Cooking with RnR: Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Fennel, and Mushroom

Two in a row?? Don’t get used to this, it’s definitely a fluke!

This is one of those instances where I stick to the recipe and only deviate by adding slightly as opposed to re-working large portions of it. The recipe is Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Fennel, and Mushroom, once again from Epicurious.

Additions to the original recipe:

  • Added 1/2 cup of cooking sherry/dry white wine (Tio Pepe). I have experimented in the past with using cooking sherry in a cream sauce, and I thought that it would be a good combo here. Also, the sweetness of the wine works well in contrast with the spicy Italian sausage
  • Go with the fresh tortellini as opposed to the dried

On this one, stick to the recipe and add the sherry before you add the cream to let some of the alcohol burn off. You can get fancy and light the thing with a long match if you so choose, but that’s up to you and your home owner’s insurance policy coverage! 😉

How it comes out:
DELICIOUS! A very hearty dish, with excellent flavor. The fennel seeds, the muted anise flavor, the spicy sausage….it all works very well. Go crazy with the Parmesan cheese as well….I had to grate more because I used the entire fist batch when prepping. 😉

The heartiness and spice to this make it an excellent dish to warm you up on a chilly winter night. I would suggest pairing it with a semi-fruity white wine, if one is so inclined.

UPDATE: Sentence edit for clarity

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Cooking with RnR: Apricot Chicken with Almonds

Welcome to another edition of Cooking with RnR.

Yes, it has been a long time. I blame apathy and the fact that as a traveling tech consultant, I’m not home often enough to experiment. As luck would have it though, I was able to work from home for a few days and was able to cook some good meals.

For this post, I will be talking about my version of an Apricot Chicken with Almonds recipe I found on Epicurious.

As with many recipes I have encountered, there are some changes that were made to accomodate what I was in the mood for cooking wise, and what resources I have at my disposal.

Let us begin!

Changes from the orginal recipe:

  • Used boneless/skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces.
  • Cooked the chicken in a pan, until just about done and then added the sauce.


  • 1 1/2lbs (approx 2 pkgs) skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into pieces (~ 1 inch)
  • 5/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter


  • Cook apricot preserves, soy sauce, mustard, butter, salt and pepper in a small saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until preserves are melted. Set aside.
  • Take the shaved almonds and toast them in another pan over medium heat, until they begin to brown and become aromatic. Be careful not to burn them. Set aside on small plate to cool.
  • In a large skillet, heat some olive oil up and start cooking the chicken. I added Adobe, garlic powder, and onion powder. The sauce in this dish has a rich flavor, but with chicken, I always like to add just a bit of flavor while it cooks.
  • As the chicken is just about cooked, begin spooning sauce into the pan and stirring to coat. It is up to you on how much you end up using, so taste as you go.
  • Upon plating of the chicken, sprinkle some of the toasted shaved almonds on top.

How it comes out:
The sauce is AMAZING! The soy sauce and mustard add a nice savory flavor to it, while the sweetness of the apricot preserve adds another layer of depth to it. I plan on trying the sauce out on fish and possibly pork at some point as well.

Since I have not really delved into the world of the boiler as of yet, I cannot compare to the original, although I mean to try at some point. As mentioned above, the sauce is the best part of this dish, and I plan on expanding it’s use. Served over rice, this dish makes an excellent meal.

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I have setup a Tumblr account so that I can post pictures more easily, and from my iPhone. It can be reached by this link, or by the link on the side bar labeled ‘Tumblr Photo Stream’.

I tend to take pictures with my iPhone and then stylize them using Instagram, Hipstomatic, and Tiny Planet. I do have the WordPress App installed, but I wanted to try something that was designed for quick post usage.

I’ll be posting a bunch over the next few days as I have several sitting on my phone that I want to share. And then posts will come as I am inspired from there.

Go check it out!

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What We Do

We march for the kingdom under the mountain
Whose king has returned to stone
And is now ruled by three

We march for the slave who saved his people
Bringing honor and strength
Were once was only corruption

We march for the boy who would be king
And his father, now returned
But still broken in two

We march for the lady of the night
Who met death defending life
And spends death plotting vengeance

We march for the lady of the moon
And the father of the trees
Who saved us from the brink
Thru love eternal

We march for the bulls of the plains
Led to peace by the father, thus slain
And led by the son, determined to save the future

We march for the prophet
Whose people have fought the evil since time began
And no longer have a home of their own

We march for the fair skinned
Whom fell to their darkest desires
And have returned to their glory

We march for the tinkerers
Whose stature is small
But whose bravery stretch to the heavens

We march for the tusked outcasts
Who found a home with the gladiator slave
And stand by his side unquestionably

We march for the cursed
Who paid the price for their hubris
And now humbly work to redeem themselves

We march for the entrepenuers
For whom neutrality
No longer made business sense

This is what we do….

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PAX East 2011

The Flickr stream is up.

I would have posted sooner, but work is taking up most of my free time, and once again I am not sleeping well.

The whole ‘post every day’ thing fell flat on it’s face again, although I had a decent start. I just have to keep trying is all! 😉

Full write up of PAX 2011 is coming, I promise. There was just so much that I am still decompressing from it all.

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PAX East 2011 Bound – Boston, MA

Bag: Packed
Flight: Checked In
Boarding Pass: Printed
Phone: Charged
Camera: Ready

I am heading to Boston again this year for the Penny Arcade Expo East 2011.

Once again staying with the illustrious, criminally handsome, dangerously intelligent, and all around good sport, Jeff (from Conversations with Jeff Fame).

This year the roster has expanded to include 3 newcomers, and the extended stay of one that was with us last year.

I am planning to post pictures and stories here, on Twitter (@RnR77), Facebook (if we’re friends, you’ll see them) and on my Flickr page. We’ll see how that goes.

More to come!!

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Right In Front of My Face

Warning: Work Related

Ran into an issue recently. I have to connect via RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) to a Server 2k8 VM that is running a SQL DB for a portion of my current project. Standard stuff, no issue.

While connected I need to run an import batch file that extracts and imports *.CAB files containing information about MS Office files. It’s all part of Microsofts OMPM application. More pretty standard stuff, once you read up on it.

Issue that I ran into was that the RDP session, once I disconnected (which allows ALL the programs running to continue) would timeout after 30 minutes and clear the session. This had the wonderful affect of stopping all running applications and batch processes.

I knew this had to be a setting. I knew it. Yet I could not find it.

Finally, after several iterations of the search term in Google, I found a forum post that, although not the exact answer I was looking for, made the way a bit clearer.

Come to find out, the answer was right in front of my face the entire time. However, due to the way MS sorts their Start Menu and subsequent sub menus, I was totally missing it.

+1 to me KNOWING that it HAD to be an easily accessible setting and not stopping until I found it.

-1 for me not paying attention.

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Of course I forgot…

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It is good to be home. Most folks can agree that being home puts the world around you at ease and helps you re-focus.

This is especially true when you travel a good deal, and even more so if you travel for work.

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How this is Going to Go Down

I’m sticking to it so far, which is good, becuase by this point I have already missed a day. :-p

Although I am doing this for NaBloPoMo and I am using the guidance for a theme given by that site, I’m not going to rigidly stick to it. I don’t think that will disqualify my efforts (not like there is an award or anything) but if it doesn’t ‘count’ so be it. I’m doing this for myslef as much as for anyone else.

So expect more than just word themed posts for the month of March. Although I will try to tailor as many as possible to the theme, I don’t want to be so rigidly confined. It kinda defeats the purpose.

I’ll be trying my hand at more fictional stories, and also day to day monotony of life. And with the frequency that Jeff and I talk, there’s bound to be at least one or more ‘Conversations with Jeff’. 😉

Next weekend I will be attending the PAX East 2011 with Jeff and a few others. I am hoping to live blog from the event as well as take lots of pictures. We’ll see how that all works out as I will also be knee deep in video games, booze, and food. 😉