Saturday, December 27, 2008

A magazine about cooking with kids

That's what my daughters wanted to get me for Christmas. My wife knows how picky I am about all things cooking and didn't want to pick a cookbook I wouldn't like, so she steered the kids towards some books she knew I wanted. One of the books was a pre-order of Michael Ruhlman's "Ratios" that will be released this spring. There will probably be some things I can make with the kids in there.

When we come back from vacation, I'll have to hit the library for cooking with kids ideas. I hope there are a few out there that don't have Rachel Ray on the cover.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Where do you keep your grill in the winter?

I think it's an important question. Is is packed away or is it readily accessible so that you will be enjoying grilled meals all winter long? This is going to come off as pompous, probably because it is, but if you grill using hardwood charcoal, your grill is accessible. You couldn't go the entire winter without a grilled steak. And propane just isn't the same. In the northeast, many grillers will use the snow blower to clear out around the grill before they clear out the mailbox. It's a matter of priorities.

We've gotten some snow over the weekend. I'm going to guess 16 inches since Friday morning. During a break in the snow, I took my 4 year old daughter Allison to the super market. While shopping, she asked if we could have "Allison's Special Chicken" for dinner one night. How could I refuse?

Allison's special chicken is chicken drumsticks and thighs that are covered in a rub and grilled over charcoal. I named the dish/rub for Allison when at age 2, she ate a lot of it. Did it again the next time we had it. And the next time... Then to make her father very proud, she refused to eat some purchased grilled chicken because it wasn't as good.

After seeing Chef Mike Pardus' online demonstration of breaking down a chicken, I decided to do my best to never buy chicken parts. I'm still too checp to buy a $15 farmer's market chicken, so I've settled for BJ's all natural whole chickens. Two chickens for about $13. Here's how the chickens break down:

About 2 pounds of boneless skinless breast that get made into random dinners
8 wing pieces that get saved for a wing dinner
4 drumsticks and 4 thighs that get grilled as Allison's Special Chicken
bones & giblets for stock
chicken liver - the liver I had got turned into chopped liver for Thanksgiving
skin & fat for schmaltz - I used some for Thanksgiving

Tonight, I fired up the grill and made Allison's Special Chicken. She had two drumsticks.

I'm not a great blogger

Well, I skipped posting for all of November and most of December. I guess I'm not a very good blogger. Maybe that will change with time. I think the problem is that I don't think to take pictures of what I'm doing. I just do it. For example, this morning I made some butter. No pictures. It was delicious and easy to make and I recommend trying it. Watching the cream get whipped into butter was pretty cool. I know I will do it again. Maybe there will be pictures. I grilled dinner tonight. Took some pictures. That's the next post.

Hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. Food was good. All the guests were family and there were no fights. A success. I enjoyed preparing the meal.

Curling season started. It is a great game. And even if you don't play well, there is Scotch waiting for you in the warm room.

So, I don't take many pictures and don't write about what I've been doing. Luckily this blog space is free.