Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

New year, new recipe

January 1, 2013
Bacon-potato cake from "The Feed Zone Cookbook"

Bacon-potato cake from “The Feed Zone Cookbook”

Happy New Year to all you hungover old dogs out there. Here’s hoping you did not overdo it last night.

Herself and I actually made it to midnight, and I overslept for some reason, so breakfast turned into brunch. It being a new year, I test-flew a new recipe for bacon-potato cakes, from “The Feed Zone Cookbook” by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim.

It wasn’t bad, but was a shade bland for my taste, despite involving three of the four basic food groups (bacon, potato and cake). Next time around I’ll punch that sucker up with a little garlic, maybe some red chile powder, a bit of cumin, for sure some Mexican oregano. At the moment I’m kicking myself for not adding a dollop of the red chile sauce I made for enchiladas the other night. That would have put the old fire in the belly. Or the fire in the old belly. Whatever.

Speaking of things that need punching up (or out) I see “our” elected representatives in the nation’s capital have been up to the usual not much beyond redefining upward the definition of “middle class.” We seem to be a few hundred thousand short of that particular finish line, which is probably why the prez never replies to my brunch invitations.

You can read more than you care to about the fiscal-cliff shenanigans at:

• The Maddow Blog (Steve Benen).

• The Atlantic (Matthew O’Brien).

• Political Animal (Ed Kilgore).

• The Nation (William Greider).

The days of wine and hoses

December 27, 2012
Tavel rosé

This Tavel rosé pairs well with food. It’s also pretty damn’ nice all by its lonesome.

We shipped Herself the Elder back to Tennessee this morning, or so we thought.

Her flight out of Bibleburg, slated for 10:45 a.m., didn’t go wheels up until 12:30 p.m. And her connector in Dallas was canceled, so she’s camped in the Dallas airport awaiting another. If she’s lucky she’ll be back in the loving bosom of her cats at midnight.

Meanwhile, Herself the Younger is driving home from Denver in a light snow and cursing like a sailor, because she (a) hates driving in the dark, (2) hates driving in the snow, and (iii) hates driving in the snow in the dark.

Only I am left unscathed to tell the tale, because I have the great good fortune to be unemployable and thus possessed of abundant leisure to motor hither and thither in the daylight, when it is not snowing. Thus did I hie me to the grog shop, fortified by a largish check for making things up, thence to restock the wine rack stripped bare by our Yuletide revelry.

Now I’m sipping a tart Tavel rosé and sifting mentally through the available leftovers: quite a bit of posole; the makings for a short round of tacos de papas con chorizo; some pintos in chipotle chile; the underpinnings for a second round of beef enchiladas on red chile, save the sauce.

Posole, tacos and beans it is. Even a slacker deserves a day off.

Nibbles gets gobbled

April 22, 2012
Ike's tomb on Earth Day 2012

The Tomb of Chairman Meow has a fine color guard for Earth Day 2012.

Vince Nibbles, as Andrew Hood calls Vincenzo Nibali, nearly won Liège-Bastogne-Liège today.

When Nibbles went away atop the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons, Philippe Gilbert suddenly looked like he’d just taken a big hit from a spoiled bidon and the chase was as well organized as the House Democratic caucus. When Nibbles had 46 seconds in hand all the smart folks pretty much figured that was that.

And then Maxim Iglinskiy chased him down like Nibbles owed him money, and that really was that — the Sicilian was racing for second with just over a klick to go, and Astana was en route to picking up its second big win in a week after Enrico Gasparotto won last Sunday’s Amstel Gold. Gasparatto made the podium here, too, finishing third. Good times.

Good times here today, too. We’re looking at a sunny 60-something with light winds, and having already arranged for dinner — leftovers from last night’s killer stew of green chile, pork, onions, garlic and spuds — I have plenty of time to ride. Only one chore remains, the completion of an overdue column for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. Some days these things practically write themselves; others, it’s like trying to drive ten-penny nails into mahogany using an old banana for a hammer.

Post-birthday nose meets same old grindstone

March 29, 2012

A thousand thank-yous to all who proffered happy-birthday wishes instead of death threats.

The festivities began with a pleasant two-hour bike ride — headwind out, tailwind back — and concluded with a high-speed burst of cookery after Herself invited the neighbors over.

We’ve been to their house for eats a couple of times, but had yet to reciprocate, so never having cooked for them I stuck with my basic skill set — a simple pico de gallo with blue corn chips followed by a pot of pintos in chipotle, which I turned into burritos smothered in hot Pueblo green chile with a side of roasted potatoes in red Chimayo chile.

Herself contributed a salad and a delicious raspberry cobbler. Beer and wine were consumed, along with a dollop of uisce beatha. Laughter ensued, and a fine time was had by all, except for the Turk’, who despises company, especially if it includes an aggro’ Chihuahua named Cujo.

Now it’s deadline time at the DogHaus, and somebody around here needs to get real funny real fast. We didn’t spend much on my birthday, but the White Tornado has a new fuel pump and the upstairs toilet has new guts, and Toyota mechanics and plumbers don’t work for free.

Black Irish, or ‘Who’s Your Paddy?’

March 17, 2012
Guinness and Bushmills

Guinness is good for you. So is Bushmills. They both make the sidewalk softer.

A very happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and yours. Herself and I cycled downtown to catch a bit of the annual parade, and the video clip above represents our unanimous pick for Dudes Having the Most Fun.

This particular parade entry was sponsored by a pub, Tony’s Downtown Bar. And while it could easily be construed as racist, I’m gonna give ‘em a pass, because I almost always find dudes in gorilla suits funny for some unknown reason. It’s a weakness.

Now I’m back at the ranch and fueling up for a bit of holiday cookery — a simple Irish stew involving lamb, potatoes and other tasty bits. Herself is sipping a Smithwick’s and fiddling with some video of her own.

The evening’s entertainment will consist of The Pogues, The Chieftains and “The Commitments,” with a little Frank O’Connor for bedtime reading. And tomorrow, we suffer — not just from having a drop taken, but from the return of March in its traditional form, which is to say windy and chilly. Saints preserve us.

Careful, señores — hot plate!

March 8, 2012
Breakfast burrito (or the lack thereof)

Please, sir, may I have some more?

Underemployment packs a little less sting when one has a freezer full of green chile, pasture-raised pork and free-range beef, all of it sourced less than 75 miles from home. The wolf is out there, all right, but he’s not at the door. Not yet.

Last night I grilled a sirloin from our steer, boiling and buttering a few russet potatoes to keep it company (Herself assembled the salad). This morning the leftovers — augmented by scrambled eggs, a sharpish cheddar and a fiery green chile sauce I made the other day — became a pair of massive breakfast burritos smothered in green.

Sorry about the picture, but mine looked so good I ate it at once without a thought for photography.

Tahoe, Sacramento and excremento

February 25, 2012
Chevy Tahoe

Dig the giant hunk of Detroit iron Herself is driving to Function Junction. And yes, the Death Star is a rental, not a keeper. I've lived in smaller houses.

Ahh … another Saturday unsullied by work for vampire capitalists. Doesn’t pay worth a damn, but it has its advantages nonetheless.

For example, today we’re looking at a high in the mid-50s, which strikes me as pretty good cycling weather. And there are containers of freshly made green chile sauce, chili con carne and vegetable beef soup in the ’fridge, so the day’s eating is more or less taken care of — assuming I don’t decide to assemble some chicken enchiladas to slide under that green chile come dinnertime.

The trick will be to stay far away from the computer, wherein all the evil tidings dwell. There remain four red-ass baboons running for the GOP pestilential nomination — ook ook ook chee chee chee! — and they are flinging dung at each other with a will in advance of Tuesday’s primaries in Arizona and Michigan.

There’s plenty to do around here without all that smelly old shit. Herself is off to Function Junction for a couple of days to handle some library business, and Bouncing Buddy Banzai the Spinning Japanese Wonder Chin has managed to FUBAR his right eye, which requires the application of various pills and potions, and eventually surgery.

Poor little dude has not had much luck with the medicos. Neither have we. Every time we take him to the vet I hear the sound of someone’s Mercedes payment being made. Cha-ching!

Once Herself gets back, I’m off — to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento. Never been to one before and I’m looking forward to it, if only because I’m in dire need of a road trip, some sort of Gathering of the Tribes. Plus there will be editors there, and occasionally where one finds editors, one finds paying work.

What I’d really like to do is hit the Arizona desert for a week of running and riding. But since that pays, um, not at all, an actual play date may have to wait until I unearth another patron of the velo-arts or two or three.

It’ll certainly have to wait until after the primary. You couldn’t pay me to set foot in the state until someone’s policed up all that GOP poo.

Where’s the beef?

February 22, 2012
There's the beef

Burgers and T-bones and chuck, O my!

This is what a steer looks like after the people who know its people get hungry and descend upon it, brandishing checkbooks.

Herself and I were share owners in this steer, along with a few other folks who were better acquainted with him, and after a quick out-and-back to Crusty County one-eighth of him resides in our freezer alongside a half-dozen quart bags of Pueblo chile. I foresee a synergy between the two in the very near future.*

Thinking about, acquiring, preparing and consuming food helps keep my mind off the ongoing clown show that is American presidential politics. Rick Sanctimonious is getting wiggier by the minute, practically a character in a Monty Python skit about the Spanish Inquisition. And don’t get me started on the RomneyBot 2012. Last machine I saw perform this erratically was a 1996 Ford F-150. It wound up in a ditch, and I wound up back in a Toyota.

* I actually started this post yesterday and didn’t get around to slapping it up until today. Thus the Larga Vista Ranch chile has already become acquainted with the Crusty County beef in the form of a very tasty pot of chili con carne.

In the kitchen at Chez Dog and CycleItalia

February 16, 2012
Lamb chili with white beans

Lamb chili with white beans.

You’ll be pleased to know that despite it being February, which sucks, I have yet to eat grease, drink whiskey or buy things.

Instead, I decided to amuse myself with a couple new recipes.

The first, which made its triumphant debut Tuesday night, is a chili con carne in which the carne is ground lamb. And y’know what? Despite its origins in Noo Yawk City and a distinctly minimal approach to tomato products it was purty damn’ good. First time I ever used cilantro stems in anything. Live and learn.

The second, assembled last night, was also from The New York Times, courtesy of Martha Rose Shulman. It involved chicken and chiles, plus a big-ass can of tomatoes to make up for the dearth of same on Tuesday. Alas, it proved a bit sweet for my taste. Next time, fewer red peppers, more chile.

One thing I like about Martha’s recipes is that they normally involve ingredients the average well-stocked pantry already has on hand. I was a little light on chicken and bell peppers for this one, but that was easily remedied.

While I was out scoring bird and bells I swung by the Fine Arts Center and collected a few pounds of Pueblo chile from Doug Wiley of Larga Vista Ranch. I hadn’t known that he was still coming up on Wednesdays despite the farmers’ market being on hiatus for the winter, and there was quite a crowd of Bibleburg foodies on hand to greet him. So now you’ll know where to find me on a Wednesday afternoon.

Last but not least, while we’re speaking of food and the cooking thereof, longtime Friend of the DogS(h)ite Larry T. provides the following. I may test-fly this one over the weekend while Herself is off visiting kin in San Antone.

CycleItalia’s Quick Red Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

Half a small onion, chopped fine

1 clove garlic, crushed and minced

1 pinch red pepper flakes

A splash of red wine

1 cup tomato sauce (the better your basic ingredient here is, the better the sauce will be, but the cheapo canned stuff works fine).

Salt and additional pepper to taste

In saucepan over medium heat sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper until just soft, not brown.

Pour enough wine to just cover and let evaporate for a minute or two.

Add in the tomato sauce and stir well, then reduce heat until it’s just bubbling on the edges. Simmer for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour if you have time.

Variation: Pasta all’Arabbiata (Angry Pasta)

To make a spicy version of red sauce, just add more red pepper flakes to the sauce—about ¼ to ½ teaspoon, depending on your taste, and garnish with chopped parsley rather than basil.

Italians do not sprinkle grated cheese on arabbiata — drizzle on a bit of the best extra virgin olive oil you have instead.

And now, for something completely different

February 2, 2012
Vegetable beef soup

Bike rides and beef soup — what's not to like?

Enough about the evildoers already. I quit that part-time job feeding greenbacks to vulture capitalists so I wouldn’t have to be pissed off all the time. And here I am pissed off all the time. What the hell?

Anyway, the Heaviest Snow of the Season® was supposed to hit this evening, so I tore myself away from the computer and went out for a brisk 90-minute ride on the Bike Friday New World Tourist Select, which is next in line for review in Adventure Cyclist.

It was fine — what isn’t compared to watching the making of political sausage in the nation’s capital? — and when I was done I toddled over to Ranch Foods Direct for  a few pounds of crosscut beef shanks as the foundation of a hearty vegetable beef soup to gird my loins against frostbite.

Only there weren’t any. Shanks, that is. Loins of this and that they had, and some of them frozen, too. But nary a shank was to be seen.

A young lady asked if I needed assistance, to which I replied in the affirmative. And in less time than it took me to write this post three pounds of freshly cut beef shanks were in my hands and bound for the soup pot. Nothing like doing your little bit of business with folks from the ’hood.

Funniest thing. I’m not pissed off anymore.


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