Saturday, June 23, 2018

Want something to read?

Raina escaped to Freeport with a tour booked under a stolen ID, and a plan to lose herself in the city. Instead, she found a city in revolt, and now both sides are after her to control the alien gifts engineered into her DNA.

Her only ally is an offworld investigator trying to get to the bottom of the explosive mix of on-planet and alien politics... but his secrets are even deadlier than her own.

From the back alleys of the souk to the depths of alien ruins, they're now in a desperate fight to stop the revolution before everything is lost!

 Get it here!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Beef kofta, sumac edition

Today I decided to make kofta again, but since one of the North Texas Writers, Shooters, & Pilots Association has unhappy reactions to cumin, I needed a new recipe for the group dinner. Internet to the rescue!

I found one that called for green cardamom pods and sumac. These are fairly exotic ingredients, unless you live near an Indian store (or import store with an Indian section.) Then, the "rare and expensive" ingredients are hard to buy in less than a pound, and aren't that expensive. And... three years ago, I visited such a store, and have green cardamom pods and sumac still in my pantry, awaiting more recipes. See, love? I didn't spend thirty dollars on spices just for one dinner!

(Okay, one dinner and quite a few loaves of pulla, because nothing makes as awesome bread as fresh-ground cardamom, right out of the coffee grinder repurposed for only spices.)

Original Recipe here:

Modified recipe to follow:

Kofta Meatballs in the oven, with tzatziki

1 large onion
1 large handful parsley
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb hamburger
1 lb mild country sausage
1 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper
1-1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp green cardamom pods (or ground cardamom, if you don't have)
1 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika* (If you can't find smoked, use regular)
1 egg

1 cucumber
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp meyer-lemon infused olive oil* (Or regular, if you don't have that)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh mint, stripped off the stem & diced
2 cups greek yogurt

First, peel the cucumber, grate it, and put in a fine mesh sieve/colander. Sprinkle salt on top. Weight a mixing bowl with water, put on top. Leave to drain.

Defrost the meat. 

Dice onion, chop parsley. Saute with 1/2 tsp salt & olive oil, until onion is translucent & parsley wilted. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds more. (The parsley wilting is automatic if using greenhouse parsley, but for parsley that survives outdoors in June in Texas, it's about as tough as crabgrass. Takes more time.) Set pan aside to cool.

While onion mix is cooling, remove weighted bowl from cucumber. Dump water. Put cucumber in the bowl, add the rest of tzatziki ingredients, stir to mix. Stick in fridge.

Set out two pans, either with silicon mats or aluminum foil liners for easier cleanup. Grind the cardamom pods.

In separate bowl, mix meat and the rest of the kofta ingredients. (Helps if you have gloves on.) Add the sauteed mixture, one spatula-full at a time, mixing into the meat. (This cools down the hot onion, and prevents cooked bits of meat or burned hands, as well as providing thorough mixture.)

Form kofta mixture into meatballs (I do about 1/4 cup of mixture per ball, slightly more). and put on tray.

Preheat oven to 425, then bake meatballs 15-20 minutes depending on size of meatball and on oven.

While they're baking, make a quick, simple salad. Put tzatziki and salad on the table, and dinner is ready when you are. (I also made a caprese salad for appetizer, and my darling man set the table.)

Serves 6.

*Amarillo Grape & Olive sells these, along with mesquite-smoked salt. Excellent store, excellent spices. Yes, FCC, I paid for 'em with my own money, and quite happily do so again every time I run low! The meyer-lemon-infused olive oil is awesome on the caprese salad, too!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Coming Soon...

Raina thought she could leave everyone hunting her on the other side of the planet and lose herself as a tourist in the big city. Then she walked out of the spaceport as a car bomb went off, and found out paradise was worse than anything but her past.

Now she's caught up in a local revolution coming to a head, and the only person who can help is an investigator trying to get to the bottom of the explosive mix of on-planet and alien politics. Worse yet, his secrets are even deadlier than her own...