Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Technology Fail

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays all!  Yes, yes, it's been a while since my last update, and there's posts that should come before this one, but today's experience required an immediate update.  Therefore, it'll be a bit of a non-sequitur today.

The iGrill has been on my wish list for some time now, and my wife was gracious enough to stuff my stocking with it this year.  If you're not familiar with it, the iGrill is a tool / app to monitor food temperature while grilling, linking via Bluetooth to your iPhone or iPad.  I was very excited to try it out, especially as a data geek since it graphs the temperatures and has different tools to share your grilling experience.

Tonight's meal was my old standby, the Grilled Salmon Stuffed With Crab.  I mean, I've done it so many times, how could it *possibly* go wrong?

After prepping the salmon fillets as I normally do, I inserted the two thermometers and synced the iPad.

Since they'd been marinating in the refrigerator for most of the day, they started off pretty cold.

It started off great - the graphs were charting the temperatures fine, I was able to set the type of meat, the target temperature, and a timer / alarm for when I wanted to put the asparagus on the grill.

Everything was going fine, when all of a sudden the probes stopped working.  I thought the Bluetooth needed to be refreshed, so I picked up the iPad and was about to go to the settings menu, when the "food is ready" alarm went off, and the temperature showed over 300 degrees within a couple of seconds!

 I looked outside and saw smoke billowing out of the grill, much more than normal.  I lifted the hood to find that the alder plank had caught on fire!

I was thoroughly aggravated, especially since I had them soak for several hours that day.  (In fact, I just remembered that I have metal plank guards that would've prevented this that I should've used.)

I guess I just had the burners on too high.

So, I removed the probes, transferred the fillets to a baking sheet and finished cooking them.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get the probes to start working again so I wasn't able to use the iGrill for the remainder of the grilling time.  I had to use my old-fashioned digital meat thermometer instead.  =o(

Below, you can see below the huge jump in temperature when the board caught fire.  The gaps are where the probes failed to register.

Sooooo... this round was more a "blackened salmon" entry, as you can see...

But I was able to cover it with a garnish. 

It still tasted fine, but I missed the smoky flavor that would've been there had they been on the board the entire time.     =o9

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2011 - 2012

In 2010 I did a "365 Project" where I did a self-portrait every day for a year.  It was during this year that I also started this blog.  It was much easier to blog when I was doing the project, as I had lighting equipment out and ready most of the time.  So when 2011 came around, blogging and photographing food became more of a chore. 

Rather than trying to recreate the last year and a half, I thought it'd be much easier to post what I did capture in one large posting.

We learned about Penzey's Spices in Carytown late 2010, and fell in love with it.  I've enjoyed using their spices in a variety of dishes, but they're best on the grill.  One night I tried one on a bacon-wrapped steak along with some mac-and-cheese, Bar Americain sauce, and Abita Amber beer.

We had a Superbowl appetizer contest at work, and I entered slider versions of the Nacho Burgers I'd made earlier.  Unfortunately it rained that evening and I couldn't get many pictures out on the deck.  It was also for around 80 people, so I had to make enough to feed everyone.  I didn't have enough time to make them in the morning so I had to find a way to make, transport, prep, and assemble them at work.   But my entry won, and I also won a points pool, so I walked away a big winner that day.

Sign-up sheet for the contest

I used a fishy cookie cutter and cookie scoop to make the patties as uniform as I could

I put all the patties in a container for transport, but had to reheat them in batches as the container wasn't microwave safe, and was too big for the microwave at work anyways 

Told ya it rained...

Oh, get this - I got a spot bonus at work, and used it to pick up two knives at Williams-Sonoma

I had a seafood craving one night, and grilled up some crab legs, along with shrimp wrapped in turkey bacon.

Pork loin, potatoes, and broccolini.

I tried a Hawaiian style burger

Chicken with a mustard sauce

Jo's pork loin with bone suckin' sauce

I gave the grill a thorough cleaning in the spring

Our friend Lora had a big birthday party, and her mom made a tequila lime chicken that I copied.  I also tried grilling corn in the husk - as cool as they looked, I have to say that I wasn't a fan. 

Nothing beats fresh cilantro

I tried soaking some peaches in rum, grilling them, and adding whipped cream and almond slivers.

Stuffed portabello mushrooms

Grilled eggplant lasagne

We had a potluck at work, and I brought mini shish-ka-bobs, and cheesecake stuffed strawberries and raspberries

Hurricane Irene left us without power for just under a week.  The grill got some good use that week

A tree fell down and knocked over a couple other trees, snapping this one in half

We did a grilled pizza one night...

...and steak with asparagus another night

Kristen found a neat recipe for grilled avocado, mixed with salsa and sour cream, served in it's own skin

My brother got married at the Joule Hotel in Dallas, and they served this fantastic filet mignon served on potato cakes with a bleu cheese and bread crumb topping, which I recreated (rather successfully, I might add)

The porkloin was very popular with us, and it made several appearances that year

I picked up a petite syrah that I had at Cinebistro one night that went really well with the pork loin - Parducci True Grit


BBQ chicken and squash

It's not a grill entry, but I made Cinnamon Toast Crunch cupcakes that we found on Pinterest for a work bake sale

Also not a blog entry, but I made a Dexter inspired breakfast - ham, cheese, and onion omelette seasoned with basil and hot sauce, along with blood oranges and French-pressed coffee sweetened with vanilla sugar

By far, the salmon recipe I posted has been the most popular blog entry.  One of my managers made it for his family and they said it was "restaurant quality."  It's also found its way on Pinterest, driving traffic to this site. 

So, that was 2011 - 2012 to date, at least for the most part.  I've done more on the grill in the meantime but this is what I had recorded.  I hope you enjoy, and I hope you will keep reading.  =o9