Several things make a post

Still battling Echoes of War. It’s so bloody close. Then it will just need editing, beta reads, a cover. Cover copy. A marketing plan.

It doesn’t help that mentally I’ve jumped ahead to the next works. The first chapter of Jani 7. A couple of short stories, one of which is a promised thing, the other of which would be my first cold short fiction submission since, oh, 1993. Nope, I don’t write much short stuff, and what I have written has been commissioned in one way or another. But I want to write this thing, so. It will get writ.

In other news, I have been enrolled in a clinical study to evaluate a two-shot regimen of the J&J Covid vaccine. Got my first shot this past Thursday–could be either a placebo or the actual vaccine. The injection site is still tender, so of course I am hoping for the latter. That said, I do have the option to leave the study if it turns out I was given placebo and later have the option to get vaccinated elsewhere. Whatever happens, I’m glad I was enrolled. My 26 years in Big Pharma were spent working in OTC and tableted product development, support, and analysis, so it’s interesting to get an in-depth look at the clinical side of things.

Finally, it wouldn’t be one of my posts unless food and/or flowers were included, so how about a favorite recipe. I have made this Food & Wine Eggplant Lentil Stew w/ Pomegranate Molasses several times, but had to tweak yesterday’s batch because of lack of ingredients and wanting to save steps. No Anaheim chiles, so I added a sweet red pepper. Green lentils instead of brown. Canned diced tomatoes instead of fresh. Dried spearmint leaves. I added harissa paste and advieh for heat and depth. Chopped up the eggplant instead of layering it with the tomato-onion blend. Finally, instead of cooking the lentils separately, I dumped them dry into the stew, and added a cup of water.

Two directions I have never followed with this recipe: 1) I never salt and drain the eggplant because why would I discard veggie juice when I can boil it down if necessary and 2) I don’t add the massive glug of olive oil because I don’t like oily food. I use 2-3 tablespoons to saute the veggies and that’s about it.

I left the stew on vigorous simmer, covered, for the required time, about 1.5 hours. Served it over couscous with pita bread on the side. So good, with a lovely red-brown sauce that was slightly thickened thanks to the lentils. I will continue to toss them in dry from now on.

I love this stew. I added some chicken to this batch as it cooked, and it absorbed the overall flavor. I’d like to add chickpeas to a future batch. More lentils. Different vegetables, like corn. I am thinking that shrimp might work as well.

Good stuff on a chilly day

So, that’s all for now. Until next time, take care. Eat good food.