Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rain in Albuquerque

While the East is flooded beyond belief, we here in the drought stricken Southwest welcome any rain we can get. Even at the best of times our rain is a hit or miss affair. And when it comes it is often highly localized. So you see this big ole blob of rain and you say, "well maybe it's going to come and give us soaking."

Or more likely it just goes to the south of you.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Behind the Scenes at de-I's Sandia Outfitters

With all the work over the last few weekends for the Epic Food Event, I must admit that I've kind of let the mountain touring business slide a bit. However, I'm hoping for some new blood...I mean some new business this coming weekend. I got a request on the website from a Mrs. AW. It read:

"Dear Mr. de-I. My husband, GD, recently purchased a very, very, VERY large insurance policy on his life with me as beneficiary. He likes to go hiking but for the most part is obsessed with going when there are storms out...they typically go to the south of him for some bizarre reason. Anyway, I was told that you are very good at what you do. However, if by some horrible, horrible coincidence something terrible was to happen to him, I would want you to know that I would feel obliged to share some of the proceeds of this policy with you in order for you to restore your good name. Please let me know if your will take GD on as a client. The sooner the better!"

Well we certainly don't want to disappoint Mrs. AW. So I spent this weekend working on some trail improvements which you can see below.

This is designed for the client who decides he just has to look at the trail sign post. Often you can encourage folks by asking them if they want their picture taken next to the pole. They stand there and then Kerplop!

If you blow up the picture, you will note how this is cleverly designed so that no matter which side of the pole the client stands, the desired effect takes place.
Ah there's nothing that gives one more pleasure than a well made tool.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Now and Even Half Dozen

Direct from the hospital in Amsterdam, de-I is proud to announce that the potential guides for Sandia Mountain Outfitters and potential sous-chefs has increased by one to six. That's six grandchildren with the beautiful new child born on Saturday to Daughter # 3.

Picture with Daughter 3, Son-in-Law 3A, and new addition 3.1!
Today I had a chance to Skype and see here in real time...And I was in a Starbucks between meetings! How cool is that.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cooking Event of Epic Proportions - Part 4, Conclusion

Final Cooking

For the most part we have completed our cooking but there are a number of that need to be done the day of because they need to be fresh. These include two salads Wife is making and a final chile sauce and guacamole that I'm making.


This and Argentine/Uruguayan steak sauce.

A lot of parsley and garlic are pulsed to chop them

Add grated carrot, chile flakes (made from home grown and dried small hot chiles), black pepper, thyme, salt, white wine vinegar, and olive oil

Blend to combine

Home Made Chile Paste for Flavoring Guacamole

I don't use prepared chili powder because it's so easy to make your own paste.

Garlic pounded with salt to a paste changes the flavor of garlic

Add ground dried chiles, cumin powder, and Mexican oregano

Pound with the garlic paste

For guacamole, I loosen the paste with lime juice then add to mashed avocados

Wow it's a day later and my Minnesotan indentured labor is still at work! Wonder if she worked all night.
Party Time

Cabinet Lady and Dr. Deb have a fantastic place for a party. I was so busy that I didn't take a single picture. Gastronomic loving friend Contessa P took these and sent them on to me to include in the post.

We had around 24 people. Many were survivors...I mean friends of...Sandia Mountain Outfitter hikes. Gaius Derf, Agent W, Wild Bill, John the Grain along with Count and Contessa P were all there.

The Spread

Wife made name tags for all the foods with country of origin

Orientation and instructions

"Take the meat, choose your chile sauces, then decide on the salads you want..."

And desserts

Much food was eaten. Much was drunk.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cooking Event of Epic Proportions - Part 3, Hot Sauces, Salads, Desserts

No de-I cooking event would be complete without Wife's additions of fantastic desserts. For this event she's making three crisp/cobbler type desserts - peach (made with the last of our peaches from last year...no peaches this year because of the cold, sob), rhubarb strawberry, and rhubarb blueberry.

8:00 Am - You don't cook for lots of people without adequate help.
We've noted many times on these pages that rather than look for the illegal Mexican help that is prevalent here, we prefer indentured Minnesota labor.
Ginger Chile Relish (India)

Pick a bunch of green chile from your garden
Seed and cut into thin slices
Do the same for a big ole piece of ginger

Get about a half a cup of fresh lemon juice

Mix with some sugar and salt and let sit for at least a day.
Rajas Poblanos

Saute onions for around 10 minutes

Add chopped garlic, Mexican oregano, thyme, and salt cook for another minute

Slice roasted poblano chiles from your garden

Mix chiles in and take of heat
Two Toned Potato Salad

I don't have the recipe for this because wife made it. But it has both white and sweet potatoes plus capers, onions, parsley, mustard, mayonnaise, and celery.
4:00 PM - Indentured Minnesota laborer still at it.

Where we got our recipes

Correspondent In the Sticks asked if we had searched the Internet for the recipes or if we made them up. We actually went to our library of cookbooks primarily Mahdur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, Rick Bayless' Secrets of Mexican Cooking, and Richlen's Barbeque Bible.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cooking Event of Epic Proportions - Part 2, Let the Hot Sauces Begin

Since the Epic Event is a "Chile" themed event, it is necessary to get with making the sauces.
(Note: In the press to get everything cooked this weekend, the 'completeness' of my cook-u-mentary is somewhat...abbreviated)

Crispy Szechuan Garlic Pepper Sauce

This baby calls for 6 HEADS of garlic. Six heads!
Ginger, 24 scallions, 45 crushed red chiles, and 2 cups of oil.

Ever peel that many cloves of garlic?

A substantial amount of chopped ginger

Scallions sauteing with the garlic and ginger.

When the garlic is browned and crispy, in go the chiles with toasted sesame seeds and sesame oil.

Harissa - Moroccan Chile Paste

Soak the chiles

Yet more garlic

Toast cumin, coriander, and black pepper then grind

Puree in food processor with oil, strain out seeds and skins.

Mexican Guajillo Chile Sauce

Chiles are grilled quickly and then soaked.

Garlic roasted

Chiles, garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano are blended with chicken stock, strained and then cooked in oil with more stock.

The result is a nice silky smooth sauce.
Smokey Sweet Chipotle Sauce

Sorry - no step by step pictures. You dissolve Mexican brown sugar in water. Fry dried chipotles in oil then put in the sugared water. Fry garlic and put in water. Puree and cook until thick. Ends up this smokey, hot, sweet condiment.

Homemade Spicy American Barbeque Sauce

This allegedly followed a recipe but in fact I just kind of improvised using these basic ingredients (please note the homemade currant juice - thanks gardener Wife!) along with onions, green peppers, and (of course) garlic.

Meanwhile Wife was making something called Central Asian pickles (more of these next week!)
Hello Uzbekistan!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cooking Event of Massive Proportions - Part I, Core Meats

The concept of this feast will be chile from around the world. We will be having a number of proteins as the core. Then there will be a variety of chile sauces and condiments, and a variety of cooling and crunchy condiments to offset the heat of the chile sauces. We will have pita bread. Our guests will be able to mix and match various proteins with various sauces and condiments.

Our menu calls for flavors from:
  • India
  • China
  • Morocco
  • Mexico
  • USA
  • Argentina
  • Japan
  • Central Asia (Tajikistan?)
The cooking got started this weekend with the core meats and a number of the sauces. This post is about the meats. I'm serving chicken (tastes just like chicken), beef, and lamb. There will also be beans if any vegetarians sneak in.

Chicken Fricassee

I know I've covered this in a prior post but I don't tab things and am too lazy to find it. You basically take cut up chicken, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika (lots), put it into a pot, squish it all up, add water (not much), bring to a boil, let simmer for a couple of hours, and voila,
a dish you can serve by itself or debone and use in other dishes.

Braised Lamb

I'm using rosemary, garlic, red wine and Dijon mustard as my core flavorings.

Garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper

Chopped together

Used to marinate the meat

Meat browned

Onions, carrots and celery roasted

Add red wine, broth, and Dijon mustard and braise the meat. When cool debone.

Finished lamb and chicken