This morphed into about 2/3 cooking blog so fast, I barely even noticed. But be that as it may, I have cooking and a number of other things on my mind tonight. Fall is in full swing now, and I’m thinking ahead.
High on my to-do list is buying a new Christmas tree. Mine is nine years old, and it’s been shedding needles at an exponentially higher rate every year. My wife has declared it unfit, so I need to replace it. The old tree was a Douglas fir from BJ’s, and the best candidate right now is also a BJ’s tree, although this one is a Colorado spruce. I hope it looks good. I’d be very happy with a Balsam Hill tree but I’m not rich, hinged trees I think won’t work at all in my living room, and I hate buying prelit. The options are limited.
I want to reread John Dies at the End. Gads I love that book.
Speaking of books, I’m determined to finally get more of those out. I have an artist booked for Below, and it looks like we’ll probably get to a Skype session tomorrow to go over some sketches. For Gray Area I have a homemade cover, but beta reader feedback is telling me it needs a lot of work still; specifically, the protagonist needs his motivations spelled out better, he needs to be more likeable, and come off less sociopathic. (All fair critiques, I think. I’m looking forward to the detailed notes so I can fix it.) And having gone through the artist audition process, I’m way less scared than I once was about the prospect of doing covers for the Halflight series.
Last year I baked pumpkin bread for the first time, using my mom’s recipe. It was a big deal for me, and I was thrilled that it came out perfectly. I’ve been hounding her for years, but not persistently enough, for her recipes for banana bread and buttercream frosting; now I’ve gotten serious about it and she’s got a text message always staring at her to remind her to send those along. I’m not crazy enough to try making Christmas cookies this year—because I’m the only one who would eat them—but I’m definitely making banana bread right away. And I’m still going to make frosting, because putting that between a couple of Graham crackers is one of the best desserts ever.
My ramen experiments have continued. I bought some Herb-Ox chicken bouillon (I chose it because it came in a jar instead of cubes), and holy crap does that make a difference; it puts the original flavor packet not just to shame, but to dirty, dirty shame. Yes I know bouillon is nowhere near as good as homemade broth, but screw it. I tried this with my current recipe, still leaving in the minced garlic and still adding a little bit of butter at the end, and it’s fantastic. On one try I added a microwave-scrambled egg into the soup at the end, and the next time I cut up some frozen pre-cooked chicken strips. Both were delicious, although if pressed I think I’d give the edge to the egg. I like that this is a super hot, super flavorful lunch for cold days and it doesn’t take long at all to make.
Other things are coming up for me too, so the above is really only part of what I’m thinking about going forward into fall. But those ones are the most fun; almost as much fun as seeing Bill Belichick butthurt this past Sunday. And let’s face it; everyone is trying not to think about the election, for one reason or another. Win or lose, I might take up drinking.