Archive for August, 2010

Big Green Egg BBQ First Run

Posted on August 26, 2010. Filed under: grill, hodgepodge, meat, smoke | Tags: , , , , , |

Finally moved into my new place. It’s amazing. I don’t know why I’ve been living in mega expensive cities when I could have lived in a place where I could get a massive loft and private back yard for the same amount of rent I paid 10 years ago to live in a  Hoboken railroad flat. A person should celebrate new digs, so I treated myself to a wicked awesome housewarming present. A Big Green Egg.

Billed as the “World’s Best Smoker and Grill”, and focus of a proud cult of pitmasters, the Big Green Egg is a modern ceramic take on an ancient Japanese clay cooking vessel. It enables you to direct grill with direct heat up at 750F, yet also smoke for 24 hours straight at 225F. The manual also seems to offer a pizza oven throwdown- several times it mentions using your Big Green Egg as the Universe’s Dopest Brick Oven. Challenge accepted Big Green Egg. I will make pizza in you.

I purchased my Egg from the enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff at Rollier’s Hardware. They walked me through a quick demo in store, and offered to deliver it for free the next day. The fellas showed up promptly at 2:30, assembled it, and showed me a few smart tips. When they walked away, I had a sense that they knew I was in for a good time.

Quick note about Rollier’s: It’s a first rate, family run store. Everyone that I spoke with was exceptionally helpful, and rather cheery, too. It’s the kind of place that makes you think we’d be better off with a few less UltraSuperBoxBoxBoxeyBox stores, and a few more Rollier’s. I don’t mean that metaphorically, either. Small chains would offer some of the consistency and risk reduction of a bigger business, but still keep the individual attributes that makes a place like Rollier’s unique. So maybe Rollier’s should open up a second store. Maybe somewhere on the Allegheny River side of Pittsburgh. I’m just sayin…

Oh…the Big Green Egg…turns out it’s not just for musing, it’s for cooking, too. And cook I did.

I rubbed a couple of giant, bone-in, Pennsylvania strip steaks with grapeseed oil, salt, and pepper. Once the coals heated up to 600, I grilled the steaks  for 6 minutes per side. Let them rest for 5 minutes. Perfection. Seriously. Best steaks I’ve ever made at home. Happiness.

Big Green Egg, I love you already. We’re going to make some brisket and ribs very soon. And I might just see how you smoke bacon. I might just do that.

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Frozen Food Test: Tandoor Chef Chicken Tikka Masala

Posted on August 19, 2010. Filed under: easy, frozen, review |

Trip to Pittsburgh was a success, except I’m living like a transient till the moving van arrives on Tuesday. So while I dream of spending quality time in my shiny new kitchen, I awake to the reality of a microwave, a barley humming electric stove, and the cheap tin pans of the Residence Inn. Fully jet lagged and with such limited resources, it seemed like the right time for a frozen foods test. Friends, meet Tandoor Chef Chicken Tikka Massala.

Tandor Chef is a subset of Deep Foods Inc, which as been family owned and operated since 1977. The company’s website relates the story of how Mrs. Bhagwati Amin’s passion for food from her homeland steadily developed into a business into a larger family affair. Son Deepak graduated Cornell with a degree in food science, and went on to create the product line Tandoor Chef, which is home to our Chicken Tikka Masala.

Deep Food’s small beginnings have grown to a company with 1,800 employees in 7 locations. In the spirit of generosity, Mr. and Mrs. Amin have founded a charity in India that helps children have greater access to education. While the website is rather tough to get through, the mission is clear. Kids need brains. And not just so the zombies can eat them.

Speaking of eating! Let’s talk about the chicken tikka massala. It’s one of my favorite dishes. Would it be enough to brighten my belly after a long day of travel:

PROS:

  • Family business model. Way too much jibber-jabber today about how America is built on SMALL FAMILY BUSINESSES. In reality, it’s most built of massive corporations who occasionally buy a small(family) business. Mrs. Amin has done something worth praising. She is what the politicians should really be talking about- someone who takes a passion for the cuisine of her home, and figures out a way to make $$$ for a number of people, while sharing that passion with many new customers. (And then convincing them to try more products…)
  • The sauce is excellent. Perfectly balanced with enough heat to pack a punch. Nice blend of ingredients. Better than some masala sauces I’ve had at restaurants.
  • Rice is tasty. Buttery flavor, good texture.
  • Price is right at $4.49
  • Only 400 calories.

CONS:

  • Just four tiny pieces of processed chicken. Four! Man. This was more a snack than a meal.
  • Fairly high in saturated fat. I suppose the delicious buttery flavor has to come from somewhere…
  • 710 mg sodium. Oh boy. That’s a lot of sodium. Too much.

OVERALL:

The sauce and the rice were very good. But the chicken, which should be the main focus of the dish, was pretty mediocre. Not that it really mattered, because there was hardly any of it.

Would I get it again? Probably not. I might try another option from Deep Foods, perhaps something vegetarian.

Time to buy some fancy pans for my new fancy-pants kitchen.

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Food. Truck. Stop.

Posted on August 10, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Still busy busy busy with the move. Leaving Los Angeles tomorrow. Made a lot of sauce from the tomatoes and basil in the garden. How’s your garden growing? You are growing things, right?

Lucky for all of us, my good friend Clayton B. Hodges has picked up the slack. We’ve been going on food adventures for years now. I’ve seen this dude eat a cow brain taco. Well, looks like Mr. Hodges didn’t want me to be the only one making tasty videos (or using this Eat.Good. Food. one word one punctuation model…) He plans on taking full advantage of the Los Angeles Food Truck Craze, eating his way through the city. Have a look at the pilot episode: Calbi BBQ. It’s a promising start, right?

P.S. If you run into Clayton at a food truck, be sure to ask him about the karaoke adventure we had the other week.
P.P.S. I really want a Big Green Egg for my new backyard. Be my friend and send me one? I’ll make you bacon…

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Campus Circle Interview

Posted on August 4, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I’ve been M.I.A. That’s because I’m moving to Pittsburgh to get a master’s degree in Food Studies. Food nerdery, hooray! Turns out moving is a lot of work, so I haven’t had as much time in the kitchen as I’d like. Don’t be sad, friends. Many new tasty treats for you to make coming soon.

In the meantime, check out this lovely little blurb Campus Circle did on me.

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