Sigh

Sep. 21st, 2009 04:10 pm
ellyssian: (Default)
Back to lighting the gas grill with incense sticks...

Long matches work, sort of, maybe 2-10 required before one doesn't get blown out.

But we've been out of long matches for most of this year.

The old starter seems to still have its spark. Sort of. The two burners in the grill haven't lit that way all year. The burner on the outside, that I almost never use, works fine of course.

We had a long match lighter. It lit maybe twice, and, since it was made to resemble a match, it had a big red bulb at the end that's too big to get the flame anywhere near the burner.

For part of this year, we had a long lighter that worked.

It just ran out of fuel.

I'm not sure if it's refillable, and, in any case, we don't have any here.

So...

It's back to a small lighter getting an active flame on the incense stick, and then shoving that in to light the burners.

Oy.
ellyssian: (Default)
Food! Music! Food!

The Labor Day cookout will take place on Labor Day, September 1, 2008.

We'll have Cattlemen's Ribs and a few other goodies available.

Sign up here and list what you're bringing so others can see!

The Lefty Valdez Band will perform a song or seventy-two. Bring an instrument and play along!

If you need directions, contact me at my LJ name at gmail.com!
ellyssian: (Default)
Yesterday: [livejournal.com profile] aequitaslevitas and I move a Mountain (Karate School) - the log dolly & 11' bed of the truck proved useful.

Today: Cookout at eldest brother-in-law & [livejournal.com profile] 1jadedhart's place

Tomorrow: Cookout at our place - although the ribs will be cooked inside, we've got a couple dozen ears of fresh, locally grown sweet corn that will be grilled up, so at least some cooking will take place out-of-doors! =)
ellyssian: (Default)
I posted the Labor Day Cookout signup post.

If you can get to the edge of the Pocono Mountains in Eastern PA, come on by! =)
ellyssian: (Default)
The Labor Day cookout will actually be on Labor Day - Monday - this year. Grill gets fired up at 1pm.

We'll be providing hamburgers and hot dogs and that kind of main-course picnicy cookoutie type stuff. Sign up here!

Music will be performed on the Front Porch Stage, unless its absolutely pouring out. Bring 'em if ya play 'em (acoustic instruments advised, as the outlets are all accounted for and very intolerant of hard work!)
ellyssian: (Default)
The Labor Day cookout will actually be on Labor Day - Monday - this year. Grill gets fired up at 1pm.

We'll be providing hamburgers and hot dogs and that kind of main-course picnicy cookoutie type stuff. Sign up here!

Music will be performed on the Front Porch Stage, unless its absolutely pouring out. Bring 'em if ya play 'em (acoustic instruments advised, as the outlets are all accounted for and very intolerant of hard work!)
ellyssian: (Default)
Musikfest's opening weekend is coming up, and to celebrate/mark/ignore that event of great reknown (at least, that's what I was told it was when, upon first moving here, I exclaimed that I had never heard of it), we're having a Run-What-Ya-Brung cookout this Saturday, August 4th.

The grill will be ignited around noonish - note the earlier time! - so that if folks want, they can head down for the festivities that night. The headliner Saturday is Ludacris with Lil' Mama - I'm guessing folks who come to this event just might prefer the Sunday headliner - B.B. King and Al Green - or the Friday night one - The Black Crowes - a wee bit better. Those who are in for the week can check out, the following Monday through Friday, Meat Loaf, The Moody Blues, Patti LaBelle, Deep Purple with John Kay & Steppenwolf, and Joe Walsh. Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy play Saturday, and Stone Sour with Sydonia close out the fest on Sunday.

That's just the main stage. The Yellowjackets, Joan Osborne, Dark Star Orchestra, The Manhattan Transfer, The Yardbirds, and Petula Clark are playing the Performing Arts series on August 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th.

More critical than all that, Philadelphia Funk Authority play Friday the 3rd, and Brother plays Friday the 10th and Sunday the 12th.

Over 300 different acts will be playing at a variety of venues, most within walking distance of my old house - about a 45 minute drive from where the cookout will be.

Back to the cookout... =)

Run-What-Ya-Brung basically means potluck-to-be-grilled : bring enough food to cover the appetite(s) you bring, I'll toss it on the grill and we'll serve it up. As much fun was had at the Musical Day Cookout, acoustic musical instruments are, once again, welcome and, even, encouraged.

Sign up here and indicate what you intend to bring! If you're LJ-less, you can still post, but make sure you indicate your name so I have some clue who it is! If you need directions, e-mail me at ellyssian at gmail dot com and I can send a PDF on its way.
ellyssian: (Default)
Musikfest's opening weekend is coming up, and to celebrate/mark/ignore that event of great reknown (at least, that's what I was told it was when, upon first moving here, I exclaimed that I had never heard of it), we're having a Run-What-Ya-Brung cookout this Saturday, August 4th.

The grill will be ignited around noonish - note the earlier time! - so that if folks want, they can head down for the festivities that night. The headliner Saturday is Ludacris with Lil' Mama - I'm guessing folks who come to this event just might prefer the Sunday headliner - B.B. King and Al Green - or the Friday night one - The Black Crowes - a wee bit better. Those who are in for the week can check out, the following Monday through Friday, Meat Loaf, The Moody Blues, Patti LaBelle, Deep Purple with John Kay & Steppenwolf, and Joe Walsh. Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy play Saturday, and Stone Sour with Sydonia close out the fest on Sunday.

That's just the main stage. The Yellowjackets, Joan Osborne, Dark Star Orchestra, The Manhattan Transfer, The Yardbirds, and Petula Clark are playing the Performing Arts series on August 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th.

More critical than all that, Philadelphia Funk Authority play Friday the 3rd, and Brother plays Friday the 10th and Sunday the 12th.

Over 300 different acts will be playing at a variety of venues, most within walking distance of my old house - about a 45 minute drive from where the cookout will be.

Back to the cookout... =)

Run-What-Ya-Brung basically means potluck-to-be-grilled : bring enough food to cover the appetite(s) you bring, I'll toss it on the grill and we'll serve it up. As much fun was had at the Musical Day Cookout, acoustic musical instruments are, once again, welcome and, even, encouraged.

Sign up at the almost identical looking post that allows comments - over here - and indicate what you intend to bring! If you're LJ-less, you can still post, but make sure you indicate your name so I have some clue who it is! If you need directions, e-mail me at ellyssian at gmail dot com and I can send a PDF on its way.
ellyssian: (Default)
Cast of Characters:

Front Porch Stage:
Mr. B - percussion and loops
[livejournal.com profile] tewok - concertina, shuttle pipes, percussion, silly faces to entertain Mr. B, and chocolate
[livejournal.com profile] noone234 - alto saxophone
Josh - chanters, keyboard
Justin - keyboard, trumpet
Me - guitar, flute, chanter, recorder, flute (guess which one I can *actually* play? =)

Back Deck Stage:
Aaron - guitar
Michael - bass
Darin - guitar

Much fun was had, much music was made, some of it was even listenable! =)

Sekrit message for [livejournal.com profile] tewok - we wound up getting out all the wind instruments later on - not sure, but you might have been able to hear Justin play the trumpet from wherever you happened to be at the time! Actually sounded pretty good, considering he's only played it twice in the past four years or so. On the other hand, my handling of the wind instruments was only slightly less scary than if I had decided to sing. In other news, the album sounds great! We went inside and listened to it after the bugs proved to be an unappreciative audience.
ellyssian: (Default)
As a wrap up to an already-event filled yesterday, we hauled the grill out and cooked up some sausages, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Thus, the grilling season has officially begun.

Dinner was served in the backyard.

Deb's hammock was set up, and while I was lounging there after dinner, an eagle - or possibly a very large buteo - circled the skies above me.

To finish off our Earth Day celebration, Justin and I planted a Tiarella wherryi (Wherry's Foamflower - Google image search) down in Bank Island, along the driveway.

---

As Earth Day is actually today, we may spend some time putting down some organic fertilizer for the lawn, or perhaps just lounging around in the hammock.
ellyssian: (Default)
February
    Sat 3 - Midwinter Feast

April
    Sun 22 - Earth Day

May
    Saturday 26 - Musical Day Cookout

August
    Sat 4 - Musikfest/Run-What-You-Brung Cookout

September
    Mon 3 - Labor Day Cookout
    Sun 23 - First Day of Autumn/Hawkwatch

October
    Sun 13 - Hawkwatch
    Sat 27 -(slightly past) Full Moon Costume Party

November
    Sat 17 - Hawkwatch
    Sat 24 - Thanksgiving (not a turkey day substitute! =)

December
    Sat 15 - Hawkwatch
    Saturday 22 - First Day of Winter

* The April and December gatherings are still up in the air, thus more subject to change than all the rest combined, which are entirely subject to change. More details on each as the time approaches. The hawkwatches are just that - dinner is not planned, although further arrangements (shared order of pizza, invading local restaurants, someone else offering to cater the event, and so forth) may be made closer to the time or even while on site. *
ellyssian: (Default)
December
   8 - The Poetry Circle is held at the Moravian Bookshop, 7pm-8pm, second Friday of every month.
   9 - Winter Holiday Stuffed Shells - 1pm; please let me know if you're going to make it so I have some idea on volume of food required! =)
ellyssian: (Default)
What? A nice, maybe cold, maybe wet, day on the side of a mountain, looking into sun/clouds/fog/rain/sky for hawks/falcons/osprey/eagles/rocs/pterodactyls/more, followed by a meal of chorizo quesadillas and fajitas.

When? Saturday, October 14 8am-7pm or some subset thereof

Where? At Bake Oven Knob until the mid-late afternoon, and then caravanning back to the Ellyssian Estates for dinner

Why? Because.

The Particulars )
ellyssian: (Default)
Cookout on Sunday!

My house is much easier to get to this year, now that they've replaced the carved, unlighted, unreflective, blend-in-to-the-woods Vlad Tepes-style crucifixion posts with real, actual signposts, as seen in populated areas all over the US.

I'll be cooking up hamburgers and hot dogs and other such Labor Day-cookout-type-things; other people are bringing desserts, salads, and vegetable trays.

We've pulled a couple of these off in the pouring rain, so if that happens (and we're looking at a 30-50% chance at this time, depending on which part of the same page of forecasting you glance at) it's no big deal.
ellyssian: (Default)
Reminder: Cookout coming up! Sunday, September 3rd! Let me know if you need directions!

On a whim, and mostly because I had a free chai and a team lunch yesterday and a work picnic today, I decided I'd try Mocha Mike's today for bagel and chai. Both are good. They only have two choices for bagel (plain and sesame,) but the bagel was much better than any of the others around here, and the cream cheese was also excellent. I think I might make that my weekly stop.

I'm debating actually increasing the number of days for a bagel breakfast. I usually don't eat breakfast, finding that, when I do, I also tend to increase the amount of food at both lunch and dinner. The debate here is to considerably lower the amount of food intake at lunch. Actually, given that it's healthier to eat more earlier and less later, I'm considering the impact of, essentially, swapping dinner and breakfast. While I could get myself into that habit with a bit of effort, I'm not sure I could convince Deb. She is. Not. A. Morning. Person.

Speaking of morning, and people, for the first hour this morning, my brain and my body were in perfect agreement. First, on the matter of me not managing to wake up and get out of bed and exercise; Second, on the disbelief of being five minutes into a forty-five minute workout; Third, on the fact that ten minutes in they felt great; and, Fourth, that they would get me back later.

Very odd dreams last night - featuring an odd combination of at least three different jobs I've worked, and a cast that includes employees from all of those, as well as several other groups of friends. [livejournal.com profile] elionwyr and [livejournal.com profile] d2leddy were both in there. [livejournal.com profile] elionwyr worked - surprise! - at the haunt that was, for some reason, between the work area and the front entrance during the first part of the dream when the job was some cross between the music store and some kind of museum, with a hint of some kind of manufacturing thrown into that mix. [livejournal.com profile] d2leddy was a co-worker in the second half, which started out with the same setting, but somehow became more of a cube farm environment, although the manufacturing angle (something high tech, maybe robotics) was more pronounced. Oh, and the outside of the place was a combination between an Aztec temple and an Addams Family house.

One more thing: Deb's going to the Subaru dealership for the scheduled oil change/checkup, and I asked her to pick up info on the 2007 Legacy spec.B if they have any. No reason. =)
ellyssian: (Default)
Excellent cookout yesterday.

Woke up around 4am to move the Cattlemen's Ribs from the fridge to the crock pot, plug it in and turn it to low. Hours later, they were excellent, delicious, melt-in-the-mouth morsels.

At a more sane time, Justin and I prepped the fruit - seedless watermelon quarter, 2 pineapples, a papaya, 2 mangoes, 5 apple pears, 8 kiwi, and 5 fresh Calimayrna figs for the grilled fruit. While we were doing the prep, our neighbors Phil and Marisa stopped by with a thank you gift for watching Marisa's grandfather while they were down in Jamaica getting married and involved in other associated activities. This means that they had much Jamaican rum to stow in their luggage, and one bottle was part of our gift. This doesn't come into play until later...

[livejournal.com profile] kk1raven was the first to arrive, bringing with her some citrus marinated chicken. Before the actual cooking and eating began, we transferred over pictures Katrina had taken a few cookouts ago, at the Kutztown Festival, and of [livejournal.com profile] tewok and his wife at the Common Ground on the Hill festival. We started browsing through some of the pics she had taken on her trip to the Northwest recently, and then stopped that to get the grilling started.

Almost immediately after putting the chicken on, my co-worker Rich and friend Bob arrived, and we added some chicken and shrimp shishkabobs onto the grill, as Bob prepped a shrimp Caesar salad inside. Both of Deb's sisters arrived together, Pat bringing her usual assortment of 70-80,000 bags of groceries, with pasta, potato, cucumber, and other similar salads, along with some sausages that went on the grill, brownies, chips, dips, kitchen sinks, and many other things.

We made use of the patio set my brother-in-law Jay and Maria brought down from MA the day before and had a very enjoyable meal. During the meal, brother-in-law Jeff and their dad arrived, with Jay and Maria arrived a little later.

After the meal, I grilled some of the fruit - adding in red and golden raspberries to the prepped fruit, with the exception of the fig which we kept cold. I drizzled some caramel and butterscotch sauce on the fruit, and served. Came out good, but the grilling process didn't add enough to be worth the trouble. The remainder was served chilled.

A set of kubb was up next, with Justin, Katrina, and Rachel vs. Rich, Bob, and meself. Despite trailing initially, we did come out ahead eventually, with all three of us throwing the winning toss against the king. Rachel backed out of the second game, and so I sat out to keep the teams even. Justin and Katrina took the lead again, and had actually cleared off all of Rich and Bob's baseline kubbs, but Rich and Bob took the win and the set of three.

Jeff, Annie, Deb, Justin, and Dariah played some quoits, with Deb and Justin winning both games, despite Annie getting a ringer that cancelled out Deb's ringer.

Meanwhile, Katrina, Rich, Bob, and I played Cartagena and had a lot of fun. We were going to play another game, but it was getting a bit late. I finished looking through the set of Seattle pics after walking Rich and Bob down to the car.

When everyone but Jay and Maria had left, I discovered we had real, live, actual Coca-cola in the fridge, and thus decided to open up the rum. This is kind of momentous, because since starting all the bp/cholesterol/asthma meds a couple of years ago I went to a one drink a day limit, and since the scare late winter with the kidney numbers, I voluntarily reduced that to zero. Anyway, I made a rum and coke and poured Deb a shot, and enjoyed the last of the ribs while sipping away.

Nice end to a great day.

Cookout

Aug. 9th, 2006 08:48 pm
ellyssian: (Default)
This month's cookout is this Sunday, the 13th - it's a Run What Ya Brung day, and I'll be serving slow-cooked ribs and maybe some kind of fruit skewers. The place I was going to order from didn't have most of what I was looking for (green lychee and dragonfruit were two of the more exotic fruits) so I'm not sure what I'll be able to find at the local markets that will work.

Let me know here or via e-mail (myljnick @ gmail.com) if you're going to come or need directions or something.

Updatia

Aug. 4th, 2006 09:21 am
ellyssian: (Default)
After work I drive northeast.

I will be in Watertown all day tomorrow - heading back Sunday morning - and likely have at least part of the evening free, if anyone would like to get together for a bit - let me know ASAP, as after 5pm today I probably won't get online again until Monday morning.

I have to go to the Apple store and investigate some laptops for [livejournal.com profile] patrixa to simplify her technological issues. Justin and I are likely to go to Mount Auburn Cemetery to take some pictures, maybe say hi to the sphinx featured in the icon.

Tonight, Musikfest starts down here in Bethlehem. A local club will be hosting the band of one of my co-workers, and her former band - Philadelphia Funk Authority - will be playing Sunday night at the Leiderplatz. If you're in the area and like rhythm and blues, dancing, or just plain good music check them out - unfortunately, I don't think I'll be coming down after the drive from MA.

Next Friday is the Poetry Circle at the Moravian Book Shop - right on Main Street, in the middle of the festival. Sometimes that means we draw a large crowd, sometimes it goes the opposite direction! After that, I'll be heading down to the Volkzplatz to see Brother for some bagpipes, didgeridoo, and rock.

Sunday the 13th - the last day of Musikfest - will be the August cookout. It's another Run What Ya Brung, and on Saturday I'll be slowcooking some ribs for that. I expect to have some fruit skewers available, but that depends on ordering and delivery which I expect will be fine, but haven't done before.
ellyssian: (Default)
Rain threatened, fell early and later - but it was actually fairly nice during the cookout.

Due to the rain, it was quite crowded - my co-worker Rich was the only attendee. So, more fajitas for us! Given that it was the first time I made them, they came out excellent. Compared to all the other fajitas I've had from here to Austin to Brownsville Texas, prepared by chefs American, Texan, and Mexican, all of whom have made fajitas at least one other time prior to serving them to me, it was excellent. The skirt steak came out a lot more tender than I had expected - charred on the outside, but not overdone. Best fajitas I've ever had.

After a delicious meal, Rich, Rachel, and I played Cartagena while Johannes Linstead, Ottmar Liebert, and Paco de Lucia continued to entertain us.
ellyssian: (Default)
Pedantic Prelude: Considering that fajita refers to a very particular part of a steer, that is exactly what this recipe involves. Although common use includes things like "chicken fajita," that means "chicken beef skirt steak," and not "chicken served in a particular way."


  • 2 pounds skirt steak

  • 1 bottle Mrs. Dash's Southwestern Chipotle marinade - I was actually looking for Consorzio Baja Lime 10-Minute Marinade but the market was entirely out of stock on all Consorzio products; I'll try it at some future time, although the Mrs. Dash's did an exceptional job so I'll use that again as well.

  • 1 cup mesquite chips

    ~ ~ ~




  • 1 poblano pepper, sliced in thin strips

  • 1 unidentified allegedly hot pepper that was supposed to go into the pico de gallo but went in here because it was too sweet

  • 3 peppers, sliced in thin strips (we used green, red, and yellow for color variation)

  • 1 small white onion, sliced in thin strips

  • oil (I used canola and a bit of a spiced garlic oil)

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 lime

    ~ ~ ~




  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped

  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped

  • oregano

  • basil

    ~ ~ ~




  • fresh, warmed flour tortillas

  • cheddar and/or monterey jack cheeses, shredded

  • sour cream




Marinate the skirt steak, covering it completely and refrigerating, shaking/mixing it periodically. Since this is a "10-minute marinade" you don't have to go too long - I marinated about 2-3 hours.

Chop and mix the plum tomatoes, onion, and poblano, adding spices to taste. Refrigerate.

Soak mesquite chips in water for at least a half hour.

Put mesquite chips in heavy duty foil and place to one side, directly on unlit charcoal or on the lava rocks in a gas grill. Pre-heat grill until chips are smoking steadily.

Put steaks on grill - not over the wood chips! - and cook about 6 minutes. On side burner, heat oil(s) in a cast iron pan just before the time is up on the steak. Turn the steaks over and squeeze half the lime juice onto steaks. Add sliced onion to pan, adding fresh ground black pepper to taste. Stir constantly. After a minute or two, add peppers, and squeeze the other half of the lime onto the peppers and onions. Continue to stir fry. After another two minutes or so, turn off the heat on the peppers and onions, and if the steaks have hit 135F turn off the heat on the grill and remove the steaks.

Let the steaks sit for about 10 minutes - if you're doing the peppers and onions on the stove you can actually get them done now.

Serve assembly line style, with warmed tortillas, steak (sliced against the grain), pico de gallo, peppers and onions, cheeses, and sour cream.

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