Light the Grill....Crack a Beer....Crank the Tunes

Light the Grill....Crack a Beer....Crank the Tunes

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Peppered Brisket B.L.T.A/Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan/The Skull "For Those Which Are Asleep"

We weren't setting out to be lazy this week, but a quick perusal at our menu may show otherwise.  It doesn't get anymore difficult this evening with the humble BLT.   To our credit, we do spruce it up a bit by peppering the brisket bacon and adding avocado and a sriracha mayo to it, but at the end of the day it's still a friggin' BLT.   We crack a ton of fresh black pepper on slices of brisket bacon and bake until crisp.  On toasted brioche bread we layer the bacon with crunchy bibb lettuce, fresh tomato, creamy avocado and spicy sriracha mayo.  This simple sandwich gets paired up with Mississippi's Lazy Magnolia's Southern Pecan brown ale.  On the stereo is the latest release from The Skull "For Those Which Are Asleep".

Peppered Brisket B.L.T.A - We start off with thick brisket bacon that we cover with fresh cracked pepper.  The bacon goes into a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes until brown and crispy.

Now it's just a matter of compiling all of the sandwich ingredients; the crisp bacon, 1 ripe tomato, 1 small head of bibb lettuce, 1 avocado and brioche bread.  Layer a few strips of bacon on a slice of  toasted brioche.

The veg goes on next in the form of a leaf of crisp bibb lettuce, a thick slice of fresh tomato a few slices of avocado.

The last component is the sriracha mayo which is simply, wait for it, sriracha mixed with mayo.   Mix the two together and spread a good amount on the top slice of toasted brioche.

Close up the sandwich and there you have it.  Admittedly, BLTs are not one of our go-to sandwich options but with peppered brisket bacon, avocado and sriracha mayo that could change in a hurry.

Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan -  Our first beer from Mississippi's Lazy Magnolia Brewing is their flagship specialty beer, Southern Pecan brown ale.  The beer pours a dark caramel color with almost no head. The aroma is sweet and a little tart. The flavor is really nutty, caramel-y and rich with a pronounced pecan flavor like a liquid butter pecan ice cream.  The sweetness puts it on the cusp of a desert beer but we were still able to thoroughly enjoy it with the smoky bacon for which the pecan was a natural match for.   Definitely not a beer you could drink everyday but when paired up nicely it's a delicious brew.

The Skull "For Those Which Are Asleep" -  The long awaited album from former Trouble singer Eric Wagner's latest band The Skull's "For Those Which Are Asleep" is further proof that his unique brooding vocals mixed with the classic heavy doom sound just continues to get stronger.    The riff that begins "Trapped Inside My Mind" is so insanely heavy you feel it in the pit of your stomach the whole way through.   The vocals are in fine form and super melodic.   The song slows down and gets a little progressive about halfway through before a blistering solo tears things up again.   A deep rumbling bass opens up "The Touch of Realty" which is a slow, plodding number that is as somber as it is loud.  "Sick Of It All" keeps things tuned way down low and slow in the riff department but the song does a 180 in the vocal department with some fairly clean vocals and heartfelt lyrics.  This formula lasts for a majority track then things really kick into high gear with a huge and heavy jam to end the song.   The slow and dark "The Door" is a tune that just builds and builds with soaring guitars and vocals behind a funeral-paced beat but despite its seemingly foreshadow, the song rests comfortably between first and second gear the entire time.  One of the best licks on the album is at the beginning of "Send Judas Down".   It's got that classic 70's hard rock guitar sound before the huge metal riff takes its place.  It's all about the dirty groove on "A New Generation", a complete headbanger of a track that might very well be the best on the album.  "Til The Sun Turns Black" is another killer track with a locomotive riff similar to the Scorps' "The Zoo".  Great vocals and solo just put the exclamation point on things.    The title track clocks in at a little over 7 minutes and begins with some Zeppelin-influenced eastern acoustic  guitar work.  The song turns into a classic Trouble-like number with a monstrous riff that tramples over anything in its way.  The interplay of the two distinctively different sounds continue on for a majority of the song.   "Sometime Yesterday Mourning" is straight up old school metal, recalling early Trouble.  The tone on the guitar just screams 1984 as do the machine gun paced drums.   The album ends with "The Last Judgement" which also caps off an amazing Side 2 of an album.  This tune is a little more medium tempo, not quite sludgy not quite metal, just a solid heavy hard rock number.  "For Those Which Are Asleep" is another great installment in the amazing Eric Wagner discography.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Grilled Spicy Italian Pizza/Off Color Brewing Scurry/American Sharks "American Sharks"

You can definitely file this recipe under "super quick weekday meals".  Store bought lavash bread makes for a near perfect thin crust pizza.  The "spicy" comes in several waves from spicy arrabbiata pizza sauce, to the shredded pepperoncini provolone, to the hot capicola, to the fresh jalapeño slices to the sriracha drizzle.  To wash these slices down, we opted for Off Color Brewing's delicious Scurry beer.  Rounding out the evening on the music side was the hard charging, punk fueled self-titled album from American Sharks.

Grilled Spicy Italian Pizza -  We're going to try drag out this post a bit, because there really isn't much to it.   First we can gather all of the ingredients; lavash, 6 ounces of pepperoncini provolone, 6 slices of hot capicola, sliced pepperoni, arrabbiata sauce and 1 fresh jalapeño sliced.

Ladle on the spicy pizza sauce on the lavash then scatter the fresh jalapeño slices all over.

Next evenly sprinkle on the cheese.

Now the meat layer with the hot capicola and pepperoni.

The pizza goes onto the cool side of a scorching hot grill for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is melted, the meat gets a little brown and crispy as does the crust.   Drizzle the pizza with sriracha and slice into large wedges.  Even though these appear to be super spicy, they are so flavorful and delicious, you barely even notice that you are consuming an atomic level of heat.

Off Color Brewing Scurry -  This is the final chapter of the story that started here, Scurry is the dark ale brewed with honey, molasses, and oats from Chicago's Off Color Brewing.    The beer pours a dark brown, like cola, with an equally foamy head.  The aroma is rich and sweet like a cappuccino with some hoppy notes as well. The flavor is actually really light despite its dark appearance with an extremely smooth mouthfeel. The label boasts that the beer is brewed with honey, molasses and oats but it is not nearly as sweet as you'd think. There is a pleasant sweetness that is tamed by a piney hoppy bite. This easy drinking sweet ale actually worked quite well with the spicy pizza, a combo we would certainly do again.

American Sharks "American Sharks" -  Sleazy, high-energy rock and roll with a lethal dose of punk is the order of the evening when the American Sharks are on.  Toss in a blender Bad Wizard, early The Last Vegas and The Stooges with a gallon of Jack Daniels and a handful of razor blades and you'll get something pretty close to the American Sharks' sound.    Right out of the gate "Iron Lungs" comes out with both barrels firing.   The riff is heavy and infectious and the groove is down right dirty.  The song slams for the entire minute and a half highlighted by some great vocals.   The appropriately named "Overdrive" needs to be played at maximum volume in a fast car on the open road.  Sure it can be played elsewhere and still kick ass, but for the optimal experience in the car it must be heard, cranked up loud.   "Indian Man" starts with a huge drum beat along side a big fuzzy riff.  The vocals have a very cool desert rock feel to them.   "XVI" continues with the heavy head banging grooves as does "Freak Out" with the latter bringing an old school punk sound to the party.  One of the best tracks on the album belongs to "Demon with Glass Sword".   The vocals are sick making the tune super catchy while still being ridiculously heavy.    "Cocaine" possesses a certain 70s hard rock feel in the same vein as early Kiss just a lot heavier.  The album ends with "11:11" showing that the band does not need to take the foot off the gas for even a second over the course of the album, as they just plow right through an instant classic heavy punk record.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hot Giardiniera Italian Sausage Pizza Dogs/Southern Tier Farmer's Tan/1000mods "Vultures"

This week we're cruising through some of the recipe ideas we've had written down for quite some time.  Tonight, it's this spicy Italian spin on the classic bagel dog.  We start with hot giardiniera italian sausage that we got from our local Caputos that we simmer in chicken broth, garlic, onions and peppers until mostly cooked through.  The sausages get a quick spin over the coals to char up a bit then get wrapped with provolone and pepperoni in some pizza dough before being dusted with oregano and baked until golden brown.  Served up with a side of tomato basil marinara, these were the perfect combination of bagel dog and calzone.  To drink we had a six pack of Southern Tier's take on a low ABV IPA with their Farmer's Tan.  For the tunes, we went back to Greece and back to the excellent 1000mods with their latest "Vultures".

Hot Giardiniera Italian Sausage Pizza Dogs -  With a store bought pizza dough, this meal comes together in a snap.   The only time consuming part is the sausages so let's start there.  In a large sauce pan bring 1 quart of chicken stock,  a dozen pearl onions, 6 cloves of garlic and 2 green peppers sliced into strips to a low boil.   Add the sausages to the pot.

Reduce heat to medium/low and let the sausages simmer for about 20 minutes until almost cooked through and remove from the heat.

These are ready for the grill.  Since they are pretty much cooked through, we just need a low flame to char things up a bit.  Place the sausages over direct heat and turn often until browned on all sides.

Now we can get to work on wrapping these things up.   We roll the pizza dough out into a large rectangle and slice the dough into 6 - 2" strips.    Place a slice of provolone on top of the dough, followed by a few slices of pepperoni and an italian sausage.  Wrap the dough around the filling until it is completely encased then sprinkle oregano on top.

These go on a soaked wood plank and get grilled over indirect heat for about 20 minutes until the pizza dough is cooked through and golden brown.

The only thing left to do is serve these puppies up with a side of tomato basil marinara for dipping and they are good to go.

Southern Tier Farmer's Tan - New York's Southern Tier Brewing Co. has been known to churn out their fair share of killer beers. We've been big into these low ABV pale ales and were excited to give their Farmer's Tan a spin. The beer pours a shiny bronze color with a thin bubbly white head. The aroma is sweet, partially from the mango in the hops and partially from the chewy malts. The flavor is a little tart, a little malty and a tad bitter not really overwhelming in any one particular characteristic. The mouthfeel is super light which goes along with the 4.6% ABV and puts the "sessionable" in the Sessionable IPA. It's a decent brew, not overly hoppy unfortunately as most of the low ABV pale ales on the market are still able to hone in on that delicious hoppiness. The light beer actually worked out well for the food pairing, providing an easy drinking counterpart to the spicy and salty sandwich.

1000mods "Vultures" - If you ever wanted to hear what Palm Desert mixed with Swedish stoner rock by way of Greece sounds like, look no further than 1000mods.    These desert rockers are back with their follow up to the awesome "Super Van Vacation" with 2014's equally incredible "Vultures".    The opening track is "Claws" and it gets the blood pumping right away with its driving beat and infectious riff.  A decidedly Cream-like riff kicks off "Big Beautiful" before changing gears to the heavier fuzzed out side.  "She" begins as a bluesy number, with a back alley, down and out sounding riff that is custom made to be played in smokey bars and concert halls.  The song gets progressively heavier without losing its groove sounding a little like Fireball Ministry by the end of the song.   "Horses' Green" is a brooding, building number with a NIN/Tool angst-ridden vibe.  After a couple of slower tunes, "Low" ratchets the tempo back up again.  The title track is another exercise in the blues, but with some darker vocals more reminiscent of AIC.  It's one of the best tracks on the album.  "Modesty" just flat out blows the doors off the place.  It features a bull-whip riff, killer groove and great raspy vocals that give it top honors for the album's best song.  The closing track is the appropriately named atmospheric "Reverb of the New World".  It's an instrumental that picks up steam as it goes on and ends with a jam of epic proportions.  "Vultures" is another great release from this stellar band.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Spicy Chorizo and Queso Stuffed Mushrooms with Ranchero Crema/O'Fallon 5 Day IPA/Slow Season "Mountains"

We've had this idea written down forever, the time has come to finally make it.  Taking our cue from the classic Italian sausage stuffed 'shrooms, we take the recipe south of the border by swapping out the italian sausage with chorizo, the parmesan for chihuahua cheese, the breadcrumbs for crushed tortilla chips, the…well, you get the picture.  We hollow out some large button mushrooms then stuff them with a mixture of browned chorizo, cheese, chopped cilantro and jalapeño and crushed tortilla chips.  These go over indirect heat on the grill until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is melted and bubbly then get served up hot with a side of tangy and creamy ranchero crema.  To wash these little morsels down with, we opted for the easy drinking 5 Day IPA from Missouri's O'Fallon Brewery.  On the stereo is the brand new release "Mountains" from California's Slow Season and it's freaking melting our speakers.

Spicy Chorizo and Queso Stuffed Mushrooms with Ranchero Crema -  These little apps are really super simple to make, the hardest part is coring out the mushrooms.  Not that it's hard, just a little time consuming.  Using a wet cloth wipe down a dozen or so large button mushrooms.  Using a small knife (or a jalapeño corer, don't ask why we have one), cut off the stem of the mushroom (save them for the filling) then work it around the perimeter of the mushroom and dig out as much of the interior as possible being very careful not to pierce through the outer shell.

Keep the cored and hollowed out mushrooms to the side while we knock out the filling.  In a medium sauté pan brown one link of chorizo.  In the same pan saute the chopped mushroom stems and the diced  jalapeño until the veggies are soft.  Move the mixture to a medium bowl.

Add in 6 oz of shredded chihuahua cheese, 1 small jalapeño diced, 1 small handful of chopped cilantro and 1/2 cup of crushed tortilla chips.

With a small spoon stuff the filling in each mushroom cap leaving a rounded amount on top.  Walk these out to the grill that has been set-up for indirect grilling and place the mushrooms on the cool side.

Cover the grill and let these go for about 20-25 minutes until the mushrooms are slightly wilted and the filling is bubbly.  Remove from heat and keep warm.

While the 'shrooms are hanging out, we can knock out the ranchero crema, which in all honesty is just a fancy name for red enchilada sauce mixed with Mexican crema and fresh squeezed lime juice.

Serve up the stuffed mushrooms on a platter with the sauce on the side.  We had high hopes for this combination and the final product even exceeded our already high expectations.  The smoky, earthy mushrooms were the perfect little cauldrons for the spicy and cheesy goodness that rest inside.  Dipped in the addictive crema, you've got an app that will disappear in a heartbeat.  

O'Fallon 5 Day IPA - Our first sample from this Missouri brewery is their 5 Day IPA.  The beer pours a fairly dark amber with a thin wispy head.  The aroma is sweet and malty with none of the typical hoppy notes you would normally detect before diving into an IPA.  The flavor more closely resembles an amber ale; it is slightly sweet with vanilla tobacco with just the slightest hoppy bite on the finish.  It's a pretty easy drinking beer at just a hair over 6% ABV.  Pairing-wise, it worked fine with the 'shrooms, the slighty sweet brew working well with the earthy and spicy dish.

Slow Season "Mountains" - Immediately the first thought you'll have when you spin this new release from Slow Season is the huge Led Zeppelin influence, especially after the "Good Times, Bad Times" lick that kicks off the opening track "Sixty-Eight".   Over the course of this amazing album, that Led Zep feel remains throughout but the band mixes in a good amount of psychedelia, both heavy in the form of Blue Cheer and mystically bluesy like The Doors.  Back to "Sixty Eight" for a minute, this lead track not only will slay you with the aforementioned killer riff but will also pummel you with its ridiculously loose groove.  Toss in some soaring, raspy vocals and you've got the listener totally hooked for what's to come.   "Synanon" is a brooding, eerie number that picks up steam as the song rolls on.  It's got a huge anthemic beat to it the whole way through ending with some cool Eddie Vedder-like vocals.   There is a rolling classic blues riff that kicks off "King City" that combined with the Morrisson-esque vocals make for a very Doors-y tune.  Keeping things firmly rooted in the heavy early 70s rock and roll is "Shake" which does a fine job of mixing Deep Purple with Cactus.   One of the best tracks on the album is "Damos Days" which has an addictive riff at its core and some incredible vocals.  It's a beast of a tune that needs to be cranked up loud.   Some rag-time piano opens up "Ain't Gonna Listen" like the start of classic Elton John tune, that feel continues throughout the song mixing in a little Rolling Stones with its "Sympathy for the Devil" groove.  Diving into the early doom sound of Pentagram, "Wasted Years" is a dark sludgy slice of heaviness.  The song morphs into a good time jam with an organ thrown in for good measure, but stills stays true to its heavy roots.  Another killer riff kicks off "Endless Mountain ", a take off Budgie's "Breadfan" with an equally impressive wail to boot.   Toss in a little a blues harp and you've got one heck of a rollicking number.   "Apparition"  features some Eastern guitar work and layered vocals that make up a pretty chill tune before the closing tune "The Defector" puts a heavy Led Zep exclamation point on a simply incredible release.