Sunday, December 9, 2012

Phonton Soup

I've started like a dozen blogs with which to return. This one will actually get finished and posted because it's good and people want to read it (positive affirmations work).

I prepped a bunch of soups and lasagnas and stuff for our baby hibernation. One of those soups was a pho (fuh) type broth. The plan was just to put whatever in it and eat it. Then inspiration struck: Shiitake pork dumplings!!!o

I essentially married a pho broth with wonton soup. First, the PHO BROTH:

4" piece of ginger, sliced (peel on)
5 large garlic cloves, smashed (paper on or off, whatever)
1/2 bunch of green onions, rough chop (roots to whites - reserve greens for garnish)
1 shallot, rough chop (peel it or don't)
1 stalk lemongrass, halved and bruised (if you can find it)
1 bunch cilantro stems (reserve leaves for garnish)
1 bunch basil stems (reserve leaves for garnish)
4ea star anise
1 3" cinnamon stick
1T cloves
1T peppercorns (Szechuan preferred)
Fish sauce
Soy sauce
Veggie/canola oil
Sesame oil
1qt chicken stock
1qt beef stock

Put a soup pot on high heat. When the pot gets hot, add 2T veggie/canola oil and a T of sesame oil. Toss in top group of ingredients. Get some nice color on it. Add sriracha to your liking. Deglaze with a little fish sauce and soy. Add herb stems and spices. Deglaze again with fish sauce and soy. Add stocks. Bring up to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Let simmer for like an hour - to really let all the favors bloom. Adjust seasoning with soy or salt. Strain the broth. Alone, this broth is an intoxicating "meat tea" that will probably instantly clear the influenza virus*.


1/2 pound ground pork
1" ginger, peeled and minced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch scallions, fine chop root to green
1/4 pound shiitake shrooms, fine slice
Chili flake
Soy sauce
Veggie/canola oil
Sesame oil
1 egg
Small wonton wrappers
Small bowl of water

Get a sauté pan super hot. Add 1T veggie/canola oil and 1t sesame oil. Toss in veggies. When shiitakes have a nice color (but don't let the other veggies burn) deglaze with soy sauce and add pork. Add chili flake to taste and more soy or salt to taste. When pork is done, remove to a plate/tray and cool. Combine meat mixture with a beaten egg. Spoon about a teaspoon of mix onto the center of a wonton skin. Dip your finger in the water and run it along two connecting sides. Bring the wet corner to the dry corner and pinch along the edges, removing as much air as possible and making sure edges are sealed. Drop finished dumplings into simmering broth. Serve with sliced green scallions and thank me later.

*this statement has not been evaluated or approved by any administration

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 25

Really dropped the ball today.

Nothing (finished eggs yesterday)

Lunch 1:
Nothing (aside from tasting stuff at work)

Lunch 2:
Subway ham & turkey on wheat (gross)

Grilled chicken and veggies

One, all the work that comes with moving makes it really tough to eat well. Two, I think knowing that the end is near is really killing my enthusiasm.

That being said, I'm down 15 pounds at this point. Tomorrow is the last day on the diet, but my mom is coming to town and I still have a pretty long honey-do list, so we'll see if I can make it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 24

A decent day until about 5 minutes ago, but I won't ruin the end.

3 whites + 2 yolks

Lunch 1:
Chicken tortilla soup

Lunch 2*:
Whole Foods salad with jerk chicken
Green tea

Random Whole Foods trail mix

McSpicy McChicken McSandwich; I succumb to laziness and convenience. Gimme a break, I just finished a 14 hour day!

*A bird crashed into the window above where I was eating at Whole Foods. Yeah. Had I taken three more minutes to finish my lunch, it would have fallen into my salad.

Crazy day. A couple more coming up.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 23

This will be quick because I'm tired.

Breakfast 1:
3 whites + 2 yolks

Breakfast 2:
Eggs + scallions
1/2 a buttermilk biscuit

Wahoo's Banzai bowl - teriyaki chicken, grilled veggies, beans, pico

I'm gonna rummage through the kitchen right now. Who knows what gems I'll find?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 22

I realize this day (22) seems like a huge jump, but I just realized that I haven't been jumping numbers on Jour de Farce days. So there's that.

"What about yesterday's blog, Luke?" you may be asking. Well, I'll be honest, I was totally off the wagon yesterday.

I didn't go crazy or anything. Well, I did a little. I figured my first breakfast in the new place should be substantial. I made scratch biscuits and gravy with eggs and bacon. Then a sandwich and left over pizza. No excuses. I just got lazy.

Back on it today. Sort of. This is my last week and I can tell you from experience that (TMI WARNING) jumping right back into a regular diet will wreck your insides.


Black beans

Lunch 1:
Chicken tortilla soup

Lunch 2:
Green salad with bacon, turkey, tomato

Dinner (here's where I start to get back to reality):
Goulash- ground beef, pasta shells, and tomato sauce

I'm down 12 pounds.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jour de Farce #3

Oh man. I needed this one after this week.

Lemon-filled donut
Strawberry frosted donut w sprinkles
Coffee w milk and sugar
Leftover Pei Wei
-Mongolian beef
-Sweet and sour chicken
-Fried rice
Cherry coke
Half of a Little Caesars pizza (thanks, The Sanchez Group)
Crazy bread
Lipton Brisk iced tea
Sour Patch Kids
Ribeye - off my NEW GRILL!
Loaded baked potato
Caesar salad
Chocolate chip cookie marshmallow puff sandwich (thanks Kyle)
Another chocolate chip cookie

All that food came in at around 3800 calories. Which is not the worst thing in the world since I blew it last night and what's going to happen 10 hours from now. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 18

Well, the wheels came off today. It had to happen. Here's what went down.

Veggie egg scramble at work

Tasting various items at work, as I always do.

And that was it before we started to move. Three stories up and down I don't know how many times.

We got moved in. Went to the store for some stuff. We picked up some dinner.... and that's where the wheels came off.

Starving. Tired. I broke down and we got Pei Wei. Mongolian Beef! Egg Rolls! Crab Rangoon! It was GLORIOUS!

It was a moment of desperation and weakness. I will pay a small pentence tomorrow by not going 100% bananas. I'll just go like 98% bananas.

Jour de Farce is hours away! Don't forget to catch the Twitter feed @LonghornLukeTX

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 17

Even with moving some small stuff, I managed to stay pretty solid today.

Taco Shack Bfast Bowl - refried beans, eggs, bacon

Bacon-wrapped quail tenders
Chimichurri quail tenders
One bite of a scratch made buttermilk biscuit

Chipotle Barbacoa Bowl
Barbacoa, pinto beans, pico, peppers, guacamole
(PS do not eat prior to multiple trips up 3 flights of stairs)

REPEAT Texas Land & Cattle Trio - steak, chicken, shrimp, broccoli, and salad

Tomorrow may be a little more difficult when we actually move.

Day 16

Today was a better day.

(from Taco Shack)
Bacon & Egg Taco
Bacon & Bean Taco
-I scraped all the stuff out of the tortillas. It was sad.

Lunch 1:
Arugula salad with tomato

Lunch 2:
Chik-Fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Salad

I slow grazed low sodium almonds all throughout work and fell asleep as soon as I got home.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 15

The struggle is now getting difficult. With moving, we haven't really gone to the store, or had time to get creative cooking, and as previously mentioned, eating out (quickly) is really tough.

3 whites + 2 yolks (lame, I know)

Tuna with a little mayo and dijon

Lunch 2:
Leftover pork with a salad

Snack at work:

Late Dinner:
Peanut butter and celery

I felt pretty cruddy yesterday. Not sure what the cause was. I don't want to blame the diet, because it seems like I would have felt cruddy the whole time I've been on it. It was a pretty calorie deficient day, but I felt like crud before I was really low on calories. Hopefully it was just allergies. We'll see!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 14

Like I said yesterday, this is moving week so it's a little weird. There will be a good bit of eating out probably, which is wildly difficult on this diet.

2 eggs
Black beans

Lunch 1:
Chicken tortilla soup (frozen from last week)

Lunch 2:
Quizno's Honey Mustard Salad
-No cheese, and I dipped the fork in the dressing as I went to minimize intake.

Texas Land & Cattle
-Steak, chicken breast, shrimp, broccoli, dinner salad

Diet Cream Soda

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 13

Business as usual.

2 eggs
Black beans

Wendy's Spicy Chicken Caesar
The dressing was surprisingly low cal and low sugar. I did not realize that the chicken was fried until I got it home, but it was only like 4 pieces.

Peanut butter
Sunflower seeds

Pork loin
BBQ pinto beans
Broccoli slaw
Diet Cream Soda

This week is going to be extra tough since we are moving. I'll let you know how it goes!

Jour de Farce #2

Not quite as ridiculous as last Saturday, but strap in, here we go!

Kerbey Lane Eggs Francisco
  english muffin, scrambled eggs, avocado, tomato, bacon, QUESO
Blueberry Pancakes
Grapefruit Juice
Six pack of Snack Size TWIX
Green Salad
Cheeseburger with Pork Added
Pork Taco
German Potato Salad (recipe to follow)
Lone Star
Red Bull Zero
Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
Glass of Milk

I came in right at 5,200 calories. Not quite as junky as last week, but I still feel it was and impressive showing. Don't forget to check out the Twitter feed for tantalizing diet pics and ridiculous Saturday stuff @LonghornLukeTX. It's back to business tomorrow.

As promised, my German Potato Salad recipe (15-20 servings):

5# red potatoes, boiled, chilled, larger diced
1/2 bunch celery, small chop
1/2 red onion, small dice
1.5# bacon, cut to lardons, rendered crispy, fat reserved
1 bunch flat Italian parsley, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sherry vinaigrette
1/2 cup reserved bacon fat, room temp, not solid OR hot
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake it until emulsified. Pour over the rest of the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to the whole salad to taste. Do yourself a favor and make it the day before the event. It's even better the next day!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 12

Who would have thought that my little ol blog could be so inspiring? I've already had three people tell me that they've either started the diet, are about to start the diet, or have been influenced by my diet. That gets me even more pumped to continue on! I will also work on being even more creative with the meals. And here's today.

2 Eggs
Black beans

Another bowl of that killer soup from last night

Peanut butter

Dinner 1:
We grabbed a bite at Taco C prior to seeing "The Dark Knight Rises" (we've had tickets for about a month).

Cabana bowl with beans, chicken, pico, guac, and lime.

Popcorn (it was a movie!)

Dinner 2:
At Red's Porch after the movie
Shrimp Borchette (bacon wrapped w jalapeño)
Green beans
Side salad
Gin & soda

Overall, a decent day diet-wise. In 8 hours or so, the Jour de Farce begins. You're gonna want to see this one!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 11

I really phoned it in on breakfast today:
3 eggs and some salsa. Boo.

Grilled quail tenders w Cholula
Arugula salad

3 tablespoons of peanut butter

I made a big ol pot of Chicken Tortilla Soup with no cheese or tortillas for me. Summer got cheese. This made me angry.

I think I'm gonna make some popcorn - stove top, not microwave. This way I control what goes in it.

I miss dessert. And cheese. 1 more day.

EDIT- here's a recipe for the soup:

2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 onion
1 carrot
2 stalks celery
1 zucchini
1 squash
1 bell pepper
^ all small diced
1 ear of corn, cut off the cob, save cob
1/2 jalapeño, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 can rotel, drained

Sauté all veggies but beans, corn, and cilantro in a large pot with salt, cumin, and a little olive oil. Add everything else, including corn cob.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for like an hour or so WITH THE LID ON!! Otherwise the liquid will evaporate.

Remove the cob. Check again for seasoning. Garnish with chicken, avocado, cheese, tortilla chips, and/or a lime wedge.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 10

Black beans

Lunch 1:
Tuna with celery and pickled watermelon rind

Salad of bibb, arugula, grilled radicchio, lemon juice, herb vinaigrette

Lunch 2:
Pork loin and edamame with chipotle steak sauce
Diet Cream soda

Late Dinner:
Chicken Tortilla Soup (no tortilla, no cheese)

Weight readings are tracking pretty good so far. I know I shouldn't be checking day-to-day, but it's hard not too, and it's becoming pretty encouraging! Only 2 days remain to the next "Jour de Farce" (Day of Stuffing) - it turns out that "Feast Day" is some sort of Catholic holiday, so it seems wrong to associate it with me stuffing myself. These off-days may taper off a bit in ridiculousness, but they will still top out around 5,000 calories, so they'll be fun. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 9

Refried beans

Snack 1:
1 can of Tuna + 1/4 Avocado with salt and lime (DELICIOUS)

Lunch 1:
Salad of Arugula, Bibb, Avocado, and Lemon juice

Lunch 2:
Pork loin with BBQ sauce - I know the sauce has some sugar, but I'm dying to keep it fresh!
Another batch of Kale chips - By now, I've consumed an entire bunch of kale (sans stems) in 2 days.
1 single Starburst Watermelon candy - I feel a binge coming on. This should curb it. Or spark it. We'll see.

At work:
More almonds.....ugh

Late night snack:
Too tired to cook so I had a big ol scoop of all-natural peanut butter (just peanuts)

**EDIT** I wrote this blog up before heading to work. I had that Starburst in my pocket. I carried it there all night, then handed it to a bartender. Thanks to Elliott for the pep talk.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 8

First this:

It's a....... from Luke Shaffer on Vimeo.

Now the food.

2 eggs
Mixed peppers (from the farmers market)
Refried beans

I grazed on a half pound of turkey all through lunch service. New menu items make it tough to break for a snack.

Kale chips
-kale pulled off the stem, tossed with lemon pepper and olive oil with touch of salt, baked at 350º for 12 minutes

Chik-fil-a Chargrilled Salad
No croutons, no cheese, edamame jalapeño dressing

Super calorie deficient today, it was a long, busy day. I will probably even reward myself (for the long day, not the deficiency) with a single Oreo. Also, I dropped 3 pounds this last week. No real visible changes, but that's coming. Tomorrow is back to it for realsies.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 7

Not gonna lie. Getting up today was rough. Not that I was hungover from drinking - I was hungover from food. It was a task getting back into the swing after yesterday, but overall I was successful.

All natural peanut butter

Chipotle burrito bowl-
Steak, black beans, corn salsa, lettuce, pico, lime juice, guac

Sliced turkey

Chicken breast
Spring mix + spinach
Edamame jalapeño dressing

Yes. I made the dressing. I put away a good bit of water today too, but I was probably a little calorie deficient. I'll be back in full swing tomorrow. See ya then!

Day 6 - Feast Day #1

First, the food, then some commentary:

Bacon & Egg Taco
Potato, Egg & Cheese Taco
Bean & Cheese Taco
Krispy Kreme Glazed Donut
Krispy Kreme Strawberry Iced with Creme Filling
Iced Mocha
Slice of Homeslice Pepperoni
Garlic Knot
House Salad
*2 pieces of each:
  Cherry Sour
  Hot Tamale
  Sour Cherry Strips
  Haribo Bears
  Small Pez Pack
*Back to full food:
P Terry's Cheeseburger
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie
*Wedding reception dinner:
  Beef Tenderloin Slider
  Pecan Crusted Chicken
  Mac N Cheese
  Grilled Veggies
  Chocolate Cake
  White Cake
  Lone Star

That is how you do a Feast Day. Granted, I went little overboard with sweets and junk, but I'm told this is the case with your first cheat day. According to the My Plate Livestrong app I used to count calories (based on approximations) I topped 6,000 calories.

Today, it's back to the diet, but I'm moving a little slower ;) so we'll see how it goes. I will get plenty of water today, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @LonghornLukeTX to see pictures of some of my food as it happens and also to see my temptations.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 5

Today was tough. I had a wedding rehearsal this afternoon, followed by a rehearsal dinner. This was all preceded by attending a volunteer event for Summer's work. Here are today's foods coupled with today's challenges:

Breakfast 1 (no problem here):
3 whites + 2 yolks
Leftover fajita beef, beans, and onions

Breakfast 2 (at the volunteer event):
Eggs, bacon, pico
These were actually the insides of two breakfast tacos. I sadly discarded the tortillas they came in :(

Lunch-ish (still at the event):
A whole bag of beef jerky (totalling 45g protein)
I know jerky has some sugar in it, but I passed on pizza, popcorn, doritos, and sno cones to get here, so BACK OFF I'M STARVING!

Dinner (rehearsal dinner):
At this juncture, I'm starving. They served barbecue:
I passed on potato salad, bread, cole slaw and sauce (there was minimal sauce served on the meat plates)

I did have two gin and sodas at the after party which I don't think is TOO far off the diet. Tomorrow is FEAST DAY, as it shall henceforth be known. I plan to hit up some serious Austin institutions (Torchy's, Homeslice, P Terrys) in addition to attending a wedding. The bride herself has requested that I aid in ridding them of extra cake. Yes please! Tomorrow's blog my not hit news stands until Sunday morning. It just depends on how many times they play "SHOUT!" at the reception. Stay tuned!

On a more gastronomical note, as an usher at said wedding, I received a gift from the groom:
Yup. That's what you think it is. THE MODERNIST CUISINE full set. It is the ultimate collection of culinary knowledge to date. It's like owning an entire set of Encyclopedia Britannicas, but all about food. Everything from the history of food, to ingredients, to equipment, to technique, to recipes. Y'all better watch out, cause I'm about to be a bad mamma jamma!! (well, even moreso than I already am)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 4

No pics here, more of the same.

Breakfast 1:
2 over easy eggs
Refried black beans

Lunch 1:
1/2 chicken breast
Spring mix and arugula salad
Lemon juice

Work snack:
Coliman put together a little salad for us with bibb lettuce, avocado, shallots, and some other tasty stuff

*WAIT* here is where I explain to you the nightmare that is going to a Mexican food joint on this diet. We were out registering for baby stuff and decided to grab dinner out. Serrano's was right there and I figured, "Why not? I can sub-out the illegal stuff!" Oh the humanity! I ended up with chicken and beef combo fajitas - NO rice, NO torts, NO cheese, NO chips. Only meat, beans, guac, pico, and some grilled onions. Oh the humanity! <-- I know that's a repeat, but wow. I can't tell you what torture this was. Thanks to encouragement from Elliott, and a subtle reminder that in less than 36 hours, I can have anything. The tension mounts.

Late Snack:
All natural peanut butter

Tomorrow will be interesting I've got rehearsal dinner at a barbecue joint. Challenge accepted.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 2

Still going strong on day's an accomplishment for me so shut it!

Breakfast (repeat of yesterday):
3 whites and 2 yolks
Handful of spinach
Refried black beans

Lunch 1 (cut short w busy lunch):
Tuna w 1t Dijon, pickle, 1/2t mayo
Broccoli slaw w vinaigrette

Lunch 2:
Salmon (leftover from last night)
Pinto beans
Brussels sprouts - about 1 cup shaved, sauteed in a touch of bacon fat and clarified butter
PS. It turns out that consuming a large amount of cruciferous vegetables right before serving food to people is not a swell idea, FYI.

Work snack:
Handful of raw almonds

Late dinner:
2 eggs over easy
Half of a chicken breast
Half of a Roma tomato

In addition to all of this delicious food, I consumed well over a gallon of water today. This is definitely difficult, but not impossible. I do miss grabbing cookies here and there and bread. Sweet, sweet bread. Saturday can't come quick enough. I just may embarrass myself. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 1

So it begins.

Breakfast 1:
3 egg whites + 2 yolks
Handful of spinach
1/2 cup refried black beans
Giant glass of water

Breakfast 2:
Lentils (cooked with andouille and chicken stock) + 2 eggs
Broccoli slaw with arugula and vinaigrette

Carrots and celery until...

Same lentils but no eggs
Same broccoli slaw but no arugula

Salmon with Dijon and dill
Pinto beans (mashed to basically refried beans)
Big ol spring mix salad w brocolli slaw, celery leaves, cilantro, tomato vinaigrette
Unsweetened decaf iced tea

Gonna try to make tomorrow more interesting, but my Breakfast 2 and Lunch are consumed at the restaurant, so they need to be quick.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

4 Hour Body? We'll see.

So this blog is about to get weird. *Flashback to July 4th* We head over to Melody and Saul's for a little get-together with them and Natalie and Elliott and their respective offspring, Jonas and Olivia. As per "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" protocol, the fellas meandered out by the grill. Elliott starts talking about this book he's been reading (The 4-Hour Body) and the accompanying diet he and Natalie had just begun, the Slow-Carb Diet.

He regales the tale of the author, whose done some pretty incredible stuff, and I'm intrigued and ask him to send me a copy of the book. He does and I start reading. I smell the Kool-Aid. I sip the Kool-Aid. I'm now covered in Kool-Aid.

So for the next 30 days, I will be on this Slow-Carb Diet and will share it in it's gory detail with you, here. "What is this "Slow-Carb Diet", Luke?". Well, it's not exactly a NO carb diet, but it's pretty low. The meals are comprised largely of Greens, Beans, and Lean Proteins - it helps that it rhymes. I'll basically eat every 4 hours meals that include proteins: meat, eggs, fish; legumes: lentils or beans; and vegetables: duh. The basic 5 rules of the diet:

1) Avoid "white" carbs (all grains, pastas, sugar, etc)
2) Eat the same meals over and over again - repetition prevents stray
3) Don't drink calories - no milk, cokes, or fruit juice
4) No fruit - fruit = fructose = sugar
5) Take one day off per week and go nuts.

Yup. You read rule 5 correctly, and this was the one that really intrigued me to this program. Once a week, LITERALLY eat WHATEVER YOU WANT. This dude in the book says he'll consume as much as 5000 calories on his off day. Sometimes he'll almost make himself sick. This gross display of binging A) makes the thought of junk food sickening for the next 6 days and B) aids in fat loss. Wait....WHAT?! From the book: "Paradoxically, dramatically spiking caloric intake in this way once per week increases fat-loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function and conversion of T4 to T3, etc) doesn't downshift from the extended caloric restriction."

I'm gonna give it 30 days. I've never gone hardcore into any sort of diet really and this does not seem to be some cockamamie gimmick diet. It's eating well. 4 healthy meals a day. Okay, maybe it is, but I've got to try something! I've got a kiddo en route this November and I'm most certainly in the worst shape of my life. I need to be lean and mean in order to chase this rugrat around.

Hopefully I can make this foray into the healthy delicious and entertaining to read about. If not, My Sunday through Friday blogs will suck, but you're definitely gonna want to the Saturday blogs. If I've been given a license to eat ridiculously on Saturdays, I WON'T disappoint. Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lucy's Fried Chicken

So the way I understand it, Lucy's Fried Chicken was opened by James Holmes on the coattails of his famous fried chicken that is served at the Olivia brunch (where he is the executive chef). It does not disappoint. I checked the place out with the wife (ol preggers) and mother-in-law (Terri) last night. We wanted some good food, but it was Friday night and we didn't want to drop serious coin, or wait forever. 7pm. Friday night. Sat right down. That's what I'm talkin' about!
After perusing the menu, and figuring that ol preggers and Terri probably wouldn't go for calf fries, chicken gizzards, chicken boudin, or the sausage basket (all of which I plan to return for), we opted for a bucket of chicken, black eyed peas, and crab-boil potato salad. We did not fail in our selections. The chicken was excellent! Moist. Crispy. Flavorful. The peas were perfectly cooked and had a some bonus pork in them. The tater salad was spicy as all get out and delicious! The basket says it "feeds 4", but we barely made a dent. As is made clear in the following photo:
Yea. We needed two to-go bags. "Well" we figured, "if we're taking home chicken, we might as well take home pie!" They have a great selection of pies that are most certainly being made by someone's grandma chained up in the back. Lime, Apple, and Shoofly. Yup. Shoofly pie is an ACTUAL thing! It's a molasses base with a butter oat streusel and a gingersnap crust. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
All-in-all, a great experience and we can't wait to have chicken for dinner, and check out Lucy's again!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yellow Jacket Social Club

What's up bros?! If you've wandered over to my ol facebook page you may have seen this. That's right. I'm gonna be a dad! That really has nothing to do with this post, but I'm bragging about it anyway. 

On to the post! We met up with Natalie, Elliott, baby Olivia, and Beka for Nat's bday brunch at Yellow Jacket Social Club. We'd never been there so it seemed perfect, since we've been to just about every brunch spot in town. Overall, it was a great experience. You order at the bar and they bring the food out. It did take about 40 minutes to get our food, so order as soon as you get there. 

Let's get down to it:
This was definitely the winner of the day (surprise!). A nicely cooked slab of pork belly atop a -perhaps slightly over cooked- hashbrown cake, topped with a fried egg.

This came in a very close second. It was the leader in the clubhouse until the belly came out. Buttery grits, bacon, sauteed onions, and well-cooked shrimp.

The off the menu special was a welcome surprise! Unfortunately, you can't really see the star here - the pork. Traditionally the pork is marinated in citrus and slow cooked in a banana leaf. I can't say that this was necessarily the way this pork was prepared, but it was super tender and delicious. Accompanied by frijoles, a real nice verde salsa - that had some kick, a fried egg and cotija. Tasty!

A smoked ham and gruyere panini. Topped with a fried egg. Topped with béchamel. Forget about it. Ridic.

This was pretty much the only choice for the pregger (my wife, Summer). It was good, not great. It had organic Brussels sprouts and roasted tomatoes. Cooking them in, what I can only assume was, muffin tins was a nice touch though.

Overall, we definitely enjoyed our experience at the Yellow Jacket Social Club. The food was great. There's TONS of out-door seating. And they have a great beer selection. Other than the wait - it should be mentioned that it looked like a super tiny kitchen with like 2 or 3 cooks - it was an excellent time.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Poussin Control

Once again, I make a valiant return after a lengthy departure from regaling y'all of culinary wonderment. What's my excuse this time? Nothing. I have started a new job since last we adventured into the world of tasty foods! I am the Chef de Partie (lead lunch line cook) at Swift's Attic downtown on Congress between 3rd & 4th St. It's a Modern American Small Plates concept. Modern American in that we are constrained to no one central culinary genre and small plates meaning everything is shareable, not family style, more like tapas. It is great!

Our executive chef Mat Clouser - @SwiftsBlade on twitter - has come up with some really ridiculous food. Oxtail, ham hocks, squid AND octopus, pork cheeks, I could go on, but you'll just need to come check the place out. We are open for lunch 11-2 M-F; dinner 5-10 M-W and the kitchen rocks to midnight Th-Sa. We are closed on Sundays.

Now that we're all caught up, the wife and I had some friends in last night for dinner. I finally have weekends off so I took this as an opportunity to hit up the downtown Austin farmer's market to get as much of the mise as I could. They did not disappoint. 

The beginning:
We started the night with some tasty appeteasers. I made a pork rillette (basically braise pork until spoon-tender, then mix in the KitchenAid with a paddle attachment until it shreds, adding the reserved braising liquid until it's a spread) with which I served an apple bourbon mustard, cornichons, and crostini. Killer. 

For a lighter fare, I served farmer's market fresh strawberries - sidebar: we picked up a pack of these when we walked by the booth and Summer said, "We have to get those strawberries, I can smell them from here". There were that fragrant - with basil from our "killer basil plant", reduced balsamic vinegar, and house made ricotta. Yes. I made ricotta cheese. Yes. It was delicious. RECIPE:
2 cups milk (whole preferred)
1 cup heavy cream
.5 t salt
1.5 T white wine vinegar
Bring milk, cream, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add vinegar. Sit 1 minute until curdling begins. Pour into double cheesecloth that has been dampened with warm water and is sitting in a strainer over a large bowl. Allow to sit at room temp for 20ish minutes. Longer for thicker, shorter for thinner. So good. So easy.

Next, we had a very simple salad of herbed spring mix, orange supremes and a bacon sherry vinaigrette. I phoned in the salad, cause this was dinner:
Here's where the farmer's market really shined. Let's start with the brussels and work our way around. Baby brussels sprouts that were blanched and shocked earlier, got tossed in a hot pan with bacon fat, olive oil, salt, and red pearl onions. The fresh sprouts had a peppery quality to them that was both surprising and yummy.

Next is what I called "Spring-stuffed Squash Blossoms". I made a filling of brunoise (very small diced) carrot, celery, garlic scape and artichoke hearts with lemon zest and parmesan. That got carefully piped into amazing little squash blossoms (that were surprisingly being sold for $1/5 - they go for like $48/case from a produce purveyor). I just popped em in a super hot oven for like 10 minutes and they were ridic.

The star of the show. Poussin. These were picked up from a guy named Sebastian, whom runs Countryside Family Farm in Bastrop, TX. They are quite young, thus incredibly tender and juicy. I stuffed them with a half lemon, garlic scapes, celery, onion, carrot, thyme, and parsley stems. After rubbing the skin with olive oil and S&P, I placed them in a 450º oven on top of more garlic scapes, for about 20-30 minutes. They rested for another 15-20 minutes after coming out of the oven and were spectacular! I deglazed the pan with white wine, added stock, mounted with butter, and seasoned appropriately to create a nice little pan sauce to have with the chicken.

All-in-all, the meal was really great, but the best part was hanging out with some really great friends and having an awesome time. My blogging may remain somewhat infrequent in the coming months, but I promise to try to get on it whenever possible - as long as y'all promise to come eat at Swift's as soon as you can!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The BIG Easy

Hold on to your butts, this is gonna be a big one. Me and some fellas took our annual trip to New Orleans this past weekend so I hit up a couple friends for some cuisine recommendations - special thanks to Will Semons and Kristi Willis for the suggestions! In additions Harrah's (to lose money) and Bourbon St (for other stuff), we hit up some great restaurants for some killer grub. And this is that tale.

Both lists included this place:

And both lists recommended this dish:

And this is what that dish looks like:

I wish I had a picture to describe HOW DELICIOUS THESE WERE!! Wow. They actually grill these oysters over an open flame, then brush them with a garlic and herb butter, and dust them with Parmesan and Romano cheeses. They're served with French bread to sop up all that glorious butter. With a nice Abita Turbodog to wash em down, these were a great way to start of the trip.

After donating some cash to the Harrah's Kid's College Fund, it was time for some more grub:

Yes, of the Archie-Eli-Peyton Mannings. None of us were starving, plus we wanted to get a nice sampling of the menu. So we just hit up some apps. SWEET POTATO SKINS with goat cheese, bacon marmalade and green onions - good, but way to sweet. GRIS GRIS DUCK WINGS flash fried with pepper jelly - easily the best thing we had. COCHON DE LAIT "POUTINE" hand-cut fries, pulled pork, pepper jelly gravy and cheese curds - even though the duck wings were best, this was my favorite. CAJUN SLIDERS alligator sausage, caramelized peppers, onions, and Crystal hot sauce aïoli. Overall, the grub was good, but nothing was mind-blowing.

Now let me tell you what WAS mind-blowing, the complimentary continental breakfast at our hotel, The Queen & Crescent.

That's it. No comment.

The one place that we all knew we were going to, was Butcher. We hit this place up last year, and it was so good, we HAD to go back.

Of course, I won the war of the order. I got the Pork Belly with cumber and mint on white bread. Simply delicious.

In another concerned effort to experience as much as of the menu as possible, we tried to make sure everyone ordered something different. So we also got to experience the BBQ Pork "Carolina Style" with slaw - honestly, the pork was a little dry and not very smoky, but the potato salad that it came with was real nice. We also had the Cold Roast Beef with horseradish and arugula - this was real tasty with the added bonus of a sinus-clearing punch.

A quick pause in food and debauchery landed us at the aquarium. Check out this little guy:

Yup, that's an otter swimming on his back. Nothing cuter. Seriously. We also saw sharks, rays, snakes, frogs, turtles, jellyfish, and some fish.

After the aquarium, it was nap time. Then we said, "let's get some doggone Cajun food Ayeeeee!!!!!" Okay, there was no actual "Ayeeeee", but you know what I mean. So we hit Coop's Place. This was one of those hole-in-the-wall, line-out-the-door kinda joints.

Again, trying to get a well rounded experience of the menu, we all got the same thing. Huh? Hand on, you'll get it. We started with the Bayou Appetizer - fried crawfish, shrimp, crabfingers, and oysters. This was a nice alternative to getting a fried entree. We also all tried the Abita Restoration Pale Ale - not bad, the hops worked real nice with the spice of the rest of the meal.

We all ordered the Coop's Taste Plate for dinner. It came with a cup of gumbo - a filé-thickened gumbo had an overwhelming vegetale flavor for me. It also had

A piece of Fried Chicken: good ole fried chicken, no complaints!
Shrimp Creole: clearly Creole sauce poured over boiled shrimp, a little disappointing there, but good flavor.
Red Beans and Rice: a little salt really set this off. The pieces of pork in here were a welcome surprise.
Rabbit and Sausage Jambalaya: real tasty.

All in all, nothing here blew our minds, but it was a great sampler of Cajun cuisine.

Again, another fantastic trip to Nawlins. As far as fun and cuisine were concerned, I graded this trip an A+. As far as gambling, a D- and not an F because I didn't go to the ATM for more cash to lose. We sure did laissez les bon temps rouler.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

4 Course and 7 Beers Ago

Of Course, we did not have 7 beers, but it works - President's Day having just passed and whatnot. I prepared the food, and Mike brought along the accompanying libations. As promised, this is the Mardi Gras Four Course Cajun Feast blog:

This particular feast took a good amount of time to prepare. It started around 9am with the production of stocks. I made a shrimp stock, that would later become etouffee and a "veggie" stock (not in a traditional sense, but I'll explain that with the first course). I also got some pork simmering away with trinity (celery, onion, bell pepper) + jalapeño and garlic which would become boudin.


As the description dictates, this blog is about my triumphs, and failures. In the case of GUMBO CONSOMME, we've stumbled upon the latter. That's not to say that it didn't taste good. On the flavor front, all was well. On the front of this consomme being a successful consomme, or clearly being reminiscent of a gumbo, thumbs down. As the photo clearly conveys, the clarity of the consomme is not so clear. Whilst preparing something else, I let the consomme boil, reintroducing the impurities to the stock, and botching the whole batch. ALSO, I clearly underestimated the obvious importance of roux to gumbo - this is where the soup failed to reach true gumbo-ness. That being said, the soup was good and Mike's 2010 Blufeld Riesling from Mosel, Germany was a perfect match.

The next course was a celebration of the triumphant return of the Gulf - or just an excuse to fit three courses into one. A) Gulf oyster on the half shell with cocktail sauce foam - I shucked to order. The sauce was too viscous to foam properly, thus it didn't have enough body to stand up to the oyster. Mike's Katana Junmai Ginjo Sake from Shizuoka, Japan was however, a perfect pair with the oyster. B) Boudin balls on house-made remoulade. Absolutely killer!! C) Boiled crawfish and potatoes over a corn-andouille puree. The puree was the highlight of the night. The wheat beer Mike brought was perfect with the boudin and crawfish.

Want to smoke out all your dinner guests with a noxious blackened cloud? Blacken some fish with a killer black spice in a screaming hot pan inside an apartment. But then serve it over shrimp etouffee with dirty rice, and you'll have them... still talking about how we all coughed for 10 minutes. Mike took a real reach on this one and served a traditional Indian Lassi. The purpose of this choice was to subdue the spice, which it did. However, it did not serve as a really thirst quenching beverage. It was nice in sips, but not in gulps.

Mardi Gras just ain't Mardi Gras without a KING CAKE. So I made one.

Instead of colored sugar, I made colored icing. No baby, that's dangerous.

Thanks to Cafe Du Monde, I made these tasty morsels:

Not gonna lie here. I went out and bought Cafe Du Monde beignet mix, mixed it up and fried it. I did top it with pow pow sug sug that had been mixed with a little Cafe Du Monde coffee. These went splendidly with the Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout from Petaluma, CA that Mike brought.

All in all, another successful tasting and pairing dinner.

I have exciting new coming up very soon. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentime's Day

I have to work tonight, so the wifey and I did our Valentine's Day dinner last night. We started with a some prosecco and my favorite salad - herbed spring mix, orange supremes, toasted almond slices, and an orange-shallot vinaigrette. Then it was on to dinner:


Obviously, none of this is super high end, but it was delicious. I did make the Mac with a béchamel with aged cheddar and topped it with cave-aged gruyére and panko - yummy. And yes, those are two heart-shaped beets for garnish! <3

The star of the show was the cake I made:

A sponge cake with a hint of almond, iced with a brown sugar buttercream and garnished with toasted almond slices. Notice the intricate piping work! The cake wasn't quite as light and airy as I'd hoped, but it was still delicious.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bangers & Pizza

Just in case you didn't see the rockstar picture of my marinating pork on facebook, here it is again:

That was a tease. I'm such a sausage tease.
Both sausages were made with an 8 pound pork picnic. Yesterday, I skinned (and kept in the freezer), de-boned (bone got trashed since I didn't have any large bags), diced, and split.

To the pork, I added chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, fresh garlic, salt, pink salt, cayenne, and chili powder. Today, I ground it up. When it came time to add the cold liquid (which aids in distributing the seasoning and helps emulsify the sausage, usually water), I added 1 part cold water and 1 part COLD BOURBON! That's right. I did that. Then it all got cased up. The bourbon actually stands up to the pork and chipotle. And the chipotle spice comes through at the end. Not a bad little sausage. I think it would be great cooked up out of the casing and added to queso.

This is an idea I've had for a while. It's basically a re-work of the classic Jalapeño Cheddar sausage. On this one, I added half a roasted poblano, half a roasted jalapeño, fresh garlic, cumin, salt, pink salt, and a little adobo seasoning. Today, I ground it up. During the mixing process, I added the other half of the poblano and jalapeño and some pepperjack cheese that I pulsed in the food processor (I used block cheese so I could ensure the lack of cornstarch - which is added to pre-shredded cheeses to prevent sticking). Then it all got cased up. This one was the winner of the day. It would be killer in a fresh flour tortilla with cilantro and pickled red onions.

Oh and here's what they look like:

Of course, tonight was Pizza Jersday (pizza and "Jersey Shore") DON'T JUDGE ME!! Instead of ordering, I mixed it up a little this week: homemade pizza. I did cheat a bit, I went on down to Homeslice and picked up a dough ball for $5. Half the pizza was pepperoni, and red wine garlic sausage. The other half was roasted Brussels sprouts, criminis and thyme, shallots, and prosciutto piccolo.

Check out the sweet pizza paddle! Thanks Glenn and Diana! Both sides were great. It's hard to compare because they were two totally different directions. There was a little extra dough. Hmmmmm....... what to do with that?


Just tie strips of dough in knots, brush with garlic butter, sprinkle with coarse sea or Kosher salt, and throw in the oven until GBD!!!

I may have another tasting dinner coming up. So that could be cool. Umm....hmmm... I'll try to come up with some more cool stuff to do. Maybe I'll just jack around with my "Beginning Molecular Gastronomy Kit". I haven't busted that out in a while. Who knows? Stay tuned!

Don't forget to go to the right side of the page and "FOLLOW" the blog. It won't send you emails or anything. It'll just make me feel good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bambi Butcher Blog

WARNING: Graphic images and information to follow

This is the promised blog resulting from my hunting trip last week. I went with my buddies Dan and Mike. Unfortunately, we were a week late for bucks, which was the majority of what we saw all day. However, we did happen across a couple does right at the end of the day. From about 75-80 yards out, I bagged a 2-2.5 year old doe with the Remington .270 that Summer's parents gave me for Christmas - thanks Larry and Terri!

We loaded the ol girl on the Mule (off-road golf cart, not donkey-horse hybrid) and headed to the cutting room. Dan has a suh-weet set up out at his place. There's a concrete slab with an awning that has a wench hanging from the ceiling. Why? We sawed the legs below the knees and wenched the deer up off the ground. From there, dressing, gutting, and skinning the deer was a breeze. Dan did the lion's share of the work, but I get in there for some of it. There's a HUGE difference in cleaning a deer when you cut the stomach and when you don't. Don't. After getting it all clean, we hung it in the walk-in for 5 days.


Look how beautifully lean that piece of meat is. You can also see the exit wound there.

Here's a great view of the shot. It went in through rib #4, through the lung, the heart, the other lung, and out rib #5. A really great shot for a first-timer. Also, note how clean our gut job was.

On Friday, we butchered it. Dan quartered it (hips and rear legs first, then front legs individually). Next, we took the backstraps and tenderloins. Most of the rib cage was bloodshot - that's where the bullet explodes, sending fragments of bullet and bone through out, blasting the meat. All this needs to be removed and discarded. Some of the rib meat was salvageable for sausage. Next, I watched Dan break down one of the back legs, and I repeated. We reserved the two bottom rounds and one top round for the dinner party from 5Courses+5Beers+5Wines. The rest became either cutlets - which made some of the best chicken fried steaks ever - or trim for sausage. The front legs were also a bit bloodshot, which became sausage material as well. Overall, it was a blast breaking down the deer. There's something greatly satisfying about eating something that you took from start to finish.


So I took 2.5 pounds of the trim (non-backstrap, tenderloin, or leg roasts), .5 pound of bacon (for fat, smoke, and texture), 2 pounds of pork butt, garlic, chipotles, cayenne, and salt, ground it, mixed it, and stuffed it. The colors on this thing are great. The dark is the venison, the light is the bacon, the in-between is glorious pork. The tester was tasty, and I'm going to roast a couple off tonight with dinner.

Not sure what my next culinary quest is, but it should be a good one. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 16, 2012


My buddy Mike Beech (of Strength and Beer) and I have been talking for a while about doing a coursed out meal with wine and/or beer pairings. We got the opportunity to do just that this weekend at a friends' house warming party.

SIDEBAR: As mentioned in "Red Wine Garlic Sausage", I did get a chance to take down my own venison last Sunday, and I was successful! I got a 2-2.5 yr old doe from 75-80 yards out. What an intense experience. I cannot wait to get out for more. I'll do a blog about just the deer later, but I bring it up because it was the 4th course.

So in this particular case, I came up with the menu first. I didn't really want a "theme" so much as I wanted to feature several different techniques. Once the menu was in place, Mike spent a couple weeks tasting beers and wines to match each course. I know right? Poor Mike.

And awaaaaayyyy we go!

Course #1: Herbed Spring Mix with Goat Cheese, Almonds, Orange
Beer #1: Ommegang Rouge, Flanders Red Ale, Cooperstown, NY
Wine #1: Verdemar Albariño, 2009, Riaz Baixas, Spain

You may remember this salad from the classic "Crevettes L'Orange", except that I have replaced the gorgonzola with goat cheese. The goat cheese is much more mild. The almonds were toasted slices. The orange was supremed. The dressing was minced shallot, fresh squeezed orange juice, red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper shaken in an old spaghetti sauce jar - this results in a superior emulsification of the ingredients.

Mike killed it on the beer pairing here. The interesting part about the beer in this course was the amount of acid it had. It really went perfectly with such a tart salad. The wine was really good, but wasn't quite there with the salad. It wasn't a bad pairing or anything, just not perfect.

Course #2: Chicken and Andouille Gumbo
Beer #2: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, India Pale Ale, Milton, DE
Wine #2: Chateau Routas Rosé, 2010, Provence, France

Honestly, this was my first gumbo. I can't believe that's true, but it is. Aside from not thickening up as much as I wanted, it was really good. I sautéed "the Holy Trinity" of celery, onions, and green bells and threw that in the crockpot. I added okra, garlic, tomatoes, andouille, chicken thighs (roasted in the oven), stock, roux (of which I did not add enough), thyme and cayenne. That simmered all day. Right before we left, I seasoned it with salt and added Louisiana Hot Sauce.

The IPA really accentuated the heat of this gumbo and was, again, a perfect pair. The rosé was a really nice, serious rosé, and went well with the gumbo. Again, we felt this pairing wasn't quite perfect.

Course #3: Pork Belly, Confit Tomato, Frisée
Beer #3: NXNW Northern Light, Pilsner, Austin, TX
Wine #3: Kenwood Pinot Noir, 2010, Sonoma County, CA

This course was near and dear to my heart, because it was the pork course. I braised a piece of pork belly for 1.5 hours in the ol Dutch oven, after searing it off and adding a little stock. I reduced the remaining liquid with brown sugar and bourbon to a glaze. The "confit tomato" was cherry tomatoes that had been cooked on low in extra virgin olive oil, duck fat, thyme, and garlic for an hour. The frisée was there for texture and contrast. When we were ready for this course, I put the belly under the broiler to crisp the fat on top, sliced it, glazed it, and ate it. The tomatoes came out WAY more tart than sweet - most likely a result of the lack of ripeness. But, as always, the belly came through and saved the dish.

I knew I should have taken notes. Sitting here at the computer, writing this blog, I can not remember my exact thoughts on the pairings. I remember that they worked, but no specifics. My head must have been in pork belly mode - it makes you forget things.

Course #4: Venison Leg Roast, Potato Celeriac Purée, Roasted Squash
Beer #4: Chimay Premiére, Belgian Dubbel, Hainut, Belgium
Wine #4: Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008, Patterson, WA

This course was near and "deer" to my heart. As previously mentioned, this was the deer that I had, only a week prior, actually shot myself. And had butchered the day before. It doesn't get much fresher than that. To get a large enough roast for the party, we tied together the two bottom rounds with a top round in between. Absolutely zero silver skin anywhere and about 99% fat free. I jammed garlic and rosemary between the layers, S&P'd the outside and seared it GBD. I placed thick slices of onion, celery tops, and carrots in the pan, covered those 3/4 with stock and placed the roast on top of that. With the probe thermo inserted, it roasted at 250º for 3 hours until the inside was a PERFECT 140º - and yes, to answer your question. Venison SHOULD be cooked rare to barely medium. Any more, and it's toast.

The purée was another gem. Potatoes and celery root were simmered to tender, then tossed in the processor with heavy cream and butter, salt, duck fat, and an egg yolk. Puréed to silky smooth, then pressed through a sieve, they were delectable.

The squash was just roasted. I was really disappointed in that. It was a throw away side from the get-go. I should have been more creative. It does look purty though.

Wow. This dish killed. The venison had very little gaminess. It was perfectly cooked. And was tender as can be. The purée was delicious as well. They raved.

This was the first course where the wine was an absolute perfect pair. The cab really held up to the intense flavor of the venison, and the super rich purée. The beer was a nice pairing, but I don't know that any beer could have been a better pair than the wine was.

Course #5: Roasted Banana Semifreddo with Peanut Butter Caramel
Beer #5: Rahr & Sons Ugly Pug, Black Lager, Fort Worth, TX
Wine #5: Tott's Gold Medal Cuvée, San Joaquin Valley, CA

I have made this dessert before, but I don't remember blogging it. A semifreddo is an Italian dessert meaning "semi frozen". It's a fluffy, cold combination of an Italian meringue (sugar melted to 240º, drizzled into soft peaked egg whites) and whipped cream. The flavor, in this case, roasted bananas, is added to the meringue before folding in the cream. The dessert is then molded, and frozen. About 10-15 minutes before service, it should be removed to the fridge to soften a bit. I served it with a peanut butter "caramel". I say "caramel" because I didn't have enough white sugar to make a true caramel. So I used a combination of white sugar and brown sugar. I really just melted them, added some cream, then stirred in peanut butter. The poor technique was revealed in both the grittiness of the sauce, and the way the sauce set up instead of staying pourable.

People actually came back for seconds on this one - it was the only one we had second helpings of.

The beer, once again, was killer with this one. Aside from the salad pairing, this was most surprising that a beer could be paired so well. The lager really accentuated the nuttiness of the dessert. The sparkling was great as well, but let's all be honest with ourselves here, bubbles go with anything.

All in all, wow. What a successful endeavor on both our parts. Mike brought the heat big time and the food was pretty killer too, if I do say so myself. We already have a few requests to do some more, and I can't wait. Stay tuned for that Bambi Butcher Blog!