Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Thousands are sailing

December 8, 2018

Hm, we seem to be on something of an Irish-music kick here.

They’re sailing in the other direction these days, at least some of them. Zio Lorenzo and The Professor are settled in Italy and not missing Sioux City one iota, unless I miss my guess.

And now our friends Mike and Liz are bidding adieu and relocating to Lyon, France.

We had them over for green-chile stew last night and caught up. They’ve bought an apartment there, the house here is for sale, and come springtime they will be well positioned to observe Le Tour in its native habitat. Stage 8 will be right in their backyard, or arrière-cour, as we say in le français.

Novelist and poet Jim Harrison thought highly enough of Lyon to write, “If I were given the dreary six months to live, I’d head at once to Lyon and make my way from bistro to bistro in a big stroller pushed by a vegetarian.”

The place suffers from a dearth of New Mexican-style green-chile stew, however, and thus we were compelled to revive them after the house-hunting excursion. We couldn’t find a vegetarian with a two-seater stroller to push them home, though.

Food King

December 4, 2018

I’ve been rethinking my hunter-gatherer protocols after the last two Whole Amazon expeditions topped the $300 mark.

Jeff Bezos does not seem to lack for steady income, I mused. Jeff Bezos never shoves a hand into a pocket and finds nothing in there but four fingers and a thumb, I surmised. Maybe I should start redistributing my* income, I decided.

The main thing Whole Amazon has going for it — as far as I’m concerned, anyway — is convenience. Whatever you want, no matter how ridiculous, there’s a strong chance that Whole Amazon will have it. Don’t need it? You’ll probably buy it anyway, just ’cause. You rarely have to do the Three Store Tango when there’s a Whole Amazon in town.

This one-stop shopping comes with a cost, of course. That hand in your pocket? It’s not yours. It’s Jeff Bezos’. He’s bored with rooting around in his own pants and wants to see what you’ve got in yours. Mine’s bigger than that. C’mon, baby, you know you want it.

Gullible’s travels.

And goddamnit, I guess I do. I’ve been test-driving some alternatives, which involved plenty of driving, and Whole Amazon remains the One Store to Rule Them All, especially when it comes to top-shelf organic produce, cheese, and booze, both real and imaginary.

Albertson’s stocks some of the items I favor — Aroma Coffee, Twining’s Irish Breakfast tea, McCann’s Irish Oatmeal, Taos Mountain Energy Bars — but while the bars and coffee were cheaper at Albertson’s, the oatmeal actually cost a buck more than at Whole Amazon.

And Albertson’s organic-produce section is a very small garden indeed, with other organic products scattered around and about, hidden among the pedestrian bits by category, instead of huddled smugly in their own tiny gated community.

Smith’s has an OK wine selection, but doesn’t carry my Clausthaler Dry-Hopped non-alcoholic beer. There’s an organics ghetto, but the produce is minimalist, nearly as thin a crop as at Albertson’s. It’s just a few minutes by bike from El Rancho Pendejo, but so is Hell.

Sprouts Farmers Market stocks Clausthaler, but only the original fake lager, and the wines are mostly the sort one drinks from a paper bag while sitting on a curb.

However, Sprouts’ selection of organic produce is second only to Whole Amazon, and it offers a house-brand organic plain English muffin I like (Whole Amazon recently re-engineered its English muffins into gummy inedibility).

Keller’s Farm Store has the league-leading meat counter and Sabroso Foods tortillas. I wouldn’t use a Whole Amazon tortilla to blow my nose.

The upshot of this unscientific survey** is that I can do without Whole Amazon, but only by shopping at Albertson’s, Smith’s, Sprouts, Keller’s, and Kelly Liquors (for my fake beer).

* “My” income mostly being “her” income.

** And yes, this is how I roll when Herself is out of Dodge. You can’t stop me! To-GA! To-GA! To-GA!

The day after

November 23, 2018

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.

Get your moldy-oldie Thanksgivings right here.

Here comes the sun?

October 16, 2018

Gimme heat, stat! Thermostat, that is.

Um, not so much.

That’s not Old Sol smiling down upon us. That’s a hallway light shining upon the thermostat, which I was compelled to use this morning to crank up the furnace for the first time this fall.

This unseasonably cool, moist weather is supposed to stick around for a bit, so I may have to do a little solo cyclocross today to roust myself from torpor, get the heart rate up, and avoid the kitchen, where the food is.

Chilly days bring with them the temptation to gobble everything that isn’t under lock and key, and it doesn’t help that Kelli made a pan of delicious banana bread that’s just sitting there on the counter, cooing, “Eat me, fat boy.”

Last night we dined on leftover green chile stew straight out of “The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook,” with massive side salads, tortillas and chocolate. Today I may whip up some pasta al cavolfiore from the “Moosewood Cookbook.” It’s a favorite of Herself’s in just about any kind of weather.

But it is a belly-packer, and so I’d better sweat a little before dinner. The only pudgy white guy Herself lets live indoors around here is The Turk.

Huevos del Rancho Pendejo

October 7, 2018

This egg cooker is seven years younger than I am.
And unlike me, it still works.

With the Supreme Court slamming the Wayback Machine into overdrive, hellbent for the good ol’ Dred Scott days, it seemed appropriate to fiddle with some obsolete technology here at El Rancho Pendejo.

So yesterday I gave my G4 AGP Graphics “Sawtooth” Power Mac (1999) a brand-new LG monitor. The Mac has a DVI-I port, the monitor has an HDMI port, I had a DVI-D-to-HDMI cable, and somehow it all works, smoove like butta; go figure.

Afterward I broke out the Bloo Wazoo (1980s-vintage 7-speed, single-ring 105) for an enjoyable hour of trail riding.

And today we test-drove a vintage Sunbeam automatic egg cooker (1961) that Herself unearthed at an estate sale. We were a little light on water the first time around but the second go was spot on.

When that cooker was brand-spankin’-new, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a 28-year-old research assistant with the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure, having been rejected for a clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter on the basis of her gender.

I wonder how she feels about seeing that rear-view mirror turn into a windshield. Probably feels like boiling somebody’s huevos, is my guess.

R.I.P., Anthony Bourdain

June 8, 2018

Anthony Bourdain was working on a project to bring a market modeled on Singapore’s hawker centers to Manhattan. He wanted it to bring to mind “Blade Runner” — “high-end retail as grungy, polyglot dystopia.”

It seems the chef, globetrotter and raconteur Anthony Bourdain decided to burn out rather than fade away.

I can’t really say I was a fan; more of a bemused admirer, and from a safe distance, too. I read “Kitchen Confidential,” and my main takeaway beyond “Hell, no, I don’t ever want to cook in a pro kitchen” was that he’d be a tough dude to spend a lot of time around, even if you weren’t working for him.

But man, did he ever find his place in the world. Actually, not so much “find” as “create.” It seems now that his life may have been one extended, complicated suicide attempt. “Kill me if you can, but in the meantime get the fuck out of my way because I got all this cool shit to do.”

This New Yorker piece by Patrick Radden Keefe examines Bourdain’s raison d’être, the original pitch for his evolving, “increasingly sophisticated iterations” of the same TV program:

“I travel around the world, eat a lot of shit, and basically do whatever the fuck I want.”

It may also contain his epitaph. Bourdain was a movie buff, and “Blade Runner” comes up a couple of times in the piece. I thought immediately of the conversation between Roy Batty and Eldon Tyrell, the chat which ended so badly for Batty’s creator:

“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.”

Batty would eventually check out, too. But not by his own hand.

See ‘Things, nice, why we can’t have’

March 23, 2018

OK, you tell him to get down and see what happens.

Trail of tiers

March 22, 2018

The Paseo del Bosque hasn’t leafed out yet, but it’s still a nice change, snotlocker-wise, from the juniper-heavy foothills.

Spring? Meh. Don’t talk to me about spring. We got summer down here, dude.

Yesterday I did a nice little two-and-a-half-hour ride that took in a number of the local bike trails — Paseo de las Montañas, Paseo del Bosque, Paseo del Norte, North Diversion Channel — and finished with the Tramway climb.

This is a really good ride for letting the mind wander alongside the body. The first hour is mostly downhill with a few tense moments — a couple dicey multilane-thoroughfare crossings, too much time on Indian School Road, and a narrow, stop-and-go, pain-in-the-ass stretch of Mountain skirting the north edge of downtown — but after that it’s smoove like butta, yo.

The bosque trail is flat as flat can be. The Paseo del Norte rises a bit to North Diversion. And Tramway is a pleasant steady-state, half-hour climb. There’s a little suffering at the bottom, near Interstate 25, and a little more at about the six-mile mark, but mostly it’s a matter of picking a gear you like and turning it over.

Mid-50s at the start, mid-60s at the finish, what’s not to like? When I got home I ate everything worth eating and then set about making some more — tacos, pico de gallo, spuds and turnips roasted in olive oil, salt and pepper. There were leftovers so I can eat it all over again today.

Then this morning I arise to learn that Il Douche and Uncle Joe are barking from a safe distance about throwing hands. Jesus H., etc. Can someone give these noisy old farts a couple of bikes, turn ’em loose in the desert sun for a couple of hours?

The only thing they’ll want to pound on afterward is a taco platter. But I ain’t cookin’ for ’em.

Going to pot

January 24, 2018

Irish penicillin. You knew the Irish were one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, right? True fact. The Tribe of Danny Boy.

Yes, that is a pot of chicken soup in its larval stage.

Herself has crashed and burned on the living-room couch to the stylin’ sounds of KUVO-FM (“Community, Culture, Music”). The Boo is sacked out in his kennel after a long night of behavior I’d rather not revisit while preparing food. And Turkish and Mia are dozing in their respective sunny spots in the master bedroom.

Only I remain awake to tell the tale. And I’d be on the nod too, but someone has to cook and clean and keep the cats out of the damn’ soup.

The eatin’ of the green

December 24, 2017

We kicked off Christmas Eve morn with coffee, a fruit cup and the traditional guacamuffin, which like uisce beatha, bruised knuckles and the grudge is a Ó Grádaigh family breakfast staple.

This festive red and green guacamuffin goes great with those Christmas Eve morning tequila shots you sneak between lectures from Uncle Buster, the BLM pensioner on Social Security and Medicare who serves as the family Paul Revere re: the evils of the all-pervasive feddle gummint.