Friday, July 20, 2007

Pollo En Molé

I'm sliding easily into the rhythms of beach life. Although the slowness of my daughter's laptop tells me she is due for an upgrade before she dives into 3rd year of medskool.

Usually our main meal is lunch. I'm paying for this beach time by performing at night, so the evening meal will be barfed up before I go on. I mostly make it something like a peanut butter sandwich or another thing that won't be missed.


One whole chicken
one jar of prepared molé sauce
one half a sleeve of Maria's Gamesa wafers
one half disc of Arbeulita® or Ibarra® chocolate

The day before, take and wash the chicken well. Remove the giblets and either discard the liver or give it to the cats. Put the neck, gizzard, heart and the whole carcass in the crockpot or other slow cooker and cover with water, add onion, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low setting until the chicken legs feel loose and you're certain that the chicken is completely cooked. Put the whole thing into the refrigerator.

The next morning, take the chicken out and pick off the fat and remove any onion or other vegetable chunks. Cut the chicken into pieces and put it back in on top of the broth. Put it back on low setting.

Take one half of the jar of prepared molé sauce. I am a big ass fan of homemade but the prepared molés do a very adequate job without the forty'leven ingredients and the eighteen pans and the four days of standing there in the kitchen drudgery. Call me a pussy. I don't care. Put that into a saucepan with about half a cup of the chicken broth. Add in one half of the chocolate disc and whisk over a low heat until the sauce is smooth.

NOTE: There are passionate discourses about the superior qualities of both Arbuelita® and Ibarra® chocolate. The arguments are about the same as the Coke/Pepsi debate. If you can tell the difference enough to have a preference then, by all means, follow your preference. I use the one that I see first.

Take half a sleeve of the Gamesa wafers and put them into a sauté pan with a little splash of oil over a medium flame until they are toasted dark brown. It won't hurt a thing if they get a wee bit scorched but try to get them off the heat before they turn into charcoal. Put them in a blender with a touch of olive oil and make a paste. Stir this paste into the molé.

Now put this into the chicken and broth, stirring until it is smooth and completely bathes the chicken parts in sauce. Reduce the heat control on the crock pot to its lowest setting.

Serve over rice with plenty of tortillas on the side.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Beach Reading

I have gotten sloppy about keeping the "what I'm reading" part of the sidebar current. I finally gave up totally on "Against the Day." Pynchon just never grabbed me with this one. I kept at it longer than I probably should have because he's one of those writers you're supposed to appreciate, and, I will admit that the failure was mine. I'm sure it's a fucking masterpiece that will be studied in lit departments all over the goddamned world. But, I'm done.

For my beach stay I have a stack of

"The Religion" by Tim Willocks. The first of a proposed trilogy, the first book is looking like a telling of the Turkish siege of Malta. So far it's pretty good. I like it anyway.

"The Queen of Subtleties - A Novel of Anne Boleyn" by Suzanne Dunn
I love the full-contact politics of the Tudors.

"Nelson - A Dream of Glory, 1758-1797" by John Sugden
This got a great review in the Sunday Times (London)

"The Bone Parade" by Mark Nykanen
This was on the bargain listing at Barnes & Noble, but I got it because I went to High School with the author. I would hope that he would rescue something of mine from the bargain bin at Tower records. I'm looking forward to it.

And of course, as soon as it arrives (and I made sure to amend the shipping info on my pre-orders)

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"
quite possible the only MUST READ of the season.


Monday, July 16, 2007

News From the Ranch (equipment failure edition)

The air conditioner broke. It's a new unit, under warranty, all of that, but when the temperature is above 100° and the humidity is above 55% (for you non-locals that's called Monsoon season) there just isn't any kind of living to be done.

The house is constructed on the old hacienda model, with thick adobe walls and overhanging eaves, but still has been rendered unlivable for the bulk of the day. Therefore, using the old Vince Lombardi proverb "When the going gets tough, the tough get the fuck outta there" (or words to that effect) We are loading the bus up with the more weather endangered instruments, and headed off to Mission Beach a few days early.

The air conditioning guys should have things fixed sometime today or tomorrow and it will be up and running by the time the house sitters get here on Wednesday. My neighbors (the goat farmer, and the God of All Ropers) have generously offered to take care of my critters during the gap.

I was working off of my normal beach vacation style, planning to take twice as much money and half as many clothes for this trip. But since I'm packing far more instruments than I was planning to use on the gig that's paying for the beach time I have switched from the planned two cars to the bus, and a car.

Medskool girl, her classmate from India and I will be hitting the road in a couple of hours. We will pick Mom up on our way.

Both of the girls and Mom are chained to their laptops so there should be no problem keeping postings on a regular track. There are still some characters combing the San Diego beaches. And Balboa Park is one of my favorite places in the world.

Stay chilly folks.