Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chickenfest 2012 -- Part Deux!!

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly 8 months since the first Chickenfest of 2012, but the time is upon us once again to gather 'round the blazing bonfire to appease the Gods of Poultry by dismembering and ingesting many, many of our delicious feathered-friends!!  Click here to read onward!

Boneless Pork Riblets!! (With an explanation of Vorbereitungen!!)

The meaning of yesterday's post entitled "Vorbereitungen!!" may not have been as crystal clear as I had intended it to be, so let this serve as somewhat of an explanation while at the same time allowing me to show off a few pics of how easily boneless smoked riblets can be prepared for a voyage from whence they shall not return!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Man muss im Leben für die Zukunft vorbereitet sein wenn man das Verlangen verspürt mit geringem Aufwand zu kochen und dabei aber hervorragende Ergebnisse erzielen will ohne sich dabei selbst mit zu viel Mühe zu Grunde zu richten!

BBQ Seasoning Blend!!

Given that everyone has their own preferences and predilections, my prerogative is to adjust store-bought seasoning blends to suit my own taste!  I highly suggest you do the same because these blends are typically formulated to please the lowest common denominator in our society, which means that those of us who prefer more bold, lively flavors have to take drastic and daring measures so that we can continue to live our lives on the edge!! Click here to read on, fellow rabble-rouser! 

Baking Season is Upon Us!!!

Ahh, Michigan, what with it's lovely grey skies and blustery late September evenings.  It's time again to get the bonfire blazing and the oven baking in anticipation of yet another awesome season of Red Wings hockey (hopefully!).  You've just got to love it, right?!?  Right! So, why not throw together a batch of Le Petite Pain au Lait (aka Brotchen, mini milk muffins) to share with a few friends?!  Click here to check 'em out!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Homemade Chicken Nugs for BFC Night!!!

Once again, Thursday rolled around and it was time to gather the usual suspects for some suds and some grub!!  This week, I decided to keep it simple and make some chicken nugs from scratch!  Click here to check out how it’s done!

Pollo con Arroz Y Elote!!

Chicken & Rice with a side veg (read: “vedge”) is a staple dish that can be made any one of a billion ways!  Click here to get your hunger on!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ich liebe Brötchen!!

As the change of seasons quickly approaches, I grow ever more excited about being able to bake in the house without heating the joint up to a million degrees!!  Click here for more pics!

Smoked "Fresh" Kielbasa!!

Though there are actually well over 3 dozen types of kielbasa available at your local Polish market, most people are aware of two types: "Smoked" and "Fresh".  Typically, people buy it whichever way they prefer it, but some of us get a ton of each, as we do in my family!  

Strolling through Meijer the other day, I came across a package of "fresh" kielbasa (made in-house!) that was marked down for quick sale, so I figured that I would try my hand (again) at transmogrifying it into "smoked" kielbasa!  Without hesitation, I grabbed the package and threw it in the cart wishing only that they had more available! Unfortunately, I got the last remaining package, so I've been keeping an eye out for more in-house kielbasa ever since then!

Upon my arrival at home, I fired up the smoker unit and whacked up the kielbasa into more easily maneuverable chunks.  Upon commencement of billowing smoke pouring out the sides of the unit, I tossed the sausage in the rig and set it to "auto-pilot" (meaning I put more apple wood in there, closed it, then went to go squeeze another squirt from the fridge-pig).  

With only the occasional addition of apple wood or charcoal, this could possibly have been the easiest smoke session I've had in memorable history.  Only 3 or so hours passed while the kielbasa was feelin' the love in the smoky little box in which it was contained.  

Immediately upon removal of the sausage from it's caliginous tomb, I commenced with hacking it into bite-sized chunks before devouring piece after piece atop Wheat Thins wishing only that I had been able to make more at once because I knew it wasn't going to last long!  Indeed, correct I was in making this assumption because my freshly-smoked fresh kielbasa was such a hit among my co-workers that none of it made it through the next day at work!  This is certainly something I aspire to make again soon!

Bachelor Chow: A Contemporary Cooking Methodology!!

Cooking is like music; both of them are at the same time a form of art and science that takes minutes to get into, but years to master.  Having not (yet) acquired any degree or formal training in culinary science, I'm certainly no master of cooking, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to share with those who are interested in saving time and money while not having to sacrifice deliciousness! Bachelor Chow is a term I’ve coined to represent entrees that are comprised of a meat, a veg, and a carb; each of which can be varied to accommodate what you have on-hand to concoct an easy meal that is cost-effective, healthy, and – most importantly – tasty!

Bachelor Chow does not necessarily refer to one particular recipe, but rather a method by which an entrée with countless variations can be created.  Additionally, making Bachelor Chow not only encourages innovation and creativity in the kitchen, but is also an excellent way to practicing one’s timing in the kitchen!  Furthermore, through trial and error, a sense of what flavors and textures are complimentary and work well together will build itself naturally as you attempt different combinations of various ingredients each time you make a new batch.  Before long, your delicious pile of leftovers will be the envy of all your co-workers as they nuke yet another Lean Cuisine or toast up a Hot Pocket!
This Kicked-Up Dirty Rice is a great example of Bachelor Chow (not to mention damn tasty!).   I love this stuff, esp with some Fiery Diablo Seasoning on it!

For this batch of Bachelor Chow, the meat category is represented by a generous pound of burger meat that I had stoached in the freezer for just this occasion.  A bag of mixed veg (pronounced “vedge” – get it right!) is the vegetative matter, while the carb has been represented by the rice, specifically Zatarain's Dirty Rice, in this instance.  Any or all of them could be exchanged for a different ingredient within its respective category to create unique dishes suited specifically to the mood you happen to be in at the moment.  That’s the beauty of Bachelor Chow; you get to dictate exactly what goes into it to determine how it comes out!  Not in the mood for beef? Go with chicken!   No chicken?  Hack up some of the smoked boneless pork loin that you froze last week!  Don’t like mixed veggies?  Swap it out with frozen peas!  Or something from the garden!  No rice on-hand? Pasta or couscous are great alternatives!  The possibilities are endless!

Another beautiful thing about Bachelor Chow, aside from its extreme flexibility, is the ease with which most of the components that make up each batch can be cooked!  Even for people who lack experience and knowledge when it comes to cooking, concocting a batch of Bachelor Chow is somewhat of a no-brainer.  For this reason, I tend to make it when I really don’t want to cook because I’m low on give-a-damn, yet I remain unwilling to compromise eating a quality meal for the sake of convenience!  Furthermore, Bachelor Chow is a dish that can be scaled up for those occasions when you’ve got guests on the way, or hungry little mouths to feed!  Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about feedin’ youngin’s (yet), so I get to enjoy my leftovers at work for the next day or two!

Pooch Wrasslin'!!

My Uncle-Brother Schertzer's dog Bentley is a great sparing partner for hot days when we've both got a bit of scrappin' in us!  This was the second time we've spared & we both had a blast!  He plays rough, but somehow knows not to get toooo rough about it!  By the time we're through, I'm covered in schlobber and we're both laying in the grass panting!!  Check out the pics of this epic battle!

Dome Update!!! Painting Complete!!

Finally!!!  I've managed to knock out the next phase of the Geodesic Dome Project!!!  Though it took an entire weekend to do, painting the struts for the dome was worth every bit of effort & money put into it! Click here to check out more pics!

Leftover Schlopp! (Dinner 9-11-12)

Leftovers are a wonderful thing!  Fact: If you don't like eating your own leftover food, then you didn't make it right to begin with!  Click here to check out the schlopp that I threw together the other night!

Garden Update!!!

Though the season will soon come to an end, the garden at Brewster is still growing like crazy!  Check out the latest pics!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Albondigas Refritos!!

As is common for me on Mondays, I arrived home from work with the urge to get shit done.  I tend to put dinner off until after I've gotten done with what I can, so it wasn't until 10pm that I actually started making dinner, which is par for the course, really.  Regardless, I didn't feel much like cooking, so I decided to cheat and whip up a batch of Albondigas Refritos (Refried Meatballs)!  Here's how it's done!

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Erection Session!!

Over the last few months, I've been building my own geodesic dome in which to party (as some of you are well aware)!  Though it has taken seemingly an eternity to get this cut, stamped, deburred, angled, and erected, I assure you that it will have been well worth the wait!  For many months, the dome sat as a piled-up bundle of stamped steel in the middle of my living room, but no longer!   I've finally managed to get the remaining hardware necessary to get it set up, which is exactly what Schertzer, the neighbor Joe Micelli, & I did yesterday!  Click on this post to check out more pics of the erection (process)!

Applewood Smoked Pork!!

I won't try to hide it or deny it; I love pork!  I get a hankerin' for smoked pork on the regular, so to appease my gluttonous appetite, when I make pork, especially smoked pork, I always make extra!   I managed to score some sexy boneless pork country-style ribs for a great deal, so I whipped up a batch of pulled pork!  Check out how I did it!

Skillet Steak w/ Green Beans & Rice!!

I ended up with just a small steak left over from trimming the fat from the angus chuck steak that I had used for beef jerky, so I seasoned, then fried it up for a quick and easy dinner!  Check out the pics to see how it's done!


As it turned out, the Planning Committee for the Labor Day Camping Trip 2012 decided that I would be responsible for dinner on Friday night and had kindly requested that I serve mostaccioli because, frankly, it’s awesomesauce.  I happily obliged this request because mostaccioli is a no-brainer, rather affordable, and easy-peasy to heat-n-eat when the time is right!  Here’s how I knocked it out! 

Beef Jerky!!!!

The Universe itself decided that it was time for me to make beef jerky by planting not one but two giant slabs of angus chuck steak right in front of me at Sam's Club marked down (seemingly for me exclusively) to half off the normal price!  I could not win the fight against the temptation that compelled me to buy it, so why even bother trying to resist??  So, into the cart it went!  Here is how I handled it from there!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day Weekend Saga: Part One: A Late Arrival

Eagerly awaiting the arrival of D-troit, no doubt!
My arrival at the campsite had been tardy, but moreso than I had originally anticipated.  One would think that having spent 3 entire evenings earlier in the week packing would have meant that departure on Friday after work would have been executed in somewhat of a timely fashion, but one would be mistaken.  A laundry-list of last-minute shit to pack, including 3 coolers full of food & beer, ended up taking far longer to shove into the Envoy than hoped.  After one false-start having nearly forgotten the mega-pot of mostaccioli back at the house, I finally managed to hit the road at quarter after 8 PM – only 15 minutes after the time by which I had truly planned on hitting the road!  

Byrnes: "What took ya so long, guy?"
Me (not pictured): "Don't call me guy, buddy!"
Lauren: "WTF are you guys talking about?"
After a long, frustrating week at work, the long weekend couldn’t have arrived too soon!  Just under an hour journey up the road await the rest of my entourage for my arrival, though when I arrived, it was immediately evident that they hadn’t waited to commence upon the having of plenty of beer and booze & good damn times!  Warmly & with open arms and cold beer I was welcomed to our encampment and encouraged to waste no time in catching up with a round or two and a shot of Jame-o before beginning the process of organizing and unpacking.

Camping in style!

With haste, Byrnes took care of getting the mostaccioli on a roll in the roaster oven I had brought along for just this purpose.  Unlike previous camping excursions on which I’ve been in years past, this particular place had both running water and power for each site.  Though this made life a lot easier by allowing us to plug in small appliances such as this roaster and a mini-fridge, it was not exactly the rustic camping that I actually prefer.  I may just be partial to having more elbow room and less structure than was the situation at this place.   Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed being here, but it was moreso a family-oriented establishment than a place for drunken debauchery, even though we managed to get away with plenty of shenanigans anyway!

Though we ate most of it, we failed to
preserve the leftovers for breakfast! Damn!
The mostaccioli was a hit!  I mixed in plenty of shredded colby-jack cheese when everything was piping hot and let all the ooey-gooey love happen just prior to ringing the dinner bell (figuratively speaking – I still need one of these!).  After we stuffed our faces with pasta, we resumed goofing off drinkin’ brewskis and yukkin’ it up catching bullfrogs in the swamp adjacent to our campsite.  Somehow, Dubay managed to shove a frog in Springer’s mouth when he wasn’t paying attention, after which he spent a half-hour un-eating mostaccioli & the other contents of his gut – partially as a result of having a muddy amphibian shoved in his pie-hole, partially as a result of hangin’ out with Jose Cuervo for most of the night.  Remarkably, Springer came through this little "unpacking" session unscathed right at about the same time that I had finally managed to get my vehicle unpacked and my sleeping arrangements situated.  The night wore on into the wee hours as we relaxed bullshitting and enjoying each other’s company as we sat around the slowly dying fire.  Without a doubt, the morning would bring yet another chapter of this Labor Day weekend saga!
...or just a barf-inducing amphibian!

Jay's about to find out if this frog is Prince Charming...

Stay tuned for Part Two of the saga!