Wednesday, December 31, 2008

....And Still More Pictures.....

Dateline December 23, 2008

Are you ready for a throwdown? Apparently peej wasn't because this post is about his entry that didn't win. I'm not about to divulge the winner because that is for someone else to do in a throwdown post of their own. You see for some strange reason as I was going through my pictures to post about the throwdown well, you see I have only 6 or seven pictures. And most of those are of an empty kitchen so don't expect to see any other pics other than these of peej getting his entry ready.

He starts by trying to find a sharp knife.


I see that pesky faucet has shown up again. I promise this will be the only time we see it tonight. Also if you notice the people might appear to be moving in the pictures. That is because I didn't use a flash and people just won't hold still long enough. I prefer to call them "action" shots.

Once he finds suitable knife to use peej starts by cutting up some onions.


I see he decided to use my cast iron dutch oven. Good choice. What do you suppose he is making. Let's continue to follow along.

He just added some sausage to the dutch oven.


Hmm, it's a mixture of Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage and Chirizo. What do you think he is up to?

Next is one of those patent "action" shots of peej stirring the pot, something his grandpa likes to do but with him we aren't talking about cooking.


Let's see what's next?


Chopped up onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, Emeril's Essence (that's what is in the big spice thing a ma jig), sausage browning in the dutch oven and he has my bible of cooking opened up to what page? Sausage chili! Holy cow he's cooking my sausage chili for the throwdown. If he wins I hope I get half his winnings.

Next he adds all the ingredients to the chili.


What's this? Look at all these snoops trying to get a peak at what he is doing.


Isn't that like cheating? The only thing that could be worse is if he decides to serve his chili in bread bowls. Now that would be cheating since we decided bread bowls are not to be allowed in this throwdown. DO YOU HEAR ME BIG SISTER?

And what is this little ingredient?


Beer? But he isn't old enough to be drinking beer, how did he get beer?


Oh that's what it is for. Now I understand, lucky for him I was thinking about grounding him until he was 21.

Next he adds the beans, not just any old brand of beans he had to have Bush's Beans.


And what's this?


Honey? Honey in chili? Now I've seen it all.

And this is what it looks like when he is done.


Here he is explaining the finer nuances of making chili with beer and honey to his aunt and uncle.


I'm not sure they're getting it.

I'm not a big fan of chili but I do love that sausage chili. I could tell you a story about how three of us ate a pot full of this chili once while deer hunting and how one of the hunters got out into the woods the next day and decided it was time to go and......why don't we leave that story for another day.

Stay tuned because tomorrow will be pictures of the other side of the family on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And More Pictures....

Dateline Monday December 22, 2008.

This is the day we picked to go grocery shopping for our meals for the rest of the week plus we needed to buy the rest of our ingredients for our impending throwdown. Imagine if you will three generations of Porters' descending on Meijers. Well we survived and so did Meijers even after the minor misunderstanding regarding crab legs. Needless to say we ended up with salmon to eat that night. Since I rarely get to eat deep fried salmon these days I welcomed the opportunity.

Anybody who has ever had the opportunity to eat deep fried salmon that dad makes knows it is the best you will ever have. The salmon is meticulously breaded and precisely cooked to perfection. I don't think I could ever duplicate how he cooks salmon so I never try. I liken it to cooking ma's red cake just no way to properly duplicate it so don't even try.


Look at all the salmon being precisely lined up getting ready to be breaded.


I should note I only took the very last picture on this post today. I will gladly give peej all the credit. Also notice it is light outside when this process is started.


Good deep fried salmon takes time to properly fix.


Notice that pesky sink faucet that keeps showing up in the pictures? Keep your eye on it.

Things are progressing along quite nicely.


Every now and then the knives need sharping. In this picture I'm showing an old man a new trick with a "good" knife sharpener.


I hate those sticks he uses but I convince him to use my knife sharpener and he actually likes it.


Now were moving, see we are making progress.


That's quite a pile of fish we got there. It's time for breading and this is where ma comes into the picture.


She says "Get out of my way or we'll never get this done." Notice that pesky faucet again? Notice it's dark outside now?

Once the fish is breaded they are lined up like solders awaiting the deep fryer.


Time to fry and believe me he has this part down to the second.


I see that pesky faucet has shown up in the picture again. Peej must have been intrigued by it because here is the next photo on the camera.


Huh? Is this a statement he is trying to make? Does he think this is art? Is this what they teach in political science? Let's look at some more "artful" photos.


A dead beer can, beautiful.


Another beer can picture? What's this got to do with a fish dinner? What's on his mind?




And what is this photo all about? Was it the coffee pot? Maybe the glass of wine? Maybe the bag of bagels or the little beagle in the windowsill. Who knows?

Let's get back to the fish frying and see how we're coming along.


Ah almost done. Let's set the table.


Notice the soup on the table? Yep that's my throwdown anything you can eat with a spoon entry. I call it Roasted Corn and Shrimp Chowder. The fish was very good too. Not as good as catching it fresh out of Lake Michigan but still pretty darn good none the less. I for one welcomed it.

Well time to eat so I will check in again tomorrow with more pictures for you. By tomorrow I will be back behind the camera, at least for most of the pictures.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Here Comes the Pictures

It's time to start Christmas pictures and non to soon because I have plenty to go through in the next few days. I think the best way to get this show started is to start at the beginning, makes sense doesn't it? For those of you too old to remember back that far the Christmas pictures and parties started on Sunday at the Wise Township Hall. This was the only chance for younger brothers family to be involved so tonight most pictures will be his family.

I will admit I do not take very good family pictures and I don't take very many family pictures either. Almost all of these pictures come compliments of Katie and I think she did a great job. Maybe she has a future as a photographer.



Okay so I took the first two pictures. The first one was almost black but I brought it back from the dead with a trip through Photoshop to lighten it up a bit. Now the rest will be Katie's.








Hey how did that one get in there?

If anyone wants these pictures you can steal them from my photobucket site where I store them. All you have to do is double click on one of the pictures and it will take you there. Once there you can figure out how to get around and download any and all pictures you want. You will be able to do this for any pictures you see here over the next few days.

I don't have much to say tonight because I have about 300 pictures to go through and get ready for the next round.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Weber Grill Restaurant

We left the Christmas of 2008 behind in out rear view mirror on Friday to take jp back to Grand Rapids so she could join the working world again. Since we only live about 5 hours from GR we decided we should just keep on truckin' on Friday towards home with one small pit stop, Chicago or better yet the Weber Grill Restaurant.

I have known about the Weber Grill Restaurant for a couple of years now but when we lived in Virginia I never thought I would get a chance to visit one. You see there are three located in Chicago, seems a little selfish to me, and one in Indy. There aren't any located anywhere around Arlington/DC area. Once we moved to Wisconsin I knew on one of our trips we would have to go by way of Chicago so we could stop at one and see if they are as good as they sound. Since we were going back to Wisconsin a couple of days early what a better chance to eat at the Weber Grill than this last weekend. While at Joni's we located the Weber's we wanted to eat at in Lombard and then found a hotel to stay at on, we even got a good rate on pretty darn nice hotel room with a continental breakfast to boot (thanks Dino for the tip). And the bonus was the restaurant was only 1/4 of a mile from the hotel room, sweet.

As soon as you walk through the doors there is a state of the art, no hold barred, stainless steel gas grill.

Huh? I thought Weber was all about charcoal? I didn't travel into Chicago just to have my food cooked on a gas grill. Oh but wait as you walk in further there is what I want to see the old time charcoal grills, the original Weber grills on display.

The hostess asks us if we want to be seated, well of course. "Follow me" she says. On our way to our table we pass the kitchen.

I love the smell of charcoal burning along with food being cooked on charcoal. As you walk by you get to see all the chefs cooking in front of the Weber grills and the flames shooting up from the grills. This is charcoal grilling at its best, this is what I live for, I think I could really enjoy this.

She guided us past the bar and to our booth where we would soon be enjoying our meal. We had high definition TV all around us with basketball and football games on. Perfect. Since we walked from the hotel, remember it was only a 1/4 of a mile, we both ordered drinks. I should also mention when we walked out of our hotel it wasn't hard to find the restaurant all we had to do was follow the burning smell of charcoal.

Since we were at the Weber Grill I wasn't about to order a whimpy salad or soup. I was there for something from the grill or smoker. Since I had just ate some pretty good steak the day before on Christmas I was looking for something different. My choice was a full slab of pork ribs slow smoked all day to delightful tenderness. The wife chose grilled tilapia, another good selection.

The ribs were good and maybe some of the best I have had in a restaurant. They were a little heavy on the chili powder which gave them more of a chili taste than I usually like. The bbq sauce was a bit spicy but I like it on the spicy side. The waitress explained to me they just changed the sauce recently and these ribs are the ones they cook on the competition circuit.

Overall one of my best restaurant experiences but it helps when this is one of my favorite types of food. It was well worth the side trip to go there and I will certainly be going back. I wish they would open one in the DC area so if we move back there we will have one to go to.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The End is in Site

I should mention for the next week my post will be few and comments probably even fewer. I know everyone is probably celebrating over that right now but the reason is I'm at dad's and this computer operates from the old, antique dial up system, frustrating to say the least.

I got here yesterday about 2:30 either eastern or central time, not sure which anymore. I decided to drive through Chicago since I would get there before eight o'clock in the morning and traffic wouldn't be to bad. I made it to Joni's apartment in Grand Rapids in just under 5 hours. We went to the Olive Garden restaurant for lunch and then I maneuvered over the snow covered roads the rest of the way here.

The real reason for this post isn't to talk about my trip it's to talk about the Detroit Lions. Yes the end is almost in site with just two games left to play. Today they play the New Orleans Saints at home and next week they play the Packers at Lambeau Field. Since the Lions haven't won at Lambeau for approximately 20 years I think it's safe to say they won't win there this year either. That only leaves today for the Lions to win a game or finish with a perfect record of 0-16. It has never been done before in the NFL so we might be watching futile history in the making.

If the Lions play like the last couple of weeks they actually have a realistic chance of winning this game but if they decide to mail in a dud of a performance, which they seem to do more than occasionally, then history will be made. I think the Lions will play hard today because they don't want to get stuck with the title of being the worse team ever in the NFL. The game will be close and Jason Hansen, the Lions field goal kicker and possibly the best player on the team, will win it with less then two minutes to go. The perfect season will have to wait for another year with another team. The score will be 23-21.

That brings us to the other race going on in the NFL now. The only race that matters for any Lions fan and that is the race for the number one draft pick in this springs NFL draft. The Lions don't have it wrapped up yet but if they loose one of the next two games then they will have wrapped it up. Since the Lions lack so much talent I think I would like to see them trade the pick for more draft picks. They already have another first round draft pick from when they traded Roy Williams to the Dallas Cowboys and I would like to see them trade for a package of draft picks from another team if at all possible. The Lions severely lack talent and the quickest way to replenish talent is through the NFL draft, especially this year with all the college players declaring for the draft. This is suppose to be one the the deepest draft classes ever from college.

Hopefully the Lions will hire a general manager that can take advantage of all the draft picks the Lions have this year. If they do it won't take long for the Lions to become contenders again.

And please if somebody has a faster connection please bring it to me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dateline: December 14, 2008

7:45am - Wake up and roll over in bed and notice it's 7:45am. "Holy cow how did I sleep in so late I got to get my lazy butt out of bed."

8:00am - Turn on Food Network to watch the best hour of television - Tyler's Ultimate and Grill it with Bobby Flay.

8:01am - Pissed off because Tyler's Ultimate isn't on this morning something else is on in its place.

8:02am - Time for breakfast.

8:03am - Pissed off because I forgot to buy eggs for breakfast. I got to have eggs on Sunday. Not a good start.

8:04am - Start to make out grocery list for today's cooking. First on the list - eggs.

8:30am - Bobby Flay comes on, at least I got that right. Things are starting to turn around.

9:00am - Check the weather. Holy cow 50 degrees outside.

9:01am - Look outside and see over half our snow has melted over night. Things are getting better all the time.

9:02am - Go upstairs and change my clothes to head for the grocery store.

9:15am - Jump in the car and head for town, destination: Piggly Wiggly.

9:25am - Pull into the Pig's parking lot.

9:30 to 10:00am - Buy groceries.

10:15am - Arrive back at home and unload groceries.

10:30am - Groceries are put away and I look across the kitchen, I'm thinking "It might be awhile until the kitchen is this clean again."


(See that piece of paper on the counter? That is the recipe for my Throwdown soup. Can you read it? Too bad.)

10:40am - Time to make my eggs for breakfast, I'll bet you thought I forgot to buy them eh?


10:50am - Time to eat eggs. Notice all this from a cast iron frying pan, no teflon here, treated properly eggs will not stick to cast iron.


11:00am - Time to get started cooking, I have lots to do today. I need to make pasta sauce for the Lasagna I will be making later and for the Ragu I am making for my dinner tonight. I will also be making the first part of my soup for next weeks impending Throwdown.

11:05am - Line up ingredients to make red sauce. Might make a good post for Jock's Good Grub someday.


12:15pm - Finish making red sauce an put off to the side for later.

12:30pm - Finish cleaning kitchen and start making Lasagna.


12:45pm - Make bechamel sauce for lasagna.

1:03pm - Cook pasta for lasagna.

1:30pm - Cook sausage for lasagna

1:45pm - Line up all ingredients to put into lasagna.

2:00pm - Assemble lasagna and insert into oven for 45 minutes.

2:05pm - Look across kitchen and the mess isn't too bad. I try to keep it cleaned up as I go.


2:15pm - Start on Throwdown soup recipe.


(Sorry it's a surprise.)

2:35pm - TOUCHDOWN DETROIT LIONS. The Lion's just tied up the Colts and it the beginning of the 4th quarter. Could this be the game they finally win?

2:45pm - Take lasagna out of the oven to let cool off so I can put it in the freezer. This lasagna is heading for Michigan for dinner one night next week.


2:46pm - Colts score a touchdown, score Colts 28 Detroit 21. The Lions still have a chance.

2:55pm - Colts kick a field goal the score is now Colts 31 Detroit 21. So much for winning that game. Only two more games to go can the Lions do it? If they play like they did today they will win one of the last two. They played hard today the Colts are just to good for them.

2:56 to 4:00pm - Finish making the first part of the throwdown soup to freeze and finish once I get to Michigan. Sorry for the lack of pictures know, can't give away any secrets.

4:01pm - Sit down and watch a little bit of the Pittsburgh vs Baltimore football game. Good game.

4:30pm - Time to start my dinner - Chicken Ragu.


4:31pm - Check the recipe on my Google Documents page. I store all my recipes on Google Documents now. I realize Google will own me someday. If you have ever heard of cloud computing, the way of the future, this is the beginning of it. Google will take over everything and Microsoft will be left behind.

4:32pm - Line up the ingredients for a future Jock's Good Grub post if this turns out.


5:15pm - Plate up my dinner and sit down to watch some the the Pittsburgh and Baltimore game.


5:43pm - Finish eating and clean up the kitchen.

6:00pm - I take a look at the pans I used today.


That's a darn good collection of cast iron.

6:20pm - Finish cleaning up the kitchen.

6:25pm - Walk out of kitchen, tired.


6:30pm - Sit down to watch Sunday Night Football but I find the movie Jeremiah Johnson on and watch it instead. Good movie.

10:00pm - Lights out.