Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, and Happy/Merry to any others that I'm not familiar with! May it be a time of love and family.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Weather Outside is Frightening..

Our giant snow storm finally hit last night. There might be two inches out there. Supposedly, all this was supposed to happen on Friday and Saturday, with the worst being last night. Nothing happened Friday or Saturday night other than a raging party, and a little bit of rain.
This morning on the other hand was a tad bit sketchy. Not much snow, but underneath is a sheet of ice, which was terribly deceiving until I got onto the freeway to take the eldest to work. It took me 30 minutes to drive 3 miles. Granted, I was only going 12 miles an hour, and that was as fast an anyone needed to go. The rear end of my Kia Sorento tried to catch up with the front on two occasions. I almost had a heart attack. There were two accidents in those 3 miles, but they didn't look serious. (Their rear end probably tried to catch up with them too). I'm glad I left a half hour early.
Texted the hubby to see if he made it to work okay, and he was still driving/sliding. He left over an hour ago, and only had to drive 12 miles.
Supposedly more snow this morning, and then a high of 30F. (it's 21 right now) Tomorrow it's sunny with a high of 23. Bet it's going to be slick then too. Ick.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Snow...

Today was spent getting the outside of the house ready for winter. Geraniums trimmed and in the shed, hoses disconnected, leaves raked up, yada yada yada. Supposedly this weekend we are having our first snow storm of the season. It's to rival the storm of 2003, which must of been a doozie, because I don't remember it at all. But then again, being at 700 feet above sea level here in the Willamette Valley, one snowflake is enough to turn the town upside down. Last winter we had maybe a 1/4" of snow on the ground one morning. The radio stations were jammed with phone calls about school/work closures. Good grief! I think one more snowflake fell, and it was all over the school, and if you don't have to go anywhere, don't! I guess those monstrous school buses aren't equipped for such rough terrain. Nor are humans prepared to walk through something that doesn't even reach the top of their shoes. This went on for 3 days. If you call that a horrible storm, I can't wait to see what this weekend looks like. Maybe an inch of snow? *gasp* How will we ever get through it? As Bill Engvall so elequently put it; "Hoard food, steal gas! enough snow is coming your way to make....a footprint!" Okay, that wasn't exactly how it goes, but it's close. And true.
On the other hand, the high's this weekend are not supposed to rise above freezing, so I'm not looking forward to that. At least I don't have to drive.
Monday? Well, I'm hoping for a warming trend, that doesn't seem to be heading this way. I have a 4-wheel drive, and am a very careful driver when the roads are a sheet of ice, it's the other guys I worry about. Especially the ones on cell phones. I go 20 mph., Mr. Cellphone is going 45, talking on his phone, ruffling around on the seat next to him, slides through a light and nearly side swipes me, as I'm backing up as fast as the weather will allow. Can't wait for that again. Ah, the joys of winter. Let is snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oo Ta Ta's!

Pepsi always comes out with the greatest ads, and I prefer coke...*lol*

Monday, December 8, 2008

Char-Broil The Big Easy Oil-Less Infrared Turkey Fryer Part Two: Pork Loin

Yep, the hubby and I are at it again. Today we experiment with pork loin.
4-1/2 pound pork loin
garlic powder
black pepper
and sea salt
sprinkled over the top of pork loin

Don't forget to put the foil in your drip tray so you can use up all those yummy juices for gravy.

The instruction book says that pork cooks at 35 minutes per pound, so in theory this puppy should take 2 hours and 35 minutes. Actual cooking time varies depending on outdoor temperatures, and right now it's 45 degrees fahrenheit. I will be forgiving if takes a few more minutes.

Start time: 3:40pm
3:50 you can all ready hear it sizzling in there.
What it looks like after a mere hour:

(This baby is great for all us outdoor cigarette smokers can hover over it for heat, while inhaling all those lovely toxins...**from the cigarettes, not the meat, people!**...oh the bonuses!)
5:15 the thermometer is reading at 170 degrees F, which is the temp pork is supposed to be done, then paranoia set in. Can you really trust a meat thermometer? Okay, can you really trust two? If it's ready, it only took about an hour and a half. That's way faster than the 35 minutes a pound the book advises, so we let it cook for another half an hour just to be sure.
Took it out at 5:40, yep it's definitely done. Probably should of trusted the two thermometers and took it out the first time it said it was done. Tented it for 20 minutes, since the rest of our meal wasn't anywhere near ready, but no harm done!
It's crispy on the outside, and still tender and juicy on the inside. I can see where you could inject this, and fill it with even more flavor, but it was absolutely superb with just the dusting of herbs and spices. Yep, another keeper. Thanks Char-Broil!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Before the Thanksgiving festivities:

About 8 hours later:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Char-Broil The Big Easy Oil-Less Infrared Turkey Fryer

My mom surprised my husband a few days before Thanksgiving with one of those new Infrared Turkey Cookers from Char-Broil. I'd never even heard of such a thing, so as soon as she brought it over I was yanking it out of the box like a 6 year old on Christmas morning. I still didn't know what I was looking at. The instructions told me that instead of using oil, like those scary deep fat fryers I made my husband sell at the yard sale this summer, it uses propane to cook your bird, with infrared heat. Really. Whats infrared heat? Well, I had to look it up.
I'm still not sure exactly what infrared means.....but, I'll explain it like the information I found on Amazon explains it. Maybe you'll get it more than me.

  • Ambient (ambient? I thought ambient was a mood) air mixes with propane to fuel the tube burner.

  • Flames from the burner directly transfer heat to the inner wall of the cooker.

  • 100% infrared heat radiates evenly from the circular inner walls to penetrate the food.

  • Hot air rises along the inner wall and exits at the top without drying the food.
    End of Amazon's description.

Okay. So, on Thanksgiving afternoon, the bird was brought out, caressed with a light bath of olive oil, a bit of spice, and popped into his little cage. (maximum bird size is 16 pounds) That was easy. Of course since it's new toy, I was out with the camera making history.

This is what we look like after an hour of cooking. It all ready looks great!

After what I believe was about 2-1/2 hours, our turkey was ready to be brought out and shown off to his many admirers. (the fryer takes about 10 minutes per pound) We all ooOoh'd and AwW'd, dancing around ready for the first taste. Doesn't it look great?

Crispy outside, and tender inside.Now let me get to the taste. OH MY GAWD. I have never had a turkey that was so moist. Even my kids who prefer dark meat loaded up with the breast on their plates. Now I'm a great cook, and my oven done turkeys are anything but dry. But this?! That oven will never be used again.
There is also a removable drip pan underneath the Char-Broil to collect those wonderful juices (which made the best gravy I can remember) but beware it is not food safe, so line it with some foil.
I can now hear the clammoring of all you die hard oil turkey fryer people. And now I shall give my reasons for not using ours anymore. It uses too much oil, and it's expensive. Yep, you can use the oil more than once (depending on what your cooking) BUT the husband person never felt it was worth cleaning out. At the time I sold ours, the oil in it was from superbowl 2007. Mm hm. Number 2, where the heck are you supposed to get rid of all that oil? I still have three 5 gallon used jugs that have been sitting in my garage since 2005. Mm hm.
Number 3. It scares the shit out of me! I know, I know, if you use them according to the instructions it's as safe as can be. Did I mention that by the time the head chef around here is ready to do anything, he's got about a half case a beer in his gut? Mm hm.
I'd also like to mention that unlike oil fried birds, you can (and we did) use a dry rub. You can also inject your bird. Plus, you can do roasts, chicken, and I even saw one site that some guy rigged up a shelf system so he could do buffalo wings. Oh my, heaven. If your interested in anymore information I'd suggest checking out Amazons site.