Rumchata Cheesecake

Ingredients:

150 ml of Rumchata

12 oz bag of white chocolate chips

2 Prepared Graham Cracker Crusts

Prepared Cheesecake Base (Philadelphia makes a fantastic one)

Extra Creamy Cool Whip

Cinnamon Sugar to garnish

Instructions:

1. Set up a double boiler using a heavy pot and a Pyrex bowl. Fill the pot approx. 1/3 with water and heat water to just below boiling.  In the bowl, place your chips and 100 ml of Rumchata. Place the bowl over the pot. As the chips begin to melt down, stir the Rumchata and chips together, creating a smooth mixture.

2. Pour half of the ganache in each crust, spreading so that it creates an even layer, then place in the fridge to set for 20 minutes.

3. While the ganache is setting, add your remaining Rumchata to the Cool Whip and stir to blend. Put aside in the fridge until ready to add it.

4. Once the ganache has set (it shouldn’t move about easily if the pan is tilted), add half of the cheesecake base to each crust and spread so it creates an even layer.

5. Add half the Cool Whip to the top of each cheesecake, spreading evenly.

6. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over each, and serve or store in the fridge until later.

Letters to Pennsic – Aug 7 2017 (AS 52)

Dear Mistress Acelina,

I must confess that my heart is full of joy and pride at hearing of the chivalry and courtesy that the Dragon’s youngest warriors are displaying, possibly more so than our esteemed Crown. And even more so that you are once more being called to guide them on their journeys! These are exciting times, indeed!

I have been lucky thus far to work with Gareth on training some enthusiastic fighters in Carraig Ban who are slightly younger than myself. Their thirst for battle rivals my own, though I seek more now to temper mine with tenacity rather than simple prowess. I am hoping, too, that I can encourage Sirs Sabah and Robert Downey to come out and assist with their training, for I am certain that their experience will help hone both the blades and minds of those who wish to learn from them.

I visited with Baroness Epona today in her home, which is not far from my own, and she is alive and well. We spoke at length about her upcoming elevation to the Order of the Pelican and I gave her a small token to wear on her chains. I once more conveyed my regret at not being able to attend such a joyous occasion where I would see not only she, but Baron Gareth be recognized for their contributions, but they both understand — the Watch demands me to be present, and present I shall be. Lady Johara also visited during that time, so I was able to enjoy both of their company and see that they both are in relatively good health.

I admit that I was overjoyed to hear that our kingdom’s champions were victorious today in battle. I know that Brynn is excited at the opportunity to fight for the Midrealm as a newly minted Combat Archer, but please ensure that he is properly rested and healed from his injury before he fights. I do not wish for him to enter Valhalla before his time.

You mentioned in your last missive that you are planning on playing one of your instruments this week. Do you have a particular time that you will be performing, or just as the feeling moves you?

My turn on the watch is nearly through. After I sleep for a bit, I shall begin working on new garb for Johara and Sabah, and packing for my own journey later this week.

With all fondness,
Samii

Letters to Pennsic – Aug 5 2017 (AS 52)

Dear Mistress Acelina,

Today was an unseasonably cool and supposedly drizzly day on the Western front. I ended up roasting some carrots and tossing them in a butter and honey whiskey sauce, and roasting off some zucchini and summer squash for lunch earlier since the day called for a heartwarming meal.

I heard from the missives of several others earlier that it was cold and wet at War today. Hopefully, the weather passes into less humid and drier conditions for the armies that are gathering. I hear that there is another day of so of revelry where all parties are at peace before everyone takes up arms.

I must confess that my heart beats with the sound of war drums in my ears and I am longing to stand next to my friends and family and take up arms. But such is the way with fighters, as I’m sure you know. I am passing the time until everyone returns home with crafts and chores. There are scrolls to paint, clothes to sew, leather to tool.

In a week’s time, I will be on my way to curate a market in the Barony of Sternfeld dedicated to the celebration of our animal companions. It will be my last time in this role, and it is bittersweet. However, as I mentioned, the war drums call to my heart and soul, and I shall be able to answer them more readily in future years.

May your days be dry and filled with enjoyment, and I gleefully await your next missive!

Samii

Letters to Pennsic – Aug 2 2017 (AS 52)

Dear Mistress Acelina:

The weather in Carraig Ban is less ominous than that at War today, though still hot and a touch humid.

I picked up fabric yesterday to start working on my clothes for Fall Crown, though I have zero desire to start working on anything just yet. Not for fear of mis-cutting something (though that’s always a worry), but just simply because the day is quickly getting away from me. It’ll pass and I’ll take care of it eventually.

On my way home, I took some of the less traveled roads between Ayreton and Carraig Ban. The crops will soon be ready for harvest and there appeared to be a lack of bandits. I avoided the waterways, however, for I hear there are tax collectors that prowl the banks relentlessly, or so Sir Sabah has mentioned.

I think that I shall lie down for a bit and maybe take on a bit of cider while I enjoy the last bits of leave that I have until tonight when I am on watch again. Carraig Ban’s towers require constant vigilance in the event that travelers call for aid, and I am grateful that Their Excellencies Hillary and Gareth have allowed me to remain in Her Excellency Epona’s territories and be of service while they sort out their disagreements.

31 Fight Challenge – Fight 1

Today, at the Canton of Rokkehealden’s event Day of Playe 2, I had my first fight of 31.

Many thanks to Siobhan, as MiC, for providing me space to hold the field, and to my friend Zygarr for the first fight of the challenge.

When I arrived on site, I wasn’t sure if I was going to armor up or not. My right shoulder has been bugging me a bit since Tuesday afternoon and I didn’t want to reaggravate it, especially with Swine and Roses coming up next weekend. After a bit of chatting with folks and being prod a bit by both Siobhan and Zygarr, I armored up to fight.

Zygarr just built a new greatsword a couple of weeks prior and wanted to try it out, so I grabbed Nameless (the smaller and lighter of my two greatswords) and we danced. We did 4 rounds of pickups, with each of us taking 2 of the rounds as wins and then having a discussion about greatsword form and headspace following it. Mostly, though, that 20 minutes of fighting did more to restore my confidence in my abilities with my weapons and armor than the last few months of practices have, and that is invaluable to me, especially as I’d faced several bouts of imposter syndrome recently.

1 down, 30 to go.

Be The Knight

There are a lot of things that are swirling about in my head regarding the SCA as of late. It’s where I hang my metaphorical hat when I’m beyond done being a responsible adult and 911 Dispatcher.

The pervasive thought in my head currently has come up because of a parade I’m walking in tomorrow for the 4th of July with some of the Barony of Ayreton members. I asked a question a few days ago: garb or armor? I received responses mostly leaning towards armor, and I agree with them, but for my own reason that representation matters.

To some kid, tomorrow, I’m going to be their knight. And so is my friend, Saraswati.

To some of these kids that will be along the parade path tomorrow, we will represent to them that they can be anything they want to be, even a knight. And that’s huge. That’s what The Dream is about, to me. Being the inspiration to someone when they need it, even if they don’t realize it.

That is why, despite the fact that I am at work tonight and will get zero sleep before the parade, I will armor up tomorrow morning and walk in 80+ degree weather with my Baron and Baroness and members of the Ayreton populace.

Because I’m going to make some kid’s day when they see me in my red tunic, black pants and boots, and silver armor. Because representation matters so very much in this day and age. Because the simple act of me playing the part will give someone hope and make them smile, even if it’s just for a little bit.

So, I’m going to gear up and act like a knight despite being so very far from that goal within the Society.

Scripted Limoncello (Update!)

Since this was the first time I’d made the limoncello from scratch while documenting everything, it’s to be expected that there would be some changes. Also, I have a new beer making kit that I’ll be making use of down the line that should make my life easier. The instructions have been updated to reflect the new gear.

Anyhow, here’s the updated information on how to make my version of limoncello (with an addition for making my now-infamous blueberry limoncello).

Total Time: 8-10 weeks (depending on if berries are added)

Ingredients:

3.5 L (2 – 1.75 L Bottles) of 80 Proof Vodka (I use Sobieski)

96 oz. Lemon Juice (Bottled, from concentrate is fine.)

1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt

12 C. Sugar

4 lbs. Lemons

Instructions:

1. Rinse lemons twice in hot water to remove any wax that may be on them. Once lemons are clear of wax, zest them using a potato peeler so that you have large strips. They will be removed prior to bottling, and this will make that easier.

2. In a large pot, combine 32 oz (1 bottle) of lemon juice, 4 cups of sugar, salt, and lemon peels. Toss the peels in cheesecloth to make them easier to remove later. Bring up to a simmer and allow sugar to dissolve.

3. While waiting for the sugar to dissolve, juice the fresh lemons. Add the fresh lemon juice to the container you’ll be using to make your limoncello. I’m using my beer kit’s fermentation bucket for this. It’ll later be transferred to a glass carboy to finish doing its thing.

4. Once cooled, add the sweetened juice mixture to the fresh juice and stir to combine. Peels go in, too!

5. Add your vodka, stir to combine again, and put in the corner for the next month.

6. After a month has passed, heat the rest of your lemon juice (64 oz. – 2 bottles) and sugar (8 cups) together and combine to make a lemon simple syrup. Remove bundle of lemon peels from base and discard. While the lemon simple syrup is heating up and the sugar is dissolving, transfer the base to a glass container (I’m using a 3 gal. carboy now). Once the sugar’s dissolved, add the simple syrup and combine.

7. After  another months, bottle and enjoy your regular limoncello. If you want plain limoncello, stop here. If you want blueberry, proceed to the next step!

8 (Optional). I usually split my batches of limoncello into regular and blueberry. Start with a pint of blueberries. Roll them in sugar and add to your bottle. I usually add enough blueberries to fill 1/6 to 1/4 of the bottle. Top off with limoncello, shake to dissolve the new sugar, and let sit for 2 more weeks. After 2 weeks, it’s ready to drink, but it only gets better as it ages.

Limoncello — Scripted Version!

As you may or may not know, my home Barony, Ayreton, has hosted a Scribal and Brewing event aptly named A Monk’s Life: Scribin’ and Imbibin’ for the last 2 years. This upcoming year, it’s being held on my birthday.  So, you KNOW I have to make something for it.

I chose to make limoncello. I tried to make a honey-lemon cordial last summer that ended up being more like limoncello, so I just ran with it. This time, though, there’s a recipe involved. We’ll see in March how it matures, but when I blended everything earlier, it tasted pretty darn good.

Start Date: 12/31/2016

Bottle Date: 3/17/2017

Ingredients:

3.5 L (2 – 1.75 L Bottles) of 80 Proof Vodka (I use Sobieski)

32 oz. Lemon Juice (Bottled, from concentrate is fine.)

1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt

3 C. Sugar (More may be added later when tested)

4 lbs. Lemons

Instructions:

1. Rinse lemons twice in hot water to remove any wax that may be on them. Once lemons are clear of wax, zest them using a potato peeler so that you have large strips. They will be removed prior to bottling, and this will make that easier.

2. In a large pot, combine bottled lemon juice, sugar, salt, and lemon peels. Bring up to a simmer and allow sugar to dissolve.

3. While waiting for the sugar to dissolve, juice the fresh lemons. Add the fresh lemon juice to the container you’ll be using to make your limoncello. I’m using a 2 gallon glass container for mine. Glass > Plastic!

4. Once cooled, add the sweetened juice mixture to the fresh juice and stir to combine. Peels go in, too!

5. Add your vodka, stir to combine again, and put in the corner for the next 3 months. Once a month, stir to agitate the mixture.

6. After 3 months, bottle and enjoy!

 

My Thoughts on Peers

I find it fascinating that many of my SCA friends have been discussing what makes a Peer, or what are Peer-like qualities, at the same time that I am reviewing my own journey thus far and where I want to go from here.

The Peers that I generally tend to affiliate with, I didn’t know were Peers when I met them. They are humble, kind people who don’t need to flaunt their prestige. They’re folks I can share a beer or a glass of wine with over a conversation, and have in many instances.

They’re decent folks themselves and try to encourage others to follow their moral compass for the good of the individual, the Society, and humanity as a whole. They understand that many hands make a task easy (most times).

They’re teachers and students all at once. They seek to expand their knowledge of people, themselves, their craft, and other crafts where they may not show mastery in. They understand that not all lessons come from our elders, and that younger folks have as much to give in their own ways.

They understand that they’re human — they forget, they get angry at times, they hurt, they share joy, they make mistakes, they forgive. And they do not hold the human condition against their fellow person.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As for myself, I personally think I have a while to go before I’m able to competently teach anyone else about my craft (leatherwork), but it’s also fun for me to experiment (see last night’s failed circlet attempt and my first run of my vambraces) and try to figure out what makes things work well. Okay, so that applies to cooking, as well. ;-P

I try to remain humble. While I’m fiercely proud of being recognized by my Barony and Kingdom for the things I’ve done, titles mean jack and squat to me. I’m Samii. Nothing more, nothing less. I know I’ve got a lot to work on and I’ve got miles and years to go on my journey.

I try to remain open to learning and improving. It’s the only way I’ll get better at anything. And, well, though I may be relatively proficient at a few things, I can always find new ways to do them that produce better results or just simply make my life easier.

I try to take experiences with a healthy dose of salt. Even negative experiences offer the silver lining of an opportunity to learn and grow. Crow is often best seasoned with salt and a little beer to wash it down.

I try to remain positive. Always forward. Forward always.

Egg Custard Pie

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Ingredients:

1 – 9in/ Graham Cracker pie crust

4 Large Eggs

2 C. Milk, Heavy Cream, or Half-and-Half

1/4 C. Sugar

1/8 tsp. Mace (or 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg)

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract (either paste or liquid)

1/2 tsp. Salt

 

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350*F.

2. Lightly beat eggs like you would for scrambled eggs.

3. Add salt, sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla to eggs. Beat lightly to combine.

4. Add milk to egg mixture. Beat to combine.

5. Pour custard mix into your pie crust.

6. Put the custard pie into the oven and cook for approximately 45-55 minutes. Custard will be firm and slightly jiggly when done.

7. Once done, remove from oven and allow to cool.

Optional: Sprinkle white sugar across the top of the pie, then melt with a culinary torch to create a creme brulee topping. Serve with whipped cream and/or fresh fruit.

 

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