Category: Food and Drink

FIRED UP PODCAST – Drinking and cooking with beer on the FireDisc

Here we go. Latest edition of FIRED UP WITH GARF – the official podcast of FireDisc Cookers. This month we are touring (and sampling) freshly-made beer from Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company in Houston. Come along for the ride and also check out the recipe for a smoked Philly-style cheesesteak using beer on a FireDisc.

If you are ready to cook outdoors anywhere, use GARFIELD as a promo code and save $50 and free shipping.

VIDEO: Summer Outdoor Cooking & Grilling Ideas

Outdoor cooking is the way to go, especially in Texas.  Here are some ideas and items I featured during a recent appearance on Great Day Houston (CBS).

Whether it is propane or charcoal, there are many accessories and items that can enhance your cooking experience.

FireDisc Cookers – GARFIELD promo code for $50 and free shipping

The Ultimate Enchilada Recipe

Ok, so maybe I using a bit of hyperbole.

I am an enchie fan. A big one. Probably my fave comfort food of all time. You can judge a TexMex restaurant by its enchiladas – cheese and onion, please. I remember my grandparents taking me to Luby’s and thought those were some of the best ever made. Pappasito’s makes some damn good ones, though a bit pricey. I’m always on the lookout for tasty ones so don’t be shy with your suggestions.

As much as I love me some enchiladas I had never attempted to make them myself. I enjoy cooking and not afraid to get my hands dirty with ingredients especially if the final product comes out yummy. I assumed the process would be lengthy but after seeing a buddy of mine make his homemade specialty, I realized it is very simple to do.

So after some Google and YouTube consultation I recently found an enchilada sauce recipe that is quick to make. I already had most of the ingredients in my spice cabinet so I went to work. The result was surprisingly great. I experimented with both corn and flour tortillas though I received a good amount of Facebook backlash that “real” enchies are only made with corn. Flour apparently constitutes a rolled up burrito covered with sauce. Whatever. This is now my go-to dish and I may trademark a new moniker: The High-Tech TexMex.

Here is the recipe and process.  Feel free to spice things up according to taste. And should you find easier or better recipes please send them to me.

Happy eating!

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

SAUCE RECIPE

  1. Measure the dry ingredients (flour, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and salt) into a small bowl.
  2. In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, warm the oil until it’s it’s hot enough that a light sprinkle of the flour/spice mixture sizzles on contact. This doesn’t take long.
  3. Once it’s ready, pour in the flour and spice mixture. Whisk constantly until slightly deepened in color, about 1 minute. Whisk the tomato paste into the mixture, then slowly pour in the broth while whisking constantly to remove any lumps.
  4. Raise heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, whisking often, for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a bit and a spoon encounters some resistance as you stir it. (The sauce will thicken some more as it cools)
  5. Remove from heat, then whisk in the vinegar and season to taste with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Add more salt, if necessary.

ENCHILADA INGREDIENTS

  • Grated Mexican blend or cheddar cheese. At least one cup.
  • Grated onions
  • Taco meat, grilled/spiced chicken, or any other protein (unless you want to go old school with plain cheese enchiladas)

ENCHILADA RECIPE

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Microwave the tortillas for 30 seconds to make them easier to roll.
  3. Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish. Next, one at a time, dip each tortilla into the sauce. Set the sauce-soaked tortilla on a plate. Place on some of the meat, onions and your fave filling. Top with a generous portion of grated cheese. Roll up the tortilla to contain the filling inside.
  4. Place the tortilla seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas and pour the remaining sauce over the top. End with a generous sprinkling of cheese and any other bits of onions or other toppings you have left over from the filling.
  5. Bake the enchiladas for 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the top and serve.

Make a huge margarita and dig in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Drive-Thru Dining Chronicles (Pandemic Version) – The Capital Grille

Of course we need to be supporting local restaurants and businesses during these trying times. Tune into our nightly “Drive-Thru Dining Chronicles” (the pandemic version). It’s simple, fun, and yummy. Be it delivery or pick-up, be sure to tip your waitstaff, manager, chef, and the person who brings it to your car. Tonight’s stop: The Capital Grille (Houston). I challenge everyone to post photos/vids of you supporting your fave local places.

The Drive-Thru Dining Chronicles (Pandemic Version) – Del Frisco’s

Of course we need to be supporting local restaurants and businesses during these trying times. Tune into our nightly “Drive-Thru Dining Chronicles” (the pandemic version). It’s simple, fun, and yummy. Be it delivery or pick-up, be sure to tip your waitstaff, manager, chef, and the person who brings it to your car. Tonight’s stop: Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse (Houston). I challenge everyone to post photos/vids of you supporting your fave local places.

 

The Drive-Thru Dining Chronicles (Pandemic Version) – Fajita Pete’s

Of course we need to be supporting local restaurants and businesses during these trying times. Tune into our nightly “Drive-Thru Dining Chronicles” (the pandemic version). It’s simple, fun, and yummy. Be it delivery or pick-up, be sure to tip your waitstaff, manager, chef, and the person who brings it to your car. Tonight’s stop: Fajita Pete’s (Houston). I challenge everyone to post photos/vids of you supporting your fave local places.

The Drive-Thru Dining Chronicles (Pandemic Version) – Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Of course we need to be supporting local restaurants and businesses during these trying times. Tune into our nightly “Drive-Thru Dining Chronicles” (the pandemic version). It’s simple, fun, and yummy. Be it delivery or pick-up, be sure to tip your waitstaff, manager, chef, and the person who brings it to your car. Tonight’s stop: Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Houston). I challenge everyone to post photos/vids of you supporting your fave local places.

Dining In The SoCal Sunset – BALEENkitchen

During a recent swing up-and-down the SoCal coastline I made a point to find unique spots to dine and stay. I travel so often I wanted to experience things other than chain hotels and eateries that dot the rest of the U.S.

The South Bay of Los Angeles is a beautiful place to play on white, sandy beaches and watch the sun fade into the Pacific Ocean. It’s even better when you have a cold cocktail in hand and delicious food to begin a breezy, summer evening.

Redondo Beach can be a busy place this time of year with visitors, beachgoers, boaters and traffic, but just a few hundred yards off N. Harbor Drive – across a basin filled with eye-popping private boats – sits the Portofino Hotel.

My plans to stay at the waterfront property were scuttled at the last-minute but I wanted to experience the area and see the premium luxury hotel for myself. Part of the Noble House family of hotels and resorts, the Portofino boasts breathtaking scenes of the water from almost view.

Around 5 o’clock in the afternoon I heard some commotion a few yards away from the hotel’s grand entrance. The open windows of a restaurant were inviting me with laughter, chatter and the smell of fresh seafood. So in I went into BALEENKitchen.

The open-air setting and light mood first led me to the large bar. Good looking, happy people (are there any others in SoCal?) were lounging in comfy chairs holding colorful drinks. Happy hour was in full swing and I helped myself to a Pineapple Express.

Justin King, General Manager of the restaurant, wanted to personally make sure my drinks was made to standard, so he popped behind the bar and started pouring and shaking.

Plantation pineapple rum, Bacardi coconut rum, ginger liqueur topped with coconut, lime and basil. I closed my eyes and thought I was in the tropics.

After opening my eyes Justin led me into the spacious dining room to a white-clothed table by the window. I knew at that point I wasn’t going anywhere for hours. I certainly did not want to miss that west coast sunset.

The menu offers a lengthy list of small plates and shareables. Ahi tuna tacos with fresh guacamole was my first stop followed blistered shishito peppers and then a beautiful charcuterie and cheese board. By the time I was halfway through the olives and grapes on the board I was sipping on a Pat’s Ol’ Fashioned.

As a bourbon lover I make sure to sample specialty drinks made with that Kentucky brown water. Angel’s Envy bourbon is the base along with demerara sugar and orange bitters. I got my Uber app ready as I finished two of those.

The presentation was exemplary as heads turned when the waiter placed a plate of pan-roasted diver scallops in front of me. Surrounded by pee wee potatoes, mushrooms and blistered cherry tomatoes, I wanted to savor this for a while. Alas, the miso-glazed salmon was coming.

It was cooked as perfect as can be atop a bed of soba noodles and baby bok choy. Justin snuck back to my table with a serving of sweet potatoes as he wanted me to know that was one of the more popular side dish choices. I quickly realized why.

As the sun began to fall into the water and I finished snapping 3 dozen photos of the gorgeous view, a sampler of bread pudding, apple tart and gelato was within reach of my spoon. Perfect desserts to finish a perfect evening.

BALEENkitchen offers a top-notch waitstaff who readily answer questions about the menu and who owns which boat just outside of the expansive restaurant.

My only wish would have been to walk back across the driveway into what I believe would be a glorious hotel room and quickly drift into a deep sleep dreaming about those scallops.

Alas, my Uber arrived to take me up the coast a bit, but I vow to return one day for the full Portofino experience.

 

BALEENkitchen
260 Portofino Way
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
www.hotelportofino.com

Sipping and talking Tinkerman’s Gin

Tinkerman’s Gin Master Distiller Brian Prewitt joined me recently to sway my tastes towards gin.  Everyone knows I’m a bourbon guy but, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised with the refreshing concoctions made with Tinkerman’s.  Take a listen below:

Save Your Wine Until Another Time

I don’t know about you but I can’t drink an entire bottle of wine by myself.  Beer – yes.  Wine – maybe I can go half a bottle before I decide what to do with the rest.  And I do not like wasting a good bottle of Pinot.

There are several options to save those lonely ounces of red juice.  I could try to recork the bottle or even screw the cap back on.  But those methods sometime seem to leave the leftover wine with an odd taste.  I recently tried the Savino Wine Preservation System and so far the results have kept me from losing one sip.

It’s a resealable container that you can store wine in. Savino is a two part system – the carafe and the float. The float is designed to create a barrier between the wine and the air, is made from BPA-free plastic. The system should keep your wine fresh for up to one week, which is longer than the average 2-4 days for an opened bottle of wine.

Pour the wine into the Savino and then drop the float on top. The disc floats to the top of the wine while a silicone ring around the edges blocks most of the wine’s surface from being exposed to air.

Savino comes in two options – a glass carafe for $49.95 and a plastic carafe for $24.95 which is a nice option for outdoor use.  

A very smart gadget for wine aficionados.  Now if they could only invent one of these for beer.