of facebook’s mess of a website as they’ve added on more and more complex features.  I use Pidgin with this plugin to chat with Facebook friends without the hassle of navigating their site.

Facebook Chat Plugin for Pidgin

Planning your next room

Have you ever tried cutting out little paper furniture and laying them out on graph paper to plan a space?  I’ll be moving to Madison, WI in July so I find myself trying to design an entirely new apartment.

Autodesk Project Dragonfly provides a really nice way to lay things out and move them around spacially.  It gives you the same control to physically move things around the room without the hassle of physically doing so.

dragonfly1

It’s not the fastest web application since there’s a lot of JavaScript updating to do in the background.  The options for furniture and customization are also somewhat limited at this early stage.  Nevertheless, Dragonfly gives some fantastic 3D views and layout tools for designing a room.

Selective backups made easy

I reformat occasionally to clean out all the built up junk and speed things up. The process of backing things up and getting them all set up again takes awhile. Every time I find myself worried that I will forgot something important and discover it only after I’ve hit the “Format Disk” button and blown past the warnings about deleted information.

Backup Magic automates and simplifies the process by allowing you to select certain folders to mirror on an external drive somewhere. I can set things up once and then periodically (or automatically on a cron job) run these backups. Just as easily, I can create another job to restore the backed up files/directories to their original location after a format (dead hard drive, sibling abuse, virus infestation, etc.).

Free to use. Pay if you really like it. Backup Magic

Bungee Connect – Platform as a Service

 

The age of Web 2.0 has been dominating more clearly with every successfully integrated web app out there. Facebook apps dominate hours of time in the lives of people from all walks of life. The iPhone’s webapp integration is familiar to way more people than it should be, and high-speed internet has steadily grown in accessibility allowing more and more powerful web projects that are more application than web site.

Bungee Connect aims to provide a powerful portal to the design of highly integrated and exciting applications on the web. Now, I’ve just recently started an internship with the company Bungee Lab so I’m somewhat biased. That bias comes, however, in the form only of one who has had the opportunity to really see what this is all about.

The builder requires no downloaded software, relying on a browser-based interface. Developers can build AJAX-driven applications without the complicated and unpleasant detail management of the low-level message-passing involved.

In my opinion, however, the biggest feature offered by this development environment is its focus on integration with existing web services. Bungee Connect provides interfaces for handling the low-level communication between a Bungee app and other information sources on the web. This allows developers to automate the integrate of information like Google Calendar events, local weather details, RSS feeds or Facebook friend details without sorting through the nasty details of coding these connections by hand.

This is an entirely new way of approaching web design that opens doors to powerful applications. The novelty comes with a relatively steep learning curve, but the Bungee Connect team is committed to helping developers overcome difficulties along the way. Anyone is welcome to register and try out the service and I highly recommend taking advantage of this opportunity. The internet is an exciting place to be these days.

Bungee Connect