ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Privilege and Honor of Being Read

Driving to work, listening to an NPR story about a hard-working fisherman in Jamaica Bay, NY, I was struck by something I hadn't realized until this very moment. Sometimes an author can become so insular, so much a part of their work, that they fail to realize the effects their work might have on the population as a whole. I suppose there are those of you who knew this all along, but I'm just getting to this now.

When I first started writing, I wrote for myself. I was the only audience, and if I liked it, I was happy.

Then I wrote for my family.

Then I wrote for my friends and acquaintances.

Then I wrote for the community of like-minded horror and dark fantasy authors.

Then, in 2008, I began to write for the masses. If you don't fall into any of the above categories, then this is you. I wrote for the public. For the first time I was intentionally writing for people I didn't know.

I wonder why it's taken until now for me to realize this.
Circa August 2013 - Kabul, Afghanistan

What does this have to do with that fisherman in Jamaica Bay, you ask? He came across as an honest spirit. He's a hard working man, trying to raise a family. More often than not, when his kids ask him for some money, he doesn't have it because all of his money goes into supporting his job and his life. And it occurred to me that people like this probably also read. I mean, why not, right? How many books can they afford? If it's a new book, it better be a good book, because they might not be able to afford another for awhile. I know we joke about if we had a choice of eating or reading, we'd choose  reading, but for folks like the fisherman, it's a reality.

What a responsibility that is for me.

How fortunate I am.

It's truly an honor to write for people I don't know. This past year, more than any other year, I've received emails, IMs, tweets, and FB posts from hundreds of people whom I've never met. These are the people I'm writing for. These are the folks I'm spending 60 hours a week trying entertain. And if I can take them away from their life for one moment, transporting them to an adventure that carries them to unexpected and exciting places, then I am happy.

It's an honor to write for you.

I hope I can continue to write for you for many decades to come.

Thank you for this honor and privilege.

Weston Ochse
Renaissance Man
Super Hero for Rent
Yakuza of the Written Word

Friday, January 24, 2014

6 Dangers in Making Zucchini Noodles and Aoli

Making Zucchini Noodles can be more dangerous 
than you think!

I did it.

If you read yesterday's post, you know that I was going attempt to make zucchini noodles for the first time. It was pathetically easy. Thanks to Against All Grain for the buying advice for the slicer and the tutorial.

I took a video on my iPad but lacked the skill necessary for me to upload it to YouTube. It wanted me to log-in but wouldn't let me type anything. So I'm afraid I leave you with this link, instead. It's about 2:54 minutes. Stay until the end. You'll crack up.

But there was some danger, so here are the things to watch for.

1. Make sure your slicer is secured to the counter. As you can see in the video, mine moved around a lot in the beginning. I could have lost a finger or even an arm.

2. Don't try and turn the wheel with your left hand like I did. It makes you look goofy and not all of the noodles come out long and beautiful. Once I got the hang of it, some of my noodles were four feet long.
3. Block the view of family and friends who want to watch. This will keep them from laughing uproariously at you and will, in turn, keep you from wanting to push them through the noodle slicer.

4. When making aoli, it makes a big difference in how many garlic cloves you add. I used six garlic cloves and 3/4 cup of avocado oil, two egg whites, and salt and pepper (pulsed until thick). It would have worked find with three cloves. The evening news showed a significant increase in vampire deaths in our zip code and the ones surrounding us. I'm positive that this was from our breath. We should be paid for our service.

5. Sweat the noodles in the oven by placing them in a single layer on a paper towel on an oven tray. Sprinkles with sea salt. Put the oven to 225 deg for 30 minutes. Then remove. You still might want to dab them with paper towels or else your pasta will be too watery.

6. When adding the noodles to reheat and finish in a saute pan, do it gently. Fold them into the sauce, don't stir. Do this for five minutes on medium low heat and you'll rock the meal.

So what did I make?

Zucchini noodle pasta with a lemon aoli, kalamata olives, chives, and Parmesan cheese.

Makes 2 servings.
  • Noodles from two large zucchini, sweated and ready.
  • Make Aoli (see above) but also add 4 tbs lemon juice, and use less garlic than I used.
  • Drain can of kalamata olives, then pulse in food processor until quarter-moon size.
  • In deep frying/saute pan poor two tbs olive oil and heat high. Add olives for two minutes, then reduce to medium low. Add noodles and fold several times. Add aoli and fold until noodles are completely coated. Heat for 4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, fold, then serve. I added a little baked fish for protein and crunch.
This was delicious.

I'd like to hear how others make zuchini noodles.

If you try this, please let me know.


Now go cook and buy my books

Weston Ochse
Renaissance Man
Super Hero for Rent
Yakuza of the Written Word

Thursday, January 23, 2014

OMG - Too Many Vegetables?

What do you do when you get too many vegetables besides panic?

This weekend Yvonne and I went to Market on the Move. It's a program that brings fruits and vegetables to communities at very cheap prices. We paid $10 for 60 pounds worth of vegetables and fruit. Something like 15 grapefruit, 8 eggplants, 8 Roma tomatoes, 7 red peppers, 24 yellow squash 12 Mexican gray squash, 6 huge zucchinis and a 7 pound bag of cherry tomatoes.


But with these vegetables came great responsibility. I was concerned that there might be too many...that some of it would perish before we got to it. I was actually a little panicked.

So, the first thing I did was bake a lasagna with wide zucchini noodles and eggplant. I also used lean turkey and low fat ricotta cheese. Making the wide noodles was hard because I'd never made any before. I baked it. We snuck a taste--OMG it was good--then we portioned it out into 8 portions for 4 meals. One went into the fridge and the rest our freezer.

Then for lunch I made eggplant sandwiches. Using pieces of grilled eggplant for bread, I smeared them with jalapeno hummus then added two slices of tomato, pieces of red pepper, and cucumber slices. A little messy, but amazing.

Since then, we've had lots of veggies at every meal. We've even had all veg meals. The only meats we've had this week were fish and the lean ground turkey for the lasagna. We haven't had a single packaged product and no pasta or breads. I've made two pans of roasted vegetables. One we've eaten and the other I portioned and put in the freezer.

We still have a lot left, but I think we're doing good.

One thing I did discover was that there are these things called zucchini noodles. What the what you say? Absolutely. Against All Grain Dot Com had this video I'm sharing below. You are going to be amazed how easy it looks. I ordered my slicer from Amazon and it came last night. I'm making noodles to night -LIVE WITHOUT A NET - and I'll give you the full report tomorrow.

I do love veggies, but sometimes it's hard to figure out ways to cook them that's not the boring old same-o-same-o. This bounty gave me the opportunity to try new things. It's exciting to eat well, eat healthy, and stay in shape.

I'll report tomorrow or so about the zucchini noodles.

Bon Chance.