I started the “Biker Billy’s Irons in the Fire” Blog as a way to keep folks up to date on the many things I am involved in. It has resided here on WordPress.com so it could be easily discovered. As the years have flown by I have realized having this content outside of my main channels is less effective than I hoped. To improve the blogging experience and grow the communities we share around motorcycles, fiery foods and other topics of mutual interest I have added the blog to my website at http://www.bikerbilly.com/blog. I hope you will follow my adventures and musings at the new blog.
On this uniquely American Holiday wherein we pause to reflect upon and say thanks to a gracious and kind God for all the blessing we enjoy, I wish to say thank you to all my friends and fiery food fans. Without you I would not have the joy of my work as Biker Billy and the pleasure of sharing fun, food and laughter together. Here is a family favorite recipe offered in the memory of those who will not be at our table this year. I encourage you to take the time to look around your life and enjoy the blessings of friends, family and everyone you love. God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving!
Kathie Capps’s Cranberry Apple Casserole
3 cups chopped apples
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
Butter-flavored cooking spray
3 (1 5 ⁄8 ounce) packages instant oatmeal (maple and brown sugar flavor or cinnamon roll)
3 ⁄4 cup chopped pecans
1 ⁄2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 ⁄2 cup melted butter
Pecan halves (optional garnish)
Preheat oven to 350º F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the apples, cranberries, and 2 tablespoons of the flour; toss well to coat. Add sugar and mix well. Transfer into a 2-quart casserole that has been lightly greased with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1 ⁄2 cup of flour, oatmeal, chopped pecans, brown sugar, and melted butter and stir well. Spoon the mixture on top of the fruit. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. If you want, you can garnish with pecan halves.
Makes 6–8 servings.
Recipe reprinted with permission from “Biker Billy’s Roadhouse Cookbook”, published by The Globe Pequot Press, P.O. Box 480, Guilford, CT 06437 Copyright © 2009 by Bill Hufnagle
The frontier spirit that built our great nation represented a common bond among we the people in our collective willingness to face the great unknown. We did not shy away from risk taking, nor did we expect the world to be delivered to our doorstep. Rather we ventured forth, throwing caution to the wind, depending on our own individual strength to carry us through.
We were connected to the real world. Long before the term “be here now” was coined we were there already, feet on the ground and living in the moment. That is not to say those past generations of Americans were not dreamers, indeed we enjoy the many benefits of the dreams they made into reality. But we lost something along the way.
Today we take for granted conveniences and bounty that would have been unimaginable a century or less ago. Virtually every foodstuff is always in season in our globally sourced supermarkets, all promised as fresh. In the dead of winter summer squashes and tender lettuces are displayed in the produce section along with tomatoes and fruits. Yet even if you are among the folks who eschew processed foods and rather cook your meals from the fresh produce, are you really experiencing FRESH food?
We would all surely agree that fresh frozen is not really fresh even if it is better than canned foods. If you take a moment and think about the logistics of moving food from farm to market, it is easy to see that fresh in the produce section could be two weeks old. Two weeks old would be young for storage vegetables like onions or potatoes. I would hazard a guess that most folks have never tasted real fresh potatoes. Oh sure maybe you got some at a farm stand from time to time. But were they picked that day or last week?
Today we have reached the edges of the old frontiers and settled the wilderness. The world for most Americans is sanitized, no more toiling in the dirt busting sod to provide sustenance. Fast food, or slow, few eat what they grow.
So, come with me into the great unknown. I want to share a food experience, not a fancy recipe but something lots of folks eat on a regular basis, yet they don’t know how much better it can be. Home fries! Yes humble breakfast taters. My wife Mary and I are avid organic gardeners. We grow a nice variety of veggies, including Kennebec potatoes. During the garden season we reap the experiences of veggies that are mere minutes from harvest to stovetop. It is well known that fresh corn on the cob picked while the water is already boiling, and immediately shucked, then quickly cooked and eaten is the ultimate corn. You probably have not heard about the joy of potatoes that fresh.
Warm from the sun drenched garden, the earth still moist on them as they arrive at the sink for a quick rinse. The skin was so tender and the flesh moist and crisp under the knife. Nothing fancy, just a bit of butter in the pan and a julienned onion.
Sautéing them in mom’s heirloom cast iron pan adds to the hominess of these fries. I started with a high heat then lowered it once I started to see some browning.
I covered them for the remaining time, stirring every minute or so while I set plates and silverware on the table. Then got the eggs going on a cast iron griddle. From shovel to table in about 15 minutes, the taste and moist tender texture is beyond words. It is simple pleasures like this that makes all the toil of gardening worth every drop of sweat.
Now all I need is a half dozen laying hens so the eggs can be still warm from the henhouse. That is the next great unknown to conquer!
Seems like I can’t go to a party without bringing this dip anymore; it just blows everyone away. I call it drunken bean dip because after everything is sautéed to perfection, I drown it in beer and let it stew until all the beer is gone. Yes, the beans in this dip have enough beer to be way over the legal limit. But don’t worry; the only buzz you will get is from the chipotle peppers, since all the alcohol evaporates while it cooks. Enjoy the complex flavors of this dip and, if you decide to wash it down with a beer, leave the bike parked.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium-size onions, cut into matchsticks
3 canned chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce, minced
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
Two 16-ounce cans light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons dark molasses
One 12-ounce dark beer
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the onions and chipotles and cook, stirring, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the beans and cook, stirring a few times, until the beans begin to stick to the pan, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, parsley, cilantro, salt, black pepper, liquid smoke, molasses, and beer and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is almost gone, 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Add the cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Serve immediately.
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
Recipe reprinted with permission from “BIKER BILLY’S HOG WILD ON A HARLEY COOKBOOK”, published by Harvard Common Press, Boston copyright Bill Hufnagle 2003.
Hope you enjoy this one at your July 4th Celebration!
Welcome to the first day of spring, although it seems like May already here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. For the past several days the weather has been delightfully spring like in the AM and summer like in the afternoon with scattered thunderstorms. Even though today is the first official day of spring I have mowed the grass twice already and all the ladies in the family have gotten light sunburns. Whoa, what will summer be like?
I have been starting my workdays on the back porch with the umbrella over the table, iPad and coffee in hand. Truly a wonderful way to work with the mountains in the distance and the spring blooming trees and flowers dotting the landscape. I have been getting the final touches ready for the launch of my updated website; it might even go live tonight. I have also been in the kitchen working on the next book, a Mexican focused project, I love Mexican food and I bet you do too.
Today I wanted to cook something warm and green in honor of the change of seasons. I also wanted to surprise my daughter Sarah with a lunch treat. She has embarked on a vegan diet and has been all a buzz with new recipes and food, all very healthy. Reminds me of my embarkation on what has been an over four-decade journey being a vegetarian, rock on Sarah!
So I made a “Spring Green Pea Soup” timed to be fresh and ready just in time for lunch on the deck. My wife Mary, Sarah and I have been enjoying eating lunch together on the deck for at least a week now, gotta love this weather. The recipe for the soup is below I hope you enjoy it and can share it with family and/or friends at your own private outdoor café.
Spring Green Pea Soup
While soup seems to be a winter warmer, it can also be an invigorating early spring lunch. This soup is light and fresh tasting and a delightful green punctuated by the orange carrots and the brilliant red bell pepper; just a nice reflection of life that is all about greening up and blooming flowers. Perfect for those spring days when you return from a ride or are heading into the garden to do some planting. I made this soup to celebrate the first day of spring and bring on the green. I hope it brightens your table and spirits like a sunny day.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
1 fresh green jalapeño, stemmed, cored and minced
1 (1-pound) bag of green split peas, sorted and rinsed
10 cups water
1 tablespoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground savory
1 cup baby carrots, cut into 1/2-pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Place the olive oil in a large soup pot over a medium high heat, add the onions and jalapeño, sauté for 5 to 8 minutes or until the onions are tender. Add the split peas, water, celery salt, white pepper, savory and carrots, stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring often for 1 hour. Add the bell pepper and continue to simmer for 30 minutes or until the peas have broken down and the soup is at the desired texture. Serve hot.
Makes 10 to 12 cups of soup.
Recipe and photographs copyright Bill Hufnagle 2012