Medos Vodka

“Medos”:http://www.montanavoice.com/medos/getmedos.htm is another love of Johnza’s is vodka. Here is one via Europe that you can only get from a Montana distributor

It is hard to find, but “froogle”:http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=medos+vodka says that Internet Wine “Store”:http://store.yahoo.com/randalls/rws31720.html has it.

Perfect Ribs and Grilled Chicken

!Cook’s Illustrated-Recipe Resource. OK, they may not be perfect, but its taken years for me to find some recipes that work. Cook’s Illustrated is the scientific method for great grilling. Get their book.

Of course the book that started it all for me was the “Thrill of the Grill”:http://www.harpercollins.com/global_scripts/product_catalog/book_xml.asp?isbn=0688088325 and its many followons.

So how to make easy perfect ribs and grilled chicken, here are some of the simplified distilled things that I do:

h3. Ribs

OK, you won’t believe it, but the easiest way to make ribs doesn’t involved the grill (gotcha). Go find the best ribs you can is the most important, the QFC or Safeway kinds just don’t cut it. Where we live “Costco”:http://www.costco.com/ has the best ribs. I like the big fresh cut pork ribs from there. There are of course lots of specialty stores, but this is one area where the ingredient makes a difference.

Next, salt and pepper the things, or put whatever kind of sauce you like. Now, get up early in the morning, put the oven on at 180 F (I’m not kidding, lukewarm). Then put the ribs in for as long as you can. 6 hours at least, but you get the idea. This slow cooking makes everything amazingly moist and tender. Of course, you tell your wife about all the hard work you are doing, etc. as well.

To make them tasty, the best is a spice rub. There are lots of recipes, but basically a dry rub you put on infuses into the meat. I like it spicey, but even a simple soy sauce, sugar and ginger works well.

h3. Grilled Chicken

This is one of the hardest recipes to get right. Believe me I’ve tried. Here is one that is pretty foolproof and actually works well on a gas grill. I love charcoal, but gas is simpler, but requires some adjustment. The biggest is charcoal is hotter, so all charcoal recipes you modify for gas by closing the lid. That increases the heat.

So, here goes, the first thing is not actually the ingredients, but making sure to brine the chicken. This takes 1 1/2 hours, but is worth it. A quart or so of water and equal parts salt and sugar are all tha you need. Usually about a little less than half a cup of each is about right. Throw it into a big ziplock.

When you take it out wash throughly (so it isn’t a salt bomb!) and pat dry. Put a bunch of salt and pepper on or a dry rub. Don’t put on anything that can burn like a sauce.

Now put your grill on nuclear hot. Seat one side and then the other for one minute each. This makes it look golden brown.

The hard part now is to turn your grill down so that the skin isn’t going to burn. You are now slow cooking. Close the lid and wait 6-10 minutes more. Check it, but it should be good. If the fire flares, put it out as soon as you can with a spritzer of water.

Microwave Oven Reviews

“GE Spacemaker II 1 cu ft 800 watts stainless steel JEM31SF”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=928352/search=spacemaker%2520ii. It figures that 18 months after we buy a microwave that it dies.

We are stuck on GE mainly because they haven’t change the user interface and the thought of learning more than one is terrifying. Lists for $249 (stainless), but the regular colors (white, black and bisque) are $199 list.

The cool features on this one are that if you press the 1 button, it just turns on for one minute, etc. There is also an add 30 seconds button. Most hilarious is that there is a child lock that only “Alex”:http://tongfamily.com/family/alex knows how to use 🙂

Main gotcha is that it is very easy to make a mistake and reset the clock (you press clock, then clear then a number and then clock and you’ve reset it).

This one is only 1 cubic foot and 800 watts, but that is all we really need, don’t do roasts in ours. Having it spin inside is nice too, but we don’t have that. It is very small and compact.

I’m sure there are cheaper ones, but Pricegrabber shows that “Sears”:http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=SEARS&pid=02073129000 has it for $199 and shipping is very expensive for these. This is actually the cheapest price that pricegrabber shows. Another review mentions that theirs died too, I guess too many parts made by my cousins in China 🙂

Now if you don’t want the same interface, there are certainly cheaper ones. For instanct the Panasonic “NN-T654SF”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000277X8S/qid=1112244191/br=1-4/ref=br_lf_k_4//104-4605664-8295141?v=glance&s=kitchen&n=289935 is silver, costs just $100. It is alos 1300 watts and still pretty small at 16″x21x12″. The main issue is that one review on Amazon notes the thing dies in a couple of months. Not surprising. That is really cheap.

These things are pretty much commodities where reliability matters. It is amazing to me that epinions et al just have nothing on them. Are there no general reviews of things like this on the web? If so, google can’t find them. The only one I saw was from “about.com”:http://busycooks.about.com/cs/microwavemagic/tp/microwave.htm where busycooks picks out a few models. Most interesting piece was about Panasonics inverter technology. Where instead of running 50 percent power by turning off half the time (that’s what all those fancy power setting really do, the things runs full bore but shuts off part of the time), apparently, they actually turn the microwave power down. She says that the cooking works better (makes sense to me) so there are fewer cold spots and burnt edges.

The Panasonic “NNS564SF”:http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/vModelDetail?displayTab=O&storeId=15001&catalogId=13401&itemId=70990&catGroupId=25069&modelNo=NN-T654SF&surfModel=NN-T654SF has this is is about $120 direct in stainless steel. 21″x12″X16″ and is 1300 watts. Costco, Target and Sears all apparently stock Panasonic, but I’ll bet they don’t have every model :-). The direct price doesn’t look too bad either. The main problem is the GE is 17x9x13 so it is much narrower and will fit into our narrow counter.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict New York: What Is Eggs Benedict?. An entire website dedicated to Egg Benedict. A delicious Sunday meal. Fast facts:

* “Easy Eggs Benedict”:http://mosaic.echonyc.com/~jkarpf/eggs/recipes.html
* “Food Network”:http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_8502,00.html. A classic recipe

2 English muffins, split, toasted and buttered
4 thick slices ham or Canadian bacon, warmed
4 poached eggs
1/2 cup Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise Sauce:
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 cup warm clarified butter
1 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Dash hot red pepper sauce (optional)
Salt and ground white pepper to taste

Place in the top of a double boiler or in a large stainless-steel bowl set up as a double boiler. Off the heat, whisk the egg mixture until it becomes light and frothy. Place the top of the double boiler or the bowl over, not in, barely simmering water and continue to whisk until the eggs are thickened, 2 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the eggs get too hot. Remove the pan or bowl from over the water and whisk to slightly cool the mixture. Whisking constantly, very slowly add butter, then whisk in lemon juice, pepper sauce and salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water. Serve immediately or keep the sauce warm for up to 30 minutes by placing the bowl in water (not hot) water.

Episode#: CL9437
Copyright ? 2003 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved

Christmas Kitchenware Recommendations 2004

MetroKitchen.com. Another good things for the Christmas lists. Here’s someone in Atlanta that has a great selection of super high quality cookware. My personal favorites (that I thought I blogged, but can’t find now):

* “All-Clad Cookware”:http://www.metrokitchen.com/all-clad/. Top rated in many places. The most durable is the brushed aluminum of Master Chef 2 , but Connie really likes the all stainless look even though it gets dirty after a while of LTD
* “Wusthof Knives”:http://wusthof.metrokitchens.com/grandprix.html. These again are the top rated knives. We’ve had them for about two years and I can tell you they are really awesome. Only regret is that I should have gotten a better knife sharpener (see below)
* “Chef’s Choice Sharpener”:http://www.metrokitchen.com/store/d-mart.asp?command=list&search=chfch. Cook’s Life did a review of sharpeners and Chef’s Choice was the clear winner. The 320 is the lower end model at $99. You might think ridiculously expensive until you actually cut something with a sharp knife. Changes your world. I’m holding on this as a Christmas gift 🙂
* “Rabbit Corkscrew’:http://www.metrokitchen.com/store/d-mart.asp?command=list&search=rbbt. Another seemingly crazy gift, this is a wine bottle opener that really works. Usually $100 at Williams-Sonoma, their version is $70.

New Years Eve 2002 Dinner

Connie put me in charge the night before, so I was more than a little nervous. Finally decided to do Southwest as a theme because I just couldn’t get pumped about Greek. We use the Pasqual cookbook. It’s a terrific restaurant in Santa Fe. We had an incredible menu thanks to the efforts of Phil, me, ‘Rents, Jennie and Bob. Can you believe it, we were the main cooks.

Here is what we had…

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