SCUBA diving eight year old....twelve feet down!Here is a slightly better shot of our new PADI Seal Team Member:
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
For adding coals to an already lit and active grill, Weber has constructed the kettle grates on my Performer and One Touch to hinge open at the sides. When I have cooked off to one side, the small opening of the hinged grate has never been big enough. Especially when trying to evenly add unlit coals and woodchips. In order to combat this problem, I decided to take a new grate and convert it to a dedicated indirect cooking grate. By cutting off 1/3 of the grate bars, if figured I would have the perfect solution when slow cooking ribs, briskets, chickens or pork shoulders. It was a simple, cheap and easy solution.
1. Pick up a standard replacement grate. I saved a few bucks by getting the non-hinged grate.
4. The Dremel works fairly well, but because of the size of the cut-off wheel and the angle I was coming from, I could not get clean cuts all the way through.
6. The last cut is the center bar of the grate. It was the easiest cut of the bunch.
7. My cuts were about as clean as I could make them...which is not saying much. There were some high points that I ground down to avoid cutting myself. I figure that in a few short weeks, any rough parts will be covered with soot and grease anyways.
8. Well, there we go. I figured I now have ample room for indirect cooking and I no longer have to worry about "flipping the hinge" to add coals and wood. Tomorrow will be the new grates maiden voyage. I will let you know how it goes!
The hospitality suites in the Pagoda will cost you around $80 - $100,000 for a race...and that is only for 80 people. Yup...it looks pretty good on my TV back home. Outside of Lewis stopping by, there are no drunks to block my way to the bathroom and the food? Why it's free...sorta.
If you get a chance to take the tour, do it. Even for non-race fans...and by "non-race fans", I don't mean the family that showed up wearing Tony Stewart memorabilia from head to toe and when I say "head to toe", I mean socks and shoes too folks. The staff was incredible, knowledgeable and friendly. With only sixteen of us on the tour, it is hard to imagine what that place is like packed with 300,000 people...amazing.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Pizza! Homemade pizza is a big favorite here. Although we typically use packaged sauce (Not everything can be from scratch after all), we make homemade dough from scratch and then add a myriad of toppings. For traditional, we will add pepperoni and grilled sausage or for a more artisan approach, we make a lovely prosciutti, feta and sage. Typically, I make pizza in "ye ole oven". However, tonight I figured I should try it on the grill. I have been sort of daydreaming of a wood burning pizza oven, but that is not really in the cards. Since we have typically been doing convection oven pizza's, I have used "crisper" pans for the pizzas. I attempted pizza on the kettle before, but for tonight, since Eric and the blootered gang were over, I figured let's just try and recreate the oven...I used the 650.
For the maiden attempt, the results were pretty good. I worked the outside burners at first, but because the temp was a little low, I ended up firing up the center burners on low. Ideally, I would like to get some kind of tile to line the grates, but for tonight, the pizza trays were great. I refuse to pay for one of those "pizza tiles" at Williams-Sonoma. First of all, they only fit a twelve inch pizza...I always do eighteens. Secondly, $150 for a big stone seems a little excessively. I am happy so far. A little bit more experimentation and I may be on to something here...
Saturday, July 14, 2007
I used a new rub from Stephen Raichlen's Sauces and Rubs Book. It caught my eye because it added some traditional herbs, thyme and basil for instance, that I do not usually use. I rubbed the shoulders and the ribs on Thursday so they could sit overnight. Thanks to the rub, the first smell from the grill, as the meat warmed up, was incredible. That is what makes an afternoon of grilling so much fun...being able to enjoy that olfactory delight.
After smoking for seven hours, the shoulders pulled apart as though that black crust was hiding a tub of butter. My good friend Mike helped with the carving details and I have to believe he could have carved faster if he did not spend so much time eating his work!
I made four different sauces to go with the pork. A sweet & smoky, a vinegar hot (USA Keith and new Dad favorite), a lemon-BBQ and a mystery sauce that for the life of me I could not remember what was. All of the sauces were taken from various cookbooks.
For what is becoming "old hat", I put two chickens on the rotisserie. Each one was brined over night. Although it takes some planning, the results are always good. You have to be careful with the brine though because all of that sugar on the skin will quickly caramelize and burn if you do not turn the rotisserie burner off in time. I also grilled two racks of ribs. Although the ribs turned out, the pictures did not...or at least not to my satisfaction.
Thanks to all of our friends and family. One of the best thing about having everyone bring a side dish is that I get to enjoy them the next day! Everyone brought a lot of food and the meat was pretty much picked clean. The only little bit that was left was cleaned off by a raccoon that I caught doing chin-up's on the patio table at 630 this morning.
The last bit of company
Friday, July 13, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Gizmodo had a post today about entertainment on the go they captured from the New York Times. This paragraph got my eye:
The major airline profiled in the article, Delta, is shooting to have its Delta on Demand setup on every flight longer than four hours by next summer, which offers 24 channels of live television, up to 28 films, 12 video games, more than 1,600 songs and 45 hours of HBO programming on a touchscreen in front of you. (Its Song airline sported something similar.)
By next summer...that would be great. The drop down CRT TV in the aisle is about as 1985 as I can handle.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
For mass feeding, I brined two chickens and then stuffed them with fresh thyme and sage. The skin was rubbed with salt and pepper and then brushed with melted butter once on the rotisserie.
I based the ribs on a recipe from the new Weber Charcoal cookbook. Overnight, they marinated in a combination of Apple Cider and Lemon juice. They were then rubbed and grilled low and slow. Rounding out the meal was the typical fare of grilled corn, quasi-homemade slaw and baked beans.
For desert, Zoe blessed us with her homemade Pavlova. Pavloa is a meringue shell piled with heavy whipping cream and a menagerie of fresh fruit. She should have made two, because with ten people it was gone in a flash.
For today, I am smoking brisket. I have grilled brisket before, but it is one of those finnicky things that has to be just right, or it just isn't. Fellow griller Dustin was kind enough to e-mail me a recipe that he found sucess with. As I type now, I can smell burnt hickory wafting across the deck. Mmmmhhh, can't wait.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
I tried explaining to my Dad, who is the king of matching a guest to their preferred beverage, that my college age brother doesn't drink Natural Light because he likes to, he drinks it because it is cheap.
I don't know about you, but I don't buy a beer just because Consumer Reports lists it as a "best buy"!
Friday, July 06, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
For an incredibly different spin this year, we decided to go Asian. We have enough cookout plans in the next four days, we thought some true homemade Asian food would be a nice change of pace. I think the most difficult think about cooking Asian food is the prep time and of course, only having two arms. For three dishes, prep took almost two hours. Granted I'm slow, but it does take a while. Although like anything else, you have to get all off the prep done ahead, because there is no time once your wok is fired up.
I love Asian food...but I often find "commercialized" Asian to be so heavy. For instance, I love General Tso's, but the chicken is always 90% breading. Using a recipe for the General from Emeril Lagasse, you use no breading...just chicken. The end product is fabulous.
Thanks again to Nancie McDermott, we whipped up some Thai Fried Rice and Paht Thai.
Although pictured last, for an appetizer we fired up some crab rangoon with a homemade sweet and sour sauce.
The only thing missing was some Singha!
Monday, July 02, 2007
As Eric says in his introduction:
This is the sister site to Blootered Cerebrations. I set up my phone for mobile blogging and began exploring moblogging. I quickly found that I wasn't happy placing the mobile blogs on my Blootered Cerebrations site... Blootered is a place for writing, and since I have only a 12 button phone, writing mobile blogs was clunky, at best.Eric mentioned last week how hard it was to "predictive text" captions to go with his pictures. Since I knew he was getting ready for this crazy two week trip, I told him why not let me just guess some captions and fill them in on the fly. So, an idea was born. I'm not sure how good that idea is...but it is off none the less...
So here is a place where I can send those quick, incipient thoughts and cell phone photos. Sometimes the things I post here will lead to greater rumination on the Blootered site; but I imagine that most times the things posted here will forever remain incipient.
Wow...APP contributor Jayme sent me the completed picture of his Boba Fett bounty hunter mock up. For the unsure, the bounty hunter is the one on the left. Max, the one on the right, is Boba's left hand little man. Jayme hand painted the helmet and claims that he has some girth issues that will not allow him to fit into the costume. I am sure that if the price was right and the spaceport was nice enough, he would find a way...