Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

La grand chef

December 30, 2013

Once again we have guests in the House Back East®, this time for a lengthy stay, and tonight they inquired how to operate the gas oven.

Imagine my embarrassment. I had no bloody idea.

I don’t remember the last time I cooked with gas, unless you count the grill, which I don’t. Santa Fe? Denver? Pueblo? And the HBE® has a rather elderly appliance. For all I knew, it might have required matches, incantations, the rubbing together of sticks.

Nope. Found the owner’s manual. Push in the temperature knob, assign a temperature, turn the other knob to “Bake.”

Another guest successfully unkilled. Winning!

A chile reception

December 16, 2013
Chicken enchiladas in red sauce, potatoes roasted in red chile, and Anasazi beans in chipotle. The blank space on the plate is for the side salad that I did not make.

Chicken enchiladas in red sauce, potatoes roasted in red chile, and Anasazi beans in chipotle. The blank space on the plate is for the side salad that I did not make.

Weird dreams this morning. I was working for a newspaper (!) again, so I guess it qualifies as a nightmare.

So I walk into the newsroom, late as usual, and a receptionist type hands me a note with a short clip attached, whispering in dire tones about some class of tragic typo.

I reply, “D’you have any idea how many people we have reading copy these days? I tried to get the city desk to read one fucking thing yesterday, but nooooooo. …”

Then, since John McCain is sitting in front of this person’s desk for some reason, perhaps awaiting an audience with the publisher, I whip a Three Stooges routine on him, poking him in the chest with one finger and then, when he glances down, flicking his nose.

Moving on, I notice that nobody is at their desks. They’re all in the big conference room, and the mood is not evocative of a holiday party.

“Uh oh,” I think to myself. And then I wake up.

I think maybe I overdid the red chile last night.

Snow day

December 4, 2013
GarageBand for iPad is a little daunting at first glance, but it eventually cooperates without stimulation from the Bravo Foxtrot Hotel.

GarageBand for iPad is a little daunting at first glance, but it eventually cooperates without stimulation from the Bravo Foxtrot Hotel.

Eight degrees. Snow. And a variable wind that exacerbates the least attractive qualities of both.

I’m already sick of winter and it’s not even winter yet.

I think I may have a problem here.

Well, if I do, I’m not the only one. And while this storm system seems to have settled in for a long stay, there are short-term distractions available.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon simmering up a big pot of chicken stock, using a 4-pound fryer and four extra drumsticks, a leek, an onion, a turnip and a couple of carrots.

We used some of the meat for dinner (quesadillas) and breakfast (a simple hash that also involved eggs, potatoes, one Big Jim chile and part of a green bell pepper, plus some chopped scallions, thyme and parsley). Most of the rest will get used this evening in a chicken noodle soup, though I’ll reserve a bit for a mess of chicken chilaquiles tomorrow.

Between stints at the stove, I broke out the old iPad, downloaded Apple’s GarageBand app, and taught myself how to create a minimalist podcast on an iOS device instead of a giant MacBox. This is what I like to call “thinking ahead” rather than “dicking around,” since I usually take an iPad with me if I’m able to escape the weather, the kitchen and the office for a short bicycle tour. It’s nice to be able to handle all the usual chores on the road, though for updating a WordPress blog like this one an iPad leaves a great deal to be desired.

Also, I’d like to try a slightly more elaborate podcast that includes a Skype interview with my old friend and colleague Hal Walter, who still lives up Weirdcliffe way. Hal’s main computer is a Mac Mini, which lacks a built-in microphone, but I think he has an iPad, and Skype, so with a little cultural exchange we should be good to go without resort to log drums, smoke signals or semaphore flags.

Hot plate, señores!

December 3, 2013
Pikes Peak

It was 50-something down here on Nov. 30, but slightly chillier up there.

December? December? Whose idea was this? Wasn’t it July just a couple of days ago? Why do I suddenly have to wear socks all the time? And pants? Who’s in charge around here, anyway?

Thanksgiving went nicely around Chez Dog, thanks for asking. We had the sis and bro-in-law in for the afternoon, neighbors in for the day after, and an old friend in for a quick visit on Saturday. And by the time we’d finally eaten the last of the leftovers on Sunday I was ready for a bit of peace and quiet, some casual cycling, and something to eat other than norteño New Mexican food.

For some reason I had been off New Mexican cookery for a while. And then the cooler weather hit, and before you could say “¡Hijo, madre!” it was chile and beans and posole and what have you.

For Thanksgiving I prepared some pico de gallo salsa and guacamole; posole; roasted potatoes in red chile; pintos in chipotle; and chicken enchiladas smothered in green chile. Herself kicked in a pitcher of sangria and a piñon pie, two recipes we’d never tackled before (they were excellent).

I should’ve taken some pix, but dammit, everything was just too good to let cool while I fiddled with the Canon. Sorry ’bout that. Here’s hoping your holiday was as enjoyable as ours.

Eat it and heat it

November 21, 2013
A delicious pot of pintos with chipotle and other good stuff, including (of course) bacon.

A delicious pot of pintos with chipotle and other good stuff, including (of course) bacon.

Cold weather sends me straight to the kitchen, every time.

This afternoon, as the temps dipped into the teens, I whipped up some bacon-potato cakes from “The Feed Zone Cookbook.” This evening it was a big pot of pintos with chipotle from “The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook.” Herself contributed a large, cast-iron skillet full of cornbread and a green salad.

Meanwhile, a couple Ziplocs of frozen Anaheim and New Mexico chiles are thawing in the fridge, and we may just have to have some bean-and-potato burritos smothered in green chile tomorrow.

That should help keep the hawk out there in the wind where he belongs.

Burning daylight

March 21, 2013

Today started and ended well, lightly toasted slices of metaphorical bread comprising an actual shit sandwich.

On arising I recalled that we had a huge slab of meaty Ranch Foods Direct bacon in the fridge, so breakfast included coffee, eggs over easy, American fried potatoes, buttery English muffins and great thick rashers of pigmeat. Your basic heart-attack special, but I like it.

My plans for the workday hinged on breaking a piece of new technology to harness, but despite a hearty breakfast I couldn’t even get my rope on it, much less my brand.

Being something of a persistent cuss — you may call it “obsessive-compulsive,” I call it “persistent” — I kept working at it, trying first this and then that and finally the other, all the while taking copious notes on each fresh dysfunction with an eye toward eventually tattooing same on someone using an icepick and ball-peen hammer, with a sack of wormy dogshit for ink.

Thus the hours passed and the daylight faded, and the technology breezily countered my every move. By late afternoon, which saw the mailperson deliver an overdue check for services rendered that was redeemable for slightly less than half the expected quantity of Dead President Trading Cards, I was at a rolling boil, hissing like a teakettle full of vipers, blistering steam boiling out of both ears.

Herself and I had earlier scheduled a joint birthday dinner with friends, so I stuck my head in the freezer, counted to a thousand in Irish, and off we went to The Blue Star, where the four of us ate all manner of good things while discussing music, metaphysics and literature. Also, we solved every last one of the world’s problems save mine (you’re welcome).

Now I’m hardly pissed off at all. But tomorrow is another day.

Boogers, bikes and beans

March 13, 2013

I don’t know whether it’s Daylight Saving Time, the death throes of my 2-week-old case of Snotlocker Surprise, or simply a matter of cranking out too much velo-journalism in too few hours, but I’m whupped.

Today I did manage to slip out for a short ride between chores, however, and it was delightfully refreshing. Sixty-something and sunny, with a light wind. A nearly perfect day, and it gave me a Madison sling to the finish line of this latest deadline cycle.

Back at the ranch, while finishing a column and cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, I cooked up a pot of beans, pintos in chipotle chile, and with the roasted spuds in red chile that I made yesterday they will make a fine accompaniment to the chicken enchiladas in green chile that I will make tomorrow, right after another ride — a much longer, more leisurely outing than today’s.

The next two days I’m largely free of pressing responsibilities, a rare thing indeed lately, so I intend to take full advantage. I’m talking highs in the 60s and 70s, another unusual occurrence come March.

Now if I can just remember where I left my legs. Pale, thin, hairy … yes, two of them. They were here just a minute ago. …

One flu over the cuckoo’s nest

January 10, 2013

Tomorrow I will have had this friggin’ bug for a week and I can tell you the sonofabitch has most definitely overstayed its welcome.

I have launched two tureens of chicken noodle soup against the invader (“From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”) and yet it remains encamped upon my ribcage, brazenly flying its yellow-and-green Kleenex banners. Ptui.

Tomorrow I’m escalating to Scotch broth with kale. And after that, the B-52s.

New year, new recipe

January 1, 2013
Bacon-potato cake from "The Feed Zone Cookbook"

Bacon-potato cake from “The Feed Zone Cookbook”

Happy New Year to all you hungover old dogs out there. Here’s hoping you did not overdo it last night.

Herself and I actually made it to midnight, and I overslept for some reason, so breakfast turned into brunch. It being a new year, I test-flew a new recipe for bacon-potato cakes, from “The Feed Zone Cookbook” by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim.

It wasn’t bad, but was a shade bland for my taste, despite involving three of the four basic food groups (bacon, potato and cake). Next time around I’ll punch that sucker up with a little garlic, maybe some red chile powder, a bit of cumin, for sure some Mexican oregano. At the moment I’m kicking myself for not adding a dollop of the red chile sauce I made for enchiladas the other night. That would have put the old fire in the belly. Or the fire in the old belly. Whatever.

Speaking of things that need punching up (or out) I see “our” elected representatives in the nation’s capital have been up to the usual not much beyond redefining upward the definition of “middle class.” We seem to be a few hundred thousand short of that particular finish line, which is probably why the prez never replies to my brunch invitations.

You can read more than you care to about the fiscal-cliff shenanigans at:

• The Maddow Blog (Steve Benen).

• The Atlantic (Matthew O’Brien).

• Political Animal (Ed Kilgore).

• The Nation (William Greider).

The days of wine and hoses

December 27, 2012
Tavel rosé

This Tavel rosé pairs well with food. It’s also pretty damn’ nice all by its lonesome.

We shipped Herself the Elder back to Tennessee this morning, or so we thought.

Her flight out of Bibleburg, slated for 10:45 a.m., didn’t go wheels up until 12:30 p.m. And her connector in Dallas was canceled, so she’s camped in the Dallas airport awaiting another. If she’s lucky she’ll be back in the loving bosom of her cats at midnight.

Meanwhile, Herself the Younger is driving home from Denver in a light snow and cursing like a sailor, because she (a) hates driving in the dark, (2) hates driving in the snow, and (iii) hates driving in the snow in the dark.

Only I am left unscathed to tell the tale, because I have the great good fortune to be unemployable and thus possessed of abundant leisure to motor hither and thither in the daylight, when it is not snowing. Thus did I hie me to the grog shop, fortified by a largish check for making things up, thence to restock the wine rack stripped bare by our Yuletide revelry.

Now I’m sipping a tart Tavel rosé and sifting mentally through the available leftovers: quite a bit of posole; the makings for a short round of tacos de papas con chorizo; some pintos in chipotle chile; the underpinnings for a second round of beef enchiladas on red chile, save the sauce.

Posole, tacos and beans it is. Even a slacker deserves a day off.


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