Chicago Style Hot Dogs & Hammond Organ Jazz

Good Hammond organ jazz oozes at mid tempo, like mustard out of a bottle. You can hear the instrument’s memory filling the room; the weeds growing through the sidewalk cracks of the industrial wasteland where it was born; the soundtrack it provided for games of kick the can played under a rattling L train; the stolen bases it inspired as it crescendoed in ballparks—where like mustard, it paired so well with hot dogs. Perhaps it’s ability to conjure the spirits of the dead and the dying comes from its ancestral mother, the church.

I first came across this music when I was living on Spring Street in Albany, NY. The street was a ghost, all small converted parking garages, the only one off Lark you passed by without noticing. I lived in a small room in the basement of one of the two row houses left standing. The room was a thin triangle that got narrower as you reached the back, where the kitchen and bathroom door tussled for space. When I wasn’t at work washing dishes and chopping vegetables I was wandered around town to escape it.

Albany has a lot of ancient pockets where the city’s oldest men preside. I’d visit those places alone, as an observer mostly. At the Palais Royale on Jefferson Street, Rocky, the owner, (in his late eighties or early nineties) would play the piano and repeat stories about how his father used to pass hooch through the little side window during prohibition, or about the infamous Albany Irish gangster Legs Diamond—Legs once tipped a young Rocky fifteen cents for shining his shoes, years later he was shot dead right there on Jefferson; at Sam’s Home Cooking I’d order the most utilitarian thing on the menu—two hot dogs with fries—and quietly envy the guys whose order Sam already knew.  Sometimes he would charge these guys sometimes he wouldn’t, directly contradicting the sign behind the register that read, “Helen Waite is Sam’s credit manager; if you want credit, go to Helen Waite!” Like Rocky’s, their stories repeated, usually stuff about the Korean War or local baseball. They were selecting from the same bag, like picking out songs on a long neglected jukebox. Some were retired, some homeless, and they were all more graceful at this leisure business. I liked the way they moved around.

palais

As I said, around that time I came across Hammond organ jazz. It was while I was washing dishes at Ogden’s on the corner of Howard and Lodge. I was in my dingy corner splashing around in the sink when the radio program switched to the music of Jimmy Smith, Oscar Peterson, and Lou Donaldson on the silver boombox I kept overhead. The thick hazy Hammond swing on these joints hovered around me, further encapsulating me in this illusory post war landscape I was secretly living in.

Bored and aimless, I could travel through time with the help of these old men—who were doing a sort of time travel of their own—and this music. I’d travel to a lunch counter in some conflated period between the forties and sixties where I’d enjoy my hot dog with mustard over baseball chatter and then climb back down into my apartment, put on a Bill Doggett record and flop down on the bed by the half-window.

I was choosing to go back, those old men were choosing to go back, but the time they were relishing, the relatively prosperous forties and fifties, was defined by those who chose to innovate and look forward amidst the the depression of the decade before.

This memorial day we’ll be in smaller groups but we can still have our hot dogs and memorialize the past. The recipe below along with the music will help. Or, we can make something new. 

You don’t need a recipe for Albany hot dogs, so since I must give you a recipe it will be for the tastiest ones, Chicago style. Also, Chicago happens to be the capital of this sort of vibe. Chicago style dogs and the Hammond organ were both born there during the depression.

  • In the early thirties, on Chicago’s Maxwell street, struggling sausage vendors began selling what they called the ‘Depression Sandwich,’ a hot dog piled with fresh and pickled vegetables they got from neighboring vegetable carts. It cost a nickel and it was the cheapest full meal in the city. Now we know it as a Chicago style hot dog.
  • In 1935, in the factory neighborhoods north of Chicago, the first electric organ was born. A magic machine that held the spirit of large pipe organs in its compact wood casing. It was the invention that finally saved maker Laurens Hammond’s neck after his clock business tanked at the start of the depression. 
  • In 1939 a Texas man called Wild Bill Davis followed the great migration of Black musicians to Chicago after work dried up in Texas and Louisiana. He found some of his first jobs arranging and composing there; music jobs were still plentiful despite hard times, largely because of the mob run clubs and cabarets. He went on to become the first to make the Hammond organ a solo instrument.  Bill Doggett followed him, taking it in a slightly more rock and roll direction that led to Booker T and finally the Young Rascals. The jazz path followed straight to Jimmy Smith, who brought the instrument to its full potential.
  • In 1941 the first organ was installed in a ballpark, Chicago’s Wrigley Field becoming an inextricable part of baseball culture alongside hot dogs and cracker jacks. 

Chicago Style Hot Dog Recipe

chi dog

Ingredients

Poppy Seed Hot Dog Roll (if you can find it)-Steamed

Vienna Hot Dogs or Other All Beef Dogs

And the following applied in this order:

  1. Yellow Mustard
  2. Bright “Neon” Green Relish
  3. Fresh Chopped Onions
  4. Two Tomato Wedges
  5. A Pickle Spear or Slice
  6. Two Sport Peppers
  7. A Dash of Celery Salt

*cook the dogs however you prefer but the traditional method is steamed in Chicago.

Only one rule!

‘Aunt June’s Candied Yams’ Recipe & Little Richard

little_richard_1966_gq_29oct10_pa_b

The music Little Richard Penniman made in the mid-fifties was a crazed jittering sugar rush—sweet candied yams with marshmallow eyeballs popping. Tutti Frutti, Lucille, and Rip it Up turned the heads of every would be flamboyant front man or woman to follow: James Brown, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Elton John; they all looked up at him the way kids look at their cooler, badder older siblings and decided they wanted to ‘Rip it Up!’ too. While people my age—late thirties—grew up with the cartoonish, commoditized Little Richard of TV commercials and cameos, teens in the fifties and sixties saw him on top of the amplifier stacks, ripping his sequin shirt off, sweating and screaming the lyrics of Tutti Frutti, a song he wrote in the midst of the repression of the fifties about…well…booty sex (‘awwruti’ was originally ‘good booty’). He was the most concentrated and caramelized Self they had ever seen. That is what left an impact. That is what created and defined rock and roll as we know it.

Check out the dude’s face at 3:05 in the video:

Whether he was the first to rock doesn’t matter. Influence evolves and reaches crystallization points; it doesn’t start in a big bang. The fact is, he was not the first. He credits ‘Esquerita,’ a Black, gay rocker from Greenville, South Carolina as just one major influence for example—check him out, the pompadour, the ‘woo,’ and the key banging are nearly identical.

But, Penniman was the one to break through. He took his hard glittering sole and kicked through all the muddy dams of the music industry allowing a rush of radioactive rivers and streams to flow forth. James Brown followed that stream from early rhythm and blues to rock, soul, funk and finally hip hop; Mick Jagger is still sailing on it today. We owe Penniman everything, not just because of his musicality but because of, what Michelle Obama phrased as, “His exuberance, creativity, and his refusal to be anything other than himself.”

images-5

Penniman used to eat at a place called Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in Los Angeles. According to those who encountered him, his exuberance was intact.

A Tweet From Filmmaker Ava DuVernay:

“I served soul food brunch to Little Richard every Sunday for a year while waitressing at Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in LA. I was a college student. He tipped me a crisp $100 bill each week on a $75 breakfast with friends. This was 30 years ago. Helped me so much. God rest his soul.”

From Designer Ed Haynes:

“20-some odd years ago we had a family birthday party for our sons at Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in Marina del Rey. The guys were a bit confused when the fabulously coiffed man at the table next to us came over and sang Happy Birthday to them. The rest of us were elated that Little Richard was so inclined. R.I.P. Mr. Penniman”

From Filmmaker Tanya Kersey:

“I came to know him during Sunday brunch at Aunt Kizzy’s in the marina. I frequented Aunt Kizzy regularly as did Little Richard. Charismatic & musical as ever, Little Richard held court and caused a full-blown scene of theatrical proportions every time he graced the restaurant. RIP my friend.”

From reverend and spiritual advisor Reverend Lé Seleah:

“In the early 2000s, I made frequent leisure trips to Los Angeles. During one trip I was very fortunate to meet Little Richard at a soul food spot called Aunt Kizzy’s. He was there alone. I will never forget his loving embrace.”

I tweeted at Ms. Duvernay to ask what he used to order as part of the soul food brunch but didn’t hear back (she must be busy or something). Penniman was a vegetarian, so, assuming he stuck to that, one of the few items he could have had on the brunch menu would have been “Aunt June’s Candied Yams.” Aunt Kizzy’s is closed but The Los Angeles Times tracked down the recipe for an enquiring reader back in 1996. I thought it a perfect match for Little Richard’s music and persona. Throw on this music as you cook the recipe below!

Aunt June’s Candied Yams

Ingredients:

3 sweet potatoes (they recommend sweet potatoes instead of actual yams)

1 cup Sugar

½ cups Water

½ teaspoon nutmeg

Peel of ¼ lemon

½ cup butter

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Scrub yams and place in a large pot. Cover with boiling water and cook, covered, over medium heat 25 to 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender but firm. Drain and cool potatoes. Peel potatoes and slice into thick pieces. Butter shallow baking dish and arrange yam slices in single layer in dish.

Heat sugar, water, nutmeg, and lemon peel in saucepan. Add 1/4cup butter and lemon juice. When butter melts, remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir syrup and pour over potatoes in dish. Bake at 425 degrees until bubbly, 30 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

images-6 - Version 2

 

 

 

 

Plan the Perfect Hudson Valley Picnic

*Written for Hudson Valley Magazine

Thomas_Cole's_The_Picnic,_Brooklyn_Museum_IMG_3787
A Pic-Nic Party, Thomas Cole 1848

Picnics are deeply ingrained in the American psyche precisely because they pair perfectly with so many of our leisurely cultural touchstones; a road trip, a Little League game, or a date in the park would fall flat without time spent on a blanket in the grass with food. That being understood, the tradition could benefit from a touch of grace. While nostalgia for the Oscar Mayer bologna and Wonder Bread of childhood has its place, if you aren’t reaching further you are likely coming up short. Fortunately, we have some history and tips that will help you fulfill your picnic potential.

Eating outside with our hands has been in style since humans developed opposable thumbs. The original predecessor of the word “picnic,” however, first appears in 1692 as “pique-nique” (piquermeaning pick and niquer meaning a small thing) in the old French text, Origines de La Langue Française de Ménage. It describes bring-your-own-wine or potluck events held in French gourmand circles.  Throughout the 18th century, people began using “pique-a-niche” to mean “pick-a-place” where friends and family could gather outside to eat and enjoy nature. The English word picnic was commonly used in England by the early 1800s and by 1861, when Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management was published, the Victorian Age had clearly added its pomp. Mrs. Beeton prescribes fine linens, crystals, roast duck, and a selection of brandies and beers for starters. Americans adopted the common use of the word around the mid-1800s as well, and took a decidedly more approachable tack.

“Throughout the 18th century, people began using ‘pique-a-niche’ to mean ‘pick-a-place’ where friends and family could gather outside to eat and enjoy nature.”

The first to show us how it was done was our Valley’s own Thomas Cole, whose 1848 painting A Pic-Nic Party depicts people lazing around on blankets under a tree by the river in some splendid valley location; one group is being serenaded by a man playing guitar, while elsewhere a couple pours wine and grabs food from a basket. Terry Carbone, a curator at the Brooklyn Museum, where the painting is displayed, explains that Cole “emphasized the sustenance that nature offers to people.”

We imagine Cole’s scene to have included,  in addition to wine, some wild berries and simple meats and cheeses. For guidance on those sorts of delectations we turned to Mona Talbott, of Talbott & Arding Cheese and Provisions in Hudson, whose enthusiasm and expertise for picnicking is hard to match: Her 50th birthday party was a picnic for 75. The invitations were prints of the aforementioned painting by Cole. She is the proud owner of a collection of beautiful Shaker picnic hampers in which she carries her food, along with real plates and cloth napkins to add weight to informal picnic occasions. When it comes to the food, she explains, “Picnics are so much about the senses; you have the beautiful sunlight, the wind in the trees…you don’t want to just chow down on a sandwich.”

Talbott recommends starting with the right cheese. Her shop’s “Peggy” is a small format (8 oz) Camembert-style cheese with a bloomy white rind. She recommends pairing that with some of their house-made caraway rye crackers, some trout or salmon rillettes or chicken liver pâté, or some of their house-made, English-style tomato relish, rounded out with assorted pickles and seasonal fruits — cherries or berries in the early season, and pears and grapes in the late season. For dessert she recommends chocolates or cookies, as “a piece of cake would be too clumsy.” She claims that picnicking can be a better experience than eating at Michelin-starred restaurants; following her recommendations, we can hardly disagree.

Photo courtesy of Beacon Pantry

Stacey Penlon of Beacon Pantry, who supplies provisions for guided picnics run by Hudson Valley Bucket List, recommends a similar format: “We like to recommend one or two cheeses, a dried salami or sliced prosciutto, a spread such as tomato bruschetta, and olive tapenade.  Finished off with a crusty baguette and a bite or two of something sweet, and you have the perfect informal picnic.”

If you don’t feel like doing the shopping, order a Picnic Platter from The Cuckoo’s Nest in Albany. The savory assortment includes salty crackers with creamy pimento cheese; smooth peanut hummus; sweet watermelon chunks; sharp, vinegar-laden deviled eggs; and smoky grilled chicken wings (the fried chicken version replaces the grilled at brunch time).

For our favorite picnic spots, visit www.hvmag.com/packing-the-perfect-picnic

Guide to Latin Restaurants in Newburgh During the COVID-19 Crisis (and Beyond)

3279045361_ac0f7c6ef2_bNOW OPEN:

Zulimar, Honduran Cuisine,286 Washington Street, 845-569-4742, During COVID hours are in flux so call ahead. Usually hours are: Tues-Thu 6am-7pm, Fri-6am-10pm, Sat 7:30am-10pm, Sun 8:30am-9pm

Tacos Uriel, 49 Mill Street, Newburgh, NY, (845-542-8112),Open for take out and delivery. during COVID hours are 10-10, normally hours are: 6am-10pm daily.

Los Portales, 295, Broadway, Newburgh, 845-565-6666, COVID hours: 11-8. Normally hours are: 11am-9pm Tues-Fri, 7:30am-10pm Sat-Sun, closed Monday.
Alejandras Deli, 390 Broadway,391-8429, normally 8am-10pm Thu-Tues.

Don Fernando, 362 Broadway, Order online here. Delivery and take out available (Disponibles para entrega y para llevar)845-565-2912, Weds to Sun (Mie-Dom) 12-7pm.

From the owners: As part of our legacy, Don Fernando will continue to strive to provide the most delicious home made food. We hope to see everyone again once we all as a community are in a great place. Stay safe.-Don Fernando Family

“Continuando con nuestro legado, Don Fernando Restaurant esta comprometido en producir consistentemente nuestras delicias caseras. Esperamos que todo se mejore pronto en nuestra comunidad para poder verlos. La Familia de Don Fernando.”

Cafe Colombia, 350 Broadway, 845- 245-4716, awaiting hours

From the owners: “we’re new on the block, just opened February 21st, but we’re trying to survive these difficult times.”

Azteca, 215 Washington Street, 845-784-4542, Take out available every day. (Disponibles para  para llevar todos los dias) 10am-10pm  From the owner: En estos duros tiempos hay que estar más juntos que antes. Como todo va a pasar con tiempo y su cooperación pero aqui en Tacos Azteca los esperamos.”

“In these hard times it’s more important than ever that we stick together. Like everything, this will pass with time and your support. We’re here for you at Tacos Azteca.”

Danny’s, 691 Broadway, 562-0003, open for pick up only (solo para llevar) 11-8 From the owners:

“Todavia estamos disponibles a todo lo que necesite para comida Domicana!” “We’re still here for all of your Dominican food needs!”

Juarez Restaurant, 124 Broadway Newburgh, 569-9263. Delivery and Take Out 930 am -8pm (para entrega y para llevar).
From the owners: “We thank all of our customers and the Newburgh Community for all of your Support.”
“Muchas gracias a nuestros clientes y la comunidad de Newburgh para su apoyo.”
Toquillas, 466 Broadway, 245-3803 or 347.780.3922 (whatsapp) Pick up and delivery (entrega y para llevar) 11pm -8pm.
From the owners: Gracias a todos por su continuo apoyo. Vamos a superar todo juntos!” 
“Thank you everyone for your continued support. We’re going to get through this together!”
La Amistad Bakery, 74 Mill Street, 845-569-7116, available for pick up (disponibles para llevar). 7am-1pm.
From the owner: It’s important at this time that we reach out to eachother if we need something, help your neighbor, stick together. We are here for you.”
“En este momente tienen que hablar, pedirse ayuda, ayudar a su propio vecino. Estamos aqui para servirles.”
Andrea C’s, 2 Mill Street, (845) 391-8383, available for pickup and delivery (disponible para entrega y para llevar), hours are changing.
Machu Picchu, 301 Broadway,  (845) 562-6478, open for pick up or delivery, (disponible para entrega y para llevar) 11-9 cerrado Martes, closed Tuesday.
El Patio, 190 Lake Street, take out and delivery, (845) 562-0101, open for takeout and delivery (disponsibles para entrega y para llevar) 7am-6pm daily.
From the owners: “Gracias a dios tenemos salud y estamos agradecidos a todos nuestros clientes para apoyarnos.”
“Thank god we still have our health and thanks to all of our clients for supporting us.”
El Salvadoreño, 346 Broadway, 565-6822
Supuestamente estan abiertos para entrega y para llevar pero yo no he podido conectar con ellos.
I have heard they are open for take out and delivery but I haven’t been able to connect with them.
Normally hours are 10am-10pm M-F, 8am-10pm weekends.
Villa Inca Peru, 167 Broadway, 784-4975, pick up only, (solo para llevar), 11-6 daily
Noria, 238 Broadway, 563-0748, take out only, hours are in flux (para llevar solo, horas cambiando).
El Gallo Dorado, 53 Mill Street, 863-0006 supuestamente estan abiertos para entrega y para llevar pero yo no he podido conectar con ellos. I have heard they are open for take out and delivery but I haven’t been able to connect with them.
Los Amigos, 569-0110, 640 Broadway, normally 10am-9pm daily. Open for delivery and take out. (Disponibles para entrega y para llevar).
Acatlan (Deli, not the restaurant on Lake Street) , 320 First Street, 845-565-2112, open for take out (disponible para llevar) 9am-10pm daily.

 

CLOSED (for now…)

Mi Florecita Mexicana, 372 Broadway, 784-4020, normally 7am-9pm Tues-Fri, 8AM-7PM Sunday

Message from the Owner: Mi florecita Mexicana les agrádese su preferencia . Debido ala terrible situación que el mundo está pasando nos vemos obligados a seguir cerrándos para ayudar a evitar la propagación del COVID-19. Esperamos pronto reabrir nuestras puertas ala comunidad y seguir brindando nuestro mejor servicio, por lo pronto mantengámonos a salvo en casa con nuestra familia.

“Mi Florecita Mexican appreciates your patronage. Because of the terrible situation the world is facing we feel obligated to close to help avoid the propagation of COVID-19. We hope to open to the community soon and continue delivering great service. In the meantime we will be maintaining at home with our families.”

Acatlan, 34 1/2 Lake Street, 784-4942, normally 10am-10pmWeds-Mon (Deli on 320 1st Street is open).

NO RESPONSE

Don Hugo’s, (845) 416-7569, normal hours 11:30-8:30 Tues-Sun
Jalapeños, 287 Broadway, 845-565-6734, normal hours: 12:30-5:45 pm Sun-Fri, 11-11 Sat.
Nelly, 60 N Plank Road, Newburgh, NY, 845-570-5175, normal hours 8am-10pm daily.
Sal Y Pimienta,640 Broadway, 522-8075, normally 9am-7pm daily.
Antojitos Mexicanos, 779 Broadway, 245-4524, normally M-F 8am-11pm, Sat 8am-9pm, Sun 8am-11pm.
El Vaquero,207 Broadway, 565-0550, normally 9am-9pm M,T, TH, FR, 7am-10pmSat, 7am-9pm Sun.

Special Report: Hardcore Punk Shows Are Happening at Denny’s

There is a dark horse in the race for best thing to happen in 2019. The kids from Wacko, a  Long Beach, CA hardcore band, booked a Denny’s recently and fully tore shit up. The event had all of the weird occurrences that make hardcore punk shows brilliant, beginning with the old man in the cowboy hat, “I came for the senior citizen special, (inaudible) is going on around here, they tell me that the special tonight is Wacko. Lets (inabudible) up baby!” peaking with the beautiful expression of punk rock joy at 8:22 (see for yourself below) and ending with, “after party at the generator under a bridge three miles that way.”

The whole thing possibly came to fruition as a satire of a hilarious event earlier this year, during which a hardcore singer from the more ‘tough-guy’ end of the punk spectrum blew his tough guy cover by emoting in his incongruent hardcore growl , “what the fuck is up Denny’s” at yet another Denny’s show.

 

All of this really touches my heart. Reminds of of my own youth attending punk shows in Albany, NY and heading to the Denny’s near the Crossgates Mall after for a Moons Over My Hammy. I think we ran out on the bill more than a few times but the nice teens who booked Wacko show us that punk nowadays has all the sass with a little more class. They were able to fundraise and pay Denny’s in full for the inevitable damages. Looks like the kids are alright.

Moons Over My Hammy

These kids from Wacko drew my attention to the fact that Denny’s and hardcore shows have always had a relationship although not quite so direct. It’s one of the few late night places underage kids can after a show. We used to hit the one on Western Ave in Albany occasionally after shows. I’d always order the Moon’s Over My Hammy.

Ingredients: 

Thick Slices of Sourdough Bread

Stack of 2-3 Thin Slices of Deli Ham

2 Slices of Swiss Cheese

2 slices of American Cheese

2 Eggs mixed

Directions:

  1. Butter one side of each sourdough slice and grill them in a cast iron pan.
  2. In another pan, brown a stack of deli ham slices without separating the ham and remove.
  3. Add butter to that pan and cook scrambled eggs.
  4. Remove the pan with the grilled bread from the heat but leave the slices in there as they finish crisping.
  5. Add swiss cheese to the unbuttered side.
  6. Stack the browned ham slices on top of the cheese
  7. Pile the eggs on top of that
  8. place the American cheese on top of the eggs
  9. Top with the other slice of bread and make sure it is adequately grilled on both sides.
  10. Slice diagonally
  11. Serve with fries or hash browns

 

 

Pataconas w/ Hogao & Gaby’s ‘El Meneaito’

Menaito Mania hit Colombia hard in 1992. By the time my family arrived for Christmas vacation that year the Reggae en Español thumper had the whole Magdalena River percolating. In Honda, Tolima at my Abuelita’s nochebuena party, young and old were sliding to it, at a friends hacienda my uncle was drinking aguardiente to it, and at some kids birthday party at “El Club” (the all purpose city social club) a 10 year old American boy (me) with a bowl cut, glasses—size 1992—and an early crustache, was gyrating across the dance floor with reckless swagger.

The group line dance was supposed to look like this:

…but it did not.  The next time we came to Colombia “El Club” was closed.

Before we returned to Kinderhook, NY, my cousin dubbed us a cassette of El Meneaito.  A few weeks later I taught a few of my friends the dance moves and we performed it for show and tell at my all gringo school. That school? Also now closed—it has been repurposed as an art gallery by Jack Shaiman.

You might think that I was responsible for bringing the first Reggeaton (what the Reggae en Espanol genre morphed into) to the US but check the lyrics. It was already everywhere except Kinderhook:

En Nueva York lo bacilan sin parar                                     
en Panamá la tierra del Sol pa’ gozar
en Venezuela les gustan porque quieren bailar
aquí está Gaby que te viene a cantar.
El meneaito, el meneaito, el meneaito, el meneaito, el
meneaito, el meneaito y ahí, ahí, ahí, ahí, ahí, ahí.

Gaby

Gaby was part of the Reggae en Español (or ‘Plena’) movement in Panama’s Afro-Panamanian cities and neighborhoods in which Spanish lyrics were sung and rapped over Jamaican ‘riddims,’ most importantly, Shabba Ranks’ ‘Dem Bow.’ He wasn’t the first or the most famous. Most trace the phenomenon back to the year 1977, the same year the Torrijos-Carter treaties gave control of the Panama Canal zone—where tens of thousands of West Indian immigrants lived and worked—back to Panama. At this point there was a freer blending of Latin and West Indian cultures across the Isthmus.

This article from Remezcla by Eduardo Cepeda tells us that Reggae en Español possibly began on the Diablo Rojo buses of Panama City which were all in competition to attract riders through their vibrant colors and blaring sound-systems.

“Five young rastafarians boarded one of the buses that regularly stopped in Panama City’s traditionally West Indian Río Abajo neighborhood, and handed the driver a cassette. Some of the music was custom-written for the driver, who paid the young dreadlocked men to write songs extolling his virtues — not just as a motorist, but also as a lover, and all-around badass — hoping to attract more customers. 

DIABLO_ROJO

Gaby and his DJ Orlando Lindsay had their own bus campaign, “Super Original Sound (SOS)”—they would play their SOS mixtapes over the bus sound systems to generate interest in their, “paseos nocturnos” or night parties in local parks. Out of that time of fierce competition on the buses a lot of great Plena music was born including El Meneaito in 1987. The song didn’t have commercial success however until it was released on a mixtape from a Colombian label in 1990 which peaked in popularity in Colombia around the time I arrived in 92′.

Eventually that music hit New York City and the island of Puerto Rico and morphed into reggeaton. So, that means if there was no Meneaito (and other Plena hits from more famous Panamanian singers like Renato and El General) there would be no Despacito.

Pataconas

Some of my fondest memories of Colombia were at Honda’s “El Club Recreativo”—the place that hosted the birthday party where we learned to Meneaito. The grown ups would always sit around the little tables telling amazing stories and gossip while drinking refajo and eating platters of thin steak, eggs, rice and pataconas. As kids, we would run over and lean against their sides, eat a few salty pataconas and then run away and jump back in the pool. It was really the center of the towns social life for many generations.

I still make pataconas today quite often, especially since my wife Zoraida and I both grew up with them. Her family is from Colombia’s neighbor, Panamá, specifically the city of Colón which, besides the Rio Abajo neighborhood in Panama City, was the biggest hotbed for Reggae en Español in the country. Sometimes when we’re making patacones or other foods that remind us jointly of childhood visits to Panama and Colombia we’ll put some of that music on, although Zoraida always says, “we were more ‘El General’ people” when I try to tell her about El Meneaito.

Pataconas with Hogao Recipe

3279045361_ac0f7c6ef2_b

 

Pataconas with Hogao Recipe: (Hogao is a common ‘salsa criollo’ used for many things including dipping patacoas):

Patacon Ingredients:

Very Green Plaintains, peeled and cut into one inch chunks

Canola or Vegetable Oil, enough to cover plantain chunks

Hogao Ingredients:

2 tbsp oil

1 cup chopped green onion

2 cups of chopped tomatoes

1 chopped garlic clove

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan, add the tomatoes, scallions, garlic, ground cumin and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring until softened.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, add the salt and , cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened. Check and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm.
  3. Pour enough oil to cover all patacon chunks into a high sided pot and heat over medium high (ensure the burner isn’t bigger than the pot) until it is at an angry bubble when you toss a small bit of plantain in.
  4. Fry chunks, moving them slightly to ensure they don’t stick, until they are a light golden brown (3-5 minutes). Remove.
  5. Let cool for three minutes and then smash with the bottom of your biggest mug—I find that those ‘Tostonera’ contraptions are less functional and also lame.
  6.  Deep fry again for about two minutes, don’t let them get too dark.
  7. Plate them on some paper towels and sprinkle salt generously.

These can be served alongside almost anything or eaten alone with hogao sauce. I like them best when served with platters of rice, beans, steak and eggs. Hold a big one and shovel everything onto your fork before taking a chomp from each. The most elaborate of these platters is the Bandeja Paisa which includes white rice, frijoles, thin hanger steak, a fried egg, chicharrones, an arepa, and avocado. It also usually has platanos maduros but I always sub them out for pataconas because I need my salty shovel.

The ‘refajo’ I mentioned earlier is just an equal mix of one Colombiana soda and one lager beer. Pour them both into a pitcher; extremely refreshing.

 

 

Sour Cherry Pie Recipe with Ruth Reichl

*Written for Hudson Valley Magazine

Reichl___author_photo___credit_Michael_Singer.0

PHOTO BY MICHAEL SINGER

 

Ruth Reichl and the few who hold her status in the food world live a life of pleasure that is out of reach for most. They hop around the globe, on a lifelong tour of exceptional meals, paying back the universe by sharing their food or their written experiences of food. Those who share well get to keep living that life. Reichl shares well. She offers vivid sensory bursts to her 1.2 million Twitter followers almost daily:

“Sun just came out! Brilliant rain-washed sky. Sitting on bright green grass, bowl of cherries in my lap. Happy.”

She writes memoirs, like her recent Save Me The Plums, detailing her time as editor of Gourmet magazine, that embed family history and recipes all within a fluid narrative.

On a cool evening in June we met for dinner at Gaskins in Germantown, and I heard that familiar voice in person. After warming up with a tangy runner bean salad, a wood-fired soft-shell crab entrée, and a couple of glasses of rosé, she began sharing a personal food ritual that began 25 years ago in her Columbia County cottage:

6400C25B-AB0A-44C7-BC53-9FF9BA190C8E
Soft Shell Crab, Gaskins

“Have you ever had a sour cherry pie? Let me just say that you have not lived until you have had a sour cherry pie. I remember the first time I made one for a dinner party up here; everyone had their first bite and the room went silent. Then you just heard a quiet, ‘Ohhhh.’ Even my son Nick, who was 8 and a picky eater at the time said, ‘This is good, Mom.’

“While sour cherries are in season I go to the farmers’ market every weekend and buy tons of them. I spend part of an afternoon taking the stones out — a cook at Gourmet showed me the best way to do this is to open up a paperclip and just flip them out. Once they are seeded, I freeze most of them so that I have them all winter; the freezing doesn’t change them. To bake a pie mid-winter, look out at mountains of white, and then taste summer, it is just heaven.”

Image may contain: fruit and food
Ruth Reichl, Instagram

She gave her thoughts on food and morality (“I won’t eat tortured food. I don’t want to eat an animal whose best day is the day it dies.”); food and cultural appropriation (“We have been appropriating foods and ideas from other places for all of human history.”); and she shared more of the moments of bliss she is famous for recreating on Twitter and in her books. Like the “most perfect meal she ever had” that “changed her idea of what food could be.” It was a simple meal she had in Crete in 1970 of homemade yogurt, fresh-caught fish, homemade wine, and garden-grown onions and tomatoes.

Through her storytelling Reichl allows people into her heaven, and, for us in the Hudson Valley, she reminds us we live there, too.

Sour Cherry Pie

Recipe Excerpted from www.ruthreichl.com

Most sour cherry recipes are too sweet, which ruins the unique flavor of this elusive fruit.  This one, I think, is just about perfect. Another bonus: unlike so many pastries, this one is better when it’s had a little time to itself, and it tastes better on day two (provided it actually lasts that long).

Crostata Crust

This can be a soft and difficult dough to work with in the heat of summer.  But unlike regular pie dough, it’s a cookie-like pastry that’s very forgiving, and refuses to get tough, no matter how much you handle it. When it gets too soft, simply put it back in the refrigerator for five minutes to let it cool off. It will become much more accommodating.

Mix one and a half sticks of soft butter with a third cup of sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy.

Break an egg into a small dish; reserve a bit to wash the pastry later, and add the rest of the egg to the butter. Toss in a teaspoon of vanilla.

Grate the rind of one lemon into 2 and a quarter cups of flour. Add a pinch of salt and slowly add to the butter/egg mixture until it just comes together.  Divide into two disks, wrap in wax paper, and put in the refrigerator to chill for half an hour.

Cherry Filling

Meanwhile, make the cherry filling by removing the pits from 2 pints of fresh sour cherries; you should have 4 cups once the pits are removed. To pit the cherries, open a paper clip one fold, and use it to flip the pits out.  Works like a charm!  The pitted cherries freeze well; I try to freeze enough to last at least until Christmas.  Do not defrost before using.

Melt three tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.  Add the cherries, a half cup of sugar and the juice of one lemon and stir gently, just until the liquids come to a boil. Don’t cook them too long or the cherries will start to fall apart.

Make a slurry of 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water and stir it into the boiling cherries. Cook for about two minutes, stirring, just until the mixture becomes clear and thick.  Allow to cool.

Crostata Assembly

Preheat the oven to 375 and put a baking sheet on the middle shelf.

Remove the pastry disks from the refrigerator.  Roll out the first one, between two sheets of plastic wrap, to a round about twelve inches in diameter.  This is the tricky part: invert it into a 9 inch fluted tart pan, preferably one with high sides.  It will probably tear; don’t worry, just patch it all up and put it back into the refrigerator.

Roll out the second disk in the same manner, put it onto a baking sheet (still on the plastic wrap), remove the top sheet of plastic and cut this into 8 or 10 strips, about an inch wide.  Put the baking sheet into the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes.

Remove the tart shell and the strips from the refrigerator.  Pour the cherry filling into the tart shell. Now make a lattice of the strips on the top, criss-crossing them diagonally.  Don’t worry if they’re not perfect; no matter what you do, the tart’s going to look lovely when it emerges from the oven.  Brush the strips with the remaining beaten egg, sprinkle with sugar and put into the oven on the baking sheet.  (You need the sheet to keep cherry juices from spilling onto the oven floor.)  Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden.

Cool for an hour, on a rack, before removing the side of the tart pan.

Eat gratefully, knowing that fresh sour cherries are a short-lived summer treat.

 

Iowa Cheese Sandwich Recipe & Bob Dylan’s New Morning

IMG_1373

July 19, 2019

It’s my last day at the Iowa City Writing Festival. I’m inflamed—brain and gut—from seven days of suckling on Iowa City’s greasiest spoons and absorbing writing guidance till saturation.

I arrived last Friday, July twelfth, and spent the evening searching for authentic Iowa City. There are nine central blocks with eighty-two places to eat or drink; forty-five have full bars. Most are utilitarian college drinking pens—tinted windows, tables, pitchers, sports TV—but there are exceptions. I visited a hip restaurant outfitted like a midwestern luncheonette and was met with prescribed Iowan warmth from the waitress: straight handshake, disarming full-body smile and two minutes of small talk. Initially, I thought I must be giving off intriguing out-of-towner vibes but then she carried out the same routine with the next two schlubs. I downed a rye and ginger and left.

Next, I found my way to a punk bar with sanctioned graffiti and affected teen mad-dogs comparing rap sheets. Two strikes. I watched Jaws overhead through a tallboy and headed out. It was live music night on the pedestrian mall leading to the hotel.  I stopped to catch some bluegrass and enjoy my buzz in the late evening Iowa breeze. As I sat on a ledge I chatted with two confirmed Iowans and finally got some intel: “Go to the Hamburg #2 up in Northside and get a breaded tenderloin sandwich.”

Saturday morning my first workshop instructor began, “Share an occupation that is NOT your profession.” Students shared: “a keeper of ponies,” “a counter of freckles,” “a preparer.” She asked, “What makes you a preparer?”

The Texan pastor answered, “I bet I’m the only one sitting here with a pocket knife.”

“Write that down,” she said.

She wanted us to write like we would speak. She used Emerson’s Self-Reliance to illustrate. In it, he writes, “God will not have his work manifest by cowards.” We wrote from a prompt for ten minutes and read aloud. The pastor’s theatrical presentation was lobbed off by the cutting Long Island voice of our instructor. “Did you write that? That is pre-written,” she said. His head (and probably his blade) drooped in shame—a preparer indeed.

After class, I ventured northeast of center to look for the Hamburg #2 but noticed another two-story beauty next to a construction site—a sand-colored box with gray brick face covering its lower third. A skin-and-bones old man sat on a bench in front, limbs all crossed, only moving one arm from the elbow joint to drag a neat cigarette. He looked coin-operated. A green and yellow striped awning that read “George’s” gave him a nice block of shade. I entered the bar and no one addressed me. A subtle yodel-speak (Fargo-light) permeated.

40750275221_c5b9e38613_b

I took a seat and respectfully observed. The menu overhead has a hierarchy of three items—cheese sandwich, hamburger, and cheeseburger—a quarter nut machine and hanging bags of Lays supplement it. Faux velvet-gold wallpaper glows under dangling Christmas lights behind the bar. A free beerback, (a short beer) comes with any straight liquor drink. Busch Light is ordered so often it becomes more of a grunt than a word, the way New Yorkers order a breakfast sandwich with salpepeketchup. I had two Wild Turkeys and their two Busch Light beerbacks, and resolved to return the following night.

28018242542_11f161666c_z

The next day in my second workshop I told two locals in the group—both white-haired Iowa women affiliated with the catholic sisterhood (the workshop is not religious)—how much I liked George’s. The taller of the two leaned back in her chair looking delighted and confused. “George’s? My friends and I have been going there for decades.” This just validated the place more.

IMG_1428 2

After class I headed right back, saddled up, and ordered the cheeseburger and the cheese sandwich. They both came out in wax paper. I had to open them to decipher which was which. I took a chomp out of each. I was expecting a grilled cheese for the cheese sandwich but it was just a cheeseburger minus the burger (sesame seed bun, ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions, and a slice of American cheese). Perfectly tangy, soft and sweet even with its poverty of burger.

IMG_1375

My body relaxed and I began chatting with the man sitting next to me. He told me, “I just retired. General Mills. Would have done it two days earlier but I wanted to stay for my last union vote. We won, but now they are trying to discount my vote because they know I stayed longer on purpose.”

“What are you going to do now?” I asked

“I’m making Frida Kahlo t-shirts and selling them,” he said.

I looked at his red and black t-shirt more closely and there was Frida, screen-printed and stretched out over his Busch Light-filled gut. “I’m an artist,” he said.

We drank to it as Bob Dylan’s “The Man In Me” played overhead. I remembered what my workshop instructor had said. Reality is never one-sided; if you are writing that way pull back.

* The breaded tenderloin sandwich follows the same formula as the cheese sandwich, just add a breaded pork tenderloin. I had one two days ago at the Hamburg #2, a place where presidential candidates go to project folksiness. Evidence of this is all over the walls. Other places I liked: TCB pool hall, where I played straight pool with the trans author of an essay titled Straight Pool, Pagliai’s Pizza—the best pizza I have had in the past year, (I ate mine outside listening to free music from blues world big B.F. Burke), and Dave’s Foxhead, known as the dive where the writers hang (turns out to be true).

22BFE131-E4F5-4D61-A468-A64ECF3CE89CHamburg No. 2

Cheese Sandwich Recipe

According to the bartender Alex…

“We have an electric broiler, so if we are making burgers we just put all of the ingredients except the burger [usually pickles, ketchup, mustard, sesame seed bun, American cheese] on the warmer on top and the cheese melts and the bun slightly toasts. If we aren’t making burgers we just heat up a piece of aluminum foil and throw the slice of cheese on it to melt for 30 seconds. Something about the properties of processed American cheese helps it melt perfectly.”

Bob Dylan’s New Morning

The song was well matched to the moment at George’s. The fact that “the Man in Me” is in The Big Lebowski firmly associates it with a divey good time. T. Bone Burnett, the musical archivist for the movie, chose it for a reason. The la las, the singsong, “Oh, what a wonderful feeling” and the slow skipping tempo are made for dive-bar-day-drinking-delight anywhere from the mid to far west. Drinking whiskey and swill, eating cheese sandwiches and floating around the easy flat terrain of Iowa City sounds exactly like this album, New Morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Youko Yamamoto Picks: Oyakadon Recipe & Eiichi Ohtaki

Youko Yamamoto is the chef/owner of the incoming TANMA! Ramen and Bar in Kingston and a radio DJ on her show Noodling with Youko; she recently came over and prepared her selection of Oyakodon w/Eiichi Ohtaki. She told us how this association was born out a moment of embarrassment in front of her best friend’s cool older brother  Noriaki and his friend Matsumoto-san:

“In 1975, I was living in Fukuyama, Japan and getting ready to go to college in Sapporo. I visited my friend Satomi in the new apartment she shared with her big brother, Noriaki., who we looked up because he was three years older and in a popular band. That day he and his bandmate from Kyoto, Matsumoto-san asked us to make oyakodon. We were confident since we had spent our upbringings next to our moms in the kitchen so we went out to buy the ingredients for the oyakodon from memory and came back and cooked it. It was awful. Noriaki said ‘Girls, you really have to learn. Why don’t you call your mom.’ We were so embarrassed. It turned out my mother had never asked me to help with oyakodon because it was so simple; I didn’t remember how to do it! What we served them was basically a dry omelet because we forgot to add dashi!

When I got to Saporro for college I bought a giant cookbook and flipped right to oyakodon. During that time in Saporro I was playing piano and keyboards in a lot of different bands myself and I would always cook for all of the boys in the bands. Oyakodon was one of the common dishes and it was the first time I made it with real Dashi. During this time I began experimenting with cooking eating and tasting and I developed a lot of cooking skill.

The members of my band liked hard rock. We would play covers of Deep Purple and Jeff Beck, but I enjoyed listening to Japanese pop like Eiichi Ohtaki and Happy End—the music that Noriaki and Matsumoto-san used to play and listen to. So when I would be off cooking oyakodon for the band Eiichi Ohtaki was often playing.”

Eiichi Ohtaki

9aab8a039e089418ad50c09eb29cab83

Eiichi Ohtaki got his start in the early seventies with the group Happy End but he went on to produce solo work from the mid-seventies into the mid-eighties. His most famous album, A Long Vacation (1981), is listed everywhere as one of the most important Japanese pop-rock albums of all time—a quintessential summer album. It is worth a listen for the interesting way he combines super cheesy cruise ship lounge synthesizers, soft hazy vocals and pop melodies. Youko’s experience is better represented in the album Niagara Moon. It came out in 1976 and is what she was listening to at the time.

Niagara Moon showcases how Ohtaki gathers influences from every corner of the American popular music canon. Perhaps from a distance, it is easier to see the whole range of possibilities and imagine different combinations. He somehow combines the funky Rhodes-sounding piano, twangy country-rock slide, barbershop quartet vocals, Lousiana horns, and urban 60’s key-banging garbage pail rock. Give this a listen as you make the recipe below for oyakodon. As it says on the album cover it is “good at COOL time!”

 

COOKING with YOUKO
the original recipe “OYAKO-DON”

IMG_0934

INGREDIENTS for 4 servings

4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 stalk of long scallion or Mitsuba                                                                                                   3C Japanese rice                                                                                                                                        2 boneless chicken breast                                                                                                                    1 onion                                                                                                                                                       4 eggs

Seasoning Sauce

 sake 2/3 C

water 2/3 C                                                                                                                                     shiitake juice 1 1/2 C                                                                                                                          mirin 3 oz
soy sauce 10 oz                                                                                                                             sugar* 2/3 Tablespoon
sea salt  2/3 Teaspoon

*not white sugar, organic evaporated cane juice highly recommended

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Tap shiitake mushroom caps to remove dust from gills, soak them in water in room temperature and leave overnight. Make sure the mushrooms are submerged in water—use a small plate for weight. Squeeze out mushroom juice and skim it through a tea strainer. Keep it aside.

2. Wash 3 cups of long grain rice. Add 3 cups of water and 3 cups of rice to a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. Turn off heat, let rest for ten minutes, then uncover and stir.

3. Flambé sake in a saucepan, add all other sauce ingredients, cook, and keep on skimming the impurities. Cook it down to 2/3 of the original amount.

 

4.  Cut off stem and slice shiitake mushrooms 1/8” wide
Slice scallion in a sharp angle to 1/8” wide
Slice onion 1/4” wide
Slice chicken breast diagonally to prepare slices 1/4” thick, 1”wide x 2” long

IMG_0942

5. Sauté sliced onion with medium heat in a large pan until yellow, add chicken, and cook both sides to 1/2 way done.

6. Place shiitake mushroom slices on top, pour about 2/3 of the seasoning sauce (enough to cover all the ingredients) and cook until chicken is 2/3 done.

7. Turn the heat to medium-high, pour beaten eggs evenly, scatter scallion (or Mitsuba) slices, and cover the pan.

IMG_0952

8. Serve rice in an ample size donburi bowl and flatten the top. Add some of the sauce from the pan.

9. When the eggs are still slightly runny, use a spatula to quarter the cooked topping, and slide it over the rice with the sauce.

Meshiagare!

IMG_0957 2

 

 

 

Belgian Frites with Andalouse Sauce Recipe & Total Science

In 2001 I found myself in a swirling neon centrifuge of euro club-kid culture—the final act of separation between my mind and the rhythms of American teenage life as I knew it.

My father and I moved to a quaint Belgian town named Waterloo (famous as the site where Napoleon had his final tantrum). I was to attend my senior year at the local English-speaking high school.

We lived in an apartment off of a house occupied by a British, fellow 18-year-old named Mick.  I gathered evidence on what sort of scene I might be encountering: Mick was always perched in the room above a garage overseeing the comings and goings of zippy tricked out hatchbacks and scooters through the smokey light of a single-window; French language banter and pumping drum and bass music were audible at all times; before long I ventured up to check it out.

A dim, low-ceiled attic space with throw-away couches lining the perimeter harbored various international refugees from parental supervision. Between spliffs, chuckles and rounds of Tony Hawk Pro Skater; Mick, Fabby, and Tim; from England, Italy, and Holland respectively; and others from South Africa, Turkey, Serbia, and Belgium; were forever plotting weekend missions to Brussels to see Drum and Bass DJ’s at electronic dance clubs. These were a far cry from the house parties I was raised on in NY. A friend back home had recently told me about his adventures at the club Limelight in Manhattan so I was aware that there was a modicum of coolness attached to this sort of thing; I would just need a companion as I acclimated.

o

Mick introduced me to Joli Bois, a local friterie that sold the most long, steamy and sumptuous Belgian Frites wrapped in a paper cone and topped with a choice of sauces—the creamy, orange-colored ‘Andalouse’ was always my pick. As the crew talked techno I’d slouch into a futon mattress, gripping the hot paper cone, and space out within the obscurity of a mixed cloud of hash smoke and frites steam. I grounded myself in each bite of hot salty potato mush as the cacophony of French and electro-thumping carried on. Inevitably, the spell would be broken as me and my full belly were ushered into the cramped backseat of a Seat Ibiza for an express ride to the club.

The usual destination was Gare de Bruxelles-Chappelle—an abandoned subway station turned thumping underground rave venue, covered in decades of accumulated street art. It was a feast for my teenage appetite. After many consecutive weekends there my feeble and disgruntled fist pumps transformed into genuine grooving.

The music was dark, it was street, it was primal and it made you feel like the whole club was going to turn into to ecstasy dealing techno werewolves halfway through the night—and they sort of did. As the sun came up in the early morning I’d find myself confused and in strange places: once in a downtown office building watching army tanks rattle down the middle of the street, and another time at some enchanted forest park between Brussels and Waterloo; all part of the drum and bass mystery I suppose. Often times I’d hit the reset button the next day by ordering another cone of frites—always from Joli Bois—and letting the warm steam re-hydrate my mind, body, and soul back at the garage. Their function had changed but, thankfully, their form had not.

Before I knew it that year was over and I was on a flight back to upstate NY. I haven’t listened to that music or come across a comparable frites stand since.

Total Science

Total Science happens to be the only act I saw at ‘Gare’ that I can remember by name. After some quick research on the pair of DJ/producers , (Paul Smith and Jason Greenhalgh), it looks like they came together in Oxford, England in the late eighties, were initially interested in Hip-Hop and then followed a course of a dark, fast-tempo electronic music until eventually arriving at Drum and Bass, where they made their most significant mark. Greenhalgh is most famous for his Champion Sounds and the later drum and bass production he did prolifically as part of Total Science, most actively around 2001, the year I saw him. Thanks to Spotify, a quick listen brought the music and memories all back into focus even after 18 years (another whole lifetime!) drum and bass free. As I make the frites recipe below I am playing this album:

Belgian Frites:

DSC_1495

First a word on nomenclature: French fries should probably be called Belgian fries. One theory is they were named French because of the language Belgians were speaking when Americans encountered them eating this dish—likely around World War I. Call them French Fries stateside if you want, (nobody wants to sound like a snob), but understand the probable origins.

Ingredients: The frites from Joli Bois seemed longer than any naturally born potato I’ve ever known; maybe I’m just superimposing them in my mind, but each frites seemed to reach all the way to the bottom of the cone. In any case, I liked them this way; buy the longest potatoes you can. In Belgium they use Bintjes but American readers can just use Idaho. Older potatoes work better since they have lower water content. The only other ingredients are salt (Iodized works well here; fries are one of the few places I use it) and fat (animal fat is traditional but any low smoke point fat works fine).

Preparation:

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes as long as possible, just under a centimeter squared. Soak them in cold water for about 5-10 minutes to remove excess starch and then dry them thoroughly.

2. Fill oil about halfway up a large dutch oven and heat to 320 F (160 C) (use a candy or oil thermometer).

3. Add a batch of fries—1-2 handfuls—and fry stirring regularly until they are mostly cooked through.  No more than 8 minutes.

4. Cool for 1/2 hour, spread them out if you can so they don’t stick. You can do more batches of the first frying as you wait. Just ensure the temp comes back to 320 after each batch.

5. Raise the oil temperature to 375 and fry again for just 2-3 minutes to crisp them up. They should be very light gold.

Andalouse Sauce:

This is the king of all frites sauces and I would recommend keeping the condiment on hand to add to frites among other things—smeared over a burger for example. You can easily buy it here but making it is easy. Stir the following ingredients together vigorously and let them sit in the refrigerator for up to a day but at least a couple of hours.

1 cup mayo

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp minced onion

2 tbsp minced bell peppers (one red one green ideally)

1 tbsp of lemon juice

salt to taste

Serving:

DSC_1501

If you are going to make these often and you can get large quantities of the authentic paper cones here . Otherwise, do what I do and fold a brown paper bag down. Drop a hefty glob of the andalouse sauce on top and eat with fingers or a fork. Get small wooden frites forks here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: