Tag Archive: reading

cookedA few weeks ago on my facebook page I declared this year the summer of grilling! I am currently reading cooked by Michael Pollan (as usual- highly recommend) and he begins his story with cooking with FIRE! Not only do I drool down my chin while reading this book, I have a new found inspiration for experimenting on the grill. I don’t have any fancy equipment, but I do have a gas Weber and a new metal box to hold wood chips for smoking. I also have a charcoal Weber that we almost never use. I know that it would be much cooler if I had a smoker and more equipment, but I don’t so I will work with what I have. The good news for you is that you can follow along at home with only the simple-ist equipment yourself. I have big plans of pork shoulder and baby back ribs and steaks and whole chickens and …… drool……

Sunday night I did Beer Can Chicken and it was amazing! (I kind of wanted to say Amaze-balls but when I do I get threatened with violence from those around me- especially Brent). Probably the juiciest, most delicious whole chicken I have ever cooked. I still need to work on the ‘rub’ so I will post about this in the future.

Tonight I made really great bratwurst. It really does make a difference when you buy it fresh from the butcher vs. the grocery store. I know brats aren’t very complicated, but I remember feeling over-whelmed the first time I made them on my own. I had tasted them at a million picnics over the years but didn’t know why some of them were amazing/juicy/flavorful and others were dry/bland/burnt. Here is how I do it:

5 Large Brats
2 beers (any kind)
3-4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 tblsp. black pepper corns
1 tsp. (approx.) red pepper flakes
3 smashed cloves garlic
onion, garlic powder, sea salt
1/2 Vidalia/Yellow onion (for pot)
1/2 Vidalia/yellow onion diced for topping
gardeneria peppers (if you like spice)
Pickles (if you like less spicey)
diced tomatoes (for topping)
Spicy mustard
olive oil

brat spice

Start by dumping the beer and water into a big stock pot on stove, add bay leaves, pepper corns, red pepper, garlic, seasonings, and 1/2 onion along with the brats. Mix everything together and slowly bring to a boil.

Once you bring to boil, reduce to simmer for approx. 20 mins.

Meanwhile, preheat grill. You are going to want the grill med-high when you throw the brats on.

brat pot

After the brats are done simmering, I remove from liquid and place on foil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Grill 3-5 mins. each side until its at the crisp-ness you like (I like crispy!)

Serve with the toppings! As usual, I know this would be really good with a big ol’ brat bun…. but I do not serve them with bread. I serve with the onion, peppers, tomatoes, and spicy mustard. I also serve whatever yummy veggies I have that week. Enjoy!

finished brat

(Don’t worry- no spoilers) I am sure most of you have either read or at least heard of this book by now because it seems like the world is talking about. And, now that I finished the first book, I know why. First I’ll give you a little background without ruining the story for you and then I’ll go into my commentary.

The story is about a young girl, fresh out of college who meets a ridiculously hot and insanely rich man who wants her. Too good to be true? Yep! It turns out that this man, Christian Grey, has some very particular sexual preferences. The book (in pretty serious detail) talks about their sexual relationship, the normal ups and downs, and the sacrifices or concessions you make in a new relationship and when dealing with another person’s baggage. This is actually a trilogy, but I have only read the first book so I can only comment on the beginning of the story.

What is so fascinating about this book is how it is unlike anything that most of us have read. This is a love story WITH sex. And, let’s be honest here, that’s what women want in a book, love AND sex. We might not have known this about ourselves before reading 50 shades, but we know now! Now, I don’t want to say that women are more sophisticated with our ‘pornography’ preferences, but what the hell- Women are more sophisticated with our ‘pornography’ preferences. (I am using quotes because I feel like porn has a bad stigma and this book is nothing like what the average person thinks of when they think of porn). Women are not impressed by the following: girl answers knock at door, it’s the pizza guy but she has no money for the pizza. How can she possibly pay the man? Oh, I have an idea…. Yadda yadda yadda…..rough degrading fast sex…..shows over. We want a love story with a strong female protagonist and a sexy man, oh yeah and sex (even kinky sex). Who knew?! This book provides that. It’s like porn for the strong independent female.

Since first hearing about this book, I have heard women talking about it EVERYWHERE! That is every author’s dream- to write a story that the world is talking about. Women of all ages are discussing this book. Your mom is probably reading this book! Why? Because it is missing from our lives. This is the perfect book for women in monogamous relationships and its the perfect book for single women too. We could all use a little sexual excitement. How is it that no one else has thought of or succeeded with this? This is a HUGE un-tapped market and I predict it won’t be un-tapped for long. I bet there will be a lot more books and movies coming out like this in the next 3 years. The market has spoken.

Now, I’m not blindly praising this book. It does have flaws. Some parts are a little repetitive and the writing is not great. I like beautiful literary fiction and this definitely falls short, but frankly I don’t care. It makes up for that in how the story sucks you in and you want to hear about what they are going to do next. Feminists might find issue with this book (and I usually lean a little feminist myself), but I don’t mind it in this story. Does the female character make sacrifices she is not thrilled about to make a man happy? Yes. But the male character does as well. They struggle to find their own version of normal the way that we all do. And it’s thrillingly voyeuristic to watch it unfold.

Read this book! Better yet, read it out loud to your husband. 🙂