Mid week dinner: Green Chili Stew done two ways

roasting chilesbrianS asked if I would help him out with a vegan green chili stew. I don't mind helping a brother out, but a vegan green chili stew is tantamount to sacrilege. I'll do my best, doc. First a little bit of background on one of New Mexico's finest culinary offerings: Hatch Green Chili. Green chilies are grown all over the world, heck even some green chilies grown in China are being sold as Hatch (boo on them), but the chilies grown in Hatch, NM are the best in the world. Cultivated for heat and appearance by the agriculture department at New Mexico State University these chilies are more science than nature, but boy are they delicious. For those of you up north you'll find little cans of diced, chopped, or whole chilies under the hatch label in grocery stores, but they pale in comparison to the real goods. Anaheim peppers work as a substitute, but tend to be a bit sweeter and less spicy than their Hatch / NM cousins.

To prep green chili for almost any application you'll need to flame roast them. I've done this several ways, but the traditional path is to roast them over a charcoal grill which imparts a delicious smokey flavor. Totally blacken the skin on all sides over a high heat from your gas burner or over a gas or charcoal grill, and throw the peppers into a plastic bag to let them steam their skins off. Once the peppers have cooled a bit shuck the skins and remove that veins and seeds from the pods. At this point you can do almost anything with them, such as stuff the peppers with queso, bread em (blue corn tortilla crust..../drool), and fry them up relleno style, or you can simply chop the peppers up and serve them naked over eggs, on top of burgers, or add them to your stew.

Green Chili Stew, done the meat and cheese way, you'll need:

Traditional green chili usually has pork as the protein base, but I've switched to chicken for a leaner meaner soup, and tomatoes - I feel that the acid level goes off the charts with tomatoes added, but it's your world.

a package of chicken legs, skin removed if you want to be healthy
12 Oz of chilies, cans will be mild (read: not a lick of spice) I usually incorporate a can of mild with 8 oz of the hot stuff - (every year they roast by the bushel, and I buy a whole which will last me about a year)
Potatoes - any kind will do, but the yellow ones cook so much nicer in liquid than a russet - the more the merrier
a medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
cumin, red chili powder, salt and pepper to taste
Corn Tortillas
cheddar cheese
64 ish oz of water, chicken stock, or a combination of both

Place the chicken legs in a large stock pot and cover with water, chicken stock, or a combo of both and crank up the heat to high. When I'm feeling like I want a really rich soup I use all stock as the cooking liquid, but you're essentially making stock by boiling the legs anyway so this is up to your taste preference. After the legs are cooked through, about 30 minutes, remove them to a bowl and put them in the fridge. Meanwhile, you've chopped up the onion, garlic, and potato into your favorite size and shape, and now it's time to add them to the stock with a hit of salt, pepper, cumin (more is better in my opinion), red chili (gives the final soup some real earthy notes, good for rounding out flavor) and the green chilies. Bring the liquid back up to a boil, cover and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Test the broth at this point, adjust seasoning as you see fit. While you're waiting for the potatoes to cook preheat your oven to 350. Spray both sides of the corn tortillas with cooking spray, salt the top side lightly, and bake on a tray, flipping once, until golden brown - about 15 minutes give or take. When the potatoes are done, remove the chicken from the fridge and shred off the bone. Your fingers will thank me for telling you to put the chicken in the fridge. Return the pot to a slow boil, and smash a few of the potatoes against the side of the pot. The starch you release will help thicken the broth.

Serve in deep bowls with a spoonful of sour cream, some shredded cheddar cheese, and tortillas crushed over the top. Nothing better in the winter.

Vegan version (Doc, I love you man...)

12 oz green chili
64 oz Veggie Stock
1 can of corn, or fire roasted corn off the cob ... or better yet hominy (This addition is great with the above recipe, btw)
a medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
cumin, red chili powder, salt and pepper to taste

Corn tortilla

The method remains largely the same here. I would suggest oven roasting the corn or hominy to caramelize some of the sugars to release the natural sweetness. Take half the caramelized corn or hominy and puree it until smooth, adding the remaining whole kernels just before serving.

That's what I've got, doc. You can do something similar with squash, and I'd probably reach for a tomato in this instance.

Happy Birthday–October 26

Frank Selee (1859)
Kid Gleason (1866)
Lee Tannehill (1880)
Dick Hoblitzel (1888)
Tommy Griffith (1889)
Snuffy Stirnweiss (1918)
Bud Byerly (1920)
Toby Harrah (1948)
Mike Hargrove (1949)
Steve Rogers (1949)
Dave Coleman (1950)
Harry Chappas (1957)
Gil Heredia (1965)
Mark Sweeney (1969)
Francisco Liriano (1983)

We would like to wish a very happy birthday to UncleWalt’s wife.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 26

Aretha Franklin – Dr. Feelgood

One week ago today I was in Nashville, Music City USA, staying right across the street from the Ryman Auditorium. That night, while I was drinking with clients, the Queen of Soul was inside the Mother Church of Country Music doing her thing. Sometimes you can be that close to something and still be so far away from it.

Here's Aretha live in Amsterdam in 1968. Because taking care of business is really this man's game.


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Weekly Winterball Whiparound

Who's hot:  Andrew Baldwin is 1-0, 2.31, 0.69 WHIP in 11.2 innings (2 starts).  Cesar Ciurcina is 0-0, 0.00, 0.30 WHIP in 3.1 innings (2 appearances).  Deolis Guerra is 1-0, 3.86, 1.29 WHIP in 4.2 innings (3 appearances).  Pedro Guerra is 0-0, 3.00, 0.83 WHIP in 8 innings (2 appearances, 1 start). 

Who's in the middle:  Joe Benson is hitting .240/.424/.360 in 25 at-bats.  Jairo Perez is hitting .250/.400/.300 in 20 at-bats.

Who's cold:  Rene Tosoni is hitting .235/.333/.235 in 34 at-bats.

Who's barely played:  Josmil Pinton is hitting .000/1.000/.000 in 0 at-bats (walked in only plate appearance).  Manuel Soliman is 0-0, 0.00, 2.00 WHIP in 1 inning (1 appearance).  Junior Subero is 0-0, 9.00, 3.00 in 1 inning (1 appearance).

Magallanes is in first place in the VWL.  La Guaira is second a half game out; Caracas is third, two back; Aragua is fourth, 2.5 games behind; Anzoategui is fifth, four games out; Lara is sixth, 4.5 games back; Zulia is seventh, five games behind; and Margarita is eighth, 5.5 games out of first.

The Tigres host Caracas tonight.

Solar Sox Summary

Surprise scored two in the fifth to break a 3-3 tie and added three in the ninth to beat Mesa 8-3 in Mesa.

The Saguaros were led by Wil Myers (Kansas City), who drove in three with two singles and a double.  Joe Terdoslavich (Atlanta) singled and homered, and Tim Beckham (Tampa Bay) singled and doubled.  Miguel De Los Santos (Texas) got the win despite allowing all three runs on five hits and two walks in four innings.  He did strike out five.  Dan Jennings (Florida) and Evan Reed (Florida) each worked two shutout innings.

For the Solar Sox, Robbie Grossman (Pittsburgh) had three hits.  Joe Mahoney (Baltimore) and Brian Ward (Baltimore) each had two hits.  Brian Dozier was 0-for-4 with an RBI and Aaron Hicks was 0-for-3 with a walk and a run.  The loss went to Nathan Baker (Pittsburgh), who allowed two runs on three hits in one inning.  Dakota Watts surrendered the three ninth-inning runs on two hits and three walks.

Mesa travels to Surprise this afternoon.

Pixel Perfect Memories: SaGa 2 (Final Fantasy Legend II)

Release Date:  November, 1991
System:  Game Boy
Developer:  Square

It's hard to say a game with a Final Fantasy name is unheralded, but in 1991, there had only been two games released in North America with the name.   Those two were the original game for the NES, and the dreadfully dull, long, and difficult first game in the Legend series.  Square had yet to release Final Fantasy II in America (also, not much of a loss).  So the name in 1991 wasn't an automatic gold mine.   It wasn't until IV and VI came out that RPGs became a huge thing in America, and then of course with VII things really exploded.

Known as Sa·Ga Japan, Square slapped on the name Final Fantasy in hopes of boosting sales.  It worked in my case, as I asked for the game despite hating the prequel.  And I'm very glad I did.  The thing is, I really can't recommend this RPG from a battle perspective.  For starters, you can only use your weapons a limited number of times before you have to go back to the store to buy it again (or upgrade).  While this is realistic for some weapons (a club, say), I shouldn't need to have my DIAMOND sword replaced after fifty battles.  Also, abilities are improved based on what you do inside a battle (just like Final Fantasty II).  Win by casting magic?  Your magic power will improve.  Win by fighting?  Your strength will improve.  While in some respects this may seem realistic, it winds up feeling like busy work and one's characters lose variety unless you work at it.  Finally, you'll spend a bit of time leveling up.

Now for the good parts.  Like in nearly all old-school RPGs, you choose what types of characters you bring along (and their names).   While it doesn't allow for any story development outside the main character, it can make the battles more fun.  You choose between humans, mutants, robots, and monsters.  Robots can win upgraded parts in battles, while monsters naturally improve by eating the meats of other monsters.  The variety isn't perhaps quite as good as in the original Final Fantasy, but it's solid.

But the reason why you should play this game if you love RPGs is the story.  It was the best story any RPG had until Final Fantasy IV, and it still holds up well today.  Not only are the locations a blast (you actually go inside someone's body and explore their intestines at one point), but the story develops well throughout the game and it's a tearjerker unless you kill kittens for a living.  On top of all this, the soundtrack is insanely good, even for the old Gameboy.

The game was upgraded and released for the DS in 2009, but so far it hasn't been ported to America yet, which is likely due to the underwhelming sales it had in the 90's.  But I will get it pronto if it does sail the Pacific.

What ya'll playing?

Happy Birthday–October 25

Jack Doyle (1869)
Smoky Joe Wood (1889)
Jack Kent Cooke (1912)
Lee McPhail (1917)
Russ Meyer (1923)
Bobby Thomson (1923)
Bobby Brown (1924)
Roy Hartsfield (1925)
Chuck Schilling (1937)
Al Cowens (1951)
Roy Smalley (1952)
Rowland Office (1952)
Tito Landrum (1954)
Danny Darwin (1955)
Andy McGaffigan (1956)
Steve Decker (1965)
Keith Garagozzo (1969)
Pedro Martinez (1971)

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 25

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Lenny

Early in the year we got married, my eventual wife gave me a ticket to see Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was a birthday present, and we were so poor we could literally afford just one ticket. I cleared it with my boss to have the night off, but at the last minute he made me work anyway. Told me I could show up or take a hike, there were plenty more where I came from. So I sold the ticket to a friend, who raved about the concert. Best he ever saw.

Just four months later, Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash in East Troy, Wisconsin. Now, twenty-one years is a long time to carry a grudge, but for the life of me I can't seem to let go of this one. And I probably never will.

From the Texas Flood album, Vaughan wrote Lenny and Love Struck Baby as tributes to his eventual ex-wife and by all accounts the one true love of his life, Lenora Bailey Vaughan. So here's to true love and to Stevie Ray, the best damn guitar player I never saw.


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Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.