Monday, August 28, 2006

A Little Break for Some Vacation Time

Well, I'm heading to Philadelphia this week for a little vacation time. I'm not sure if I'll have internet access so I apologize now for not keeping things here up to date.

In my preparation for this week, I forgot to post Ziggy's WDB photo- bad Mommie! Not to be left out, here's Ziggy.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Martha's Zucchini and Cranberry Muffins

July and August are the months for birthday's for many of my friends and family. I don't need but the smallest excuse to bake something as a "Happy Birthday" from me.

Every other weekend I have a standing appointment to get my nails done-a routine fill and pedicure. I have developed a friendship with a number of ladies who also have appointments around my same time. This was my excuse to bake this morning so I could take these treats with me for this weeks birthday lady.

I had intentions of baking cookies but just didn't have the time with all the events I've been involved in this past week. So, I took out my trusted Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart and came across Zucchini and Cranberry muffins. I just happened to have zucchini growing in my garden and a package of frozen cranberries. All the other ingredients were kitchen pantry or refrigerator staples.

Happy Birthday Cheryl and a belated shout-out to Jenny.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cookies and BBQ?

One may ask what cookies have to do with BBQ? Well, as a part of this past weekends BBQ competition at Silent Valley was a dessert party the first night. In pot luck fashion, each team was asked to contribute a sweet treat.

I was reading an article about the rise of combining savory flavors in sweet treats so this brought back memories of adding ground hot red pepper flakes to sugar cookie dough. In addition, I thought of also combining the red hot pepper with ground chipotle. You know the rest. Decortaed sugar cookies with a warm kick.

Using a chile pepper and a pig cookie cutter with bold colored royal icing, our contribution was created.

To my favorite sugar cookie recipe, I added 1 tsp ground chipotle and 1/2 tsp ground pepper flakes. The cookies were not as warming/hot as I hoped. Next time, I'll increase the ground pepper flakes to 1 tsp.

The other change I made was to use key lime juice in place of water in the royal icing recipe. The key lime flavor was very mild.

When you bite into one of these, the first flavor is that of a nice sugar cookie. After a few seconds, a gentle welcome and warming sensation occurs in your mouth. Voila! BBQ cookies.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Silent Valley BBQ Competition August 18-19, 2006

See the link below for pictures of Four Q BBQ and the first ever IBCA Western region BBQ competition.

Four Q finished 2nd in Brisket, 4th in Ribs and 4th in Chicken

Sylvie's Flickr Photos of Event
Luis' Photos
BigMista's Photos

Friday, August 18, 2006

Weekend Dog Blogging #47

During the Four Q BBQ practice session at my home where we were cooking BBQ with lots of bones and he couldn't have any, well, you can see he's not happy.

The previous day, I took Ziggy in for his annual physical with the vet. She gave me a bad mommy award as Ziggy is overweight. No more high calorie treats, limit the amount of dry food to 1/2 cup per day and no bones. Ugghh! Zig is going nuts.

From this picture, it looks like somebody cheated and gave him something. Yum!

Weekend Dog Blogging hosted by Cate at Sweetnicks.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Four Q BBQ Practice Session

Four Q BBQ is ready for a little competition. See the link below to pictures from our practice session. A good portion portion of our stuff is loaded up in one truck compared to four separate loads during our first competition.

See photos from Sunday's practice session.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Recipe for Great BBQ

Over the last 5-6 months, I have been reading about, watching BBQ shows, visiting BBQ forums and experiementing with varying recipes for rubs, sauces, glazes and brines in an effort to arrive at my own recipe for great BBQ. The one thing I have learned throughout all of this is that there are umpteen million variations of ingredients to make great BBQ added to other variables including equipment, prep, temp and personal touches.

It is not so simplistic as to take one winning recipe for a rub or sauce, use it and think you also have a winning recipe. I was listing to a podcast the other day where an award winning chef explained that he had no problem sharing his recipes with anyone including competing restaurants. He likened it to Picasso teaching his style to others and handing them the paints. The recipent can not imitate and come up with a Picasso work of art. All to say, a lot about preparing great BBQ is the personal hands on touch of the cook.

In reading through recipes in all the BBQ cookbooks I have accumulated, I find for example that the basic recipe for a rub is very similar throughout all these refereneces. My plight is then to take that basic recipe and tweak it to my liking. This is an ongoing task as I could never be pleased knowing I can always improve and do better.

Next weekend "Four Q BBQ" will be competing in the Silent Valley RV Park Competition in Banning, California. Our team practice is this weekend where we will be fine tuning our team entries.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Weeks Glimpse

This post is a combination of three posts covering the past week.

Weekend Dog Blogging sponsored by Sweetnicks with Ziggy highlighted.
Ziggy napping again.

He finds a corner in my office to relax while I blog.

Yes, I just celebrated another birthday (the alternative is not acceptable) and my G took me out to eat at a Venice, California bar and grill which I will not name. Yes, I picked it because I was intersted in trying a place I ordinarily would not adventure to. I selected a duck breast entree with polenta and baby turnips, G selected the rib eye with onion rings. We also had a Caesar Salad and fried calamari. Missed those photo opportunities.

Though the entrees were not bad, they were not great nor memorable. Yes, a bar and grill indicates a lot of noise and this one was true to character with acoustics which boosted the noise level. The wait staff was very good and attentive and it's a shame that that is all I can say about the place. This is one place I won't be recommending in that for the price, you don't get the value. The company was great and I did enjoy the sense of celebration. G and I finished a bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio wine which helped to soothe the impact of the surroundings. Happy Birthday to me, and many more!

Special thanks to my friends at PBE for the warm birthday wishes.

Last weekend I started prepping for the "Four Q BBQ Team" competition coming up later this month (August 18-19) at the Silent Valley RV Park. This is an IBCA sanctioned event with a few rules which are different from the usual KCBS competitions. Check out BBQ Junkie for more information and links to this event.

Our team will have a practice event next weekend where we will decide how we are going to channel our energies for this event. Pork Butt is not in the event so our emphasis will be on half chicken,spare ribs and brisket. I tried out some new (to me) rubs and sauces which were on the sweet side. Not my norm but I aim to please (judges). I'll see what the team thinks next week.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Summer Garden In August

It has been a while since I have posted about the progress of my garden. It is now August and the tomatoes are nearing the end of their growth. Though
I neglected to post pictures of the great harvest I have had with the tomatoes, please believe me when I say I had a truck load.

I planted the summer squash (yellow crook neck and zucchini) rather late. They are both now in full bloom. I also am very proud of my basil plant. The bugs have left it alone and it has thrived producing beautiful leaves to go with the tomatoes some mozzarella cheese and olive oil. Look at how gorgeous it is. Anaheim chilie is my other thriving plant. They are also doing quite well with quite a few chilies in bloom.

Anaheim Chilie
Yellow Crook Neck Squash