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fire it up!

summer is arriving in most places around the country (in some cases it is just warmer nasty weather) and some of us are

grilling goons

jim, do you have any idea how to grill? nope-none at all!

thinking about grilling/bbq-ing meats outside… well, at least i know i am!  burgers, ribs, steaks, pizzas, chicken, seafood… i am ready!

here’s a link to a great article about marinades – how they work, why they may/may not work and how to make sure yours creates the desired effect.

here’s one of my favorite marinades to mix in on steaks (rib-eye, tenderloin, flank, flat iron, tri-tip… the more marbled, the better):

Here’s what you need for four 10 oz rib-eyes:

  • 1 big gallon sized ziploc bag
  • 4 ten ounce rib-eyes
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed then diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped roughly
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (leaves only)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

i want a bite of that!

in a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients .  Add steaks and cover them sufficiently (depending on thickness of steaks, you may need to add more vinegar & oil – do so at a 2:1 vinegar to oil ratio).  Place steaks and extra marinade in ziploc, and let sit for 60 minutes to 24 hours.  if you’re not cooking the steaks within 2 hours of marinating, you’ll want to refrigerate them.  in his article, craig g. said not to use olive oil, as it tends to solidify when chilled. you can use one of the other oils he recommends (corn, canola, peanut)-i have never tried one of those, so i cannot guarantee the flavor will work out right, but i trust this guy and will be trying that next time around. one key thing, if you refrigerate the marinating meat is to pull the steaks out of the fridge 2 or so hours prior to grilling- i do this to get the meat up to room temperature, which means you can get the center of your meat to a desirable temperature more quickly than than if you pull them straight out from fridge to grill.

i generally accompany this with a green salad, some grilled asparagus and a good bottle of cabernet or shiraz.  give it a try and let me know how it turns out!

let's eat!

let's eat!

and tell me, what is your favorite marinade?

weak sauce…

sauce. everyone likes sauce of some sort. chocolate sauce. barbecue sauce. hot wing sauce. cocktail sauce, picante sauce. nacho cheese sauce… you name the sauce and someone will like it. they’ll love it.

nacho cheese sauce

nacho cheese sauce

think of the first time you had ketchup… can’t remember?  for most kids, ketchup is that gateway drug… i mean first intro to what sauce is and what it can be.  ketchup was just the right mixture of tomato paste, high fructose corn syrup, vinegar, salt and partially hydrogenated soybean oil in just the right bottle, poured out just the right way to make EVERYTHING taste better–from eggs to french fries to hot dogs, burgers to broccoli to lamb, to meatloaf…doesn’t taste good? just add ketchup and everything tastes fine..

i say most kids, because i was not one of those who survived on ketchup–in fact, i hated it. hated it so much, that at one point i rated it on my top 3 hate list with bees and german shepherds (two things that had traumatized me… fodder for future blog posts).  for some reason, i just didn’t like it.

this is not weak sauce

this is not weak sauce (click pic to read more from the oatmeal)

one fateful day in second grade, we were in our classroom, eating lunch (my grade school didn’t have a lunch room – we’d just sit at our desks & eat). i was a “bring lunch from home” kind of guy, and the boy whose desk was facing mine was eating his hot dog or whatever piece of sodium nitrate goodness they passed out that day.  in the corner of my eye, i could tell the guy was struggling with something. he was yanking and pulling and pushing something to the point of groaning aloud.  then, just as i had turned and seen what it was he was wrestling with there was an audible short, “pfffft” sound and in slow motion i could see the entire contents of that ketchup packet hurtling across the space of our  two  desks –it all happened so fast…the struggle, the “pfffft,” the red blur speeding straight at me… i couldn’t move, like a deer caught in headlights… and BAM! it hit me in the left eye and splattered all across my face.  renee, the girl sitting next to me screamed as i’m sure it looked like i was bleeding profusely from my eye.

then the smell. and worse, the taste of ketchup — plain ketchup– in my mouth. it was okay on a burger every now & then, but plain? involuntarily cast into the taste buds on my tongue?  i gagged a couple of times but didn’t cry (which is a big deal in 2nd grade) and believe it or not, i survived. i went to the bathroom, rinsed my face & mouth — strangely, all the ketchup was contained upon my face – none on my shirt, nothing anywhere but on my face.  crazy. (incidentally i’ve seen this phenomenon one other time in my life – about 6-7 years after that, my family was in a m*donalds in lacey, wa where my brother was sitting at a table squeezing a ketchup packet and “pfffft” the entire contents projectiled onto one of the styrofoam ceiling tiles – i think –eric will have to correct me if i’m wrong– it even eluded a lower hanging ceiling fan…).

so, i share this story to say that my lack of blog entries over the past 8-9 months is completely “weak sauce.”  i have at least 8 maybe 9 drafts started, but nothing that i’ve finished.  i hope to do better from here on out… cheers!  (thanks to the for some sriracha humor)

head vs heart…

should i follow my heart?

which way will you go?

“…and the vicious decision is drivin’ me mad…should i follow my head or follow my heart?”  (can anyone name the album/band that song came from? extra bonus pts for anyone who can produce a pic of the vinyl version of that one…)

we often wrestle with the battle between our heads and our hearts.  is it just a “knowing vs. feeling thing,” or is there more to it? and if we decide upon one, does that mean the other is bad? but then if they’re both good, why do i have to choose one or the other? or if they’re both bad, why do i have to choose one (oops, didn’t mean to get political…)

someone much wiser than i stated this:

“…when our brain is separated from our heart we will invariably think dualistically, because we ourselves are split. the last 500 years, when we came to rely upon printed words for truth, rational thinking was idealized into what we ironically call “the enlightenment” (largely beginning in the18th century). this period separated the mind from the heart rather totally, and we might add, since this time war has been almost non stop, and christianity began to divide into all head people or all heart people, as we often still have today.  both lose half of the picture.

when the human person is split, we find ourselves either in a “war culture”—or in the culture wars that we have in america today—or both.  it seems we have to hate somebody or something when we cannot resolve the contradictions that are everywhere—first of all within ourselves.  as jesus said, “the lamp of the body is the eye” (luke 11:34).  and the eye sees most truthfully when it looks out from that place where the mind and the heart are one.” – fr. richard rohr

 so – which will it be? head? heart? would a return to a “less enlightened” understanding of the truth lead to a more enlightened approach to loving humanity?  one could only hope…