All posts by xcellencio

Stalking The Big Mac: One Patron’s Sortie Into Hamburger Immortality

Patrons of the Pit

“Here is where the metal meets the meat concerning burger-craft, and moreover, what separates you from the indoor chef – and that is smoke. Most folk don’t think to smoke their hamburgers, but let it be said, because its true, they are also missing something out of their lives.” -PotP

It was by all accounts a wintry evening at the pit. The recent snows had firmed up now, from the bone chilling cold. Crispy sounding to walk IMG_07831on, like Styrofoam on a cold kitchen floor. Tentacles of ice adhere like winter weeds to the faithful Weber water smoker, whilst the chill winds swirled from a darkened sky. The moon hung stoically behind a soft veil of gray, barely leaking through, scarcely there it seemed, as a night-light to the heavens. And the aromatic plumes of cherry wood smoke bellowed forth from an active pit, one of which I huddled dear…

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The Coldest Place On Earth: Grilled Chicken Thighs

Patrons of the Pit

If you are from the northern tier states, and you have lately and by chance poked your nose unassumingly outward of warm environs, well it20130210_145444_edit0 is no secret that it is butt-cold out there. In your face, nothing-you-can-do-about-it, butt-cold. The kind of cold that which penetrates the crust of a person’s finest attitude, slaps them strong across face, and can have them cowering on the ground in matter of sheer minutes. The fellow on the morning news said a given face, pretty or not, had in his estimation, about five minutes out there, before frost bite would latch on to your epidermis and ruin your day. Upon waking this morning, it was 21 below in Minneapolis. Schools statewide were canceled, the educational system’s white flag tossed onto the ring of battle, where upon it promptly froze to the ground. And the common sense sort of people in town stayed…

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Roasted Brussels Sprout and Bacon Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette

Katie at the Kitchen Door

Roasted Brussels Sprout and Bacon Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Roasted Brussels Sprout and Bacon Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Guys, so far the first 8 days of 2014 have been a huge success, health-wise. I’m not going to get too excited, since 8 days is a really short period of time to maintain motivation in the grand scheme of things, but still, it’s nice to remember how rewarding taking care of yourself can feel. I’ve done two solid treadmill sessions, two strength training sessions, spent an afternoon rock climbing (and made it to the top of the wall for the first time!), and gone to a great ballet class. I downloaded the Moves app to try and trick myself into walking more every day, and dragged the dusty scale out from under the bed. We stocked the fridge up with veggies and have been noshing on green smoothies, homemade minestrone, big roasted beet salads, and this carrot and tahini soup (which I had forgotten is really, really delicious)…

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Five-Spice Baby Back Ribs

Putney Farm

spice14So say you made some southern collard greens, what should you serve them with? Well, collards are a natural with barbecue, so how about some ribs? But what if it is cold outside (or, like me, you are just feeling lazy) and you don’t want to fire up the smoker? Easy, just make some Asian-inspired ribs in the oven. Takes about the same amount of time, doesn’t make much of a mess (until you eat them), and you get to play around with some interesting flavors.

spicespice1And in this case the “interesting” flavor is Five-Spice, a Chinese spice mixture that usually has star anise, cloves, Sichuan pepper, cinnamon and fennel seeds. It may also contain just about any other Asian spice, but you get the idea. Five-Spice is a lovely mixture of spice, heat, bite and funk that works particularly well with rich ingredients, accenting flavors but cutting through…

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The Long Smoke: Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Patrons of the Pit

I shuffled through the darkened house, groggy-faced, with hair tossed like a bad salad. I merged barefoot into the cold boots which were docked by the back IMG_09001patio door, and dawned my old, woolen smoking jacket there, turned up the collar, and stepped outside. It was 5:30 in the blessed morning, a toe nail moon shimmered through cracks in a cloudy veil, and the cold December breeze rustled the cotton fibers of my pajama pants. The world was still, almost abandoned it seemed, in perfect hibernation, whilst pale-blue moonbeams fell silent on crusty snow, and frozen ponds. A lovely time of day, peaceful like early mornings are, and unto which I thus and heartily pandiculated on my patio. Yes, that’s a word. Means to yawn and stretch at the same time. Something, off-hand, it turns out I am very good at come 5:30 in the morning. After that, and…

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Pineapple Fried Rice

veggiezest

Pineapple Fried Rice

My recent trip to North East India and Singapore has left me inspired with many noodles and rice recipes. In Singapore I had some best tofu and bean-curd stir fry.  The quality of both tofu and bean curd was so amazing and there were so many varieties available , the one I had were so soft and creamy…wish it was available here somehow.

Today’s recipe is a simple and a quick preparation for Pineapple fried rice. I had Pineapple fried rice at a few places in Singapore – they were all pretty different from each other. This recipe however, is inspired by this particular Thai restaurant that I used to go to with my girlfriends when I lived in Orlando. That was the best Pineapple fried rice that I have ever tasted. Big, sweet chunks of pineapple and the rice seasoned so well with curry powder and soy sauce. They…

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