Monday, March 23, 2009

free alternative to defrag.nsf

My friend Adam asked me recently about defrag.nsf. In case you don't know, this is a Windows-only tool for Domino that will do a file-level defragmentation of Domino databases. According to the product page the theory is this will increase performance. I haven't tried the product so I can't state whether this is true or not, but I do know that you can get the same results for free.

defrag.nsf is using the Windows defragmentation API to do file-specific defragmentation. Microsoft baked this into Windows NT 4 and the same API has been in Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003 and 2008. It is robust, stable, and has been proven over time. Because all the necessary libraries are included with Windows you could write this application yourself if you wanted to.

But you don't have to. Sysinternals, a division of Microsoft, has the free contig tool that does the exact same thing. You can defrag a single file, a directory, or recurse directories. And it accepts wildcards, so you could defrag "c:\program files\ibm\lotus\domino\data\mail\*.nsf".

If you decide you want to find out if file fragmentation is an issue for your Domino server it wouldn't hurt to try out the free contig tool and compare it to the results from defrag.nsf.

P.S. While I was researching this I came across Ulrich Kraus' write up of contig. The comments there include links to more free defragmentation utilities.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

blueberry lime sauce

You can use this with anything that needs a slightly sweet, fruity, and citrusy pop of flavor. I served this with braised pork belly.

1 C Riesling wine
1 C unsweetened blueberry juice
2 cardamom pod, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 kaffir lime leaves, or the zest of 2 limes
juice from 1 lime
sugar to taste
salt to taste
2 small saucepans

Put the Riesling in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until it reduces to 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup.
Remove from the heat
Thinly slice the kaffir lime leaves and stir the ribbons into the Riesling reduction, or add the lime zest
Add a pinch of salt, stir, and let sit.

Put the blueberry juice and cardamom pod (if using, ground cardamom later would be added later) into a second sauce pan. Heat over medium-high heat until it reduces by about 1/2.
Add the Riesling reduction to the blueberry reduction. Add the ground cardamom now, if you're not using a whole pod.
Reduce the entire mixture to about 1/2 a cup
Stir in sugar to taste. How much you need depends on how sweet the Riesling and blueberry juice was to begin with.
Add salt to taste
Continue cooking until sugar and salt are fully dissolved, about 1 minute

Allow to completely cool, then strain into a storage container. Stir in the lime juice.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

buttermilk cake with spiced vanilla icing

This is the buttermilk cake I have been making for dinner parties recently. It's delicious, easy, and a little unexpected with the buttermilk and butternut squash. I organized the ingredients into the groups you will need to prepare this recipe.

For the cake

  • 10 cup bundt pan
  • 1T unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbs distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 13 1/2 oz (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/4 cups peeled and grated butternut squash (about 8 oz)

For the icing and garnish

  • 9 oz (2 1/4 cups) confectioners' sugar
  • 3 Tbs buttermilk; more as needed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Make the cake

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325. Butter and flour a 10 cup bundt pan, tap out excess flour
  • Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar on medium speed in a large bowl until well combined, about 1 minute
  • Add the oil and beat until combined, about 15 seconds
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well on low speed
  • Add the vinegar and vanilla and mix until just combined
  • Add half the flour and the baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg, mixing on low speed until just combined
  • Add half the buttermilk and mix until just combined
  • Add the remainder of the flour and buttermilk, mixing until combined
  • Stir the squash into the batter
  • Transfer the batter into your prepared bundt pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula
  • Bake the cake until a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour
  • Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes
  • Carefully invert the cake onto a wire rack. You want to do this while the cake is still slightly warm to minimize sticking.
  • When the cake is completely cool transfer to a serving plate

Make the icing

  • In a medium bowl using a whisk or hand mixer on low speed blend the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, nutmeg and salt until smooth
  • Continue mixing and add more buttermilk a few drops a time until the icing is still quite thick but pourable
  • Pour the icing back and forth over the cake in thick ribbons, or drizzle using a spatula
  • Sprinkle with crystallized ginger
  • Let the iced cake sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes before serving