Thursday, July 12, 2007

Recipe: Cassie's Sangria

By popular request!

Ingredients:
• 1.5 liter bottle of red wine (merlot or cabernet)
• Juice of half a lemon
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 cup berry or peach brandy
• 1/2 cup triple sec
• Juice to taste (orange and/or peach, optional)
• 1 Orange
• 1 Lime
• 1 Green Apple

Mix all the liquids in a large pitcher. Chop the fruits into small (roughly quarter inch) cubes, leaving the peel on the fruits. Add these to the pitcher and stir. Add orange or peach juice to taste if desired, maybe 1/2 a cup.

Chill overnight for the best results!

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Fantastic Filet

For our final cookout in Provincetown, Cassie pick up a mutual favorite: thick cut filet mignon. I haven't cooked steaks in some time, and I was looking forward to applying some recently acquired knowledge around cooking fast and building up a crust. Its hard to throw off the "low and slow" mantra of the BBQ, but when it comes to steak cooking as fast as possible is the key to victory.

Burned


Cooking steaks indoors during the past winter, I had been working on the technique of pan searing with butter to build up a delicious crust and lock in as much flavor as possible. Working with this I whipped together some butter with cracked pepper and rubbed the outside of the steak with this. When the coals had just died down and were still glowing I put on the steak to cook for about 4 minutes per side. The butter and intense heat performed as expected, and the filet was deliciously crusted on the outside and incredibly flavorful on the inside. This was sort of a last minute unplanned cookout, and it ended up providing us with a main dish that certainly rivaled the careful preparation that went in the 4th of July ribs (could it have been the 7/7/07 luck?!)

Delicious Filet

Sadly missing form this photographic documentation is the delicious potato salad Cassie made, and some leftover kabobs form the Fourth.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fourth of July Beach Cookout

Grilling on the beach was something I'd really been looking forward to doing this year, and it did not disappoint. Around 5pm the wind started to pick up a little and cleared away all the sun bathers, so we though it would be a good time to light the coals. It was slightly challenging getting coals started in direct wind without the charcoal chimney I normally use. Once the flame caught I put the lid back on leaving a 2 inch game over the side with the coals banked. This in conjunction with the side air vents on the Smokey Joe Gold seemed to keep things burning.

Take that, offshore winds!

I wanted to let the ribs smoke for at least an hour, using the apple wood chips I had found in the local hardware store. To tide us over, I made some kabobs with fresh pineapple, onion, peppers and shrimp. These cooked real fast, and kept us entertained while some more of that delicious corn we had on sunday was streaming. One thing I noticed was that the shrimp readily absorbed the smokey flavor and also dried out rather quickly. I'm not sure if this was because they were on the small size for grilling, or if it was because they had been pre-cooked when we bought them. Either way, I'm going to have to delve into shrimp grilling a little bit more and try to crack this. The fresh pineapple was delicious as usual.

I guess thats the cool thing to do now?


The ribs cooked for just about an hour and a half, with the rub forming a delicious looking crust. I brushed them down with some Sweet Baby Ray's honey bbq sauce and let that caramalize for another 15 minutes. Just as we were getting ready to take them off a few drops of rain sizzled on the grill lid. As we got the ribs inside it just started to pick up so we dodged a bullet and enjoyed our meal while watching the storm go by.

Ribs and Corn

Delicious Ribs

Please note Cassie's delicious home made sangria in the above photo. The ribs were delicious, with just enough of a smoke ring around the inside to convince myself that one can take a serious stab at doing actual barbecue on a grill, even a small one like the Smokey Joe.

//update: the Flickr photo group Bar-B-Qued Ribs asked for me to submit that photo to them! Super cool, check out all the food porn they've collected.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Prepping for the Fourth

We are really looking forward to having a nice cookout on the beach for the Fourth of July. Today we took a walk down to the market and picked up some supplies needed with the following menu in mind:
• Babyback ribs, to fulfill my mission discussed previously
• Shrimp and pineapple kabobs
• Fresh corn
• Homemade sangria (Cassie's specialty)

The kabobs are intended to be a quick-cookin snack to keep us happy around the grill while the ribs can slow cook their way to deliciousness. I followed the trimming and prepping instructions from amazingribs.com to prep the ribs, and also cut the rack in half so it would fit on the Smokey Joe without a problem:

Trimmed Ribs

I found a pre-made pork rub at the store, not ideal but better then buying all the spices and other ingredients for a homemade rub in bulk and then leaving them at the beach house to never be used again. It went on pretty well so I have good expectations for it.

Rubs!

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Vacation Begins

Today Cassie and I arrived in Provincetown on Cape Cod and spent a wonderful afternoon of doing precisely nothing. Eventually we got around to venturing out and acquiring some of the goods that make doing nothing so much better, specifically food and beer. At the local hardware store I picked up a Smokey Joe Gold and some charcoal. We weren't looking to break into any culinary circles quite yet, so the evening menu consisted of some good corn and a few hot dogs.

Provisions

Ah, that new grill smell.

The Smokey Joe Gold has one neat feature that my alley grill at home lacks: a built in handle that also serves to lock the lid in place, making it possible to carry the grill while the coals are still somewhat hot. I'm thinking this should make it feasible to take the grill down to the beach, a whole 20 feet away from our porch, to grill in the sand on of these nights, and then bring it back up after cooking. Can't imagine a better fourth of July.

Breaking in the new grill.

Classic

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