Saturday syncopation

Saturday syncopation

Saturday syncopation A short story by Katelin Hogard   We got food dying on the pass, guys! I need fucking runners! Kyle, you got four ribeyes, 3 hanger and a cauli. Heard, chef. Billy, I got 1, 2, 3… eight poussin all day and three scallops. Heard! And boys after this pick we’re gonna start plating the party. Yes, chef! Owen! 42, 53, 64, 27, 24 and 82. Heard, chef.   It’s like every single table is full of eighth grade math teachers. Rose for days tonight. My god. Do we still have snapper or has that been 86’d? Of course, ma’am. Yes. No, the cabernet is a blend. Yes, Bordeux is the region. Poussin? That will be a young chicken. Think teenager. Let me get you a new fork, sir. No, I will not forget. Oh, I apologize. Let me get that for you right away.   Billy, poussins. Now! Plating now, chef. Owen, start running. Hands!   Ribeye, one. Hanger, two, Cauli, table. Fuck, what Susan? No we’re not splitting the scallop entree. Because that’s stupid. Bring share plates. Anna, I need hands! Scallops, three. Poussin… fuck. Billy! Poussin. Now! Just go with the scallops. Poussin follows. For fuck sakes, dude. It’s fucking chicken. Lets go! Hands! Poussin’s going to four, five and six. Cody, can you carry three plates tonight? Brandon, hands, now! Scallops, one. Ribeye, two. Snapper, three. No, fuck. Just take two. Billy! Poussin for 24! Now! I need a follow! Stay here. Don’t move. I don’t care. Do not move.   Sure. Yes. Of course. No, dessert is not free. Your birthday was...
Lamb for Easter? Of course.

Lamb for Easter? Of course.

Kofta is a family of foods consisting of ground up or minced meat, seasoned and made into meatballs, patties and/or meatloaf.  Kofta recipes can be found originating from the Middle East to Southern Asia and while 85% of the recipes I’ve come across are meat focused, there are a handful of Indian recipes that substitute paneer, potato or starchy plantain to be vegetarian.  The protein used can be beef, lamb, pork, mutton, poultry and/or blend.  I love the flavor of good clean lamb, but pork’s ability to take on flavor is unmatched, and the gamey taste of lamb can turn people off.  I like to use a blend of lamb and pork.  This way I get the strong clean flavors I want of the lamb and spices but can easily please a hesitant crowd. We then we eat this with Raita (recipe below),  a cucumber-yogurt sauce that dances with the spiced lamb on your palate and creates a subtle tingle of love and harmony in your soul.   Lamb Kofta with Raita Yield: 4 servings Ingredients: 1 1/4lbs ground lamb 1lb ground pork 1/2c packed Fresh basil, medium chop 1 lemon, zested and zest chopped fine 1t cinnamon, ground 1t black pepper, ground 1t cumin, ground 1t clove, ground 2T onion powder 2T garlic powder 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1/2c breadcrumbs 2t salt   Directions: Preheat grill, fire up coals or warm oven at 450f.  (these are best grilled over charcoal or wood) In a non reactive mixing bowl or kitchen aid mixer combine meats, spices, salt, zest, eggs and then breadcrumbs.  Mix until spices are fully incorporated and...
Smile

Smile

Smile A short story by Katelin Hogard   “17 adults, six kids.” She rolled her eyes, the shriek of children pulsating into her temples without any remorse. It was Sunday, day five of a 60 hour week at the little supper club that’s been around since before her own father could walk. This meant mediocre steaks, a bar full of drunk’s and a dining room that was empty by 8pm. It was year 15 for her. 15 years of this small supper club in this small town that she always promised herself to get out of but never had. A pregnancy at 18, divorce at 22, another pregnancy at 24 and a foreclosure at 27. This place was the only consistent in her life. “Four shots of polish and a vodka press.” Before the words could come out of his mouth a chair fell over, echoing throughout the whole neighborhood. “Hello…? I’ll need those drinks today.” She looked up and just smiled, trying to suffocate him with her eyes. There was a group that had been drinking since 11am in the bar and a private party in the back. Along with that, all of four tables were full in the dining room with daughters taking their crippled fathers to dinner at the only place familiar to them. The sadness within them exaggerated her own but she understood why they always kept coming back. The steaks that were always overcooked, the carpet that turned a darker tinge of shit grey every year, the familiar faces. Everyone always wants familiar. “I’d like a riesling, Mich Golden Light and a white zin.”...
Freshwater fish cakes: Honoring every piece of your catch

Freshwater fish cakes: Honoring every piece of your catch

Got any of last summer’s catch in the freezer?  Here is a great fish cake or burger recipe: A very simple base that you can incorporate into meatballs, burgers, fish cakes, and serve it with endless ingredients (from a burger bun and french fries to fresh Chinese broccoli and kimchi).  It’s a surefire way to utilize every piece of the fish you caught and honor its life. I go through a lot of Minnesotan Walleye at my day job, so  I started saving the belly meat or any small scrap and freezing it. After a few months, I would have 2lbs or so stocked up.  It really adds up! Don’t be a jerk and waste it.  #fishlipstotail   Freshwater fish cakes yield: 2 servings Ingredients: 1lb Walleye, Pike, Sunfish, Trout, Perch, or any other freshwater fish you enjoy 1 egg, lightly beaten 3/4c breadcrumbs, finely ground 1 lemon, zested 1T dill, chopped 1T tarragon, chopped 1T parsley, chopped 2t onion powder 2t garlic powder 1t black Pepper 1t sea salt 1/4c grape seed oil for frying (local option) Directions: Using a filet knife, clean the fish and discard any bones, scales, or white sinew in the flesh. Use your fingers to feel for any of this in the meat.  Then cut into 1/2 in pieces. Place all ingredients in a non-reactive mixing bowl and combine with your hands for 2min, or until everything is incorporated evenly. You can also use a kitchen aid mixer or food processor for this step. Once forcemeat is completely mixed, make a little tester meatball and cook it. Taste it for salt.  Does it...
My mom is still stronger than cancer, even though it killed her

My mom is still stronger than cancer, even though it killed her

Cancer is an uninvited guest, a dark shadow on a sunny day, a trick, a pointedly mean joke without punchline or retribution. It inspires sympathetic head-shakes and hugs from those who might understand or think they do. Everyone, it seems, knows someone who has battled cancer. Or at least knows someone who knows someone who has battled cancer (win or lose). Or someone that is currently in the fight. And what is left behind.   Of life and death  The room is a warm and steady 72 degrees. It doesn’t change much. In the hallway, the bustle of doctors and nurses in scrubs and white coats. We are at Regions Hospital in downtown St. Paul. The plants are plastic: living things are harmful. But there is still life here, watching my mother dance around the room in a hospital gown to music I play for her. The windows can’t be opened but sunlight is streaming through the pane with warmth as real as the summer outside. But things are different inside than outside. Inside, cut off from the melange of cars and people that cris-cross through downtown streets. From their lives and stories. This was 2004, a decade before the Light Rail first passed in front of the hospital. She would have been excited about that. It’s hard to write a story like this without coming across as sob (or looking for sympathy). As I write this, my neighbor’s dog is chasing a rabbit from the yard, barking, soon to be covered in dirt and mud, blissfully unaware of the emotional trials of humans. The dog does not offer sympathy, only support;...