Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Everything’s rosy

September 3, 2017

Winter may be coming, but it ain’t here yet.

We’re getting a burst of late roses here at El Rancho Pendejo. Red, pink, yellow. The works.

The four-day (!) Labor Day weekend has been a rousing success so far. Herself and I went for a short trail run on Friday. On Saturday she performed yoga while I did 90 minutes of hills on the Bianchi Zurigo. Afterward I burned a couple slabs of defunct bovine and served ’em up alongside some spinach fettuccine topped with smoked salmon and asparagus in a shallot cream sauce. Herself provided a refreshing green salad. Teevee was watched, and chocolate eaten.

Today there was more yoga and cycling (the latter on the Sam Hillborne, just rolling around eyeballing some of the top-shelf real estate over by the tram). Afterward the neighbors popped round with baskets full of homegrown goodness — tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers — that went nicely in a salad alongside the leftover moocow from yesterday, plus some mashed spuds. Also, and too, ice cream.

We are neither on fire nor under water, are unlikely to be deported, and there are no inbound missiles of which I am aware.

Is this the winning we’ve heard so much about? If not, why, then, it will have to do.

Chow dog

December 26, 2016
From left, taters, tea, bacon and eggs. Not pictured: English muffins.

From left, taters, tea, bacon and eggs. Not pictured: English muffins.

Christmas Day was one chilly sonofabitch, with a nasty bit of wind, so naturally Herself and I decided to go out for a short run, reasoning that we could do anything, no matter how sucky, for a half hour.

You will recall that I have “run” exactly once since May, while Herself pounds ground a couple days a week and did a half-marathon back in October. So imagine if you will an elderly, portly Irish setter chasing a young border collie over hill and dale.

After such a massive caloric expenditure I felt compelled to prepare a pot of pre-Mexican hominy stew, and this morning topped that off with a mess of pan-fried potatoes, hickory-smoked bacon, eggs over easy, English muffins, coffee and tea.

And now I feel slightly sluggish for some reason. Probably the bonk. I should eat something.

Cranks, stanks ‘n’ thanks

November 24, 2016
Shut up, kid.

Shut up, kid.

Editor’s note: This was intended to be the kickoff to a 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?

Good news and bad news

October 4, 2016
Classic Fat from the last millennium. Some things never change.

Classic Fat from the last millennium. Some things never change.

First, the good news: Julia Moskin at The New York Times serves up a modern recipe for chicken pot pie that looks absolutely scrumptious.

The bad news, also from the NYT: Whatever you weigh right this minute, you’re only gonna get fatter as 2016 and its various holiday seasons waddle to their belt-loosening denouement. I blame Obama. Also, the chicken pot pie.

The worse news: “Anything that happens in these next 10 weeks, on average, takes about five months to come off,” says professor Brian Wansink of Cornell University’s business school.

Does that include the election? Oh, God, no. I need some comfort food. And I think we all know what it might be. …

Feed-and-read zone

August 21, 2016
The fabled Three Pepper Hash, topped with two eggs over easy and a side of Lucky Irish Breakfast tea with lemon and honey.

The fabled Three Pepper Hash, topped with two eggs over easy, an English muffin, and a mug of Lucky Irish Breakfast tea with lemon and honey.

And on the seventh day … well, he didn’t exactly rest.

There was dog-walking, and cooking (my fabled Three Pepper Hash for breakfast). Both lawn and skull received a vigorous clipping. You get the idea.

But there was no cycling today. I could’ve squeezed in a short ride before the weather uglied up, maybe, possibly, but I didn’t feel like it, so there.

If there’s a downside to inactivity, it’s that I have more time for reading. Thus I present:

• “How Can America Recover From Donald Trump?” From the NYT editorial page, where someone is having a good deal of fun writing hand-wringing editorials lately.

• “‘Racialists’ are cheered by Trump’s latest strategy.” Not nearly as fun a read, but hey — we’re talking about the button-down klavern here. I remember when the sonsabitches wore sheets instead of seersucker. From The Washington Post.

• “Does Henry Kissinger Have a Conscience?” From The New Yorker. I expect you already know the answer.

Nada De Laurentiis

May 7, 2016
Another winner from Nada De Chingada.

Another winner from Nada De Chingada.

I made this for dinner last night.

Except I didn’t have any sweet Italian turkey sausage, so I used hot Italian pork sausage.

And I didn’t have two red bell peppers, so I used a combo of yellow, orange and green.

Also, I used Mexican oregano, and dried basil.

Only three garlic cloves.

There was no Marsala wine handy, so I substituted apple cider.

Ditto the fresh Italian sandwich rolls, so I served it over spaghetti.

Doubled up on the red pepper flakes.

Oh, yeah, and I added a garnish of flat-leaf Italian parsley and grated a little Parmigiano-Reggiano over it.

Now that I think about it, I guess I didn’t make this after all.

But it was still pretty goddamn good.

Morning glory

April 12, 2016
This'll cure what ails ya.

This’ll cure what ails ya.

Handy Household Hint: Whenever I run out of black-tar heroin and prescription painkillers I substitute a three-pepper, scrambled-egg quesadilla and a double-shot Americano. If that doesn’t get you moving in the morning, you’ve died during the night.

Rock and roll

February 5, 2016
¡Hot plate, señores!

¡Hot plate, señores!

Bad citizen. Instead of watching last night’s debate, I made chicken-quesadilla platters using leftovers from previous cookery — a spicy chipotle chicken filling for tacos and pinto beans— and some freshly made Mexican rice.

I had been thinking in terms of bean burritos and rice, smothered in green chile, but we both had green chile stew for lunch and a second round seemed a bit much, as did the thought of watching the Wicked Witch of Whitewater and Comrade Eeyore braying at each other.

Don’t get me wrong. Barring some hellish catastrophe I expect to pull the lever for Eeyore in the primary and then, if need be, hold my nose and vote for the Witch in the general. But I’m too old a hoor to pretend I’m enjoying it.

As usual, Charles P. Pierce makes the salient point: If a Donk wins, he or she will still face a GOP-controlled House full of hacks, eejits and loons, and as with the Socialist Mooslim Kenyan Usurper-In-Chief, getting them to agree on the time of day will be an uphill push that will make Sisyphus’s little pasatiempo look like shooting marbles. He adds:

“The idea that Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring these people to heel, given the fact that most of them were raised in a conservative political culture that regards her as Maleficent Of The Ozarks, strikes me as just as fanciful as anything Bernie Sanders has said on the subject of student loans or health-care reform.”

Word. If either should become the nation’s Commander-In-Chief, neither Comrade Eeyore nor the Wicked Witch of Whitewater will be able to order the Flying Monkey Caucus to straighten up and fly right.

Tights stretch

January 2, 2016
¡Cuidado, señores y señoritas, hot plate!

¡Cuidado, señores y señoritas, hot plate!

“I’d like to ride more in 2016,” he said. Yes, and the residents of Hell would enjoy a cold beverage.

No cold beverages for me, thanks. We’re still mired in the 20s here, though “they” say we should see 40-something later today.

But you know how “they” lie.

With the temps pegged well below freezing I skipped my plans for a New Year’s Day ride and instead cooked up a mess of beans and rice to go with the leftovers from our tinga poblana orgy. Now I won’t have to cook for three days. Though I do have some leftover chorizo, and some tomatillos and an avocado, so with a couple of spuds I could crank out some tacos de papas con chorizo y salsa de aguacate. …

Um, no. I make another unholy mess in the kitchen and I’m guaranteed not to make it to Valentine’s Day, much less summer.

Meanwhile, back at Thanksgiving. …

November 27, 2015
Chicken cacciatore and a side of stir-fried succotash with edamame.

Chicken cacciatore and a side of stir-fried succotash with edamame.

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.

Thanksgiving Day breakfast: leftover taters smothered in green with eggs over easy, English muffins and a side salad.

Thanksgiving Day breakfast: leftover taters smothered in green with eggs over easy, English muffins and a side salad.

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.