serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (CaseyZeke)
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Merry Christmas, everyone!

This is for [livejournal.com profile] aliensouldream, who requested Christmas fics. Didn't think I'd make it, but I did!

Prompt: It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!


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Unexpected


The glass of his bedroom window is frosty, and it bites Casey's skin where he leans his forehead. It's supposed to snow again tomorrow. Claire Stanton's cackle comes echoing up the hallway stairs outside his room, and Casey closes his eyes. Man, he hates that woman. Why do his parents keep inviting her every year? He closes his eyes, wishing... )


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Chapter 42 of High Contrast

serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (BringPie)
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So, remember those mashed potatoes I mentioned making for Thanksgiving? I'ma give you all the recipe, because they came out SO UNBELIEVABLY GOOD that I had a hard time believing I had made them. And it's not even a difficult recipe, at all. It just involves a paradigm shift in how you cook the potatoes. It's simple, really:

GET RID OF THE WATER.

Tyler Florence (who seems to be the TV Cook du Jour these days) came up with a recipe that has you cook the potatoes directly in a mixture of milk and cream, instead of cooking them in water and then mixing in the dairy later. This does a couple of things. First, it captures all the flavor (and nutrition) that gets stripped away in the boiling process, and second, it intensifies the creaminess of the potatoes. The only thing that changes in the act of cooking is that the temperature has to be low (only gently simmering), and you have to keep an eye on it to prevent scalding.

The result is a revelation, seriously. I'd made mashed taters before, of course, but they were nothing like this. Creamy and rich and amazing. I served them with a garnish of cherry tomatoes and fried sage. (YES. This is too yummy for words. Heat some butter until it browns, then fry the leaves until crispy. They make a great garnish and are just yummy on their own as little chips.)

This recipe mixes in mustard, but you can make them any flavor you like, or just go with the taters and dairy. The recipe has some elasticity, too - I didn't have any salted butter thawed, so I put in cream cheese instead, and of course it was fine. (I'm sure sour cream or creme fraiche would work just as well.) Potatoes seem to be endlessly forgiving. :)

So I'm putting the recipe here for you guys to enjoy. It's changed the way I'll make taters from now on, you betcha!

Amd remember - these are MASHED potatoes. No food processor! No, no, NO! BAD DOG!



Tyler Florence's Mustard Mashed Potatoes... )




Oh, one more thing: You will have a LOT of that milk and cream mixture left over. Put it in the fridge and use it to make a wonderful warming soup. I sauteed some onion, poured in the milk mixture, added some broth and spices, then a chopped up Russet potato (they fall apart nicely), several cloves of garlic, and a garni of rosemary, sage, and bay. Cooked that (GENTLY) until the potato was softened, then threw in most of a pound of spinach and a grated carrot, and a couple of handfuls of rice. (I used basmati because it's very tender and cooks fast.) Once the rice was soft, I removed the herbs, whirred the whole thing with my stick blender, and ended up with a rich winter soup. I've been enjoying it over the last few days. OMG YUM.

Yum

Friday, November 25th, 2016 06:51 pm
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (YouKnowYouWantItKaga)
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Here's some pics of the dishes I made for Thanksgiving:

Tomato pie:

pie

Italian Cream Cake:



which was served with Sugar-Sprinkled Starfruit:

starfruit

I didn't get a pic of the potatoes, but they just looked like mashed potatoes. :)

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GIP

Sunday, February 7th, 2016 02:55 pm
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (CZLove)
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Saw all the Valentine's icons and realized I should make one. :)

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One Kiss

Thursday, December 24th, 2015 11:52 pm
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (Yule Frodo)
A repost for the holiday.


One Kiss - Sam accompanies his Master to Brandy Hall for Yule.

This was originally written for the [livejournal.com profile] hobbit_smut community. I thought it was about time I posted it here. :)




One Kiss
by Serai


The music's gone quiet now. Just a lone voice singing gently out in the snow beyond the windows. Likely a tipsy lass singing to her smitten lad. Makes me smile to hear it, it does. Mingled in with the sweet voice is the tiny silver of bells on some departing guest's pony. It's been a wondrous day... )
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (NoWay)
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Cutest. Gift. EVER.


Hatching Dinosaur Candle


Burn the candle and the baby velociraptor is slowly hatched.

How do people even think of things like this?

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serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (CaseyZeke)
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This were fussy to make, but very nice once done. You'll need cookie cutters, and among them one that cuts out a tiny star. Wilton makes a nested set of star-shaped cutters ostensibly for fondant, which also work very well for these cookies.

I didn't bother with making the jam. Trader Joe's has great jams, so I used some I bought there - raspberry, and blackberry.


Linzer Cookies with Ginger Cardamom Jam

6 oz frozen raspberries
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp cornstarch
¼ tsp powdered ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom

12 tbsps unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups + 2 tbsps all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar

Add the frozen raspberries, sugar and cornstarch to a saucepan and start to cook on medium heat, stirring until everything is combined. Once the raspberries have thawed, add the ginger and the cardamom. Cook until the fruit is completely broken down and the jam thickened (about 10 minutes). Let cool.

Beat the butter and granulated sugar until well combined and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and the salt and beat until the dough comes together. Gather the dough into a ball, then flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Roll out the dough to ¼" thickness. Cut out the cookies, then cut a tiny star out of the center of half of them. Bake on the prepared sheet until they start to brown (12 to 15 minutes). Let the cookies cool completely.

Sift powdered sugar onto the cookies with the cut-out centers. Spoon a little bit of jam onto the whole cookies and top with a cut-out center cookie. Press the cookies together, wiggling them a bit if the jam doesn't spread out fully. Let uncovered for a day or so, to let the jam set and firm up, then store covered as usual.

Makes at least 14 cookies, depending on thickness and shape of the cutter.



Note: This dough is a bitch to work with. It's quite dry, and constantly wants to split or crumble. The chilling time, in my opinion, is too long. This dough should be chilled no more than 15 minutes, or else you'll just have to let it warm up once you get it out of the fridge. I found myself having to massage the dough with my hands just to get it to hang together because the cold made it so fragile. But with patience it works, and the results really are good. :)
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (YouKnowYouWantItKaga)
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Made this new cookie recipe today. They were super easy and taste wonderful.

And may I say being able to reach out my back door and pluck a lemon from the tree? In December? Is EXCELLENT.


Lemon Crinkle Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1½ cup AP flour
½ cup powdered sugar, reserved for rolling the cookies

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 3 baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, egg, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until well combined. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until they are combined. Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Scoop about a tablespoon of the cookie dough and roll into a ball. Roll in the powdered sugar, then gently toss the cookie back and forth between your hands to shake off the excess sugar. Place on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Bake for about 10 minutes, or just until the bottoms of the cookies begin to brown and the cookies are no longer shiny. Remove from the oven and let rest for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container when completely cooled.

NOTE: The baking time will depend on your oven, among other things. I found these cookies reached their best moment after nearly 20 minutes of baking (for full tablespoons), but start checking at about 9 minutes, and pull them out when you see the edges start to get just a little golden brown. With the time it'll take to get them from the oven to your counter, and then the time they'll rest, they'll be perfect when you move them to the rack. (And don't skip the resting stage, or you'll find half the cookie sticking to the paper when you try to pull it off.)

NOTE THE SECOND: Do not neglect to shake off the excess powdered sugar after rolling each cookie. If you leave thick patches of powdered sugar on the cookies, the dough underneath may not bake completely, and you may get little patches of sticky dough on the surface. Not a tragedy, but it does interfere with the texture you're going for here.

Last but not least: Be sure to let the cookies cool off completely before eating. They don't get that lovely crispness until they've set all the way.

Makes between 2 and 3 dozen, depending on the size of the cookie. Be sure to adjust your baking time if you decide to make smaller cookies.


Very easy, sweet and lemony, with a lovely crispness. Definitely a keeper, this one. :)

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Cards?

Thursday, December 10th, 2015 11:01 am
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (Yule Frodo)
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Oy, I'm SO crap at doing things in plenty of time...

Nevertheless, I'm getting to the holiday stuff, so if anyone would like a card, please leave a screened comment with your address, or you can PM me with it. I'll get them in the mail this week.


In other news... )

Heartmelt *THUD*

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015 09:26 am
serai: (Zeke)
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Here's a plot bunny for you:





Good ol' Santa, always taking time to be kind to the kidlets. And do you know who that is adorably asleep on his lap, dreaming of sugarplums? Can you guess?


...


...


Wait for it... )


Are you squeeing yet? Has your heart melted out of your chest yet? I'm in a puddle here, myself.

So who wants to run with this bunny?


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Wow.

Saturday, November 28th, 2015 04:24 pm
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (JoshShades)
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Would you believe AO3 has no Fandom tag for Josh? Apparently I'm the first one to write a fic using his name as a fandom tag. (I posted my two photofics, Dump and Bright.) That really surprises me.

96 works I've got up and counting. Still really shocked by that number, by the way.


In other news, Thanksgiving was nice... )


As to being thankful? This year, I'm thankful to have sidled into a (somewhat) new fandom, with wonderful people who get it. You all are lovely, it's been so unexpected, and now I have to stop saying anything because I'm tearing up.



Love and hugs to all!


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serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (MightyGoodManPike)
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It's a bit late maybe, but it's still Veterans Day here, and I just remembered that I wanted to post this. A link to a story I wrote some years ago for the day.


Soldier's Wife
by Serai


Some nights she goes out and looks at the stars, staring up into the depths until she’s dizzy, losing herself in the brilliant spill of light, wrapped in it as if in place of his arms. Some nights she can’t look at them at all, and they are her enemies, have torn his arms away from her.

She doesn’t dare admit what she knows is true, hidden deep down where she can’t look at it...


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Rejoice!

Thursday, December 25th, 2014 11:58 am
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (Yule Frodo)
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The glow amid the trees brought them wondering from miles around, hoof and wing and paw, and at the first tiny cry, they gasped in unison. The woman's breathing slowly eased, and the year began again.




Happy holidays!
serai: A kiss between Casey Connor and Zeke Tyler (Yule Frodo)
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Merry Christmas!

Click for desktop-size image )




And because I know a lot of you are anticipating the return of Sherlock, here's a little something for your stocking...

Many Happy Returns )

Enjoy!

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