Cooking is not a Skill! It’s something you should know

Okay, I find many of my friends suddenly so proud and flaunting their ability to cook a meal. But I mean, its cooking. Cooking is easy. Every human, since the the discovery of fire has learned how to cook. They needed to, unless they wanted to keep getting sick from eating raw meat or whatever.

With that said, cooking is not a skill. It’s something you should know if you want to be, I don’t know, still alive. Everyone in this world eats, and I mean everyone. We’re also professionals at eating. Which is why food industry, and not prostitution, is actually the oldest, and most eternal business. But I’d like to believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to eat something that they like.

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^ That’s me, staring up at all the injustices of Tokyo, and admiring it.

I started working at a French restaurant when I was in Japan (Since teaching English is a horribly dreadful job). It was a fine dining restaurant and I got to work on everything, until even becoming dessert chef. Since then, I’ve worked at a number of other restaurants. Cooking is easy. People get intimidated because of all these professional chefs cooking these amazing dishes on TV, but I want to say.

SHIT IS EASY.

You know how to make Beef and Broccoli? The Chinese dish? It’s literally just soy sauce, and you can add a dab of sugar or MSG like chicken powder if you want, but its totally not necessary. If you want a more pungent taste, add some oyster sauce. That’s it. Fry up some beef, boil the the broccoli for like 10 seconds then add that to the fry, throw in the sauce and that’s it. Done.

chinese-beef-recipe-3

Creme Brulee. Just take a few egg yolks, add sugar, milk and cream. Mix it, then steam or bake it. Of course, the crisp on the top would require a burner to melt the brown sugar. You can make different kinds too, like vanilla, though vanilla beans are expensive, vanilla extract is much easier. Or you can make green tea flavored, by mixing matcha powder.

creme_brulee_hi-res

These things take recipes but those are easily acquired online. Or I can post them here.

What I’m saying is, people need to stop putting culinary on some pedestal so that people will actually try it.

Moving on.

Japanese food. Here is the secret. A majority of their food is a combination of soy sauce, sugar, mirin and dashi powder. Mirin is basically alcohol reduced sweetened sake, and its mainly for cooking. Dashi powder is MSG, but don’t believe the hype about MSG anyway, its not always that bad for you.

Well known Japanese dish, Nikujaga, which literally means beef and potatoes, uses only that for the broth. Oyako Donburi is the same, except with more dashi and less soy sauce. Soboro donburi too, except instead of dashi, they use oyster sauce for the ground beef.

And that, is the foundation to Japanese cuisine.

guy-nikujaga

Thai food. Thai food is always extremely rich in flavor, no matter what it is. They put a crap ton of sugar on everything and oversauce like crazy. Everytime I eat it, I get thirsty and I learned why after I worked at a Thai restaurant. Main ingredients they use is Fish Sauce, Sugar and Lime Juice, and I’m serious. They drown their food in all of these ingredients.

Overall, cooking shouldn’t be hard. Just keep tasting as you cook it. Add salt, or sugar, or pepper to adjust to your taste. Always season the meats with salt and pepper at the least, and marinade whenever you can. Even just rubbing soy sauce and sugar into the meat is enough marinade.

Also, here’s a secret. After you fry up something, let’s say a piece of salmon, save the oil in the pan. Mix together equal parts sugar and soy sauce and throw it onto that oil with the fire simmering. Heat it up for about ten seconds and you have teriyaki sauce! Just pour it over the salmon and you have salmon teriyaki. Easy peasy.

Fiction Novel: Kings of Fortune – Prologue

This is the prologue for ‘Kings of Fortune’, a YA action/adventure fiction novel. The story is filled with violence and humor (hopefully it’s humorous, but I think I’m a funny guy regardless).

Kings of Fortune

Prologue

The happy summer sun showers its hot love over the endless streets of Fortune City. A joyful heat wave settles upon the unsuspecting citizens, and these citizens would reciprocate this affection by shouting their contempt at the sky while basking beside their unreliable oscillating fans.

The heated sunlight reaches over the main highway lining the outer edge of the vast city. Populating each lane of this sky road are endless rows of cars filled by frustrated citizens trying to get to work.

These rows of moving cars keep a constant pace similar to the dull motion of a conveyor belt set to the lowest, most unfulfilling speed. The excessive warmth in the air only makes matters worse, and edgy drivers begin eyeing one another, wondering who would be first to break under pressure.

But, let’s not dawdle on the monotonous rhythm of these cars, or the painful isolation of these individuals. That is not significant.

Of course not.

Who cares about that.

What is particularly noteworthy is one rebellious pickup truck that holds neither concern for the other cars nor remorse in disrupting the quiet, solemn mood of this warm early morning.

The truck races from the far end of the freeway toward the horizon, constantly sliding through gaps of cars and switching lanes in the most reckless manner imaginable.

The rustic old truck is riddled with dents and stains while the muffler coughs dark clouds of poisonous exhaust. It’s a wonder this junkyard vehicle could even move, let alone keep up with traffic. The first sight of this monstrosity on the road would undoubtedly leave not only a bad taste in one’s mouth, but also a terrible impression of the driver and its passengers. That impression would be wrong, however.

In fact, these people are actually quite well dressed.

“What band is this?”

The man sitting in the passenger seat of this reckless abomination, snidely questions the heavy metal song blasting from the speakers. He uncomfortably adjusts the knot of his black tie trying to cope with the tune. On his face is an open-mouth look of disgust, struggling to find ways to appreciate the song, but failing miserably.

Unwittingly, he glances out of the window only to make eye contact with a female driver of an adjacent car. Realizing his grimace is intensely splayed across his face, he nonchalantly reshapes his expression to a full teeth-baring grin and raises his sunglasses to reveal a winking eye.

Well played, but the woman looks away as though nothing happened. What a creep, she is thinking.

“Death Face,” answers Renzo, the driver.

“Death Face?” he turns away from the window. “That’s actually their name? Not even something like, Face of Death?” He pauses for a second in contemplation, then adds, “How…blunt.”

“That’s actually their third name. First, they were the Obituary Deliverers or… Obituary Delivery Guys…I think.”

“Too many syllables in those. Clever though, cleverer I mean.” He takes a moment to pick his teeth. “Some people just try too hard. I’m sure you meet them and they actually care more about the shade of their eyeliner than how many people they’ve killed. Know what this world needs?”

“I’m sure you’ll tell me.”

He tilts toward Renzo with a confused look. “Of course I’m gonna tell you. If you don’t know, why would I not tell you? Like I’m gonna just leave you sitting there silent and not knowing? No. What this world needs is a little less death,” he leans back toward the window, “And a lot more…style.”

“Strange, hearing that from you. You should be the last person to say that.”

He puts his hands in the air as if yelling, ‘What?!’ But instead, passionately shouts, “I care! And I have style! But I mean it. Maybe something more positive for this new generation of lost boys.”

Putting his finger on the radio dial, he goes to say, “Perhaps a hint of funk.”

The radio switches to an upbeat percussion filled hip-hop track featuring an exciting saxophone melody. Then, he knocks on the glass window behind his seat directed at the other two passengers in the bed of the pickup truck.

They sit across from each other with their legs extended out and their arms resting on the sides of the truck. Their legs are beside one another, and both try to avoid touching the dirty shoes of the other.

There is no doubt a lack of air conditioning on this primitive pollution generator they call a truck, but at least in the bed, there is a constant flow of wind. The air continuously washes over their heads providing a permanent cooling massage. After thirty minutes of being on the freeway and the breeze even becomes an invisible beating. The two can barely see nor feel their cheeks with so much wind against their faces, but neither will admit it.

One of them slides her body down until her head touches the bottom of the bed. She rests her head comfortably on her palms and stares upward at the animated sky. The cheerful rays of the golden sun highlight the pristine white clouds and outline the skyscrapers with a sharp orange tint. Her gaze is locked on the mesmerizing view, almost forgetting about the painful muscle aches throughout her body.

Almost.

The man taps on the glass again.

“What?” asks the woman lying down.

“Don’t get all nancy on me but…good job today.”

“Who says nancy anymore?” Smiling, she adjusts her hands under her head to a more suited position, but winces from the sudden pain of her wounds. “Thanks, Kitsune.”

It’s rare to hear a compliment, but nice to feel acknowledged.

“Are you gonna cry when I leave?” she asks.

Kitsune replies, “Of course…but not as much as Kuro.”

The man sitting beside her awkwardly sits up, folding his arms into a stern, composed fashion. “We’ll all miss you. Have fun with your new life.”

“Don’t forget about me. Maybe I’ll even see you guys around.” Her eyes sparkle from the sunlight, face brightened with a sweet smile. “And thanks, everyone…for everything.”

The truck is silent for a moment, but just a moment.

Kitsune turns to Renzo, “Why do we feel so slow?”

“I’m hitting 83 already,” Renzo says, eyes straight and hands firmly gripping the wheel. “This thing only goes to 85.”

“Well, hit 84.”

Renzo slides the truck toward the adjacent lane and rams another car aside. The disrespected driver yells some loud, incomprehensible insult, but quickly fades with the distance as the rickety truck speeds past.

“There, 84.”

Kitsune is silent with a blank stare, then grins, “You’re a funny guy sometimes, Renzo. It scares me, how funny you can be.” Listening to the music, he starts nodding his head and rhythmically slapping the outside of the car door following the beat.

The rest of these hooligans join the session, loudly banging their hands and feet against the metal of the truck as they head deeper into the bright city.

Her hair blows with the wind.

“So, what are we doing today?”

DOTA 2 Novel/Novelette

Not sure how many people here know about DOTA II but it is one of the most played games in the world. This year’s tournament even reached a grand prize of 5 million dollars, and the total prize pool for the entire competition was 10 million dollars, so, you know it’s big.

http://www.dota2.com/international/compendium/

I’ve played Dota for a while now, and last year, I decided to write a story about it. Hopefully, all these pro people on Dota Lore won’t flame me, but whatever. At least I get the attention. Here’s the first chapter.

Dota 2 – Chapter 1

Northern Fold

“The sun’s setting… better get back…” A young woman with a quiver of silver tipped arrows on her belt and a bow of fine mahogany wood in hand, strides quietly through the trees. She is no stranger to the forest and each step is as delicate as it is deliberate. Her hood covers her face in shadow, and only the light of the moon guides her path. Losing her way is not a concern, for her instincts inform of a creeping danger within the darkness.

“Third tree…fourth tree to the left…” With her light step and slender form, she quickly strides through without the slightest sound. She identifies her way back, recognizing every broken branch and each toppled trunk she had previously hurdled over, until…

The fourth tree she previously passed now bears a peculiar protruding shape embedded within its trunk. Intentionally inconspicuous, but easily seen by the ranger’s eyes. Stepping in for a closer observation, she reaches in with her mind already guessing what she has found. Before her hand touches the strange rod, multiple eyelids from multiple eyeballs along the shaft suddenly open and turn to her.

“Oh…no…” she quickly jets past the trees back down the road she came. On the path ahead of her though, she hears the sound of fast shuffling feet. Someone is already there coming towards her.

“I need another road,” she whispers to herself.

Looking around, she sees only trees and the single path she took. Behind her, she hears multiple branches snapping under the heels of boots, signaling another pursuer. Thinking quickly, she draws her bow, pulls back and releases a powershot through the dense row of trees ahead of her. The powerful arrow guided by the strength of the wind, pierces a line straight through and destroys the row of trees, clearing a path. Behind her, the sound of the pursuer’s feet quicken.

Listening to the pursuer’s footsteps behind her, she mutters, “There is more than one now.” She begins sprinting down the path she created, dodging a small camp of satyrs and gliding past more trees back to the path she recognizes.

Behind her, the howl from several wolves informs her of their distance, and of her hunter.

“Lycan, you bastard.” As she sprints, she glances over her shoulder and catches a quick glimpse of the Werewolf beast, Lycan, and his two wolf familiars no more than twenty feet behind her. Lycan, a man capable of transforming into a werewolf by desire, is a dangerous foe, and not one should ever face alone.

A glimpse of his blood red mane along his back is only dwarfed by the crimson glimmer in his eyes, a shine raged on by the innate bloodlust of the wolf. The enormous wolf double the ranger’s size has caught her scent, unwilling to relent until her blood is spilled. His two wolf familiars are smaller in size, but hold just as big an appetite. Their fur is the darkest black she has ever seen, and their stride through the dark forest like two streaming shadows. They would be invisible if not for the red in their eyes.

The sound of their feet grow louder, closer. One of the wolves takes a bite at her feet, the sound of its jaws snapping sharply as if it were beside her ear. She manages to keep a calm demeanor despite the rapid beating of her heart.

Threatened, she summons the power of the wind once more. From under her feet summons a strong gust pushing her body forward and rapidly quickening her pace. A visible haze lifts her body forward as she runs, gaining distance between her and her pursuers.

The ranger leaps over fallen trees, vaults over boulders and hops steps over small obstacles, and even then, her busied senses hear another set of running feet along the row of trees. In her peripheral vision, she sees nothing. Her instincts tell her otherwise.

She quickly turns a corner over a tree, rolls into the nearest bush and draws her bow. The wolves quickly charge past the same corner and immediately spot her, but too late. Aiming for the biggest wolf, Lycan, she fires a special arrow. A springy rope splits from the tip and strikes the wolf master’s chest, immediately expanding and wrapping around his arms. The rope extends to the wolves beside him, wrapping their feet and claws in an orgy of clumsy, fidgeting bodies.

“Next time, Lycan,” she says and continues sprinting down the path. Lycan howls watching her escape from his grasp.

In the distance, she sees her encampment.

“The first tower!”

The light of the tower was even more beautiful than the light of the moon. The tall ivory pillar, pristine with the symbol of the Radiant glowing in the night is a beacon of sanctuary at the frontline of the war. Seeing her salvation, she runs a path straight to the gates.

“What’s the rush?!” growls a gurgling low voice. Behind her in a puff of smoke appears a skeleton. Her invisible stalker from the forest, the skeleton dons a spiked helmet and thick gauntlets of fire red. Within its chest lies a bright burning stone heart, visible through his ribcage. No more than a half second after appearing, its readied bow releases multiple flaming arrows sent straight towards her head.

The Ranger tumbles to the side to face him, pulling back her bow to fire. She releases the string and the breeze forces the arrow forward once more in a gleam of light. The skeleton archer turns its body to the side and watches the arrow narrowly breeze past his rib cage.

“That’s all? You missed!” Turning back, he sees she has already fled.

“Guide my feet!” Her boots begin to glow a dark blue and her quick pace hastens even further, her feet moving at an abnormally rapid speed.

The gates of the first tower open and the guards welcome her return. She quickly slides in and her pace gradually returns to a normal pace. Her pursuers wouldn’t dare charge the grand gates of the first tower without a readied army.

“He disappeared in a mist of smoke, madam,” shouts one of the guards from the tower.

“Good,” she replies and continues walking.

The great high tower stands at the center of the large encampment. She walks past the campfires and  groups of soldiers eating and resting, heading straight for the main tent of the bastion.

“Where the hell was Drow!” she shouts as she enters.

“Drow,” the man sitting inside responds, “was busy fighting another wave of Dire.” The man, whose skin was tanned and darkened by his days in the desert, wears a majestic helmet of embedded jewels and a turban drooped over the side of his ears. His eyes shine golden with tenacity. Many consider him to be the most righteous and loyal soldier of the great Radiant Empire.

Chen, the Holy Knight, is captain of the Northwest First tower.

“Well I almost died! No thanks to either of you,” she pulls up her hood and locks of her bright, crisp red hair emerge, breathing a fresh breeze of air.

“Well, her duty is not to scout. There were enemies and she needed the bounty. What did you manage to do on your escapade?”

“Escapade? I was scouting the northern forest, and ‘bumped’ into Lycan. Oh and Clinkz. Those bastards keep prowling that place. He’s been  there for the past month and I don’t know why. I’m fine though, mind you. Nice of you to ask.” She starts brushing off the dirt and twigs from her cloak.

“We know Lycan has been feasting in that forest for some time, but not enough manpower to stop him.”

“It’s warded by the way. If we were to get in there, they’d know. Those damn eyeballs nearly stopped my heart. That ugly skeleton was stalking me the whole time. I could feel him beside me. Can’t believe I missed him,” she remarks, furiously gripping her bow.

“I see. You’d better be more careful next time. Not even the swift Windrunner can escape every encounter.” The man pauses for a moment, and reiterates, “But again, I must ask. What were you trying to accomplish?”

“Since you’re finally asking nicely,” she takes a breath, “I managed to ward the entire west side of the forest.”

“You mean…”

“Yes,” the Windrunner responds with a smile, “We can see everything they’re doing now.”