Archive for February 17th, 2008

Creamy tortellini

Inspired by a “Pasta Pomodoro” dish called “Tortellini alla Panna” (not the same recipe though). We had the following tonight with JBQ and we liked it a lot. A very rich dish.

Ingredients (for 2)
* Cheese tortellini for two
* 3 slices of uncoooked bacon
* 150 gr of chicken breast
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1/5 cup white wine or champagne
* 2 tbspoons of frozen spinach
* 1 garlic clove
* 2 tbspoons olive oil
* Some basil (or sage or parsley)
* Black pepper to taste

Execution
1. Cut chicken into strips. Cook pasta as per package instructions and boil the chicken strips with it too. Drain, separate the chicken from the pasta, and set both aside.
2. Cut the bacon in small bits. In a pan heat the olive oil and start frying the bacon. Stir occasionally.
3. Two minutes later add the chicken into the saucepan and fry it together with the bacon for a few more minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Cut the spinach, garlic and basil in small bits. Add to the frying pan and fry all for another 2-3 minutes until the bacon is crispy and the chicken has taken some color.
5. Add the wine, and cook for one more minute. Add some black pepper. Add the milk and the sour cream. Stir for a while to melt all ingredients together and turn off the heat when the sauce is still creamy.
6. Mix the pasta in it, stir everything for 30 more seconds and immediately serve. Enjoy!

Natural beauty at the Palace of Fine Arts

Vegetation shots around the quiet ‘Palace of Fine Arts’ in San Francisco. My JBQ poses in the opening shot of the video. I experimented a bit with HV20’s DOF. HD version here.

The bridge

Details from one of the finest bridges on Earth, the Golden Gate Bridge. HD version here.

A rarely used Sony Vegas feature

We went to eat at “Pasta Pomodoro” with JBQ last night and as usual, we started talking geek. I started telling him about a pet peeve of mine: “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could save in a lossless codec my final cut video but to also save a ‘reference’ file to tell the video editor where the ‘splits’ are so I can re-edit that in the future? Sure, I wouldn’t be able to have layers, transitions and plugin information, but at least I would have the cut information, which is most important. Right now, I am forced to keep 12 GBs per tape footage on the hard drive, while I am only using 1/10th of that usually.

And he replied: “That’s not the correct way of doing things. The right way would be to save only the portions of the .m2t or DV .avi files you are actually using. These formats can be chopped off and saved without a re-encoding, so this way you don’t lose quality at all. And you get to keep all your plugin, transition and other project information in the project file! It should also keep 10 seconds of extra footage left and right of your cuts!“.

At that point I thought: “Hell, that’s why JBQ is a software engineer, and I was just a petty programmer” (there’s a difference).

So, when we came back home I opened Vegas and tried to find such a feature. I was ready to fire up a feature request if there was no such feature. And yet, there is. Both on Vegas Pro and on Vegas Platinum (not sure about the plain version). Vegas 8 Pro is able to cut/save .m2t and DV AVI without re-encoding, while Platinum 8 can do only DV AVI (although it’s safe to assume that the next version should be able to do .m2t too). All you have to do is to “save as” your project, and check that “Copy and trim media with project“. The next screen will even ask you how many extra seconds left and right of your trims you want Vegas to save.

Very cool feature!