Thursday, August 23, 2007

Easy Meat

"You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need
You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you're on the street
You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed"- Pink Floyd

I must admit that I have been in a cooking slump lately.

Not only have I not been motivated to cook, I really haven't been too enthusiastic about eating either.

Everything just seems blase, it must be the heat.

So I decided to do a pictorial recap of some of the summer's food and post some pics that didn't make it onto the blog....enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Smoking with Doug

" We turned the lights down low and had a party on the patio." - ZZ Top

A couple of weekends ago I went over to my friend Doug's house where his friend Tommy was smoking chicken, pork, and salmon among other things.

Above you can see two beer can chickens cheek to cheek.

Below the two chickens was about an eight pound Boston Butt and a huge piece of salmon.

I found out that this particular Weber smoker is known as the "bullet" and Tommy was particularly adept at smoking on it.

The coals are in the very bottom that you can access by way of a door on the side.

He had some "chunks" of hickory that were soaked prior to going on the coals. He prefers them to chips.

Just above the coals sits a "drip pan", that was about half filled with beer before we put on the meat. (You can see it on the left)

On top of that was the first grate. He loaded the butt and the fish on this level.

The two chickens were placed on the top grate.

He had a digital thermometer hanging inside the body of the smoker. He kept it at 250 or below the entire time.

After 2 hours we pulled the salmon off. It was the best salmon I can remember eating in a very long time.

After about 4 hours we pulled off the chickens.

About 2 hrs after that the butt came off, which I forgot to sample.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Gipsy Kings

" Le le lei le le lei le le lei
Le le lei le le lei le le lei" - Gipsy Kings

Okay, so this isn't a blog about cooking, however a fair amount of eating was done, so it fits within the theme.

On a sweltering night the Gipsy Kings came to town...

So the wheeled cooler was dusted off and packed down with Corona and Carr and ice and glasses and pasta and Gouda and prosciutto and, well you get the picture.

Contrary to what the naysayers would have you believe, Chastain Amphitheater is the best venue in Atlanta, don't believe me? What other place lets you bring glass beer bottles in? The silence is deafening.

Beer bottles aside, the best part is, you get to bring in bottles of wine. And so we did.

And that bottle is starting to wear off right about now...


First time ever arriving at a show too early...

Vardaman to cop, "Can we park here?"

Cop, "It's alright with me."

Gotan Project "Lunatico" cd played before the show, very cool.

It was too damn hot, but the show was good, though not anything to write home about.

I suspect a good time was had by all...

Le le lei le le lei le le lei
Le le lei le le lei le le lei

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Get Ready

Now might be a good time to dust off a copy of Atlas Shrugged....

Monday, August 6, 2007

Chicken Saltimbocca

Heat a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in a large pan. Sautee the pieces until golden brown and then remove.

Use whatever mushrooms you have available. I used these shitakes on the left. Slice the mushrooms while the chicken is browning.

You are supposed to use chicken breasts for this, but I used chicken tenders instead, which are cut from the breast.

Pound the breasts out with a mallet until they are about a quarter of an inch thick.

Salt and pepper.

Lay a slice of good proscuitto across each of the breasts. Add a sage leaf on top of the ham.

Fold the pieces in half and pin the sides
together with a toothpick. Dredge each piece in flour.

Drink wine.

Heat a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in a large pan. Sautee the pieces until golden brown and then remove.

Use whatever mushrooms you have available. I used the shitakes below. Slice the mushrooms while the chicken is browning.

Drink wine.

I made an appetizer beforehand with some mozzarella, tomato, shaved parmagiano, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (I forgot the basil.)

Add the mushrooms to the same pan along with a chopped shallot and sautee for a few minutes.

Add one cup of Marsala wine to the mushrooms. I used Malbec, because I have never found any Marsala wine.

Drink whatever wine you have.

Add the chicken pieces back to the pan simmer until reduced to about half. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of butter after the liquid reduces.

I almost forgot...the first thing you do is fry some sage leaves in a little oil and set aside for later, don't eat them all before the chicken is finished.

Garnish the chicken with the sage leafs and shaved parm.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

No Knead Bread

"You got very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris because all the bakery shops had such good things in the windows and the people ate outside at tables on the sidewalks so that you saw and smelled the food." - Hemingway

It sort of smells a little like Paris around here whenever we bake bread.

The blogs have been raving about "no knead bread" posted on the New York Times last year by Mark Bittman. It is originally from Jim Lahey, of Sullivan Street Bakery.

It really is an excellent way to make very good bread.

In a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl, combine:

3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Mix well to combine dry ingredients


1 1/2 cups water

Mix together with a spoon and then cover and set aside until the next day.

The next day the dough will look something like this.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.