Update for Jan. 2014

Written by . Posted at 12:54 pm on January 15th, 2014

I just wanted to make a quick update about the current state of my site, and the last post.

Obviously, I’m a slacker. My stated New Year’s resolution for 2013 was to research more Scandinavian and German foods that matched up to recipes available in the video game Skyrim (which draws from historic Nordic culture) and do posts on the topic.

First, my blog. Anyone reading this might have noticed that I started to do book reviews, but pretty much most of what I did was Dan Wells’ Mr. Monster trilogy. It’s not that I’m a rabid Dan Wells fanboy or anything, its that “life” hit and I stopped having time to just sit and cruise through a book as quickly as I was. On top of that, I started reading non-fiction books on religion and psychology that I didn’t really feel I wanted to review here, when so much of my own writing is more speculative fiction. I might change my mind because I really have read some great stuff, its just not something I think people who actually read my posts (all three of you) would be interested in.

Then there’s the cooking. The good news on that front is, I actually somewhat succeeded. I made a bunch of recipes that I found and tried, along with some non-Skyrim recipes from Germany that have become some of our new favorites. The bad news is, I never got around to typing it up. I actually have a pretty good reason for that other than laziness, which can be summed up in this recent Cyanide & Happiness™ cartoon. I have photos, I have notes, I even have drafts of this stuff typed up, just not published.

Some of the recipes I tried were okay, but just okay. Some of them weren’t even good. My issue was that they had potential to be so much more, and I feel that some of this might have been my own errors. I’ve made the Viking Answer Lady’s Chicken Stew with Beer probably four times now. I’ve never had very good success, but its always so close. Part of the issue is, I don’t know much about beer. I also tried variations on quantities, vegetables included, etc. Each time, I had some aspects that were great, and some that were mediocre to horrible. I have a final resolution to try one last time, this time using a crafted lager from a local brewer and use less than a full 12 oz. bottle. I believe a big part of the issue with mixing things like Guiness and turnips is that I was using a smaller pot to cook my stew in than what the recipe called for. When you put a full 12 oz strong, bitter, and hoppy beer onto half the chicken and veggies that the recipe calls for, you’re going to have a bad time. Again, that was user error on my part.

Other recipes were amazing, but I didn’t like the photos and I wanted something more substantial. Grilled Leeks, for example, are actually really, really good, but I failed to get photos while they were cooking or of the finished product. My apple-cabbage stew recipe is also coming along, but I need to make it one or two more times until I’m satisfied.

The bottom line for my cooking project is, I don’t want to put something on my blog that’s unfinished. Saying “next time I make this again, I’m going to do ‘X’ instead of ‘Y'” isn’t good enough for me. What if someone tries that and its still not good? Its still ongoing and I just need to buckle down and refine one recipe at a time.

A lot changed for Sharise and I in 2013, and I think mostly for the better. Here’s hoping that in 2014 I can focus a little more on getting these projects into more of a routine.

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