PowerShell command to create Active Directory domain

In my last entry, I used a PowerShell command to remove the "corp.adatum.com" domain from my test domain controller DC1; basically torching the AD environment and returning DC1 to being a lowly workgroup server.

Oh yeah, this all is being done on a virtualized test lab environment, where the server DC1 is a Windows Server 2012 R2 server. I'm going through Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 R2, if you are interested.

So now, I want to create a domain "contoso.com" using PowerShell. I log onto my lowly workgroup server DC1, and fire up a PowerShell session as administrator.

And here is the one-liner to turn my server into a domain controller for the domain contoso.com:

Install-ADDSForest -DomainName contoso.com -InstallDNS

I then supply the local administrator password, and away it goes. After a couple minute's PowerShell work, I get hit with a restart prompt. And once the server restarts, ka-pow, there it is, as the domain controller for the mighty contoso.com domain. I don't know what this Contoso corporation does, but they seem like a nice place to work for.

PowerShell command to remove Active Directory domain

If you're working on an MCSE or working on the labs for course 70-410 "Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 R2", you might come across something about a PowerShell command to uninstall an Active Directory domain. True, there is such a command, but getting it to actuall work is another thing. Fwiw, I'm looking at page 196, Chapter 4, in the official Microsoft training guide.

I've got a virtual lab environment, and the VMs are all checkpointed after a clean install, so I always could go back to the checkpoint, but I really want to see the Uninstall-ADDSDomainController command do its thing.

In my scenario, I've got a single domain controller "DC1" which is the domain controller for the domain "corp.adatum.com". I logged onto DC1 as Administrator, and fired up a PowerShell session as Administrator. After quite a few whacks at the command, I found a sequence which actually worked for me. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Uninstall-ADDSDomainController -Force -IgnoreLastDCInDomainMismatch -IgnoreLastDNSServerForZone -LastDomainControllerInDomain -RemoveApplicationPartitions

After that, I got prompted for the local admin password, and then eventually, the command took off and started doing its thing. It took about 5 minutes in my tiny test lab environment to complete, with that complete being an alert that a reboot was necessary. I allowed the reboot to occur, and after the server came back around, it was now an apparent non-domain-controller. I logged on as Administrator, and the Server Manager fired up, showing a nag flag. The nag flag says "Post-deployment Configruation - Configuration required for Active Directory Domain Services at DC1".

As for the server itself, a look at Computer > Properties shows a Full Computer Name of "DC1.corp.adatum.com" and it is a member of the workgroup "WORKGROUP".

So that did the job. Now to throw a couple of one-liners at it to turn it into a Domain Controller for contoso.com...

The last grain of sand in the hourglass

As we were at the vet, having Cougar Cat put down, we were given the choice of being present while they did the actual euthanasia or not. I couldn't bring myself to be there while it actually occurred, so we decided to leave that task to the technician. The vet tech was a nice lady, and was quite understanding. The three of us exited the room at the same time, and the technician took Cougar Cat away, wrapped in a towel. He was so weak by then. I recall watching the double doors swing as the tech took Cougar Cat to the back, and as the door swung to close, I could see Cougar Cat's back foot peeking out through the towel. The door swung closed, and, in my mind I knew, "Well that's that. Goodbye old friend." The last grain of sand in the hourglass fell at last, and time stood still.

The great hourglass has been turned over once again, and we begin a new chapter with Cougar Two, a likely relative of Cougar Cat. Cougar Two is very much a lover, and a serious breadmaker. She can knead you raw, especially with those razor-like knives for claws. We gave her a claw clip today. She is still getting acclimated to her new home, and Trixie Cat still greets her with down ears and a hiss. Ah, time will hopefully soften that as well.
 

Cougar Cat is resting peacefully with Jesus

Cougar Cat, after almost 15 years of good living with our family, has gone on to be with Jesus.

Really, time nor space could do justice to tell his story. I can say in short, though, that no kitty companion was ever so beloved. In this very picture, laying in comfortable repose on our bed, you can capture the essence of Cougar Cat. He would often be found on the bed. If it was summer, he would be enjoying the sunlight. If winter, he would be tucked in under the covers or perhap resting on a pillow. He was regal and majestic for a cat, conducting himself with dignified elegance. Up until maybe the most recent couple of years, he enjoyed having his head rubbed and petted, but went on to prefer tummy rubs.

Anybody who met Cougar Cat learned that he always had the most tremendous purr. His purr could be heard from adjacent rooms! Oh he enjoyed his pleasures to the fullest, luxuriating during a good petting session. When he was but a wee kitty, our daughter fed him a piece of apple, and I do believe I have on video somewhere (what a pile of DV tapes I have to go through!) Rachel declaring "Cougar likes apple!". If I had a bowl of cereal, he enjoyed drinking the milk at the bottom of the bowl. Cougar Cat enjoyed his life indoors, or perhaps occasionally venturing out into our "kitty house", an attached enclosed structure to let the kitties have a taste of the outdoors.

Later on in his old age, Cougar Cat took to sleeping next to my head, on the pillow, at bedtime. This was a real treat, something I shall always remember. I can hear his breathing and his purr as I type this, and I shall always cherish those memories.

If you have had a close pet companion, then you can relate with much of what I'm writing, for sure. He will always be beloved by me, and someday, I look forward to seeing him in Heaven.

Blaise Pascal, eternity, and a free book.

Blaise Pascal was an early 17th century French mathematician and philosopher. He was a Christian, and died pretty young, not even 40 years of age. He was working on a book regarding the defense of the Christian faith, but never finished it.

After his death, his writings were gathered and organized into a book called Pensées, which basically means "Thoughts". Some of his writings are pretty profound, such as this paragraph:

434 The chief arguments of the sceptics--I pass over the lesser ones--are that we have no certainty of the truth of these principles apart from faith and revelation, except in so far as we naturally perceive them in ourselves. Now this natural intuition is not a convincing proof of their truth; since, having no certainty, apart from faith, whether man was created by a good God, or by a wicked demon, or by chance, it is doubtful whether these principles given to us are true, or false, or uncertain, according to our origin. Again, no person is certain, apart from faith, whether he is awake or sleeps, seeing that during sleep we believe that we are awake as firmly as we do when we are awake; we believe that we see space, figure, and motion; we are aware of the passage of time, we measure it; and in fact we act as if we were awake. So that half of our life being passed in sleep, we have on our own admission no idea of truth, whatever we may imagine. As all our intuitions are then illusions, who knows whether the other half of our life, in which we think we are awake, is not another sleep a little different from the former, from which we awake when we suppose ourselves asleep?

Pascal, in working on his defense, basically busts the bubble for the humanist and the atheist. In their blustering insistence on "Science" and "Reason", they have no possible way to know for sure that all they hold so real is not in fact a thin, pale, watered-down version of a much deeper and richer reality which they will taste once they awaken from this present "dream". Either that or they awaken to eternal torment far darker and far more agonizing than anything in this present age.

The whole book is filled with these sorts of thought-provoking illustrations and musings. I'd urge all Christians to add this to their bookshelf, and considering the book is free online, why not?

Pensées is entirely in the public domain; you can get it for free online at Project Gutenberg. They have plain text, Kindle, and more.

All-Natural Caramel Apple

Well, it isn't exactly a carmel apple, but you will never know the difference. I owe this one to my daughter. So anyhow, if you eat a Granny Smith apple along with some dates, it tastes just like a caramel apple. The date texture even chews like caramel. Pretty neat trick. And of course, you can make this as "organic" as you wish, just get appropriately organic apple and dates. Anyhow, be it organic or as processed as Spam, it tastes great.

Getting the most out of Tidy Cats 4 Breeze Litter Pads

If you are using the Tidy Cats Breeze Litter Box System, you probably know by now that the pads are a bit spendy. I have a suggestion that might help you get those pads to last a bit longer, though. For me, this simple trick has enabled us to get about twice as much use out of each pad.

The trick? Rotate your pads. Turns out our kitties, of which we have two, have this thing for only wanting to do their business at the front half of the litter box. Naturally, the front half of the pad gets more saturated than the back half. When cleaning the litter box out, take the tray out, and if it looks like it is getting more use on one end than the other, spin the tray around and put it in so that the wet end goes where the cats don't. Keep doing this, and you might find out that instead of having to replace the pad once a week, you might get 10 days or even two full weeks out of a pad.

An excerpt regarding chicken katsu and butter mochi

"Ended up using a different butter mochi recipe cuz' Rachel said she is allergic to coconut flake. Broke out in bad hives when she worked at Marble Slab and touched some. Recipe I used calls for a can of coconut milk (yeah, I asked 'so hows that different?' too), 3 eggs and a can of evaporated milk. Otherwise was pretty much the same. Came out fine, but I'da liked that coconut flake in it.

The pan worked awesome, it was exactly what I was hoping for. Always liked your pan. There ain't no substitute for a pan with square sides.

The Aloha brand katsu sauce is truly 'da real ting'. Was truly ono. There is a Kikoman tonkatsu sauce as well, but I can tell without having tried it that the Aloha brand would be better. I knew it the moment I saw the Aloha bottle labeled "katsu sauce" and not "tonaktsu sauce". Truly island style.

I also did up two mac salads; one with purely mayo and a splash and milk, the other with about 3/4 mayo 1/4 Miracle Whip, and a splash of milk. I think the mayo/Miracle Whip combo is the closest to drive-in plate lunch mac salad. The only thing I'd do different is to seriously overcook the macaroni, as like 20 minutes instead of 10. They need that really squishy texture to capture the real thing. Did need some salt and pepper, I found a light shake of salt really woke it up."

So that was the message snip. Now for the recipe.

Chicken Katsu

  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 package panko bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Salt, pepper
  • Get a gallon ziplock bag and one at a time, place a fully defrosted boneless skinless chicken thigh in the bag and use a flat mallet or whatever to pound that thigh into a fairly thin cutlet, around 1/4 inch thick.
  • Get a 9x13 dish or something decent sized, and put the panko bread crumbs into it. Add 2 teaspoons baking powder, along with as much salt and pepper as you think it needs.
  • Get a big ol' frying pan and add in about half-inch of olive oil or whatever oil you like for frying.
  • Oh yeah, turn your oven on to 200 °f. or "warm". Get a baking dish and put some paper towels into it. Put the dish into the oven, and transfer the cooked katsu pieces into there as you go, to keep everything nice and warm.
  • So, on the stove, get that oil up to frying temp. If your frying pan is big enough to cook three pieces, great. if not, cook two, or, sadly, one if that's all the pan will hold.
  • Yeah, so anyhow, toss a frying pan's worth of the pounded chicken breasts into the panko crumbs and get the crumbs on the pieces good. There isn't any sort of wet batter involved, so the panko will stick on lightly.
  • Get the oil hot in the pan up to whatever frying temp you like to work with, and fry up a batch of chicken for about 4 minutes a side.
  • Transfer the finished pieces to the pan in the oven
  • When the cooking is done, I don't need to tell you this, but turn the burner off and be careful cuz' a pan of hot fry oil is, well, a pan of hot fry oil. Anyhow, get the finished pieces out of the oven, and cut them up into nice katsu-sized bites.
  • Serve with a generous scoop of rice and and if you got island-style mac salad, serve that, too. And if you got Aloha brand Katsu Sauce by all means, put that bottle on the table!
  • After that, if you got room, serve up some butter mochi, too.

My Sister's Butter Mochi

Now if you aint' got an allergy to flaked coconut this is the butter mochi I'd be making every time.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 box Mochiko
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups milk
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter; cool. Combine mochiko, sugar, and baking powder. Combine bummer and remaining ingredients. Stir into mochiko mixture; mix well. Pour into a 13" X 9" pan. Bake for 1 hour or until middle is set; cool. Makes 24 pieces.

Butter Mochi 125421

Get the real recipe at http://www.food.com/recipe/butter-mochi-125421

  • 1 box Mochiko
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 12-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 14-oz can coconut milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Sift the mochiko, sugar, baking powder together in a big bowl. Mix the eggs, milks, vanilla in a separate bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet stuff. Mix it up good, and add in the melted butter. I found it took a bit of stirring to get it fully incorporated. Grease up a 9x13 pan and pour in the mix. Cook at 350°f. for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 2 hours.

Char Siu Duck

Duck in the oven
Char Siu Duck in roasting pan
Duck on the plate
Char Siu Duck Dinner. Mmm.

There I was, wandering through New Sagaya when I spied with my eye some frozen geese and ducks in one of those freezer with no lids you see in the grocery store. Which is what New Sagaya is. Okay, so anyhow I really wanted to try a goose, but they were like $45. So a duck it was.

Now to me there is only one way to prepare duck, and that would be Chinese-style. So on that Saturday, the duck came home with me and went into the refrigerator to defrost, because it was as solid as a cinder block.

Now on, um, Monday night, I was shopping at Red Apple where they have a healthy supply of NOH Chinese BBQ Char Siu Seasoning, amongst other things. Char Siu Duck it is!

The next day, Tuesday, it was duck time. So after a few hours of lovin' in the oven, it was Char Siu Duck dinner for Justin and I. Justin enjoyed it quite a bit, as did I. Being on a low-carb diet for the short term, I unfortunately had to forgo any rice. The duck, however, certainly stood on it's own, with a nice Char Siu flavor, and not too much oil. Mmm.

Ingredients

Directions

  • Get some latex or rubber or synthetic gloves on. It gets messy.
  • Allow duck to completely defrost. Wash off and and wash out body cavity. Remove any organs or gizzards from the inside and fling those nasty things. Even the cats wouldn't eat 'em.
  • Get out a big ol' roasting pan that has one of those folding wire "V" rack contraptions.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°. Yes, this is pretty low.
  • You have the gloves on, right? Get a knife and score the back and the breast of the duck a few times. This is an important step you wouldn't typically do with other poultry. You gotta cut in slits for all that duck fat to cook out through. See the photo above for a general idea.
  • Tear open that Char Siu Seasoning packet, and sprinkle it over the duck, while working it in. Give the duck a really good massage. The Char Siu seasoning is screaming bright magenta, so you will easily see the areas needing more work.
  • Work it in good, real good. Sprinkle any excess into the body cavity.
  • Set the "V" rack up into a, well, "V".
  • Place the duck on the rack, breast side up, and the rack is in the roasting pan, right? If not, now is the time to place it in there. Duck, on the rack, in the roasting pan.
  • Put the pan into the oven.
  • Roast at 220° for about 2 hours.
  • Crank the heat up to 350° and continue roasting for another 40 minutes or until that duck looks good.
  • Take the pan out of the oven, and turn on the broiler on your oven. We're going to flash-crisp that duck!
  • So the pan is out, right? And you turned the broil setting on, right? So it's getting hot. While you are waiting, get some gloves or whatever, and carefully flip the duck over on the "V" rack so the breast side is down. Oh yeah, this is a good time to carefully tip the duck body so the collected liquid fat in the body cavity drains out into the roasting pan.
  • Put the duck back in the oven and carefully watch it. Give that bird a serious blistering suntan for about a minute. You get that skin as crispy as you desire.
  • Remove the pan from the oven, and flip the duck so the breast side is up. Return it to the oven.
  • Repeat the process so you end up with some blistering nice skin. Mmmm.
  • Remove from the oven, and let the duck alone for about five minutes.
  • How you carve that duck is up to you. If you want authentic Chinese style, get a big ol' cleaver and ka-chop that duck with no concern whatsoever about the bones. Anyhow, enjoy that Char Siu Duck!

Salted Caramel Butter Bars - a cautionary tale

Caramel bars
Salted Caramel Bars
caramel pot
Pot of delicious caramel

So last week I saw a box of homemade salted caramel butter bars at a charity fundraiser. They looked gooey, tempting, and tasty. I was unable to obtain them, but my curiosity was piqued. A bit of googling led me quickly to here where I became convinced this could indeed be done by mere mortals. I did go unto the store and acquire the various ingredients sans the caramel cubes.

Why not use caramel cubes? Because I found this.

So now I have a recipe for caramel bars, and for caramel. Got all the parts, nothing left but to do the deed. And on this Thanksgiving Day, in the year of our Lord 2013, the deed was done.

If you look at the http://dessert.food.com/recipe/gooey-caramel-sauce-99795 recipe, it says it can be doubled, and that is just what I did. The only modification from the recipe itself is that I used five of those little "Mini Moos" half-and-half containers instead of cream. If you look at the "Pot of caramel" photo, that is the result. Let me tell you what, it was the first time I ever made caramel. The directions mentioned it thickens as it cools, and this is exactly the case. The result was a dark concoction of sugary pleasure. It would have been better if I had stopped for the day here, for what comes next was not as pleasant.

So on to the http://cookiesandcups.com/dont-hate-me-because-im-butter-ful/ recipe. Now since I have a fabulously gooey homemade caramel, I need not bother with the 50 cubes of caramel and what-not. I proceed to produce the butter bar recipe, and indeed, if you look at the photo of what I did produce, they do make for a nice photo. Except they turned out way underdone, but no amount of additional time ever got the shortbread to set up. In the end, it is the caramel itself which is holding the bar together. The problem? I believe the problem is an excess of butter, because the shortbread alone uses an entire four-stick box of it! Can you imagine anything firming up with four sticks of butter in it spread amongst a thin layer in a 9x13 baking pan? Well, now I don't. Next time, if ever it gets three sticks, not four. Or perhaps another cup of flour.

So, how did it taste? It was an unfortunate waste of really good caramel on what was to me, an unappealingly undercooked shortbread-ish doughy blob. While it did taste fine, it could have been, should have been, so much more. I think I'll learn how to make a proper shortbread, and then apply the caramel on it.

There was one great discovery in all of this; how to produce a crumble topping. The recipe in short is: bake a shortbread base, pour caramel, sprinkle chilled dough on top as a crumble top. Well, that dough just did not want to crumble at all, which I in part believe is because it had too much butter in it. Well, I was using a cooling rack to cool the pan after baking the bottom, and this cooling rack has about a 1/4" spacing to it, basically making for a fantastic 1/4" grate. I used that cooling rack as a grate and grated the cold dough through it, producing a fine crumble over the caramel. So that bit of cooking worked out well. Shame the entire cookie didn't.

I did try re-baking the cookie for another 30 minutes, but this just produced an oily over-buttered blob. Not good. So indeed, this is a cautionary tale. The lesson learned? Learn how to make shortbread first.

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