Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jolly Good Food and a Merry Christmas to You

     Merry Christmas Blog world!  Jesus is born!!

     If your day was anywhere near as successful as mine, you should be exhausted.  But it was all worth it, wasn't it?
     I've been waiting to cook this meal since Thanksgiving!
     Patiently I've game planned what I'm going to cook and how I'm going to cook it.  It was an easy decision really.  I received a Weber smoker about a month ago from Home Depot.  One of my friends, Ryan P., works there and told me about this stellar deal they had one day.  I decided to tell my parents about it.. (a $350 grill for $40..I tweeted it. and sent text messages about it...)  Anyways, they decided they would surprise me with it as "an early Christmas gift".  What a present!  I would repay them with some smoked meats.
  One 12 lb turkey (spatchcocked)  and a city ham smoked for roughly 3.5 to 4 hours (As you can see in the photo on the right, the turkey is on the bottom grate, closer to the coal).
     Spatchcocked turkey means cutting out the backbone so the bird will lay flat.  I used some pepper, salt, cayenne, paprika, brown sugar and butter as a marinade.  The ham is diamond cut and smoked for 3-4 hours at 250 then I put some stuff on it. The ham's final step is to put it into an oven at 350degrees for 30-40 minutes.  (All the details of this city ham recipe can be attributed here to Alton Brown.  However, I spice things up a bit with SPICY brown mustard and my bourbon of choice is Jim Beam.).   This is what it looks like after a little smokin'!

     If you're looking for something to do while the meat is on the grill, walk around your neighborhood and look for birds.  Although this probably sounds extremely lame to most people, you would be surprised at the amount of birds you will see and what they do.  A HUGE thanks to my parents for hooking me up with a 55-300mm lens for Christmas!  Here are some birds I saw while waiting for the Christmas bird to finish cooking:

Mourning Dove

Male Cardinal

Great Blue Heron

     I also saw a hawk tearing apart food, some Mexican Squealers, and some kid shooting his new BB gun into a tree at moss.  Other things might include:  Enjoying a home brew (if you're old enough), watching Season One of Big Bang Theory, or bake a dessert.  [Special shout-out to Jeff for giving me a delicious BBP Bourbon Barrel Porter to enjoy for Christmas!  It went great with the meal!]
     After 4 hours in the smoker, or when the turkey has reached 170 degrees, it should look something like this: 
it looks like a GIANT frog
     Wrap this in foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.  While you are waiting for that, let's get the pork ready for its final destination.  Less typing, more pictures.  

Baste it with the mustard

Sprinkle on dark brown sugar, then spray on the bourbon.
then sprinkle on the broken ginger snap cookies.  I think it looks like an ant mound.  This mound of joy goes in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  

Ok, so now that the turkey has been resting for 30 minutes, CARVE IT UP!
Does anyone else see a face? 
After you're finished carving the turkey, move onto the HAM!
Time to dish up the plate!

     It was quite the feast!  We missed all the extended family from BR, PR and Nevada, but know y'all were on our minds the whole day.  After a long day of cooking, present exchanges and enjoying family time, I have some "quiet time" (we're watching Rise of Planet of the Apes) to reflect once again on how blessed I am with family and friends.  Thank you to everyone for reading my posts!  May God bless you with everlasting joy, peace and love!

Happy Plates!  (even though the puppy ate a dead squirrel during dinner and it brought up some entertaining conversations...)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

     Every once in a while we experience moments in life that will leave an everlasting impression and memories we are not soon to forget.  These moments are everywhere; patiently waiting for us to notice them.

      I was at Sam's Club two weeks ago shopping for matches of all things when I noticed a "RETURNS" section of ridiculously marked down electronics.  On the table was my Christmas present, a Nikon D60.  It was marked down $250 so I decided to buy it- if I liked it, I finally had the DSLR camera I had been waiting for, or I could easily sell it on ebay.  Anyways, I liked it.  I've created a facebook album with some of the pictures if you're interested in checking them out.

     Cooking has been put on the back burner recently with the business of the Holiday Season. 
     Advent is a time for waiting; a time to refocus our lens and take some new pictures on what matters most.  
     I'm looking forward to Christmas- and cooking up some good grub. 

     A neighborhood park in Katy stocks rainbow trout every winter.  With fishing rods in hand, we (my brother, sister-in-law, and sister, Clare) set out on our adventure.  Without too many of the details, the fish weren't biting our lures and bait.  Fortunately for us, they were biting though.  One of the older gentlemen around us was kind enough to give us the fish he caught.  He said he wasn't interested in keeping them and would be glad to give them to someone who would "cook them up right." 

     Pan Friend Rainbow Trout

soaking in milk, hot sauce, and some tony's

pan fried in an electric skillet at 375 degrees

served with corn and green beans

the table's is Christmas after all!
Thank you for reading my blog.  Now, go outside and try something fun.  You never know what awaits just around the corner....

Happy Plates!!