Monday, May 28, 2007

What's on the Grill #4

No holiday today. It was a busy...strange day. I was home late, so I threw together what I had. Skewered and sliced pork tenderloin served with a honey/soy glaze and a side of grilled asparagus. Unfortunately, this will probably be my only grill night this week.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dinner...Dad Style!

Mom & Dad had us over for dinner tonight. As I watched Dad don his umbrella to work the grills under a downpour of rain, I remembered my grill gene heritage. Dad grilled his special bourbon tenderloin and vegetable platter. This is one of Zoe's favorite meals. In fact, it is so famous...I have been forbidden from recreating it, less I destroy it somehow.

As an added surprise to the evening, my parents granted me some early birthday presents since the odds of getting together in the next several weeks are nil. I am at the age now when asked how old I am, I can proudly respond "Half way to death." When you are "young", you proudly announce birth dates as a right of passage, "13", "16", "18", "21"... Somewhere past thirty, that changes. They presented me with a wonderful card which exposed on my alleged "greatness" as a son. This of course begged the question: "If I was so great as a son, why did they feel the need to have two more?" That question was never really answered..."Note to Tim & Matt: No need to thank me on my apparent what areas, I am not really sure."

The neatest gift I received was my new apron:

Yes, that is right...Executive White House Chef. How cool is that? Thanks!

What's on the Grill #3

One of the nicest things about the 650 is the space. Whereas before, I would have everything spread out across the hinterlands, I can now mange a single meal in one spot. Last night it was rosemary rubbed t-bone's with a red wine reduction sauce. It was topped off with grilled corn, zucchini, squash and eggplant. For desert? Bananas Calypso...

And oh yes...plenty of Magic Hat!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What's on the Grill #2

Tonight was nice...sorta. Lately, I have had a lot going on, so with the warm weather and some free time, I was looking forward to an evening of grilling. Tonight was a double approach. I had to make pizzas for tomorrow, while cooking dinner for tonight. I figured the easiest thing to do was a whole chicken. I also figured this would be a great opportunity to test out the rotisserie on my Weber S-650.

The 650 is so big, that I could fit either two whole chickens or a turkey. Nice! I was anxious to try out the rotisserie because it gave me an excuse to the use the infrared burner. After prepping the chicken with a basic rub of salt, pepper and paprika, I stuffed the cavity with garlic and a few sprigs of rosemary.

Now I need to interject here. One of the nicest additions of the evening was my beer. I grabbed my first six pack of Circus Boy from the Magic Hat Brewing Company. It was a nice crisp Hefeweizen. My idea of the perfect summer beer.

Fast forward an hour and a half. I threw some corn on the kettle along with some artichoke hearts. As a side, I love artichokes, but I have yet to grill artichokes the way I like them...meaning steamed. I also had some left over pizza dough, so I decided to make a mini-feta & sage pizza. It was quite the unusual grouping.

Now the melancholy part of the evening was how good the chicken was. Now you might ask, "why is that melancholy?" Well, I am a charcoal purist. Historically, I have used gas for speed and space. There is nothing quite like a chicken on the kettle standing proud, with a can of nondescript American lager perforating its rectum. The results, although humiliating to the bird, were delectable....until tonight. The 650 bird was unbelievable. Moist, tender, sweet and warm. I was utterly shocked at the difference. I have cooked chickens for years and tonight was probably one of the best. Funny thing is, I felt my heat was too high. I was prepared for a dried out chicken...but wasn't going to complain because I was trying to do three other things at the same time. Boy, was I wrong.

Of course after tonight, I am dying to try duck, hens and maybe a turkey. All of course served with a generous helping of Magic Hat.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Toss and a Flame

Toss and a Flame, originally uploaded by Another Pint Please....

Finally, a nice warm night where I am grill. I was somewhat torn on dinner. Zoe was tied up and I had two distinct ideas in mind: skewered pork tenderloin or paht thai. For some reason, I opted on paht thai. I guess because I considered it a "whole meal". Although the tenderloins sounded great, I knew I would need more that that for a meal. I use a recipe from my go to Thai cookbook: Quick & Easy Thai by Nancie McDermott. It has yet to let me down.

It seems with most Asian cooking, cook time is short and prep time is long. Also, you must have everything ready to go before you begin. With only a minute or two between throwing in ingredients, you do not have time to prep on the fly.

The results were great. Once again, the 650's side burner performed great. It is hard to believe that I was worried about fitting the wok on the side burner. I have had no problems at all and plenty of space to work the wok around. Asian cooking has been declared an "outdoor process". The smell is too much inside when I get things going. I hope in the coming weeks to make some true homemade General of my favorites. It is amazing how good it is without all of that damn breading.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Coulton Live!

Jonathan Coulton stole the three act show at Canal Street Tavern last night. Of the twelve of us that went, it was unanimous. Even Zoe, who missed the last show because she was in Thailand, really enjoyed it. I am glad that Dayton produced such a great crowd for Jonathan and I hope that he makes it back in another six months. Here is some video I shot of Code Monkey...enjoy!

UPDATE: If you get the chance, read this New York Times article about JoCo. It provides an incredibly interesting insight. Almost twenty four hours later, we are still talking about how good the show was. Coulton is so good live, it would be nice for him to do a "live show" CD. I know that everyone who went was impressed with not only how funny he is, but how much of a good singer/songwriter he is too.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Gun it!!

Gun it!!, originally uploaded by Another Pint Please....

The reason people make weekend trips to the Emergency Room....

1105 AM

I have come to the conclusion that Mom's in minivans are much better at adding up .50 and .75 items than I am.

There are a whopping four people here...and I am bartering...and I am hating.

I am also making a mental note to remove the Austin Power's "Do I make you horny?" voice activated doll out of the kid's toy chest.

1032 AM...

Well we are one hour and thirty two minutes into garage sale day. So far we have had five "shoppers"...or if you do not count the neighbors, one. On my fun scale, manning a garage sale is right under frontal lobotomy...minus anesthesia.

Now we do have some nice stuff. I know everyone is clamoring for a DirecTV satellite receiver from 1996 that only picks up one satellite position. How about my fine box of jumbled up cables. It is Hamvention weekend after all.

Oh well...we have at least sold one item for $2. A kitchen scale. That is called positive forward sales movement.

On the bright side, I get to hang out in the garage all day. I also threw a pork shoulder on the kettle around 9 so that it would be ready for a late lunch around 1. It is a pretty small shoulder, so that should be plenty of time. I am also going to use my downtime to work on my mash tun. A project I sorely need to get accomplished.

Oh yea...and tonight is Coulton at Canal Street!!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Ponda Rosa v. Ponderosa

Matt & Cat run the definitive Isle of Wight dining guide. Their incredible reviews always get me excited about return trips to IOW and potential new places to eat. So, in one of their latest reviews, I found it amazing that their was a clone in England of one of our great crappy buffets, Ponderosa. Besides the name, Matt & Cat's review pointed out a number of other incredible similarities: buffet style food, cheap prices and fat patrons.
Truth be told, the Ponda Rosa actually sounds much better than the Ponderosa. Although our Ponderosa offers "Free Internet" the Ponda Rosa offers "Big Steak". Although I have not eaten at our Ponderosa in several years, mostly because of the warning from the Combined Health District, I am sure they are looking at new ways of pushing the buffet envelope. Rumor has it that personal feed bags are just on the horizon.
Of all weird coincidences, Zoe has just informed that she used to work at the Ponda Rosa. It was for only a holiday season, but she said the money was really good...the food, not so much. last.

After an incredibly busy week, on a number of different fronts, I finally had a brief chance to tend to the 650. I am still getting used to cooking on this thing. Opening the lid is like pulling open a door on a house is damn hot. At first, I thought I would fire up the wok and do a quick Paht Thai. However, the wife decided she had a craving, so we went to Meijer. As a side note, I really do not like fact, at times I detest Meijer. First, there is the woman at the meat counter. Loud, overbearing and just not nice. Second, their cuts of meat are sub par. Typically, their meat looks good, but the size of the cut is something close to what you would see at Ponderosa. I do not want the sliver of a Rib-Eye...I want THE Rib-Eye! Then there is the U-Scan...

Anyway, I am going to steal a post, from my dear friend Eric. What's on the Grill? Well tonight, it was grilled bone-in pork chops with a honey soy glaze, grilled vadalia onions, grilled corn with garlic butter and grilled red potatoes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bourdain vs. Food TV

I found this posting over at where Anthony Bourdain was doing some guest blogging. Written as only Bourdain can, check out Tony's take on Giada & Rachel Ray:

GIADA: What’s going on here!? Giada can actually cook! She was robbed in her bout versus Rachael Ray on ICA. ROBBED! And Food Net seems more interested in her enormous head (big head equals big ratings. Really!) and her cleavage--than the fact that she’s likeable, knows what she’s doing in an Italian kitchen--and makes food you’d actually want to eat. The new high concept Weekend Getaway show is a horrible, tired re-cap of the cheap-ass “Best Of” and “40 Dollar a Day” formula. Send host to empty restaurant. Watch them make crappy food for her. Have her take a few lonely, awkward stabs at the plate, then feign enjoyment with appropriately orgasmic eye-closing and moaning..Before spitting it out and rushing to the trailer. Send her to Italy and let her cook. She’s good at it.
RACHAEL: Complain all you want. It’s like railing against the pounding surf. She only grows stronger and more powerful. Her ear-shattering tones louder and louder. We KNOW she can’t cook. She shrewdly tells us so. So...what is she selling us? Really? She’s selling us satisfaction, the smug reassurance that mediocrity is quite enough. She’s a friendly, familiar face who appears regularly on our screens to tell us that “Even your dumb, lazy ass can cook this!” Wallowing in your own crapulence on your Cheeto-littered couch you watch her and think, “Hell…I could do that. I ain’t gonna…but I could--if I wanted! Now where’s my damn jug a Diet Pepsi?” Where the saintly Julia Child sought to raise expectations, to enlighten us, make us better--teach us--and in fact, did, Rachael uses her strange and terrible powers to narcotize her public with her hypnotic mantra of Yummo and Evoo and Sammys. “You’re doing just fine. You don’t even have to chop an onion--you can buy it already chopped. Aspire to nothing…Just sit there. Have another Triscuit…Sleep….sleep….”

As most everyone knows, I cannot stand Rachel Ray. At first I would try and watch her on mute. Even without sound, I could figure out how to throw sausage, peppers and onion in a pan and feed myself silly in thirty minutes...or 23 minutes if you TIVO through the commericals for her personal knife collection. I was also devastated when she won on ICA. In fact, I am still in disbelief. For a nice succinct view of this battle, check here (scroll down).

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Safety First

Mary Tyler Moore could turn the world on with a smile and annually, my just as hard working wife could destroy an extension cord while pruning the hedges. Except this year...bless her. I am running out of extension cords.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It Fits!

I am proud to announce that the S-650 easily holds my wok on the sideburner. I was a little worried because of the way the lid angles back. Fortunately, I am good to go. With the wok properly in place, I threw together a quick pork and ginger stir fry. Lovely!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Hello blog, it is me...Mike. Well after a brutal two weeks of constant work, our basement project is finally done. The results are superb. Even if I do say so myself. If you want to see it, you will have to stop by.

In other news, May is National Barbecue Month. Not that I need a month to celebrate outdoor cooking...but hey! So, in my salute of this month of outdoor cooking, here is a little public service announcement to help you through:

In other May news, the First of May has come and gone, but the 19th is right around the corner. Also, Rush's Snakes & Arrows made its debut on May 5th and I am definetely hooked.