Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Have you played with Picassohead?

Here is a fun program I just wanted to share. My kids and I can't get enough of Picassohead! It gives you the same satisfaction of wasting time that Solitaire does, but with much better results. Obviously it's been around for ages, but oddly there are no others that have saved to the gallery since 2003. Well, it's new to me. Just like all those shows on Netflix. I missed almost a decade of TV, so now I get to catch up five seasons at a time.

Here is one of my creations, titled Girl with Pink Hair. Yep. Thinking about going pink again.I swear the minute I passed 45, the grey started pouring out of my head. Down with grey, up with pink!

Girl with Pink Hair by julie

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Grilled Planked Cauliflower That Isn't Boring

Sometimes I think of my refrigerator as a chilled composting machine. I buy bushels of baby arugula and wild dandelion greens, age them until they are no longer edible, and then compost them in the bins outside. Maybe I'm just doing my part to subsidize small farmers.

Grilling veggies is a great way to get out of the salad rut. It punches up the flavor and texture to help them fight for the main stage of dinner. That's a tough slot in my household of carnivores, and I would be completely lying if I said my kids thought this was better than steak. Still, it was eaten. That's pretty awesome.

Cauliflower, the vegetable's answer to beige walls, boring neck ties, and the cubicle, is an excellent candidate for grilling. It needs help. It needs fire and flavor and some grill marks to break up the off-white color. With this easy recipe, you can make cauliflower exciting in only about 10 minutes. That's more than I can say about some people. I shall not name names but you know who you are.*

This is all you have to do. I'm not even going to format this as a recipe. Plank the cauliflower carefully by slicing thick, even slices. The more stem the better to help hold your little tree together. It tends to break apart, which is fine as you can see some smaller pieces below, just more work on the grill. Drizzle it with sesame oil and lightly coat both sides. Again, gently so as to keep them in their planks. Sprinkle sea salt.

Preheat grill on high for five minutes, then turn down to medium high. Grill planks for three minutes then flip with a spatula. Turn down to low and close the lid. Let them soften a little on this side, about five minutes or so. Turn off grill with the lid down and let rest in the warm grill for another 2 minutes.

Serve with fresh cracked pepper.

*I had a really long tangent written here that I thought was funny, but then decided no one would get it so I erased it. And since only two of you are reading this right now, keeping the star and explaining what I did is a little like talking to myself. Publicly. Blogs are a little like socially accepted Schizophrenia. My hair is a mess and my shirt is dirty while I write this too. And just so we are clear, this isn't the really long tangent I'd written originally and deleted. I simply have a bad habit of writing really long tangents that no one wants to read, especially when I'm explaining really long tangents. Help. I can't stop. Someone? Cauliflower?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Out of the mouths of babes

I found this in my post drafts list today. I'm notorious for starting blog posts and not ever publishing them. I think there are about 35 currently in draft status. This one, though, made me giggle, because it's from years ago when my son was about five. Now my daughter is five and is cracking me up daily, so it's back to being a current post.

Like last weekend. after boozing it up with the preschool moms, my daughter asked if I'd had a lot of chocolate and salad. Yep, salad. Way too much salad, because that's what mom's eat.

Well, she was right about the chocolate. I'll give that to her.

Here's a precious conversation from my son. Note how easily he kills off dad and puts mom in a coma. He loves a good plot, that one. Wants to be author when he grows up.

"Mom, let's pretend I'm an adult, and you are my best friend, and we're going to get married soon."

"OK, honey. So...what do you do for work?"

"I run the restaurant."

"Really? Do you like it?"

"Yeah, it's great, except...well my dad died and my mom's been in the hospital for 16 years."

"16 years! And can't daddy just be retired?"

"Mom. You're not playing it right."

Classic. As a co-op parent I get to enjoy not only the awesome things that come out of my kids' mouths, but of 18 other kids too. They all are these incredible beings: aware and smart enough to make jokes and understand what is going on, yet it's like they are on some groovy trip where reality and imagination are completely woven together. I wish we didn't lose that. Didn't pull apart and separate those threads.

If you are a parent, I know you wish there was a way to write down what your kids say on a consistent basis. I started a just for me twitter account to write down my son's hilarious stuff, but of course I don't catch even a fraction of what comes out of that mouth, or update it often. By child #2 it's not even a concept to tweet the cool things she says.

What do you do? I'd love to hear if anyone has a good system or habit of writing down the wisdom out of the mouths of babes.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March Madness Party with the Girls

I'm on a mama's weekend right now, and while mum's the word (get it?) on what happened to the lamp, and our no-facebook pact is in place (what happens on #mamasweekend, stays on #mamasweekend), I can tell you this: the food is both  fabulous and copious. The fridge is so packed that every time it is opened, a container of hummus comes flying out. There is a table dedicated to the chocolate stash. And the snack section, well, it ain't a bag of Doritos.

What we don't have are cheese sticks, juice boxes or Mac-n-Cheese.

It's fitting that my post on Char-broil is up in time for March Madness. The theme? Girl power appetizers to class up your sports-viewing. Not that there is anything wrong with pigs in a blanket or nacho cheese sauce. They have their place. But for your mama's weekend or Sweet Sixteen party this weekend, I encourage you to cook with the big girls. Read the whole post here, and enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Skirt Steak Sriracha

I live in a house of spice wimps. Every now and then I need some heat, something other than a one star rating. I need my tongue to tingle and mouth to be on fire for a moment or two before it dissipates.

The other day, while grocery shopping at Central Market, a place I rarely escape with under a $200 bill, yet still manage to leave happy, I came across two people sampling their Sriracha sauce made from red jalapenos grown in Washington. Washington jalapenos? I mean, apples, of course, and lentils, you bet, but Washington State is not the first place I think of for jalapenos. Do we really get enough sun to turn a pepper red?

The taste was lovely and the heat, while significant, did not overpower. I had to buy it. Not only are the peppers grown locally, it is made and bottled locally and it's gluten-free, so it hits a plethora of buttons. Sriracha, sometimes called "rooster sauce", hails from the coastal city of Si Racha in Thailand, and is often served with Vietnamese Pho, according to Wikipedia.

I bought a nice slab of a skirt steak to grill with it. I love skirt steak for it's price and flavor but it needs help getting tender. Crosshatch cuts on one side with some marination time in this Sriracha did the trick. Paired with a grilled corn salad and corn tortillas, to counter the spice. I realized too late that I'd used up my gas tank, and it was freezing out, so I didn't want to trouble with charcoal. What was a girl to do? I put my little Char-broil Grill2Go on my grill and fired it up. I use the Grill2Go for camping, and if I tailgated, I'd use it for that. This little guy kicks out a lot of heat.

Here is the recipe.

Grilled Skirt Steak Sriracha
with Grilled Corn Salad
1 skirt steak
1 bottle of Sriracha sauce
Salt & pepper

For the Corn Salad (enough for 3-4 people)
4 ears of corn
1/2 red pepper
1/2 red onion
Cherry tomatoes
Fresh cilantro
Salt & Pepper
1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup olive oil

1) Make shallow crosshatch cuts on one side of the steak. Pat with salt and pepper.
2) Pour four ounces of Sriracha sauce and coat the meat. Turn over to coat evenly. Let marinate for 1-2 hours.
3) While the steak marinates, make the corn salad. Grill corn, peppers, and red onion until nicely marked, but not wilted. Set aside to cool.
4) Once cool, cut off corn from ear, dice peppers and onions.
5) Make dressing with fresh lime, cumin, olive oil and salt and peeper. Dress salad and toss with halved cherry tomatoes right before grilling steak.
6) Preheat gas, charcoal or infrared grill on high.
7) Shake off extra marinade before grilling steak (and discard used marinade).
8) Grill over direct flames for 3-4 minutes on the side without crosshatch cuts. Rotate steak 45 degrees (to get those nice grill marks we all love) and grill for about 4 minutes. Turn over and grill another 3-4 minutes until medium rare or to desired doneness.
6) Let steak rest for five minutes before slicing against the grain and on the diagonal. Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas and corn salad.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Here's A Monty Python Video While You Wait. An Operator Will Be With You Shortly...

That was a little longer break on the blog than I'd expected. I had a lot of expectations of things being done in the last month, but things in reality move much more slowly than the pretty pictures in my head.

Even so, life is going swimmingly at our *New and Improved* Smokin' Pete's BBQ. We have been going one room at at a time scrubbing and painting and moving furniture here and there, in and out. Signs have been ordered and arrived so that in the near future we can take the butcher paper off the windows that makes people think we are closed. We have huge windows, for those of you that aren't near, which are great for letting in light, but make one feel like a fish. For a restaurant, "fishbowl is goot". For a catering kitchen during crunch time, not so much. But we'll have a lovely front space built for tastings, pick up orders and meetings soon, in two weeks, um, whenever the contractor gets it done.

The thing is, we keep having to stop to cater, which is awesome of course, but it means not a lot is getting done on super secret brand #2.

You'll simply have to be patient. Good things take time, especially food. And if you know me personally, you know that my silence is, well, a rare thing to be treasured. It means good things. It also means I won't bore you with cute stories about my kids or my issues with wheat (we'll get to that soon. Oh joy!).

Until then, I suggest we all relax and have a laugh. Monty Python is a favorite of mine.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Heart Salad for Your (Sweet) Heart

I love chocolate as much as the next gal, probably more, but holidays like V-day really bring on the sugar to the point it gets a little gross. The last thing I want to feel is bloated on one of the guaranteed days of nookie, am I right ladies? Here is a romantic salad that will make your heart feel loved.

Grilled Eggplant and Heart Pepper Salad

1 eggplant, sliced in rings
1/3 cup Pomace or other cooking olive oil (not extra virgin)
Kosher salt
2 red peppers, cut into hearts
Salad greens for two
Feta or goat cheese, 3 ounces

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large lemon
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and fresh cracked pepper

  • An hour before your meal, cut eggplant into rings. Drizzle olive oil and evenly sprinkle 2-3 pinches of  kosher salt. Toss to evenly coat. The salt will firm up the eggplant, while the oil will have time to soak in.
  • Cut out hearts from red peppers using the natural curves of the ends to be the curves of the heart. I usually get two large hearts per pepper.
  • If using charcoal, start your coals. If using gas, preheat your grill 30 minutes before your meal. When grill is hot, at a medium high heat, grill eggplant rings on both sides until they soften but don't fall apart. Set apart to cool.
  • Grill peppers just enough to caramelize a little, but not so much to char or shrivel the heart shape. (Shriveling being generally not desired on Valentine's Day...)
  • Cut lemons and squeeze fresh, add olive oil, dried herbs and salt and pepper. Dress salad greens and crumble cheese. Top with grilled eggplant and heart-shaped peppers.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Love Me Tenderloin

This year I have two Valentine's Day recipes for you. After all, it is the holiday that espouses two is better than one.

The first is up on Char-broil and is divine anytime of year. It's a grilled tenderloin seasoned with a love potion. That's right. A bonafide* love potion that really works. If you doubt me, you should know that because of my Bloody Mary post, the Seahawks won the Super bowl, so that practically proves it right there. But if you need more proof, I would suggest you try the recipe. At the very least you'll have made a delicious pork tenderloin drizzled with a Cabernet reduction sauce, garnished with winter harvest grilled pears and pomegranate seeds.

If your loved one doesn't appreciate a dinner like that, then maybe he or she isn't the one. Ya know?

Read the whole recipe here.

*by the way, spellcheck doesn't think "bonafide" is a real word and wants to change it to either "debonaire" or "bonehead" which are often the same thing. On Valentine's Day, I would suggest you are neither. Just be yourself, use my love potion, and see what happens.

PS: I'll post the second recipe tomorrow.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Give Love for Hope Auction

For Valentine's week, how about give some love for hope? The Hope Project, that is, and a little love to this local non-profit goes a long way.

What is the Hope Project?
The Hope Project built Hope International School in Gardnersville, Liberia. It was started by Washington families who had adopted children from the same war-torn town. Two of them are friends of mine, and I love that this is a local non-profit, with a local story, that reaches half way across the globe to help families with so little. We are one big connected community.

Our friends started The Hope Project, one of the only free schools in Liberia, because when they asked the town community leaders what they needed most, the answer was emphatic, "A school!" 

To do so, they first had to build a water and a sewage system, then they literally built the school out of the ashes of war. The school now has 1200 students and their first graduating class this year!  Read more about their story here.

We are raising funds with a small auction on-line for Valentine's Day. It takes so little to make a difference - a teacher's salary is only $100 per month, books for each children a fraction of what it costs here. 95% of your donation goes directly to the school! They have future plans to get this school to be self sustaining and a strong community backing that ensures it's success.

Please check out the auction hereor consider giving even a little to this project. It is dear to my heart. There are some local items, like a catering from Smokin' Pete's BBQ, but also plenty of items that can be mailed anywhere in the US. 
Read all about the Hope Project, Liberia, and how we are all a part of this story.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Kick Before Kick Off: It's Bloody Mary Time!

I can't tell you how ready I am for today. I'm celebrating two major events: The Seahawks in the Super bowl and the end of 10 years of my restaurant.

That second one is a doozy. I have vastly mixed emotions. On one hand I am thrilled to be starting something new. I am proud that we have built our catering business enough to walk on its own. But ending a chapter is always bittersweet. So many things I'd have done differently. So many sweet customers I'll miss.

We have such a dear crew, E3 and Falcon, Justin and Ron, Carl, Chai, Bruce, Razzle Dazzle....and too many past employees/friends that I can't even begin to list (and honestly quite a few I'd like to forget). I don't tell them enough how much they mean to me. On the contrary....I was a real bitch on Friday. I laid into someone who was late and realized later that he got it for every employee that has ever been late in the past ten years. It was like a tidal wave of anger coming out of me. So sorry guys. You know it's because I care, right? I wish you all success and happiness.

I am looking forward to some quieter moments in life. The past ten years have been a sprint and while the race may be fun for a while, when it has no end it isn't a life.

A lot of people have multiple restaurants with bustling catering businesses, so it apparently can be done and even done well. I simply can't do it and be healthy and happy. I'm not wired to stop. When I got made, they forgot to put in an off button. I have to force myself to stop by pulling the plug at the source. When I'm home at night with the kids, I can't turn off the fact that my business is operating. A part of me is still operating with it, worrying about it, wondering about it.

Obviously I don't go on every catering and there are plenty of times that the catering business is going on without me. But there will be some times, enough times when it will stop, turn off, when I go home.

I'll drink to that.

Gawd, Julie, This was supposed to be a post about celebrating and drinking, not a tell-all of my psychosis. I'm totally crying right now. And laughing.

So here, my friends, is a recipe for a breakfast Bloody Mary. It's garnished with a breakfast sandwich to give us a little non-liquid sustenance as we gather for the big game.

Read the recipe here. If you are in Seattle, come on down and watch the game at Pete's or stop buy before or after. Eric and I will be there slinging pork.

Peace out.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How to Cook A Bronco

We're going nuts here in Seattle. Everyone has Seahawks fever. 70% of the city is convinced that for luck they must wear Seahawks jerseys until the game. I'm pretty sure they haven't washed them since the San Francisco game.

As a barbecue caterer, I can confirm that there will be no work done on Friday, because offices everywhere are having parties, many of them catered by me. We have begun stockpiling wings, remembering the wing crisis of '05.

While I can't add anything to the conversation about the defensive line or quarterback match ups (though I do think Richard Sherman was totally misunderstood in that interview and unfairly skewered by the media. It was simply a Howard Dean moment where the crowd and his energy from making the play of his career didn't match the noise-reducing mic.), I can offer a cooking perspective.

We've gotta barbecue those Broncos.

It's not going to be easy: Bronco meat is tough. I suggest cooking them slow and low, rubbed with a good amount of spice, and finished with a glaze in the last 30 minutes.

Here is my recipe:

Spice: Pepper them offensively to shut Peyton Manning down. Sack him, attack him and rattle him if you can. Spice them completely - underneath all the hype, Bronco meat is pretty bland.

Low: Make a low, consistent fire. You want overall heat, rather than high flames in one area. Persistent and grounded heat will keep down the jitters of being at the Super bowl.

Slow: The only way to break down the sinews of Bronco meat is to cook it slowly, relentlessly. Focus on each yard, making those first downs, and completing each pass. This process will tenderize the connective tissue of the Bronco. Now it's time for the glaze.

Glaze: Once the Bronco meat is tender, finish them off with some zing in the last 30 minutes of cook time. Glaze them with plays like that amazing 35-yard pass by Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch's 40-yard touchdown, or Richard Sherman's intercepting tip that sealed our win against San Francisco.

We know you have it in you, Seahawks, and we are behind you all the way.

Me? I'm clearing out the smoker ashes, stacking up the wood, and getting ready for the feast on Sunday.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Huge Announcement About Our Restaurant, Smokin' Pete's BBQ

Here is what we sent out to our customers this week. I wanted to post it here on the blog in case people didn't see it . We are getting lots of best wishes and "that's a total bummer" comments, but it's definitely what is right for our business, our lives, and our family.
We're going 100% Catering & Wholesale
(last day for restaurant is Superbowl Sunday)

We're not closing, just evolving.
First of all, we love our customers. We've loved serving you and our neighborhood for ten years and look forward to the next ten, just differently. Second of all, you can still call in orders ahead of time, with a little more notice. 
Our decision to change and close the restaurant as of February 3rd is not a sudden one, but something we've been working toward for a year. The catering side has grown beyond the "back door" and we want to put all of our energy and focus into it.
Adding in wholesale to market our pickles and other items has also been a dream but one we can't do while running a restaurant full time and raising our kids.

Here are some facts:

1) You can still call in orders ahead with 48 hours notice. Info about how will be up on our website in February.

2) We're having a Superbowl Sunday partyand you are invited! Yep, we'll have a TV, beer specials, and will be slingin' the wings as we celebrate the Hawks in the bowl! We are so proud of our team!

3) We'll be introducing a new catering brand soon and the wholesale end of things will launch when it's ready.

4) Our catering line is still (206) 331-8279. Our e-mail is still We hope you will share fond memories with us these next two weeks in the restaurant, by celebrating on Superbowl Sunday, or by dropping an e-mail to us. 

5) We'll be out and about in the neighborhood, like the Adams Elementary Winter Harvest Festival on February 7 and Seafood Fest this summer.

We're smokin' for ya'!

Julie and Eric Reinhardt

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grilled Eggplant Mini Pizzas

I love grilled eggplant and always make extra to have on hand for snacking. It helps me not reach for cake or hunks of cheese. These mini pizzas also keep the carbs down for those of us trying to lose the middle (see previous post about my New Year's resolutions).

I was recently working on a Valentine's day post for Char-broil and threw some eggplant on for myself, which is why the photo below is blurry. The real shot was of a pepper on the grill, with the eggplant receding in the background. My point? Cut the eggplant in rounds, rather than lengthwise for this recipe.

The key to grilling eggplant is to lightly coat the slices with oil and salt, and let sit for about an hour before grilling. That gives the oil enough time to soak in and the salt enough time to firm up the eggplant.

Shake any excess oil off before grilling.

Grill for a few minutes on each side so that they are nicely caramelized but not falling apart. Chill for 15 minutes or up to four days to put in salads or to snack on, like these yummy mini-pizzas.

For the sauce, I simply smeared on some pesto (but tomato sauce would work just as well), then added grated mozzarella and Parmesan and broiled until the cheese bubbled.

Voila! It didn't even break my diet, which is more than I can say about a few minutes ago. Damn that chunky peanut butter. If only I'd had some delicious grilled eggplant in the fridge.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My (cringe, wince, dare I say them) 10 Resolutions for 2014

I'm not a fan of resolutions because they create a paper trail of one's inevitable failures from setting expectations too high. The word resolution is so authoritative. I know it's because it's so close to the word "revolution" but resolution always makes me picture a Confederate soldier pointing a bayonet at my head.

On the other hand I love lists. And new beginnings. I'm also a hopeless hopeful liberal who thinks everything in the end will work out if we can all just get along. There's nothing wrong with a good old fashioned drum circle, people. I've got the sage stick in my desk.

And since I've already given my grilling resolutions for Char-broil, and am inspired by writing group buddy Helen Landalf's most excellent writing resolutions, here are mine with grilling and writing naturally a little mixed together.

1) Nano the novel. I've been timidly chipping at a novel for two years now. Timid because I think I don't have the time to commit to a long work, so I put most of my fiction writing energy into poetry and short stories. The novel won't go away, however, and my writing group keeps asking about it. It's time to Nanowrimo this thing. November is never a good month for me to do so, but I can pick a 30 day period that will. March sounds good. It's my birthday month.

2) Lose the Forty 40. You know the Freshman 10? Well it gets worse. It's time for me to lose the belly. Period. It's hindering me and I'm sick of it and I've already lost four pounds from cutting out grains and dairy for four days, not because I think they are bad, but because I love my bread and cheese, and this addict needs to detox. I'll be sure to blog about the healthy grilled and smoked dishes I make along the way.

3) Create a work/life balance. My husband and I have run a 7-day a week, lunch and dinner restaurant for ten years. Ten! Look for some business model changes soon. Very soon. For starters, we are open from 12-8pm, Wednesday through Sunday this month. That will help, but stay tuned for more. And less.

4) Walk the dog more. I'm supposed to be morning walk girl and Eric is night walk guy. I miss a lot of my shifts. Trixy, our very energetic cattle dog needs it, and so do I.

5) Play more fully. My daughter has been saying a lot lately that I don't play enough. It's like a stab in the heart and I predict that she will improve upon this ability to break me in her teens. But she's right. We're going through some transitions and I've been pretty absorbed and work focused. I keep telling her that I'm working on getting more play time but that means nothing to a five year old. Or to anyone. On the contrary, my husband sees the kids less, will lay down and nap sometimes when it's his shift (seriously!) but doesn't get that comment at all. I think it's because he really plays when he plays. He doesn't check e-mail, or call anyone, or make shopping lists. I may not be able to play more hours, but my goal is to play fully when it's play time.

6) Add some Zumba to the Karate. I jumped back into Karate last year and it feels great. I get my heart rate up, learn every class, and take it pretty seriously. I want to add in exercise that for me is purely for fun. Zumba (registered trademark yada yada) sounds perfect.

7) Sharpen the editing skills. I've always thought I was a pretty good proofreader and editor but I've noticed errors lately that I should have caught. I need to own that. Whether that means taking a refresher class or simply taking more time, it's all about the practice. Practice makes perfect.

8) Submit to the Slush Pile. I tend to hold on to what I write. This year I plan on giving some of my stories and poems wings, even if it means they rubberneck back stamped NO in red ink.

9) Grill purple. It's funny because I've always considered myself a little outside the barbecue world, even though I own a barbecue restaurant and catering company, and have published a cookbook. I don't compete though, and I live in Seattle and sometimes have purple hair. I've noticed, however, that my posts are mostly about traditional barbecue and basic grilling. There aren't a lot sides, desserts or weird/daring/bizarre recipes on my blog and as I said in the Char-broil New Year's post, I'd like to blog more out of the barbecue box this year.

10) Breathe. This is the most important, which is why it's the last one. Eric says it to me all the time because I get spinning so fast I forget to breathe. My guess is the Tasmanian devil had the same issue.

So what are some of your resolutions?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Dinner: Smoked Prime Rib with Au Jus, Cognac Carrots & Winter Greens

Christmas dinner is a time to bring in the big guns, and by big guns I mean prime rib, because Christmas should be about peace and not actual weapons. Still, prime rib is a hefty hunk of meat, so if your brother is really getting out of line...

Smoking prime rib is one of the most succulent ways to prepare this gorgeous cut and an easy way to not overcook it, which is the fear everyone has, right? They are all, 'OMG, this is such an expensive piece of meat and uncle Charles is already riding my butt about it being medium RARE!'

I've got your back, and have all the trimmings to boot in this post on Char-broil. Not only is smoking prime rib a cinch in the Big Easy (aptly named), my cognac carrots with currants might give you a teeny buzz to take off the stress induced by it being your turn to host Christmas. Add in some winter greens and not only is this meal healthy, local and seasonal, it's even gluten-free so you have the cave man, gluten free, and low carb dieters all covered and happy that they don't have to ruin their chosen eating plan. And for your guests that just eat, without a plan, like me, they'll be really happy you aren't preparing something weird for the part of the family on eating plans. Except for the vegans, but they'll be so thrilled that the carrots and winter greens don't have any bacon in them (though feel free to add bacon to the winter greens, because that would be delicious) that they will ignore the juicy gob of animal on the table.

Read the full post here in case you missed it in the above paragraph. Ask me questions at either place, but comments on She-Smoke get to me faster, to be honest, so if you have a question on Christmas Eve, I'd ask it here (but I'm taking Christmas and the day after that OFF from all things plugged in, except for maybe Facebook, which isn't even like being on-line because it's chatting with friends, so it's almost like a phone, right?). Hmm, I always get confused about punctuation outside and inside parenthesis. I'm going to leave that last really long sentence with a parenthetical aside as is, but feel free to comment about punctuation here as well.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Turkey, A Goose and a Ham Walked into a Smoker...

...and then into your mouth, people! Are you ready for Christmas? Do you feel like it came really really fast this year? It did! Thanksgiving was late and shrunk our whole holly jolly hang time.

Not to worry, my dearies. We're smoking up all kinds of roast beasts at Smokin' Pete's and all you have to do is Phone. It. In.

Succulent smoked prime rib, smoked goose that would make Dicken's drool, Hempler hams, spiral hams, and of course duck, duck, turkey!

Click on this dealy-doo to see the full menu:

And while you are at it, here's a little Who-Ville Vid of the Grinch stealing the roast beast to get you in the holiday mood.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Guest Post on Welcome to the Cookout and Why I'm So Short

If you haven't read Welcome to the Cookout, you should. It's a great site all about outdoor cooking full of information from novice to expert grilling by master "CB" Chef Barry. He's as awesome on the grill as he is tall. I come up to, like, his waist both figuratively and actually.

Of course I come up to a lot of people's waists, chests and armpits. Whenever I put on a hoodie in the rain the cottony touch and damp laundry scent reminds me of concerts I saw as a teen because I spent most of them with my nose smashed into the back of some tall person's sweaty outerwear. When I wasn't trapped into a stranger's armpit, I was able to see the stage only 50% of the time on the up part of the constant jumping I had to do to see around the giants that invariably muscled their way to the front row. Maybe that's why I didn't go to as many concerts as my classmates. You try jumping for three straight hours. Even with a teen body, concerts were marathon aerobic workouts that left me sore and spent the next day.

Grandma Alida, at 4 foot 9 is to blame. I think she started out at the towering zenith of 4 foot 11, but by her eighties her contents had settled a bit. She was cute as a button, though, as is my daughter whom I gave Alida as a middle name. (My pediatrician was startled when I jumped up and cheered after she'd said my kids were "average" height for their ages).

But enough about my shortcomings (snort, giggle) and back to Barry and grills and barbecue. Incidentally, Mr. Martin also created Our Community Table, a site all about our food system and how it's broken and how we can fix it, together, and who out there is walking the walk and who is stomping on us with their millions. I have meant to join in and contribute for a year, but I have so many irons in the fire, for now I have to simply be a fan. I'll get there, late as usual. Barry also wrote the bulk of these two books
  and , during his spokesman years with Char-broil so he has the creds to back up his on-line persona.

For a guest post on his site I wanted to write on a subject for beginners on the grill. I get a lot of questions about how to keep meat from sticking on the grill. This post takes on that question with an easy recipe for practicing the technique (while making dinner of course!)

The Mustard-Oregano Chicken Tenders recipe in the post is a great one for kids too. I see that Barry took his own, better photo for his website and watermarked my photos for me because he knows I can't figure out how to do that. And he has those nifty "PIN THIS" Pinterest button on all the photos. I've been meaning to Google "how to get pin this button on blog photos" to figure out what the deal is with THAT, but I'd have to get a day off for once in my life, people, so get off my back!

Whoa, didn't know I was going to get all tetchy on you, poor dearest reader (hi mom). Must be my Napoleon complex.

Just (please) go read the post on Welcome to the Cookout and say something nice, OK?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Virtual Bake Sale For a Good Cause This Thursday

I met some awesome food bloggers in September at IFBC, one of whom was Alice Bush who was a table mate at a dinner at Re:Public. We we wined and dined until midnight and had fun with a host from Urbanspoon, who organized the evening of sending out hoards of food bloggers in groups of 8-12 to restaurants all over Seattle and the Eastside.

So when blogger Alice Bush approached me about donating to an on-line bake sale to raise funds for a friend that was in desperate need of a costly operation, I didn't hesitate. For one, I love bake sales, and also because food bloggers are one of my tribes, my community. People talk a lot about the loss of community, that neighbors don't know each other, and I agree that it's a problem, but we also have new communities, virtual neighbors who gather and host things like virtual bake sales.

I've put up my book for the auction. There are lots of actual baked goods on the auction too. The auction runs all day Thursday, December 12th from 8am to 9pm, then items will be mailed out in time for the holidays. How easy is that? To read about her friend, and view the list of auction items, go to Alice's blog, A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stock for Later

I don't know about you, but I always feel pressure to be the good little cook and make stock and soup after Thanksgiving. But turkey soup is the last thing I want to eat.

Don't get me wrong. I love left overs. I think I enjoy the first leftover turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving even more than the meal itself. I plan it out and make sure I have the appropriate roll, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy so I can pile it high with full-fat mayo.

Last year I forgot to bring home gravy and I was so mad I almost drove to the restaurant to get some. Being that the day after Thanksgiving is one of only five days in a year we are closed, I didn't. This year I made sure gravy was in my take home box.

Turkey soup or anything with the word turkey in it is also the last thing my husband wants to see after he's smoked 140 turkeys. I've seen him give the stink eye to extra turkeys we didn't sell and when I reminded him that those birds are no longer living, or have heads to see his stink eye, he turned his surly gaze on me.

That's why I freeze stock for later. January is exactly the time that I want a big ol' bowl of home made turkey noodle soup. If you feel the same way, I give you a pass on living up to your own standards.

Freeze it baby.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Turkey Posts Round-up: Tips, recipes and links to all you need for the cooking on Thanksgiving

Here are posts I've done on turkey over the years and other great post by friends of mine. These are in addition to posts from this month, to help you search for answers and ideas in one place. We are up to our necks in turkey necks at Smokin' Pete's BBQ, so if you have an emergency turkey question, Butterball's got a Turkey Hot Line. Here are links to the following articles.

How to Brine a Turkey
About salt and how brines work
Feeding a Crowd: Math equations for food quantities
Tips on Smoking Turkey with BBQ Pitmaster and BBQ Crawl Host Diva Q
Recipe: Smoked Turkey with Sage Rub and Maple Butter Glaze
Recipe for cooking a turkey on the Char-broil oil-less fryer
Tea Smoked Chicken (for smaller feasts)
Links to other sites I like about turkey
A great post by Live Fire about Thanksgiving Dinner
A Big Easy Turkey recipe by Grillin' Fools
Turkey Breast recipe with Pomegranate Glaze by The Heritage Cook
Fabulous Grilled Carrots with Jack Daniel's Glaze by The South in my Mouth
Chef Christo's post about How to Carve a Turkey
Recipe: Chutney Lentils
Cowgirl Jeanie's Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe
Recipe: Huckleberry Pie
Recipe: To die-for Grilled Flourless & Cayenne Cake by A Bachelor and his Grill

And finally a post to remind ourselves, what it's all about.