Filed under: Alzheimer's, Astronomy, Babylon 5, Brave New World, Connections, Feedback, Fermi's Paradox, Gardening, Habanero, J. Michael Straczynski, Man Conquers Space, Marketing, Promotion, Science, Science Fiction, SETI, Space, Survival, Writing stuff, YouTube | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Babylon 5, Bad Astronomy, blogging, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, Dukhat, feedback, free, gardening, Glen Tickle, Habaneros, Her Final Year, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, Kurzgesagt, Laughing Squid, Mother's Day, promotion, science, Science Fiction, space, St. Cybi's Well, video, writing, www youtube
(Does not contain spoilers for Communion of Dreams. ;) )
* * *
Been a busy week. Part of it was putting in my garden:
(That’s just the tomato plants — the super-hot peppers will go in next week.)
Part of it was a MASSIVE job converting a 16 x 16 storage space into the beginnings of a workshop:
(There’s still lots to do, but man, what a change from being hip-high in grungy boxes and scattered junk!)
And part of it was we have a new addition to the family:
(He’s just 6 weeks old, entirely too cute, bold & adventurous, and tiny. For now. No name yet, though given his grey color I suggested perhaps we should go with Dukhat … )
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I’m just now finishing up the first major revision to the working copy of St Cybi’s Well. I already have a couple of people lined up to take a look at it with fresh eyes, but if anyone else is interested also having a preview, leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you.
Lastly: for Mother’s Day weekend, the Kindle edition of Her Final Year will be available for free. Check it out, download it, share it with others!
Filed under: Gardening, Habanero, Writing stuff | Tags: blogging, gardening, Habaneros, health, hope, humor, jim downey, Science Fiction, St. Cybi's Well, tomatoes, writing
Because I want this:
I took advantage of the cool but beautiful Spring day and did this yesterday:
That’s about 40×40. Good deep churn to about 10″ depth. The soil conditions were just about perfect. Now it’s prepped for me to plant things in a couple more weeks (it’s still a little too early here for tomatoes and Habaneros). And surprisingly, I don’t hurt nearly as much today as I expected.
Back to work on St Cybi’s Well. All that time tilling yesterday gave me a chance to think through some things.
Filed under: Gardening, Habanero | Tags: blogging, Carolina Reaper, cooking, gardening, Habaneros, hot sauce, jim downey, Moruga Scorpion, Sriracha, Trinidad Scorpion
Behold this year’s Habanero experiment:
What you’re looking at is pureed super-hot Habaneros. With just enough vinegar and salt to preserve them for canning.
OK, the full story …
This morning I made a batch of my Habanero Sriracha sauce. One of my standards. But I decided to do it a little bit differently this year. Rather than use a limited amount of Habaneros in it, and just blend them in, I added a full two gallons of frozen habs to the vinegar & tomato sauce mixture and cooked them until soft. Then I removed all the peppers, setting them aside to cool. There’s still plenty of heat and flavor from the habs in the Sriracha (recipe below).
But then I added some more salt and a little apple cider vinegar to the cooked Habaneros, and ran the whole lot through a food processor. And that’s in the pic above.
The idea behind this isn’t that you’d actually use this stuff directly on food, like you would a hot sauce or some of my Habanero Dust from a spice grinder. Rather, it’s intended to be used in very small amounts as the basis for some larger dish or sauce, giving you just concentrated (almost pure) Habanero flavor and heat. I’ll put it into 4 ounce jars for a very limited number of insane friends.
Just thought I’d share the idea.
This year’s Sriracha recipe (variation on the theme of recipes you’ll find elsewhere):
- 5 quarts homemade tomato sauce
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups dark honey
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 heads of garlic crushed
- .25 cup of Kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons of Fish Sauce
- Habaneros (mix of super-hot varietals)
Add all ingredients into large pot. Heat to simmer, stirring often. Remove Habaneros. Simmer rest for half an hour or so, then allow to cool.
EDIT NOTE: After trying the Sriracha prior to canning, I decided that it was just plain too hot, so added another couple of quarts of tomato sauce and changed the total above. Everything else still seemed pretty much in balance after. I think the heat level was masking some other problems earlier.
Filed under: Fireworks, Gardening, Habanero, Humor, Music | Tags: blogging, Carolina Reaper, cooking, ethylene, gardening, Habaneros, hot sauce, jim downey, Moruga Scorpion, music, Rolling Stones, Sriracha, Trinidad Scorpion, Wikipedia
It’s Habanero season again!
I noted a few weeks back that I had harvested the first of this year’s crop, and that I thought that things looked promising, if the weather held. Well, all together I harvested about 200 fully-ripe peppers, seeding freezing them in small batches, and I’ll make some of my Habanero Sriracha with that later. But last Friday we had the first hard freeze of the season, so I picked all the rest of the remaining fruit off the plants. Here’s a the pic of that:
Now, since turning whole peppers into hot sauce is the sort of thing which can drive any sane person out of the house, I waited until today to do this year’s production. Why? Because my wife is a poll worker, and so is gone all day. Well, here’s that exact same box of peppers, which had just been closed up since Friday:
Fun, eh? Welcome to ethylene gas. Yup, the peppers are a LOT more ripe, just from being shut up for a few days. Not as ripe as last year’s end-of-season harvest, but not bad at all. And since my version of Sriracha is fairly sweet, I decided to make a less sweet batch of sauce out of the above, since it will tend to accentuate the citric qualities of the not-entirely-ripe peppers. So, here’s this year’s recipe:
- Approximately 335 peppers, crown removed and cut in half
- Not quite a gallon of natural apple cider vinegar
- 8 tablespoons of Kosher salt
- 3 heads of garlic
- 2 large yellow onions, rough chopped
Prepare all ingredients. Saute onions and garlic until soft. Add vinegar, salt and peppers to 5 gallon stock pot, simmer until soft, stirring often.
Scoop into blender, do a rough blend for 15 – 20 seconds. Then pour into Foley food mill, and crank until just seeds and skins are left. Transfer to jar, can.
Edited to add later: Total of 22.5 half pints. Which works out to about 2 habaneroes per fluid ounce, which is what my standard ‘Evil Green’ (previously my hottest sauce) runs, except that this has a much higher % of fully or mostly ripe habs.And this is clearly hotter than anything else I’ve ever made. Pic below – need a good name for it. It’s the one on the right, the reddish one is my Sriracha (about the color of tomato sauce) for comparison.
Filed under: Bad Astronomy, Fireworks, Gardening, Habanero, Health, Humor, Music, Phil Plait | Tags: Bad Astronomy, blogging, Carolina Reaper, gardening, Habaneros, health, humor, jim downey, music, Phil Plait, volcano, Wikipedia
… but *do* have a very healthy respect for it.
The Carolina Reaper is a hybrid cultivar of chili pepper of the Capsicum chinense species, originally named the “HP22B”, bred by cultivator Ed Currie, who runs PuckerButt Pepper Company in Fort Mill, South Carolina, United States. It’s the world’s hottest hybrid pepper. The original cross was a red naga pepper and a red savina pepper.  The “Carolina Reaper” was rated as the world’s hottest chili pepper by Guinness World Records according to 2012 tests, averaging 1,569,300 on the Scoville scale with peak levels of over 2,200,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). The previous record-holder was the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T.
There are some included in today’s harvest of peppers:
How are they? Oh, baby!
No, seriously, trying one of these peppers is sort of the equivalent of seeing a live, active volcano. Sure, it’s insanely hot (I ate the smallest little piece, about the size of an apple seed, and it did the whole ‘mouth numb, face flushed, lips melting, nose running’ thing). But it’s also insanely cool to just experience the thing … if you exercise a little respect for its power.
And they have the same flavor profile as other super-hot Habaneros, which is actually why I like them. It’s a deep, smokey, lasting peppery flavor.
I’ve only harvested about 60 peppers from my plants so far this season. For some people, that would be about 59 too many. But if the weather holds, perhaps I’ll have a total harvest along what I’ve gotten in years past.
Filed under: Amazon, Art, Astronomy, Cassini, Connections, Feedback, Google, Habanero, Humor, Kindle, Marketing, NASA, Pandemic, Plague, Promotion, Publishing, Saturn, Science Fiction, Space, Titan | Tags: Amazon, art, blogging, book design, Cassini, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, Facebook, feedback, Habaneros, humor, jim downey, Kindle, NASA, pandemic, photography, post-apocalyptic, promotion, reviews, Saturn, Science Fiction, Scorpion Blood, space, Titan
Another item that would likely help get this book moving is a different cover. I understand the imagery now that I’ve read the book, but definitely think it will keep hard-core sci-fi fans from buying a copy (and people do judge books by their covers).
Like I said, every so often a comment to this effect will pop up in a review. And I don’t spend much time thinking about it (and I’m not going to change the cover image at this point), but now and then I wonder just what kind of a cover would appeal to ‘hard-core sci-fi fans’ and still make any kind of sense in relation to the story. Maybe some nice images of Saturn or Titan from the Cassini mission? A depiction of some of the spacecraft (which aren’t described in much detail in the book), or perhaps the Titan Prime space station? Go with a charming post-apocalyptic montage of ruined cities and microphotographs of viruses? To me, none of these would fairly represent the story, and to a certain extent would unnecessarily limit the appeal to only ‘hard-core sci-fi fans’.
But I’m curious what others think. So feel free to post a comment here or over on FB. Over even on Amazon, as a comment on an extant review or in new review of your own. In a week or so I’ll go through all the various comments I can find, and pick someone to get a jar of my latest hot sauce (or something else if they don’t want that).
PS: there’s another new short review up on Amazon you might want to take a look at as well.
Filed under: Connections, Gardening, Habanero | Tags: Bhut Jolokia, blogging, cooking, Devil's Tongue, Habaneros, hot sauce, jim downey, Moruga Scorpion, Red Savina, Trinidad Scorpion
As I’ve mentioned previously, it was a good year for peppers. Well, in addition to making the big batch of sauce at the end of the season, I also dried approximately 5 gallons of seeded habaneros of various sorts. And this morning I got around to crushing them. Here’s the result:
That works out to something like 8 ounces (fluid volume) of crushed habs per gallon of fresh/frozen. Yeah, baby!