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I Cook At Night

Back in the Day - BFF Cait

Back in the Day – BFF Cait

I was watching the DISH a week or so back and a trailer for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles  movie came on.  For some reason a synapse fired off back in the dusty part of my brain and I remembered on of my fave warm fuzzies. It musta been 1990-1991 maybe and my BFF Cait woulda been 4 years old or thereabouts.   Like all little ‘uns back then she was caught up in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Some way or another, we ended up at the movie theater to watch the latest release.  It must of been way past the initial release date because there were only 2 other folks in that big place.  Back then, movie theaters seated a buncha folks and I seem to recall it was a week day as well.  I couldn’t tell ya why I wasn’t at work or why it was just me and her.  So we walked down that long aisle and set down right in the middle maybe 3 rows from the very front.  When you are 4 you get into just being swallowed up by the whole deal.

We watched the whole thing and it must have met her approval because I don’t think she breathed but about a dozen times in 90 minutes.  The final credits started to roll and they were playing the theme song which was fairly catchy when we stepped out into the aisle.  The other two folks was long gone.   I don’t know what got into me because I am generally pretty shy out in public but I started to do a little dance to the music up that aisle.  You never had to encourage BFF Cait in any fashion when it came to showing out.  She joined right in and we danced all the way up that dimly lit aisle and it was just ………  GOOD, ya know?

Nowadays, she is in her prime and her light shines bright.   My light gets a skoosh dimmer each day degree by inexorable degree but that is as it should be.  The race to the fore has always belonged to all the Young Lions while the Elders in most tribes are elevated to Sage Counselor for any who bother to listen.  It is the way of the Human Race and well proven.

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You don’t tug on Superman’s cape and other things I have learned

Cheap ass propane smoker in action

Cheap ass propane smoker in action

Noobs who end up down here in the South Texas Puckerbrush during the High Summer think they know what they are getting into but trust me, friends and neighbors,  they are clueless.  Nothing can prepare you for days on end of 100+ temps, wind that will burn your skin and UV levels that turn you crispy in a mere 30 minutes.  On a good day,  I can hold the No Princess Palace temps below 90 degrees with the 2 ACs going along with 2 floor fans.  All that and every window that is not necessary for viewing my traffic covered with InfraStop White Double Bubble Reflective Foil Insulation . I even have my big picture window covered half way down.

One of the things I ended up with when the smoke cleared after the dust up was the Masterbuilt Propane Smoker. Don’t even ask me how that happened as Little Blondie made off with most things kitchen/cooking related. Majority of it was hers anyway.   We started out with the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker which is the Cadillac of smokers in my book. Even if you half-ass it, your goods will turn out tasty.  But the Puckerbrush takes its’ toll on equipment especially when electronics are involved.  We decided to let the Electric Smoker live at Home Base where it was out of the elements.  We replaced it with the much cheaper and simpler propane smoker.  When I first unpacked the propane smoker I thought ‘Look at this POS!  Christ on a cracker, this will never do!’  It is cheap stamped sheet metal with no insulation.  Everything looked marginal at best; just enough to get by.  Well, I was wrong.  I reckon I have smoked five hunnert pounds of meat or better on that rascal and it is Model T cheap to my way of thinking now.  No frills, no bells, no whistles but by God it just keeps going.

South Carolina style smoked chicken goodness

South Carolina style smoked chicken goodness

Being as how I haven’t been through the drive-thru at McD’s in months now and the last breakfast burrito was leftover salesmen’s swag he give me as an afterthought when he was leaving,  I got to make do best as I can.   Having a deep pantry full of canned and jarred goods is all well and good but sometimes I just crave that fresh cooked.  I had picked up 2 family paks of  chicken thighs @ $0.97/lb on sale at Lowe’s Market via a Little Blondie supply run (thank you baby) the week previous and it was time to fire those bad boys up.  When it is nuclear hot outside you do NOT cook inside the RV.  Never, it heats up the inside like a sumbitch. Hell, I don’t even run the microwave unless I have to but that is a double whammy deal.  I have to turn off the AC to run  the microwave so the heat factor is like 10X.   It is also ummm, uncomfortable to cook outside in the sun when the heat index is 109 degrees and rising.  Since my schedule is now 24 hours ON, I didn’t even start smoking until the sun was well down around 830pm or so.  This load of chicken took about 3 hours low and slow at 225 degrees.  Work smarter, not harder.

I had 16 thighs and two sassy-fat boneless breasts from Zaycon Foods that had been put in FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System bags AKA Suck Bags back in February. They came out looking just as good as they did when I put ’em away in the Danby Chest Freezer six months ago. Just a quick word on that Zaycon….. They are some sort of food co-op out of the Northwest and they schedule what they call ‘Events’ all over the country.  All of my purchases from them have been extraordinarily fresh and well priced.  I think the boneless chicken breasts were $1.89/lb.  The next event in my area is in September and the offerings are Frozen Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillets (25lbs) and Rotisserie Seasoned Turkey Breast Roast (20lbs).  Might wanna check them out  — I am most definitely a fan!  Zaycon Link

When you fire up a smoker, it is just plain silly to have an itty bitty piece of one-meat in there.  Fill that bad boy up and let ‘er rip!  The additional effort is not that much more.  I had the racks full when I touched off that smoker and of course, there is no way I can eat 12 pounds o’ chicken before it goes bad!   I saved out about 2 meals worth and put the rest in FoodSaver bags for a rainy day.

Regular readers know we have always favored Memphis style BBQ around this house – that was Little Blondie’s doing.  I grew up 80 miles north of Memphis so that style was home cooking ambrosia to me.  But, you know, I have traveled this whole country and I can dig that South Carolina style BBQ as well. They like those mustard/vinegar sauces over that way and that is the style I did up for this bait of yard bird and it was right tasty if I do say so.  I have included the recipe at the end of this….  You gotta brine the bird if you are going to smoke it.  Otherwise, it will come out as dry as a powderhouse. The recipe is for cooking on the grill. If you choose the smoker,  smoke it up 225 degrees for around 3 hours or until internal temp is 170 degrees.  Make sure your water pan does not run dry!

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There has been a discussion about skanky water over on the Gate Guard forum this week and I know this matter is relevant to many folks who read the blog.  Simply put,  you have to add chlorine to your water down here in the summer or risk contaminating your onboard water tanks and fresh water feed lines.  I have seen my gate guard service guy nonchalantly toss a chlorine tab in the water tank but you really should not do this indiscriminately.  Add to it the fact that free chlorine levels change greatly depending on outside ambient temps.  You simply do not need as much during the cooler months.

I use the Kem-Tek Chlorinating Tablets 1-Inch and much prefer them over the 3″ tabs you have to break in half or thirds. I generally add 2-3 tabs to my 275 gallon tote with each fill up in the summer. But I MEASURE MY CHLORINE LEVELS!

The test strips I use are the Sensafe Free Chlorine Water Check Test Strips – EPA Approved. I add the chlorine when the tank is filled and test the next day.  I am always conservative so I can add more if needed. I shoot for a concentration of 2-3ppm chlorine.

Now, this may seem like I am overly cautious but what if I was forced due to unfortunate events to draw water from say a lake or stock pond and I had no idea how safe it was.  Would I just chunk 7-8 tabs in there I hope it was OK when I run it out in a glass to drink??????  Yeah, I thought so.

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Little Arizona Blondie horseback - Age 9 or so

Little Arizona Blondie horseback – Age 9 or so

Lots o’ links in this weeks post and that is by design.  Everything I tout here is in use by me, personally, and it works!  If you click on the links and buy something, Amazon shares a few cents of that revenue with me and it doesn’t add a penny to your price.  The Amazon income keeps the lights on around here and over at the Forum and sometimes I just need to remind y’all how the cow eat the cabbage. Click the links dammitt!  🙂

****************

Seein’ as how all the paperwork has been signed off and the lawyers satisfied, the legal end to me and Little Blondie has arrived.  I have had occasion to remain friends with EXes and this may just be the happenstance with her.  Truth be known,  several past dalliances would have been more fruitful had we remained friends and nothing more.  Damn sure would have been cheaper……. but then again that is not the nature of men.

If you are interested in how me and Little Blondie came to be,   I wrote a two parter about it back in 2012.  You can read the first one here —- Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

****************

 

Colonel Cooper says:

On the subject of mendacity, I recently overheard a most illuminating anecdote concerning a visit of a Mafioso to a client. He is quoted as saying,

“The reason I do not like businessmen is that they lie. In my brotherhood we do not lie.”

I think I prefer an honest bandit to a dishonorable entrepreneur.

 

 

South Carolina Style BBQ Chicken
Ingredients

1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (2 to 2 1/4 pounds)
Vegetable oil, for brushing
1 large tomato, sliced
Prepared macaroni salad, for serving (optional)

Directions

Preheat a grill to medium. Whisk the yellow mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard powder, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl. Whisk in the butter.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then toss with about one-third of the mustard sauce in a large bowl until coated. Let sit at room temperature, 10 minutes.

Brush the grill grates generously with vegetable oil. Put about 1/4 cup of the remaining mustard sauce in a small bowl for basting and reserve the rest for topping. Grill the chicken, covered, basting occasionally with the sauce, until well marked and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees F, 10 to 12 minutes per side.

Serve the chicken with the reserved mustard sauce, sliced tomato and macaroni salad, if desired.

 

 End Note:  Leave me Alone by Cross Canadian Ragweed from Soul Gravy.  It is a Red Dirt kinda morning.

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11 comments to I Cook At Night

  • You write very well, and I enjoy learning things from you. I only hope that before too long you can let go of the ex and move on. She has. Hope you are able to stop referring to her on your blog. You are better than that.

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    • Andrew

      Thank you for the kind words Charlene. Just because there is a divorce does not mean that person no longer exists. I have weekly dealings with Kathy as we help each other make the best of jobs down here in the Oil Patch. I expect that sharing of resources and interaction to continue for some time as long as we are in close proximity and able to advance each other’s agenda. I expect I will write about it as well because it is life and life is not always neat and tidy and as we please it to be.

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  • Miss Kathy

    My Appaloosa name was J.K Joseph. He was
    From Nez Perce native people.
    Not a quarter horse. Wonderful and smart.

    I help Andy by delivering groceries every week. Picking
    Up mail in town. And sharing recipes and how to
    Cook certain items. I appreciate him watching Tuco and
    He gets to be with her and enjoy it.
    We are not enemies.

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  • Joel

    This turned up on the CD I put on with dinner tonite:

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  • Snowbird

    Did you have Maurice’s Pigge Park BBQ in Columbia, SC. I love the the Honey Mustard. In late 90’s I traveled to SC and would have his BBQ. A work associate would bring me a case of the sauce back once in awhile. The old guy was a real rebel … the Columbia Airport wouldn’t allow his sauce to be sold because it had the Confederate Flag on the bottle.

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  • I love the good ol Texas Cross Canadian Ragweed reference at the end. It sounds like we grew up in the same parts. I am from Ripley Tn, just north of Memphis as well. Thanks for keeping us all so entertained:)

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  • So did my family Andrew, mine are all Ennis’s from that area. Charles & Sue, Larry Monday, Lacy & Charles Ennis… What a small world.

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  • Chlorine, eh? Does it taste better than Iodine, which is what we used in Vietnam back in the Cretaceous? As for the mafioso, he would know that to lie to his cronies, let alone his bosses, would be a good way to wind up dead.

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    • Andrew

      Hey Dick

      By the time the water comes out of my potable tap in the RV, the chlorine level is so small as to not be measurable.

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