From the Kitchen, from the Bar and from the garden: a meandering post about various things

I haven’t had a food and drink post for awhile. A handful of weeks ago we decided to see if we could grill whole Cornish hens on our small barreled shaped grill. We didn’t want to butterfly them which would be simpler, but to have a little whole chicken for each of us.

Many years ago, I was a member of a medieval recreation group called the Society of Creative Anachronism. I was friends with some folks who were part of a somewhat parallel group called the Tuchux, a group that recreated fantasy barbarians, and got their name from the rather atrocious Gor books by John Norman (very bad fantasy of a fellow who ends up on a alien planet where his fantasies of submissive women come true). They are quite a bit more egalitarian than the Gor nonsense and were some coolest people I ever met in my sojourn in the SCA (it’s been about a decade since I’ve had any contact with the SCA). At one of their Yule Feasts that I was kindly invited to, we each got a small loaf of fresh bread and a roasted Cornish hen and it was the best feast I think ever had. I wanted to recreate that.

We managed to do so by putting a pile of charcoal on both side of the grill aka indirect grilling and putting the chooks between them for about 45 minutes and then moving them over the dying coals to crisp up the skin for about 15 minutes at the end. I do recommend getting the biggest charcoal chimney as you can get because then you never have to worry about having lighter fluid or having that nasty taste on their food. We use brown craft paper to light ours since some inks smoke like crazy.

As for a recipe, all it was consisted of thawed chooks, with butter stuffed under the skin and smeared over the skin.

I made a loaf of bread, a pretty standard white loaf and we also put a foil packet of onions, garlic cloves and butter on the grill to cook. A nice red blend wine and what a fabulous meal!

I’ve also been trying to master the new jersey/new York hard roll. It needs a thin crisp crust, and an open interior. Cripes is that hard to get right. We had relatives in NJ and used to go to the City Bakery (long since closed) in New Brunswick to get literally garbage bags of them to bring home to middle-of-nowhere western PA. My grandparents taught me to eat them split and then dipped in hot bacon fat. No wonder I had a gallstone the size of my thumb…..

The most recent attempt looks okay but the inside was soft but too dense. I’m going to try cutting back the shortening that the recipe called for. If anyone has a recipe for something like this, I’m all ears!

Today we tried “egg roll in a bowl” since we’re trying to eat a bit more healthy, 8 oz. of chopped shrimp, 14 oz. bag of cole slaw mix, fry in 2 tbsp veg oil until shrimp pink and cabbage crunchy-tender, then pour on sauce of 2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 4 minced garlic cloves, and ½ cup of soy sauce. Heat until all is hot. It was very good, though I couldn’t resist frying a couple of egg roll skins cut into strips and using them as a garnish. With this, we had a wine from southwestern France that I discovered in our local state store (PA has now allowed grocery stores to sell wine but the state stores still have a better selection), Francois Lurton Melody Gros Manseng Sauvignon Cotes de Gascogne 2015. It has a grape that I was not familiar with, gros manseng.  It was excellent, a little reminiscent of a tropical fruity sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, however more acidic and a bit deeper in flavor with honey tones.

It amuses me that this come from the Gascony region, having been a fan of the Three Muskteers for years. What I’m embarrassed about is that either I never knew or forgot that there was a real D’Artagnan that the story was loosely based on.

And now for some random garden photos. We have buried several of our cats who have passed on in our garden. The statues are for them.

a couple of shots of one of the more interesting plants in my garden: jimsonweed aka locoweed

As always, if you decide to follow my blog, be aware that it also can contain my views on religion and politics. Anything titled “not so polite dinner conversation” is to be read at your own risk 😊

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