An evening on the deck

It’s 11 p.m. and I’m relaxing with a glass of rosé after two days of medium-heavy cookery and other minor labors in honor of a couple of friends and neighbors who are shuffling off to another area code.

Mexican feast

Cuidado señores ... hot plate! The leftovers are good, too.

I started yesterday, roasting some Whole Foods poblanos and Anaheims on the gas grill, then whipped up a basic posole (a recipe so old I can’t remember where I found it) alongside a pot of pintos with chipotle (from The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook). Herself, meanwhile, got busy on a killer lemon-vanilla pudding, saving the final touches for just before mealtime.

Today I hosed down the back deck and zip-tied down the fabric pergola cover — a good thing, too, as Bibleburg tied a record high of 91 degrees — and broke out the patio table’s umbrella for backup. Then I made a little pico de gallo salsa, roasted potatoes with Chimayo red chile, and a green chile sauce (all three from the Santa Fe folks). Poached a pound of chicken, shredded it, made enchiladas with blue corn tortillas, some Monterey Jack and that pot of green chile, and hey presto! Dinnertime.

There was wine, of course, and also beer. The 2010 Thierry Delaunay Touraine from the Loire Valley seemed a bit thin, so I switched to a 2010 Le Cengle Côtes de Provence, which has a beautiful copper color and a tart flavor that, oddly, reminds me of Jolly Rancher watermelon candies, an item I was addicted to as a much younger dog.

The beers were two seasonal items from Deschutes Brewery — Red Chair NWPA, which is hard to find right now, and Twilight Summer Ale, which should be around until September. I should have Vespa’d on down to Bristol Brewing for a jug of their Red Rocket Pale Ale, but tomorrow is another day, eh? As it is I barely had time to grab a shower before the guests of honor arrived.

We ate and drank and shot the shit until long after sundown, and now I and my wine are surfing Al Gore’s Innertubes in search of evil tidings, which are regrettably easy to find, and enjoying a cooling breeze from somewhere.

Or we were. A small yet authoritative voice in another room has chimed the hour in a style that Big Ben would envy. See you tomorrow.

24 Responses to “An evening on the deck”

  1. Larry T. Says:

    Sounds like a nice dinner Patrick! We toughed it out over here in Italy with just some prosciutto and melone followed by a pizza with arugula, mozzarella and shaved parmigiano-reggiano, washed down with a frosty mug of Italian barley suds. Your wine description reminds me a bit of Ruche, described as a “farmhouse red” by Mario Batali’s friends but one with a unique flavor and color that we enjoy. We rode through the zone of production yesterday on a 70 km loop around the Monferrato vineyards. A real “day off” for us as we’re between tours right now. I’ll be off to the airport within the hour to pick up some early arrivals for our Taste of Piedmont where more Ruche will be consumed and many calories burned riding up and down the gorgeous “colline” of Monferrato.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Y’know, Larry, that sounds pretty excellent too. Is Ruche available on this side of the pond? I’m deep into the French rosés lately but am always willing to take a chance on a friend’s recommendation.

  2. bromasi Says:

    Hey! I’m trying to lose weight here and you keep posting these mouth watering dishes, thats not helping, oh well I think I’ll go get a big mac and a shake.

    • James Says:

      Bro, I hear you! I have spent the past five months on a very strict diet, and his musings about foods I shouldn’t have was killing me too. And then I remembered that I am the one losing weight, and he is the one who is more than likely gaining it. It all balances out in the end because I found that by reading (and salivating over) these food stories made my desire to lose the weight that much easier.

      The light at the end of the tunnel is a fire roasting these peppers which you can only have when you meet your weight goal.

  3. Khal Spencer Says:

    Sounds good. Supposed to be my day off but I’m here in the salt mines for another hour. Any chance for an O’Grady editorial in VN?

  4. Libby Says:

    Yumm. Sounds like a great party and nice send-off.

  5. BenS Says:

    Nice, very nice.

    Spent part of the day on a phone interview. Gads 45 people applied for a single Library Director’s job.

    Oh well spent the balance of the day on the porch with the chocolate lab eating salad and fresh cheese and enjoying the birds.

    Peace to you and the small authoritative voice that makes us do what is right.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ben, are you applying? Or interviewing applicants? I lose track of who’s doing what to whom this time of year.

      • BenS Says:

        I’m looking. But don’t tell my current bosses.

        If things were different say another year further away from the wife’s wrestling match with the big C and the last kid out of college (next year yes!) then I’d be thinking career change or move to France or move to someplace with more interestinting terrain.

        But then I love this town and our friends are here and my riding buddies and the (most importantly the Chocolate Lab grand Dog) so I am stuck here, but there are openings and the work is rewarding.


      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Fear not. Your secret is safe with me. I don’t recall you bringing up the wife’s health issues before … is she doing OK now? We’ve had a ton of cancer in the neighborhood here over the past few years. I’m starting to think you can catch it the way you do a cold.

  6. Larry T. Says:

    Apologies to those trying to lose weight but oddly, the number of fat Italian is pretty small compared to the USA though it’s growing with the proliferation of McD’s and their advertising to kids. The parents take ’em to Micky’s, then drop them off back home with someone to watch them before they go out to a proper meal. Sugary soda is getting more popular as well. But generally we find the food so much more tasty that you really don’t eat MORE, you just eat better. And riding 50-100 kms each day doesn’t hurt either! Patrick, Ruche has a very small production area and I’ve never seen it in the USA, perhaps we can bring a bottle back in July and send it to you in Bibleburg? Or would we get in trouble with some authorities over that?

  7. SteveO Says:

    I plan on losing some weight … All it, in fact … After I’m dead.

  8. jacquiephelan Says:

    slaver, drool, lipsmack, oh god…let’s see. While you were pulling chicken and selecting wine, I was crafting a lunch that would be ok for a diabetic.
    Sauteed organic mixed mushrooms on sesame crackers
    Thin coins of black radish—note spiral pattern!
    Tahini spiked with chipotle puree
    Tomato soup a la Wombat
    Almost Vegan Potato Salad
    Ice Cream w/raspberries
    Black tea
    Assorted rice crackers

    ……The ‘almost vegan’ is code for :forgot to put hardboiled egg in it.
    Some day you an’ ole lady gots to visit Gray Area, taste our olives.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hey, y’ole bat, long time no talk to. Your menu sounds fine to me. We eat vegetarian a couple days a week — today’s breakfast was a fruit smoothie, and lunch was a bean/wild-rice/cheese burrito — but I don’t think I could go entirely meatless, especially with the impending societal collapse. We’ll be hunting the neighbors with big sticks, and not just for fun, either.

  9. swell Says:

    Now DAT’s a food blog!
    Drove up to Eau Claire for a short vaca on Thursday, just checking out connections thru the town, rode the Carson Park stuff. This morning we decided to ride and scope out the town even tho it was raining. Good choice it turns out.
    I thought Dubuque IA had the coolest and best riverfront going on in this area until we went into Phoenix Park downtown Eau Claire, they have built an impressive asset. for the community.
    So. rode the Eau Claire River East by mistake at first, but very nice. Went back out the Chippewa route to find the trailhead for the state trail, then rode the Moon Island around. Not Tough but a nice surprise that there is so much trail and scenery.

    We got back to Phoenix Park and there is a huge Farmers’ Market going on. We hadn’t brought our saddlebags along so the radishes, early peas, organic smoked Gouda, Cranberry scones and organic strawberries rode on the handlebars back to the Vibe. Then we rode back to the Thai couple who had their trailer there. I ordered a ? meal with scallops and received a wonderful ? meal with pork that me and my young bride enjoyed on the bank of the Chippewa River, watching a Blue Heron fishing .

    Then, we came home. the dream is over, for a while.

    Very nice beautiful scenery if you know where to start.
    You wanna ride great singletrack , Levis Mound near Neillsville, Wi.

    Love the food postings you guys.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I hate to admit it, but I’ve never been to Wisconsin. Sounds like I need to rectify this error. Just keep Scott Walker someplace where I don’t have to look at the sonofabitch. We have enough homegrown asshats … I don’t need to see ’em when I’m on the road.

  10. barry Says:

    Nice work there Patrick! I’ve got 7.5 pounds of pig flesh sitting in the fridge coated with my own spice rub. It hits the charcoal/hickory chunks tomorrow about 10AM. It should be ready by 5ish for dinner at Ma and Pa’s. Hopefully I’ll get to take an easy spin for an hour or so to see how the rebuilt rear hub on my De Rosa performs.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Sooooooey, pig! How’d things turn out? The hub and the hog both, of course. …

      • barry Says:

        Didn’t get back on the road yesterday since Ma Nature had other plans for my small sliver of available ride time. The pig on the other hand was awesome. 7.5 pounds fed 11 with a little left over for a couple lunches. 7 hours of coal time was just about right, although a little higher internal temperature wouldn’t have hurt. I think my coals were giving up near the end.

  11. Larry T. Says:

    Tonite’s the welcome dinner for our Taste of Piedmont guests. We’ll get things started by popping the cork on some prosecco during our orientation meeting, then head up to the Villa for dinner. Usually we start with antipasti- sometimes a mixed plate with carne cruda (NOT from Germany, natch!) maybe a slice of veal with tuna sauce, a dab of soft robiola cheese with celery or a roasted pepper slice with anchovy sauce. I’m hoping the first plate’s a risotto with truffles shaved on top and the second could be rabbit baked with peppers and roasted potatoes or beef braised in red wine. Dessert could be panna cotta with chocolate sauce or maybe a baked peach stuffed with amaretti? Mostly likely we’ll wash it all down with a Grignolino or Freisa followed by a Barbera or Nebbiolo, all from vineyards we’ve ridden through over the past few days. We might even spring for a bottle of sweet moscato to go with dessert if everyone’s in the mood. ALL the dinners are included in this itinerary so we get a change to spoil our guests with some of our favorite eateries during this week. I’ll try to make notes on one of them to share with you all later, maybe with some photos on the CycleItalia blog? Our slogan IS “pedala forte, mangia bene” (ride hard, eat well) after all. A good sunday (buona domenica in Italian) to all!

  12. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    “Pedala forte, mangia bene” — I like that. How did the welcome dinner turn out?

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