Thursday, August 27, 2009


We've been growing hops for the past 4 years. The first year the landscaper weed whacked them, the second year bugs ate them, last year we had a brown harvest, but this year they look great. As you can see from the pics, they are a beautiful green and full. I was surprised they have done so well in this heat that we have had over the past few weeks. Some are starting to dry on the vine so I think I will be harvesting real soon. If all goes right they will end up in a batch of home brew real soon...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Homemade Pickles

Well, they're not pickles yet, but they will be. My sister gave me some real nice cucumbers from her garden and I got a great recipe from Brendan for homemade pickles. It's pretty straightforward: slice, mix, wait. Above are some of the ingredients used. As you can see they might be a little spicy. I'll post the finished results in a few weeks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Try These Beers

Beers Built for Summer

When I do a Try This Beer post, it's usually a big beer. Belgium in style, high in alcohol, or a giant hop monster. Those are the beers that I drink and those are the beers that I love. But I realize that you can't drink La Fin Du Monde all day and night long (I've tried, it hurts). Sometimes you need to offset the big beers with some lighter ones. The good thing is, you don't have to sacrifice flavor. These beers were all built for the long haul, and some can even satisfy us beer geeks.

Harpoon White
I'll be honest: when I first had this beer I thought it was way to light for me. But, a few weekends ago, at the brewery, it was hot and muggy, and this was my beer of choice for the entire weekend. Just one thing: please hold the orange.

Simpler Times Lager
This is not a great's just not a great beer for me. But, if you're a die hard Bud drinker, or enjoy a light American lager from time to time, you should try it. It's rice and corn free and weighs in at 6.2% alcohol.

This is a staple in our house. Kris loves it. It has actually grown on me over the years. It's a Belgian style white beer that is unfiltered and is only 4.9% alcohol. I always bring a ton of this with us at competitions. It's a good 'all day drinker.'

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis
This beer is a hefeweizen: a German style wheat beer. Notes of clove and banana are subtle but add a nice complexity to this light brew. At 4.8% alcohol it's a great summer beer, but to be honest, I'd drink this beer anytime.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Iron Chef Category

In Maine last weekend the secret ingredient for the Iron Chef category were oysters. I love oysters; to me the perfect oyster is fresh and eaten raw. That's almost how I prepared it for the judges, but chickened out. So, deep fried was my second choice. I know what you're thinking: it's a grilling contest, why would you deep fry something?? Looking back at some of the grilling contests we've done, I've deep fried a lot of stuff... maybe that's why we don't do that well at grilling...Oh well, I thought they tasted good. They finished in 6th place. After I shucked the oysters I soaked them briefly in a little water to loosen up any grit or shell. Then I dredged them through flour, egg wash, then breading. The breading was 1/2 corn meal and 1/2 panko bread crumbs, salt and pepper. I deep fried them for about one minute just to get some golden color on them. Then I handed them over to Kris. She had prepared a nice sauce for each oyster to sit in. It was made from butter, shallot, roasted garlic, and white wine. A spoon full of sauce went into each shell, then the fried oyster. They were garnished with some crispy pancetta, chives, and lemon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Back in Business

Pics from Maine are up on my Picasa site.
I just got my new computer, it's the new iMac. There is a little bit of a learning curve because I've been a PC my whole life. But so far it's going good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Maine, Computer Problems

Maine was a blast! Late night partying on Friday night, great lobster dinner on Saturday, and wonderful weather all weekend. We did not impress the judges and they let us know about it (especially chicken). Lakeside finished 6th overall and only got one call for 5th place brisket. Congrats to Ique for the GC, nice one to win guys! I know I usually have some pics posted by now, but my computer has finally died on me. All the pictures from this weekend are stuck in my camera right now. So this week I am working on buying a new computer (I'm thinking Mac at the moment). I should be up and running in the next couple of days...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

GC: Ique
RGC: I Smell Smoke!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ready for Maine

Kris and I are heading to Eliot, ME this weekend to compete at the 2009 Celebrate Maine Festival. There is a standard KCBS comp on Sunday and a People's Choice (wings) and Iron Chef competition on Saturday. The schedule of events for this festival looks great. Paul Kirk cooking class, live music, cheese tastings, beer garden, artisan fair; something for everyone. And the weather forecast looks very promising too. So, if you're looking for something to do this weekend, you'd be crazy not to come to Maine. If you do, please stop by and say hi. As always I'll be updating the blog through out the weekend with pictures and results.