Tales from the Wandering Cook

Started by echoes, July 29, 2022, 02:06:55 PM

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Summer drinks.

You must 21, or add you applicable age relative to where you live, to ride this train.

So most people know the White Russian cocktail, maybe you have had one or you have a friend who has had one. Its a simple cocktail, one of those classic cocktails that everyone tries at some point and time or another. Its a vodka based drink that combines coffee liqueur with cream to create a rather exotic mix of flavors. The vodka can be any of choice but I tend to use Absolute of Kettle One. The coffee Liqueur is usually Kahlua and the cream is usually a light cream though some people do heavy cream.

Now I am not a coffee person, which I have mentioned before, but I have had more than one carafe of these drinks while out with friends during my college years. Mind you, I first attended Uni in the early nineties, so this was before the drink was popularized by the movie, "The Big Lebowski," as I am told that this was the preferred drink of "the Dude" of Lebowski fame.

Its a summer drink, meant to be on ice and it was the predecessor to the drink I wanted to share with you today.

The Colorado Bulldog
^Good God This is an obnoxious color.... Im leaving it

Take the white Russian and Add cola ( and by cola we all know I mean coke.) That's it, you basically make an alcoholic root beer float without the root beer Don't ask me why it tastes like this, something about the coffee liqueur and the cola that changes the taste profile and it comes out like a boozy float. Serve over ice and work towards that well deserved buzz.

1.5 Ounces Vodka
1 Coffee Liqueur ( Kahlua)
1 Ounce light cream/milk
1-2 ounces of cola

Add in that order over ice and giv it a swirl. See what you think.




Going to do another drink and then will get back to doing food on Friday. Im planning to make lamb kabobs, couscous, grilled veggies. homemade hummus and table bread along with a fresh spring salad with homemade vinaigrette. So, see you Friday if you are interested.

Now, despite all that sounding very Mediterranean, the drink I am going to throw your way if not based in Ouzo and Sambuca.  First, much like the previous post, we have to start with the original and then get the variant so, without anymore stalling, let's talk about the Rattlesnake shot.

First, I have no idea why this combo is called the Rattlesnake because, unlike a Rattlesnake, this one doesn't warn you. What do I mean by that? Well, here are the ingredients:

Coffee Liqueur
Creme de Cacao ( chocolate ) Liqueur
Irish Cream.

Notice, none of the heavy hitters are making an appearance. No Vodka, Bourbon, Rum, Scotch etc. In fact, mixed together and the average proof is in the low 40% and that isn't even pregame. in fact, this is a lovely and smooth, "sweet," shot that goes great with dessert.

I like an alcohol that tells you what will happen if you imbibe to much. Bourbon, for example, warns you from the first burn that it will push you shit in should you decide to drink to much. Same with Scotch, Tequila and son. Schnapps, liqueurs and so one fucking lie to you, "We taste sweet, we are fun, drink a lot of us." You do so at your own peril. I will not go into the night I played the drinking game, "Three Man" while doing rattlesnakes. That is not something we talk about outside of Fight Club, but, I will tell you. When I was asked if I was a God, I said YES!

Back to the shot. This is a fun shot, no bite and the mix of coffee, chocolate and creme is pretty much what some of you get at Starbucks every day. If you do it right you can layer the liquids so they stay separated but I always forget the order in which they go so I just mix them up. You can chill this shot, shake it over ice to thin it out or go at room temperature. Its flexible, fun and tastes good.

The Slippery Snake

This is easy and it changes the profile by pulling the Creme de Cacao and replaces it with Buttershots ( Butterscotch) Same portions either 1/2 oz of each liqueur or 1oz of each. I tend to the 1 oz each. I prefer this at room temp but you can shake it and strain it over ice if you will.

So there, 2 more drinks and then on Friday there will be kebabs.




30 Minute Italian Sausage in Linguini

So I have switched departments at work a few months back and now have moved to closing my department Mon-Wed each week. This works out pretty well considering the GF works overnights as a nurse so she is gone 7-7 in a normal 12 hour shift. What this does is give us the mornings together before she passes out and then I start getting ready for work around 11 or 11:15 local time. I have a 30 minute drive, that I try to give myself the minimum 45 minutes to an hour to get to work, because we live in a town 20 or so miles from the city we work in. Now, to major metropolitan areas, that is nothing as it takes 20 minutes just to get to a store, but what I am setting up here is that when I get home around 930 (2130) usually everyone else has eaten and some have even gone to bed in the house. I don't have a lot of time to make food because I want to get some sleep, or spend time with the GF before she passes out. Cooking on the quick with minimum fuss and mess is a must.


2 Primo Italian Sausage links
Linguini Pasta
Heavy Cream
Vegetable broth/Stock
Minced Garlic
Diced Onions ( fresh, frozen, dried )
Salt/pepper and herbs to taste.

get water going in a pot with a dash or three of salt. Get enough water  to cover roughly 3 servings of linguini. This will make either 2 large portions or 3 medium portions so set yourself up for leftovers.

In a large sauté skillet get an ounce of butter going on medium high and then get the sausages in. You want to brown all sides of the sausage but dont let them burn. Once you've got them browned you take one sausage out at a time, slice it down then middle and then slice the two halves into 1/4 inch ( 4 mm) thick chunks. Put this back in the pan and then do the other one. Once the sausage is almost all the way cooked pull all pieces out and onto a plate with a paper towel on it to get rid of excess oil.

By now water should be boiling get pasta in and set timer to 10-11 minutes depending on how you like your pasta to feel firmness wise.

2 -3 more tablespoons of butter into the skillet and drop the temp to medium. melt and add onion's, sauté for 2 minutes and add garlic. ( I used frozen onions and pre minced garlic so if you only have a fresh onion and whole cloves of garlic do not add the butter until you prep those items as the butter will burn while it waits for you.) You want the onions to be translucent and the garlic to just start to brown when you add just under 1/3 cup of flour. Mix in and make a roux.

While the roux continues to cook, and in between stirring, shredder about 1/2 a cup of Manchego cheese. Once the roux, which should have just the slightest of brown color due to the sausage drippings and then cooking, has warmed add the cheese and stir. this will make an unholy looking glob of sauce base goodness. Add in the cream and stir until the gooey blob starts to settle into a sauce. from here you start adding in the veggie broth/stock to get the consistency you want.

NOW... do not make it to think because when you strain the pasta you will keep some of the water in reserve to add to the sauce. At first this water will think the sauce our, but the starch that has separated from the pasta while cooking will then thicken the sauce up when it cools.

Add cream, or veggie broth until you get the profile you want and then season with salt, pepper or whatever you want to add. Cayenne works well here if you want heat. Add the sausage back in, turn the heat up and just under a boil. I also encourage a spalsh of lemon juice to bring out additional flavor profiles.

When the pasta is finished pour into a colander but save several tablespoons of water to add to the sauce. Pour pasta into the skillet and mix well. Garnish with shredded Parm cheese or parsley flakes.

Start to finish this can be done in about 22 minutes with time to clean up the counter and dishes bringing you right to 30.




"Oh My Stars and Garter"s - Paul Beattany as Geoffrey Chaucer

So I went all in and let myself have some fun while cooking. Here was the menu for tonight:

Lamb Kebabs ( Mediterranean Style)
Carrot and Pea Parmesan Couscous
Grilled Veggies ( Squash, Zucchini, onion and Cherry Tomatoes
Everything Bagel Hummus
Naan Bread
Pistachio Cheesecake with Caramel Drizzle and homemade Whipped Cream

I already did a Hummus earlier so I am not going into that again. Just change out roasted Garlic with the everything Bagel seasoning. ( I cheated and used a pre-made but you can make your own.)

Also, already did Naan bread but, this time, it was perfect. I proofed it differently and got a better result. I have a small room with a washer and dryer in it. I could call it a laundry room but it really and oversized closet. I had been doing laundry so the room was the perfect temp to be a proofing room. I also bought a new grill this year and one half of the grille is a flat top. these two things gave my fluffy light Naan with a perfect outer shell. So not doing that recipe.

Lastly, have done Couscous and my game on that is pretty strong and the veggies were just cut up, olive oil and seasoning salt so they are super easy and I am going to skip.

I will do an entry for the Lamb kebabs here and then another one for the Pistachio Cheese Cake later.

Lamb Kebabs

Why Lamb, they are cute and fluffy and they taste really good! I used a boneless lamb shoulder and spent a bit of time trimming off a majority of the marbling ( fat) before cutting the remaining meat down into 1/2" (1/25 cm) cubes. I started off with about 4.5 pounds (2 kilos) of lamb and ended up with about 3 lbs (1.35) rendered.

The Marinade
1 large onion
5 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon sugar in the raw ( coarse brown sugar)
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice

Notice the last five have no measurements. do this to your taste.

Make your marinade in a food processor and you are looking for a pesto like consistency. I then added the lamb to a mixing bowl and poured the marinade on top. Mix well, coating as evenly as possible before transferring to a zip-lock bag. Seal and place in fridge for at least 2 hours but the longer the better as this will continue to tenderize the meat and add flavor.

Now I did kebabs with wooden skewers but if you have metal ones you can obviously skip this part. 30 minutes before cooking count out 10 or so skewers and get them soaking in hot water.

When skewering you do not want to jam the meat as tightly together as possible let the pieces hold their natural shape as best you can. this will make for more even cooking. While I did pure meat skewers you can intermix meat with veggies here should you desire. the combo I did on the flat top was listed above but you can do chucks of these same veggies on the skewer. You should not, not all the marinade will stay on the meat. that is fine, what stays in the bag is not to be worried about and just throw it away. The veggies can be seasoned lightly with salts and brushed with olive oil once they are skewered

After this, on to a preheated grill and let them cook at their own pace. You are looking at a couple of minuted before a rotation so about 8-10 minutes is a standard cook type to get mostly medium rare and medium pieces./ Some grilles cook faster/slower than others, so the set time doesn't help you here. If you do this, and you have your own grille, you know your grille and I don;t. Trust your instincts.





Haven't done much here in the last month but that doesn't mean I haven't been cooking. Fired up the pizza oven this last weekend. The S/o spent a girl's week away in Illinois trail riding with her friend and so I made fresh dough and fixings for personal pizzas and welcomed her back Sunday with Salad, handmade Pizzas and a Caramel Pie with chocolate topping. Flat out failed to get the filling to set to it was like a caramel s'more trapped between a tempered chocolate topping and Grahmn cracker crust. This was a fail successfully as the taste was amazing but the execution was sloppy.

So, if you didn't see earlier posts where I mentioned this, I build a pizza oven off my back porch a while back and I have decided to add to it a bit. I pouring a concrete shell atop the bricks to help keep heat in and I am going to make a mold and pour a front to the oven to keep heat in. The front will be removable so that I can clean the oven out easily but this will help speed up the cooking process which takes a good 12 minute per pizza. Something I have learned about the style of oven I made; It CONSUMES fuel at a voracious rate. Luckily I always have limbs down around the edges of the yard so I am not depopulating a forest or anything.

Also this week I was able to harvest the first of my fresh herbs and this was good times. My herb garden was planted a while ago but and enterprising raccoon decided to dig up almost all my seedlings do to his anger at my garbage cans being closed. ( he was using the planters as a spring board to get to the cans.) The cans were moved and the herbs were replanted. I harvested Basil, Dill, Cilantro, Parsley and catgrass for my cats. I will be cutting the opal basil this week and a few others in the days to come. I am really looking forward to using the Opal Basil because not only is it fragrant, its purple and I plan to do an Opal basil Risotto with bacon and Gouda as a compliment to either steaks or chicken here soon.

Speaking of Gouda, the GF got two new "barn cats," from the shelter and they are never going to be barn cats. They are orange and white and their names are Nacho and Gouda and I refer to them as the "cheese itz." This name has been adopted by everyone in the house.

So, not much about food tonight, that will come in a later post. Soon, more food and some other stuff about cooking like :
What does E listen to while he cooks
Does E dance while he cooks
What is a go to meal
Cheap eats on a budget
and more




So, what does E listen to while he cooks?

Good question that no one asked but I am putting it out there because I want to talk about music. The name is Echoes for a reason; sound is important to me. A little background to give perspective. My parents signed me up for band in elementary school and I decided I did not want to learn all the important stuff that is involved with music that I had no idea about. For those of you who are musically inclined; you know where this going. Instead of an instrument that could, later in life and not as an 8 year old, make wonderful music, I decided to pick up a pair of sticks and beat things. Oddly enough, in these later years, that has paid off in non musical ways and those stories can only be read by approved members on this site.

I digress. Imagine that.

Yes, I became a percussionist which, at that young age meant you hit a snare drum, a bass drum or a cymbal to whatever terrible rendition of a song we were performing. I stuck with it, through middle and high school all the way to college and eventually learned scales and several of the nuances of music that you don't know about as a kid. But let's back track a bit and get perspective to what I was listening to before college. The parents liked country but I never fell into that genre, it didn't reach out to me but, for those who like country, I do respect that art because it is still music even if I don't like it. I was drawn to pop and, I didn't realize this at the time, an alternative sound. I also, or so I think, was there for the true emergence of Rap as a sound. Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Whoodini, LL Cool J, Afrika Bambata, NWA, Ice-T, 2 Live Crew; am I dating myself yet? I heard this sound and listened and yet Rap, like country, didn't reach out to me. As a drummer, ahem, percussionist, in High School I found Rush but I had to do this on my own as I had no older siblings. So, while U2 dominated the stations REM, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure were hitting the college radio stations and I found something that got my attention. Then, in the span of a few years, my future self found part of what I call home. 1989 and NIN releases Pretty Hate Machine, 1990 sees Sisters of Mercy release Vision Thing and Depeche Mode release Violator. Then 1992 see the releases of Rage Against the Machine by Rage Against the Machine and Opiate by Tool; my sound just got a foundation. I had to find a lot of this on the college station and MTV because, back then, MTV actually played music.

Anywho, once in college my music selection grew by leaps and bounds and I left the comfort of Pink Floyd and 80's pop to embrace something louder, darker and driving. It was also at this time that I made it to my first club and found another new sound; Techno. I embraced club life in the middle sized city I lived in at the time and this where, for better or worse, I got hooked into something that stays with me to this day. How did I get there, ok, grab and drink and get ready for this ride.

I am a geek, not the hard core card carrying know every role-playing game system ever made geek, but I am a geek. Old school table top from the early 80's D&D ( love me some WOD before the God Machine) geek but, outside of being a murder hobo ready to loot the next cave the party found, I had a game I found and liked called "Battletech." People operating giant robots and blowing the shit out of other robots. How does this fit into music you may ask. Well, when I first made it to college I was on campus and I saw a group of guys playing this game and it turns out there was a gaming group on campus; I had just found my people and I was already hooked before I knew it. I ended up joining this non Greek group, appropriately named the MSU ( Miskatonic Student union for those of you who know Lovecraft) and this is where I stayed during my first stint at higher learning. (I might tell some stories of the dumb shit we did in the MSU including robbing a Frat house of Composite picture they had stolen from a neighboring university's sorority one summer but that will be somewhere else of this site.)

Anyway, after a couple of years with the group a watershed moment occurred. It just so happened that a former member of this group had gotten back from a stint in the military, and other places I will never go to, and he had a bit of money to spend. This guy had clubbed on the West Coast of the US, and other places, and had decided to open a club here in town. So, after a normal night of gaming, several of the people I was with decided to go to said club and finish the night. They asked if I wanted to come and I tagged along. Normally I wouldn't have been able to get into a club, I was 20 by now and the club/ drinking age is 21 here, but this club was all ages and didn't serve alcohol. So I figured why not, try something new and hang with friends. This wasn't in my wheelhouse, I had no idea what i was getting into but it was something new and I decided to go.

This place was a hole in the wall and everything from the walls up was painted black. The music was rattling the windows and was a garble of sound out on the street when we got there. We payed cover, went in, and that, friends, was me falling down a rabbit hole. I ran into a dozen people I knew in high school, and had met in college, before I even made it to the dance floor. The music struck the chest, hit the spine and pushed the body to move. A quick side note: I can keep time and I can dance; the parents saw to that, and I never thought it would pay off. I ended up dancing with two ladies, one who I graduated with and her friend, grinding to LaTour's "Blue" ( from Basic Instinct) like it was something I was meant to do. Don't worry, there is no "hook up" story here, I didn't, but I was hooked. I was there every Friday and Saturday until eventually I got a job there.

First i was on the door, boring as fuck, and as a bouncer and behind the "bar" but eventually I became a DJ there doing retro 80's and then techno before the club was sold and we moved to another place. I expanded and embraced the sounds I wanted to play. I did industrial along with 80's and techno. I played what I wanted to play but one talent I had then, and I keep to this day, I can read a crowd. if we had a headliner back then, someone who was brought in who had a name in the scene, I was the one they always put before them to get the floor full. I have my tricks, my sound, but my goal was to get people to move their asses. One of the secrets to this is knowing what I want to move my ass to.

So, that is a bit of background and way to many words before we talk about cooking, which is what this is supposed to be about. When I cook I have the bluetooth on and have it on loud. As of late it has been psuedo pop and not so much alt. I want happy music, something that make the body meet the soul as I cook. Go on Spotify and look for a playlist called "Chatckee," here are some of the songs:

Sucker- Jonas Brothers
Cake by the Ocean - DNCE
South Side - Moby
Dance, Dance - Fall out Boy
Feel it Still - Portugal, the Man
Hey Look Ma, I made it - Panic! At The Disco
Nancy Boy - Placebo

I want something that make makes me move while I cook. I want to step and swerve as I get the food groove on. I want something upbeat and, for the most part happy. Back when I worked in a restaurant I wanted loud and driving. I wanted NIN, Ministry, White Zombie and Sister of Mercy. I wanted something to drive me and the others around me to get a tempo. Now I want the feels, the vibe or whatever else kids call it today. If I want a groove I go to a playlist called "Sunday:"

Remedy - The Black Crows
Always on the Run - Lenny Kravitz
How you Like me Now - The Heavy
Your Loves Whore - Wolf Alice
Lighten Up, Francis - Puscifer

And yeah, I step, I swerve and I get into the moment as I boil pasta and burn meats. Breakfast, lunch and dinner I groove. I don't drop to the ground, fuck me Im old and I have never been able to do that, but I could work at a gay bar and make bank as a CIS tease. I like the feeling of letting go and singing along as I make food. Maybe it makes it better, maybe it doesn't but that is all immaterial as feeling good while you do something is what it is all about.

So, there, that is out there. As always you are welcome to send me a PM regarding my posts. I hope that the next time you cook you put music on, something you want to hear, something you want to feel, and you let go a bit. Dance like no one is watching. Sing along and make a meal you want to get into. Hell, get the NIN going and make hate food you will regret later but need ... RIGHT... NOW!

Anyone who is reading this, and there are a few of you, hit the companion thread and tell me what you like to listen to. I don't care if it is something from " Two Steps from Hell," or "She thinks my Tractor's Sexy." you are welcome to share here.

Night all.




I have more food pron coming for you soon. I made herb infused butter this week along with an amazing Fettuccine with Garlic and Gruyere. I have a play on a chicken scallopini that s both simple and a giant pain in the ass but it takes it up a level.

More soon. beer now.




so, more food pron....

I decided that I wanted to try something different and I would make butter. let's just say that we take this very simple food for granted. I mean, who doesn't like butter? ( I can already hear Paula Dean saying " No One" but she is kinda sketch and I am not in her boat.) It is the basis of a lot of different styles and ways of cooking. From the beginnings of  a simple Roux to the coating of a really good baked potato, butter is important to so many aspects of cooking. We easily shell out several dollars for one pound, four sticks, in grocery markets around America and, while I do not know the conversion rates around the rest of the world I bet that it is similar. Now, yes, you cook with oils, and Ghee, and other "fat" products but butter is a staple in American Households.

So, what is "butter?"

It's manipulated heavy cream with additives. When I say Additives I mean salt and herbs and occasionally another oil. The salt and herbs add flavor and the oil can make it spreadable and less dense. When I say "manipulated" I mean it is beaten or agitated until it separates is liquid ( buttermilk) to become a solid from a liquid. Now, I am not a fan of buttermilk itself but I can use it to cook, this, however, is not about buttermilk.

So, let's get into making butter. What do you need? simple. Heavy cream, the higher the fat count the better. a little salt and herbs for flavoring if that suits your fancy. How hard is it to make? It is not hard but you need a few things:

A mixer or butterchurn
Cheesecloth or something porous but not a colander

So to make butter I used a stand mixer and threw in about a quart of heavy cream. set it on medium speed and let it do its work. Note to self: do not use a high speed or that shit is going to go everywhere. let is run, and run, and run. First you will make whipped cream and resist the urge to add sugar and enjoy homemade whipped cream. that is the bomb when you make it fresh. Let it keep going and going until the mixer starts to separate the liquid from the solid. it will happen in an instant, especially if you are not watching it but in my case it took about ten minutes.

important note here.... USE A PADDLE AND NOT A WHISK!!!!!!! trust me, do not use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer or you will spend more time trying to beat the solid out of the whisk than you do making the actual butter.

So, the liquid start to separate and at this point you have butter curds. when you see this happening you need to get an ice bath ready. Ice and water in a big bowl and have it ready. Stop the mixer and use a spatula, or your hands, and gather the butter up and away from the remaining liquid. What I did then was drop the solid mass on the cheesecloth and wrap it up before immediately soaking it in the ice bath. Squeeze and work the butter in the cloth in the ice bath. What you are doing here is squeezing out the last of the liquid that could be hiding in the butter. You want the liquid out because if you done the butter could go rancid. From here you then get the butter out of the ice bath and you add salt. do it to taste. add herbs or whatever you want.

This is my new heterosexual man crush, no really, I love this guy. Just look how happy he is making butter. Anyway, watch this ( I did) here. I wanted to make my own and youtube came to my rescue. Try it , trust me, the fresh butter will beat anything you can buy in the store and you can season it to however you want. Also, this will show you that even professionals make mistakes. I'm an amateur and I fuck up all the time. I still suck at making bread but when I made my last try at butter I made a rosemary garlic bread to  go with it. British bake off would have said the flavor was there but it was "stodgey" / dense, the taste was amazeballs though so points for that. Also, fresh bread and homemade butter is the bomb.

Ok. so that is it, I'm a little buzzed and about to rock some Back4blood with a friend but I wanted to drop this in here.

As always



I didn't realize that I have been adding posts to this thread, I still don't see it as a "traditional" blog, for over a year now. For those who have checked in and checked out what I have been doing.


Thank you.

I try to live a boring life overall. I just turned 50 this month and I am sooooo not trying to keep up with all the dumb stuff my 20 something self did. I am very glad that my youth happened before the age of instant gratification and instant crucifixion because the internet rarely forgives and it never forgets. That said, I do not find food or drink boring so I am always happy when cooking and having cocktails. Now, when I say cocktails I am not talking about the era when you had bourbon neat for lunch and dessert was a cigarette style cocktails. Overall, I am a beer person at heart but I enjoy the occasional mixed drink. Being that it is fall I plan to experiment with a play of three different drinks and once I get some results I will share them here. So, keep an eye out for the following:

Salted Caramel Appletini


and maybe something pumpkin spice but I will have to get a review from the S/O as I do not like pumpkin anything.

Again, thanks for following along. I really appreciate that and I hope you have found something here that made you want to try cooking on your own. I have some more recipes coming up and, Yeah I know, I need to learn how to do pictures and all that jazz. I hate to say I am a bit lazy in that regard, well, that and I forget to take pictures while I am cooking.




So have not forgotten the thread, trust me, I think about cooking a lot. I've just been crazy busy as of right now. I have people coming over on Saturday this week and then next week I am cooking for a Hunt group. What the actual F is a "hunt group?"

Well you all prolly have figured out from reading this that my GF is a horse person and she is part of a group based in Ohio that is a "Fox" hunt group. They ride horses, dress up in formal hunt attire and ride over the country side while occasionally jumping over things on their horses. They also eat like a Roman Bacchanal and drink like Van Halen on tour in the 80's.

This week I am doing a homemade pizza buffet and next week is a Kebab buffet. If you all are interested what I will do is try to write down all the marinades I use for the Kebabs. There will, as always, be vegetarian options to go along with the variety of grilled meats.

More Later,




The name sounds exotic, just as one might imagine a drink originating in Antebellum New Orleans might sound. Along with its geographical pedigree comes the taboo nature of one of its ingredients. This cocktail is made using Absinthe; whose over inflated psychoactive properties gave the dink some mystery that still hold until this day. Then, finally, there is the preparation, a combination of showmanship and pomposity that this newest generation of cocktail artists eats up.

First, the ingredients:

Cognac or a Rye Whiskey/Bourbon
(I use Basil Hayden's Rye Bourbon)
Absinthe ( Herbsaint can be substituted here)
A Sugar Cube
Bitters ( Most use Peychaud's)

The mix.

This is where is gets kinda hoity in here. First you need two Old fashioned glasses, also called lowball glasses. They are the glass version of your 8 oz plastic cups for you heathens out there. In the first glass you add about a half ounce or so of Absinthe and you swirl it in the glass to coated the sides. Then add crushed ice and let it sit.

In the other glass you place the sugar cube and bitters. Muddle the two and then add the bourbon or cognac. Finally, add more crushed ice to this combination and mix

Finally, with the first glass you give it one more swirl and then pour everything out. Strain the mix without the ice from the second glass into the first and then add an orange peel for garnish should you wish.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

The Absinthe has a strong Anise flavor that pairs with the rye or cognac giving the cocktail a distinctive aroma and taste. I have found that if you do not like Anise ( which I normally don') you can change this out with a strong orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or Contrieau.

More drinks soon.




I'm just going to get right to it and give you a terrible idea. Caramel infused vodka. Now, I do not know which camp you are in, the Care-ah-mel or the Car-mhel, but this is something that absolutely sounds like an enabler of bad decisions later in the night. This is the basis of my salted caramel Appletini, it is easy to make, andI am going to tell you the cheat mode on how to do it.

First, the normal way:

1 oz Salted caramel candies
8 oz of evil potato liquor. ( or wheat liquor)

Place both in a seal-able container, shake or agitate and then let sit and dissolve however long it takes.


Second, the fast way:

2 oz of liquid salter caramel topping ( I used Godiva's that can sometime be found in the coffee aisle )
8 oz of the same evil clear liquor.

Mix and let sit for 12-24 hours.

The Salted Caramel Appletini

2 Oz of the above vodka
1 oz Hard apple cider
2 oz of normal apple cider
splash of lemon juice
garnish with a salt rim and apple wedge

Mix the liquids and shake over ice. Pour through strainer into glass and garnish..



I had an off night cooking tonight, I felt the dinner was a bit substandard and didn't feel as if anything came out perfect. also cut myself right on the tip of my index finger. Was it a knife? No. that would have been respectable.... if was on a jagged piece of foil from a wine bottle. MF! This has been the first night I have been "off" in a while and it was a bit frustrating. Sunday I am cooking for about 50 people so it is probably good that I got it out of the way tonight. I am doing a breakfast and a dinner on Sunday so I need to get my cooking game on point.

I will try for a better looking post later, maybe not till next week, but I need to get back in the saddle of writing and I have been real slow getting back on that horse.




A little about me cause right now I am running a pretty decent food "high." I cut my teeth in an Applebees back in 1993. I was the expo, the food expediter; this is the mook who gets the plates from the cook line and gets them associated with various tickets. We add garnishes, sometimes make salads depending on the brand, and we yell for servers from the time we get to work until we leave. I guess the position is now made famous by Gordon Ramsey's "hell's kitchen" as the "pass" but to me it will always be expo. I was a good expo, a corporate trainer, and could roll a friday or a saturday solo if needs be ( and they did more than once.) How good was I, well, I was good enough to get into a shouting match with a GM when he fucked the kitchen so hard that we bled ( had a cook cut himself.) Old boy saw dollar signs one night and filled the entire store up in a stupid short amount of time. He  wouldn't put us on a wait, he wanted us to turn and burn tables and I went out and asked the hostess to start a wait cause she was killing us. Said GM was back in the kitchen 5 minute after me talking to the hostess, yelling at me that I should never raise my voice at a hostess. Now, 1 ) I didn't I went out begging, 2) and I hate to sound sexist but she was a mid teen, blonde and with amazing breasts; She cried and he came for blood. I looked at him and pointed to the "rail" that held the checks and told him he was going to buy everything past "x" check because we were slammed and in the weeds. I told him I will do my best, he could fire me, he could take over for me and I would leave no questions asked, and he could comp everything or he could put us on a wait and throw and apron on and help us get out of this shitshow. That night, luckily for me, I did not get fired, he put on an apron and helped us climb tooth and nail out of the weeds.

Later that night I signed my write up for talking inappropriately to a manager. I also wrote down why I did so, how the hostess exaggerated what I did and finished my peace with, "But I was right."

I never got fired from there, I left on good terms a year later to go full time at a club in town as an assistant manager and DJ. I never fulling left kitchens and the food bizz until 2005 when they closed a store down, with another concept, that I had been at for 8 or 9 years. the company closing that store down broke my heart. I had an employee who I hired as a hostess while she was still in high school who was about to graduate college. I had a kitchen where I had ZERO, that is NO turnover, for 2 years. Those of you in the industry know that is crazy, its nearly impossible, but I did it. I had everyone in the "heart of the house" ( the kitchen) cross trained on at least 3 positions and no one let ego get in the way of getting shit done. Yeah, we were dysfunctional in ways but we were on fire most of the time. These were my people, my second family and we spoke English and Spanish at all times. When they closed us my store had run for a year with no GM ( General Manager) and ran with 3 Assistant managers. We figured out a way to rarely work more than 50 hours a week, 2 days off, and if you didn't get 2 in a row you got a weekend day off. We all took our vacations and we didn't kill ourselves. Again, those in the industry, read that and realize what we did. When they finally gave us a new GM it was basically to set us up for the end. They were to get us to a point where they could close us down,

The reason for this was, despite being paid off as a store, we did not generate enough sales to keep us alive. We were and older location and we couldn't support the needs of a company that had screwed up its financials by making bad business choices. I still remember going to the final meeting with my then GM, the Area manager and HR  and them trying to sell me a story of how the company would bounce back. I was already on my Area Manager's shitlist cause I had called him out a few times for things he did and I knew he didn't really want me to stay. As the meeting began I cut off his spiel and looked right at the HR rep and asked her what the severance would be. Finding out I would get 9 weeks pay, vacation pay and 1 extra week I said I was out and where do I need to sign. I think he was relieved but what he didn't know was that as soon as the ink was dry I went and told the other two assistants who I worked with what I did what I got and that I would be at a nearby bar having a drink. A half an hour later they were both there with me, both of them having said "deuces" and a Big FU to the GM and the area who was counting on both of them to stay.

My work was done.

This is all a intro into my point, and that was, I was a beast at prep even more than expo. I can cook, I can throw down plates but I have always been good at getting everything ready for a service. Tomorrow I am cooking for 40 - 50 people and at home tonight I ripped off a F-ton of food. Mandarin orange and sriracha beef, Rosemary Ranch Chicken, Tequila lime chicken, Balsamic and honey pork, veggie kabobs, Tuscan style potatoes, pasta salad, mac and cheese, Hot brown biscuits, homemade garlic butter and herb butter and a few more foods in under 4 hours. I also packed up all the resources I need to prep and finish cooking at the event tomorrow. packed 2 cars and loaded a grille. I only have one sink side with dirty dishes, a dishwasher running and the other side with drying dishes.

back in the day I pissed one of my cooks off because he came to work and I was doing something that was really dumb; and I am sure is a violation of health code. I was at work, in the kitchen, in cut off BDU's ( so now cargo shorts) in socks and sandals ( don't cringe) and I prepped 5 or 6 sauces, rice, beans and I can't remember what else that day. Then I cooked on line until I left. When I left the white socks were still white, I had no food on my legs or shorts and he was covered from boots to waist in the remains of the service.

So yeah, at 50 I still got it. I can still prep food on short order while dancing and bopping to music. Was doing techno remixes and then a retro rock set with everything from "Kashmir" to "Fame."

You know what.

I feel good.

Tell you about service tomorrow after the fact. let see if I pull this shit off. I am up at 5:45... its 11:18 right now for local time and I am am about to pretend I am in my 20's again.

Cheers all, thanks for reading . I really appreciate it.



I'm trying to get in the habit of writing every Monday night and this is going to be my first concentrated effort to do just that. While I don't always post here I am going to at least try and post somewhere on the site. Tonight, instead of talking about cooking I am going to mention some stuff I find that I am always using and list it here. Nothing will be crazy obscure or esoteric, that would be pointless for most of us trying to figure out what we want to make for dinner on any given night. So here are somethings I always try to have on hand:

I will skip the staples; sugar, flour and the like but I will say I usually have several sticks of both salted and unsalted butter. Now, funny truth about me; I have lost part of my sense of taste and smell as they are linked together. Back when I was 24, actually on my birthday, some person I didn't know gifted me a broken nose along with several other nasty gifts. I will tell this story another time but I will say, and you won't believe me, I wasn't drunk. No really. There were reasons for that but again, another time. One of the byproducts of this, or at least that I attribute to this night, is that I cannot taste or smell certain things. Now, in some ways, this has been a boon ( I was unable to smell what my once teenaged son's room smelled like is a good example) but it also means I miss the nuances that can separate a good cook from a great chef. I'm from the land of Bourbon and those who can pick out all the subtle flavors and aromas can get quite hoity in regards to their tastes in Bourbon. Everything tastes like varying degrees of burn to me... luckily I like the burn and so I still like Bourbon. So the salted unsalted is less about taste but more about what a recipe might call for.

Outside of the staples I usually have a carton each of Chicken, Beef and Vegetable broth/stock on hand. I don't have time to make my own, though I have in the past, but these three can elevate food. Mac and cheese noodles cooked in half water/ half broth takes it up a notch. For those of you who like hot dogs, same thing with beef broth and water. Boil the dogs in this until the swell and then put them on the grill and one) you will never have a dry dog again, two) the flavor really comes out or so I am told.

I usually have a pint or quart of heavy cream in the fridge because homemade whipped cream can be made to the sugar content you want and the freshness beats store bought every time. Also, as I posted earlier in this thread, fresh butter is so good.

Lemon Juice - this ends up in so many things to bring out other flavors and enrich a dish. Just a splash here or there can make something pop. Now, fresh lemons are best but in a pinch the juice works almost as well.

Spice wise I have grown to really like Paprika along with my Quad of: salt, pepper, powdered onion and garlic. I keep Paprika in my fridge because I think it keeps it fresher. Think of Lawry's seasoning salt and Paprika along with Tumeric give the salt the red color. Also, the above 4 are the basis of Lawry's so if you don't have Lawry's try adding a dash of garlic and powdered onion to your next batch of fries and enjoy.

I always have Olive Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil around. Butter I use for cooking but oil is for when I saute.

Those are some simple things I always keep about, cooking without them seems weird now.

More Later.