Thursday, November 27, 2014

Agile Thanksgiving

I always look for a mix of crowd pleasing recipes mixed with some fresh ideas. With the ovens going at 400F and the turkey done, I have about an hour to cook four trays while I carve the turkey and make the gravy. Agile or just multitasking, it works for me. Today's feast included:

Roasted root vegetables

With the ovens going, it's easy to slice up carrots and turnips, mix with olive oil, salt, some broth, and herbs and roast at 400F for about 45 minutes.

Chili Garlic Potatoes

Crush garlic, new Mexican chili peppers, Thai bird chili peppers, kosher salt, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, olive oil, and chili water (water from hydrating the chili) in a mortar and pestle to make a paste. Spoon onto boiled potatoes. Roast for 45 minutes. 

Crowd Pleasing Potatoes

For those that don't like the heat, just sprinkle herbs and salt on boiled potatoes. Drizzle on olive oil and roast for 45 minutes.

And finally, Awesome Green Beans


Saute garlic. Add French beans with the ends chopped off. Salt and saute about five minutes. Add slivered almonds and saute one more minute

What about the Turkey?

Sorry folks. Forgot to take the photo. But I always follow Alton Brown's Good Eats Turkey Recipe and it always comes out awesome.

 For Technologists

Check out my post from last year, A CIO Top Ten Guide To Preparing a Thanksgiving Feast.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Late Night: Sauteed Broccoli Rabe and Chicken

This is one of my favorite weekday meals because it is healthy, easy to make, and can be made with a variety of ingredients. The star is the broccoli rabe which holds up well to the garlic and chili flakes.

I prefer doing this with chicken, but you'll see Italian restaurants follow a similar recipe without protein, with chopped up sausage, with potatoes, or with a combination of ingredients.

Many recipes call for dunking the broccoli rabe in an ice bath after blanching in order to stop the cooking. Personally, I find this step unnecessary so long as you are going from blanching to sauteing right away.


  • Bunch of broccoli rabe, cut into one inch chunks
  • Chicken breast chopped up into bite sized pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 5-10 cloves of garlic sliced thin
  • Chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper


Boil water for blanching the brocolli rabe. Saute chicken in olive oil until brown and cooked. Remove from the pan.

Add the broccoli to the boiling water. Meanwhile, saute the garlic. Let it brown, but not burn and remove the pan from the heat if it is burning. Blanch the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for about two minutes, then strain. Shake out as much water as you can before.

Add chili flakes and broccoli rabe to the pan and saute 2-3 minutes. Add back in the chicken. Add salt, pepper and saute 2-3 more minutes. Serve hot.

For Technologists

This is a back to basics recipe with few ingredients, easy preparation, and quick cleanup. Sometimes you just have to go back to the basics, which is what I was reminded of when I visited my daughter's first grade classroom. Afterward, I wrote about What Agile Teams Can Learn From a First Graders.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Grilled Chili Spiced Pork Loin

I usually don't like making a large cut of meat and prefer grilling an array of vegetables such as grilled cauliflower or kale. But sometimes, you can't beat the convenience of cooking a large cut and using it in multiple ways during the week.

I'm not a big fan of beef roast and find them somewhat limiting in terms of the flavor profiles that you can use in a marinade or spice rub. Instead, I prefer a turkey breast or a pork loin.

I tend to use a basic barbecue rub. The meat stands up on its own and with this rub, can be used in tacos, a dirty rice, or a sandwich later in the week.


  • 3-4 lb Pork Loin
  • 4 tablespoons of ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon each of salt, chipotle pepper powder, and coriander
  • Soaked wood chips


Mix together the spice rub and spread generously over the meat. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. I like doing this last thing in the evening so that it is ready to bbq anytime then next day.

I use a gas grill and set it up for indirect cooking with one site heated for the wood chips and the other side for the meat. I put the soaked wood chips in a low aluminum pan, cover it with foil, and puncture holes it. I place this on the heated side of the grill. I fill a second pan with water and place it underneath the grill on the non-heated side. Use a remote meat thermometer and insert the probe into the center of the meat. The grill burner should be on low and once I start seeing smoke, I put in the pork.

Every 30-45 minutes add wood chips to the pan and rotate the meat.

Don't ask me how long to cook it. On the grill, it will depend on the grill temperature, the size of the meat, and the location of the meat relative to the flame. Guidelines now require pork to cook to 145F, so I just monitor the thermometer and wait till the meat is ready.

Let the meat settle in a covered pan for 15-20 minutes before slicing.

For Technologists

As I said a BBQ pork roast can be used in a lot of different ways. It is an "agile platform" for many other recipes that require a spicy protein.

Technologists also need agile platforms to develop new products and applications. What is an agile platform? It is fast and easy to learn, built on standards, has an open and extendable architecture and other features that you can read about in Top Ten Attributes of Agile Platforms.

Other great recipes:

Check this one out for Aromatic Pork Belly Lo Mein