Weird Breakfast

I am of mixed ethnicity. My father was Filipino and my mother was Irish. Both loved to cook. Both loved foods from all over the world.  My father grew up eating Filipino food, rice, lots of fish and traditional Filipino cuisine. When he came to the US at the age of 14, he settled in Oakland and became a short order cook before he went into the Army. My mother grew up in the state of Washington, redneck Irish as my Aunt Ardelia used to say. She knew how to make traditional Irish food like corned beef and cabbage and soda bread. Since her mother’s family had come from Ireland and settled in West Virginia, my mom also grew up making southern food, biscuits, country gravy, fried chicken, collard greens with bacon, pork chops with red eye gravy. She grew her own veggies, canned them and made all kinds of other canned items like stewed tomatoes. She also made her own jams and jellies. But my mom had also been married before and my brother and sisters’ father had owned a Chinese restaurant in Seattle. My mom got the chef to teach her classic Chinese dishes like pineapple chicken, chow mein, and barbeque pork. Yum.

breakfastingredientsSo I grew up learning how to make all kinds of foods, breads and desserts. I make my version of some of the things I learned, but I also make things exactly as my parents did. And since my brother Tom had worked as a sous chef for years for Hyatt, I learned a few things from him too. Today, for breakfast, I made something that has influences from both my parents and my brother.

Raiding the fridge, I had some rice, eggs, and linguica. Linguica is a Portuguese sausage made with wine vinegar. It’s just my favorite sausage in the world. When I was a kid, the sausage came raw and my father would steam it in the cast iron skillet then fry it once the water had boiled away. My dad loved this sausage. He’d become a fan during his years living in Oakland. I don’t know how he discovered it, but I’m so glad he did because it’s so yummy!

I decided to make Filipino fried rice with linguica and eggs with curry, something my brother made for me when I was a kid. It sounds weird, but it tastes great! I think all my nieces and nephews grew up eating Uncle Tom’s curried eggs. I know my daughter certainly did. Curried eggs and fried rice is one of Annicka’s favorite foods. My brother made it for her all the time when she was small.

So I start out by checking out the rice. Rott bought it the day before at Flame Broiler. It’s cheaper to make it myself, but alas, in the motel I have no pot or rice cooker. Unfortunately, the idiots at Flame Broiler didn’t seal the lid on the bowl so the rice is hard and dried a little. I leave the lid cracked and stick the bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes. If the rice is still a little hard, I’ll add a tablespoon of water and nuke it again. Steamed rice isn’t difficult to bring back from a dried state, especially if you’re making fried rice out of it.

linguicasizzleI slice the linguica and fry it up in a pan. Sizzle, sizzle! I take it out of the pan when it’s crispy on the outside and dump in the steamed rice. I add salt (like potatoes, rice needs salt!) and garlic powder. My dad used to say that Filipino fried rice was never the same twice, which isn’t exactly true. See, Filipino fried rice is made with whatever you have on hand. My dad would make it with bacon, sausage, linguica, pork steak…whatever meat he had on hand. He loved making it with linguica which turns the rice orange from the linguica grease. He would always cook the meat first and then make the rice in the meat drippings. He felt that to not use the drippings was a waste. Now, my dad, unlike other Filipinos, was not a fan of dumping veggies in the rice, especially those stupid canned or frozen peas and carrots. He hated those. He would put fresh veggies in scrambled eggs or omeletes, but never fried rice. He did say it wasn’t Fililpino rice without fresh garlic or garlic powder though.

riceinpanOnce the rice is all saturated in the drippings and fried up, it’s time for eggs. Oooh…eggie weggs. To answer your question about whether I can handle eggs, the answer is YES. Hey, my dad was a short order cook! I can flip eggs with the best of them!

eggiewegNow, I’m not a fan of sunny side up eggs. I like em over easy. Before I flip them though, I gotta hit em with yellow curry powder. This is my brother Tom’s trick and it is a yummy one.

eggcurryYou can try it the first time with just a light sprinkle. If you like it, season it to taste the next time. I like a good, heavy sprinkle as you can see above.

overeasyThere they are, flipped and unbroken. Told you I could do it. 😉  Next, the eggs are dropped onto that rice fried in linguica drippings.

breakfastAnd last, but not least, I mess up that pretty picture by mixing the egg with the rice. Chop, chop, mix, mix, yolk all over the rice…My kid can tell you, it might look like a mashed up mess, but those curried fried eggs mixed with fried rice are sooooo good!

eggsandriceAnd there you have it, my weird breakfast. It’s not a one person meal so since Annicka isn’t here, about half or a little more than half goes into a bowl for dinner or breakfast tomorrow.  The babies don’t really like to eat the linguica, but they love the drippings, which I let them have to help with their fur balls.

I doubt you’ll get another post from me for at least a week. I don’t do breakfast during the work week. Actually, I often don’t do dinner during the work week. I just get too tired and a $1 taco from Del Taco sounds like heaven when I’m exhausted. So I don’t think I can do one of these posts, fun as they are, when I do make dinner, but you never know. Maybe I’ll be back in a day or two with some photos from dinner, just to prove I can do it.

SAK_Fb2On the writing front, I’m working on a novella for MLR Press and I hope to have it finished soon. VJ Summers and I are in talks with our editor at Loose Id regarding the possibility of them contracting Partners and us finishing the sequel, Masks. I have asked for my rights back to Scrambling, which is currently at Loose Id. I’m hoping to self-pub it for a lower price when I get it back in the fall. So anyone who wanted to read it, but didn’t care for the high price will have a chance to read it now. In fact, I’m considering going Kindle Unlimited with it. A lot of MM books do very well on KU and I think I may want Scrambling to have that chance.

Hope you’re having a wonderful, safe Independence Day!

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Homeless Brats and Beans for the Fourth

When you’re homeless and without your gas grill or an oven or even a crock pot, you find ways to make do.  We have a 2 electric (ugh) burner stove and a microwave in the motel. I don’t even have my cast iron pan. I do have a couple of decent Farberware pans though. But without a grill, I can’t make grilled brats. Without an oven, I can’t make baked beans. So what can I do this Fourth of July weekend? I can make Homeless Brats and Beans!

I sent Rott (aka my old man) to the grocery store. He brought me back the wrong brats. It was so noisy in the store that when I told him to get me a package of Johnsonville RAW brats, he didn’t even hear me. Well, he heard Johnsonville and brats so this is what he brought me.

bratsNow, if you know me, I’m not the type who sends the poor guy back to the store. I don’t get mad at him either. He’s trying. He’s just not a cook so he is clueless when I send him on a grocery mission. And our mission communication was a bit off since he couldn’t hear me in his earpiece due to the noise of the crowds in the store. Besides, sending him to take something back is always the wrong thing to do. He curses more than you’ve ever heard someone curse and he gets way more angry and frustrated than a normal person would. After eighteen years, I know better than to ask him to do things that I know will end up with him coming home pissed off.

chiliesnbeansBefore I start with the cooking, let me tell you about how I cook…some of this, a pinch of that, a squirt or a dash of this or the other, a handful of this…You get the picture. I don’t exactly measure anything. Being exact is what you do when you’re baking something that requires precision in measuring. Most cooking I do doesn’t require that kind of precision so don’t expect exact measurements from me on what I’m doing here.

Okay, so instead of cooking raw brats in a can of Boddingtons swiped from the fridge (ale he hasn’t been drinking anyway cause he really doesn’t drink unless he’s so pissed off he’s ready to stab someone) now I have to deal with smoked brats that are already cooked. What do I do with them? I slice them! Thick slices, cut on the diagonal. I set them aside.

brats_slicedNext, I chop up a bit of onion I had in the fridge. And I add to that some chopped green chilies. I almost had Rott get me a can of jalapenos. But I didn’t want to deal with a fresh jalapeno because you know, seeds and such. I’m lazy, especially when I don’t have a real kitchen.  I don’t even have my chef’s knife, although the small knife I have here is super sharp! I tend to keep my knives, all the knives, that way. A little something I learned from my Dad…a kitchen without a sharp knife is no kitchen.

onionsI had the stupidity to have forgotten to have Rott get me a few slices of Applewood smoked bacon. Eff. Me. What are beans without bacon? If I could get pork belly in the store I would, but I have yet to see it in Stater Bros market and I’m not sending Rott into Whole Foods Market after it. For one, it’s probably hideously expensive in Whole Foods and for another that place drives him completely bonkers. And at the motel, I don’t have a way to deep fry it anyway. If you have bacon, go ahead, dice it, cook it crisp, and then remove the bacon from the grease. Setting it on a paper towel to drain is best.Applewood-Smoked-Center-Cut-BaconWithout bacon, I have to make do. I have a bit of bacon grease stored in the fridge. I use this to cook my onions and chilies. Now, if I didn’t have a sensitive gut, I would really have made this with chopped red bell pepper and half a fresh chopped jalapeno. Feel free to make yours with those ingredients and as much jalapeno as you want. Canned jalapenos work too, but they aren’t as flavorful or hot as the fresh jalapeno. I used to be able to eat those things, but alas, no longer. So onion and mild green chilies it is. Saute them in the bacon grease until the onions are translucent and the red pepper (if you use it) is soft.  Remove the veggies. You can put them on the same paper towel as the bacon if you want.veggiesauteNow, I drop those nice chunks of bratwurst in the hot pan. Sizzle, sizzle. I cook them until they have a nice carmelization on them. (This smells especially delish if you’re using the brats cooked in beer.) Then, I dump in the bacon bits and veggies. Stir em up, just a minute will work. And into the pan goes a can of beans. Choose your favorite or make your own from scratch. There’s the old fashioned Campbell’s Pork and Beans or if you’re like me, one of the gazillion flavors of Bush’s Beans works really well.

sizzleSeason these however works best for you. Me, I dump in some sea salt, a couple twists from the pepper grinder, garlic powder or I use fresh garlic when cooking the veggies if I have it. You can also add a splash of Worcestershire Sauce, a heaping teaspoon of golden brown sugar (Bush’s Honey Baked Beans are already sweet so sugar not really needed), a squirt of mustard or a teaspoon of powered Coleman’s mustard, a squirt of ketchup, and a squirt of soy sauce. When I use raw brats, cooked in beer, I also add a dash of liquid smoke. I’ve also been known to add a dash of yellow curry once in a while, although usually, I reserve the curry for when I make over easy eggs, but that’s a recipe for another day.

bratsnbeansNow, normally, I’d do this in a cast iron skillet. I’d put some raw bacon on the top and I’d pop it into the oven for about 45 minutes, until the bacon on top is crisp. Here in the motel, I have to make the Homeless version of everything. So I stir everything together, bring to a boil, turn the temp down to simmer (a hard thing to do on an electric stove, ugh) and cover with a lid or foil. I want all the flavors to marry while I slow cook this for about 30-45 minutes.

bowlofbeansWhile it’s cooking, I slice up part of a Portuguese Linguica sausage. I fry it up and set it aside. When the beans and brats are done, I put the linguica on top, like an edible garnish, since I don’t have an oven to bake bacon on top. You can also use a mix of linguica and brats in the dish itself. Linguica is amazing sausage! It’s not traditional in the least and neither are these beans. It’s just one way to still have your baked beans when you are homeless and without the resources and things you normally have. It’s a little spicier than normal baked beans especially if you use the red pepper and jalapeno (which also makes it very colorful and pretty!), but it’s still good stuff.linguicaBefore I sign off, don’t forget, Winterheart Design has buy a book cover, get a free book trailer this 4th of July weekend. Your purchase helps keep us from living in our car and sending our cats to the pound. Also, keep a lookout for a blog post from me on what’s happening with my publishing career and what books you can expect to see from me soon.

Happy Fourth of July!

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Back With More

I’ve taken a little license with that title. I’ve taken the Ratt song Back For More and changed it a little to suit this post. Why Ratt? Well, there’s a few reasons. One of the reasons is an anthology call my editor Kris Jacen at MLR Press put out a couple of days ago. She wants short stories and novellas based on 80’s songs. The anthology will be like one of those mixed tapes we all made during that era. (The current era equivalent would be the i-Tunes playlist says author Kimberly Gardner or the Pandora playlist says my daughter Nikki.)

The reason I bring this up? Yes, I’m going to do a short novella for the antho. I’m not using the Ratt song but rather a Great White song. GW was probably my favorite band in the 80’s and choosing the right song was important to me so I inevitably looked to them. Save Your Love has really awesome lyrics, telling the story of a love that transcends distance and time. My story Save Your Love tells the tale of a young man who finds that love when he discovers his sexual orientation at the age of 18, in the middle of a rock concert. But love is just love and he’s young. He leaves his lover behind and goes on to become a rock star himself. When his brief few years as a mega star begin to fade he leaves the life behind and reconnects with his only love. From there their love story becomes one of compromise and enduring passion taking them through twenty five years from that first sexual encounter at age 18 in 1987 through the present day. Here’s the blurb:

Decades define a young man’s life as he goes from a virgin discovering his sexual orientation to a rock star fending off masses of lovestruck fans to a composer of Broadway musicals while an epic love for his best friend commands his heart, permeates his soul and flows through his music.

Jared Summers lost his virginity and found his true sexual orientation at a rock festival on his eighteenth birthday. He also gave away his heart. Through the years, Jared’s love for his best friend and first lover Matthew Bolton has never died.  The one thing Jared has always known to be true was that he and Matt loved each other. Even when they were apart, Jared always felt Matt’s presence within him and beside him. When fate finally brings them back together, finding a way to blend their lives becomes a labor of love. Through their years together, the love they found at eighteen grows and matures but remains an eternal flame that burns unwavering in both their hearts.

Even though I’ve had a character named Jared before (Jared Abbott in Christmas in Hell, a het Christmas short story at Pink Petal Books) I had to use the name again. In part because Nikki got a couple of calls out of the blue from her hunky ex, whose name is Jared, and because of the awesome hip grinding moves of Jared Rackler at GayRomLit.

Speaking of GRL…I had a good time, but it was exhausting for an asthmatic to head up to those altitudes and try to do stuff from the moment I got there. I had no acclimatization time so I spent the whole four days struggling to breathe. That wasn’t fun at all. It was exhausting. Luckily, I have awesome friends who mother henned me (ZAM, Stephani Hecht and her sister Jackie Nacht along with Amber Kell and VJ Summers, James Buchanan, and Karenna Colcroft.) They all made sure I was okay.

I have photos of reader John’s (the farmer in Texas) awesome GRL tattoos. I was groped (kinda) by the ever amazing Rick R. Reed who also dropped trou to show me his MLR tattoo (I had one too which I had to take my sweater off to show readers. It was a temp one for a scavenger hunt.) I saw with my own two eyes that flirty Damon Suede lift his kilt for a reader to take a photo. I called KC Burn a bitch for leaving me hanging over at the Lords of Aether. (You should have heard her LAUGH!) Got my photo with lots of folks but the one photo on my own phone of me is with Ethan Day (who is just the yummiest man ever!) I met JR Boyd who is the sweetest thing with a Texas twang you could ever meet! I fangurled over AR Moler whose Cam and Mason make my heart thump (yes, probably more than Jared’s dance did.) I met the man with the sweetest smile at the retreat, Barry Brennessel’s partner Dave. I had the best goodbye hug ever from Kimberly Gardner. WOW can that woman HUG! And then there was the incident with the pigeon and the hooker boots in old town Albuquerque…(Oh, that Jackie Nacht!)

I don’t know that any readers fan-stalked me like at RT in 2011, but I hope I got some new readers out of the experience. I know that I had A LOT of readers and authors alike squeeing over me because of my cover art. (I guess I need to make Winterheart Design business cards now if the biznez is gonna have fans.) It was a lot of fun and I was really happy that one of my Hookers, Nikyta, won my rainbow cock sucker at the Bling Your Badge event.

The drive was long and the view out the windows of James’ truck was barren…but beautiful. It was also inspirational. A little something for the Darkworld will come of it and I’m also going to write a GRL2012 story for the characters from Kissing Joan Collins. If you recall, the main hero Logan Moore writes “Dick Lit.” He needs a trip to Albuquerque I think…

I enjoyed every moment of hanging with my pals ZAM, Tara Lain, Louisa Bacio (and her cute hubs!), Lynn Lorenz, and Belinda McBride. I think we all ate breakfast pretty much every morning with Treva and Christie from Loose Id. I was so happy to meet people I talk to online, Cherie Noel, NJ Nielsen and her daughter Em, Taylor Donovan, Amy from Mantastic Fiction, all the MLR authors, and many more! And dinner with James, Kimberly Gardner, Deana Jamroz and Laura Baumbach was fun! (With me drinking Amaretto Sours, something I got from Stephani at RT 2011.)

Had a good time but OMG was I glad to get home to my Rott, Nikki and the babies. I think Louie’s afraid I’ll leave again. He’s been sleeping with me since I got back. He hasn’t done that since he was a kitten.

So now that I am home and back to my regular grind I am back to working on trailers and covers and writing. One thing I’ve decided to do is start posting snippets again. Here and on my Facebook page (not the personal account.) So if you want to see what’s coming up soon and get never before seen bits of characters in previous books, you need to keep an eye on this blog and my Facebook fan page.

For you Lords of Aether fans, the first ebook with the first 50 posts is coming soon! We’re only 4 posts away from 50!

For ZAM fans, I put up a GOT ZAM shop at CafePress with the graphics I’ve done for her. If you’re a St. Nacho’s fan, you need to check this out!

No snippet on here today. This post has just gone on too long for that but you may want to hop over to my Facebook fan page

No photo for inspiration. I think you’ve had enough photos from me today! LOL Have yourselves an awesome Monday!

 

Help! I’m Broken

As you can see, this is clearly a new blog. I broke the old one. Now I’m missing stuff. Story of my fricken life, I swear!

This is a short post today because I’m tired and I’ve been working on this thing for hours. Here’s the deal: I’ve lost all my blog roll links! So if I linked to you please leave a comment with your blog link so I can rebuild my blog roll.

To be honest, I can’t even remember all the crap I had in the sidebar of this site so maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe I need to start with a clean slate. I don’t want to. It’s annoying and a lot of frustrating work rebuilding but I don’t seem to have much of a choice.

My bats are still here. They’re purple now to match my author website. This is still the more fun place though. I don’t spew on my author website. Only here do I allow myself that freedom.

Tomorrow Scrambling comes out and on the 27th I’ll be at Jessica Freely’s blog. Trust me, you’ll want to come see what I have to say. The guest blog post is titled “Fear and Denial in Professional Sports.” Wanna guess exactly what I’m talking about? You got it, gays in the NFL, MLB, NBA and the NHL. Those who leave a comment on my post at Jessica’s will be entered to win a copy of Scrambling.

I’m going to bed now. I’m tired. Please send me your blog links so I can rebuild. Happy Monday!

Sweet and Sour

You all know that my old man is kinda…different. Witness the growling cows statement from an earlier blog post plus a host of other things I’ve probably talked about but can’t recall right off the top of my sleepless head at the moment. Well, I’ve decided he’s even weirder than I thought which is saying a lot because we’ve been together 14  years.

Here’s the deal. We have a couple of fruit trees in our yard. One seemed to me to obviously be a lemon tree. He pretty much concurs that it is. The other tree has these freakishly deadly thorns and what appears to be oranges on them. I’ve always been undecided on exactly what kind of fruit it bears. The leaves look like orange tree leaves. It’s definitely a citrus fruit. Some of the fruit is orangey but most is yellow and not even a dark yellow like the lemons but pale. Granted, most of the fruit on this tree hangs in the shade and doesn’t get sun.

Anyway, one day Rott decides to find out just what the hell those are all over that tree. He braves the rattlesnakes (okay it was only 1 and it was sort of young and totally non-aggressive) and picks a fruit. He peels it and eats it. When I get home, he tells me he ate one and it was sweet and juicy and definitely an orange. I’m not one to argue with him so I figured, okay, we have pale oranges. Go figure.

Then, my pal ZAM sends me a juicer. I buy a bunch of oranges at Sprouts and made orange juice that kicked ass so hard I’ve been drooling for weeks afterward. Since I’m allergic to citric acid if I ingest too much at one time, I lay off the citrus stuff in the juicer until this week. I send Nikki out to pick the “oranges.” There are no rattlesnakes this time but she’s dive bombed by some huge ass insect called a hawk something or something hawk. It’s part of the wasp family I think. Anyway, between the bag Nikki picked and the box Rott picked (he got tired of her whining about the hawk bug and finished her job) I had a lot of fruit to juice!

On Saturday, I had Nikki chill the “oranges” in the fridge then peel them. I go into the kitchen prepared to juice, she hands me a bowl of peeled citrus and the scent of GRAPEFRUIT assails my nose. I break a couple of them open. Uh huh. Grapefruit. Nikki immediately says we should test them because how could Rott mistake a grapefruit for an orange? By now, I’m just thinking Rott must have ate a lemon or something before he tested that grapefruit and found it SWEET. No way are the fruit in my bowl oranges.

I juice 4 of them. I sip from the cup. EEEWWW that’s sour and bitter! It’s definitely grapefruit!

Now, I have a huge glass of the stuff and I’m not gonna drink it. Nikki sips it and makes a face and ponders if it’s fixable as a drink if we add other fruit and sugar. I’m like, EW NO.

I go on to juice some real oranges that I had luckily purchased in the store, not being all that positive myself that those big yellow fruits were oranges. I add strawberries to the oranges. OMG. Super sweet. The strawberries were awesomely sweet. Full of potassium too which I appear to need in abundance. I filled my huge beer stein mug and drank it all down. Damn it was good after that mouthful of grapefruit juice. Now, I just have to figure out what to do with the fresh squeezed grapefruit juice I froze…

Since it’s Monday, it’s time for a Marcus!

 

Wishing you all great Monday and a Happy 4th of July if you’re an American!