I’m can’t decide what I’m more excited about, the best grilled vegetable recipes I’ve made in years, or this awesome giveaway.
Lets talk about this corn for a second. Of course the original purpose of the corn itself was merely as a vehicle for the Sriracha butter, which I adapted from The Sriracha Cookbook (you should buy it, and the Veggie Lovers version), but the sweetness of the grilled corn with the spicy butter made me forget that I had acctually made other things for dinner. This is a meal all by itself. I would also recommend serving it American State Fair style in bed of aluminum foil so that you don’t miss all that fabulous butter that will melt away. And don’t be shy about adding it to your other grilled foods, shrimp and zucchini would love to take a dip in this stuff.
Now, we can chat about this little giveaway. I’ve teamed up with some other awesome bloggers to give one lucky reader a shiny new iPad:
I’m not much of a hard liquor drinker. That was something I inadvertently gave up when I became a mom, along with sleeping past 7am, peeing alone, and buying anything for myself without feeling selfish. It’s worth the price of admission, this tequila free/up at dawn/spectated toilet runs/"why am I buying this for myself when I could be buying something for my kid," life that I live as a person who grew another human in her guts.
Because she’s really amazing.
(Me & Tater in the healing waters of Santa Barbara a few days ago)
So I drink beer (the good stuff) or wine (the cheap stuff) unless you tell me that there is a cocktail on the menu that’s spicy. I love a nice hot cocktail. Lately, jalapenos have been popping into drinks all over the country and I couldn’t be happier about it.
My undying love for the Rooster Sauce put the idea for a red hot cocktail in my head a few months ago. And adding strawberries gave the perfect balance. Be careful, alcohol intensifies heat so start with a small amount (this recipe calls for only 1/2 tsp) and then decide if you want to add a bit more.
Barbecue debates rage on all over the south, even as we virtually speak. The most sweltering of all topics is Sauce versus Rub. Rub people claiming that good meat doesn’t need to be drowned in sauce, and sauce people attesting to the holy balance of flavors between sauce and meat, and then there is the apathetic middle who just shrug and use both.
And even when you eat your way across the Barbecue Belt, sampling the best of both slow cooked worlds, and finally take up residence in a meat preparation camp, the disputes don’t end. If you decide to consort with the rowdy sauce crowd, you have more decisions to make. Are you a vinegar based sauce person or tomato based? Molasses or brown sugar? Mustard sauce or chili sauce?
I’ve decided I’m a sauce girl, but I will never turn away good Slow Cooked BBQ Rubbed Spare Ribs. And although I prefer a deep sweet tomato sauce with a kick of spice, I’ll eat every last bit of a Golden Mustard Pulled Pork Sandwich.
Whether you decide on sauce, or just a great marinade, beer is an ideal addition. Beer is a natural meat tenderizer and a deeply flavored stout is a great way to go.
I used Bear Republic, Big Bear Black Stout. A fantastic stout, and as Beer Store Beer Guy told me last week, "Bear Republic’s Stout is one of the most consistent beers I’ve ever had. It always tastes the same, no matter what batch it came from." Hard thing to accomplish.
In a pot over medium heat, add the oil and allow to get hot but not smoking. Add the garlic and stir until you can smell it, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Allow to cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Don’t Feed The Trolls: How to Survive Online Bullies
In the age of living online, the greatest gift are the people you meet. The biggest drawback? The people you meet. Once a skeptic of online friendships, I’ve felt the connections made across the globe from one screen to another. A richness lent to my world through knowing people who live in such far off places, we never could have connected, seen our similarities, shared our thoughts and support, had it not been for two lap tops with internet connections. I’ve also seen the dark side of the vail that the computer brings, an entire society of online bullies waiting with snark and nastiness to prey on anyone with a voice.
The blog comments I’ve seen from online bullies rage wildly from strange with a twist of insanity, to angry and hateful. The following is a list of comments I’ve seen posted to online blogs, to people who get paid little or nothing for the recipes that they post:
"I hope your baby dies. I hate you"
"Ugh, I can’t stand this girl. Will you just shut up already?!"
"This recipe sucks, it’s probably why your husband left you."
"I bet you just adopted that baby so you could get more blog hits."
"This is the most disgusting recipe I’ve ever made in my life. I substituted [lists 3 major substitutions] and it was horrible! Think before you blog, you stupid B—-!"
"It’s no wonder her husband died if she cooks like this! She pretty much killed him herself, is she trying to kill my husband too?"
I know. Horrifying. People fail to realize that another human, possibly a stay at home Mom looking for a connection to the outside world, a widow, an introvert with crippling agoraphobia, or just and average joe, will read that and be incredibly hurt. We all remember the worst comment that was ever posted to our blogs, the sting from a complete stranger who’s hate has invaded our world. I’ve recently seen two celebrities melt down on Twitter, responding to the nasty comments, defending themselves, lashing out, retweeting insults, indulging those Trolls who seek to disperse hate.
Celebrity, blogger, or just an average mom with a twitter following, here are some rules to help us all cope:
Five Rules to Survive Online Bullies
1. Don’t Feed the Trolls. Don’t respond, engage or even post comments made out of sheer hate and anger. If a comment is just made to hurt, there is no reason to post it and you have no moral or civic obligation to do so. Delete the comment and shake the thought of it from your head.
2. Find Power In Silence. To stay silent and to be silenced are not the same thing. There is powder in silence, feel it. There is no response to a bully or a nasty comment that makes you look cool or superior, you are only wallowing in the mud by responding.
3. Feel Pity. Child Actor turned writer, Mara Wilson said on her blog recently: "Very few intelligent, successful, attractive, confident, happy people spend their time bashing people they have never met. Just be glad you are not that person." A comment a stranger makes about you says a lot more about them then it will ever say about you.
4. Strangers Will Defend You. More often than not, when I see a nasty comment posted on a blog, I watch others rush to the aid of the blogger. People who don’t know that blogger or the commenter, but who do know right from wrong, and are quick to rush to your defense.
5. Feel Important. No one throws rocks at Tiny Tim. If you are a blogger or a celebrity, the negative comments you receive will rise in direct proportion to how important people think you are. If they didn’t think of you as successful, they wouldn’t even bother. Negative comments are a direct result of doing something right, try to think of it that way.
I try to follow these rules on both this blog, as well as my other blog, The Beeroness, which has garnered a much higher level of praise as well as exponentially higher level of nastiness. With the good comes the bad, finding your own inner filter will help you enjoy more of the experience.
In a completely unrelated note, these Jalapeno Corn Waffles are perfect for brunch, or to serve with Fried Chicken. And you’ll want to drink the Sriracha Maple syrup on it’s own.
Jalapeno Corn Waffles with Sriracha Maple Syrup
1 cup fine yellow corn meal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 large jalapeno, chopped, stem and seeds removed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 tbs brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 tbs canola oil
For the Syrup:
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tsp sriracha chili sauce
Preheat your waffle iron.
In a bowl, combine the corn meal, flour, baking powder, corn, jalapeno, salt, cheese, and brown sugar, mix. In a separate bowl, add the melted butter, milk, oil and the egg, beat until well combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and mix until just barely combined. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray if recommended, cook in waffle iron according to manufactures specifications.
Mix the maple syrup and sriracha and serve with the waffles.
Food is one of the greatest choices we have as members of the 1st world. For the most part, we get to choose what we put in our bodies, and how much.
The path people take to the way they eat as adults is a direct result of the experiences they have as children. Although I am no longer a practicing vegetarian (as evidenced by the extensive number of bacon related posts on my blog) I did spend about 4 years in my early 20’s with a very meatless existence. That choice was a direct result of the farm style living of my youth.
Just before I started Junior High, my parents moved me from the Central Coast of California to a small farm in Eastern Washington state. It sounded like such a romantic and adventurous journey, my love of animals having the full indulgence it had always wanted.
I was a 4-H kid, and the idea of acres and acres of animals was like a dream and within hours of a pig pen fully inhabited by squealing little pink and brown creatures I was in love. I named my favorite guy Garfunkel, as an nod to my love of 70’s music. I spent the summer feeding, walking, and training my new pet. In my head was the knowledge of the inevitable fate of this little guy, but some how it didn’t reach my heart.
Then, towards the end of summer, came an old Chevy pickup truck. White and faded with wooden boards rising up above the sides of the truck bed. I watched from the window as the town butcher consulted with my step father, compared guns, pointed at the pigs, and unceremoniously shoots Garfunkel in the head.
He struggles to get up. Another shot. He moves again. Another shot.
Three days later, I stared at the pork chops on my dinner plate, unable to get the image of his last moments out of my head. Unnerved by the feeling of knowing the first name of my dinner.
Although this is a brutal reality for the meat eating world, and one that we should come to terms with if we choose to eat meat, I am not advocating for everyone to go vegan. I know that the pigs my family raised had great lives. They were loved, cared about, and fed well. If it wasn’t for the dinner they became, they wouldn’t have existed in the first place.
Choice. Choosing to spend more for free range. Choosing to support local growers. Seeking out raw milk and cheese from reliable farms.
Because if the story of Garfunkel is horrifying to you, it is Disneyland compared to way some commercial farms are like.
Just some food for though.
Let me know what you think. If you disagree, agree, or even if you don’t care.
In the interim, here is a meatless breakfast that will give you a break from meat, if that is what you are looking for.
Portobello Mushroom Benedict with Sriracha Hollandaise
4 Portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of salt
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onions
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 large tomato, cut into slices
For the Hollandaise:
4 tbs melted butter
4 egg yolks
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs room temp water
1 tsp sriracha sauce
salt and pepper
In a pan over medium high heat, add the oil and allow it to get hot but not smoking. Place the mushrooms in the pan. If the pan is two small for all of the mushrooms to fit, cook in two batches. Turn the mushrooms once the bottom has turned dark and has softened, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cook on the other side until the entire mushroom is dark, soft and cook all the way through. Remove cooked mushrooms from pan and add the spinach, onions and garlic, cook until soft.
Poach the eggs in lightly salted simmering water. (Tutorial)
Melt the butter in the microwave. In a good quality sauce pan, add the yolks, lemon juice and water and whisk quickly and continually over low heat until it’s frothy and doubled in size (this is an arm work out, be prepared). You don’t want too much heat or you’ll have scrambled eggs. If you need to step away for even a second, or if it’s getting to hot, remove from the heat. While continuing to whisk, slowly add the butter in a steady stream. Continue to whisk until thickened, and almost doubled. If your sauce gets too dry and thick, you can add a few tbs of water. Add the sriracha, and salt and pepper to taste.
Place the mushroom on a plate, top with spinach, then tomato slice, then poached egg and drizzle with hollandaise.
A few years ago I found an article in Cooks Illustrated about why I wasn’t able to get a restaurant quality taste out of my grocery store scallops. I had always assumed it my because I just didn’t have the cookin’ chops to compete with a restaurant chef. And while that may be true, it wasn’t the main reason my scallops lacked taste. Here is my Scallops lesson of the day:
Wet vs. Dry
If you buy scallops at the grocery store, they will be wet 99% of the time. This is bad. It means that someone decided to saturate them in a solution of water and phosphates. Because of this, the scallops have a difficult time browning and they have a slightly soapy taste and rubbery texture. If you have a great seafood market, ask if they have dry scallops. If they aren’t sure, the scallops are probably wet. A dry scallop will be, well..dry. If it is sittin’ in a bowl of milk liquid, it’s a wet guy.
I’ll just assume that ya’ll have wet scallops, since that is what is most commonly available, but if you can find dry, buy them. The taste difference is huge (at least to me).
1 quart of water
1/4 cup of lemon juice
2 tbs Kosher or Sea salt
8 jumbo scallops (10-20 per lb size, the little guys just don’t hack it)
2 tbs butter
8 slices of prosciutto
1 tsp-ish of black pepper
1/2 cup fresh, diced mango
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp siracha
pinch or salt
Combine the water, lemon juice and 2 tbs of salt in a bowl and soak the scallops for 30 minutes (if you are 100% bet your $20 worth of seafood on it sure that they are dry, skip this step). Remove the scallops and place them on a stack of about 4 absorbent paper towels, then top them with more paper towels and press down slightly. Allow the scallops to drain and dry for about 10 minutes. In a sauce pan, melt the butter on medium high until very hot. Fold a slice of prosciutto in half the long way and wrap around your scallop (you can also cut it in half to make two long strips if you’d like) securing with a tooth pick.
Season the top and bottom of your scallops with pepper. Once the pan is hot, add 4 scallops to the pan (you don’t want to crowd the pan or your scallops will never brown) and cook for about 4 minutes, then turn over and cook on the other side for an additional 4 minutes or until the top and bottom both have a nice brown sear.
in a food processor, combine the mango, olive oil, honey, siracha and a pinch of salt and puree until smooth.