Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Piñon Nut and Fresh Roasted Green Chile Stuffing

Piñon Nut and Fresh Roasted Green Chile Stuffing

Makes 10C stuffing, or enough for a 14LB turkey.

3-5 Fresh green chiles or 1/2C diced canned green chile (Fresh-roasted chile has a far better taste)
6 C Dry bread crumbs
1/3 C Finely chopped parsley
1/2 C Chopped celery
1/3 C Finely chopped white onion
2 TSP Poultry seasoning
1 TSP Salt
3/4 C Shelled piñon nuts
2 C Chicken or turkey broth

1. Combine bread crumbs, parsley, onion, spices, celery, piñon nuts and 1/2C of roasted green chili. Toss all ingredients. Add broth slowly while stirring and let stand until moistened.
2. Stuff your turkey and roast as usual. You may try adding piñon nuts and green chili to your family recipe. I would suggest that you reduce the level of spice because of the delicate flavor of the piñon nuts.
3. Butter is not used in this recipe due to the natural oil in the piñon nuts.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Butter Clams, Beer and Rosie's Blackberry Cobbler

     From the ages of three to the age of five we lived just outside of Seattle, about two miles from Puget Sound.  My dad and Grandfather had bought a piece of land in the woods.  We lived in a trailer, onto which dad had built a huge porch with a laundry room.              
For young boys this is heaven. I, along with my older brothers, Nick and Mike, spend our days playing in a magical, overgrown forest.  Lost, in a deep green sea of waist high ferns and moss covered, giant cedars reaching up to the sky, knowing full well that there are elves, fairies and goblins hiding just out of sight.
            We have chickens, a goat and a dog, named Coco.  Coco is my best friend.  Dad says, Coco is a Chinese chow-chow, but I ‘m quite sure that she is a lion with her big soft mane, chocolate brown fur and Purple tongue. 
            Living so close to the sound, we enjoy the very freshest fish and seafood year-round.  Hearing my parents up, I wander out, rubbing my eyes in my red, one piece, pJ’s, complete with white, thin, plastic soles and trap door in the seat.  I sit down at the little white, Formica table that is attached to the wood paneled trailer wall. 
            “What are you doing up Joey,”  mom asks, as she pours hot water into a thick white mug followed by an envelope of light brown powder, making me a cup of hot chocolate.
            She hands me the mug.  I blow on the steaming brew and the air is filled with a sweet chocolaty aroma. 
            “I heard you and dad talking.” I say. 
            Dad is wearing a big yellow rain coat and I notice his black rubber, rain boots with the muddy, pale red soles are sitting by the door.  Mom is finishing making a bologna sandwich on white bread, spreading the bright yellow mustard and adding a thin slice of red onion and some Velveeta cheese. 
            Putting the sandwich in dad’s dented up, black, lunch box, she says, “Your father is going clam digging, with uncle Chuck.”
            Excitedly I cut in, “Oh, oh can I go… can I, please?”
            “Joey, it's going to be cold and rainy on the beach and you still have the sniffles…not this time.” says dad.  But when we come back you can help me cook the clams.
            Dad picks me up and tosses me over his shoulder, spinning me around so I land on his back.  We all walk out on the big, wooden porch.  It’s still dark out.  We can hear the red, work truck warming up.  The air is cool and moist and filled with the delicious scents of the lush forest, mixed with the smell of burning oil and exhaust from the truck.  There’s something comforting about that smell.
            Dad hands me off to mom, pats my head and gives mom a kiss.  Off he goes to meet his buddies and dig butter clams.  They fill two five-gallon tins and bring them back to our trailer, where the other men’s wives and about twenty kids are waiting for the clam feast.
            As soon as dad gets back he goes to work cooking.  Standing at the big double basin laundry sink, he says, “Joey, come and watch, I’ll teach you how to make the best clams you’ve ever tasted.”
            I climb up on the counter and watch him work.
            As he carefully picks through the clams discarding any that are open, he says, “most folks will tell you to soak the clams in fresh water and corn-meal to remove the sand, but our well water is so pure and sweet that I just let the cold water run over them for an hour or so, and this removes all the sand and grit.”
            One sink is filled with water and in the other is a huge metal colander.  Dad sets all the good clams in the sink filled with water.  When he is finished discarding any open or cracked clams he then rubs any loose sand or mud from the clams in the sink filled with water placing the clean clams in the colander.  As the water splashes over the clams the fresh smell of the ocean is reminding us of the feast to come.
            Dad helps lets and me down the water run as he goes in to take a shower.
            I go in and watch mom.  First she takes several cloves of fresh garlic and crushes them with the side of her big kitchen knife.  Then she removes the thin white skin from the crushed garlic cloves.  Next she takes the garlic cloves and removes the hard, dried out end of each clove.  And then she chops the garlic very fine.  A big iron skillet is on the stove she adds a little olive oil and after the skillet is hot she adds the garlic, sautéing it until it just starts to brown.  Then she adds several sticks of butter and reduces the heat.  When the butter is all melted she cuts two fresh lemons in half and squeezes them holding an old wire strainer over the skillet to catch the seeds.
           Dad comes out after his shower, in a fresh white tee shirt and blue jeans.  He smells like "Old Spice" after shave, it's a smell that still reminds me of him 50 years later.  My dad having our genetic disposition toward loving food gets right back to the cooking.  He lightly simmers the fresh clams covered in water only, for about ten minutes, then discards any that don’t open, pointing this out to explaining that they are bad.   They are served in batches, with their cooking liquid, lemon and mom's garlic butter, and eaten as soon as they hit the table, with dad cooking he won't get a clam for at least an hour (if at all). They are so full of flavor that the adults drink the cooking liquid, or clam liquor as they call it.  
         After lunch my grandmother Rose brings out her legendary Black berry cobbler, made fresh from berries us kids had picked in the woods.  It's hard to explain how delicious this cobbler is.  My brother Mike and I often talked about it decades later while working construction as adults.  The kids descend on the cobbler like locust, while the adults enjoy coffee or some of Rosie's home made beer.
Blackberry Cobbler
This is my Grandma Rose's famous recipe. Our family loves this wonderful dessert. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

24 OZ Fresh blackberries
3/4 C Sugar
1-1/2 TBL Corn starch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 C Flour
3/4 C Sugar
1/2 TSP Salt
1/2 TSP Baking powder
1 Large egg
1/4 C butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 375∫.
2. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a low boil. Place 6 ounces of blackberries and lemon juice in a blender and puree. Add to the saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Put remaining berries in a bowl and carefully mix in cornstarch and sugar, trying not to break up berries. Carefully fold in the warm berry mixture. Spoon mixture into an 8x8-inch baking dish or pie pan.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add egg and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over blackberry mixture and drizzle with melted butter.
5. Bake for 45 minutes or until topping is a deep, golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream and good coffee.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Open Mic and Live Music

It's been a great fall, we've been playing lots of music.  Mike and I are going to be playing some Saturday Morning gigs at Janey's 6602 E Cave Creek Rd Cave Creek, AZ.

Our open Mic at The Hideaway is really turning into musician venue.  Each week we see more great players coming out to jam.  And a new thing is happening, we are seeing these players get together and work on new projects.
This is one such project, "The Hemptones," we are doing four part harmonies… great fun!  These guys are all working musicians with their own gigs but when we get together... wow!

The guys that I've played with for several years, Mike Assad and Kevin Brennan under the name The Rennesance Rednecks, along with new addition Jack Horan on bass, are doing weekend gigs, where we invite local talent to play on our breaks. Above we are with 12 year old Madison Holmes, who is making quite a name for herself around the north valley.
Mike and I are also working on a rock project, "Rooster," with my old highschool friends Steve Purcell on Drums and monster lead guitar player Scott "The Pin" Maish!  These three guys and I have been playing together on and off for four decades.  I love this band!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Beer Brats

Beer Brats
I wrote this recipe for anyone on the road or in a hurry.  Easy ingredients and easy grilling!

Beer Bath:
1 onion, sliced thin
a pat of butter or a tablespoon of cooking oil
1 14oz can chicken broth
1 12 oz. Bottle your favorite beer 
As many brats as you want to grill (if cooking for a huge crowd double or even triple beer bath)

Sauté the onion slices until soft and starting to brown.  Add beer and broth.  Bring to a simmer and then add the brats.  Bring to full boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn the brats down and keep them warm over a low heat until ready to grill.  Toss them on the grill as needed.  Brown and serve with what ever fixins you like.  I always spoon out a few of the onion slices to top mine, but that’s just me!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Grilled Salmon Fillet with Tropical Fruited Soy Glaze and Habanero

Grilled Salmon Fillet with Tropical Fruited Soy Glaze and Habanero 
In the freezer section of your grocery store they sell frozen fruit juice combinations.  This recipe works well with about any of them but the Apple, Mango and Passion fruit takes this recipe over the top.  And whatever you do, do not omit the lemon juice and dill it really ties the flavors together. 

1-2 Lb. Salmon fillet, skinned
2 tsp. White pepper
vegetable oil spray
¼ cup Frozen apple, mango and passion fruit juice concentrate, thawed
¼ cup coarse grain Dijon mustard
1 Tbl. Soy sauce
2 tsp. Your favorite habanero sauce, use more for extreme heat
1 fresh lemon
1 small bunch fresh dill, chopped

Light the grill.  Remove any pin bones from salmon fillet.  Rinse under cold water quickly and pat dry with a paper towel.  Cut fillet into 6 to 8 individual steaks.  Sprinkle both sides with white pepper.  Spray both sides with vegetable oil spray.  In a small mixing bowl stir together the fruit juice concentrate, mustard, soy sauce and habanero sauce. Turn grill to medium.  Place the salmon steaks on the hot grill with the side that had the skin up.  After about 10-15 seconds gently lift the salmon fillet up from the grill surface and set back down (This keeps the fish from sticking).  After 2 minutes gently turn the steaks and once again gently lift them to prevent sticking.  Spoon the glaze over the fish reserving some for the other side.  Depending on your grill you will need to cook the fish for about 8 more minutes.  The rule for grilling fish is 10 minutes of grilling for each inch of thickness…. more or less!  So after 8 more minutes turn the fish one more time spoon on the remaining glaze and let cook for 30 seconds and remove from grill.  Plate, drizzle a little lemon juice and top with fresh dill.
Serves 6-8

Friday, August 23, 2013



George Carlin said, “How come my stuff’s shit and your shit’s stuff!”  I’ve been thinking about stuff a lot lately.  We all have it and more importantly want it.  The question that occurs to me is, ‘what is the requisite amount of stuff and what is overkill?’ 
A while back I wrote and hosted a TV cooking show that was shot at our home.  Over it’s five year run we gathered hundreds of pieces of cooking equipment and kitchen gadgets, along with 64 barbecues and several sets of dishes.  These all made the visuals of the show keep interesting and I felt they were necessary.  However, they now are mostly, just more stuff.  Stuff that needs to be stored moved around and then eventually gets put with the other stuff.  And with our busy lives in gets into that terrible category of, I’ll sort this out later.  I was going through old boxes the other day and I found a few that I put away 30 years ago.  Important stuff, at the time, old concert tickets, an interesting piece of metal, a hoola girl bottle opener, and my first instinct was, ‘oh good that’s where all this stuff is.’ 
Making matters worse I have other stuff that I’ve been collecting to build a cooking school, windows, commercial kitchen equipment, a fire hood, two commercial stoves and numerous bits of building materials. 
It dawned on me that I’ve become the caretaker of all my stuff and it’s running our lives!  So we are now on a, sort it, sell it or dump it campaign.  We’re also downsizing.  We’re selling our home and finishing our 900 square foot straw bale cottage.  This will require a great de-stuffing, to live in this small of a space, but we look forward to the challenge.  Maybe George Carlin was only partially right, my stuff is shit, just old shit that’s getting in the way of some really important stuff, our lives! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Open Mic at The Hideaway!

Calling all Singer/Songwriters or just acoustic musicians. Come on out to our Monday night open mic, at The Hideaway in beautiful Cave Creek from 7-11. The list goes out at 6:45. It's a great room that really has the Cave Creek feel. Come hang out on the patio and tap your toes while sipping a cold one in the cool evening air!