Wednesday, January 3, 2018

My Traeger & cook area

Below you see my cooking equipment, my Traeger 07E, to the left is a gas cooker w/cast iron skillet & to the right is a fish friar on the cabinet.
Since this photo I have added a Weber Q100 gas grill. Below that you see a photo of me & my faithful companion. Click on any photo to view larger size it opens in a slide viewer with all the photos in the post.

My Smokin Deck,I can cook rain or shine.

Set up for winter weather

Summer Kitchen 2015
My new Camp Chef single gas burner, a Weber
 Jumbo Joe that I got last year, a Weber Spirit 
2 burner gas grill and my Traeger pellet smoker 
on the deck

All covered up

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Let's Talk BBQ, One Great Forum

Let’s Talk BBQ; no matter what you cook on this is one great forum for discussing BBQ and learning about BBQ. Whether you use a grill, smoker, or other type of cooker, using gas, wood, charcoal, or electric for fuel there is a place for you there.

Their rules are pretty simple; just treat others the way you want to be treated. Leave your ego at home and have fun learning and discussing cooking and food in a family way.

Most members are from the USA but they are slowly getting some international members. I know of two from Australia and one each from Germany and S. Africa. There may be some from England. I like this since we can learn about other recipes and ways to do BBQ than in our own country.

The forum is laid out well; there are different sections for each style cooker, a recipe section, a general section, a place for sausage making and a place for other hobbies. There are a lot of knowledgeable members there now.

If you are interested in Sous Vide cooking there is a section on it with some knowledgeable members using the method.

I do most all my BBQ on my Traeger wood pellet smoker; but can adapt most recipes from other types of cookers. I use it year around and do most all of the cooking for my wife and I.

So; if you want to talk BBQ get over there sign up and join in the fun of cooking and eating some good BBQ.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Instant Pot Flanken Ribs, Rice and Veggies

Jan 15 2017

It was a quite week end here and I chose some easy meals to make. For Saturday I had some flanken style beef ribs and a strip of beef I had saved from an English style chuck roast I get at my butchers. I browned the beef in a skillet under my broiler seasoned with some salt and pepper. It went into my Instant Pot, about ¼ cup of soy sauce, a little Merin, dried garlic flakes and about a cup of beef broth.
I set it on beef stew mode and set the timer for 45 minutes.

My sides was some Zatarain’s yellow rice and some frozen Asian style veggies done in the microwave. I had a Ciabatta bun I toasted, buttered and split with the wife. It tasted great, the beef was very tender and just enough flavor.

For our supper tonight I got a pot of chili going in my Instant Pot and set it on slow cook for 5 hours. We had it with buttered crackers and tasted pretty good for cold weather. I didn’t take any pics but you all know what chili looks like,

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fried some bacon in my Stargazer

Jan 11 2017

After seasoning a cast iron pan the first thing I like to cook in it is some bacon. I had a pound of thick cut bacon from my butcher to cook Monday for our supper. We had it on a Ciabatta bun and I melted some Swiss cheese over them.

I was going to fix sweet potato oven fries but the wife said she wanted to fix some truffle salt potato chips. She had seen Oprah fix them and had to try it. I never see her too excited about cooking but had bought some truffle salt for on them. She used red potatoes and sliced them thin on a mandolin, plus some of her finger! They were rinsed in water and dried on paper towels. She laid them out on a cookie sheet lined with nonstick foil, more foil on top and a smaller sheet on top to keep them flat. She said they needed to bake at 350 deg. for 10 minutes. That was not long enough and took 20 minutes to get them browned some. I sprinkled on the truffle salt when they were done. We both had a salad with supper.

The sandwich was good and the chips were excellent. I think the oven method for the chips makes a nice batch but I have done them on a plate in the microwave and would do that for just the two of us.

I am more than happy with my Stargazer 10.5 inch skillet. I had no sticking with the bacon and it cleaned up with ease. Last night I fried a pound of Italian bulk sausage with red peppers and garlic in it. I made a batch of Pioneer brand country gravy and poured it over the sausage. We had it over some pasta and some bread and butter. I didn’t take any pics but tasted great and the skillet was easy to clean.

Frying the bacon

Wife's potato chips

My salad

My supper

After two cooks in my skillet

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Re-seasoning My Stargazer and Wapak Skillets

Jan 10 2017

Back in November I got my new Stargazer 10.5 inch cast iron skillet, made in the USA. I used the Crisbee to season it three times. It never looked good and after using some of the seasoning came off. I tried to salvage it by seasoning with grape seed oil over top but was not satisfied with it. I decided to wait until after Christmas and then redo it. For Christmas my wife had bought me a vintage Wapak #3 skillet at an auction. After inspecting it I was a little excited about it because it had what looks like two A’s crossed with an arrow for a center logo I had never seen on a Wapak skillet. I hope I can learn more about it.

With the holidays over and very cold weather it was a good time to redo both skillets. I ran them through a self-cleaning cycle in my electric oven for 3 hours. This stripped them down to bare cast iron. I decided to use Crisco to season them. Jeffery B Rogers, my guru for cast iron seasoning and care said if Crisco was good enough for his Mother it was good for him! He has a Facebook site under the Culinary Fanatic. I wrote him about my Stargazer and using Crisbee and he had a similar outcome. He also tells about some Australian carbon steel skillets that are stamped from one piece. They were so smooth would not take seasoning well so now they shot blast them for a satin finish that takes seasoning.

That makes me wonder how the old vintage cast iron came, were any pre-seasoned then or did the cook just start cooking and season as they used.

After cleaning my skillets I placed them in my oven and set at 500 deg. F. I took them out at 200 deg. and rubbed well with Crisco then wiped clean with Scotts blue shop towels, they are highly absorbent. Then at 300 deg. I took them back out ant wiped again. Be sure and place them upside down in the oven this keeps any excess oil from pooling inside the skillet. They were in the 500 deg. oven for 30 minutes and then let cool.

I did the same procedure two more times but just went to 400 deg. for the half hour. Jeffry says the 500 deg. the first time helps set the color. My Wapak skillet came out a nice black and the Stargazer was a deep brown on the inside but nice and even.

For my first cook in the Stargazer I fried a pound of bacon. I had no stick at all and it cleaned up great afterwards. For easy cleaning my cast iron I use Scotts blue nonabrasive pads, for stuck on food I use a chain mail.

For any of you that have vintage cast iron here is a good site to help date it.

Stripped Clean

First seasoning

Second seasoning

Third seasoning

Friday, January 6, 2017

My Holiday Meals 2016

Jan 06 2016

I am a little late getting my holiday meals posted this year. I didn’t feel good through the holidays, I am 74 and have been smoking for 62 years; I think it is catching up with me. Then after the New Year I came down with stomach flu. I did manage to cook 3 descent meals even though I chose simple easy things to fix and enjoyed having all the family here Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

For Christmas Eve I had some good canned chicken with a can of cream of chicken soup in the Crockpot for sandwiches and some fully cooked ham and rye bread. My sides were Crockpot cheesy hash browns and some skillet fresh corn I had frozen. Our son and wife brought some meatballs and we had veggies for appetizers. My wife had things for dessert and our daughter brought some desserts.

After stuffing ourselves we all opened presents and later I made some popcorn. We had a great time.

New Year’s Eve I usually have some type of surf and turf for the wife and me. I found a nice beef tenderloin at my butchers 2 inches thick, ¾ pounds. I figured it was enough for us to split. I had some jumbo wild caught shrimp I skillet cooked with some garlic chive butter. My wife made salads and we had some dinner rolls with it. I got the tenderloin a little over done but it had great flavor and was tender. I went to bed shortly after supper and the wife woke me up at 11:30 to count down the New Year and watch the ball fall in NYC! That was our exciting New Year’s Eve!!

For years I have had pork and kraut on New Year’s Day for good luck. It is a German tradition, I am not of German descent but my wife is. I am glad her Mother taught her how to make drop noodles, (Knopfles) to add to the pork and kraut; it really makes the dish.

I had some fresh brats and metts thawed from my butcher. I added some sliced onion to the bottom of a Crockpot; added the brats & metts and a quart of my homemade sauerkraut undrained since we like it sour. I added a cup of beer and a cup of water. I got it all on about noon and we ate at 6:00. I baked some dinner rolls and made mashed potatoes in my Instant Pot with a mix of Baby Dutch and red new potatoes, plenty of butter and sour cream.

I think my favorite pork to have with kraut is ribs. My brats and metts I think were overdone; I had them in about 6 hours on low and 4 hours would have been long enough.

Wife set a nice table

My plate for Christmas

New Year's Eve supper

New Year's Day Pork & Kraut

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Skillet Burger & Gravy, Roasted Potatoes & Carrots

Dec 08 2016

I sure messed up getting the pics of tonight’s cook. When I served the wife I said I forgot to get pics of the potato and carrot dishes. After downloading my pics I saw I also did not have a pic of the skillet full of gravy!

This is pretty easy to make and tastes good too. I had a pound of ground chuck and made up 4 patties. I seasoned them with a little McCormick’s gourmet burger seasoning. My sides were roasted baby Dutch potatoes and baby carrots. I made just enough for tonight’s meal. I added butter to the dishes, some garlic salt on both and a little Mirin on the carrots. They went in the microwave 1.5 minutes to melt the butter and stirred to coat. They went in a 350 deg. oven covered for an hour.

When they were in I made a batch of Pioneer Country Gravy and heated the skillet to do the burgers. I sprayed in some olive oil and did the burgers about 4 minutes per side. I removed them to a plate and took off most of the grease then added a handful of chopped onions. I added the burgers back in on top of the onions. They would help hold them off the bottom. I added the 2 cups of gravy and as soon as it was all bubbly I turned it down to a simmer.

I removed the covers on the veggies and stirred, the last 25 minutes were uncovered and stirred a couple of times. After I added the gravy the burgers went another 20 minutes partially covered. We had are usual toasted English muffins with the meal.

Even though I didn’t get as many pics as I wanted I did get a pic of the wife’s plate before I put some gravy over her potatoes. She doesn’t need her potatoes all smashed up like I do so I get plenty of potato gravy ratio!

Browning the burgers

Back in over the onions

Missing photos here!!!

Wife's plate

My supper