I love using the Paprika App (www.paprikaapp.com) for saving and using recipes! It’s available for iOS, MacOS, Android and Windows. For years my mom used the MacOS recipe program MasterCook, which became MacGourmet, but she’s had problems lately with it syncing to her phone and updating. Today I helped her export her 1200 recipes to Paprika, so everything is synced with her iMac, iPad and iPhone on Paprika on each device. The export/import process was simple, fast and slick!
Paprika lets you create ‘static HMTL’ versions of your recipes, so I uploaded and linked mom’s recipes to the “Paprika Recipes’ page of our family recipe website. This means anyone in our family (or you) can access and use those recipes if desired. Now that we have college grads in our immediate family and are contemplating the imminent reality “an empty nest” in about a year and a half, providing access to these recipes is a great thing!
I’m sure my mom spent HUNDREDS of hours getting all her recipes digitized over the years. I’ve had access to a small fraction of them via the recipe book she gave me after I graduated from college and started living on my own… and a few others in the intervening years. It’s a little overwhelming now to have access to ALL of her 1000+ library of recipes!
Mom (who is a huge foodie and a MUCH better cook / chef than I’ll ever be) also enjoys using the website Yummly. (These are her Yummly finds and collections.) One of the best things about Paprika is you can VERY easily copy the link to a food recipe online, and then import it into your own collection. I like how the exported versions include those original links for attribution.
I’ve been on a bit of a proverbial VISION QUEST to find and buy a new backyard smoker and grill, and in that process I’ve watched LOTS of YouTube videos about cooking generally and meat smoking and grilling specifically. (I have a public YouTube playlist of some of my favorites, if you’re interested.) I’ve been cooking steaks over charcoal on our Weber Kettle grill for almost 25 years now, both direct “hot and fast” cooking as well as indirect charcoal cooking. My main grill speciality has been “grilled chicken thighs,” which is also included on our family recipe website. I could eat those once a week (along with tacos) and be totally happy. I suppose this reveals the general LACK of sophistication of my culinary preferences, but I’m working on this… 🙂
There is a LOT more you can do on a Weber Kettle charcoal grill besides hot and fast and indirect cooking! In the last few months, I have tried techniques like “low and slow smoking” on the Kettle with the “charcoal snake method.” My first attempt at doing this with beef short ribs was NOT a resounding success, but I did learn a lot, and the results were still edible. I made a 9 minute video of those lessons learned, too.
Normally I have purchased our steaks from our local WalMart Neighborhood Market, which I’m sure will shock and disappoint some readers. We have, however, sometimes splurged and purchased grass fed steaks from B.F. Farms. They are based in Enid, Oklahoma, but have a retail outlet in north Edmond about a 30 minute drive from our house. Their beef is AMAZING, but it’s also expensive. I’ve also purchased picha steaks from “The Meat House” in Edmond and from Firebirds Meat Market in NW Oklahoma City. Firebirds is my new favorite butcher shop, but some of their cuts are $$$.
For the first time, I’ve salted these ribeye steaks in advance the night before I plan to cook them. The video (above) explains that by adding ONLY salt, and doing it the night before, the salt is able to permeate into the meat and will actually help the interior stay more moist during the cooking process. Per the video’s recommendatiions, I’m leaving them UNCOVERED in our fridge overnight on a wire rack. I’m going to dry them off / use paper towels to absorb any moisture from the top before grilling them, and also let them warm to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before grilling them tomorrow night.
Also following the advice of the video, I trimmed some of the excess fat from the edges of the ribeyes tonight. I have NEVER done this to a steak before, but it makes sense that the outer fat (as opposed to the inner, ‘marbled fat’) doesn’t render fully into the meat during cooking or add to the flavor. In fact, as I’ve learned watching videos about and smoking my own briskets and short ribs, exterior fat can prevent any applied rub or seasoning from penetrating the meat and therefore adding to the flavor of the final, cooked masterpiece. So, these are my first “trimmed ribeyes,” albeit very lightly trimmed.
Eventually I’d love to order a $100 “Slow ‘N Sear Deluxe” to cook on my Weber Kettle, but it’s not required to cook with two cooking zones. I’m going to try and follow the instructions of the SnS video as precisely as I can tomorrow, and expect to cook indirect for about 50 minutes and then sear at the end about 4 minutes.
With a side of cast iron skillet brussel sprouts and loaded baked potatoes, it just might turn out to be a meal to remember! We’ll see and I’ll add some details about the results here afterward!
What are your favorite backyard steak grilling tricks and tips I should try?
It’s our Spring Break, and today I explored a couple local backyard barbecue stores in Oklahoma City and Moore. Here’s a summary of what I found for locally sourced brisket injection, BBQ sauces, rubs and seasonings. Many of these are also available for online purchase, and in those cases I’ve included links. For more of my food and cooking related recommendations and recipes, check out this playlist of my YouTube cooking videos, and our “Fryer and Ward Family Recipes” website on food.wesfryer.com. There are 11 older posts here about cooking, and I’ve also created a “cooking category” for even older posts (mostly) I shared on my primary professional blog (“Moving at The Speed of Creativity”) before I setup this family learning blog. Cooking is something I’m enjoying more after 5 decades of life on our planet, and I continue to enjoy documenting and sharing about my own journey as an aspiring home cook too. (Frequently now on Instagram too!)
One of the great things about living in Oklahoma and the midwest in the United States is we have a lot of great barbecue choices for both backyard enthusiasts and hungry eaters. Kosmo’s Q BBQ & Grilling Supply is located just north of I-40 west of downtown Oklahoma City a few miles, and has a variety of backyard smokers and grills in stock (including Kamado Joe, Traeger, and Masterbuilt models) as well as their own line of rubs, injection blends and seasonings.
I usually use a simple injection recipe for my Texas-style backyard smoked brisket, which includes about 40% apple juice or apple cider, 40% beef broth, and 10% Worcestershire sauce. I haven’t ever tried a different injection, so I picked up a 1 pound bag of Kosmos “Smoke House Reserve Blend” brisket injection today. To mix it, you combine 1/3 cup with 2 cups of liquid (beef broth, distilled water, or another liquid) and inject it into the meat before putting it on the smoker. The Kosmos employee who recommended it said all their brisket injections include “phosphates” which help keep the meat moist, and this particular injection will add a lot of additional smoke flavor to briskets cooked on a pellet smoker. I’m going to give this a try!
My second find and purchase from Kosmos today was their “Garlic Parm Wing Seasoning,” which is one choice in their “Wing Dust” lineup. I love eating and enjoying chicken wings, but I’m NOT a huge fan of spice heat. Wingstop has become my favorite fast food chicken wing place in the past few years, and I do enjoy garlic parmesan wings, so we’ll see how this “Wing Dust” compares next time I grill up or smoke some wings.
Our second stop on today’s OKC-area backyard barbecue store exploration outing was J. R.’s BBQ Supply Company in Moore. They are easy to get to just east of I-40, in Moore and will be relocating soon just down the road. They have a BIG selection of locally sourced, Oklahoma barbecue rubs and seasonings. They feature a large collection of “Butcher BBQ Stand” creations from Wellston, Oklahoma. I picked up their “Grilling Addiction Dry Rub Seasoning,” which I may try on some steaks or brisket. It does list ‘sugar’ as one of the ingredients, and I’ve heard it’s important to be very careful with rubs including sugar when you’re smoking low and slow. So I may try this on grilled steaks first, in lieu of “my usual” Mccormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning.
a sweet, smoky, Kansas-City-style sauce. It’s the perfect dipping sauce for bbq ribs or for smothering your favorite pulled-pork or brisket sandwich. Brush it on your shrimp, wings, grilled chicken or pork chops for a sticky charred crust, or finish your competition-style ribs in the smoker. Any way you use it, you’ll notice its unique background spices with every bite. Hog’s Bane BBQ Sauce has been praised by BBQ chains, butchers, packers and retailers across the country.
We’ll be trying this with the next pork shoulder I smoke.
Incidentally, www.barndoorgourmet.com has a variety of other Oklahoma and midwest region food items, including BBQ but also other things. As an example, they offer, “Okie Fish and Chips,” which look like seasoned oyster crackers, by a company called “Over the Fence Farms” based south of Enid in Waukomis, Oklahoma, on Highway 81. These are the kind of locally sourced products I really enjoy finding at local farmers markets. I think this kind of local entrepreneurism and small business food product production is great, and I love learning about (as well as trying) things like this.
Spring is coming and that means “Farmers Market Time” will be here again. I can’t wait!
Over the past 10+ years our family members have recorded a lot of podcast episodes in different places using different apps and websites. My all-time favorite remains AudioBoom (previously AudioBoo) where we still have 227 episodes available online. Some of my favorites there include:
We also recorded a few podcasts over the years using the iPhone app Opinion, which (like AudioBoom) provided free podcast audio file hosting. As of November 1, 2017, however, Opinion is discontinuing its hosting. For that reason, I migrated our family podcasts on Opinion over to Podiant, so they are now accessible on learningsigns.podiant.co. This was a wonderfully easy (and FREE) process, since we could directly import all the audio files and meta info from the RSS feed. (Episode titles, episode art, podcast show art, etc.)
Just in case AudioBoom goes offline at some point, and to have a backup, I also imported all our AudioBoom podcasts over to Podiant, so those are now available on audioboom.podiant.co. I am OVER THE MOON with how easy this import and migration process was and is with Podiant! A thousand thank you’s to Joe Dale (@joedale) who alerted me to Podiant, and to Mark Steadman (@iamsteadman), the creator and developer of Podiant.
Old men using love pheromones perfume.
Waiting for the doctor.
High tech checkin.
Scan your ID card.
Verify your birthday.
All medical files have been digitized.
Waiting for benefits.
Smiling at the receptionist.
Thinking about military service.
Feeling less out of place today.
When you’re 23 at the VA and you’re surrounded by WWII and Vietnam veterans, you kind of stick out.
I’m older now.
I’m not skinny any more.
I need to reduce my cholesterol.
My vision isn’t what it used to be.
Listening to the stories.
The stories in the waiting room.
The tales of the dead.
Bodies in Iraq.
Burned in a pile
Dropped by aircraft flying high above
Designed to peel back the jungle canopy
Peeling back years of vitality and health now
The unintended consequences
The science of warfare
Manifested now in the clinic
Waiting at the VA clinic.
This just came to me while waiting for my son to be called up to see the doctor, next time I´ll go to this pediatric dentist that’s great with kids and it´ll be much faster. Check out this CNA practice test, which allows those studying to become a CNA the chance to ace the real CNA test come exam time. When I was in medical training in the 1980s, physicians were taught that opiates were useful but dangerous drugs that should be used only for severe injuries, after surgery or in terminally ill patients. Since the 1990s, however, pharmaceutical companies have systematically distorted perceptions about opioids, through paid speakers, sponsored “education” and bought-off organizations. Opioid manufacturers are directly responsible for the current opioid addiction epidemic and continue spreading misinformation that will feed rather than stem this epidemic.
If I’m counting correctly, Christmas 2016 marks the sixth time in my life I’ve been able to cook prime rib for our family for Christmas dinner. I love a good holiday turkey as much as anyone, but NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, can beat a perfectly cooked prime rib supper. I am extremely thankful our family is able to enjoy food like this together. This year perhaps more than ever before, I am extremely cognizant and appreciative of so many blessings in our lives. We are not millionaires, but sharing a prime rib dinner like this together makes us feel like we are. If you have a chance to eat a meal like this, and to share it with others, count your blessings. In this post I’ll share the few modifications I made to the preparation and cooking steps documented in my 2015 post. I’m sharing this both for my own future reference and to help out others. If this post inspires or helps you in your own prime rib cooking vision quests, please let me know via a comment or Twitter reply to @wfryer.
We’re not only fortunate to now live in a city with a Whole Foods grocery store, but also to have them significantly discount the per pound price of prime rib steak on Christmas Eve. We shop at Whole Foods only about four times all year, and always for special occasions and for limited items. (WalMart Neighborhood Market is my normal grocery store.) Whole Foods had prime rib discounted this year on Christmas Eve from about $17 per pound to $12 per pound. For 3 ribs, about 7.8 pounds, we paid $94. This is a $40 savings off the “normal” price. This is a huge amount of money to pay for a piece of meat, but this was for a very special occasion, and the taste in the end was worth every penny. I’m thankful for the sale price. Eating a great prime rib at home starts with buying top quality meat.
2- Digital Probe Thermometer
As I noted in my 2015 post about cooking prime rib, a digital probe thermometer is absolutely essential. This is the number one thing I’ve learned to use in the past three years which has helped me cook great tasting prime rib that is perfectly cooked, and not too rare. The $20 “Oneida Digital Probe Cooking Thermometer with Timer” from Bed, Bath and Beyond is my tool of choice in this category. I was lucky to have an extra AAA battery in my work backpack, since last year’s battery had gone dead. Like last year, my cooking procedure was:
Cook uncovered 15 minutes at 450 degrees
Turn down the oven to 325 degrees and keep cooking
Remove prime rib when the interior temperature reaches 130 degrees (This year it took 1 hour and 40 minutes, about 15 minutes less than in 2015. I think that is because I got the prime rib out of the fridge about 4 hours before I cooked it, which let it more fully get to room temperature before starting cooking… which is also an essential.)
Completely cover the prime rib with foil and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. This year we let ours rest about 30 minutes, until (as we did last year) the interior temperature reached 143 degrees.
We like our prime rib medium and medium rare, but not rare – and these cooking temperatures were absolutely PERFECT for those requirements.
2 years ago I used “Herbes de Provence Seasoning Salt” as a prime rib rub from our Oklahoma City “Savory Spice” store. This year I used three tablespoons of “Mt. Evans Butcher’s Rub” from Savory Spice and three tablespoons of kosher salt as my rub. As recommended by my guiding Prime Steak House recipe, I made several cuts (about 1/4 of an inch deep) around the roast before applying the rub. I also rubbed about a 1/4 stick of soft butter on both ends. I did NOT open the oven to brush the drippings back onto the roast during cooking, as some recommend. It turned out great (again) not doing this. My custom spice rub worked well and tasted great this year, but I’ll probably go back to the “Herbes de Provence Seasoning Salt” next time I cook a prime rib.
This year I served the plates in the kitchen and then brought them to the dining room, and carved smaller pieces for everyone than I have in the past. This worked well, and several folks opted for seconds. In the past it’s been a bit overwhelming to have such a huge piece of prime rib on the plates… and I definitely liked serving smaller pieces this year.
The creamy horseradish sauce this year also turned out really good. I mixed half sour cream and half “Bubbies Prepared Horseradish,” which we also bought at Whole Foods. It tasted amazing and I’d definitely get this brand again and make it the same way.
This morning I made German Oven Pancakes for our Saturday morning family breakfast. This is one of my all-time favorite recipes, which I have in the cookbook my mom gave me after college when I started living and cooking on my own. (We didn’t have to cook our own food at the Air Force Academy as cadets!) This is the finished oven pancake, before cutting it in half and serving it with sausage patties and bacon. We have two of these oval glass pie plate dishes so I was able to cook two at once in the oven.
I like using the Paprika Recipe Manager currently, which my mom told me about a few years ago. It lets me copy the link to an online recipe and readily enter it into its database. It also syncs if you want to use it on a laptop or a mobile device. Paprika lets you easily double a recipe too, and you can create a shopping list. My favorite shopping app on my iPhone now is “Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists.” I don’t use it for work or other to-do lists, just for shopping.
If you use this blog post to make Sharol Metzler’s oven pancake recipe, please let me know by leaving a comment or reaching out on Twitter!
Addition: My friend Jason in Montana read this post this morning, thanks to Twitter, and gave the recipe a try successfully! Social media is amazing.
As our primary family chef, responsibility fell to me today to cook something yummy at home after church. We’d run through the meal plans I had for last week, but I knew we had a bunch of ingredients that could be used to make something yummy. I turned again to the free website Supercook.com to enter the ingredients we had available in our pantry, and then explore recipes which we could make based on those items. Out of over 2000 available recipe options, I opted for Grilled Potato Skins.
The only modifications I made to the original Food.com recipe were to use five slices of bacon instead of three, and to forgo the chopped green onions since ours turned out to be mushy and a little too old to use. This turned out great and is definitely something we’ll have again!
(Not shown: Sour cream which we used as another topping!)
If you haven’t already, give Supercook.com a try! I’ve used it several times now with great results. This is a FANTASTIC way to use an Internet website in a transformative way, providing a yummy meal for your family which you otherwise wouldn’t have thought to cook! Thanks to my mom who told me about Supercook awhile back.
Tonight I made a tray of homemade jalapeño roasted poppers, and they were yummy! I made my first batch over the Christmas holidays, and I modified the recipe a bit further and liked it even better. It was also popular with the rest of my family. Here’s what I did. I’m sharing this for my own future reference, as well as to possibly inspire you to try these. If you use this, please let me know by sharing a comment on this post or a tweet to @wfryer. I waited about a week after purchasing the jalapeños this time, and that made them ripen and taste a bit spicier. They were still pretty tame though, since I removed all the seeds. I used the “regular” jalapeños from our WalMart Neighborhood Market.
This is the fourth time I’ve cooked prime rib for our family for Christmas dinner. My wife thinks tonight was the best meal we’ve ever had at home in almost 20 years of marriage, so whatever we did this time I want to remember and be able to repeat again! In this post I’ll recap what we did, the changes I made from previous times I’ve cooked prime rib, and what I want to do again if and when we have an opportunity to prepare another amazing meal like tonight.
I wrote two previous family learning blog posts about cooking prime rib, back in 2013 and in 2011. Like I did in 2013, I used this recipe from Prime Steak Houses as my primary guide. Here are the three things I did differently this year which helped make this a remarkable prime rib dinner.
1 – Digital Probe Thermometer
One of the Christmas gifts this year I am most excited about is a probe thermometer that shows the temperature inside meat when it is cooking in the oven. My wife and son bought me a Oneida Digital Probe Thermometer with Timer. Bed, Bath and Beyond sells it for $20. The oven thermometer I used previously had a minimum temperature of 140 degrees, but that’s a problem since the Prime Steak House recipe recommends removing the prime rib from your oven when the interior temperature reaches 120 degrees. So in past years, when I removed our prime rib from our oven, I was just guessing that the meat was ready based on recommended cooking times. Unfortunately, ovens can vary considerably in the cooking time they require, and the result in the past has been prime ribs which weren’t cooked long enough. This afternoon after putting a rub on the meat, I put the thermometer probe into the center of the prime rib. Instead of 120 degrees, which is the low end of rare meat, I set the target temperature for 130 degrees. Our prime rib tonight was 6 pounds, so I initially set the timer for an hour and a half of cooking time to follow the initial 15 minutes of cooking at 450 degrees.
This is the cooking procedure and times I ended up using tonight for our 6 pound prime rib:
15 minutes at 450 degrees (uncovered)
1 hour, 55 minutes at 325 degrees (uncovered, with no basting, till the internal temperature reached 130 degrees)
Removed from the oven, about 15 minutes covered with foil, until the interior temperature reached 140 degrees. The top temperature it reached after removing the foil covering was 143 degrees, before we served dinner.
The second thing I did differently this year when cooking prime rib was to get the meat out of our refrigerator about three hours before I started to cook it. This allowed the meat to warm up, closer to room temperature. This is something included in the Prime Steak House recipe, but a step I hadn’t taken the time or care to follow in the past. According to my thermometer, our prime rib started cooking this year at a temperature of 50 degrees.
That’s it! Those were the three critical things I did tonight which helped me our prime rib dinner a smashing success. If these tips prove useful to you, please leave a comment or contact me via Twitter @wfryer.
The past two weeks Shelly, Rachel and I have traveled together in Philadelphia and Washington DC. I created two different, short digital stories using the free iPad app “Adobe Voice” to reflect on some of our experiences around the DC area.
Rachel: The old domain we’d bought for your first Snowflake eBook (MeetSnowFlake.com) expires tomorrow. Since we decided not to keep that domain, I moved the entire website and made a few small updates/changes to it. The new address is a “sub-domain” of your main website. You can find it on snowflake.rachelfryer.com. If you publish another Snowflake book, like you were talking about over Christmas break, you can publish/link it there also if you want.
I also remembered I setup a Twitter account for your Snowflake book series, it’s @MeetSnowflake. I posted about the new site address and made some changes in the Twitter profile. If you want logins to both the site and this Twitter account I can make/give you those. 🙂
We've decided to not renew our old domain, so the original "Meet Snowflake" website has been moved to http://t.co/s2DWu5lu3a