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.

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.

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

 

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

Russian Roasted Chicken

DSC_0812For Stone Dog XII, being held in 2016, I’ll be the head cook for our Russian-themed Feast. Since it’s my first go-round, I was asked to try the recipes I’ll be making (and actually document them, in some cases). Given that it’s the day before Thanksgiving, I figured I’d make the chicken dish I’m planning; it’s not turkey, but it’s pretty amazing all the same.

One batch makes ~10 lbs or 20 pieces of chicken.

Ingredients:

16.9 oz. Baltika No. 9 Russian Lager

1/4 C. Sea Salt

3/4 C. Sugar

1.5 L  Hot Water

1.5 L Ice Water

10 lb. or 20 pc. Chicken Thighs

1/4 C. (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter

1 Tbsp. Each of:

  • Whole Peppercorns
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Minced Garlic

Instructions:

1) Combine Russian Lager, Salt, Sugar, and Spices in a large bowl or kitchen tub. Stir to combine ingredients and begin dissolving salt and sugar for the brine base.

2) Heat up 1.5 L of water to just below boiling. Once heated, add into brine base and stir in, ensuring salt and sugar are dissolved.

3) Add 1.5 L of ice water to cool the brine down.

4) Add chicken, giving it a stir to distribute the spices throughout the mixture.

5) Cover chicken and brine, and refrigerate for 16-24 hours.

6) When ready to cook, pre-heat oven to 375* F, line pans with foil (helps with clean-up later), and melt butter.

7) Pat chicken pieces dry and lay them out in a single layer on the pans you’re using. Baste chicken with melted butter before placing in the oven.

8) Place chicken into oven and set the timer for 60 minutes. At the 40 minute and 20 minute marks, baste with more butter.

9) At the end of 60 minutes, check the internal temperature of the chicken with a kitchen thermometer to 165* F. Once it’s at 165* F, remove chicken from oven and allow it to rest prior to plating and serving.

10) Serve and enjoy!

DSC_0801

New Ventures?

So, something that has recently been brought up to me again (and that I’d been contemplating for the past few years) is getting off my duff and investing in leatherworking tools. I’m slowly acquiring my own gear to complete (mostly) personal projects, but I also realize that I could do things like making accessories for SCA/Ren Faire events, making harnesses for fashion and practical use, and making collars and leashes for pets.

The thing is, for me to be able to do any of this, I need money for tools and supplies… And it’s kinda tempting to form a Kickstarter to pick up the things I need to form my basic workshop. Thankfully, I have access to a family-owned leather supply store (Yay, I Sachs and Sons!), so my options for leather supplies are more than just Tandy. Speaking of Tandy, I also have access to not one, but TWO stores within a couple hours’ drive of my living space, so I can certainly pick up things when I need to.

The idea is that, in my spare time aside from work and homework (I’m still in school), I’m trying to raise a bit of extra cash to: a) pay off old debts, b) pay down current bills, c) create a savings account, and d) just become a bit more financially solvent. Also, I like working with my hands, so it keeps me happy when I can’t do much outside during the winter.

Candied Bacon

DSC_0227

My SCA sword brothers, House Clovenshield, love bacon… And when celebrating one of your sword brothers’ 4 years of cancer remission, why not go all out? So, I made them candied bacon.

Makes 4 lbs. of Candied Bacon. The ingredients can be quartered if you’re only making 1 lb… But why would you?

Ingredients

2 C. Light Brown Sugar

4 Tsp. Garlic Powder

4 Tsp. Smoked Paprika

4 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg

2 Tsp. Black Pepper

4 lb. Thick Cut Bacon (I used bacon that was applewood smoked)

Utensils

1 Spoon

1 Large Bowl (or reclosable bag)

4 cookie Sheets

Parchment Paper

Cooling Rack

Sharp Knife

Cutting Board

 

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F.

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.

3. Open bacon packages and cut in half.

4. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

5. Lay bacon in cookie sheets from edge to edge, making sure the pieces touch.

6. Liberally sprinkle approx. half of the dry rub on bacon. Rub into meat once applied.

7. Place bacon into oven for 15 minutes.

8. After 15 minutes has passed, remove bacon from oven and turn over.

9. Liberally sprinkle the other half of the dry rub on the bacon.

10. Cook bacon in the oven for another 15-18 minutes.

11. Line cooling racks with parchment paper.

12. Remove cooked bacon from cookie sheets and place on lined cooling racks.

13. Allow bacon to cool.

14. Enjoy (preferably with a cold beverage of your choosing)!

 

Happy New Year, folks! Well, those of you in the Western world, anyways!

As we start 2015 off, my goal is to make my little corner of the web a bit more active. Recipes, posts, project documentation. You name it, I’m probably going to be doing it. While I’ve had this domain for a while, it’s never really had any direction.  My online portfolio does, of course, but not my personal website, and I want to change that.

That said, the site will likely see some changes over the next few months as my interests and focus shifts towards the SCA and the development of a local group at College of DuPage.

Perhaps I’ll also get off my butt and finally post more information on my primary personas, Samii Tiger and Samson Muskovich, as well!