The day after

Chicken cacciatore as envisioned by Emeril Lagasse, a gent of Canuck-Portagee extraction but a Cajun by temperament.

As is often the case, Turkey Day was not turkey day at El Rancho Pendejo.

Longtime inmates of the asylum will recall that we generally cook something other than the usual on Thanksgiving, and yesterday was no exception.

I went with a pairing from our greatest hits — chicken cacciatore a la Emeril and a side of stir-fried succotash with edamame from Martha Rose Shulman — while Herself contributed a delicious apple crisp from Diane Kester via Allrecipes using local apples supplied by a colleague.

As I rooted through Thanksgivings past it struck me that this iteration of the Dog Blog recently reached its 10-year anniversary. As hard as it may be to believe, it was in 2008 that we shifted over from the old self-hosted WordPress model so that all y’all could contribute comments, and those comments have been part of what makes the place hop.

Anyway, while I was zipping around and about in the Wayback Machine, and just ’cause I could, I snatched up 10 years’ worth of Thanksgiving posts for your amusement, a little waddle down the Memory Lane Buffet. Grab a tray, click the link, and help yourselves.

2008: It’s alive! It’s alive! It’s aliiiiive!

Once again Zombie Mad Dog Media (Hosted WordPress Edition) walks the earth in search of fresh brains.

The shamans of Waxedstringandacanistan resurrected the evil dead sometime on Thanksgiving Day, while Herself and I were in Fort Collins eating a defunct bird and related items with my sister, her husband and his brother. I should probably sacrifice a laptop to the XHTML gods to show my gratitude.

The drive home was the real party, as the first actual wintry weather we’ve seen so far swept in and glazed Interstate 25 like a cop’s doughnut. We were in second gear for most of the way from Larkspur to Bibleburg, but oddly enough saw only one leadfoot knucklehead backasswards in the ditch, at the south entrance to the Air Force Academy. Last year, in dry conditions, we saw a half-dozen or so.

The local nitwits are making up for lost time today, though, bashing into one another with a will as they race from mall to mall hunting Black Friday bargains. And in New York, one poor bastard, a Wal-Mart temp, got stomped to death by an unruly mob of cheapskates who broke down the doors and piled into the store, devil take the hindmost.

Reports The New York Times:

People did not stop to help the employee as he lay on the ground, and they pushed against other Wal-Mart workers who were trying to aid Mr. Damour. The crowd kept running into the store even after the police arrived, jostling and pushing officers who were trying to perform CPR, the police said.
“They were like a stampede,” said Nassau Det. Lt. Michael Fleming. “Hundreds of people walked past him, over him or around him.”

Now that’s what I call a “door-buster.” The coppers should confiscate every single one of these yahoos’ credit cards, take the maximum cash advance from each, and hand the whole pile over to this poor sod’s survivors. I wouldn’t walk into a big-box store today if they were giving away eternal life with the Victoria’s Secret angels in a giant snow globe full of cocaine.

2009: Happy Thanksgiving (hold the turkey, please)

Thanksgiving is always a tad offbeat around the DogHaus. Turkey is rarely on the menu, though as an omnivore I have nothing against consuming them. As Freewheeling Franklin once said during an argument between Phineas and Fat Freddy, “Naw, it’s okay to eat turkeys. That’s just God’s way of punishing them for being so stupid.”

I’m just naturally contrary, I suppose. If everyone else is going that way, well, I’m going this way. Nothing personal. It just looks less crowded over there.

So today Herself and I, joined by the sis and bro’-in law, will enjoy chicken cacciatore over fettuccine with sides of arugula with roasted red pepper, green beans in a soy-sesame seed-garlic sauce, and ciabatta with dipping oil. Raspberry cobbler for dessert.

And wine, of course. Not Italian (there he goes again).  We have a French white (Domaine du Tariquet 2008), a Spanish rosé (Protocolo 2007) and a couple of French reds (Domaine des Rozets Coteaux du Tricastin 2007 and Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2009).

2010: Black Friday blues

I camped out all night in my bed and when I arose this morning there was free coffee in the kitchen. Talk about your Black Friday bargains!

There was toast, too, but I had to make that myself. Ditto the eggs. And come to think of it, I had to pay for the eggs, bread and the coffee. Full retail, too, as I recall.

Damn. I think I’ve been screwed by The Man yet again. And without so much as a good-morning kiss.

Herself and I drove to Fort Fun and back for Turkey Day, served up by my sis’ and bro’-in-law, and a delicious meal it was, too. Turkey with all the usual suspects, including Brussels sprouts with bacon and a glass of one of my favorite rosés, Mas de la Dames Rosé du Mas 2009.

En route we missed “Alice’s Restaurant” on KRCC, but caught up with Arlo on KUNC out of Greeley, then followed that up with some “Sam Kinison: Live From Hell” (yeah, we have some odd holiday traditions).

As is traditional, the trip also served up a few contenders for the annual Darwin Awards, including an eight-car smashup near Larkspur, in broad daylight and on dry roads; a pickup driver with his lights off after sunset; and my personal fave, some dipshit fool in dark clothing astride a motorcycle sans taillight speeding in the left lane through Bibleburg as we approached Chez Dog at dark-thirty.

Ride on, brother. Hell ain’t half full, and I hear Sammy throws a swell party.

2011: No cash? No problem

Herself and I ordinarily start our Thanksgiving Day drive north to dine with my sis and bro-in-law by listening to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” and finish the drive home with Sam Kinison’s “Live From Hell.” It’s not exactly your typical family tradition, but then we’re not exactly your typical family.

Alas, this trip we got rooked out of Arlo — KRCC wasn’t playing it until noon, when we were well out of range, and KUNC must have played it before we got in range.

So we listened to Sam on the way up and Richard Pryor’s “… is it something I said?” on the way back. And thus, since the Comedy Rule of Three is clearly in effect here today, and in order to shine a bit of comedic light on the festival of consumerist idiocy called “Black Friday” that precedes The Greatest Bullshit Story Ever Told, we herewith present a portion of George Carlin’s 10th HBO special, “George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy.”

2012: Pass the Indian, please*

Good God. Seventy-one degrees on the day before Thanksgiving. We didn’t even have to roast the bird; just set the sumbitch out on the deck and let it tan.

When I wasn’t paying attention I found myself committed to three consecutive days of pretending to be (a) a cook, and (2) human. Yesterday Herself’s gal pal Lester popped round for a snack ‘n’ snooze en route from Function Junction to Little Pittsburgh; today, it was the sis and bro’-in-law motoring down from Fort Fun; and on Friday, it’ll be leftovers and whatnot with a couple friends and neighbors.

And leftovers there will be aplenty. Yesterday I whipped up a basic posole with a side of pico de gallo and chips while Herself performed a delicious raspberry cobbler. Today we tag-teamed a 13.6-pound organic turkey, cornbread stuffing, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, an Asian-style stir-fried succotash with edamame from Martha Rose Shulman, a cranberry salsa from Mother Jones and some tortilla roll-ups from “The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook.”

And tomorrow … we ain’t cookin’ shit.

The roll-ups, salsas and chips were intended to be appetizers, but the kinfolk got caught behind a six-car pileup en route and were delayed quite some, so once they finally got here we more or less ignored the light work and dove straight into the heavy lifting. I should’ve taken a few snaps, but by the time the vittles hit the table I was famished and clicking away with knife and fork instead of shutter.

Here’s hoping that you and yours had plenty to eat yesterday, today and tomorrow, and a warm, cozy place to eat it in. And thanks for hanging around the joint while we dish up bits of this, that and the other, despite the occasionally sloppy service. You can’t get everything you want, but then this ain’t exactly Alice’s Restaurant.

* It’s a Firesign Theatre reference. “Temporarily Humboldt County” and “Alice’s Restaurant” always come to mind around Thanksgiving. Remember, if you want to end war and stuff, you gotta sing loud.

2013: Black Friday or Blue Christmas?

This holiday’s observation was a Radio Free Dogpatch podcast.

2014: Giving thanks

That time of year again, is it?

Mister Boo is thankful for monocular vision following successful surgeries to remove one bad eye and repair one not-so-bad eye. Also for the delicious bits of chicken breast that accompany his four-times-daily rounds of post-op medication.

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and Chief of Staff Miss Mia Sopaipilla are thankful for full bowls of top-shelf cat chow that for some reason are on my kitchen counter.

Their staff is thankful for paying work, a flat roof over their freshly New Mexican heads, and the sod firmly underfoot where it belongs. Here’s hoping Thanksgiving 2014 finds you likewise.

And a special thanks to everyone who keeps popping round to check on us, despite the irregular posting of late. We’ll be back on track before you can say “Happy holidays.”

Meanwhile, you still can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant, kid. Don’t forget to pick up the garbage.

2015: Meanwhile, back at Thanksgiving. …

It was quiet around El Rancho Pendejo yesterday. No friends, no family, just the five of us — Herself, Mister Boo, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), Miss Mia Sopaipilla, and Your Humble Narrator.

Ordinarily we do the holidays with my sister and her husband, but with Fort Collins now an eight-hour drive each way, and the road conditions decidedly Novemberish between here and there, we decided to give the road trip a miss and instead treated them to a FaceTime video tour of our new digs.

This seemed a particularly bright move after we heard from our pal Hal, who did the big U-turn from Weirdcliffe to Highlands Ranch and back again, narrowly avoiding disaster. Via e-mail, he reported that Bibleburg “was dry on the north end and a fucking skating rink on the south end. A six-car pileup happened right in from of me on I-25 and I was lucky to not be No. 7.”

Good times. Maybe not.

So, yeah. We stayed home, and I whipped up a mess of Emeril’s chicken cacciatore with a side of Martha Rose Shulman’s stir-fried succotash with edamame. Herself was detailed to prepare a green salad and a raspberry cobbler but instead chose to lean on her shovel, sipping a glass of vino, and who can blame her? Not me. Plenty of veggies in that succotash, yo. Plus we had a salad with breakfast (right), which included eggs over easy atop spuds slathered in green chile. And we had ice cream for dessert.

Hope your day went as nicely as ours did.

2016: Cranks, stanks and thanks

Editor’s note: This was intended to be the kickoff to an episode of the Radio Free Dogpatch podcast, but I couldn’t quite corral the folks I had hoped to rope in as contributors. So instead it’s just words in a row, in the usual fashion.

Thanksgiving, man.

The holiday is practically synonymous with “turkey,” and man, did we ever have a big one come home to roost this year. Orange. Noisy. Indigestible.

He looks more like a turkey buzzard, when you get right down to it. Your turkey buzzard sings no songs; when it speaks, it does so in grunts and hisses. It roosts on lifeless trees, and will shit on itself to stay cool when things get too hot for it.

And if you fuck with it, it will puke on you. Generally around three in the morning, on Twitter.

Still, hail to the Chief, right? Right.

Thanksgiving, man. Definitely a holiday with its ups and downs.

In my misspent youth Turkey Day around the O’Grady table was often an exercise in intoxicant management and impulse control, which can be rough on the digestion. Also, the crockery. Once I left home and took up the news biz I generally worked holidays, having no family of my own to preside over with a scepter of vodka and crown of thorns. It’s a lot more fun to argue with people when you’re getting paid and can eat whatever you want for lunch, especially if it’s whiskey.

Once I was married and the parents were gone, the daily news biz receding in the rear-view mirror as I detoured into the cycling press, holiday mealtimes mellowed considerably. Herself and I spent Thanksgivings with friends and neighbors, or my sister and her husband, since Herself’s kin were a ways off in Texas, Tennessee and Maryland. Lacking a sparring partner, I indulged my contrarian streak by cooking non-standard meals — Chinese, Mexican, Italian, whatever. “Home for the Holidays,” “Alice’s Restaurant” and (if we were driving to my sister’s place in Fort Fun, for some reason, “Sam Kinison: Live From Hell”) replaced the turkey in our family tradition.

Thanksgiving, man.

Herself the Elder joined us for our first Thanksgiving here at El Rancho Pendejo, but I can’t remember what I cooked. Last year, with just the two of us, it was chicken cacciatore, Emeril-style, with a side of Martha Rose Shulman’s stir-fried succotash with edamame.

And this year? Braised turkey thighs with roasted spuds and steamed asparagus. It’s just the two of us again — sis and bro-in-law had hoped to come down, but work intervened, and Herself the Elder is in Florida inspecting another daughter’s new quarters. Thus, something easy, for a simple mind in complex times.

One thing that won’t be on the menu: Arugula. Twice now I’ve come home from the Whole Paycheck with bad batches and I’m kind of over cracking the lid on its plastic coffin and getting a $4 snootful of stank. Who knows what’s going on there? The arugula dude probably left his 18-wheeler parked in the sun while he was doing the nasty with a lot lizard in the sleeper, but who am I to judge a man by how he spends his lunch hour? I like to spend mine eating lunch, but it’s not for everyone, especially if you’ve been taking those little white pills and your eyes are open wide.

Thanksgiving, man.

I’m lucky I made it to the grocery at all last week. I put it off until Friday afternoon, which is amateur hour — all real pros shop on Tuesday or Wednesday — and I nearly didn’t get there on Friday because it took three or four tries and about two hours to send a two-minute video review to the Adventurous Cyclists in Missoula, almost certainly because the Duke City remains mired to the driveshaft in the Adobe Age and uploading video via our internet hookup is the equivalent of tossing a thumb drive into the arroyo behind the house and hoping the wind blows it to Montana.

So I’m sitting here watching the progress bar mostly not move and thinking Jesus, the Merrick Garland nomination is moving faster than this file. Hell, the entire federal government is showing more speed, if only in reverse, motoring back to the Articles of Confederation or maybe King George III, if George wore an even cheesier wig and was the shade of an overcooked yam.

I stopped the upload and restarted it, then stopped it again and restarted it again, and finally unplugged the modem and stomped around the house, which still smelled faintly of rotten arugula. Then I plugged it back in and hey presto! The file finally transferred and off to the Whole Paycheck I went.
So I’m thankful for that.

And I remembered not to get any arugula this time, for which I am also thankful.

What are you thankful for?

2017: No turkey, but a trot

Another Thanksgiving done and dusted. A thousand thank-yous to everyone who continues to pop round to the rumormongery, if only to see whether I’ve croaked and left them a slightly used bicycle or two or three.

We kept it light this year. Neither family nor friends were in attendance (we phoned Herself the Elder, my sister, and our former Bibleburg tenant Judy) and thus the kitchen drudgery was nothing out of the ordinary.

Posole verde on the fire.

I cooked a simple posole verde based on a recipe by Rodrigo Bueno, Herself whipped up a raspberry cobbler, and that was that. No leftover turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy and whatnot for snacking purposes, but the post-feast cleanup was greatly expedited.

Before sitting down to eat we went out for a short and leisurely run, neither of us having legged it around and about for a while. It was a gorgeous November day, with temps in the 60s and nothing but blue sky overhead.

Indeed, it was so pleasant we gave the cats a good airing, too, and they spent the rest of the day snoozing in their respective towers by a window.

Ordinarily we watch “Home for the Holidays” on Thanksgiving, but this year we opted for a few episodes from season two of “Baskets,” a weird little series starring Zach Galifianakis. It’s not for everyone — especially now, since disgraced weirdo Louis C.K. is one of the co-creators and producers — but it’s definitely … different.

Elsewhere, there’s nothing different about the way special counsel Robert Mueller is pressing his inquiry into the Rooski ratfucking of the 2016 elections.

The Old Wise Heads speculate that Mike Flynn has rolled over and begun chirping canarylike arias, which is generally what happens when the laws have you by the short and curlies and wish to grab hold of someone a little higher up the criminal chain of command.

It’s probably a tad early to give thanks. But may we please have a few indictments neatly wrapped and under the tree by Christmas, Santa baby?

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19 Responses to “The day after”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Wow. Flies time when we are funning halves, eh? As I fast approach social security and medicare age, I think back to that first email I sent the Dog, from back in Honolulu:

    “So when are you gonna turn that Old Guys Who Get Fat t-shirt into a racing jersey?” That was back sometime in the nineties, it was. Sure enough that happened and I recall wearing The Other Yellow Jersey for a miserable time trial where I flatted twice in the Castle to Haunauma TT (unsupported) and came in last in my age group. Sigh.

    Hope all of us survived another mass killing (of feathered turkeys, that is). Have a nice Day After. And thankfully, on that note, it was snow and not fallout that dusted the landscape overnight.

  2. JD Dallager Says:

    Mighty fine looking cuisine there, PO’G and Herself. And moderate sized portions that definitely contrast with today’s Black Friday economic orgy. Good on ya!

    Also enjoyed revisiting some of the previous year’s “PO’G Pearls”. Nostalgia may not necessarily be a good business strategy, but it is often soothing to reminisce a bit, eh?

    Best wishes to all for a wonderful weekend……get out and exercise some……many thanks for your e-friendship.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ordinarily we add a green salad of some sort to the mix, JD, but we got kind of a late start on the cookery yesterday (OK, so I got the late start) and we decided to skip that course. Vegetables aplenty in the succotash, don’t y’know.

  3. Kat Hardt-Holoch Says:

    I’m not sure when I started following your blog (couple years ago?), but I continue do so because you help me put a positive spin on a somewhat painful chapter of my life–living in ABQ. I moved there for the outdoors (mountain biking, hiking, etc.) and things just kind of fell apart and needed major reconstruction. So, your rides remind of the things I liked about ABQ (Elena Gallegos, hiking in the Sandia Mountains) and also inform me about new things like all the bike paths (don’t think the street bike infrastructure was anywhere as robust in the mid-90s as what you describe and what I see on the City’s bike maps). Thanks, Patrick.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Glad to provide a window on the old hometown, Kat. Where do you hang your hat these days?

      I fled Tucson, Corvallis and Denver for similar reasons (crash, burn, rebuild, repeat). Corvallis may have been the worst of the three, though the problem was not with the place itself, but rather with me in it.

      Albuquerque is a startlingly good place to ride the bike, but the place does have its issues. I’m not sure anyone knows how to resolve them, least of all me.

      Anyway, thanks for peeking in, and for commenting.

      • Kat Hardt-Holoch Says:

        I’m back in the Bay Area. I lived in ABQ from mid-’94 to end of ’97. Riding a bike on the streets at that time left you open to yelling and cigarette butt throwing–“How dare you be out having a good time, especially getting in the way of my pick-up?” But ABQ has changed a lot since the mid-90s and so have I. ABQ is on our ‘potential’ list as a place to retire–I’m smart enough to know now that I would need to really think about it and likely rent for a year before buying. And my preference would be to live east of Tramway…not the cheapest area of ABQ. One lesson I did take away from my time there is that it isn’t always the place, but the people.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Hey there Kat. Might want to take a look at our little burg. If hiking and cycling is high on your list of things to do, and a reasonable cost of living makes a difference, this is a nice place.

          • Kat Hardt-Holoch Says:

            Thanks, Pat. I’ve been to Tucson and Bisbee, but not sure if I traveled through Sierra Vista. Looks very interesting and there are even jobs there! Are there many mountain biking trails around there? I’ve considered visiting Prescott to check it out, as I know they have a good trail system there.

          • JD Dallager Says:

            Kat: Prescott is muy bueno. High enough for green trees and cooler summer temps….and south enough to stay warm in the winter. Great trail system, outdoor oriented, and jobs available last time I checked.

            Plus close to Sedona, Flagstaff, and Phoenix as needed.

        • psobrien Says:

          Hi Kat. Brown Canyon/Garden Canyon and Cooper Loop are my favorites. I can ride to the Garden Canyon trail head from my house, and it is close when you live on the SE side of town. I haven’t explored the trails down by the river. JD is right about Prescott. The mountain biking there is great, but the road riding was pretty bad a few years ago. I haven’t been there in 3 years. Cost of living there is higher than here. The road riding here is great too, although the roads could use some work, especially the state highways. We have two good bike shops, and growing NICA high and middle school mountain bike teams. We are thirty miles from Bisbee, and 70 from Tucson. Good climate at 4600 feet above sea level.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          It’s been years since I was last in Prescott, on a writing job for some Boulder-based journal of competitive cycling whose name eludes me, but I remember enjoying it quite a bit.

          Bisbee, which is not far from Pat’s digs in Sierra Vista, is a cool little town, and we have a friend or two there.

          Las Cruces has some good cycling going on, too. One of the Adventure Cycling Association’s guided-tour honchos lives there. Hot as the hubs of hell come summertime, though.

          As for Albuquerque, it might not be as hellishly expensive as you think, Kat. We’re east of Tramway, if only just — off Comanche, two blocks from Foothills Trail 365 — and we think we got a lot of house for the money. And some great neighbors to go along with it.

          Property taxes are much higher here than they were in Bibleburg, but the green chile is better, as you already know.

  4. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Good work! Eating well is the best revenge…or something like that, right? No turkeys around these parts so a few days ago I bought a big chicken from one of the local butchers. Kept the head, let them cut off the feet. The professor boiled the head and some other bits into a nice broth to use in stuffing the thing before it went in the oven.
    The result was a sort-of Thanksgiving dinner with mashed spuds and gravy to go along with some cooked greens, all washed down with a nice Novello from these folks
    We liked this one enough to go back and score a couple more bottles!
    All that was last weekend though, on the actual turkey day we enjoyed fresh sea bream (they call ’em orata here) broiled in the oven with capers, cherry tomatoes, onions and potatoes washed down with a bottle of Grillo from the same makers as the Novello.
    La vita e bella!!!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Well done indeed, Larry. Give our best to The Professor. We don’t eat enough fish here. But BRAIN’s Matt Wiebe is going to be selling some of this season’s Alaskan-salmon catch locally and I hope to acquire some of it.

  5. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Not sure when I started hanging ’round the Dog House, but I also can’t remember what I had for breakfast.

    We had our Thanksgiving at our tandem riding vegetarian friend’s house. The served wild rice stuffed portobello shrooms with roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, and cashews. We contributed mashed rutabagas, salad, and whole grain bread. Washed it down, I did anyway, with Black Butte Porter and a Barrio Blonde.

    Get him like they did Capone is my wish. In the slammer for tax evasion. Then they can take their time figuring out what else he did with the houses of saud and putin. Oh yea, don’t forget junior. Daddy needs a cell mate.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We had shiitakes in this cacciatore, Paddy me boyo. ’Shrooms are the shit. Also, and too, wild rice, Brussels sprouts, carrots and cashews.

      Mashing up the rootybeggers, are you? Turnips mash pretty well, too, as does cauliflower. IIRC, Hal does mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes.

      I remember that Black Butte Porter fondly. Hard to go wrong with a Deschutes beer.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Meena has a recipe for making mock turkey out of tofu soaked in a mixture of tamari, ginger, and various spices for 48 hours and then baked it with stuffing. I top it off with a gravy made of besan flour, tamari, nutritional yeast, and spices. All, of course, served with a good pinot noir and a heavy chardonnay, yams, and whatever greenery fits the fashion of the day.

      • David Rees Says:

        I was having a real hard time seeing that as “dinner” and “food” until you got the pinot and chardonnay part.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          Ciao Davide, you would have enjoyed this of the joys of being here this time of year. The holiday lights are going up on the island now – this will be only the second time we’ve been here for the Saturnalia festivities 🙂
          We got some more good news the other day, The Professor’s college back in Iowa wants to continue her study-abroad program here!

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