"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Caipirinha

    Thanks to ilsarago for posting that graphic.

    I have several important dinners over the next several weeks, and I want to “kick things up a notch” as much as possible.

    For appetizers I have a nice cheese board planned, along with some of the RogueChef’s special breads, but to set the expectations for the dinners, perhaps a flavored dipping oil, or perhaps three just for that absolute rogue chef , “BOOM…”. (I’m from Texas and do not do “Bam”.)

    In response to my trying to ferret out preferences one guest responded..

    “As far as cocktails are concerned, my wife and I are quite adventurous and like to try new things, though we generally lean towards Vodka, scotch, rum and tequila and away from gin and bourbon.”

    Now we are talking…

    • Adventurous: Check
    • Rum: Check
    • Seasonal: Check
    • Cooling: Check
    • Kick like a Mule: Check

    Sounds like a Caipirinha:

    Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça (sugar cane rum), sugar (preferably raw sugar) and lime. Cachaça is Brazil’s most common distilled alcoholic beverage (also known as Pinga or Caninha). Both rum and cachaça are made from sugarcane-derived products. Specifically with cachaça, the alcohol results from the fermentation of sugarcane juice that is afterwards distilled.

    The caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil, and is enjoyed in restaurants, bars, and many households throughout the country. Once almost unknown outside Brazil, the drink has become more popular and more widely available in recent years, in large part due to the rising availability of first-rate brands of cachaça outside Brazil. The International Bartenders Association has designated it as one of their Official Cocktails.

    The word caipirinha is the diminutive version of the word caipira, which refers to someone from the countryside, being an almost exact equivalent of the American English hillbilly. The word may be used as either a masculine or a feminine noun, but when referring to this drink it is only feminine (usage of diminutives is common in Brazil). In the Brazilian vocabulary, the word caipirinha is mostly associated with the drink itself rather than the class of person.

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  • Sweet Tea

    In the south we make the best iced tea you’ll find. Maybe it’s how it’s done, or maybe it is the water in the south, or maybe it’s just that a southern boy has put a lot of TLC into making the tea.

    I’m in NYC, the humidity is 90% and the temperature is 90, (it reminds me of Houston.) And the best way to cool off is with iced tea, sweet iced tea…

    Iced tea (sometimes known as ice tea) is a form of cold tea, usually served in a glass with ice. It may or may not be sweetened. Iced tea is also a popular packaged drink. It can be mixed with flavored syrup, with common flavors including lemon, peach, raspberry, lime, passion fruit, and cherry. While most iced teas get their flavor from tea leaves (Camellia sinensis), other herb-infused beverages are also sometimes served cold and referred to as iced tea. Unsweetened iced tea is sometimes made by a particularly long steeping of tea leaves at lower temperature (one hour in the sun versus 5 minutes at 80-100 °C). Some people call this “sun tea”. In addition, sometimes it is also left to stand overnight in the refrigerator.

    Many restaurants have dispensers that dispense hot or warm sweet tea, and customers pour it over a full cup of ice to make iced tea. This especially sweet variation of tea enjoys most of its popularity in the Southern United States, though bottled iced teas labeled “Southern Style” or “Extra-sweet Southern Style” appear in refrigerated cases throughout the country. Sweet tea is often flavored with mint leaves in a popular variant of sweet tea known as sun tea, which is brewed by leaving loose tea or tea bags in water in a jar or pitcher placed in a sunny area for several hours.

    Most restaurants in the region, including fast-food and other national chains, offer a customer the choice of sweet tea or plain iced tea (usually referred to as “sweet tea” and “unsweet tea”, respectively). It is a signature drink of the region to the point where the Southern use of the word “tea” is largely used to refer specifically to cold sweet tea and not to hot or plain varieties. In non-Southern States, many restaurants do not offer sweet tea as defined above. Typically, these establishments offer flavored teas along with plain tea.

    In the early 1900s, sweet tea was an item of luxury used an as exhibition of wealth due to the expensive nature of tea, ice, and sugar. Ice was possibly the most valued of the ingredients since it had to be shipped from afar at a time when access to cool drinking water was already a relative luxury. In modern times it can be made in large quantities quickly and inexpensively.

    The oldest known recipe for sweet ice tea was published in 1879 in a community cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree, who was born in Texas. The recipe called for green tea since most sweet tea consumed during this period was green tea. However, during World War II, the major sources of green tea were cut off from the United States (due to anti-Japanese sentiment at the time), leaving them with tea almost exclusively from British-controlled India which produced black tea. Americans came out of the war drinking predominantly black tea. Sweet tea was once consumed as a punch mixed with hard liquour with flavorings of mint and cream, with mint julep being a close version of the punch drink with its similar ingredients.

    In 2003, supposedly as an April Fool’s joke, the Georgia House introduced a bill making it a “…misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature” to sell iced tea in a restaurant that did not also offer sweet iced tea on the menu. The bill never went to a vote.

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  • Rotisserie Chicken

    In our continuing saga of Man meets grill our hero is going to Smoke / Rotisserie a chicken.

    Imagine a roasted chicken bathed in flavorful smoke and slow cooked to the point where it melts in your mouth.

    Rotisserie is a style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit – a long solid rod used to hold food while it is being cooked over a fire in a fireplace or over a campfire, or roasted in an oven. This method is generally used for cooking large joints of meat or entire animals, such as pigs, turkeys, goats or historically, entire cattle. The rotation cooks the meat evenly in its own juices and allows easy access for continuous self-basting.

    In medieval and early modern kitchens, the spit was the preferred way of cooking meat in a large household. A servant, preferably a boy, sat near the spit turning the metal rod slowly and cooking the food; he was known as the “spit boy” or “spit jack”. Mechanical turnspits (“roasting jacks”) were later invented, first moved by dog-powered treadmill, and then by steam power and mechanical clockwork mechanisms. The spit could also be powered by a turbine mounted in the chimney with a worm transmission for torque and speed conversion. Spits are now usually driven by electric motors.

    Rotisserie can also refer to a mechanical device used for rotisserie cooking, or to a restaurant specializing in spit-roasted meat. The word comes from French where it first appeared in Paris shops around 1450. Additionally, in restaurants employing the Escoffierian brigade de cuisine, the rotisseur is the chef responsible for all spit-roasted, oven roasted, grilled and in some cases fried foods.

    Got that?

    Then you’re about half way there. I really think that smoking chicken is the way it was meant to be cooked. But then I think smoking anything is the way to go. While grilling can do wonders for chicken, the smoker adds so much more.

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  • Grilled Buffalo Wings….

    One more in the continuing saga of man and grill. Today, as a run up to the Holiday weekend, a long time pub favorite, updated to a new taste and a new cooking method.

    As a flavor kicker, I’ll add a handful of soaked wood chips to the grill and not start cooking until I get a heavy smoke.

    A Buffalo wing, hot wing or wing is a chicken wing section (drumette or flat) that is traditionally fried unbreaded and then coated in sauce. Classic Buffalo-style chicken wing sauce is composed of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter. Buffalo wings are traditionally served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing.

    Buffalo wings were created in Buffalo, New York. The residents of Buffalo generally refer to them as “wings” or “chicken wings” rather than “Buffalo wings.”

    Cayenne pepper hot sauce and melted butter or margarine are the basis of the sauce. Buffalo wing sauce can be made with a variable amount of heat/spiciness, with the names of these sauces generally corresponding to the level of heat, such as mild, medium, or hot. Typically, the wings are deep-fried (although they are sometimes grilled or baked). The wings are usually fried in oil until they reach close to a golden brown color. They are then drained where they can either be placed in a bowl with sauce or even seasoned with salt and pepper. Following this, one covers the bowl tightly and shakes to coat the wings. As an alternative to waiting to coat the wings until after they are cooked, one can also put seasoning over the wings in a sealed bag and shake them until they are coated evenly. Afterwards, arrange the wings on a baking sheet and wait until they are cooked thoroughly. Wings can then be served dry with sauce on the side.

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  • Grill Basics

    As it is coming to Memorial Day and the opening of the grill season, it’s probably a prudent idea to review the basics of grilling. Here is a compilation of posts on grilling, the basics, hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks ….

    I was talking with Madam Bad Wolf, about our plans for the coming holiday, and the menu for said holiday and plans. She not so gently reminded me of some of my less memorable meals on the grill. This inspired me to start making notes on how to grill the more traditional items….

    Do note: Grilling is NOT Bar-B-Que ….

    Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above or below. Food to be grilled is cooked on a grill (an open wire grid with a heat source above or below), a grill pan (similar to a frying pan, but with raised ridges to mimic the wires of an open grill), or griddle (a flat plate heated from below) . Heat transfer to the food when using a grill is primarily via thermal radiation. Heat transfer when using a grill pan or griddle is by direct conduction. In the United States, when the heat source for grilling comes from above, grilling is termed broiling. In this case, the pan that holds the food is called a broiler pan, and heat transfer is by thermal radiation.

    Direct heat grilling can expose food to temperatures often in excess of 260 °C (500 °F). Grilled meat acquires a distinctive roast aroma from a chemical process called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction only occurs when foods reach temperatures in excess of 155 °C (310 °F).
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  • Salt Cured Steak

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