Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

The Posole Variations

December 20, 2014
The Posole Variations. This one uses chicken thighs, red and yellow bell peppers, tomatillos and other good things. No hot rats were harmed in the making of this stew.

The Posole Variations. This one uses chicken thighs, red and yellow bell peppers, tomatillos and other good things. No hot rats were harmed in the making of this stew.

I make a lot of posole, and over the years have settled on one simple version and one slightly more elaborate (from The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook).

But the other day I was searching the Innertubes for a chicken version I made once and stumbled across an entirely new recipe that looked good.

So I gave it a whirl and whaddaya know? I have a third favorite.

Thus today’s Zappadan 2014 musical selection, “The Gumbo Variations,” from “Hot Rats.”

Got them Suburban Snowsick Blues

May 12, 2014
It was a mother of a Mothers Day at Chez Dog.

It was a mother of a Mothers Day at Chez Dog.

The weather has been, shall we say, unsettled.

One minute a fella’s cycling around and about wearing little more than a bit of team kit marinated in sunscreen, and the next he’s huddled over a furnace grate in a snowmobile suit, Ruger Mini Thirty locked and loaded, ready to repel a terrorist yeti raid on his bacon and beans.

I made my preparations on Saturday, whipping up two steaming tureens of Southwestern fare, the first of a pork-and-potato-laden green chile stew and the second of pinto beans with onion, garlic and chipotle chile. To say the atmosphere has grown heavy indoors since would be an understatement of epic proportions.

The weather wizards were shrieking about inches and feet of white stuff, but this latest resurrection of winter proved to be not so much of a much. What little we got was heavy and wet, to be sure, and at one point I had to venture out with a broom to flog it off the tender branches of the young Canadian red cherry in the back yard.

This morning we have gray skies, temps below freezing, a stiff wind, and flurries, which is to say it’s May in Colorado. It caused me to compose a protest song in the style of Mr. Robert Zimmerman, though it’s tough to be musical without guitar, harmonica or talent. Still, I had a whang at it in an email to a friend and colleague in the mountains.

How much snow have you got there?
They said we’d get it everywhere
But mostly, down here below
the worst was that the wind did blow

It sucked, actually
Real cold
Movin’ t’Arizony

(squee honk blaat hoot snort honk twee)


Poultry slam

February 23, 2014
When a cold comes into the house, you've got to give it the bird.

When a cold comes into the house, you’ve got to give it the bird.

There is catarrh in the house, curse its name.

A terrorist assault on the snotlocker has laid Herself low, and with the Horse of Pestilence thus having escaped her boogered-up beezer barn I am belatedly barring the door to my own by preparing a massive tureen of chicken noodle soup.

Oh, she gets a bowl, too. Just in case you were wondering.

The recipe can be found in “Dad’s Own Cookbook,” by Bob Sloan, and it is the foundation of any number of other meals, among them chicken quesadillas, chicken chilaquiles, and chicken eaten with the fingers straight out of the pot before you make anything other than a big-ass pot of simmered chicken.

And when I say “big-ass,” I do not lie. This sucker starts with a 4.5-pound bird, plus four extra drumsticks, and adds four quarts of water, four carrots, two turnips, a large onion, a leek, a dollop of honey, salt, dill, egg noodles, peas and parsley.

As chicken soups go, this is the equivalent of Rolling Thunder, a culinary carpet-bombing, a real poultry slam. I just hope it’s not too late. Some doughty little bug in green pajamas could be out there right now, pushing his Ah Choo Minh bicycle loaded with deadly bacteria through the triple-canopy jungle of my nose hairs.

La grand chef

December 30, 2013

Once again we have guests in the House Back East®, this time for a lengthy stay, and tonight they inquired how to operate the gas oven.

Imagine my embarrassment. I had no bloody idea.

I don’t remember the last time I cooked with gas, unless you count the grill, which I don’t. Santa Fe? Denver? Pueblo? And the HBE® has a rather elderly appliance. For all I knew, it might have required matches, incantations, the rubbing together of sticks.

Nope. Found the owner’s manual. Push in the temperature knob, assign a temperature, turn the other knob to “Bake.”

Another guest successfully unkilled. Winning!

A chile reception

December 16, 2013
Chicken enchiladas in red sauce, potatoes roasted in red chile, and Anasazi beans in chipotle. The blank space on the plate is for the side salad that I did not make.

Chicken enchiladas in red sauce, potatoes roasted in red chile, and Anasazi beans in chipotle. The blank space on the plate is for the side salad that I did not make.

Weird dreams this morning. I was working for a newspaper (!) again, so I guess it qualifies as a nightmare.

So I walk into the newsroom, late as usual, and a receptionist type hands me a note with a short clip attached, whispering in dire tones about some class of tragic typo.

I reply, “D’you have any idea how many people we have reading copy these days? I tried to get the city desk to read one fucking thing yesterday, but nooooooo. …”

Then, since John McCain is sitting in front of this person’s desk for some reason, perhaps awaiting an audience with the publisher, I whip a Three Stooges routine on him, poking him in the chest with one finger and then, when he glances down, flicking his nose.

Moving on, I notice that nobody is at their desks. They’re all in the big conference room, and the mood is not evocative of a holiday party.

“Uh oh,” I think to myself. And then I wake up.

I think maybe I overdid the red chile last night.

Snow day

December 4, 2013
GarageBand for iPad is a little daunting at first glance, but it eventually cooperates without stimulation from the Bravo Foxtrot Hotel.

GarageBand for iPad is a little daunting at first glance, but it eventually cooperates without stimulation from the Bravo Foxtrot Hotel.

Eight degrees. Snow. And a variable wind that exacerbates the least attractive qualities of both.

I’m already sick of winter and it’s not even winter yet.

I think I may have a problem here.

Well, if I do, I’m not the only one. And while this storm system seems to have settled in for a long stay, there are short-term distractions available.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon simmering up a big pot of chicken stock, using a 4-pound fryer and four extra drumsticks, a leek, an onion, a turnip and a couple of carrots.

We used some of the meat for dinner (quesadillas) and breakfast (a simple hash that also involved eggs, potatoes, one Big Jim chile and part of a green bell pepper, plus some chopped scallions, thyme and parsley). Most of the rest will get used this evening in a chicken noodle soup, though I’ll reserve a bit for a mess of chicken chilaquiles tomorrow.

Between stints at the stove, I broke out the old iPad, downloaded Apple’s GarageBand app, and taught myself how to create a minimalist podcast on an iOS device instead of a giant MacBox. This is what I like to call “thinking ahead” rather than “dicking around,” since I usually take an iPad with me if I’m able to escape the weather, the kitchen and the office for a short bicycle tour. It’s nice to be able to handle all the usual chores on the road, though for updating a WordPress blog like this one an iPad leaves a great deal to be desired.

Also, I’d like to try a slightly more elaborate podcast that includes a Skype interview with my old friend and colleague Hal Walter, who still lives up Weirdcliffe way. Hal’s main computer is a Mac Mini, which lacks a built-in microphone, but I think he has an iPad, and Skype, so with a little cultural exchange we should be good to go without resort to log drums, smoke signals or semaphore flags.

Hot plate, señores!

December 3, 2013
Pikes Peak

It was 50-something down here on Nov. 30, but slightly chillier up there.

December? December? Whose idea was this? Wasn’t it July just a couple of days ago? Why do I suddenly have to wear socks all the time? And pants? Who’s in charge around here, anyway?

Thanksgiving went nicely around Chez Dog, thanks for asking. We had the sis and bro-in-law in for the afternoon, neighbors in for the day after, and an old friend in for a quick visit on Saturday. And by the time we’d finally eaten the last of the leftovers on Sunday I was ready for a bit of peace and quiet, some casual cycling, and something to eat other than norteño New Mexican food.

For some reason I had been off New Mexican cookery for a while. And then the cooler weather hit, and before you could say “¡Hijo, madre!” it was chile and beans and posole and what have you.

For Thanksgiving I prepared some pico de gallo salsa and guacamole; posole; roasted potatoes in red chile; pintos in chipotle; and chicken enchiladas smothered in green chile. Herself kicked in a pitcher of sangria and a piñon pie, two recipes we’d never tackled before (they were excellent).

I should’ve taken some pix, but dammit, everything was just too good to let cool while I fiddled with the Canon. Sorry ’bout that. Here’s hoping your holiday was as enjoyable as ours.

Eat it and heat it

November 21, 2013
A delicious pot of pintos with chipotle and other good stuff, including (of course) bacon.

A delicious pot of pintos with chipotle and other good stuff, including (of course) bacon.

Cold weather sends me straight to the kitchen, every time.

This afternoon, as the temps dipped into the teens, I whipped up some bacon-potato cakes from “The Feed Zone Cookbook.” This evening it was a big pot of pintos with chipotle from “The Santa Fe School of Cooking Cookbook.” Herself contributed a large, cast-iron skillet full of cornbread and a green salad.

Meanwhile, a couple Ziplocs of frozen Anaheim and New Mexico chiles are thawing in the fridge, and we may just have to have some bean-and-potato burritos smothered in green chile tomorrow.

That should help keep the hawk out there in the wind where he belongs.

Burning daylight

March 21, 2013

Today started and ended well, lightly toasted slices of metaphorical bread comprising an actual shit sandwich.

On arising I recalled that we had a huge slab of meaty Ranch Foods Direct bacon in the fridge, so breakfast included coffee, eggs over easy, American fried potatoes, buttery English muffins and great thick rashers of pigmeat. Your basic heart-attack special, but I like it.

My plans for the workday hinged on breaking a piece of new technology to harness, but despite a hearty breakfast I couldn’t even get my rope on it, much less my brand.

Being something of a persistent cuss — you may call it “obsessive-compulsive,” I call it “persistent” — I kept working at it, trying first this and then that and finally the other, all the while taking copious notes on each fresh dysfunction with an eye toward eventually tattooing same on someone using an icepick and ball-peen hammer, with a sack of wormy dogshit for ink.

Thus the hours passed and the daylight faded, and the technology breezily countered my every move. By late afternoon, which saw the mailperson deliver an overdue check for services rendered that was redeemable for slightly less than half the expected quantity of Dead President Trading Cards, I was at a rolling boil, hissing like a teakettle full of vipers, blistering steam boiling out of both ears.

Herself and I had earlier scheduled a joint birthday dinner with friends, so I stuck my head in the freezer, counted to a thousand in Irish, and off we went to The Blue Star, where the four of us ate all manner of good things while discussing music, metaphysics and literature. Also, we solved every last one of the world’s problems save mine (you’re welcome).

Now I’m hardly pissed off at all. But tomorrow is another day.

Boogers, bikes and beans

March 13, 2013

I don’t know whether it’s Daylight Saving Time, the death throes of my 2-week-old case of Snotlocker Surprise, or simply a matter of cranking out too much velo-journalism in too few hours, but I’m whupped.

Today I did manage to slip out for a short ride between chores, however, and it was delightfully refreshing. Sixty-something and sunny, with a light wind. A nearly perfect day, and it gave me a Madison sling to the finish line of this latest deadline cycle.

Back at the ranch, while finishing a column and cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, I cooked up a pot of beans, pintos in chipotle chile, and with the roasted spuds in red chile that I made yesterday they will make a fine accompaniment to the chicken enchiladas in green chile that I will make tomorrow, right after another ride — a much longer, more leisurely outing than today’s.

The next two days I’m largely free of pressing responsibilities, a rare thing indeed lately, so I intend to take full advantage. I’m talking highs in the 60s and 70s, another unusual occurrence come March.

Now if I can just remember where I left my legs. Pale, thin, hairy … yes, two of them. They were here just a minute ago. …