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

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sweet and Sour Shrimp Lettuce Wraps/Stone Pale Ale/Bedroom Rehab Corp. "Fortunate Some"

Looking for something quick and light to munch on when smoking all day, we turned our attention to these light lettuce wraps. A ton of veggies, plump shrimp and a sweet, tangy and a little spicy dipping sauce was just what the doctor ordered. We layer the wok with carrots and celery then peppers and onions, then the shrimp then the aromatics and finally the spice and the crunch before placing heaping spoonfuls on top of crisp Bibb lettuce leaves then served up with a sauce of chile sauce, sriracha, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. The beer pairing came courtesy of Stone Brewing's Pale Ale. For the tunes we were pumped to crank up the latest from our friends in Bedroom Rehab Corp, "Fortunate Some".

Sweet and Sour Shrimp Lettuce Wraps - Wok cooking is the original one pan meal. It's all about layering with the basic cooking order of: long cooking veggies, short cooking veggies, protein, aromatics and finishing ingredients. Today we get the wok smoking with some high temp sesame oil then add in 2 diced carrots and 2 diced celery stalks. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes until just starting to soften.

Next up comes the diced onions and green peppers.

Give those a minute stirring constantly then add in the shrimp.

Stir these constantly too for about a minute until they turn orange. Lastly we add a small can of chopped water chestnuts, 1 small finely diced jalapeƱo, a couple cloves of crushed garlic and some fresh ground ginger. Stir well until heated through, finish with a splash or two of soy sauce and the whole kitchen will smell like garlic and ginger, then remove from heat.

As the filling is keeping warm we can knock out the dipping sauce which just consists of 1/4 cup sweet chile sauce, a couple of tablespoons of rice wine vinegar and a few squirts each of sriracha and sesame oil. Whisk well then top with sesame seeds.

To serve we wash some leaves of Bibb lettuce then scoop some of the filling on top. These get plated on a platter with plenty of dipping sauce on the side. These were light as can be but still bursting with flavor.

Stone Pale Ale - We were somewhat shocked that we hadn't yet featured this semi-flagship beer from the mighty Stone Brewing yet.  Their pale ale pours a copper colored ale that is crystal clear with a good amount of effervescence. The head is white and thin yet sturdy, the aroma is malt-heavy with a little hoppiness there too. The first sips hit with a hop bite right away followed by a smoky sweetness only to finish again with a hoppy burn. Adding to the layers of flavor is a fruity yet subtle apricot smoothness. All of this flavor combined with a medium mouthfeel makes for a pretty full bodied pale ale that worked amazingly well with the super light lettuce wraps.

Bedroom Rehab Corp. "Fortunate Some" - The dynamic heavy psych duo from Connecticut known as Bedroom Rehab Corp are back at it with their crowning jewel "Fortunate Some". It's a four song dark and doomy trip that kicks off with "Riddles of Wind and Time" and alternates between Electric Wizard's low end sludge and High on Fire's intense heaviness. The best track on the album, which was also the teaser track that had us chomping at the bit to get our hands on the full release, is the heavy, angst-ridden "When All You've Got is a Hammer". Fitting title as that's exactly what your head feels like it was hit with when that first note of the bass drops. That same bass also digs into a super sludgy groove that keeps the listener just as locked in as the groove itself. Add to all of that huge drums and a chorus that you'll be singing at the top of your lungs for days and you've got an absolutely killer track. "Giants in the Ice" starts off with a wall of sound that somewhat quickly dissapates into a gelatinous mound of low end sludge.  The album ends with the dark and proggy "The Serpent the Smiler" which also has its fair share of grunginess to it.  It's a great release and one that we've been spinning constantly lately.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cajun Shrimp and Andouille Hoagie/Chapman's Brewing Co, Enlighten Kolsch/Spiral Shades "Children of Doom"

Well this couldn't have lined up any more perfectly, a half bag of frozen shrimp and a few links of andouille sausage in the fridge made this long and toasty gargantuan sandwich a reality.  A homemade cajun seasoning and some olive oil make for a spicy wet rub for the shrimp.  We dice up a couple of links of andouille and add it to a hot pan until it starts to crisp slightly and some of the oil renders before we add the shrimp to the same pan to cook.  We mix the shrimp and sausage with beaten eggs, panko, parmesan, dijon and mayo then form the mixture into a long patty and put it back into the pan that now has some melted butter in it until crisp on both sides.  We carefully move the patty to a loaf of garlic bread then we add on the toppings; dill pickle slices, romaine, tomatoes, red onions, dijon, mayo and tabasco.   We paired up this sandwich with tall boys of Chapman Brewing's Enlighten Kolsch-style ale.  For the tunes, we were super psyched to crank up the new Spiral Shades EP "Children of Doom".

Cajun Shrimp and Andouille Hoagie - We can start by making the cajun seasoning, actually it's probably easier and as tasty just to pick up a small bottle of the stuff but for those so inclined, here's a peak of what all went in it.

We added a little of each until we reached that spicy/salty kick we were looking for then added a little olive oil to form a thin paste.

A half bag of raw peeled and deveined shrimp goes into the bowl and tossed around until well coated.  Pop these in the fridge while we get everything else going.

Now we move from the shrimp to the andouille.  We need 2 links of good quality andouille and throw a rough dice on them.  The chopped sausage goes into a warmed skillet.

These get tossed around until browned with the fat rendered a bit.  Remove from heat but leave the oil in the pan.

The seasoned shrimp go right into the hot oil and need only few minutes to cook through and pick up some that spicy andouille flavor.  Remove from the heat, chop roughly and add to the bowl with the sausage.

We add some dry ingredients next by way of 1/2 cup each of grated parmesan and panko.

Now the wet ingredients.  In a separate bowl add 4 eggs, a tablespoon each of mayo and dijon and more of the cajun seasoning.  Whisk well and pour over the rest of the ingredients.

Who's ready to get messy?  Really messy.  With your hands start mixing all of the ingredients together until well combined then we form it into a long patty.

In that same saucepan that we cooked our shrimp and sausage in, we add a tablespoon of butter until its melted.  Carefully we slide the patty into the saucepan and press down lightly.

Let the bottom get browned and slightly crisp then gently flip it over and repeat on the other side.

Now we can start building the sandwich.  We split open a loaf of homemade garlic bread and start with the condiments; mayo, dijon and tabasco.

Then the veg; lettuce, tomato, red onion and dill pickle slices and finally the shrimp and sausage patty.  The result is a delicious cross between a po' boy and a shrimp cake with the perfect amount of spice.

Chapman's Brewing Co, Enlighten Kolsch - We are still working our way through Indiana's best breweries and stumbled upon yet another new one.  Angola, IN's Chapman's Brewing Co. had these tall boys of their Enlighten Kolsch at a local liquor store recently and we snagged them up.  The beer pours a dark bronze, lighter than most golden colored Kolschs that you see.  The head is bright white and dissipates rather quickly on the pour.  On the aroma front you get a good whiff of that classic eastern European yeast followed by a little fruit and spice.  The flavor is really smooth with a subtle malt sweetness and light mouthfeel that makes it very Kolsch-like in its delivery.  We were excited to pair up the salty and spicy sandwich with something this light and smooth and it totally delivered.

Spiral Shades "Children of Doom" - Releasing one of the best albums of 2014 in "Hypnosis Sessions", Spiral Shades satiates the appetite a bit with this new teaser tribute "Children of Doom".  When you release a three song tribute EP titled "Children of Doom", you can't do any better then covering Wino and Bobby Liebling which is exactly what they do.   They kick things off with The Obsessed's "Streetside" and do the original proud keeping things pretty close to this Wino classic of slow doomy groove gold.   The best cover on the disc and one that we can't crank up loud enough is a cover of Bedemon's "Frozen Fear".  Not only is it a perfect track for the band's Ozzy-like vocals but it's also incredible to hear this song well produced and not the barely audible "recorded in a tin can" version of the original.  Pentagram's "Be Forewarned" closes out the EP in acoustic fashion which makes one of the most terrifying sounding songs ever recorded even more darker.   This has been on repeat constantly and as awesome as it is just makes us want more Spiral Shades.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Grilled Horseradish-Crusted Bloody Mary Steaks/Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA/Swamp Ritual "Ritual Rising"

Dead set on not going to the grocery store this week, we were determined to make due with what we had on hand at the house.  The leftovers from the weekend's bloody mary bar is where we were focused, mainly a 1/2 bottle of bloody mary mix.  Then we looked in the freezer which is full of Omaha Steak products from a recent gift box and it hit us immediately, bloody mary steaks!  Steaks seasoned with black pepper and celery salt then marinated in bloody mary mix, steak sauce, Tabasco and pepperocinis.  We grill these up then place a horseradish crust over the top before finishing them off under the broiler.  The steaks get served on garlic and black pepper potato crisps.   We paired the steaks   up with a beer from one of our favorite breweries, Firestone Walker and their Union Jack IPA.  The tunes were courtesy of Montana's Swamp Ritual and their sludgy, doomy, deserty stoner rock.

Grilled Horseradish-Crusted Bloody Mary Steaks - As fancy as these may look, they are really pretty simple to knock out.  Let's work on the marinade for the steaks.  Fill a pint glass about 3/4 of the way up with bloody mary mix then add in a few shots each of A-1 and Tabasco

Next we move to the steaks.  In a shallow pan we season up to steaks with fresh cracked black pepper and celery salt then we pour the bloody mary over the top of them and toss in a few whole pepperocinis.  Cover these up and toss them in the fridge over night.

With the steaks chilling in the fridge, we can move on to the horseradish crust.  In a medium bowl we add 4 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of ground horseradish, salt and pepper. We cream all of the ingredients together.   We add a 1/4 cup of panko crumbs to the butter mixture then we continue folding together until well combined.

We take a couple of pieces of plastic wrap then divide the horseradish mixture between the two.  Fold the plastic wrap over and press down until the butter is roughly the same size as the steak.   Pop these little guys into the freezer to chill.

Simultaneously we can get a griddle going on the stove and start a grill to a searing hot temp.  Once both are hot, we can start with the potato crisps.  Grease the griddle with olive oil and place a few piles of hash browns down.  Season with fresh crushed garlic, salt and pepper.

As the bottom side of the potatoes start to brown, we run out to the grill and drop the steaks down.

Back inside to flip the potato crisps….

Then back outside to turn the steaks…

Back inside to remove the potato crisps from the griddle (as you can see, any calories gained from this meal have already been worked off…)

The last step is the horseradish crust.  We place a buttery disc on each steak then place under the broiler until crisp and bubbly.

Place the steaks over the potato crisps and these are ready to be devoured. This is the epitome of steak and potatoes; perfectly buttery, rich and out of this world flavorful.

Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA - This beer from one of our favorite west coast brewers grabs your attention when you first open the cap. Resiny and pungent hops burst out before we even started to pour. In the glass, Union Jack shows off a shiny clear orange with effervescence consisting of the smallest bubbles we've ever seen. The whipped cream thick head stayed still on the top like a correctly poured Guinness. The flavor will get you, once that crazy hop bitterness demolishes your taste buds it goes straight to the back of your cheeks, ears and throat. It's like drinking straight hop juice and it's awesome.  This is a totally addicting west coast IPA that also wound up pairing really well with the rich  meal.  A killer combination.

Swamp Ritual "Ritual Rising" - You know you've been there; dimly lit smoke filled room, a couch and the beverage of your choice and the last piece to the puzzle is what album you're going to spin, The Doors or Electric Wizard? Tough choices indeed, but now thanks to Montana's Swamp Ritual, you no longer have to choose. The band seamlessly merges together the psychedelic with the doomy while tossing in a little desert rock fuzz in there for good measure.  "Swamp Ritual" starts things off with an Egypt-like slow doomy jam to go along side some Morrison-esque vocals.  On "Ditch Witch" the tempo picks up, but just a little, going almost a little jazzy with the bass and drum work.  That funky groove is met head on by some punk/desert Fu Manchu-ish vocals.  Keeping in the low and fuzzy theme is "Ancients Weary" that is as heavy as it is slow.  "The Outer Rim" starts out pretty chill and trippy then goes all Electric Wizard on the vocals into a smoke-filled psychedelic doom tune.   The best track on the album is the "Whiskey Wizard",  a faster paced boogie number with a deep low end groove and raspy vocals akin to Viking Skull.   The album ends with the 10 minute "Tesseract" and its experimental bass noodling bringing to mind classic Kyuss.  The vocals are huge recalling High on Fire a bit.  "Ritual Rising" is a great doom album, dark and brooding but still really heavy.