Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Let’s eat!

April 1, 2020

We should be good for a couple more weeks now.

My first grocery trip in more than two weeks was blessedly uneventful.

The parking lots were sparsely populated. A few customers were masked and gloved. And all of us were doing the Alphonse-Gaston routine in the aisles.

“After you, Alfonse.”

“No, you first, my dear Gaston!”

I was surprised to be able to find everything on my list, and doubly so to find everyone bearing up so well. A tip of the Mad Dog chef’s toque to the staffs of Keller’s Farm Stores and Sprouts Farmers Market for keeping the shelves stocked, the checkouts running, and their chins up in trying times.

Beaned

March 28, 2020

The ornamental pear is blooming … just in time for the morning low
to dip below freezing again.

We’re not down to eating the backyard foliage like Spike the Terrorist Deer. Not yet, anyway.

But it has been about 10 days since our last grocery trip, and we’re having to get creative.

Last night I was scrounging around in the pantry like an old bear fresh from hibernation and thought: “Hmm. Must be something I can do with canned beans other than make emergency burritos.” This is the kind of burrito you make when you don’t feel like going through all the rigamarole involved in making a proper pot of frijoles.

Which I was not. It was my birthday, f’chrissakes.

So I hit The New York Times Cooking site. This is well worth the price of a subscription to The Old Grey Lady. It’s not geared strictly for the condo chef with an eight-burner Wolf gas range and All-Clad out the arse. You’ll find plenty of pantry possibilities too.

And whaddaya know? I unearthed one perfectly suited to my supplies: Cheesy White Bean-Tomato Bake.

I made a few adjustments. Didn’t have any mozzarella, so I used Monterey Jack. Also, I tossed a generous dollop of cilantro-jalapeño salsa in with the tomato paste, and added a pinch of smoked paprika to the spices.

And when it came out of the oven I sprinkled it with some coarsely chopped cilantro and a bit of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Herself contributed a side salad and that was that.

Ali Slagle, who provided the recipe, also offers a snazzier black-bean version. We may try that one down the road. We’re flat out of Jack now, but we still have some sharp Irish Cheddar.

Mama and the papas

February 7, 2020

Herself and Herself the Elder surfing the Innertubes for Kindle books.

We took Herself the Elder out today for a bite of lunch, a bit of light banter, and some medium-heavy shopping.

A tip of the Mad Dog sombrero to the staff at the Weck’s near Juan Tabo and Copper; they were exemplary, nearly as sweet as the two giant brownies we had for dessert.

Too, kudos to HtE, who has bounced back quite nicely after a long stretch of physical, emotional, and geographical challenges. She’s still using a walker, but her strength, endurance, and mobility seem greatly improved and she may be able to graduate to a HurryCane before long. We bought her one today, just in case.

I could’ve used a walker myself after that meal. Or maybe a wheelchair. The Original papas plate is a major gut-bomb, especially when you smother it with green chile and chase it with a brownie.

I felt like Monsieur Creosote after I finished that bad boy. Thank God nobody offered me a wafer-thin mint.

12 Days of ’Toonsmas: Day 2

December 21, 2019

Never get high on your own supply. Il Fattini relearned
this valuable life lesson in the February 2019 issue of BRAIN.

When that Boulder-based journal of competitive cycling and I parted ways, the Old Guy Who Gets Fat in Winter suddenly found himself out of a job.

This is not good news for a portly fellow with an eating habit. One minute you’re the the star of the show; the next, just another MAMIL taking up space. Lots and lots of space.

Sure, you can hang around the bike shop, surreptitiously noshing on the Clif Bar display when staff is distracted by a paying customer. But this is risky business. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of the dude who adjusts your brakes. The world is full of gravity, and also, comedy.

“Where’s Fatso? Haven’t seen him hanging around lately.”

“Didn’t you hear? He blew through the stop sign at the bottom of Corkscrew Canyon doing sixty and T-boned a food truck. Had to have an emergency hoagiectomy. With fries. The docs think they got it all but they’re holding him for observation. You wanna observe him, a ticket costs $50.”

• And now, this word from our sponsor.

Feed bagged

November 29, 2019

Dinner, tabled.

Well, that could’ve gone better.

Thanksgiving 2019 proved something of a bust at El Rancho Pendejo. The mom-in-law was not feeling up to snuff after a poor night’s sleep and hardly any breakfast. A record-shattering snowfall and the subsequent need for shoveling same delayed dinner about 90 minutes. And Mama Kerr’s lemon meringue pie never came off the bench.

The paprika chicken with turnips and taters got in the game, though, as did the stir-fried succotash and baking powder biscuits.

By the time we had all the starters lined up on the field, alas, the MIL was not exactly eager to tie on the old feed bag. She nibbled a bit of this and that, and then asked to be taken back to assisted living. The abrupt changes she’s endured in the past couple of weeks — moving from sea level to altitude, trading a tropical climate for our semi-arid variety, and waking up to a historic Thanksgiving dumper — probably didn’t help matters.

But I got in a bit of upper-body work, shoveling the driveways here and at assisted living, so I got that going for me, which is nice. There are plenty of leftovers, which is nicer. And today Herself will take her mom out for a manicure and maybe a smallish bite of lunch somewhere.

Meanwhile, the merchants are pitching but I ain’t catching. Let ’em blacken someone else’s Friday, sez I.

Shake, rattle and roll

January 1, 2019

That’s not a Wall. Not even the one from “Game of Thrones.” It’s the side patio, as photographed from the dining room, ’cause damme if I’m going outside today.

Don’t expect me to hit the bricks for the first ride of the New Year. We’ve already achieved the expected “high,” there’s a stiff wind out of the ENE, and the snow is coming in sideways.

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), has enjoyed a brace of delicious breakfasts and retired to his quarters to map out the year’s strategy on the underside of his eyelids.

Cranking up the internal furnace.

His adjutant, Miss Mia Sopaipilla, has drawn guard duty in Tower One, but as there seem to be no White Walkers within the perimeter — just a few socialist finches hopping around at the base of the maple, looking for a handout — she too is at a reduced state of readiness.

The conditions compelled me to fry up a skillet of my famous two-pepper hash (red bell and Hatch green, with diced red spuds, minced onion and garlic, Mexican oregano and chopped cilantro). Herself topped it off with a couple eggs over easy, and a generous sprinkle of grated Cabot sharp cheddar with a fruit cup on the side helped douse the fire.

Now the question is: How do I sweat that off? There’s not enough snow to do anything with, just enough to do something to me, and I’m kind of over that. But setting up the stationary trainer strikes me as a poor way to kick off a new training log.

Incidentally, I managed 3,309.8 miles on the bike last year, which is probably about a third of what Friend of the Blog Sharon logged. Still, I make it my best year since 2011, when I rode 3,370.2 miles.

And now, Lightnin’ Hopkins and I would like to wish all you cool cats and kittens a rockin’ happy New Year (h/t to the M-dogg for serving up that hot Decca platter). Wear it out. Tear it up.

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!

What’s for breakfast?

November 20, 2018

Back In the Day®, when the cops decided to grab some shuteye during a shift, they called it “cooping.” But this Cooper’s hawk isn’t napping on the job. He’s up early and inspecting the menu from our backyard maple.

I saw this when I stepped out to shoot the sunrise this morning. Our bird feeders have become a bird feeder.

Takeout gets taken out

September 7, 2018

The monsoons persist.

Herself takes an exercise class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and sometimes she’ll slide by Il Vicino afterward to collect a couple sammiches so Your Humble Narrator doesn’t have to cook.

Last night was one of those sometimes. Until the deluge.

First came the thunder, which sounded like incoming artillery rounds fused for airburst. Skylights, which we have aplenty, gave me and the cats a pretty good look at the flash part of the flash-bang, too.

And then, the rain. Holy hell, the rain. A neighbor said we got an inch in an hour, and I have no reason to doubt her. The cul-de-sac basically turned into a giant storm drain.

In any case, the upshot is, I had to cook. It would have been an upstream swim to Il Vicino for Herself and we’d have wound up with soup sammiches after she swam back.

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.