~ Totally Undeserving of the James Beard Award

~ Completely Undeserving of the James Beard Award ~

Friday, December 9, 2011

Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Turkeyette

For the past few years, I have cooked the T-Day bird on a rotisserie on my Weber gas grill...and it always came out great. It's tricky to time it, as it is not cooking the conventional way.  ”X” minutes per pound at “X” degrees in the oven are thrown out the window. I made sure I always had a full tank of gas, but you are working out in the elements with low air temperature (at least where I live) and probably some wind which will affect the inside temp...and how accurate are those gas grill lid thermometers anyway?

It was also tricky to get it to stay secure while he was on the carousel of flavor. I trussed, tied, knotted and cinched butchers string the carcass to the rotisserie rod, but once he became more and more cooked, the looser and looser it became. The meat, juices, cartilage and bones all worked against by effort to keep the thing securely tied to the stake, so I had to monitor it and add a bit of additional nooses now and then.

I also discovered I had to remove the grill grates and the mysterious "flave-o-bars" under them to have enough room for my whirling dervish of meat. I suspect a smaller bird may not need all of that stuff removed. I placed some type of wood chips in there but I doubt it did anything. A tray made out of foil or something is also needed to catch the juices, a bit tricky to get everything aligned so wing tips and such are not bonking into stuff. What I do remember is it cooked faster than I estimated. I think I had a 22 pounder and it seems it was done in 3 hours, almost too soon. But once you had it all set up it was nice to have an empty oven for all the other stuff.

This year was on the Traeger smoker/grill! I went with apple wood and with my fancy remote thermometer I can "set it and forget it". A very handy tool, about $35 with a metal probe and cable to stab into the thigh, run the cable out to a shelf on the bbq and plug in the transmitter. Then turn on the wireless LCD gage, select “turkey” and it starts reading the temp. Take it inside and set it on the counter and once it is up to the proper and safe cooked temperature and alarm goes of and you’re done.

Although we ordered a 22-24 pound bird, we ended up getting a 28 pounder!

Hey Mr. Blogger Man!

Yes, Billy…what is it now?

Will that thing even fit inside your bbq? HA!...I bet it didn't!

Well, if you must know, I asked the butcher to cut it in half…so now I essentially had two 14-pound birds and cooked them accordingly, gut side down.

Oh…well what about stuffing, huh?…bet you didn’t think of that huh? I bet it all fell out inside your bbq and made huge mess. Wish I saw that!

(I would like to stuff you) I normally do not stuff the birds, Billy...too mushy…I just used a little light olive oil and salt and pepper…and of course the apple wood. Oh, I think I hear your mother calling you.

What about the drippings huh?...how did you make gravy, huh?

Shut up, Billy…I already explained that on my last post.

I think it came out great. A little smoke flavor, not too much as I had it on “smoke” for an hour then turned it up to 375. I chose not to make stock out of the carcass as I thought the smokiness would be off putting in a stock.

Sorry...no pictures.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Roux, Roux, Roux Your Boat...

...Gravy Boat that is.

A roux is a mixture of four and fat, usually butter or perhaps the fat from the protein you just cooked which thickens a sauce and can flavor it as well. You heat the fat and whisk in the flour until it becomes one over a moderate heat, just be sure not to burn the flour. As you stir it will change color and brown to a blond roux, and if you continue it becomes a peanut butter color and darker and darker. It depends on what you are using it for and what you are trying to accomplish in deciding when it's the right color. Think etouffee, gumbo and french "mother" sauces, they usually all use it. Those mother sauces are a sauce in themselves and a base for other sauces. Make a roux, add milk and you have a béchamel sauce...now add cheese and you have a mornay sauce as I explained here.

So, you can use a roux to thicken a sauce or you can use corn starch. Mix corn starch 1:1 with a cold liquid in a side bowl into a slurry. Some use 2:1, liquid over corn starch. Water works fine...I have also used wine and stock or broth, it just depends how you want it. However, by using a corn starch slurry, the liquid you are adding it to must be quite hot or it wont thicken properly. "So why can't I use that same method with flour, Mr. Blogger Man?" Well, Billy...you need to cook the flour and water solution to remove the raw flour taste...and didn't I tell you to stay out the kitchen?

There are many other methods to thicken a sauce. Arrowroot is one. Flour tends to make your gravy a bit  cloudy which may be fine with you, corn starch a little less cloudy...but arrowroot will keep it clear and shiny. Use it the same as corn starch. Some say arrowroot makes meat sauces look fake and weird and does not re-heat well and will make dairy based sauces slimy. Tapioca is also popular, there's potato starch and whole bunch of other strange stuff to use.

Because I will tryout the Traeger smoker /grill for the bird, I wont be using a roasting pan in the oven and catching all the wonderful yum-yums on the bottom of the pan for the gravy, I will need to use alternative #2 which I have used for the rotisserie method. That is to get some turkey wings and veggies and roast them up the weekend before...and start making my gravy ahead of time. How great is that!

Roasted up some turkey wings with a splash of olive oil and S & P, about 1/2 hour at 375.

Toss some aromatics in a big pot...an onion, 2 celery ribs, 4 carrots, which will help by also coloring the stock, fresh parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme...they should make a song like that...a few peppercorns and head of garlic cut around it's equator. Some S & P. Stir them around in EVOO until they start to caramelize. No need to peel the onions and such as this will all be strained.

The toss in the wings and pan juices, deglaze the roasting pan as well to get the goodies that stuck, then cover with cold water...simmer for about 2 hours. I will make the roux and finish the gravy on turkey day.

If you are doing this to make and save for later, a cleaver way to do this is to pour 1 cup of the strained stock into a muffin tin and carefully set level in your freezer. Once frozen, warm the bottom a bit to loosen each one and toss in a freezer bag. You now have convenient, homemade stock at the ready in 1 cup portions.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Little Sneak Peak into the Secret World of a Famous Food Blogger...

Many people come to me and say…”Hey!…how can I be a cool, suave and debonair food blogger like you?”

Well, I say to them as I chuckle…you can, but only in you’re dreams!  That always gets me. But if you really want to know, there are a few hard fast rules to follow:

First you have to look the part. No jeans and t-shirts in our clique. No way, man. One thing is your shoes must match your belt…always, such as white belt, white shoes...which I have three sets of. Red is also good.

Make sure your hair is well past your collar and because of proper hygiene required in the kitchen, comb it all back with a little dab of whatever to hold it in place. And speaking of hygiene, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make sure you have plenty of aftershave on hand. Aqua-Velvet and Old Spice are my favorites…it should be applied hourly.

Pants and shirts should be very, very well fitted. Polyester, of course….and no boxers or briefs…commando is they way to go…a treat for you ladies out there!

You will next need a bitchin’, swinging kitchen…olive or mustard colors are a must for the stove, refer, dishwasher, microwave, Kitchenaid, blender, toaster, coffee pot, crock pot, electric fry pan.

Dishes? Corelle…need I say more?

Linens, towels, toaster cozies, oven mits and general decoration, bric-a-brac and knitknacks should all have either owls or mushrooms on them.

And when are not cooking or blogging, we usually hang out at the hot spots for inspiration, such as the local Holiday Inn lounge or a lounge at a Dennys.

I have to admit...I got most of my help and direction from my brothers.

I don’t know if I sound angry…or my t-y-p-i-n-g is angry but…boy, today…actually all week, my youngest kid keeps coming up to me and saying, “Hey Dad, can I have some food?”  WHAT!?  I said to him, “Hey, I work for a living,!  Do you know who I am? A world famous celebrity food blogger! I don’t have time to buy food for you!” The nerve of him.

Geez! Some people.

I do want to tell you about an incredible new food I found in the ethnic isle of the store, near all the Mexican stuff…”Manteca de cerdo” they call it. I am not sure what it is but, you have to try this stuff!...it's sooo good! It’s great on cereal, toast, watermelon, chocolate bars, crackers, in your coffee,  you can even melt it and eat it like soup…heck anything, I even just eat it straight out of a bowl with some chocolate sauce over it! I go though 3 to 4 buckets of this stuff a week!

Here's a couple of tips I thought I would pass along...something I personally can attest to.

A kitchen tip #1: I have found out this to be very helpful in the kitchen…when slicing through avocados, onions, radishes, cheese, peas, hacking through frozen meat…place it on a cutting surface, DO NOT hold it in the palm of your hand when you slice it all the way through.

Kitchen tip #2: Another thing I found out to remember:…when cooking with scotch bonnet or habanero peppers…DO NOT pop one in your mouth to munch on.

I hate to end on a sad note, but I am going to have to...I have to end a certain project I have been working on. For over three years I have been trying to train my cat to help me out in the kitchen...you know be my kitchen bitch...a prep monkey. I have been trying to train my cat to help out like measuring pasta or opening cans...a taste tester of boiling liquids (something he particularly disliked)...but it just isn't working out. Some of us are just not "foodies". The only task that has been a borderline success that he has shown some hope and aptitude is shredding meat. It's so cute, he likes to practice on my arms and face.

Music to Blog By?  "Wives and Lovers" by Jack Jones

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Welcome and Sign in Please...

I thought I would take a step away from posting my thoughts on food and open it up for guest bloggers. To start, I would like to quote the late, great Julia Child who I had the honor to get to know personally because I bought her cookbook, who once said: "Whatever you do, please do not quote me on a blog after I die", there are many chefs I personally know...because I watch their TV shows, like Mario Batali, who is the greatest celebrity chef alive...and Bobby Flay...who is the greatest celebrity chef alive...Thomas Keller who is the greatest non-celebrity chef alive have all asked to be a guest blogger...not to me, but they are welcome if they do.

So, for those clamoring to post something here...now is your chance. And let me say, to have followers of this blog...to guest post here, well...it would be a huge honor...to you, I know, so let's open it up now.

Just log in, using your mothers maiden name, your bank account number...the name of your pet, your favorite car and all of the streets you have ever lived on...

So, I will now pause for our first guest blogger to log in...


Apparently the log-in process is crashing the system as none of you are getting through. Let me try a new approach to lessen the data stream happening all at once, a trivia question. The first person with the correct answer goes first, here goes:

"Who is the greatest celebrity chef alive?"

...Ah, remember to log in folks.

Okay, something is still not right. The answer was Guy Fieri by the way. I will have to work this a bit more, in the mean time, here is a little song while you patiently wait:

Watch Watch Steve Martin Sizzle on A Capitol Fourth on PBS. See more from A Capitol Fourth.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

For the Heart, the Soul, the Mind…I give you: French Onion Soup

As a kid growing up, the thought of eating a soup made from onions was disgusting…who in the world would eat onion soup?  Well, like a lot of things, we grew to try and appreciate new things (although I have yet to eat a raw oyster). As I started to get into cooking more and more I saw recipes, pictures and videos of French onion soup in a little crock...steaming, cheese bubbling on a large crouton. And I thought, that looks too good for it not to BE good, am I missing out on something?

It’s a rather simple recipe and procedure…it just takes a while. But when it’s about 3:00 on a Sunday afternoon, it’s getting colder out now...the leaves have turned their musty smell of gold-yellow-orange-brown, the lawn has (hopefully) been mowed for the last time this summer, your favorite grey sweater you packed away over the summer is found and pulled out for another season of warmth…you have some quiet jazz on…someone is plinking on the piano, the dog snores in the den and the news of a loved one you haven’t seen a long while will be home for dinner…makes it a perfect time for homemade French onion soup.

It all starts with, well…onions.  The recipe I use calls for four onions and when you slice them up, you think…no way, that is a mountain of onions.  And you know what? You’re right…it is, but you need them all. Just cut them all up and don’t look back.   Now as a side note to continue my previous post, I sliced all four onions up with a freshly sharpened knife…and…not…one…tear. Oh I definitely smelled them but my ducts were dry.

 But let me pause if I may and show you the proper way to dice an onion.  This is not what I used for the soup as I wanted half-round slices.   First cut the...wait, first sharpen your knife, second cut the onion in half from the root to the stem and slice off the stem end and leave the root alone. You will have this:

Next, lay the cut side flat on your cutting surface and slice from the previously cut-off stem end to the root end horizontally. NOTE! If you want say a 1/2 inch dice...slice 1/2 inch up from the table, if you want larger dice or smaller, adjust where you cut accordingly. BUT!...do not slice all the way through, stop and and leave about an inch from the end. Then, slice again 1/2 inch up from your previous cut and so on until you have no more onion to cut in that direction.

Like this ( the knife shows where I stopped the cuts):

Next, slice the other direction, from the old stem end towards the root end...again a 1/2 inch apart...and again, stopping about an inch away from the end. By stopping in both directions you keep the whole onion intact.

Then simply slice in the third direction, down keeping with your 1/2 inch spacing...and what do you know...you just diced up an onion quick, efficiently...and with even size pieces. 

So back to the soup...put two tableblobs of butter in a large pot, the heavier the better as it will maintain the heat and add your Mt Everest of onions. I always use a sweet variety such as Walla Walla to aid in the caramelization process. Add garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper and cook…and cook……and cook………and cook. Turning and cooking, cooking and turning until they turn a nice...well, carmel color. Watch them to ensure they don't burn.

Next up, pour in a cup of red wine. Never use a wine you wouldn't drink. Simmer this until all of the wine has evaporated and the onions are basically dry...like...



Make an attempt to locate and discard the bay leaves and thyme. You will probably only find the bay leaves and thyme branches. Dust the onions with flour and cook a few minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.  Don't burn the flour.

 Add beef broth, simmer for 10 minutes or more and adjust the flavor (check if you need to add salt or pepper, you probably do). When you are ready to eat, start your boiler, place oven safe small bowls on a sheet pan, ladle in your soup, float a large pre-made crouton from a baguette and top that with slices of gruyere cheese. Place it under your boiler to melt the cheese all gooey. I served this with a French Dip sandwich.

Oh, so good. A perfect comfort food...made for crisp fall afternoons, your grey sweater, the quiet jazz, turning leaves and a homecoming of a loved one.

Makes 4-6 servings.

1/2 C unsalted butter
4 onions
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
salt & pepper
1 C red wine
3 tbl flour (heaping)
2 qt beef broth
baguette, sliced
1/2 lb gruyere cheese

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

C.R.A.P. #2

Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets. A gadgeteer I am not, that is to say I do own gadgets, it’s just now I am more particular about which ones to own.  If you read my earlier post, I explained whom C.R.A.P. is. I guess C.R.A.P. may be a bit harsh for this group; they work I suppose but I think my alternatives are better.  It seems there is a never ending supply of “new and improved” kitchen gadgets and the companies that make them are laughing all the way to the bank.

The first one up today I will call C.R.A.P….onion goggles. Really? What a joke.

 According to an article by the Michigan State University science department..” When you cut an onion, the contents on each side of the membrane can mix together freely and the enzyme causes the sulfur compound to undergo a series of chemical reactions. These reactions produce molecules such as ethylsufine which make your eyes water.”

There are various theories of how to prevent this from happening, cut the onion under water…whaa?  Have the air circulating such as an open window…yah, I guess so.  Cool down the onion a bit in the freezer…nah. One site said “put bread in your mouth”…what the #@$%?

My answer (and a lot of others), use this mysterious tool.  A knife sharpener…ooh! “Well gee Mr. Blog Man, how do I cut and onion with that?” Well, you don’t Billy, because you’re too stupid to be in the kitchen using tools. A sharp knife and the knowledge on the proper way to slice an onion is all you need.

Here’s another weird one…some kind of auto-magic garlic slicer-dicer thing…for 60 friggin dollars!!!. Again, a knife works just fine, but if you want to use something else, this does the job quite well for around $12 bucks.

Now, you know what is just around the corner kids? That’s right! Thanksgiving! And what do we eat at Thanksgiving…that’s warm and white and fluffy? No, not the cat! Mashed Potatoes of course! Now, we all grew up seeing this in Mom’s kitchen drawer and we probably have on as well.  

It works but take a look at this one. Doesn’t it make sense using this with downward pressure?

This is really better…a ricer.

Or this one, very handy as it can also be used for tomatoes for sauce or apples for apple sauce and you don’t need to peel them. The cut and cooked potatoes (or apples, tomatoes, etc) are thrown into this contraption and you grind away, then reverse and the blade smears off the skins from the holes, then go again. A perfect job for your out of town guests! What ever you use, DON’T use a mixer…it will break down the potato and turn the whole thing to paste.

Friday, October 7, 2011


...according to Wikipedia, chimichangas either originated in Tucson or Phoenix Arizona. Which ever you want to believe, "chimichanga" apparently means "thingamajig" in spanish...as in WTF is that?
Basically, a chimi is a deep fried burrito. "Whoa right there Mr. Blog Poster Man! Tell me, wont you please about burritos then!"
Well now..alrighty, let me think. Well, it all started way back. Back before you and I were even born! Burrito means "little burro or donkey" in spanish. The burrito you and I enjoy are a San Francisco style burritos which originated in Mission District in the 60's. Note: One should not order a burrito "mission style" as that may come with a slap across your face. 
Others say it started in Los Angeles at a restaurant in 1954 and still others say a variation was know to be in Mexico (of all places), but these were much simpler renditions of one or two fillings, not the meat-beans-rice-cheese-kitchen sink versions we like.
"WOW! That is probably the most interesting thing I have ever learned, Mr. Funny and Handsome Blog Posting Man. How do you make yours?"

Okay, okay....settle down.  Since normal people, that is, non 14-year-old-man-boys-growing-8-to-9-inches-an-hour people...eat just one, find extra large flour tortillas. I've seen some on TV cooking shows using what looks like 18" diameter tortillas, the largest ones I have found are about 12" which is plenty big. The fillings can run from chicken, hamburger, shredded beef, pork...hell throw tofu in if you want. Whatever you use, it is usually stuffed, gooey, cheesy. 

This go around I used some leftover chicken I hand shredded, some Uncle Bens white rice in a microwave steam bag which cooks in 90 seconds. I mixed it with some salsa and bingo! instant Mexican rice.

Since everything was already fully cooked, I first smeared some refried beans on the tort, added some chicken, rice, cheese and a bit of some fire roasted green chilies. Roll it over once, fold over the edges, roll again and secure with a toothpick.  
Now, I don't deep fry mine, I bake it. Brush it with some EVOO (thats Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and bake it on a sheet pan at 350 or whatever. Watch it closely as it can change from lightly blond toasted to charcoal in about 3 nano-seconds. All you are doing is heating and melting everything inside since the ingredients are already cooked. 

I picked up some Hatch 5 pepper sauce for a base. Side Note...Hatch chilies from Hatch, New Mexico state they have the worlds best chile pepper with a festival, I have seen raw Hatch chilies in the Seattle area at one store. It's fun to mix it up and try non-run of the mill brands.
I sprinkled some chopped onion, black olives, cilantro, pickled jalapenos and cotija cheese on it...a little homemade guac and YUM!

 "Thank you Mr. Very Funny and Very Handsome, Debonair, Smart,
Incredibly Well...umm...Dressed Blog Posting Man!"

Friday, September 30, 2011

..And now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair as the dining room proudly presents...your dinner

As I have briefly posted before, I was lucky enough to have worked in Disneyland, yes it was "only" as a dishwasher...but I worked there! It was at the Tahitian Terrace in 1979. Here you could have lunch or dinner and a show which consisted of various polynesian dances with men and ladies, hula, fire dancers, a small band backed them up. Over on the left side was a cool waterfall which on cue, the water would magically part and out came the lovely ladies to sing and dance for you. It was a perfect setting between the The Enchanted Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise. You could hear the rumble of the boats ending their dangerous cruise while you ate your teriyaki steak and rice.

It closed in 1993 and re-openned as an Aladdin themed dinner and show which bombed and only existed for about 2 years. It has remained closed ever since. There is a lot of hope out there to bring it back. Disney did add a "Trader Sams" restaurant and lounge at the Disneyland hotel, but it's not the same.

Please see more of my remembrances at a great Disneyland blog and vintage picture site at Daveland.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reed's Taco Truck...

...well sorta. It's actually in our kitchen so there's no truck but I do have a truck but it's not a taco truck, it's a Chevy, but I do have a kitchen but "Reed's Taco Kitchen" didn't ring so that's why I used "Truck", but it's not in our kitchen, the truck that is but the tacos are...or were...cause we ate them...the truck is outside. 

So, anyway...tacos. growing up, my Mom would cook tacos by browning hamburger mixed with a taco seasoning packet which was probably 50% salt, she cooked up the tortillas in hot oil in a cast iron pan, shredded cheese, lettuce, chopped onions and hot sauce.  I made these the other day (minus the salt packet) just like Mom did...while far from authentic they tasted great. Maybe because they took me back. Comfort food. I remember staging the fixings for my Mom. We had these weird grey 1/4 circle bowls which if you lined them up they would form a circle. Out came the lazy susan, I placed these bowls around it filled with the fixin's. Real haute cuisine.

Fish tacos have become a regular request around here. They can be made as labor intencive as you want. Homemade pico de gallo or store bought salsa, homemade masa tortillas or not, to guacamole or not to guacamole?

Speaking of which, here is (from what I have heard) an authentic way of making guac...in a "molcajete". A mortar and pestle made of volcanic rock. Apparently by mashing the avocados, cilantro, lime juice and whatever you like in your makes the finished product better. Maybe it does but whatever it does, it's fun.
2 Soft, not too mushy avocados
A hefty dash of chili powder, I prefer ancho which is from a dried poblano chili, a bit darker and more robust than plain ol' chili powder.
Juice of 1/2 lime
About 1 tbl of chopped cilantro
A spoonful of pico de gallo
pinch of kosher salt
Mash...TASTE!...adjust and enjoy.
A whole lot better than the bland store bought stuff.

So from what I have learned, there are two strong sides of the tracks. Batter fried or grilled fish. I would assume grilled is more authentic, it certainly is healthier.  You can season it, choose a wood to give it a smokey flavor, give it a nice char, what have you. Most white fish will do, go high on the price as you like. Certainly halibut would be the top choice for me. Flakey, firm, yummy. Cod or dover sole works well too, although the thinner portions may be a bit tricky on the grill. I have heard catfish is the most authentic. Give it a try!

Have your mise en place ready with cilantro, salsa, guacamole, a squeeze of lime. To raise it up try using queso fresco cheese for a true authentic flair. Our American cheese smothered versions of tacos are far off the authenticity track, so usually this queso fresco...if used at all, is added sparingly.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Expedition to Terra Ingonita

Latitude 48.4895899, Longitude 120.1431384, Altitude 2,096 feet, Attitude 100%.

The coals glow, becoming ashen in their pyramid while the biscuit dough with it's musty flour is mixed and kneaded. Flip, push, turn, push, flip. No rolling pin so I mash the dough with floured hands, more organic, more feel. I find a suitable biscuit cutter in the form of a Tupperware cup and cut a dozen round dutch oven ready pieces of dough, ready to be set inside the 12 inch cast iron heavy pot over the coals. The Lodge branded oven, new out of the box is being pre-heated, pre-seasoned and oiled for the biscuits. Eight briquettes under the oven, seventeen on the rimmed lid, same ratio for any Dutch oven baking, 1/3 under, 2/3 on top. Heat rises.

I quickly realize that dutch oven cooking is slow. Cooking which you have to pay attention to and yet leave alone at the same time. You have to pay attention to the heavy pot and it's temperature - do you have enough coals?  Do you have extras at the ready in case you need to raise or maintain the temp?  No turning a dial out here. Then when you have it set and your meal is cooking away, you need to be patient - don't lift the lid to check on your progress, you just let your valuable heat escape. Smell. Does it smell like baked biscuits? Certainly over time you will get a feel for it.

Cooking with a dutch oven is very much a different type of cooking, different in time and different in method. You, your pot, the food and the fire are all, hopefully in sync - each one doing their designated part.  It requires big spoons, tongs, a heavy oven mitt (many use welding gloves).  And camp cooking is different all together, usually you are outside, the campfire smoke wafts, a breeze blows the quaking aspen leaves to life, you hear people fidget with squeaking camp chairs - vying for the spot of their choice, sun or shade or view. Someone is reading, others have taken up a game of Yacht-zee. The cook, sipping a choice of beverage from a plastic cup, slices and dices at the picnic table and leaves it for to find more ingredients, he leaves it for the breeze to add it's own earthy-ness. He drops a piece of food on the grass, a feast for the ants!

Dinner is ready as paper plates are set around. Cheap white and brown plastic salt and pepper shakers.  "Hurry...eat, it's getting cold".  Slap!, "dang!...I'm getting eaten alive!" The meals is over, usually in a tenth of the time it took to make. It's getting chilly, distant peaks are becoming purple and pink in the summer dusk.  Someone puts on a sweatshirt, others pull on jeans, some for warmth, others for fortification against mosquitos. "Who's on dishes?"

"Wanna go on a walk?".

Music of choice to cook by: Laughter around the campfire.

Monday, July 18, 2011

...and the answer is...

as I said, the new version is slightly changed:

(and only one right answer)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Remain seated please; Permaneced sentados por favor

This post is a bit of a departure for me, as I am not blogging specifically about anything I have cooked, but rather a combination of two subjects I like…one is still cooking and the other is Disneyland.  And please see the quiz to the right -->

Growing up in So Cal, my family often visited Uncle Walt’s little backyard playground many times a year. Sometimes my brothers and I were fooled by our parents...”get in the car, were going to drive aimlessly around for hours on end looking at houses”. At least that’s what I heard, I am not sure if that is what they said. But on rare occasions…because if they did it too many times we wouldn’t get tricked…they would say those words, we pile in the Ford LTD and off we go. What seemed like weeks of driving non-stop, we would get near the Magic Kingdom, maybe my brothers weren’t fooled as easily as I...someone would blurt out: “I see the Matterhorn!”  Those many visits combined with a few trips with my high school marching and jazz band to play and march inside the park and my stint in the summer of 1980 as a dishwasher at the now (and sadly) defunct Tahitian Terrace make it an extra special place.
Nice Prices!

I am sure there are people who could care less about food at Disneyland, some who eat their way though the park and some are in between. I am the latter. For me there are a few places that are in my mind, unique experiences or opportunities. My big bro and sis would probably vote for Club 33 as their most memorable spot, but you have to know some who knows someone to get in, but here are a bunch of pictures in case you were wondering whats inside.

Right off the bat, it would have to be the Blue Bayou Restaurant in New Orleans Square as my hands down winner for most memorable spot to grab some grub at the park. The cool atmosphere…out of the heat in a sit down restaurant being waited on. Monte Cristo.  Those two words bring salvation, salivation and a salutation to the chef. Crunchy, cheesy…just don’t eat too many unless you are a quart low on oil. They are also offered across the “street” from the Blue Bayou at Café Orleans, a bit cheaper at $17 versus $25 at B.B. but you won’t get the atmosphere. Someone has to pay for the fire-fly’s wages! A monte cristo is pain to make, I have tried a couple of times but here’s the recipe.

Next on my list would have to be a churro. Basically a long donut rolled in cinnamon and sugar. You can find them other places, even Costco but why take the fun out of someplace special?

A lot of people are crazy for the Dole pineapple whip served up at the Tiki Juice Bar, next door to the Enchanted Tiki Room entrance (left side of the picture under the Adventureland sign), to be honest I have never had one but a lot of people sure like them.

Another spot I like is the Bengal Barbecue also in Adventureland. They sell a few items at this grab and go place, most notably a few skewers, cheap and different.

What I don't recommend and luckily you won't be able to do this anymore, is to drink an entire serving of Welch's grape juice and immediately ride the Tea Cups with your high school buddies, spinning somewhere around 12,000 RPM, but the Fantasyland juice stand closed in 1981, however you can still flirt with danger with some other treat and the Tea Cups!

Who hasn’t made Mickey Mouse pancakes? Who has had them at Disneyland? On road trip a few years back we went to Disneyland for 3 days and were able to slow down and enjoy many things it’s hard to do in a one-day-er. We got up, got to the park and went straight to…no, not Indy…no not Big Thunder, but to the River Belle Terrace in Frontierland for pancakes!...looking out over the Rivers of America as the Mark Twain chugs by.

Many times we would grab lunch at the Hungry Bear in Critter Country. Nothing special about the menu, just typical burgers and chicken, but the reason we like it is it's next to the river, it's quite-er, out of the way at the end of the road so to speak and we have always been able to find a table. 

Well, those are my top choices!...and remember to...