Santa Fe U’ke ‘Ole-le

It’s that time of year! CHILE is roasting everywhere in New Mexico, and ex-pat New Mexicans are roasting chile anywhere they can find it. Even grocery stores in Los Angeles are selling Hatch green. We blistered up a few pounds and ate them on the spot.

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Before

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Durring

Here’s what it looks like now:

Santa Fe brewing co. is among several local craft brewers who make KILLER beer!

AFTER!     NB: Santa Fe Brewing Co. is among several local craft brewers making KILLER beer!

Southern New Mexico is known for it’s green chile, but Northern New Mexico is where the best red comes from.

Red and green chile are essentially the same plant, but red is left to ripen, and is then picked and strung into picturesque ristras to dry in the sun.  Fresh green is roasted and peeled, dried red is either powdered or pulverized into a sauce. (There just may be an article in the coming Ukulele Magazine were I go on about this, and it just may have a recipe included.)

I can’t wait for the first weekend in November, because that’s when Daniel and I go back to Santa Fe for the The New Uke Culinary Fiesta.  First order of business will be to teach everyone how to make red and green chile sauce.

There are still a few spots left for anyone who wants to sign on, and soon we will be announcing opportunities for “locals” to join the fun, including the full-on flamenco show by Miel Amarga (with Daniel on guitar) at El Meson, and a show by The Smoking Jackets at Tiny’s.

Full Smokin' Jackets! Craig McClelland, Heidi, Daniel Ward and John Bartlit.

Full Smokin’ Jackets! Craig McClelland, Heidi, Daniel Ward and John Bartlit. fab shot by http://www.allisonphoto.com/

U’KULELI!      CHILI!

If music be the food of love… I think we are in no danger of pining away!

 

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Reasons to take up SMOKING

Reason #1: Wardrobe.  You get a swell looking jacket and cravat, plus a jaunty hat!

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THE SMOKING JACKETS are (from left) Daniel Ward, Heidi Swedberg, Craig McClelland and John Bartlit. Craig is gigging in WI this summer, and will join us in November

The Smoking Jackets are hitting the road in trio formation- John Bartlit, Daniel Ward and I will presenting the first Rocky Mountain Ukulele Festival in Durango, Colorado.  We have a great day of workshops planned, starting Friday July 10th with our “song of the year”, Silly Love Songs.  The next day will be filled with classes: 3 sessions of 3 classes, offering a beginning, intermediate and advanced class each session. (I wish I could take John’s ukulele percussion class!)

Reason #2: Smoking is good for you.  When you are doing it on an instrument, that is.

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At the end of summer John will be coming out our way and we three will head up to the Wine Country Ukulele Festival together for four days of ukulele fun, September 10-13. We will be teaching, performing and doing all things ukulele, including a public show at Velo Vino on Sunday afternoon, September 13. The festival in Wine Country is everyone’s favorite because, well…wine.  Ukulele.  ‘Nuff said!

We are working out details for a show or two in Los Angeles before John flies back to New Mexico, and will update the schedule with that soon.

Reason #3: It makes you seem sophisticated.  That’s our motto- “Sophisticated, Educated, Medicated”.

All the beautiful photos in this post are by Allison Shallert, Allisonphoto.com

All the beautiful photos in this post are by Allison Shallert, Allisonphoto.com

In November all four of us will come together in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico for the New Uke-Culinary Fiesta. Highlights of this event include two public shows, one for the Smoking Jackets and a full-on flamenco show.  There will be great workshops in a beautiful setting, plus we will be teaching cooking classes focusing on combining New Mexican and classic European dishes.  Old world meets new- or as we like to call it, Nuevo Mundo.  And there will be big-time BBQ- our other favorite way to SMOKE!

(For the record, none of us are smokers, nor do we endorse the use of tobacco.  We’re just in it for the costumes.)

This Is Not A Test (Kitchen)

Preparing to teach a cooking class  at the end of January at the La Semana de Uke retreat on the shores of lake Chapala  in Jalisco, Mexico means testing out some recipe ideas at home.

There are still a few spaces available to join us on this adventure which includes hiking, photography, cooking and music.  Those of you locked in a cold wintery area: I especially recommend you consider packing a small bag and jumping on the first Aeromexico flight you can book.

Here is an enticing food-a-logue to get you thinking about it.

Last week Daniel wanted to work on a flautas/taquito idea.  Poor me,  I had to suffer the consequences.

Looks tasty already!

Looks tasty already!

While gigging in Baltimore(of all places), Daniel had eaten some really tasty appetizers in a fancy Mexican joint.  Flautas con pollo were on his mind: crunchy “Mexican egg rolls”, spiced with chili, oregano, zest and juice of orange, lime and lemon… mmmm.

First, a chicken was spatchcocked and roasted,  (OK, I just love to say “spatchcocked”.  But admit it- don’t you?) shredded and mixed with the citrus, plus onion, garlic, herbs, chillies and other seasonings.

There are always some secrets kept, even in the most intimate of relationships.  Even between blogger and reader.  It is what keeps our relationship fresh.  So, yes- there may have been salt and pepper added.  Perhaps even olive oil.  But I’ll never tell.

The tiny test kitchen gets a workout!

The tiny test kitchen gets a workout!

Flour tortillas were filled and rolled with the heavenly stuffing, but instead of frying…IMG_7415he baked them in the oven.  Red Chili from Chimayo, New Mexico makes the sauce… and it is never a party without a little guacamole!

 

he baked them in the oven.  Red Chili from Chimayo, New Mexico makes the sauce… and it is never a party without a little guacamole!

Daniel gets serious about plating

Daniel gets serious about plating and garnish

and….

Mmmmmm...   Nuf said.

Mmmmmm… Nuf said.

The next day he made the same thing,  but with corn tortillas, taquito style.  Even better.  Kid tested, kid approved!

However,  I think he needs to work on this idea some more, don’t you?   My mouth is watering just thinking about it!  If you can’t stop by for dinner this week you should definitely check your schedule for the last week of January…   Learn more about joining us at http://ukuleleadventures.com/

com com com nom nom nom.

 

 

 

A Treat

I do love to cook.  And bake.  And travel .  And make music….

And now that I have been granted my dream job combining my three favorite things- travel, cooking and music I have become a food pornographer.  Every time I cook (which is about 3 times a day) the phone camera comes out.  There have been a stream of shameless posts on the facebook page for the retreat in Mexico coming up in January.

This morning was the first day of school for some in my house.  Occasion enough-  Let’s bake!

Do you know the muffin, man?

Do you know the muffin, man?

I must be honest- I lost my taste for sweet things long ago:  I am nonplussed by pies,  I scoff at scones, cake and candy leaves me cold.  But these blueberry muffins are different.  Although the recipe card modestly bears another woman’s name, these are My Mother’s Muffins and these are my madelines.  When the smell wafts into my memory I am filled with a sense of well being.  All is right with the world.  They were made when we had sleepover guests, or church functions, or on special mornings.  There were never any leftovers.  The tops, sugar crusted and golden brown were glorious.  The bottoms of each muffin would be examined thru their festive paper cups to determine which had the most blueberries.  Steaming hot halves were smeared with margarine from the little yellow tub.  Greedy stacks of empty muffin papers grew along side our breakfast plates, three or four pastel circles high, stained with fragrant crumbs and purple juice, attested to the muffin’s  irresistible powers.

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There was a time when I would substitute whole grain flower for the white stuff and reduce the sugar.  Meh.  These days I go all the way.  This morning I was out of oil and used softened butter instead,  (Margarine never made the journey from my mother’s pantry to mine) and I think that change may be a keeper.

Try these for a brunch or a gift if you are looking to increase your popularity.  They are simple, fast and easy.  You may have to double- or triple – the recipe.

1/3 cup oil (or softened butter)

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup blueberries

Beat oil, milk, egg, vanilla and sugar together.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together, then stir into egg mixture.  Gently fold in blueberries.  Line cupcake tins with papers or grease tins.  Fill each with 1/4 cup batter.  Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon sugar over each muffin.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden topped.  Serve warm or cold, with or without butter.  Makes 10-12 muffins.

A ukulele, a glass of wine and thou….

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Fine photos of last year by Craig Chee!

The Wine Country Ukulele Festival is coming up soon, and I want to encourage everyone to consider heading up to St Helena in the Nappa Valley and joining us for a day or two or three or four of fun and learning.  This event has something for all ages and skill levels.  Even if you are not a player, it’s a great time.  And don’t forget the WINE!

 

Thursday, September 4   5:30 – 7:00 pm     Free Concert & Ice Cream Social for the Kiddies, to be held at Umpqua Bank, 1065 Main Street, St. Helena, CA

 

Friday, September 5    

10am – 12pm      FREE music at the Farmer’s market, and a FREE beginner’s workshop.  Make sure to buy some good food to bring to the FREE Ukulele Picnic that evening!

5:30 pm – dusk     Wine Country Ukulele Picnic at Lyman Park

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Saturday, Sept. 6

10am – 5pm  Wine Country Ukulele Festival

Free beginner’s lessons, ukulele give-aways, live music, ‘ukulele marketplace,  instructional workshops, ‘ukulele building demonstrations, jam sessions, open mic, flea market, and more all at the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival at the Upper Valley Campus of the Napa Valley College, in St. Helena.  (Admission $15.  Free for children 12 and under. Extra charge for instructional workshops.)

 

5pm – 8pm   Big Jam Saturday Night

Brand new for this year, the all-festival dinner and jam led by the original jam master, Andy Andrews, held right there at the Upper Valley Campus of the Napa Valley College so you don’t have to budge an inch…not even for dinner because the fabulous taco bar by Azteca will be coming back.  Free with festival admission.  Dinner will be extra. Song books will be posted soon.

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 Sunday, Sept. 7

10am – 5pm Aloha Day Returns!

Join Faith Ako and Steven Espaniola for a kani ka pila (Hawaiian for “let’s make music”), and a day full of Hawaiian music, dance, crafts, and food, in addition to our traditional ‘ukulele workshops (covering topics from all genres), ‘ukulele building demonstrations, ‘ukulele marketplace, open mic, free beginners lessons, ‘ukulele give-aways, and flea market…..all at the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival at the Upper Valley Campus of the Napa Valley College, in St. Helena. (Admission $15. Children 12 and under free. Extra charge for ‘ukulele workshops.)

 

 

 

 

 

Obama, Ukulele and Time-Consciousness Altering- what a trip!

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Two weeks ago the President was in town.  My 15 year old girl and I got stuck in a blockade a few cars deep of an intersection where  police had halted traffic.  We sat in the car, unmoving, for about 40 minutes, giving thanks to the working AC as the car reported the temperature at 95 degrees.  At one point Oona got out, took pictures of the traffic to share on Snap Chat with her friends with the caption “Thanks, Obama!”. She took a photo of a helicopter.  Arbitrarily we decided was the one he was in.  “Look!  I see him!  HI OBAMA!” she shouted to the delicious irony speck of irony in the sky.

But then, finally, we watched the presidential motorcade pass: motorcycles,  police cars, official vehicles, and one thrilling Black Cadillac SUV with fancy flags right in the middle of the procession.  My smart, sassy girl whooped with excitement, and the stagnant pain was redeemed.

IMG_6944January may seem a long way out, but I know it will be here in the blink of an eye.  I am thrilled to invite you to a Ukulele and Cooking retreat in Mexico that I will be participating in, plus two other ukulele festivals.

 Minutes can last forever- especially when you are stranded on the road on a hot summer day, but the months and the years (especially the years) fly by….  I know this  adventure will be one of those that stops time, a week that lasts forever in memory.  That is what I love the most about travel, and ukulele retreats.  They have the same power as a presidential motorcade.  To slow time and create memories that last a lifetime.
WINE COUNTRY UKULELE FESTIVAL  Sept 4-7 Santa Helena, CA
ALBUQUERQUE UKULELE FESTIVAL  Sept 26-27th Albuquerque, NM
MEXICO! La Semana de UKE-CULINARIA Fiesta  January 24-31 2015  Ajijic, Mexico

 

 

Downtown Ukulele Events

Fun Ukulele happenings in the next two weeks!

Next weekend- bring your ukulele downtown and Break a World Record at the LA UKULELE EXPO.  All day events including the mass playing down at the Japanese American Cultural Center.  You gots to go if you are in town!

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a very jazzy A7. With butter creme icing, if you please!

Wish we were, but we have some special duties to attend to- We are flying to Santa Fe, NM for the weekend for Daniel’s nephew’s wedding.  My baking protege and I are making the cake.  My pantry is fresh out of chile, so I gotta stock up while I’m there.  Fortunately the rehearsal dinner will be at La Choza-  Red AND Green- Christmas in June!

The following weekend we will be back for  the UKE-along at the Music Center, also downtown Los Angeles.  Daniel and I are joining a cadre of great teachers at this event.  Open to beginner and intermediate players (check the guidelines on the website) you will have a great time in a social atmosphere and be given some high quality materials and first rate instruction!  This is an event like no other.  You have to sign up in advance- hope you do and I look forward to seeing you there!