Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Bone, Stuff, & Roast a Whole Turkey

I have done this once a few years ago.  Chef John (of Food Wishes) makes it look so easy in the great video.  I adore him!  His sense of humor slays me EVERY TIME!  He is close by in San Francisco, I got to meet him one day in person.  This video really helps show you the best technique for deboning a whole turkey. Just make sure you have a real good boning knife.  I hope you give this a try.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Turduckin the easy way...

Happy Holidays All!  

It's that time of year and instead of doing the same old turkey, why not try a Turduckin?  I am sure I will try my hand at making one from scratch.  I haven't done one of these yet, but I have enjoyed one ordered from one of the best places ever for amazing fresh southern stores online, the Cajun Grocer.  I order lots of stuff from them.  Always fresh, fast and yummy.

Take it easy on yourself and order a Turduckin done right online from THE CAJUN GROCER  They have all kinds of different stuffing choices, from Creole to Seafood Jambalaya to even a "Make your own", if you feel up to it.  IT IS SO TOTALLY WORTH IT!

What is a Turduckin you ask?  

Wikipedia says, "Turducken is a dish consisting of a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, which is in turn stuffed into a deboned turkey. The word turducken is a portmanteau of turkey, duck, and chicken. The dish is a form of engastration, which is a recipe method in which one animal is stuffed inside the gastric passage of another.[1]

The thoracic cavity of the chicken/game hen and the rest of the gaps are stuffed....What the  %^*$?  If the term thoracic cavity doesn't just wet your appetite, I don't know what will?  I wonder if I have one of those? Anywho, have a fabulous turkey day....  xxxooo III
Wishing you stress free and Happy Thoracic Cavity Filled Thanksgiving!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

OMG the 12th annual Stumptown Beer & BBQ Revival 2014!

Yesterday I thought I’d died and gone to heaven… HOG & HOPS HEAVEN!


As we took the freeway exit off of 101 north and drove down into the lush green cascades of wine vineyards along the scenic River Road into Guerneville, California, you get a feel that you are in for a beautiful adventure. I was fortunate enough to get to be on the sound crew at the 12th annual Stumptown Beer & BBQ Revival. The fact that I’m a home brewer and a BBQ nut was just a secret.  I was a guest of the MC and DJ.  Talk about epic gigs to get!  This is his 4th year there. 

Steven & Grego at the sound tent.

Stumptown Brewery looks like a small place from the main road, but when you enter it is a large rustic restaurant and bar with one huge wooden outdoor patio and deck overlooking the Russian River. There is a large event space down at the river where they set up the Beer & BBQ revival, tents, a stage for live music and it’s a BBQ competition, so top local Pit Masters and their team’s journey to this event and camp the night before to get ready.

We got there around 10:00am and the smell of smoked hickory, cherry and apple wood filled the air.  30 Breweries and 30 BBQ teams participate! 


BBQ Teams:
21st Amendment, Asiens's Appliance (Wine Country Eggheads), Bender's Bar & Grill, Black Hole BBQ, Bushgen's Boys' BBQ, Clear Cut To The Coast BBQ, Code 3 BBQ, Crown Fire Q, D & D Whole Hog BBQ, The Elecrified Pumacorns, Fat Daddy's Catering, Four Brothers Smoking, Hella Grubbin', Hop Rods, Inlaws n' Outlaws, Latch Key Grillers (Costeaux Bakery), The Mad Scientist, The Master Basters, Northwood Restaurant, P.E.T.A. (People Eating Tasty Animals), Pokers and Smokers, Ridiculously Raunchy Ribs, Seabright Brewery, Sir Smokesalot, Smoke on the Water, Smokin' Daddy's Catering, Sonoma County Brew Crew, South of the Porter, Swami Tommy's BBQ Experience, Tempest S.F., Triple Rock BBQ, Two Fat Jacks, Two Rivers, ...

Cute boys rolling up with a truck load of smokers.

That's his Grandfather, a family of BBQ masters!

A table full of chicken wings marinating in dry rub love getting ready for the smoker!

We had a couple hours before the doors opened to set up and do sound checks with the bands.  There is a 500 person limit for this event, it’s just the perfect number of people for the space.  You don’t feel crowded and there is plenty of EVERYTHING for EVERYONE.  No Tickets at the Door / Pre Sale Only - Tickets are $75 per person and sell out within hours when they go online –not exaggerating. It's all you can eat and drink all day! Proceeds go to the Guerneville Senior Center!

All of your favorite Micro-breweries in one place with ice cold kegs of their finest hand crafted beer & ciders were setting up!  The wafting smell of REAL BBQ in the air on a perfect summer day on the river. I kept pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming!   

I had my beer goggles on and was ready to try EVERYTHING!  I met so many fabulous brewers, bbqers, musicians, and awesome foodies galore - even ELVIS!  It was fun to be a part of the crew.  I got some great shots with the old iphone of peeps before the masses arrived.  We started partying early.

I had a TOTAL BLAST with the Speakeasy folks!
One of my favorite local breweries was there!!
It felt like home when I saw the surfboard river paddle guy. 
 (I live in surfer central on the ocean in Pacifica, CA)



I met so many amazing people!  The makers and lovers of fine beer are a special breed of individual.  When they all get together, brewers and BBQers are like family.  I sampled some outstanding BBQ pork ribs and chicken wings, but the ultimate was the beer.  OH THE BEER!  Thank God they give you one of those smaller sized beer glasses because there are so many to try, you need to pace yourself, and try I did – I TRIED THEM ALL!  I was proudly and happily hammered by sundown.   

I learned so much about smoking meat, better ways to clarify home brew, and what I like and don't like.  They had a peoples choice award and a best in show award for BBQ.  I was so wasted by the time they made the announcements, I'll have to get back to on who won.

Then came the after party up at the brewery with the hilarious Elvis impersonator band.  OH YEA!  I got some great funny video of my housemate Lisa with him.


As soon as I recover from this blissful hangover, I’ll update this page with more details, and the winners and highlights, I need a nap.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Glamping Recipe: Duck Breast with Cherries and Port Sauce in Cast Iron

Here is a great recipe for a special occasion, or for making at your next fancy pants camping trip. I find that cooking outdoors in a beautiful place, asks for beautiful food to share with friends. This one is great done in a cast iron pan over an open fire or camp stove.  Glamping Food tastes better!  Great served with a nice Russian River Pinot Noir!

2 6-ounce duck breast halves
2 tablespoons (¼ stick) chilled butter, divided
¼ cup finely chopped shallot
½ cup chicken broth
8 halved pitted sweet red cherries, fresh or frozen, thawed
2 tablespoons Ruby Port
1 tablespoon honey


Place duck breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pound lightly to even thickness (about ½ inch). Discard plastic wrap. Using sharp knife, score skin in ¾ -inch diamond pattern (do not cut into flesh).

Sprinkle duck with salt and pepper. Add duck, to a cold cast iron pan, skin side down.  Turn on to medium heat and it will begin to sizzle and the fat will start to melt and crisp the skin.  Cook until skin is browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. (Starting in a cold pan renders the fat under the skin much better).

Turn duck breasts over, reduce heat to medium, and cook until browned and cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes longer for small breasts and 8 minutes longer for large breast for medium-rare. Transfer to work surface, tent with foil to keep warm, and let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour off (and save to cook other awesome stuff with later) all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add shallot to skillet and stir over medium heat 30 seconds. Add broth, cherries, Port, and honey. Increase heat to high and boil until sauce is reduced to glaze, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon cold butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Thinly slice duck. Fan slices out on plates. Spoon sauce over a Creamy Parmesan Polenta and a side of Sauteed Spinach.  Have you ever been Glamping? Come join the fun!