Games, drumming, juggling, home improvements, cooking, comics, dogs, macs, music, etc.

Squall - probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skval: useless chatter (Merriam-Webster)
It's my goal to have the LONGEST blog pages around. Kind of.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Playing Cards and Dice Tower

I tell people not to bother with gifts for my for my birthday, but I usually get a good gift from Meran. This year was no different, with an added surprise.

First up, Meran's awesome card decks she found; a bunch of really cool deck themes, with some really good art in them, too.

First up, the Pirate deck! Yarr! Really neat and clever deck. All the Jacks, Queens and Kings are famous pirates, and have an antique feel and look to them.

The rest of the decks are from Bicycle and are all from their 'custom decks' line. Or magic decks. If I were into card tricks, these would be great to play around with and learn. They are also usable for regular cards. Cribbage or Poker, anyone?
And some I can't find reference to anymore:
  • Black Spider
  • Purple
  • Guardians
  • Black Scorpion
  • Black Light Glow in the Dark
If you want a unique deck of cards, check out Bicycle's arcane line.

I hosted a Titan game in my new game room, there will be a post for that soon, too (The game room, not Titan). Probably after Thanksgiving. One of my friends gave me some passes to get into the Portland Chinese Gardens. We've been to the Japanese Gardens (mostly for the Bonsai showings) but not the Chinese Gardens - we are looking forward to going.

I got a package from UPS today. It was from my brother-in-law, Dennis. I had an inkling this was coming, but I wasn't going to expect it, but enjoy it if / when it showed up. It was a dice tower. I love dice games, rolling dice, and dice towers. I've never really gotten around to making or even buying a dice tower, or a rolling surface. Best I ever did was to line my dice box with a soft, rubbery surface that Meran got for me at a hobby shop. It's a great surface - I may line this dice tower with it, but the cork Dennis used is probably sufficient. Anyway, the dice tower collapses for better / easier transport. Many of my friends' nice wooden dice towers are all-in-ones that are bulky to carry. Other friends have collapsible dice towers made from cardboard or even PVC pipe. Enough squall, on to the pictures:

Pretty cool, huh?

Here it is collapsed, ready for transport!

Close up of the dragon graphic.

That's my gift synopsis. If you don't know how old I am, I won't divulge that intel in this post. You'll just have to figure it out on your own. Here's to another year on the planet.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Green Chile

Green Chile - This is by far my favorite dish. I was introduced to it by a friend of mine (Brooke!) at a Rock Bottom Grill in downtown Denver. It was only offered as an appetizer in a cup like soup. I was hooked. I was constantly on the lookout for green chile in any restaurant. I found that it varies from a watery greenish sauce to a think, hearty stew. I tend to like the thicker stuff, not so much the watery stuff.

I've learned to cook it to the capacity where I enjoy it immensely, although I usually forget the cumin until late (usually Meran reminds me to put it in). We've done variants with potatoes instead of pork for a vegetarian green chile, and changed out some of the ingredients, but it is pretty consistent of Hatch chiles, tomatoes, pork, onions, garlic and spices to taste.

Whenever I make it, I am always trying to do different things with the end product; smother burritos, nachos, or quesadillas. Eat it alone as soup / stew, with flour tortillas. Huevos Rancheros. And during my last gallon of chile, it got me thinking. When I see (or saw) kids eating french fries, they didn't really eat the fries. The fries were mostly a ketchup delivery device. So, with all my burritos and various dishes, was I really just delegating them to a green chile delivery system of my own? Well, yes, I guess so. Although, I do eat it on its own, I also use it as a gravy or condiment of sorts.

With the last batch I made I committed a holy sin of Green Chile - I used canned chiles. I just haven't found a source of fresh fire-roasted green chiles in Oregon. I've heard rumors of an occasional farmer's market, but I haven't found anything solid. Oregon is a 'Chile free' zone, it seems. It's even tough to find big cans of green chiles. I can find big ass cans of jalapenos, but not green chiles. (I finally found them at WinCo and Cash & Carry.) This last batch, along with the cardinal sin of canned chiles, I used tomatillos instead of tomatoes, and that kept the green chile green! Boy howdy! It was a good experiment; I've seen recipes with tomatoes and tomatillos, and the tomatillos are a keeper. Now I gotta find fresh ones because, alas, these were canned, too. This whole batch was the 'canned chile' recipe. It still came out really good, tho.

What do you like YOUR green chile on?