Sunday, September 28, 2008

Inspired By

By Kris

Where does passion begin? Do we stumble upon a likeable situation that turns into something more? Or do certain childhood situations make way for bigger things? I believe it’s the latter. I think that in the process of nurturing our hearts and souls, our families nurture our passions as well.

One of my fondest and very vivid earliest memories is that of Santa making a late night visit to my home. He brought me an Easy Bake Oven. I know it sounds cliché, but that little plastic appliance started my love of cooking. I looked forward to baking little delights as often as possible. Looking back, I find it very impressive to have turned out such tasty delights from a low wattage light bulb.

Before long I was cooking in the real oven. I longed for the holidays when I could practice my new dishes on my relatives. They raved about anything I made, as families often do. And there they were, fanning the passion flame. My grandmother bought me my first cookbook and passed on stacks of recipes on yellowed index cards. From there I developed specialties. Now when the holidays rolled around I actually had requests! Then I moved onto the family parties. Showers, baptisms, graduations, birthdays, anniversary’s, I cooked for them all. Our gatherings became known for good food in large quantities. When I met Mike he was subjected to my family’s praise of my food. Being the competitive person that he is, he tried and succeeded in out doing me. And so there I was, fanning the passion flame.

Who knew that all that nurturing, praise, and love would lead us to competition BBQ. Thanks for all the support.

In Memory of my Grandmother Edith Eastman

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Night Food Porn

Iron Chef Egg Rolls

Last weekend at the Westport contest we competed in an Iron Chef competition. None of us knew what we were getting for ingredients until 5:30 PM and turn in was at 9:00 PM. After the KCBS cooks meeting the organizer handed out to each team: one pork tenderloin, one zucchini, one sweet potato, and a bottle of Newman's Own Marinade.

Weeks leading up to the contest we were trying to think what we were going to do for Iron Chef. It's very tough to plan a menu when you don't know the ingredients. So our thoughts turned to egg rolls. No matter what they give us, we'll make egg rolls. When we got our items, Kris and I just smiled. Pork, zucchini, and a teriyaki marinade! Yeah, that works. So we matchsticked the sweet potato, zucchini, and some carrots that we brought, and got all that into the marinade. I seasoned the pork and got it grilled off. I braised the veggies in the marinade just enough to soften them up. Kris got the chow mein noodles ready, got out the hot mustard and plum sauce and started to assemble the egg rolls. I got the oil ready in my new cast iron pan over the charcoal fire. This was a little scary. I had lots of people watching and I had a few drinks in me. I made sure the fire extinguisher was close by. I deep fried the egg rolls until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Kris did the beautiful presentation.

After the judging many people were coming out of the tent looking for more egg rolls. Reps, judges, and others were telling us that they tasted awesome. We cooked a bunch so we could share with the other teams around us. People really enjoyed them. Kris and I were very happy with that, but it's a double edged sword. We got our hopes up that we would get a call in the Iron Chef category...we didn't. They finished in 6th place, not bad. But after all the late night hype about the dish it was a little disappointing. Most judges gave it great scores, 2 perfect scores and 2 near perfect ones! But two of them said it was average. Maybe it tasted average, that I can accept. But, getting a 6 (average) for appearance was a tough pill to swallow. But looking back on the whole experience I don't think we would change a thing. We were feeding friends and family deep fried egg rolls cooked over a charcoal fire! A little different, a little dangerous, and one hell of a good time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blues Views and BBQ Festival

By Kris
This past weekend we competed in the Blues Views and BBQ Festival in Westport, CT. This was a first time event for organizer, Bob Larose aka Bobby Q, and he got everything right! The contest site was great with the teams set up in a parking lot surrounded by games for the kids and different vendors. We were just a few steps away from the Levitt Pavillion, where a few great bands performed on both Saturday and Sunday. There was a farmers market set up on Sunday with fresh local fruits, veggies, and flowers. From a competitors view this contest was terrific. There was free ice, clean portapotties (very important in my book), eco friendly gift bags containing marinade and bourbon, and a wonderful hot breakfast buffet on Sunday morning. They held an iron chef contest on Saturday night providing all the participating teams with pork loin, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and Newman’s marinade and four hours to create any dish they liked. The vibe during the entire weekend was awesome. I don’t know if it was the fact that we were surrounded by some really fun teams, the weather was fabulous, or that we were all trying to get every ounce out of the last of the BBQ Season, but everyone seemed to have a great time. Mike and I topped the weekend off by spending a well deserved relaxing night at the Westport Inn. We can’t wait to be a part of this contest again next year

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Night Food Porn

Pickled Radishes

As the summer comes to an end so does the availability of fresh local fruits and vegetables, so get yourself to a farmers market and buy something you've never had or do something you've never done.

These radishes came from a local farmers market that we go to. I got them home, washed and sliced them.

I simmered 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 salt, and 2 tablespoons of whole black pepper.

I put the radishes and pickling mixture into a small mason jar. Then stored it in the fridge for a week.

After a few days you'll notice the white radishes turn a beautiful color of red.

These are great on their own, in a salad, on grilled fish, or anywhere you want a nice acidic crunch.

Monday, September 15, 2008


This weekend the Harvard Fall Festival was the host for the Massachusetts State BBQ Championship. For the fifth year in row I Smell Smoke!!! was crowned the Grand Champions. Congratulations! That is truly an incredible accomplishment. Reserve Grand went to iQue, great job guys. Full results can be found on the KCBS web site. Congrats to all who got called!

As always, all of the pictures we take can be viewed at our Picasa site.
Lakeside Smokers Picasa site.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Night Food Porn

Pan Seared Filet of Beef

This dish is as much about the pan as it is about the steak. After my 'pepper epiphany' last weekend my cooking thoughts have been focused on little else. In anticipation for the peppers to arrive, I got out my old cast iron pan. Much to my dismay it will be too small to cook 200 peppers. That's OK I thought, I'll do a few will be fine. That thought lasted about 10 minutes and then I was online looking for a new cast iron pan. The pan I was looking for was a no-brainer: the 20" skillet from Lodge. Although the 20" in no longer available, Lodge still makes a 17" skillet. So, one phone call to Al, Kris' Dad (he is in the restaurant supply business in Boston), and a new pre seasoned Lodge Logic 17" cast iron skillet avived at my house that night. I knew that I needed to cook in that pan the second I got it. The next day I picked up some beef tenderloin, cut them into thick steaks, seasoned them with olive oil, salt and pepper. I put the pan on my outside burner, got it nice and hot, and tossed the steaks on. About 4 minutes a side is all it took for a nice rare steak with an amazing crust on the outside. I might never grill a steak again.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pimientoes de Padron

Pic from

Last night Kris and I were in the North End at Prezza with some friends. We ordered several appetizers but the one that blew me away was Pimientoes de Padron. Simply put, they are Spanish Padron peppers blistered in a cast iron pan with extra virgin olive oil, and then sprinkled with sea salt. This dish follows the rules of most incredible foods: simple, fresh ingredients, cooked in a time honored tradition. The subtle heat hits every area of your mouth and at the end you're left with a great olive oil and salty finish. You crave another one instantly! So, here I am Sunday morning searching the internet for Padron peppers. I could not find any grown locally but I did find a place that will pick the peppers to order. How cool is that! LaTienda is an online store that brings the best of Spain to America. I ordered two pounds of peppers, they will be picked tomorrow, and shipped immediately. My cast iron pan is already on the stove...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lunchmeat at The Jack

This week was The Jack Draw. Congratulation to I Smell Smoke!!!, iQue, Lunchmeat, and BBQ, these teams will be representing New England and New York this year! Bring home some jugs, guys! Check out this video of Lunchmeat at last years Jack Daniels.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Night Food Porn


I love cheese. No...I love good cheese. Pictured above is some real good cheese. The back row is a Double Gloucester from Cotswold. Front row left to right: Dorset Coastal Cheddar, Prima Donna Aged Gouda, Chimay with Beer. The last one is made at the Abbey and is bathed with beer during the maturing process, hence the name. The Dorset Coastal Cheddar was given to us from Gary, and is the best cheddar I have ever had. It can be found at Wasik's in Wellesley. I paired the cheese with a Belgian wheat beer and a Belgian Triple. Grapes are a common thing on a fruit platter, berries not so much. But after talking with our cheese guy, Henry, he said with that style of beer we were serving it should pair well, and it did. Only one problem: never put raspberries on a wooden cutting board!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Try This Beer

Unibroue Trois Pistoles

Unibroue Trois Pistoles is an amazingly complex beer. A beer that should be sipped and savored, a beer that should be enjoyed at the end of a wonderful dinner with some fine chocolate. This beer should not be consumed at the end of an all day drinking binge on Labor Day weekend...but, that's just what I did. So, please forgive this bad picture, wrinkled label, and the bug spray in the background; the photographer was obviously over served.

Luckily, I've had Trois Pistoles many, many times, and in a more coherent state of mind. This beer is bottle refermented, which is evident after uncorking. The yeasty aroma gives way to alcohol then to chocolate. The nose on this beer alone begs to be served with dessert. The thick creamy white head floats on the top of this black as night strong ale. The first sip hits you with some sweetness, then a deep fruit flavor, that all gives way to a warming alcohol sensation. Nothing lingers too long and with each sip you can start to pick out other flavors. Alcohol is a predominate characteristic due to the 9% ABV in this beer. But, it's also remarkably smooth for such a big Belgian style strong ale. A truly complex beer.