Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Night Food Porn

Panna Cotta with Blueberry Compote

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Definitely Not BBQ

Do I really need another hobby? Do I need another way to cook something? If I want a nice piece of fish do I have to break out this contraption, put it out on the counter, and plug it in? Is that cooking? Yes...yes to all.

I have been reading about sous-vide cooking for a while now. I never thought I would get around to doing it because an immersion circulator can cost around $1000. I don't mind spending a wasteful amount of money on something that I would use; but I can't see myself doing that much sous-vide cooking to warrant such a purchase. But still...I wanted one. Usually, when I get something in my head, the want turns to need, the need turns to obsession, and the obsession turns into reality. And the reality of it all is that I could build one. So, that's what I did. I built this from parts that I already had, and a few that I 'borrowed'. The bottom part of the unit is a commercial food warmer. The top is an overhead stirrer, that I found years ago (because you never know when you'll need an overhead stirrer). The paddle came from an old dairy tank that I salvaged from a junk yard back in my brewing days. I put it all together with some stainless steel angle and threaded rod, and now I have an immersion circulator.

I took it out for a test run yesterday. I was able to hold temps from 120 to 200 degrees for as long as I wanted; the temp fluctuations were within 1-3 degrees. Next time I'll actually put some food in it...does anyone know how long it takes to sous-vide a turkey?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Whole Hog Project

These videos were on Serious Eats this week. (Edit on Monday 11/24/08): These videos were put together by Michael Gebert. It was a true farm to table story following the hogs from birth, to the slaughter house, to the table. It might be a little hard to watch for some, but it is well worth it. We are all a little disconnected from where and how we get our food. But these videos show us the entire process. It's more about celebrating the animal, than it is about just eating it. I know I'll be looking at my pork ribs a little different from now on.

Sky Full of Bacon 05: There Will Be Pork (pt. 1) from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

Sky Full of Bacon 06: There Will Be Pork (pt. 2) from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

These videos are here by using the embed code feature from Vimeo

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Night Food Porn

Smoked Turkey

Well, it's under a week till Thanksgiving, so you knew it was coming. Here is a turkey I smoked a while ago. It was brined for 24 hours, then smoked over apple wood at 350 degrees. I find the high cooking temp produces a better looking and tasting skin. But, by all means, if you have the need to slow smoke a 25 pound bird at 225 degrees overnight, I completely understand!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Next Season

Looks like 2009 is going to be a busy BBQ season; many comps to pick from, new and old. I don’t have all the dates yet, but here is a run down of possible comps in the New England area you'll be able to choose from next year:

Freeze Your Butt Off
The Snowshoe Grilling Challenge
Oyster Bay
Peter’s Pond
Rockin’ Ribfest
Lake Placid
Troy Pig Out
Hudson Valley Ribfest
Celebrate Maine Festival
Norwalk, CT
Harvard Fall Festival
Westport Blues Views and BBQ
Battle of the BBQ Brethren

There is also talk about competitions in Rhode Island, Dover, NH, and Amesbury, MA. The Brookline Backyard BBQ Competition might be happening again this year. Hopefully Grilling on the Bay happens again. And I’m sure I’m forgetting a few more. Not to mention Eggfest, NEBSfest, and judging schools!

So, we now have plenty of comps to pick from. But some of these will have conflicting dates with each other; and, for the average team, it would be impossible to compete in all of them. Next year would be a great time for anyone who is ‘on the fence’ about competing to GET OUT THERE! We need teams next year. Another thing I would love to see next year is the 'team split'. Not a break up, just a temporary split. Some teams out there have 47 members. It would be cool to see how the split teams would do against each other. Uncle Jed’s team could easily split into 5 separate teams. The Bastey Boys and The Bastey Girls, IQue2, I Smell Smoke Also, Transformers and Decepticons, The Cold Cuts...For years now we’ve all been wanting more comps in New England…well, here they are. Now what can we do to make them stick around?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Guest Food Porn

I figured you guys might be getting a little bored of our food pics. So, I thought I'd mix it up a bit and post some 'Guest Food Porn'.

This is a wasabi pea crusted, seared tuna from Brendan. This tasted amazing! It was perfectly salty; and a great spicy crunch gave a nice textural contrast to the rare tuna.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Night Food Porn

Roasted Vegetable Soup With Puff Pastry

Like I've said before: fall is soup season. Roasting vegetables, making stocks, and simmering that goodness all day long. This soup has all that and puff pastry! The beauty of this soup (or any) is that you can make it a day before you're ready to eat it. Here, I put the soup in small ramekins and placed some rounds of puff pastry on top. In about 10 minutes the pastry has risen and the soup in nice and hot. Perfect for a cold night.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

(Can't Wait To) Try This Beer

After the NEBS BOD meeting Monday night, my good friend Jed handed me a plastic supermarket bag and said "here Mike, open this up when you get home." It felt cold and was in the shape of a bottle. I was intrigued and wanted to open it right there, but I waited. The second I got in the car I opened up the plastic bag: Trappist Westvleteren. In the beer world this is gold! As good as it gets; a true Trappist beer directly from the Abbey. Not Belgian style, but Belgian beer. This beer is exclusive and very difficult to get outside of Belgium. I have never had it...but soon that will change. I don't know when or where I'll be drinking it. All I can think of is that scene from the movie Sideways, when the guy's all alone in the diner drinking his treasured wine out of a plastic cup. Great scene, so much symbolism...come to think of it, today would be a good day to enjoy a Trappist Westvleteren.

So, thanks Jed! You've made this Beer Geek very happy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shameless Plug

Winter will be here soon!
If you like to ski and have $5000 burning a hole in your pocket, check out my brothers invention. It's a ski lift that you can install in your own backyard...well, you need a hill of course.

Grab and Go Rope Tow

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Night Food Porn

Bi Bim Bop His and Hers

Well, kinda Bi Bim Bop...I used some non traditional items like Thai basil because it tastes great on just about anything.

This is a Korean dish that incorporates marinated beef and vegetables with rice, sprouts, and a fried egg on top. Sometimes called Bi Bim Bap; bap means 'rice', bi bim means 'to mix'. I served mine as dol sot, which means that I put the food in hot stone bowls to serve. In my opinion these bowls make the dish. I crank up my oven to 500 degrees and put the bowls in for about a half an hour. After everything is cooked, mostly stir fried, it is assembled in the stone bowls. The rice goes down first and it sizzles when it hits the hot serving vessel. I build everything up from there with beef, carrots; that one goes to Kris, then I finish mine off with some bean sprouts and a fried egg on top. On the side I serve some Sriracha hot chili sauce and some quick pickled cucumbers.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Try This Beer

Harpoon Glacier Harvest '08

Well, it really should read: you should have tried this beer. Because it's gonna be a tough one to find.

This is part of the Harpoon Brewery's 100 Barrel Series. It's session number 24 and the beer is labeled a Wet Hop Pale Ale. Unlike most beers, which use dried hops, this beer has a generous dose of fresh hops added to it on brew day; the same day the hops are picked. That gives the beer a unique fresh, big hop flavor without too much bitterness. I also got the same pungent freshness in the aroma as well. This beer has a beautiful copper color; and the perfect levels of carbonation produce a small lacy head that dissipates quickly. Mouthfeel was spot on, with light to medium body that gave way to intense hop flavor and a slightly sweet finish. Glacier Harvest weighs in at 6.7% alcohol. It would be a great beer to enjoy while doing some yard work on a cool and crisp November weekend. I just hope I can find some more...