Food & Football Week 12 2016: The U vs NCSt

My Beloved Osito,

Week 12 is upon us as The U travels to the state of North Carolina (NC) again to face off with the mr-and-mrs-wufNC State Wolfpack.  Going into the last two games of the season, knowing you don’t have a chance to play for the ACC Championship, can make you think that there is nothing to play for.  I hope this mindset is not the case as The U looks to increase their win streak to 3 games and close out the season on a high note, for a change. Realizing that we play a lot of teams from NC, and in an effort to avoid duplicating a meal, I decided on Carolina pulled pork.  It was basically my only option, given that their mascot, Mr. and Mrs Wuf was a nonstarter and I needed a break from the sweet potatoes, state veggie, trend, but I’m sure it will be back though.

Admittedly, I did not cook the “game meal” on game day, but on Sunday.  I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Air Force lab overseeing testing for one of our experiments.  One of the tests was to make one of the cells in the satellite’s battery burn-up to see if the heat would spread and destroy the other cells. This is called thermal runaway and we were going to create this by drilling a screw into one of the battery cells.

The other test was called vibration (vibe) testing. In simple terms we shake the experiment very hard to see if anything breaks.  Unexpectedly during this trip, I govib-testt some parenting tips. Prior to the start of Vibe Testing, we were delayed for about 10 minutes as one of the Doctors brought his kids in to watch. I thought to myself, how cool is this…not many kids get to see things like this and I need to expose you to things like this. You may like it and you may not, but at least you will know it’s an option because I never thought I would be doing this.

Despite cooking the meal after the fact, the game meal and the actual game were both very similar.  The game started off slow, and as a purely defensive battle, as both teams were only able to score 3 points in the first half.  For the meal, it was a slow process, since low and slow is the best when cooking pulled pork. I used smoke and indirect heat on the grill.  I left the pork on the grill for a few hours as we went to church, but upon our return, things began to pick up pace.  The pace picked up for The U as well after they returned from halftime with some much needed offensive adjustments scoring 14 points in the 3rd quarter.

I picked up tpressure-cookerhe pace for the game meal by transferring it from the grill to the pressure cooker. The U completed the game by outscoring NCST 24-10 in the second half on their way to a third straight victory winning 27-13.  After removing the pork from the pressure pot and pulling it, Mami voted to have loaded baked potatoes. The meal rated out at a 7 out of 10 because the grilled (baked) potato just wasn’t the best, but the pork was really good. Next week in the regular season finale, The U hosts the Duke Blue Devils.

Ingredients:
Meat Prep:
pork-in-seasoning
1. Fully unthaw pork butt and place in a large pan. Pour a bottle of beer into pan
2. With a sharp knife cut small slits (aka season pockets) all around the meat
3. Coat with olive oil, then cover and stuff season pockets with dry rub and minced garlic
4. Let marinate for at least 24 hours turning the butt over half way through the process

Dry rub:
1. In a bowl mix brown sugar, Cajun, dried onion flakes,
adobo, parsley, thyme and black pepper

Cook Prep:
1. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry
2. Lightly coat with soy sauce and add another layer of the dryer rub

Grill Prep:
1. Soak wood chips (I used cherry wood) according to packet instructions
2. Light the grill using the indirect heat method with fire on opposite side of chimney
3. Place the pan with liquid marinade under the rack where the meat will be placed

Cooking:
1. Place meat on grill for ~5 hours rotating the meat on all sides
2. Make sure to keep the heat going by adding coal and soaked wood chips as needed
– The flames died out a little when we went to church
3. Remove meat and cut into chunks
4. Place meat in pressure cooker with some of the liquid marinade from the pan
5. Place on high ~15mins depending on pressure cooker
– Ensure meat is done and it should easily pull apart

Potatoes:
1. Take baking potato and cut a few slits into it and coat with olive oil
2. Place the potato in foil with a slice of butter, salt and pepper and seal completely
3. Cook until soft, turning to ensure even cooking

final-meal

Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”
@Outer_space_dad

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Food & Football Week 9 2016: The U vs Notre Dame

My Beloved Osito,

Week 9 is finally here and with it brings the opportunity to snap a 3 game losing streak.  The team traveled to South Bend, Indiana this week to face the Notre Dame (ND) Fighting Irish.  There is a long history between The U and ND with its peak in the late 1980s.  While it may be enjoyable to take a look at the history of these teams facing off, especially with classics like 3rd down and 34 play (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw1zUKJVEw8), I am not going to touch on that this year.  While the current state of each program, ND (2-5) and The U (4-3), doesn’t make for a nationally captivating game has a little to do with it, the main reason I am not talking about the history is because this game was the chosen one that fell on Halloween weekend.  While we don’t “celebrate” Halloween and I don’t take joy out of being scared or spreading fear (I will get into this on a later post), I do enjoy…ok fine, I am downplaying how much I actually LOOOOOVE devising humorous and clever costumes.  This week we temporarily put Gameday on hold, well on DVR, and went on a infamous “Hutchins’ Weekend Adventure” to Boo at the Zoo here in Houston.  Given this was the first time I had to explore the family costume spectrum, it took me some time to come up with an idea.  It also took some back and forth with your Mami because some of my ideas were immediately rejected since she was pregnant with your li
ttle brother and her bump was evident.  We settled on characters familyfrom the classic video game Super Mario Brothers.  There was a lot of juggling of which characters to choose and who should be who, but I think it came out well.
The zoo, in my opinion, was O.K. We got there a little after kickoff, 1:30CT, which meant it was hot outside (I know, it’s October…but we’re in Houston, so yea…) and all the animals were napping and hiding in the shade. Despite the fact none of the cool (ha I wasn’t even trying) animals were out, you enjoyed running around.

yoshi

Let’s not forget that there was food and football this weekend.  I knew the outcome of the game since Brother P and A were texting me about it, but I still watched it with the luxury of fast forwarding.  For the game meal, I took an Irish bar staple and made Guinness Beer Battered Fish and Chips.  The game was a roller-coaster starting with The U not being able to do anything and ND doing everything they wanted on offense and defense, leading to a 20-0 deficit.  The game did turnaround, however, and the free fall of the coaster started as The U scored 27 unanswered points to take a 4th quarter lead.  That excitement came to a sudden halt as The U had the opportunity to recover a ND fumble with 2 minutes left with the game tied, but was unable to secure it.  The fish and chips were also a roller coaster ride of their own given I was using one of Mami’s “spur of the moment pregnancy purchases.” In the early weeks of being pregnant with your brother, when cravings and emotions are all over the place, she got sucked in by an infomercial for an Air Fryer and bought it instantly. So I used said fryer to cook the fries, and on top of that it was my first shot at beer battered fish.  The game ended with a score of 27-30 on a sack after ND hit a go-ahead field goal with 30 seconds left.  The air fryer “Chips” turned out amazingly and the fish was good as well.  However, I am not a fan of all the crust the beer batter creates.  I am more of a traditional flour and cornmeal kinda guy.  Overall, I gave the meal a 7 out 10 with the fries doing most of the heavy lifting.  Next week, The U is back home to face the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Ingredients:

Fish:

  1. Take a cleaned Cod fillet and cut it into manageable piecesraw
  2. Coat in olive oil and season with pepper, cajun and Italian salad dressing and marinate
  3. Batter: In a bowl, mix a Guinness Beer, egg and 1 teaspoon of baking soda
    1. Slowly add flour until it is a thickens to the point it can stick on a wooden spoon
    2. Season the batter with all-purpose seasoning and dried parsley
  4. Preheat pan fryer with corn oil and heat to ~345 degrees
  5. Coat fish in the batter and place in the oil carefully
    1. Cook ~4/6 minutes until golden brown and flip and repeat or until done

Chips:

  1. Take 2 large potatoes and peel them and cut them into your desired French Fry size
  2. Rinse them and lightly coat in olive oil. Season with cajun, dried parsley and Adoboraw-fries
  3. Place in the air fryer, ensure you set the temp to 350 degrees and cook for ~12 minutes
    1. Pull the pan out of the fryer and toss fries to ensure they cook evenly
    2. Place back in the fryer and cook additional ~12 minutes or until desired crispiness

Cocktail Sauce

  1. In a small bowl, mix together, ketchup, worcestershire sauce and horseradish sauce (add more to make it spicy)
  2. Never, ever, forget the tartar sauce for Mami

final

Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”

@Outer_space_dad

Food & Football Week 8 2016: The U vs VT

img_4966

My Beloved Osito,

Following a week that brought great food and hard to swallow football, we turn the focus to week 8 and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech aka VT) Hokies.  Back in the day, during my peak video game playing days, VT was my favorite team to play with in NCAA football.  The primary reason was for something I like to call the “Michael Vick effect”.  He was a dynamic QB that could run and throw with accuracy and strength and make plays like no other before him.  Then, the icing on the cake, the home team, Atlanta Falcons, drafted him as the #1 overall pick in 2001 and he became a “thrill ride” in the NFL (https://vimeo.com/41592148).  His career was derailed due to an ill-fated dog fighting incident.  The NFL’s response was harsh in my opinion given that players charged with crimes against humans like manslaughter, domestic violence and assault were punished less (http://www.espn.com/nfl/news/story?id=2990157), but wrong is wrong.  While he did come back to the NFL, things were never the same.  My apologies for another tangent, but The U’s play on the field hasn’t been something I’ve been eager to talk about lately.

This week’s game is unique in that it was played on Thursday night instead of Saturday.  I’m not a huge fan of Thursday games because work always “gets in the way” of meal prep and without a ‘bye week’ prior, I and The U had only 4 days instead 6 to get ready for game day.  For Tmascothe U, the shortened week seemed to take a huge toll as players were not physically ready with a lot of them out with injuries.  Me on the other hand, I opted for a meal that I will admittedly say lacked creativity centered on VT’s ‘Turkey like’ mascot the
“Hokie Bird”.  The U ended the second half with a manageable 9 – 16 deficit and my manageable meal was stuffed chicken breast.  The wheels fell off in the second half for The U and the final score ended up being a disheartening 37 -16 loss.  The stuffed chicken, while really delicious (assumption I made from your eagerness to have some more) I rated it a 5 out of 10, for a lack of originality.

Ingredients:

  1. Take clean chicken breasts and cut a horizontal slit into it
  2. Season the chicken breast with Cajun, Adobo, dried parsley, and Italian salad dressing. Place in refrigerator to marinate 
  3. Sauté in olive oil. Add a pack of spinach, 5-6 oz., a quarter of a diced onion, and a
    tablespoon of garlic
  4. Open the chicken breast and insert a slice of mozzarella cheese. Add a spoonful of the spinach mixture and close the chicken breast
  5. Place on the grill until done (internal temp 160 degrees). Be careful flipping the chicken on the grill as the stuffing can fall out. If necessary, use cooking ties

final

Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”

@Outer_space_dad