food, Magic of the Everyday, Personal Life, publication, the dog, Writing

Hello again, hello!

It’s been a year, hasn’t it?

I’ll just leave it at that. We all know what we’ve been through, and I don’t feel like re-hashing every nasty blow and tanking all our fragile moods by doing so. So, let’s move on the next thing, shall we?

It’s a gray and rainy day here, and a bit cool (for us) with off-and-on showers coming throughout the day, and tomorrow, too. Rather a relief, honestly, as we’d been heading into drought-like conditions. But now my veggies and fruits are breathing a sigh of relief (as is my water bill-avoidant self!), and the grass is growing lush and green. The dog is a bit miffed that his sunbeams aren’t available on the lanai for his snoozing enjoyment, but I think he’ll survive, the poor dear, with an extra treat and an extra snuggle on the sofa.

Right now, I’m taking advantage of the cool to make a big batch of chicken stock, which I’ll can later. I can’t believe we were out, but the pantry was bare of chicken stock. Not for long! Afterwards, I’m hoping to make a bunch of Jasmine madeleines, a recipe I’ve been longing to make for a couple years, since I found the recipe in a Thai cookbook, in the “Thai Influences” section. I had to order jasmine extract from online, and it just got here a few days ago, so I’m eager to try them out. (I’ve been making that recipe using coconut extract instead, and it was very, very good.)

I’ve been making baby quilts, and finished one, which has arrived to it’s new tiny owner. The next one is nearly done–only the binding needs to be appliquéd onto the backing, and a label attached. The third, fortunately, isn’t due until July. And it hasn’t been started yet. I’ve gathered images for the pattern, at least!

Oh, writing? Well, yes. Of course. I’ve been struggling, along with so very many others, when it comes to motivation in isolation. But I’m nearing the very end of this draft of the novel–HURRAY! Then I can set the whole thing aside for a few weeks and work on something else while I let the draft sit and think about what it’s done! Or, more seriously, while I consider how much further editing it needs and if I need to continue with it or trunk it. Right now, I’m in no proper headspace to decide that.

I’ve started the process of working out my next project, and I’m pretty happy with the work on it, so far. Working on this is my treat for finishing my daily output on the first novel, so I don’t get carried away and forget the “work” for the “shiny.” (Always a fear, for me).

And to end this catch-up post on a high note, I’ve sold a short story! The next issue of Speculative North will include a story of mine that I love so very much. I can’t tell you how glad I am that it’ll be out in the world at last! I’ll give you more news nearer to the release date, of course. Good news is meant to be shared!

To close, I’ll leave you with a picture of Dasher napping inside, for a change:

Making do with a carpet inside, without a sunbeam. Die arme Hündlein!

food, Writing Workshops

Food, Wonderful Food!

Saturday I got to spend the entire day playing in the kitchen! I made stock from bones stored in the freezer. I cut up and dehydrated sweet potatoes for the dog (who knows the words “sweet potato” and runs to the freezer when I say them). I started currywurst in the slow cooker for dinner and got to drool over the thought (and scent) of that all day. Finally, I wanted to make cookies, and ended up making macarons because it’s been too long since I’ve eaten really good, fresh ones.

IMG_2761Like many who enjoy puttering in the kitchen, I couldn’t stick to a known recipe. This was, after all, my second whole attempt at macarons (the first being many years and 3 kitchens ago), so “bucking authority” was obviously the way to go. I ended up making chocolate macarons with a chocolate-cinnamon filling. They were–are! I mean, they ARE–delicious! And they don’t look too bad, either, which is always a bonus.

So, why the bout in the kitchen? I was in a wonderful mood. And why is that? Because I’d just gotten the news that this July I’ll be at Taos Toolbox, a novel writer’s workshop in Taos, New Mexico, run and taught by Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress, along with a changing cast of special lecturers. Which means that my Jessamin Stow series will benefit from all this awesomeness! I can’t wait.

Will I see you there? Have you applied? Applications and acceptances are rolling, and ongoing until the class is full, and I know you have time yet. Until then, have a cookie!

food, Nature, Personal Life

Pindo Palm Jelly! Almost…

pindojellyI did it–I cooked a big batch of pindo fruit down into juice and turned that into jelly! Or, well, runny jelly. It didn’t solidify, or gel, quite enough. But the runny jelly works fine as a sauce for veggies or fish, and will be lovely over yogurt or ice cream.

I immediately tried it out, and it worked like a charm. Pindo jelly sweetened the sweet potato puree, giving it a tropical touch, and made a beautiful simmer sauce for tilapia.

The flavor is unique and lovely–somewhere in the vicinity of peach, mango and apricot, but with banana notes and maybe some pineapple-y-ness, and some wee effervescence of coconut. Delicious! If you get the opportunity to try some, I suggest you do.

Now I need to come up with ways to use this bounty. Hmmm, how about pindo ice cream…?