Change is Coming

Last night we were up late. We did a microdose of shrooms and had a very long discussion about how we feel about the games and where we want to go from here.

We made the decision to not do any cons this year.

Yep, you read that right.

We have been feeling obligated to do them – especially Momo, because we know they keep inviting us as a courtesy. They certainly don’t need our small selection of games, but we’ve been with them for a long time and we REALLY appreciate their continued support of us.

We ADORE FWA, and we hate to bail after only one year, but we must.

We may not do cons again, ever. We are old (no joke) and it’s just too physically exhausting to shlep a dozen games back and forth – even with help.

So, Nick will do SFGE, most likely, and that’s it.

We are going to sell off all games that Nick does not want to keep for his personal collection. If you are looking for a game, please to be following POAS on FB.

And the money we get from this sell off will go towards…something. A project that we BOTH can get into and enjoy. We’d love to get a classic car to futz with, but we don’t have a garage. We might get a classic motorcycle. We might start doing autocross with Romeo. We might get back to doing comics. Nick wants to do some gardening. We’ll probably start yoga again. We will DEFINITELY take a real vacation, godsdammit.

We are tired of being OBLIGATED to the games. They have become an anchor and certainly NOT FUN. We’ll keep our main client (MPB) and rotate games in and out of there so they get played. We are wrapping up the last few private clients and cutting them loose, too. Basically we’re shutting down POAS, but not ending it, since we’ll still have a couple of clients. We’ll keep the site up and field enquiries. I’ve got referrals for repairs and monitors.

We are changing our focus and energy. It needs to happen, desperately. We’ve spent almost 10 years on the games and that is enough. Time to move on. We are grateful for all the support we’ve gotten from everyone over the years. THANK YOU.

The MEH Continues

The Pollening™ has begun in earnest. Seems early this year? Is it early? I dunno, time has become so fluid now, it is impossible to tell if something happened one or four years ago. Sigh.

We are doing pretty well here at the Weasel Lair™. Nick’s job is going, he got the small raise and a bonus to make up for not getting the big raise. I’m still slumming over at MRC. Not sure how much longer that will go, the work with my hands has brought forth a trigger finger on my right ring finger and overall stiffness and pain in both hands. Arthritis, no doubt. Thanks Gran and Mom! BUT the result of the effort is good, we are finally AHEAD on bills and the CCs are being paid down. Progress is good and it’s alleviating much of the doldrums we’ve been in, but MEH is still our overall state.

Shasti had a clean bill of health other than the one gum spot that STAYS gross and infected. Tooth is fine, but that spot is always an issue. She got an antibiotic shot and we are to attempt to clean the area with kitty toothpaste. LOL This should be fun! Dr says, “But she’s SO GOOD!” and I reply “She is for YOU.” This is a quote from TNG episode Genesis:

She is for YOU.
“She is for YOU.”

Everything is trundling along. Time flies. We’ll have been here for TEN YEARS in June. Shasti is probably a bit older than we estimated, likely 11-12ish. I don’t want to think about that. So many friends are losing pets I just CAN’T think about losing her right now.

I feel somewhat untethered of late. Just sort of floating along. I think Nick is the same. We are in the same pool, but not on the same float, if that makes sense. It’ll pass.

We wrapped up our long distance client and Nick is working to wrap up several other clients that have been languishing. Time to move on. We’re selling off a bunch of project cabinets, too. We’ve basically shut down POAS as far as new clients and projects. We’ve not received any invitations to cons this year, so we’re not even sure we’ll do THAT. If they ask, we feel obliged to go – if nothing else, to hold our spot. If they don’t ask, I guess we’ll take the year off. ::shrug:: I wish I cared more, but honestly, cons are fun, but VERY, VERY stressful and tiring. And we’re OLD. Might be time to just stop all of it. We shall see. We’ll just continue taking care of our core client and see how it goes.

Guess that’s about it for what’s going on around here. Like I said: MEH. I’d love to hear from y’all, feel free to comment, it’s open. :)

Angela’s Cabbage Pie

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Angela's Cabbage Pie

Just in time for St Patrick's day! I saw a random Irish chef on Chopped make something like this and it sounded deelish, so here's my version! It is rich and very satifying - as well as cheap to make! Éirinn go Brách!
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Irish
Keyword cabbage, Irish Cheddar, potatoes, potatoes and cheese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Author misangela

Equipment

  • 1 medium casserole dish
  • 1 Large skillet
  • 1 2 qt saucepan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head Green Cabbage, halved and sliced thinly about 4-5 cups
  • 1/2 Onion, halved and sliced thinly about 3/4 cup
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced used several places
  • 1 small Carrot, julienned about 1/3 cup
  • 1/4 cup small diced pancetta optional, but great in this dish
  • 1 Tbl Apple cider or white wine vinegar red wine is fine too
  • 1/4 cup Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Scallions, thinly sliced on bias
  • 1 pack Instant potatoes, garlic flavour, as directed A small pack (2 cups) and I use half 1/2 1/2 rather than all water. OR make your own: about 2 cups very smoothly creamed potatoes.
  • 1 cup shredded Irish Cheddar cheese Spring for the real thing! Used in 3 places.
  • 5 Tbl butter used in cabbage, bechamel and potatoes
  • 1.5 cups Half and half used in potatoes and bechamel
  • 1.5 Tbl flour for bechamel
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Prep all the veg and assemble in bowls. This will save you time in the cook.
  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 Tbl butter with pancetta, cook until pancetta gets a little crisp. Add onions, 1/2 the garlic, carrots and cabbage. Gently cook until cabbage is soft. Add S/P to taste. (If this gets too dry, add just a bit of water. Don't use too much heat, the veg should not brown.)
  • When veg is soft, check S/P, and add vinegar. Put them in the casserole and set aside.
  • In a 2 qt saucepan, put the water and half n half mixture for the potatoes over med hi heat - watch to prevent boilover. Add half the remaining garlic. (Idahoan packs call for 2 cups liquid.) SEE NOTES!!
  • In same skillet, over med heat, put another 2 Tbl butter and flour to make a roux. Stir for a couple of minutes then add half the scallions and parsley and the remaining garlic. Add about 2/3 cup of half n half to make a bechamel sauce. This should be fairly tight, but not like glue, use more half and half if needed. When bechamel has cooked for 2-3 minutes, add 1/3 of the Irish cheddar to create a mornay sauce. As soon as the cheese melts, kill the heat and add back in the cabbage and stir to incorporate the sauce. Check S/P. Put this mixture back into the casserole dish.
  • Water for potatoes should be at the boil - turn off and add a Tbl of butter and potato flakes, whisk. Add 1/3 Irish cheddar and remaining parsley and scallions. Adjust liquid to make a fairly stiff creamed potato.
  • If you want to be fancy, you can use a round tip and pipe the potatoes from a pastry bag - make sure they are loose enough! (star tip will clog with the veg). Otherwise, just spread on top of the cabbage mix in the casserole dish.
  • Finally, put the remaining Irish cheddar on top of potatoes and bake in oven for about 15 minutes. Then turn on broiler and broil until you see browned potatoes and cheese.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

YES I use instant potatoes here. I tend to use them for any dish where they are a topping, such as Shepherd's Pie. I use the Idahoan small bag, which makes about 2 cups. I like the lightness of the instant, and they will pipe out a pastry bag nicely. In this particular recipe, since there is parsley and scallions, a star tip will not work, but a round tip will.  You can certainly make your own creamed potatoes here if you wish. 
Do get Irish cheddar. It has a nice sharp taste! 
This recipe makes about 3-4 cups, a small casserole. It will double just fine if you'd like a bigger casserole.  The only thing I'd not double is the butter. It will get super greasy with all the cheddar, so just use enough butter to get the veg cooked, and make the bechamel (1:1 butter to flour for bechamel). The bake time will be 20-25 mins for a large casserole.
The bake time is simply to warm up all the ingredients that have been sitting while you finish the dish. The important part is to broil the top for the browned bits. You can use a torch if you'd rather. 
This is not a pretty dish, but it is SO tasty! Perfect for a rainy night! Have a nice stout with it! 
 

Carrot Ginger Soup

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Carrot Ginger Soup

This soup can be vegan or dairy - it is delicious either way! I make it with butter and coconut cream, but substitutions are listed. It is easy to make and is a lovely silky smooth soup. I've added other spices you can add for an even more flavourful soup in the notes!
Course Soup
Cuisine American, Asian, Indian
Keyword carrot, coconut cream, ginger, vegan soup, vegetarian soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author misangela

Equipment

  • stick blender or counter blender

Ingredients

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced or chunked
  • 1 med shallot, about 2 Tbl, minced sub onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbl Butter I use salted, always
  • 2 inch ginger, microplaned Sub 2 Tbl ginger paste
  • 2 tsp ginger, powdered optional, but supports the fresh
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme optional, but a classic with carrots
  • 1 small can coconut milk/cream (5.5oz) 1/3 large can (14oz)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar optional
  • salt to taste
  • water for cooking and adjusting thickness

Instructions

  • Put a medium saucepan over medium heat and add butter, shallot, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook 3-4 mins until shallot and garlic are soft.
  • Add carrots, ginger paste, ginger powder and thyme and cook a couple of minutes. Add water to just cover carrots. Bring to simmer.
  • Simmer with lid ajar until carrots are soft, adding water as needed to keep it at about halfway up carrots.
  • When carrots are soft, take off heat and blend with stick or counter blender until smooth. Add more water if needed.
  • Add coconut cream and blend. Add more water to achieve desired thickness. Check salt (it will need more) and add brown sugar if you feel it is needed. I did, my carrots were not particularly sweet.
  • Serve with crusty bread or naan.

Notes

To make vegan, sub oil for butter. 
This can be made with cream rather than coconut milk. 
Cilantro works well with this recipe! 
If you like Indian spices, this soup is delightful with curry or garam masala. 
If you want a more holiday flavour, add nutmeg and touch of cinnamon. 
Photo courtesy https://www.masalaherb.com/. 

Angela’s Chicken Piccata

Angela's Chicken Piccata
Angela's Chicken Piccata
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Angela's Chicken Piccata

I have not made piccata in forever, but I had a hankering, so I made this last night. It is the best piccata I've ever made! Note that I used scallions because I didn't have parsley!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword breaded chicken piccata, chicken piccata
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Thin sliced chicken breast (4-6 pcs) or filet 2 yourself for 4 pcs; the packs have both large and small pcs, which I prefer
  • 1 cup Orzo I like DeLallo #65 (large size)
  • 2 Lemons, zest and juice in separate bowls Slice off 4 1/4" slices after you zest. About 2 Tbl zest and 1/4 cup juice
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced about 1.5 Tbl
  • 1 small Shallot, minced about 2 Tbl
  • 2/3 bottle Capers and brine 2oz bottle, about 2 Tbl, or use the whole thing if you really love capers!
  • 2/3 cup White wine dry wine or dry sherry would work
  • 2 Eggs, whisked with 2 Tbl water egg wash
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch in bowl big enough to dredge chicken
  • 1/2 cup rice flour you can sub 1/4 A/P flour if you don't have rice flour
  • 1 cup panko with a large pinch of lemon zest, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 Tbl EVOO
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan mix with panko
  • 4 Tbl Butter in 2 2Tbl chunks
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1/2 cup Canola or any neutral oil
  • 3 Tbl Parsley, chopped OR a couple of scallions, thinly sliced on bias
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • Grated parmesan garnish

Instructions

  • Put 2-3 cups of water in a sauce pan w/ lid for orzo. Park on stovetop.
  • Set up dredge station:
    Bowl 1 is cornstarch, rice flour, 1 tsp salt, mix thoroughly
    Bowl 2 is egg wash
    Bowl 3 is panko with zest, salt and EVOO, mix thoroughly
  • In a large heavy skillet, put EVOO, Canola and 2 Tbl butter over medium heat. You should have about 1/4 inch of oil to shallow fry the chicken cutlets.
  • Start breading procedure with chicken. Flour, egg, panko. Press the panko on. This will be a light breading.
  • When oil is heated (you can check with a thermometer if you like, anything over 175ºF is fine), monitor the heat. Med heat should be OK - it should NOT be smoking hot! Lay the cutlets in the oil gently away from you. Do not crowd the pan. The sound you hear should be a light sizzle, not a raging sizzle. You're going for golden brown, not dark brown and you don't want to overcook the chicken.
  • Turn on heat for orzo water. When boiling, add 2 Tbl salt and a tsp or so of chopped garlic. Cook orzo for about 10 mins, until done but still has a little bite to it.
  • Continue cooking cutlets until they are golden brown. It should take about 4 mins (2 each side) for large pcs and 3 mins for small ones. You'll turn them ONCE. When cooked, put on a plate with a paper towel and don't forget to sprinkle with salt while they are hot.
  • When all the cutlets are cooked and resting, the orzo should be done, drain it and put a little EVOO in it to keep it from sticking together. Lid it and set aside.
  • Set aside the used oil and get out another skillet (nonstick is fine). Put over medium heat with the other 2 Tbl chunk of butter.
  • Cook shallot and garlic until softened, do not brown.
  • Add wine and cook a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in 2 tsp cornstarch to the reserved lemon juice (this is a slurry) and add to pan. Stirring constantly.
  • Add capers and brine, continue to stir. Add lemon zest.
  • This will probably get pretty tight, so you'll need to add a bit of water to keep it saucy. I added about 1/2 a cup all together. Just add one Tbl at a time until your consistency is that of a light sauce. This should yield about a cup of sauce. Add in a Tbl of parsley after you kill the heat.
  • Add salt to taste. You want the sauce to be pretty aggressive since it is flavouring the pasta as well as the chicken.
  • To assemble, put about 3 Tbl of orzo on plate, then lay a cutlet atop that. Put a lemon slice on the cutlet. Spoon 2-3 Tbl of sauce over the lemon and on the pasta. Garnish with some grated parmesan and more parsley (or scallions).