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Oxtails and Beached Whales and Podcasts OH MY

I'm indulging in some "creative procrastination" today -- as I slowly reenter the regular world after nine days of the altered state brought on by a death in the family.

SO... and inspired by Jessica Barksdale's podcast/snickerdoodles, I've "podcasted" a short story I wrote based around my grandmother's (and great grandmother's and so on) recipe for Oxtail Stew.

And I just have to say, I've thought about doing recordings of my stories for years, and I'm loving it!

"Anomalous Fields" takes place in my mythical California city of San Andreas de Pacifico. It's unpublished, so this is a Red Room exclusive.

Here's a snippet:

For three years the words have refused to string themselves into more than random thoughts, interesting phrases. But strange things happen in San Andreas; earth movements and small magic. There's a small stream in Chert Canyon that runs slightly uphill. There's a "perhaps" here that keeps me turning on the computer. Perhaps that's why I've come back here, fetching up on the shores of San Andreas de Pacifico bay.

And here is the recipe. It requires a time committment. But it is worth it.

Oxtail Stew for 4

2 Oxtails, well trimmed (good hormone-free beef)
1/2 lemon
3 large onions, chopped
1/2 head garlic, chopped
3 Tablespoons canola oil
Dusting of paprika

1 cup stock
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
2/3 cup red wine
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon dry basil
2 Tablespoons oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary

3-4 cloves garlic
green pepper
1 onion

3-4 carrots
4-5 potatoes
1-2 parsnips
other root vegetables if desired

Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

In a good Dutch oven, brown the onions and garlic in canola oil. Remove and set aside.

Rub the oxtails with lemon juice. Dry with paper towels. Brown the oxtails in their fat. Dust oxtails with paprika while frying. Remove.

Make the sauce by combining and heating the ingredients in a small pan, but do not boil them.

When the meat is brown, de-glaze the oxtail pot with a little sauce.

Place the chopped celery, pepper, and both cooked and raw onion on the bottom of pot. Set the oxtails on top--you may need to put them in two layers. Pour the hot sauce over. The sauce should reach at least half way up the oxtails. If it doesn't, add a little broth (or red wine). Cover tightly. Bake.

IMPORTANT: After 10 minutes, reduce the oven to 275°F.

Bake for 3-4 hours at 275°, turning the meat once.

Remove the pot from the oven, let it cool, then refrigerate overnight.

The next day, skim off all the fat with a spoon. Slowly reheat the stew on the stove. When melted, remove the meat and set aside.

Add chunks of potatoes, carrots, other vegetables to the broth. Cook on a slow fire for about one hour. Add the meat back in and cook until heated and melded, about 20 minutes.

15 Comment count
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I listened and say, Brava, brava, brava!!! I wish I had written this piece. That's the highest compliment I can give. I'm glad your podcast will be accessible for a listen on another day.

This is just so cool. I heard you and Jessica on the same day as I worked on my graphic novel panels.

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I thought you might like this one, Belle.

Thank you SO much for your kind words! They mean a huge amount to me.

This is one of my favorite unpublished stories -- haven't sent it out much at all -- because I don't quite know where to place it. It was one of the final stories I wrote for the San Andreas collection. Actually, I've let the whole collection (13 stories based in the same mythical town) moulder for a couple of years after sending it out briefly and getting discouraged at trying to place a short story collection.

But I had a sense this one would resonate with you. And I love that you listen to our work as you work on your work. I wish I could look at your work while I write mine.... too bad you can't podcast a painting.


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I would love to hear all

or any you are willing to share. When was this one written? It deserves a wide audience. Do you think you might submit it to BBC Radio 4 for broadcast considerations?

I also love that I've followed you since your Mexico days and so can envision the leave taking from the beloved husband before writing retreats.

The ending of the story about water was mesmerizing. I sat back and chewed on my paint brush so that I was having a pure listen sans any activity.

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Good company

Ericka, this sounds wonderful, a perfect dish for the cool spring weather we've been having in Northern California lately. You're in good company, too: Thomas Keller of French Laundry, Bouchon, and Per Se just posted a roast chicken recipe on his blog. I say the next Red Room event should be a potluck.

Huntington Sharp, Red Room.

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Let's EAT!

There must be something in the air... we're all doing the recipe thang today. I'm humbled to be mentioned in the same breath as Thomas Keller. With a recipe. (Even if my recipe goes back hundreds of years, it's not like I'm trying to make one up....)

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Can Anyone Say Dinner Party?

Here, Oakland.  Ox Tail Soup (quick, someone think about vegetables and starch).  And the desserts.  I am on them.  Do you think Thomas Keller will come to my house?  Ha!  Anyway, I am loving all of this.  The podcasts!  Great work, Erika.  The food.  The mingling of ideas and minds.  This is fun, this is the community I think that the whole panel was about.

Thank you Erika for the recipe and for the podcast.  It's been a splendid day here at redroom.


Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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Ditto, Ditto, Ditto

I didn't know about Thomas Keller but now I do!

Hey, the three of us are Betsy, Tacy and Tib of the Maude Lovelace fame.

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But who will serve?

Hint: I have the perfect butler's name. I promise to dispense delectable delicacies while dressed in formal serving attire, black tie and tails, and to adopt a supercilious tone. And when you go into the kitchen and wonder who ate all the leftovers, you can truly say...

...The Butler Did It! After all, it's Red Room, and at least one literary reference is a must.

Huntington Sharp, Red Room

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This would be hysterical

I think we are on to something--and moreover, we will be happy and fed!  And then we can solve the mystery.


Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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Question for Ericka

So now I would like to do a podcast. Ericka, I have Garageband with my iMac. Does the program allow you to edit if you make a mistake?

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Answer for Belle

ABSOLUTELY. I stop, start, edit, cut stuff out, etc. It's great. And I'm using it at the most minimal level of all... next time I'll try adding some background music ala This American Life.

Yes, do a podcast! I'm excited to hear it.

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Podcasting, cooking and garageband.

I'm so excited to read that you guys are interested in creating podcasts. If you need any help getting them uploaded to your redroom.com pages please let me know. I would be absolutely thrilled to help out. I really should create my own podcasts as well, but I'm usually too busy helping everyone else, I never have time for my own projects.

Thomas Dotson - Red Room Staff

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I'm very excited about this, too. I've had Garageband for 8 months and said naw, I'll never have a use for THAT. It will take me a while to figure everything out, but I just love to learn how to do things. We would love to hear YOUR podcasts, Thomas. And I am still waiting for you to answer my questions on your websit. Just kidding. No hurry.

The divine Ms. Lutz, check this out:


I think yours was as good and better than stuff I've enjoyed on BBC Radio 4!

If you do add music to today's podcast, please let me know. I will listen to it again as I paint.

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wonderful submission idea

I think this is a bit long for their guidelines, but I'll look more thoroughly.... I really appreciate this, Belle.

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When I figure out what I'm really doing

I will know what questions to ask.  After one whole podcast, I feel as though I don't quite know what to even articulate.  But Belle gave me some good feedback on the reading part of it, so I will keep going and let you know if I have "issues"!

Thanks, Thomas.


Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com