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A Little Spring Skiing Anyone?

A few weeks ago, someone, we don't remember who, suggested we all embark on a "field trip" and for an activity of said trip, spring skiing was mentioned. Downhill spring skiing. In the snow. In the cold. On a hill!!! So without further care or ado we rented a short bus and headed north towards Westlock. Yup. You know this doesn't end well. Don't you?

I know I should have bailed off the bus well before we got to to the hill but after watching Lazy Bastard drink from his wine skin and pop cold medications as we drove, I thought, "What the hell, this could get interesting!", so I stayed on-board until we reached Tawatinaw Valley Ski Facility, our destination as planned. Plus I was the driver, so bailing could have been a real bummer for the passengers, but the wreck might have made the lead-in on Global TV News.

As I drove I reminisced about people in my life and those that have gone on to that "better place", what so ever that place may be. In particular I was thinking about my grandpa and his passing. As I drove I began to think that one day when it is my time, I want to go like he did. Quietly in his sleep. Not screaming like the passengers in his car...

Upon our arrival at the ski hill and since I was the only sober one of the lot, I was chosen to go and purchase the tickets, and as it turned out I was expected to pay for them as well, all 20 of them. So pay I did and I was handed a raft of tickets and the wire hangars to go along with them by the vendor at the sales window, a very pleasant and attractive lady I might add. Had she known what a sorry lot of dickheads had arrived at her fine establishment, she may not have been so pleasant, nor sold me the tickets. Fool me once as it were...

As the Snowy Palms contingent changed into their ski wear in the lodge I attached the ski passes to their jackets, adjusted their melon protectors, zipped up their coats and then took them outside to the ski racks where I had placed the skis and snowboards.

Once all of the lost souls were buckled and strapped into their respective skiing implements I directed them to the lift, and like a slow march of the damned, they all headed up the hill to fates unknown. They skied, skated and limped along, like a gaggle of school children tied hand to hand - crying and forlorn, to the chair lift.

I herded the contingent towards the T-bar to get us to the top of the mountain. I followed Lazy Bastard on the T-bar and he was riding with Herr Ubermensch and in front of them on the T-bar was a young man riding alone. What could possibly go wrong? A lot it turns out.

The young guy in front of Lazy Bastard was cutting a groove with his snowboard, outside of the worn track and breaking the "stay in your track" rule. The problem with doing that is if the little wretch fell he would possibly take down all of the riders behind him, which were the 20 rejects from Snowy Palms, or worse - pull the cable from the guide rollers which would screw up everyone's day. That was his big mistake.

As he rode in his zigzag pattern Lazy Bastard began yelling at him to stay in the track. The advice was ignored. Being ignored, Lazy Bastard yelled at him again, telling him to stay in the track - this time using the expected and colourful epithets he is known for. He was ignored again.

Finally, nearing the top of the lift, the young fellow turned around and looked back behind him and realized that the yelling was being directed at him, he then flipped the bird at Lazy Bastard, and seeing that, all I could think was, "Ooohhhh that was a very bad thing to do you foolish young man!" The bird being flown set off a stream of words that would have made a sea-battered sailor proud.

At the top of the lift the transgressor stopped and waited for Lazy Bastard to arrive and upon his arrival words were exchanged and finger wagging begat pushing, which begat shoving, which begat a more forceful pugilistic activity - eagerly engaged by both parties. The fight was on.

By the time the snow settled and the Ski Patrol arrived the combatants had worn themselves down and what had been a vigourous attack had waned to a mere bitch-slap contest. With the attack now over the Ski Patrol separated the warriors and took stock of the situation.

Lazy Bastard had taken a such bad beating that it was decided that he needed to be taken to the First Aid room on the toboggan and his adversary was to be reunited with his mom who was waiting at the bottom of the run. That kid was the toughest six year old any of us had ever witnessed and no doubt the beating he inflicted on Lazy Bastard would have been far worse had the string holding his mittens in place not restricted his arm movements...

With Lazy Bastard now in a safe place and under a watchful eye the rest of us took to enjoying what the ski hill had to offer and as a group we suffered just a few debilitating injuries but none were worse than the injuries that Lazy Bastard suffered while visiting Chuck E. Cheese's last summer in Edmonton. So on balance the trip was a success given there were only a few trips required to the Sturgeon Hospital Emergency Ward.

As we neared the Snowy Palms Resort Lazy Bastard was feeling better, a result of the tender caring he received from She Who Must Be Obeyed and the shots of Bacardi 151 that were offered to him, and being in a better mood when we arrived at the Inn he set to cooking, a little wobbly, but he was cooking.

Beef Galbi; The 8th Wonder Of The World

In making galbi or kalbi as it is also known, the traditional cut of beef to use is thin sliced short ribs called kalbi cut, or Maui cut rubs or Korean cut ribs, depending on the butcher, in most cases regardless of what they are labeled, they are expensive cuts of beef and you can't eat the bone so it is really expensive when you eat it.

One day as I was traipsing through Costco I spied these boneless beef short ribs, and intrigued, I took them home and then wondered what do I do with them. 

Remembering back to a recent meal of galbi that rocked everyone's socks at the taste, and mine at the cost,  I thought that slicing them would offer up the same flavour and texture profile, at a reduced cost. So I set to slicing by first cutting them in half to make them easier to handle.
Next, I set a piece on its side and sliced them lengthwise to ensure the cut went across the grain.

I repeated the slicing getting 3-4 slices out of each piece.

After slicing all the pieces I began to construct the meal as per recipe below.

The fact that there were no bones to pick around made them very enjoyable for all of us and nary a complaint was heard that evening, in fact, the crowd demanded I do them again real soon.

Fearing the meat may have been tougher due to no bone offering its influence I added a teaspoon of baking soda to the marinade as it is a great way to tenderize meat in a marinade (a million Chinese restaurants can't be wrong) and with the heavy flavours involved in the marinade there was no perceptible aftertaste once cooked. However, the next time I made them I used a mashed kiwi fruit in place of the baking soda and it worked just as well, with no noticeable impact on the flavour. So it is your choice if you want to use one or the other or neither. It's your dinner after all.

Pineapple juice can be used as a tenderizer as well, but I find it can affect the taste of a marinade, not negatively, but it does change it, kiwi fruit does not change the taste and it works just as well - enzymes and all that ya know...

Without further ado, I give you this...

Beef Galbi (Kalbi)

3 lbs beef short rib, bone in or boneless, slices should be no thicker than 1/4"

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup mirin

1 medium onion, peeled
1 medium apple, peeled and core removed
1 kiwi fruit peeled or use 1 tsp baking soda instead (for meat tenderizing)
4 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/2 tsp black pepper

Place onion, garlic, apple and kiwi (if using) into a food processor and pulse until a fine mince or puree is reached. 

Pour into large stainless steel bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir well to incorporate.

Add sliced beef to the marinade.

Cover and refrigerate for 12 - 24 hours.

Remove beef from marinade and let drain well.

Place marinated beef onto hot grille and cook until browned , turn over and grill until browned, about 1-2 minutes per side.

Cook to medium rare or medium.

Remove from grille and serve hot.

If you are serving this for an appie, slice thinly and serve warm with lettuce leaves to make a lettuce wrap.

This dish is fantastic, probably my favourite barbeque recipe, and even the non-beef eater in the house likes them and that's saying a lot.

It is best if the meat is marinated for at least over night up to 24 hours and drained very well before grilling.  Doing both of those steps will ensure you have a mind blowing experience, like hitting the hot knife in Moms kitchen in '75. Only better and less risk of arrest...

 Snowy Palms Resort

It's Tomato Harvest Time; In Fact, It's Roasted Tomato Basil Soup Time!

It's harvest time and it is unbelievable what a few tomato plants can produce.  And when I look at the lack of care and attention they have been subject to from me, I can only imagine how much larger the bounty could have been had I taken interest in their well-being. Thank goodness my wife spends time nurturing the plants, or else they'd be mere memories of the bedding plants they once were.

But tomatoes we have a-plenty and now the test is on as to how to use all of them.

I like them sliced with a dash of fresh ground pepper, some chives and a wee little bit of salt.

But I really love tomato soup, a lot. From Mom's homemade to the much, and I might say unfairly maligned, Campbell's Tomato Soup, to this recipe below.  Tres yummy, all of them...

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 lbs tomatoes, cored and cut in half (Roma, beefsteak, cherry bells, type matters not really)

3 Tbsp butter (olive oil can be used, but butter adds so much more to this soup)
6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cups yellow or sweet onion, chopped (about1 large onion)
1 red bell pepper, cleaned and chopped
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup minced chives
2 cups yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 tin (5 oz) tomato paste
6  cups chicken broth (you can use vegetable stock if you like, not as good, but you can use it)
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp finely minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream) - This can be omitted, but I like it!!!
1 Tbsp sugar (optional, but it can add depth, I use it)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F

Lightly sprinkle sliced tomatoes with salt and oil the baking tray with the olive oil.

Place sliced tomatoes on baking tray, roast for about 30 minutes, or until slightly charred.

Place a 6 quart pot over medium heat, melt butter then add onion, garlic, red pepper, chives, potato and carrots - sauté, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent.

Add the tomato paste and stir constantly until the tomato paste begins to darken.

Add roasted tomatoes, thyme, 1/2 of the fresh basil, cayenne, and the chicken broth, stir well to incorporate.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Once potatoes are soft, blend soup mixture using an immersion blender, continue until a smooth/velvety texture is achieved.

Add heavy cream, sugar, salt and pepper to taste, continue to heat but do not bring to a boil.

Once soup is at temperature use your taste buds as a guide to determine if you would like to add more or all of the remaining fresh basil.  I think the basil should be a background complement to the tomatoes, not the star of the show, but use more or less as you like. It is your soup after all.

Serve hot and garnish with whatever floats your boat. I like grilled cheese sammies with my tomato soup and you should too!

Can we stop here and talk for a minute? 

When cooking with tomatoes there are two schools of thought; one school likes the seeds removed and the other school doesn't care - I'm in the ‘I don't care school’.  But if you are, you can slice the tomatoes lengthwise and squeeze the seeds out before roasting them. I will admit it does make for a smoother soup, and along with coring the tomatoes it may add to your tomato soup enjoyment level if you do.  It is your call. 

Smoked Turkey Legs; Or, Who Knew There Were Undercover Cops At Disney World?

There was an event, as is typical when Lazy Bastard is let loose on society.  Read all about it here:

Turkey Legs At Disney World

So the recipe below is what Lazy Bastard learned to make and oh, my, gawd!!!!  Try some today!

Smoked Turkey Legs a la Disney World

8 large turkey legs or thighs

1 US gallon (3.8 liters) ice cold water

6 oz brown sugar

4 oz white sugar

8 oz kosher salt

3 oz InstaCure #1 (a must!!!!!!)

¼ cup Snowy Palms No Salt Creole Spice

3 Tbsp powdered garlic

3 Tbsp Liquid hickory smoke

In a large stainless steel pot or bowl, mix together all ingredients except the turkey legs. Stir until all the solids are completely incorporated into the liquid.

Place turkey legs in to brine, making sure they are completely submerged.  Place into fridge.
I  used a bowl filled with brine to keep the meat submerged

Brine for 72 hours. Stir completely every 12 hours or so.

Remove turkey legs from brine and rinse well under cold water.

Place legs onto wire rack to dry for an hour.
Smoke turkey legs at 220ᵒ F until they reach 185ᵒ F internal temperature.  I used apple wood for the smoke.

I put smoke on them for 3 hours then simply keep the heat at 220F until they reach 185F. Depending on your smoker it may take a a few more hours to get up to temperature. USE A MEAT THERMOMETER AND DO NOT OVER COOK!!!!!!  Really!
These can be kept in the fridge for 1 week or frozen for 3 months.

To heat for service, place a wire rack in a pan and add a quart of water.  Place turkey legs onto rack and then cover tightly with foil.

Cook in 400ᵒ F oven for ½ hour.  Remove and serve hot.
When you purchase these at Disney World the serving cart keeps them in a steam tray and that is what the difference is when you compare them to ones you can get at State Fairs, and other theme parks. The Disney World ones are superior by far.

These can be purchased in Canada under the Winkler brand, but home smoked is best!

Snowy Palms Resort