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 I've been somewhat neglectful here. So, a low-stress post in which I don't try to go into anything in depth, because cramps, and because the summer's round of one-thing-after-another doesn't actually finish up for another month.

1) Readercon was awesome and a thing I want to go back to. I wasn't on program this year, which is something I want to change next year but on the other hand it was really nice to have one of the summer's Things be basically relaxing. I hung out with [personal profile] gaudior and [personal profile] rushthatspeaks and [personal profile] mrissa and Greer, and had a useful lunch with my agent and editor, and picked up a large stack of books, and generally had a great time. And then read at Pandemonium after the con with Fran Wilde and Chris Sharp, and that was also great, and the large stack of books that I had to deconstruct in order to see the audience reduced quite satisfactorily by the end of the event.

2) I have my mostly-final schedules for Necronomicon and the Baltimore Book Festival, which I will post once they're final. I also know what I'm doing at the Outwrite queer literature festival, except that I can't find the time for my panel now, so that will be here later too. But it's in DC on August 5th and promises to be a fun time.

3) It's that time of year when we've finally set a date to pick up our new cow--longhorn this year, shared with the same two people I've been splitting cows with for a while now. They each take a quarter of the cow, my large family of mostly carnivores takes a half, and we all enjoy the discount that comes from buying a whole cow. But this means the freezer damn well has to be empty by mid-August, which means in turn that all the weird bits of the last cow, and other odds and ends that have filled the empty space as 500 pounds of meat gets down to the last couple of packages, need to get used up. Thus there's currently heart marinating in the fridge, rump roast in the slow cooker, and a large bag of miscellaneous poultry organs out to thaw. (We also have a lot of vegetables in the house, but they rarely get to the point of freezing. The Mysterious Manor House goes through a weekly CSA box pretty handily. Except for the rutabaga.)

4) Things I have loved lately: 
  • Theodora Goss's The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, which is about the daughters of Doctor Jekyl and Mister Hyde teaming up with Justine Frankenstein and Catherine Moreau and Beatrice Rappacini - together they fight crime and build a found family. And the whole thing is written up as a novel by Catherine, but everyone else is playing peanut gallery over her shoulder so she transcribes their objections and questions in little asides, and impatiently explains to them the literary conceits that she's using. 
  • Arrival, which I watched on a long plane flight and promptly moved to the top of my Hugo list for Dramatic Presentation Long Form, and I can't believe they actually managed to film that but they did.
  • Jupiter Ascending, which I watched on the same long plane flight and adored in completely different ways: it's as delightful and cracktastic as everyone told you on Tumblr.

5) And now I need to put down Dreamwidth and go fix a small continuity error and an anachronism for the Winter Tide paperback.
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I'm neck deep in terrifying Deep Roots edits, but wanted to share a couple of posts elsewhere:

I joined Fran Wilde and Aliette de Bodard for the latest episode of Cooking the Books. Also on their site: the long-awaited honeyed saltcake recipe! 

Petra Mayer interviewed me for the NPR Books blog. I may have squeed a little, because NPR.

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1. I've started a more public, and more regularly updated, blog on the psychology of sustainability--also on portable sensors, games for change, local foods, and my various other sustainability-related obsessions.

2. Speaking of local foods, our CSA for the past 2 weeks has been full of mushrooms.  This on top of the entirely non-local dried porcini and preserved truffles that showed up for the holidays. There has been mushroom quiche, and mushroom pasta, and cow-share steak with porcini butter.  And I still have to find something to do with the last truffle and a bag of shitakes.  This is not a hardship.

3. I just read Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel.  Fairies in Dust-Bowl-era Kansas, magic based on folk and blues and swing and jazz music, and honest explorations of racial politics.  Many thanks to [ profile] mrissa for the recommendation.

4. I am now reading Ascension: A Tangled Axon Novel by Jacqueline Koyanagi. This appears to be Firefly fanfic with the serial numbers heavily filed off and replaced by better world-building.  And set in a universe where the unmarked state is dark-skinned lesbian.  If you wanted a novel like that--and don't pretend you didn't--this is totally the novel that you wanted.

5. This item is self-referential.
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Posting for later reference

potatoes (obviously), diced bite-size and boiled 20 minutes
dressing: 1/2 mayo and 1/2 sour cream, in appropriate quantities to the potatoes
v. small sliced onion rings (from the stem part of a CSA onion, in this case--scallions, chives, or leeks would do just as well)
dried smoked garlic (from Chelsea Market Baskets in New York)
smoked salt
zest and most of the juice from 2 small lemons

To do today: reconstruct the squash ceviche recipe from Mitsitam--not provided in their cookbook, unfortunately.
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Last week was our first full week with a farm share.  We are splitting with our next door neighbors, but I was still a bit worried about my ability to iron chef a random assortment of vegetables every week.  I am therefore pleased to report that we managed to cook and eat everything in exactly seven days, and that it was all tasty. 

One item made me about as smug as I've ever been in the kitchen: the kale/chard mix of cooking greens.  I've never cooked greens before in my life--I generally like my leaves raw, and S considers the usual run of cooked spinach and so forth horribly revolting.  But you can't really leave kale uncooked.  I had this sample of quick-sauteed cooking greens at Whole Foods two years ago... and I managed to reconstruct it: just enough peanut oil to coat the leaves, a couple splashes of soy sauce, sesame seeds, ground garlic powder, chili powder, and powdered ginger.  (I know, but the point is to get as much spice stuck to the leaves as possible, and fresh won't have the same effect.)  Leaves stir-fried just long enough to be moist and barely wilted.  Delicious and crunchy and gingery, and S loved it.  I win at cooking.

This week, I need 101 things to do with leeks, and I only have 50.  Suggestions welcome!  Also instructive anecdotes about kohlrabi.
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Very successful, and unfortunately I didn't keep careful track of ratios:

1/2 C peanut oil
1/2 C lime juice
1/4 C fish sauce
about 1 t sesame oil
pinch of ground dried chili pepper
2 pinches dried lemongrass
pinch brown sugar
large pinch dried cilantro
large pinch dried mint
2 cloves crushed garlic
about 1 t preserved minced ginger
tiny sprinkle sea salt

Which together made about 4 times as much as we needed to feed 3 people.  The salad was mesclun greens, thinly sliced sweet peppers, thinly sliced onion, and beef sauteed in peanut oil and a splash of the dressing.


Nov. 15th, 2011 09:32 pm
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My wife got me a 4 pound duck at Eastern Market, because she knows me and loves me.

Day 1: Roast duck with five-spice powder. Stock from the carcass.
Day 2: Yorkshire pudding baked in duck fat. Salad with duck cracklings.
Day 3: Fingerling potatoes roasted in duck fat.
Day 4: Duck liver mousse (padded with chicken liver). Deviled heart and kidney, plus one liver piece I accidentally left out of the mousse.

Still to come: risotto with duck stock and the remaining cracklings.

I'm not sure why I can't get a week's worth of meals out of a 4 pound chicken, which has twice as much meat on it.  Possibly just not as inspiring.
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The right tool for shelling chestnuts turns out to be... the nutcracker my parents gave me 15 years ago, and which I never used until today.  I know, right? Who knew?
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Well, that worked.  This is the recipe that I didn't follow.  I used miniature baguette rounds toasted in garlic olive oil instead of croutons, because quail eggs are small but they're not that small.  I used the hollandaise sauce recipe from Lora Brody's Indulgences, and unlike the last 50 million times I've tried to make hollandaise, I actually got hollandaise rather than butter with egg bits in it.  I didn't have any caviar because I spent that money on paying bills.  I used smoked salmon instead--thank you, [ profile] papersky, for the brilliant suggestion.

I frequently cook by Not Following recipes.  There are several dishes that I can't make without the recipe in front of me, even though my version has little in common with what's written down.  But if I'm not looking at it, I won't remember what I actually need to do.
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This turned out really well.

Slice parsnips thinly and throw into a small roasting pan (I used 6 for 4 people; it should have been more).  Cut white part of leeks into chunks and toss on top (I used two--should be more if increasing the number of parsnips).  Pour in a lot of olive oil.  Add in less than a tablespoon of schmaltz/chicken drippings, and a couple splashes of sherry.  Grate a little parmesan over the top, and sprinkle with Penzey's pasta sprinkle.

Oh, man.  The only problem was that the house smelled like roasted parsnips for hours, and there were no leftovers.
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So, the economy being what it is, and the household budget currently including a substantial behavioral oscillation effect*, we're doing holiday buying a little closer to home this year.  We are trying to give gifts, in order of declining preference:

-home-made or crafted by us--we have what we hope are some nifty ideas along these lines.
-home-made, crafted, or written by people in our community (in-person or on-line).
-items where the money will go to small crafters or other individuals, rather than big companies.

For the latter two, I'm looking for pimpage and suggestions.  Running a cottage business out of your dorm room?  Know a friend with an awesome Etsy shop?  F-List member of an F-List member with an awesome Etsy shop?  Let me know in the comments**.

Some of my favorites:

-[ profile] elisem , as most of you probably already know, posts amazing titled shinies about once a week.  Prices range from $15 earrings to $500 necklace crowns.
-GEEKitty makes, among other things, catnip-filled One Rings and D20s
-[personal profile] naamah_darling sells steampunkish baubles and awesome painted bones at her Etsy shop.

*That is a much-too-obscure psychology joke, but the meaning should be apparent regardless.
**Disclaimer: No guarantees of us actually buying anything from any particular source, obviously, especially if the oscillation effect increases.
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Words: 1310
Total words: 5460
Scene finished?  Yes, and only one more to go.
Mean things: Mostly the same as before, plus breeder/non-breeder angst.

Clearly the next scene was not short, and this will not come in under 5000 words, and I cannot predict when my characters will go all maudlin on me.

Also, we have been virtupus today.  We finished the shopping and did the laundry and changed all the dead lightbulbs in awkward and rarely used corners of the house and replaced the ugly broken under-cabinet lights with good new lights from Home Despot and started our Thanksgiving cleaning.  And S made spicy chocolate-dipped apple chips, which are yummy and taste like Autumn.
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It's been way too long since I've posted, so you get a recipe for venision.

Background: One of Nameseeker's co-workers enjoys hunting deer. His wife, however, does not enjoy eating deer all that often. We, on the other hand, like venison a lot, but don't hunt. So the co-worker gives Nameseeker spare meat from his freezer in exchange for brownies. About the third time this happened, I realized that venison was no longer a once-a-year-must-get-this-perfect treat and I could afford to experiment. The following is the result. It's a non-recipe recipe, which is to say that I didn't write down how much of anything I used.

Take one venison shoulder (this one was about 3 pounds). Cut away the fat and cut the meat from the bone. You should end up with a bunch of tenders ranging from itty to the size of half a boneless chicken breast--in our case, just enough to feed two. Cover with a marinade of:

olive oil (a lot)
red wine (a lot)
balsamic vinegar (not nearly as much, but enough to taste)
honey (a little more than the vinegar)

The honey should be as dark and as good-quality as you can get. I used wildflower honey from the Madison farmer's market: the color of molasses and almost more savory than sweet. Trying to find more things to do with this honey was the major impetus behind this recipe.

To the marinade, add:


I used dried and powdered of all these, to spread the taste around as much as possible. But you could use fresh easily, and doubtless to good effect.

Marinate for an hour and then saute the meat, using a little of the marinade for sauce. Be careful not to overcook the small pieces.

I liked this better than any of the venison recipes I've tried from any of the game cookbooks we own. The sweet and gamy tastes combined nicely, mellowing each other. And I was able to control the doneness of the meat better cut into tenders than when I've tried to roast a whole shoulder in the past.

Good Stuff

Feb. 4th, 2006 03:33 am
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I am trying to make Brigid's Fire truffles for the Imbolc ritual tomorrow, with chile powder and cinnamon and paprika. I will see in the morning if I can make them into discrete entities. And it was a good day for stories.

Two new poems by Neil Gaiman. What should women have beneath their clothes? Discuss.

Prince Charming's father complains.

Sometimes science fiction authors are too timid in their predictions. Jules Verne predicts electrical transmission by 2889, along with doubling the human lifespan to 68.


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