Check out my fiction - http://www.jaletac.com
Check out my science fiction series - The Fall of the Altairan Empire

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Imposter Tom Kha Gai

 I can't find a good Asian grocer around here that carries fresh produce. I can't find another grocer that carries lemongrass, galangal, or lime leaves. So I found a way to fake it. Not quite the same taste, but still pretty good.

This version is pepper, tomato, and potato free.

And cilantro free. I hate the devil weed. Add it if you want but it's not going to get listed in the ingredients.

Imposter Tom Kha Gai, slow cooker style

1 T. butter

1/3 c. onion, minced

1/2 c. sliced mushrooms

1 t. minced garlic

2 t. fresh minced ginger

1 c. white yam, peeled and diced

1 c. carrots, sliced

1 small can sliced water chestnuts

2 T. chicken bouillon

1 t. ground black pepper

1 t. salt

1 T. lime ponzu OR 2 t. soy sauce and 1 t. lime juice

2 T. lemon juice

2 sprigs fresh thai basil

1 c. cooked chicken, diced OR cooked shrimp

1 14-18 oz can coconut milk (not the sweet dessert kind but the cooking kind)

OPTIONAL:

1/4 c. chopped peppers - red bell, jalapeño, thai chili, or whatever

1/2 c. chopped broccoli

1/2 c. sliced zucchini

1/3 c. fresh spinach

1/2 c. chopped kale

Heat crock pot on high. Add butter, onion, mushrooms, garlic, and ginger. Let cook for an hour, stirring about halfway through.

Add yams, carrots, water chestnuts, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper. Add just enough boiling water to cover. Cook for 2-3 hours, until vegetables are soft.

Stir in remaining ingredients and whatever optional ones you want to add. Add more hot water if needed. Cover and cook for one more hour, until hot through and all vegetables are cooked.

Serve with rice and garnishes like chopped green onions, chopped hot chilies, chopped peanuts, fresh thai basil leaves, and lime wedges.

Makes between 4 and 10 1.5 cup servings, depending on how many extra vegetables you add and how much extra broth and/or water you add.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Sweet Asian Dressing

 This is like that white salad dressing served in Thai, Japanese, and Sushi restaurants.

Sweet Asian Dressing

1/2 c. mayonnaise
5 T. rice vinegar
2 T. sugar
2 T. sesame oil
1 T. soy sauce
1/4 t. garlic powder

Mix everything together using a blender or a mixer. Cover and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Makes about 1 c.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Broccoli Cheese Bites

 Broccoli Cheese Bites

2 eggs
2 c. cooked broccoli, chopped small
1 c. shredded cheese
1/4 c. finely chopped sweet onion
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. black pepper
1 c. fine bread crumbs (panko, crushed croutons, GF panko, etc)

Beat eggs. Stir in everything else. Mix until it's all combined.

Shape into balls or tater tot fingers, about 2 t. of mix per ball. Place on oiled baking sheet leaving space between each ball. Spray the tops with baking spray or brush with oil.

Bake at 400°F for 18-25 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy.

Serve with Ranch or blue cheese dipping sauce.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-size appetizers.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Book Review: Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis

 Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis

Rating: 4 stars

PG-13 for some language (mild) and violence (a little over the top at times)


I found this at the library. The cover caught my eye and the title was weird enough I picked it up to see what it was about. SF re-telling of Snow White? Might be interesting. So I took it home.

The first few chapters threw me off. Too much new world without much explanation. The storytelling felt jerky and rough. Once I got past those chapters and got into the story and the world, I enjoyed it.

It's a re-telling of Snow White, in space, with mining robots instead of dwarves. I liked the author's take on the characters. The mining robots were my favorites. It was a solid space opera story with good characters and an interesting storyline.

The romance was kept light and mostly in the background.

The only part of the story I really really disliked was the abuse that was hinted at from her father, then made more explicit towards the end of the book. That was too heavy. In my opinion, it wasn't needed. There was enough serious story with several characters dying and the theme of dealing with grief both past and present.

This is definitely not a Disney version of the fairy tale and not a younger kid's version. I did enjoy it overall, despite the flaws.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

 My daughter says these are the best she's ever eaten and that I had to post the recipe. So here it is. The biggest secret is to let the dough chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 c. almond flour
1 1/3 c. GF flour blend (1-to-1 mix, I like the ones that are mostly rice flour)
2 c. milk chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugars, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla until well blended, at least 2-3 minutes. Add eggs; beat for several minutes until very light and fluffy.

Stir in flours and chocolate chips.

Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 6 hours, better if overnight or even 24 hours.

Remove from the fridge and let stand for about 30 minutes at room temperature.

Scoop out tablespoons of dough, place on greased baking sheet. They will spread a bit so don't crowd them.

Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on the sheets for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Handle gently because they do tend to crumble.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Under the Troll Bridge: An FBI file (Fairyland Border Investigations)



So, I published a short story several years ago introducing Tess, your average small-town cop, and Shondeen, your average 7-foot-tall black elf border patrol agent. The town of Goose Creek is invaded by two red-caps on a murderous rampage and it's up to the police duo to catch them and return them back across the border to Fairyland. It's dark and weird and very silly.

I published a second story in Hadrosaur Productions' anthology Exchange Students, this time featuring Señor Howitzer, an immortal talking chihuahua from Fairyland tasked with stopping an invasion by unicorn crime lords.

Now it's time for another installment in the Tess-Shondeen story. Trolls are bringing drugs to Goose Creek, or so it's rumored. And not just any drugs, these are the ones banned even in Fairyland. Who knows what mayhem will ensue if they are imbibed by unsuspecting humans and their pets? Cosmic catnip causes serious side effects in cats - wings, horns, magical powers manifesting, and even cats opening their third eyes prematurely!

Can Tess and Shondeen find the trolls before it's too late? You'll have to read and find out!

Installments 1-3 are free on Kindle Vella, the rest are dropping one a week until the madness is resolved and balance is restored to the border.

Under the Troll Bridge

Interagency Cooperation

Exchange Students


Monday, December 27, 2021

Product Review and Recipe - Nostalgia MyMini Bundt Cake Maker



I have a thing for tiny things, especially kitchen tools and appliances. Santa left a Nostalgia MyMini Bundt Cake Maker under our tree. It is definitely tiny. It makes three tiny bundt cakes at a time. Really tiny. Miniscule. Each cake takes about a teaspoon of batter. That's all. The baked cakes are just a little bigger than a quarter. Which makes them adorably cute. You could fill them with a tiny squirt of whipped cream. Or a tiny bit of frosting or pudding or even two or three M&Ms. Or just eat them.

They don't take as long to bake as I thought. Because they are tiny, they cook in only a minute or two. I could see myself with four of these little appliances lined up. As one finishes, I pull out the cakes and fill it up again, and the next one should be through cooking by then. Assembly line to efficiently make a whole pile of these tiny cakes. Next tea party, I'll be prepared.

This recipe worked really well in the cooker as well as in my mini doughnut maker. It's a half batch of a regular bundt cake recipe so if you want to make it as a big cake, double it, put in a well-greased and floured bundt pan, and bake at 325°F for about 55-70 minutes.

Yes, that's a quarter by the tea cup and this is my tea set for when grandkids want a tea party.

Cream Cheese Chocolate Teeny-Tiny Bundt Cakes

Makes a whole big pile, no I didn't count them partly because I was eating them almost as fast as I was cooking them, at least for the first few batches.

1/4 c. butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 a box)
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. flour (I like 1/2 whole wheat for the chocolate cakes)

Cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar until blended. Add in vanilla, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa. Beat well, until it's really creamy. Add egg and milk. Beat until it's really fluffy and lighter in color. Stir in flour. Beat for 1 minute on high.

Cook in mini bundt maker - use about 1 t. per spot, cook until the light turns green, about 1-2 minutes. Remove carefully with a fork, they will be very fragile until they cool a bit.

Eat as is or try glazing and decorating them. Or fill with jam or pudding.