Monthly Archives October 2010

Portals of the Week

Each week we scour the tubes of the Internet for portals to all the best cooking, gaming, and all around geeky realms.

Food & Cooking
5 Horrible Burger Trends How much is too much with a burger? But be honest, sometimes BBQ sauce is better than ketchup. While you’re at it, learn to make McDonald’s fries.

The origin of “Team Diva” – Team Diva got their name from a their slogan “Go Diva!” in Top Chef Just Desserts. “Go Diva” is just “Godiva.” Which is one of the shows sponsors.

Sly Flourish’s Dungeon Master Tips Book Have you read through the DnD 4e Player’s Strategy Guide and thought “why isn’t there a book like this for DMs?” Well, look no further. This book will single-handedly crank your game up to 11, even if you’re in another system and no matter how long you’ve DMed.

General Nerdery
Prince Guide to Dinosaurs – Need a gift for that dino-nerd in your life? Want to have a shelf-version of everything known about Dinosauria to date? Just flip through the “Look Inside!” to see how much this book rocks. Pun completely intended.

Charts of Fantasy – Know what color most dragons were on bookcovers in 2009? How about most used words in Fantasy titles?

The Shepherd’s Tale – Darkhorse Comics has posted the first 10 pages of the upcoming Firefly/Serenity comic giving Shepherd Book’s back story.

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Top Chef Just Desserts Recap: Relay & Restaurant Wars

Know what makes desserts taste worse? Tears. I’m surprised my living room didn’t get flooded from this episode. But at least it’s in the homestretch and I can see a sweet escape – well, until Top Chef All-Stars starts. This week’s episode dished out two fan favorites for challenges.

For the Quickfire, which no longer offer immunity but instead cash rewards for a win, the chefs were split into two teams for the Pastry Relay Race! The chefs had to make 12 perfect tart crust, 12 buttercream roses, separate 6 eggs and beat the whites stiff and then stretch and roll a strudel dough the size of the table. It was a hell of a challenge.

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Mixoligist’s 5 Halloween Cocktails

Between weather that can’t make up its mind and writers who barely have time to devour a fun size Almond Joy as breakfast, we’re completely aware that sometimes planning for a party can be daunting. With Halloween right around the corner, what better way to celebrate than drinking some of the most disgusting sounding, but delicious tasting, drinks ever!

Black Widow

Heralded as “spooky and sour,” this eight-legged drink is bound to keep your tongue blood red all night. If you’re not a fan of black licorice, red works just as well.

Dirty Eyeball-tini

Clearly what has been missing from the martini all these years are eyeballs. The fantastic look is created using stuffed radishes.

Bloody Brain Shooter

It terrifies that Bailey’s has become popular because of the simple fact that it curdles. But for your inner zombie, here’s a drink that will gross out everyone.

Candy Corn Cordial

Not all drinks are gross because of brains and spiders, some are just packed so full of candy they’re sickeningly sweet.

Blood Drip

Part of me thinks these are way too much work, while the other part of me thinks they look far too cool to pass up. Best served with a Vampire’s Kiss.

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Baker’s Recipe: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

A good baker draws inspiration from everything, including the self-destructive tendencies of the Mixologist! Tasked with making a dessert based off a drink, this recipe takes the bar favorite, the Irish Car Bomb. A shot of Irish cream and Irish Whiskey dropped into a Guinness – a drink that must be consumed within seconds or it will curdle! But if your timing is right, it’s like a delicious chocolate milk.

The base of these cupcakes is a Chocolate Stout Cake and the recipe I used is based off of the one, but it was cut in half because no one needs enough batter to make 48 cupcakes. The frosting is an Irish Cream butter frosting topped with a whiskey-chocolate ganache.

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Portals of the Week

Each week we scour the tubes of the Internet for portals to all the best cooking, gaming, and all around geeky realms.

Top 10 Food & Words You’ve Never Heard Of – All of my favorite things are jentacular.
Six ways customers tick off chefs – General rule of thumb: don’t be a dick.
Home-Cured Bacon – Excuse me while I find a towel to wipe up all this drool.

Zombie Street Fighter – If this ever became a game, I would probably start playing fighting games again.
Every RPG Ever – It’s more than true since you’re probably an orphan with a great destiny but first you need to check out the festival.

General Nerdery
The Female Character Flowchart – Combine with the Every RPG Ever flowchart for the worst choose your own adventure ever
The R2-D2 Swimsuit – I got nothing.
The Evolution of the Geek – I’m at least a half-dozen of these. Maybe more. Tom’s closer to a dozen.

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Top Chef Just Desserts Recap: Black & White & Beets

Finally, we’re down to the final 7 chef’testants and their inane whining. This show is such a train wreck. But this week, Gail decided to throw the chef’s a serious curveball with Michael Laiskonis as the guest judge.

The chefs not only had to make a savory dessert, they had only a single pot to use to do it! It seemed kind of mean to throw both at the chefs, but Gail made sure to inform everyone that the challenge was sponsored by Dawn and they could wash their single pot with Dawn and their hands would stay smooth because of Dawn. So with an assortment of vegetables, Morgan elbows Heather in the face and then talks about how he’s like Shaq.

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Firefly Recipe: “Good Dog” Teriyaki

It’s a cheap joke at the beginning of the pilot episode of Firefly when the crew of Serenity lands explores the market on Persepolis and there’s a sign that says “GOOD DOG.” Of course, then the camera pans and you see a guy grilling meat. But food is food, and since I’m feeling generous this recipe won’t include dog.

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Changes to drafting in Magic: the Gathering

An interesting post went up on the Mothership that marks a big change in the way drafting is going to happen for Magic: the Gathering! The old method was always you draft oldest to newest, but that’s getting thrown out the window.

Beginning with Mirrodin Besieged, booster drafts will begin with the most recent set. This is a change from the current drafting order, which adds new sets to the end of the drafting order as they’re released.

For example, if you run an event with 2 boosters of Scars of Mirrodin and 1 booster of Mirrodin Besieged, players will open the packs in the order Mirrodin Besieged / Scars of Mirrodin / Scars of Mirrodin. When the set codenamed “Action” is released, the draft order will be “Action” / Mirrodin Besieged / Scars of Mirrodin.

This is fascinating and honestly makes a lot of sense. Very often, newer cards get pushed to the side for older cards when doing a three-expansion draft. But my favorite part has to be the Aaron Forsythe answer as to why:

Q: Why make this change now?

Forsythe: The current drafting order has been in place since at least Mirage, maybe even Ice Age, but the Magic R&D veterans said they’d never heard anybody question it. After talking with lots of people, drafting the new set first makes so much sense that I’m surprised it hasn’t been brought up before.

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Gollum’s Recipe: Gollum Juice

Photo from Serkis.comOne would imagine that speaking all day in a raspy whining voice, mixing in various throaty coughs and noises, would irritate your throat. In the case of Andy Serkis, who portrayed Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, his voice was destroyed day after day.

In order to combat the utter annihilation of his vocal cords Serkis drank what he termed “Gollum Juice” which, as he describes it, “which was made of honey, lemon and ginger. So we used to make up big jugs of it with warm water and I used to drink that on set everyday, lots of it everyday.” (BBC Newsround) . Curiously, no actual recipe for the drink exists, as Serkis never described the proportions of all the ingredients. Aside from helping to soothe the pain from excessive singing or voice acting Gollum Juice serves as a fantastic little remedy for a sore throat or cold.

Despite the lack of a recipe, the principle ingredients are clear. In some ways this is like a tea, except that the ginger serves as the ingredient that “steeps” in the warm water. Both Jesse and I have used this recipe on a number of occasions, especially when trying to remedy sore vocal cords from a night of singing at the bar or an all night Rockband party, but that is a tale for another time. For now, here’s a recipe, ingredients and all, for Mr. Serkis’ famous remedy.

(photo from

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Firefly Recipe: Shepherd Book’s Fried Tomatoes

Recipes based off fantasy and science fiction aren’t anything new, but more often than not, many recipes leave a lot to be desired (No one really wants to eat Spoo, right?). But some places in the ‘Verse make better food than others. So I’ve taken a page from Shepherd Book and am starting off the Firefly & Serenity Recipes!

First up is Shepherd Book’s fried tomatoes as first seen in the episode Serenity. Little more than tomatoes and a few spices, this dish takes inspiration from classic Italian seasonings from Earth-that-Was. It works great as a side, but overcooking the tomatoes can make it a challenge to eat with chopsticks.

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