Pumpkin Shrub & Punchkin Spice Harvest Punch

At the old job, it was hardly a secret was quite known for enjoyment of mixology, and I never really minded sharing. Having a lot of people to “keep watered” as the kids used to say, could provide a logistical challenge depending on demand, at least if you wanted to hand craft cocktails for an army of folks.

As a natural result of that, I’ve found my way into experimenting quite a bit with champagne punches, particularly after trying the fabulous Rosemary, Baby! punch from Serious Eats. (It is an excellent intro to champagne punches for anyone by the way.)

Using that rough ratio, I’ve enjoyed great success in producing mass quantities of libations that required little in the way of personal supervision or hands on delivery.

One of my more famed recipes came due to a request from the front desk asking for some assistance during Halloween. It being a season for pumpkins, the first though that came to mind was somehow incorporating a pumpkin shrub into the punch, and cinnamon for that autumnal feeling. I did think about adding more of the spices associated with pumpkin pie but…. I had a schedule to keep! To skip to the recipe click here. Continue reading

A Cocktail for Fall – The Kentucky Moose

A classic drink with a maple twist

As Autumn has comfortably settled in for those of us in the Northern hemisphere, I think it’s the proper time to share a recipe that I devised at work, because of one of the more unique ingredients I’ve used personally, maple syrup. Long story short, at Prosperworks we name releases after foods, and when possible, we make cocktails to celebrate them.

This was my contribution, the Kentucky Moose. So named for its roots in the Kentucky Mule, and well, I know there are a lot of moose in Canada.

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Sidenote: I feel the need to say that while maple syrup can be appreciated year round, there’s something about cooling weather (or at least the idea of cooling weather here in California) that makes reaching for that opaque plastic jug of maple syrup that much more appealing.

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Etheric Recipe #3: Cardamom Popovers with Honey Syrup

Large fluffy cardamom spiced popovers topped with honey syrup would be at home on any dining table, elegant or rustic

For the third installment of recipes for Daniel Swensen’s Etheric (upcoming sequel to Orison), I wanted to go with something a bit sweeter after the recipe for a warming drink and some satisfying street food. Daniel requested some recipes as part of an opulent meal, so I took the opportunity to turn to a recipe which I really thing deserves a lot more attention in the kitchen, the popover.

A loose egg batter that is closely related to a Yorkshire pudding, the recipe uses intense direct heat and the explosive power of steam to give an impressive amount of lift to the final product. While the popover is perhaps from somewhat humble origins in the kitchen, I think that with the right approach , the billowy and crispy foundation of the popover would look wonderful on a well-appointed dining table.

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I hope that this picture is convincing!

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Etheric Recipe #2: Grilled Lamb on Flatbread

Grilled meat, grilled bread, and cool yogurt make this dish a well-balanced way to kick off the summer

A bit of friendly note, this is a very meat centric post, so if that isn’t quite your thing you may want to skip this post.

Onto my second recipe installment for Daniel Swensen’s Orison, hot off tail of the last beverage recipe of Barley Cocoa Tea. So if you wanted something a bit more substantial you’re in luck, I’m giving it to you with a take on street food. Daniel asked for something a soldier would partake of, so I wanted to make something hot, savory, and filling.

Given the time of year, I really wanted to leverage the freedom to grill something up, and try a few takes on lamb. I’ve gone a bit further and grilled the flatbread over the charcoal as well, which I imagine would translate well into fiction, ideally into a three person operation over a very long built-in grill so they could work the fires side by side, one dutifully turning the meat skewers, another firing bread to order based on the number of people in line, and finally a runaround handling any prep work needed for the resting meat and add-on condiments.

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Etheric Recipe #1: Barley Cocoa Tea

An earthy warming drink when you rather relax than wake up

So I’m back from a bit of a hiatus, but I’m glad to start an announcement here. This is the first installment of a series of recipes I’m working on as sort of a peripheral Etheric, the sequel to Daniel Swensen’s Orison.

As a quick pitch Orison is Daniel’s first full length novel, a tale of the young thief Story, set in the grim, dirty city of Calushain. I loved the vivid imagery and the amount of agency given to the young female lead. It’s a welcome addition to my bookshelf. It’s very well reviewed, so if you want to know more, don’t just take my word for it.

I’m very excited to collaborate with Daniel, in that I’ll be helping to add some flavor to his sequel, by creating some recipes that his characters will come across in his world.

For this first installment, Daniel mentioned that some characters would be taking tea with one another. I thought it would be great to actually make a new tea recipe, so I decided to tweak some barley tea, which my family has been playing around with lately.

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2015 in a Long Glance

A year of cats, food, and friends both new and old

As promised, my review of 2015, at least in terms of what was documented on my phone. After selecting what I liked from that collection, there’s definitely no room for the stuff I legitimately documented on my camera.

Even without the official camera pictures, I sure did a LOT of stuff this year. I almost feel accomplished with how much fun I had.

Initial impressions, I took a lot of animal pictures. IMG_20150626_005414

Like, a lot of animal pictures.IMG_20150710_103615

There was also a very brief yet intense Alphabears period. Barbecue was very much in evidence, along with the surprisingly popular #farmjokes on instagram. Also I went to a lot of food trucks for lunch, and I really wish I wrote down more of what I thought of them.

I also reconnected with many old friends, and made many new ones. 2015 was a good year, and not without its challenges of course.

Here’s a selection of pictures, 2015 at a glance.

Dinner at night in the park. Spooky.

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Popsons: A Burger review to kick the year off right.

Popsons’ burger is so good it brought me out of blogger hibernation

I actually thought my first blog post of 2016 would be a review of 2015 (soon to come). But after serendipitously stumbling upon Popsons, and trying out one of their amazing burgers, I knew I had to change my plans.

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I mean, just look at how glorious that is. If you read nothing else, know this burger has my seal of approval. Popsons will be in great shape going forward so long as they can keep this quality up. Continue reading

Drinking with Painters: An Preview of Nemo’s Bad Words and Worse Feelings

Tasty beverages and Eccentric Alien Art at F8: December 9th-10th, 1192 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

(Warning, some somewhat adult language and themes below. Primarily swearing and an illustrated penis)

I had originally interviewed Nemo of Unstoppable Creative Forces back in September for an installation at the Skylark, and was greatly impressed by his work there, so when he asked if I would like to have a few drinks with him and preview his latest collection Bad Words and Worse Feelings at F8, I jumped at the chance. Full disclosure, he offered me some drinks for my time, so I may have jumped a bit faster.

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If life (and your bread) are feeling a bit stale, make Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding!

Want a different way to get your pumpkin spice fill? Try this bread pudding recipe.

Tis the season to pumpkin spice just about everything. And you know what? I’m ok with that. I’m not too extreme about it, but I’m definitely more on the side of “pumpkin spice all sorts of things” side compared to that raging “I hate pumpkin spice” movement that seems to surface at the same time.

In case you want to move beyond the Pumpkin Spice Latte options at the coffee shops, I present a more “solid” dessert option, Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding.

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Big Bad Recap 2015: My Time at Big Bad Con!

Cooking for a Cause, Charity, Food Truck reviews, and oh yes GAMING!

What a weekend I just had! I’m still coming down from the high that was Big Bad Con, and it just gets better and better every time I ago. Run by Sean Nittner (possibly more known for his work at Evil Hat Productions) and supported by a host of support staff, it is the event I look forward to most in the year.

First and foremost, while the focus is quite a bit on RPGs and related activities, it is important to note that Big Bad Con gives back. Proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders, there are bins for donating food to the Alameda County Community Food Bank, and Endgame donates 10% of all profits made at the con to Child’s Play.

So if you haven’t been, I recommend you go, and know that not only will you have a great time and meet great people, you will also be giving to great causes.

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Now for what my Friday through Sunday looked like. Actually my Thursday night through Sunday, as Sean had asked me to join the crew filling the Little Red Basket’s for some Kickstarter backers. I was thrilled to participate, due to the good causes mentioned above. My only complaints is my own lack of planning which led to a marathon night of cooking, which started at 10pm on account of an unexpected work emergency. Enough complaining though! Continue reading