Friday, May 27, 2016

This Week's Menu: Buffalo Style Chicken Thighs and Chorizo and Eggs

Chicken wings are so good but it's a lot of work for just a few bites of meat. We fix that by using thighs instead and a homemade Buffalo sauce that's easy and out-of-this-world good.

Some farmer's market dollar-a-pound squash makes a medley for the side dish and breakfast is one of our easy staples, chorizo and eggs.

Recipes are at the links below.

DINNER: Buffalo Chicken Thighs

SIDE: A summer squash medley using our basic super side barbecue vegetable recipe

BREAKFAST: Chorizo and Egg Burritos

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

DINNER: Buffalo Style Chicken Thighs

Like wings but find the work is hardly worth it for the amount of meat you get? Then this recipe is for you.

Instead of skimpy little wings, we're substituting thighs which, in my opinion, is the tastiest part of the bird.  Other than that, it's all the same.

Here's how we do it...

6 chicken thighs (you can do boneless but I recommend you leave the skin on)
1/2 cup Louisiana hot sauce (I'm using Frank's Red Hot)
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon gremolata
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. 

Add all the ingredients except the chicken. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

On a charcoal grill, put charcoal on one half of the grill. Sear the chicken directly over the charcoal for 1-2 minutes on each side. Move to indirect heat on the other side of the grill. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on each side.

Remove the lid and place the chicken, skin-side down, directly over the coals. Monitor very closely...when the flames kick up under the chicken, move it immediately to the indirect side or a spot over the coals where there are no flames. If you leave it over the flame, the skin will burn. 

Once the flame dies down, move the chicken back over, skin-side down.  Keep doing this for 7-10 minutes. This will make the skin extra crispy but not burned.

Toss the chicken in the sauce, covering every piece completely and serve.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Dancing with the Green Fairy in Milwaukee

Today, I'm going to sent you over to for my latest published article, Up from the River...Seeing Milwaukee from Its Waterfront Pubs.


Here's the intro...

"The Trocadero sits on a quiet corner facing the river on the east bank. It’s a sunny day, so their flowery patio is completely full. We make our way into the uncrowded bar, where my wife will try her first absinthe.

Distilled south of downtown at the Great Lakes Distillery, this all-American version is a strong, licorice flavored kickstart to the day. I have my standby of Cazadores reposado tequila while my son stays sober with a Coke.

It’s the city that beer made famous, so it’s not surprising that Milwaukee has 101 ways to keep sobriety away..."


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tuesday's with Letty: BJ's Brewhouse

I should probably start with a little disclaimer, we go way back with BJ's. Back to when they were just a few little pizza joints along the beach cities of Orange County. Before they went public and became a big corporation.

I have a soft spot for them because they paid (indirectly) for my son's first year of college when I was able to get their stock cheap after their IPO and sold it for a profit healthy enough to pay for a year of private college. I may be a little biased...

If you follow this blog, or know me in other ways, you know I tend to avoid corporate restaurant and look more for mom 'n pops, independent restaurants, or even a small chain here and there. While we do eat in some of the big names once in awhile, I'm hard-pressed to find anything memorable about them so they don't get on our regular list.

BJ's is kind of heading in that direction but it's still good enough for us to visit once in awhile on a Tuesday night. When we first found them around a quarter century ago during our then weekly trip to the beach, they served a very good thick crust pizza (it's not Chicago style no matter what the menu tries to tell you, just a very thick crust), some excellent pastas, salads, and sandwiches including the most amazing roast beef sandwich I've every tasted.

Along the way, they bought a very large restaurant in Brea (the former Magnolia's Peach for you old timers) and built an onsite brewery, making them one of the pioneers of the local micro-brewery movement.  They make, and still do, some outstanding brews.

After going public, they expanded slowly.  Co-CEO's Paul Motenko and Jerry Hennessy were very picky about new locations and product quality being diluted by expanding too fast but some stockholders disagreed.  A hostile takeover attempt thwarted by a white-knight investor eventually led to these two being pushed out and now the company has expanded rapidy to 174 locations in 23 states.

While my beloved Stockyard roast beef sandwich is long gone, they still serve their signature pizzas, pastas, and salads. The menu has greatly expanded beyond that to include burgers, steaks, chicken, seafood and more.

On Tuesday's, we usually land during Happy Hour where we'll sit in the bar and have a couple of discounted brews.  I like the Piranha Pale Ale, Jeremiah's Red (named after Jerry Hennessy - there's also a PM Porter, named after Paul you know the rest of the story), and the BJ's blonde. Letty likes the Berry Burst Cider and BJ's blonde.

We get some of the cheap appetizers during this time like their wings or a cheap personal pizza.

It's all very good.

If we're really feeling like going all out, we might even have one of their famous pizookies...a fresh baked cookie, served in a little deep-dish pizza pan, topped with ice cream. 

Yeah, that last one's really good.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 13, 2016

This Week's Menu: Tacos de Cachete and Huevos para la Reina

Mexican inspired menu this weekend with a nice fusion of chorizo and chilaquiles for breakfast and dinner for adventurous eaters.

Recipes at the links below.

DINNER: Tacos de Cachete

BREAKFAST: Huevos para la Reina

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Something Offal Comes This Way...

Ready to get out of your comfort zone? Offal refers to the parts of the animal most people would rather not think about.  Kids remember having to choke down some of mom's liver or kidney.  Beyond that, it can get even scarier but it can be very tasty.

I had my epiphany with offal on a camping trip with my future wife and future inlaws when my brother-in-law's then girlfriend's (now his very lovely wife) dad set up a barbecue at our site.  He proceeded to unravel a large piece of cow intestine in a spiral on the grill.

"I'm not eating that," I whispered to Letty.

"At least try it," she insisted.

Quite a bit of back and forth later, I relented and told her I would try just a little bite. Screwing up my courage, I did and guess what?  It was terrific. I couldn't get enough.

I now search out a good tripas taco whenever we're someplace I'm likely to get some good Mexican food.

I've learned to not pass up on foods that might be off-putting to me. I've found some great foods and, yes, a few stinkers along the way trying things like pig's intestine soup, blood sausage, brains, heart, snails, and tripe (as in menudo).

Recently, we had this dish.  If you're ready to jump off the safe ledge, give it a shot.

Tacos de Cachete


2 pounds cachete de res (beef cheeks, ask your butcher)
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 small onion (chopped)
1/2 pound cilantro (chopped)
Corn tortillas

In a stock pot, boil the cachete, garlic, salt, and pepper for three hours on low heat. It should be soft enough to easily chop up with a knife when done.

Heat up a comal (or a flat griddle) on medium heat.  Heat up some corn tortillas, about 30 seconds on each side. Place the tortillas folded up into a clean dish towel.

Chop up the meat, place a bit with the onion, cilantro, maybe a little guacamore, and your favorite salsa into a warm tortilla and eat as a taco.

D-Day - Living With Type II: Eating Whatever I Want

It is true, even with Type II diabetes, I can eat whatever I want. The caveat is I can't eat it whenever I want or have as much as I want.

The thing with this disease is that you need to closely monitor it. You're trying to keep an even keel, staying withing the optimum range of blood glucose levels.

Since I'm a big fan of protein, that's not too much of a problem for me. In fact, sometimes my meal is a little too protein heavy and I need to munch a handful of candy to get back into range when my numbers get too low.

While that has not been a problem, probably the hardest thing I've had to learn is to not eat between my scheduled meals. That means eat a reasonable breakfast then nothing till lunch. Another balanced meal in the middle of the day, then nothing til dinner.  A couple hours after dinner, I allow myself a small snack.

That's it.  Nothing more.  No Girl Scout cookies from the secretary next door.  No tootsie rolls from the dish in my attorney's office. Ixnay on the oreos my credit union likes to have out on a platter.

Once in awhile, though, I can break out of that routine.  If I haven't had dessert for awhile, I might allow myself a slice of cheesecake after dinner, especially if it's a protein rich meal that I know will not affect my glucose level too much. A slice of cake on my birthday or maybe a cinammon roll once every couple of months to get my Sunday morning going or a Milky Way from the gas station to keep me awake on a very long drive.

The key, of course, is keeping an eye on how it effects me. As long as my numbers are consistently good, a rare spike in the glucose for a treat will not harm me.  I just have to remember, if I'm going to cash in some chips for that rare treat, make sure it's something that's really worth it.

(DISCLAIMER: This series about Type II is not meant to apply to everyone. This is what works for me, you need to consult with your own medical professionals to find out what will work for you.  My goal here is to simply give you hope that once you're diagnosed, life as you know it does not have to can still enjoy life and the treats it offers.)

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Friday, May 6, 2016

LUNCH: Triple Grilled Cheese with Ham

This is super easy. Well, it's a grilled cheese sandwich which, by definition, is a quick and easy lunch. Just punching this one up in the cheese flavor and adding some healthy protein.

To keep it diabetic friendly, we're using low fat and low sodium ham with multigrain bread.  It's as delicious as any grilled cheese sandwich I've ever had, maybe more so, and the great result is it lowered my blood sugar by 8 points.

1 slice cheddar jack cheese
1 slice Havarti cheese
2 slices sandwich bread (we're using multigrain)
1/2 slice cold-cut ham (we use Danola low fat/low sodium or Trader Joe's Healty Ham)
1 pat butter

Spread a thin layer of butter on both sides of the bread.  Layer your cheese and ham on it.

Put in a hot frying pan. 

Cook about 3-4 minutes and flip over. Cook the same on the other side.  Cook 10 seconds again on each side while pressing down with the spatula.

Plate, cut in half and serve (we're serving ours with Trader Joe's delicious Sriracha potato chips).

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 2, 2016

Tuesdays with Letty: Alex Di Peppe's, Arcadia, California

We've tried to eat at Alex Di Peppe's a few times over the years at their old place but could never find a place to park. Finally, they moved down the road a bit to a small strip mall next to a 3-par golf course over in the east end of Arcadia.

We're glad they did. It's a solid Italian family restaurant with a very loyal clientele and a caring staff.

Although we started eating their family specials...where I could pick up a pizza, some pasta, bread, and salad on the way home from work when we didn't feel like cooking...Letty and I started coming by for dinner from time to time.

You might say it's your typical red sauce restaurant, and to some extent that's true, they do serve up some very good entrees along with all the pizza and pasta.

I'm a sucker for their veal dishes cooked scallopini, marsala, and picata  

Letty goes for the seafood or maybe a vegetarian lasagna.

The pizza and pasta dishes are also very good and the prices reasonable

Alex Di Peppe's is at the corner of 6th and Live Oak in Arcadia about a mile or so west of the 605 freeway.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved