Monday, April 27, 2009

The Avett Brothers Should Be Your New Favorite Band

The Avett Brothers were SWEET!!!

Go buy their records!! Go see them live!! Go to BHAM.FM to see some other picts and thoughts from the show!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Déjà Risotto

Not sure if anyone else noticed, but Gourmet and Cooking Light both ran pretty similar recipes in this month’s issue(s): Lemon Risotto with Shrimp and Asparagus (though Cooking Light did put a Greek spin on it with Feta). Since we had some leftover Asparagus and Risotto, I thought it was a sign we should try it out.

I par-boiled the Asparagus first then shocked them in an ice water bath. Then I added chicken stock to the “asparagus water” to use as the base of the risotto. My shrimp also took a while longer to cook than the recipe said they would (I thought the residual heat from the risotto would cook them through in 3 minutes, but it took closer to 8 or 9).

I roasted some Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic as a side. We had a little herb planter on our deck last summer, and were really surprised when the Chives, Oregano and Rosemary started growing back a few weeks ago. So I thought I’d be a green, “slow food,” organic farming foodie and use our Oregano in these (I also put our Chives in the risotto). I roasted them at 450 for 25-30 minutes (shaking the pan every 10 minutes or so) and they were really good!

PS – just want to thank all the commenters out there! Not sure if taking the blog private for a few weeks hurt “my traffic”, but I’m glad y’all have stuck with me. To all your lurkers, don’t be afraid to come out of the shadows and post your thoughts, I already know who most of you are!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I went to WILCO last night at Sloss Furnaces. It was AWESOME!!!

They played over 2 hours and really worked the crowd (they won a Grammy the last time they were in town, so I guess they're fans of the Magic City). AND Jeff Tweedy referred to the folks from UAT as "Tusca-losers"!!! In ya face, Saban!!!

I didn't take my camera, so you'll have to settle for this REALLY crappy phone pict. I'm glad I didn't because I found out after the fact that Sloss was turning away anyone with a SLR . . .

This was my 2nd time to see a show at Sloss, but I'm going back this Saturday for the Avett Brothers!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Welcome to City Wok, Would You like some City Beef?

How did I celebrate the end of Busy Season (and our office closing on Friday)??

Korean food at Seoul Restaurant with Grantham!!


A trip to the “International Market” around the corner from our house!!

For lunch, Grant had Korean BBQ’ed beef and I ordered some other type of Korean stir-fryed beef. In keeping with true heterosexual, food-blogging tradition (No Homo!), we traded plates half-way through and also broke out our camera phones to capture the meal! Lunch also came with various pickled vegetable appetizers. I’ve never had kimchi, and even though it gets a bad rap (rep? wrap?), I thought it was pretty good.

From the looks of the outside, you’d expect sketchy cock fighting inside the International Market. I don’t know if I’d trust the “fresh produce”, but I’d go back the next time we’re making stir-fry. Here’s the aisle with every brand of Soy, Hosin, Fish, Sirachi, etc. sauce you’d ever need!!

Unfortunately, the folks at International Market don’t take credit cards, so be sure to bring Cash or Check the next time you need salted cuttle fish.

Baked Sausage Pasta Party

So, we had my mom and sister in town for Easter (two weekends ago), and made a “Baked Pasta with Spicy Tomato and Sausage Sauce.” It’s from a cookbook the Mrs. got a year or two ago called Seriously Simple (I think they sold it at Anthropologie?).

It’s a pretty simple recipe and starts off by browning some Italian Sausage in a Dutch oven (or trusty Le Creuset). The recipe said to keep on cookin’ with the rendered sausage fat (flavor!), but I went ahead and drained it. Looking back, I’m thinking this would have been tastier with the grease. I mean, if I was gonna eat an Italian Sausage on a bun, I wouldn’t drain it first, right?

After you brown the sausage, you basically add Onion, Garlic, Pesto and Marinara sauce and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Then you throw in baby spinach, cooked Penne/Rigatoni, and diced Mozzarella or Smoked Gouda cheese (next time I’d shred it). Have any of you (ones of readers) ever bought Smoked Gouda cheese?? It smells like Summer Sausage which is AWESOME!!

You top it with Parmigiano/Reggiano and throw it in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes or so. This recipe makes a ton of food, so we ended up freezing a smaller (loaf pan) portion for us later.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My CPA's got a Beard like a Billy Goat

Things I won’t Miss about Busy Season

Working until 10 pm

Required Saturdays

Spending more waking time with my office plant (it came back to life), than my wife

Tax checklists

Review notes (these are year-round, just multiplied during Busy Season)

Things I will Miss about Busy Season

Dippin’ Dots (unlimited in our office kitchen from March 30th until April 15th)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Iron Chef Results

Ten days later, and I’m finally posting the pictures and results from IRON CHEF BRIDGERS/LEE (errr, ARGYLE)! As mentioned earlier, the secret ingredient was Lamb. Stephen had a butcher in Sylacauga (Sylvest Farms?) process the various lamb cuts, as I’m sure our wives would never look at us or a helpless baby lamb again if we had to SLAUGHTER it ourselves.

There were three teams (Mark, Murray and Stephen) competing and each team was to prepare three different courses, with the assistance of their Sous Chef (David, Mary and myself).

First, I have to give props to Team Mark for coming out, guns a blazing with the Lamb Tartare. Very aggressive, and while I think this may get rave reviews at Highland’s, I think it was a little too haute cuisine for our group! Great presentation!

Team Murray (the Winner) was OUTSTANDING and some of the best food I’ve ever tasted! Of course, I am a sucker for (good) ethnic cuisine, and when they started adding ingredients (curry, ginger paste, coriander, mint, etc.) to their Moroccan/Indian-inspired dishes, I knew we’d be in trouble. Here is their Lamb Shish Kebab stuffed tomatoes. I could eat this for a week straight!

Our theme was “Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner” and we prepared:

Eggs Benedict with Lamb Sausage on Rosemary Biscuit with Pan Fried Apples. It was my first time using a meat grinder attachment on a Kitchen Aid, and I think I want one now. Side Note: I ordered Creole Shrimp Eggs Benedict for brunch yesterday, and noticed the yolk was not runny . . . a sure sign it had been prepared beforehand. Still tasty, just an observation!

Lamb BLT (Atkins friendly, no bread . . . no picture). We grilled Lamb Sirloin, and served with a sweet (as in cool, not sugary) Tomato Terrine Stephen made the night before, and Arugula and Pancetta. So I guess it should’ve been called a P.A.L.T.

Braised Lamb with Risotto and Parmigiano-Reggiano cracker. We weren’t (grammar?) sure how braising Lamb for only 90 minutes would turn out, but I think it was a hit (and surprisingly tender).

Here is everyone hearing the results. Stephen and I came in 2nd, but I think Team Mark should have at least earned a tie. Until next time . . .

A la cuisine!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


We've got less than one week til freedom (aka 4/16) !!!!!! I know, I know, you want to hear about Iron Chef, right??? I've got some picts to post (thanks, Kim!) but first I have to say:


Ok, I've got another M-1 calling my name, but here's a teaser pict of Steve-O and I, before we battled last Friday!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wake up, Wake Up, Wake Up, It’s the First of tha Month

You know what I did when I woke up this morning (at 6 am)??

Poached 14 eggs for tonight’s IRON CHEF BRIDGERS/LEE!!!

That’s right; tonight I have the privilege and honour of serving as Sous Chef to Stephen “Big Dog” Bridgers as he takes on his In-laws (Father and Brother) in BATTLE LAMB!! Since we’re only allowed 2 hours to cook, prepping some of the ingredients in advance was allowed. After a quick skim through the Joy of Cooking, I found out you can poach eggs up to 24 hours in advance if you keep them in an ice water bath and gently reheat before serving (probably how most restaurants prepare all those Eggs Benedict for Sunday brunch).

I’ve never cooked with an Organic brown egg before and they kinda remind me of Jurassic Park . . .

Anyways, hopefully someone will be capturing the heat of the battle whilst we’re cooking tonight, and if so, I’ll post the results and pictures next week.

PS - Sorry you have to settle for crummy camera phone picts . . . Didn't have time to break out the DSLR this morning . . .