Roger Naylor will present his new book, Death Valley: Hottest Place on Earth, at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, AZ, on Monday, December 9 at 7 pm.
Also catch Roger on KAET’s Arizona Horizon that evening at 5:30.
24 perfect mushrooms, each about 2 inches in diameter
2–3 strips lean bacon
1 jar (6 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and well rinsed
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
4 large cloves roasted garlic, finely minced (recipe follows)
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley
Salt and freshly coarse-ground black pepper
1 raw egg, lightly beaten
Fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish
Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Drop the caps into rapidly boiling water and leave for 30 seconds. Remove, plunge into cold water, and drain well. Reserve the stems to flavor stock. Sauté the bacon until crisp. Drain well and set aside. Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts and chop fine. Place in a bowl with the onion, garlic, cheeses, bread crumbs, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the egg and mix well. Pack this into the mushroom caps. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle a bit on top of each stuffed mushroom. Sprinkle with Parmesan and pop under the broiler only until the cheeses begin to melt, about 2 minutes. Place on a serving plate, garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley, and serve warm.
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 jar (8 ounces) peeled garlic cloves, or peel your own
Wipe a heavy skillet with the oil. Add all of the garlic, making sure that the cloves are only one layer deep. Cook the garlic over a medium heat until it just begins to turn golden on the bottom side. Flip the cloves over and continue to cook until that side is just beginning to show color. Shake the pan frequently while cooking. Continue in this manner, shaking the pan and flipping the garlic, until the cloves have become a golden brown and are somewhat soft. The entire process will take about 30 minus. Do it on a day when you are going to be in the kitchen anyway. When done, allow to cool and then put in a jar and store in the refrigerator.
Thanksgiving is a big deal for my family. My dad has five brothers, so sometimes we make a group of about 30 people with all the aunts, uncles, cousins, kids, and significant others. Everyone always brings a dish. Being a fan of Janet Taylor’s recipes, I decided to think outside the box one Thanksgiving and make her Kale–Pomegranate Salad with Grapefruit Dressing, from The Green Southwest Cookbook, as a side dish. I was treated to rave reviews, and most people had never tried a kale salad before. This year I will make it again, because it was so good and unique.
It also fits in with the holidays perfectly. As Janet says: “During the holiday season, this salad will cheerfully accent a festive dinner table décor with its shiny green leaves punctuated with glistening red edible ornaments. It it at its best if it is allowed to marinate overnight, making it perfect for a no-hassle luncheon the next day.”
That’s another reason I like it: I can make it the night before or the morning of, and then it’s ready to go with no further prep for the meal later in the afternoon or early evening. I admit I cut a few corners by getting pre-washed and cut bagged kale and prepared pomegranate seeds from Trader Joe’s. I double the recipe for our large group.
Kale–Pomegranate Salad with Grapefruit Dressing
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
2 pieces of fresh peeled ginger, the diameter of a quarter by 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup chopped sweet pink or red grapefruit sections (membrane-free)
2 pitted dates, chopped and mashed
1 garlic clove, run through garlic press
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon coarse-grain yellow mustard
1 teaspoon evaporated cane juice or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (sliced in half rounds)
8–10 green or purple-red kale leaves
1–2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sweet pink or ruby-red grapefruit sections (membrane-free)
1 cup pomegranate seeds
Freshly ground black or multi-color pepper
To make the dressing: Release the juice from the 1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds by pressing the seeds against a mesh strainer or muddling the seeds in a cup. Remove the seeds and set the juice aside. Release the juice from the ginger by muddling, pressing, and crushing the ginger pieces with the 1/4 cup of grapefruit pieces, dates, and garlic until all is pretty much masticated; add the pomegranate juice and the remaining dressing ingredients (vinegar through sliced red onion) and set aside. You may prefer removing the ginger before tossing together the dressing and salad. (Some people enjoy biting into fresh ginger and others don’t.)
Thoroughly rinse the kale with cold water. Tear the leaves from the tough spines and into tiny bite-size pieces. Remove excess water by using a salad spinner, or dry the leaves with a cotton towel. With fingers, massage 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the kale leaves until all the leaves glisten, adding more oil as necessary. This will break down the leaves somewhat, causing some juice to release from the leaves, and it tames any bitter flavor. Add and thoroughly toss the grapefruit, pomegranate seeds, dressing, and pepper with the kale. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Allow the salad to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Variation: Substitute fresh oranges or tangerines for the grapefruit.
Changing Hands, the iconic Tempe bookstore, is expanding to a Phoenix location and they need your help. They’ve set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise money in the next 30 days. All you have to do is visit the page, buy one of their made-in-the-Valley tshirts, gift card sets, tote bags, or prints, and the money will help fund the new store.
The second Changing Hands Bookstore location will open in spring 2014 on Camelback and Third Avenue in Phoenix, in a former restaurant facility called Beef Eaters. The new bookstore will adaptively reuse the basic structure of the existing building, retaining key features such as fired adobe walls, timber framing, and original fireplaces, while transforming it into a comfortable place to read and gather. It will even feature a wine and beer bar called First Draft. Even cooler, the new store will be a partnership with two other local businesses: a restaurant that focuses on simple comfort foods and casual elegance by the group that created Phoenix’s award-winning Beckett’s Table, and a co-working, meeting, and event space for mobile professionals. The developer, Venue Projects, is a brilliant team on a mission to create inspiring places that serve and celebrate nature while promoting community.
Independent bookstores are the life blood of small publishers and help build strong creative communities. Give Changing Hands a little help today and make Phoenix a book lovers paradise.
Stop by AJ’s Fine Foods this Saturday, 11am-1pm, in Tucson at La Encantada, Skyline/Campbell, to see Chef Ryan Clark and get your copy of Modern Southwest Cooking signed! Just take care around the El Tour de Tucson traffic.
This classic soup is especially wonderful on a chilly day. From The Essential Southwest Cookbook, which is now available. If you love feta cheese, a sprinkling of it to the finished soup adds a creamy tang.
1 cup corn oil, plus 2 tablespoons
Freshly ground black pepper
3 chicken thighs, bone-in, skinless
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped and seeded
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 cups high-quality, low-sodium chicken stock
3 corn tortillas, sliced into half-inch ribbons
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
In a large stockpot, heat the 2 tablespoons of corn oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken and place the chicken in the pot. Sauté, meaty side down, about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken and add the onion, tomato, and garlic. Continue cooking about 2 more minutes.
Add the stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet, fry the tortilla strips in the cup of corn oil until golden and crispy. Allow the tortilla strips to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Remove the chicken thighs from the soup and, with two forks, separate the meat front he bones and discard the bones.
Divide the chicken evenly among 6 bowls. Pour the broth over the chicken. Garnish with cilantro, lime juice, and the prepared tortilla strips.
On my fourth road trip day retracing Native Roads, I combined Chapter 12 with 13 to get to as many sites as possible in ten days. U.S. Highway 160 east from Kayenta to the New Mexico border is pretty much straight as a string, and some points along the way you can see from a distance, like “Baby Rocks.” Without this book I would have driven past many legendary landmarks without realizing it. Baby Rocks is a good example. Quoting Fran Kosik’s original Native Roads text:
“This assortment of spires and knobs to the south resulted from the erosion of the Entrada Sandstone was formed during the Jurassic Era. Navajos use this mesa to teach their children values. One story tells of a big sister who refused to give blue corn bread to her baby sister. To put an end to the big sister’s fighting and selfishness, the Holy People punished her by turning her to stone here, where she lives as one of the Baby Rocks.”
After Treasure Chest book rep John Heider showed me what Anne Hillerman wrote about it in Tony Hillerman’s Landscape, I made sure I had plenty of time to experience the Teec Nos Pos Trading Post, which is only a few miles from Four Corners National Monument. Teec Nos Pos (pronounced teesh nahs pahs) means “cottonwoods in a circle” in Navajo. It is among the most active trading posts still around, combining a general store, butcher shop, sheep shearing pens, and trade center for local artists with a fabulous rug room that includes traditional and modern styles of basket weaving, folk carving, dolls, jewelry, textiles, and much more.
I bought a beautiful bola tie at this trading post. The bola tie is definitely one of a kind because of its fire agate center stone. I was delighted with my tie, but even more so when I got back to work and Heider said he had wanted to buy that tie for quite some time. When I learned I was going to be visiting more than a dozen excellent trading posts on this trip, I created a wish list. I finally decided on a ring, a bola tie, a belt buckle, and a watchband. I completed my list and then some, but probably spent all the money I earned on the trip while I was at it.
From Teec Nos Pos Trading Post I headed off to Four Corners National Monument. The big metal disk that marks where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah come together is not exactly where the geographic parallel and meridian intersect as it was originally intended. A spokesperson for the U.S. National Geodetic Survey said the current marker is probably 1,807 feet east of where modern surveyors would mark the point, but in 1925 the Supreme Court ruled that the legal borders are the ones set by the original survey, regardless of its accuracy.
Since I was updating Native Roads for accuracy, I had to stop at the Mexican Water Restaurant and sample their Navajo taco, which the second edition rated as good. I found it to be better than good, so I gave it a “great.” Native Roads says it’s not the real thing unless you use Blue Bird Flour. A Blue Bird executive agreed, saying that without the Navajo people, they they’d be out of business.
After lunch, I backtracked west on U.S. Highway 160 to its junction with U.S. Highway 191. Parts of highways 191 and 491 used to be U.S. Highway 666, nicknamed the Devil’s Highway because of the Biblical reference. The route numbers were changed in the 1990s because of superstition and sign theft.
From here I left Chapter 12 and started on part of Chapter 13. I don’t recommend this. Fran Kosik has artfully planned each chapter as a perfect day trip. You may wind up finishing in the middle of the afternoon, but that depends how much shopping, eating, and sightseeing you do along the way, and when you feel like getting started.
Route 191 runs north-south amid some beautiful red rolling hills, with red mountains in the background — even prettier topped with a few inches of snow. I went past Chinle, south to the Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado. When I tell friends about my trip, they often ask if I’ve been to the Hubbell. I love to ask, “which one?” I’ll talk about the other one in a future blog — if you just can’t wait to hear about it, you can always buy the book now.
I first visited the Ganado Hubbell with my folks in the 1970s. Maybe I was there in the 1950s as well, but too young to remember it. People often ask me how I got so interested in Arizona history and I always blame it on my parents. I’ve been back to the Hubbell several times since then, but I was definitely surprised to see a llama in the front pasture this time!
The Hubbell is amazing. Rugs and baskets hang everywhere, from walls and even ceilings, plus there are lots of artifacts dating back to the post’s construction in 1878. It’s also a National Historic Site. The collection of rare books in the rug room — many first-edition Zane Gray westerns written about this area — was an extra treat for this book fanatic.
After a quick stop there I backtracked up to Chinle to check in for the night. It was almost sundown, but I headed out to Spider Rock anyway. I took Canyon de Chelly’s South Rim Road and then several miles on a side road out to the Spider Rock viewpoint. The path was icy, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to see what has become a meditative center for me. I remember getting so much inner relief one year that I promised I would not wait too long before visiting again.
No revelations or big releases this time, but I was surprised to meet a Navajo artist, Marc Begay, Sr., and his cousin, who were just coming in from a cold, wet day of art sales on the edge of the canyon. I bought a beautiful painting (an impulse buy, not on my list). Marc said his grandmother had a farm at the base of Spider Rock, and he has painted her sheep in center of the painting I bought, as well as some of the pictographs found on the canyon walls.
Then it was back to Chinle for a drive-through Burger King salad, a far cry from Kayenta’s gourmet meal the night before, but a satisfying end to a fascinating day.
Jim Turner is an historian, editor, teacher, researcher, and author. He received his masters degree in U.S. history from the University of Arizona and is now an editor for Rio Nuevo Publishers. He writes history articles for various newspapers around the state, and his pictorial history book, “Arizona: Celebrating the Grand Canyon State,” was named a “Top Pick” for Southwest Books of the Year by the Friends of the Pima County Library. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.