Besides watch NFL football playoff action of course.

After watching an episode of Top Chef last night, I was in a braising mood this morning.  I went to the butcher, figuring I’d pick up a pork shoulder when counter man, Spencer, directed me to the fresh, milk-fed goat they’d just got in.  Capretto!  My mother used to make it all the time!  I had them cut up a shoulder, then stopped by next door for some apples and pears…

Always sear off your meat before the braise. I usually coat the pieces in flour and spices (in this case salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and hot paprika) before transferring them to a hot cast-iron pan.
Sear them to a nice, brown finish, 2-3 minutes on each side.
Choose your braising liquid. In this case, I used some apple juice, apple sauce, veal stock, a couple of apples and pears, and a half bottle of ice wine. Pop it in the oven at 350 degrees, covered, and allow it to cook for 3 hours. Test the meat. It should be fork-friendly. If not, let it could until tender. Then, drop the temperature to 300 degrees and cook, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.
I finished it under the broiler for ten minutes, then served!

Since the guys are coming over for football tomorrow, I thought dessert would be appropriate.  Or, more to the point, dessertS.  First up: pistachio truffles.

Whenever I make truffles, people are all sorts of impressed but here’s a secret for you: they’re not that hard to make.  Chop 9 oz of your favorite chocolate (I prefer a nice Callebaut 70%), then either melt over a double-boiler OR heat up 3/4 cups of heavy cream and mix it with your chocolate.  Whichever way you choose to go, that’s 9 oz chocolate + 3/4 cups heavy cream.  Whisk it up and add your flavoring. I always add a couple of tablespoons of some liqueur.  Frangelico and Kahlua are great choices as is rum.  Today, I went with Galliano (I like its relatively subtle vanilla flavor) and a half cup of crushed pistachios. Transfer the mixture to a refrigerator and let it cool for 3-4 hours or overnight.

Once it has cooled, it should be ready to roll…

Scoop and roll.
I use a mortar and pestle to crush the pistachios I'll roll my truffles in to create a nice, crunchy outer layer. Alternate ways to go include cocoa powder, powdered sugar or, if you're feeling really adventurous, crushed cookies like amaretti.
Et voila! Pistachio truffles!

It’s been week since I made ice cream, so I decided to experiment with some of the stuff my sister got be for Christmas.

Namely the Speculoos (Dutch cookie) spread. Damn, this stuff is good.
Bring 2 1/2 cups of milk to a boil. Whisk together 8 egg yolks, 12 spoons of sugar (I only went with 6 since I was adding the Speculoos), 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. Add the hot milk and two tablespoons of the Speculoos, whisk, and transfer back to the pan. Simmer over low heat until a custard forms, then transfer to refrigerator overnight. You want it nice and cool for churning.
While it's churning, I like to add (what is known in the ice cream industry as) "particulates". In this case, Akemi used a piping bag to make some speculoos particulates that I included, along with a couple of tablespoons of Galliano. Again, a nice, subtle liqueur.
Once the ice cream had firmed up, we transferred it to a container, layering it with a crunchy version of the speculoos for a nice textural contrast.
Speculoos Ice Cream - done!

 Checking in on some friends:

Tara, former Transporter stand-in and Toronto arch-nemesis, blogs about her recent vacation, the shitty Sonesta Maho Beach Resort in St. Maarten, and mistakenly swallowing a suppository: Vacation Diaries Pt. 1.  Bikini pics to come in Pt. 2!

Joseph Dilworth of Pop Culture Zoo is looking for funding for his own indie comic book:

Alastair Reynolds’ new book hits the shelves June 5th.  You can check out the trailer here: Blue Remembered Earth trailer

John Scalzi talks about his encounters with authors before he was published: In Which I Meet Some Authors

Ask author Joe Abecrombie anything: Ask me Anything.  Anything!


Astrumporta writes: “Joe, you might find this article about Japan interesting… it explains how the West has a totally distorted view of Japan’s economic state, e.g. it’s always presented in the US as a ‘failure’, while the truth is anything but. Very illuminating!

Answer: Fascinating read.  It’s interesting how both sides seem to benefit from the myth.  Hey, speaking of Tokyo…oh, I’ll save it for another blog entry.

Tam Dixon writes: “What does Spamochi mean?”

Answer: It’s my bastardized version of “supamochi” which is a bastardized version of “supa mucho” (super sour) chips.  I’ve decided that “supamochi”  should be synonymous with “awesome”.

Tam Dixon also writes: “What was the Japanese word that meant “don’t work yourself to death”?”

Answer: That would be karoshi.  Our buddy Alexander still has the “Don’t Karoshi” post-it Akemi made for him stuck to his laptop.

Narelle from Aus writes: “Thanks Joe and to everyone that’s emailed or sent good thoughts our way.”

Answer: Let us know how you’re doing.

Michael Papak writes: “Based on what little I know, I would love to see Dark Matter: The Series picked up.”

Answer: You’re not the only one.  I was telling my agent yesterday that we really need to position Dark Matter as the SF equivalent of a Sopranos or a Breaking Bad, a premium series with twists, turns, and serialized potential.  Sound crazy?  Well, three years ago, the notion of an ongoing zombie series may have seemed ludicrous to most and yet, now, it’s one of the hottest shows on cables.

Michael writes: “Why doesn’t Akemi have her own blog again?”

Answer: Of course she does.

dasNdanger writes: “Mr. Das’ big lyric misunderstanding was the AC/DC song, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.”

Answer: Me = Bad Moon Rising: There’s a bathroom on the right.

JaratheMusicLover writes: “Hey… I just was wondering what you thought of the idea of Eli fixing the stasis pod, and the crew waking up thousands of years later by being intercepted by an advanced alien race?”

Answer: A variation of one of the scenarios we were considering – May 12, 2011: Stargate: Universe, Beyond Season 2! What Might Have Been!

17 thoughts on “January 7, 2012: What I did today!

  1. WOT???!!! It’s NOT ‘there’s a bathroom on the right’??!!! 😛 😛 😛

    @ Narelle – Yes, please, when (and if) you’re up to it please do let us know how you’re doing. Not sure if you’re anything like me, but when something tragic happens I tend to clam up. In my case I find it much easier to talk about those things I feel like I have some control over, or that I need to ‘vent’ over, but when something hits close to the heart I become mute. So just do what you can, when you can. {{{{hugs}}}}


  2. My daughter still thinks I need committing for thinking the theme song for CSI was saying “New Orleans” since not only does it mean I am deaf but of course it isn’t set in New Orleans and didn’t make any sense to begin with. (For the record it is Pete Townsend song WHO ARE YOU?)

    Food looks great!

  3. For years, I thought there was a bathroom on the right, too.

    Speaking of John Scalzi, I just started reading Agent to the Stars. Enjoying it tremendously so far.

    What??? Akemi has a blog? Where is it?

  4. “Answer: Me = Bad Moon Rising: There’s a bathroom on the right.”

    No, no, no! It’s, “there’s a bad man on the ride”.


  5. Superman and the Mole Men…

    Umm…Yeah, well, I tried to watch it twice. I usually pause movies to handle distractions, but I kept forgetting I was watching something, so I kept forgetting to pause.

    I might be able to contribute some discussion. I have the movie for 2 more days.

  6. What I did today: Attended a wedding in Baltimore, MD, where I saw several old friends from NJ, including my elderly and ailing “second mom”. The bride is the daughter of my very best friend and also a good friend to my brother’s family.

    Joe, sending along a photo of familiar-seeming sculpture on the cathedral grounds, which you’re welcome to post. My brother Bob warned our little group to keep our distance, lest we be invlountarily transported to another planet. You’ll see why.

  7. Another one by Alastair Reynolds? Yay! Been meaning to say “thank you” for reccing him, btw. I’ve read 2 novels already and am currently halfway through The Prefect, which I have to admit is my fave of the 3 so far. When the local Barnes & Noble went out of business last year, I ended up buying a half dozen of his titles, just because I felt I had to buy something, and it seemed worthwhile. It was, and I’m super glad I did.

  8. Happy New Year Joe, Everyone. It seems like I get a chance to catch up weekly instead of daily. The New Year has been Craaazzzeeee already, with the birth of my 8th great nephew, still trying to settle in the new place, and thinking about maybe working or not. (leaning toward the or not)

    I was glad to see a pic of all four pups. It’s like you said, Joe, you know when it’s time. My sister in law went thru the same thing last summer, she could just tell by looking in her cat’s eyes, even still a tough thing to do.

    Looking forward to your comic book, Joe! Congrats!

  9. I’ve already eaten, but reading your recipes made me hungry again. I love chocolate truffles. Knowing how to make my own could result in my entire wardrobe no longer fitting me. I’ve never had goat. Is the taste similar to beef or pork? One of my neighbor’s kept a goat in their front yard for a few weeks. Odd, since I live in the middle of a large city. They took good care of the goat, though.

    My condolences to you, and your family. {{{hug}}}

  10. Thanks Mr. M., I’ll make a note of it (karoshi). If I can work “Evil Testicle” into conversation, karoshi should be a breeze!
    Yes, my iPad is pretty “Spamochi”. Hey, that is much easier to work into conversation 😉 .
    I’m preparing for my karate teacher. He tries to work Japanese in all the classes. His version of Japanese at least. (Yoie y’all)

    I’ve heard about “The bathroom on the right” before. That is a very common one.

    Das: When you look for TV’s, an internet capable version would be a nice feature to have. I believe that is where the future of TV is going. We have been streaming Dr Who from Amazon because we don’t have BBC in our Dish lineup. I would rather pay the streaming fee than carry 20 extra channels (we won’t watch) to get BBC.

    I can relate to Max. I had a steroid shot Friday and feel so much better! I haven’t had one headache since the shot. 🙂

    Sending hugs to you Narelle.

  11. What a delicious dish, mm. I love that skillet too. I rewatched the Ice Cream documentary on PBS and ended up getting a pint of B&J Americone Dream; so very good with oatmeal pecan raisin cookies.

    I’m going to bake some chicken in a bit and then use the renderings to make a nice Thai gravy. I’m finally catching up on season 3 of Misfits on Hulu and season 1 of Portlandia on Netflix; Portlandia is my new obsession, the Cacao skit is so good.

    Oh finished reading The Road in one day; I gotta say that Cormac McCarthy’s idea of an apocalyptic wasteland is just what most of us call being poor; walking alone fending off bums, thugs and crackheads, having to watch my groceries like a hawk on the bus ride home lest I fall prey to thieves and not stopping if you see someone unconcious on the street because you don’t want to get involved or fall victim to an ambush. In other words just another weekend in the rust belt.

    Had a nice Skype chat with my niece who lost a lower tooth at Sunday school and my nephew who’s starting basketball. Thanks to video chat I had some excellent close ups of both the empty tooth socket and a pair of tiny basketball shoes.

    Thanks for the heads up on Alastair Reynolds, I’m going to check it out. Nothing’s better than curling up with a good book on a cold winter’s day.

  12. Ugh speculoos always makes me ill (and btw, we always use it on a slice of bread, never saw anyone cook with it… then again people cook with nutella so I shouldn’t be surprised). Speculaas, the cookie, is actually yummy with hot chocolate. And I see you have the non-crunchy version of speculoos… I’ve heard the crunchy version is yummy! My brother seems to devour it every day!

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