Category Archives: Food

Culinary Adventure: Savory Leftovers Pancakes

These were born of “I have no idea what to cook for breakfast” and “leftovers are overrunning the fridge.”

I’m sorry to say I have no well-defined recipe to offer because I winged that mother.

I had cooked rice, so I tossed a few handfuls of rice in the bowl. Leftover pork chop, so I gave a large chop a rough mince (PLEASE don’t try this with a raw chop, it doesn’t cook long enough for that) and tossed it in. Then to probably 4 cups total ingredients I added about a cup of chickpea flour, three eggs, and a splat of margarine (that should be an official measure), maybe a quarter cup.

Garlic powder, onion powder, a teaspoon or so of coriander, a dash of salt (like many pan fried things, I figured it would be best to put most of the salt on the outside).

Final consistency should be stiff and stand up in a little pile in the spoon.

Into a lightly oiled pan in heaped tablespoons. Let them brown on the first side. Turn, then flatten.

When they’re nice and brown on both sides, smear a little butter on top and dig in.

I’m sure it will be fine with just about any solid leftovers whether meat or vegetables.

As you can see, my cooking process is a lot like my writing style: I just sort of wing things and they usually work out. Probably because I’ve had a lot of practice at both cooking and writing.

How do I know they were good? The kids ate them as fast as they eat hot dogs, and that’s fast.

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Making The World’s Sexiest Sausage Patty Melts BRB

I mean, just look at ’em.

The electric skillet is set on 275 so they’re taking forever but they’re getting so perfect and toasty and melty.

When You’re Too Lazy To Make Toast… 

… you make a cheese and egg noodles omelet so the carbohydrate is built into your breakfast. The topping is parmesan, smoked paprika, and celery salt. 

Breakfast For Dinner… 

…and I’m not screwing around. 

I cut the bread an inch and a half thick and *soaked* it in the egg & milk & probably more vanilla extract than *you* would add & dark brown sugar & cardamom & a teeny pinch of salt mix so it’ll be nice and custardy and delicious all the way through.

Use medium heat if you do it this way. It takes time to cook the middle.

What’s For Dinner, Sandwiches, Breakfast Chops… 

So, whole pork loin, if you can catch a decent price or sale, weighs in at less than a buck and a half per pound. Good price for good lean meat. Mine, above, is a little shorter than when I bought it because I cut about a pound off the end to make delicious schnitzel.

But that’s another story.

My whole grilled pork loin recipe started as a quest to make a cheap home alternative to smoked pork chops, which are strictly a luxury at 7 bucks a pound.

The loin isn’t exactly the same, but it is as delicious and similar in flavor.

In fact, I think it’s better. And as a brined, smoked, cooked meat it lasts a long time in the fridge, giving you time to eat every last morsel. 

I plop the whole thing in a big pot and toss in a cup of salt. Maybe a cup and a half, since I tend to freehand it. Then about a dozen bay leaves (dirt cheap at Hispanic or Caribbean grocery stores), maybe a tablespoon of whole allspice, a quarter cup or so of whole coriander (dirt cheap at Indian grocery stores),  a sprinkle of whole cloves (ten-ish), and a cup and a half of unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

Sometimes I add a couple of packets of culantro y achiote sazon (sorry about no accent on the o – posting from mobile with limited keyboard) for variety.

Add water to just cover the loin. 

Then I let that sucker marinate for 24 hours.

Grill slowly – an actual smoker is best but you can fake it by heaping all the coals to one side and keeping the meat on the other unless your grill is very small. You want to take at least 2 hours to cook the thing. The one pictured took 4.

It’s great smoked with hickory chips but cherrywood is even better. 

Pull it at around 165°F. Give it at least 15 minutes to rest.

It’s juicy and delicious cut into chops for dinner. Cold and sliced thin it makes a hell of a sandwich. Sliced thick and seared quickly it reheats as chops wonderfully and still moist.

Get up in the middle of the night and hack off a chunk to gnaw on – it’s tasty that way too. 

Hope you enjoyed the food interlude. I did. And I will for breakfast in the morning, too. 

People Kibble: SciFi News 2033

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US in Ottawa Newsletter
January 22, 2033
Patrick Chowdhury Melendez
 
President Trump Jr. “Fights Hunger” With People Kibble
 
Newly inaugurated President Donald Trump Jr. announced a USA-wide anti-hunger program from the so-called “press vault” in Trump Tower in NYC (the de facto White House since 2021) at 5:15 this morning.
Press coverage was limited to fifteen reporters representing the “Gang of Seven” Trump regime-approved media organizations. A source within Trump Tower confirmed that those reporters were brought into the tower during the inauguration for sequestration and “extreme vetting.”
The source also stated the initial number of reporters admitted was sixteen, two per media org. The sixteenth reporter did not appear in footage of the press conference released by Vice President (and former President) Eric Trump. The whereabouts of that reporter are unknown. US in Ottawa staff and other expatriate press speculate that Reporter Sixteen may be Miles DeGuzmen of the popular morning Fox News “Trumping the World” segment, which has been guest-hosted by Sean Spicer since January 19th.
Trump Jr.’s “anti-hunger” program, “Making Americans Healthy,” follows two years of widespread simmering protest and riots in the wake of President Eric Trump’s 2031 federal-level outlawing of the last state-level food stamp, EBT, and WIC legacy programs. Federal welfare programs, including food and financial assistance, were ended in 2023.
Riots were especially intense in spring of 2032 following the revelation of the February malnutrition deaths of Mrs. Jackie Pillman of Little Rock, Arkansas and her kindergarten-age twins, Steven and Stephenie. The President announced that he was “working on a solution” in his Thanksgiving day address to the nation that year. He also vowed to “plug news leaks” in his remarks, thought to be a reference to the anonymous bloggers who produced the viral stories of the Pillman deaths. No arrests were ever announced, though some night disappearances of suspects were rumored in following months.
“Making Americans Healthy” relies on National Guard detachments (formally placed under federal control in 2021), which are directed to distribute one fifty pound bag of UNGR (Universal Nutrition Granular Recipe, a soy and peanut based, vitamin-enriched food dubbed “Purina Human Chow” in expatriate media) to any citizen who reports in person with two approved forms of federal identification to a distribution point on the 5th and 20th of each month.
“UNGR is a terrific food that provides everything adults and children need to be healthy and well-fed,” President Trump Jr. said in the released presser footage. “The taste is a bit boring, sure. I’ve tried it. But if people are hungry, they’ll come and get it, and they’ll be thankful for it. If they don’t like the taste, great. Maybe they’ll get off their asses and get jobs. There are so many jobs that the CEOs of factories and construction companies come to me every day begging me to find them workers.”
Independent economic analysts in the EU and India estimate actual US employment at 25-30%, or 60-65% if the chronically underemployed are included. US figures, released by law exclusively by press release from the Oval Office since 2024, place US unemployment at a radically unlikely 2.2%.

Got Chai?

 

If you don’t “got chai”, I have been playing with recipes and variations for a few months and have settled on a recipe that I really enjoy. Maybe you’ll enjoy it too — you might want to start with half quantities if you’re not used to highly spiced food and drink. This version makes my tongue tingle.

A couple of notes: “copious milk” means about half milk for my wife, and about 1/4 milk to 3/4 chai for me. Your mileage may vary.

I’m told my version is a “masala chai” – a lot of people like to add ginger, so you might want to grate or crush a bit of ginger, maybe a half inch or inch of root, or add dried ginger from powder or cut some off the dried root if you have it. Don’t roast fresh ginger, just put it in the tea ball with everything else. I’d add powdered ginger straight into the boiling water, or chunks of hard dried (not candied!) ginger in with the 2nd group of spices for roasting. If you haven’t roasted spices before, you just toss them in a dry pan over medium-high heat and give them a shake every fifteen or thirty seconds until they’re giving off a yummy aroma.

I usually love ginger, but it just wasn’t agreeing with me in chai.

If you haven’t made something like this before, it is normal for it to be a bit cloudy, if you refrigerate any it will get cloudier and clarify again when you heat it, and it is normal to have a sediment of spices and tea dust in the bottom of your cup so if you’re bothered by that let it sit for a minute after pouring and stirring, and sip rather than gulp.

Enjoy!

SciFi News Network 2092: Advertisement: Ask Your Doctor If NeroScarfin Is Right For You

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OBESITY WILL KILL YOU!

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[The folks supporting me over on my Patreon page saw this 3 days before it was posted here — plus they have my seriously big and frequent thankyous for their generosity. Head on over and give a self-published indie author struggling for a break — me, silly! — a little love. Thanks!]

Work In Progress, Served In Six (I Think) Courses

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(This post first appeared on my Patreon page on the 10th of this month — that’s right, they get to see posts THREE DAYS EARLY. When I publish an ebook, they get a FREE copy THIRTY DAYS BEFORE NON-PATRONS CAN EVEN BUY THE THING. So you should totally support my efforts by becoming a patron. You’ll even have my very sincere thankyous because times are tough, money’s tight, and my family of five enjoys pricey things like “eating” and “having a roof over our heads.”

Enough of that, here’s the actual post you’re here to read:

I seem to like writing about writing about food. Probably because I REALLY like good food. If I had gotten my head on straight earlier in life, there’s a pretty good chance I would have ended up being a chef instead of a writer. Both careers sound good to me — though I mostly lack the patience to make it through the prep drudgery of chefdom (at least in the early career stages). Maybe in an alternate world there’s an S.A. Barton restaurant. I hope it specializes in science fiction themed food.

But I’m WAAAAY off track of what I had planned to write here today. I’ll just mention that I’ve posted on food and science fiction before, in “Eat Science Fiction” and “Eat MORE Science Fiction“, and move along.

So, I’ve got this work in progress. Like about half of my stories, it started with a title that clicked with me. I’ll be sitting around tweeting, reading, or otherwise minding my own business and all of a sudden a phrase or word will flash into my head and I’ll scramble for a pen and scrap of paper thinking, “man, I have GOT to write a story with that title.”

This time, the title was “And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon”. I know, it’s just a nursery rhyme phrase. But this time it came to me while I was reading about machine learning and artificial intelligence.

So I had this little stub of an idea. A story about AI, and this title. The story gears started grinding away in the writers’ lobe of my brain. I sat down to try to puzzle out what to do with this thing. I picked up my pen and a pad. I stared at the blank paper for fifteen or twenty minutes — some of you may recognize this as the vital part of writing fiction that makes non writers say, “so are you ever going to start working, or what?”

DAMMIT I AM WORKING. JEEZ. SHH.

Finally I started to write. I started to write a menu for an appetizer course. Because the Dish and the Spoon suggest a kitchen, and we all know what comes out of kitchens. Delicious food.

And I like to write about food almost as much as I like eating it. A match made in heaven. So now I have a story about food and AI and a kitchen and does it really have to be a literal spoon and dish? Hmm…

…and it started to really come together in concept. I’d open and close the story with a menu card. Place a menu card in between each scene. For framing the story, for punctuation, to play with foreshadowing and tone-setting with my menu choices. Eating a meal and socializing go together all over the world, so I’ll write a story about relationships.

So now I’m fifteen hundred words into my story about AI and relationships and food. I have an AI relationship developing along with a human relationship to make the whole thing more, at the risk of becoming too repetitive here, relatable.

I’m in the middle of soup and salad now, and looking forward to the entree. I already know what dessert will be, and I think it will surprise and please the diners. Readers. Whichever.

Now, I’m sorry to say this one won’t be appearing in public for a little while. Once I finish it and bounce it off a couple of readers, I’m going to see if I can’t sell it, and I think it has a place in a new collection I’m working on. But don’t worry.

Anticipation and hunger are the best sauces a meal can have, they say.

SciFi News Network (Commercial Break): BARELY LEGAL BURGERS

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