Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Comfort Food & a little rant about Costco chicken

Nothing is as comforting as roast chicken, even in summer. I thawed out some huge chicken breasts (bone in, skin on) from Costco and roasted them the other night after a quick browning of the skin. Served with a little chili vinegar made in the browning pan, quite nice. Salad & green beans (as always) rounded out this meal, along with some embarrassingly cheap Pinot Gris from Fresh & Easy that I kind of liked. Unfortunately the best part was the skin. These breasts were so darn big that once they were done at the bone, they were kind of overcooked. But still tasty and perfect for eating outside.

Which brings me to my short rant -- for some reason Costco carries the hugest chicken breasts & thighs available to man. 3 of them barely fit in the pan, and whenever I get the thighs they are always too big for whatever braise I am doing. Even the boneless/skinless/tasteless breasts are too big & I have to butterfly them. The only thing worth buying is the wings I think. I know, I just need to get over it and spend the extra money on organic no hormones normal sized chicken, but unfortunately in this economy our priorities lie outside of the spectrum of shopping at Whole Paycheck. Luckily I have found excellent whole leg pieces at a great price at Fresh & Easy (Tesco's new US venture), I think less than $1.00/lb. Those will be making a special appearance on Sunday for Alabama white BBQ chicken - stay tuned - I'm even going to bake!

Friday, July 18, 2008

BBQ in Georgia

We visited friends this last weekend in Jacksonville Florida. Despite the high temperature & humidity, we had a great time. We saw a lot of minor league baseball: Jacksonville Suns (Dodgers AA) and Savannah Sand Gnats (Mets Low A). And we ate a lot of great food, from huge stadium hot dogs to local BBQ joints (Toby's in Jax) to little old school cafeteria (Carey Hilliard's in Savannah) to even the Cracker Barrel. Unfortunately Beach Road Chicken Dinners was closed on Monday so we didn't make it there.
The standout of the trip found us driving on a 7 mile long dirt road as the best way to get there - to the little piece of Georgia that dips down into the top of Florida - St. George, GA and The Shack By The Track.
The Grillmaster had serious pit envy - the door to the cooker came up & down with a garage door opener!We shared an order of ribs and an order of pulled pork between the 3 of us, and there was more than enough food. Sides of coleslaw, potato salad & beans, plus the yellowy white bread (I think the brand is Sunbeam, a local brand). The ribs were fall off the bone tender, the sauce was nice & not overwhelming at all. The pulled pork was fantastic (there was some of it in the beans too^^), especially combined on the bread with a bit of the coleslaw (which was really great - it had a flavor that I need to figure out, but I think it was the mustard). The much lauded homemade potato salad was not bad, although I still prefer my mother-in-law's.
We really wanted to go back here, but they are only open 3 days a week and with a double header on Saturday, we missed our chance.
Can't wait to get back -- bonus: the t-shirt we bought says "Get your butts here", heehee I'm 12.
The other side of the Shack serves ice cream, so we had to leave room for a hot fudge sundae.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A huge hot dog!

For a mere $15 or so at the Historic Grayson Stadium on the south side of Savannah Georgia, you can buy a baseball ticket - general admission in this awesome old shade covered bleacher area seen here-
, a coke and a REAL footlong hot dog - it was about an inch thick too, we should have added something to the picture for scale. The Sand Gnats play there, they are the low A affiliate of the NY Mets. We had a fantastic time, they won the game and had a fun mascot. Andrew & Anthony even got to do one of those zany minor league between inning games (home run tball derby). Minor league baseball rocks!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Yakitori at home

I bought my husband this cool little Japanese table grill for Father's Day/Birthday a few years ago:
It takes the binchotan charcoal sticks from Japan, they get very very hot. We had only used it once (because the charcoal is kind of a pain to light and the cooking surface is pretty small) and decided we were way overdue.

So, off to the Japanese market we went for pork belly, yakitori sauce, veggies
(eggplant & shitake mushroom)
and hamachi-kama (yellowtail collar) which I did under the broiler:We found some mochi dango (little mochi balls covered in this sweet sauce) too, that we will pop on the grill just to warm them for dessert. Oh, and did I mention beer & sake??

I already had some chicken wings, so I made the Spicy Grilled Chicken Wings with Lemon & Garlic from "A Flexitarian Table" to cook up. I made these before and they were literally inhaled by kids before I could take a photo. The combination of ginger, garlic, soy, lemon & jalapeno pepper (courtesy of our friends' garden!) really give these an awesome flavor. I left out the rosemary this time.
They didn't have the sliced pork belly that we usually buy, so I had to improvise & slice myself into skewerable pieces. And now I know where to buy smallish pieces of pork belly to make into bacon and pancetta!!
Unfortunately the little grill didn't work out as planned (the charcoal didn't want to stay lit) so we used our regular grill. It was all still delicious, even an hour late.