Thursday, July 29, 2010
What is that? Why have the clouds parted? Is the sun breaking through? Is the sky more blue? Yes, Yes, Yes...and why?!
Easy, I found Stone's 14th Anniversary in stock at Belmont Party Supply! Number 14 is an Imperial IPA and it was great. A beautiful orangey color, a 2 finger head, and true to the description on the bottle, some really spicy pepper notes with a strong hop finish. I'm glad I bought two bottles!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I have a great Thai cookbook in the form of Nancie McDermott's Quick & Easy Thai. I have delved into it for years, and have yet to be let down.
Paht Thai is the only recipe where mise en place takes longer than the actual cook. You have to have everything ready to go. There is no, "Oh wait, I didn't smash any garlic I"ll do it now", because if there is, your next exclamation will be, "I screwed up dinner, let's order pizza."
With the wok hot and the ingredients ready, I started. Timing is important here. A minute here, a minute there, the process is in perpetual motion.
Fortunately, I had Bean to help out. He makes a great sous chef, prop, and part time comedian too.
Even though it has apparently been three years since I've made paht thai, it still turned out great. In fact, Bean liked it so much he questioned why we didn't make more. Well Bean, maybe we will, next week.
In the meantime, I suggest picking up Nancie's great book and try something Thai for yourself. Besides a paht thai repeat, I see some chicken with basil in my future too.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Zoe made the mistake of casually suggesting the idea, and I took it and ran. Hang a bottle opener off the handle, and you have fully functional beverage cart.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Any time we plan one of our summer parties, there are three things you can depend on: excessive amounts of meat, an impressive amount of homebrew, and unpredictable weather. This year’s weather wasn’t torrential rain or lightning, it was heat, and lots of it. Afternoon temperatures were in the 90’s and a heat index over 100. It was hot.
Although it was scorching later in the day, when I started the grills around 8 AM (per my list), it was beautiful. For the Shindig, it was double meat day: 2 briskets, 2 boston butts, and 2 rotisserie chickens.
I wasn’t worried about getting two butts on the Performer, as I’d done it before. I was, however, worried about getting 2 briskets on the 26. I set up the grill for indirect, with all of my fuel off to one side. I find it so much easier to maintain proper low and slow when I only have one fire to deal with versus two.
Thankfully, no problems. With the briskets rubbed and ready, I was able to fit both on the grate, with the meatier part of the brisket towards the heat since it would require more heat to keep up with the thinner parts.
With minor adjustments on both kettles all day, I was able to keep the temp right around 250, which, thanks to the heat, is also exactly what it felt like outside the kettle.
9 hours later, internal temps on the pork and brisket were at 190. Thanks to the guys, I had had ample hands to help carve.
Better yet, Mike brought his Bear Paws to help him out.
The claws had their way with the soft pork in no time.
Amazingly, or not so amazingly really, everyone devoured about 35 pounds of meat. The kids swam, the adults floated two of my homebrew corny kegs, and we all breathed a sigh of relief when the sun finally set.
Thanks to everyone who brought an amazing array of side dishes and thanks to Zoe, who kept the whole thing running like a well oiled machine.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
This past weekend, we travelled to West Virginia to meet up with my brother, Tim, and his family to celebrate the life of Kara. We had a great time and bookended our visit with a side trip into DC. Having grown up in Northern Virginia during my formative years (Read: Under 21), I often marvel at how we take certain things for granted. With a couple of years in VA under our belt, journey into the District was often done out of necessity, and not on a whim.
Fast forward further, I remember hanging out with high school friends at the Lincoln Memorial at night and watching jets take off and land at National Airport. As I get older, I learn the sad lesson of not enjoying the moment, until it passes.
It was nice retracing old steps with Zoe, Bean, & Anne. In our typical fashion, we marched through town and hit the sights.
In even more typical fashion, we ended up at the Capitol City Brewing Company for dinner. Situated next to Union Station and located in the front of the historic Postal Square Building, we had a fine evening of pub grub and craft beer. I opted for a beer sampler.
I know, no surprise. In the end, my favorite was easily the Prohibition Porter.
Upon our return to WV, we were treated to the Alamo Drafthouse. Based primarily in Texas, this part movie theatre, part restaurant, part craft beer bar, is my idea of an evening. Is there anything better than a movie with dinner and beer?
It was a wonderful weekend and better yet, I was able to pick up some Yuengling at a gas station on the way back to Ohio. I was in need of gas…and a good session beer. Thank you anonymous gas station woman at undisclosed gas station location not near where I live.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
I sorta "cheated" on the grilled part. After whipping up some dough, I opted to use a pizza screen and the Summit versus the kettle and a stone. Oh well, I was hungry and it wasn't delivered by a guy in a rusted Civic. Forgive me.
Thanks to the power of leftovers, I had another memorable weeknight dinner. Now to make plans to replenish my pulled pork and brisket supply...
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Now I've gone over my true fire brisket process many times before, so I'm not going to repeat it. However, what I do want to point out is that anytime you plan an all day cook, you aren't just planning one meal. You are planning for several...unless of course your one meal is for ManNight, in which case you can stop reading now as there will only be one meal.
Brisket and pulled pork are made for leftovers. Half the time I cook them, I'm not just salivating because they are on the grill or the heat from the grill is reacting with the metal plate in my head, I'm thinking about the pizza, salads, and wraps I'm making the next three days.
Case in point: Sunday's brisket turned into last night's brisket & grilled onion quesadillas on spinach tortillas. Heat up some brisket, grill some onions, add some mustard based bbq sauce, stuff into a spinach tortilla, and grill for about 3 minutes a side over direct medium heat. It is that easy, and that good.
So, next time you plan a big BBQ, don't get hung up on the meal du jour, get excited about the great meals to come. Your freezer should never be without leftover frozen brisket or pulled pork, or even a fatty, because those go great with breakfast too!
Sunday, July 04, 2010
To all of my American readers, Happy 4th of July. In an English/American household, this holiday has always been somewhat contentious and thus kept low key. I would never take it upon myself to run around the yard saying, “we won, we won”. Nope, this is a quiet and reserved day for us!
We are spending a long and enjoyable weekend with family and friends. No matter where you are, I hope your weekend, and no matter what you are celebrating, is as enjoyable as mine has been and chock full of grilled food!