Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section
Image

More Better Eggs

4 Mar

Living off the land was always my dream. I wanted to move to Colorado and live off the land. Hunt, fish, and gather. My ideal vacation would be a backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail or in Colorado stalking bull Elk. Now I am not going to pass up a weekend at The Palms in Vegas or hanging with Sammy in Cabo.  Those vacations are just not high on my list.

What does this have to do with eggs? Eggs are a simple food you can produce right in your backyard. They are inexpensive and relativity low maintenance. Eggs can be your first step to living off the land. Go all natural go organic!!

My chicken coup is perfect for my family and I should have enough extra eggs to give away. Maybe I can barter eggs for some cane syrup or a bunch of collards. That would be cool!

IMG_0491

Four chickens can have a party in this coup. I like my chickens to be able to move around a little, stretch their wings. The back side has a large swing door I use to gather my eggs.  A little hay is all it takes to make a nice laying bin.

IMG_0383

My four chicks produce four eggs every day, well most days.  If a dozen eggs cost $2.50 at the store, then my four eggs pay me .84 cents a day.   Bam! Take that Jay-Z.  Who’s the biggest baller now!!

This is my main chick, Queen Latifah.  All my chicks are named after 80’s female rappers.  I have one pair I call Salt N Pepper.

IMG_0501

The best part is eating these delicious home grown eggs.   They look good too!

IMG_0405

We eat eggs on a regular basis, at least four days a week.  I generally cook eggs and a meat for breakfast.  Most of the time I cook a lean deer sausage with my eggs.  It’s healthy and fun to know I produced the eggs and make my own deer sausage.   The first thing you notice about fresh eggs is they have more yolk and less whites.  Store bought eggs have more whites and less yolk.  Or maybe the whites just seam more runny, almost water like.

IMG_0334

Do a little scramble action and add eggs to a pan on low-medium heat with a little PAM.  Still trying to keep it healthy.  Butter tastes better.

IMG_0332

Here is the low down on how to make really good scrambled eggs.  Before you scramble add pepper, a little salt, and dry minced onion.  I really like the added flavor of the dry minced onion.  Don’t over heat the pan!!  You don’t want the eggs to sound like you put a hot pan under cold water.  If you like dry over cooked eggs, go outside and punch yourself in the face!!

My Big Mama made the best eggs.  Actually she made the best breakfast.  She scrambled her eggs in the pan, best I can recall.  Her eggs were not all yellow but a mix of yellow and white.  She also moved her eggs from a the pan to a bowl to prevent over cooking.  Most of us just leave our eggs in the pan so they eventually over cook.

My favorite eggs are over easy.  But they are harder to make and I am not a good over easy  egg cook.  My wife’s dad makes a good over easy but the best over easy egg cook is Lee Level from Eutaw, AL.  He has mad over easy skills.

IMG_0414

I just realized this pic sucks.  You know what goes good with eggs?  Some left over ham.  This ham is a Knight family recipe.  My mother makes a great ham.  This is her recipe.  It will get it’s own blog post one day.

IMG_0335

So here is just a simple easy morning breakfast.  It may take me only 15 minutes to produce this master piece.  Who wants to send their kids off to school with a stomach full of Little Debbie cakes and Pop-Tarts.  That’s what’s wrong with kids today, they don’t get a good healthy start.

IMG_0329

So make the jump and start your own mini-eggs farm!

Advertisements
Video

Make the World Awesome!

25 Feb

What are you doing to make the world awesome! Me rather nothing. Big dreams turn to faded dreams when you get close to middle age and you have not created the next Facebook. Nah Twitter, Facebook is already old.

This Saturday I was watching YouTube videos on my new Smart TV, which is just a TV that picks up internet and found this awesome video. I watched it once, then twice, then several more time. Basically I have been watching these videos all weekend. They are funny, inspirational, and motivate me to make the world awesome. The kid in this video has Brittle Bone syndrome and has had over 70 broken bones. And he is just 10!

Find him on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzvRx_johoA-YabI6FWcU-jL6nKA1Um-t

Image

Ed’s Shed – Mobile, AL

15 Feb

One thing I enjoy is mini-vacations. Just take a quick trip and recharge the batteries. Two days max is about my standard for a good vacation. No need to plan, get in the car and go!!

This past weekend my wife and I headed south to Mobile for Mardi Gras. Mobile is about 2.5 hours south of my house, so it’s perfect for a weekend trip. We left Saturday morning and came home Sunday. Extensive research went into where we would eat. My good friend Wes Cash went to school in Mobile so I gave him a call. He recommended Ed’s Shed for the best fried seafood in Mobile. You can’t go to the coast without getting your seafood fix!!

We woke early on Sat., headed south and made it to Ed’s Shed in time for lunch.
IMG_0448

The article I read while in the resturant said that Ed had learned to fry seafood from his mother. His mother was famous around the Mobile area for her fried seafood. Well after a successful business career, Ed fulfilled a life long dream of opening up a restaurant. He opened Ed’s Shed on the Causeway in Mobile, Al. Today he is sipping Mai Tai’s in Hawaii!! Well he may still be working his butt off, I did not see Ed on my trip. Either way he build on successful restaurant on great food and good service.

At Ed’s you can sit inside or out back on the deck.
IMG_0446

Inside was nice and warm, but we decided to sit outside. You can’t beat the view!!
IMG_0443

Remember we are up in the bay of the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t expect white beaches. Our waiter promptly came and brought us some complementary cole-slaw and took our drink order. My rule on drinks, get water or get booze. We ordered water.
IMG_0445

Now I love cole-slaw, I like the mayo and vinegar based versions. This was a mayo version that was outstanding. Really great cole-slaw. We finished it off before we left. After scanning the menu my wife wanted to order the crab bisque. We ordered the crab bisque on a hunch, just that gut feeling. It tuned out to be the best dish of the weekend. Super creamy with tons of crab flavor! So far this is my favorite dish in Mobile.
IMG_0440

With it being lunch, you can get a good deal at a discounted rate. Gotta love a deal. I went with the fried combo of oysters and shrimp. My wife chose the fish tacos. You had the option to get your oysters soft fried or hard fried. I went soft because who wants their oysters overcooked? I chose hush-puppies and rice for my sides. You could chose fries but generally I hate fries. There is nothing more bland than fries. Nothing more greasy, salty, kick over dead than potato fries. Check out this combo meal!!
IMG_0437

The great thing about this meal was the shrimp was not overly battered. You could actually see the shrimp. Ed’s knows how to fry shrimp! Here is a little food porn for you.
IMG_0436

My wife chose the fish tacos. Why I do not know. I was doubting the fish tacos would be very good. Fish tacos were not a house specialty, no way Ed’s opened his doors with fish tacos on the menu. However, you can put mud in a taco and it’s good! According to my wife, the fish tacos were a hit! They could upgrade the Pace salsa but other than that, tacos were spot on. Beans were good too, and then did not give my wife the walkin farts.
IMG_0438

Overall I give Ed’s Shed an A. The food was great and the service was equally as good. My waiter even helped me with my Mardi Gras plans. A waitress/waiter’s job is more than just bringing you food and refilling drinks. Here is the kicker, total bill was $28 bucks. Bam!! That’s a deal! You can eat at the best restaurants on the cheap if you just go at lunch. Ed’s Shed is on my list of Mobile hotspots!!

http://www.edsshed.com/

Just 3 Miles Past the Battleship on the right
3382 Battleship Parkway
Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

(251) 625-1947

Image

Mini-Vacation Mobile, AL

8 Feb

One thing I enjoy is mini-vacations. Just take a quick trip and recharge the batteries. Two days max is about my standard for a good vacation. We left Sat. at 8am and made it back home Sun. at 2pm. Get in the car and go!!

This past weekend my wife and I headed south to Mobile for Mardi Gras. Mobile is about 2.5 hours south of my house, so it’s perfect for a weekend trip. We left Saturday morning and came home Sunday. Extensive research went into where we would eat. Here’s a quick overview of our trip. Check back later for more detailed reviews on these hot spots.

I need to give props to my favorite hotel. The Wingate by Wyndham is tops for value, cleanliness, and breakfast. We have stayed at a Wingate at least five times and we have always been impressed. Everyone we stayed at has been fairly new. Our total bill was $65 with tax. I get a discount with my Cattlemen’s membership. That’s with a full continental breakfast, not just Little Debbie cakes and coffee.

Give them a chance on your next mini-vacation. http://www.wingatehotels.com/

My good friend Wes went to school in Mobile so I gave him a call. He recommended Ed’s Shed for the best fried seafood in Mobile. You can’t go to the coast without getting your seafood fix!!

IMG_0448

On the way back to the hotel we drove threw some old Mobile neighborhoods. Most of the homes in these neighborhoods were built in the early 20th century. Good thing we took the scenic tour because we found this great ice cream shoppe.Then back to the hotel for a nap!

IMG_0435

We meet up with some friends and caught a cab and headed downtown. Mobile has Mardi Gras parades from January 12 until February 12th(FAT TUESDAY). We saw two parades back to back, Butterfly Maidens and Krewe of Marry Mates. Mobile has police everywhere, police cars, police on motorcycle, police on horses, police on Segways. The streets were clean and the parade was family friendly.

images

Our next stop was Wintzell’s Oyster House. Wintzell’s is a historic eatery in Mobile, been there since 1938. They have started to franchisee in the past several years and they have a couple spots throughout Alabama.

news

We hit a couple night spots before catching a cab back to the hotel. Cabbies are always cool to talk too. Our driver had been driving for the same cab company in Mobile for 18 years.

Now the Wingate has a great continental breakfast, you just have to get up early enough to make it. What I really wanted to do was hit Bates House of Turkey in Greenville. Bates actually raises their own turkeys!

IMG_0422[1]

This was a great trip and it was a budget trip. The hotel was $65 and the most expensive ticket was at Ed’s Shed $28 bucks with an appetizer!

Image

Sushi Cafe

30 Jan

Yeah, deer season was over for me this past Saturday! It’s officially suck up time for me. My wife has been a supportive wife while I have been gone most weekends for the past three months. Sometimes I have no idea how any woman could be married to me.

This is what I told my wife right before we were married:

“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day.”

Then Ryan Gosling, aka Noah, goes off and uses my quote in the blockbuster hit “The Notebook”. I wold call Johnie Cochran but he’s dead. You can’t use my words Noah.

Here is my number one rule for date night with my wife, let her pick the restaurant. I am so thankful my wife picked Sushi Cafe, it was great!!

Sushi Cafe is owned by Daniel, last name unknown, but I expect him to be famous in Montgomery and only need one name. Hey, the Ninja Turtles all had one name. We first meet Daniel at Miyako’s where he was a sushi chef there for some time. It caught my eye that he had his own creations on the menu, named the Daniel Roll. He always seemed focused and took great pride in his art.
daniel

IMG_0407

The whole thumbs up really bothers me in this picture and the quality is just not good. I have way more hair that you can’t see because of the bad lighting.

When you walk in the place is clean, fresh, and welcoming. It really makes you want to throw a couple “Chinese Stars”, or shoot someone with some poisons blow darts. Which means the decor is spot on, a real Japanese feel to it.

A couple months ago we ate here and I ordered a quail egg. I thought it was going to be scrambled or something. It’s just not my favorite. Pretty but not to my liking. Now I don’t like carrot raisin salad either but that’s another story.
IMG_0406

As usual we sat at the Sushi bar and as usual we were alone. It was late but still a good crowd. This is an open invitation to invite more folks to sit at the sushi bar, have conversation with the chefs. They enjoy the one-on-one and I feel like I get better service. We know who is setting in the back ordering California rolls and telling everyone on Facebook you ate sushi last night. We see you. haha
IMG_0398

Our waiter was fantastic, very polite and helpful. I generally ask a lot of questions so I can get intel for my blog but mainly because I am just curious. Miller Lite for me and some white wine for my wife. Our appetizer was Miso soup for me and a side salad with ginger dressing for my wife.
IMG_0400

I have a bottle of Japanese ginger dressing in my fridge, always. TONTON Ginger is a great dressing, you can get it at CostCo.
IMG_0410

Now my wife is on this CrossFit Paleo kick so her menu options are limited. We scanned the menu looking for options we thought we would like. One option we did not get but it’s really good is Daniel’s signature roll. If you like the big fancy roles you should give it a try.
IMG_0402

Another roll that’s great is the Black Pepper Tuna Roll.
IMG_0401

My wife chose the Avocado Sunrise. Now my wife is Mexican/Hispanic so she knows her Avocado, we both grew up eating a ton of avocados. These avocados must have been flown in over night because they were perfectly ripe. Which is hard to do with avocados. The tuna was firm and flavorful. A nice surprise was the bed of shaved Daikon radish under each avocado. It was crisp and juicy, slightly peppery.
IMG_0396

Nigiri sushi is what I prefer. Nigiri sushi is a type of Japanese dish made with sushi rice and fresh fish. The sushi rice is hand formed into a small clump, and the fish is sliced and pressed on top of it. But I do order a roll of some type from time to time. Right now I am a big yellow-tail fan. The yellow-tail from Sushi Cafe was firm, clean, fresh, and slightly sweet. Some of the best yellow-tail I have eaten. You know it’s good when you take that first bit and look at the Sushi chef with a smile.
IMG_0394

My next favorite is the Eel. This is actually mostly cooked, the chef fires up the blow touch and sears it. Which gives it a warm smoky flavor. It’s almost BBQ like. Really really good. My wife and I split this dish.
IMG_0389

Two happy customers!
IMG_0391[1]

Now due to a bad case of mono when I was in the 6th grade, I was unable to travel with the Bad News Bears to Japan. So technically I am not the authority on top grade quality sushi. But I do know what’s good and what I like, I think you will like it too. So give Sushi Cafe a try and order something outside the box.

https://www.facebook.com/MontgomerySushiCafe

Address: 3004 Zelda Rd, Montgomery, AL 36106
Phone:(334) 819-7060

Cajun Rabbit

25 Jan

This rabbit has been in my freezer since last season. Frozen in a block of ice. I shot this rabbit in a green field with my good friend Mike McMillan of Brent, Alabama. Not one for letting game go to waste, I skinned it and threw it in my cooler. Here is the jist on rabbit, it really does taste like chicken. Now not the steroid, HGH, Lance Armstrong chickens we buy at the store. more like a yard bird. A little tougher than most of us are used to. Think of this, if you were in a fancy French NYC restaurant this rabbit would have cost you about $25 bucks. Now it would have been braised in a light wine sauce with some organic embryo carrots, so I guess you got your money’s worth. I kicked this rabbit out of a briar patch and got it for the price of a 22 long-rifle. Anyhow, rabbit is good, just ask the French.

First thing I do is soak it in milk for about 8hrs. Buttermilk is the best but I am not going to buy buttermilk just to soak one rabbit. Use the milk you have if you want to save a buck. After a good milk brine in the fridge I take it our a couple hours before I cook it so it’s not ice cold when I drop it in the grease. Now the recipe.

Create you a good egg wash with a little bit of hot sauce. I like Louisiana but Texas Pete or another will work.
IMG_0368[1]

Now set the egg wash to the side, I am getting ahead of myself. Season the rabbit a little before you add the batter. I chose the Cajun Seasoning from Southern Flavor Seasonings out of Selma, Alabama. This is a family owned company that makes a great product, their charcoal seasoning is awesome on steaks. Check them out at http://www.southernflavor.com.
IMG_0362[1]

Now here is the trick to a good crust. A rabbit really has no skin like a chicken does, so it’s hard to get that good crispy crust. So first you want to dredge the rabbit in flour. This picture has a special meaning to me, after I took the pic I had one of those flash back moments of good memories. You see my grandmother “Sophie” always told me to use White Lily flour, she said it was the best. My Big Mama and Memaw had a flour shiftier, just like the one you see in the picture to make homemade biscuits. I purchased this one at an antique store some time ago.
IMG_0364[1]

Put a little fresh cracked pepper in your flour.
IMG_0363[1]

Here it is real simple. Flour, shake, egg wash, more flour, shake, cook in grease!!

The double batter is the trick when you have no skin.
IMG_0361[1]

Two choices for a cooking vessel, iron skillet or electric skillet. I like both, if i have a ton of frying to do I go electric skillet. The rabbit was crying for the iron skillet, just to get that good char.

IMG_0360[1]

Cook time is around 5-6 minutes on the first side and about 4 on the other side. A little over medium on your electric range or about 400 degrees if you want to get technical.

Check out this golden color. Looking good.
IMG_0356[1]

I like a good crunchy rabbit so I like to drain on a rack instead of a paper towel.
IMG_0355[1]

When it comes out of the grease I sprinkle a little more Cajun seasoning from http://www.southernflavor.com.

IMG_0353[1]

This recipe is a storyboard, start at the top and follow. Everything can be substituted. I used vegetable oil because that’s what I had. Use what you have and don’t drop 30 bucks trying to follow the recipe to the T. Hope you enjoy!!

Breakfast in Bessemer at Raggedy Ann’s

14 Jan

Image

 

This weekend I went with my daughter to her first Crossfit competition.  Crossfit is similar to a cult, or it must be because my wife and daughter are both addicted.  If you really want to get in shape quit your regular gym right now and find a Crossfit box.

As we rolled into Bessemer I was hit with a hunger attack.  The Special K bar at 4am had worn off and I needed some fuel.  Rather than hit the McD’s at the exit, I drove deep into the heart of Bessemer.  Bessemer is a city left behind from it’s heyday when iron ore and coal flowed from it’s hills.  Bessemer is solid working class people, a city were both black and white do what’s necessary to survive.  The most famous person from Bessemer is the great Bo Jackson.  No tellin how many Bo stories have been told at the Raggedy Ann.

Driving down the bumpy streets I noticed a diner that was slammed packed, I mean not a parking spot in sight.  My eyes light up because I knew the food had to be good in this place.  I made a quick u-turn and took my wife and daughter back to the Crossfit competition and made sure my wife told me the correct time I needed to be back.  Great, be back by 9:30am I had over an hour to burn.  Plenty of time.  

As I pulled into the parking lot I found a parking spot out back where the workers park.  Always a good sign.  Walking in the door I noticed the crowed was older and 75% of the patrons had on Alabama Crimson Tide shirts.  Not an Auburn shirt in sight.  

Image

Alabama had won the National Championship the week prior and the Bama fans were beaming with pride.  A waitress motioned to me that I could sit anywhere.

Image

My waitress handed me a menu and said coffee or tea was included with the breakfast plates.  This is always a bonus because most places get you for an extra 2 bucks on the drinks.  The menu was obviously printed during one of Alabama’s recent tornadoes   It was a little jacked up.  I ordered a sweet tea and continued to look over the menu, trying to glance a stare at what the other folks were eating  

Image

The sweet tea was swwweeeetttt!  It was perfect!  A great Alabama sweet tea.  So far it’s starting off on a high note.  I choose the “Breakfast Special”, two farm-fresh eggs, two pieces of toast, two pieces of sausage, and hash browns.  Grits are usually a staple for me but I passed.  The breakfast special was $3.95.  $3.95 WITH A DRINK!!  Are you freakin kidding me.  This is why American’s are getting screwed by corporate fast-food giants.  I just paid less for a good home cooked meal than the #1 at McDonald’s.  Get on your smartphone, drive 5-minutes off the exit and try to find good food.

While I am waiting for my order another waitress stops by to see if I needed to order, then a different waitress stops by to top off my tea.  This tells me the employees working here are family and they care about their job and their customers.  Their boss treats them well.  These are “Waffle House” waitresses, ladies that live paycheck to paycheck, love their man and work extra hard to give their kids a better life.  Much respect.

Image

 

My waitress brought my breakfast special in record time and I knew it was going to be good.  I cut into my over-eases and they were cooked perfect.  Makes me jealous of the cook because I can never get my over-eases just perfect.  I took one bite of the eggs and my first reaction was “best eggs” ever.  I will need a second taste test before they can take the title but they were just plain good.  The two pieces of sausage had a nice char on them, which I like.  The hash-browns had a good crust on top.  The bread was a hair under-cooked, it needed another 30 seconds in the toaster to give it a good crunch.  But this small misstep was overcome by the butter that was bleeding off my bread, the combination of butter and the grape jelly was a good marriage.  Excellent for slopping up the egg yolk.

Image

 

Standing in line to payout I could see my waitress getting ice for other customers, making a pot of coffee, wondering if her kids were up yet and if they let the dog out.  I felt a little emotional about the whole experience, the senior citizens who were proud to call themselves Bama fans and debated who was the better coach, Saban or Bryant.  The elder gentleman who was busting tables and the black cook i just knew had cooked my eggs.  Regular folks putting in a hard days work on Sat. to give me this wonderful experience, I felt privileged.  My waitress gave me a big smile when I gave her my tip.  Glad I could make her day.  

So if you are close to Bessemer, take Exit 1 off 459 and make your way to Raggedy Ann’s for breakfast.

Address
  • 1030 4th Ave N
  • Bessemer, AL 35020-5571
Phone (205) 425-8415

 

 

%d bloggers like this: