One thing I’m enjoying about my time in London, apart from how well my dad is doing, is getting to engage in a bit of foodie geekdom while helping the family out.

My mom’s letting me cook (for once), and yesterday I made some Black Bean and Jalapeno soup for everyone, served with a great loaf of bread I picked up at the Neals Yard Cheese Shop (truly one of the great stores of this world).

The basic recipe is:

8 Jalapeno chilis, stems and seeds removed, chopped
1 T dried crushed red chile, seeds included
4-5 C canned black beans, rinsed
2 T vegetable oil
2 medium onions chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 C canned tomatoes chopped
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground epazote (optional)
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 T red wine vinegar
3 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)
3 cups of water
3 T tequila (optional)
sour cream for garnish

The bottom-line, quick version: saute the onions and garlic, then add the rest of the ingredients, save for one cup of tomatoes, one cup of black beans, the tequila and the sour cream. Simmer for an hour, then bland together (I use an immersion blender, but a food processor would also work). Add the last of the tomatoes and black beans, and simmer for another hour. Add the tequila, stir, and serve, garnished with sour cream and cilantro, if your taste goes in such directions.

*****

My sucky spellchecker does not have the word “cilantro” in it.

It suggests, as alternatives, “clangor” or “clang.”

Do NOT substitute “clangor” or “clang” in this recipe…

*****

Actual CHEESES purchased at Neals Yard:

Beenleigh Blue – A lovely Roquefort sheeps’ milk blue cheese.

Crozier Blue – A Gorgonzola style sheeps’ milk blue.

Wigmore – Semisoft, sweet sheep’s cheese with an amazing white color ands off-white/grey rind.

*****

I’m trying not to buy much music at all (this is a working trip, not a vacation), but DANG, it’s difficult when I run into this store called “Fapp” or “Fopp” or something like that, with TOONS of cool CDs on sale for five pounds!

PLUS, the new Finn Brothers CD is out. Could life get any better?

*****

Comic Showcase DOES have multiple copies of all the Dork Tower trade paperbacks in stock!

But of course, I was too self-conscious to offer to sign them, when I popped in yesterday.

Gads, I am SUCH a dork sometimes…

*****

Dork Tower #28 got a very nice review in the Comic Book Network Electronic Magazine.

(Note: This review contains some spoilers)

My View – David LeBlanc
DORK TOWER #28
40 pages, black & white, color covers, $2.99
Dork Storm Press
by John Kovalic

One of the things I like about DORK TOWER is that you get a continuing story revolving around the lives of this group of gamers for several pages each issue. This ties things together and gives the characters depth. It also makes good reading in the collected trades, the next will go through the next issue, #29, as a logical inclusion and junction of the larger continued story. But that continued story is not even a majority of the page count and so there are lots of one page gags on a variety of topics relating to gaming, comics, movies and other pop culture that keep you smiling all the way to the end.

One of my favorite tidbits this time involves Carson the muskrat selling his comics online. When Ken can’t believe it Carson explains he finally realized he spends way to much each week on comics that he hardly has any money left over. No, he must sell comics because he needs the cash – to buy more comics of course! Then there is Igor who always must have the latest game, the latest edition and all the classics that go on sale. He rationalizes to Carson, who says he can’t even keep track of the games he has never mind play them, why he needs to get “Kill Dr. Plucky” now because all the reviews say it is a “must have.” All it takes to changes his mind is a reminder that he already has two copies in his collection! Bits like these crack me up because they ring true – some of us are so involved in our hobbies we can’t see the foolish things we do. Fortunately John reveals these idiosyncrasies in a humorous way so we can all laugh at ourselves.

The main story is about the ongoing dilemma Matt has facing his feelings for Gilly while trying to figure out if he really should be dating Kayleigh. He is working hard at the relationship, they even shop together. All that proved was that they hate each other’s hobbies. As this part of the arc is coming to a peak, Igor has a plan to help Matt . . . be afraid, be very afraid!

The backup stories are their usual high quality. Dr. Blink, Super-Hero Shrink has three pages on the couch (pick up this title now, it is hilarious), the untitled SNAPDRAGONS strip shows the down side of babysitting when the kids start comparing their perspective on life with yours, poor Matt. “Romanticlicks” is a funny look at guys in a bar with an accountant tying to pick up a babe. What it really is a dramatization of a role playing game with typical results. The last three pager is another fine episode of Lethargic Lad with a unique villainess called Poison Uma, Jumpsuit Samurai. Her power is to cause things to fail around her. Even her partner in crime, Pussycat, falls from a ladder they are climbing. The Lethargic Lads all try their best but each fail, except the original with a unique approach. I had not seen that coming and it was perfect!

DORK TOWER always gets me laughing and wanting more at the end. It is one comic I can count on month after month to be consistently
entertaining and a good value for the money. This issue is another winner.

ANOTHER spiffy review came in at Movie Poop Shoot. There’s also a neat review of the Hero Happy Hour special I did a three-pager for.

DORK TOWER #28
Written and Drawn by John Kovalic
Published by Dork Storm Press

DORK TOWER continues to be a consistent and solidly entertaining book, month after month, exploring the inner worlds of serious gamers and other geeks. Anyone who has read comics for any length of time will recognize at least a small part of themselves in the book, even if it’s a part they hate venomously. This issue’s best tale takes on the those relationships that many of us have found themselves in, ones in which the other half hates our geek hobbies. Lots of truth there. Plus, this issue has a stunning guest cover from Chynna Clugston-Major that helps this book stand way out on the stands. It alone makes the book worth cover price. Grade: B+

*****

Jim, the amazingly kindhearted and generous fellow at Warpcon ’04 who bid $1,000 for charity to appear in Dork Tower, now has a VERY pivotal role in Dork Tower 29 (his appearance was postponed from DT 28 as the storyline grew). It will probably be a recurring role, as well.

I am SO excited about how Dork Tower 29 is shaping up. The main story should be either 23 or 25 pages long. I’m just tweaking it now. LOTS of emotion going into this one. Some big, BIG stuff happens.

PLUS, there’ll be five pages of brand-new Dr. Blink!

Should all be at press next week…

Peas, out,

John

This entry was posted in Muskrat Ramblings. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.