Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mt. Airy, NC Rally – Part 1

Our chapter of FMCA held a small rally near Mt. Airy, NC and since Bev and I had both wanted to visit there at some point, we couldn’t let the opportunity go by.  As usual, the rally was during the week so nothing was crowded even though it was mid-June.  Mt. Airy is noted for being the home town of Andy Griffith and it has morphed itself into a tourist location centered around the TV town of Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show.

We had a choice of two primary routes to get there – I-40 then I-40 or I-81 then I-77 and since they were about the same distance and I’m not a big fan of the curvy I-40 through the mountains, I opted for the I-81 route knowing I would still have to go over The Blue Ridge on I-77.  Traffic on all three interstates was reasonably heavy as it nearly always is but we had no delays, the road surface was generally good (except for the bridges in VA), and crossing the mountain was uneventful – it is not a steep grade.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Maiden Voyage For New Grill

Bev had bought an eye of round roast and we decided to cook it on the rotisserie for our first cook on the new grill.  She bought it at our local Vonore store which has a real butcher shop and the roast was well trimmed but unfortunately, their beef is all select.  To help with this less tender beef grade, I ran the Jaccard over the entire thing to cut some of the muscle fibers and provide an inlet for the marinade – a couple of shots from the web and a tool every kitchen should have – IMHO.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Finally, A New Grill

Many years ago, we bought the Home Depot version of a Ducane grill, which at the time had a reputation for making pretty high end grills.  Of course some corners were cut on the Home Depot version, which was less than half the cost of the normal Ducane.  We used it for at least 10 years and put new burners in it twice, but it now won’t stay lit and I’m not working on it anymore.

Bev’s view on grills is buy a cheaper one, toss it when it quits working and rusts out, then buy a new one, which is what we have been doing up until now.  But this time, I decided to spend some of the kids inheritance and I got a Weber Summit which is not a real high-end grill but well above our normal.  With the 10 year warranty on most parts, it will hopefully be the last grill we have to buy.

Since I could not find this model at one of our big box stores, I bought it from Amazon for less than the list price and with no shipping cost – I’m one of those online shoppers whose behavior is unfortunately resulting is the closure of many brick and mortar stores.  I had to spend about an hour installing the side shelves and a few more parts to end up with this, including many of my fingerprints.

It has some bells and whistles, such as lighted burner control knobs and a lid-handle mounted light, that I don’t really need but I like that there is a place to store the rotisserie items and the motor is always installed on a flip up mount.  It also has a searing area and a smoker box which will allow some bbqing without using my big smoker.

I have fired it up using a normal propane bottle and now I just need to put it in place on the patio, hook it to our home’s propane system, and commence to cooking.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


6/7/17 Event Date

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Our 2017 Graduates

When I got the date for the graduation of granddaughter Katelyn Roden (our oldest daughter Kathy’s child), I immediately thought in terms of an RV trip to Texas.  But before making any plans, I checked with our eldest son, Rhett, about the date for Madison’s graduation and sure enough it was the day after Katelyn’s.  Since Bev and I could not both be at both graduations without an airplane trip we decided that Bev would go with her sister, Pat, to Madison’s and daughter Wende agreed to go with me to Katelyn’s.

Since I have developed a real aversion to the hassle of flying, Wende and I made a quick driving trip to Shertz, TX – two days down, 2 days there, and two days back and as it turned out spending four days in the car together was very good for our relationship and some DVD books made the trip pass pretty quickly.  Bev and Pat had an easier six hour drive over to Sumter, SC and that was relieving for me.

Both granddaughters graduated from large public schools with about 600 in each graduating class and both were in the high honors category, which I thought was excellent.  Since I went to Texas, I’ll begin with Katelyn’s graduation from Samuel Clemens High School, which may have been the best organized one I’ve attended.  Here are some pre-ceremony shots of Katelyn and Kathy taken at home.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Muffaletta Pasta Salad & Grilled Chicken

Remembering Those Who Have Made The Ultimate Sacrifice To Provide Our Freedom

I can’t remember the last time we had it and I have been craving grilled chicken with BBQ sauce (not to be confused with BBQ chicken which I slow cook in a smoker).  We had this regularly as a kid and I don’t know why it’s been so long since we’ve cooked it, so it was on tap for tonight. 

Following a trip to NOLA, I found that I really liked a muffaletta sandwich in large part due to the olive salad on it.  Since I had also been wanting to make muffaletta pasta salad, we decided it would side well with the chicken.

I  found this good sounding recipe  for both the olive and pasta salads from the Slow Roasted Italian and decided to give it a try.  I made the olive salad about an hour before the pasta salad.

Olive Salad

¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 (6 ounce) jar Italian mix giardiniera, chopped
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers
½ cup pimento stuffed olives, sliced
½ cup sliced kalamata olives, halved
½ cup sliced black olives, sliced
2 tablespoons capers, drained

Note:  The Hot Joey’s Mild Giardiniera was picked up during our Chicago trip.

Prepare the olive salad: In a medium bowl combine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, oregano, parsley and black pepper.  Whisk until well combined.  Set aside.  Cut up remaining ingredients according to ingredient list.  Add remaining ingredients to bowl.  Toss well until combined and coated.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes (up to overnight).

I thought the olive salad was outstanding.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Corned Beef Hash – My Last Post – Promise

Well, this is my last post about corned beef hash at least this round.  I decided to but the previous breakfast shots on here so we could compare them.  In my first post about the corned beef, I showed these shots of the hash.

And then I posted about my Reuben-Like hash.

Which leads me to today’s post.  While I enjoyed the hash with larger pieces, I prefer the more traditional smaller pieces that can generate a crust when fried so I ran the entire batch of leftovers through the food processor to get this.

For my first meal, it was the traditional (at least for me) hash topped with eggs. 

Since I was not cooking on a flat top with one of those giant Waffle House spatulas, I had to half it for flipping.

Then plated and topped with two over easy eggs.

It was outstanding and I still had enough leftovers for a couple more meals which I packaged up and froze.  I definitely achieved my original goal of making enough corned beef for plenty of leftovers.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


5/15/17 Meal Date

Monday, May 22, 2017

Easy Meal Like Mom Might Make

Bev had bought a box of Members Mark Frozen Crab Cakes from Sam’s Club and they were taking up space in our freezer plus our neighbors had given us some fresh picked asparagus and we had some red potatoes that needed to be cooked.  This sounded like the ingredients of an decent easy meal and one like my mom might have made – no Sam’s back then, of course.