Monday, July 23, 2007

Carne Asada

Rebecca found my recipe for carne asada marinade the other day so I was excited to give it a try again. Smelling the marinade alone gets me all excited. It's roughly (from memory) juice from 1 lime, 1 lemon, 1 orange; 3T chile powder; 1T oregano; 2 jalepanos; 1 medium onion; 5 cloves of garlic; 2T cumin; and 1/4 cup of soy sauce. I put it in the food processor for a few pulses. I put the flank steak into a large ziploc bag along with the marinade (sucking out the excess air) and place it in the fridge for several hours - massaging the meat every time I happened by the refrigerator. I fire up the Green Egg to ~450 with lump coal. Right before cooking I throw on some hickory chips and grill it. Here's what I came up with:

I must say, it was tasty. I personally would have liked more char on it. Had I known at the time I was going to take pictures of it, I wouldn't have done the wimpy thing and cut into it as my "done-ness" check.

Gateau di patate

I finally made Gianugo's Gateau di patate[1]. I think it turned out well and by Rebecca's 5 servings (yep, that's not a typo), I think she enjoyed it too. It's essentially a potatoe pie with a nice little surprise on the inside. For the inside surprise I chose bacon and sharp cheddar cheese - I reckon Gianugo would frown on the Sharp Cheddar part but I had to make it my own.

Gianugo takes an in-precise approach to cooking which to the amateur can be challenging to follow. I don't work so well with a 'couple spoonfuls of flour' or a 'handful of parmesan' but I made do. I worked from his instructions and interpreted the following:
- plum cake mold? - yeah, I used a 10" cake pan;)
- 'some spuds' == 6 medium/large potatoes (I used russet)
- 'handful of parmesan' - 3/4 cup
- 'two-three spoonfuls of white flour' - 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour.

I would have liked a better crust on top. I think if I would have followed his guidance better and used grated cheese instead of finely shredded, it would have melded into a better crust for me. Anyway, with good quality parmesan, bacon, and cheddar, it was really fool-proof anyway;)

Rebecca suggested that some chopped smoked pork butt would be a perfect filling for this too. I think I'll be firing up the Green Egg with a couple of butts soon and see if she's right...

Many thanks to Gianugo for publicly cooking again!
[1] -

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Mountain Ride...

I rode west today out past Shenandoah into West Virginia. To give me more time at the destination, I took all highway miles (66W->81S) to 42S (exit 283) in Woodstock, Va. Well, rather than listing the whole directions which won't mean much anyway, you can get a feel for the ride here.

While the route encompassed a lot of highway-ish miles, there were plenty of miles on roads like this:

and eventually I was fortunate enough for those to give way to roads more like this:

shortly I climbed towards the top of the hill:

and a better look at the road:

views like this, with only the hum of the beast, are nice:

honestly, it looked steeper as I was riding along;)

Eventually, I had to face forward and head back home - I knew there was a really good beef brisket awaiting;)

So, back down the mountain and into the valley below:

For the most part, these were some well-maintained dirt/gravel roads and worth the ride to get there. The access to the views could have been better but the ride was great. All but the very last bit are worth a try on any bike, but I think from Mathias on are probably most comfortable on some sort of enduro machine.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


It's taken me a while but I finally got some pictures of adorable Isabella. Unfortunately, the light in Rebecca's Mom's house isn't so great, so most of them are either out of focus or have a horrible shadow behind them. Anyway, here's a sampling:

John loves "Baby 'Bella"

Grace definitely learned something from her big brother;)

A proud new Aunt

And the star of the show...

I hope to get some better pictures with natural lighting soon.

Helmet Head

John occasionally asks to wear my helmet as I mostly leave it sitting on the dining room table. He'll walk around hearing himself talk while raising and lowering the face-shield. He finds it amusing. Here he is taunting Grace with his "greetings Earthling" look.

I reckon the other day he didn't feel quite safe enough with only a helmet so he wanted to go in full gear. He actually tried my boots too but found he wasn't getting anywhere.

I found this amusing;) He'd trip if he took anything more than a baby step - good thing he had gear on.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Isabella is here!

Quick post to mark the arrival of my niece Isabella Ava Antelo. She arrive today at 3:07pm, 7lbs 7oz, and 19 inches long. I spent the day with John and Grace while Rebecca helped welcome her in. I hope to be able to see her in the next day or so. I have, however, seen pictures on the tiny screen of the digital Elph and she's beautiful. I'll get some pictures posted soon...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lions, tigers and clams?

One thing I didn't expect didn't expect with parenting is some of the odd middle of the night conversations I might be having. John has been waking up lately in the wee hours of the morning with irrational fears - apparently not extraordinary. They typically range from a man out of his window, to Santa Claus, to aliens - not sure where he picks up some of this stuff as we've not seen Dora or Blues talking much of aliens these days. Anyway, though I'm not sure if it definitely falls into the irrational fear category or half-dream/half-awake category, last night was particularly odd I thought. I walk into his room and he's sitting up in straight in his bed and looks at me immediately and declares:

"Daddy, I don't *like* crayams!";
Me: "Huh, you don't like crayons?"
John: "Daddy, I don't like *crayams*!"
Me: "Oh, you don't like (I had another guess last night but don't remember what it was now;)"
John: "Daddy, I don't like *crayams*!"
Me: [fully aware this was my last opportunity to guess before melt-down] "Oh, okay buddy, you don't like clams."
John: [calmer now] "Yes Daddy, I don't like clams"
Me: "That's okay, buddy, I don't like clams either. As a matter of fact, I don't think thing Grace or Mommy like clams either."
John: "Daddy, let's leave the clams at the clam store."
Me: "Um... ok buddy, no problem, we'll leave them at the clam store."
John: "Ok daddy."
Me: "Ok, let's get back to sleepy time."
John: [rolls over]
Me: "Sweet dreams"
John: "Sweet dreams daddy"

There was really more to the dialog than this but I can't remember it in full. It was odd to be talking about clams at 2 in the morning with a 2 year old though.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

John the artist

John is very artistic. He loves to play with clay, markers, water paint, finger paint and crayons; our refrigerator proudly displays his work. We've got tons of coloring books and stacks of construction paper to support him whenever a creative moment strikes. Sometimes, though, I'm not impressed. Let's critique this latest work, for example:

I know, your thinking, wow, that's good stuff. From the spiral elements on the left to the short aggressive strokes on the right - it's powerful. What's not to like? It's not the color selection, not the strokes, in short, not the art that failed to impress me - it was his choice of canvas! Below... his creation again in context:

One wall apparently wasn't a large enough canvas on which to express himself so it turns out he expanded to the other three walls in the room as well. Fortunately, Becca too knows a thing or two about paint brushes.

Barbeque Results...

I was very pleased with the results.

I think I'll be heading to Costco to pick up a few racks of baby backs this week;)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

4th Smoking Lesson

So I've been learning the art of smoked meat for the past couple years with small lessons here or there. During this time, I've been the proud owner of a Big Green Egg which, I'm rapidly learning 'fool proof's' things for me. For example, over this time I've never given a second thought to environmental factors. For my "4th smoke" this year that changed. I still used the BGE but noticed an odd +-2 degree fluctuation in temperature. Odd. I've never seen this before so when I figured out what was happening (it took standing out there and paying attention), I decided to send off a challenge to the senior smokers in the family. Here's what my note said:

"Which one of you can guess what's wrong with my setup? Besides, of
course, the obvious lack of a deck;) Other than pride, no prizes.
First response wins!


Roughly 45 minutes later, much to my surprise, the correct answer came back and he didn't even have to feel the breeze of that fan when it turned on. Congrats to my brother, though he's, embarrasingly enough, not rubbed a butt of his own this 4th - he did get my 4th trivia correct. Very impressive.

Here's the image:

My Brother:
"I am guessing that it has something to do with the sudden drafts created when "that big fan" next to the egg turns on? I would guess that not even the egg can withstand this type of environmental change???"

Yelp, the air conditioning unit in the corner causes a 'wind tunnel' effect.

I'm genuinely impressed...