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Roasted hazelnut liqueur

For the longest time, the only hazelnut liqueur I had access to was Frangelico’s. It’s okay, but the almond and herbal components interfered with the toasty, rich hazelnuttiness I desire. There are others, but I hadn’t been able to find them in stores. With a large bag of skinned hazelnuts in the freezer, and some tips from Jeremy F., I decided to make my own. And it is good.

Hazelnut liqueur, filtered & bottled


What I read in 2014—and some things I watched

Happy new year, and welcome to 2015 and the annual list of stuff I read in 2014. You’ve noticed that I have not for the longest time written an article on visual media like film or television, including animé. Sadly, my animé discoveries have been sparse over the last several years. But on the plus side of being in grad school, I’ve recently gotten back into watching more television—kind of as a format-induced way of recreation to contrast with all the reading I need to do—even though most of such reading is non-fiction!

As usual, 💡 (lightbulb icon) indicates a recommendation on my part, with the exception of the shorts section.

I have yet to be utterly wowed by a recent feature-length film (exceptions to follow), but I’ve found a few incredibly engaging tv series: Orphan Black; Elementary, better than BBC’s recent Sherlock, in spite of Cumberbatch’s excellent acting—Liu’s Watson is the best characterization, and I even found the Elementary‘s version of Moriarity the best yet; Person of Interest for obvious timely reasons; the web series Bee and Puppycat, because we all need more animated weirdness in our lives; Warehouse 13, except for its last season, alas; and Community as the delightful exception to my usual dislike of sitcoms.

Exceptional film recommendations (i.e., the ones I remember watching last year *ahem*): A Letter to Momo (2011, animé); Ida (2013, Poland); Starlet (2012); The Royal Tannenbaums (2001); Monsieur Lazhar (2011, Canada); and Her (2013). Why yes, I do fall behind easily with video media. 😉

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Satsuma liqueur

The satsumas were late this year, with fruit ripening through March. The sad thing is that now as winter approaches, there are hardly any fruit for the upcoming winter season. Perhaps the rains will help with next year’s harvest. In any case, earlier in the year I experimented with making satsuma liqueur, and found that less is more when it came to accompanying spices: Most anything other than vanilla (like cinnamon, star anise, cloves, allspice, or ginger) resulted in a drink as medicinal as an unremarkable cough syrup—without the pleasant citrus flavor! So here is a simple infusion that highlights satsuma’s subtle aromas.

Satsuma liqueur steeping


An annotated bibliography of California horticulture resources

Here is another project for the reference and information services course: An annotated bibliography of California horticulture resources for librarians, located at In addition to being a handy tool for reference librarians, I wanted to created this because of my interest in gardens and botany.

Again, some caveats:

  • This bib is aimed mainly at librarians who work in academic or special collection organizations. Some of the language is LIS-y. For instance, I use the term subscriptions to refer to paid (non-free) resources like serials (journals, magazines) and databases.
  • I’d love to continue to maintain this bib—especially for corrections and additions relevant sources. But because of my schedule, I don’t know how often I’ll be able to update it.
  • This uses Wikidot’s platform, currently with a free account. This means you might sometimes see ads near the top of the pages.
  • Wikidot is generally for creating wikis, and those sometimes offer collaboration. However, I have turned off editing and comments, due to scheduling and the bib’s objective as a tool rather than a forum.

A subject guide to webcomics

For my reference and information services course (Libr 210) I created a publicly accessible tool to introduce people to the glorious world of webcomics, located at I was inspired to create this because I could not find a subject guide dedicated to webcomics. Sure, there are many that mention it (a page, at most), but they mostly focus on graphic novels, comics strips, and/or manga. Not a bad thing, obviously, but the webcomics world is so diverse and burgeoning, that I hope pointers in the form of a library pathfinder will present the medium in a friendly, organized way.

Oh, and because I love reading webcomics. 🙂

I hope you find this useful! Some caveats:

  • I’d like to continue maintaining this resource, but depending on my schedule I don’t know how often I’ll be able to update it.
  • This uses Springshare’s LibGuide platform, within a free sandbox environment. This means you might sometimes see an ad banner at the top of the page.
  • Because of the sandboxing, I do not know how long it will remain live. Indefinitely, maybe?
  • Because of the sandboxing, it’s missing some of the niftier features and designs that paid developers have access to. RSS does not seem to work, for example.
  • Since I needed to keep the lists of suggested webcomics short (not too long and ever-scrolling), there’s a chance your favorite might not be listed. There are tens of thousands of webcomics; it would be an untenable task for me to maintain that level of content. However, if there are webcomic resources (books, websites, videos, conventions, even scholarly sources) you would like to suggest (or corrections), please let me know. I cannot promise to add them, but they might make it in eventually.

Hazelnut financiers (also good with cashews)

Financiers (sometimes called friands) are a good way to use up egg whites, especially after a summer’s accumulation of making ice cream. Typically made with almond meal, I made these with a meal from roasted hazelnuts. Delicious. I also made another version with cashew meal, which were milder, but still tasty. In the future I might try this out with hazelnut meal that has been lightly roasted in a pan.

hazelnut financiers


Mexican chocolate brownies topped with pine nuts

I first encountered this brownie while perusing Sunset Magazine many years ago. Alice Medrich’s brownie recipes from Seriously Bitter Sweet (2013) also provided helpful measurement tips. Furthermore, I added a nice, warming kick of chile powder—i.e., ground dried red chile peppers, not the spice mix containing additions of cumin and oregano.

Mexican chocolate brownies with pine nuts


Bing cherry wishniak

It’s cherry season!

This recipe is a slight variation from Homemade Liqueurs, by Dona and Mel Meilach (1979). The trick is to find sweet, flavorful cherries in the prime of their season—which for me are Bing cherries. Note that this particular liqueur might take a while to mature. I made a batch in 2013, and only now is it starting to smoothen and round out. I expect, er hope, that it’ll be even better in several months, or even in another year or three!

cherry wishniak from the fridge


Dark gingerbread cake with rum and citrus

This recipe has been sitting in my files for years, and while we’re on the cusp of summer, gingerbread cake is a comforting reminder of what is behind us—and something to look forward to. This cake uses a lot of ginger, both fresh and powdered, and you could use either oranges or lemons for the citrus. It’s great by itself with a cup of tea or coffee, or served with lashings of rum-augmented whipped cream, or spoonfuls of lime or lemon curd.

Gingerbread cake out of the oven and pan


Goodbye OpenID

I’ve decided to stop using OpenID on this website for several reasons:

  1. The OpenID plugin for WordPress was last updated in 2012. I have stopped following its development, and I have also stopped trying to get past/possible issues to work properly with my site and theme. I just have not had the time for the past couple years, with other things on my plate.
  2. My OpenID provider (eponymous) has ceased operations.
  3. Other more popular (read: more easy to use by more people) means of authentication have cropped up, like reusing sign on info from Twitter, Facebook, Disqus, etc. Not sure when I’ll add these here—I’d like to, but please refer to the last sentence in #1. maintenance has become minimal, and will likely remain so for the time being. (“Unless something comes up,” etc. 😉 I want to continue to post about once a month, mostly food oriented stuff, because that content is ongoing.

Thank you for reading!