Kanom Krok (ขนมครก) is a Thai street food I enjoyed growing up. It was generally available in the market place around breakfast time but can be enjoyed throughout the day. These little cups have a thin, crispy outer layer with a super soft delicately coconut inner core. Some may add a few kernels of sweet corn or a few shreds of spring onion for added flavor but I find these are just as good on their own.

(recipe adapted from Rachel Cooks Thai)

Outer Layer Ingredients:

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tablespoons cooked jasmine rice
1/4 cup finely grated unsweetened coconut
8 Tablespoons club soda
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Inner Layer Ingredients:

1 cup coconut cream
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
green onion, corn, taro, or pumpkin for toppings

IMG_2523INSTRUCTIONS

Make the inner layer by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mixing until smooth. Set aside.

Next start to make the outer layer by mixing all ingredients except the cooked jasmine rice, coconut flakes, and 2 tablespoons of the club soda in a small bowl. Set aside.

Pound or blend the cooked jasmine rice and coconut flakes with the 2 tablespoons of club soda until they form a fine paste.

I use a traditional mortar and pestle made in Thailand but a food processor will do the job.

Incorporate the rice and coconut paste into the rest of the outer ingredients along with the remaining club soda.

Heat your seasoned khanom krok pan over medium heat. (An Ebelskiver pan or even a Cake Pop Maker can work!)

Add a drop of canola oil (~1/8 teaspoon) to each well and let it get hot. It should be hot enough that when you add the batter it sizzles. I used a silicon pastry brush to oil the little wells.

Add about 1 tablespoon of the outer layer mix to each well and then lift the pan (using a pan holder – it’s hot!) and swirl it until the batter forms a thin layer around the entire well OR use a tiny spoon or chopsticks to gentle press the batter up along the sides of the well. I used cooking chopsticks and found this safer than lifting the pan and swirling.

Add about 1 tablespoon of the inner layer to each well to fill it. If you want to add toppings, add them at this point.

Then, cover the pan with a top and let it steam for about 5-6 minutes until the bottom layer is golden brown and the top layer is fairly solid.

Using a teaspoon, gently lift each custard from the pan. They should be golden brown on the undersides.

Serve the kanom krok in pairs of two.

IMG_2525

Hidden Impact Blog Tour

Celebrating the release of HIDDEN IMPACT and my debut in romantic suspense, Carina Press has set up a great blog tour starting next week!

Join me and these wonderful blogs as we share teasers and insider info on HIDDEN IMPACT and the Safeguard series.

Monday, November 2nd – Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, November 4th – Blushing Reads
Friday, November 6th – I am Shelfless

Monday, November 9th – Moonlight Rendezvous
Wednesday, November 11th – Supernatural Snark
Friday, November 13th – Ramblings From Beneath The Sheets

Monday, November 16th – Fic Gal
Wednesday, November18th – The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass
Friday, November 20th – The Book Swarm

All Aboard for a Cruise!

Piper’s last trip to Cozumel was 2003

In less than 48 hours, it will be all aboard the Independence of the Seas for the 2015 Out of Excuses Writing Workshop and Retreat for a Western Caribbean cruise!

The summer, it isn’t over yet.

I am about to embark on a nautical adventure of epic proportions with such great company as Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells. I admire all of these people, not only for their writerly works but also for their podcast: Writing Excuses.

I’ll be working on Deadly Testimony, a Safeguard Novel, on the cruise because if I don’t, my editors at Carina Press may be incredibly angry with me. (I’m on deadline!) Somewhere in there, I also hope to record the next episode of #EMEPiper. There may be a Piper Travels or Piper Notes video coming out of the cruise too. Hopefully.

But first and foremost: WRITING.

I’m looking forward to several of the workshops scheduled for the cruise. There’s sessions on description, worldbuilding, revision, giving critiques, deconstructing structure, writing with multiple viewpoints, dialogue, and much more.

It’s been more than a decade since I’ve been on a cruise and I’m delighted to be leading a discussion on one of the excursions at Grand Cayman as well.

There’s so much nifty about this coming week, I can’t even hope to describe it all. So there will be pictures and video and podcasting involved. 😉

See you when I return to port!

Deadline adventures continue as we head into September and the end of summer. Where the heck did summer go? We’re coming up on Labor Day weekend and it’s my birthday month! (Thus the Passion Planner giveaway to celebrate, but more on that below.)

It’s the start of a new school year for people of all ages, though it’s been a long time since I’ve graduated…various levels of education. But I still love September to start new projects and planning initiatives. It’s like Back to School without the new bus schedule.

I’m planning to finish the year strong with 1 more contracted manuscript to turn in (Deadly Testimony, a Safeguard novel) and 2 short stories before diving into NaNoWriMo to start drafting the final books in each of my romantic suspense series: Safeguard and True Heroes.

I’m still really enjoying using a paper planner to keep my writerly tasks clear in my head. In fact, I’ve been looking at great features of other planner systems (though I’m still using my Erin Condren planner!). For example, I’m loving the concept of inkWELL Press‘ mission boards. There’s also the clean, simplistic look of Passion Planner’s Academic layout with the area for mind-mapping and thoughtful doodling.

These nifty features are helpful to keep monthly or weekly goals in mind as well as encourage brainstorming. Trust me, I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming recently. September is travel heavy and I want to make the most of my writing time. Optimizing the use of my paper planner is key. Plus, I want to enjoy all of it as I go and playing with washi tape and stickers in my planner makes me happy. 😉

We’re headed into Labor Day Weekend and it’s my birthday month so I’ve decided to give away a Passion Planner Academic Compact planner for August ’15 – August ’16 to one winner (open to US and International entrants).

So what are your goals for September? or the rest of the year?

Passion Planner
a Rafflecopter giveaway

As you might know from seeing my “Piper’s Travel Hijinx” on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I am on the move rather often. Mobility is key to my productivity. Or more specifically, mobile writing. I’m always exploring technology solutions to allow me to write from anywhere, anytime. Recently, I’ve been pondering my choice in personal writing laptops. (I make it a practice not to write on my day job laptop. I keep the work for day job as separate as possible from writing.)

I’ve been an AlienWare user for a long time. I love the look and feel of these laptops. I used to play a lot of StarCraft II and World of Warcraft, so a gaming laptop made sense. I’d plug in my 4k gaming monitor and have a blast of a time. I’ll also admit to recently giving Final Fantasy XIV Online a trial run. But writing takes priority over gaming in my time nowadays and the software I use for writing does not have the same heavy-duty system requirements that gaming does.

Drinking chocolate and writing tonight. Perhaps a little nip of Something stronger …

A post shared by Piper J. Drake (@piperjdrake) on

AlienWare laptops are heavy and bulky. They’ve gotten more streamlined over the last year or so, but there’s only so much streamlining to be done. Though the new M13 is interesting at 40% thinner than previous models, it’s still heavy on long walks through airports.

As an interim solution, I was using an iPad for a couple of years with a bluetooth keyboard. This was working but I truly missed being able to work in Scrivener which is one of the best writing apps out there. I struggled to do edits, almost always waiting until I could work on a laptop instead. Not a viable long-term solution.

And yet, a lot of writers love their Macs. Love them. I can’t count the number of times a MacBook Air has been recommended to me and Scrivener–my favorite writing software–was originally developed for the Mac OS, to help me decide what laptop to get I read this really useful blog here.

I still love AlienWare and keep it at home for gaming. My friend does something similar and he loves to play games like League of Legends on his laptop often enjoying Unranked Smurfs so he can have some fun with his lower-ranked friends. But now I have a Macbook Air specifically for mobile writing and my shoulders/back appreciate the consideration. Especially when I’m running through the airport terminal to catch a connecting flight. 😛

PipersMacBookAir2015

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