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Zeemanb

eG Foodblog: Zeemanb (2011) - A sweetbread or so north of "Winter&

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Any leftovers from either Port Fonda or the Ad Hoc chicken? Ain't too proud to beg.

Well, the PLAN was to have enough leftovers for all day today....but we barely saved enough just to have a dinner tonight, supplemented with a little bit of leftover pork from Port Fonda. Sorry kid, but I WILL say that the Keller chicken is easy enough to make at this point that I'll happily feed you soon...admission fee is tomato water.

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Good Morning! Thanks everyone for your kindness, I truly am enjoying myself and I hope to do my town and the eG Food Blog tradition justice.

As I have time today I'll do a couple of things- share the Zeeman home tradition of making stuff ahead and freezing, and post all about the chicken dinner from yesterday.

If that doesn't thrill you, I will put things in perspective with this morning's breakfast- OATMEAL!!

MondayBfast.jpg

Yep, I just made myself "legit" by showing you a real Monday morning....my wife is pretty awesome when it comes to packing us some food, but the anticipation of Monday morning is bad enough that I don't expect any work out of either of us. Fortunately we have a solid cafeteria downstairs here at the office. Totally unhealthy lunchwise, but tasty....fried catfish, oxtails, greens, banana pudding with 'Nilla wafers...that type of stuff makes frequent appearances on the menu. It's no Aramark!

Anyway, good to be here, talk to you soon.....

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LOVING your life, Jerry!

I read your blog regarding your surgery a couple of years ago with great interest.

I now have the sniffles and red eyes after tearing up over your Egullet romance. Your wife is beautiful!!! (although, I'm not so sure that she stalked you....ehem lol)

I'm now going back to read more in-depth. I had to stop at the popcorn popper/coffee roaster so that I could comment.

I'm over here on the Kansas side of the sun. I've never seen so many over 100 degree days in a row. Is it ever going to rain????

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Shelby- Thank You! Glad to know our cute little story could pull some heartstrings! Yeah, you are right in the frying pan. Over here we at least have tiny bits of terrain that will shield us from the heat from time to time...y'all over in Kansas are COOKED!

Okey dokey....eating lunch and typing time....

I was the first male child born into a large family with a mom who is the oldest of five daughters. I am The Chosen One. Aaannnd it has taken me 42 years to begin to realize what a lucky and spoiled schmoe I am...because in many ways I am often paid tribute above and beyond what any son, grandson, or nephew deserves.

When The Chosen One finally takes a wife, that rite of passage is celebrated with pomp, ceremony, and wonderful gifts from one and all. And man, greatest wedding gift EVER- a chest freezer! For the first year or so my wife and I had to contend with this tiny, TINY old fridge that belonged to my ex-girlfriend. You had to defrost it, it didn’t stay cold, horrible. So once we had a REAL fridge and that freezer...let the stockpiling begin!

I went online and bought a few hundred of those plastic quart containers like the ones they use for carryout egg drop soup, etc. We are big, big fans of just heatin’ and eatin’ in the evenings, and we have many go-to recipes where we’ll make an extra four or five quarts. This would be the perfect topic for my wife to chime in, because she has done a lot of different recipes that take very well to the freezer. Some of our workhorses are things like pozole, chili, KC steak soup, vegetable soup, pretty standard fare. If it wasn’t so hot this week I’d put my pozole on display, because I like to think I could take the Pepsi challenge against almost anyone with that stuff. She did one with our CSA kale recently that really rocked. Oh, and throw in the majesty of another wedding gift...our big Foodsaver, and the freezer gets stocked with my homemade braised oxtail ravioli, bbq, peaches, corn, you guys all know the drill.

I always do as much ahead as possible when planning a meal. And I work clean folks...cleaning as I go, driving my wife insane in the process. When I’m cooking, I like it to look like the only thing that exists on the counters and in the sink is whatever I’m doing at that moment in time...I know, I know, having a heart attack when you see caked-on ANYTHING piled up in the sink is BAD...medication MAY be able to help.

Anyway, for yesterday’s meal I had already made up a big batch of two tried and true crowd pleasers...herb and cheese poppers from a Bon Appetit recipe, and BACON JAM! When it comes to listing out or linking to actual recipes, you guys just let me know what is standard, preferred or guideline-friendly. I’m easy. Nothing I make is usually that involved, and recipes are just a jumping off point for me most of the time, but I am HAPPY to detail something whenever you need it.

Some say bacon has jumped the shark these days, but I don’t know what in the hell their problem is...has oxygen jumped the shark too? Have opposable thumbs jumped the shark? I’m sure bacon jam has been detailed on this site, but if you are not familiar with it, it’s just so delicious and versatile. AND it freezes just great!

When you are basically creating a “bacon reduction”, it is very important to work with good ingredients. Our go-to bacon is from Burger’s Smokehouse here in Missouri. Their bacon is solid stuff, good country ham, and some of the meatiest smoked hocks I’ve ever used.

Sundaybacon.jpg

My preference is to chop the bacon up first, and then cook it to this level of doneness. You don’t want it crispy, but you also want to get as much fat rendered as possible. The reason is that when you are cooking down the jam, the bacon continues to render and the fat pools up on the top for you to spoon out. I’m not saying bacon jam is healthy, but you really do get more fat rendered in the process than any other bacon vehicle I can think of…and it is so flavorful that a little goes a LONG way.

sundaybaconready.jpg

Basically, in my modified recipe you just cook down a pound of bacon (what you’re seeing is double this recipe), sauté one large onion and 6 cloves of garlic in as little of the fat as possible, and then add in a mix of: 1 ¼ cup coffee, ¼ cup maple sugar, 1/3 cup cider vinegar, 3tbsp brown sugar, hot sauce and black pepper to taste. I use my home roasted French press coffee and dark Grade B maple syrup from Whole Foods. You simmer it nice and slow for 3 hours or so, adding a little water as needed.

Looks ugly when you start…

sundayjamstart.jpg

After about 2 hours…

sundayjam2hours.jpg

At 3 ½ hours I could have cooked it down even more but wanted to pull it early for comparison purposes.

sundayjam4hours.jpg

Whiz it in the food processor to a texture you like (does not look beautiful)…

sundayjamwhizzed.jpg

Here is what double the recipe above yielded…

sundayjamyield.jpg

The herb and cheese poppers are easy, but annoying if you hate to bake like I do. I hate dealing with flour unless it’s for a roux….just hate it. I first saw the recipe in Bon Appetit, but long story short any basic buttermilk biscuit recipe would work. The “official” one includes:

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen

1 1/2 cups chilled buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients, grate the frozen butter in there and distribute it, mix in the buttermilk, work it a little and you’re ready to go. And then you just get a mixture of grated cheddar cheese and fresh herbs that you like…..I used parsley, rosemary, basil and thyme. Roll it out to an 8x8ish squareish shape and cover 2/3 of it with the herb and cheese mix-

sundaybiscuitsstart.jpg

Tri-fold it like a letter-

sundaybiscuitsfold.jpg

Then you flatten it back out to the original size, cover 2/3 with the cheese mixture, fold it, roll it…repeat that three more times and once you have it rolled out you’re ready to cut-

sundaybiscuitsready.jpg

sundaybiscuitscut.jpg

Here’s a cross-section-

sundaybiscuitcross.jpg

These things freeze just GREAT…single layer in parchment, then wrapped in foil, let them defrost and bake them at 500F until they are a color you like…ten or fifteen minutes. Got some finished product to show when I post the dinner.

Oh yeah, here was my exciting lunch I was eating this whole time....

Mondaylunch.jpg

Will be back later with some finished products......

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As we all know, the real reason anyone ever has people over for dinner is because it forces them to finally clean the house. We are no different. We live by it. Since my gastric bypass almost 4 years ago, my attitudes and emotions connected to food consumption have changed dramatically. I can only eat so much in one sitting, so the bites count for more. ALSO, the darker, food-addiction side of the coin is kept somewhat at bay because the main focus of cooking is no longer “how much can I possibly eat?”. In short, it chilled me out and gave me some breathing room that allowed me to really start cooking good food. The Sopranos Cookbook dinner was my first big event, and since then I’ve had LOTS...I don’t really count bbq’s, but I’ve used cookbooks like Nose to Tail, French Laundry, Ad Hoc, Momofuku, and many other “faincy” books as themes for various dinners. A lot of it has been just to see if I could do it...I think Momofuku stretched me the most. Once “Under Pressure” arrives, we will see how THAT goes. And the mailman just delivered "Sous Vide for the Home Cook", sweeeet!

For yesterday’s meal, I wanted to put together something pretty casual (it’s the hottest week of the summer so far), but eGullet-y enough to write about. Solution: something that used my new Sous Vide Supreme. All of the talk about do it yourself immersion circulator kits with all the tubes and wires and whatnot, while incredibly impressive, is just clicks and whistles by the time it reaches my brain. I need simple. I need self-contained. OR I’m never going to use it like I should. The SVS is perfect for my needs. And who doesn’t love fried chicken? Specifically, who doesn’t love Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc fried chicken recipe (BTW, if anyone has favorite additions or tweaking they’ve done to the recipe I would LOVE to hear about it. I want to make this a LOT and would like to personalize it a bit more). I followed it pretty much to the tee, BUT after the chicken came out of the brine it went into the SVS for a couple of hours at 60C.

The herb and cheese poppers and bacon jam both made an appearance...and boy are they handy to have on the table when you are running late like I was. I think this combo is absolutely fantastic. Splitting open the layers of that little biscuit and adding a dollop of the jam...hard stuff not to love. I think I spontaneously broke out into "the robot" the first time I tried it.

Sundaybiscuits.jpg

Sundayjam.jpg

My wife made my favorite cole slaw….I think it’s just a basic creamy slaw recipe but once she started adding chopped candied jalapenos it has been the only slaw allowed in the fridge. Important Note- any of the sweet and hot jalapeno slices we’ve found in the store are not good…for this job you need a jar from some farmer’s market or fair, or one of those little country knick knack shops where they have corn relish and all that. If someone has an easy recipe, let me know. I’d love to can some of my own. I remember my grandmother making sweet pickles by just dumping a ton of sugar into a jar of dill pickles and letting them sit. So that experiment is calling my name.

Sundayjalapenos.jpg

Sundayslaw.jpg

Bowl of mixed cherry tomatoes fresh from our CSA farmers, Crum’s Heirlooms. A little salt, pepper and drizzle of good olive oil.

Sundaytomatoes.jpg

Okay now, the GRITS…these days I just use some locally produced grits from Meinke farms, and I get them through my CSA farmers. I purchase the coarsest grind available. Not sure how well the picture shows it, but you’ve got big chunks of corn all the way down to dust.

SundayGrits.jpg

They take a little longer, you want to cook them a little lower and slower due to the non-uniform structure. Huge flavor. I’ve been cooking them in whole milk, which is what I did yesterday. I’ve always used Shatto Farms milk, but the latest controversy here in town is the way Shatto has been closing some of their smaller accounts and refusing to pick up new customers who can’t put in megamart sized orders. I’m not looking to start trouble with Shatto, but this is something I’ve heard now from several independent sources in the industry who would never say it if it weren’t true, and it is a little disturbing. They are a local company and they create an excellent product…and when I saw that my local Price Chopper started to carry ALL of their products, including the highly sought after cheese curds, I just assumed that it was because local mom and pop stores and restaurants already had what they needed. Not the case. At all. I’m a big believer in dancing with the one that brung ya, and dumping the people who have supported them all along for the convenience of fewer, larger orders is just not good business. END OF SOAPBOX...yesterday when I cooked my grits I grated a ton of good Idiazabal cheese in there. I like the nuttier, slightly more pungent flavor over manchego, and the salt flavor isn’t as pronounced as some good parm. Right at the end I added some farm fresh, picked the day before, corn kernels. Not bad grits, but of course as soon as I started eating them I thought...I bet throwing in some fried okra right at the last second would be good...bacon is always a winner...this train never stops.

Sundaygrits1.jpg

Sundaygrits2.jpg

As I mentioned above, Thomas Keller’s chicken that is served at Ad Hoc is something that is very, very well documented on the web. I made it once before and it turned out great. For those unfamiliar, the short story is the chicken is brined overnight, and it is double dipped in buttermilk and heavily seasoned flour before frying. The addition of sous vide made this damn near foolproof. All you’re really doing is getting the crust as brown as you like it since the chicken is already cooked. If I had to be nitpicky, I’d say that perhaps the texture of the skin closest to the meat comes out a little flabby since you aren’t rendering as much when you fry it for the shorter amount of time. But that is just a non-issue. This chicken KILLS what they serve at places like Stroud’s here in KC. And my wife and I both agree that while it is good right out of the fryer, if you let it sit for a while until it gets to room temperature it’s even better. Feel free to ask if you want any specific details about anything. I figure it’s always easier to add commentary later than ramble until you hit all possible angles.

As far as pictures go, normally I'd show more of the prep work because after the first breading you let the chicken sit on a rack for 20 minutes, etc. HOWEVER, I was running behind. Something about misunderestimating the time it took me to ramble on eGullet yesterday morning....

SundayFryingchicken.jpg

Sundaychicken.jpg

Sundayplate.jpg

For dessert my wife did a homemade key lime pie. She says it’s super easy…I’ll stick to savory cooking. It’s one of my favorite pies, and she did a great job. There is something about the way the pie filling soaks down into and kind of “candies” the homemade graham cracker crust that makes it a delicious entity unto itself.

Sundaypie.jpg

I THINK that is it for dinner yesterday, we’re pretty proud of the way it turned out and we had no complaints from the guests. That chicken is going to stay in my regular rotation. It's a little bit of tedium, but well worth it. Tonight we’re having Ad Hoc chicken and Port Fonda pork leftovers. It’s early in the evening, if I can think of anything I forgot I’ll add it later.

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Ok, you had me at hello (what movie is that from? ;) )

Anyone that says the following makes me swoon:

"I think I spontaneously broke out into "the robot" the first time I tried it."

My mom is coming to visit in the next few weeks and I'm going to make the bacon jam with the poppers. I guess I should make a batch first, though, to make sure I can do it as well as you do.

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This would be the perfect topic for my wife to chime in, because she has done a lot of different recipes that take very well to the freezer.

Mrs. Zee chiming in...my main motivation for freezer friendly dinners is pure laziness. I always say I'm a functional cook--I can keep us fed day to day, and it will taste decent, but there is a certain level of difficulty where I will just give up and run for takeout.:rolleyes: Jerry is just the opposite, so things even out nicely when he's sweating it out over a vat of fried chicken while I'm sipping iced tea and slathering bacon jam on my second (which really means third) cheese biscuit.

Anyway, I have to meal plan to keep from wandering our local Price Chopper and weeping every night trying to figure out what to feed us. And it's just as easy to make two meatloaves or an extra pan of baked ziti and pop one in the freezer. Our supply of homemade veggie burgers has dwindled, so I'll probably make those sometime this week and freeze the rest for quick lunches or dinners down the road. Not fancy, but it's too darn hot and I'm not as nice as my chicken frying husband. :laugh:

Thanks everyone for all the nice comments!

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This would be the perfect topic for my wife to chime in, because she has done a lot of different recipes that take very well to the freezer.

Mrs. Zee chiming in...my main motivation for freezer friendly dinners is pure laziness. I always say I'm a functional cook--I can keep us fed day to day, and it will taste decent, but there is a certain level of difficulty where I will just give up and run for takeout.:rolleyes: Jerry is just the opposite, so things even out nicely when he's sweating it out over a vat of fried chicken while I'm sipping iced tea and slathering bacon jam on my second (which really means third) cheese biscuit.

Anyway, I have to meal plan to keep from wandering our local Price Chopper and weeping every night trying to figure out what to feed us. And it's just as easy to make two meatloaves or an extra pan of baked ziti and pop one in the freezer. Our supply of homemade veggie burgers has dwindled, so I'll probably make those sometime this week and freeze the rest for quick lunches or dinners down the road. Not fancy, but it's too darn hot and I'm not as nice as my chicken frying husband. :laugh:

Thanks everyone for all the nice comments!

Very smart to plan ahead as you do.

I can't count the times I'd have to be at work by 6:30 a.m. and would plan on leaving by 4 p.m. which happened most of the time..but I'd still be pooped by the time we drove the 30 mins. home. I LOVED when I had a slow cooker going or something frozen to take out to make dinner relaxing..but fast.

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My mom is coming to visit in the next few weeks and I'm going to make the bacon jam with the poppers. I guess I should make a batch first, though, to make sure I can do it as well as you do.

The poppers might take a little practice if you're baking-challenged like me. If you bake much at it should be like making those pre-cut dough Tollhouse cookies, lol. Bacon jam is really, really easy, just takes a whlle. You hit a point where you think it will never get done, but it comes together nicely.

As far as Meredith's planning, it's a lifesaver. We both drive about 45 minutes each way to work, and when cooking starts to cut into our Bravo Network tv viewing, things start getting weird. She's great at coming up with ideas, and I don't think she's come up with anything yet I won't eat. The veggie burger experimentation has always paid off. For people who love pork, steak, etc., we manage to work ton of veggie dishes into our diet. Ooooh, another thing- Judy/moosnsqrl got us a panini maker for a wedding gift, and oh my that thing has come in a close third to the freezer and foodsaver as far as overall use.

I'm finishing up some coffee roasting, and reading some of Douglas Baldwin's sous vide book....may end up doing something new later in the week, who knows! This heat is just unreal, so sous vide is a pretty smart choice.

Plan number one for tomorrow is lunch at Lidia Bastianich's KC outpost.....

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As we all know, the real reason anyone ever has people over for dinner is because it forces them to finally clean the house.

:smile: So, so true!

Jerry- I am enjoying your blog tremendously. I love your exuberant style and endless enthusiasm. And your writing is just great.

Thanks for sharing your week with us, I can't wait to read what's next!

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As we all know, the real reason anyone ever has people over for dinner is because it forces them to finally clean the house.

:smile: So, so true!

Jerry- I am enjoying your blog tremendously. I love your exuberant style and endless enthusiasm. And your writing is just great.

Thanks for sharing your week with us, I can't wait to read what's next!

Thank you! I really enjoyed reading your blog as well...it gave me some good homework- my therapist has been helping me not to view people who have immediate access to fresh seafood as evil step-siblings, :laugh: .

My wife and I were both dying over the Bali Hai photos....if I say we are "sushi people", what I really mean is we live for biggest, most non-traditional and fully loaded rolls we can find.

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Jerry, that pork looks incredible. Nicely done with the pollo too. Wish I was there. Mrs CHM and I are in Charleston, SC for the week so I can't keep up as much as I'd like. I'll post something over on the Southeast board about our adventures. I will say that I had the best steak of my life last night in a seafood town.


That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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Jerry, that pork looks incredible. Nicely done with the pollo too. Wish I was there. Mrs CHM and I are in Charleston, SC for the week so I can't keep up as much as I'd like. I'll post something over on the Southeast board about our adventures. I will say that I had the best steak of my life last night in a seafood town.

They serve steak at Cheddar's? OH! In your FACE!

Yeah, we both know our pork and that thing was just....indescribable. When you are in town, a stop by the Port Fonda trailer for tacos will be at the top of the list.

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And here is today’s breakfast...the last of the pork from Port Fonda.

Tuesdaybfast.jpg

I was thinking last night on the way home that it may seem crazy if it looks like I’m eating a ton of food if I’ve had gastric bypass. To put things in perspective, one of those pork tacos is definitely enough for my meal…protein is key once you’ve had surgery because with your limited capacity, it processes very slowly and provides the satiety that carbs won’t. I’m still a big guy, but at my lowest weight I’d taken off about 150-160 pounds. It has bumped up about 20 pounds in the last 2 years, which is definitely a concern, but can be corrected almost immediately when I reduce carbs and just get off of my sedentary butt. You lose a bunch of weight, start feeling good, shopping at “normal” clothing stores, and you get comfortable...which is very dangerous. And carbs are what we refer to as “slider foods”, because when you eat them they go through the new stomach almost immediately and you can just keep on eating. In a nutshell, that is how people who have had surgery put so much weight back on. The surgery is just a tool, it’s not a magic bullet, you still have to work like a fiend at staying healthy…you can just get full quicker and stay full longer than everyone else. Some bypass patients can’t eat certain things...spicy foods, rice, bread, etc. I can eat pretty much anything, but MY special little superpower is how my body processes large amounts of fat. It does NOT like excessive fat intake in a short period of time. That is a good thing, in my opinion, because it puts the brakes on in a very intense way when I’m chowing down on things I shouldn’t…potato chips, fries, ice cream. Frozen custard should have a skull and crossbones on it….three bites and “it” happens. “It” is an almost immediate blanket of sweat, flushed face, and a feeling like a very bad, nauseous hangover has been dropped on me. Lasts for about ten minutes. Ten crappy, crappy minutes. The cool thing is, if you’re ever curious about the fat content of different restaurant foods, I’m like the canary in the mineshaft. The first time I met my wife’s dad, he took us all to Outback Steakhouse (now we all know each other well enough where I can just say “MAN! You know I’m not going to Outback!). One bite of an Awesome Blossom and two bites of my burger, and my wife looks over at me and my face is white as cigarette ash and I’m just drenched in sweat. Good times.

Okay, THAT was not the tangent I was looking for...on the way into work I was thinking about that pork, which made me think about what MANY of us must experience in the workplace. Chances are, your perspective on food and dining makes you an alien. I’m not a preachy evangelist at all...to each his own foodwise, I know my priorities are skewed. I’m rockin’ the 2000 Chevy Blazer that has been paid off forever, and I didn’t fall for it when my realtor told me I could afford a bigger house than the one I bought...so I can enjoy a decent meal from time to time. Granted, if you want to get into a really good food discussion with me at the office, you’re signing on for a decent sized task. I’ll wear you down. And then word gets around, and it’s always “Oh, ask Jerry where to eat, he’s the food guy”. Which is fine, I mean, if it’s food, movies or making fun of Westboro Baptist Church which is just fifty miles down the road, I am IN as far as sharing what I know. But there is that very fine line.

Recommending restaurants to co-workers...it may have already been chronicled on this site, no idea, but for me it’s a sticky predicament. I don’t ever want to come off as snobbish, because I hate those people...they don’t really enjoy food, dining out is just another way they can feel the control they crave. BUT I also don’t want to screw over one of my favorite restaurants by sending over a doofus. OR, have them come back saying the food was a rip-off because it didn’t fill them up, or it sucked because they can’t believe three scallops cost them twenty bucks. I generally try to gauge who the person is foodwise, and at the very least point them to a place that is local and dependable. It’s usually not the place they heard me raving to a friend about, which can also raise questions or hurt feelings (because people treat work too much like life, and you are their spouse or sibling...another topic entirely). I’m just protective of the places I love...I want the people I send there to be the type of folks who like to build relationships with restaurants like I do, and when you work someplace where a “normal” lunch outing is gorging at the local Chinese Buffet or the 5.99 salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden, those people are rare. Again, to each his own, General Tso’s chicken is awesome, I love Red Lobster, but the bottom line is “value” is important to everyone but it also happens to have one of the most subjective definitions on earth. I “value” bringing my lunch to work 99% of the time and having one really nice weekend dinner at one of my favorite joints a couple of times per month, vs. an array of $5-$8 lunchtime chowfests that probably end up costing about as much as my one dinner. Anyway, just throwing all of that out there. Rambling to impress myself at how I’ve written this much without letting Profanity Jerry off the chain...

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Love this blog, love your writing, love your attitude and I would love the profanity, but I understand that you have to show restraint. I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy 10 months ago, so I am also very interested in that aspect of your eating and cooking and LIVING.


"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)

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Right on about all the crappy lunches (and dinners) you can blow money on. So not worth it.

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patti- Thanks for the encouragement, what I'll probably end up doing after the carpal tunnel dies down next week, is spoof myself over on my blog by writing one of the same food reviews in my native tongue.

gfweb- It's actually pretty amazing, and I'm assuming not limited to the midwest...a ton of bad food that costs less than eight bucks makes it great food. And I obviously LOVE trashy, fatty food, but geez....

Oh man, it is hot out today. Normally the only thing that would get me out of the office in this crap is if our new Trader Joe's was running a two for one special on jars of Toffee Coated Human Souls. BUUUTTT due diligence beckons....off to Lidia's in a minute...come on Blazer, I know you have it in you.

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When I look at the proportion of wages that landscapers and secretaries and tradesmen spend on take out lunches I am always amazed. They must work about 3/4 day a week just to feed themselves lunch. And its not even that good and its not even a fun experience like going out to dinner or happy hour might be.

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Jerry, that pork looks incredible. Nicely done with the pollo too. Wish I was there. Mrs CHM and I are in Charleston, SC for the week so I can't keep up as much as I'd like. I'll post something over on the Southeast board about our adventures. I will say that I had the best steak of my life last night in a seafood town.

That pork *IS* incredible. And, for the record, Nick and I lobbied him to have you and Breann (sp?) join us for the first meal in the tin can. So now you know who your real friends in KC are :wink:


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Really enjoying this blog thus far.

Though I would encourage you to treat us to some of your KC BBQ, I understand if you feel it is too 'overdone' (the subject, not the Q!) - I am preparing for our new house and my inevitable (though yet to be purchased) smoker (though perhaps I may just settle for a Gas BBQ (Napolean - purchased) and a Webber Kettle charcoal grill), and I can use all the insight I can get!

Cheers.

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Really enjoying this blog thus far.

Though I would encourage you to treat us to some of your KC BBQ, I understand if you feel it is too 'overdone' (the subject, not the Q!) - I am preparing for our new house and my inevitable (though yet to be purchased) smoker (though perhaps I may just settle for a Gas BBQ (Napolean - purchased) and a Webber Kettle charcoal grill), and I can use all the insight I can get!

Cheers.

Oh, no problem at all sharing some BBQ info. You just know how it can go around here...far less involved conversations can result in a “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” free for all, lol. So everything from this point forward is just in MY experience and opinion, disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer, caveat, caveat, caveat....

Basically, everyone has to answer questions about how much will I cook, how often will I cook, and how much do I want to spend, for themselves. I know there are tons and tons of BBQ discussions on eGullet, but I can absolutely give you a brief synopsis of how I do it and have done it for about ten or so years. I own three Weber Smokey Mountain bullet smokers. I rarely ever have to fire up more than one to accomplish what I need for the groups I feed (if necessary I’ll prepare longer cooking meats like brisket and pork butt the day before, and then do ribs, chicken, sausage, etc. the day of). I know people with $2000 Hasty Bakes who only fire them up once or twice per year, but they look awfully cool out on the patio, so again, the sky is the limit if you’re wanting to get a cool rig. If I were going to go all out and buy a larger rig it would probably be a Good One “Rodeo”.

If I were going to tell you “hey, buy this one”, I’d recommend the newer 22.5 inch Weber Smokey Mountain. More space, same principle. You can get them for around $350 on Amazon, and with virtualweberbullet.com you’ve got a massive amount of tested and trustworthy information specific to Weber bullets. I don’t grill very often, but I do have the Weber 22.5 inch grill which I’ve enjoyed when I’ve needed it. I don’t use gas grills, probably never will, just the stubborn curmudgeon in me.

When you start smoking meat, go with chicken and country style ribs (thickly sliced Boston butt/pork shoulder)...play around with rubs, burn it, under cook it, destroy it, just take time to learn about how your specific smoker retains heat, how often you need to add coals, whether you like water in the water pan or do like a lot of us and just fill it with sand (there’s an angels/head of a pin topic). Use more wood, less wood, see which wood you like...most of the time I just use a combo of hickory and either apple or cherry. Once you get comfortable with how it all works and start cooking edible meat, practice on ribs when you find them on sale for your short cooks, and pork butt for the longer cooks. Leave brisket alone for a while, that is just my advice. It’s way easier to make a horrible brisket than it is a moderately just-okay pork butt.

Berkshire pork butt is a favorite thing of mine to smoke, and now that my butcher will get brisket points for me I only cook burnt ends...no sliced brisket. In my opinion, a proper burnt end is the height of bbq, so I don’t want to use smoker space on brisket flats. I’m happy to cook ribs, but I don’t like to buy ribs. I’m pretty anti-sauce with my bbq, and I know I’m in a pretty small minority there. And if what I cooked was ever only as good as the best restaurant at this point...I would be absolutely inconsolable.

With bbq, it’s all about your personal taste and it takes a ton of practice to dial it in. But once you get used to it, it’s remedial-level easy. Total muscle memory. No clue if all of that even approaches valuable info for you, but if you ever have any general or specific questions I’m always happy to share how I do it.

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And every now and then, even one of us city folk (when you have a friend with a backyard in Brooklyn) can smoke up some decent ribs on a good old fashioned Weber kettle :wink: ...

Yeah, I actually started by using an offset configuration on the same Weber Kettle I still own. Good BBQ is definitely possible on a Kettle...and you can probably figure out by using one if BBQ is enjoyable enough for you personally to take the leap get a smoker. I just tell EVERYONE to get a smoker right out of the chute, because when garage sale season starts....boy....my collection grows exponentially, :laugh: .

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Man, when they expect you to work at work, that is just outrageous. Very long day learning an antiquated mainframe system from someone who retires next Friday. We were planning on BLT's with some nice heirloom tomatoes I got at the market this weekend, but we realized...no thawed bacon. Yeah, we could have done a quick thaw, but then...who wants to fry that stuff in this heat?

Sooooo...here is some reality dining for you tonight. And later I'll come back and post everything from lunch today.

Perfectly ripe Crum's heirloom tomato and Farm to Market Grains Galore sandwiches, and a "fresh from the freezer" bowl of chickpea and kale soup. The soup is fantastic, it has whole wheat shell pasta and ground turkey in it as well. Huge contender for precious freezer space We have eaten a ton of fresh kale this season, I just love it. Hey, I'll bet a little dollop of bacon jam on top of some slow cooked kale wouldn't suck.

tuedinner1.jpg

tuedinner2.jpg

Hanging out in the cool basement, watching the best of what Bravo Network has to offer after a long day. I want to star on a Bravo show where I live with Jeff Lewis from Flipping Out and all we do is try to think of something to say that makes the other person cry. That would be the most brutal show ever. Back in a little while with some Lidia's. I have to go sit under a tree like Hazel from Cannery Row, and think about what direction to take with an evening meal to come. I can either do a REALISTIC Friday dinner where we jockey for position on who is choosing and pickng up the carryout, OR I could cook something I've never tried before.

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Count me in the kale fan club. I am curious about the freezing of that soup. So often I hear people say that freezing soups containing pasta results in major mush upon reheating. Do you purposely undercook the pasta, or has your experience been different? As to the bacon issue on the BLTs- I always have some sort of salami product in the fridge and find it a nice stand in.

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