Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shapiro's Deli, Carmel Indiana

Anita and I met up for lunch the other day. We decided to go to Shapiro's, one of my long-time favorites. Shapiro's has been in the area for a long time. They have your usual buffet-like fair, like meatloaf, liver and onions, etc, and really, really good sandwiches and bread. The sandwiches are so good that I have never tried their other food. I should since everything smells so good.

LinkI ordered my usual, a pastrami sandwich on rye with Swiss and yellow mustard. Sandwiches come with a big deli pickle.

The pastrami and corned beef at Shapiro's is insanely good. It reminds me of the sandwiches I had in New York city.

Anita had a fresh Chef salad that looked (and was) very good. I'd like to try their salads too, but I just can't get past how good the pastrami is!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Peruvian Choclo

Choclo was a favorite of mine when I lived in Peru (years and years ago). You'd often find street vendors boiling up ears of this wonderful corn on the street corners.

I bought a few bags of choclo the last time we were at Jungle Jim's. I boiled up an ear and ate it like corn-on-the-cob. I had forgotten just how huge an ear of choclo is. It isn't surprising that it often is served as an entire meal. Next time I'll cut the ear into four pieces.

Choclo is usually white when cooked. Mine turned a bit yellow after being boiled. Don't let that fool you into thinking that it is like American yellow sweet corn. First, the kernels are nearly the size of your thumbnail. Second, the corn has a more hearty, non-sweet flavor. Most people season it with butter or salt. Choclo also makes great (huge) popcorn.

If you have a South American market nearby, pick up some choclo. It's something different and unique, and quite good.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Smoky Mountain Chicken Sandwich

A simple grilled chicken sandwich from Nibble Me This.

I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can also substitute thighs.

Makes: 2 sandwiches
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied or pounded to a 1/2" thickness
  • 2 t poultry seasoning
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (I used Granda Foster's Spicy)
  • 2 hamburger buns

1. Set up grill for direct/indirect cooking.

2. Season chicken with poultry seasoning.

3. Place chicken over direct heat and sear for about 5 minutes. Remove to indirect heat and continue cooking until chicken is almost done, around 155 F internally.

4. Top chicken with sauce and cheese and cook until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.

5. Assemble sandwiches by topping bottom buns with chicken. Add bacon and serve.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blair's Death Rain Habanero Potato Chips

I'm a big fan of hot snacks. I'm usually pretty disappointed in them because they aren't as hot as the bag or box would make you think. Fiery Cheetos? Not so much. JalapeƱo preztel bites? Good, but not hot. I was very addicted to Habanero Doritos, but they stopped making them. I've heard rumors they're bringing them back but I haven't seen them on the store shelves yet.

So, when we went to Jungle Jim's the other day I decided to pick up a bag of Blair's Death Rain Habenero potato chips. I knew they'd be good because Blair's has been making kickin' sauces and rubs for some time now.

Well, let me tell you, these are the best chips you'll find if you want some serious heat and great taste. I was going to just have a few but I ended up trashing the entire bag. I'm going to have to order a case of these, and soon!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Grilled Hawaiian French Bread Pizza

We love making French bread pizzas on the grill. It really doesn't get any easier. Bread, sauce, and whatever toppings you want and you're good-to-go!

This is a really great pizza. The butter sauce has some good kick to it which complements the sweetness of the pineapple.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 5 T butter
  • 1 T red pepper flake
  • 1/2 T garlic salt
  • 1 t dried parsley
  • 1 loaf French bread, cut in half and the cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 package Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 1 small can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • Oil

1. Preheat grill to medium high.

2. Brush bread on cut side with oil. Transfer to grill, cut side down, and grill until bread begins to char. Remove from grill.

3. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Mix in red pepper flake, garlic salt, and parsley.

4. Brush butter mixture on cut side of bread. Add half of the cheese. Top with Canadian bacon, pineapple, and red onion. Top with remaining cheese.

5. Transfer bread to grill and heat until cheese is melted.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Onion Relish

Now, this was different. A good kind of different. It's sweet, but with some heat backing it up.

A nice change from your usual hot dog topping. This is my take on a recipe I found here.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 medium sweet onions, halved, peeled, cut into 1/2" rings
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1 T crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 12 oz cans root beer

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium sized pot. Add the onions and saute until soft.

2. Add the black and red peppers, garlic and brown sugar. Stir. Pour in the two cans of root beer. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering until the liquid is almost completely evaporated, stirring occasionally.

3. Serve over hot dogs with Dijon or brown mustard.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hopping John Black Eyed Peas

Wow, this is just good. I grew up on black eyed peas. My dad has always had them with just about every meal.

This makes a great side, or a main. I found the original recipe over on the Real Cajun Recipes web site.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 8 hours
Cook time: 2 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • Accent (I substituted a splash Worcestershire sauce)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish (if desired)

1. Put beans in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for 8 hours. Drain.

2. Place beans in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the beans. Add bacon, onion, and garlic. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until the beans are just starting to get tender. Do not overcook.

3. Add the rice and stir. Add more water if needed. Cover and continue simmering for another 20 minutes.

4. Brown the ground beef. Drain. Add to pot. Season with salt and pepper and Accent (or Worcestershire sauce) to taste. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered 10 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Three Cheese Pasta with Vegetables

Oh, yummy!

I found this recipe over on the Better Homes & Gardens website. You can use pretty much any kind of cheese you have on hand. This makes a great side!

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 12-16oz package pasta (I used penne, but you can use whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 lb package frozen cauliflower, broccoli, and carrot mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 oz cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 t white pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese (Swiss, cheddar, Mozzarella, whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta per package instructions, except add in the frozen vegetables when there are 5 minutes left to cook. Remove and drain.

2. In the pot used to cook the pasta, add in milk, cream cheese, and butter. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the cheese is melted.

3. Add pasta and veggies back to pot and stir to coat.

4. Stir in shredded cheese and Parmesan. Serve.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: On A Stick! by Matt Armendariz

I was lucky enough to be chosen to receive a copy of Matt Armendariz's newest book, On A Stick!. As you can guess, it's all about foods you can eat on sticks, and I love foods on a stick, like our okra popsicles!

The first thing you'll notice about this book is just how great the photos are. I mean, they are outstanding. You'll be drooling before you get to page 4. When I first get a new cookbook, I go through it and put PostIts on the pages of the recipes I want to make. I think I used up an entire pad of PostIts on this book!

The first thing I made was the bacon-wrapped shrimp with honey mustard dipping sauce from page 20. Trust me, my picture does not do these justice!

I can't wait to make more recipes from the book. You can check out Matt on his site here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Grissom Air Museum, Peru, Indiana

Just an hour or so north of Indianapolis, the Grissom Air Museum is a great little place to visit. They have over 20 restored aircraft along with a nice little museum. There are even a few things in the museum for the kids to play with (like getting to crawl through the intake of an F-4 Phantom II!).

There are several displays inside. The museum staff is helpful and will answer any questions you have. (The museum is no longer funded by the state due to cutbacks. So give generously when you are there if you enjoyed your visit. They have a nice gift shop that also helps benefit the museum).

There are even these two models made from toothpicks! Each has over 80,000 toothpicks in it. The wheels on the halftrack even operate. The museum worker told us that the guy that made these also made a life-sized stagecoach out of over 1,000,000 toothpicks!

For us (well, mostly me, but Anita actually enjoyed it too), the real attraction is outside. Here are most of the planes that are on display. There is also a barn that has various engines, tools etc.

We walked around and took shots of the planes while I described them to Anita. You also get a map with great descriptions of the planes, and most planes have placards that describe them.

Here's a B-47B Strato Jet. I grew up seeing one of these almost everyday at the entrance to the Little Rock Air Force Base.

My grandpa and my great uncle built B-47s in Tulsa.

A gorgeous B-17G Flying Fortress:

A C-1F Trader:

An F-84F Thunderstreak:

A KC-96 Stratoanker:

A C-119G Flying Boxcar:

My favorite plane of all time. A real workhorse, the C-47D Skytrain. Nice nose art.

A B-25J Mitchell:

A-10A Thunderbolt II. The business end of the Thunderbolt is unmistakable.

TF-102 Delta Dagger, flown by President Bush while in the Texas Air National Guard:

TF-58A Hustler, another one of my favorites.

F-100C Super Sabre. You can also see the observation tower in the background. For an extra $1 (get your token in the museum) you can go up the tower for a great view of the museum and the nearby airfield.

F-14B Tomcat. Anita's favorite. You have to sing the song to Top Gun when you see one.

TA-4J Sky Hawk. One of the things I like about the Grissom Air Museum is that they have trainer versions of several planes (those that start with a 'T'). You usually don't see that.

EC-135 Stratotanker. I have never seen one of these before. I've seen plenty of KC-135s, but never one that was rigged for electronics surveillance (see the 2nd picture). Cool plane.

UH-1 Iroquois:

O-2A Skymaster. These slow and low spotter planes were easy targets.

F-101B Voodoo. I used to make models of the Voodoo (and the somewhat similar looking Thunderchief) as a kid. I actually got quite good at doing camouflage.

GT-37B Dragonfly:

T-33A T-bird:

F-11F Tiger:

F-105D Thunderchief:

F-4C Phantom II:

And a bomb cart: