Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Music Sequels

After the older sister had a post about songs and sequels to songs I thought long and hard to try to come up with some but there are not very many out there. I even googled song sequels and all I could come up with were original and parodies of the original songs. And then she wrote another post asking for songs you just can't stand to listen to. I really don't have any songs I can't stand other than all rap music and I sure can't post all those songs. I have been trying to come up with either a song sequel or a song I can't stand for the last week and I just haven't had any luck.

So I decided to take another approach, find songs someone has done and find a response to that song by another group or artist. Unlike the above songs big sis was looking for there are some of these type out there, not a lot but non the less there are some.

The one on my post tonight is probably the easiest one to find and both songs are classics. Neil Young came out with his song Southern Man first and the people in the south got offended by it. The response to Neil Young's song was by Lynyrd Skynyrd called Sweet Home Alabama.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Lines of Spring

I thought I would post this photo because someone inquired about my lines being straight when I mowed the lawn the other day. As you can see these lines could be straighter but the hill on the left by the road is a lot steeper than it looks in the photo. The back of the tractor tends to slide down the hill because it is so steep. The other problem is once the tractor slides down the hill it can't get enough traction to climb back up the hill. Also to the right of the photo (you can't see it) the yard is tore up from the new septic system being installed last fall.

But know that it has been brought up I will take it as a challenge to make he lines straighter regardless of obstacles.

There are times where curvy lines will look better than straight lines. If you are following natural curves and contours of the yard sometimes it is impossible to make straight lines. After I mow the backyard next weekend I will post a sample of this.

The $20 dollar bet still stands but you have to start where I started in the above photo.

Key Lime Pie Update

We sampled the latest version (and probably the one we will be bringing with us) of key lime pie the wife made yesterday. If I was everyone else I wouldn't even bother with your entries in contest because this might be as good as it gets with key lime pie.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Smells of Spring

Is there nothing better than the smell of freshly cut grass and charcoal grilling in the spring time? I love the smell of fresh cut grass in the spring it is a sure sign that summer is just around the corner.

I might be a few days early for our lawn actually needing to be mowed but I wanted to check out the lawn tractor since I fixed it. I had to replace both the lifting rods on the mower deck this spring. The lifting rods are what keep the mower deck level while mowing the lawn. One of the rods broke about a year and a half ago while the other one must of broke the last time I used it last fall. Now that I have replaced both rods and armed the mower deck with a new set of blades it is a mowing machine once again. That is why I wanted to mow at least part of our lawn today to make sure I had the deck level and to also make sure the height was high enough. After a little adjustment with the height I think I am ready for a season of mowing.

Another sign of spring, at least where we live in Wisconsin, is the sound of the race track Road America. Road America is about 1 mile from us but we can still hear the cars roaring around the race track. Road America is a road race track which means they just don't go around circles there. We plan on taking in a race or two while we live here. There really isn't any smells associated with the race track but it is still another sign of spring.

The last of of the smells today is the smell of the grill cooking, probably my favorite of all. Today's menu is grilled roasted turkey, garlic mashed potatoes and gravy, and grilled asparagus. The wife is working on a key lime pie which she just informed me won't be ready until tomorrow. This is the first try at the recipe she will be bringing with us to the key lime pie contest, otherwise known as John's open house.
Everything you see here was cooked on the Weber today, even the gravy. The turkey was roasted over charcoal for 3 hours with a little apple wood thrown in every now and then for a smoky flavor. The potatoes were roasted in tin foil with garlic and the asparagus was cooked over the remaining coals. Today I tossed the asparagus in olive oil, a little bit of salt and pepper before I cooked it. After it was cooked I sprinkled it with grated parmesan cheese. The gravy was cooked after the turkey was removed. I used the pan drippings and mixed some chicken broth and flour and cooked the gravy over the charcoal. The turkey gravy turned out a little darker then usual because of the smoking process of the turkey.

Overall I would rate this meal a 3.75 out of 5 forks. My only problem with the meal was it was a little salty for me and for that reason I can't give it a 4. I had brined the turkey overnight in a salt brine and I think this may be the reason for the salty flavor. I don't use much salt in my cooking so when I do use salt I can tell. For people who do use salt they probably wouldn't even notice. The salty flavor wasn't noticeable in the turkey but it sure was in the gravy.

Below is what the turkey looked like before it was cooked.
And here is a picture of what it looked like after it was cooked.
As you can see the turkey was a little dark after it was cooked. This is due to the apple wood I used to cook it with.

This is the first time I have cooked turkey on the grill so it was a learning experience. I think I will give it another try later in the summer.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Arlington Virgina

Since nobody ever came to Arlington to see where I lived I thought I would post a map of the area and point out a couple of points of interest.
Most of the map is of the Arlington Cemetery. Peej should of had this map the day he decided to take his walk. I checked the distance from our apartment to where he "claimed" he was by the Pentagon and it is just over two miles as the crow flies.

If you look at the tack marked Lincoln Memorial and then look right you will see the Washington Monument. Then to the right of that is the Washington Mall where the Smithsonian's are and then the Capital building.

To the right and down a little bit where it looks like a large pond of water is what they call the Tidal Basin. This is where the cherry blossom trees are in bloom in the spring.
It wasn't bad around here the Friday night I took this picture but on Saturday it reminded by of herding cows into the semi trailer the day they take the 4H animals from the county fair. It was so crowded we didn't get very far before we gave up.

Our most famous neighbors, George and Laura Bush, lived only 2-1/2 miles to the east of us. We used to walk over there and check out their yard when the secret service would let us. If something was happening on the lawns of the White House you were not allowed any where near the White House.

The bridge to the north (that's up for the people that are geographically challenged) leads to Georgetown. To the right of the bridge is Georgetown and to the left is Georgetown University. We used to walk over to Georgetown and frequent the restaurants there. One of my favorite pizza joints was over there, Uno's, the home of the deep dish pizza.

Enough for now latter I will dig up some more maps and photos for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Sunday Dinner Recipes

I wish my scanner was working because it would make this a lot easier than typing in these recipes, but I guess I will type them in and give credit where credit is due.

Grilled Salmon with Key Lime Butter

This recipe is from Paula Deen's sons, the free loading ones. But I will give credit where credit is due and they actually do come up with some good recipes. I am not sure whether or not they are stealing them out of their mothers recipe book when she isn't looking.

5 tbsp of unsalted butter
2 tbsp of key lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
Cooked pasta or rice

Prepare grill by lightly oiling grill grate over medium high heat.

In a small saucepan, melt butter add lime juice. Salt and pepper the salmon fillets modestly on both sides. Place fillets onto grill, brush half of the lime butter over salmon. Grill salmon for 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium rare. Drizzle remaining lime butter over salmon before serving. Serve with pasta or rice.

I think one of the mistakes I made when cooking the salmon was not cutting the salmon up into smaller pieces as they suggest. Next time I will cut up the salmon into serving size pieces. I also left the skin on so it would help keep the fish together on the grill. Next time I am taking the skin off and cooking the salmon. The picture will come out better if you cut the salmon into serving sizes before cooking too. Once the salmon is cooked it wants to flake apart to easily and makes for jagged edges on the salmon. If you look at my photo above you will see what I am talking about. I should also note I cooked my salmon about 3 minutes per side. If you watch the salmon cook you can actually see it change color so it is pretty easy to tell when it is done. As Emeril would say it has a built in thermometer.

Asparagus with Sesame Citrus Sauce

This recipe is from the queen of cooking in the south Paula Deen. Most of the food she cooks on her show looks good but leaves a little to be desired for the healthy side of things.

1 bunch asparagus
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus a splash
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sesame seeds, plus extra for garnish
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp sesame oil

Prepare the asparagus. Snap off bases of spears and discard. Bring a small amount of salted water to boil in a saucepan, add a splash of lemon; add asparagus and cook until tender. Remove asparagus and shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking and to keep its bright green color.

Melt the 3 tbsp of butter in saucepan. Add 1 tbsp sesame seeds and cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes over moderate heat, until lightly browned. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp orange juice, drizzle with 1 tsp of sesame oil. Whisk to make sure its fully emulsified. Add salt, to taste. Add asparagus to sauce, and toss until coated. Serve hot and garnish with extra sesame seeds, if desired.

I cooked my asparagus on the grill until just tender. I also substituted the lemon with lime juice because our dinner was a lime dinner theme that night. I think the next time I make this I will lightly toast the sesame seeds. This should give them a little more flavor. I will also warn you if you haven't ever used sesame seed oil in anything be careful, a little goes a long way. Sesame oil is also good in Chinese cooking, that is where I normally use it. The asparagus will really soak in the lime flavor too. The orange juice flavor didn't really come through either because the lime juice and sesame oil over powered it. I have also had a thought of using extra virgin olive oil in place of the butter to see if I could cut down on the butter intake. If somebody tries this let me know how it turns out.

Jasmine Rice

This recipe is from the back of the container.

1 part rice
2 parts water or broth

Bring water or broth to a boil and add rice. Cover and turn stove down to low, real low. Let steam for 25 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork and let set for another 5 minutes, be patient. DO NOT uncover until after the 25 minutes.


This recipe is from years of experimentation.

1 Steve Yzerman glass from Arby's

Fill Steve Yzerman glass with milk.

There you have it, Sunday dinner. If anybody decides to cook these items let me know how it turns out. Also let me know if you have any suggestions for changing the recipes. Remember recipes are only guidelines.

Bonus Recipe

The Deen Brothers' BBQ Sauce

Can you believe I have a second recipe from the Deen brothers? Neither can I but this is probably the best quick fix bbq sauce I have come across. And there is a good chance you have the ingredients in your cupboard.

1 cup ketchup (I use Hunts, it is simply the best for bbq sauces)
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

In a bowl stir together all ingredients.

That's it. Nothing else to it. I do skip the liquid smoke if I am grilling outside. I also substitute the cayenne pepper for chipolte red pepper. The chipolte red pepper has a smoky flavor to it and I think it is a little hotter than the cayenne pepper too. Which ever you use be careful you can quickly ruin the bbq sauce unless you like heat.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Grilled Pizza

I was thinking maybe I should change my blog title to Chillin' and Grillin' it seems lately all I have been posting is food I have grilled or barbecued. We use our grill or smoker 4-5 times a week. I was looking at empty charcoal bags and we have already used more than 80 pounds of charcoal this spring and it isn't even Memorial Day yet, the kick-off weekend to the grilling season. If I die of cancer some day the coroner won't have to look any farther than the bbq grill to see what caused it.

Tonights feast was pizza made on the Weber.
What makes tonights pizza different than what I would normally make is the crust. Yesterday I actually made the dough from scratch with my own two hands. This is a close to baking as I ever get. I have made pizza dough before but lately I have been buying the pizza crust. The store bought pizza crust is alright but I always think I can do better. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.

As you can see from the picture above I use a pizza stone when I cook pizza. Since I have had it I think it is a must to get the crust cooked right. (By the way thanks mom for the Christmas present). When using a pizza stone I suggest following the instructions for use because if you don't disaster will strike. If you notice mine doesn't look like it has been cleaned for awhile. That is because it hasn't. All that is required for cleaning is scraping with a spatchula and wiping off with a clean dry towel. Pizza stones will absorb anything they come in contact with including dish soap. The instructions say you will end up with dark spots on the stone but don't worry about it, so I don't.
I will give the pizza 3 out of 5 forks because the crust didn't turn out the way I like. I like a thicker, chewier crust and this one was more suitable for a thin crust pizza. The overall taste of the pizza was good though, maybe as good as I have made. I will go back to the kitchen and work on the crust and see if I can improve it some.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Possiblities

It was brought to my attention last week after I posted the beef roast I cooked last Sunday for the two of us that someone thought it was to large of a meal for them to cook. I think people look at the large roast the wrong way. Instead of saying "That is to big for two of us to eat" (or one in MM's case) you should be saying "What else can I do with that roast?" I like a good beef roast and if I looked at a meal like that as being for only one meal then I would waste a lot of the roast too. I take the Robin Miller (she is from Quick Fix Meals on the Food Network) approach; cook a larger meal on Saturday or Sunday and then use leftovers to create quick fix meals during the week. This is a extremely helpful approach not only for quick and easy meals during the week but also on your budget. When we buy a roast or just about any other meal we try to buy the specials for the week and then plan our meals around them.

Another example of this was last Saturday I made a pasta dish with sweet italian sausage, pasta, my own red sauce, parmigiano reggiano cheese, garlic, etc. I always make extra because the wife likes to take it to work and later in the week I turn it into a casserole. This is simple enough, put it in a casserole dish, add a little basil, and cover it with mozzarella cheese. Cover it with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes in the oven. This is just about as easy as it gets for a weekday meal, still pretty tasty and not to mention cheap.

Just as a reminder this is what I started with last Sunday. (Once again excuse the picture quality.)

During the week I had beef sandwiches for a couple of days and the wife did too.

And then Thursday night when I came home all I had to do was make some mash potatoes, warm up the gravy and roast I had made on Sunday and presto, hot beef sandwiches, which I love along with hot turkey sandwiches and hot meat loaf sandwiches.

Don't forget the other things you can do with this roast beef, a philly cheese steak sandwich smothered with cheese, of course, and grilled onions, bbq beef sandwiches, beef tacos, or you could turn it into high grade dog food for the little ones in your life.

We paid about $2.69 per pound so this roast cost us under $9.00. For this we got a good meal on Sunday and another good meal on Thursday night, plus sandwiches at lunch time. If you ever buy lunch meat you know lunch meat out of the deli will cost twice this amount.

All I am trying to say is don't bypass the large items like beef roast, pork roast, turkeys or even chickens because you think there is to much to eat, figure out other uses for it later in the week. Robin Miller would be proud.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Good Bye and Good Riddance

All I can say it is about time. This is the last of the snow left in our yard. It melted away sometime this evening.

Imagine waking up in mid April with snow covering the ground. That is what I did on Saturday, it just doesn't seem right. To make matters worse it snowed most of the day. That is a miserable day when it happens this time of year.

Today it actually got up into the mid 40's with the sun shining most of the day. Maybe spring will show up before fall gets here. All I know is I am going to enjoy the summer day we get in July, I hope.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Something Different

I was looking for something different to cook on the grill this weekend so for ideas I looked at the Meisfield's sale flyer. Right in the middle of their sale items was a beef shoulder roast I thought I might give a try. I should have done some Internet research before I did so I would have an idea on how to cook it on a grill. I didn't know when I decided to look up how to cook a beef roast on the Internet today there would be so little information. There is a lot of information for cooking standing rib roast but not regular shoulder roast.

After a lot of searching I decided to make up a rub and put on it and start off by slow cooking it on the grill with a couple of chunks of mesquite wood for the smokey flavor. I did this for the first 1-1/2 hours or so and then I put the roast into a pan with beef broth, carrots and onions. I cooked the potatoes in a separate pouch with a little butter and onions. I let the roast cook for an additional 1 hour on the grill with a cover on it.

I removed the roast a let it rest for awhile while I finished cooking the potatoes. The potatoes were red potatoes I had cut in half before I put them in the aluminum foil. Once the potatoes are cooked through I put them cut side down on the grill to finish them. I am not sure what happens when potatoes are cooked like this but they seem to get a sweet flavor to them. I think the heat draws the sugar out of the potatoes and intensifies the flavor. I have seen this on Bobby Flay's show but had never tried it until recently. This is a good way to cook potatoes, different flavor altogether.

Sorry about the quality of the picture but something has gone wrong with my camera. I need to find the instruction book and see if I can fix it.

The beef roast turned out ok but I think I will find another way to cook it next time. The carrots were real good, I think they may have been the best part of the meal.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Tonight was the night I was suppose to take pictures of the bbq pizza that I cooked out on a charcoal grill and post them for everyone to see. I was going to post them no matter how bad the pizza turned out but a funny thing happened the pizza turned out fine but the pictures I took didn't. I am not sure what happened but every picture was ruined. All the pictures look like they were taken through a violet lens, I mean a real violet colored lens. I guess I will have to wait until next time.

As I said above the pizza turned out fine but I will wait until I have some good pictures before I post about it. I will give out the recipe at that time for anybody who wants to try one.

Tigers Win!!!!!!!!!!

Boy I didn't think I would ever get to talk about the Tigers again but finally they won a game. They just beat the Red Sox 7-2. They looked like the Tigers are supposed to look this year. They did have two errors in the game but I didn't see either one so I am not sure who committed them. I am just glad they won a game.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Honey, can you see what is in the mailbox?"

That is the first thing the wife said to me when she got home yesterday from work. My response was "Huh?"

"Can you see what is in the mailbox? I am afraid to stick my hand in there. There is something in there and I don't know what it is."

"Oh, but it is alright for me to stick my hand in there and possibly loose a few fingers?"

"Yeah. Go look please?"

So I put my shoes back on and trudge out to the mailbox to see what she is talking about. I was expecting a small animal or something like that so when I get out there I slowly open the mailbox to see what it is. So far a good start because nothing jumps out at me. I bent over to look inside and way in the back is a dark brown object, it looks like a bees nest has been built back there. Now I know it is a little early for bees to be out building nest especially as cold as it has been and big as this one looked already. I grabbed a piece of mail and slowly poked at it to see exactly what it was. Now that is strange, a bees nest built in cold weather with a postage stamp on it. It was hard so I knew the bees nest was now ruled out plus the postage stamp kind of gave it away.

My next thought was some kid put this object in there for a practical joke so I should be careful in case it explodes or something. After rolling it around a couple of times I figured it was safe so I reached in and pulled it out. The first thing I see on it is some writing "From the coast of somewhere beautiful." I was thinking to myself "That is strange somebody sent me something from Lake Superior" after all that is the most beautiful coast I have ever seen. Once again why would anybody be vacationing on the coast of Lake Superior this time of year, but if bees can build bees nest when it is this cold outside maybe somebody would vacation on the Lake Superior coast this time of year too.

Of course I knew who sent it as soon as I read the address part. I think it came from the same place as this post card came from.

(I want to set the record straight right now, we do not have that much snow in Wisconsin at this time, most of it is gone.)

I am not really sure what it is but I figured Katie picked it up somewhere and the sisters thought it might be funny to mail it to me. I had thoughts about breaking it open but I was not sure I was suppose to after all maybe it has some curse to it. It is light and it doesn't rattle. Any hints? Does anyone know what it is? I would try to google it but I don't know where I would start.

What I think is funny is they paid $4.60 to mail me something Katie picked up out the the woods somewhere.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More Ribs

I waited until this week to post these pictures so the sisters could see what their ribs should look like after they cook them. I know they are probably just getting back from their Florida vacation (I don't know why anybody would want to go to sunny and 80 degree weather this time of year but I suppose somebody has to do it) but I thought they might want to see what real food looks like.

The picture to the right is the smoker I use to cook ribs, bbq pork or anything else that needs to be slow cooked. It works alright but it does have issues. It doesn't cook evenly across the smoking chamber so it does take some messing around to get everything to cook evenly, especially if there is a lot of food to be cooked. To the left is where the charcoal and wood goes for cooking. This side can also be used for grilling but it also has limitations. For the most part it works fairly good especially when you take into account how much I paid for it.

I used the bbq sauce I have been working on for the last few weeks on these ribs and I finally think I may be getting close to what I am looking for. I think with a couple of more tweaks here and there I may have it. I also use mesquite hardwood for the smoke flavor this time. I am not sure I will stay with this wood because I still want to try a couple of other types. I should also note I did not use any rub with these ribs, only salt and pepper before cooking.

The ribs were cooked almost perfectly. They were not quite falling apart offering just a slight resistance when bitten into.

For tonight I went over to Mesfield's this morning and bought two ribeye steaks to cook. I cooked them on the Weber tonight and I meant to take some pictures because someone said they wanted to see some beef pictures last week. But I forgot again.

Tomorrow I am cooking bbq chicken on the grill again. I won't be taking any pictures this time since I posted some last week but I will cook enough chicken to save the bbq breast meat for a bbq pizza later this week. I think I am going to try and cook it on the new Weber grill. This might prove to be very interesting before I am done so I think I better have a back up plan for that night. I will try to take some pictures regardless of the outcome. If you have never made a bbq pizza, whether it is chicken or pork you should give it a try. They are easy to make and delicious. It is also a very inexpensive meal as long as it was left over chicken or pork you are using. I will give out the recipe after I cook it if it turns out. If it doesn't turn out better head to Mickey D's.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Just Another Local Fish Boil

Something I always wanted to do was a fish boil so today when the wife called me at work to say she had two tickets to the local fish boil tonight I told her to take them. The local Plymouth American Legion does a fish boil every year to raise money for the local community and the wife's boss is a member of the American Legion and offered her the tickets.

The first time I had heard of a fish boil was back when mom and dad use to go to Frankfurt fishing. Every Saturday night in the downtown area they would hold a fish boil. I was never there at the right time to go to the fish boil but it was something I always wanted to do. Tonight was the first chance I have ever had to go to a fish boil. I have always thought about doing one myself but just never got around to it.

If you have never heard of a fish boil it is pretty much as it sounds. I am not sure of the exact procedure but it goes something like this: Boil water, add salt, add potatoes, add carrots, add onions, add fish boil seasoning, add fish (I think they usually use cod, at least that is what we had tonight.) The various items are added at various times according to the time it takes to cook. When it is all done they serve it to you with melted butter. I believe that may be the key, the melted butter. I have also been told if it is cooked right it will taste a little like lobster, I think this is where the butter may help too.

The meal was not a disappointment. The potatoes were good, the carrots were real good, and the fish was good too. And it did taste somewhat like lobster. I would definitely go back for another fish boil I just don't think this is something you would want every week because of the amount of butter they pour on top of everything. It sure did taste good though.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tigers Loose Again

Tigers lost again today to the Royals 4-0. What has happened to the "best lineup ever assembled?" I don't care how good or bad you pitch if you don't score any runs you aren't going to win.

I think the Royals must have the Tigers number because they struggled with the Royals last year too. The Royals may be the reason the Tigers didn't make the playoffs last year and the way it looks they could be the reason this year.

I am not to worried about the Tiger sluggers though, I think they will still score their share of the runs. The bullpen scares the hell out of me.

I just read an article about Clete Thomas that said he retired after his basehit on opening day. Clete was a young player just out of the minors and this was his first basehit of his career. No reason was given to why he chose to retire unless this was some sort of April Fools joke.