ZenIRCBot is a topic I’ve written on a few times. Once upon a time it was my primary project outside of work. These days it has mostly become an unmaintained heap of code. I’ve grown significantly as a developer since I wrote it. It’s time for a revival and a rewrite.
I have a project I started about 7-8 months ago called clean-zenircbot which is a reimplementation of the bot from scratch using a custom IRC library I hope to spin out as a separate project. The goals of the project are things like being able to test the bot itself as well as making it possible for service developers to reasonably test their services. As well as documenting the whole thing to make myself no longer ashamed when I suggest someone write a service for an instance of the bot.
Going along with having written about ZenIRCBot in the past, I’ve also promised 3.0 a few times. So what makes this time different? The primary change is that I’ve started using beeminder (click to see how I’m doing), a habit tracking app with some nice features. My goal will be to fix at least 2 issues a week, or more which grants me a bit of a buffer. This will keep me pushing forward on getting a new version out the door.
I’m not sure how many issues or how long it will take, but constant progress will be made. I currently have two issues open on the repo. First one is to assess the status of the code base. Second is to go through every issue on all of the ZenIRCBot repos and pull in all of them that make sense for the new bot. This includes going through closed issues to remind myself why the old bot had some interesting design decisions.
Below is a graph of this so far. I’m starting with a flat line for the first week to give myself time to build up a buffer and work out a way to fit it into my schedule. Hopefully if you are viewing this in February or March (or even later!) the data will be going up and to the right much like the yellow road I should be staying on.
The other day I was at the store and found that lamb stew meat was on sale. I decided to pick up some, take it home and make the first stew of the new year. I’d recently heard that parsnips were pretty good and never really had those before so I got some of those. Picking up some other veggies and a bottle of syrah I made my way home and got excited to eat delicious lamb and veggies.
- 1.25 lbs Lamb (most any cut) cubed
- 0.5 cup Flour
- 0.25 cup Olive Oil
- 2 cups Dry Red Wine
- 1.5 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
- 3 cups Chicken Stock or Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 1 tablespoon chopped Fresh Tarragon
- 1 lbs Small Red Potatoes
- 0.5 lbs Small Yellow Potatoes
- 1 Parsnip
- 3 good sized Carrots
- 1 Fennel Bulb
- 3 cloves Garlic
- Preheat oven to 350°. Toss your enameled cast iron dutch oven on a burner on medium low (pan should be ~340F), don’t put any oil in it yet, the pan can stay at high temps no problem all alone.
- Put your flour in a big bowl with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- Toss the lamb in the flour until coated. I had to do it in two batches, but I used a medium sized bowl.
- Put 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan (coat the bottom) and give a few seconds to fully come to temp. If you happen to have a pretty impurity heavy olive oil it may smoke at this point, drop the pan down to 325 and it should stop.
- I had to do this part in batches as well, brown the lamb on a couple sides, setting it aside as you work through your batches.
- Dump the wine and sherry vinegar into the pan. Use a piece of lamb to lightly scrub the bottom to get the good stuff, then put the rest in and bring to a boil.
- Add chicken stock and tarragon and stir it about a bit and bring it back to a boil.
- Once boiling, put in oven with lid for about 25 minutes.
- During those 25 minutes chop up the potatoes, parsnips, carrots and fennel bulb. The parsnips core seemed a bit tough closer to top so I cut it into coins for the skinny half, then I sliced down the sides to get all the delicious meat off of the core of the bigger half the roughly chopped that up. Fennel bulb I cut the stalks off and about a half inch of the bulb from the bottom. Then I sliced it in quarters with the grain. Then I cut it into strips against the grain.
- Once the 25 minutes has passed toss all of that into the pan and stir it up. I like my stews to have a bit of juice, so if you can see more than a quarter of an inch of the veggies and meat sticking out, pour some more wine and broth in (1 part wine to 4 parts broth).
- Put back in oven for about an hour or until the veggies are to your liking in softness.
- Bowl it up and devour it. If you like dry red wines, a glass goes nicely with it, otherwise put it in the fridge for deglazing any pan with red meat in it.
This is slightly modified from the exact stew I made to cut back the initial braise of the meat since mine turned out a little tough. I might also try braising at a lower temperature, but the problem is cooking the veggies through. They need quite a bit of heat to break down and become more tender.
Thanks to Nick Niemeir for asking me about the recipe today at work. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have gotten around to writing it down.
If you have any tips or tricks for lamb stew, I’d love to hear them. But I’m pretty proud of how good this one turned out.