Sunday, October 5, 2008

long time no blog.

Looks like it's been a while since I posted anything here. Sorry about that. Means we've got plenty to catch up on!

A handful of new book reviews up:
SunDiver by David Brin
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
January Dancer by Michael Flynn

I wrote the January Dancer review for SFRevu. . and I need to decide if I'm going to continue writing reviews for them. The editors strongly prefer to only publish positive reviews, which puts me in a bad position when I choose a book from the shopping list that turns out to suck. my reviews just end up flat and superficial.

reviews in the works include Startide Rising, by David Brin, and Saturn's Children, by Charlie Stross. I have major issues with both novels, so i promise those reviews will be neither flat, nor superficial, although perhaps biting and just plain mean, due to dissapointment.

the last few weeks have had plenty of food adventures, both good and bad. i'm not going to subject you to the failures, the internet isn't that big. but here's some yummy stuff, and it's seasonally appropriate, at least where i live!

Zucchini bread, make 2 loaves
adapted from The Breadwinner's Cookbook

3 cups flour
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 butter, melted and cooled (or you can use one cup butter, melted and cooled, and skip the olive oil)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded raw zucchini
1/2 cup chopped pecans or 1/2 cup raisins, or 1/4 cup of each (I don't suggest going over 1/2 cup of added fruit or nut extras)

preheat oven to 350, and grease 2 loaf pans. mix flour, honey, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a big bowl. Add everything else except the nuts and/or raisins, and mix well. when well blended, mix in the nuts/raisins. pour into loaf pans and bake at 350 for about 50 minutes. the bread will still be raw in the center, and will continue to bake as the bread cools, but be very, very careful when removing the loaves from the loaf tins.

i still have one more zucchini in the fridge, so i think later this week i'm going to cut this recipe in half and make zucchini muffins.

Yet again, i've managed to catch whatever crud is going around town, making everyone sick. if the Food and Drug administration was watching our city, they would think that everyone is making meth in their basements, due to all the cold remedies being sold in the drugstores. it's just a cold, i swear! and the magic over the counter medicine is. . . Mucinex! disgusting commercials, miracle medicine. so i've been sick the last few days, and wanting soup. nothing chowdery, and i made mushroom barley soup a few weeks ago. Chicken noodle soup is kind of boring, and I need something with more nutritional value than the lemon tea i've been living on for the last few days. that in mind, i give you Sick Soup! if i can make this while sick, then anyone can.

Sick Soup
adapted from a minestrone recipe off
2 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
one baby zucchini, quartered and sliced thin
a few red new potatoes, cubed
2-3 celery stalked, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
48 oz chicken broth
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried basil
salt & pepper
one can northern white beans
about one cup elbow macaroni

sautee onion and garlic in butter for a few minutes. add zucchini, potatoes, celery and carrots, and saute over low/medium heat until veggies have started a soften just a little. Stir in the parsley and basil, and add the broth and at least 3 cups water. salt and pepper to taste. simmer until the veggies (especially those potatoes!) are nearly done, about 15 minutes. add the pasta, and boil for 6-8 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. let sit off the heat for a few minutes before serving. be careful not to overcook the pasta, because it's just going to get squishier and squishier as the leftovers sit in the fridge.

makes a good, easy to digest "sick soup". nice and squishy. In fact, i'm going to go have some right now, which i try to survive a few more pages of Stross's Saturn's Children. this won't be the first Stross book that i returned to the library unfinished. i either love his stuff, or think it sucks.

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