Saturday, April 24, 2010


My first drink on the blog! Caipirinahs are a Brazilian drink that's refreshing and great for spring or summer.

You will need...
Cachaca liquor
fresh limes
turbinado sugar
drink shaker
short glasses
pint glass (for shaking in the drink tin)

These are normally made with turbinado sugar, but using that requires so much time in the drink shaker. Because I'm a bit  lazy, we make a simple syrup with the sugar and some water, and keep it in a bottle in the fridge for drinky time.

Before I cut my limes, I like to make sure I will be able to get maximum juice from them. I put a lime on the counter, then I press on the lime with my hand and roll it. You will be able to feel the difference when it's done and you will get lots of juice from the fruit.
Cut the fruit into half, then into eighths.
Put the lime wedges into a pint glass and muddle to get the juices out.
Add 1.5 ounces of cachacas and about a tbsp of simple syrup. Then add lots of ice and top with the drink tin. Now shake!!! Once it's nice and cold pour the whole thing into a glass and enjoy! Be careful! They are really yummy, but they'll sneak up on you!

Atomic Buffalo Turds, or ABTs

OMG! These are those yummiest things ever!!!! I know the name doesn't sound all that great, but man oh man, I swear they are awesome! Really, it's just kind of like a grilled jalapopper, but even that description doesn't do it justice. These are really versatile little snacks, because you can put whatever you want in them. I'll tell you how I do it, then I'll offer up some variations. I even have a vegetarian option!

You will need...
tooth picks
About 10 whole jalapenos
1 lb of bacon (Regular slices, not thick cut)
1 pkg cream cheese
1 lb ground pork
2 cloves minced garlic
some fresh grated ginger
your favorite seasonings

The first step is to prep your jalapenos. WEAR GLOVES!!! I can't stress this enough. The first time I made them I did not wear gloves, or use any tools to remove the seeds and membranes. My hands were on fire for about three days! I also wear safety glasses. Again, the first time I made them I didn't wear safety goggles and I got shot in the eye with jalapeno juice. Add to that the fact that the oils were all over my hands, and I was one very miserable red head! So now that you have your gloves and safety goggles, cut the tops off of each jalapeno, then cut them in half, length wise. I use a tomato corer to remove the seeds and membranes. Set these aside and start prepping the meat.

Saute the ground pork in a large pan on your stove top. Add some garlic and ginger and any other seasoning you want. Drain the grease and set the meat aside in a bowl. This usually makes too much, so I put the leftovers in a baggie and freeze it for the next time.

Now create an assembly line of the peppers, bacon, cream cheese, and meat. I like to fill the jalapeno with some cream cheese, then add the meat, then wrap a slice of bacon around the whole thing and secure it with a toothpick. Once they are all ready, sprinkle any seasoning you want all over the bacon. Grill over indirect heat for an hour, turning once, with a drip pan underneath. I have also done this in the oven, on a cookie sheet, with racks on the cookie sheet, but I prefer grilling them.
Once they are cooked don't allow too much time for them to cool, or by the time you go to get one, they will be gone!
Now for variations. I have seen these made with little smokies instead of the pork mixture, but I don't recommend it. Yes, it's easy, but not very yummy. My step dad always uses pulled pork for filling. That's yummy, but more effort than I want to do. You could try shrimp, ground beef, sausage (remove casing and cook first). I have even made vegetarian ones. For those I used crumbled veggies burgers for filling and veggie bacon. They were surprisingly yummy, and the girl we made them for was so pleased that we wanted to make sure she could have some too! I also cut the cooking time in half for the veggie ones so they wouldn't get over cooked.

These take a lot of effort, but they are worth every second you spend putting them together. I hope you enjoy them, and please let me know if you come up with any tasty variations.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Big Green Eggs

When you saw the pics of my garden you may have wondered what those weird things on my porch were. They are called the Big Green Egg.
The one on the left is my large and the one on the right is my small. These grills are the most versatile grill ever! They can be used as a simple grill, an oven or a smoker. We have smoked our Thanksgiving turkey on them, made burgers, steaks, pork chops and even baked cookies on them! Yes, that's right, I sometimes bake on my grill. They are based on the old kamodo style smokers from Japan. It is a ceramic grill and there are openings at the top and bottom so you can regulate the heat. They use lump charcoal, so the flavor you get is just amazing! This is nothing like dad's Weber grill that uses Kingsford briquettes, or a propane grill. It becomes a lifestyle. I'm so happy that the weather is finally getting nice so I can grill everything!!!

On May 1st there is a huge party in Waldorf, Maryland called Eggfest. This is such a fun party! People come from all over the country for these festivals. They have live music, drinks and there is food all day. The trick is to only eat one bite of anything. Any more than that and you get full too fast. Some people just come for the party, others come to cook, and some people come to buy their egg. You get a discount if you buy it that day, because it gets used that day for all the cooking. There are amateurs and professionals, but a fun time is had by all. I can't wait to get together with all my fellow eggheads and eat some great food!

My Herb Garden and Tiny Veggie Patch!

One of the things that's been occupying much of my time lately has been my yard. After a whole winter of the dogs using the yard for a potty, plus the snowpocolypse, my yard has been a mess! We had to remove five large bushes, plant grass seed and do a general clean up. We also decided to buy a few small planter boxes, some herbs, dirt, plants, pots and potting soil.

We planted rosemary and basil...
...parsley and cilantro...
...sage and chives.
We were able to find plants for everything except the sage, then, just as we were about to give up on the sage, we saw a tiny little sprout come up a few days ago. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will all thrive. So far we have used a little of everything (except the sage). It is so easy and so nice to walk out front and grab just the herbs that you need. I got tired of spending so much money on fresh herbs, only to throw away most of them when they don't get used.

We also planted a few things in pots. We are hoping for a bumper crop of serrano, jalapeno and red bell peppers.
Then, as a total experiment, we decided to try to grow some veggies too! Here we have Roma and Beefsteak tomatoes, garlic, shallots, red, yellow and white onions, cucumbers, green bell peppers and zucchini.
I don't think most of these items are growing, but the garlic, shallots and onions are sprouting, and I'm still hopeful about the tomatoes. If it doesn't work out, I'll just try again.

We also planted a couple of my favorite flowers. We were able to find a lovely star gazer lily plant...
and I couldn't find Shasta daisies yet, but I did get the seeds and they are starting to sprout too!

It's been so nice to go outside everyday and find new things starting to grow. I love spring!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My Apologies!!!

I'm so sorry that it's been so long without a new post! I had been feeling very un-inspired for a while, but now that spring is here, I'm getting back into the swing of things. I have a few posts that will be going up very soon, so please stay tuned. I really appreciate all the encouraging comments here and on facebook and twitter. Thank you!