Month: December 2008 Page 1 of 2

Another Geek Christmas.

We had a couple of people over for the 2nd annual Geek Christmas. It went very well; we played Warhammer and stuffed ourselves. Thanks to Rob and Sheena for coming over and to Lee for magnificent grilling 🙂

Merry Christmas!

Recipe: Raspberry-Chipotle BBQ

I was going to put this on Cornish game hens, but I couldn’t find any in bulk, so it ended up on pork loin.

I received about a cup and a half of raspberry sauce in trade for a big container of weird soup, so I’m guesstimating on the amounts there. I had too much leftover sauce, so I cut it back to a cup.

I’m a convert to the rub-and-sauce school of BBQ. Sauce chars if you leave it on grilling meat for too long, but if you just add the sauce at the last second, the meat isn’t flavored properly. Put the rub on the (thawed!) meat for a few hours so the salt can do its magic. Then grill the meat, adding the sauce for just the last few minutes, so it can carmelize but not burn. Brilliant, I tell you, brilliant!

Rub:

Recipe if you have a mortar and pestle:
4-6 T ground up chilis–not pre-mixed chili powder
2 T cumin seeds
2 T coriander
Salt
1 T ground sage

Stirring more or less constantly, toast the chilis, coriander, and cumin over dry heat until the chili powder is brown but not black. Working with a small amount at a time if you have a small mortar, crush the spices and grind them into powder (adding the sage) with about a third as much salt as you have spices. You should end up with about 1/3-1/2 cup of mixture. Finesse is not really required here.

Recipe if you don’t:
Halve the whole spices. Toast and mix with salt as above.

The mortar and pestle are really easy to use and easier to clean than a coffee grinder. Also, spices keep better when they’re not preground. The cumin seeds were a nose-awakener when I ground them the first time. I’m going to have to try it with whole dried chilis next.

Sauce:

1 c. pureed raspberries (about 1 pt. whole), seeds left in.
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. soy sauce (caution: don’t add all at once)
4-6 canned chipotle peppers in adobo (one small can)
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 T sage

Wear gloves or wrap a sandwich bag around your non-knife hand–chipotles are smoked jalapenos and will burn your eyes if you touch your face; this effect lasts about a day after you’re done cooking, whether you wash your hands or not.

Pull the chipotles out of the can, discarding onions (if any).* Slice the chipotles in half and scrape out the seeds. Mince the chipotles and add them to a small saucepan with the raspberries, honey, garlic, and sage. Bring to a slow simmer. Add soy sauce to taste. The sauce should be very thick. Simmer longer if you think the sauce is too thin.

If something tastes off, you probably need a little more soy sauce. If you want to finesse the sourness, you can add vinegar – balsamic, good sherry, champagne, or fruit. (Don’t use red wine or distilled.)

When you’re ready to grill, split the sauce into two containers. Use one to mop the meat during the last few minutes of grilling; save the other to serve with the meat.

*Maybe you’d like the onions, but they gross me out.

Book Review: Peacekeeper

by Laura Reeve.

In a way, Laura Reeve is the reason I got involved with Pikes Peak Writers just over a year ago. I was talking to a friend of mine, and she said a friend of hers was always trying to get her husband to go to this writing group and a conference that came up every April. I ended up going to a meeting (in a complete panic), then to an all-day workshop, then to the conference…

I finally met Laura Reeve last year at the Pikes Peak Writer’s conference, where she gave a dry and informative yet funny talk about subgenres in science fiction and fantasy. She struck me as the kind of person who knows the answer to the question “Why” really is “Because” sometimes.* She looked a lot more competent and confident than she should have for a not-yet-published novelist with no experience babbling literary theory to newbies. In retrospect, my impression probably came from her years coping with the military, which is definitely stranger than a writers’ convention.

And that’s how her first published book goes – dry, informative, often funny military sci-fi, about a character who’s a lot more competent and confident than she should be. The characters are interesting but don’t rest on their “interestingness.” (The main character is no Miles Vorkosigan, but she has enough flaws to outlast a dental convention.**) The plot is solid, until you realize she’s been spinning more plates than you realized, and they might go amuck at any time…but don’t. The writing is direct and doesn’t screw around with vagueness or purple prose but is never dull.

Totally the kind of thing I never read. Totally going to read the next book.

Minor spoilers in comments.

*Or, “What is slipstream?” “Honestly? I don’t think anybody knows.”
**Sorry.

Greeting Cards.

Becky over at Beckland needs to start writing for Hallmark:

  • When you’re sad — I will jump on the person who made you sad like a spider monkey jacked up on Mountain Dew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • When you’re blue — I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
  • When you smile — I will know you are plotting something that I must be involved in.

More over at her site.

Smug of the Day.

So I’m working on edits on Alien Blue and I have to totally rewrite a scene because I’d condensed sixteen years into seven (e.g., one of the characters went from thirteen to sixteen) and because it just, in general, sucked. I’m supposed to be done with major rewrites, damn it! There must be some way to save this @#$%^&* scene…

Three days of thinking and banging away on the keyboard, I get this line:

I puffed out my cheeks, decided what I knew about women could fill shot glass if I poured myself a shot first, and said, “Back later, Miss Dewey. Aanybody asks, I’ll open when I open, all right?”

Okay, it was the right thing after all.

Recipe: Lee Chili

Chili for Lee.

2 T dried chili pepper (not chili powder)
1 T cumin
1 1/2 lbs chorizo
1/2 lb summer sausage, cubed
1 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Anaheim peppers, seeds removed, diced
4 chipotle chilis in adobo, seeds removed, minced
1 T salt
2 15 oz cans pinto beans
4 15 oz cans tomatoes (2 before the cooking for a deeper flavor and 2 after for a brighter red color)
1 bottle dark beer (brown ale or stout)
2 oz mexican chocolate (for example, Abuelita brand)

Cook chili pepper and cumin over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the chili pepper starts to brown and smell toasty. Add the olive oil, sausages, garlic, Anaheim peppers, and chipotles and cook until the chorizo is cooked through. Add 2 cans of tomatoes, the salt, the beer, and the chocolate and cook over low heat for at least 3 hours (or place in a crock pot and cook overnight), stirring occasionally if on the stove. About 1/2 hour from serving, add the beans and the rest of the tomatoes. Heat through and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Just Plain Weird.

Note to self: Check this out sometime; it looks like pure MADNESS.

Repo! The Genetic Opera stars Anthony Steward Head, Paris Hilton, Terrance Zdunich:

The premise: in the not-too-distant future, an epidemic of organ failure prompts the rise of GeneCo, which both provides replacement organs and finances the loans to pay for them. Miss a payment, and a Repo Man comes to collect GeneCo’s property. (Exhibit A at right.)

The plot: By day, the Repo Man (played by Head) is well-meaning but controlling single dad Nathan Wallace. His daughter Shilo has a Victorian-sounding “blood condition” and is supposed to stay inside, but she’s a teenager, so that lasts for about five minutes. On one of her excursions to her mother’s tomb, she meets the Graverobber, who mines the bodies of the dead for an addictive painkiller he sells on the black market.*

The daughter’s played by the girl from Spykids, who sings really, really well.

*Via Tor.com, which is turning into my favorite “updates on all things sciffy” blog.

Again, an Auntie!


New baby: Jillian! Congratulations to my brother Matt and especially to my sister-in-law Erica. Also to big brother Liam, who will probably be the most protective, sweetest big brother ever 🙂

Update: Yep.

First Grade Joke:

Why are monsters so wrinkly?

Because they’re so hard to iron.

Nine Inch Noels.

The alternative Christmas carol.

Ye gods, I laughed so hard a guy came around the corner at work and said, “So the giggle bomb went off” and I couldn’t stop!

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