Saturday, September 17, 2011

Barkety-Assed Dog...

Do you have One Of Those neighbors nearby with a dog that barks incessantly like a broken record? One-note Johnnies, they are.
Winter melts away, the warm weather moves in when Springtime comes and ya just have to throw those windows open and enjoy the sweet breezes while they clear out the winter musties and fill your house with intoxicating scents. Scotch Broom is amazingly pungent along with the jasmine and the damp green grasses while the subtle scents of cedar and pine kiss the air and stake their claim of presence evergreen. You stand at the window, close your eyes for transport to the clouds, point your pretty nose upward to sniff and....,"Arp!..Arp!..Arp!..Arp-arp-arp! Arp! Arp! Arp-arp-arp! Arp! Arp! Arp-arp-arp!"... Oh no. Another 7 months of that, just like the years before this.
There is nothing and no one out there to bark at. Neurotic Terrier mix. Close up the windows and crank up the stereo in self-defense. There are two dogs, but only The One barks. When the neighbors return home, it sounds like a kennel. I have tried talking to her before. One of the other neighbors across the street called the cops on her and she seemed genuinely hurt. No remorse for having driven the neighbor crazy by not training her dog. But you see, people who have such a dog usually don't hear their own dog bark, or it doesn't bother them so what's YOUR problem? You are The Bad One for complaining. So, what we have here is a Terrier mutt with a 'tude and a neighbor who doesn't give a shit. Lovely.
I adamantly refuse to call the cops on my neighbor for a barking dog. I will throttle the dog before I'll go to the cop shop and whine, "The doggie is barking at me." Pick your battles wisely because, that is an act of insanity. Still, some people do it when they can't stand another day of it and they have run out of valiums and their doctor is looking at them sideways when they ask for yet another refill.
But that part of it isn't my story. Every day, that mutt says the same thing, over and over. If he can bark so much, why can't he learn a new word? (Spellchecker does not like the word "valiums".)
Back in my mother's old neighborhood in Montecito, every neighbor had a barking dog. Three in a row across the street had Golden Retrievers. And all day long, every day without fail, every dog on that street barked non-stop. And at night, one neighbor with Dobermans kept her dogs outside and those two would bark all night long. Rarely peace and quiet, and always the sleep deprivation. Mother called the homeowners' association when the police and the dogcatcher wouldn't come out. The man insulted her intelligence with," Why don't you get a hobby, lady?" What was it about law enforcement and disturbing the peace?
And then, one day, Mama snapped into a zillion pieces out on the patio and started barking back. What fresh hell was this? Not exactly a Kodak moment. I was scared that one of those neighbors would call the police on her. But then, just wait a doggone minute. They don't care if the dogs bark, so why would they arrest a barking human? Because a dog's gotta bark and a human needs a cup of shut up.
There. Okay, I feel better now. Some days you jes' need to cuss 'em.

Well? What would YOU do?

Not every great recipe is 100% down home scratch. Sometimes we experiment with a store bought box, or bag, can or jar ingredients that just can't be equalled or improved at home on the range. So we compromise and keep it a secret and act like the fucking Queen of Quinoa in her hippie trippy kitchen of wholesome Green. But, I am a blabbermouth with a food blog and it's not exactly my mission to do this on a need-to-know basis. When I bake, I gotta share the beater love.
This recipe got its beginnings the other night, when I discovered an unopened bottle of jerk sauce on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator door. Can't remember what I'd bought it for, as I don't usually do bottled sauces or jerk meat. Worcestershire, yes. A-1, BLEAH no. Hot oils and garlic oil, oh yeah, but, except for the Worcestershire and Mongolian Hot Oil, I make my own. So I opened the bottle of jerk sauce and fell in love with the thoughts of what I could make with it.
Mr. P was crawling into bed for the night, but I had to take it in there and have him whiff it.He is used to this sort of outburst of glee. And, oh yeah, he loved the smell of it. Actually, we kept taking turns smelling it because it was quite the surprise. It immediately went on my list of "Do Something With That".
The next day, when there was 6 1/2 hours before he was due home from work but it felt like it was time to start getting dinner parts together. All I had was a leftover rump roast. It was Mr.P's idea to do a rump roast. I will only buy chuck roasts. And if this food talked, it would have been rude. I'm telling you, bitches, this thing really needed help. And not wanting to offend the starving children in Biafra, I had to make good use of it and not let it go to waste. Mr.P bought it to make Beef Dips. Enough is enough. Time for a change.
And then I remembered the jerk sauce. Dance of joy! Not just any old jerk sauce. This is World Harbors Blue Mountain Jamaican Style Jerk Sauce & Marinade, sweet & spicy. Whew! That was a mouthful. But couldn't I just leave it at that? NooOOOOoooo. Onions, olive oil infused Elephant Garlic, mushroom bits and slices, and the one thing to take it beyond mamsy pamsy 'spicy': the awesomely hot serrano chili. Let's give it some pluck and make it grow nads.

An original from Pink Elephants coffee Cafe
Serves 4

Preparing the meat:
2# rump roast
Bake roast in 375F oven for one hour. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let stand to cool down. If you like, you can put it in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days. Cover tightly. It is easier to cut the rump after a night of chilling.

The Aside:
4 servings white Minute Rice
Cook rice according to instructions on the box.

The Marinade:
1 18-oz. bottle World Harbors Blue Mountain Jamaican Jerk & Marinade, sweet and spicy
1 small ripe serrano chili
1 small-to-medium yellow onion, sliced very thin
1 small can mushroom stems and pieces
10 VERY thin slices of Elephant Garlic, preferably infused with olive oil
One sploosh of truffle oil
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper (fresh cracked is always best)
1. Allowing 4 thin slices of meat per serving, slice cold roast very thin and place it in a shallow, large bowl, as like a cereal or soup bowl.
2. Pour 1/2 the jerk sauce over the beef slices making sure to stir it up and coat it completely, with extra sauce, as much will be absorbed in marination.
3. Slice the onion VERY thin (what is pictured here is really too thick), then halve the slices. Add to meat marinade mixture. Add the thin slices of Elephant Garlic ( do not add more than 2 tsp. of the garlic-infused olive oil ).
4. Slice quite thin, the serrano chili. You will need only 10-12 slices. Add to mixture.
5. Drain the can of mushrooms. Add 3/4's of the can to mixture.
6. Add in the black pepper and stir it all up, making sure everything is amply coated and evenly distributed.
7. Cover bowl with foil and place in refrigerator for 6 hours, stirring it up and turning the meat every hour reclosing the foil cover to put back in fridge.

8. When ready to heat up dinner, cook enough white Minute Rice for 4 or 5 servings. (Some people like more than a scoop of rice.) Follow instructions on the box.

9. While the rice in the pan sits for 5 min. until ready to fluff with a fork (make sure all of the water is cooked out), put the meat and marinade mixture in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. (I used an electric skillet set between low and medium). Stir a little while frying to warm up the meat and marinade mixture, and let the onions, mushrooms and garlic slices caramelize somewhat, but you don't want the sauce to dry up.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Barbecued Smoked Beef Sausages

If you are like me, you have asked at least 32 people who barbecue to show you how, and to tell you the ratio of heat and time as compared to The Kitchen Way. They drew a blank. Every last one of them. I was beginning to think there was a secret fraternity of 'cue masters and I wasn't invited to join the club. But then I came to understand that it's about bringing to low coal and that the time ratio wasn't much different than The Kitchen Way. Watch the food to guard against burning or catching fire, and use a sheet of foil under delicate or small foodstuff. Cook to desired color but don't overcook and dry it out.
My late brother loved to do beer brats and jalapenos, but the meal I remember best was when he did steaks. During the final 10 minutes of cooking, he would coat them with honey and generously sprinkle on the freshly cracked black pepper. Now, I would do that in a heartbeat to lamb chops or pork ribs, but to put honey on an expensive steak is just plain weird. Brothers are weird. Go figure. By golly, by gum, these steaks were tender and tasty.
Jim was always on a honey kick. He made sure to eat two teaspoons full And by his standards, this was the healthy preventative maintenance he swore by. Our dad would also do that, but he insisted on adding two tablespoons of vinegar. He claimed that if you swallowed two tablespoons of vinegar first, you could eat spoiled, green, slimy meat and not get sick. And he proved it on step-mom. Let's just say that my fascination with the idea kept me from puking.I was fascinated that she didn't mind being the guinea pig for such a disgusting show-and-tell.See, step-mom was rich, she was elite. She was accustomed to the finer things in life. Honey and vinegar and green, slimy meat wasn't what she'd signed up for. If my own husband were to suggest such a thing, I would think he meant to murder me.
Another VERY WEIRD thing my brother would do is fill the bottom of a medium-sized jar with garlic cloves and then fill the jar with honey. Then he would sort of seal the jar with some foil and fit it with a rubber band, put it in a dark cupboard and let it sit for a month while the garlic infused the honey and sent little bubbles to the top. This goo was gamey! It reeked like dirty, smelly gym socks, every bit as nasty as mezcal. But'cha know what? It was the best stuff for glaze on barbecued pork ribs.
When Mr. P and I were younger and cute and still pitching woo, we delighted in sharing recipes and we usually used his barbecue grill. I decided to mess with him by making some of the honey and garlic goo for to baste and glaze some pork ribs, but not without having him take a huge whiff of it first. What a trooper! He didn't exactly grimace, but his nose scrunched up like a possum ready to sneeze while getting a piece of shit stuck in its teeth. Priceless. The true test is the taste, right? He loved it, so I gifted him with that jar of goo.
The course of a bachelor's life includes visitors, uninvited and unexpected, until it becomes expected but still uninvited. Among Mr. P's 'guests' were Morning Boy, who would arrive drunk at 10 a.m., and there was Golf Boy, who always left drunk before dark because his night vision isn't good. Our mountain roads don't have streetlights. There was one time when Morning Boy decided to bring an extra case of beer and stay for an early dinner. We decided on ribs and beans and garlic bread. Much to my secret delight, the mean streak came out and Mr. P had him take a whiff of the goo. Yup, there was that possum thing going on, although much more dramatic.He looked like he was going to cry and I had to stifle the snarkles of giggledom for having seen Mr. P's friend as a cartoon. What a wimp. He said it was "rude". Well, let's realign the social compass as to who was rude. Drunk by 10 a.m. isn't my cup of tea.

Sausage is like an art form of meat parts and fat. I never could get into Jim's beer brats. He loved his brats, and his smokes, and plenty of cold beer to drink. But no matter what type of sausage it is, it looks and tastes best when barbecued. The winner, hands down, is wild boar sausage, the kind you can only get from a friend who hunts. The stuff is so darned good that no one wants to share their stash of it. And the only way to get it yourself is to hunt the boar with bow and arrows. This can be dangerous if you only manage to wound the boar, as then he will hunt YOU down.


note: A Weber kettle works best, but it isn't required.

1 package Hillshire Farm smoked beef sausage

1. Bring barbecue to a VERY low coal.
2. Turn sausage every 5 minutes for 30 minutes.
Note: If the coal isn't low enough it will burst into flames. If at correct very low coal, it will pop and split open in places, which is desirable, but it won't catch fire. Some charring is tasty and the color is desired.
Plate with a cold, green salad of your choice. You could add a serving of cooked green beans tossed in olive oil and lightly salted. If you are really hungry, a mound of buttered mashed potatoes is a very nice addition.