Archive for the ‘Cookery’ Category

The Pod People

April 8, 2016

OK, I’ve been threatening to resurrect the Radio Free Dogpatch podcast for a while now, and the stars finally came into proper alignment this week, so here we go.

For the first time Radio Free Dogpatch is not a solo effort — my friend and colleague Hal Walter joined me for a chat of about 75 minutes that I boiled down in editing to just over an hour.

RFD-BugCall it “Two Dudes Mystery Theatre.” We talked about the passing of poets Jim Harrison and Merle Haggard; Hal’s autistic son, and what it’s like trying to do creative work while raising a child who is not “neuro-typical”; and cooking.

For anyone who’s interested in the nuts and bolts of this Frankensteinian project, we chatted via Skype (Hal lives in Custer County, Colorado, while I’m in Albuquerque). On my end I was using a Samson C01U USB condenser microphone and an old pair of Bose earbuds plugged into an equally old iMac; Hal went even lower-tech, using a $50 Kindle Fire and some Apple earbuds, the kind that include an inline mic’.

I recorded our conversation using Ecamm’s Call Recorder, then split the convo into two tracks and dragged both into Apple’s GarageBand for editing. Once the thing was more or less the way I wanted it, I uploaded it to Libsyn, which hosts RFD and sends an RSS feed to iTunes.

During our ‘cast I promised to provide links with more information about some of the topics we discussed, and here those are:

Jim Harrison

• Tom McGuane’s “Postscript” in The New Yorker.

• Mario Batali recalls mealtimes with Harrison in Time.

• Jimmy Buffett bids a fond adios to his hermano on Facebook.

• Doug Peacock on Harrison and the art of friendship at The Daily Beast.

Merle Haggard

A recollection from Patrick Doyle in Rolling Stone.

• NPR’s “Fresh Air” reprises a 1995 interview with the outlaw country legend.


• The food of Apulia, from Florence Fabricant in The New York Times.

• Her recipe for orecchiette with cherry tomatoes and arugula (being a barbarian, I add hot Italian sausage).

Final notes

If you find yourself interested in Hal’s writing, you can visit him at Hardscrabble Times (yeah, it’s been a while since he updated the ol’ blog) or order up one or more of his books (check the link in the sidebar).

Meanwhile, let us know in comments what you think. It’s a little rough around the edges, but so are we. Happily, the podcast can be improved.

Hello, trainer, my old friend. …

February 5, 2014
Calm down, all you ring-kissers. We don't have a new pope. That's just the furnace working overtime at Chez Dog.

Calm down, all you ring-kissers. We don’t have a new pope. That’s just the furnace working overtime at Chez Dog.

Whoo. Don’t think I’ll be riding the old bikey bike today. Not outdoors, anyway.

It’s 10:30 a.m. and the temperature has yet to creep above zero. In fact, it’s actually dropping. A short bout of snow-shoveling quickly sent me scuttling back indoors to climb into the oven with the broiler turned on. Now there’s a fine smell of sizzling fat in Chez Dog, as though someone were preparing a repast of pork roast wrapped in bacon.

Speaking of food, it seems a fine day to make a giant cauldron of beans in chipotle, whip up some Mexican rice, maybe toast a couple of chicken quesadillas, especially since none of this will require me to leave the house for any reason.

Even the Boo, who ordinarily is a great fan of cold weather, has taken to peeing on the deck rather than wading out into the frozen tundra to do his little bit of business. I’m surprised he hasn’t asked the cats for a loan of the litter box.

Pass the Indian, please*

November 22, 2012
Thanksgiving 2012

The remnants of Thanksgiving dinner, and the foundation of many a meal yet to come.

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.

Instead, here’s a shot of what we’ll spend the next few days gnawing on. 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.

Chilly means chile

September 30, 2012
Green-chile stew, Sept. 29, 2012

A pot of leftovers simmers on the stove.

The first pot of green chile stew is in the books for fall 2012.

I bought four bags of the green goodness — two medium, two mild — and got busy in the kitchen last night. There were plenty of leftovers, so you can imagine what we had for lunch on this cool, breezy Sunday.

And it’s a good thing I went with mild at the top end. Hot summers mean hot chile, and these “medium” New Mexico chiles were plenty hot enough, even though I altered my normal recipe to use two cups of mild to one of medium instead of a 50-50 split.

Seriously, I could feel the medium green dissolving my flesh as I peeled and chopped it. A word to the wise.

Back to the grind

September 20, 2011

Bilbo Baggins’ Road goes ever on and on, but mine came to a halt on Sunday. Monday I spent in the usual post-expedition fog, and today it was time to get back to business.

Herself lacks my interest in the culinary arts, so it’s a given that when I come home from a road trip there will be exactly jack-shit in the house to eat. After we burned through the steak, spuds and salad it quickly became apparent that someone would have to replenish the pantry, and as usual that someone was me.

Muchos grassyass

The Turk' catches some rays in the backyard.

So today, I hit the grocery — and man, did it ever hit back. Two hundred smacks down Whole Paycheck’s organic rathole for tasty bits of this and that. I should just sign over my Velo checks to these dudes and be done with it.

The good news is that the week’s menu will include fusilli draped with a spicy all’arrabbiata sauce full of red pepper flakes, capers and black olives; kung pao chicken with white rice; sausage and cheese enchiladas in red sauce with Mexican rice; chicken quesadillas; and chicken enchiladas in green sauce with a side of roasted potatoes in red chile. Can you tell I’ve been to Santa Fe recently? Yeah, me too.

Meanwhile, the Turk’ has been enjoying plenty of outside time since my return. Getting him in a harness is like sticking a hand in a running blender, and since he’s mostly my cat he’s mostly my problem.

No worries. I’ve been getting my furry brother hooked up so he can live the feline dream in the backyard, hunting grasshoppers and enjoying the last few days of summertime in Bibleburg.

Getaways, groceries and grifters

July 25, 2011

There’s nothing like that first day after the Tour folds its big yellow tent and life gets back to normal.

I got out early for a two-hour ride northeast on Highway 24 and enjoyed a tailwind to Falcon. The headwind on the homebound leg wasn’t outlandish, and I considered stretching the outing to three hours before remembering that there was nothing to eat in Chez Dog, someone having been a little lackadaisical about grocery-shopping lately.

So I rolled home, made a list and headed north to Whole Paycheck, pissing away a car payment on bits of this and that to keep flesh on the bones. Last night’s “dinner” involved a tin of smoked oysters, cheddar, crackers and a salad, and that’s just not enough to keep a renowned cycling journalist at the top of his game.

Now it’s raining for a second consecutive day, which is excellent. It’s been hotter than the high-flange hubs of Hell around here lately, and this takes the edge off, as does a little effervescent Austrian rosé.

Alas, we may all be reduced to drinking feeble American lager out of red-white-and-blue cans if the “mine is bigger than yours” contest ends badly in DeeCee, as seems increasingly likely.

These overfed, undereducated pustules afflicting the body politic should be compelled at gunpoint to hold their slapfests in small-town bars and beaneries, in the company of the simple folks these rich fucks profess to care about. Maybe after a few vicious beatings administered by work-hardened knuckles they’d realize their cushy gigs are about people, not politics.

• Late update: Kevin Drum sure wasn’t impressed by either Obama or Punkinhead tonight. I listened to the first few minutes of Obama’s bit while cooking dinner and I wasn’t exactly hearing a clarion call to arms. As for Punkinhead, I unplugged his ass before he even had a chance to start lying. My patience has its limits.

An evening on the deck

June 16, 2011

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.

Kung pao, chingado

September 3, 2010

OK, time for another cooking show here on the Dog Channel. Remember the NPR kung pao chicken recipe I linked to a while back? Well, I’ve reprised it a few times since, ramping up the chile content each time and changing the protein from chicken to beef to pork.

Today Herself and I are both suffering from various ailments — allergies, injuries, you name it — and so I went for the healing pork and 14 chiles plus an overflowing teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns. Hijo, madre, puto, cabron … my head is still sweating. And I think I just grew a third testicle. It was that powerful.

But there’s not a picture, because we were both so beat down and hungry that we just dove right in, and I ate all the leftovers for seconds. Sorry ’bout that. Stir fry up a batch yourself and you’ll forgive me for my piggishness.

Thou art mortal

September 2, 2010

Chicken quesadillas and calabacitas.

Damn, this has been a fun week. First I make drunkard tartare out of my right leg in a trail tumble, and now I’ve managed to throw my back out again.

Hitting the deck on Tuesday started the ball rolling. Favoring the bum leg gave it a nudge. And the kicker was probably spending too much time crouched over the cutting board, assembling last night’s New Mexican feast, chicken quesadillas and calabacitas.

These are easy dishes, to be sure — the quesadillas are merely poached and shredded chicken, seeded and sliced jalapeños and grated Monterey jack layered between two flour tortillas and baked for 12 minutes at 350 — but some assembly is required.

Long story short, this morning I bend down to see if Turkish is lurking under Herself’s car and pop! Out goes the back, which I first injured in college while delivering heavy appliances for beer money. Every couple of years it likes to slash the tires on my chariot and hiss, “Thou art mortal!”

Still, things could be worse. A couple of friends are on Cape Cod, playing hide-and-seek with Hurricane Earl. Or I could be one of the poor chumps blown off the latest offshore oil platform to explode.

So, yeah. I’ve got that going for me. That, and the drugs, and the ice pack. …

Awright awready

September 1, 2010
It's not music that soothes the savage breast, it's pasta and vino.

It's not music that soothes the savage breast, it's pasta and vino.

Maybe it wasn’t such a horrible speech after all. I was cranky (having just shredded my right leg in a boneheaded trail mishap) and hungry (Herself was working late so I didn’t have dinner on the table pre-speech). After getting a meal and a few drams of Spanish vino into my system, I felt more kindly toward the prez and his little chitty-chat with the nation.

The recipe, pasta with salsa crudo and green beans, is from Martha Rose Shulman. Run it past the cranky-pants in your family and see if it doesn’t work wonders. I made mine with homegrown Portuguese beans and tomatoes from the gardens of two generous friends.

This is not to say, mind you, that I comprehend Obama’s fetish of continually extending olive branches to the Repugs only to watch them snatch them from his hand, toss them to the floor and piss on them.

Nor am I satisfied by his fondness for glittering generalities (“Our troops are the steel in our ship of state. And though our nation may be traveling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true, and that beyond the predawn darkness, better days lie ahead.”).

And while I’m delighted to hear he wants to at least cut back on croaking our fellow Americans abroad and get cranking on the domestic economy instead, I’m still waiting to hear any details of how he proposes “to shore up the foundation of our own prosperity.” How many of us wonder whether the next paycheck we get will be the last? Just ’cause you’re paranoid, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

And then there are the midterms. The more I watch the Obama “machine” in operation, the more I’m convinced these guys think they can take a page from the Repug playbook and blow off a sizable chunk of their supporters without consequences at the ballot box. The Repugs punk the Bible-thumpers every election year, and the Donks think they can do likewise to the lefty-loonies.

It’s a dangerous game. Sure, moving center-right to woo the independents and the handful of Repugs who aren’t yet completely unhinged may pick up a couple of loose votes. And it’s true that like the Bible-thumpers, lefty-loonies are not likely to hold their noses and switch their allegiance to the other side.

But a bunch of us, disillusioned once again, might just stay home on Election Day. And that’s really bad news, because the GOP’s whackjob base always turns out with a will, like a bunch of frat boys gleefully piling out of a van to beat up a longhair, nigra or queer.

Shit, now I’m cranky again, and I don’t feel like cooking. Happily, I still have some wine.

• Literary addendum: I almost forgot — one of the reasons I started writing this post was a recollection of Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here.” Red Sinclair certainly thought it could, and anyone who read the book will recognize many of its characters hamming it up on today’s stage.