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Ranch Life

The Arnett Ranch is located in the shadow of the Catalina Mountain Range in Southern Arizona, where James Arnett lives and works with his German Shepherd, Sam.

Far removed from the city, the serenity of the desert offers a lot of creative inspiration among the Saguaro cactus, the endless highways, the jagged mountains, wildlife and rolling hills, under the big sky of the American Southwest.



The Morocco Room

The Morocco Room began as an ordinary dining room. But dining rooms are ubiquitous in contemporary American homes so James decided to make his home even more unique.


He designed the layout and color-scheme of a traditional Moroccan lounge but updated it with subtle modern amenities like LED colored under-lighting beneath and up-lighting the flowing drapes behind the lounge seating to create lighting effects that no one had ever seen before in a residential home - all operated by his smart phone, along with the sound system.

He renovated an antique Philco console radio from 1942, which James subtly modified to accept both Bluetooth and USB inputs, and added a substantial increase in sound output, making the Morocco Room a rare event to experience in its atmosphere of timeless mystery.

He also added a stamped tin ceiling with a perforated brass chandelier at its center with colored gaffer gels to cast beautifully colored light patterns down on the brass dinner trays and seating below. With the addition of Middle Eastern antiques, as well as building a custom mini-bar, plus the antique console radio, the effect was complete.

And there is no television in the room because the design goals were to create a space where the mind finds refuge from the mundane, leaving behind reference to the current year or location. With a stunning view of the Catalina mountains right outside of the arched windows, the illusion that you could be anywhere in the world, at any time is also complete.

The seating has people facing each other in a semi-circle for human interaction, not disconnecting people from each other by pointing them at another television.




The Corona Bunker

In the weeks before the pandemic of 2020 hit, James had one major project left to complete at the Ranch - build the Corona Bunker in the garage, which would become his design studio and work shop. It later became his comfortable writing spot, where morning coffee or an evening shot of a good bourbon became the daily ritual.


James stocked up on all essentials in January of 2020, when it looked like the WuFlu was headed to the United States. Two days later, there were no more masks or gloves on the shelves at Home Depot. He had stocked up just in time.

He designed a work bench strong enough to hammer metal and rivets, something with pigeon holes for the essentials.

He came up with this design, using mostly scraps from building the Morocco Room. It had to have enough mass to remain upright, no matter what kind of work was being performed on the bench surface.

He finished off the garage in shades of gray, corrugated steel and an epoxy gray deck over the concrete. The aircraft carrier hanger deck motif made the house even more unique as a working man cave.

Throughout the pandemic, James enjoyed the mountain view with Sam every morning and also in the evening after dinner, surrounded by the tools and supplies for maintaining the vehicles and the gas powered tools.

With the lock downs a thing of the past, the Corona bunker isn't the center of daily life anymore. James writes and designs in his unfinished home office that he intends to transform just as soon as he finds the inspiration for a satisfactory design.




Writing The Southwest


The desert holds many stories.

Some stories you will never hear.

Other stories you will only hear whispered.

These stories are the ones written by hand on road trips and vision quests during the monsoons, dust storms and nights in the American Southwest.

And some of the stories are true.


A composition book, a working pen, a thermos of coffee and a 9mm Browning are a writer's best friends late at night, especially when leaving the Interstate takes you across the line from civilization into the desolation, where people look at all strangers with suspicion, to places where truth is always stranger than fiction, whenever you can get anyone to talk.

Whether it's a diner, bus station or motel, there are stories you can only hear if you go into those places less traveled.

Buying that plane or bus ticket, throwing a bag into the car or kicking the starter lever of a motorcycle to experience life on your own terms is where the writer's journey begins.

Live life then write it.



Ranch Cooking

James cooks every meal at home, making the most out of his gourmet sized kitchen. He shops at Asian and Arab markets for the things he can't find at regular supermarkets, where things are often better priced.

"Eating right" but still eating well is a lifestyle.

Some of these recipes have very real health benefits and will boost you instead of settle in your stomach like a lead balloon. Some meals like Beef Stroganoff are more comfort foods than anything, you will get fat so choose your meals wisely.



In this section, you'll find his Western favorites. Click on a selection below.

Making a good marinade is essential for making good steaks great. Nobody likes chewy steak. This is his standard, made in the USA marinade.

It's as easy as two shot glasses of a good quality bourbon, two shot glasses of Olive Oil, two regular spoons of Soy Sauce, a regular spoon of Horseradish, and two minced cloves of Garlic.

Mix all that in Tupperwear (or any suitable vessel) along with your T-Bone, Porterhouse or tenderized Chuck steak, cover, refrigerate for no less than an hour - overnight for the best results.

It's easy and there's no excuse for not making your steaks their most tender and flavorful.

Marinate your Filet Mignon, T-Bone, or Porterhouse steak, as described in the "Bourbon Marinade" recipe above.

Let the cut of meat thaw completely to room temperature so it cooks evenly.

To grill it to perfection, get your grill as hot as it goes then throw your steak onto the grill and walk away for the first SIX minutes. Do not close the cover.

Don't touch it - let it cook without you or anyone else looking to see if it needs to be turned - it doesn't.

Let it sear for a full SIX minutes.

Then flip it over and let it sear for another SIX minutes.

Then turn OFF the grill, close the cover and let the steak cool down under the covered grill for the last SIX minutes, then remove it from the grill.

That's called the 6-6-6 Rule of grilling. It's easy to remember. People will think you know what the hell you're doing in the 18 minutes it takes to grill a steak to perfection.

Pour the remaining Marinade into a sauté pan and bring it close to a boil to kill any bacteria and to create the bourbon flavored Au Jus by stirring in a pinch of corn starch to lightly thicken it.

You can serve the steak under sautéd mushrooms and onions with a potato side, either baked or mashed. It's up to you.

A garden salad wouldn't kill you either.

Don't laugh but a lot of people don't know the actual specs on making decent Baked Potatoes in their oven. But it's beyond easy.

Scrub the earth off the potatoes you choose. Idaho baking potatoes are best suited, you know the big ones in the produce section? Those.

Then take a fork and puncture the skins at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock. Don't over-do it, they're not voo-doo dolls.

Rub olive oil onto the potatoes so they're moist but not dripping inside your oven.

And this is the important part - set the temperature to bake at 425F. It will take 45 minutes, so set the timer on your phone if you don't own a cooking timer yet.

Once the timer goes off, remove the potatoes from the oven and cut them open. Give them a squeeze to break up the insides so you have somewhere to melt the butter, or give the sour cream and chives somewhere to sink into.

Take it easy on the cholesterol, these things can quietly kill you over time.

Mashed Potatoes didn't always come out of a box. But be warned, once you make them the real way, there's no going back.

You can make a lot or a little, it depends on how many people there are eating with you.

Never forget, everyone's a liar when they say they only want a little but they will eat it all if you don't watch them close. So make more than you think you'll need.

Get out your spaghetti pot, fill it a third of the way with water and set it to boil.

While that gets started, wash and peel a bag of small Russet Potatoes. Then cut each one, four ways into quadrants. The water should be boiling by the time you've finished that chore.

Boil the potato quadrants until they're cooked all the way through. Now this is where people usually ruin it because they over-boil the potatoes into an unusable mush.

Fish out the potatoes from the pot and put them into the serving bowl while you drain the water from the pot. Then put the potatoes back into the pot for the mashing and mixing.

You literally have to mash the potatoes in the pot using a potato masher. Once you've transformed the quadrants of potatoes into a mass of mashed potatoes, there's still a few steps left.

Put half a stick of Butter into the mash, helping it melt by using the masher.

Thin the mash with some Milk, start with one shot glass of milk, then another, and another, etc., until the mash thins out to your liking.

Then add a regular spoon of Salt and whip it good. Whip it so the salt and butter are evenly distributed and the milk has given you the consistency you most prefer before transferring it all to the serving bowl.

Gravy is optional.

This is a winter favorite that everyone loves. You can never make too much.

If you're frightened by what a leek is, don't worry. it's basically a giant Green Scallion onion. They're comparatively huge but they still taste kind of like onions. That makes this a very satisfying potato-onion style soup but it's way better tasting.

First, buy a bunch of celery, a bag of small Russet potatoes and a bunch of four leeks from the produce section then wash the sand out of them and chop off the roots and toss the dark green parts of the leeks. You only want the white parts to go into the soup.

Chop up three stalks of Celery and chop the leeks into squares and throw them into a stock pot, along with 8 peeled and diced Russet potatoes, a Bay Leaf (just one), a regular spoon of Thyme seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper, maybe two pinches, depending on your tastes.

Then fill the stock pot with enough fresh water to cover everything and boil it down for 20 minutes.

After everything has been boiled down, fish out that Bay leaf and throw it away. No one wants that in their soup bowl.

You can use a food processor or a blender but it's not all going to fit so you'll have to puree it in two batches.

Puree that stuff. All of it.

Now put that puree back into the empty stock pot.

Pour in one cup of whipping cream (or half and half if you can't find cream) and mix well.

Simmer the stock pot for 20 minutes now, stirring occasionally.

Your kitchen is going to smell so good, your neighbors are going to be curious if there's enough for them too.

You can never go wrong with a good Beef Stroganoff. Only Vegans won't like it.

Go buy a one pound package of thin-cut steak. Nothing fancy, the Manager's Special will do. In fact, this is why you buy the Manager's Special.

Cut up the Beef into two inch long slivers and brown it all in a large pan then set it aside.

Dice an Onion and sauté it in the same pan, then set aside.

Sauté a package of Sliced Mushrooms in the same pan, then set aside.

Then fill the pan, with its flavorful residue remaining, with two standard cans of Beef Broth and bring to a boil. That is the base of your sauce.

Next, mix a thin paste of Corn Starch in half a coffee mug. Just eyeball it, you're not going to spackle the walls with it so keep it thin.

Pour and mix in the corn starch solution to thicken up the beef broth a bit.

Next, finely mince three cloves of fresh Garlic and stir that in too.

After that, mix in three regular spoons of Sour Cream until you have your sauce evened out so you can call it done.

Now salt the beef, onions, and mushrooms before stirring those items into the sauce.

Serve over Rice or egg noodles.

That's all there is to it.

This very rich meal will kill a diabetic with a smile on their face so be careful on portion sizes. No seconds, no matter what.

To get started, you'll need a package of Italian Sausager, sweet, mild or spicey is up to you.

Cut up the sausage into half inch pieces and brown them in a very large sauce pan using Olive Oil.

Then throw in sliced green Bell Peppers, wedge-cut Onions and Sliced Mushrooms.

Sautee everything until the peppers and onions are wilted. Add olive oil as needed to keep the pan from scorching.

While that's cooking down, you'll need to make the Marinara sauce.

Open two small cans of Tomato Paste and place it all in a pot.

Using the empty tomato paste cans, pour in five can fulls of a good Red Table Wine then thin the tomato paste by stirring it together.

Save a can of wine for the cook to sip while working, it's tradition.

Now, pour in four shot glasses of Olive Oil.

Mix in a spoon of sugar, five spoons of Basil, two spoons of Oregano, a spoon of Crushed Red Pepper, and a spoon of Salt, and a spoon of Sugar.

Then shake in a fist full of grated Parmesian Cheese and two fist fulls of grated Mozzarella Cheese.

Then open a can of Diced Tomatoes and mix them into the Marinara.

Pour another empty tomato paste can full of red wine for the cook before the next step.

Pour the thoroughly mixed Marinara into the large sauce pan holding the sauage, peppers, onions and mushrooms and stir everything together.

Simmer everything for 15 minutes, stirring occassionally to allow the cheeses to melt, spread throughout and thicken the sauce.

Occassionally add olive oil to keep the sauce from drying out.

Serve over any type of pasta you like best.

Your friends and family will wonder if you spent any time in Brooklyn.

This is the BEST way to make Salmon fillets.

What's amazing about this recipe is how the Horseradish cleanses your palate so you can taste each bite of a salmon fillet without even noticing that you're actually eating Horseradish.

The sauce eliminates the worst part of eating Horseradish - the bitter aftertaste. So don't be afraid of this one. It's easy too.

First, you'll need to make the glaze to brush onto a fresh salmon fillet, or fillets, while it bakes in the oven, or you grill it.

Get a coffee mug and put a heaping regular spoon of Horseradish, the creamy kind, into it and mix in a regular spoon of Soy Sauce. It's a two-to-one ratio.

Stir in a pinch of Salt and Pepper as you like then brush this glaze onto the Salmon fillet(s), placed on foil in a bake pan.

Before putting the Salmon into the oven, sprinkle some Panko bread crumbs onto the glaze brushed onto the Salmon.

Now, the cooking part is just grilling it or setting the oven to bake at 400F and baking the Salmon for 20 minutes.

While the Salmon is cooking, you can make the actual Horseradish sauce. It's really easy.

Take a 3/4 cup scoop of Sour Cream and put it into a bowl.

Then mix in a 1/2 cup of Mayonnaise, the olive oil kind is best.

Then mix in two regular spoons of the creamy style Horseradish.

Squeeze half a Lemon into the sauce and mix.

Then mix in a regular spoon of Soy Sauce.

Last, mix in a spoon of chopped Basil, fresh is preferred but dried is fine.

Serve the Salmon with the sauce on the side so you can use as much or as little as you like.

You'll never eat Salmon any other way again when you feel light and energized from the Omega 3 and other benefits Salmon has to offer.

Instead of eating something unclean like pork on Easter, try the clean meat of lamb.

This is a three hour long project so plan your day accordingly.

You WILL need a probe style cooking thermometer to monitor the interior temperature of the lamb so you don't over-cook a very expensive piece of meat.

First, lay out a suitable baking pan that fits the leg of lamb and if you have a metal grill rack, place than under the lamb so the juices can collect in the pan (you can make an excellent Au Jus gravy from those juices).

To prepare the lamb, you are going to need a whole bulb of garlic and fresh Rosemary sprigs to season the meat in the French tradition.

Do NOT cut off any of the fat or otherwise cut open the lamb.

You will need a K-BAR type knife. Stab the leg of lamb profusely then insert long, thin wedges of cut garlic cloves and Rosemary sprigs into the wounds, which aren't Hannibal Lecter sized through wounds but more like interrogation wounds of no more than an inch in depth.

Let that lamb sit in the refrigerator overnight to allow the garlic and Rosemary flavors to seep into the meat.

The next day, brush olive oil onto the leg of lamb like it's going to the beach wearing sun screen and let it fully thaw out.

Fully prepared, it goes into the oven to bake at 450F to roast for the first quarter hour. This is going to take time to cook low and slow.

Turn the heat down to 300F and let it bake another TWO and a HALF hours.

You'll have to keep checking the internal temperature with the probe thermometer because it's not the oven temperature that's critical, it's the interior temperature of the lamb that you have to jockey to about 145F to keep the meat moist and delicious.

When the interior of the lamb hits 150F, it's time to get it out of the oven.

Let it sit for another half hour, covered in foil so it keeps cooking until it's truly done.

While it's cooling, you can use the drippings at the bottom of the pan to make an incredible Au Jus by just stirring in a pinch of corn starch to thicken it a little bit.

That Au Jus will go perfectly over a side of Syrian Bulgar, described in the following Median Recipe section.



In this section, you'll find his Middle Eastern favorites. Click on a selection below.

Bulgar is just cracked wheat, it's used kind of like rice but it's a different grain. It comes in different grind sizes, which can cause some confusion.

You'll want grind size Number 2.

It's the perfect side for lamb. You make it just like you'd make rice. It's easy.

First, dice a Yellow Onion and sauté it.

Then measure one part Bulgar into a rice pot (any pot with a lid), stir in the sautéd, diced Onion then measure two parts of Beef Broth (corresponding to the amount of Bulgar) into the pot.

Bring it to a boil then immediately lower the fire to a low simmer then cover the pot.

In 20 minutes, it will be done.

It's a must with the "French Leg Of Lamb" recipe.

The French Foreign Legion brought home some interesting food combinations.

Kefta is kind of like a cigar shaped burger but with some wonderful flavor differences.

Making them is fast and easy.

Get out a mixing bowl and empty a one pound package of Ground Beef into it.

Finely dice a Yellow Onion and throw it into the mixing bowl.

Chop a handful of fresh Parsley leaves (no stems) and throw that into the mixing bowl too.

Then throw in two hand fulls of Pine Nuts (A.K.A. Pignole Nuts).

Mix three spoons of Kefta seasoning into the mixing bowl.

Last, thoroughly mix everything together in the mixing bowl.

Get out a baking pan and wipe olive oil on its surface, where the food goes.

Pre-heat your over to bake at 425F.

Now is a good time to put on your plastic gloves.

Take a dollup, a gob, a wad, whatever you want to call a small blob of the mixed Ground Beef and roll it in your hand until you form it into a cigar shape.

Lay it onto the baking pan.

And repeat until you've filled the baking pan with all of the Kefta rolls.

You can take off those gloves now.

Bake the Kefta for 20 minutes then remove them from the oven.

You can eat them individually or put one into a pita bread half and add a Yogurt sauce. Maybe even some chopped lettuce and tomato for a great little sandwich for everyone.

One of the greatest treasures you'll find in Marrakesh are Moroccan Cigars. They're like nothing you've ever had before in the west. These are made with fillings rolled inside paper thin Filo dough like a cigar.

They take some work to make but they're worth all of the labor you have to put into rolling them. Make a weekend out of it, you won't regret it.

This is another oven baking job you'll have to pre-heat to 300F while you work fast.

First, you'll have to make the filling in a skillet.

Start by mincing a Yellow Onion then sauté in olive oil.

Next, fry ground lamb or ground beef, or a combination (which is the best), breaking it into fried, crumbled meat.

Throw in a regular spoon of Cinnamon, half a spoon of ground Allspice and an equal (combined) amount of ground Ginger.

Toss in half a spoon of Salt and a spoon of Black Pepper.

Stir fry everything until it's all cooked.

Then throw in a good fist full of fresh Parsley, just the leaves, no stems and mix it all together.

Last to complete the filling, break Five Eggs in a bowl and whip them into something that looks like you're going to make an omelette.

Mix in a spoon of Honey into the eggs then pour those whipped eggs over the filling in the skillet and stir-fry it all until nothing is left raw.

Let that filling cool while you move onto the laborious part with the Filo dough. This part has a learning curve to make that paper thin dough do what you need it to do.

If you've ever rolled a fat one before, you're probably a natural at the assembly part.

Melt a stick of Butter in a small pan and keep it warm so it doesn't solidify.

Start peeling out Filo dough from the package, one sheet at a time.

Cut the first piece into three equal sized pieces.

Lay down the first piece and brush on a film of melted butter.

Then lay another piece of cut dough so it sticks to the butter.

Then brush melted butter on top of that piece and lay down their third piece of cut Filo.

Once you have a triple layer of Filo pieces, you can scoop out a gob of the Filling.

Spread the filling into a line along the short side of the Filo.

Then roll it just like a fat one, brushing on butter instead of licking it to stay rolled.

Then you'll have a Moroccan Cigar, ready to fry.

Now make as many as you can before running out of Filo dough or filling.

Once you're done rolling them, heat up a skillet and fry them in olive oil until they're browned.

People will lose their minds and eat every single one they can get their hands on - so distribute them evenly to avoid any hard feelings later. Believe it.


Making Hummus is fast and easy. If you've never had it home made, you're in for a big surprise when you taste fresh, hot Hummus.

The only thing special you'll need is a blender.

First, boil two cans of Garbonzo Beans (some call them Chick Peas) until the skins float off them.

That's one of the two secrets to making smooth, rather than course Hummus.

While the beans are boiling, get out the blender.

Throw in two cloves of peeled Garlic. Three, if you love that garlic taste.

Then cut a fresh Lemon in half and squeeze both halves into the blender.

Then pour in Olive Oil until the blades of the blender are submerged.

Put the lid on the blender and hit "Puree" until everything has been thoroughly blended.

Once the Garbonzo Beans are ready, skim off the floating skins, then transfer the naked Garbonzos into the blender.

Hit "Puree" again and watch the beans magically transform into a Hummus state but it's not ready yet.

This is the second secret to making smooth Hummus: Put in three regular spoons of Greek Yogurt then mix that in with everything else using the "Puree" speed on the blender.

Go ahead and taste it, its fresh, hot and delicious but it's still missing the final touch.

Turn off the blender and slowly stir in Tahina - judiciously.

Too much will turn your Hummus into drywall spackle so add it in small increments while stirring it thoroughly.

It won't take that much to get it to where you've got actual Hummus.

Once you're there, you'll know by the taste and consistency.

You know the rest. Enjoy it while it's still hot with Pita bread wedges.

Making Eggplant Muktabel is almost identical to making Hummus with one distinction - the substitution of the Garbonzo Beans with baked eggplant.

Why would anyone ever do something like that? You have to taste it to understand why it's so good. If you like Baba Ganoush, this is for YOU.

You'll need to buy two good sized Eggplants.

Peel them then cut them up into 3/4 inch thick slices.

Foil over a baking pan then use olive oil to prepare the foil.

Lay in the slices of Eggplant to fill the baking pan. It's okay if they touch.

Put them into the over at 425F until they're browned.

While the Eggplant is baking in the oven, throw in two cloves of peeled Garlic. Three, if you love that garlic taste.

Then cut a fresh Lemon in half and squeeze both halves into the blender.

Then pour in Olive Oil until the blades of the blender are submerged.

Put the lid on the blender and hit "Puree" until everything has been thoroughly blended.

Once the Eggplant is taken out of the oven, use a metal spatula or something to get them off the foil and into the blender.

Hit "Puree" again and watch the Eggplant magically transform into something that looks kind of like Baba Ganosh state but it's not ready yet.

Put in three regular spoons of Greek Yogurt then mix that in with everything else on "Puree."

Go ahead and taste it, its fresh, hot and delicious but it's still missing the final touch.

Turn off the blender and slowly stir in two regular sppons Tahina.

Too much Tahina will turn your Eggplant Muktabel into bathroom calk so add it slowly while blending it thoroughly.

Once you're there, you'll know by the taste and consistency.

This recipe is for those who aren't crazy about Garbonzo Beans and prefer Baba Ganoush more.

Try it, you'll like it.

The Aleppo Breakfast is a staple that goes far beyond Lebanon. However, this version is Lebanese.

All you need is a small plate, a few spoons of Turkish Labneh, which is kind of like cream cheese but lighter and healthier, pour on some olive oil and sprinkle on some Zaatar - with Arabic Pita bread on the side. That's all there is to it.

This is a satisfying and delicious breakfast to go with a good cup of coffee or a fine tea.

If you've ever enjoyed sopping baguette bread into olive oil, sprinkled with Basil for breakfast, this is going to blow your mind.

Labneh is packed with probiotics.

Zaatar has many health benefits that people are just getting turned onto now. "Zaatar has some truly impressive health benefits, including its ability to improve the immune system, boost skin health, build strong bones, increase circulation, clear out the respirator tracts, soothe inflammation, boost energy, improve mood, aid memory, and treat chronic diseases," according to the Ham Town Spicery (

Try it. You might fall in love with the Aleppo Breakfast.


This is the BEST rice meal you will ever experience. Anywhere.

Finely chop a bunch of Green Scallion Onions, dice a Green and a Red Pepper, then sauté until they're done and ready to remove from the fire.

Next, make two cups of Jasmine Rice. See the section "Making Rice" at the very end of the "Oriental Recipes" list, if you don't already know how.

Sauté two fist fulls of Pine Nuts, sometimes called Pignole nuts until browned.

After the rice is ready, put the rice into a larger salad sized bowl.

Open a can of Sliced Black Pitted Olives and drain.

Last, evenly mix in the Olives, the Onions, Peppers, Mushrooms and Pine Nuts.

Don't worry about the Olive Oil from the pan getting into the rice, it's part of the flavor.

It's meatless to send Vegans right into paradise but it's a very satisfying side to any meal that's always a hit, especially along side healthy Middle Eastern foods.


In this section, you'll find his Eastern favorites. Click on a selection below.

This is very easy to make right out of your refrigerator.

Cut up two Chicken Breasts into bite-sized cubes.

Next, make the marinade/sauce.

Mix a half cup of Soy Sauce with a heaping spoon of Corn Starch.

Then mix together with five heaping spoons of Honey.

Marinate the chicken cubes in that mix for half an hour.

While you're waiting, use a large pan to sauté a bunch of chopped Green Scallion Onions in olive oil.

Throw in the chicken cubes into the large pan and pour the honey marinade over everything.

Simmer until the chicken is done, to kill off any raw chicken bacteria and allow the corn starch to thicken the sauce.

Last, shake out Sesame Seeds all over the chicken so they stick to the honey glaze.

That's all there is to it.

Hawaiian Spicy Chicken is super easy to make.

All you need is Flour, Chicken and the special Hawaiian Mix.

Open the package and pour the Mix into a large bowl and mix with 1/4 cup of water then mix into a spicy paste.

Cut up two Chicken Breasts into bite-sized cubes then marinate in the bowl with the mix for about 30 minutes.

After that, lay out a sheet of aluminum foil where you can roll the chicken to coat it with a layer of Flour.

Then pan fry in olive oil or coconut oil (your call) until golden brown.

That's it.

Most Americans are familiar with the Thai Chicken Satay appetizer on a bamboo stick that gets dipped into Peanut Sauce. It's a crowd pleaser, unless you have a peanut allergy.

There are NO peanuts in this meal.

This private Tucson recipe makes Satay an entree meal that's a bit different than the appetizer. It uses Coconut Milk as the base for the sauce.

To get started, cut up two Chicken Breasts into bite sized chunks then marinate the pieces in a third cup of Soy Sauce.

Open two cans of Coconut Milk and pour them into a sauce pan on the stove.

Next, empty the contents of the Satay Sauce packet into the Coconut Milk (it's the SAUCE packet, not the Satay appetizer mix with accompanying peanut sauce) and stir it together over a low heat until it's well blended.

Now cut a Green and a Red Bell Pepper vertically, into strips and put them into the sauce.

Then put the fire up to a medium heat to get it cooking.

Then put in a package of fresh, Sliced Shitake Mushrooms into the sauce to cook (you can substitute sliced Baby Portabello Mushrooms).

Now it's time to put in the Chicken, along with the Soy Sauce that was marinating it.

Tear off the leaves from fresh, Thai Basil and stir them into the sauce with everything else (you can substitute common Basil, if you can't find the Thai stuff).

After about 15 minutes, the chicken should be fully cooked and safe to eat.

Serve over Jasmine Rice.

Making Panang Chicken is simple but the results are amazing and often addictive because of the immediately noticeable health benefits.

This meal is a fresh Ginger Overload to your system that will provide a million times more benefit than migt expect.

First, open a can of Panang Curry Paste and scoop out half the can.

Put that curry into a large sauce pan. It's not like Indian curries, this is basically garlic and red pepper paste, more than a curry.

Open two cans of Coconut Milk and pour them into the pan.

Mix the Panang Curry Paste into the Coconut Milk until it's evenly mixed into a pink base.

Next, grate a lot of fresh Ginger Root into the base, as much as you can stand because this is where all the health benefit comes from and sense of well-being that lasts for days.

Mince half of a bulb of fresh Garlic (or the whole bulb if you like) and stir that into the base, along with the Ginger.

Now cut two Green Bell Peppers into long strips and thorw them into the base.

Next, throw in a package of fresh, Sliced Mushrooms of your choice into the base.

While the Peppers are rendered down, cut up two Chicken Breasts into bite sized chunks and put them into the base.

Stir in a very small hand full of Salt and then a very small hand full of Cane Sugar.

Allow all that to simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the Peppers are soft wilted.

Make a cup and a half of Jasmine Rice while the Chicken is cooking.

While the Rice is cooking, fill a coffee mug with cold water and add three spoons of Corn Starch, stirring it until it becomes an even suspension.

At the end of the 15 minutes, stir in the Corn Starch solution from the coffee mug to thicken the base into a sauce.

Last. stir in a coffee mug of Half and Half (or Milk) to increase the volume of the sauce.

Serve generously over Jasmine rice.

The health benefits of a massive Ginger overload will first clear your sinuses then it will detox a lot of other parts of your body by morning. You'll actually feel an improvement when you start your day in the morning.

Thai Braised Beef is a satisfying comfort food that isn't as heavy or fattening as it might sound at first.

At the supermarket, the fresh beef section offers very thin sliced Top Sirloin that doesn't have much, if any fat on it, often, they come three to a package for about $5.00

Get a package and slice three of those Thin Top Sirloin or Thin Top Round steaks into long, two inch pieces.

Toss all of the pieces into a large bowl.

Now open the packet of Braised Beef Seasoning Paste and wring out the contents onto the beef.

Blend the paste thoroughly in with the beef, adding two shot glasses of Olive Oil, or use Coconut Oil (if you perfer) to get it to the right consistency.

Then let that beef marinate in the seasoning for the time it takes for you to take care of everything else.

Now cut two Green Bell Peppers vertically, into strips and stir fry them in olive oil until they are wilted.

Then cut a large Yellow Onion vertically, into strips and stir fry them in olive oil until they are wilted.

And now sauté a package of Sliced Mushrooms in olive oil until they are browned.

Now it's time to braise the beef.

Pour the beef and the seasoning oil into your stir-fryer, stir frying it until it's cooked to rare, medium or well done, according to your taste.

Set the stove to simmer and add another two shot glasses of Olive Oil to engage the Onions, Peppers and Mushrooms you're putting in with the Beef to get it all up to a simmer.

Boil a half a pot of water.

When the water is at a rolling boil, throw in the serving amount you want of Chinese Noodles and follow the package directions. Usually, it's like 6 minutes.

Some of those noodles can be as long as four feet in length, so you may want to break them up a bit before putting them into the boiling water.

Serve the Thai Braised Beef over the Chinese Noodles but don't forget to shake on lots of Sesame Seeds for the finishing touch.

NOTE: The spicy hot part has been omitted because you may enjoy this meal without the dried red chilis permeating the whole flavor. You can experiment with them on your own, until you get the dosage right without ruining you whole meal.

Seasoning Paste


Chinese Noodles
(a product of Thailand)

The magic rice ratio is two to one. Two parts liquid, one part rice. Plus any seasonings.

To make rice, Put one unit of rice into a pot that has a lid.

That unit can be a cup, a liter, gallon or a coffee mug because two units of corresponding liquid go in with it.

That liquid can be water, beef broth or chicken juice. Those choices will taint the rice with the strongly flavor of the liquid. WAter is neutral.

To make traditional rice, it's one cup of rice to two cups of fresh, clean water. Sometimes salt and butter are added for a little flavor.

To make Mexican rice, substitute chicken broth for water.

Then to cook it, get everything in the cooking pot up to a boil, stirring once of twice to get the dried rice off the bottom of the pot.

The moment it hits a boil, turn down the heat to a low simmer and put the lid on the pot.

In just 20 minutes, the rice will be done, stir it and serve it.


There's only one rule: Never be afraid to explore.

And there's no better way to explore than going to ethnic restaurants and asking what ingredients went into a meal you really enjoyed.

Then begin to experiment at home.

At the top of the Arab list in the greater Tucson area are two great markets, The Caravan Mideastern Market (520)323-6808 at 2817 North Country Club Road, Tucson, Arizona 85716. They have an eclectic selection of popular and great imported products. Their eatery next door is something you need to experience. Great, authentic food at great prices if you're too tired to cook and want to take out or try things on their menu.

The other fantastic Arab market is the Babylon Market (520)232-3700 at 3954 East Speedway Boulevard, Tucson, Arizona 85712, where they have everything imaginable at great prices.

I usually go to both markets because they're just blocks away from each other. The have fresh bread and more spices and sundry Middle Eastern items than you might expect.

These Arab markets are both excellent, featuring many exotic brands of things you need to try to expand your repertoire of cooking. The Caravan Market offers their eatery, right next door.

At the top of the Asian list in the greater Tucson area is the Lee-Lee Market (520)638-8328 at 1990 West Orange Grove Road, Tucson, Arizona 85704, where they carry items from all over the world, not just the popular Asian products. The sauce mix packets for Thai, Chinese, African and even Latin foods are amazing because you can turn chicken and rice into something way better with just a few exotic ingredients.

If you don't happen to have ethnic markets by you, you can still find a lot of products online with a quick Google search.

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Handsome Samson

Sam has been across the USA seven times so far. That's why he rates a photo gallery because he's been with James since he grew up at Shangri La One, ten acres of solitude and bunny chasing wilderness, just north of Tucson, off Oracle Highway.

Security Sam kept James company when meth heads had to be run off the property after Sam alerted James that there was a fire out back.

That night, Sam found a crazed arsonist who had started a fire through a back bedroom window, trying to burn down the old mission style home. James extinguished the fire and Sam ran the fire bug off the property before the old mansion burned down.

The 1988 Nissan Pathfinder in 4x4 was the first Sam Mobile, ultimately replaced by the new Sam Mobile, a Toyota 4Runner 4x4.

More About Sam...





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