Spent Grain Part I: No Knead Bread

So, Bill is the bread master at our house. I can make it, and it’s good, but it’s his joy and he’s phenomenal at it.

Mostly, he makes the basic recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.1 This year, he’s decided is the year he’s really tackling bread-making.

He’s experimented a bit over the last couple of years with the basic recipe. Amusingly, mostly experiments that his imagination has come up with. I don’t believe we’ve ever made a recipe that’s from the book beyond the basic recipe.

This was no exception. Except that it’s 100% my fault. Mostly because I got into brewing beer again while you guys weren’t looking, and I now have brewer’s spent grain (BSG) around the house. I wanted to save it for baking, but one and only time I’ve brewed so far was right before we went on a work trip.… Continue reading →


We’ve had a bit of a warm snap here in Chicago. I’m not sure how long it’s been going on. For me, it started yesterday. It was glorious. And distracting.

It feels like very early spring. The snow, which was rather deep, completely melted off our balcony. There’s enormous puddles all over town. I’m wandering around in a relatively light jacket.

It’s all a lie, of course. Winter will come back soon enough. Two days, I think, before the daily high temperatures drop below freezing again. But there’s no snow predicted for the next ten days, which I deeply appreciate.

Days like yesterday and today, I just have to get outside for a long time. They feel like little gifts. Even if, occasionally, I wish for an ice bridge between the crosswalk and the sidewalk, given I can’t leap the puddle I’m staring at.… Continue reading →

Bramble Rye is Memories. Those Made and Those to be Made.

The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. This was supposed to be up last Friday, but I missed. You can have it today. The host this month, for #84 is Oliver J Grey and he asked for “alternative beer reviews.” This is mine. Even if you don’t love beer, you may enjoy this review.

I have never had a chocolate covered raspberry. I feel they must exist, somewhere. But I’ve never had one. And, frankly, I’m fine with this. I adore chocolate, but raspberries are generally not my thing.

Blackberries, on the other hand, I will eat like the world is ending.… Continue reading →

Strawberry Mermaid and Sea Smoke – Story

When she’d walked up to him & announced she was a mermaid, he’d responded that she looked like neither Darryl Hannah nor Ariel. A furrowed brow and cocked head were her only response. As the silence had stretched, with her mouth twisting into a small frown, he’d found himself compelled to break the silence.

That had been a mistake too, he thought, sipping his effervescent bitters. He should have ignored anyone weird enough to tell a complete stranger her delusions of fishiness, but he had hoped it was simply a unique come-on. And when he was incapable of ignoring, he should have bolted away from anyone who didn’t know some very mainstream mermaid references.

But, no. He’d been entranced from the moment he’d laid eyes on her a half an hour or more before she had approached him.… Continue reading →

Strawberry Mermaid and Sea Smoke – Cocktails

These were invented, and the previous post written, for Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction contest. The story is very rough around the edges, but the cocktails are pretty damn good. Or so I think.

Indeed, we’ve shared them with guests now. And, as in the story, almost no one (just me) likes the “Sea Smoke,” but both Bill and Tony agree they can see why I like it. The “Strawberry Mermaid” has been a big hit, however. So, grab your booze and your bar tools and make this happen.

Strawberry Mermaid

1 barspoon good strawberry jam/preserves (homemade, in my case)
1/2 oz Campari

187 mL (~6 oz) sparkling wine.

Mix the jam with the Campari thoroughly, trying to break up any huge chunks of strawberries. Poor chilled wine over, mix gently, and serve.… Continue reading →