Tales from the Wandering Cook

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

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Was going to try and make Sunday/Monday my regular writing days but I have my son down for his Birthday and I don't plan on being on much. When I get back next week I will be sharing a shrimp recipe and a review of Basil Hayden's Dark Rye Bourbon. The Bourbon will the more exciting of the two.





Been a week since I last  posted and here I am, on time, and posting tonight. Said I was going to talk about a Bourbon and I intend to do just that tonight.

Basil Hayden's part of the Jim Beam Small Batch Bourbon family and we will get to the Bourbon after we do a little history and splaining of what Bourbon is. As any good story goes, the origination of the name and where it was first used is a point of contention. One myth says it started in Bourbon County Kentucky, another on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It has been made since the late 18th century and is most often associated with the State of Kentucky. Alcohols, if you didn't know, wax and wan at various times throughout their lives. Not to long ago there was a Tequila craze and before that it was Vodka; now it is currently Bourbon's heyday.

For an alcohol, specifically whiskey, to be called a Bourbon it must have a "mash" (Mash is a composition of  "cereal grains such as rye, barley, wheat or corn that is fermented) made up of no less that 51% Corn along with other grains. Most mashes take some of their components from from a previous batch's mash for consistency of flavor. In Addition to the mash requirements the liquor must be aged in new charred oak containers ( barrels.) The aging process is what gives Bourbon its distinctive coloring as it draws from the carmelized charred wood. There are several steps that go in the aging process, along with some science and some stories but I am not going into all that now. What I will say is that the Bourbon in the barrels gets, opened, diluted down to 80 Proof ( 40% alcohol by volume) and the gets bottled. When I said that Basil Hayden's is a Small Batch Bourbon that only means that fewer barrels were opened and mixed to produce this batch.

Basil Hayden's as mentioned before is from the Jim Beam/Suntory family of spirits. Jim Beam has a variety of lines including:

Basil Hayden
Knob Creek

Where Jim Beam is, like Basil Hayden, a 80 Proof/ 40% ABV beverage Booker's clocks in at 120-130/60-65%, Baker's at 107/53.5% and Knob Creek at 100/50% or 120/60%. Also owned by Beam Suntory is Beam's Sister brand, Maker's Mark, which comes in at 90/45%.

So, Basil Hayden's Dark Rye and what to expect. Do not expect that punch in the mouth burn that a lot of Bourbon's, especially the higher proofed drinks, give. You the first thing you will notice is that it is sweet, sweeter that you were really ready for. It is a smooth drink that doesn't linger until it is unwanted. There are nuances that I cannot explain because I lost some of my sense of smell and tastes yeeeeeears ago as part of a birthday present. A review by "Breaking Bourbon uses words like Strawberry Jam, Cherries, cherries, currants, and more cherries while saying it is very wine/port forward.  It's not "yeasty/bready" like some bourbons can get, there is something more simple but it is not peaty or earthy like scotch. In fact, that same review mentioned that it is complex enough that the sweet turns to savory and does not linger into dryness.

This is a bourbon you can sip at room temperature or you can fully enjoy it on a cube or two of ice. Don't go ham on the ice, to diluted wastes the enjoyment of the next sip. This is outstanding for making something like an old fashioned but it would be lost in a bourbon spritz. The Dark Rye is supposed to be aged for around 8 years and it has that mid level maturity that a well purposed bourbon should have. It won't break your budget if you have to get one for a party. It also isn't some rot gut no one would dare try. This is a good bourbon to wet the appetite before a main course.

Imma take one more pull of this and then go finish some laundry.

Cheers all,



This will be short because I am a bit distracted. But first, a moment of clarity.

There was a Tom Hanks produced series that gained some fame a few year back called, "Band of Brothers." For those who do not know, this was the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment , 101st Airborne Division; yes, its a war series. The original book, and subsequent series, starts with Easy company training at Camp Taccoa and it introduces the reader/viewer to the primary characters of the story. During a scene where Easy company is performing a night march the following conversation takes place:

Setting Night march, full company with all men carrying full gear at Camp Taccoa which is located in the state of Georgia.

Private Randleman : "Lieutenant Winters?"

Lieutenant Winters: "What is it?"

Pvt. Randleman : "Permission to speak, Sir?"

Lt. Winters : "Permission granted."

Pvt. Randleman : "Sir, we got nine Companies, Sir.

Lt. Winters: "We do."

Pvt Randleman : "Why come we're the only Company marching Every Friday night, twelve miles with full pack in the pitch dark?"

Lt. Winters : "Why do you think Private Randleman?"

Pvt. Randleman : "Lieutenant Sobel hates us sir."  (For clarification, Lt. Sobel was the senior Lt and the commander of Easy Company during training.)

Lt Winters: *After a pause* "Lieutenant Sobel does not hate easy company" * Another pause* "He just hates you"

The nearby soldiers all start lightly laughing.

Pvt. Randelman : 'Sir, yes Sir."

This is me right now, the world doesn't hate everyone else, just me. I think I have an infection around a tooth that needs a root canal. This just started over the weekend and the pain radiating from my jaw has given me a headache while at work.  With that, I am going to medicate and try to get better. I can't get seen by a dentist until next Thursday but luckily the GF had some left over antibiotics that I am going to start on. She is going to try and persuade our dentist, who she is seeing tomorrow, to send me an official script in so I can get the swelling down. Before you worry, she is a nurse and I am not going to do them all at once. When I feel better I will try and be more creative with a post.




Sorry about the earlier lack of solid post regarding food. I'm going to try and make up for that right now with something for the parents here on Elliquiy, though anyone can rock this simple recipe

Open Faced Pepperoni Grinders

First, a Grinder is typically defined as a "hot" sandwich usually with: meatballs, pepperoni, sausage or several of what you might call "Italian" meats. This is something you can rock from start to finish in 20 minutes with minimal prep and clean up and it is also great on a budget.

Ingredients ( with Prices in American Dollars)

1 - 6 pack Torta Buns $4.00
1 - Deli Sliced pepperoni ( prepackages usually has enough slices but you need a total of 24 slices and if they slice the pepperoni on a 1-1.5 that is about 1/2 a pound) $5.00
1 - 24oz jar marinara or Meat sauce - $2.00
1 - 1# Shredded Mozzarella $2.50 ( thought you can add more if you like a lot of Cheese )
Granulated Garlic ( Should already have this in the spice drawer but if not a small bottle for $2.00

Parmesan Cheese

Ok, so the above is right around $15.00 and you can easily feed 6 people, or less than $2.50 a person.


Oven on bake at 350 degrees.

Get a half sheet tray out and line with parchment paper.

Wash hands.

Open the Torta rolls and split each one in hald so you have a top and bottom portion. Most are pre-cut and you can split them with your fingers. If you have to cut them use a serrated bread knife and lay them flat. Cut sideways left to right and please do not add parts of your finger to the meal.

Lay the Torta rolls with the cut side face up on the half sheet tray. 6 rolls should completely, and perfectly, fit on a half sheet tray.

Dust the exposed side of the Torta rolls with granulated ( dry) garlic. One pass, light dusting, will do.

Open the Marinara  and pour empty the entire jar atop the bread. Spread with a spatula, or a brush, and coat evenly.

Add two pieces of Pepperoni to each piece of bread.

Open and layer Mozzarella trying to spread evenly across all the pieces.

Optional - Dust with Parm Cheese if you want.

Into the oven for 10-12 minutes depending on how you oven cooks.

Here is the only hard part:

Turn the oven from bake to Broil at 500 degrees. Leave in for 3 minutes, longer if you like more browning on you cheese. Watch the oven at this point, and you may have to spin the tray to cook evenly. If you go a ef-off you will burn these suckers the moment you do not pay attention.

There you have it. 12  pieces, 2 per person is pretty filling, but this is easy and quick. great for a game night ( tv or tabletop) or for feeding ravenous spawn.  Clean up is one tool ( Spatula or brush) and the sheet tray along with any plates or utensils used to eat.

Of course you can make this more fancy, you can add ham, sausage, salami or whatever you want to the meats and you can change the cheese to be a bit more exotic. You could make these vegetarian with mushrooms , fresh mozz and sprigs of Basil if you wanted to.