I did not cook last night. I had Buffalo Wild Wings. It was OK. It was ready late…I guess they were busy and I guess they FORGOT to put the onion rings in the bag along with the knives and forks I asked for but no matter. Even though this is not a review of Buffalo Wild Wings, the wings on bones were soggy…eww. When the chicken skin is like rubber, I say yuck. The boneless wings were just okay. There were also French fries and Mozzarella sticks that lacked taste. Then, there was something called cheese curds that my friends and Jennifer seemed to enjoy. I just didn’t have enough room for all this food, but that’s not what I’ve come here today to talk about today. I came to discuss the wine of the week.
The “Wine of the Week” is a new feature I am testing out for The Perfect Pairing Magazine. I will be attempting to write an article about one of my favorite wines and what it pairs with it well. Let’s see how it goes.
My first selection of course should be the wine we had last night. You say: “BUT you had Buffalo Wings last night. Please. Chef. Tell me you had beer with those!” Then I reply “Sorry. No. Although, a nice cold frosty beer would have complimented those wings nicely. Instead, Scott chose a sparkling wine to pair with the wings. “Sparkling wine” is Champagne but since the wine did not come from Champagne, France, the wine industry will not call it “Champagne”. So, Sparkling wine it is, or was.
One of my favorite sparkling wines is the one below from Sparkling Point Winery here on Long Island, New York. Now, although it says that it is a brute to me, it does not taste very dry. It went very well with my mild style buffalo wings made of rubber on the outside. I needed SOMETHING to wash those puppies down, and this fit the bill perfectly last night.
I have also had this wine for BREAKFAST too, well BRUNCH (brunch link here and there) BRUNCH II. Yes, as Mimosas and Bellini’s (add drink links). This wine and the one below pair nicely with appetizers too, such as: Shrimp Cocktail, Grilled Sausage, Deviled Eggs, Oysters or Clams on the half shell, and of course, Caviar daaaarlinggg. Caviar, when it’s served as an appetizer with all the trimmings is amazing, especially if you like that it takes you an hour to eat nothingness fun stuff. I like it, but have only had once at a restaurant on the north fork of Long Island and then of course once at Scott and Ally’s house for her birthday.
Thanks to Sparkling’s wonderful properties of going so well at breakfast and with appetizers or spicy foods like wings, I would start with a sparkling wine at your next dinner party. I do hope to have dinner party’s again myself soon! Until next time, be well, be happy and enjoy life!
Sorry this post is late. I took Monday off. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are my pictures. You should have many of the recipes by now to make all these dishes shown above. I will add the corn recipe of course, but I am not allowed to divulge my families secret barbeque sauce recipe for chicken, sorry. You also need a smoking how to article.
Did I have wine with all that food? Yes, both white and red wine were served. The white wine was Beldell Vineyards Viognier with the wings, their rose went well with the legs. Then, there was a St Francis old vines red Zinfandel for the ribs and burgers. I love this red Zinfandel.
Today is Father’s Day here is the good old USA. In New York, it is going to be another “Pleasant Valley Sunday” just like the song by The Monkeys. I do not know about the rest of the men in America but I will be outside with the smell of charcoal in the air. Just like the song says! I will be grilling and posting pictures on my Instagram account at DRUNKENCHEF82. Follow my entire day there.
Unbelievably, the United States did not make this wonderful celebration of Fatherhood a national Holiday until President Nixon signed it into law in 1972 and people say we are so progressive. Pffft. It has been celebrated around the world dating back as far as, oh I don’t know, 1910 maybe?
I love Holidays, Celebrations and Festivals or any excuse to drink and have a party. Hell, I would celebrate Leaf Ericson day for crying out loud if anyone would join me (Its October 9th)! Lets not rush the summer talking about October holidays…shall we. Today is a joyous occasion that we must celebrate with meat and potatoes or beer and whisky. In one day, it will be the summer solstice. That is a time to me for great sorrow, as it means from that day forward the day’s will be getting shorter.
Let celebrate today as the longest day it is! There is lots of time for barbequing, drinking and the smoking of fine cigars, if you so choose to do so. Does anyone even give out cigars for their child’s birth anymore? It’s probably not very Politically Correct (PC). Well. Excuse. Me. I do enjoy the occasional cigar with friends and glass of fine whiskey or shots of fireball. Hee-hee
Whatever you do do today make it joyful, happy, and please have fun and stay healthy while doing it!
My choice to serve as an appetizer with the grilled steak is this very fresh tasting summer salad of tomato and mozzarella. I would pair it with a Pinot Grigio from Clos Du Bois.
Roasted red peppers
Extra-virgin olive oil
Slice the tomatoes ¼ inch thick. Slice the fresh mozzarella to match the tomatoes. Cut roasted red peppers in one inch strips. Chiffonade* fresh basil leaves. Layer tomato, then cheese, then pepper all around a large plate. Sprinkle top with Basil. Drizzle on olive oil and balsamic glaze. Season with Italian seasoning to taste.
Chiffonade – To finely cut those strips of basil you see on top of the salad. It sounds frenchy…
Ever since I was a kid, the charcoal barbeque grill fascinated me. I remember the first time I cooked over charcoal too. It was probably the 4th of July in the 1970s. My first cooking gadget was a stick from my own backyard, probably even off my mother’s favorite bush, the purple lilac. I stripped off any leaves on the stick and stuck a marshmallow on the end. I believe it was my sister who first showed me how to properly toast a marshmallow without burning it. I did burn quite a few marshmallows in my day before learning how to get them a perfect golden brown (I never liked them burned). I find it ironic that my sister, who never even cooked more than an egg or bacon back then, was the one giving me one of my first barbeque cooking lessons. Yes, I believe toasting a marshmallow is cooking at its finest. Even as a youngster, I enjoyed the challenge of it. That Fourth of July, I ate as many marshmallows as I could stomach without getting sick, just so I could cook them. Even my brother and sister could only eat so many. Subsequently, I could not cook the entire bag or I would have. Thus, began my endeavors into grilling over charcoal for the rest of my life. I only hope that some of the BSA Scouts I have known acquired the very same marshmallow cooking techniques and that it helped inspire them to be great at grilling as an adult.
To grill burgers, hot dogs or even marshmallows, you don’t need some fancy barbeque grill either. I have used barbeques that were in my local park that sat there for years and were exposed to all of New York’s worst weather. They were simple barbeques made from a few cinder blocks and a rusted steel grate that we cleaned with a wire brush and covered with aluminum foil to cook on. The charcoal was always the classic Kingsford that needed lighter fluid to get it to start burning. I found that match-light (also made by Kingsford) had lighter fluid already in it, but to me seemed to make the food taste of lighter fluid.
To light the charcoal, you make a pile shaped like a volcano. Sprinkle lighter fluid on top and toss on a match. It will have a large fire flaring up and then slowly burn off. Then, wait until all the coals start to turn gray and then using tongs or a small hand shovel, spread the coals out to an even layer.
To the best of my knowledge, Scouts are not allowed to use lighter fluid so I learned in my BSA training class to use something called a charcoal chimney (see Gadget List). Even adults can learn valuable skills during camping trips (hint hint). Since there is no lighter fluid used, there is no lighter fluid taste coming off the charcoal. Thank you Scouting!
I use my charcoal chimney all the time now, particularly when Barbequing. What’s the difference between barbequing and grilling? You grill a steak, which means you’re cooking over heat quickly and to just the right temperature before pulling it off, letting it rest and cutting it up. There are chefs who are just trained in the art of how to work the grill. I’m sure that Peter Lugar’s and Blackwell’s Steak House have experienced and well trained chefs to cook those expensive aged pieces of beef to perfection. To me, there is nothing better than a two-inch steak cooked over charcoal and served with a baked potato, creamed spinach, or fresh string beans.
Barbeque, however, is low slow cooking. It is impossible to get a rack of ribs to cook so they are edible in ten minutes. There are tips and tricks to grilling great ribs on a gas or charcoal grill, but those involve aluminum foil and allowing them to cook slowing away from the direct high heat. We will get to that at a later day this summer I’m sure. If however you want true southern ribs, pork shoulder (aka pulled pork) or beef brisket THAT’S “barbeque”, then you need a new gadget called a smoker. Smoking is a completely different lesson in itself and this lesson is about grilling.
To grill on your “barbeque”, you must wait until those coals are gray all the way around or you risk having “yucky taste imparted to your steak”. You just want the slightest hint of the charcoal yummyness imparted to the steak, hamburger, hot dogs, or whatever it is you are grilling. A gas grill will never give you this flavor, unlike those advertisements in the seventies would tell you they could. They said that the lava rocks they sold with the grill back then would “flare up and impart the same charcoal taste”. Nope, they lied. Now, barbeque manufactures do not sell those lava rocks anymore, and with good reason! It was ruining the natural beauty of places like Hawaii by taking them away for no reason, sheeesh. So, cook on charcoal.
This Father’s day, or July 4th , go buy yourself a fairly inexpensive charcoal grill and fire that bad boy up using your new charcoal chimney. Then, open an ice cold beer, light a cigar, and wait. Take your time. Relax and chill while you grill. After the steak is done, toast a marshmallow or two and make some s’mores. Don’t even think about letting the kids or your drunk friends toast a marshmallow on your expensive boujee designer gas grill. It was probably built into the stonewall that’s impossible to replace easily and you will have a sticky mess to clean when the hot burning marshmallow falls off the that fancy ass skewer and lands inside the grill! YUCK! On charcoal, you would just have to clean out the ashes when the kids are finished. No muss, no fuss, no problems!
Go, have fun and grill your next steak or cheeseburger over charcoal, just like the Scouts do!
Welcome to SUMMER FUN! Enjoy the weather, the drinks and the food!
The Drunken Chef (Russ)
NOTES: Whether you choose wine or beer with your steak, may you have a healthy and happy Father’s Day! Even if you’re not a dad yourself, I hope you had a father figure you can always look up to.
I can’t believe I can’t find the post I wrote down on how to make Garlic Bread. So, here are two ways to make it.
GARLIC BREAD (QUICK)
One loaf of Italian or French Bread
Slice the bread lengthwise. Spread a thin layer of butter on the bread. Use enough butter as if you were going to eat the bread with just butter. Sprinkle on the garlic powder to taste. Not too much even if you love garlic. Remember its still just powder and this is the quick version. Toast bread under broiler (butter side up). Until golden brown. Slice and serve warm.
GARLIC BREAD (TRADITIONAL)
ONE LOAF ITALIAN BREAD
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 stick butter
Mozzarella cheese (shredded) (Optional)
Slice bread lengthwise. Melt the butter in a small pot. Add the minced garlic to melted butter and cook over low heat for one minute. Brush or carefully spoon the melted butter and garlic across the bread evenly. Brown bread under broiler until golden brown. Serve warm.
Optional cheese version: After toasting bread, sprinkle cheese on top and return to broiler. Leave until just melted. Serve warm.
Now you have the long and the short version. I learned the long version in my high school cooking class from a fellow classmate of Italian descent, who by the way was appalled when I first suggested we use garlic powder to make garlic bread. That was the way I, a man of Irish decent learned from my sister growing up. Anyhow, the cheese thing I got from my sister in-law who is an amazing cook and baker!
Eat well, live long, and make lots of money! (isn’t that what Spock says?)
Good morning. The whole giving up coffee thing didn’t last long. I’m weak. I gave in to the need to be awake in the morning after not sleeping all night. Enough about my addictions for the time being. Let’s move back to talking about my culinary experiences. To cook we need GADGETS. I have discovered that throughout this whole “How to Cook: American Style” cookbook project I will be adding to the Gadget List as I use new ones. I own a few of them. Correction, I own a whole heap of them. Maybe I should rephrase that as I have “collected” a lot of them.
I recently received a letter from a fellow co-worker and reader on the subject of Gadgets. He began his email talking about his favorite Commercial products. He advocated for all things of commercial quality to buy VOLLRATH. Saying “A one stop shop for a quality lifetime product, almost always made in USA. From measuring spoons, ladles, pots, & pans to ovens fryers, slicers and EVERYTHING foodservice or restaurant related. Lasts a lifetime+
I would totally agree with that statement. I have seen their pots and pans in many restaurant kitchens that I have had the privilege of being in. Here in the school district, where I work at my REAL JOB, they have a culinary program. I believe they use many of their pots and pans as I recall seeing them hanging in the classroom kitchens. This by the way is an AMAZING high school program and not just cooking but BAKING too! Sorry about that diversion; now, back to the program.
I have never thought to look for Vollrath cookware before but he suggested that I start looking for them at garage sales and estate sales. Speaking of estate sales, I was at one this weekend run by Pair of Picker’s. Pair of Picker’s are some of the nicest people I have met at one of these things. This weekend alone they sold my son Sam a set of dishes that included a magnificent soup tureen. I can’t wait to use it and fill that puppy up with some matzo ball soup. Thank you guys for all the resplendent items I have purchased over the past few years from you!
The next item on his list was knives. I have always looked for good knives at garage sales. I find I have better luck at estate sales for these items, as no one wants to give up their best knife while they are still alive. I know it almost sounds strange to buy things at an estate sale, but for me it is always better to buy something at an estate sale then have it go into a landfill. If you plan to start a chef’s knife collection, then I would begin by getting a good knife carrying case or Chef’s knife roll to store them in. Amazon has loads of them. I purchased mine in a store called Su La Table in the Smithhaven Mall. The knife roll along with one knife was a Christmas gift actually. I have since filled up the entire roll and perhaps have been thinking of getting a second one. Yes, I’m crazy like that. Any-who, long story short, Pete recommends “DEXTER RUSSELL USA, not the Dexter Russell Japan International (it’s a thicker blade) knives. Takes an edge, with a thin blade, inexpensive, NSF plastic handle etc.” Again, this too is now on my list of things to look for.
Now we move onto more about pots & pans. This is an essential cooking utensil (is that an alliteration?). I myself have two pans that I absolutely love and they are both made by All-Clad. Pete however, prefers to use his 1985 Cuisinart Commercial Stainless cookware. That’s pretty specific there, Pete. He explained to me that it was “Made in France with a sandwiched copper slab between the pot and the stainless bottom.” I know this is good for heat conductivity but more importantly, even heat conductivity! He has been using these pots and pans for 35 years and expands his collection at thrift shops and yard sales. When Pete is not using Cuisinart pans, he has a collection of cast iron frying pans. His favorite is his 10” Griswold made in the USA cast iron frying pan. He tells me: “they have a SMOOTH interior bottom, easy to cure or strip down and season again, not like the new pebblly bottomed Chinese/Lodge stuff.” Thanks Pete, which is what I own. He gave me a whole lesson next on how to strip down and season cast iron frying pans. Perhaps I need to impart some of this wisdom on that subject to more than just the BSA Scouts. The Scouts all learn how to season cast iron pots every year in some troops, as many of them use cast iron pots to cook in all year long. They are a marvelous thing to use in those campfires and with charcoal!
So check out my latest update to the Gadget List. Have fun collecting and have fun cooking! Thank you for the email, Pete. To the rest of you, keep those emails coming! I love hearing from you!
Last night was Spaghetti & Meatballs again. Boring I know. Lunch was so boring I don’t even remember what I ate. I heated up the meatballs and sauce. I set the water with salt and oil on the stove to boil for the spaghetti. I made garlic bread and for a vegetable, I made Zucchini. I even made a tossed salad, but no one ate it.
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons Butter
Sliced garlic or 1/8 tsp powder
Cut the zucchini in half, lengthwise. Slice the zucchini into ¼ inch slices. Add oil to the pan with fresh sliced garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until pan gets hot. DO NOT let the garlic get brown. ICK. Add zucchini to pan. Add salt and pepper. If using garlic powder, add it now. Cook until tender and serve hot.
Yup, not an impressive night. However, we ate while watching the Disney channel. Then, after watching the movie Rayna, I decided I needed dessert and asked Sam if would run out to the store and get some “Slice and Bake cookies and MILK.” You know the ones. It’s Nestle’s Toll House cookie dough in a tube. He returned with the goods and I baked those puppies up as we watched Community on Netflix. This is my new favorite show. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still watching Laugh-In on Prime, but this is funny as shit and Sam watches it with me. We were laughing are asses off last night.
Well, that is all for today. If you like my posts, please share them. I could always use more readers and more feedback.