Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mad Coyote Joe's Blah Blah Blog: The Best Mexican Food in the USA!

Who has the Best Mexican Food?
Mad Coyote Joe's Blah Blah Blog: The Best Mexican Food in the USA!: I went to Carolina’a del Norte in Phoenix this morning.    As I sat there eating one of the simple pleasures of living here,...

The Best Mexican Food in the USA!

I went to Carolina’a del Norte in Phoenix this morning.   As I sat there eating one of the simple pleasures of living here, I was reminded of one of the great Mexican Food arguments which circulates around this part of the world. 

My friend Bob Boze Bell, millionaire publisher, of True West magazine, has been in a several decade long debate with the Distinguished Professor Paul Andrew Hutton, Professor of history at The University of New Mexico. 

Both men are well versed, lecture, and have written extensively, on the history of the American west.  Professor Hutton says, that New Mexico has the nations best “Mexican food”, with Mr. Bell correctly arguing, that Arizona has the best!

This is not some subjective argument because I prefer Arizona’s use of certain chiles or cilantro.  There is a simple reason that we have the best Mexican food in the U.S.  Arizona was the least inhabited region of the Southwest.  We had no real anglo settlement until, after the Gadsden Purchase in1852 and then the Civil War, which ended in 1865.  Tucson was basically an army outpost from the 1860’s on.  Eventually growing into a small community and then the largest city in what would become Arizona, until the farming around Phoenix grew in the early 1900’s.

Now I’m sure Professor Hutton, will take great offence with me, a mere cook, lecturing him on history.  But knowing history and understanding it are two different enchiladas (Professor Hutton, please see; food, Mexican, if that school has dictionaries).

The food currently being offered in New Mexico is a combination of Spanish and Native American, traditions starting in the 1500’s. In the 500 years since they have developed a separate “New Mexican “cuisine, that although delicious, is not Mexican food. 

Here in Arizona we’ve only had 150 years to bastardize the Mexican food, with our best efforts coming directly with Mexicans, across the border.  California like Texas are both older and have a lot of fusion, Mexican food.  I’m not saying that there are no great Mexican food restaurants in these places… there are. 
Just saying, Mexican food, is a misnomer, like saying, American food.  There are many styles and traditions through out Mexico and the food here is mostly “Northern Mexican” food.   But, Professor Hutton, our Mexican food can beat your Mexican food with one stove tied behind it’s back!

Mad Coyote Joe

Friday, January 4, 2013

Early Spring Minestrone

Early Spring Minestrone
Living here I always think of spring as soon as we get into January. Yes it's still cold but this feels like spring so I wanted to share a recipe that works well in both late winter and early spring.
I know Italian food purists will argue with this recipe. But there is a school of thought out there that says regional dishes follow the seasons. Winter minestrone is heavy with medium sized pasta and a beefier feel. As spring approaches, with so many fresh vegetable choices, I wanted to make a lighter and yet very comforting soup. This delicious recipe is a starting point rather than a strict road map. The flavors are based around the fennel, onions, garlic and pesto, with the other vegetables and pasta. Use whatever is fresh and whatever you have on hand. Serve with fresh bread, which is also available at the farmers market.
1 fennel bulb, stems and core removed and chopped fine
1 bunch scallions, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
Tbl. Extra virgin olive oil
8 to 10 cups of chicken broth (enough to cover by a few inches)
½ head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
6-8 stalks asparagus, woody stems removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 or 5 baby zucchini cut in half
4 or 5 baby crooked neck squash, cut in half
A handful of green beans cut into bite sized pieces
4 or 5 baby carrots
a handful of sugar snap peas
4 or baby corn
(I just walk through the market and get a little of what ever looks fresh)
1 14oz. Can redi-cut tomatoes
4 or 5 ounces of dried spaghetti or angle hair pasta broken into quarters
a pinch of good Greek oregano
Black pepper to taste
Over medium heat, in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté the fennel, onion and garlic, slowly until soft but not browned. Add the chicken broth and then all other vegetables and the pasta, oregano and black pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve in big soup bowls with a dollop of fresh pesto (don’t you dare use the store bought stuff).
Serves 6 to 8
Fresh pesto
Also use this amazing condiment or fresh bread, homemade pizza, over pasta and with grilled meats, poultry and fish!
¼ cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, Minced
2 tsp. Kosher or sea salt
a grind or two of fresh black pepper
4 oz fresh basil leaves
1/3 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 of a cup of fresh grated Parmigiana Reggiano
Pulse the pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor, until it forms a coarse meal. Add in the basil leaves and oil and pulse until it forms a coarse paste. You will need to scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times in the process. Remove from food processor to serving bowl and stir in the parmigiana reggiano.
Make about 2 cups
Mad Coyote Joe

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tequila Shrimp

Tequila Shrimp
Quick easy delicious

1 Tbl. olive oil
2 Tbl. Sweet butter
1 white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
20 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/3 cup tequila reposado
3 Plum tomatoes, diced
2 Serrano chiles, chopped fine
Juice of 2 key limes
3 Tbl. chopped cilantro 
Salt and fresh ground black pepper

 Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil and butter, in a medium sauté pan.   When the onions are soft and translucent, but not browned, add the shrimp and continue to sauté for 2 minutes on each side, until bright pink. Then add the tequila and flame the alcohol. Add the tomatoes and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the limejuice, Serrano chile and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with white or Mexican Green, rice
Serves 4

The Sun

The Sun
A poem by Daigneault

Starting out, which way to go
direction so unclear

But walk we do and try we do
decades from the years

A house, a home, a job, a way
a life you want to build

And then one day, inch by inch
the efforts start to yield

And it feels good, so very good
you’re going to pay the bills

A world steps in, words that smirk
your mountains turn to hills

A better job, a bigger car
clothes, vacations too

Then new friends, the money grows
is this a better you

A new thing found, an old thing lost,
discarded on the way

You say hello, you say goodbye
soon black and white turn gray

For what to build, to strive and grow
be not a hired gun

For looking grand with empty heart
a fool chasing the sun

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Years and Mentors

As is common with the New Year, I look back to take stock of my personal and family progress.  I must say, at this point, things have never been better.  Kathy and I are happy and we have enough, when so many have neither.  Our kids are safe and building their lives, careers and relationships.  In short we feel truly blessed.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have met and fostered relationships with four people that took the time to mentor me and help direct my progress forward.
I doubt I could have walked through the doors I have without their guidance and honesty.

Twenty years ago I was on a fact-finding tour of Northern Mexico with a group called “Hands across the border.”  One of the other adults, Paul Elswick, forgot to bring his ID.  When passing through the Frontier Check Point (AKA 21K), they told us he could not drive his car in Mexico, and so I was asked if I would drive for him.  I reluctantly agreed.  We drove and chatted together for the next couple of hours.  The trip was pleasant enough, but that was that.  We spent the next several days in a little farming village and I have no recollection of Paul during that time. 
When it was time to go home I tried to find someone else to drive him to no avail.  And so we headed north, this time the conversations were more in depth. Over the next few hours I told Paul that he should quit his job and work freelance, he told me I should write a book.  Paul was a corporate guy, and I was no writer.  But we both argued that the other had these changes in them.  Over the next several years Paul quit his job, worked for the same people he had before, but freelance, made the same amount of money and worked only two or three hours a day.  Over that time he slowly taught me the rules of writing, editing and commenting on my first writing attempts.   I could have never written the cookbooks that still pay some of our bills without his dedication.  A little over a decade ago I had breakfast with him, at that breakfast he mentioned that he would not be alive much longer.  I told him to, “fuck-off, you’ve been telling me this for the past ten years.”  He said, okay…  I took him home; he got out and started walking away, but stopped in his driveway and turned to look at me.  I can still remember looking at him through my dirty windshield.  Our eyes locked for a second and then he turned and walked away.  Paul died ten days later from complications from pneumonia.  I owe him much and miss him greatly.

My next mentor is a guy that has spent his entire life as a singer songwriter.  As Dave Grossman often says, he’s a folk musician, which means that your basically ‘folked!’  Dave taught me how to work a room.  Over a period of seven years, he took me on his gigs, taught me the rules of running an open mic and gently showed me where I needed to fix my performances.  Below is a performance of just one of the hundreds of songs he has written.  As my television career developed, Dave would suggest where I could have worked “a bit”, a little more or where I leaned in too hard.  I owe him much.

A well-known Arizona renascence man, Bob Boze Bell, historian, humorist, artist, writer, cartoonist, radio and television host and long time rock drummer, has spent the last twenty years answering my questions and encouraging my efforts.  He along with Russell Shaw gave me my first chance in television.  Bob loves to speak and has been an inspiration for me.  He taught me that it’s okay for a regular guy to be on TV, radio, and in print.  He is a good friend and I owe him much.

Eight years ago I was very sick, and so to pass some time and hopefully further my education, I decided to study News and Creative writing at my local Community College, PVCC. A few months later, I walked into my first class, there was a quiet-speaking professor by the name of Dr. Lois Roma Deeley at the front of the room, discussing an assignment with a student.  As I listened, I was reminded of Paul. When my turn came to speak to her, the first words out of my mouth were’ “Oh there you are… I’ve been looking for you.  You’re going to be my new writing mentor, my last mentor died a few years ago.”  Lois didn’t blink an eye, as if this was how it was supposed to be. 
In her classes I not only found my voice as a writer, I watched this beautiful giant, carefully pry the best out of people that never thought they had word one to offer. 
In 1212 the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, recognized exceptional professors for their ability to engage and influence students, Dr Lois Roma Deeley was awarded the "Community College Professors of the Year Award"
 (acceptance video below). 
Like so many, I am grateful for having walked into her class.  She changed and continues to change the lives of all of her student.  I owe her much.

In closing I will mention the many others who have worked hard to help me move forward.  Bruce Jones, Don McClure and Paul Hallowell at ABC taught me how to work on camera.  Mike Assad, Jason Montero, Ryan Hall helped me move forward as a musician.  And Mike Rosenthal taught me; you can do anything you want, if you’re willing to do the work.  To them and so many more, I owe you much.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Extreme Grill Cleaning

Fixing America

Fixing America
a poem by Daigneault

Veins of ice, sweat on brow, a crawling clock, skin on fire
Corporate pusher with Clonidine, Adderall, Suboxone too

A century ago the Brits bought china, a million yellow-men on the pipe
When they said no, the armada sailed, guns and walls, babies dead

It was smack and the mob, then the Japs found meth
The flood gate broke and the market licked it’s chops
Junkies, junkies… we need junkies
Percodan to Percocet to Vicodin, to Demerol

The cops chase the competition, an industry is born
Everybody needs a pill, mom, dad, junior too

Preschool Ritalin, Adderall for test, cough syrup Fridays what about the poor
Get insurance, come along, no insurance drugs a crime

Junkies, junkies… we need junkies
Valium, Tramadol, Seconal and Ambien

Like a pit bull on beefsteak we ate it up, we’ll cry tomorrow, yes cry tomorrow
Junkies, junkies… we need junkies, pill press runs day and night

Tired, take a pill, sleepy, take a pill, hungry, take a pill, full take a pill…
Junkies, junkies… we need junkies, need the jobs, the market soars

Oxy, Oxy we need Oxy
Junkies, junkies… we need junkies

Wholesale seduction of the entire world, Junkies, junkies… we need junkies
Prison, full, rehab full, doctors full, Patients empty

The more they take the less they sleep, the less they feel, the less they live
But profits up, so do the research, another pill around the bend.

Nervous system side effects have included mental and respiratory depression (particularly in the elderly), stupor, delirium, somnolence, and dysphoria. Muscle rigidity (involving the respiratory musculature including the glottis) may also occur and further aggravate the respiratory depression. A case of severe hemiplegic migraine attack has been reported.
Cases of seizures have occasionally been reported, but some investigators have suggested that the seizure-like events reported may have been episodes of drug induced-rigidity.
Other side effects have included withdrawal symptoms (agitation, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, tremor, abdominal cramps, blurred vision, vomiting, and sweating) after either abrupt cessation or fast tapering of narcotic analgesics.
Cardiovascular side effects have included hypotension, bradycardia, and arrhythmias rarely. Gastrointestinal side effects including nausea, vomiting, and constipation have been reported to have occurred commonly. Dental decay of varying severity including dental caries, tooth loss, and gum line erosion have been reported. Choledochoduodenal sphincter spasm has been reported rarely.
Respiratory side effects have included respiratory depression which has been frequently observed acute noncardiogenic pulmonary edema. Coughing has been reported following administration for anesthesia induction.  Dermatologic side effects have included pruritus which has been reported frequently. Localized rashes and, less commonly, systemic rashes have also been reported. Hypersensitivity side effects including anaphylaxis have been reported rarely.
Immunologic side effects including a case of recurrent herpes simplex infection have been reported following epidural administration has been reported to increase natural killer cell cytotoxicity and circulating CD16+ lymphocyte levels.
Metabolic side effects including a case of syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone have been reported

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mad coyote Joe's Blah Blah Blog: New Years Day Passion Fruit Mimosa

Mad coyote Joe's Blah Blah Blog: New Years Day Passion Fruit Mimosa: New Years Day Passion Fruit Mimosa If I want a drink, I usually have a shot of Bushmill’s whiskey or good tequila over, ‘store bought...

New Years Day Passion Fruit Mimosa

New Years Day Passion Fruit Mimosa
If I want a drink, I usually have a shot of Bushmill’s whiskey or good tequila over, ‘store bought’ ice.  I like some champagne now and then but a glass is about as far as I get.  If we have people over, for New Years Eve, they usually bring champagne and so the dilemma. 
How many of us have a bottle or two of modest quality, champagne sitting in the back of the fridge?  And it might sit there for a few years.
Why not make a delicious and refreshing drink… the Passion Fruit Mimosa.

Here’s the basic recipe

Champagne, chilled
Passion fruit juice or OJ or a combination of both, chilled

Fresh Strawberries
A slice of orange

Fill a champagne flute, half full with champagne, slowly top with Passion fruit juice or OJ, taking care not to over-fill.  Depending on glass size and presentation, garnish appropriately.  Some like crushed ice added before the champagne.  If the kids are there you can make virgin Mimosas by using 7-up or Sprite in place of the champagne.
I quote Spock, “Live long and prosper!”