Thursday, April 26, 2012

14 Hands, "Hot to Trot"

14 Hands (Red Blend) <$20, from Washington's Columbia Valley; Merlot, Cab, Syrah, Mourvedre' and other reds in the blend... Dark fruit on the nose, not tannic & maybe a little chocolate / spice on the finish.  Give it a try.

Additionally, a very interesting story about how the wineries name came about.  Check out the story @


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Homemade Guacamole


6 Avocados
5 Roma/Plum Tomatoes
1 Vidalia or Spanish Onion
2 Tbsp of finely chopped, fresh Cilantro
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Kosher Salt
Juice of 2 limes
2 Cloves Garlic

In a mixing bowl, combine these ingredients:
Cut Avocados in half, remove seed - use knife to score the Avocado halves vertically & horizontally - afterward scoop Avocado out with a spoon into the mixing bowl...

Add the juice of the two limes, fold in with a spoon...

Add the Cayenne Pepper, Ground Cumin, Garlic & Kosher Salt, fold in with a spoon...

Add the finely diced sweet onion and fold in with a spoon...

Cut the ends of the tomatoes off, core and finely dice the remainder, add to mixture and fold with a spoon...

Lastly, add the finely chopped, fresh Cilantro to the mixture and fold with a spoon...

Place Guacamole in a covered bowl and refrigerate for one hour.  Afterward, enjoy with your favorite chips...


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Weekend, Cherry Smoked Pork Shoulder

Slow smoked, with cherry & white-oak, Pork Shoulder Shank, 9 lbs

pre-par-a-to-ry info...

I used a very simple dry rub on this pork shoulder.  With the fat side down, on a large baking sheet/pan, I spray the meat side with Apple Cider Vinegar and a little Woodford Reserve Bourbon.  After spraying with the mixture, for a couple hours at 20 - 30 minute intervals, I applied a generous coat of salt and black pepper.  And, I used about 1 cup of brown (light or dark) sugar packed atop the salt/pepper rub on the meat side of the shoulder.  I let that sit @ room temp for 2 or 3 hours.  Afterward, I wrap it in Saran Wrap & Aluminum Foil and refrigerate overnight.  I remove the shoulder from the refrigerator the next morning and let it sit @ room temp for about 4 hours before starting the smoking process.  I want the shoulder to be at room throughout before placing it on the smoker for even cooking.

As you can see, from the top photo, I used only half of the smoker for the fire so the other half provides indirect heat beneath the shoulder.  The water pan below keeps some moisture in the cooker during the smoke.  Once I have the heat regulated at approximately 225 - 250 degrees, I'll place the shoulder on the grill over the water pan, meat side down.  I smoked this shoulder with cherry wood as I prefer the likes of cherry, apple or pecan for smoking pork.

Now, with the shoulder on the cooker, meat side down, I'll spray the fat side w/ the Apple Cider Vinegar and then apply a generous coat of salt & pepper.  Cover the cooker and let the smok'n process begin.  Additionally, every 45 minutes or so, I'll spray the shoulder with the Apple Cider Vinegar / Bourbon mix.

This 9 lb shoulder smoked for about 8.5 hours and the internal meat temp was between 180 - 185 degrees internal when I removed it from the smoker.  After removing the shoulder from the smoker, I wrapped it in aluminum foil and let it sit for about 45 minutes.  The shoulder meat pulls easier when the internal temp reaches that 190 - 195 degree range and it'll get close to that during the resting period.

After the 45 minute resting period, it's time to pull or chop the shoulder meat.  I, personally, prefer pulled so I'll use a couple forks to pull the meat.  I pull the fat layer off and start pulling the meat with the forks, only using a knife if I have to.  As well, this is a great time for "taste testing," especially the outer edge with the bark "salt-pepper-sugar" where it's full of flavor.  Enjoy!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa & Chipolte Chili Lime Sauce

unWine'd with a pour...
Chenin Blanc from Vouvray (Loire Valley area of France) $16
Wheat straw or lighter in color...
Melon, honeysuckle & slight hints of citrus on the nose...
Crisp with nice acidity and it paired well with the fish tacos...

pre-par-a-to-ry info

Talapia fillets, approx 5 to 6 oz each
A couple pinches of salt and pepper on each side
Bake @ 350 degrees for 17 minutes (you can pan fry or grill, your call)

Mango Salsa:
1 peeled & diced mango
1 plum tomato, seeded & diced
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions sliced thinly
2 tbsp scallions sliced thinly
1 lime juiced
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 jalapeƱos (remove core and seeds), cut in half and roasted under the broiler for 8 - 10 minutes, then dice
(Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour)

Chipolte Chili Lime Sauce:
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lim juice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 tsp chipolte chili powder
1 pinch salt
(Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for 30 mins to 1 hour)