1 lbs Ground Mild Italian Sausage Browned
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 large onion
4 tbsp real bacon pieces
4 cloves finally chopped garlic
64 Oz chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
3 or 4 large potatoes sliced with skin on (clean them)
1 bunch of kale - (I like a lot of kale because it cooks down well)
1 tbsp butter
Make sure you pay strict attention to these directions. Throw everything in a pot and let simmer until kale is soft, about 2.5 hours
Let me tell a story. A while back my mom went to the Blue Mountain Barrel House in Virginia and picked me up several bottles of their beer. As you all know I am not a professional beer reviewer but when I say a beer is good you can pretty much trust my judgement. All the samplings I had were phenomenal and I would recommend every beer from the Blue Mountain Brewery except one. http://www.bluemountainbrewery.com http://www.bluemountainbarrel.com/
I opened up one called the Local Species
Belgian-inspired, American-hopped, barrel-aged pale ale
Different. Secret. Native. A creation of deep-drawn well water, special barley malts, American hops and Belgian yeast. Aged in charred American White Oak bourbon barrels. A beer as original and beautiful as our native Brookie.
It was flat and it was gawd awful. Being the true beer drinker I am I suffered through it and downed it properly. Well, perhaps a bit too quick to get rid of it. The picture to the right shows how flat and cloudy it was. Oh my gawd it was nasty and it was supposedly an award winner. I didn't get the concept at all for this beer and I wondered if I was losing my mind. Since it was so confusing I had to contact the the company because it just didn't make sense. Normally I just deal with a horrible beer but this time I figured it had to be a mistake.
I sent an email to the brewery explaining what I experienced and even sent pictures. After a couple of days I was contacted by Taylor Smack and he assured me that what I experienced was NOT the beer the way the beer was suppose to be so he offered to send me another bottle. I gladly accepted because I really wanted to taste this beer.I waited about a week and to my surprise there was a nice box from Blue Mountain Brewery at my front door. I was so delighted. I took it out of the box and placed it lovingly into my refrigerator. I waited for about 4 days to the weekend so that I could try it. Now I had very high hopes. I was really excited. I mean, the Brewery sent it to me because they have faith in their beer. I popped the cork...POP! the cork flew off and hit the wall. I let the beer air for a bit and then poured. It came out with such a honey amber color. It was a really beautifully colored beer. I took the first drink and it was like nectar. The beer was robust without a lot of bitterness. It was SOOOOOOOO good.
I'm writing an extended post about this because Taylor did it right. He cared for his customer and most importantly he has faith in his beer. I encourage anyone and everyone reading this to jump on the website and buy their beer. It's some of the best I have ever had. Do business with these guys, you wont regret it. Their uber pils is one of the best pilsners I have had barring the tap pils I use to drink in Zweibruken Germany.
Anyhow the picture to the left is the correction and you can see how beautiful it is.
3 pounds stew meat 1/4 cup flour 1/2 tsp salt Olive oil 2 carrots 3 large potatoes 1 tbsp Parsley 1 tsp rosemary 1 tsp black pepper 1 package dry onion soup mix 2 cups beef broth 3 tbsp butter 1 1/2 onions chopped 1/2 cup red wine 1/4 cup beef broth 2 tbsp flour
1. Place the stew meat in a large freezer bag. Add the 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 tsp salt. Shake the bag and thoroughly cote all the chunks of meat.
2. Add some olive oil to hot pan and brown the flour coated meat. Ensure all sides are browned. The meat does not need to be cooked to the center, just browned on all sides.
3. Heat the 2 cups of beef broth and put into the crockpot. Add the package of onion soup, parsley, pepper, and rosemary. Whisk it together really good.
4. Cube the potatoes and carrots to nice sized chunks. It's really a preference on how large you want them.
5. Place meat, potato, and carrots into the crockpot.
6. Chop the onions and place into a clean pan with the butter. Caramelize the onions. Once done, drop into the crockpot. While the pan is hot pour the red wine into the pan. It will evaporate fast so, with a non scratch spoon scrub the bottom of the pan loosening all the stuck bits. be quick, and when the wine is about half, pour into the crockpot. Stir
7. Let the crockpot cook on high for about an hour then turn it down to low.
8. Mix together the 1/4 beef broth and the 2 tbsp of flour and pour into the crockpot. Stir the crockpot thoroughly and let cook on low for about 7 hours.
I haven't updated in a while; but there is good reason for it. This is by no means an excuse, well, perhaps it is but it's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Firstly, I have been working a great deal lately. It seems like every piece of hardware in my data center decided to go out all at once and if that wasn't enough I had domain controllers apparently demote themselves. I checked for viruses, root kits, and back doors and none were found but the dc's were in fact demoted and not cleanly so I had to do a dcpromo /forceremoval and then I had to manually clean the metadata. All this made for a couple of very busy weeks.
Secondly, I am working real hard to update MyJobList which was a php script I did many years ago. The rewrite is intensive and really makes this program come alive in functionality. It is completely updated with new MySQL queries for the latest version of MySQL and I have removed all the deprecated php 4 code to current code that much more efficient. I also gave the program a name change so as not to confuse the old version. The new name is PhpJobList. Lastly on this topic, the next program to work on is Recipe Holder which is pretty good right now, and doesn't need a rewrite. It just needs some of the deprecated code changed and some features added.
Thirdly, I started a new Beginners C# (C Sharp) class where I am learning to program. C# is really becoming one of the most widely used languages in game programming. I have hopes of one day leaving the information technological support and services gig and entering into the world of programming. I love to program and could do it 365x24x7. I also hope to be writing Windows 8 phone and tablet apps in the next couple of weeks since C# is one of the languages that are used for it. I would venture to say that C# will be the Windows 8 language of choice in the near future.
Fourthly and most importantly; I've been sampling some more beers for you. Of my favorites. the Samuel Adams 13th Hour would be my favorite with Boddingtons coming in a strong second. The Magic Hat 9 was disgusting. Pics below -
I've released LinkMask 4.1 for download. LinkMask was one of those programs made out of necessity. I needed an easy application that did two things. 1. hide my affiliate links, and 2. counted the clicks. All other applications that I wanted to use were bloated and didn't quite do the simple things I wanted so I wrote LinkMask.
LinkMask is a url shortening/masking application written in php and making use of mod_rewrite. It allows for people to take exceedingly long urls and shorten them to something that will not break in emails. It allows users to mask urls and hide such things as affiliate links. For instance, a user has a url from a site that looks like...
Read more, as well as download it from here
Here are a bunch of 3D space ships I did a long time ago. I was going to use them for a 3D space game but I got a bit bored with the entire project so ditched it. These are low poly models for quick game engine use. They aren't painted or detailed so have fun.
I've been meaning to post for a while so I'm pulling myself away from studying to review a hot sauce. That's what I do. I am so delinquent in my posts that now I have a whole store of unreviewed hot sauces that I need to taste. Anyway, I'll kick it back off with this hot one.
Nuckin Futs is pretty much what I was saying when I tasted this hot sauce because my tongue didn't work properly when the fire hit. Tasting it plain, I found the sauce to be moderately tart with an unassuming orange/hibiscus flavor. I know that sounds odd, but something in the sauce had a flowery after taste which I can only assume was from the "other spices" as referenced on the ingredients list. Along with habeneros, pepper extract, citrus, and salt; these "other spices" lend themselves well to a very balanced, and flavorful hotsauce.
I decided to ignore the eleven warning labels on the bottle. Yes, eleven warnings, with the largest saying to "Use One Drop At A Time." So what chilihead worries about warning labels when it comes to heat, right? For my tablespoon test, I actually ended up taking two tablespoons full. The heat wasn't there initially and then after the second spoon full I felt the heat in the back of my throat like a bazillion pissed off fire ants. My tongue and lips immediately caught fire and my nose hairs started to smolder. My nose started running and then the sneezes hit me. Ahhh, it felt so good. The sauce was extremely thick which I really enjoyed because it had clinging power. I was able to dowse it onto a burger and it stayed there without soaking into the bun. In soup, it mixed easy. I made some chicken gumbo over the weekend and dowsed a nice healthy serving of Nuckin Futs into it. I was well pleased with the heat as well as it's ability to really enhance the flavor of the food that it pairs itself with without being over bearing.
I must admit. I wasn't going to give Nuckin Futs a good review initially, but after using almost the whole bottle before I even knew it; I felt that it deserved a good review simply because it became my go to hot sauce. So, yeah, this hot sauce is good. It's hot, and it's mean.
When Ollies Mediterranean Grill off of Hillcrest and Grelot first opened I use to love going there with my family. It had the best shawarma plate and hummus appetizer around. The other food on the menu was fantastic and I could be assured that anything I got off the menu would be spectacular. The wait staff was wonderful, charismatic and bubbly; well worth the 25% tip that I would leave them (I'm a firm believer in above average high tips for extremely well performed service).
Over the past years I have noticed a drop in the quality of the food and service that Ollies has to offer. The quality hasn't gone unnoticed by a small subset of the public because many of the people with whom I associate have told me that they have noticed the same downward spiral. At one time the small parking lot would be full and filling over to the parking lots of the adjacent businesses but now the parking lot is mostly filled with the vehicles of the staff. While inside I've started noticing that the wait staff tends to linger about, smoking in the public areas by the bar and just malingering around with nothing to do. Perhaps they were waiting for the evening rush, perhaps not, regardless it makes the place look unmanaged and lacking in pride.
This trend in Mobile of a good restaurant going down hill seems to be fairly common in the area. Is it the fault of the waiters the management is hiring or is it the lack of management talent that the city has? I'm thinking that it might be a little bit of both. Let's take my recent trip to Ollies as an example. My wife and I both ordered the Reuben sandwiches, an order of flaming cheese, salad, and lentil soup. The appetizers came out quickly but then flaming cheese isn't something that takes rocket science to do but it did take them twice to get it to the table. Typically butter, and cognac (or a bitter ouzo) are used and ignited melting the cheese and giving it a nice toasty flavor. I'm not sure what was used this time around but it really didn't have a flavor. It wasn't bad but it wasn't knock out good either.
Our entrees came out a short time later. The Reuben looked wonderful. They were loaded with meat and cheese and all the goodly innards that makes up a Reuben sandwich. The salad and lentil soup were placed on the table as well. The salad was nothing special and the lentil soup was grey. I'm not sure what happened, but Ollies use to have a beautiful golden yellow lentil soup that was as inviting as Alice's bottle that said drink me. It was something that tasted as good as it looked. In contrast the grey version of their lentil soup wasn't anything special. I started eating my Reuben and it was pretty good. I actually finished half of it before my wife had eaten two bites of hers and that is where this story gets interesting.
My wife, after eating two bites, said "Does this smell funny to you?" Without smelling, I mentioned to her that it was a Reuben with sauerkraut after all and that of course it would smell. She insisted that I smell it, so I did. My stomach turned as I caught an aroma of underarm body odor and a stuffed ash tray. What I smelled was wretched. It was so strong and eye watering I was surprised it wasn't caught by the chef before leaving the kitchen. I flagged down my waitress and politely told her what was wrong with the dish. The poor thing looked sadly like a deer in headlights and politely took the dish back to the back.
I was a bit nervous - scratch that - I was a LOT nervous. I just ate half of a Reuben sandwich that probably came from the same batch of corned beef that my wife's came from. It smelled rotten and I was a bit fearful that I would be getting sick. I've seen pictures of people that had legs amputated due to bad cases of botulism. I've grown quite fond of my legs and would hate to lose one because of ill prepared food. Enough of the silly talk. Actually I was worried that I would have the runs and be uncomfortable for the next couple of days. I do have an iron stomach after all.
The waitress returned and said, "he removed it from your ticket." Great, wonderful, I didn't have to pay for spoiled food. She asked kindly if I wanted a box for the other half of my sandwich to which I told her that I was a bit nervous. I didn't want it just in case it also might be bad and eating it would probably not be a good idea. I wanted to ask the waitress 1.) Who "he" was, and 2.) Why is "he" not at the table apologizing. I didn't though, and this brought me to a conclusion on my rhetorical question above. In the case of Ollies on Hillcrest, the downward spiral in quality is definitely due to poor management. Big points are awarded to managers and chefs that interface with customers that are extremely dissatisfied. I feel, that if a customer has an item removed from their bill because of quality, that manager or chef should be at the customers table apologizing like no other. I don't know. Perhaps my low standards in restaurants, and restaurant management is still too high for this area.
Ollie's Mediterranean Grill
1248 Hillcrest Rd
Mobile, AL 36695
Beer is new to my blog but I was thinking that I love beer as much as I love hot sauces so tonight I decided I would start taking pictures of the different beers I drink. I drink a few regularly but I typically buy a new beer every weekend. I won't go into details about each beer except to say if I liked it or if I hated it. Well, maybe I'll say a few words, but that is about it.
To start off I will post last weeks winner. Mississippi Mud. I was a bit worried to try this beer. It's a porter and a pilsner mixed together and put in a huge ass bottle. When I poured it, it was dark but not thick. I was very impressed with the flavor. It was not bitter at all. I'll gladly drink this beer again and again.