Odds and Ends

Great sector generator for Stars w/o Number

Fate/FAE encounter design– http://station53.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-tao-of-fate-creating-challenging.html
(for Josh’s game?) http://fategroups.com/
http://fate-srd.com/stunt-maker/

A strong post about “the worst ever” and deflating motivated responses– http://blogs.swarthmore.edu/burke/blog/2016/02/23/opt-out/

http://www.story-games.com/forums/discussion/20513/thus-began-the-adventures-of-eowyn#latest

Rejected Princesses; women being awesome in history, with great explanations.

http://www.dicemonkeys.com/you-dont-have-to-be-a-cartographer-to-have-great-rpg-maps/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=page-post&utm_campaign=Great-Maps

Guard Mouse sketches — https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/gBaGQB

Aesthetics, mid– https://hyenaswine.wordpress.com/

Dal Fry (Dal Tadka)

Fatayar recipe (yum)– http://www.maureenabood.com/2012/03/22/lebanese-spinach-pies-or-fatayar-or-whatever/

http://nixoniad.blogspot.com/

Music: investigate Metric, Pagans in Vegas

Lots of interesting looking games– http://ludicreations.com/crowdfunding/

Wipe & wipe reusable graph paper — http://tinyurl.com/pog2oqc

Sweet potato chard casserole

Cook up 4 slices of bacon. While it cooks, wash and slice a large sweet potato on the mandolin. Cut the chard stems out of the chard (about 2 bunches) and cut crosswise to produce 1/4″ thick slices.

Remove the bacon when browned and put the sweet potato slices and chard stems in the hot fat, cook on medium for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the chard leaves into ribbons.

Mix up the white sauce in a bowl. The white sauce is 1 can of cream of mushroom soup, 1 cup of sour cream, and 1 cup of shredded jack cheese.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 13×9 casserole dish. Transfer the sweet potato & stems into the bottom on the 13×9; it creates a sparse layer. Add butter or bacon fat (maybe 3 tbsp.) to the stovetop pan. When it melts, add the chard leaves, stir for about 2 minutes, remove. Layer about 1/2 of the wilted leaves over the sweet potatoes. Add the white sauce, top with the remaining chard and bacon, and cover with one more cup of jack cheese.

Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes; remove and serve.

By day, by night

My search is getting to the point where, by day, I have to consider moving elsewhere. I’ve already applied for positions quite a drive away– Bakersfield for the AQE job, West LA and Orange County as plan check engineers. By day, I am reluctant but rational: it is hard to live without income, and there’s nothing around Fresno that’s hiring in my field. Bummer.

At night, I resist with all the fiber of my being. I have something fun going on all the time, a network of great friends and fun activities, a life that is exactly what I’ve worked to build.

On Wednesday, I made a simple dinner that was enthusiastically devoured, every bite. Sourdough bread (Bittman 858), Roast Chicken Parts with Olive Oil (Bittman 640), Roasted Snap Peas with Spring Onions (T&D Willey Farms), and an apple crisp (Bittman 884) [half pink ladies, half granny smith] plus ice cream. Then we played Settlers of Catan with Dad, Ben, and Tress. Jennifer laughed til her nose bled, Tress was in tears. Wood for sheep indeed!

This weekend has fallen into place wonderfully. Tonight I have a fun AT-43 match with Bryan, tomorrow Aces and Eights with Ben, Dad, and Mike, and Mother’s Day in Visalia with Carrie and her brand new daughter.

Does life get better than this?

Cooking Success Story: Carrot Soup w/ Ginger

Yesterday I made Carrot Soup with Ginger, from Wednesday’s soup recipe article by Joan Obra. It was delicious and simple; about 1 1/2 hours from start to finish, but each step was easy. You can start the onions and work on the carrots and ginger while they’re cooking, then start your water for the chicken broth when you toss in the carrots and ginger.

CREAM OF CARROT WITH GINGER SOUP
Makes 6 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds young carrots, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
6 cups hot chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
3 teaspoons salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the garnishes:
Croutons fried in butter (see note)
Chopped cilantro leaves
In a pot, melt the butter over low heat, then add the onions and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-low, then add the carrots and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots are softer, about 20 minutes.
Add the chicken broth to the pot, bring to a boil over medium heat, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and add the milk. Transfer to a blender and blend, in batches if necessary, until it forms a puree. Return the soup to the pot, add the half-and-half, season with the salt and pepper, and cook until very hot without letting it come to a boil. Serve hot with one of the garnishes.
Note: Cover the bottom of a large skillet with 1/16 inch of olive oil. Heat the oil over medium heat for a few minutes, then add French bread cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Cook, stirring or tossing frequently, until the cubes of bread are golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Optionally, you can add a crushed garlic clove to the heating oil and then remove and discard it before you add the bread.
-“The Best Soups in the World,” by Clifford A. Wright (John Wiley & Sons, $22.95)

Cooking Success Story: Carrot Soup w/ Ginger

Yesterday I made Carrot Soup with Ginger, from Wednesday’s soup recipe article by Joan Obra. It was delicious and simple; about 1 1/2 hours from start to finish, but each step was easy. You can start the onions and work on the carrots and ginger while they’re cooking, then start your water for the chicken broth when you toss in the carrots and ginger.

CREAM OF CARROT WITH GINGER SOUP
Makes 6 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 pounds young carrots, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
6 cups hot chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
3 teaspoons salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the garnishes:
Croutons fried in butter (see note)
Chopped cilantro leaves
In a pot, melt the butter over low heat, then add the onions and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-low, then add the carrots and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots are softer, about 20 minutes.
Add the chicken broth to the pot, bring to a boil over medium heat, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and add the milk. Transfer to a blender and blend, in batches if necessary, until it forms a puree. Return the soup to the pot, add the half-and-half, season with the salt and pepper, and cook until very hot without letting it come to a boil. Serve hot with one of the garnishes.
Note: Cover the bottom of a large skillet with 1/16 inch of olive oil. Heat the oil over medium heat for a few minutes, then add French bread cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Cook, stirring or tossing frequently, until the cubes of bread are golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Optionally, you can add a crushed garlic clove to the heating oil and then remove and discard it before you add the bread.
-“The Best Soups in the World,” by Clifford A. Wright (John Wiley & Sons, $22.95)

Savory Breakfasts

I remember reading this a while back, but after discussing this with Jennifer this morning, I may move to incorporate a few of these into our routine.

From Your Morning Pizza

Uncovering this little-known fact has made the savory, grain-based breakfast a matter of routine for me. I do polenta with butter and Parmesan; steel-cut oats with peanut butter (sometimes with hot sauce); and, a recent favorite, brown rice with dried mushrooms and dried tomatoes.

In addition to the polenta “pizza,” and the wheat berry-soy-scallions bowl, which I eat in one variation or another at least once a week, you might consider this coconut oat pilaf, a spicy, aromatic dish that will change the way you think about oatmeal. As for the wild rice and quinoa dish, a kind of stuffing for breakfast, this — like the traditional post-Thanksgiving meal — is a perfect place for leftovers. As is breakfast in general.

We’ll probably start by trying the polenta as an experiment, and see where it goes. Who doesn’t want a few more options at breakfast?

Holiday Baking

Last night was my last chance to make a big batch of cookies before my early Christmas with Eric and family, so I seized it. I’m proud of my sequencing– though I should have taken pictures, I’ll add some in later.

I began by mixing up the snickerdoodle dough, because it has to be chilled before use. By making it first (and baking it last), I was able to make the cookies with thoroughly chilled dough, which made rolling them in the bowl with cinnamon and sugar quick and easy. (BTW, that’s my reminder for next year: bowl, not plastic bag. You can roll it easily and don’t have it stick to the bag.)

Once I made up the snickerdoodle dough, I kicked it into a container and tossed it in the freezer, scraped the bowl and used again it for the Toffee Bars. It’s a real simple toss everything in one bowl and mix recipe– so I did so. Then it goes in a pan in the over for 15 minutes. When you pull it out, toss chocolate chips on it and cover with baking sheets to keep the heat in, melting the chocolate chips and making it easy to spread. (Note: the 1/2 cup the recipe calls for is too little chocolate to cover the whole pan, particularly in the 10×15. 1 cup works much better.) Last night, the chocolate spread fine but didn’t cover everything, so I tossed it back in the over for two minutes with more chocolate chips, then smeared them throughout for a nice consistency. (The one drawback was that I’d already added the nuts, so the second spreading of chocolate spread over/through them, and it may clump.)

While the Toffee Bars were baking, I mixed up the persimmon cookies. I didn’t soften the margarine, which made the creaming take a little longer, but it eventually worked out. The 1 cup of persimmon pulp is almost exactly one persimmon’s worth, which is easy and convenient. [Also: Persimmons are peeled– I don’t have a note for that in the recipe, and probably should.] The first batch was made with rounded teaspoons full of dough– the result was small, resulting in persimmon bites. The remaining two batches I kicked up to very rounded 1/2 tablespoon– probably 1 tablespoon leveled.

When the second two dozen persimmons came out of the oven, I got the snickerdoodle dough out of the freezer and made my first two dozen slightly rounded 1/2 tablespoon balls. I popped them dough back in the freezer between batches. When they came out of the oven, the cookies went straight to a rack, I grabbed the next dough container from the freezer and made the next 2 dozen balls. When the new batch came out, I moved the racked cookies to a big ziplock, the sheet cookies to the rack, and made the next batch. At 1/2 tablespoon cookies, I made 8 dozen snickerdoodles.)

[Now with pictures below the fold.]
Continue reading “Holiday Baking”

Good things recently

Off to San Fransisco for They Might be Giants at the Fillmore. Then off to the Exploratorum, which had us both fascinated for hours.

Thanksgiving at Aunt Mary’s– cooking with Chuck, then the whole family tries out Jennifer’s new longboard.

Making cioppino with Eric and Tonya… though I forgot to take pictures from about halfway through. It was tasty though!

Decorating the tree with kids… and Mocca exploring the decorated tree. He enjoys the new platform and dangling cat toys…

This week in Food

Tonight I’m cooking up some (slightly tired) mei qing choi, to make Mei Qing Choi with Soy Ginger Sauce.

Yesterday I made homemade pizza crust, using the Bittman recipe. It was tasty and crunched nicely! [Note the perfectly round pizza crust. 😉 ] [1. Additional pizza night with the other half of the crust was added to the slideshow later.]

Prior to that, I made up one of my favorite dishes, Chicken and Rice. It always hits the spot.