Welcome to The Tribe.
Your Humble Ruler, Rajah Cheech Beldone, King of the Gypsies.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The OTHER Stew

OK, well the Krautmaster General wants me to tell him the recipe, but I don't really HAVE a recipe, but I'll tell you what I did and how it worked and what I'd do different next time.

North Carolina Chicken Stew w/ Cornmeal Dumplings

(NOTE: there are certain ingredients here that may, unfortunately, require visiting a specialty/import store, depending on your location; some things just can't be substituted)
(NOTE: this setup doesn't really incorporate any vegetables, and no potatoes. There's one place where you can huck in some veggies as long as they're diced and will cook quicky. Carrots, chopped green beans, peas [if you don't fucking live in Taiwan], corn, all are OK. but actually it's fine without.)

I got 2 stewing hens from the Day Market, the kind they call "dirt chicken" here.
They're pretty small, about 1/2 the size of a normal fryer.
I threw them in a pot, head, feet, and all.

You know, old school.

Anyways, cover the chickens with water and set to boil.
In this case, that took about 2 1/2 hours, and I had to top the water off a couple times to keep them covered.
Timing here can be tricky, if they're not cooked enough, you'll have a bastard of a time getting them off the bones, BUT if you overcook, you lose a lot of flavour and tenderness.
Watch your ass (more on this later).
This next part is where things get pretty labour intensive.
When the chicken is tender, take them out and (if applicable) cut off the head, feet, wingtips, and arseholes

(Give them to he fucking iguana

to eat, or if you're farm raised, set them aside to munch on with seasoned salt mayonnaise and a brewski while you watch Escape From New York).

Separate all the meat from the bones and denude the fowl of all skin (mostly, there were a couple spots where it was too fussy so I left it on).
(At this stage I realized I had WAY too much fucking soup in there, so I skimmed off about a third, we'll discuss this later)
Cut/tear all the meat into bite-sized pieces and throw back into the pot.
Add like a medium sized onion, chopped, and 7 or 8 cloves of garlic, also chopped.
Coarse is fine.
If Gordon Fucking Ramsey shows up and criticizes your technique

you know, as always, give him a fucking boot in the goolies and shove him under a 266 to Bei Tou.

Bring back to a boil and then simmer until it starts to thicken.
Depending on your taste, you may want to thicken it up to be more "stew-like".
I took about a half cup of flour in a bowl and added milk until I got a thick roux going. You got to mix the fuck right out of it, make sure there's no lumps (heating the milk can help with this, although I couldn't be arsed). Once you have a nice smooth consistency, increase the heat under the pot until you got a nice rolling boil going.
Stir in the thickening

(Highlander 5: The Thickening, sorry, I just piss down both legs laughing every time I see this picture, nice fucking earring there, Sir Seannery...)

Really stir it in good or it'll lump the fuck up, and nobody wants that.
If you like it soupy, just leave it.
Now, you can go with Plan A or Plan B.

Plan A (what I did)
Once the stew was fairly consolidated, I turned off the heat and covered it. When it was cool, I stuck it in the fridge. The next day I took it out and reheated it (slowly!), and then seasoned to taste, as follows.
Plan B
Once it starts to get less soupy, reduce heat and season to taste, as follows.

OK, bear with me, I don't have clue fucking 1 about amounts here, but you want it to taste the way you like any fucking way.
The stuff you'll want to use to season will be:
Pepper (I use a combination of coarsely pre-ground black pepper and red/green/black peppercorns hand ground)
Sugar (I'm not kidding)
In roughly descending order of amount.
First off, I had to salt the fucksteaks out of this stuff.

You know, I have a really seriously low tolerance to salt, and by the end, I'm pretty sure I'd added like 3 or even 4 fucking tablespoons.
Whatever you do, do it gradually, for the love of fuck.
You can always add more, taking it out can be tough.
I probably seasoned this stuff 5 separate times, with good solid stirring and simmering between each before I was satisfied.
Tasting continually all the way, of course (did I REALLY need to say that???).
It's OK, because the long time really brings a depth and fullness to the flavour, you'll be glad you took the time.

OK, when you think you're about where you want to be with the taste, throw in any vegetables you fancy, as mentioned. I tossed in a can of (drained) kernel corn, since my fuckin kid is on a no-carrot rampage currently. Stir them in and keep a reasonable simmer going.

Now you should do the dumplings. Now there's a timing issue here, you don't want to be waiting to serve once the dumplings are done, so don't start this stage unless you're going to be ready to eat in 30 to 40 minutes.
Dumplings, well.
I remember me Great Grandma (mother of the Drunken Inattentive Grandma, not the Evil Satanic Abusive Grandma) made stew and dumplings when I was a kid, she'd run a boarding house for years and could cook you fucking dizzy.
I recall her dumplings as being these massive spheroids of dense compacted spongy breadyness about the size of your fuckin head.
Not bad, but a pretty serious carbo loading.
Also they were straight white flour ones.
Over at The Palace, with the Ranee being your basic Asiatical and the Ranette a bastardised miscegination of same, there isn't much tolerance for huge honking softballs of pure starchohydration, so I wanted to go easy.
Cornmeal dumplings are much tastier, less oppressive, fucking yellow for jumping the fuck out loud, and just plain fucking awesomely good.

I did use this recipe:

Cornmeal Dumplings
  • 1/2 Cup Cornmeal
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Butter
Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter with pastry blender or a fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and stir. Drop onto hot stew.

Cutting that butter in can be a bit of a bitch, but cowboy the fuck up already.
One thing different I did, because, you know, I fucking CAN, is I tossed a fistful of grated cheese into the dumpling dough after it was mixed.
Once you got a good mix, get the bowl close to the pot of bubbling stew, and drop in heaping tablespoonfuls until the batter is gone.
They'll sink below the surface at first, don't worry about it. Cover the pot and DON'T fucking open it for ten minutes.
This means, of course, that the heat has to be adjusted high enough to keep the simmer going, but low enough to not stick. Once you figure that out, you can probably go work for fucking NASA.
After 10 minutes, uncover, and the dumplings should have magically expanded to at least twice their size and be floating on top of the stew.
Fucking hydrothermal dynamics is your fuckin pal, yeah?

Only, you  know, wetter

Another 10 minutes, uncovered, and it should be chow time, hogs. Now don't fuck with the dumplings TOO much, but you can certainly baste them in a bit of the gravy, this flavours them up a wee bit more.
Spoon into bowls with one or two dumplings per.
Magic, Jimmy.

We had this Chrimbo night (I went with Plan A and did most of the work Saturday because we had tickets to a piano recital on the Day, fucking blind-ass boring that was, so when we got home at like 5:30 there was a minimum of effort required), it was still pretty cold and wet out, we had it with a nice green salad on the side, and both wimminz had seconds plus.
After the three of us'd had our fill there was one full bowl left.


OK, to start, using the 2 whole chickens was a pretty serious pain in the ass:
  • structurally they took up a fuckTON of pot space, needing a shitload of water to boil in, resulting in me having WAY too much liquid, in fact more than a third of it is in a bag in the freezer as we speak; but even after drawing off a lot, I still had a motherfucker of a time getting the stew thick
  • boning and skinning them was brutal and complicated, and
  • it took for fuckin ever for them to cook
Instead, next time I'd just grab a bunch of whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick attached)

say about 5 or 6, I reckon. They'll take up considerably less pot space, will cook a lot faster, are a (relative) snap to bone and skin, and require much less water to cook in. I think the meat is better tasting and stays tender longer too.

Adding the cheese to the dumplings kind of cut both ways.
They tasted fucking great, but they didn't really hold together too well, even after they were cooked.
I reckon next time, if I wanted to add cheese (Hmmmm...CHEESE!!!), I'd cut the butter in half, I figure there was too much oil going on for the dumplings to set up right.

Honestly, you could do pretty much any fucking thing you wanted with this and it'd turn out OK.
It's a pretty traditional cold weather yum yum in the Carolinas, so we didn't fuck around with any Asian or otherwise inauthentic ingredients, but, you know, go nuts.
Oh yeah, most recipes call for a big old blob of butter to be hucked in and mixed up before serving, but I can't really deal with that much animal fat anymore, I just wake up the next morning with gout.
Other popular serving conventions include adding a big whack of Tabasco or other hot sauce during cooking, but, as we've discussed before, when you have kids you stop eating "de pep-ah"

as George from the Kingston Soul Kitchen

would say.

Also (when no dumplings are made), folks apparently like to eat this with saltines (that sounds kind of fucked to me) or grilled cheese sandwiches.
That last one's kind of odd, but I guess I could see it.

So there you go, now go fucking make it for someone you love.


Improving your life

I'm telling you, walking around in a SOA T shirt

is like listening to the old Acca Dacca

whilst driving around on your bike.

The girls just smile at you a lot more.

SPEAKING of instantly improving one's current quality of existence like a billion and a half fold...

Don't fret if you can't sing along with Joe's mutant Castillian, but do try to jump in on the "Oo-la!" and "Split!" bits, won't you?


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hard as you want

Parallel universe going on here or some fucking thing...

Holy crap.
I went out this morning to come to work, and I actually had to go diggin in me fuckin bag to find these fucking things

I knew I had them in there some fucking place.
I still can't remember what they're called.

No shit, and not a fucking word of a fucking lie here, about 4 times on the way in I thought I'd taken a wrong turn

because all the landmarks looked different when not seen through a driving fucking torrential rain.
We can all relax, rain again tomorrow.


Spark 'em, bro!!

Alrighty then.
Now the last thing we try to do here is tell you how to live your life, especially where spiritual matters are concerned.
You know, as long as you ain't, you know, punching homeless folks to the ground, or repo-ing single-parent families out in the snow...

Or using an iPad.

I couldn't give a monkey's what constitutes a demonstration of faith around your house.
Wanna kneel on gravel whuppin yourself with stinging nettles while someone pulls out your nose hairs (OW!!!)?

Paint your girlfriend blue and run around her in a circle singing Surfer Bird at the stroke of midnight?

Like they ever look like this, riiiiight....

Go nuts.

Only thing I'd like to say is, I sincerely hope you were all able, in some measure, to spend these holidays in the loving presence of someone (or, ideally, EVERYone) near and dear to your heart.

Brought to you for EIGHT
by Raj and the Ranette
I know I did.

Happy Wackenfest, babies.
And now back to work.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Uhhhh, well...

Jeez, you know how you, like, say to yourself
"OK, well I can't very well just sit here and read fucking Cracked.com all day, can I?"

Well you know what?

Yes, you can.


Thanks for everything, Joe

9 years on, and we still miss him like it was yesterday.

Fucking guy meant every fucking word.

Talk about heroes.

I got your hero, right fucking here.

I'll never forget the feeling I got
When I heard that you'd got home
An' I'll never forget the smile on my face
'Cause I knew where you would be
An' if you're in the Crown tonight
Have a drink on me
But go easy

Step lightly
Stay free

Ah fuck I got to go cry for a while.


Swinal Craniage 1, National Socialists 0

So the Ranee has acquired a cheap source for some really top-grade deli-style stuff, and has been bringing it home.
Most of it's pretty good, but last week she brought home this massive long donkey cock of the dreaded Shwartenmagen, the Presswurst, Saltisón, Formaggio de Testa, or, for the royalty among us, Hladetina.

That's right, she brung home a fucking HEAD CHEESE.

Now I kind of hate that shit.
Growing up on the farm, and surrounded by folks of direct Ukranski lineage, I've not only eaten my fair share of it, I've been around when it was being prepared

And this is BEFORE it gets gross...
and it just isn't for me.
Added to that, as we know, I do make a concerted effort to strenuously avoid consumption of the swine generally.
And this stuff just smelled like shit ANY fucking ways.
So, what's a guy to do?

Fob it off on Helmüt Shtrünt, the Nazi Künt, of course.

I figured he'd be all over it like a two-headed Hindu at the Boneless Chicken Ranch.
If only out of a sense of duty to the fucking Vaterland.

Apparently he got through a few bites and then surrendered in horror and shame.

We haven't heard from him since, it's been almost a week now.

Hey, don't look at me, what the fuck, I figured, you know, he's a Kraut, right??


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh piss off already

Lordy, there's 3 or 4 of these little fucking turds that work in shipping or some fucking thing, I see them downstairs sometimes when I go for a butt.
They're all standing around like they fucking invented feet or some fucking thing.
And they're ALWAYS trying to catch my eye, like if I acknowledge them, it's like some kind of Cool Rating points or some fucking thing.

"Yeah, well so WHAT if I dress like my girlfriend, that foreigner from the 9th floor? The one who can actually grow a beard? He looked at me today, man!!"

Little fuckers.

Remittance Girl Interview Pt 2

OK, after an embarrassingly long wait, here's Part the Second of our interview with Tribal Treasure Remittance Girl.
Here we get a little more personal, and I get even more fucking blabby.
If you missed Part I, it's here.

OK, this is the part where we DON’T talk about hamsters in folks’ bottoms, etc.

Excellent, because I’ve never had a hamster up my bottom. I’d be talking out my ass.

If we’ve learned anything from the rise of the Inkranetsk (aside from how crap schools seem to be at teaching people to use their own language) (oh, and the vast Marianas Trench-esque gulf that exists between wanting to BE a writer and BEING one), it’s the stupefyingly shallow and uninformed perception that amateurs and tourists hold regarding BSDM and other paraphilia. Granted, Hollywood and TV and other shitheel media can be held largely responsible for this kind of nonsense, you know, where the complex personal motivations for these kinds of preference are ignored in favour of cheap clichés, like the tried and true chestnut of the MP or captain of industry who likes to get his bottom spanked by naughty ladies

or the always comedy-rich portrayal of Furries

or what have you. As someone with a personally informed insight into the reality of these types of scenaria, when you do decide to write about such matters, do you feel a certain responsibility to present in a more responsible perspective?

Well, first I have to say that my knowledge of the subject is limited to my own experiences. And I’m not tremendously experienced because I haven’t belonged to any clubs or groups where I might have experienced a lot of it. And although I have done a lot of exploring with the partners I have had, I just haven’t had that many partners. Probably enough to scandalize my grandmother,

but compared to other women of my age who I know, I’m pretty pathetic at putting it about.
I feel a responsibility to present most things from a responsible perspective. Obviously, fiction is fiction, but within the boundaries of that fictitious world, I try not to exaggerate or simplify complex issues. Mostly, I just try to stay away from labels and the trappings of kink because I believe that, although they can act as arousal triggers for people who are already ‘into it’, they also inhibit the deeper examination of what is going on beneath the baubles.
For instance, I don’t think I’ve ever written a story where anyone was ‘collared’. Because to write that is to not only assume your reader understands the semiotics underlying the thing or the act, but it really says nothing about the emotional experience of wanting to voluntarily sublimate one’s ego for someone else, or how that affects the sexuality that it involves.  Similarly, I don’t write about ‘flogging’

or ‘needleplay’, etc. I might very well write characters who participate in either of those things. But I just describe what is going on instead of using the term. I think it also invites people who are familiar with those things to see them from a different angle.

In your personal opinion, is it even remotely possible for me to make these fucking questions any longer?

You haven’t had the pleasure of reading a lot of critical theory writing, have you? Yes.

I’m kind of hoping that, for at least some of them, you do the Pete Townshend thing of, after a question that takes like five fucking minutes to ask, you go “Uhhhh…yeah.”

Okay. Uhhh. Yeah.

Now, you are, obviously, a very active member of the community of writers working in this genre with which you are most frequently associated.  As mentioned previously, there are, to put it plainly, buttloads of people providing output in this area who couldn’t string together a cogent properly constructed sentence if you held their mother over a pit. How do you address these kids, do you ever find yourself exercising conscious restraint from saying something like “Learn to fucking spell, Jethro

and then we’ll talk.”, or, you know, what?

There is one tremendous shortcoming with my genre. In sci-fi, wannabes are cowed by the prospect of 300 pages of worldbuilding.

In detective fiction, well, most people have never seen a murder or have ever met a detective inspector.

In action thrillers, most people have never met a spy, nor have they ever stopped a terrorist, nor have they ever been in a North Korean secret prison.

One problem with erotica is that pretty much everyone has had sex.
(At this point one resists the impulse to point out that we are, in fact, discussing the Internet)
Most people have genitals and hearts.
(As before)
Everyone has had sexual fantasies and experienced a mad, unquenchable desire of someone else. Most people have at least tried tying up their partner.

So everyone thinks they can write about it. It’s not that they might not want to have a go at sci-fi or thrillers. It’s that they don’t feel they know those worlds. Sex is terra cognita.
Another is that people think erotica is about sex. It’s really not. It’s about desire and how people are changed under its influence. But because there’s fucking in the book, they figure they might be able to at least write that.
Also, when people do start writing about sex, they inevitably use either their own fantasies or their own experiences (usually embellished) as fodder. So when they are criticised, they take it very hard. They believe that it is their sexuality, their fantasies, their experiences that are being criticised. Even when you make it very clear that it’s their grammar that offends you. It also means they won’t take much risk with their character, or put them in any physical or mental peril, because they are their character and instinctively feel the need to protect themselves.
In any genre, good writing shines through. And extreme sex acts are never an excuse for poor writing. But my sense is that most people are just lazy. It takes a lot of time for most of us to become even competent writers. And there are no short cuts. You have to read a lot, write a lot, and revise a lot.
But most of all, you have to care more for the work and the reader’s experience of the work than you care about yourself.

Relatedly, if you don't mind, I did want to ask you about  gender-jumping. Working, one sincerely hopes accurately, on the assumption that you are, in fact, a female lady-girl womanly girl girl type human, what happens in your process when the protagonist ends up being, like, a dude? There are loads of fiction writers, not to name names (GOLLUM!AnneRiceGOLLUM!), who just fucking STINK when they try to write from the point of view of a gender not their own, with often execrable results, like, say, as a random example, a pan-cultural convention resulting where it's accepted that all male vampires are mincing fucking Jessies

just as a random example. You seem to have no trouble with this, the guy protes in your work, well, you know, act  like guys. Are you conscious of this at all? Did you ever have trouble with it? (Oh, and the girls (seem to) always act like girls, too.)

For the record, I am biologically female. And thank you for the compliment because it is a huge one.
Yes, I am very conscious of trying to represent the men in my story as men and not the fictional characters that purport to be men in romance novels. And I'm even more conscious on the occasions I've chosen to make the narrator of my story male. I do have trouble with it. I have insecurities about it. I worry that I won't get it right. But that is not a good reason not to do it.
I've sometimes found that I start off writing a story and it stalls. It doesn't work. And I realize I'm writing the story from the wrong character's POV. I'm not allowing the reader to see the more complex, more critical, more conflict heavy perspective. When that happens, I know I either have to write in the voice of that character or just throw the story away. So there have been times, for instance, in Click, or even my latest short story, Amanda, Agnus Dei, where showing the story from the male perspective was critical.
If I wrote Amanda from the POV of the woman, it would just be another 'get rid of my christian guilt' story. But from his POV, it's a story about how far a person can or should go to 'heal' someone they love. It's a story about responsibility, and the limits of empathy.
I flatter myself that I actually understand the male mind pretty well. I spent a while working on a telephone sex line and that gave me a lot of insight to the male sexual psyche. But for a story like Click, I actually asked three different men to read early drafts of the story and begged them to be unstintingly honest about the character. In the case of Carl with a C, one of my readers challenged me to make him much more mentally violent than I had written him. And I saw how for men, the toxicity of  a sense of anger and powerlessness at the world can turn into a sort of grim brutality. Especially in their dealings with women. It was one of those haunting occasions when, once I'd written him, I recognized him very well. I'd met Carls with a C. I could see him as both dangerous to any woman he felt needled at his understanding of how the world was constructed and yet a victim himself: trapped in that awful quicksand of turning everything you touch to shit because it makes your own internal landscape seem like less of a dung heap.

If I come to Saigon, can we do some Park Drinking?

Only if you promise not to order the dried squid as a snack.

The smell of it heating up on those irons is truly revolting.

Listen, I really can’t thank you enough for your patience and generosity. One wishes you all fucking manner of continued success and is shit-proud to know you.
Many many thanks.

Hey, don't be fucking looking at me, go read something fucking good.
Go on.


Physics in action

OK, someone help me out here, thermodynamically speaking.
How is it possible, given all the exact same conditions, for my fucking bagel

To be approximately 357,000 times hotter than just toast?

Everything's the same, temperature, time toasted, AND YET, when it's a bagel, during transport from the toasting apparatus to the staging area, odds are astronomically in favour of receiving 3rd degree burns due to the white hot temperature, roughly the same as required to melt steel

Which pretty much makes me fucking Chucky

for about 15 minutes every fucking morning.
So what the fuck is up with THAT?