home_and_away: (moonbathing)
Tonight's dinner:

* ~One pound of chicken thighs, excess fat cut off, meat cut into chunks about the same mass as my distal thumbjoint. (see what I mean? What a unit of measure. But when you're chopping, it's good to have something nearby to compare to. Is this too big? ~looks at thumb, looks at chicken~ yeah a little; halve this bit of meat...)

* One packet Taco Bell taco seasoning. It's not just the spices; I could find authentic spice proportions somewhere and use those...but then I'd miss out on whatever thickening agent rides along with the spices and MSG in the packet and turns the spices into sauce while they cook. If you know how to use cornstarch responsibly, you can probably work from scratch. I will continue to use the little packets till they stop producing them or my system rejects the MSG dosage with violence. Makes measuring easy.

* An arbitrary amount of frozen bell peppers & onions from the bag I snagged at Mal-Wart for about two bucks. In this case, the amount was "what's left in the bag"; in future, it'll be maybe...mmmnnnn, say a 1:3 ratio, veg:chicken? Depends how far I need the chicken to go, you know? Anyway, throw 'em in frozen--the liquid that thaws out of them will eventually contribute to the sauce.

Those things all go into a bowl (or a gallon-sized ziploc bag if you're like that) and get massaged together then left to sit for a half hour or so, till the veg thaws.

Then! It's time for...
* At least one short stick of chorizo. I used one, tonight, and it was lovely but spread a little thin. Next time, TWO short sticks. Because I hearts me some chorizo.

Squeeze the chorizo out of its plastic skin into your waiting skillet and scramble it over medium high heat. You know it's done cooking when it looks a little gravelly and it starts hissing and trying to jump out of the pan. It will jump at you. I hope you're wearing a high-necked shirt. Be brave: the chorizo can smell fear.
At that point, remove the chorizo to a small bowl. The feisty thing.

Don't clean the pan. Just throw a little olive oil at it so the chicken mix doesn't stick.

Then add the chicken mix and cook over high or medium high heat.
Tonight, I put the whole thing into the pan; we have a big pan and it was a short pound. Next time, I might cook it in two shifts. We'll see. Anyway, you want kindof a stirfry situation happening in the skillet, thus the great temperature. Cook the chicken kindof fast before its juice can flee or the peppers can get soggy. Tonight, the short pound of chicken took about 10 minutes of flipping and pushing round the pan to cook. It was crowded; things more steamed than fried in there. Macht nichts: it still cooked through.
JUUUUSSSSST BEFORE you declare the chicken-bits cooked, put the chorizo back into the pan and give it a good few turns to integrate the sausage with the everything else.

To serve? Heh. What do you like? Mark & Dae had their share wrapped in tortillas; Mark put cheese in atop his. They seemed quite pleased. I put mine over a bowl of lettuce and topped it with cheese. Next time, maybe I'll put salsa in too; it needed some tartness to perk up all the savour/sweet and spice. Rice might make a nice option. Try things.
home_and_away: (moonbathing)
Apparently, the way to get me off my ass is to give me a cold.

This morning, I got a wild idea: if citron in honey eventually makes a good goo for making tea (seriously: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yujacha), I bet those sour, tiny orange-looking fruits on the tree Mel's Dad gave me will do it, too! So I wandered out to visit Mr. Tree and see if he had anyone ready for the table. And lo! Three fruits were ready to come in! So at eight this morning, I was sterilising a jar and washing fruit for another citrus tea preserve.

Won't know for a while how it's going--got to give the little kumquat/orange/I honestly don't know bits time to gel--a couple days till it's Food; a couple months till it's Itself.

home_and_away: (Default)
That time of year when (at least in my family) husbands hug their wives and reminisce about the food that Mom used to make...and wives grit their teeth and try yet again to recreate the godsdamned dish, hoping this year they'll find The Secret Ingredient and get their husbands to shut up.

You want in on the secret?

It came from a box and/or a can.
Every time.

My Gramma's pumpkin pie? A box and a can.
My ex-mother-in-law's beef-and-noodle casseroles? A box, not even the brand name one.

Mark's mom is from New Orleans; I've been quietly dreading the "My mom used to make this really great..." conversation since we got married. Well. Now I can relax.

See, there's a little coffee shop across the street from the apartment. Every Saturday, they make beignets. Last week, Dae and I snuck out of the house while Mark was still asleep and got a couple sackfuls to go.

Halfway through his second beignet, Mark tilted his head at me and said The Words.
"My mom used to make this thing..."

Oh, well, here it comes, I thought. I can always call Olga and get the recipe if he doesn't remember it, I guess...

"She'd get a tube of those cheap canned biscuits and cut them into quarters, then deep fry 'em, roll 'em in powdered sugar. Kindof like beignets, but we just called 'em doughnuts."

... This is the part where I mentally smack myself for forgetting how low the bullshit tolerance in my husband's family runs. Gods, I'm glad.

"Whomp biscuits?" I asked. "How'd they turn out?"

"Pretty good, as I remember. If we ever get your Fry Daddy out of storage, maybe we'll give it a go."


So today, I got impatient and poured an inch of oil into my cast iron skillet. Broke out the whomp biscuits.

Ohmygod, they're better than you'd think.
Light, fluffy, bitesized...

I ate more of them than I really should've; I can feel the glucose buzz behind my eyes.
But so worth it, for the taste and for the way Mark grinned as he shook sugar onto the little puffballs.

home_and_away: (Default)
So, to offer backstory for those who've just tuned in, a few years ago, my father was home from work (which is to say, that he was between contracts and so at home with Mom and underfoot), beset with a headcold. One night, Mom called to shoot the breeze and find out when next I'd be home, and Dad asked for the phone.

"What do you know that's good for a cold?" he asked me.
"Garlic, cranberry juice, broccoli, and sleep. Mostly sleep," I answered.
"Tried all of them. What else you got?"
"... Well. Here's an idea. You go out to Wal-Mart..."
"I hate Wal-Mart."
"I know, but unless McEwen or Waverly have spontaneously generated oriental grocery stores, it's the only place you're going to find a ginger root."
"Alright. What's that look like?"
"Rather like a doll, actually; it'll be in the produce area, in the refrigeration bins with the snap peas and beansprouts."
"So. Get a ginger root. Cut a chunk off about the size of the end joint of your thumb. Peel it, cut its surface, don't chop it unless you feel like fishing ginger bits out of your glass. Now. Do you still have that bottle of Crown you used to threaten me with?"
"Eyah. Oh, your mom's gonna love this."
"Mmhm. Medicinal purposes. Take a shot glass and drop your ginger lump in, cover it in whiskey, let it sit a while, then drink the whole thing and eat the ginger."

Silence on the line.
"And that'll help the cold?"
"You won't mind it quite as much, that's for certain."
"What do you recommend I do with the rest of the bottle?" he asked wryly, knowing how my mother hates an open bottle of booze in her house.
"Well, you can always cut more ginger into it..."
Dad laughed, Mom vetoed the idea, and I've been curious how the solution would've fared ever since.


Last week, I found a guinea pig. After two weeks of only being able to breathe through one nostril, I figured I had nothing to lose. So while Mark was over at Seamus's with Mike, doing gun things, I was curled up in a hot bath with The Last Unicorn and a variant of the Thumb Of Ginger/Shot Of Crown. )

Now, whether I owe the ability to breathe to the ginger, the uisge beatha, the steam, or the citrus/berry juice, I don't know.

But I must say, I'm pleased with the results...
home_and_away: (Pan)
I love the parties Mel throws. They're usually fairly subdued, unstructured affairs populated by all the people she loves, and if you're very very lucky, she'll cook.

The fun comes when you realise that "all the people she loves" means ALL the people--her parents, their kids, her friends from the SCA or highschool, their other halves if they have them, their kids, THEIR friends, her friends from other circles than previously noted, a few of THEIR friends, the lovely older couple from next door...I'm surprised we haven't taken a pizza guy or mailcarrier into the amoeba by accident, but I have faith that if we did, they'd fit in fine.

If I tried that trick, it'd go to cliqued hell.* But Mel? Mel is like water, bless her. We'd all dry up and blow away without her, and in her house, we melt or are shaken enough to mix well.

Thanksgiving's coming (makes it sound like something dire out of George R. R. Martin... >.< ), and Mel's volunteered her home for Feasting Ground Zero. Listening to her plan a menu (my gods the food...), I asked whether I could bring anything more than an appetite. I do, after all, make a mean brew.**
And she smiles and writes "Apple Cider...thing" on the envelope she's using to plan.

"Spiked or un-spiked?" I asked, thinking of the honey brandy in my Fridge of Doom.

"Oh, unspiked, please. We have elderly folk coming."
"Being elderly doesn't automatically make you a teetotaller; there's this guy who frequents Chips who's got to be on the far side of 80, but..."
"BAPTIST elderly people. And kids."
"Point made, there, yes."
"... But if you want to bring the spikings in their own container..."
"Dig it. I've been wondering how the Brew would go with the meadjack."
"Mmm." and she smiles and picks up her phone to call her dad's wife, to make sure she will in fact bring some other dish.

"And Jess's going to bring an Apple Cider...Thing."
"No, there're elderly people on the guestlist."
"Well yes, I know you do, but these are BAPTIST elderly people."

While she's doing this, Mark calls. We chat for a while and Mel wraps up her call, then asks to talk to Mark for a second. I hand the phone over, grinning while she notifies him that his house will be supplying the Apple Cider...Thing for Thanksgiving, Friday. A pause while Mark talks, then:

"No, there're elderly people coming."
"BAPTIST elderly people."

So naturally, when you've been told the one thing not to do three times, what's your first instinct?

Liz and Cae brought some apple wine from Courson's *** with them when they came guesting in October; I wonder whether we can get it brandied well in four days...

*- Example: my first wedding. But then, there's not a lot you can do when your guests are either within two years of your age and Pagan, or at least a decade your senior and Baptist. Or Church of Christ. ~headshake~

**- Although it still can't hold a candle to the Fire Cider for the purpose of kicking illnesses' collective ass.

***- Which reminds me: FINALLY! A BLOODY MAP THERE! Sweet. Now all we need is an excuse to go to the ass end of Georgia, now that we no longer have friends in Charleston. Have to see what sort of events the shire of Sol Haven has planned... :D God bless the SCA.
home_and_away: (Default)
I just went through the bookmarks I've saved on Mark's side of the laptop.
Okay. Backstory:
We have seperate profiles so my vertically-organised Arabic-pop-mongering doesn't have to disturb his single-layer-from-sea-to-shining-sea spread of RPG notes and engineery things, but since the Carfalonians cut him loose, we've been kindof living on his side just so getting at his e-mail is easier. And so like any good female, I've been marking the territory. I've spared him the rai and electronica, but there's Ani diFranco & Queen on his side of iTunes, now.

And then there're the Firefox bookmark folders...especially the one labled "Food".

Tired of the sprawl of loose sites, I decided to sort them this evening. The game plan is to eventually print the lot of them and stuff them into my Recipe Box for ease of reference when I get bold and decide to try my hand at Börek or kvass. But first I wanted to impose my usual files-within-files organisation on the mess. So that's what I was doing when Mark started his get-ready-for-bed routine. While standing by my shoulder.

Then he tapped that shoulder and stood before me jammified.
"Yes?" says I.
"I just changed clothes, right here. And you missed it."
"Oh." /sheepish smile. "Can we call it hyperfocus?"

home_and_away: (Default)
Since I was pregnant with Dae, I've gotten an ear infection every winter. The good news is, Dae's eardrums've thus far been perfect--I think I gave him what resistance I'd built.
This year, I thought I dodged the bullet: December came and went sans otitis media, and January was fastly fading...
Then Friday I woke up with an exceptional idea of where my eustacian tube was.
Guess what.
Damn it.

So yeah. The search for large, pretty, simple scarves begins anew. Because it seems the only way to skip out on Divine humor is to keep the wind out of my ears.

In the meantime, I get to get well-aquainted with all the acupressure points for the relief of sinus tension, tinnitus, and earache; I also get to figure out how one modifies one's diet so as to exorcise a Cold, Dry Wind from one's system. (I've got enough Vata to deal with, just in my nature; I don't need any outside help.)

Great study op for the Oriental Theory section of the NCETMB (which I've applied for, finally!!!). Yeah. Thanks, God. Nice of you. >.<

Today's experiment:

Fruit Juice Suicide.
In the container of your choice, combine
50% apple cider (unclarified, if you can get it)
20% orange juice
20% pomogranite (or cranberry) juice
10% lemon juice

If your container is mug-sized, add one stick of cinnamon and a chunk of ginger root roughly the size of a pencil eraser, washed and scored with a knife.

If your container is pot-sized, add three sticks cinnamon and a chunk of ginger the size of the end-knuckle of your thumb, washed and scored.

If your container is mug-sized, microwave the concoction for roughly two minutes. It should be nice and warm, but not scalding.

If your container will withstand being heated on a stovetop, bring it to a nice rolling boil and then let simmer quietly on a back burner for a while. The longer the simmer, the thicker the mix, the stronger the taste.

In the drinking of the concoction, when you come to the chunk of ginger? Don't be a pantywaist--chew it up and swallow. It's nowhere near as pungent now as it would be raw, and it's good for you.

I know, I know, again with the thumbjoint of ginger.
Trust me here; for once I'm testing this shit out on myself.
It may not touch the ear infection, but it'll kick the sore throat's ass.
One mug down, and I already feel more human than I have in the past 48 hours.
I'm going back for more...
home_and_away: (Pan)
God. Bless. This. Man.

For those of you curious "Why him?" I offer two things.

One: "Yes, we are all a composite of every lover who came before."

and Two:
Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic )

... I love the way things mingle in Monk's mind...


home_and_away: (Default)

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