Untapped Grilling and Other Addictions

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Eating Paris

Don’t start thinking bad things. But that is exactly what I have been doing since I got here. 

And Boy has it sure been good!

I live in Southern California. I wake up each morning to a high speed chase on TV, a cup of coffee that makes my stomach hurt, and if I am lucky….a bowl of bran flakes. I then walk out of my house to a sea of suburbia, where neighbors have known each other for 10 years and never said hello. On top of that the entire drive to work is littered with Taco Bell, Starbucks, and an AM-PM. That’s the out-of-the-house breakfast offering.

But here in Paris, I walk out the front door and am overwhelmed with the smell of freshly baked pastries and  croissants, freshly pressed espresso, and  a million other amazing smells that I had forgotten could ever exist at 9:00AM.

Gorgeous Fruits Daily

Heirloom Everything!

All of this beautiful stuff 25 feet from my door fresh every morning. And on top of that, the beautifully displayed pastures and chocolate next to the incredible smell of Hens roasting outside on top of a bed of garlic cloves!


Roasting Hens

I have to say that this is the way to start each day. Any negative thoughts are gone the second you open the door, open your nostrils, and open your eyes.

Thank you Paris and thank you Southern California for the break! I needed it. More Frenchie food discussions later.

Bon Soir

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Bonjour France

Leaning Tower of Pisa…….Ooops….I mean Eiffel Tower

Well, it’s really happened. I am here. Fairly long flight but all worth it. Just look at that sunset. Makes it so you just can’t wait to go to sleep, dream, and wake up tomorrow morning.

This sidewalk Cafe is just waiting for me!

And this Cafe Au Lait has got my name all over it.

And after my nap Giselle will be waiting for me in the vineyards. Oh what a good first night of dreams in Paris. I bet tomorrow will bring even more.

Bonne Nuit Friends

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The Finer Things of France

Well, while you are reading this post, I am on my way to Paris and the South of France for quite a while. Oh don’t get so excited. You are not getting a break from listening to my rants. I plan to bug you even more. Before I left ,and to get me in the mood for a culinary dream, I got one of my favorite presents. Guess what it was? A shirt? Cool shoes, a Manly Man Gadget, IPad (Ugh!), Table Top Book on the World’s Ugliest Small Dogs????? Nope. Cooking lessons from Chef Gina Mika. Yeah me!

Chef Gina Mika

Chef Gina is a graduate from The Laguna Culinary School, in duh!, Laguna Beach, CA. Her mission was to teach me how to prepare Sir Thomas Keller’s famous roasted chicken, a white wine, scallion, cream sauce, and a challenging Lemon Tart. How did we do?
First the whole chicken: After a very thorough cleaning and very, very thorough drying(thats super important), I seasoned my bird. Sea Salt, and ground pepper that rained down like a spring shower (important again, let it drop down to the bird from about 18 inches), and Herbs de Provence inside and out.. Then in a black iron skillet and into the convection oven at a whopping 450 degrees for 60 minutes. That high temp is what will crisp up the skin to perfection.

TK’s Roasted Whole Chicken

Next the sauce. In one pot, I took the white wine and scallions and cooked them down to a syrup. In the other pot, butter, heavy cream, and chopped flat leaf parsley. And at the perfect moment, combined the two together. Just in case the sauce was not thick enough, Chef Gina had me prepare a Roux Blanche on the side. But, fortunately my genius teacher had given me the perfect instructions and it was delicious.

French Sauce

After whipping up some potatoes in a lemon and butter marinade and some quick sauteed veggies, we plated our delicious meal for your viewing.

J’ai Fini

And if you were by chance wondering about the Lemon Tart:

Lemon Tart

So keep your eyes out for some short but special posts on my trip to France. I am going to do my best to communicate every other day if I have something to say. But let’s just hope I don’t find that famous road in the South of France loaded with all of those vineyards.

Au Revoir

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Gardening Musts

I think most of you are very much aware of my fondness for Gardening. 

I must admit is has been a huge learning curve for me this year with many successes and a few complete failures. But I did manage to not buy one stinkin’ vegetable the entire summer  and was fortunate to taste what fresh organically grown stuff really taste like as compared to the Grocery Store’s Steroidal Stuff.

I am now in the process of clearing out the residue of Spring and Summer. The plants have done their job and provided for me for 6 months now. Now begins the toiling task of reenergizing the soil that has produced so much. My next posting will discuss The Sabbath, The resting period for the garden. But before that I wanted to share some wisdom I received from a 90 year old Aunt-in-law who has spent her life in gardens and soil. I hope you find it as meaningful as I did.

1. Plant Three Rows Of Peas (P’s)



2. Politeness

3. Prayer

2. Plant Three Rows of Squash


1.Squash Gossip

2.Squash Selfishness

3. Squash Indifference

3. Plants Three Rows of Lettuce


1. Let Us Be Loyal

2. Let Us Be Truthful

3. Let Us Love One Another

4. And finally, No Garden Is Complete Without Four Turnips


1. Turn Up For Work

2. Turn Up For Church

3. Turn Up With A Smile

4. Turn Up On Time

P.S. She did tell me to pass on to make sure you pulled up the weeds!

Where do these “Older” folks get this great stuff. We will be forever indebted to their immense wisdom.

Thank you Aunt Ruby!

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Separation…The Life of a Useful Egg

Separation Anxiety

We have all been there at some time in our life. The first time our parents dropped us off at the nursery or sitters. Even before that when we got the terrifying drop from above into the empty play pen. Where is everyone? Who do they think they are? I was attached to this person for nine months and now they just leave me!

Separation in Action

Then there is the adult version of Separation. It is never an easy thing to go through. Sometimes it means the Big “D” and sometimes it is the beginning of something even more wonderful. But either way it does cause alot of anxiety.

But today we are taking about a different kind of Separation. The type of separation that involves this.

Separation…the Coming Out Party

Now don’t you think for a second we are going to take this cute little Chicky away from his Momma. No way! The pic is just for affect. We are going to learn a very special way to separate an Egg White from an Egg Yoke. I don’t know about you but it is one baking necessity that I really don’t enjoy. I never fail to get a little yoke in my whites. I always make a mess. There has to be a better way to go through this Separation.

Check out this video!

Don’t worry about the sound. It’s in Mandarin I think, and it adds nothing to the genius behind the camera.

Click on Below Link to View Video

The Art of Separation

Now how did you like that for absolutely NO ANXIETY AT ALL during SEPARATION. I would like to thank this young lady and, and my cousin Wendy for spreading Global knowledge and Peace.

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The Good Ole’Days

Do you remember the Good Ole’ Days?

Picnic in the Park

This isn’t a picture from my mothers photo album. It was taken a few weeks ago when my kids came home for the afternoon. And tweaked a little bit by my daughters use of some fancy App to make it look old. A few things came out of this afternoon in the park that are just fascinating to me.

  • My kids were amazed by my 40 year-old Transistor radio.
  • Some things will grow in anything.
  • I learned more about what was going on in their lives being face-to-face, then I ever did in a years worth of texts.
  • Kids will always be kids.

The Feast

After a grand picnic of cheese, bread, hummus,fruit,cookies, and coconut cake with Lemonade, and Ice tea, we decided to fly kites. A quick trip to the previous week to the “99 Cent ” Store, had yielded 3 kites for $3 bucks.I don’t think I have seen my kids have that much fun in years.

Sibling Rivalry

High as a Kite

Following  very spirited competition of KITE WARS, we headed over to the parks exhibit section and found some very unusual art exhibits. The highlight of our exploration was a studio of sculptor Andre Woodward’s works. Now this guy really knows how to mix nature with technology and humanity.


How about this tree? A real Ficus benjamina tree growing smack dab in the middle of a concrete block sitting on top of a concrete floor. No B.S.!

Next was another strange use of the urban environment in relation to the natural world.

What the ????

This thing is a set of very nice stereo speakers filled with top soil and wired up to individual transistors producing each plants on unique songs and sounds. To provide the necessary light to exist light fixtures sit just above the plants. A clever little drip system provides the water. I want one of thee in my Living Room. How about you?

So to say the least, the Good Ole’ day ended up being a mix of nostalgia and new. But what a nice, interesting, fun-filled way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Time For A Nap

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And The Winner Is ??????

Who Won????

Barbeyaki’s First Annual BBQ Bake-OFF

Well, it has been an exciting month of submissions from amateur Cooks and Bakers, as well as some of the best Pros in the world. One dish after another of creativity and perfection. But it has to end someday, and today is the day. The Test Kitchen at Barbeyaki has been baking our brains out on our BBQ, to try some of these magnificent entries. For the most part we couldn’t duplicate some these masterpieces, but a few…..a very few blew our minds, Baking on a BBQ!

The suspense has been building and the rumors have been rampant throughout the Culinary Internet World. Would it be an experienced Pizza maker from Italy that strutted his stuff on the BBQ? Or would it be the homemaker from Ohio that snuck out to the husbands BBQ between diaper changes?

More Rumors!

Well the results are in, and the winner is ………………………………………………….

Jeff Van Zanten!


Jeff Van Zanten

This Dude!

Jeff is not a homemaker from Ohio or a Pizza maker from Italy. He is the proud Dad of 4 wonderful kids, a new son-in-law, and a beautiful wife named Julie. Jeff is a Chief Financial Officer and resides in Northern California. Go figure? I guess he just loves challenges.

It is time now to give you a peak at Jeff’s Barbecue baking skills. So get your pen and paper ready, or your printer. This one is a real keeper.

JB’s All American Barbequed Apple Pie

“When one thinks of America, inevitably one thinks of Apple Pie, Baseball, Beer, and Barbeque. Submitted here for your approval is the world’s first truly All American Apple Pie representing all four American ideals.”


The Laboratory

8 medium sized Granny Smith apples

½ cup Crisco (cold)

3 cups Flour

¼ cup butter (hard)

1/3 cup ice water

1 1/3 cup sugar

½  cup brown sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla

2 tbsp. Cinnamon

1 lemon

2 eggs

10” pie dish

Barkeepers Friend

Baseball bat



A professional needs to not only cook like a pro but also act as one, thus before proceeding (and assuming that you are using a gas BBQ) use the Bartender’s Friend to thoroughly clean the outside of your bbq so that the shine equals one of my wife’s beautiful smiles. (Gratuitous kiss-up to the one cleaning up.  Not required)

Turn the BBQ on to its highest setting across all grates.

Pie Crust

In a large bowl remove ¼ cup butter from fridge and cut into small, pea-sized cubes.  Add ½ cup Crisco, 2 cups Flour and slowly dribble in 1/3 cup ice water.  Mix well with hands until all ingredients merge to create a pile of dough.  If it gets sticky then add a small bit of flour, working it into the dough.

Divide roll of dough into two equal blobs.

Throw a small amount of flour onto a cutting board or kitchen counter and start rolling out the dough with the rolling pin.  Work the pin back and forth so that you get a round shape that is about 14” across and of equal thickness.  If the dough sticks to the rolling pin add a pinch of flour and keep working it.

Rolling in the Dough

Using a small amount of soft butter wipe the entire inside of the pie dish.  To place the crust bottom on the pie dish simply sprinkle some flour onto the rolling pin and gently roll the crust onto the pin, then roll it out onto the pie dish.  Using your fingers work the dough into the dish and trim off any excess, leaving ½” overhang.

Repeat with the remaining blob of dough, which will be used for the top of the pie.  When done put both the dish and the top crust into the freezer or ten minutes, then transfer to the fridge for twenty minutes.


Rinse the apples under water then remove the peel using a peeler or knife.  As you finish each apple put it into a large bowl filled with ice water and a few drops of lemon juice.  This will keep the apples from browning and will cool them down before grilling.

Ready to Bob?

Cut the apples into 1/2 “ slices, taking out the seeds.  Put them back into the cold water as you cut them up.  Walk out to the BBQ and place the apples on the grill, evenly spaced.  Drink Budweiser.  As the apples start to get grills marks, but before they start cooking, turn them over so that the grill marks help caramelize the sugar in the apples.  Remove from grill and place into a large bowl.

Love The Caramelization

Reduce heat on BBQ and using only the outside burners adjust so that the middle of the BBQ is at 350 degrees.  It’s very important that the indirect heat in the middle is steady at 350 so take your time to get it right.

In a separate bowl combine the granulated sugar, the remaining juice from the lemon, 1 tbsp. of Cinnamon and the vanilla, stirring until combined.  Add the apples and stir, making sure that all the apples are covered with the sugary goo.  Place into pie dish, evenly spreading it out.  Sprinkle brown sugar and remaining Cinnamon on top.

Locked and Loaded

Using the rolling pin trick, place the top of the crust onto the pie dish; making sure that there is about an inch of overhang. Trim off any additional crust.  Pinch the top of the crust and the bottom of the crust between your thumb and forefinger, scalloping the edges, and slightly rolling the edge back underneath the top of the crust.

In a small bowl mix one egg and the yoke from another egg.  Brush lightly across the entire top of the pie.  Cut about twenty 1” slits into the top of the pie.


Place Apple Pie into the BBQ on top of a large piece of foil, making sure that the thermometer is placed in the front of the pie so that you can sneak a peek at the temperature without having to open the entire BBQ.  Bake for 50 -60 minutes until top is golden brown and a toothpick or knife cuts through the pie to ensure that apples are cooked.  Use the baseball bat to keep your neighbors away because the smell of the pie cooking is going to drive them crazy.

Remove from BBQ and let the pie cool so that the juices set.  Cut, enjoy and celebrate your freedom as an American!

Pure Perfection!

Thanks Jeff from taking us back to one of the greatest expressions of our American Heritage. And for an incredible baking experience on The BBQ. The possibilities are truly endless on our BBQ‘s. And you certainly showed us that.

Barbeyaki JR.

Congratulations Jeff Van Zanten from the team at Barbeyaki.

The Check and Sauces are in the mail.

If you like this blog and would like to follow it each time a new entry comes out, just click on the Follow button at the bottom right of the page and enter your email address. It’s that easy! Thanks and tell a friend.

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