Friday, April 26, 2013

M.I.A. & DDP Yoga

I realize I've been M.I.A. so I wanted to let everyone know that I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth. As our wedding inches closer and closer, the spare time to think up/find and cook a nice meal, isn't there. 

On top of that, we've started doing DDP Yoga, and are trying to do part of the diet with it as well. Dinners have been grilled chicken, salads, veggies and other quick, simple, or somewhat healthy meals. I mean, you gotta look good for your wedding (and honeymoon), right? 

Once the wedding and honeymoon is over, I'll be right back at it, and will show off all the yummy food we have in Jamaica. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pork Loin Medallion Samplers

Publix had Pork Loins on sale, so guess what ... we got some. 

We've done the grilled balsamic garlic tenderloin a few times, and it's delicous, but I wanted to do something new. We busted out about 7 cook books to see if there were any ideas there, but didn't find anything that we had all the ingredients to make. Just before I closed the last one, Dawn pointed at one and said "we can try the medallions and just put some rub on them." 

Another problem we reached, is trying to figure out which rub to go with. She went through the BBQ cabinet  and pulled out 3 rubs for me to narrow down, but instead of of picking one, I thought we could just use them all and have a little sampler dinner. 

The 3 rubs we went with were the Flying Swine sampler pack from Tasty Licks, Simply Marvelous' Pecan Rub, and Bear Claw Honey Butt Rub.

Trimmed off the fat. 

These aren't perfect cuts, since the loin wasn't in the best shape ever, but they worked. 

Once everything was cut, we split it up to add the rub. On the ones in the bottom left I did the Pecan Rub, the top left is the Bear Claw, and the four on the right is the Tasty Licks.

The Tasty Licks Flying Swine was our least favorite. It was good, but just didn't have a whole lot of flavor. The Bear Claw Honey Butt Rub came in second for us both as well. It had really good flavor and maybe a hint of heat (either the rub did or some from the potatoes got on mine). Both of us said the Simply Marvelous Pecan Rub was the best of the 3. It had tremendous flavor and really was far above the other two. I don't know how she felt, but there was a huge gap between 1 and 2. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Day I Met Wrestling Royalty

I know this isn't food related, but my dad found the pictures, so I had to share. 

One of the most fun/coolest days of my life happened back in '96 at the last Wrestling event ever at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium. The Greenville Memorial Auditorium was was our version of Madison Square Garden ... it was just a 1/4 of the size ... and was set to be demolished the next year for the new, bigger and fancier BiLo Center. 

If you were growing up in the South in the 80s and 90s, you were a Wrestling fan. If you weren't a Wrestling fan, then, I'm sorry but you missed some great entertainment. To say I was a fan might be an understatement. I still hear stories from friends about that time I climbed up on the cabinet and did a flying elbow drop onto the desk, or when me and a buddy used to have Wrestling matches before 1st period as every watched on. We even have video of me climbing on top of the carport and doing Jimmy Super Fly Snuka's splash and Macho Man Randy Savage's flying elbow.

Every single Monday night my dad and I (and my sister until she grew up and the phone was more important and sometimes she'd even hang up to join) would sit in the living room together and watch WWF Monday Night Raw and/or WCW Monday Nitro. With those two to watch, Mondays were never all that bad. Wrestle Mania was our Super Bowl, and we didn't miss a single one or many of the other pay per views (this was back when you could actually afford to purchase them). 

My uncle was a salesman and a gym nut, so he knew a ton of people. One of his acquiescence was the guy that was head of security for the GMA. He approached my uncle and asked if he'd be willing to help out and work security for the upcoming Wrestling event, because guys have started leaving for new jobs. He asked if my uncle would be willing to help, but also if he knew of anyone else that'd be willing to do it. My uncle gave my dad the guys number to call, and I didn't learn until a few years ago, my dad told the man that he'd work the event for free if he'd allow him to bring his son (me). He promised the man that I'd behave and if there was a single issue he'd grab me up and we'd both leave and he wouldn't be out any money or anything ... the man agreed.

When we arrived we both just kind of walked around lost for a little while until a big man approached us and started chatting with my dad. I recognized him as The Barbarian and said his wife and kids were sitting with the rest of the family members outside and that I could sit with his boys. All of these details may be a bit off, but hey, it was 15+ years ago and I was in heaven.

Throughout the night, I sat with the wrestlers wives/girl friends and kids and talked with everybody (hard to believe that right?). Periodically, my dad would come running out and get me and say "Hey, Head (my nickname from him) here's insert wrestlers name come take a picture."

This is me and The Barbarian. He told us to give him our address and he'd send me a few things, and sure enough, a few weeks later I received a package of autographs of him and his Tag-Team partner Ming. At the time, Ming scared the living crap out of me, so I wasn't so heartbroken The Barbarian was alone that night.

Cobra was an up and comer at the time that ended up not panning out.

Eddie Guerrero at the time was a decent middle card fighter. He later on decided to start juicing and then blew up. He was on top of the ladder for years until his death in '05 from heart problems.

One of my dad's favorite Tag-Teams was the Rock & Roll Express. The team had broken up, but Robert Gibson was still doing some singles matches ... when he wasn't in jail or rehab. 

Now, one of my all time favorite Tag-Teams is the Nasty Boys. There's just not much better than a mullet and gaped teeth haha. Here's me and Jerry Sags

And here with Brian Hobs. You may recognize him from Hogan Knows Best. He was always working out with Hulk Hogan and one of his closest friends. 

"From Cobb County Georgia", The Big Boss Man was also a favorite of mine growing up. At this point his career had started to drop off a bit and he was fighting under his name Ray Traylor. He would go on to pass away in '04 at the hands of a heart attack. 

Now, this picture has a background story to it. When I took these to school I passed them around and one of the girls goes "oh wow, who's that hot wrestler?" I glanced over and said "Oh, that's Buff Bagwell." Well, a second or two later she goes "I mean the guy in the flag shirt. Which wrestler in that? He's hot!" I looked at her and said "THAT'S MY DAD!!!!!!!!!!!" haha

Chris Benoit is best known for going "crazy" in what's believed to have been roid rage, killing his wife and son and then himself. He seemed like an A-Ok kind of guy when I met him.

At the time, Chris was a member of the 4 Horsemen, so I had to get a picture doing the pose.

Double A, Arn Anderson was more of one of my dad's favorites than mine, at the time. He was always the "muscle" of the 4 Horseman. Notice his glasses in his left hand, my dad told him before the picture "take those glasses off. You can't look like a tough guy with those on." Arn laughed and took them off and said "is that better?"


Diamond Dallas Page has a new place in my life now. Dawn and I have started doing DDP Yoga to get in better shape for our wedding. I was a big enough fan of DDP's before, but now I haven't stopped throwing the Diamond Cutter in weeks ... Yes, Dawn thinks (might know) I'm crazy ... BAAAAAAAAAANG!!!!!


Macho, I was a little bitter towards, unlike the other wrestlers, he never came out of the dressing room until it was time for his main event match with Flair.

As I'm watching one of the matches, my dad comes BUSTING through the door and all but yells "HEAD, COME HERE IT'S RICK!!!" I was having a blast talking with the other kids and watching the match so I turned with almost an attitude (as if I was supposed to know who this guy was) and said "Huh? Who's Rick?" The Barbarian's boys both turned and said "RIC FLAIR!!!!!" I didn't say a word, I leap AT LEAST 30 feet into the air and did a dead sprint out the door. As I got through the door I saw the last glimpse of his clothing going into the locker room and as I hollered "HEY RIC!!!!!" the door slammed shut ... I still remember standing there half heart broken because I was too late ... until ... the door swings back open and Flair says "did somebody holler?" and sees me and then says "Hey kid what's going on?" 

The Babyface, Macho Man went on to defeat, the heel, Flair in a match that had all of the classic wrestling moves (included Macho Man pulling Flair down from the back of his trunks making Flair moon the crowd). After the match, Flair took the mic and talked to the crowd out of character for a while about how much he appreciated the area and how he promised to be at the first event at the new arena. 

I can't remember if that promise was kept or not, but I was at both events at the BiLo Center that Flair announced his retirement AND later returned to the wrestling world.

The picture of me and Flair was put on my Senior Page in my year book, and hasn't been seen since. I asked my dad if he could find the DDP picture for me, and the rest if he could find them too. Not only did he find the book, but the Flair picture had some how made it's way back. When I saw it I ran back in the house and, like a kid again, started flipping the pages for Dawn to see as if I had just won a million bucks. 

I don't watch Wrestling anymore, but this day always holds a special place with me ... and it all is in thanks to my dad for working for free just so this little squirt could have the time of his life. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

The "Oh Crap" Bacon Wrapped Grilled Shrimp

I named this one The "Oh Crap" cook, because between the two of us, we said "oh crap" no less than 10 times. If it wasn't one thing ... it was another.

I was scrolling through the pages of this month's Smoke Signals Magazine and found these bacon wrapped shrimp on page 28-29 that looked good. As you know, I'm not a huge Seafood fan, but thought bacon around shrimp would have to be good ... well ... Oh Crap. 

First it started with the bacon, I lay it all out and throw it in the oven before I even thought to take picture. Then we realize ... we don't have enough bacon to cover every shrimp.

We bought a bag of deveined Shrimp, so all I had to do was peel the shells off. 

While I was doing that, Dawn cut the jalapenos and cream cheese (yep, Dawn cut the cheese)

Placed one slice of cream cheese and a pepper on one side and then wrapped with the bacon. 

They were oh so pretty about to go on the grill and then the pain the neck started. 

I've never "baked" bacon before, so I wasn't familiar with how it normally comes out. For some reason, it was very greasy and even after cooking on the grill ... wouldn't get crisp. 

The recipe called for indirect heat, but I think it's for a smaller grill, so I ended up having to turn the burners under them on as low as it'd go. 

On the flip, every toothpick became an enemy ... most were burned for their betrayal against my ruling. Others, well, they were just a pain the butt and either fell out or got caught in the grates. 

The wreckage that once was ... 

Added some Thai Sweet Chili sauce to top it off. 

One thing I haven't been able to perfect yet, is bacon wrapped items on the grill. I've smoked ABTs that are wrapped in bacon, but for some reason, I just can't get it to do right on the grill. The bacon was still mushy and greasy and for a guy that doesn't like mush texture ... that is NOT a good combination to go with cream cheese. 

Dawn was able to find some crispy piece here and there and said that she really liked it once she was able to get the crunch with the rest ... Me on the other hand, I forced a few down my throat but that was all I could do. 

I'm sure this would be a whole lot better if it was executed correctly, but I bombed it. 

See, not everything works out ... next time I'll have the Pizza delivery guy's number handy. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Turkey Cheesy Balls

We've been talking about redoing the Cheesy Balls Spaghetti for weeks, and finally decided to do so. However, this time with a little twist, instead of Ground Chicken we used Ground Turkey. 

In the original cook I didn't provide the recipe, so if you'd like to recreate either of these cooks on your own ... here you go.

The prep and cook was the same, so I didn't think I'd need to take photos of the whole process again. However, I did take finished pictures.

Just like the Chicken balls, these were so good, and NO I did not eat all 4 of those bad boys. Actually, most of this plate was left and kept for lunch. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stuck and Rubbed Grilled Chicken

Grilled Chicken is a staple at our house. We'll pick up packs like this when they're on sale, cook 2, then split the rest up into twos and add a marinade and throw them in the freezer. Heck, there was a time I had to put Dawn on chicken restrictions and wouldn't allow her to buy anymore till we went through some of our stash.

We normally do the marinade, and let that be, but wanted to switch it up a little bit. It was Friday night, let's get crazy. 

Injected two breasts with the Stubb's Chipotle Butter injection and then rubbed them down with Simply Marvelous Sweet & Spicy Rub.

Dawn wanted zucchini chips, and since this is one of the FEW ways I'll eat zucchini ... I said sure. She also brought us home a fresh pineapple, so that was going on the grill with the chicken. 

It looks a little darker than usual, but that's just the rub ... it's not burnt. 

And if you're wondering about all of the moisture on the plate. When I covered it with foil to rest, it did that. 

The Chipotle Butter injection gave the chicken an almost, silky feel, and the Sweet & Spicy Rub gave it a little kick. The zucchini chips and pineapple were just amazing. Since the weather was set to be in the 70s for the whole weekend, a Summer Ale had to go with dinner. If for nothing else, a soft cry for warmer weather. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sam Adams Spring Thaw Variety Pack

In the last 2-3 years I've really started to branch out a bit with my beers. Before, I was mostly a Bud Light kind of guy, and although I still prefer a Bud Light on most days, I've become a big Sam Adams fan. 

Probably my all-time favorite is the Sam Adams Summer Ale with Winter Lager being a very close second. I was checking out another persons entry to a Throwdown last week and noticed he had a picture of a Sam Adams Maple Pecan Porter (yes, that does sound AMAZING), so the search began. This weekend we went to Total Wine, and when I thought all hope was gone, I spotted this variety pack with it. 

Out of the entire pack, I had only tried the original Boston Lager, so each would end up being new to me. 

Now, I'll be the first to admit, I am far from a beer connoisseur. To me, a beer is either good, bad, or "it's ight". I mean, I still really have no clue what the difference between Lager, Ale, IPA, IPL, Red, Porter, or any other type of beer is. I just know good, bad, or ight. 

I'm THAT GUY that the bartender comes up to after I say "I'll try (insert beer)" and says "It's very hoppy isn't it?" and I say "Yeah, it's got a lot of ... flavor." To which he then responds "Oh, it's a very flavorful beer."    What does that even mean? I sure as heck don't know, it just sounded good. 

So, to say the least, I'm not guru when it comes to beers. With all of that said, I've really enjoyed every single one of these. The Irish Red and Double Agent are a little heavier than I usually prefer, but are not bad by a long shot. White Lantern is a beer that I could see myself picking up a 6 pack of. The Alpine Spring is my favorite out of the pack. 

Now, to the point of me buying the pack in the first place, the Maple Pecan Porter. This beer is delicious. It's like you're having a handful of pecans covered is maple syrup mmm mmm mmmmmmm. As you would think, it is a little heavier though, so it'd be tough to have multiples, but for a happy hour or a drink or two ... amazing. Now I can only hope they'll sell the 6 pack around here. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tools Of The Trade: Simply Marvelous Rubs

If you've ever cooked the first anything from cardboard pizza to a hamburger to a steak to the fanciest of the fancies, you know everything needs the proper seasoning/rub to help enhance the flavor.

When it comes to BBQ rubs, everybody has (says they have) the best. Rubs are just like BBQ in general, as long as it comes out good, and you like it, you did it right. As long as the meat comes out and taste good ... the rubs good. There's really no such thing as a bad rub.

You can ask my fiancee, I've bought and sampled my fair share number of rubs in the past few years, so I feel like I have a good idea of what's really good and what's an OK rub. 

If you're a BBQ noob, I would recommend purchasing a few rubs that are really good to start with. When I first started (and it still happens now) I didn't always make amazing food. Sometimes a rack of ribs or a butt will need to cook longer than the same exact one you cooked last time and you'll be lazy and not check it like you should and it'll be tough. If you use a good rub, the leather you have for dinner will at least have a great flavor to it as you chew on it for 5 minutes.

Simply Marvelous has a line of rubs that are all very good rubs. There full line of rubs include Sweet & Spicy, Season All, Pecan Rub, Cherry Rub, Spicy Apple, Peppered Cow, and Sweet Seduction. 

I've tried the Pecan, Cherry, Sweet & Spicy, and Sweet Seduction, and I can tell you ... every one is amazing. 

Out of the 4 I've tried, Sweet Seduction is probably my favorite with the Pecan coming in a close second (I love all things Pecan so I'm biased). When I've done my rub give-a-ways so far, I've given a sample of the Sweet Seduction to the winners. 

The Cherry and Sweet & Spicy are good as well, but I just haven't used them as much as the other two. 

You don't have to cook BBQ to try rubs. A lot of rubs are good for pork, chicken, and beef or good for two out of the three, so you can try them on different meats to see what the flavor gives to each animal/cut. 

Simply Marvelous has switched up their site, and apparently doesn't sell direct anymore. If you'd like to pick up a bottle or 7 for yourself, you can do so by clicking here.