Monday, June 29, 2009

French Fries

I think that french fries are underappreciated. Sure, everyone eats them and enjoys them but do we ever really stop to think about the process of the french fry? I hadn't until I found a restaurant kitchen that prided itself on its fresh-cut fries. I quickly became acquainted with the long and painstaking evolution of the prefect fry. Hours of cutting, soaking, rinsing, re-rinsing, frying, cooling, and re-frying go into this classic burger accompaniment. French fries are not just fried potatoes.

Making the perfect fries is a learning process; it took Bobby Flay years to perfect his technique. Here are a few of his tips for mastering the art of the perfect fry from Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes.

Russets or baking potatoes are the best, whereas waxy potatoes (such as Red Bliss or new potatoes) simply won't do. Soaking is key—this removes the starch, keeps the potatoes from sticking together, and eliminates the sugars that prevent the potatoes from achieving maximum crispness. As far as oils go, peanut oil is the best for deep frying. It has a high smoking point and a taste that is mild enough not to overpower the potatoey goodness of your fries. While countertop deep fryers are great you don't need one to make fantastic fries at home. A heavy-bottomed pot, a wire mesh strainer, a deep-fry thermometer, and a roll of paper towels are the only pieces of equipment you need for piles of golden brown, crisp and delicious fries at home.

Perfect French Fries
- serves 4 -

Adapted from Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes by Bobby Flay.

5 large Russet potatoes, peeled or well scrubbed, if leaving leaving the skin on
1 quart peanut oil
Kosher salt

1. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut each slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick fries. Put the fries in a large bowl of cold water and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed medium stockpot over medium heat, or in a tabletop deep fryer, to 325° F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.

3. Drain the fries well and pat dry in batches with paper towels. Fry each batch, turning frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the fries are a pale blond color and limp. Remove with a mesh skimmer to the baking sheet lined with paper towels.

4. Increase the heat of the oil to 375° F.

5. Fry the potatoes again, in batches, turning frequently, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with the skimmer and drain on clean paper towels. Season immediately with salt and serve hot.

Cheap Trick 2009

Sleep Forever
When The Lights Are Out
Miss Tomorrow
Sick Man of Europe
These Days
Everyday You Make Me Crazy
California Girl
Everybody Knows
Times of Our Lives
Closer, The Ballad of Burt and Linda


Friday, June 26, 2009

Gotham Chopra: Writing Songs With My Friend Mike

Gotham Chopra: Writing Songs With My Friend Mike

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Recent Links worth checking out -

Aerosmith opened their world tour Wednesday night in St Louis with a very underwhelming 16-song set. Read the full report here.

The New York times has a rather spectacular article on Green Day and the creation of their new record.

Cameron Crowe via Empire Magazine counts down his top ten (scratch that, his top 36) music moments in film.

Filter Magazine has a great interview with Wes Anderson about his debut Bottle Rocket which recently came out on DVD via the Criterion Collection.

My friend Heather over at I AM FUEL YOU ARE FRIENDS gets name checked by Nick Hornby ("About A Boy", "High Fidelity).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


CD 1

The Magnificent Seven
Hitsville U.K.
Jungo Partner
Ivan Meets G.I. Joe
The Leader
Something About England
Rebel Waltz
Look Here
The Crooked Beat
Somebody Got Murdered
One More Time
One More Dub
Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice)
Up In Heaven (Not Only Here)
Corner Soul
Let's Go Crazy
If Music Could Talk
The Sound Of Sinners

CD 2

Police On My Back
Midnight Log
The Equaliser
The Call Up
Washington Bullets
Lose This Skin
Charlie Don't Surf
Mensforth Hill
Junkie Slip
Kingston Advice
The Street Parade
Version City
Living In Fame
Silicone On Sapphire
Version Pardner
Career Opportunities
Sheperd's Delight


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Morning View - Happy Fathers Day

you can listen as well as you hear

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mini Chicken Meatballs

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

1/4 cup(s) plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup(s) chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon(s) whole milk
1 tablespoon(s) ketchup
3/4 cup(s) freshly grated Romano cheese
3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
3/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground black pepper
1 pound(s) ground chicken
1/4 cup(s) olive oil
1-1/2 cup(s) low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup(s) chopped fresh basil, for garnish
1/2 cup(s) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
In a medium bowl, stir together breadcrumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, Romano cheese, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken and combine well. Use a melon baller (or a teaspoon measure) to scoop the mixture; roll the seasoned chicken into 3/4-inch mini meatballs.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the meatballs and brown the tops, about 2 minutes longer. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Van Halen - 1982-11-18 - Dallas, TX

soundboard -

01 - Romeo Delight (4:13)
02 - Unchained (3:33)
03 - Drums Solo (3:05)
04 - The Full Bug (3:44)
05 - Runnin' with the Devil (3:15)
06 - Jamie's Cryin' (3:34)
07 - Little Guitars (4:23)
08 - Where Have AlltThe Good Times Gone! (3:18)
09 - Bass Solo (4:52)
10 - Hang'em High (3:18)
11 - Cathedral (1:37)
12 - Secerts (3:18)
13 - Everybody Wants Some!! (8:59)
14 - Dance the Night Away (3:07)
15 - Somebody Get Me A Doctor (incl.I'm So Glad) (6:49)
16 - Intruder (Oh) Pretty Woman (4:47)
17 - Guitar Solo (11:07)
18 - Ain't Talkin''Bout Love (4:51)
19 - Bottoms Up (4:08)
20 - You Really Got Me (incl.Happy Trails) (5:30)


Spice Rub Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille

2 zucchini squash, cut into quarters lengthwise
2 yellow squash, cut into quarters lengthwise
2 eggplants, cut into ½ inch think rounds
2 red onions, cut into ½ inch think rounds
4 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange, & 1 green), stemmed, seeded and cut into quarters
2 pints Baby Bella mushrooms
1 pint cherry tomatoes , left whole
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons Red Hot & Blue BBQ Dry Rub
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

Preheat your grill to a medium-high temperature. We prefer charcoal, but you can also use a gas grill. Place all of your cut vegetables and the mushrooms and tomatoes in a large bowl and pour the ½ cup of olive oil over the vegetables (toss and coat thoroughly). Season vegetables with Dry Rub (toss and coat thoroughly). Place vegetables on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side (tomatoes should be removed when you turn the vegetables over). On a cutting board coarsely chop your vegetables and move them to a large serving bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, oregano and basil to the grilled vegetables in the serving bowl and gently mix together. Serve at room temperature.

Friday, June 12, 2009

THE DOORS - An American Prayer (1978)

THE DOORS - An American Prayer (1978)

TRACKS: 01. Awake 02. Ghost Song 03. Dawn's Highway 04. Newborn Awakening 05. To Come Of Age 06. Black Polished Chrome 07. Latino Chrome 08. Angels And Sailors 09. Stoned Immaculate 10. The Movie 11. Curses, Invocations 12. American Night 13. Roadhouse Blues 14. The World On Fire 15. Lament 16. The Hitchhiker 17. An American Prayer 18. Hour For Magic 19. Freedom Exists 20. A Feast Of Friends 21. Babylon Fading (bonus) 22. Bird Of Prey (bonus) 23. The Ghost Song (bonus)

Moody and mesmerizing, An American Prayer is an interesting album of Jim Morrison reading his poetry over the Doors' music. An American Prayer was finished by the remaining members of the Doors after Morrison's death and finally released in 1978 (it was remastered and re-released in 1995 with bonus tracks). Those familiar with the lyrics of the Doors will not be surprised, but others may be put off because Morrison is unafraid to use crude imagery and talk unabashedly about taboo topics such as sex and religion. Although many dismiss his poetry as simplistic random musings, Morrison is a gifted lyricist with a vivid imagination. The album also demonstrates how the other musicians in the band create a mood that breathes life into Morrison's dark, twisted visions. The music excerpts of "Peace Frog" and "Wasp (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)" provide a welcome air of familiarity, and the definitive live version of "Roadhouse Blues" in the middle of the album provides a nice respite from the barrage of stories and metaphors. However, An American Prayer must be listened to in one sitting to be fully appreciated, preferably at nighttime when one is alone and can devote full attention to the listening experience. This album is not for everyone, but is a must-own for Doors completists and fans of Jim Morrison's poetry. - All Music Guide


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Critic-Turned-Cook Hits The Pit

Critic Turned Cook follows former Seattle Post-Intelligencer food critic Leslie Kelly on her journey away from the keyboard and into the kitchen as she trains at various Tom Douglas restaurants.

Can I please see a show of hands among veteran cooks of who got their start working the dish pit? It's a dirty job, but a foot in the door. One of the more memorable passages in Soul of a Chef, the book by Michael Ruhlman, is the image of a young Thomas Keller sweeping floors in his first restaurant. Scut work is hard and humbling, but it builds character, right? Makes you appreciate your spot on the line.

That's what I kept telling myself as I took my turn in the steamy dish pit at Shultzy's, a slamming-busy college pub near the University of Washington, where the lunch rush often means the dining room runs out of dishes. There's no dishwasher on staff, so everybody pitches in. The first day on the job, I saw the Mom-and-Pop owners, Don and Susan Shultze, take turns in the pit. "The problem is my glasses get steamed up," Susan said, as she cleaned out the muck that had fallen off the plates.

Initially, I was squeamish about touching people's used food. Ewww, became my mantra as I scraped plates. But I quickly got over that feeling, and powered through racks of dishes before a server showed up to relieve me. He insisted that he didn't mind. "I love coming back here at night and cranking the music," he said. "Yeah, it's kind of like going to the spa," I joked.

As a critic, I often thought of the dishwasher as the unsung hero on the culinary team, the oil that keeps the machine running. Especially at restaurants that make their reputations on tasting menus, with so many plates to clean. At The Herbfarm, a destination restaurant outside Seattle, the entire staff is introduced before the meal, including the dishwasher. Let's all give those hard-working plate jockeys a hand!

a big hand.
to Elio, Gerrardo, Juan, Geoff, Jorge, Minar, Adam, Nate, Emil, Pac Man, Pelon, Oscar, Paul, and all the other dishwashers whose names I can't remember right now,
wherever you are,

intheyearofthepig at 2:50PM on 06/11/09
I used to own and manage a fine dining restaurant and there is no more important staff position than the pearl diver. If you find one that is semi-sober and will show up for his shifts---he (or she) is worth his (or her) weight in gold. Do whatever it takes to make that person happy!!

joerob7 at 2:56PM on 06/11/09
Amen, @joerob7! A stellar dishdog deserves linecook pay, and the utmost respect. And it was never a job I minded doing...I loved training the new ones!

Cary at 2:59PM on 06/11/09
My first job was a busboy, then dishwasher at a very large and busy Woolworth's food counter. Had I received the accolades being dished out here I may have stayed. I got the lowest wage, no respect as a person and no share in the tips. That ended after a summer and I never went back into food service for pay. My next jobs were as a construction laborer; no more physically strenuous than busing and washing but paid three to four times better. The one thing I gleaned from the experience was a fascination for doing even humble foods well. Maybe that summer of humiliation was my tuition being paid in full.

czken at 4:47PM on 06/11/09
there's nothing like being handed a stack of white-hot, greasy skillets. washing the cutlery and dishes is a cake walk compared to washing the carbon-crusted filthy pots and pans for the line.
combine that with cleaning up the vomit in bathrooms, taking care of the gnarliest, most disgusting smelling garbage for less than minimum wage & no health care.
unsung heroes for sure!

dmarina at 6:05PM on 06/11/09
Doesn't strike me as a a great job.

redfish at 8:35PM on 06/11/09
I started on my journey to chefdom in the pit of a crazy busy tourist spot in my home town. The dishwasher was one of those tiny models that are meant to be put behind a bar for glassware. Brutal. I remember thinking that dishwashers were the real backbone of the industry and having fantasies about a dishwashers union.

Nowadays when I get the opportunity to toss some suds it feels like a nostalgic vacation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pig, Smoke, Pit

Hemingway, S.C.

AT 3:45 on a recent Saturday morning — as frogs croaked into the void and a mufflerless pickup downshifted onto Cow Head Road — Rodney Scott, 37, pitmaster here at Scott’s Variety Store and Bar-B-Q, gave the order.

“Flip the pigs,” he said, his voice calm and measured. “Let’s go. Some char is good — too much and we lose him.”

A. J. Shaw, a college student home for the summer, and Thomas Lewis, a onetime farmer, left their seats and joined Mr. Scott in the pit room, a rectangular shed dominated by two waist-high concrete banks, burnished ebony by wood smoke, ash and grease.

Ten butterflied pig carcasses — taut bellies gone slack, pink flesh gone cordovan — were in the pits when Mr. Lewis reached for the sheet of wire fencing on which one of the pigs had been roasting since 4 the previous afternoon. In lockstep, Mr. Shaw topped that same pig with a second sheet of fencing, reached his gloved fingers into the netting, and grabbed hold.

As the men struggled, the 150 pounds of dead weight torqued the makeshift wire cage. When the carcass landed, skin-side down, on the metal grid of a recently fired pit, skeins of grease trailed down the pig’s flanks, and the smoldering oak and hickory coals beneath hissed and flared.

“I cooked my first one when I was 11,” Mr. Scott said, as he seasoned the pig with lashings of salt, red pepper, black pepper and Accent, a flavor enhancer made with MSG.

Working a long-handled mop, he drenched the pig in a vinegar sauce of a similar peppery composition. “You’ve got to always be on point, when you’re cooking this way,” he said.

Cooking this way isn’t done much any more. This place, a couple of hours northwest of Charleston, as well as the Scott family approach to slow-smoking whole hogs over hardwood coals, appears to be vestigial.

For aficionados in search of ever-elusive authenticity, Scott’s offers all the rural tropes of a signal American barbecue joint. The main building is tin-roofed and time-worn. Dogs loll in the parking lot, where old shopping carts are stacked with watermelons in the summer, sweet potatoes in the fall. On church pews under the eave, locals visit with neighbors and barbecue pilgrims commune with foam clamshells stuffed with pulled pork, $8 a pound.

The cookery is simple, but the processes used by the Scott family are not.

In the manner now expected of the nation’s white-tablecloth chefs, the Scotts shop local, whenever possible. They buy pigs from farms in three nearby counties. And they turn to Mel’s Meat Market, in the nearby town of Aynor, for butcher work and delivery.

That commitment to local sources extends to the tools of their trade. A local welder constructs the burn barrels, where wood burns down into coals, from salvaged industrial piping and junked truck axles, the latter from a mechanic just down the road.

And then there’s the issue of the wood itself. Barbecue, as it’s traditionally defined in the South, requires loads of it. Some North Carolina restaurants buy surplus oak flooring from planing mills. Some Tennessee pitmasters bargain for hickory off-cuts from ax-handle manufacturers.

The Scotts take matters into their own hands. They trade labor and chainsaw expertise for oak, hickory and, occasionally, pecan. “If you have a tree down, we oblige,” Rodney Scott said that afternoon, following the all-night pit vigil. As he talked, his father, Roosevelt Scott, 67, founder of Scott’s, stood on the highway, negotiating with a man who had arrived with a limb from a live oak and the promise of two to three truckloads of pit fuel.

“We keep our own wood in reserve,” the younger Mr. Scott said. “We’ve got 100 acres. But most of it comes walking in. Everybody knows we’ll bring some boys and cut your tree for you, so long as we can get to it and it’s not hanging over your house or your garage.”

The crowd that Saturday afternoon was typical: Half black and half white, half locals and half pilgrims.

Locals, many of whom work at the Tupperware plant, on the other end of Cow Head Road, came to pick up half-pound orders, pulled from various quadrants of the pig and tossed with sauce in the manner of a meat salad. They knew to ask Virginia Washington — Rodney Scott’s cousin, the woman behind the high-top order counter — for a cook’s treat of fried pig skin, still smoky from the pit, still crisp from the deep fryer.

DeeDee Gammage planned to eat her barbecue between slices of white bread, in the car, on the way home. Lou Esther Black told Mrs. Washington that she would serve her take-away atop bowls of grits on Sunday morning. “I let the grease from the meat be my sauce,” Ms. Black said. “You don’t need butter.”

Locals knew that if they dawdled until the serving table ran low, Jackie Gordon, Rodney Scott’s aunt, would break down another pig on the bone table. They knew that, with a little luck, they might score a rack of spareribs, wrenched hot from a carcass.

Pilgrims lacked the locals’ foresight, but made up for it in appetite. The average out-of-town order was two pounds.

In addition to pork, day-trippers bought sauce by the gallon, hot or mild. (They were probably not aware that the sole difference is how far Mrs. Washington dips her ladle into the jug and whether she stirs, to loosen the pepper sediment.)

At the register, out-of-towners bought quart jars of locally grown and ground cane syrup from Ella Scott, the 67-year-old mother of Rodney Scott, and wondered aloud whether any of that syrup made it into the family’s sauce. (When asked, all the Scotts will say is that it has “a little sugar.”)

Visitors took side trips to the smoke-shrouded pit house where pigs lay splayed and sauce-puddled. They stared down into the mop sauce bucket, where sliced lemons bobbed.

They ogled the five-foot-tall burn barrels, where hunks of wood the size of footstools flame, then smolder, then break down into the coals that Mr. Scott and his colleagues shovel into the pits. They traded theories about the barrels’ construction, about how the coal grates within are formed by piercing the steel barrels with a crisscross of truck axles.

“Back home they’ve just about gone to gas for cooking,” said David Hewitt of Florence, S.C., as he waited for his order. “And they serve on buffet lines. This place is the last of a breed. If you like history, this place is full of it.”

At Scott’s, pilgrims like Mr. Hewitt don’t often notice the bits of vernacular engineering that have become family signatures, like the two-burner hot plate, set on a milk crate, beneath the metal table where Mrs. Washington doles out barbecue orders. (Those burners keep the barbecue at a temperature preferred by regular customers — and the health department.)

Similarly, the flattened cardboard boxes scattered about the cement floors may seem to be just a part of the ambient mess. But that corrugated carpet, stretching from bone table to the serving table, soaks up the grease that trails from pigs in transport and cushions Mrs. Washington’s feet.

The Scotts take pride in the traditions they uphold — and the innovations they have introduced.

“I started out working on cars in the front and pigs in the back,” Roosevelt Scott said, as crowds began to dwindle after the eighth pig of the day was hauled to the bone table. “We had a pool hall and, next door, a garage.” For a while, barbecue was secondary. The primary family business was what the elder Mr. Scott calls a “one door store,” stocked with dry goods, and that pool hall, which opened in 1972.

“This is a business for us,” he said. “We don’t do it the old way. We do it the best way we know how. That means a lot of oak. That means a lean pig, which means less grease and less a chance of grease fires. No matter which way you do it, though, some folks don’t want you to go nowhere.”

His son echoed his feelings. “People keep talking about how old-fashioned what we do is,” he said. “Old-fashioned was working the farm as a boy. I hated those long hours, that hot sun. Compared to that, this is a slow roll.”

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Rooftop Audition

I'd like to say "thank you" on behalf of the group and myself, and I hope we passed the audition.

Hard to beleive this happened forty years ago -

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Morning View - John Mayer

Joh Mayer reunited with his former band “John Mayer Trio” and they performed “California Dreamin” on “The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien” on Thursday (June 4). The performance of this song by the trio is featured on the DVD version of the “Where the Light is”.

Have a great Sunday

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I'm not sold, please check it out and let me know what you think -


Avenida Revolucion
Soap on a Rope
Sexy Little Thing
Oh Yeah
Runnin' Out
Get It Up
Down the Drain
My Kinda Girl
Learning to Fall
Turnin' Left
Future in the Past
Oh Yeah (radio edit) bonus


REM : complete unplugged

All The Way To Reno (You're Gonna Be A Star)
At My Most Beautiful
Sad Professor
Beat A Drum
I'll Take The Rain
I've Been High
So. Central Rain
The One I Love
Losing My Religion
Country Feedback
La Bamba
All The Way To Reno (You're Gonna Be A Star) [2nd take]
Electrolite [2nd take]
At My Most Beautiful [2nd take]
Beat A Drum [2nd take]
Find The River
Daysleeper [2nd take]
The Great Beyond
Band intros
The One I Love [2nd take]
So. Central Rain [2nd take]


Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner