Monday, December 28, 2015

Family Christmas Dinner 2015

Dec 27 2015

My wife and I was not much in the Holiday spirit this year; my daughter from a first marriage is lying in the hospital after a bad stroke. She was a member of our family too. Having our daughter home now and the son and family close by helped.

Our daughter in law received a 7 pound Honey Baked spiral cut ham for Christmas from the hospital where she works and said I could fix it for our Christmas dinner. I would rather have a ham from my butcher but this was free and turned out pretty good.

My wife had made almond cookies, chocolate chip cookies and lemon bars. She also baked a Marie Calendar’s berry pie for desserts.

I had some nice shrimp for cocktail along with 3 dipping sauces. The son and family came down about 2:00 PM and we had the shrimp cocktail and munched on goodies. I had the ham double wrapped in foil along with a 1/3 cup of hard cider beer heating up on my Traeger. I had baked a take & bake garlic loaf for bread and butter. I also ordered an 8 piece broasted chicken from Sandman’s carry out to have.

My sides were a green bean casserole and skillet corn from summer corn I had frozen. Our daughter in law brought a Crockpot with hash brown cheesy potatoes.

I didn’t think it was my best Christmas dinner but all tasted pretty good. We all got full and I think we will be eating leftover ham for a while!  Later we had desserts and s few Christmas drinks. My wife had Kahlua and cream. The son and I had a couple of white Russians; Tito’s vodka, Kahlua and cream.


Shrimp and some appetizers

Skillet corn

Green bean casserole

Crockpot cheesy hashbrowns

The ham

My dinner (supper)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Day Dinner 2015

Dec 25 2015

I hope all who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful day!

One Christmas meal down for us and two to go. Our son and family came down and brought breakfast, a layered Crockpot of hash browns, sausage, eggs and cheese. It was pretty tasty! My wife had some cinnamon rolls to go with it. Then they were off to have Christmas dinner at her folks in Toledo.

There were just the wife, daughter and me for dinner (supper to me), so I fixed one of our favorites and also pretty easy to make, New Orleans BBQ shrimp. I had a nice take home and bake garlic loaf to bake; it would be good dipped in the butter the shrimp are cooked in.

We love French fries but I don’t like to deep fry in the house and don’t like wasting oil so I do oven baked. I have been using Ore Ida frozen fast food fries; not as good as the deep fried but not too bad.
I found a good recipe for beer brined oven fries a by Jackie on her Beeroness blog. She has a lot of recipes using craft beers.

 For the fries simply cut potatoes in ½ strips and soak in a bottle of lager beer with a tablespoon of coarse salt. Add water to cover if needed. Place in the fridge for 3 to 6 hours then rinse well and dry with paper towels. Spray or coat with olive oil and season. I used Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle. Spread fries on an oiled sheet pan in a single layer. Bake at 425 deg. for 20 minutes, stir to turn and bake another 10 to 15 minutes.  These are so good it will be my go to recipe for oven fries.

I had some frozen jumbo wild caught Key West Pink shrimp and they were good. My wife dipped a piece of bread and said it was too hot for her. I got too much of the hot sauce in for her. To me they were just mild hot. To save time dipping by the piece I just dip the whole slice of bread. That is some good eating!

Click Here for link to potato recipe
Click Here for shrimp recipe

For the shrimp

My bread

Soaking the fries

Ready for the oven

The shrimp

Shrimp and fries

My plate

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Tri Tip w/Chimichurri and Baked Potato

Dec 17 2015

Our daughter moved back to Ohio from the Chicago area. She is living with us until she gets work and finds a place of her own. She teaches Spanish and got a temp job right away replacing a teacher while on maternity leave. Having our daughter back home and being 73 is different for the wife and me.

Last night we had the grandson after school since his Mom was having a Christmas party for her department at the hospital. He is no bother and we enjoy having him. Just 11 yrs. old and he is better at multitasking on the computer than I am!

My supper was a tri tip roast I had thawed out, baked potatoes, a salad and some garlic knot rolls. I made some chimichurri sauce for on the beef. I had planned to do the tri tip on my Traeger to 130 deg. IT and then searing on the gas grill or inside. This was the third tri tip I have done and this one was a lot thinner than the other two.

I made the chimichurri sauce early. One bunch of parsley, 4 garlic cloves, a teaspoon oregano, salt and pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes two tablespoons red wine vinegar and a cup of extra light olive oil. I pureed all but the oil in a food processor then mixed in the olive oil.

I trimmed the fat cap off of the tri tip and seasoned it with some Weber’s Chicago steak seasoning on the light side. I had the potatoes in the oven and got the tri tip on my Traeger that was heated to 200 deg. After a half hour I went to 260 deg. grill level and inserted a temperature probe. An hour in it was coming up too fast and was getting a nice color so I decided to skip the searing. I took it to 140 deg. IT and then took inside; tented with foil while I served the baked potatoes.

I had butter and sour cream for the potatoes and we all had our choice of dressing on the salad and some croutons. We all enjoyed the meal. I didn’t think the tri tip was quite as tender as the other two I did. With it being less than two inches thick I think it would have been better done over charcoal or on the gas grill. It was only 34 deg. out so using the gas grill was out for me!

For the Chimichurri sauce

Seasoned and ready to smoke

One hour in at 120 deg. IT

Sliced after a 5 minute rest

My salad

My supper

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

IPA Brined Pickles and Carrots

Dec 02 2015

For our Thanksgiving family dinner I took all out to eat at J Maries; a new restaurant in Wapakoneta, Ohio. They do all their cooking in two brick wood fired ovens and the food was good. For an appetizer we tried some of their IPA brined pickles. I thought they were good.

I searched the net and found a recipe for them. I found about the same recipe several places. One site was and they have a lot of recipes using beer. The recipe was for doing cucumbers and sweet peppers but I did cucumbers and carrots.

I bought an English cucumber and some organic carrots. I only bought one cucumber and should have got two but I made do and added some sweet onions to help pack.  I smashed 4 cloves of garlic and placed in the bottom of the jar, a slice of onion, and then packed in the cucumber that I cut in wedges and 3 stems of fresh dill. I filled the void with some more sweet onion. The brine was a bottle of Founders IPA, ¾ cup apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt. After adding the brine to the pickles I added a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

Some of the carrots were small enough I left them whole with some of the top on; the larger ones I cut into sticks. I washed them good and cut to length to fit the quart jar and leave room on top for the brine to cover. I added 4 stems of fresh dill; poured the brine over and added about a teaspoon of coriander seeds.

The pickles I did in a Fido jar and the carrots I used a quart Mason jar. I let them set at room temperature about 3 hours and then in the fridge. Today they had been in for two days.

I had a ham and Swiss cheese on rye for lunch today and tried some of the pickles. They were plenty sour and good. I will try the carrots for supper tonight but they may need to set longer.

Click Here for printable recipe


Filling the jar of pickles

Brine and some crushed red pepper added

The pickles and carrots