Sebastian Kirsch: Blog

Sunday, 25 December 2005

¡Tortillajitachiladas!

Filed under: — Sebastian Kirsch @ 18:02

Kürzlich wurde ich gefragt, ob ich nicht mal mexikanisch kochen will. Nunja, leider kann ich nicht mexikanisch kochen. Und ich habe auch kein mexikanisches Kochbuch. Aber dafür habe ich ein bisschen Phantasie und kann Google bedienen. Was herauskam, war am Ende folgendes:

Tortillas

Tortillas mache ich aus 6EL Weizenmehl, 4EL Maisgrieß (wie man ihn für Polenta nimmt), einem Ei und etwa einem halben Liter Wasser. Normalerweise macht man Tortillas aus Maismehl, aber da das hierzulande schwer zu bekommen ist, mache ich sie aus einer Mischung aus Weizen und Mais. Den Teig verdünne ich mit Wasser, bis er sehr dünn ist, noch dünner als Crepeteig. Dann backe ich die Tortillas in einer grossen Teflon-Pfanne. Es dauert sehr lange, bis die Tortilla sich von selbst löst; aber ich habe es noch nie geschafft, eine Tortilla zu verbrennen: Weil der Teig im Gegensatz zu Crepes keine Milch enthält, verbrennt er nicht leicht.

Wichtig: Vor jeder neuen Tortilla muss der Teig nochmal gut durchgerührt werden. Der Maisgrieß ist nämlich schwerer als das Mehl und setzt sich unten ab. Wenn man nicht gut rührt, sind die ersten Tortillas nur aus Mehl, und die letzten aus purem Maisgrieß (was dann ungefähr die Konsistenz eines Stücks Dachpappe hat.)

Aus der oben angegebenen Menge kann man ca. 6 Tortillas machen.

Was in die Tortillas alles reinkommt, folgt jetzt:

Hähnchenfüllung

Ich schneide eine Hähnchenbrust in daumengroße Stücke, eine Paprika in Würfel und eine Zwiebel (am Besten eine rote Zwiebel oder eine normale Speisezwiebel) in Streifen. Erst wird das Hähnchen in einer Pfanne in Öl angebraten, dann kommen Paprika und Zwiebel dazu. Wenn alles durch ist, wird gesalzen, gepfeffert und reichlich Petersilie darübergestreut.

Pilzfüllung

Weil auch vegetarische Gäste angekündigt waren, musste ich mir auch eine fleischlose Füllung einfallen lassen. Das war in diesem Fall relativ einfach: Ich habe einfach das Hähnchen durch geviertelte Champignons ersetzt. Fertig.

Cocktailsauce

Cocktailsauce ist eine ziemliche Schweinerei, weil sie eigentlich nur aus Fertigprodukten zusammengepanscht wird. Aber sie ist lecker.

Basis für Cocktailsauce ist Mayonaise. Die könnte man auch selbst machen, aber a) braucht man dafür sehr frische Eier, weil die Eier roh verwendet werden, und b) kommt noch so viel dazu, dass man genausogut Fertig-Mayo verwenden kann. Zur Mayo kommen Ketchup, Zitronensaft, etwas Worcestershire-Soße und gemahlener Kreuzkümmel (Cumin). Gut vermischen und fertig. Wer die Soße schärfer mag, kann ein paar Tropfen Tabasco hinzufügen. Wichtig ist der Kreuzkümmel, da er erst den richtigen “Pfiff” gibt.

Salsa und Guacamole

Bei diesen Soßen hab ich geschummelt und Fertigprodukte gekauft. Es waren partout keine reifen Avocados zu kriegen, und für Salsa hatte ich kein passendes Rezept.

Eisbergsalat

Zu Eisbergsalat gibt es nicht viel zu sagen. Der Lieblingssalat jeder Cafeteria und jeder Mensa, weil er auch nach Tagen noch “frisch” und knackig ist. Er versäuft auch nicht so schnell, wenn man Dressing dazugibt. Ansonsten ist er eher langweilig; ich esse sonst eher andere Salatsorten, beispielsweise Eichblatt und Romana.

Aber zum Füllen der Tortillas eignet sich Eisbergsalat sehr gut, weil er schön knackig ist und zusammen mit einer warmen Füllung nicht so schnell zusammenfällt. Man sollte den Salat vorher in Streifen von 1-2cm Breite schneiden.

Zusasmmenbau

Der Zusammenbau der Tortillas ist eine recht gesellige Angelegenheit: Ich stelle einfach alle Zutaten auf den Tisch, und jeder kann sich selbst eine Tortilla schnappen und nach Belieben füllen.

Also: Tortilla auf den Teller, Hähnchen drauf, Eisbergsalat drauf, die verschiedenen Soßen nach Belieben drauf, zusammenrollen und essen. Abenteuerlustige Gäste können versuchen, den “Wrap” (auch so ein neudeutsches Wort) mit den Fingern zu essen, ich selbst mache es lieber mit Messer und Gabel.

Wichtig: Servietten bereitlegen.

Saturday, 24 December 2005

Merry Christmas!

Filed under: — Sebastian Kirsch @ 18:43

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, happy hanukkah, happy kwanzaa, happy yule! Whatever you’re celebrating, have a great time!

Friday, 23 December 2005

Tidings of comfort and joy!

Filed under: — Sebastian Kirsch @ 02:16

It must be the season. I have two very good pieces of news:

Yesterday, I passed the final exam for my minor subject, computational linguistics – and with flying colours, too!

I have to admit that I was rather nervous beforehand: I have a rather technical and scientific background, and as such had my difficulties with my computational linguistics lectures. After all, my professor is someone who starts his lectures on communication theory with Socrates and Plato. But all went well, and I was even lauded after the exam. I think the formulation was “If our computational linguistics majors understood the subject as well as you do, we’d be happy.”

This exam concludes my studies. Now all that is left is waiting for my advisor to grade my thesis, and waiting for the bureaucracy to write me a certificate. Then I will officially be a “Diplom-Informatiker” (ie. Master of Science in Computer Science.)

The second piece of good news is that our paper for ECIR 2006 was accepted. There were 178 papers submitted, and ours was one of 37 that were accepted – which makes me very proud. We got some very positive comments from the reviewers; mostly along the lines of “interesting and original work” and “there really is a need in our community for more of this kind of studies". This kind of appreciation really encourages me to further pursue this line of work. I think that my thesis can only be a preliminary treatment, and the whole field of social information retrieval is only just beginning to emerge. I just have to convince someone to fund me for further research…

I will also present the paper at ECIR in April 2006; the conference venue is Imperial College, London, and I’m quite giddy with anticipation to present my work in such a location.

So these are two great christmas presents for myself – and a marvelous conclusion for this year.

Sunday, 04 December 2005

Yann Martel: The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios

Filed under: — Sebastian Kirsch @ 18:12

[cover]This book is a collection of early short stories by the author of “Life of Pi” (winner of the Man-Booker Prize in 2002.)

The cover story is about ayoung man dying of AIDS after a blood transfusion – a very sad story, and definitely not for the faint at heart. In order to cheer his dying friend up, the narrator makes a pact with him, to tell each other stories, one for every year, starting in 1901, and always inspired by an event in the year. The choice of event chronicles the mood of the protagonists – sometimes they will choose the invention of the zipper, sometimes the atomic bomb. I guess there is no shame in admitting that this story made me cry. It is certainly the best and strongest story in this collection; the others pale beside it.

“The Time I Heard the Private Donald J. Rankin String Concerto with One Discordant Violin, by the American Composer John Morton” is not as long as its title would suggest; it’s a story about the hidden talents among us, in this case an unrecognized composer of classical music. “Manners of Dying” is a letter by prison official, informing a mother about the last evening before her son is hanged. There are nine variations of the same letter, differing in the events before the hanging – sometimes the son is up-spirited, sometimes depressed, sometimes in fear, etc. A rather morbid theme. The last story, “The Vita Æterna Mirror Company” is a short fable, mainly interesting because of its use of typography.

Friday, 02 December 2005

Wannabe fodder

Filed under: — Sebastian Kirsch @ 01:48

A friend of mine asked me about books today – specifically, which books would make a worthwhile addition to a hacker bookshelf. Of course, there are lots of them, so I will have to tackle this subject in installments. The first installment today will be about wannabe fodder.

Wannabe fodder isn’t about hacking, or about stuff hackers enjoy. It’s about other hackers. It’s what wannabe hackers read for role models.

[cover]Steven Levy: “Hackers” chronicles the development of the hacker culture. It starts with the original hacker culture at the MIT (at the AI Lab and the Tech Model Railroad Club), introducing figures like Marvin Minsky, Richard Greenblatt, Bill Gosper or Tom Knight, including the development of the Lisp Machine. The second part of the book describes the development of the culture centered around home users with small 8-bit computers like the Altair, which eventually led to the development of the Apple ][, including a description of the Home Brew Computer Club. The last part is about the rise of computers as gaming machines and the resulting culture. An epilogue depicts Richard Stallman as “the last true hacker". “Hackers” was published in 1984, and of course doesn’t include the recent rise of hacker culture in the form of the open source movement. It is a good documentary about the early hackers, and about where the culture comes from.

[cover]Clifford Stoll: “The Cuckoo’s Egg is the story of Stoll’s hunt for German hacker Markus Hess, told in his own words – a hunt which began with a 75 cent accounting error and ended with Hess’ capture and conviction. Stoll describes his run-ins with several three-letter agencies (CIA, FBI, NSA etc.) and his explorations into the maze of computer networks and phone systems, in order to trace the intruder from his systems to his lair. This book, published in 1989, is one of the first and few first-hand accounts of a hacker hunt. While the perception of a need for computer security measures has since increased, it is still a worthwhile read – because it reads like a well-written thriller.

[cover]Tracy Kidder: “The Soul of a New Machine” is a documentary about the development of the Data General Eagle, an 32-bit minicomputer which was a direct competitor to DEC’s VAX and was released in 1980. It is written from the perspective of a complete outsider (Kidder’s previous books had been about building a house or about a class of schoolchildren.) While Kidder tries to get the basic facts about the machine right, the main strength of this book is the portrayal of the people behind this new computer: The engineers and designers behind it, their personalities, their relationships and their working styles.

[cover]Douglas Coupland: “Microserf” is the first fictional book in this series. Published in 1995, it is a story for the dot-com era, about the dream of the successful start-up. Daniel Underwood, bug-tester at Microsoft’s building seven, quits the company to form a start-up with several of his co-workers. They work on OOP!, the quintessential eye-candy software, a software for the boom. While developing this new product, the group itself develops and matures: From their “larval stage” in the corporate environment, they set out to discover love, sex, freedom, self-determination, and ultimately themselves.

[cover]Karla Jennings: “The Devouring Fungus” is a collection of folk tales, anecdotes and legends of the computer age. It sometimes reads like an amalgam of stories from alt.folklore.computers, and indeed a collection from this newsgroup is a good substitute for this book. I mainly included it here for the sake completeness.

This entry concludes my list of wannabe fodder. The next installment will follow when I have culled a few books from my bookshelves; I intend to focus on books not about hacking itself, but about things that tend to interest hackers. One of them I already featured recently: The Computational Complexity of Nature by Gary William Flake. But I think I have a few others that I have not written about yet.


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