Random (but not really)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kitchen Adventures: Eggnog

In addition to new cookie varieties, this year I decided to try to make eggnog. I did a bit of research, and combined several recipes (one recipe called for three dozen eggs–and served eighty). Here is the end result–pretty good!

4 pasteurized eggs (nothing is cooked, so this is important to avoid food poisoning)
1/2 cup sugar
2 – 4 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz brandy
2 oz bourbon
1-3 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
4 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped (if you’re using whole milk, you can probably skip this)

Separate the eggs. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks until lighter yellow. Add the sugar, and beat until the sugar is dissolved.

Add in the vanilla, brandy, bourbon, and nutmeg, then add the milk.

Unless you have multiple mixing bowls, put the egg nog into a cold container and put in the fridge for now.

Whisk the egg whites until they are firm. (I totally forgot how long this takes, as I’ve only been whisking whipped cream recently. This takes a long time. Be patient.)

Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg whites. Put the egg nog back into the cold container, and put back in the fridge for now.

Whip the cream with a dash of sugar.

Once the cream is whipped, slowly add in the egg and milk mixture.

Put the completed mixture back unto the container (I’m using a glass milk jug, which is perfect) and refrigerate until chilled.

When you’re ready to serve, whisk or shake the mixture, pour into glasses, and if you’re feeling fancy, grate fresh nutmeg over each serving.

Very yummy!

Written by Michelle at 6:27 pm      Comments (5)  Permalink
Categories: Food  

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Obvious Thing…

My ankle has been bothering me for the past couple months, probably because of the amount of rain we’ve had.

So I did the obvious thing: bought myself two new pairs of boots!

Here’s the first–the second pair won’t arrive until next week.

NEW BOOTS FOR ME!

Written by Michelle at 1:46 pm      Comments (8)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games,Michelle Is Clumsy,Photos  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Krusties

This holiday also had a trip to VA, where my all of my cousins were in for Christmas. At the instigation of Ben, we made the Lithuanian cookie Krusties (pronounced, at least by my family, christies)

The recipe is fairly simple:

Krusties
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 whole eggs
6 egg yolks
2 sticks butter
6 cups flour
1 shot whiskey/rum
pinch cardamom

1 large can crisco, for frying

Mix together all the ingredients in a mixer. Wrap in waxed paper or place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to make, heat solid fat (Crisco or lard) in large frying pan. You’ll need an inch or two of hot oil.

You’ll also want to line most of your work areas with newspaper, or used wrapping paper, or anything else that absorbs oil and sugar, and makes clean up easier.

Find aprons for everyone–this can get messy! We rolled out our batches of dough on floured waxed paper.

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Written by Michelle at 4:58 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Food,Holidays,Photos  

Christmas Pictures

I had a nice Christmas, especially since I was unexpectedly able to spend part of it with Jules.

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Written by Michelle at 4:35 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Holidays,Photos  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Merry Christmas to All!

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Written by Michelle at 8:18 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays  

Merry Christmas

Adeste, fideles, laeti triumphantes:
Venite, venite in Bethlehem:
Natum videte Regem angelorum.
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Written by Michelle at 12:01 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays,music  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Joyous Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

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Written by Michelle at 10:48 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays  

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Ton

Michelle: What’s a ton?
Michael: I think it’s seven.
Michelle: Really? That doesn’t seem right.
Michael: I just checked. It’s seven.
Michelle: Are you sure? That seems light.
Michael: Light?
Michelle: For a ton.
Michael: I thought you were asking what TIME it was.
Michelle: No, I want to know how many pounds are in a ton.
Michael: I think it’s fifty four.
Michelle: WHAT? NO! I do not weigh more than two tons! Fuck you!
Michael: I don’t know how much a ton weighs, other than it weighs less than my wife.

Written by Michelle at 7:08 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Year in Reading: Fantasy

Oddly, I read no “plain” fantasy published in 2011. I read several books that came out in paperback in 2011, but had initially been published in hardback in 2010. (I find hardback books uncomfortable to read, so with the Kindle will probably buy few–if any–hardback books again.)

Fantasy, however, is the category that has the “re-reads”, my comfort books.


RE-READS:

Ellen Kushner

The falling snow made it hard for him to see. The fight hadn’t winded him, but he was hot and sweaty, and he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He ignored it, making for Riverside, where no one was likely to follow him.

He could have stayed, if he’d wanted to. The swordfight had been very impressive, and the party guests and its outcome would be talked about for weeks. But if he stayed, the swordsman knew that he would be offered wine, and rich pastry, and asked boring questions about his technique, and difficult questions about who had arranged the fight. He ran on.

Under his cloak, his shirt was spattered with blood, and the Watch would want to know what he was doing up on the Hill at this hour. It was their right to know; but his profession forbade him to answer, so he dodged around corners and caught his breath in doorways until he’d left the splendors of the Hill behind, working his way down through the city.

Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett

(24) So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life…
25 And the Lord spake unto the Angel that guarded the eastern gate, saying Where is the flaming sword which was given unto thee?
26 And the Angel said, I had it here only a moment ago, I must have put it down some where, forget my own head next.
27 And the Lord did not ask him again.

Terry Pratchett

…(W)hen you hit your thumb with an eight-pound hammer it’s nice to be able to blaspheme. It takes a very special and strong-minded kind of atheist to jump up and down with their hand clasped under their other armpit and shout, ‘Oh, random-fluccuations-in-the-space-time-continuum!’ or ‘Aaargh, primitive-and-outmoded-concept on a crutch!’

Sergei Lukyanenko, translated by Andrew Bromfield

    Night Watch (2006) Review; Day Watch (2006) Review; Twilight Watch (2007) Review; Last Watch (2009) Review

    Anton Gorodetsky is an low-level Other: a human with the ability to slip into different levels of reality and perform feats of magic. Anton is also a member of the Night Watch: a group of Light Magicians who keep an eye on the Dark others, to make sure they follow the Treaty and do not take advantage. Before he became an other he was a computer programmer, so as an other, he has done similar work, only now Gesar (his boss) has decided Anton needs to do field work, and so has sent him out to keep an eye on the Dark Others.

    Each book contains three self-contained stories, all building upon what has happened previously, but complete in and of themselves.


New Reads

Charles de Lint

    Muse and Reverie (2009) Review

    Charles de Lint is an author I can rely on to write books that I love from page one, and his short story collections set in Newford are always my favorite reads. Although urban fantasy, his works rely upon the creatures of folklore–Coyote, Crow Girls, the narrow places that allow you to move between the worlds. He writes elegant stories of redemption and love that remind me that the fantastic may be possible and that the world of dreams is sometimes real.

Liz Williams

    The Iron Khan 2010 (Detective Inspector Chen) Review

    Detective Inspector Chen is a Snake Agent. A policeman in Singapore who deals with supernatural crimes. Zhu Irzh is a demon from Hell who is sent to Singapore Three to work with Chen. These book often focus on Heaven and Hell and the relationship between the two, but this is not a Western afterlife but a thoroughly Chinese one, with bureaucracy and even communication with the dead.

Once a week he took the tram out to Bharulay to see his elderly father , and they went for long, silent walks along the canal. His mother, the shrill quarrelsome Mrs Roche, had long since passed into one of the more pleasant neighborhoods of Hell, if that wasn’t a contradiction in terms. She sometimes telephoned, a tinny distant voice in her son’s ear, demanding to know why he was still unwed.


Alternate History:

Guy Gavriel Kay

    Under Heaven 2010 Review

    Guy Gavriel Kay spends years researching the past to help him create the worlds in which he sets his books, and is able to create marvelous and magical cities and people that never existed, yet are amazingly alive and real. I have yet to read a Guy Gavriel Kay book I didn’t love, yet Under Heaven may somehow have managed to become my favorite.

Barry Hughart

Old P’i-pao-ku, “Leatherbag Bone,” was Mrs. Wu’s grandmother, and she was waiting at the confectioner’s to get hard sugar decorations of the five poisonous insects (centipede, scorpion, lizard, toad, snake) to spread over top of her wu tu po po cake, which she would purposely make as inedible as possible without being actually deadly. Every family member eats a slice on the fifth day of the fifth moon, and sickness demons stare at people capable of eating stuff like that and go elsewhere.

Elizabeth Bear

    The White City 2010 (Abby Irene) Review

    Vampires. North America still colonized by Britain and France and Spain in 1899. Middle aged female magicians who are also Detective Crown Inspectors. It’s steampunk and alternate history and magic all piled into a single book.


Anthologies:

Masked 2010 edited by Lou Anders Review

    Superhero stories with the focus less on the daring do and more on the lives in between the heroics–or even long after the heroics have ended.

The Secret History of Fantasy 2010 edited by Peter S. Beagle Review

    Maureen F. McHugh. Gregory Maguire. Patricia A. McKillip. T.C. Boyle. Steve Millhauser. Steven King. Francesca Lia Block. Jeffery Ford. Susanna Clarke. Robert Holdstock. Kij Johnson. Every story in here is good, even the ones that I didn’t like.


Young Adult:

I noticed in recent years that some of the best fantasy out there is sitting in the young adult section of the book store.

Suzanne Collins

    Hunger Games 2008 (Hunger Games)
    Review

    I’ll be surprised if anyone the slightest bit conversant with fantasy books has not already heard of and/or read this. I actually have not read the following two, simply because they are very dark and I can only take darkness (no matter the quality) in small doses.

Patricia Wrede

    A Matter of Magic (2010) Review

    Patricia C. Wrede is another young adult author who should really be read by anyone who loves a good fantasy story. Although A Matter of Magic starts with the trope of a young girl passing as a boy, it soon discards that to move onto the real story–instead of being the focus of the tale, it is simply an explanation of how a girl could survive on the streets as a thief and not be forced into a house of ill repute.

Megan Whalen Turner

    The Thief 1996; The Queen of Attolia 2000; The King of Attolia 2006 (The Queen’s Thief) Review

    Instead of Three Wishes (2006) Review

    This year I discovered that Megan Whalen Turner–hiding in that young adult section–is writing some of the best fantasy around, regardless of the age for which it was written. And unlike much of the current fantasy, her books stand alone on their own merit. No cliffhangers. No plot points dragging on unresolved for years. Just good solid writing the kind of which you wish there was more of.

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Remains of My Day

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Written by Michelle at 5:02 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Family,Food  
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