Guest Blog: The Timpano

Very fortunate to be joined this week by my partner and much-more-serious cook Harry, who made a “timpano” for Christmas, as he will explain:

The timpano (Calabrian dialect) or timballo was made famous by the movie Big Night. If you saw the movie, you know the timpano is a feast for the eyes. On Christmas Day 2010 we set out to see if it tastes as good as it looks. Producing a timpano is not hard, but it is labor intensive. Many of the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time, with simple assembly on the day it is to be cooked. The only tricky part is rolling out (what was for our timpano a 30” in diameter round of) pasta dough. Ours was a three person effort with my wife preparing most of the ingredients, and my son and I rolling out the dough and performing final assembly. Think of the timpano as a luxurious, decadent lasagna-pasta dough encasing layers of pasta, tomato sauce, salami, provolone and pecorino cheeses, hard boiled eggs, and meat balls. Then baked in an oven heated to a temperature of about 120°F.


We were not disappointed, the finished product was perfect in appearance and taste.

Java, C, C++: Top Programming Languages for 2011 – Application Development – News & Reviews –

Java, C, C++: Top Programming Languages for 2011 – Application Development – News & Reviews –

Interesting stats for those who think WebApps R All. Not sure what to make of it, though. How is C still being used? C++ seems to be the “must-have-performance” language on the server side, Java is the “IT-blessed” app standard (although most of my tech friends have gone Python or Ruby by now for the business and presentation layers).

What are you seeing? Let me know.

Whole wheat penne with scallops and garlic

Rushed meal, all of us coming home from various places.  No time for anything fancy (like visit to fish market, etc.).  Crumster just took frozen scallops, sauteed with garlic and parsley, and served on whole wheat penne.  Not because whole wheat penne is so terrific; unlike many whole-grain-ish products it tastes like a bad adaptation.  But it fit the Mediterranean-diet construct that is powering (hopefully) my next phase of weight loss.


There it is on the plate, just before eating.  Very tasty, even though nothing special.  Served with tossed salad.

Impressions, Data, Audience, Intent

I’ve been reading through a raft of year-end predictions from the digital advertising-oisie (thanks so much for putting it all together).
I’m not an advertising “native” as you might say, but just a humble investor in advertising technologies, platforms, agencies, and next-big-things.  So the vocabulary takes some getting used to.
But something just struck me: most of the predictions are all about using “data” to gain insight into the “intent” of members of an “audience”.
I’ve got a novel idea: why not just ask them?
What made search advertising such a rock-star was that you don’t have to guess what the searcher is interested in: they’re telling you.  Not perfectly.  Not always.  But it’s a big step in the right direction.
All kinds of targeting approaches jump through hoops to try to guess a prospect’s intent.  These schemes are ingenious: if you combine context, history, behavior, offline data, and social network, you know a whale of a lot about the prospect.  But it’s still incredibly hard to know what’s on their mind.
I’m looking for advertising breakthroughs which, like search, piggyback off an obvious indication of intent.  That’s where we should be investing next.
Have you run across anything along these lines?  Let me know…

Backup is dead

Conversations with customers, analysts, and vendors in the storage industry throughout 2010 convinced me that “backup” as we have known it is going the way of CRT tube “burn-in” orarchiving to optical media.  Backup is going away, and will soon be dead.

Consider Storage  Or Backup is Broken, by Wikibon.  Or even Steven Foskett, who acknowledges what a chunk of the traditional backup use case is being taken over by “new technologies” even as he tries to carve out a continuing place for backup.

Behind all the provocative language, we are looking toward a future when a “window” of time taken up with data management to the exclusion of all else in the storage system will be a thing of the past.  Whatever forms data protection take in the future – and technologies like replication, snapshots, CDP, etc. are only the beginning – they will be increasingly transparent, seamless, and continuous.  And backup systems, shorn of the obligation to manage the lack of transparency, will increasingly become metadata catalogs with a variety of uses including backup/restore but also including the likes of discovery, content-addressability, or even semantic inference.  The backup system and the file system, in a word, will converge.

Cod, and Cod Croquettes

So, Mara’s back from Africa for the next few weeks, and this has induced a flurry of CrummyCooking.  Up from once a week more-or-less to two or three times a week.

This last week I got some cod at Black Salt (not the same without the very impressive MJ there, I must say), and got more than I needed.  Debbie baked the cod, but we had quite a bit left over.

Something inspired me to make it into cod croquettes, which are (in this case) sauteed patties of fish together with onions, spices, and “binder” (in this case, mashed potato).


Here are the croquettes coming out of the fridge, ready to be sauteed.


Here is Mara with the salad.

We also had Brussels Sprouts browned in butter-and-oil, but they were a bit underdone.

Croquettes were very fragile even after cooking, but tasted great.

Miso Black Cod a la Nobu

Debbie’s been hankering to have this dish at home since she had it at Nobu in New York, and doubly so since the Careful Cook Mary made it a year ago at her house.

I’ve begun to buy my fish where Josh and Mary do – Black Salt Fish Market in the Palisades – the really good guy MJ who is the manager of the market told me the other day that fresh black cod was in.  I was in!

There are a bunch of Nobu-esque recipes for this dish on the web (which is why I call it “a la Nobu” here); I used this one from since it seemed to have the chef’s imprimatur on it.

What I didn’t realize before I brought the cod home is that it has to be marinated at least overnight to get the taste.  The recipe says it should even be marinated more, although Josh told me that would just make it taste salty.  So we let it sit overnight and had it last night.


Here’s the cod on the plate just before consumption.  It was really delicious.  It’s a great silky unctuous fish to begin with – basically the sable of my childhood, which, along with smoked salmon, smoked whitefish, and smoked sturgeon, were the set pieces of a visit to my grandma’s house – and the marinade hits my sweet-and-salty spot perfectly.

It was not as elegant-looking as Mary’s.   She got all the marinade off before grilling (where I just got most) and got it to look as silky and elegant as it tastes.  Anyhow, great dish.

We had broccoli with garlic-infused olive oil and salad on the side.