Monthly Archives: October 2015

Second Chapter of A Stranger’s Blood posted

n 1

Go to for the second chapter of the novel. The sketch above shows what the naiman look like; the one with the basket is the doctor’s assistant. Genetically engineered to look as inoffensive as possible, created from Xenopus, pig, rat and several strains of salamander DNA.


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Just because we all need moments like this

new portrait of R

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October 24, 2015 · 11:44 pm

A serial novel: A Stranger’s Blood


Here at last you can begin the novel I will be posting as a serial on my other blog page:

Have fun reading!

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R’s Gold Country Cake

Gold Country Cake for about 80-100 people

Preheat oven to 350 Farenheit and butter and flour two 12″ cake pans– line bottoms with waxed paper or parchment. You can bake sequentially if you only have one 12″ pan!

Cream well 1 cup plus 3/4 cups softened butter (14 ounces)

3 cups plus 1/2 cups sugar (one pound plus 8.5 ounces)

Sift together twice or better yet, three times

5 cups plus 3/4 cup regular flour

6 Tb cornstarch

                        2 tablespoons plus 1 3/4 tsp baking powder

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

Combine 1 cup plus 1/4 cup of beaten eggs (can use a good egg substitute) (10    ounces)

2 cups plus 1/3 cup milk (one pound plus 3.75 ounces)

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring

Combine the above by blending creamed butter/sugar mixture with the flour combination, and liquid ingredient mixture by turns until you have a good structure. Scrape bowl frequently. Fill pans with a little hollowing towards the middle to even the layers during baking. If you level the cake you will get a hump in the middle. Bake about 35 minutes then check        with a toothpick. Do not bake so long that the cake retreats from sides. It may take up to 50 minutes to bake until the toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from pans to rack after 20 minutes cooling. I like to horizontally divide the layers so I get a total of four, to layer fruit between. Looks more elaborate too. I have a dedicated pair of those silicon ‘cutting boards’ I use for moving these fragile layers around.

Assemble using syrup to soak each layer as evenly as you can dribble it.


3/4 cup sugar

            1 cup plus 1/3 cup water

            6 Tablespoons vanilla or liqueur of your preference (I like a little almond, but go by drops or the cake will taste like perfume)


Easiest method for making syrup is to put the water and sugar together in a pyrex measuring cup, heat in microwave a minute, stir, then reheat until sugar dissolves. When cooled down, add flavoring and drizzle generously on cake layers as you assemble — put down first layer, drizzle with a quarter of the syrup, layer on fruit filling of your choice, put next layer on and drizzle with a quarter of the syrup, etcetera. Frost entire cake with covering of choice– a white chocolate or a cream cheese icing are my own preferences. Stabilize by inserting big plastic straws– three to four, trimmed to not protrude over cake surface. A serrated knife is best for cutting the monster.

I apologize for posting no picture of the cake, but I was too busy last weekend when serving this to catch up the camera, and there was not a piece left when the guests departed….


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Do you want a party?

PROSPECTIVE MENU AND AMOUNTS AND SCHEDULE – for about a hundred people to arrive around 6PM Saturday

My husband jokes I am a field marshal when it comes to giving parties, but it isn’t that complicated at all. We provide loads of fresh bread, two flavors of vegetarian beans, St Louis-style ribs, Thai-sauced salmon, lemon-caper sauced salmon, nine pies, and a humongous cake. Some years I add corn-stuffed pasilla peppers and marinated grilled giant mushrooms. I ask the participants to bring hors d’oeuvres, drinks, vegetable dishes and salads because my biggest problem is always refrigerator space, and those items require a lot of room. Almost everything happens outside. To protect everyone’s digestions, I use surgical gloves while preparing food, washing at every turn, and am paranoid about leaving anything at room temperature until actually serving. You can find many official sites on-line that will review food safety protocols. There are great net food umbrellas that you can buy in most pharmacies in the picnic section to keep off  flies. Remember that botulism can work its will in any cooked food left at room temperature in an anaerobic condition. Think beans. Serve those beans burbling hot!



honey gold bread

dark rye whole wheat bread

pork ribs with hot tamarind plum sauce – 9 slabs

salmon with Thai sauce and salmon with brown sugar lemon and caper sauce– 6 flanks

2 bins of barbeque beans;   (three lbs dry) both vegetarian

Gold Country Cake: double layer golden cake with blackberry filling and cream cheese frosting *recipe to follow in next post

10 pies/ four apple, two grape, two rhubarb custard, one peach.

at least one case sodas, five gallons plain water, a case of beer, whatever wine is in the house. Set outdoors in shade, embedded in ice in coolers. I like to pre-rinse bottles and cans so the melting ice is not full of unwelcome bacteria.


clean fridge and ovens

continue clean-up house/yard

treat and trim roses

make cakes

pick apples, lemons, Thai lime leaves, bay leaves for beans, thyme, whatever else is in season in the yard

do basic food shopping except for salmon.


make pastry for pies/ roll and store in fridge — At least eighteen crusts this last time.

make fillings for cake

make sauce to be used on Thai salmon

make rib rub

clean house (yuck)


make all possible pie fillings — pack and store in fridge

set beans to soak overnight


boil till tender, then bake those beans with all sorts of flavorings –best to have two distinct flavors.

assemble and bake pies

strip ribs of silver skin/ dry salt them, bag in fridge.

(assemble/finish cake– this can be put off to tomorrow)

make sauces for salmon

Just before bed, mix two kinds of bread dough and go scant on the yeast so they won’t take over the world by morning. These are safe to leave on the counter if you use no milk or egg in the recipes.

Get tables from neighbors!

Set Up Suggestions

Two days before

Clean Property– there’s always more to do on this

The Day Before

Move all benches, chairs, etc., into position

Make tables with OSB boards and wooden horses if you run short

Borrow chairs & benches from neighbors

Pull out camp coolers

String Christmas lights all over the place but make sure they will not catch anyone of height

On The Day

Go buy the salmon and loads of ice

Set drinks to cool

-Power & light to cooking area outside by grills

– Power & desk lamps to tables

As people arrive,

– have hors d’ouevres go to outside front table

– All desserts to remain “distant” at first, but bring out to table early after serving of main meal Otherwise if served inside the mess on carpets is phenomenal.


Obtain salmon and ice

Morning– fuss around and do some pick up

12:30 assemble cake

1pm start ribs at 250 F CAN DO THIS IN GRILL or inside ovens

3 form bread loaves or rolls

3:00 ribs to grill if not already there

3:30- 4:00 bake bread in relays

4:00 beans to second oven to reheat

6:00- 6:30 oven-poach salmon

Grab a glass of your favorite beverage and drift about watching people eat. The real trick is that if you invite over a hundred people to dinner asking them only to bring the details and vegetables and salads, they will be happy even if you overcook something! People really love the scent and sight of fresh bread but it’s one of the easiest things to make. Just don’t forget the butter!

party underway1


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