Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Sale in the ShellHawk's Creations Etsy Store!

What the picture says! 15% off your purchase of $60 or more!

I usually don't have sales, but I need to clear some space for 2023's new body of work, so hurry on over!

The shop will go into "vacation mode" on January 7th, not to re-open until (possibly) summer.

 

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas for Those Who Christmas!

I'm lazy today, so here are inappropriate memes for your holiday! But truly, Happy Holidays to everyone!








Monday, December 12, 2022

Holiday Shop at ShellHawk's Creations

Handmade gift shopping? Come to me, my minions! ;)

Bunches of cool stuff at ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store, and still time to get them in time for Christmas!  






Happy Holidays, everyone!

Friday, December 2, 2022

How to Zombie Proof Your Apartment

 Sorry I've been absent of late! I've been juggling a number of different life's demands and this ol' blog got put on the back burner.

However, I feel this important infographic from the forrent.com website will make up for it, at least in part!


Click on the pic above to be taken to the full graphic!

And please, don't skimp on your door security!

Lastly, remember your rules for survival, particularly Rule #2...

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Chili Season

This post has links to Amazon which may earn me a small commission for qualifying purchases.
Although, I am more likely to become a newt than to earn a commission.

It's that season, at long last! Don't get me wrong, I find something to love in all the seasons, but I really do love fall the best.

The cool, the crispness of the late afternoons and early mornings. The hoodies, the snuggly blankets. All of it. Just delightful! And of course, the food is pretty awesome, too! Casseroles, soups, stews, fresh bread if you can swing it.

A couple of days ago, for the first time since I left Folsom, I felt like making chili! I asked online for a couple of recipes, because I thought my cookbook with the recipe I liked was still in storage, and well, I have stacks of boxes filled with books, even after a major book purge before I left! I did have a couple of kind responses, and I plan to try those out, but my old recipe wouldn't leave my head. So I checked around the house, and sure enough, I had unpacked that book!

Black bean chili. Yum!

So the book is Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook.

I had the original edition (as such, I can't comment on the new one), and it has some good recipes! My complaint (if it is a complaint) with the book is that I felt like I needed more specifics. I'm 100% not an instinctive cook. 

I'm a good baker. I can make a meringue without it weeping. I can make decent cakes and icing from scratch. I love making pie crusts - or I did when I wasn't worried about being fat and stopped making them. But meals? I really need specifics to feel comfortable with my potential outcome. 

So, the book says tomatoes, but what kind? Beer, but light? medium? dark? AAAARRGH!

So here's the recipe. I'll give you my thoughts, afterwards...

  • 1/2 lb ground chuck
  • 1/2 lb chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 small red bell pepper or 1/2 a medium, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground chiles or to taste
  • chopped scallions (some people call them green onions, but they're really scallions) for garnish
  • sour cream
  • I add extra sharp cheddar cheese for a garnish, too
Brown the ground chuck and chorizo in a skillet. Drain. Rinse and drain the soaked beans. Combine the beans and water in a large pot, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add: red pepper, onion, celery tomatoes, carrot, garlic, vinegar, beer, cayenne pepper, and chiles to the beans. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender. Add the ground chuck and chorizo and simmer, covered, for one more hour. Garnish with scallions and sour cream (and cheese!) Serve with rice, corn bread, or tortilla chips.

Alright, since I'm an insecure cook, I started with just this recipe and followed it slavishly. As is, it's good! Not super duper great if chili is your chosen religion, but it's a good, solid, stick-to-your-ribs kind of chili. It's some good comfort food.

But I started to have some questions. Like, how do you have a "soup starter" grouping of onion, carrot, garlic and celery, and not caramelize them, first? Like, just gently brown those little buggers together before you start the rest of the process, so you can release all the yummy goodness they were meant to give?

And the tomatoes? Dude. I am no expert, but you can't just use any old tomatoes, willy-nilly. You need some good sauce tomatoes. So I got myself a can of those Cento peeled San Marzano tomatoes. These kinds of tomatoes are what the Italians use for their tomato sauce base. You can't have good tomato sauce without them, really.

I'd suggest a Mexican beer like Corona Extra for this recipe. Less bitterness!

I am told by my Mexican friends that American chorizo isn't the best (kind of like people swear you can't get good bagels outside of New York because of the water), but I gotta work with what I can get, right? Pork chorizo is super easy to get ahold of here in L.A., and I've used it, but I feel like a good beef chorizo would work, too. (Hmm, I gotta try that...)

I want to note here that nowhere in the recipe do you see salt or black pepper. I personally don't like my food salty, but you do need a certain amount of salt to bring out the best flavor of the beef. Try the recipe as originally written, first, then decide if you need to add salt and how much. I originally thought the chorizo would have enough on its own, but I found that for my taste, it needed a little more umph. I would add some while browning the meat. A pinch or two of kosher salt or sea salt will do nicely. And fresh ground black pepper is pretty awesome as another layer in this recipe.

I'd be happy to drop the beef/chorizo in a crock pot with the beans, etc. and let it cook on low for the day after the bean mix has cooked for that initial 1 1/2 hours. See how that goes. It can't be bad, right?

I'd be interested to see if anyone has any thoughts on this as fellow cooks!

Enjoy the chili!

P.S. Sorry I don't have any pictures of the chili all plated up, I ATE IT!

Monday, October 31, 2022

Happy Halloween 2022!

 
Happiest of Samhains to you all! Have fun tonight!




Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Season of the Witch


"Do I need a reason? Mrs. Kupfer was right, you know. I do love a good joke, and this is the best ever, a joke on the children. But there's a better reason." 

"You don't really know much about Halloween. You thought no further than the strange custom of having your children wear masks and go out begging for candy." 

"It was the start of the year in our old Celtic lands and we'd be waiting... in our houses of wattles and clay. The barriers would be down, you see. Between the real and the unreal."


"And the dead is looking in... to sit by our fires of turf. Halloween. The festival of Samhain."

The last great one took place three thousand years ago and the hills ran red... with the blood of animals and children."

- Conal Cochran


I still think Halloween III - Season of the Witch is about as underrated as they come.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Bloody Sunrise



Hey, Guys!

Guys!

Guys!

GUYS! 

It's Neil Gaiman! SINGING!

It has a plot and everything!

Click on the pic...

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Dark Arts

Illustration by Ally Burke of Dead Spider Hands

 Who doesn't love some original Halloween art this time of year? 

It challenges you. It creeps you out. It opens portals into the darkest of dreams...

Illustration by a fave of mine, Michael Whelan

Illustration by Danny Ingrassia.


Illustration by Scott M. Fischer

Illustration by Laurie Lipton

Illustration by Gregory Manchess



Monday, October 24, 2022

Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities

I am so looking forward to this series! With Del Toro's fine horror sensibilities and sharp eye for the macabre, it should be absolutely stellar!

Click on the pic for the official trailer!