This week Dave Alvin, Chris Smither, Peter Case and a few other brilliant singer/songwriters rode the train from Los Angeles to Portland (and back) jammin’ all the way. In Portland, they took a break from the train and performed on stage for a broader audience. For a few grand, you could hop aboard for the fun and VIP status (beer/wine included). I settled for a basket of burgers and a 3+ hour drive to Portland. Next time.
I am still floating on my music high after seeing Chris Smither perform. Just a few months ago, I first heard a recording of the soulman’s rendition of Killin’ the Blues. Though I grew up with blues music and knew this song; finally, from Chris Smither’s voice, I heard the meaning. Cliché as it may be, a flash of where has this man been all my life did run through my mind. I had found a treasure.
Last night, fans of authentic music and musicians gathered to celebrate. Chris Smither’s set kicked off the evening. Dressed in all black, his long feathered hair and sleepy eyes remind me of a classic French caricature of a bluesman – someone Jean-Pierre Jeunet might film. With only a microphone, his Collings acoustic guitar and his famous tapping feet, Chris Smither unexpectedly, seduces you. Good songs tell a story, great blues singers transport you. Loving, generous, gritty, earthy, sensual is the Smither experience.
Like a buffet of your favorite foods, it’s hard to choose just one Smither song to eat. It’s all so delicious. Love You Like A Man is perhaps my main course. I believe him when he says he “can rock you like his backbone was his own.” I find myself similarly whisked into the bad boy’s spider web in Don’t Call Me Stranger, “Come on baby, do yourself a favor take my hand…”
I purchased three of his albums: Time Stands Still, Leave the Light On, Live As I’ll Ever Be and continued the concert in the car all the way home. Good music is like good food. With gratitude, I am full and happy.
Road Trip Burgers
I love a good burger especially on the road. It wraps well in foil, keeps well next to an ice pack in a cooler and a bag of chips or fruit are the perfect portable compliment. Here are two versions of road trip burgers I take with me.
Black Bean and Mushroom Burger
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 20 min
Equipment: Food processor, pot, skillet, knife, measuring cups/spoons
Serving size: 4-6 patties
1 can (14 oz) black beans
1 c dry quinoa (I prefer the taste/texture of red quinoa)
2 c sliced mushrooms
½ c fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t ground cumin
1 t sea salt
2 T olive oil
Prepare quinoa – one cup of dry grain to one and a half cups water or broth. Uncovered, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes until fluffy.
Slice and cook mushrooms in a scant amount of oil until tender. Rinse beans. Put beans, mushrooms and cooked quinoa into a large food processor. Pulse to begin the blend. Add cilantro, minced garlic, cumin, salt, and Worcestershire sauce. Pulse and blend until smooth and incorporated.
With damp hands, form patties about 4” round by ½” thick. Heat oil in a skillet over low heat. Add patties and cook slowly for 10-15 minutes on each side until the outer edge is crisp.
Serve with avocado, tomato slices wrapped in lettuce leaves or on buns.
Olive and Mushroom Turkey Burgers
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Equipment: Skillet, grill or broiler plate, knife, cutting board, mixing bowl
Serving size: 2-4
½ lb white turkey meat (ground)
½ lb dark turkey meat (ground)
2 c mushrooms (sliced)
1 c dry cured olives (diced)
½ t black pepper
1 T olive oil
Preheat the oven on broil or fire up the grill.
Slice and cook mushrooms in a scant amount of oil until tender. Pit and dice olives. In a mixing bowl, mix meat, mushrooms, olives, and black pepper. Form patties into approximately 4” rounds, ½” thick.
Put the burgers in the oven or on the grill. Cook is approximately 10 minutes each side.
Serve burgers on buns or large green leaf lettuce with slices of avocado, dill pickles, sprouts.