Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Night Food Porn

Native Blueberry Tart

In keeping with the I-really-want-summer-to-be-here theme this week, I'm posting this pic. This is a summer dessert that Kris makes that is simple, fresh, and damn good. The secret to this dish is waiting for the Maine blueberries to be at their peak, when they're big, plump, and sweet. She makes everything from scratch; the filling is creamy, the blueberries release their natural sweetness, and the crust crumbles in your mouth. They are best when it's 90 degrees out, the humidity is off the charts, and they come right out of an ice cold cooler. I can almost taste one now...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Coming soon...

My buddy Jed recently cleaned out his camera. Some of the pics in there were from a farmers market that he visited this past summer. Lucky for us he forwarded these pics over to me and asked if I wanted to post them up on my blog. As I look out my window I see another fresh coat of snow falling. It's a damp, cold, raw, wintry mix. It's hard to believe that spring is less than a month away. It's hard to believe that in a few months we'll see these bright and vibrant colors sprouting up from the New England soil. But it's true, it's coming. So when it gets here, we should all go and enjoy it. At least, for now, we can all enjoy what we can look forward to. Thanks Jed.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Qube

Here is the completed project from last week.
It's a charcoal oven/chicken cooker. All the racks are interchangeable, so you can actually cook food under the charcoal. But then you can switch the grates around and cook food over the charcoal as well. In the bottom picture I have it set up like an oven. Charcoal bin on the top, 2 food grates in the middle, and then a drip pan on the bottom. The entire thing is made from stainless steel except the door latches. But that will soon change; I ordered some stainless steel latches to replace the ones I have on there now. After I fired this thing up Friday night I realized the ones I used were not a great choice. I thought they looked cool, but they are not heavy duty enough to take the heat.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Night Food Porn

BBQ Fatty

Earlier this week a 'Concerned Blog Fan' questioned if I even cook BBQ. He/she had a good point! Looking at my blog content, from shrimp foam to beer reviews, it doesn't look like I cook BBQ at all. The truth is I really don't cook much BBQ; and when I do it's just to practice for a competition. This got me thinking. I think I like the verb barbecue, way better than the noun barbecue. For me it's not about the food (BBQ) but more about the scene. The people, the competitions, NEBS, building stuff to cook BBQ from, and talking about the circuit. That's the stuff I like. When I tell hardcore BBQ lovers this they get shocked. "You don't love BBQ?" they yell. And when I say no they don't even believe me. Don't get me wrong, if it's good BBQ, well cooked, perfectly seasoned, I'll eat it and like it. But it's never my first choice for dinner.

So, why the BBQ fatty? You guessed it: practice. The Snowshoe Grilling Challenge is coming up soon, so I needed to dig out my WSM from the snow and build a fire in it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Latest Project

This is a 4' X 8', 20 gauge sheet of stainless steel. At some point I will be cooking food out of it. Stay tuned...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Night Food Porn

Recession Cooking: Lobster Risotto

Recession? Lobster? Huh? I know it doesn't sound right, but it's true. Lately on the food blogs that's all you hear about: 'recession cooking'. Recipes using Ramen Noodles, bologna, boxed mac and cheese, and Spam. Most of these recipes used $8-$10 for a guide. Well, I thought for that money we could do something a little better than a hot dog casserole, so here is my attempt. My mind went right to rice as a base because it's good, not because it's cheap. Arborio rice is a little more expensive but completely worth it. It adds a thickness and creaminess that you just can't get from regular rice. One cup of arborio rice makes plenty of risotto for two people. Now for the lobster. Up here in New England lobster can fluctuate worse than the stock market. In the winter months it will usually range from $4.99 - $8.99 a pound. So, this one's a no brainer: when it's $4.99 a pound buy it. That's what I did; I also had them steam it for me. Any good fish monger will properly steam your lobster at no extra cost. I walked out of the store with $6 worth of cooked lobster. To make the risotto I used homemade chicken stock from my freezer, butter, salt and pepper, and the rice. I had all these things already, but I'm figuring it would cost just under $3 dollars if I needed to buy them. So, for under $9 Kris and I enjoyed two servings each of a creamy, filling, lobster risotto. Not bad...and no one had to suffer through a can of SpaghettiOs.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Out of The Mouths of Babes

By Kris
Our nine year old niece, Madison, recently had a project at school where she was asked to write a story about holiday family traditions. She is clearly one of our biggest fans. She comes to many of our events, has worn out multiple Lakeside t-shirts, and when her parents cook for her she often reminds them that "Uncle Mike can cook this better than you." This is the story she turned in.

Our traditions on Christmas are to open presents at my house, my Nana's house, and my Aunty Kris's house. Then we stay there and eat ham. My Uncle Mike is a great cook especially at meat. He is a BBQ contestant with my Aunty Kris. Their team is called Lakeside Smokers he has a website called Lakeside Smokers .com. And that is my tradition.

She got an A, but the teacher took half a point off because she strayed from the subject intended. We think it was well worth it for the shameless plug.