Technical Difficulties…Please Stand By

Y’all, we got hacked.

HAcked

A few weeks ago, I noticed the back-end stats of the website going wonky (insane amount of processes running, constant downtime notifications), and after some rudimentary detective work, I figured out that my site/space was being used for Bitcoin mining. My guess is they got in through a unsecured, out-of-date WordPress plug-in.

I killed the site to stop the mining/resource hogging until I could figure out how to fix everything. Given the circumstances of the attack, we were able to save a lot of it (the posts, the overall structure, and the basic, un-tweaked version of the theme), but some aspects had to be dumped to ensure we got rid of every last bit of the bad code.

Unfortunately, one of the things we lost were any pictures hosted by the site itself. We had been working on moving pictures off to other storage spaces and re-linking them due to hitting my host’s space limits already, but I’d only made it up to about mid-2015 by the time we got hacked. My apologies for any recipes/pages you hit that have no pictures on them right now–I’ll be spending a lot of time over the next few weeks re-linking/uploading all the pictures for the posts. I have them all on my laptop, but I basically need to reconstruct about 2.5 years worth of work.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to say goodbye to over 3.5 years worth of work, time, and effort. I’m very lucky to have been able to save any of it, and even more lucky that it wasn’t worse.

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t use a ton of WordPress plug-ins, and if you do–make sure they’re trustworthy, secure, and updated often.
  2. Watch your stats like a hawk–I could have caught this earlier, but I wasn’t paying close attention until the “SITE DOWN” emails started flooding in.
  3. Don’t just delete things willy-nilly when trying to stop the bleeding–I deleted an important database file when I was frantically trying to bring the site down and it cost me an extra week or so in downtime to repair that mistake.
  4.  BACK UP your site in multiple places–it’s an old IT saying: it doesn’t exist if there’s not at least two copies of it.
    • Backups helped in this case, but not entirely–the bad code was throughout the site, restoring blindly from a backup would have just started the problem over again. However, it’s still a VERY good idea, since we were able to pull the posts and some of the other essential parts out safely.

Thanks for sticking with me throughout my trials and tribulations. I’ll be getting back on track here shortly. Stay tuned!

5-16: Richmond Omelette

A lot of Simply Delicious‘ recipes are takes on already-established dishes, like 9-4: Swedish Meatballs, 2-13: Waldorf Salad or 3-2: New England Clam Chowder. I did a fair amount of searching for anything that resembled 5-16: Richmond Omelette, but besides some rankings of places to get a good omelette in Richmond, VA, there’s not much out there for that particular dish with that name. 5-16 Richmond Omelette

I’ve put this one off for a while due to not having port wine on hand. After a trip to the store and a rather haughty store clerk who carded me for it despite the clearly visible gray streaks in my hair, I have the wine–let’s make a weird mushroom omelette-casserole with cheese sauce.

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11-35: Grilled Pacific Halibut

I have never been known for my skills in preparing fish, but this recipe, 11-35: Grilled Pacific Halibut, helped me become a halibut grilling master! 🐟

Many of the times I failed at cooking fish, I did not marinate the flesh first. Skipping that step definitely makes a difference.

Editor’s note: By the looks of the notations on this card, my mother made this in what looks like July of 1995, although that last digit is difficult to clearly determine–her handwriting has always been a challenge. It might be 1990. She noted that it was “Very Easy” on the back–sounds like Adam may have had a similar experience.  Read more

18-1: Basic Yeast Dough I

I’ve made a lot of bread during the 3.5 years I’ve been working on this project (both for the project and outside of it), and I hear a lot of the same remarks whenever I talk about making bread: “Oh, that seems hard”, or “It’s too much work to make bread”. I used to feel the same way, and shied away from yeast recipes for a long time out of a fear of failure. In cooking (like most things in life), you have to be ready to embrace failure and learn from it–otherwise, you’ll never get past heating up Hot Pockets in the microwave.

18-1 Basic Yeast Dough I

Simply Delicious even notes in their recipe blurb that bread making is perceived as hard. It’s maybe not the easiest thing in the world, but you’ll make a lot of friends fast if you can make them fresh bread. 18-1: Basic Yeast Dough I is the first in a three-part series on bread making, where you’ll learn some tips and tricks for improving your bread baking, as well as a few basic recipes that you can use.

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9-3: Herb Garden Meat Patties

Finally, an interesting take on the ground meat patty. Let’s spice things up by adding fresh garden herbs with 9-3: Herb Garden Meat Patties! 🌿

I’ve tried burgers with added spices before. Here’s yet another Simply Delicious suggestion for preparing flavorful meat patties.

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17-14: Nutty Muffins

Here’s one of the last few recipes left from the chapter on baked goods, Group 17: Baked Goods. I made 17-14: Nutty Muffins for work–I thought they’d make a nice accompaniment to everyone’s morning coffee. ☕️

17-14 Nutty Muffins

See? Even Simply Delicious shows them being served with coffee. Wikipedia offers a deeper dive on the history of muffins if you’re interested/bored. There’s a difference between these types of muffins (referred to as “quickbread” muffins or “American” muffins due to the fact that they’re very similar to a cupcake or other types of sweet, dense, cake-like bread) and the traditional “English” muffins that you get with Eggs Benedict or an Egg McMuffin.

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17-10: Poppy Seed Bread

One of the last entries from the Baked Goods chapter, 17-10: Poppy Seed Bread is essentially white bread with a sprinkling of poppy seeds on top. Simply Delicious shows it as a loaf, but I chose to make it into rolls/buns–since you’re already topping the bread with seeds, it makes it very reminiscent of sesame seed hamburger buns. 🍔

17-10 Poppy Seed Bread

 

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11-5: Lemon Pepper Scallops

Hey, y’all. Took a month or two off (I need SOME sort of summer vacation now that I’m not a teacher anymore), but as I’ve said before, I’m not going to let this die. Even though I haven’t been actively writing and publishing, I’ve still been cooking and photographing–I’ll get caught up here soon. Thanks for sticking around. 🙂

Here’s one I cooked a little while ago, but never finished writing–11-5: Lemon Pepper Scallops. My husband Adam LOVES seafood and at the start of this summer, we had decided we were going to try to knock out more of the Fish and Beef chapters of the book over the warm months. I can’t say that vow has worked out (I don’t think any of the ones in the queue are either one of those), but here’s a vestige of what was to be.

I’m gonna tell you right now–I can do a LOT of things in the kitchen, but poaching is my white whale. I always have a REALLY hard time with it (see 5-4: Eggs Benedict for an example of that), and I’ve yet to conquer it. Practice makes perfect, but to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of poached seafood anyway (very 1980s). I think for this one, I’m going to use a more flavorful searing technique, which I have less of a chance of screwing up (hey, scallops ain’t cheap).

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9-39: Zesty Meat Casserole

Not every Simply Delicious recipe is a home run. With 9-39: Zesty Meat Casserole, perhaps unsuccessfully, tries to break the mold. By not forming the beef into a patty, meatball, or kebab, this casserole tries to do something different. To cook this recipe, I had to prepare a parsnip, something I’m not accustomed to. I made this dish before a trip out of town and brought it with me to have something homemade to eat.

I cut my vegetables in a manner similar to the photograph, but my substitution of milk for half and half made the sauce come out runny.

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6-39: Chicken Pot Stickers

6-39: Chicken Pot Stickers are another case of a food that I “can” make, but would choose not to after seeing all of the mess and work involved.

“Steamed, stuffed dumplings” sound delicious. Mine came out a little more fried than steamed, still delicious.

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