Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Fun - Bow Man

For a period of two or three years in my early teens, I was a mighty deer hunter. Not just a deer hunter, but a BOW hunter. Manly stuff. Arrows, big curved stick with a string on it. Yep, that's me at the right. Nice tush, huh?

About this time of year, along with Brother Dave and our friends Rudy and Clifton, we'd head down to Kentucky's Land Between the Lakes, a magnificent outdoor recreation area in the western part of the state. We'd camp out at night, which was lots of fun, then hunt during the day, which wasn't fun. Sitting in a tree all day in December is uncomfortable.

I wasn't much of a threat to the deer. Frankly, I didn't even see many, which amazes me now because almost any morning I can look out on the hill in our backyard and see one or more deer trespassing in our garden, eating whatever plants we've grown.

Even had I seen one back then, I don't know that I would have had the nerve or heart to get off a shot. I know I certainly couldn't shoot a deer today.

However, shooting arrows is fun. But if you don't want to shoot at deer, what can you shoot at aside from a bale of hay? Well, how about another person?

Obviously, shooting at a real person is not only a problem, it's against the law in most states. And I suspect not many of you have a bow and arrows sitting around in the closet or garage. Lucky for you, I've got a solution.

I first encountered the game of Bow Man on the Say No To Crack site. The game is actually one of many freebie games you can find at Armor Games. Start by playing against the computer. It takes a few turns to figure out what to do (click on Bow Man, pull back the cursor, select the angle and release). But once you get the hang of it, it's hard to stop.



Have fun - but be careful!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chili Nights

Remember that silly e-mail recipe chain letter I made fun of a couple of months ago? You know, it actually yielded a few nuggets.

Now that cold weather has wrapped itself around me like a wet blanket, I'm in the market for some good warm, comfort foods. Chili is pretty much a can't-miss in this category, and here's a good recipe that came in the chain from Karl and Karolyn Williams.

Black Bean Chili on Rice

2 Teaspoons Butter
2 Medium Onions – Chopped (1 Cup)
2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Fresh Garlic
1 (15-ounce) Can Black Beans – Rinsed & Drained
1 (8 ounce) Can Plain Tomato Sauce
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Tablespoons Canned Chopped Green Chiles
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
4 Cups Hot Cooked Rice

In a 2-Qt. saucepan melt butter; add onions and garlic.

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and lightly browned (5 minutes). Add beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, chilies and cumin. Continue cooking until heated through (5 minutes).

Serve over hot cooked rice. Top with sour cream, chopped fresh tomato and chopped fresh cilantro (optional).

Yield: 4 Servings

Can be served over baked potatoes, pasta or grains. We also sometimes serve it as a dip with corn chips.

Thanks!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Food Fight, Results of Bout 1

And the winner is... Paula Deen!

The kickoff bout in our Food Network Food Fight to determine the toughest celebrity chef on TV wasn't much of a contest. Paula nearly shut out Rachael Ray in the voting, taking the bout 10 votes to 1.

Deen, the queen of Southern comfort foods, had no problem dispatching Ray, who was evidently worn out from overexposure.

In honor of her victory, and considering it is a Hot Sauce Wednesday here in Sullivanistan, here's a link to Paula's recipe for Fiery Cajun Shrimp.

Next up in the first round is a showdown between the Good Eater, Alton Brown, and the pride of Baltimore, the Ace of Cakes, Duff Goodman. Get your votes in now!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

BBTuesday - Arthur Bryant's

Kansas City has a well-earned reputation for good music and great barbecue. Perhaps tops among the great restaurants in town is the renowned Arthur Bryant's Barbecue. Calvin Trillin, a KC native and writer for the New Yorker, called Bryant's, "The best restaurant in the world." The place has fed presidents and celebrities who have gone out of their way to stop by for a bite when visiting KC.

Bryant's can trace its roots back to Henry Perry, a Tennessean credited as being the father of Kansas City barbecue. Perry opened a restaurant in KC, then hired George Gates and brothers Arthur and Charlie Bryant to run it when business took off. Gates eventually moved on to open his own famous bbq joint, Charlie Bryant died and Arthur took over the place on his own. The restaurant thrived under his watch, and after developing his signature sauce, he was crowned with the title, "The King of Ribs." He ran the restaurant at 18th and Brooklyn until his death in 1982. That site, plus two others carry on the tradition of slow cooked meats smothered in that famous sauce.

The restaurant's rep has been built on pork slab ribs, but it also offers beef, ham, pork, turkey and chicken, along with bbq baked beans, slaw and fries on the side. You can order Arthur's rubs and sauces from the restaurant's Website.

What I know about Arthur Bryant's Barbecue comes from numerous favorable mentions in lists, spotlights on television shows and write-ups in books. I haven't had the pleasure of eating at Bryant's, but if you have, please leave a comment below and share your experience.

BBTour

No tune this week. Instead, I found this fascinating piece on the history of barbecue in KC.






Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Computer Problems Persist

I hope to be operational soon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Food for the Soul, Nov. 25, 2007


The computers here at the Sullicom World Headquarters have been under siege the past 24 hours. Whether malicious, mischievous or merely coincidental, the result has put me in a very foul mood.

I don't know if this was a hacker attack of some sort, a virus or simply one of those perfect storms that can happen when little fingers frequently share the keyboards. Regardless, both computers went down yesterday, albeit with different maladies.

The basement PC, the older of the two, seems to have picked up some downloaded programs that while pledging to zap spyware, do more to invite it. It became near impossible to do anything on that unit because of the frequency of pop-ups. Even the desktop background has been overtaken by some demonic graphic that I can't get rid of. I've been running an anti-virus scan on that unit for 17 hours now.

That PC is usually the one reserved for the kids. But since it wasn't working, they moved to the one in the office. Last night, after a couple of hours of cursing at the situation in the basement, I went into the office to check e-mail, only to find that a system file in that PC had been corrupted or deleted and the thing wouldn't even boot. I tried running the system repair program off the boot disc, but that wasn't working either. Another hour of expletives followed before I finally gave up and went to bed.

This morning, as the scan was still running downstairs, I managed to install an old version of Windows on the office PC, which has at least allowed me to regain access to the Web.

In the meantime, somewhere in a currently unaccessible region on this computer are important documents, precious family photos and hundreds - if not thousands - of dollars worth of music downloads.

Of course, I'm trying to fix the situation myself, rather than spend good money to call in someone who actually knows what they're doing. It's kind of the same feeling I imagine I'd have if I were dropped in the middle of a bad part of town. At night. Naked. I'm not sure if the things I'm doing are making the situation better or worse. However, I have managed to reconnect to the Internet, so I guess that's a small victory.

This isn't the first time we've had predicaments like this. Just the first time they've happened simultaneously.

During the summer of 2006, one of the kids left a laptop sitting on the floor in the family room, where it was stepped on by our son, Courtland, with one of his size 13 feet. The foot won.

Three years before that, in what I consider Courtland's "coming of age" summer, he and his buddies used to retire into the office behind closed doors and "play" on the computer. That was when we had our first infestation of porn pop-ups. It set the stage for one of the inevitable father-son talks, as well as a long-term ban from his use of that computer.

And that's pretty much where we are today. I've banned the kids from using the computers until I say they can use them again. Not that it much matters because the dang machines still aren't working the way they should.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Segue Saturday - Food Fight

It's time to put Thanksgiving behind us once and for all.

Starting next weekend, my Saturday posts will be dedicated to the art of baking Christmas cookies. That's one of skills that makes the Remarkable Marcy remarkable. You're in for a real treat.

Thanks to everyone who voted in the Thanksgiving side dish poll. Stuffing was the decided favorite among voters, but green bean casserole and cranberry sauce had their fans, too.

Food Fight

Now the new poll is up. It's actually the first in a series of micro-polls I'll run through the end of the year. I'm curious to see who you think would win fights between various Food Network celebrity chefs. I don't mean which chef has the best show or recipes. I want to know who you think would come out on top in a regular old hair-pulling, clothes-ripping fist fight.

There are more than a few beefy contenders in the contest who look like they could pack a wallop. But there are a surprising number of physically fit chefs whose speed and agility might just wear down their larger opponents.

Our first match pits Paula Deen, known for her heavy menu of Southern comfort foods, against the thrifty and ubiquitous Rachael Ray.

The schedule of bouts is listed below. I'll report the outcomes on Mondays and announce the Grand Champeen on New Year's Day.

Paula Deen vs Rachael Ray - 11/23-11/28

Alton Brown vs Duff Goodman - 11/28-12/2

Giada De Laurentis vs Sandra Lee - 12/2-12/5

Emeril Lagasse vs Bobby Flay - 12/5-12/9

Quarter final 1 - 12/9-12/12
Quarter final 2 - 12/12-12/16

Semi final - 12/16-12/24

Final - 12/24-12/31

Keep it clean and may the best chef win!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Fun - Cool Places

I'm sitting here, having just come out of my turkey coma and waiting for the Alka Seltzer to kick in. I feel like I gained 10 lbs. in a single day. Maybe I did. I'm too afraid to step on the scale and find out, though.

Food is about the last thing I want to dwell on today, so I thought I'd share some very funny blogs with you. Some I've visited often and others I've just recently discovered. But all are worth a few minutes of your time and should leave you laughing out loud.

Say No To Crack - a humor site with lots of funny videos, cartoons, games and amusing observations.

Olga, The Traveling Bra - I linked to this one just a couple of days ago. A deliciously readable travel blog, which the blogger describes, appropriately, as "Keeping the World Abreast of All My Exciting Globe-Trotting Adventures!"

Neatorama - another arcade of eclectica. Videos, games, curiosities and odd items. Make sure you check out the Kitty Conversation post.

Thinking Out Loud... - the blogger, Valerie Morrison, serves up "ramblings, humor, news, motivation, parenting, rants, technology, finance... plus a whole lot more." Essentially, it's whatever the heck she feels like talking about and most of what she has to say is very entertaining.

Treat yourself to something other than leftovers today and check out these blogs.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving

Thanks for my wife and children, who mean everything to me - Marcy, Courtland, Flannery and Moira. Thanks for our pets, who make our house smell, uh, interesting - Sharon the cat, Daisy and Gypsy the dogs, Big Guy the mutant goldfish, Bunny the bunny, and Buddy the hamster. Thanks for our siblings and their families - Dave, Jan, David, Erika, Emily, Dave, Flavia or Flavius (due to join the brood in April), Rhonda, Dave and Cullen. Thanks for all of our other cousins. Thanks for our parents, no longer with us but always with us - Frances, Courtlan, Rita and Sheldon. Thanks for our friends. Thanks for our home, our jobs and the food we have to eat. And thanks for the all the other blessings in our life, including good books, good music, fishing, baseball, drinks that make you feel good (in moderation) and anything else that brings a smile to your soul.

And thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Have To Share This With You

It feels good to laugh out loud. Through a series of blog links, I arrived at Olga the Traveling Bra's blog. Check out her Turkey ala Olga post.

Holiday Horseradish Sauce

I've got one last little side or appetizer for you before we all chain ourselves to the stove tomorrow. Here's my adaptation of a cranberry horseradish sauce that's great on turkey, but when served with chips or crackers also keeps the football freaks at bay until the main course is ready.

Holiday Horseradish Sauce

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 small onion
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp. orange zest
2 Tbs. horseradish
3 oz. bourbon

In a food processor or blender, mush the cranberries and onions together. Put in a bowl and add the sour cream, sugar, orange zest and horseradish. Add 1 oz. of the bourbon and mix everything together. Take the remaining 2 oz. of bourbon, toast yourself for being a jolly good fellow, and drink. Cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

BBTuesday - Turkey

Gather around, children. It's time for your history lesson. Today Uncle Sullicom is going to tell you how the turkey was lucky enough to wind up as the symbol and main event for our Thanksgiving feast.

As I recall, it was around this time of year back in 1621, when we lived in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Gov. William Bradford decided we should have a day of thanks, with a feast to go with it. However, it having been declared a holiday, all of the stores were closed. So, we sent several men into the woods, to "go fowling" as we called it. I wasn't much good at fowling, so I stayed home and watched football until the others returned.

The "fowlers" came back, loaded not just with turkeys, but with ducks and geese, too. We cooked them all up, along with loads of sweet potatoes, stuffing and that green bean casserole with the little crunchy onions on top. The next day, when it was time to dig into the leftovers, we discovered that of all the cooked birds, it was the turkey that tasted best when made into sandwiches, with a little mayo slathered on top.

Ever since then, the turkey has been inextricably linked to Thanksgiving. This year, Americans will eat 690 million pounds of the bird at this feast alone.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

For those of you adventurous enough to want to try to smoke your turkey this holiday, here's a link to Steven Raichlin's recipe for brined and smoked Thanksgiving turkey.

And if you want a seasonal sauce for your turkey, here's a recipe for a cranberry barbecue sauce from the Shoalwater Restaurant in Seaview, Washington.

BBTune

And now, a word from the bird.



Have a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nov. 19, 2007, In the News

Life is good. I'm still basking in the Buckeyes' win over Michigan on Saturday, I have a few days off from work to recharge and Thanksgiving is just a few days away. No complaints here.

And now, the news:

Double Duty. This qualifies as both a news item and the unusual recipe of the week.

Chug-a-Lug. South Dakota man sets hot sauce drinking record. This link has item, plus video from previous record holder.

Hot Sauce Health Update. Docs using capsaicin for pain relief.

Take My Word For It

Here's the Thanksgiving edition of favorite posts from my Good Friends and Cool Places links.

Thanksgiving. (Very Short Novels)

Nailing Down Turkey Dinner. (Tummy Treasure)

How to Smoke a Turkey. (White Trash BBQ)

How to Carve a Turkey. (The BBQ Guy's BBQ Blog)

Apple Pecan Bread Stuffing. (The Chef From Hell)

Badly Burnt Bird but Great Giblet Gravy. (Homesick Texan)

Have a great week!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Side Dish Sunday - Creamy Brussels Sprouts

Sorry for the one-day delay in getting the side dish posting up. Saturday ended up completely given over to the Ohio State-Michigan game. Fortunately, Sunday lets me keep the alliteration intact.

Anyway, for those of you who didn't run away shrieking at the mention of Brussels sprouts, you're in for a treat. This is a dish we assimilated into our Thanksgiving feast in recent years, the Remarkable Marcy having plucked it from the pages of Better Homes and Gardens. After trying it almost as a favor to Marcy since she went to the effort to make it, I found myself going back for seconds and thirds, then scraping what was left of the sauce off the sides of the dish with my spoon. If you're not quite up to doing sprouts, you can substitute green beans.

Creamy Brussels Sprouts

Non-stick cooking spray
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. butter
2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, or green beans, trimmed
1 tsp. snipped fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 1 1/2-quart oval gratin baking dish or baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a 12-inch skillet cook onion and garlic in butter over medium heat for 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in Brussels sprouts and thyme. Cook for 4 minutes or until onions begin to brown. Add broth. Bring to boiling. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until broth is nearly evaporated. Add whipping cream and nutmeg. Cook for 4 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Stir in half of the cheese, all of the salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are tender.

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Yea!

We won!

Serious posting returns Sunday.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Fun - Ohio State vs Michigan



The Game is in Ann Arbor this year, thus robbing more than 100,000 fans of the experience of watching - and feeling - the Best Damn Band In The Land's stirring ramp entrance into Ohio Stadium.

At Ohio State games, the band is as much a part of the experience as the football. And no true fan would show up late enough to miss the band entrance. You literally feel it happening. The band gathers under the stands in the closed end of the horseshoe. Then you start to feel the rumble as the drums start pounding. The drum squad then marches down the ramp and assembles on the north end of the field as the thousands of fans clap in unison. Once they're in place, the rest of the band marches out to join them. As soon as all are in place, they begin to play "Buckeye Battle Cry." Then the drum major high steps onto the field, moves through the middle of the assemblage and takes his or her place in the front. The major slowly arches backward until the plume of his or her hat touches the ground. At that point the place goes wild and the band begins marching down the field with fight song blaring.

This sort of tradition is what makes college football sooooooo much better than the pro game. Being there and soaking in the spirit of these sorts of soul-stirring rituals gives me goose bumps and often brings a tear to my eyes. I've been to a few NFL games and the experience can't hold a candle to a college game. It's overly commercialized, overly sensational and at times approaches soft-porn. Give me a college game - any college game - anytime.

Michigan Jokes

I was delighted, but not amaized (pun intended), to see how many sites there are devoted to Michigan jokes. I've included links to the source of each one listed below. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

Q: How many batteries does it take to beat Michigan?
A: 1-AA

Q: How do you make University of Michigan cookies?
A: Put them in a big Bowl and beat them for three hours.

I hear that Lloyd Carr is only dressing 25 players this Saturday. The rest can dress themselves.

A guy in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and says, "Wanna hear a Michigan joke?" The guy next to him replies, "Well before you tell that joke, you should know something. I'm 6' tall, 200 lbs., and I am a Michigan alumnus. The guy sitting next to me is 6'2 tall, weighs 225, and he's a Michigan alumnus. The fella next to him is 6'5 tall, weighs 250, and he's a Michigan alumnus. Now, you still wanna tell that joke?" The first guy says, "Nah, not if I'm gonna have to explain it 3 times."

Q: What did the Michigan grad say to the OSU grad?
A: "Welcome to McDonalds. May I take your order please?"

And there are so many more...

Beer Me

If you want an authentic Ohio beer to swig while watching the game, try to find an eight pack of Little Kings. These 7-ounce bottles of ale are brewed by Cincinnati's Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Company. It's a cream ale, so it's not the lightest drink you'll find. But they go down dangerously easy and provide a decent kick after a few. So, if you're driving, surrender those keys before the first sip.

When I was in college, I worked as a bartender at a campus bar that, alas, is no longer there. Thursday nights we had a special deal of three Little Kings for $1.25. We kept the bottles in 30-gallon trash cans filled with ice and we must have sold thousands of them every Thursday. I still have calluses from opening those suckers with wet hands.

Enjoy your weekend and The Game!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Go Buckeyes!

It's the weekend of "The Game." You'll never convince me that there's a bigger rivalry in college football than Ohio State and Michigan. I realize that being a Buckeye alumnus makes me more than a little biased, but this game, more often than not, has one or more major implications tied to it.

Before last week's loss to Illinois, the game looked like it was going to figure into a national championship bid by Ohio State. But even now, the conference title and a Rose Bowl berth are at stake.

I started following the series in the midst of the "Woody and Bo Show," the years when legendary coaches Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler were butting heads. In most years then and now, this game is the climax of the season and anything that follows is merely afterglow. Maybe that's because so many times the winner, and frequently the loser, too, have gone on to lose to some other conferences' top teams in bowl games.

The Wolverines lead the series all time, 57-40-6. Ohio State has had the advantage in recent years, taking the last three and five of the last six games. Last year's game was the first time the teams met holding the top two spots in the polls. The Buckeyes won in Columbus, with Michigan playing a day after the death of Schembechler. The Bucks then went on to get drubbed by Florida in the national title game (see previous paragraph).

No matter which stadium hosts the game, it's an experience you won't forget. More than 100,000 fans in either venue, non-stop screaming and shouting, two fabulous marching bands, every play capable of sending the place into a frenzy.

The most memorable game for me was in 1979. The Buckeyes that year, their first under Earle Bruce who had replaced Woody, were undefeated and ranked number 1. Yet they were underdogs going into the game in Ann Arbor. Michigan built up a lead, but Ohio State got a third-quarter touchdown. Then, with time running out, Buckeye linebacker Jim Laughlin blocked a Wolverine punt. The ball was recovered by DB Todd Bell, who ran it in for the score. Final - Ohio State 18, Michigan 15.

I still remember those names and moments. That's part of what's special about these games. Moments forever seared into the collective memories of fans of both schools.

As we were leaving the Big House after the '79 game, I remember seeing a Michigan fan, on his knees with head in hands, in the middle of the road. He was crying and bellowing, "Ohio State can't beat us in Michigan!" Well, yes we did. And yes we will.

Go Bucks!

Buckeyes

To get in the mood for the game, here's a bit of OSU tradition. These sinfully rich little candies look just like their namesake nuts, as you can see from the photo at the top of the post.

2 cups peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together. If mixture is too wet, add more powdered sugar. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on wax paper on cookie sheet. Freeze for at least 15 minutes.

1 package chocolate bark coating
or
1 package chocolate chips
1/2 cake paraffin

Heat in a pan until melted.

Stick a toothpick in the peanut butter buckeyes and dip into the chocolate, covering all but a small part of the peanut butter. Return to the wax paper-covered cookie sheet and return to freezer for at least 15 minutes.

Script Ohio

There's no better way to end this post than with "The Best Damn Band in The Land" doing Script Ohio.



Go Bucks!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thanksgiving Hot Stuff

Digging through our cache of Thanksgiving recipes, I noticed that they were all showing lots of wear and tear. I guess that's what happens if you make the same standards year in and year out.

They're good recipes and I couldn't imagine a Thanksgiving without them. But I wondered what's out there to add a little spice to the table.

Here are a few nuggets I found.

Our friends at the Hot Sauce Blog review Three Hot Tamales' Cranked Up Cranberry Sauce.

One more from the Hot Sauce Blog - a recipe for Fiery Sweet Potatoes.

In this article from USA Today, comfort food queen Paula Deen includes a sinful suggestion for jazzing up cranberry sauce.

And, from the New York Times, here are a handful of recipes including one for stuffing that features Vietnamese chili paste to give it a kick.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

BBTuesday - Andy Nelson's


One of the things I like best about Baltimore is Andy Nelson's Barbecue. The place has the authentic look, feel and taste of one of those old roadside joints I remember as a kid.

Located in north suburban Cockeysville, Andy's occupies two old, unassuming buildings. When you walk into the main shack, the wall to your right is lined with bottles of barbecue sauces and hot sauces. The rest of the walls in the place are decorated with homages to pigs, Elvis and the owner's career with the old Baltimore Colts of the '50s and '60s.

Andy was a defensive back for the great Johnny Unitas-led Colts teams, playing in Baltimore from 1957 to 1963. He was pretty good, too, making the Pro Bowl in 1960. He played a final season in 1964 for the New York Giants before returning to Baltimore to open up his restaurant.

The food and atmosphere are heavy on Alabama, where Andy grew up, and Memphis, where he went to college. The meats are slowly smoked over hickory fires, then simmered in a spicy sauce that was adapted from an old family recipe. I prefer the pulled pork, but there's also beef brisket, pit beef (this is Maryland, after all), pulled turkey and chicken breast sandwiches; Memphis-style ribs, whole or sectioned chickens; Dixie wings; and a hearty selection of sides, including slaw, bbq beans, potato salad and my favorite, greens.

There is a triumvirate of sauces available. My favorite (big surprise) is the tangy vinegar-based Pig Dip. The peppery Bama BBQ Sauce and spicy Carolina Mustard Sauce are also good. I usually wind up squeezing a lot of each on whatever's on my plate. The sauces, along with a house salad dressing and rub mix are available online.

Part of the fun of going to Andy's is that it's somewhat of a shrine to Elvis, whom Andy says he and his wife used to see around town during their Memphis days. There's lots of memorabilia on the walls of the various rambling rooms throughout the main shack.

I heartily recommend this place to anybody visiting Baltimore or even locals who've never been. The food is terrific and the dining experience is like walking through a portal to a place and time that seems so far, far away anymore.

BBTune

Here's one Andy would approve of. Elvis Presley doing "Hound Dog."



Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday, Nov. 12, 2007

Mondays just keep coming. It seems like we just had one about a week ago. This one's particularly somber. Yesterday was the sad day I rolled the Weber from the backyard into its winter home in the garage. There it will sit, alongside bikes, garbage cans, baseball and softball gear, fishing rods and the lawnmower until Spring. (Notice there was no mention of cars. Our garage is just a big junk room.) Until then, I look forward to the Monday post which announces that I've rolled it out and back into service.

Take My Word For It


Here are a few favorite posts from My Good Friends and Cool Places links.

Gino's East vs Giordano's
(Barbecue Bachelor)
Brandy Alexander (Dave's Drinks)
Sweet Potato Cheesecake (Homesick Texan)
How to Dig a Fire Pit (My GPS Camera Phone)
A&W Baked Ham (The Chef From Hell)
About Those Pierogi (Tummy Treasure)
Thanksgiving (Very Short Novels)

Have a good week!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Food for the Soul, Nov. 11, 2007

November is finally in full color here in Sullivanistan. As eye-poppingly pleasant as it is at the moment, that simply means we're a few days and a good rain storm away of having the leaves beaten from the trees and the long, dark days of winter moving in for the next few months.

I've always had a love-hate relationship with this month. November is filled with milestones and memories, some good and some not so good.

Last Saturday we celebrated the Remarkable Marcy's birthday. It was also the anniversary of our first date, which took place many moons ago in Columbus, Ohio at a Muddy Waters concert. And yes, I categorize those as good memories. Very good ones.

But this is also the month my dad died. It was a day before Thanksgiving when I was a very young kid. He was only 49 when he died, just a couple of months away from turning 50. It was last November when I became - to the day - as old as he was when he died. His early death and my own mortality had become something of an obsession with me as I approached 50. It was a tough day, much tougher than my actual 50th birthday. It came and went, accompanied by high anxiety and heavy introspection on my part. But, I'm on the other side of 50 now and living my own life.

November also means Ohio State-Michigan games. As of yesterday, the luster is off this year's matchup, but it's still huge for football fans and alums. I'll share more throughout the week on some of my memories and traditions from games past.

And, of course, November brings Thanksgiving. An opulent orgy of food that triggers the even more opulent orgy of gift giving and getting that comes in December. I'll always have the tragic memory of my dad's death attached to the holiday. But even more than that, I have years and years and years of wonderful memories of family, friends and food. And for that, I am thankful.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Side Dish Saturday - Praline Sweet Potatoes

I've never been a great fan of sweet potatoes or yams. But once a year I plop a heap of them on my Thanksgiving plate. That's due to the following recipe, which turns the taters practically into a dessert. I believe this dish was introduced to our Thanksgiving tradition by a former girlfriend of my brother-in-law. While she never made it into the family, the recipe did.

Praline Sweet Potatoes

4 cups cooked sweet potatoes (about 4 potatoes)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla

Topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup grated coconut
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla.

In a separate small bowl, mix the brown sugar, pecans, coconut, butter and flour.

Pour the potato mix into a buttered 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top the potato mixture with the crumb mixture.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and crusty.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Fun - Bunny Art

We have a house full of pets. There are two Labs (Daisy and Gypsy), Sharon the cat, Big Guy the gold fish, Buddy the hamster and Bunny the bunny. But only one has shown an aptitude for art.

It was Bunny who is responsible for the creation at the left. It started out as a cardboard box flap that I put in her cage for her to play with. A couple of days later when I went to feed her, I noticed that she had nibbled it into the shape of another rabbit. I guess I hadn't realized how much she wanted a playmate.

I've seen works from other animal artists. There are paintings by monkeys and recently on television I saw a story about a guy who dips worms in paint and lets them wiggle all over a canvas. But this is something quite different than random squirms or finger splats. Does Bunny have talent?

I sought out critical input from some artists whose work I admire and opinions I respect. Here's what they had to say:

From Alan, professional animator and published author: from the artist's POV - her eye for detail is matched by her desire to mix her creative juices with her digestive ones. Bravo bunny - you're on your way!

From Spleenal, talented cartoonist: i like it. the "cut out" shape elevates the bunny form to more of a symbol or icon. it also bridges the gap between "flat" art and sculpture and attains a cool 2.5D feel. but mainly i see a corruption of the playboy bunny symbol. in producing it out of cardboard is your rabbit trying to make a comment of how sex has been cheapened? and is the fact that it's not new card refering to the fact that much of what we see as new is nothing more that recycled ideas from the past? that's one smart bunny.

From Howie, accomplished artist and instructor at a prestigious art college: Well it's hard to get away from oneself. At Art School in Portraiture & Life Drawing Classes one often sees how one's own image keeps appearing. For example the live model gets up on the stand - The skinny guy ends up drawing a skinny model, the chubby student draws a chubby model, despite what the actual model really looks like. Also the reverse happens. The chubby student (wishful thinking) draws a skinny model, etc. ...........Since I don't know your rabbit personally, it's had to tell if your rabbit was re-creating his/her own image or a wishful representation of themselves........ You and your family and those close to the rabbit, (maybe only other rabbits) will have to be the judges of this. On another thought-----If one rotates the picture, then the boot of Italy appears, and artists often turn their artworks to get a fresh peek and new sense of their artworks. Did you actually see the rabbit working on it the way you present it?? Or perhaps the rabbit worked all around thus creating a different image from each side. And Matisse often looked at his paintings in the early morning dawning light claiming it allowed him to see them freshly, - so perhaps you should also examine your rabbit's artwork from all sides and at dawn.

Hard to argue with the those in the know. Have an opinion of your own? Share it with us in the comments. In the meantime, I wonder what she'd do if I put a block of granite in the cage?

Rabbit Opera

Moving from the visual to the performing arts, here's a golden oldie from another talented bunny, Bugs, from his operatic classic, "Rabbit of Seville."




Have a great weekend

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Girl Scout Cookies

I'm not sure whose idea it was to have Girl Scout Cookies delivered this close to Halloween, but I'd like to have a chat with her or him.

Our dining room table has been littered with cookies for a couple of weeks now. MoJo, our own little Girl Scout, sold more than 120 boxes to our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. She was cute, impressive and surprisingly aggressive when making her sales pitch. Now, all those boxes are in and awaiting delivery to her clients. And in the meantime, they sit on the table. Calling to me.

A few years ago I lost a lot of weight on the Atkins Diet, dropping 70 lbs. in about six months. The diet was relatively easy for me to follow. A breakfast of bacon and eggs was hardly a sacrifice. However, there were two things that were constantly tempting me - donuts and cookies. For the most part, I was very disciplined and was able to avoid slipping. But there have been times, especially when I'm tired, that I completely cave in. To me, Girl Scout Cookies are crack.

This year's cookies have been here for two weeks. Although I've done a pretty good job of avoiding them, I confess that I've had one or two. Or three. Maybe a few more. (Yes, Marcy, it was I who ate the Trefoils!)

The table sits loaded with boxes and boxes of Thin Mints, Trefoils, Samoas, Do-Si-Dos, Chocolate Chips, those Lemon things (sorry, can't remember the name and I know better than to walk into the dining room to check). They'll soon be out of the house. And good thing, too. Marcy starts baking Christmas cookies soon.

Here's a link to a Girl Scout site in Western Washington that has a number of recipes that either recreate the classic cookies or use the cookies as ingredients in other dishes.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rerun - Boog's Hot Sauce

One more dip into the archives before I return to posting. Today's golden oldie is Boog's Hot Sauce, a spicy recipe along with a story of one of my favorite introductions of all time.

I'll be back with you in real time tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Rerun - Mole BBQ Sauce

First off, let me assure you that this week of reruns has nothing to do with the Hollywood writers' strike. I'm just tired. And it gives me a chance to introduce new readers to some of the good posts they may have missed.

Since it's BBTuesday, I thought I'd recall The Chef From Hell's Mole BBQ Sauce recipe that earned him top honors in the inaugural Sullicom Sauce Off.

Enjoy (again)!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Rerun - Peach


While I'm taking a few days off, I thought I'd pull a few of my favorite posts from the archives for you.

Here's a link to one of my first Food for the Soul posts, explaining how we came up with our daughter Flannery's name.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Be Back Soon


Taking a few days to catch my breath. Should be back with you by Thursday at the latest.

In the meantime, I'll share links to some of my favorite posts from the past few months.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Side Dish Saturday - Cranberry Conserve

Welcome to Side Dish Saturday. Our youngest, MoJo, suggested I kick off this run up to Thanksgiving by featuring the tasty cranberry sauce the Remarkable Marcy makes each year.

In full disclosure, it's a recipe Marcy found back in 1994 in Better Homes & Gardens, but it was a keeper and we've made it every Thanksgiving - and many Christmases, too - since then.

And technically, it's not so much a sauce as it is a conserve, a relish that's a sweet and tangy complement to the turkey and other sides.

Cranberry Conserve

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter

2 tsp. vinegar

2 large onions, coarsely chopped

4 cups cranberries

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

3-1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup toasted broken pecans


In a large skillet cook and stir brown sugar, margarine or butter, and vinegar over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add onions. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes or till onions are glazed and tender, stirring often. Set aside.

In a 6- to 8-quart kettle or Dutch oven combine cranberries, raisins, apple cider or juice, allspice, and cloves. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Stir in onion mixture and granulated sugar. Return to boiling. Cook, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes more. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Remove from heat; stir in nuts.

The BHG article notes that you can ladle the conserve into half-pint jars and give them as holiday gifts. I suppose so, but frankly, the stuff usually disappears from the table so fast there's little left to give away.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Foodie BlogRoll

A few nights ago while blog hopping, I discovered the Foodie BlogRoll. It's an effort of Jenn at The Leftover Queen (who's got a great blog of her own).

It's always fun to discover new food blogs - and to be discovered. The widget is over in the rail to the right. Check it out and think about adding your site to the list.

Friday Fun - The Session

Beer & Music

This round's on me. Although I'm not a full-time beer blogger, I do write about it from time to time, and I do drink it more than occasionally. On the first Friday of each month, true beer bloggers engage in what is known as "The Session," in which the brethren all weigh in on a common topic. This month's theme - Beer & Music. Tomme Arthur of TheLost Abbey blog is the session host this month, so stop by and see what he's culled from all the blogs.

It isn't exactly like looking for a needle in a haystack to find references to beer and drinking in music. Country music is littered with drunken inspiration. Either a situation is driving someone to drink, or drink is setting up the situation. Kind of symbiotic.

Here are a few of my favorites, some of which I've served you before.

Porter Wagoner, who passed away earlier this week, put forth one of his best efforts in "Mysery Loves Company." It's an amusing clip in that it's a vintage video from Porter's old TV show, but you can see immediately that the video doesn't match the audio. What's funny, though, is that they sort of catch up to each other about 55 seconds in. Nevertheless, a classic country drinking song.




When we lived in Austin, one of the local bands I liked was the Asylum Street Spankers, a sort of jug band that sounded like they were time-transported from the 1930s. One of their best novelty songs is simply titled, "Beer." This link takes you to an audio clip of a live performance at The Cedar in Minneapolis.

Here are links to a couple of my earlier posts that included some of my favorite drinking songs. Todd Snider's "Beer Run" is an infectious tune that you'll curse me for introducing you to. And one of my all-time favorites is Webb Pierce's "There Stands the Glass." Brother Dave suggests The Wood Brothers' "Alcohol of Fame."

Now it's your turn to pick up the tab. Have a favorite drinking song? Share it with me and others in the comments field.

Enjoy (responsibly)!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Last Word on Cleveland Mustard (maybe)

This is my 100th post on this blog. And like about 90 of the previous posts, this one will deal with the unanswered questions surrounding the Cleveland mustard debate. It will answer one of those questions. However, the question as to which is best remains open.

And then I promise to shut up on this issue. At least for a while.

First, let me thank my correspondents. Rich the Killer Cameraman sent me the bottle of Bertman Ball Park Mustard that he picked up while working one of the American League Championship Series games at Jacobs Field. My colleague Ron brought back a bottle of Stadium Mustard he picked up on a run home to Cleveland last weekend.

And yes, they are, without a doubt, two different products.

Label claims made by both are a little confusing as to which came first. Ball Park touts itself as "CLEVELAND'S FAMOUS ORIGINAL" (caps and italics are theirs), and lists the three stadiums in which the Indians have played - League Park, Cleveland Stadium and Jacobs Field - although it doesn't go as far as saying the mustard was served there. Stadium Mustard's label says it's "THE AUTHENTIC" (again, their caps) and adds, "Enjoyed by Millions of Fans for More Than 50 Years."

Okay. One's "original," one's "authentic." I suppose they can both be what they claim to be without stepping on each other.

Ball Park Mustard's ingredients list distilled vinegar, mustard seed, sugar, salt and spices. Stadium Mustard is made with water, vinegar, mustard seed, salt and red pepper.

The consistency of Ball Park mustard is much thicker and smoother. Stadium Mustard is noticeably grainier and a little runnier.

To see if there was a taste difference, I set up a side-by-side comparison at work. Ron, who is steadfastly in the Stadium Mustard camp, recused himself from the taste test. I enlisted the help of John and Other John, both non-Clevelanders who had never tasted, nor heard of either brand.
Being hungry and never passing up an opportunity to eat in the name of research, I also participated.

I cooked up hot dogs for each of us and put Ball Park on one end of each dog, Stadium on the other end. We ate. John said Stadium was a bit spicier. Other John noted the slightly sweeter, tangy flavor of Ball Park. Both Johns admitted both mustards were very good, but tended to favor Ball Park. I agreed.

So, the three non-Clevelanders gave the nod to Bertman Ball Park Mustard.

However, when it comes to Clevelanders, the preferences is strongly in favor of Stadium Mustard.

With the exceptions of Rich the Killer Cameraman, who likes Ball Park, and Cleveland Jeff, who still swears the mustards are one and the same, Stadium Mustard is king among those who grew up on the North Coast. The Remarkable Marcy, Ron, Chicago Jeff and Travelin' Todd are practically militant in their allegiance to Stadium Mustard.

Todd gave me some insight into this yesterday. All these Clevelanders grew up in a time when both the Indians and the Browns played in Municipal Stadium, where Stadium Mustard had the franchise. He said it was practically a rite of passage for dads to excitedly round up their kids for their first trek to the stadium, telling them, "Wait 'til you taste the mustard!" It's the condiment of their youth.

Todd also said that unlike sports teams, which have their ups and downs (and in Cleveland, lots of downs), mustard remains consistent. And for a city whose image has taken its lumps, this is something it can proudly claim as its own really, really good thing. And if there are two really, really good things, is that so bad?