Friday, August 26, 2011

Tropical (Storm) Skittles

Remember that recipe I posted a while back for the Catdaddy Orangina?  Sure you do.

Well, in honor of Hurricane Irene, I tweaked it a little bit to the following:
  • 2 oz Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine
  • 1 oz Bacardi Razz (Raspberry flavored rum)
  • 1 oz Orange Juice
Serve over ice and fill with 2-3 oz of Mandarin Orange seltzer.

It Skittles.  Not the crunchy coating, but the soft candy inside.  Kinda like Starburst.  It's crazy delicious! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Restaurant Review: The Tattooed Moose, Charleston SC

I was down in Charleston again this past weekend.  And no trip to Charleston is complete, for me, without a visit to one of my favorite bar/restaurants, the Tattooed Moose.

We usually go right from the airport directly to the Moose.  It's the first and last place that I want to eat when I arrive.  It's a roadhouse-style bar grub kinda joint.  But Oh-What-Grand-Grub it is!  And the service and staff are top-notch.  A bunch of pierced, friendly tattooed freakies.  My kinda folk.  The music is great too!  While we were sitting down for brunch on Sunday, we enjoyed a selection of great 60's Motown, funk and soul. But it ain't always like that.  Psycho-billy, punk, folk, country and whatever gets played here.  Plus, they often have live music at night on the weekends.

One of the things they are most known for is their Duck Club sandwich.  Duck confit, apple-smoked bacon, smoked cheddar, garlic aioli, lettuce, tomato, red onion on three pieces of sweet Hawaiian bread.  The menu states that it has been said to be the greatest sandwich of all time, and I'm not one to disagree.  We first heard about this joint on talk radio on XM, and we just knew we had to try it.  If you ever get down to Charleston, you have to try this sandwich.  It might change your life.

Oh, and duck is something that they take seriously at the Moose.  The make a hash with it for breakfast/brunch.  It's crazy good.  They even fry their french fries in duck fat.  Seriously! Sooo good.

This past Sunday, I had the Low-Country Cuban sandwich with a side of cilantro/lime cole slaw.  Just to try something different. Their Cuban had roast pork, ham, swiss, brown mustard and these awesome pickled green tomatoes on a pressed buttered roll.  A little twist from a traditional Cuban*, but a delicious twist.  The cilantro/lime slaw was just...sublime.  Just the right amount of red onion and vinaigrette.  Gia went with the smoked chicken salad BLT.  I had a bite, and I hate to admit this, but it's better than my own chicken salad.  Which is great! She also tried the gazpacho, which was really, really good.  Especially on a hot afternoon.

Choked it all down with some PBR pounders (for me), some spicy Bloody Marys (for her) and some Jim Beam on the rocks (me again!).  All in all, a perfect Sunday afternoon.  We weren't quite done yet.  We still had to hit downtown Charleston to visit the Bar at Husk, but that's a post for another day.

If you are ever in Charleston or surrounding areas, make the trip to the Tattooed Moose.  Especially if you like great sandwiches, great fries, great beer, cheap beer, good people, bourbon and fun.  It comes with the highest Earl Seal of Approval.

*By the way, the best Cuban sandwich in the world is at a takeout joint in a laundromat on White Street in Key West.  Seriously.  I don't know the name of the joint, but if you are ever down there have someone point your way toward it.  You won't be sorry.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Grillin' time, bacon-wrapped asparagus

The sane portion of the grilling season is so short up here in the frozen north that once I'm safely able to huddle around the 'que without my parka, I do everything I can on the grill. Moving past hot dogs and hamburgers, the grill really allows you to bring some great flavours to the table with almost no effort. Okay, so great ingredients do a lot of the heavy pulling here, and if I haven't convinced you yet, remember every item on the grill is one less pot or pan to scrub:

Take some asparagus -

Wrap in bacon. Don't follow my lead here, add toothpicks to hold the bacon, much easier to manage -
(I swear to you I once saw advice to add salt and oil to the asparagus before wrapping it. Clearly the writer was not familiar with bacon.)

Go to your favourite butcher and grab some seasoned chicken kebabs, then grill them -

Once one side is cooked, throw the asparagus on the grill, at the lowest possible flame (or have your fire extinguishers ready) -

Add some crusty bread, a couple of cold salads and you've got a perfect meal for beautiful summer evening -

Let's not limit the 'queing to the main course - how about S'mores for dessert? (Graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate for those not familiar) -

We've since discovered that high heat, and omitting the top cracker while cooking will produce the oo-iest, goo-iest results -

Prep time for asparagus: 10 minutes
Cooking time for asparagus: 8 minutes

Prep time for s'mores: 3 minutes
Cooking time for s'mores: 3 minutes

You can usually find Coreen blathering on over here. Feel free to stop by and say, 'hey'.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Here's a tip about Jim Beam Rye

Spoke with my soon to be ex personal trainer about which booze is best while trying to loose weight. He gave whiskey and vodka the big stink eye. "Rye is ok", he said. Thus- I brought home some yumminess up there.

Then, I had a really busy day serving humanity and couldn't make it out for lunch. THEN I thought to myself, well, I have extra Weight Watchers Points, why not skip dinner and have a cocktail? So I had myself two helpings.

That's not a good idea.

So, I've decided that Jim Beam Rye needs to be paired with something. It's a strong, rye bread tasting liquor. It's not meant to be flied solo.

Any suggestions?

For more Mrs. Hall, click here

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tomato Sauce Redux

I thought I already posted this one over at my own joint, but I can't seem to find it.  Anyway, I figured it's worth another look-see.  And since Alex Belth over at Bronx Banter Blog thought the same thing...well, birds of a feather. 

Tomatoes, butter and an onion.  That's it.  Simplicity itself.  I literally make this sauce once a week.  I love it so much, I want to take it out behind the Middle School and get it pregnant!

And Kristen Miglore on Food52 re-hashes the famous recipe, this time using fresh tomatoes that she peels herself instead of the canned San Marzano kind.  Either way...delish!  So follow that link or click the pic below for the super simple and super delicious recipe.  And enjoy!

Photo Credit:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Famous Newsday Clam Casserole

Hi everyone, I'm Fugs and I'm a cooking addict. (Altogether - "Hi Fugs!")

Ok blow me. Just kidding.

So I'm going to do a blog about ribs this weekend, but I wanted to get my feet wet with this site. I'm going to post a recipe that is near and dear to me, as it is one that my mom made a staple in her kitchen during the 70's and 80's. It is the classic "Newsday Clam Casserole."

My passion for cooking comes directly from my Mom, and for me it wasn't just about good food, but about the social universe that was her kitchen. She owned the joint, and it was a comforting thing to know that fact as a young lad. This was where mom should and would always be, you know? It seemed somehow easier to sleep at night as a child with that image dancing in my garlicy little head. While some women rebelled against this notion during that time that was not at all my mom - again, she owned it. If you knew what it was like to steal a meatball out of the saucepot on a Sunday afternoon when your mom "wasn't looking" then you know what I'm saying.

I want and try to recreate that feeling in my own family kitchen every day. My wife can't boil an egg, so I am the family cook - but I don't complain. Even though I'm Dad and work full time, cut the grass, take out the garbage, fix what's broken and do all that other dad stuff, when it comes to the kitchen (like my mom,) I OWN it. I want my kids to feel those same good feelings and the communal groovyness of gathering at the table for a well done meal, made with a lot of love,...and alcohol. But let's be honest, those feelings of nostalgia wouldn't mean shite if the food weren't good, right??

Mom got this recipe out of Newsday in like 1974, thus the name, The Newsday Clam Casserole. The little weekly recipe gig was next to Ann Lander's column on about page B-16 for those who grew up on LI like me. I use canned clams here, but if you are a shi shi snotty kind of person, or have incredible amounts of disposable income and time you can buy about 4 dozen cherrystones, shuck 'em, mince 'em, reserve the liquid, and then hit yourself in the head with a mallet because you won't taste a damn bit of difference.

Here goes.

The Newsday Clam Casserole


4 slices of Bacon, cooked crisp and broken up into small pieces

4 cans minced clams, Drained; with juice reserved, get some bottled clam juice if needed too.

1 large yellow onion – diced fine

8 tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Bay leaves

4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1 Tbsp dry Oregano

1 tsp Garlic Powder (or to taste – I like more)

Fresh squeezed lemon juice – about 1/4 of a lemon

1/2 tsp Kosher Salt (or to taste)

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 to 2 cups of Plain Bread Crumbs

Dash of Tabasco or to taste

Dash cayenne pepper or to taste

Butter for greasing baking pan

Appx. ½ cup of grated hard Italian Cheese (Parmesan or Romano) in all

Lemon Wedges and Fresh Parsley fronds for Garnish


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pan, Cook bacon crisp, break into small pieces and reserve – drain most of the bacon grease – leave a tablespoon or so in the pan.

2. Sauté diced onion in reserved bacon grease with Olive Oil added. When onion is translucent add dry spices (Oregano, Salt, Peppers, Bay Leaves, Garlic Powder,) Continue to sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes or so, then add fresh garlic and sauté another 5 minutes until Garlic is softened.

3. Add clams to mixture and cook until clams are heated – maybe 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add most of the reserved clam juice (save a little for the later – see stage 4, below), lemon juice, and Tabasco. Raise heat, stirring and continuing to cook another 3-5 minutes or so until mixture is mildly boiling.

4. Begin to add bread crumbs to mixture, a little at a time, until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. If it gets too dry add a little more clam juice or water – if it is too wet add more bread crumbs – use your judgment. Turn off heat once you have desired consistency and add about ¼ cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Add bacon last. Taste the mixture at this point and adjust seasonings – it should NOT be too salty (it will get saltier with the added cheese and absorbing the liquid while cooking.) In case you're drinking heavily don't forget to remove the bay leaves at some point.

5. Grease a Medium Casserole or Pie Dish with butter. Pour Clam mixture in and top with the rest of the grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese. Bake for 35 minutes or until top is golden brown and mixture is bubbly – raise temperature to 425 degrees for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the edges crisp up a little if needed.

6. Remove from oven and let set for at least 15 minutes. It is too hot and mushy when it comes out of the oven to serve - don’t forget this step! Serve slices with lemon wedges and fresh parsley frond for garnish.

You can also use this recipe to make baked clams in shells (real ones or foil ones) to serve as appetizers – or topped with a little melted Monterrey Jack cheese for “Clams Casino” Again, you can use fresh chopped clams too but will need some bottled clam juice to make up for the liquid required. I don't find it's worth it, canned are fine for this kind of thing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just checking in

Hey Mike and anyone else on the blog -- I'm just checking to see if this works for me. Please let me know if you can read it.

Also I'm playing around with the images - here's some homemade Andouille I stuffed and smoked a couple months ago.

Again - let me know if you can see this.



Monday, August 1, 2011

Chili Burgers

This is a re-hash of something I posted on The Verdant Dude last summer.  But since I made them again this weekend for my family, and I made them exactly this way...I figured what the hell.  The new food blog could use a good burger recipe.  And this, my friends, is one fabulous freakin' burger.

The idea of the "chili ingredients inside the burger" actually came from a Rachel Ray cookbook that my Mom has.  Yeah...don't judge me.  But I give it my own twist and make it into a Juicy Lucy.  What's a Juicy Lucy?  Read on, on.


Earl's Semi-Famous Chili Burgers (Juicy Lucy-style)

  • 2 lbs ground beef - I use 80/20 so that it's extra juicy.
  • 1 medium-sized onion - finely diced
  • 2 or 3 large green chilis - seeded and finely diced
  • 4 or 5 jalepeno peppers - seeded and finely diced
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
Now you can really add or subtract whatever spices you like here.  You dig on oregeno?  Add some of that stuff!  You don't dig on cumin?  Don't add any of that stuff! It's your burger.  Do with it what you will.  The above recipe will make 8 quarter pound burgers or you can put on your man-boots and make 'em the way I make 'em.  How is that?  Well, lemme tell ya!

First off, I like to prepare this the day before I eat them.  The spices mix with the meat in the fridge over night and make for a more delicious meal. And we are all about the more delicious meal.  But you don't have to.  This last time I made them I did it all right then and there, and they still tasted great.

Dice up your onion, jalapenos and your green chilis and saute them with some olive oil if you like.  Butter if you prefer.  Cook them up for a few minutes until the onions are nice and translucent.  Then set them aside until they cool to room temperature.  Be sure to drain the excess oil and liquid first.  Drain them really well.  You don't want your burger to be a liquidy mess, do you?

After the veggies have cooled, you are gonna need a big mixing bowl. Dump the ground meat, the veggies, the...well all the ingredients into it and start mixing. Use a big wooden spoon if you like, but you're eventually gonna have to get your hands dirty so why not start now? Hmmm? Get in there and make sure all the ingredients are folded in with the meat. The tomato paste will bind the burger together very nicely.

Once it all looks uniform and yummy, you can start making your burger patties. I like to take about a quarter pound of the meat mixture and make it into a large flat patty. But these aren't your normal quarter pound burgers, no? Because now we are gonna kick it up a notch. You see, we are gonna stick a slice of cheese on top of that raw patty. Cheddar, American, Monty Jack, whatever. Then you are gonna take another quarter pound patty and make a cheese sandwich outta that sucker. That's right...a slice of cheese INSIDE the burger. Intrigued? I am.

Now you've got a giant half pound burger that is all ready for the grill. Make sure you pinch the circumference of the burger so that it becomes all one patty. Making each half of the burger thin is key so that the burger cooks uniformly. A few minutes on one side, flip it carefully, then a few more minutes on the other side. Whatever temperature you normally prefer for a burger. What do I have to teach you how too cook a burger the way you like it now?

When done right you get a juicy, cheesy, spicy, delicious burger that is unlike anything that you have ever had before. So juicy that it doesn't need ketchup or mayo or mustard or whatever the hell you normally put on a burger. But feel free to fly that freak flag that you own. I topped my with another slice of cheese (hehe), some sliced green pickled tomatoes and some normal red ones.

The result was glorious!  Just be warned.  You may need a nap soon after finishing one of these bad boys.


PS - The only sad part of this post is that I didn't take any pictures of the glorious burgers I made on Sunday.  We were too busy cramming them into our faces!  Sorry...won't happen again.  Or will it?

"A Thousand Pardons, I Was Most Revolting..."

Now, I don't want to be the party pooper, but I thought before we get this blog rolling at a steady clip, we best take a moment to review some of the basic rules of food and dining etiquette. At great personal expense(you're welcome) I hired a well known Canadian Etiquette Maven, Lady Fishbourne, to put together a little refresher film for us...So, y'all just take a seat(no feet on the furniture), crack open a Miller High Life tall Boy,and give 'er a watch, y'hear?