Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wanted to buy: This exact pepper grinder

Might as well get as much exposure as I can!

I'm looking for a mate for this, black or white if they made them in white, I don't know. I can't find a mark on it at all, inside or out. The clear part is glass, and it unscrews in the middle. The top appears to feel like metal and is glued on. The grinder is white ceramic not plastic. It stands about 4 inches tall, base is 2 inches wide. It grinds nicely, never clogs and I like the looks, yes I know I can go buy "similar".

Labor Day weekend's menu

I'm really really looking forward to Monday. Here's the line up:

All day slow cooked pork ribs
Onion Rings (big sweet yellow in beer batter)
Baked beans
Hash Brown casserole
Banana Berries Foster

What about you?

BTW, anyone have any idea what "Santa Barbara Style" means buying pork ribs? Same company, I had the choice of "Pork Spare Ribs Santa Barbara Style" for $2.49 or for 50 cents more, "Pork Spare Ribs Baby Back". They looked the same, I opted for cheaper.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tomatoes in the Desert, 2007

One thing I miss about Kansas? Tomatoes. Man did I have some killer crops. This was last year:

With room for 80-100 plants, it was fun to grow so many, all that variety of plants, and room for peppers and herbs. And we picked OFTEN! Flat out no contest winner is the Brandywine, a super red sweet luscious medium to large size 'mater that I love love love. Here's a plate:

Now I like salt, so that's how I eat them, but sometimes a couple splashes of balsamic, a little olive oil, fresh basil and some celery salt, yummy little salad is what you got there!

Fast forward to 2007. Thank God my wife loves me and knows what I like. Back oh, in April or May she built up for me a raised bed, best you can out here with sand and rocks. She got the concrete blocks and hauled them to the back yard and built it up, spread in soil and compost and planted about 15 plants, toms and peppers and basil. When I got here in July, it looked a bit scraggly, but with some fertilizer and a lot of water, I think it looks pretty good eh?

Turned out pretty good really. On the whole they are a lot smaller, none much bigger than a golf ball, certainly not a tennis ball, though on the vine some Brandywines are coming through that are larger. The mini cherries have been TASTY, and I'm going to make some sauce here really soon me thinks...

Farmer John's Pork Link Sausage

Whatzit: Farmer Johns Maple and Original link sausage

From where: Product of Los Angeles, bought in Sparks at Albertson's

Price: $0.79 for 8 oz on sale with coupon

Date: 08/19/07 for breakfast, 08/22/07 in spaghetti

Prepared: Simple pan cooked

Just dang good! The Original Maple doesn't really scream maple flavor, but it's got a nice sweetness to it that is pretty tasty. Enjoyed with cheesy eggs from Tracy. For the spaghetti sauce, we used a pound of it cooked and chopped up with a spatula (it's skinless), and 1 jar each of homemade sauce and Classico (review pending). Gets a minor ding for having the hated occasional gristle, to be expected but still hated.

Stones says: "I stand by this sausage, or uh sit. Good boy"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Brisket's "tough" to cook... Get it?

Brisket is worldly known as the toughest cut of meat to cook, and I know why. More than once I've had disastrous results where it turned out just dang chewy. Shoe leather. Beef Jerky. Rubber. I was pretty disillusioned the first time I tried it last summer, it literally FELL apart when I cut it, and man was it tasty. EASY right? And I didn't DO anything. I thought others brisket was often plain, so I spiced it up a bit with off the shelf BBQ rubs, and I swabbed it in Maple Syrup cause I thought that would give it a nice sweet crispy crust. I didn't monitor my temperature much, kept it at around 225-250 like I do my pulled pork, but I never measured the temp of the meat, I just let it ride. And it was great! But the next time I tried to duplicate it, Ew. Call for pizza.

So what went wrong? I can only think I got lucky the first time, and a few mixed times after that. The times in between were what was frustrating. For this adventure, I did a little research. And it turns out SO easy and explainable. Seems like it's a fairly well accepted fact that brisket meat needs to hit 185-190 degrees so that the fat breaks down and makes it really tender. Mine had been on there for about 8-9 hours, the grill temp pretty steady at 250. I was worried though cause the chunk of brisket was looking black and felt pretty hard when I poked it, meaning NOT tender. It looked done, it looked OVER done. Matter of fact, I *know* it was done and almost screwed it all up by yanking it off and taking it inside to sit.

Instead, I did the right thing and took it's temp. Hmmm. 160. That's not good. The coals had gone down a bit, flirting with 200, so I had to stir the coals and add more wood (I use apple and hickory by the way) and charcoal. I got the temp back up and had some patience (where I got that, who knows) and at about 190, I took the lump of dark meat off and on a plate and in to sit, wrapped in foil. Everyone KNOWS you have to do this. (Note 1). 20-30 minutes later, I was slicing about the best brisket I've ever had! It was hard to tell the difference between pulled pork and this. And tasty tasty. Tracy says she hates brisket, but this time she was raving. We simply had it on buns, and I like a little extra spice rub to sprinkle.

When I cook a big hunk of meat, I like to think ahead on what's going to happen to the leftovers. In brisket's case, we're copying a sammich we love from a great Kansas City BBQ joint called Oklahoma Joe's. The sammich is a Z-Man, made up of sliced brisket, a coupla fried onion rings covered with a slice of Provolone cheese, a dab of sweet BBQ sauce all on a Kaiser bun. To cut slice brisket properly, ya gotta do it "against the grain" and use a meat slicer. Thanks to Ray and Becky's housewarming gift, we have one! Onion rings in beer batter, and french fries double fried (fry, sit, fry).

Note 1: You really do! If you cut a piece of meat right after it's left the heat, the juices will run right out. If it sits a bit, they are drawn back in, making a moister more tender meat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In my opinion, the best sandwich ever

Or sammich as I prefer to call them. Why is that funny to me? This has been a favorite for years:

Whatzit: Tomato Bacon Mayo love

From where: Homemade

Date: 08/14/07

Prepared: See below



Potato Bread
Butter or bacon grease
Your favorite spice blend
Cooked bacon
Recommended for a twist: Pesto

It's a simple sandwich, kinda like a BLT but no 'L' and a little beyond basic. Potato bread is great cause it's thick and holds up well to all the moisture from the mayo and toms. Lightly spread butter on it or bacon grease, sprinkle it with your favorite spice blend, something red is usually good (BBQ rub, seasoned salt, etc). Fry the bread up on a skillet and start slicing the toms. Use good juicy fresh ones like Brandywines. From here I think you can figure it out, mayo on one side, pesto on the other, bacon and toms, slap it together and eat it up. It's easy to make this one over salty, so experiment. I can eat two, easy!

Look *away* from the sammich.... Look AWAY!

Tasty Jo Roasted Wasabi Coated Green Peas

Whatzit: Tasty Jo Roasted Wasabi Coated Green Peas. Little crunchy kernels of fun.

From where: Product of Thailand, packed in Chicago (bought in Missouri at the Better Cheddar)

Price: $3.99

Date: 08/14/07

Prepared: Right out of the can.


What a neat little snack that makes your nose tickle. Horseradish is what gives it the kick, and man what a kick! Doesn't last for long and doesn't burn, but sure can clear the nasal passages. Pretty healthy too, a third of a cup (plenty IMHO) is only 130 calories 3 grams of fat. And it says right on the can, great as a snack or (get this!) ANY occasion! ANY OF THEM!

Abby didn't think much of this, can you tell. Took about 20 takes to get THIS perfect. Good thing I had cheese.

My Buddy Ray

Ray and I swapped a lot of tomatoes, recipes & prepared food over the past coupla years in KC, take a look at this article on him and his salsa:

Click here for article

Way to go Ray!

Snow's Clam Chowder in a can

Whatzit: Snow's Clam Chowder (condensed)

From where: Cape May NJ (bought in Kansas)

Date: 08/14/07

Prepared: Microwave, 3/4 of a can of skim milk added, sprinkle of dried thyme


Had this for lunch today, despite it being almost 90 out and no A/C yet today. Mixed review on this stuff. First sniff leads you to believe it's not just going to be potato soup, like so many canned clam chowders. I don't like mine watery, so I used 3/4s of a can of milk instead of the full thing. Didn't matter, it was watery anyway. Tasted more fishy than like clams, and overall a bit on the salty side. Potatoes cut small (which I like), not a lot of large clam bites. Overall I give it a 2 out of 5. I'd eat it again if I was hungry for something different and got it on sale.


Ya ever have one of those moments where you went "Duh, I could do it THAT way!", well, that's what hit me this AM when I was updating Three Dog Blog, I can have more than one blog! It's no secret I like to cook, and I yap about it often. Instead of peppering my own little life's stories on Three Dog with cooking stories, why not make another page just to talk about food! Stuff we eat, smell, cook, reviews, others. What fun eh?