Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

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.

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.”

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