Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"The Harley Biker's Cookbook - Big Bites for Hungry Bikers" - Sara Liz's Garlic & Honey Chicken & Dial 911 Mashed Potatoes - for the annual Harley Davidson Rally in Sturgis, SD

Date I made these recipes:  August 7, 2015 – Celebrating the annual Harley Davidson Rally in Sturgis, SD

The Harley Biker's Cookbook – Big Bites for Hungry Bikers by Owen Rossan (with Biker Consultant Tod Rafferty)
Published by:  Chartwell Books, Inc.
ISBN: 0-7858-1531-7
Purchased at Har Mar Mall Antique Show
Recipes:  Sara Liz's Garlic & Honey Chicken – p. 38 and Dial 911 Mashed Potatoes – p. 53

So every year for the past 75 years folks, Harley Davidson rider from all over the planet congregate in, of all places, Sturgis, SD for a week-long Harley Rally.  I have no idea why Sturgis is the watering hole but it is so there you go.

Now while I know a few people from MN who have attended this shindig, I do not keep this event on my calendar mostly because I don't own a motorcycle, never mind a Harley.  But this year I didn't have to keep track of the dates because my favorite local radio station, 89.3 FM – The Current, did it for me.

This station (which you can and should stream online if you don't live in these parts), is my favorite of all stations because they play a wide variety of music (almost never the Top 40), do not have commercials (it's public radio-owned so you'll hear brief info about sponsors but that's it), and have very fun segments like The Morning Show's 9:30 Coffee BreakTheft of the Dial and a No Apologies segment where you might hear anything from disco to – and I'm not kidding – The Osmond Brothers.

The 9:30 Coffee Break is genius:  the station selects a "theme" for the morning and then encourages listeners to email or call with musical selections to fit that theme.  On Friday, August 7, for example, the theme was "a) songs named after a city or b) from an album with a city title."  Other times, if a famous singer is having a birthday, they'll say call in with that singer's best songs.  But on Monday, in honor of Sturgis, they asked listeners to call in with songs involving motorcycles or motorcycle riding.  And here was the lineup:

Steppenwolf – "Born to Be Wild"
Yo La Tengo – "Speeding Motorcycle"
The Shangri-La's – "Leader of the Pack"
Jimi Hendrix – "Ezy Rider"
The Hopefuls – "Motobike"
The Allman Brothers – "Midnight Rider"
The Byrds – "Wasn't Born to Follow"

I pretty much hate mornings but I tell you what, there's nothing like a little Steppenwolf to put a gal in a good mood for the rest of the day:  "Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway...."

Now just because I don't have a motorcycle, doesn't mean I don't have a great Harley Davidson story because I do.  And how convenient that I also have a Harley Davidson cookbook, right?  There is no such thing as a coincidence, my friend.

Many years ago, I worked for a data processing company whose headquarters were in Milwaukee and so we ended up having a lot of Milwaukee-area clients.  Milwaukee is also home to Harley Davidson.  As these things co, a co-worker, Mary, and I ended up having to visit a Milwaukee client during Harley Davidson's 90th birthday celebration and luckily, we were able to (just barely) find a motel that still had rooms available because the city was overrun with Harley riders.  In fact, picture your favorite freeway and then picture it with wall-to-wall motorcycles and riders all in black, stretching for miles and miles and miles and you have what we encountered.

So we got to our hotel and I pulled up in the car port area so we could check in when a couple rode up on their – of course – Harley Davidson motorcycle.  And I noticed that they were speaking French and commented on that to my co-workers.  You should know that I speak some French although I'm not even close to being fluent. Anyway, my coworker then said "Say something in French" and so I said "Bon jour" and the French couple started laughing, as did I.  I mean, she didn't ask me to have a discussion on international politics, she just wanted me to say something in French so I did! My co-worker was not as amused as we were:  "You know what I meant!"  "Oui, Mari!"

So we got checked in hauled our luggage to the elevator and then waited along with six fairly big guys all decked out in black and leathers.  We were not in the proper colors at all, but no matter.  So the elevator opened and several of their friends got out, dressed for the pool and we got in and how we all fit – six big guys, two not-so-big gals and several pieces of luggage and equipment - I don't know but I do know they made sure Mary and I were all situated and that was very nice. 

We ran into these same guys a bit later at the bar along with about a billion of their close, personal biker friends, and the scene was hilarious.  Every single person except us was in black and leather.  Mary and I, of course, had on our best "going to the hotel bar to unwind from the trip" jewel-toned summer outfits which all but screamed "Which of these is not like the others?" but what could we do? Our excuse, and it's a good one, was that it was 1993, jewel tones were all the rage and black was only worn for funerals or if you lived in NYC which we did not.  Now, of course, I wear black quite a bit but not biker black so there's that and I'm pretty sure my leather jacket would be too prissy so we'll leave it at that.  And of course, I don't own a bike.

The next day we went to the client's office and got to talking about the Harley anniversary and Mary mentioned that she was under orders to stop and purchase some commemorative t-shirts before we left Milwaukee and that seemed like an easy task.  But we learned that the shop would be closing before we could get there and so we decided, with the client's blessing, that I should make a separate journey to the Harley store to purchase Mary's items along with stuff for half the staff who were also too busy to go.  And so armed and dangerous with a wad of cash, I set off to the Harley store.

People, again, let me paint a picture and the picture I am going to paint for you is NOT black.  The company car we were driving at the time was not only a "mom car" i.e. station wagon but it was powder blue.  And that is the car I had to drive to the store.  And I took up about four parking spaces when I got there which I'm sure didn't please the rest of the people waiting to park and get in line at the store but what can you do?

So I parked said "mom car" and commenced walking to the store.  I was in a beautiful raspberry-colored suit (my favorite summer suit ever), complete with jacket, skirt,  matching accessories, pantyhose and of course, high heels.  And so I clacked my way to the end of the line and stood there, once again sticking out like a sore thumb among the rest of the shoppers who again were all in black and leathers.  (I hope you're sensing a theme here!) Thankfully, not one person pointed at me and said "What the F are you doing here" but if so, I was determined to assume my best "bad-ass-biker-chick-on- break- from-my-day-job" persona just in case. 

When I got back to the client's offices, of course I regaled them with the story and to this day, I still chuckle to myself when I think of the picture I must have made at that store.  It was probably one of the more memorable client visits I have ever made and so last Monday, as soon as my radio station mentioned Sturgis, I knew what I had to do and that was to pull out the Harley Biker's Cookbook and get to work.

There were lots of good recipes in this book and I had a completely different menu in mind but then Andy took a look and decided that we should go with the chicken and then since the chicken recipe mentioned that the dish would go well with the Dial 911 Mashed Potatoes, how could I resist? (We passed on the peas this time around.)

Should you want to pass on the chicken and go with something else, this book is divided into the following sections:  "Breakfast & Brunch;" "Appetizers;" "Meat Dishes;" "Poultry;" "Fish & Seafood;" "Vegetables & Salads;" "Sandwiches;" "Dressings, Sauces & Marinades" and "Desserts and Snacks."  Several recipes make liberal use of jalapeno peppers and so I passed on those but plenty of options remained and in fact were in hot contention for a while such as "Claude's Blue Cheese Soup;" "Thunder Grunt Stuffed Mushrooms;" "Torque Master Meatloaf" and "Mario's Meatball Sub."  But the man decided that he was in a chicken kind of mood so there it is.

This chicken recipe is easy and as they often say on Food Network's "Chopped" was cooked perfectly.  The chicken was very moist and the garlic did not overwhelm the chicken at all, probably because you cook it with garlic slathered on it for 20 minutes and then pour on the honey and bake for another 20.  Simple and delicious.  And the 'taters?  OMG, delicious!  Absolutely delicious.  I mean, how can you go wrong with butter and cream? 

And that concludes our culinary "ride" commemorating 75 years of the Harley Davidson Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota!

Sara Liz's Garlic & Honey Chicken – serves 2 to 3
10 chicken pieces; thighs and drumsticks work best buy any cut pieces will do
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 Tbsp honey
Chopped chives, to garnish

Salt the chicken pieces and rub them all over with the garlic.  Let sit for about 15 minutes.

Put the chicken pieces in a roasting pan, making sure that the garlic is still on the pieces.  Make sure the pan is big enough so that you don't have to stack up the pieces.  Roast in a 400F oven for about 20 minutes.

Take the pan out and drain off any liquid (not the garlic) that has accumulated.  Pour the honey over the chicken making sure that each piece is well covered.  If you need more honey for this, then use it.

Roast for 20 more minutes or until the chicken pieces are crisp and shiny brown.  Put on a warm platter and sprinkle with chopped chives.  Serve with mashed potatoes and buttered green peas.

Ann's Note:  Please note that it does not say to actually cover the roasting pan you are to use with the cover itself and so I left it off for the first 20 minutes, then hedged my bests and put it on for the second 20 minutes and then because my potatoes were not quite done, I lowered the oven temp to about 170 for maybe 15 minutes and the chicken was perfect!

Dial 911 Mashed Potatoes – serves 4
2 pounds potatoes
½ cup heavy cream
6 Tbsp melted butter
Cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper
Freshly chopped parsley

Peel the potatoes and boil until they are soft.  Ann's Note:  Maybe if I boiled potatoes all the time, I would know how long "until they are soft" means in terms of minutes but I don't so I didn't.  So I looked it up on the internet and the general consensus is:  peel and quarter potatoes, place in a pot and fill with cold water about an inch past the potatoes.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on either medium or low for 20-25 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, warm the cream slightly.  When the potatoes are cooked, drain and put them back in the pan over a low heat.  Mash the potatoes using a potato masher or a grater.  Do not use a blender or food processor unless you want glue.  Ann's Note:  You cannot go wrong using a potato ricer instead of a potato masher or grater.

Slowly add the melted butter and beat into the potatoes.  When well blended, add the warm cream in the same way.  Keep stirring until smooth and creamy.  Sprinkle in a few shakes of cayenne pepper.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley.

Author's note:  This dish takes a lot of salt.  Ann's Note:  I added some but not too much and that was fine by me.

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