Sunday, March 25, 2007

Mom's Visit Weekend Recap

You know what it's like-your Mom comes to visit and you want to put on a good show so that she's happy and you're happy that she's happy and all that stuff. Thank god I live in such a cool town that it's effortless to show her a good time.

First off, the main thing she wanted to do was hang out with the folks while we eat ribs and watch hockey, and well, let's just say that that's something we've been getting really good at doing. The hockey team is playing out of their minds, and we've pretty much mastered the smoked ribs at this point.

Dinner friday night at F. Scotts, and after my Mom went to bed I put the ribs that had been both marinating for a day followed by a few hours in a dry rub in to the smoker. I tried orange slices in the smoker water along with some rosemary this time, and alder chips for the smoking. I also went with a half wrap on the tin foil so that they held the moisture yet got full access to the smoke. Once again, they were falling of the bone and had a flavor that had a nice long finish. It's been fun playing around with the details now that we've got the basics to smoking down- slow and low. The slower the better.

Saturday we went to breakfast at Jacksons so my Mom could enjoy breakfast on a patio in March without needing snow tires. Boston has been getting dumped lately, and Nashville in March is pretty damn pleasant.

Later that night we had the full layout ready to impress-Mashed potatoes, fresh broccoli, biscuits, cole slaw (side note: KFC apparently has the best cole slaw in the world, and my Mom insisted on getting some for the feast. Well, we did and it's pretty amazing cole slaw, just throwing that out there) corn on the cob, and of course the ribs.

Add a nice Nashville Predators beat down of the Edmonton Oilers, and mission accomplished.

We did Noshville Deli for breakfast Sunday morning, and then we went to the Picasso exhibit at the Frist Center which was well done. Some margaritas at the Rose Pepper to top off the weekend, and she got the full Nashville treatment.

This town is almost idiot proof when it comes to having visitors.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Erinnn Go Bragh!!

Something I'll be thinking about today when I knock back a few Guiness will be the The Boston Irish Famine Memorial I saw last time I was in Boston-

The Boston Irish Famine Memorial is a tribute to an entire generation of Irish men, women and children whose lives were disrupted by a series of events that took place 150 years ago. The Irish Famine, which lasted from 1845-1850, began as a succession of potato crop failures in Ireland. But an inadequate response by the English government then ruling Ireland, and the spread of contagious diseases wrought by starvation and poverty, quickly turned the Famine into the greatest catastrophe of the 19th century. Nearly one million Irish died of starvation and disease, and another two million fled the country, emigrating largely to North America. The remaining population was left to contend with death, dislocation, poverty, and the near ruination of a culture that had flourished for centuries.

Some 100,000 Irish refugees headed to Boston, taking a perilous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, which poet John Boyle O'Reilly called a 'bowl of tears.' Settling into overcrowded, unsanitary tenement housing along Boston's waterfront and in the North End, this generation of Irish endured great hardship and humiliation, plagued by poverty and disease. The average l ife span of an Irish immigrant in Boston was 14 years. 'No Irish Need Apply' signs in newspaper ads and storefront windows were common, as nativist Americans, strenuously opposed to foreigners, continued to harass the struggling Irish.

Comforted by their faith and culture, the people of Ireland eventually recovered. In Boston, inspired by the American principles of democracy and freedom, the Famine generation continued to move forward, eventually defining their place in society. As the 'first great minority' in the United States, the Irish helped pave the way for other ethnic groups coming to America in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Around the world, Irish communities are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Irish Famine. Boston, which many consider the capital of Irish-America, holds a special place in these activities. This memorial is being built in tribute to the Famine Irish generation who endured Ireland's greatest tragedy. It is fitting that the Memorial is being placed along the city's Freedom Trail, as a reminder of what the Irish, and other immigrant groups, seek when they journey across oceans and continents to reach these shores.

I really need to go to Ireland and see my ancestors roots but in the meantime I'll settle for being happy with my friends here in Nashville, and celebrate the way that those ancestors would've wanted me to- in style.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Hockey and Smokin' Ribs On A Saturday Afternoon, it's like a bit of heaven.

Doesn't hurt to have the Western Divisional Leaders as your hometown team either.

The Preds continue today on their road to the playoffs. My blood pressure would like to see a blowout, mainly because they are coming off an exhausting fourth consecutive overtime game, but this team has been a lot of fun to watch recently. The Forsberg/Erat/Kariya line is putting the fear in defenses that I haven't seen this team do before, and Legwand has been playing out of his mind. He had a backhanded goal in the second period of last Saturdays Red Wings game that pretty much saved the game from getting ugly fast. Vokoun and Mason are at the top of their game, and the addition of Vishnevski has helped Weber on defense tremendously. We will need Sullivan and Hartnell healthy before the playoffs but it's not like they start tomorrow.

Todays feast consists of Tmans Ribs, Lobster claws, Sauteed Spinach, Garlic Mashed potatoes, Bratwurst, Biscuits, and generous amounts of Guiness. We've been working to perfect the rib recipe and I think we nailed it this time. The marinade started thursday, then a five hour stint in the dry rub last night, and then in the smoker at midnight. We took them out around one this afternoon and the texture is perfect. We tried one rack unwrapped and smothered in Tubbs BBQ sauce, and the other was removed from the rub and then wrapped again in BBQ sauce and foil. The extra prep and smoking time has really made the difference with this batch.

I'll update a picture soon, GO PREDS!!!

Update: Success...the ribs in the foil were better, and both racks were falling-off-the-bone tender, I think we've got this rib thing down..

Friday, March 02, 2007

New Saturn Pics From Cassini.

Its been a while since I posted something from my favorite Saturn orbiting satellite, and this one is a beauty. Thanks to my work buddy for the heads up (you know who you are)...