Sunday, October 31, 2010

Short Entry For Public Opinion

Quick entry tonight.  I got to make the nacho burgers tonight, the ones I made in one of my previous entries.  Difference is that I made them for an audience tonight.  We hung out with friends tonight for Halloween and I thought it would be another good time to let some other people have a taste of what I've been doing.  Plus it gave me a chance to use someone else's grill.  

Good reception overall.  Everyone seemed to enjoy them.  I had to fight the urge to tell people how to put them together, and instead let them put on the toppings they wanted.  The salsa was spicier than last time - I added a lot more chipotle peppers this time around.  The guacamole was good too but I wish I had made it this morning instead of last night.  I just thought it tasted a lot better when it was fresh, which the recipe book recommended.  Also, it's not a huge effort to make.  I did use white onions instead of red, mainly because the grocery store was selling red ones only in bags instead of individual ones.  But I was happy with everything the second time around.   =o9

Monday, October 25, 2010

First Public Appearance

Two of our best friends had their ten year anniversary this weekend, and Kristen and Ashley threw a party for them.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to share (and show off) one of my previous entries.  I decided to do the honey chipotle chicken wings.  They'd be good as finger food/appetizers, even though it'd be an odd combination with the lasagne main course.

Since Kristen was making some items for the party, I had to wait until she was done with the kitchen before I could start, so I didn't even begin prep work until about 9:00 that night.  So I'll start with the cupcakes she made:

Last time I made the wings the separation of the bones into three parts was the most time consuming, so I bought pre-separated parts this time.  Unfortunately the only ones I could find in the volume I wanted were flash frozen, and I didn't have time to thoroughly thaw them out.

I also let the sesame seeds toast much longer this time.  I'm glad I did, as I liked the added color and flavor more this time.

And yes, the sauce smelled just as good this time as it did last time.  I had to triple the recipe to make sure I had enough sauce for the increased number of wings.

One note of caution - when you have this much chili pepper on the grill, be careful opening the grill.  Between the spices and the steam it was like opening a giant can of pepper spray. 

I had to transport them from Richmond to Fredericksburg the next day.  I tried my best to keep them warm, but they needed time on the sternos to get hot again.  Leaving them overnight pretty much changed the sauce to a marinade.  Fortunately I had some extra sauce with me to re-baste them.  I also kept the scalions off until it was time to get them ready for serving.

 Last time I considered adding lime juice to the sauce.  I didn't add it this time, but I did include lime wedges so people could add it if they wanted. 

Yup, definitely a winner again.  Even with grilling them frozen the night before, transporting them, and reheating, they were great.  I got lots of comments from the guests about how they liked them, and people scrambled a little to take some home.  Note to self - make sure to bring take-home containers next time. 

Oh, and it's not a party until the cops arrive.   =o9

Monday, October 18, 2010

Paired Pared Pears

I didn't want ramen noodles tonight, so I asked Kristen to swing by the grocery store on the way home from work.  I had plenty of leftover rub and Bar Americain sauce, plus (at the suggestion of our friend Ashley) we picked up some spices at Penzey's Spices in Carytown.  I ended up remaking the rib eye recipe from a few weeks ago but with two different rubs (one on each side) and a different cut of meat.

But tonight wasn't so much about the meat as it was the pears.

I 've done grilled fruit before in this little experiment, but I think I got it right this time.  I remembered to coat them with canola oil first and put them directly on the grill to get the sear marks.  Plus the wine for tonight goes very well with fruit. 

If you're going to grill fruit, coat them with an oil with little to no flavor, and be sure to use a clean grill.  Fruit is basically sugar and water, and as you heat it the water evaporates and the sugars caramelize, resulting in a very sweet but soft item.  Make sure you pick a fruit that will remain firm enough to withstand the grill heat.  (Yeah, I know I've said all this before...)

Off the record, I don't like the new photo uploader in this blog editor, so I'm being lazy with layout today.

Wow - the fruit and wine was one of the best food/wine pairings I've had.  (It's the Rapidian River Riesling from a few of my past entries.)  It went surprisingly well with the steak and rice too, although I still prefer reds with beef.  I think some time in the near future I'll make a grilled desert plate with just fruit and wine.  =o9

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back to Basics

I've felt like a slacker not having posted anything for a while.  I'd intended on doing a salmon recipe over the three day weekend, but kept forgetting to take the salmon out of the freezer and couldn't decide on a recipe.  So, I thought I'd keep it simple this time - burgers.

Of course, I'm not big on bland food, so I did season the patties with salt, pepper, and Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Kristen made some sweet potato fries with french fry seasoning.  We debated putting them on the grill as well over indirect heat, but decided against it. 

Tonight's beer is Abita's 'Save Our Shores' Pilsner.  It's an unfiltered Weizen Pils, which is not really my favorite type.  I loved the amber ale from Abita I had before, and also enjoyed the Pecan Harvest.  This is the only Abita type we've been able to find locally so we picked up a bottle.  Plus I learned tonight that each bottle generates a donation to help clean up the Gulf oil spill, so it has that going for it, which is nice.

The burgers were good, and the beer tasted better paired with them.  I overspiced them a bit, but I'd rather have food with too much flavor than bland food. 

All in all, a good meal.  Nothing too fancy or too complex in preparation.  Plus it gives me another blog entry, and I have more reasons why now.

Last week I was offered a new job at my company, and I accepted.  The department sent out a notice with a blurb from each of the new employees.  Of course, I had to take the opportunity to promote this site, and I got several positive comments from them.  They also took the opportunity to, um... 'inform' me that the department has frequent pot lucks at work. (hint-hint) 

The challenge will be around making items that everyone can enjoy.  There are a lot of people from India on my team, and I'm slowly learning their customs.  Many of them are vegetarian, and there are days when those who do eat meat have restrictions.  Most don't eat red meat at all.  So it will give me the incentive to try some of the vegetable dishes like squash, shitake mushrooms, eggplant, etc.   =o9