Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Just coffee, thanks

March 23, 2021

Food for thought.

One minute you’re having a nice chat with friends about comfort food, and the next some asshole is shooting up a grocery store.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve lost my appetite.

Sweet and savory

March 21, 2021

Looking NNW from the back yard.

We had quite the sunset going on last evening.

Earlier, Herself and I enjoyed a ridiculously warm bike ride for March — I’m talking short sleeves and shorts here — through the hilly, low-traffic streets of the northeastern ’burbs.

Well, unless you count Tramway, which is anything but “low-traffic.” At the northern end you do get rewarded with a sniff of the fixin’s at The County Line barbecue joint, though.

No BBQ at the rancheroo, however. Instead I tried a Sam Sifton recipe for the Cuban comfort food picadillo, largely because I had most of the ingredients on hand and was bored with tacos and other ground-meat dishes.

Didn’t have any dried Spanish chorizo, or even any wet New Mexican chorizo, so I substituted some mild Italian sausage, plus some Spanish paprika and half a jalapeño. Also, no stuffed green olives, so I made do with black olives. And lacking canned whole tomatoes I went with crushed, which made the dish a little soupier than it might have been had I been able to drain off the excess juice and hand-squeeze the tomatoes.

Still, not bad, not bad at all. Next time I might skip the cloves and nutmeg, dial back the cinnamon, and use a bit more chile. And I’m definitely laying hands on some chorizo.

Git along, lil’ Dog-ie

March 13, 2021

Looks a little weatherish to the north
from just below the Candelaria Bench Trail.

In mid-March last year I had a hitch in my gitalong.

All I was good for was a short stroll with crutches, or a slightly longer spin on the stationary trainer. A Darth Gimp boot gripped the broken bone like an ankle monitor. Only the mind wandered freely.

Today, with the skies darkening, the wind thundering, and the pollen scattering, I almost — almost! — decided to stay indoors.

And then I remembered last March. So out I went.

I needed a thin watch cap, mask, hoodie, henley, pants, wool socks, and thin gloves, but still. Outside! On a trail! And a rocky one, too, even worse than the one that took me down last February.

Even jogged a few bits, just ’cause I could. What a difference a year makes.

Up near where the climb to the Candelaria Bench Trail steepens, I saw seven deer peering at me from across a ravine. They’ve been thick as rush-hour traffic around our place already this year, peppering The Compound with poop.

I’m not certain what they’re after down here in the ’burbs, before spring has actually sprung. But like most Americans deer will pretty much eat whatever is convenient. Free will is an illusion, at least for certain foods.

Speaking of airline travel, which we were not, do not expect to see me boarding a flight to anywhere anytime soon until (a) The Plague is over, and (2) the drunks have a clear idea where the toilet is.

Poll dancing

January 15, 2021

My avocado toast is actually guacamole toast, but whatevs.

Some things should be a no-brainer.

This just in: Americans oppose militant dipshittery, though electing seditionists, traitors, and eejits is apparently A-OK.

Avocado toast, for example. You don’t need a Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,002 U.S. adults to know in your heart of hearts that a big-ass slice of homemade whole-wheat bread slathered with mashed avocado, onion, tomato, lime juice, and salt makes a delicious start to the morning.

And you’d think you don’t need a poll with an error margin of +/-3.5 percentage points to know that a riot is an ugly thing, especially when it involves the storming and sacking of the U.S. Capitol by the Village Idiot People.

But we got one anyway.

What the hell. Even Inspector Kemp was of two minds on the subject. You wanna know, you gotta ask, I guess.

What is the sound of one slice toasting?

December 27, 2020

One loafer, no loaf.

The tenzo at the Juan Hand Clapping Memorial Zendo & Bicycle Warehouse wandered off the Path yesterday and forgot to bake a fresh loaf of bread.

Thus this morning’s Solomonic treatment of the one remaining slice from the old loaf. As Baba Ram Jimbo Harrison has taught us in “The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand,” the great cuisines of the world — and I would argue, the not-so-great as well — tend to arise from economies of scarcity.

“This calls for resourcefulness in the kitchen, or what the tenzo in a Zen monastery would call ‘skillful means,'” he wrote.

That, and a bread knife.

Take a hike

November 25, 2020

Looks dire, but it wasn’t. Lots better than being indoors.

Yesterday I noticed a neighbor marching around her back yard, doing laps NASCAR-style.

A fine COVID-safe practice, this. And a great way to stay out of the wind. Still, dull as daytime TV.

My dusty Merrell Moab 2 Mid Ventilators were just the ticket for a stove-up old stove wrangler.

Herself bundled up and went for a run. I was still enjoying the consequences of a four-mile run on Friday (the ankle said I overdid it).

And knowing that I’d be spending a lot of time on my feet preparing Thanksgiving dinner, because I am an eejit who will cook elaborately for two people to no particular purpose, I decided to take a short hike instead. Wearing boots, not running shoes.

The menu kept revising itself as I walked. My initial impulse — turkey burritos smothered in the Santa Fe School of Cooking’s green chile with a side of Tejal Rao’s arroz verde — felt a tad minimalist upon reflection.

What about turkey enchiladas smothered in red chile with sides of green chile stew and Martha Rose Shulman’s stir-fried succotash? If I made the enchilada filling the day before Thanksgiving, I thought, I could use a bit of it for tacos Wednesday night, which would give me an excuse to whip up a nice pico de gallo and the green rice.

I could also do the stew in advance, because it gets even better the next day. The red sauce, too.

Shoot, Turkey Day is starting to look like a walk in the park. Today, however, may be more like a four-mile run on a bum ankle.

Turkey lurking

November 20, 2020

From Thanksgiving 2015: Emeril’s chicken cacciatore and a side of Martha Rose Shulman’s stir-fried succotash with edamame.

A week until Thanksgiving. Two months until Inauguration Day.

Guess which one I’m looking forward to?

When I was still marginally employed in the newspaper bidness I didn’t pay a lot of attention to holidays, other than in a professional sense, which meant grinding out the usual heart-warmers and eye-rollers, plugging the holes around the ads until stupid-thirty, when I could return to my true occupation, which was drinking.

Thanksgiving was just another day in the workweek for a single fella whose family was as far away as he could keep them. The O’Gradys’ holiday gatherings were not the sort that gets written up in the newspaper; not outside of the police blotter, anyway.

Think George Carlin in “40 Years of Comedy” discussing “family style” dining:

“You know what that means? It means there’s an argument going on at every table, two people are crying, and the eldest male is punching the women.”

This may be why you will rarely find me cooking turkey for Thanksgiving. Call it shell shock. One whiff of giblet gravy and I hit the deck with my eyes out on stalks and a knife in my hand.

“Micks in the wire!”

I’ve made all manner of off-brand meals for Thanksgiving, from northern New Mexican combo platters to Emeril’s take on chicken cacciatore. Martha Rose Shulman’s stir-fried succotash often plays a supporting role. But we haven’t done the actual turkey thing since 2012.

This year … frankly, I have no earthly idea. I did a speed run through the grocery early yesterday to beat the rush and hope not to go back anytime soon, so I’m limited to whatever’s already on hand.

The lead-up to the actual holiday may beat the holiday itself, feastwise. I have chicken thighs for posole, turkey thighs for tacos, the makings of a decent pizza sauce and/or a spicy pasta sauce, flour tortillas, bread flour and yeast, plus salmon filets and a couple pounds of ground turkey in the freezer. So “turkey day” may center on turkey burritos smothered in green with a side of arroz verde.

Maybe I’ll cook an actual turkey with all the trimmings when we finally run that overstuffed poltroon out of the White House. This bird’s for you, Adolf.

Seeing red

November 15, 2020

Turkey enchiladas in red chile after somebody’s been at ’em.

Even though we’ve mostly been steering clear of restaurants since March because, well, y’know, PLAGUE, an’ stuff, we eat quite a bit of Mexican food.

It’s not pro Mexican food, mind you. Category 3 at best. I missed my start time and will never catch the likes of Lucy Martinez, the enchilada-slinging mother of my old hermanos Larry and Jim.

Lucy could whip up a few platillos de comida mexicana in less time than it takes me to remember where I left my spatula. And while holding up her end of a rambling chat with a kitchen full of stuporous pendejos fresh from an long night of questionable behavior, too.

I may be slow, but I do get there, eventually. My green chile sauce is serviceable (as far as Irish green goes, anyway), but my red sauce is still hit and miss. The recipe I’ve been most successful with is this one, from the Santa Fe School of Cooking.

Last night I had a bunch of filling that didn’t get used in the previous evening’s turkey tacos, but I didn’t feel like a second round of tacos. So, boom, enchiladas it was.

I started with a 50-50 mix of Hatch chile powders (hot and mild), and recalling that I undersimmered my last batch of sauce, leaving it a little thin, I oversimmered it this time and had to add a little water to loosen it up a tad. Live and learn, they say. Riiiiiiight.

After the foil-covered Pyrex spent 20 minutes in the oven at 350° I topped the enchiladas with grated Kellygold Skellig, and gave ’em a few minutes under the broiler. Yum, yum, gimme some. Sides included potatoes roasted in red chile (another Santa Fe School of Cooking recipe) and a green salad.

The best part? Leftovers.

Toast

November 9, 2020

The only things missing are the man-bun and the ironic facial hair.

No, not him. I’m talking about the famous Hipster Avocado Toast a la Señor Dog of Albuquerque.

The other day I bought a six-pack of avocados to chop into a rough salsa for a batch of chipotle-honey chicken tacos. This proved to be about four too many, so there you have it. The bread is a robust whole-wheat number from the Toastmaster Bread Box recipe booklet.

It seems a good day to crouch behind the parapets, nibbling tasty bits and dodging dispatches from the Bananas Republic. This just in: GOP sticks fingers in ears and goes “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA,” how the Donks will fuck this up, everybody hates everybody else, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does the 24/7 news cycle. Happily, we still have a couple avocados left.

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.