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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Stone Dog Inn XII – Thank You and A Gift

As written on the Barony of Ayreton page on Faccebook:

Greetings unto the Barony of Ayreton!

As announced yesterday at Stone Dog Inn, when called before Their Excellencies during Feast, I happily and humbly submit the book of recipes that my team and I used to create the modest feast submitted for the pleasure and sustenance of our populace. The recipes contained in this book are sized for a family gathering as I believe that food should be shared, doubly so amongst our kith and kin.

I would also like to take this time to acknowledge the efforts and time of Siobhan and Tiffany, who both tirelessly assisted with creating the feast set before Their Excellencies and the populace, and of Helewyse, who was a source of reassurance and knowledge in this endeavor. Thank you all for your help. Stone Dog’s Feast could not have been executed without you!

Thank you also to those who came in after us to help with cleaning the kitchen and dishes! I appreciate your efforts and time, as well!

Thank you once again for allowing my team and I the opportunity to feed you after a long day of tournaments and games of skill!

In Service,
Samson “Samii” Muskovich


Stone Dog XII Feast Recipe Book

 

Dark Chocolate Beer Cupcakes with Whipped Irish Cream Frosting

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Makes 24 filled and frosted cupcakes.

Cupcake:

1.5 C. All-Purpose Flour

6 oz. Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Powder (4 Pouches of regular, 6 pouches if you use the Simply Dark variant)

1.5 Tsp. Baking Soda

3/4 C. Porter or Stout (I used Revolution Brewery’s Eugene Porter, but Guinness or Dragon’s Milk Stout work just as well!)

1/2 C. Milk

4 Eggs

1 C. Melted Dark Chocolate

3.5 oz. Chocolate Fudge (or plain ol’ Chocolate) Pudding (3 Single Serving Cups)

(Note: You can make the quick and dirty version by purchasing a box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix and just substituting the water for your choice of dark beer and following the on-box directions; I heartily suggest using either Guinness or Dragon’s Milk!)

 

Frosting/Filling:

1 Pint (16 oz.) Heavy Cream, Well Chilled

3/4 C. Powdered Sugar, Sifted

1/4 Tsp. Cream of Tartar

2 Tbsp. Irish Cream

 

Cupcake Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 350* F.

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Slowly add your beer to the dry ingredients. It will foam up. Whisk together slowly to incorporate.

4. Add the rest of your wet ingredients and incorporate.

5. Add cupcake liners to your tin and lightly spray (I used olive oil spray. Cake release can also be used.) so the batter doesn’t stick heavily to your liners.

6. Pour batter into liners (approx. 3 Tbsp/cup) and bake for 15-20 minutes (check after 15 — every oven’s different!).

7. Set aside to cool.

 

Frosting/Filling Directions

If you can, chill your whisk attachment and mixing bowl prior to making the frosting. It’ll make things move more quickly.

1. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl (this one does not need to be chilled) and combine.

2. In your chilled bowl, combine wet ingredients. Start your mixer (hand-held or stand mixer) on slow and gradually increase speed until hard peaks form.

3. Once hard peaks form, lower the speed of your mixer and gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing until combined. The frosting will be stiff and will not run once it’s ready.

4. Using a pastry bag and a Wilton #230 tip, fill the bag with frosting. Insert the tip 2/3 of the way into the cupcake, and slowly pull out to fill. Repeat for the other cupcakes.

5. Once cupcakes are filled, take a second pastry bag with coupler and attach your choice of decorating tip (I like using a #32 tip). Decorate the top of the cupcakes.

6. Garnish with mini chocolate chips, if you’d like, and serve!

Stone Dog XII: Russian Into Fun

Hey, you! Yes, YOU!

Do you like games of chance, Darn Good Food, or the chance to earn fame and renown?

Well, you should mark your calendar for April 23rd for Stone Dog Inn XII: Russian Into Fun!

Why? Because we’re bringing a little piece of Mother Russia to the Midrealm, and it promises to be an event NOT to be missed!

(Shameless plug because I’m cooking Feast and I REALLY want y’all to come and enjoy some not-so-strange Russian food (you remember that amazing-looking chicken I made a couple months ago, right?), plus this is one of the SCA events I’m always at because it’s just plain fun.)

Here’s the deets:

When: Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 @ 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Where: St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 14700 Kildare Ave, Midlothian, IL 60445

Cost:
Site Fee: $5 for 13 years and older
$2 for ages 4-12
Ages 3 and under free
($5 nonmember surcharge will apply)
Lunch Tavern: $5 suggested donation
Feast: $10 suggested donation
And, because I’m the Head Cook, here’s a sneak peek of the tentative menu for the Feast:

On the Table

Bread

  • Chernyy khleb (Black Bread) – A dark rye bread that was a staple of Russian cuisine.
  • Drachona – A light, toasty egg-based bread often served in Russia.

Butter

  • Plain Butter
  • Honey Butter

 Cheese

  • Cream Cheese spread with herbs

 Drink

  • Kompot – Drink made by steeping dried fruit in water and sweetening slightly. Ours is made with dried apples and cranberries.
  • Water

 

Salad (1st) Course

Mixed Green Salad

  • Mixed salad with crumbled Goat’s Milk Cheese, Candied Walnuts (on table), Chopped Gala Apples, and Honey Apple Cider Vinaigrette

 

Main (2nd) Course

Russian Roasted Chicken

  • Succulent chicken thighs brined in a base of Russian Lager and period herbs.

Herbed Pork Loin

Kasha

  • Traditional Russian buckwheat side dish flavored with garlic and mushrooms.

Cranberry Sauce

Fried Cabbage

 

Dessert (3rd) Course

Medianyky

  • Russian Honey Cookies

Trudonoshi

  • Mini Russian-style cheesecakes served with your choice of Berry or Spiced Cherry Sauce

Snowglobe

Because I do live in Illinois and it’s supposed to be snowy out (it’s not, sadly) for the holidays, I have snow falling on my site through January 4th.

….It kinda makes the site look like a snowglobe, don’t ya think?

 

P.S.

Look for updated information after the new year. I’m finally fleshing out the “Who is Samii Tiger?” section!