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Monday, December 29, 2008

Heath McConnell's Photography

My big brother finally got real and started sharing his talent: Heath's Photography Site. Don't be shy- check it out! Hire him.

I think this is when his skills first dropped:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Music Pics (I'm On the Fence) - 12/23/08

I'll be honest with you...I listen to a lot of music. I love it. It moves me. Good music. Bad music. Great music. I'll try it all. Another tidbit- most of it sucks. A few artists, songs or whatever come along and captivate me, but that's few and far between. Of 100 artists, I maybe like 10, and maybe only 1 of those is even really good. But that's just me.

Here are three I'm not too sure about...

Malbec (Dawn of Our Age): They're interesting. I've heard it before, but then I haven't. Certainly reminds me of my coming of age days, so that's always a plus. Easy to listen to, but then nothing overwhelming. One of those you keep in stock...for those in between times.

Jaime Record (Rocket): Been around Jaime's music for years. When she used her real last name. When she sang backup or whatever. Now she went P/K/A on us. She's got a great voice. Songs are decent. The old school team is in play. But is that Jewel I hear? No, but too close for comfort.

Joe Purdy (Canyon Joe): Though my Facebook status said I was starting to fall for Joe, that was on the first round of the second song. Then came the third song. Then the forth. Then the fifith. And so on. His music certainly started to move me. Original (or should I say classic) singer/songwriter fare. It's nice. But it gets boring, I must say. I hate to say it, but it does.

Check em out, players.

~ Brock

The Elusive 'Original - Not "Other" - White Meat' from Sacramento

For those select few of you who watched my early film work - Gang Affiliation - you know the second volume was to include a certain clucker I met in Sac-Town while visiting The Tsais. Production was halted. We missed the window.

Now my grill is warming and I've got a few ideas for you...

I'm still looking for this guy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Grilled Lamb with Red Wine Sauce

Grilled lamb!

A1 and Heinz? You might as well stick to Sizzlers (not that I mind Sizzlers, mind you). For me, I love a good sauce with a good meat...a good homemade one. Here's an easy red wine sauce that hits the sweet spot with lamb or steak.

1 1/2 Cups red wine
1 1/2 Cups chicken broth
5 baby carrots
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
5 quarter sized orange rind pieces
1 tsp thyme
small grip of Italian parsley

Pour liquids in small saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce to low-medium (no bubble simmer). Add remaining ingredients and let simmer for about 40 minutes. It will reduce to about half the amount. You can go longer if you want- maybe an will become more intense and flavorful...just don't forget about it.

Drain through a mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a bowl. Serve with meat.


~ Brock

Monday, December 15, 2008

Music Review - Jurassic 5

Sometimes it's nice to enjoy a band that's like wine...not a Beaujolais, but a cab...something that's been around a while, maturing with age. That's Jurassic 5 to me. I get a scent of my high school days with Cool Moe Dee, Run DMC, and the like, but they're still fresh; relevant today. Check em out when you get a chance. I've been listening maybe 6 or 7 years - I've come and gone, but always come back to em. I'm kind of that way with Common too- he's another one you gotta try.

Guys like Lil Wayne, T-Pain and all them might be hot right now - especially hot considering they're actually selling music in this mess, but I wonder where they'll be in 10 years. My guess is that Common and J5 will still be dropping it. Lil Wayne? I doubt it. He found a gimmick and it took. That gimmick won't last, and I don't think he'll grow out of it.

As long as Common's acting doesn't get to his head, and as long as J5 can still make enough money to keep going, they'll both still hit it right.

~ Brock

A Little Bit of the Carribean

Thinking about Bob Marley or Sandals Resorts? I was, so I whipped up something with a quick reference to better days on the warm beach.

The Bananas
2 bananas sliced

Fry the bananas on medium heath until they're browned to how you like them. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the top. (Note: They'll be oily, and they stick to a paper towel, so think of a better absorbent...maybe a slice of bread.)

The Chicken
6 chicken legs
2 limes
1/4 C brown sugar
1 red chile
1 TSP minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, minced

Marinade the chicken in this stuff for 2 - 3 hours. Light up a grill to about 350, and cook them suckers, turning frequently, about 30 or 40 minutes. Let the juice run clear; no blood. Watch the direct flame- you don't want em burnt.

The Shrimp
12 Shrimp
1 C orange juice
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Marinade the shrimp for 30 minutes or so. Put them on a skewer and grill them next to your chicken for the last 10 minutes, turning frequently and basting with butter.

You can also make extra dipping sauce with the same marinade from your chicken (make it fresh, don't use your chicken marinade).


~ Brock

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Culinary Adventures in Orange County

Maybe you wouldn't guess, but I'm not big on laying down a lot of green for good food. Maybe it's the Barstow in me, or maybe it's the TVP I grew up on - there's just something about expensive restaurants that piss me off. It kills me to pay so much for food. Some of my friends like to wine and dine on c-notes, and that's just not me. I'd be happier spending under $10 on some good noodles and boba. It's not that I don't like the food, mind you. It's the philosophy of spending too much money on it. To each his (or her) own.

Well, I couldn't say no when a friend gave me a gift card to French 75 (part of the Culinary Adventures crew). Tammy and I were excited to check it out, and with our friend watching Tristen for a few hours, we were off.

I had duck and Tammy had scallops. Both were excellent. The portions surprised me too, because I left feeling like a stuffed turkey (but maybe that had to do with the appetizers and souffle, but who knows).

Anyway, to you folks that don't mind $$$$ on dinner, check it out. A great night out.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fresh Pesto

To me, pesto is sort of an acquired taste. It's strong, but it's so good. I've tried the Trader Joe's bottled version and maybe even a couple other ones, but you just can't beat fresh. And, you can't beat yanking the basil out of your garden- rather than buying a box of it at the store. Organic or not, still with dirt on it or not, store bought basil isn't as fresh as the stuff from your backyard. Here's an easy pesto that's good on pasta or pizza or whatever.

2 Cups fresh basil. Lay it out on a cutting board and lay a moist papertowel over it. Pound it with the back of a knife to bruise and release flavor.

1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts and walnuts. Use your imagination with the proportions, but the last one I did had about 80% pine nuts and 20% walnuts. Put them all in a dry pan with low-med heat...toast until fragrant, but DO NOT BURN. Stir/shake constantly. Take out and set aside.

Take 5 large cloves of garlic still in sleeves and toast on dry pan. Take out, cool, remove skins, and coarsely chop.

Take out your processor and push in the basil. Add the toasted (cooled first) nuts on top. Drop 1/4 olive oil. Add your toasted garlic. Process until smooth.

Scoop out into a bowl. Grate 1/4 of fresh parmesan cheese over the top. Add fresh cracked pepper. Add kosher salt to taste. Stir it all.

Now this is the important part...too many people just plop their pesto (or sauce or whatever) with whatever amount of pasta they've cooked. They just don't care about finding the right consistency.

Cook your pasta according to instructions. Be sure to choose a pasta that will capture as much of the pesto as possible, like a spiral or bowtie. Drain.

Add your pasta to your pesto until it's covered to the right consistency. Don't add too much or too little pasta.

Separate into bowls add a bit more kosher salt on top for taste [Note: Why I Use Kosher Salt] , and if you like a little spice, add some crushed red pepper.


~ Brock