Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chicken and Waffles day....9-20-09

Well, after a long drawn out discussion on one of our forums, and much bragging by the part of my buddy Ben, he decided to cook up some Chicken and Waffles for game day on the 20th of September. Funny how things work out though, because after making the grand plans, and having everything bought, his roomates down in San Jose advise him that his party plans will not go over well, with their friend who is bring their 1 year old kid to the house. : How lame.While telling me about it, all I can think about is Chicken and Waffles...yes, you heard correct...Chicken (fried) and Waffles (the breakfast variety) LOLsmothered in gravy is my preference, and there is a spot in Oakland that does it right.Anyway...I told Ben to just come up to our house and I would host there, and he could have full use of the kitchen...

Well, his plan was to watch the 3 NFL games that were on t.v. that day. Most importantly, the Niners game midday. Rounded out with the Steelers at 5pm.

Cheladas, PBR, and a multitude of other beers were purchased, Ben bought all the food goodness, and those fuckers woke me up at 9:30 am, calling for directions...showing up at my doorstep at 10am. hahaha with beer in hand, I answered, and Ben got to cooking.

First up, Eggs Benedict for Game one and Breakfast. Righteous. I had to have a Chelada with it.
We watched the first game, which, honestly, I don't even remember who was playing. hahaha

2nd game up was the Niners, who won in a spectacular manner....which meant it was lunchtime. Plus, the beer had made us very stripper dogs it is. Bacon wrapped hot dogs, thrown on the grill, and doled out to the boys. So good.

Lastly, and the best of all, was the Chicken and Waffles...yes, I'm a fan of gravy smothered all over that creation...but Ben was adamant that I try it without the gravy, and just use syrup. It was freaking good is all I can say.

One final parting shot of all the booze we put down that day, and then some.

Great day with the boys, drinking, eating and watching some football.

Iron chef cookoff 10-10-09

So a few months ago, Stephanie came to me with an idea that she'd been throwing around, and since she is a big foodie, and has her own blog about it...we decided to collaborate on some cooking and friendly competition. The first attempt ended horribly wrong,with the wrong people invited. hahahaha They were just the wrong fit. So after nixing that event, it went by the wayside. Jump to a month later, and I emailed Steph, and said, it is time to do this thing, and do it right. I offered to do a lot of the leg work, and invite the right cooks.
After talking amongst the cooks, we decided on my kitchen being the most central location in the Bay Area, as we'd have someone from Napa, Ca. another from Sacramento, Ca. and steph, down in San Jose, Ca. :)

The plan is to have an Iron Chef cookoff, with one ingredient made known to the will be up to them to decide what they want to cook. The scoring will be based on 1) Originality of the dish. 2) Plating/Presentation and 3) Taste. (We initially had a time limit, but when Steph started cooking, we forgot to hit the stop watch. hahaha) so no time limit.

The secret ingredient would be...........SCALLOPS!

The cooks did not know who the judges would be, and the judges did not know who the cooks would be, as we are all friends, and I did not want any bias to be had before hand.

Linda and Brian

The day started off just right, as I'd gone up to Napa the day before, and with Virginias help picked out some great cheeses and food for the appetizers and what we would be grazing on, most of the day. There would be a lot of food. Being that I was hosting at my place, I wanted to make sure the kitchen was well stocked, and clean so each cook had an equal opportunity.

My contribution below. I decided on (with Virginias help), proschiutto wrapped figs for one of the apps.
Figs of various sizes
Italian Cream cheese
Reduced Balsalmic Vinagrette (till it's like syrup)

Mix reduced Balsalmic Vinagrette into the Italian cream cheese, till it's brown, and put some pepper in it to taste.
then smear the cream cheese on the cut figs, then wrap a small piece of proschiutto around it.
viola...instant appetizer.
(To reduce the balsalmic vinagrette, take a large bottle, into a sauce pan, under medium heat, till you see small/tiny bubbles, and continue to reduce till it is syrup in nature, then put into a squeeze bottle and ready for use)
Next, Caprese. Some wild and organic tomatos for taste and color, a baguette, cut into small pieces toasted with olive oil, and a piece of tomato on each, with a piece of mozzarella on each, and some shredded basil leaves, then olive oil drizzled on top, and then reduced balsalmic vinagrette drizzled on top of that. second appetizer. :D

The beginnings of an awesome day of eating and drinking. Above, the finished product, figs wrapped with proschiutto. (I used to much proschiutto on the figs..hahaha not a horrible thing though)
Some great color to the meal. And my presentation to the group.
The finished Caprese, which was freaking delicious. Steph hand stamped each letter and number on the score cards that we would use. And the final spread I provided for the judges and cooks for the day.

First up would be Steph as she prepared a sesame seed encrusted scallop on a bed of glass noodles...much more involved, and I'll let you guys read about it HERE...
Some scallop goodness. The guys out on the balcony overlooking the bay on a really nice and sunny day. The best part, is that the Blue Angels were flying over the bay, and visible from our balcony, and also they'd buzz our neighborhood while flying over from SFO.
Stephs plating was done, and she presented 4 dishes to the 4 judges, and after a bit of explaining about the dish, we had our taste, and then made some notes for the scoring.
Next up, would be Virginia (things worked out perfect, as Virginia and Marco had early morning committments and fit right into the cooking schedule that we set up without a hitch) She brought her chef jacket, probably for a little intimidation..and I think this is when Steph downed a couple extra glasses of wine.

Cooking with butter, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a fantastic thing. A quick view from our balcony over the bay, and that is Oakland/Alameda in the background.

Virginias 1st dish (yes, she made two) was a cauliflower puree topped with olive oil, and the seared Scallops, with Mache (greens) on top. Holy hell, this was good too. The judges dug right in.

A quick shot of the secret ingredients, and Virginias 2nd dish....Scallops on a bed of rissotto, with strips of Parmesan cheese on top, and some micro greens. Dave and I embellishing on the wine, and me representing the KIMCHI. hahaha Again, the meals were fantastic.

Marco finaly showed up, and would be the final cook. He started off with some homemade pasta that him and his son had made earlier in the day, and made a coconut milk sauce, covered over the scallops with a slice of Dutch Crunch bread on the side. Holy hell it was great.
The Judging would be tough, as all the dishes were amazing in their own right.
The judges were varied, especially since Dave did not eat seafood, and had never had an interest in scallops. He ate every dish without a problem...which to me is a very flattering move to the cooks, showing how good these dishes were.

After much deliberation, and many things taken into account, the tally was up, and the score was final. We gave feed back to the cooks and how we came to our conclusions...but in the end, everyone was a winner due to the amount of food, good wine and dessert (truffles rolled in cocoa powder with a nice bottle of port on the side) provided by me to all.

The standings
Virginia won 1st place (we only scored one of her dishes, btw)
Stephanie won 2nd
and Marco won 3rd.
All in all, a great success, and we are already planning another one.

Foreigner at "The Fillmore" on 10/8/09

Juke box hero coming on. Kick ass concert.

Kick ass drum solo, that he did with his bare hands.

Saw that Foreigner was coming to town some weeks ago, and immediately grabbed some tickets. Hell yeah...couldn't pass this up. grabbed two, and took a friend of mine to see the concert. She knew some songs, but had no idea it would kick as much ass as it did. I think she was more than happy to have come. :D
It was packed, but didn't sell out unfortunately. According to the guy, it was damn close...and it looked it. The crowd was energized and singing along to so many badass rock songs.
p.s. trying some new layouts for the photos. got tired of the long ass format of one photo stacked on the other one. :)

Travel time...Texas, here I come, ya'll!!!!

Well, in about 8 hours from now, I hop in the truck and begin the trek south to Austin, Texas. Took a temporary travel position at Dell Childrens Hospital in the PEDS E.R.

We'll see how that goes. I'll be renting a room with one of the greatest homos of all time. (M)SS. hahahaha

We'll see how this goes. pretty stressed yesterday during the day, trying to pack what I could in the truck, last minute of course, and then drive to work, which meant, i was up at noon yesterday, and now all night at work, and then drive out bright and shiny.

Hoping to make Tehachapi pass before I need a nap. and also trying to make the hash on Sunday in Austin, which is at 3pm, but the time difference may have me screwed, as I'll be gaining 2 hours, not losing 2 hours, like when I drive West.

Oh well, if I make it, I make it, if not, then drinky drinks and pass out, before boring orientation on Monday.

Gonna try and beat the sub 22 hour drive time I've done before.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I was jealous of another rider today, as I watched him riding his motorcycle down the road (280), southbound, wind howling, with gusts strong enough to push my truck to the side. Into the valley near hwy 92, with the clouds 3 shades of black (dark, darker and blackest) looming in front...the rain beginning to come down in sheets.

I watched him 2 lanes over from my truck, visibly aware of all his surroundings, fighting the wind, senses heightened, glances to his mirrors, full on assault on this road, riding somewhere, either home or to work. All I could think of was that I should have ridden my motorcycle to work. Instead I was comfortable, warm and dry in my truck, listening to Aldo Nova. LOL

eh. Picked up a job in Austin, Texas to start in one week. I'll be canonballing to Texas this weekend. Look forward to seeing old friends, and visiting my family, and having some amazing food only found there.