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Oh, noes! Another recipe!

Behind the cut, find a recipe for slow cooker polenta, including how to turn it into a one-pot meal through the timely addition of greens and proteins.

Adapted from Alton Brown's Savory Polenta recipe.

NB: Unlike most slow cooker recipes, this isn't quite fire-and-forget. You do have to pay attention every twenty minutes, but that's easier than traditional polenta (constant stirring) or Alton's oven variation (opening an oven to stir a ripping hot saucepan every ten minutes).

If you're allergic to corn (hi, pearlshadow!), here's a fun history fact: our oldest citation of polenta comes from Ancient Rome, which was, of course, long before the introduction of maize to Europe. You can commit polenta with any of several different whole, coarse-ground grains, such as farro, millet, spelt, buckwheat, or--and this is the old Roman style--barley. It was even made with other coarse meals, such as chestnut and chickpea.

If you find a multi-grain hot cereal that's made of coarse-ground grain, you may as well try it here!

Read more...Collapse )

*blows into the microphone* Is this thing on?


Let's start with a poem--which I posted to Ye Olde Facebook today as it is a toothsome thing, and then mulled further in comments, said pontification to be found beyond the clicky curtain below.

Concern (Haiku)

Dying for you, Hár,
Holds no fear; what scares me is
Living without you.*

Click the clicky thing...the shiny, candy-like link...Collapse )

* This poem at the top of the post is copyright © 2005-2012 Michaela Macha. It may be freely distributed, provided it remains unchanged, including the copyright notice and this License:

This work by Michaela Macha (www.odins-gift.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License. (back)

LiveGerbil changed the style for cut tags this past weekend--here is how to put it back...especially useful if you're using a browser that doesn't support the losing thing with which it was replaced, e.g. Google Chrome.

Thanks to lferion for the heads-up!

-- Lorrie

[Original: 04 April 2012, 17:04 PDT]
If you have a host or an e-mail address through me, you may have occasionally noticed a slight hiccup in mail delivery. Soon after I post this, I will be bringing the server down to give it a memory upgrade that will, hopefully, address this issue--I'll update this post when the server is back online.

Longer version under cut.Collapse )Should this not fix it, there were some hints in a forum that this might be a BIOS issue, so updating that may be next, and failing both of those, it might be a problem with the motherboard, which, should it be necessary (gods forbid) will involve several hours' downtime.

[Update: 04 Apr 2012, 17:22 PDT] lorien is back online and now has all the RAM his motherboard can handle. You can, of course, expect me to keep my eye on the situation, and all that other things one expects from trained IT personnel.

In the meantime, my best to you all...

Current Mood: hopefulhopeful

The websites hosted on my server have had their 27-hour blackout lifted, and everything should be back to normal.

Thank you for understanding during this critical time for the US and the Internet.

Friends, as of midnight Eastern Standard Time (GMT-0500) on 18 January 2012, I will be blacking out all sites that I host in protest of two short-sighted bills currently being considered by the US Congress, known commonly as SOPA and PIPA. These sites will be down until 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time (GMT-0800) on that same day.

E-mail will not be affected, and webmail will still work.

For more information on what SOPA and PIPA are, and why you as an Internet-using individual should be concerned about legislation that will give the United States Government the mandate to remove sites from the Internet without benefit of criminal trial or due process, please check out blacklist.eff.org.


-- Lorrie

Okay, things should be fixed for almost everyone. E-Mail in and out should work, although you will have to accept new keys and will have to change your outbound/SMTP settings. The upside is that when you do that, outbound mail from your clients and devices will work much more consistently.

The big not-done-yet thing is the scripts that run the back end of masterapprentice.org.

There are, I'm sure, a lot of little not-done things; please get in touch with me ASAP if something you're used to now doesn't work as you expect, and I'll explain it or fix it, one. ;)

-- Lorrie

If you host a web page or e-mail through me, you've hopefully already heard that I'm migrating everything to new hardware.

The downtime starts...now, 00:50 on 30 October 2011. See you on the flip side!

After rather a lot of flailing about because of some things we'd forgotten to do, or test, or that we'd remembered and went sideways anyway...

...most stuff works now. Some better than it did. The mailing lists are now on mailman, yay.

However, sending mail through my SMTP server probably doesn't work. The new settings will involve TLS and/or SSL and port 587, fwiw. I think. I'm now too tired to be smart about it, so it's time to go splat and track that last problem down...later this morning.


At the center of a labyrinth, I found the Well.
There, I saw two more true things:
Every layer laid is as the pass of a shuttle.
Every rune reddened, the beat of the weaver's sword.

Tonight, for Hrafnar's landspirit picnic, I didn't have time, energy, or bandwidth to make a loaf of my awesome vollkornbrot*. However, I did have time to throw together the following spread/dip, based on Alton Brown's herbed yogurt spread.

The result is pretty tasty, something like what might happen if sour cream and guacamole had a baby. If you're coming tonight, you can be a guinea pig!

Now it needs a name!

Recipe behind the cutCollapse )

Current Mood: contentcontent

So, as those of you who are on the Hrafnar list know, dpaxson's daughter-in-law is in the hospital for a mastectomy here in Berkeley, and my grandmother is recovering from an aortic aneurysm repair in Philadelphia.

This isn't actually about that, it's just the setup for a discussion of wacky family hijinks, and how we deal with them.Collapse )

What amuses me about all of this is that it's an exercise in network dynamics.

Whenever one, as a wee nerdlet, has the Matrix Internet explained to them, one of the things they say early on is, "the Internet is designed to route around outages".

Neurologists have recently found out that your brain does too, by the by.

And now, as my family proves today, so do humans. 8-)

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: nerdynerdy

If you have any interest whatsoever in being in the con hotel for Pantheacon 2012, know you therefore that the room bloc for the con is now open.

CALL. THE NUMBER IS (408) 453-4000 CALL NOW.

They will sell out in hours. Do not wait until you get home, do not stop to look at the passing UFO, do not pass GO, do not collect 200 quatloos.

Even if you're unsure, you should reserve now, because there is no penalty for cancellation as long as you do so by Valentine's Day of 2010.

-- Lorrie

dpaxson's birthday was yesterday, and I knew she would really appreciate some of my caramel for one of her birthday presents, so I pondered a batch to take with us to Pantheacon. But I'd already made Alton Brown's recipe...well, sorta. Raven's gotta fly, otter's gotta swim, wolf's gotta run, and Lorrie's gotta hack her a foodstuff.

Discussion of the Food HacksCollapse )

So, with all those changes made, I think I can claim this one for my own. As a bonus, the now-corn-free caramels can be safely eaten by the redoubtable pearlshadow, who is allergic to corn. In their next iteration, I'm going to try to find goat-based cream and butter so I can feed it to bearfairie too!

Recipe: Three Chile CaramelsCollapse )

Hrafnar's Disablot was tonight, and not only did I honor my grandmother as usual, but Laurel and I between us made a dish she always made for my mum, but mom never shared: poppy seed roll.

I wrote her a letter tonight, but as it's not like she can read it, I may as well make it open. More details behind the cut.Collapse )

Current Mood: sleepysleepy

A few nights, in accordance with some experimental stuff dpaxson and I are doing, I'm making heart stew...which I've never made before, but organ meats tend to want one of two things: seared or braised, because there's a vast gum-rubber land in between.

This recipe is my own creation, but I found it tasty!

IngredientsCollapse )

MethodCollapse )

In association with erynn999, Diana and I proudly present: something to do this Saturday night!

Diana Paxson (dpaxson, author of Taking Up the Runes, Essential Asatru, Trance-Portation, and a stack of fiction books as long as your arm, will be at Edge of the Circle Books in Seattle THIS SATURDAY, October 16th, from 4-6 PM for a book signing.

Whoever's left standing at the end of the affair will help us decide where we're going for dinner--a pubmoot may well break out! Have there been any stories that we wouldn't tell you because "you'd have to get us drunk"? This may be your chance!

dpaxson has been a strong influence in modern paganism and heathenry for over twenty years, involved in organizations at all levels. Currently, she serves as Clergy Coordinator for The Troth, as well as editing its magazine Idunna and substantiative contributor to Our Troth. On the local (San Francisco Bay Area) scene, she runs the open heathen group Hrafnar as well as serving as secretary for The Fellowship of the Spiral Path.

Our apologies for the short notice! I hope you'll be able to join us.

Current Mood: bouncybouncy


Almost everyone in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America have something to say about tea, and here I strictly mean the (variously) prepared leaves of Camellia sinensis, steeped in water.

Musings on the Icing of Tea, and why it is Considered Harmful in certain contexts.Collapse )

Thus do we define, as Cariadoc of the Bow puts it, the Iced Tea Problem.

One of the answers listed in his Miscellany is sekanjabin, which I had the good fortune to try while sojourning with Jennifer/Wander/lferion in Atenveldt (and then discussed with him later). It boils down to a thicker-than-simple syrup, which one may dilute to taste, thus:

Cariadoc's Sekanjabin RecipeCollapse )

Sekanjibin, of course, is not the only answer to The Problem of Iced Tea. In an episode of Good Eats that first aired in 2006, "Just Barley", Alton Brown introduced the US--at least the foodie/geeky subset, to barley water. The picture in the Wikipedia entry I linked to looks more like the Russian malted rye soda that I drank at one of my other events this past summer, but never mind.

Barley Water RecipeCollapse )Of course, this recipe and its accompanying rant are completely wasted on those who can't handle gluten-bearing cereal grains. For most of you, I would recommend substituting brown rice for the hulled barley--except you, bearfairie, because anaphylaxis is so not a good look for you! Obviously, I need to experiment with millet and quinoa waters. 8-)

So! Therewith, my current thoughts on The Problem of Iced Tea, and my current favorite solution: barley water!

To your health!

-- Lorrie

Last night, the wolf ran with me awhile; it had been too long, and it was good.

Last night, I saw the earth call to the wolf, the ravens, and the eagle, calling the wind that bore them to her breast, and under her breast, as a hawk to the hand, naming and naming until the wind, and will, and dust coalesced to a man-shape—back so long that it couldn't've been "past", only "ago". This, too, was good.

This morning, the local mated pair of ravens laughs as they fly past my window: new memory and old thought winging together. This, too, is good.

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

Yesterday, I found a recipe online for a Finnish all-rye sourdough bread (scroll down the comments to hansjoakim, who translated this from the Finnish), which I have extracted and executed. Here it is, expanded with notes that I hope prove helpful to you:

Finnish Rye Sourdough BreadCollapse )

I have yet to actually eat any of this, but it looks proper and sounds right when I thump it. *grin*

Sourdough breads keep longer, and better, than conventional yeast breads. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that the lactic (et al) acid provided by the sourdough's bacteria do a happy little denaturing number on the proteins. Thus, a loaf I made for count_geiger and I back on Thursday isn't stale yet--so, do not worry about it being day-old, or even longer, as long as the loaf remains sound.

Happy Baking!

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: sleepysleepy

I've been baking many different sorts of bread lately--being that flour, even whole grain flour, qualifies as fairly cheap thrills, not to mention the nutritional benefits.

Having combed over several web pages and consulted my Bread Bible, once back from the Brushwood trip I set out to make an all-rye sourdough starter. This wasn't exactly covered in my sources, but it seemed to me that if I proceeded roughly as for a wheat starter, I would not go far wrong (and if I did, I refer you to my first point: Flour Is Cheap).

For dizzying arrays of further information on sourdough, check out Sourdough Home.

This is what I did, and it worked.Collapse )

Oh, you wanted to bake with it? Or how often to feed it, how to maintain it, and other exciting things?

Visit Sourdough Home. They have much advice to give--this foregoing is based on their data, as well as Rose Levy Birnbaum's Bread Bible and my own experience.

My first bread with this was taking RLB's "Sourdough Rye", using my all-rye starter instead of her wheaten one (stiffened as per spec in the book), and taking the ratio of bread flour : rye flour in the bread proper all the way up to 1:1 instead of, er, I seem to recall one part rye to five parts white. It did all things in the right way, resulting in a dense, chewy shotput of a loaf that rose in a way I figured appropriate for a mostly-whole-grain bread.


In a word: gluten.Collapse )

As for an all-rye sourdough bread, I've just completed a matched pair--see the next post.

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: productiveproductive

What's keeping me from roaming the streets of My Fair City and joining up with the latest demonstration/riot?

  1. Fiber Arts (this post).

  2. Editing ancient issues of Idunna for republication (not terribly interesting if you're not in the project, really)

  3. Exploring whole grains and baking sourdough bread.

I suppose, taken together, it's a real high fiber diet...


Of late, I have undertaken rudimentary studies in several fiber arts that were of interest in Northern and Western Europe Back in the Day--especially if I could pack it up and take it on one of my trips. Here's a quick run-through...

Spinning on a Drop SpindleCollapse )

NalebindingCollapse )

Card/Tablet WeavingCollapse )

SprangCollapse )

Actual WeavingCollapse )

KnittingCollapse )

There. Next, a few notes about the baking, brewing, and other food things of late.

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: creativecreative

Wow, it's been...entirely too long.

MayCollapse )

JuneCollapse )

JulyCollapse )

And now we are home, with intent to stay here for a tidy few months. But how do I keep busy...?

Stay tuned!

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful

Similarly, that same countgeiger likes his spinach this way, because it is "not wet".

Everyday Spinach with Mushrooms

Per person:

5 oz spinach (baby or adult, doesn't matter)
2 oz brown mushrooms, sliced
enough of your oil-of-choice to cover the bottom of a skillet
1/2 onion, diced to 1/2"
pinch of salt
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
splash tamari or soy sauce

Place sliced mushrooms in microwave-safe bowl and cook on high power for two to three minutes. Remove and press into a sieve or colander, extracting a lot of liquid, and set aside.

If using adult spinach, roll several leaves together into a cigar, and slice crosswise into 1/2"-1" long pieces. Baby spinach can be used as-is (but costs twice as much). In either case, place spinach into a bowl and microwave that too, 2-3 minutes per serving or until wilted (but not undead). Remove and press into a colander or sieve, extracting yet more liquid, and set aside. Your spinach will have reduced ridiculously in volume, 2/3, 3/4, or more.

While spinach is cooking in microwave, heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Once a drop of water sizzles in the pan, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and translucent, about five minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about thirty seconds. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are fully browned. Add spinach to skillet and combine with mushrooms, onions, and garlic until spinach is heated through, then add tamari or soy sauce and cook until the sauce is absorbed, perhaps two minutes more.

Serve immediately.

Okay, so. White carbs aren't so great for you. Whole grains are better, yah?

But they're haaaaaaaaard...and healthy things taste yucky and and and--!

Try this--start this rolling while you get the rest of dinner together, it should be done by the time the rest of it is. You will have lost some nebulous "healthful points", yah, but slightly-less-healthy things you're willing to eat have got to, IMO, be better than the wholly healthy thing you feel sentenced to eat before chucking down the disposal in self-loathing, right?

countgeiger like this enough to eat the leftovers.

Of his own free will.

And this is a man who'll freely admit that his favorite diet would be hamburgers and milkshakes if you left him to it.


Savory Weeknight Whole Grains

3 parts whole grains of your choice: rye berries, wheat berries, hulled (not pearl) barley, brown rice--I've not tried this with quinoa, buckwheat, or whole oats, YMMV.
5 parts water

two Tablespoons unsalted butter (or other grease, but butter browns best) per 1 1/2 c grains
one onion per every 1 1/2 c grain, 1/2" dice
pinch of salt
one-half ounce dried mushroom per 1 1/2 c grain, torn or pounded to 1/2" pieces

Preheat oven to 375°

Melt butter in an oven-safe Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid large enough to hold the grains and water over medium heat. Once butter has melted and foaming subsides, add onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened and become translucent, about five minutes.

Pour water into a kettle or saucepan, and place over high heat as soon as the onions are cooked. Add grains to butter and onions and, while water is heating, toast grain in oil, stirring frequently. As the grain toasts, it will smell pleasantly nutty.

When water comes to a boil, remove from heat. Add one-fifth of the water to the grains, which will cause some thermal drama. Add the rest of the water and the crumbled dried mushrooms, cover, and place in the preheated oven.

Bake at 375° for 45 minutes, while you cook the other things. Grain will be chewy, but not crunchy.

Yes, math is hard, and many of us would rather go shopping.

But--math is pretty! Look! Click the clicky, watch the pretty math go by!

This year, I am corning my own beef, celebrating the fact that when the Irish got to New York City, their Jewish neighbors introduced them to kosher salt and a nice brisket, and Irish promptly substituted this for the (back) bacon in their boiled dinner.

You, my friends, know this as "corned beef and cabbage".

Fun Kitchen Science Fact: corned beef is pink because of KNO3, better known as saltpetre--which has no effect on the male anatomy, although all that green beer you're swilling with it probably will. As KNO3 can be used to make things go boom, it can be difficult to acquire--I tried several stores (a pharmacy, a health food store, and my favorite occult shop) before finding it at my second favorite occult shop for $2.50/oz (limit 2 oz due to boom).

Want some? Come to Hrafnar's Lore Night on 17 March! Topic...well, topic is tbd, but wouldn't you like a nice brisket?

-- Lorrie

I have just called the Doubletree San Jose and reserved my rooms for NEXT YEAR's Pantheacon. All the computers have done their little dances, and you--YES YOU--can reserve your room RIGHT NOW and have it be part of the Pantheacon room bloc.

Room rates are $93 for non-pool-view, $103 for pool view, per night, for one to four adults.

This is the main con hotel, the one that always sells out months and months before the convention. Do not delay--reserve yours TODAY!

The dates for next year's Pantheacon are 18-21 February, 2011. Be sure to mention that you're with the con for the special room rate when you call.

Call the hotel directly: (408) 453-4000.

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

It's only funny because it's true. Love Sympathy to my sibling sysadmins...

Current Mood: amusedamused

Today is dpaxson's sixty-seventh birthday1, and I've been asked to bring the cake and ice cream, while Suleiman the Magnificent Spiffy performs his usual arcane awesomeness with a pork roast.

Now, it's a little-known fact that Herself the Birthday Girl isn't much of a one for chocolate. Given her druthers, it's caramel every time, so that's where we're starting from.

I did consider a tres leche cake, that sensuous mouthgasm of yellow cake soaked in condensed (thus part-caramelized) milk, topped with whipped cream, and there's some half-and-half in there somewhere which makes this technically quatro leches, and I was very nearly inspired to throw in a can of dulce de leche as well--and that would have been Quite Good, no mistake.

But then, I remembered that guaranteed-magnificent spiffy pork roast. Pork, as all men know, cuddles up right well with onions. How could I pick that up and run with it? Well, I might consider caramelized Vidalia ice cream...on a bet...if I had an ice cream maker...and it were Vidalia onion season...maybe if I hadn't blown the Vidalia onion mead for Dísablót...

Wait, wait, wait. What else goes well with pork, and also onions?

Apples!Collapse )

Here is pentaclemoon's latest to the Pantheacon FB group (soon, doubtless, to be echoed on pantheacon:

Okay people - we love the fact that you love PantheaCon. With that said, you're gnna have to be a teensy bit more patient to get your room reserved. I just got an updated load date for the room block. Saturday Feb 27th is the hard date I have been given by our Event Manager at the Doubletree for when you can call in. You all can try callilng on Friday the 26th, but don't expect too much. She confirmed for me that Friday is when they will be downloading the room info from one system to the other (hotels are rather archaic and have multiple systems that do not talk to each other without LOTS of poking and prodding). Hopefully this will go smoothly and you will all get to Ro-Sham-Bo for rooms by the end of the week!

So there you are, then. Move your calendar appointments, and may the fastest clickers win!

Meanwhile, if you think that Pantheacon has rather outgrown its current hotel, check this post in pantheacon to find out why we haven't moved yet. Then, as long as you're there, why not join pantheacon and hear all of this first-hand?

-- Lorrie

I'm posting from my phone and on the road, so with little of my usual flair and panache.

If you want to ensure a Doubletree room for next year's Pantheacon, you can make a reservation as soon as this SUNDAY, 21 February. Synchronize your watches...

Edit: I know what pentaclemoon just posted; I read that too, so I called the hotel. What I reported above is what Reservations told me just now. Sorry for any confusion from the apparent contradiction--if I get better info I'll retract/correct immediately, of course!

-- Lorrie

A few minutes ago, I started cooking six pounds of (pre-shredded! the decadence!) red cabbage, to which I added apple cider vinegar, honey, and a bit of water. The recipe is cited as "Danish", as opposed to the one on the facing page which is "German". The cookbook was written by Danish-American expats living in Southern California, with a little help from their friends, as I'd mentioned before.

The smell wafting through the apartment right now touches me in some deep, comforting place—even though my mother's cabbage expertise began and ended at "white cabbage boiled until dead". I admit to a certain nostalgia for the sulfurous plume that arises from a good boiled dinner (e.g. corned beef and the aforementioned Really Most Sincerely Dead cabbage). The red cabbage smells like and unlike that, which is probably for the best.

Soon, I will (in accordance with the prophecy recipe) add a dollop of pomegranate jelly, which was probably some kind of lingonberry preserve back in Ye Olde Country.

But I didn't "back-correct" it, even though I have a jar of lingonberry preserves in the refrigerator.

No, I find the pomegranate is a nice touch, withal: a reminder that we're not, in fact, in Ye Olde Country, and that, just as our foremothers of spirit cooked tasty, healthful food with what was to hand, so can we--with what comes to hand here in California, which does not include bog berries like lingonberries, but does include cabbage, apple, onions--and pomegranates.

Some other day, I will make the one from the "German" page.

It has bacon.

I'm making red cabbage because auntiematter won't be here to make and serve it herself--I don't have her recipe, but when she makes it, no matter how much she makes, she simply cannot make enough.

May mine go half so well.

-- Lorrie

PS: In the Chronicles of Westria, dpaxson immortalized the Santa Ynez Valley as the Danehold, a heathen enclave on Westria's southern border--hence the title here.

PPS: Well, Westria's southern border except for those years when the summer is rather too long and boring, and the young lads do what young lads do, which, given the givens, means "go raiding into Elaya and accidentally capture Santibar". What, doesn't every jarl want a deepwater port of his very own as a Midsummer present?

Current Mood: contentcontent

Last night, on my calendar, was the last night of calm before ZOMGWTFBBQPantheacon--dpaxson and I opted to postphone rehearsing our parts for the Odin Ritual we (and hilarypoet, trogula, bearfairie, and more!) are doing Sunday morning in favor of reading to one another, aloud, from The Curse of Chalion which, while a fantasy novel, is one of our favorite books to recommend to the chronically god-bothered.

We stand by our decision. *grin*

In the meantime, this is why I probably won't have seen whatever deathless prose you approach me with for the next nine days:

Today, I start pre-cooking for Wednesday--with the complication that, as seasword's flight has been thrice-cancelled, auntiematter will not be here to cook or attend. In her honor, I'm-a cooking red cabbage, although I am coin-flip ambivalent about whether it ought to be Danish style as seen at California kitschy cult classic restaurant Pea Soup Andersen's (special star ingredient: pomegranate jelly*!) or German style (special star ingredients: apple and bacon!). Also, I have this pork shoulder and this bottle of dr_beowulf's Vidalia Onion Mead (one of only two still known to exist) and they're a-gonna get funky overnight, oh yes.

Tonight is trance class, although with P-con prep reaching a fever pitch, we're not sure how many will actually show up.

Tomorrow-day, I will start a batch of barley in dpaxson's slow cooker, then pick Elisheva up from the airport (YAY!).

Tomorrow-night, Hrafnar's Disablót.

Thursday: not only Elisheva, but also erynn999, as countgeiger does The Sensible Thing and goes to the Con a day early to set up as part of His Staffly Duties. The rehearsal dpaxson and I put off to read to each other will probably happen here instead.

Friday through Monday: PANTHEACON!

Tuesday: The sun will rise. The hobbits will rise somewhat later. A car will leave the Bay Area for an Overnight Jaunt to an Undisclosed Location.

Wednesday: That same car will return.

Thursday: The visitors leave. dpaxson and lwood fall down, go boom.

Friday: If I had a job, I would be calling in dead.

Saturday: dpaxson's birthday!

Sunday: Funeral for a friend.

Monday: countgeiger's Birthday!

And that's the lot--holy cats! I have to go to the store!

-- Lorrie (zoooooom!)

* - We had this at the restaurant and quite liked it--it was the last straw that finally talked me into buying their cookbook, which isn't just "food from the restaurant", but also contributions from the Solvang/Buellton community, so there's not only contributions from all over Scandinavia and Contintental Europe, but also Mexican--and a frybread. It wanted but for a couple Chumash recipes to be a proper Santa Ynez Valley(Danehold) culinary trifecta. However, the waitress at the restaurant sheepishly admitted that the pomegranate jelly (which woulda been local not long ago) had been replaced, at the restaurant, by grape. Concord, from the taste. Rest assured, it won't have that on my watch...

Current Mood: busybusy

Late last night, I was in the Safeway nearest dpaxson's house, wondering what to make for tonight's meeting. I knew it would be soup (it's Soup Weather), but I was teetering between split pea and lentil...when I saw it, peeking out at me from the shelf.

Oh, what, WHAT did she see? If you don't click, you'll never know!Collapse )

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished

The 66/33 candle (D from the previous post) self-extinguished overnight, as it had in the past.

The others all looked fine this morning, but by now, not quite twenty-four hours in, the 80/20 candle (C) is starting to labor: all the same symptoms as D had on its way out, only coming on much more slowly: smaller/dimmer/redder flame with some soot from incompletely burned fuel collecting on the glass, so I suspect it will self-extinguish before it exhausts all available fuel. Therefore, latzoni, I wouldn't recommend this to you. 8-)

The 90/10 candle (B) looks completely normal, until you compare it to its neighbor, the 100% beeswax (A). Then, and only then, can one observe a slightly smaller and dimmer flame, but it's not laboring or smoking like C.

A and Z are zipping along cheerfully--both flames have large, bright tongues and show every indication of normal fuel consumption. As yet, neither glass has shown any signs of breakage. However, the paraffin I broke in the past didn't crack until it was well past halfway through its burn; that's likely when the beeswax will break its glass, if it does.

Dangit, I wish someone made borosilicate glass in an acceptable cylinder--then it would be full beeswax ahead, and Maxwell's daemon take the hindmost!

-- Lorrie


More nattering about soft soy/beeswax blended candles.Collapse )

Current Mood: geekygeeky

All righty, folks, as in the previous post, I'm getting rid of all my old gaming books, free to good homes. While that post dealt with White Wolf materials, this has Everything Else: Fading Suns, Legend of the Five Rings, Deadlands, and Dungeons and Dragons 3.0.

Same rules apply as in the previous post:

  • Everything unclaimed by Monday, 1 February 2010, goes to norsebiker43.

  • Comments are initially screened.

  • The books are leaving my house Monday 1 February 2010, period-space-the-end. Priority Mail, Media Mail, your doorstep, whatever it takes.

  • I abhor PayPal, but I'll take it if I must through countgeiger. I want nothing for the books; you only pay postage.

  • All decisions are by My Imperial Fiat, yet also subject to My Divine Whimsy.

  • If I accidentally borrowed a listed book from you, and you want it back, I will send it immediately: my cost, my apologies, the only questions asked are those that trigger my faulty memory.

Okay? Let's go!

A Cut for Those Who Couldn't Care LessCollapse )

Thanks for helping me find good homes for good books!

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: chipperchipper

Hello, folks! We're trying to clean out a bookshelf or two here at the old Snug Harbor. Today's target: role-playing game books.

countgeiger and I have been gamers, off and on, for most of our adult lives. However, neither of us really do tabletop anymore. Thus, we have a certain surplus of books in a couple old systems--books that we don't think will be worth our time to eBay or hand over to a thrift store. If we have no takers, and Games of Berkeley won't buy used sourcebooks in decent condition, then they're getting...pulped. Which, personally, I hate to do to any book, so I'm making this last-ditch effort to get them to good homes.

This first post will contain our White Wolf books, all of which are old-World of Darkness (there's a couple surprises in there, like Hōl). Subsequent posts will handle other publishers. All books are in good condition (if dusty), and unless otherwise noted are trade paperbacks. If you're in the Bay Area, you can have it for free. If you're not, all I ask is that you pay $5 to cover US Priority Mail postage, or rather less if you're willing to wait for Media Mail's faithful snail to arrive. As for payment method, probably PayPal to countgeiger will work best, but we can talk.

Comments will be screened so you can put your mailing address therein. Even if you live in the Bay Area, you may want me to go on and send it to you.

Last, it may well be that these books aren't actually mine, but yours, Gentle Reader. If so, I will return it to you for the asking, no questions asked, no postage charged, but assuredly with my apologies.

Let's go!Collapse )

Thanks for helping good books find good homes!

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: curiouscurious

Because this may well bore you.Collapse )


Some days, you can't get the Catholic out of the girl...because dangit, if you want me to sling mojo/fling woo/etc at someone (or ones...) for an extended period of time, I'm lighting a candle, so that every time I go by I remember and send another packet of Good Thoughts.

But what gnaws at me are these perfectly good classes I'm leaving in a trail behind me, and the fact that I was using paraffin candles--when I'm trying to pull away both from non-durable plastics and reduce my waste.

So, what would happen if I refilled these with molten wax and new wicks?

And what did we learn today?Collapse )

I have one filled seven-day glass (yer bog-standard church candle), a half-height but otherwise identical-seeming glass, and a third glass that looks like some sort of double shot/on the rocks/etc glass. All have previously held candles (two paraffin, one soft soy, respectively). We'll see how they do on this blend, provided by the fine folks at Juniper Tree here in Berkeley. I've lit the seven-day and will see how that goes.

No marriage were harmed in the making of these candles--remember, kids, Drano can help you make your saving throw!

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: creativecreative

Right, so, among my New Year's Firm Plans, I wrote, "Brew at least three meads this year, at least one of which is dedicated to a god."

I admit, that was kind of a low-ball resolution (there are ones on there that will, in fact, be quite hard for me). But let's chat that up a moment and throw some plans around...

First, start another simple mead...Collapse )ThorCollapse )Then there's Odin.Collapse )Frigg has a plum melomel already, but it may need a do-over.Collapse )And now another suggestion for the queue...Collapse )And that's my current brewery ramblings. Discuss.

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

"I have a Friend who wants to meet you. She's very fond of golden kitties and has infinite catnip."

After that, we said good-bye, and countgeiger sent her on her way. We shrouded her in linen, wrapping catgrass and catnip in with her.

Once we buried her, I planted more of each on top...for Sigdrifa, for George, and for all the cats in that yard, for there are by now quite a few.

Then we went home.

-- Lorrie

A year and a half ago, two days before Greyhaven's midsummer Charlie Party, my favorite cat, George, went from being merely hyperthyroid to active, acute, renal failure.

We chose to euthanize, and the morning of the Charlie Party, I buried him in dpaxson's front yard.

Tomorrow is the Odin Party.

Yesterday, Sigdrifa spent eighteen hours hiding in a closet. When we finally found her and hauled her out, she was lethargic, staggering, with little control of her hindquarters. She hadn't been eating (we realized when we compared notes) and last night refused water as well.

Today, a diagnosis: diabetes mellitus, with a secondary complication of hepatic lipidosis. Absent the Greek and Latin, that means that if we chose to treat, it's several days of hospitalization, followed by several weeks of a feeding tube, force-feeding her through a tube until her liver came back online, which will be at least three weeks. After that, twice-daily insulin injections for the rest of her life, to a being to whom I cannot explain why we haul her out of hidey holes and jab her with pointy things.

We have chosen to euthanize. Today, or tomorrow, I plant another cat in dpaxson's front yard.

Wibble, on her part, littermate to George, is elderly (16 1/2) but spry: hyperthyroid is under control with twice-daily oral meds that she doesn't like, but does tolerate. The raw diet we put both cats on a few months ago, plus the hormone therapy, is doing wonders: she's gained weight back and has a lovely silky coat.

purplevenus is on her way, we're gonna blubber on each other for awhile, and then do what countgeiger and I have to believe is the right thing by Sigdrifa.

Using six-year-olds' logic, Greyhaven parties are bad for my cats.

-- Lorrie

Current Mood: crushedcrushed

Because I'll be spending much of today packing, but still wanted to get something really nice in for Hrafnar Yule, and I wanted a good vegetarian entrée for the delectable purplevenus, this is what I've come up with. In the medieval fashion, I like it when sweet and savory are cozy with each other, as they are here.

If you can't find purple barley, you can substitute ordinary hulled (but not pearl) barley, or other whole cereal grains, such as wheat, rye, or brown rice.

Non-Boring, Non-Bland Barley

5clow sodium vegetable broth (as 4 c + 1 c)
1ozdried porcini mushrooms
1/2c(1 stick) unsalted butter
1lbPurple Prairie Barley
2mdred onions, diced to 1/2" cubes
3clovesgarlic, minced or pressed
  salt and fresh-ground pepper
1/2teach of thyme, savory, and sage
3 freshly ground allspice berries
1/2-1cslivered almonds or other nuts (optional)
1/2-1cdried fruit (raisins, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, etc) (optional)


Bring the broth to a boil, and add the dried mushrooms. Once they have rehydrated, cut into bite-sized pieces, if necessary.

While the mushrooms are rehydrating, melt the butter in a generously sized Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, bubbled, and is just beginning to brown, add the barley and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to "pop" and smells slightly toasted. Add the onion and a generous punch of salt and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened and begun to grow translucent, another five minutes.

Stir in the garlic and herbs (but not the bay leaves), stirring constantly until fragrant.

Add about a cup of the broth, and scrape to remove anything that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining broth (with mushrooms) and the bay leaves.

Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until barley is cooked, about 45 minutes. Just before serving, garnish with dried fruit and nuts.

Current Mood: creativecreative

Tonight's the Seidhjallr meeting, and traditionally whoever hosts provides an entree, and everyone else brings sides.

It's frickin' freezing here in Normally Sunny California, all the more so because a lot of houses have inadequate heating, e.g. my apartment. So--soup of the evening! Beautiful soup! Soup that can boil awhile and warm my apartment despite its inadequate heating!

Tonight, the Soup of the Evening is Pea Soup, modified slightly off that served at the long-time cult favorite road trip restaurant, Split Pea Andersen's. Served alongside will be the third of the two loaves of Finnish sourdough rye I made Saturday.

Yes, third of two.

Oh, and some German mustard and Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese.

This recipe yields rather a lot--the usual recipe involves two quarts of water and one pound of peas; me, I'm feeding five and intend to schlurp on the leftovers until I leave town on Thursday, so I went pound-and-a-half. Happily, a local Good Grocery Store has bounteous bulk bins...


1.5cgreen split peas, sorted and rinsed
3qtlow-sodium vegetable broth*
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
1 ham shank, including the bone, cut into 4-6 large pieces
2pinchescayenne pepper
1/2tdried thyme
3mdbay leaves
  salt and black pepper to taste


Sort and rinse peas. Add all ingredients to large Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Boil for twenty minutes, or until peas are cooked through, then reduce to a simmer. Fish out bay leaves and discard. Fish out ham shank, discard bone and dice meat.

Purée soup by any means necessary: food mill, sieve, blender, or so on. I like stick blender, myself, and I don't run my soup to baby food, either.

Serve immediately with diced ham, rye bread, rye crackers, cheese, and, apparently, mustard.

* - In the original, this is water.
- The original soup is vegan.


-- Lorrie

Current Mood: creativecreative

The previously mentioned loaves were successfully proofed, and rose well.

Until....Read more...Collapse )

Having studied the sourdough methods of both the Exploratorium and that of Rose Levy Beranbaum (who graciously allowed Epicurious to use her methods in their bread primer), I wondered:

How could this be rye? I mean, a strong rye flavor. I'm talking "plowman of the Polish prairies" kind of thing.

Read more...Collapse )

Current Mood: curiouscurious

This is the recipe for the soup I served at last night's Hrafnar. I modified it slightly from this one, which itself is a copy of this recipe, published in the now-defunct Gourmet magazine in November 1996.

The significant changes were to use butternut squash purée instead of pumpkin, and vegetable broth instead of beef broth--one of our irregular attendees is a vegetarian who cannot have pumpkins-as-such for religious reasons. As one may freely substitute the winter squashes for each other in most cases, this didn't present a significant challenge.

Recipe behind a cutCollapse )


Current Mood: amusedamused

Here's a link from Snopes describing all the national chains that are offering free food to veterans over the weekend and on into Veterans Day proper on Wednesday:


Sidebar: Outback (one of the listed players) donated in support of Proposition 8. Me, I'd just go, eat the freebies, and leave, but I don't qualify...

-- Lorrie

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