June 19, 2011

Father's Day Dinner

This Father's Day marked a first in this house when it comes to cooking dinner. For the first time in the 9 plus years that my wife and I have been together, tonight was the first time she has ever cooked dinner for me. She isn't the most skilled in the kitchen, so it is just better if I handle the cooking duties. That being said, she pulled a rabbit out of the hat tonight and whipped up a very nice meal for her first time out of the box. I let her plan it all, prepare everything, cook it all, and then serve me. I figured of she was doing the first three that she might as well do the latter as well. :)

Here is a run down of what she made tonight:

Publix's recipe for "Party Chicken and Broccoli Salad". We had this a few months ago at my Aunt's house and she told my wife how easy it was to make. My wife insisted she could make it, if it was that easy, so today was her day to put that to the test. She passed.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Cheese
You can see the recipe for this dish below in the pictures. I was grab a picture of the laptop screen when she wasn't looking.

I was not allowed in the kitchen, thought I did sneak in to grab a few pictures, so I can't tell you for sure how she made everything. I can tell you thought that everything was cooked, or in the case of the broccoli salad and pie, and mixed very nicely. She earned herself another shot at cooking some point down the line.

Strawberry Creme Pie
I sort of assisted with this dessert as the three ingredients are Cool Whip, Strawberry Yogurt, and a ready to go pie crust.

My wife was going to buy Yoplait's Strawberry Yogurt. I convinced her that the Strawberry Greek Yogurt was the way to go, and it made all the difference in the world. Greek Yogurt is creamier and has a much sharper taste. It lent itself perfectly to this dessert when mixed with the Cool Whip.

June 05, 2011

Fall Off The Bone Rib Perfection

There are people out there that say you can't make great ribs on a gas grill. I am here to now tell you differently. These ribs that I made today were every bit as good as those smoked on a charcoal grill, or dare I say a Big Green Egg (BGE). Only difference were that these ribs lacks some of the smokiness that you will find with those latter methods. These were prepared and cooked the same exact way as you would via charcoal, but instead was cooked over indirect heat on a gas grill.

I prepared these ribs by first removing the silver skin on the back and trimming away some of the excess fat. Once that was completed, I then rubbed down the pork ribs in a little honey mustard before applying the the dry rub to every inch of the rack. The honey mustard was an experiment, since I was out of regular mustard, and it proved to be a nice compliment to the spicy bite of the dry rub.

After a lot of tinkering with the heat on the grill I was able to get it set to just a little over 250 degrees. This was barely having on the flames on the 2 outer burners. I then places some soaked apple wood chips in the middle in hopes that I could get that flavor up to the ribs. I knew I wouldn't get the smoke that I normally would get with a charcoal grill, but that didn't matter as I got tons of flavor into the ribs as is. The smell from the ribs and the apple wood chips were amazing and this couldn't have worked out better. I also sprayed down the ribs every 30 min or so with a 50/50 combo of apple juice and apple cider vinegar.

Cooking time was pretty easy as well thanks to the heat being perfectly regulated. I let these go 2 hours on the top rack, 2 hours wrapped up in foil, and then one more hour back on the rack as I applied the sauce. Two applications of the sauce did the trick and these ribs were done.

As you can see by the pics these ribs were not only a thing of beauty but were also cooked to perfection. The meat fell right off the bones, was moist, and had flavor for days.

If you are one that has been afraid to try and cook ribs on a gas grill, I am here to tell you that it can be done and be done easily.

June 03, 2011

Slider Nirvana at Sammy Greens

This was my second visit to @SammyGreens, a locally owned slider restaurant near downtown in Savannah on Abercorn. I could swear that I posted about my initial visit where I ate the Chee Booger and the Danang. However, for whatever reason I can't find it on here...so we march forward with posting about the my second trip.

The process at Sammy Greens is very simple: Walk up to the counter, place your order, have a seat, and feast when your food is brought out to you. Everything is made fresh, but doesn't take long to prepare being that they are small in size. On this trip I ate the Windy City, a Hogzilla, and a Chee Booger (because it is that good).

The Windy City is a Chicago style slider that packs the best of the Chicago Dog into just a couple of bites. This split mini dog is topped with diced banana peppers, minced onion, diced tomato, pickled cucumbers, relish, lettuce, celery salt and mustard. This dog was messy, but oh so good. It was so good that I am tempted to just order a couple of these on the next trip and nothing else.

The Hogzilla is a slow roasted pork shoulder that has been pulled and then pressed together into a patty. Cole slaw, pickles, and their own BBQ sauce round out this pork slider. It was very good, but not one that will have me running back there to try again. I am much more of a fan of their brisket than the pork.

That leads me to the last slider, the Chee Booger. As I stated before, this slider is so good that it is almost a staple to have on your plate each and every visit. Slow roasted brisket, cooked to perfection, is the star of the show, but everything on this slider comes together perfectly. Topped with smothered onions, pickles, American cheese, mustard and Tschirky Sauce...every bit of this slider should be savored.

The menu at Sammy Greens features different sides each week, salads, and a host of other sliders on the pork, brisket, chicken, and hot dog scale. Size wise, 2-3 sliders will have you full and happy when you walk out the door. Also, at around $2.50 a slider...they won't kill your wallet.

Sammy Greens on Urbanspoon

June 02, 2011

Great, cheap lunch in Athens at Cali n Titos...

Great little lunch spot. This a a Latin restaurant, and really has a nice little vibe, with a lot of little kitsch items around and some modern Latin pop music playing. It looks like something you would find in an ethnic Miami neighborhood, or even in Cuba. The menu seemed geared toward quick service things, and the sandwich items all looked awesome. They have tacos, traditional Cuban sandwiches, as well as other items that I didn't really have a chance to review. I should have stolen a menu, but you can see an older one here. Many of the items are the same.

I went with the Cubano sandwich. They offer it with steak, chicken, or chorizo and eggs. It comes with lettuce, tomato, mayo, jalapenos, onions and a little cilantro. The bread was great, with a nice, crisp crust that gave a good texture on the bit. The steak appeared to be a marinated flank steak, and there was plenty of meat in the sandwich.

For my side, I chose the tostones (fried green plantains smashed into small wafers similar to thick potato chips). Those tostones were off the hook! They were not greasy at all, and were not overly salty. They were also dusted with what appeared to be a small amount of parmesan cheese. Other sides offered were fries, maduros (fried sweet plantain {I really want to try these next time}), and yuca frita (fried yuca {cassava}).

The sandwiches were all sold as combos for around $7, which was the sandwich, a side, and a canned drink. The sandwiches are a very good size and are plenty of food for a lunch or dinner. The drinks are canned drinks, but they do offer some fresh juices as well, I believe. the selection of drinks is pretty varied, as well. In addition to the standard Coke/Diet Coke/Sprite/Tea, they offer common Latin soft drinks like Postobon (an apple soft drink), Colombiana (made by Postobon, more of a cream soda type), Inka Cola, and other popular Latin brands.

Sadly, I was so consumed by eating a damn good sandwich that I didn't remember to take any pictures until I had already eaten half of it. The photos are bad and do not do justice to the food.

A few things to note:
They don't take credit/debit cards.Lunch crowds can create long lines, but the food wait is minimal.The patio is covered and there are fans, but it could be uncomfortable during summer. They don't have a liquor license, but for $2.00 per person you can BYOB. Parking can be an issue when busy (he bought the car wash next door to help with this). This restaurant is a must visit in Athens, IMO. I am definitely going back to try some of the other combos. And for the guys--the ambient scenery is fantastic!