Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Bittersweet Father's Day

This bag spits at baggage handlers.
Before I even begin what is going to be undoubtedly one of my more personal posts, I just want to get the official Father's Day gift idea out of the way (since that's, presumably, why you read this thing; it can't just be because you find me so endlessly amusing).

Anyway, I've chosen a most durable and practical gift idea, one that embraces the whole outdoorsy, macho, "maybe I'll blow my best friend's face off with a shotgun" vibe, but is still cool enough for corporate air travel or a grubby road trip. I'm talking about a gift card to Filson, that revered house of hunting, tracking, and shooting accessories that makes the best man bags I've ever seen. Seriously, I bought one for Mr. Crab (who, while crabby, doesn't actually shoot anything except photographs), and it travels with him everywhere, holds everything of value, and looks virtually the same as when he first was gifted it. It's a workhorse, way nicer than those Land's End bags, not at all twee like Jack Spade or Varvatos. Plus, a good solid carry on bag can be had for a hair over $200. Give your dad a Filson gift card and watch him go, but don't be surprised if he orders a flak jacket in camo instead. Some small fantasies are worth fulfilling.

Now, for the personal. My dad would love to go on some trips. I think it's one of his fondest wishes. But I don't think it's going to happen. Illness has taken this wish away. So what do you give a father for Father's Day who used to have everything, and still sort of does, except for his health? I can't give him health, or energy. I can't offer him fifty pounds of muscle to make him walk miles and do yoga. Giving the man a Filson bag right now would be a sad reminder of a unfulfilled wish.

He used to love to eat, so I'm going to cook for him this Father's Day. We have a long California tradition of spicy stews, meals in a bowl that restore most of us to health. I have no illusions that anything I prepare will give him his health back, but perhaps it'll give him the taste of family, and togetherness, and the joy we all took in being pigs together. Thus, I give him (and share with you) my Chicken Posole.

Not So Traditional Chicken Posole
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 boxes chicken stock, preferably organic
3 cans white hominy
2 cans whole potatoes (sounds weird, but canned potatoes hold shape better in soup)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped

Step one: Saute, in large heavy soup pot, the onion and garlic in a bit of canola or light olive oil. Once translucent, throw in the chicken breasts and add all the stock. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Let simmer about 20 minutes, then remove chicken to cool on plate. Shred chicken. Add potatoes, chopped, and the hominy. Slide shredded chicken back in and leave whole cauldron at a simmer.

Step 2, for green mix:
In Vita Mix or food processor bowl, arrange:
1.5 pounds tomatillos, husks removed (you may use canned if there's no fresh available)
1/2 chopped onion
one whole bunch cilantro
about a handful of dried Mexican oregano (it really does need to be Mexican)
2 or 3 dried chiles
Either 3 pasilla chiles, charred and skinned, or a medium can of fire roasted green chiles
2 jalapenos, chopped
a few pieces of Romaine lettuce, if you have them lying around
Blitz into a green liquid.

Step 3: Pour all the green liquid into soup pot, and cook on medium low for 20 minutes. The pozole is now ready, to be topped with:

sliced radishes
shredded cabbage
chopped cilantro
a squeeze of lime
Queso Fresco
fried corn tortilla strips (slice tortillas, gently fry in non stick pan, tossing until moderately crispy but not burnt

Enjoy the Father's Day Pozole love.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the lovely post. Since my dad's long passed and I wouldn't fork out the dough for my ex. I think I need to find a cauldron for that Posole and maybe an eye of newt while I'm at it. That I would serve up to my ex.

Blogger said...

Learn how to book international flights for $100 instead of $1,000 with TRAVEL HACKING.