Saturday, January 12, 2013

Were Putting the Band Back Together!

I started playing the guitar when I was seven years old, back in 1964.  My mother had bought a Silvertone guitar at Sears that came with an amplifier in the case.   It was inexpensive, and hurt your fingers. 
After a few years of taking lessons that taught me everything I didn’t want to know, like how to read the music, for all the tunes that my parents listened to when they were children, I just started asking my friends how to play “our music.”   Around the age of twelve, I learned a few chords, and by that time had a $20 guitar from Mexico that I could take with me everywhere.  It was fun but not a ‘real’ guitar.  I knew in order to play well, I needed a ‘performance’ level guitar. I talked to my parents about this… often… but with a large family always needing things this was of little concern. 

A few years later, I was about fifteen, my parents took the family over to my uncle jack and aunt Pat’s home in Escondido, California, for a few days.  Much like young ‘Ralphie,’ played by Peter Billingsley, in the 1983 hit A Christmas Story, I saw my chance to plead my case.  I explained, in front of the extended family, that I could really learn how to play the guitar if I only had a quality instrument.  I could have fallen off my chair when my father said, “well son, when we get home, why don’t we go shopping?”  Soon I had a brand new Ovation, acoustic guitar, with a hard case. 

I had two friends that I spent most of my time with, Scott Maish and Steve Pursell.  Scott was a better guitar player than I was, but Steve came from a family with twelve children, most if not all could not only play well, but they could also sing.  From that time forward where ever we were, there was always a guitar or two close by. 
Mike and I last year at an Open Mic run by Raul Odonell in Anthem Arizona

After high-school I went to Scottsdale Community College, studying Music and Theater.  That’s where I met Mike Assad, who I did my first gigs with.

When Kathy and I got married in out early twenties, I put the music on the back burner.  I played a little at home but was mostly trying to find my way as a husband and father of two. 

And then, one day in my mid thirties, I was doing a barbecue at the local Bashas’ grocery store, and a kid by the name of Ryan Hall was helping me. We decide to play a few tunes while the ribs cooked.  That was the basis of my starting to play as an adult.  Soon I was playing with Mike again, and a few years later I found the Open Mic at Joe’s Grotto in Phoenix.  From there I started playing and learning performance.  I started running my own open mic and playing constantly.  Mike and I have been playing out at least one day a week for most of the past sixteen years.  We do a mix of acoustic blues and folk rock. 

I was at home a month go when I had an idea… what about the band?  I mean the band that we never had…  Steve was now a great drummer and Scott was a great lead guitarist.  We could play all those hard rock tunes that we loved in high-school.  I called Scott, who lives in Tucson and Steve in east Chandler… they were in.  I have a ton of equipment, thanks to Fender Musical Instruments.   After one practice we decided to bring Mike onboard.  Were tossing out all the easy listening stuff.  Our motto, “More rock, less schlock!”  Today we work on War Pigs!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hurricane A poem by Daigneault

I wrote this the day after the hurricane tore Tuscaloosa apart last April.  But with the people of New Jersey still suffering I thought it appropriate!

A poem by Daigneault

The devil had a party
Tuscaloosa rides rotting, gnashing teeth

A few short minutes
All held dear, shredded trash

Timbers and TVs, babies and board games
A living city took to flight

A few short minutes
The monster howled, lives and memories were lost

Everything, that is every thing lost
Hopes and worries and tomorrows plans

A few short minutes
This quintessential crime

And standing in the wreckage
a stranger with a camera

This ultimate pornography
Served with America’s morning coffee

A shattered woman, more than alone
Knee deep in shredded sorrows

“I don’t know how to do this”
She said, with her voice shaking

Well be right back
after a word from our sponsors

New Mexico, Lamb and Chicos Stew

New Mexico, Lamb and Chicos Stew
This is a traditional Native American stew made through the Southwest. It uses chicos, which are dried corn kernels that have been roasted in an horno, or adobe oven. Making this wonderful stew takes several hours so we always start in the morning, on a cold winter day. By noon the house is full of the enticing aroma and the stew is ready and so are we. Chicos can be purchased at southwestern gift shops or online!
1 Lb. Chicos
5 cups chicken broth
5 cups water
1 Tbl. Corn oil
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 Lb lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 or 5 fresh Anaheim, Hatch or Poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, deveined, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Place the chicos in a large stockpot with the water and chicken broth, and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and allow to cook for two and on half to three hours. When the time is up heat up the oil, over medium heat, in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds. Add the lamb meat and sauté until well browned. Ladle some of the hot liquid from the chicos into the dutch oven. Deglaze the pan by working brown bits lose from the bottom of the pan into the stew with a rubber spatula. Add all of the chicos and liquid to the lamb. Bring to a boil, cover and then reduce heat to low and simmer for another hour. When the time is up, add the chiles simmer for fifteen more minutes, taste and season. Serve in big soup bowls with warm bread or tortillas.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spit-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Dijon Baste

Spit-Roasted Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Dijon Baste

This delicious recipe was one of the factors in my TV show making the ratings that kept me on the air for 131 episodes. Our original contract was for 13 episodes. We used it on the cover of my book The Sonoran Grill This easy recipe is tangy and herbal with the correct amount of bite from the lemon and Dijon to cut through the lamb and bring out the delicate flavor. Serve it with a cold, crisp white Pinot and a loaf of my bread!

Fresh Rosemary for garnish
1 8LB Leg of lamb, de-boned and tied

1. Allow the lamb to marinade in the Rosemary Dijon Baste, for 1-1/2 hours.
2. Place lamb on spit and roast over indirect heat, medium-hot coals, until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees or about 35-40 minutes of cooking time (for medium rare).
3. Remove lamb from spit and allow resting for 8-10 minutes before serving.
4. Garnish with Rosemary.

Rosemary Dijon Baste;
1-1/2 TSP Fresh rosemary, minced
2 CLOVES Garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 C Peanut oil
2 TBL Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 TBL Dijon mustard
1 TBL Soy sauce

1. Whisk all ingredients well. Use to baste or marinade lamb, poultry or pork.

Lunch with Don McClure and Bob Boze Bell

I drove to Phoenix today with Bob Boze Bell and we met Don McClure for lunch at Tacos Atoyac.  Good inexpensive Mexican Food  and quite a time chatting with Bob and Don.

Life in Phoenix is good!

If Heroes be Illusion (a poem by Daigneault)

If Heroes be Illusion
A poem by Daigneault

If heroes be illusion
The heroes as we say

Can true men then be heroes
In deeds of everyday

In stories facing giants
without a flinch or fear

Standing straight and solid
with will so true so clear

If men like that be fiction
and yet great deeds are done

The myth is calling fearless
The men that fail to run

For heroes are not different
from ordinary men

With fear and hearts a pounding
They stay to fight to win

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Beer-Battered Shrimp with Asian Dipping Sauce

Today I feel like Deep Fried Shrimp, but I want a light batter. So I'm using a fruited beer. I know this may sound a little odd but it's delicious!
The use of a fruited beer like Apricot or Cherry Stout will add a nice background fruit taste that really adds a nice, fresh, twist to the shrimp. The dipping sauce ties it all together!
Fruit Beer-battered Shrimp
Beer Batter:
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch cayenne
3/4 cup any fruited beer
Asian Dipping sauce on the side
Mix all batter ingredients except the beer together. Gradually whisk in the beer. Refrigerate for approximately 3 hours before using. Dip the shrimp in the batter. Deep-fry in 375° oil until golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain, and then immediately salt. Serve with Asian dipping sauce on the side.
Asian Dipping Sauce:
1/3 cup rice vinegar
Tbl. sugar
1 ½ Tblsambal or other Asian chile sauce
Asian Dipping Sauce: Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the Sambal. Set aside to cool.


From my third book, A gringo's Guide to Authentic Mexican Cooking.

If your impression of tequila is that of a cheap, clear beverage mainly used by power-drinking college students on spring break trying to drink themselves into oblivion, you are not in the minority. However, you are missing what this extremely well-produced national treasure of Mexico is all about.
Here is a little test to check your level of gringoness: What is the #1 way that the people of Mexico drink Tequila? If you said margaritas, thank you for playing but no cigarro! I love a good margarita as much as the next guy, but truth be told, margaritas are for touristas. I was in Guadalajara as a guest of the José Cuervo company doing research on Tequila when I saw the light.
Below is my recipe for a Sangrita Mexicana. This is how the true aficionado of tequila drinks it. Sangrita Mexicana is served in two small brandy snifters about three inches tall—tequila reposado in the first and in the second, a beverage called Sangrita, which is tomato-based and a little citrusy. You take a small sip of tequila and then a sip of sangrita. This is sometimes served with a third small glass of key lime juice or key lime juice mixed with Squirt Grapefruit Soda. This three-drink combination, being green, white, and red, is called a Bandera, or Mexican Flag.
Tequila, like so many things from Mexico, is meant to be slowly savored, like a fine cognac. Chugging it down would simply be a waste of good tequila, not to mention the fact that you will get as drunk as a cow and everyone will know you're from out of town.
Another gringo misconception is that tequila is made from cactus. The agave is actually a member of the lily family and not a cactus at all. Tequila is only produced in Mexico, and by distilling the Agave Azul Tequilana Weber, also known as the blue agave. Tequila is such serious business that the Mexican government requires all tequila producers to adhere to strict guidelines known as "Normas." In order to be called tequila it must be made from a minimum of 51 percent blue agave. Furthermore, the Mexican government officially recognizes the four following types of tequila:

Basic, inexpensive white tequila used for margaritas and bar mix. Made from 51 percent or more Blue Agave.

Gold tequila is either tequila that has a flavor added or an aged tequila that has had a little white tequila added to it. It's commonly used in the United States for premium drinks. Also made from 51 percent or more Blue Agave.

Meaning rested, reposado is tequila that has been aged in large oak tanks for between two and twelve months. This tequila is the most popular among tequila drinkers in Mexico due to the fact that it has a full agave flavor. Usually made from 100 percent blue agave. This is also my personal favorite, so before buying I always look for "Reposado" and "100% Agave Azul" on the label.

Añejo, meaning aged, in this case for a minimum of one year in small oak barrels. It is considered by many Americans to be the finest of tequilas, mostly because the select-oak aging process creates a flavor reminiscent of premium whisky or cognac, a flavor they recognize. After awhile, most premium tequila drinkers develop a palate for the distinct agave flavor and switch to Reposado.

Tequila in milder, fermented forms, and by other names, was made by the Aztecs for centuries. When the Spanish showed up, they combined their knowledge of distillation with this local favorite and came up with tequila. In the mid 1700s, the king of Spain granted a parcel of land to José Antonio de Cuervo to grow blue agaves. By 1795, José Maria Guadalupe de Cuervo was granted a concession to commercially produce tequila and "Tequila Cuervo" was born. And from that day to this, José Cuervo has been the world’s leading producer of tequilas.
So, whether you choose an añejo with its deep, aromatic, cognac-like flavor, or a reposado with its rich, full-bodied agave flavor, the next time you're having a tequila, slow down and sip it with a little sangrita. Enjoy tequila the way they do, down south in Mexico, and leave the power-drinking to the gringos.

Sangrita Mexicana  or the Bandera Mexicana
Because this drink is so popular in Mexico, there are many different recipes. I put this one together by talking to several different bartenders in Guadalajara over a four-day visit. Sure, I got a headache, but that's just me, working hard for you!

Sangrita ingredients:

1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup Clamato brand juice (very popular in Mexico)
3/4 cup orange juice
Juice of 4 key limes
2 teaspoons grenadine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash A-1 steak sauce (yes, A-1; they love the stuff)
Dash Tabasco

Glass II
Premium quality tequila reposado
16 key lime wedges

Glass III (for the Bandera Mexicana)
½ cup Fresh squeezed Key lime juice
½ cup Squirt brand Grapefruit soda

Stir together all sangrita ingredients. You will need two or three 3-inch tall brandy snifters per serving. Fill one half full of sangrita and the other half full of tequila (about 1 shot in each) and top each with a wedge of lime.
If making the Bandera Mexicana mix the Key Lime juice with the Squrit and fill the third glass half full,  Sip a little tequila, sip a little sangrita, and a little of the lime juice mixture, and now and then, take a little bite of the lime wedge, forget the salt it’s for power drinkers. Oh, and one more thing, slow down a little: Life is good.
Serves 6 to 8

For Zelem

For Zelem
A Poem by Daigneault

Forged in the dark earth of Kansas by a preacher and his wife
She was an educated woman in a time when such was rare

Never much for foolishness she worked hard and watched the money
Then one day when the kids had grown he said he was leaving

For a while the tears and questions kept her down
But she did her own time and found her own way

So through thirty years of solitude, hers was a life of books and antiques
watercolors and brushes and time with the children, but she lived alone

She watched movies every Christmas with Ila and loved “Frosties”
Reading everything, she had knowledge where others had only opinion

As her twilight approached she quietly cut the lines that moored us together
And started on her way, leaving us grateful in the bedrock of her example

Like a glacier, quietly, gracefully, moving to the sea of her memories
We watched as she finally wondered back home to a Kansas of an earlier day

In the end she was as light as air, giving all, even her body
Leaving behind only a few precious strands of her beautiful white hair
Thank you Kathryn

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fantastic Soul Food now in Scottsdale

Fantastic Soul Food now in Scottsdale

I was picking up some flour at The Restaurant Depot in Phoenix.  For those of you that don’t know, The Restaurant Depot is a place where a small provider can get restaurant supplies at true wholesale prices.  And so, when shopping there, it’s quite common to see anybody that’s anybody in the Phoenix food game. 
I was standing in the checkout line with Kathy when Larry, who runs the iconic, Mrs. Whites Golden Rule Café walked up behind us.  Larry gave me I big hug and asked about our family.  As we chatted I asked about his son, Larry also known as Lo-Lo who open Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles, in Phoenix back in 2002.  He told me that his son had opened a second location in Scottsdale, at 2765 N Scottsdale Rd, just south of Thomas on the East side of the road.
Lo-Lo comes by his cooking skills naturally.  He started working at his Grandmother, Mrs. White’s restaurant, as soon as he could carry a bus tub and worked his way up. 
Mrs. White’s has been the Mecca of soul food for central Arizona for the past five decades.  Back in the 60’s my father had a little manufacturing facility where, Chase Field now stands.  He and my Grandfather would walk over to have lunch. 
Mrs. White worked the counter and called the dance.  She had a cuss box, and if you slipped she would make you put a dime for a small infraction or a quarter for more complex cuss words.  Then she would read you a Bible verse. 
Somewhere in the mid seventies I got onboard with her Amazing Soul Food.  When I was working at ABC15 in Phoenix, 15 years ago, I would go at least once a month, often with my Dad.  By that time Larry was running the show. 
I could give some overly wordy set of descriptives to try to explain how wonderful this food is.  It’s too good to be described in mere words.
Lo-Lo moving to Scottsdale is a stroke of genius.  The family name is so strong in this market that the great food is just a given!   I always tell myself that I’m going to try the fish or something new but when I show up, it’s Fried Chicken, Collard Greens and Red Beans and Rice, with cornbread and gravy on the side.
It’s good to know, that the White family’s soul food traditions, will be serving the valley for future generations. 
We’re going to be okay… I think we’re going to be okay!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny
(Rorschach sideways, views fifty-five)
A Poem    
By Daigneault
Late October
Two AM Rodriguez’s sighting
The executioner hails
Land Ho!
Celestial diva
Stands watching from the bow
Priests and pirates
The rotting stench of Europe
Fetid feet
Pollute pristine paradise
Angel bleeds
Tears of a thousand Aztecs
Naked children
An aperitif
Eons of agrology
Grist for their perverted mill
Ancient gods and history and magic
But a putrid bilge
Discarded by servants
Of a god, void of earthly soul