Thursday, February 28, 2008

[Maint] Running sql code on multiple servers

This isn't mine. A big "hey!" to Mark Hill, who came up with this many many years ago.

Very simple premise. For each .sql file in the directory of the below file (which you will save as a .bat), it will run it against each server listed, and save the results of each to a separate results file. Practically, it lets you run the same code against a bunch of servers in parallel. Hence the "maint" tag of this.

No, it's not nearly as easy/cool/pretty as SQL Farm or SQL Multi Script or the like, but it works well. And let's be honest - if we wanted our stuff to be shiny and pretty, we wouldn't be SQL DBAs, would we? We'd be building C# apps and Flash sites and the like.

Bonus points for coming up with a way to use a separate file that just has a list of servers.
(if you don't see all the code, just highlight the beginning and end and copy)

-----code begins-----
title %0
for %%a in ( .\*.sql ) do (
Start OSQL -i "%%a" -o "%%a.SERVER1_Output.txt" -E -S"SERVER1" -dMaster -n -w500
Start OSQL -i "%%a" -o "%%a.SERVER2_Output.txt" -E -S"SERVER2" -dMaster -n -w500
-----code ends-----

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

[NoBake] Tiramisu

First: Tiramisu is tasty.
Second: Given the right recipe, it's easy.
Third: ...if you can find ladyfingers.

I made this Monday, had some Tuesday, and I doubt it'll last through tonight.
We made this slightly differently - we used really strong coffee (you want probably closer to regular-strength coffee, if you don't want to buy espresso... but I'll buy the espresso for next time). The marscapone we found in our Albertson's, albeit in the "front cheese" section of store (with the Gruyere, Fontina, Goat cheese, etc), rather than the cheese section in the back of the store that had cheddar, swiss, etc.

The ladyfingers were a bit trickier to get ahold of. This first time I made it, I wound up using "Boudoir biscuits" at the local Central Market (high-end grocery store). Then I got lucky, and discovered (naturally, after I'd made the first batch) that normal grocery stores carry them, but they keep them in the bakery's freezer. That being said, here's where you order "real" ladyfingers from: . $18 for a case. Seems easier than what I went through.

Addendum: made it again. Using "real" ladyfingers. And... they get waterlogged much more easily. So be careful when you dunk them, not to get them too wet. Quick dunk. Don't wait to see it absorb the coffee/rum.

Fourth: even made poorly, it's still pretty decent.
Copyright, 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style, All rights reserved
6 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature*
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup good dark rum, divided
1 1/2 cups brewed espresso, divided
16 to 17 ounces mascarpone cheese
30 Italian ladyfingers, or savoiardi
Bittersweet chocolate, shaved or grated
Confectioners' sugar (optional)

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed for about 5 minutes, or until very thick and light yellow
[note - we had to remove one side of our bowl from it's holder, otherwise it didn't hit the bottom enough]. Lower the speed to medium and add 1/4 cup rum, 1/4 cup espresso, and the mascarpone. Whisk until smooth.
Combine the remaining 1/4 cup rum and 1 1/4 cups espresso in a shallow bowl. Dip 1 side of each ladyfinger in the espresso/rum mixture and line the bottom of a 9 by 12 by 2-inch dish. Pour half the espresso cream mixture evenly on top. Dip 1 side of the remaining ladyfingers in the espresso/rum mixture and place them in a second layer in the dish. Pour the rest of the espresso cream over the top. Smooth the top and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, sprinkle the top with shaved chocolate and dust lightly with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Notes: To make espresso for this recipe in your electric drip coffee maker, use enough water for 4 cups of coffee plus 1/3 cup of ground espresso.
You can find savoiardi and mascarpone in an Italian specialty store.

Monday, February 25, 2008

[Bread] Sourdough recipe, using starter

Simple recipe, assuming you have a starter. If not, it's fairly easy to make your own - but if you ask around, odds are that someone you know is already keeping one alive, and (trust me) is more than happy to share. I'll credit the person who sent me this, if he sees this. ;)

I feed the starter with 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 2 tbsp potato flakes, and one cup warm water. Then I leave it out on the counter for 8 hrs. It gets all foamy or frothy. (If it's cold, put it in the oven with the oven light on)
When I'm ready to mix up the bread, I stir the starter with a wisk. And then pour one cup starter into my mixing bowl. Then I add 1/3 cup veg oil, 1 tbsp salt, 3/4 cups sugar, and 1.5 cups of warm water...stir that up with the wisk. Then I add 6 cups flour and mix it all together by hand. May have to add a bit more water or flour to get right consistency...but not too much more.
Once all is mixed into a lump of dough I cover the bowl with saran-wrap and then put it in the oven(with light on) to rise the first time for 8 hrs. Once that has risen I take it out and make 2 or 3 loaves and put those in loaf pans that have been sprayed with crisco for baking...Then I put the panned loaves in the oven(with light on) to rise the second time. The second rise may be 4-6 hrs depending. Lastly, I take the loaves out and set the oven for 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 20-30 minutes. Use a bamboo screwer to poke in the bread to see if it is cooked through.

The way I do it, we feed it Friday night, make dough Saturday morning, make loaves Saturday evening, then bake Sunday morning. Even if they rise too much, don't worry - when we did it, they didn't rise any further in the oven.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

[Cake] Chocolate Pound Cake

My wife has been going gaga over this recipe. Why, I'm not sure - the flavor is fine, but it's not amazingly moist, and not dense enough for me. But she likes loves it, and that's good enough. Bonus for all you aspiring bakers - this is a pretty simple recipe, and comes together quickly.

Not my recipe - I'm not that talented. Shamelessly cribbed from Paula Deen, here:,,FOOD_9936_36917,00.html

Two notes:
1) This is an _easy_ cake. The only downside is that it cooks for over an hour and a half. But it takes maybe 15 minutes to put together. The secret, for those of you new to baking (Baking DBAs in training, mayhaps?), is to make sure the butter/shortening & sugar are thoroughly creamed. What I normally do is let the butter hit room temp (or about 12 seconds in the microwave), toss in the mixing bowl of our stand mixer (which is getting so much more use these days now that I'm baking) along with sugar, and put on 4 for about 5 minutes. What you're doing is using the sugar to puncture the cell walls in the butter. That's what "creaming" does. The longer it goes, the lighter and fluffier it gets. Five minutes may be too long, and that may be why it's not moist enough. I don't know. But it comes out fine, so I'm doing it that way for now. Make sure that, after creaming, to turn it down to low while you add all the other ingredients - otherwise you wind up with a cloud of flouy/chocolate/etc.

2) A 10" bundt pan can mean many things. Our 10" (across) bundt pan holds 12 cups, which isn't anywhere near big enough. The first time I made it, we wound up having to pour some out into a second loaf pan. The second time, I went looking for this mythical "ten inch bundt". Um, yeah. Or not. Fortunately, it turns out that an angel-food-cake pan, which normally holds 14-16 cups, is big enough. And since it has the "smokestack" in the middle, can sub for a bundt without any problems. (This was told to me by the owner of the local kitchen supply store - nice guy, they're on Little Road, just south of I-20 but north of the Little Road exit, in Arlington, Texas). Practical upshot: make sure your cake pan is big enough. Yes, this will rise.

Here's the recipe.
"The Bag Lady's Favorite Chocolate Pound Cake"
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk [this is probably optional - the taste it imparts is fine but not great. However, since buttermilk is acidic you'll have to change the recipe to deal with the pH change - no easy feat - TBD]

Special equipment: 10-inch bundt pan [again, use an angel-food cake pan - TBD]

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa and set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and mix well after each addition.

Add flour and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and mix well. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until cake is done.

Remove from oven and allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto cake plate and serve.