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Not as Melancholy, I Hope
2007-03-19, 4:30 p.m.

Day 939

Yeah, so the weekend had itís low points. But at least the family comedian was back in town, with his own sweet girlfriend in tow.

Now, we have a houseful, if for only a couple of days. Last night was the first meal weíve had with all of us able to sit at the table, Bob included. Of course, we did one of our standards for medium sized gatherings like this, Emerilís ďClean out the Ice Box JambalayaĒ Man I love that stuff. Andouille, chicken, ham & shrimp, all simmered in with plenty of onion, pepper, garlic and cayenne, and a huge olí pile of rice. Spend lots of prep time chopping everything up, but it is sooooo worth it. Apparently, I need to go back to actually measuring the cayenne, because the more tender palates in the house thought this batch was a little incendiary. I thought it had a little zip, but wasnít hot by any means. Ooops. Sorry kids. Brought some of the leftovers in for lunch today and you can bet I added some of my smoked habanero flakes to MY bowlful. Wimps.

Got a dare from one of Eric & Zachís buddies to go have some chicken wings at this bar near his dadís cottage. I guess itís some sort of feat to be able to down a dozen of this places hottest wings. Donít know if you win fabulous prizes or not, but Iím up for the challenge regardless. Itís quite possible that weíll set up a tasting sometime this summer. Kids are all about doing it on a Tuesday night when itís 25 cents a wing or something, but in reality itíll be a Friday night during bass season. I guess unlike a lot of folks, for me, the heat stops in on the way in. I can eat some pretty hot stuff and not be affected 22 (27?) feet down the GI tract. Something my kids like to call ďThe Ring of FireĒ effect Again Ė Wimps.

As long as the talk is turned towards cooking, hereís a recipe for an injection marinade I like to use on (in) turkey and chicken when I smoke them. (Yes, it takes REALLY big rolling papers to smoke a turkey) Anyhow:

Injection Marinade for Chicken or Turkey

Form CorinnaMarieE
Posted at chitterlings.com

Garlic Herb Butter Marinade

ľ cup Olive Oil
1 Stick Butter, melted
1 (or more) clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Thyme (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch ground black pepper

Put oil in small sauce pan, add butter & melt.
Add herbs, bring to boil.
Strain & cool slightly
Inject into bird, let set in refrigerator if not cooking immediately.

Use dried herbs if fresh not available Ė no biggie.
Also stuff bird with a quartered orange or apple for moisture.

Smoke bird @ 250 degrees till 180 measured in thigh. If skin starts to get really browned, tent with foil to slow down browning.

Iíve been averaging 4 Ė 5 hours for a 12 lb bird, depending on outdoor temps, wind, etc.

I also sprinkle a little salt & black pepper on the bird, and also take the herbs out of the strainer and slather them on the outer skin. Usually inject the bird the night before smoking and let it sit in the fridge overnight, getting all happy & absorbing what juice it can.

Iíve used both hickory and mesquite on turkey and so far, prefer the hickory. Used hickory, mesquite, cherry and peach on chicken. Like hickory the best and the peach was surprisingly good, in spite of how it smelled while cooking.

I do have pics of the last turkey I did, just not on this particular PC. Those will have to wait for later tonite, or tomorrow. The only things about smoking big birds like that is that the skin doesnít get crispy like oven roasting, and I never stuff them with a bread stuffing mix. Might use an orange or apple for extra moisture, but thatís it.

The recipe as stated makes enough juice to handle a 12lb turkey. If youíre doing a smaller chicken, youíll be looking for places to shoot it. Youíll need a super huge hypodermic style injector too. Iíve seen them at Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, anyplace that specializes in BBQ and cooking gear. Might cost $5 or so for the plastic kind. Honestly, I have 2 different plastic ones that Iím less than pleased with. The needles donít stay secured very well and they just seem wobbly. They seem to work ok, they just donít inspire a lot of confidence. Oh Ė keep the rubber gasket well oiled too. Donít know what it is about rubbers & lubrication Ė but they need it. If it gets dry, itíll pull right off. Canít have that!! Then the wrong fluid gets in the wrong place and all sorts of bad things happen.

Well. Went and watched Zach play floor hockey last night. Heís already into the reclaiming his lost youth phase of his adult sporting life. Lucky for him heís on the younger side of the curve. Also lucky for him heís a pretty decent hockey player. He contributed 2 goals to his teams 7 Ė 6 win last night, and was on the floor for only 2 of the opponents goals. Seeing some of the guys on his team, I was thinking Iíd actually be a benefit to their team. I never played organized hockey (only pond hockey), I canít skate in reverse with any speed at all, I struggle to make right turns under acceleration, but I can go fast for a long time. Thatís all they need is someone with a motor that doesnít stop to go out and harass the opponents into making bad passes. A disrupter. Boy, can I do that. I might have Zach talked into using me as a sub one of these nights. Iíll have to use Ericís gear, but it could be a real hoot.

On the usual whining about my favorite alcoholic Ė I learned a new word from the kids this weekend. Eric chimed in with it. I had left to go pick up Cindyís dad (The Bob) to bring him over for dinner. This was at or about 3:30. Eric noticed that Ďgee, as soon as you left, Mom poured herself about a 5 shot drink and damn near chugged ití Eric & Kelly left to return a DVD to Bl0ckbusted during that first libation. When they got back, Cindy was already into at least #2 and as Eric say, she was speaking ďDrunklishĒ I rolled back in with The Bob in tow around 4:45 and I have to agree with Eric. Gave her an hour + and she took every advantage of it. Never saw a drink, only saw the effects. She couldnít figure out why everybody avoided her for the rest of the day. I stayed busy cooking, Eric showed his Pop Pop pics from his Ukraine trip, Kelly bounced back & forth from hanging with Eric & Bob to helping me in the kitchen. Cindy? Spent her time trying to play along, pretending to not notice she was trashed, getting people intoxicated on her exhalations. When it came time to scoot Bob back to his swinging bachelor pad, it coincided nicely with Zachís hockey game Ė so we left en-masse, leaving Cindy to watch what ever crap she wanted on the All Men Are Bad Channel (L1fetime) while she was checking her work voicemail for teachers calling in sick. (I can NOT imaging getting a phone call from her in the evening, seeing if I want to sub at xxxxxx Central the following day, realizing the person making the call is the shit faced school secretary. Unreal.)

This morning she was her usual surly, hungover self. I only know this because I skipped the gym (for shame!! Ė out too late with the kids. 5am came & went without me) and had to co-exist in the same time/space continuum with her from 6 Ė 7:30 this morning. This afternoon, she calls me all sweetness & light, wants to make sure Iím cooking dinner so she can go to the gym.

Yes, Iím doing scalloped potatoes & ham (my way Ė none of this putting in flour & milk with the taters, hoping it makes a sauce. Weíre going white sauce right off the bat), steamed carrots with dill and tossed salad. Thereíll be plenty, stop on over if you like. Weíre only a couple of miles from the airport, I can send a kid over to pick you up, save on the cab fare.

I told Circe earlier, Iím getting closer & closer to declaring myself Ďeligibleí again. Iím realizing where I fall on Cindyís priority list. I could understand the kids being more important to her than I am, maybe her dad from time to time too, but to be consistently outranked by a bottle of booze Ė itís getting increasingly harder to say ďoh Ė itís the diseaseĒ.

Can you tell I missed my meeting last week? Iím just a little torn at the moment. Iíll have a captive audience for a while tonight, so while Cindy is off trotting along on the treadmill, Iíll convene a pow-wow with the kids and get some plans laid for tomorrow night. I WILL get my behind to that meeting. After getting a decent meal on the table, of course.

This is the last week of bowling too (a bittersweet moment, to be sure), so that frees up another meeting opportunity. Wonder if two meetings a week will help? My potential sponsor (no, not you Circe or Alison, but that would be really cool) hangs out at the Thursday group, so I oughta go once or twice anyhow, just to share my misery, I mean full story, with him. I know someone out there has an opinion on just how many meetings a week I ought to be trying to get to (hi again Circe), so Iíll ask Ė How many meetings is reasonable? I know this is all ďyour mileage may varyĒ material, but I havenít done this before and itís silly to do it blind when thereís access to experience. (Hi all you experiences others too!)

Ugh. Time to go cook dinner. Managed to spread this thing out for a whole day. Did you know thereís a web site out there that lets you listen to muffin fans to determine which is really the quieter model? I donít know who thinks this stuff up, but Iím glad itís out there. I need a quiet muffin fan. I need more than that, but the fan is a good start.


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