Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 24

( #SundayLeftovers )



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! Today I am busting out a simple Easter theme. If you are curious about the origins of the holiday, you can read last year's SL, which explains the bunnies and all that crap. So lets open the fridge and see what is leftover...

[The Back Window]





CREDIT: Fucked Up - A Little Death

[Recipe of the Week: Apple Empanadas]

A few weeks ago, I had a evening of different filling empanadas and capped the evening with an apple filled version of my own creation, here is the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

4 Granny-Smith Apples (skinned, cored, and diced into small pieces)
Empanadas shells (usually come in packs of 10)
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon normal sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
1 dash salt
stick of unsalted butter
Optional: Honey or caramel sauce
1 egg

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Melt 1/2 butter on medium low heat. Add the apples and let them cook for a few minutes
2. Once the apples start to get soft, add the brown sugar. Mix and let simmer.
3. Add the white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and a little bit of the honey or caramel if you are planning to use it. Cover the pan and let it simmer for another couple of minutes.
4. Once the apples are really soft, take them off the heat and start putting the filling in the empanadas. Put a tablespoon and a half of apple filling in the center of each disk and fold over to create a half moon shape. Crimp with a fork at the ends to seal.
5. Crack the egg and use as a wash on the outside of the pastry.
6. Optional: Melt the extra butter in a sauce pan and add brown sugar and cinnamon. Brush the mixture onto the pastry as well.
7. Place in over and cook for 20 minutes.

When done, let the empanadas cool for ten minutes. Serve with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of caramel or honey.

[DIY of the Week: Security Camera]

Here is a very cheap DIY to make outdoor security cameras with activity notification sent to your PDA/email

Sean's Projects:DIY Outdoor Camera

[Video of the Week]



[Conclusion]

Okay guys this is going to be a short one, hope you enjoyed the collection. If you are interested in a fancy $750 dollar beer pong table, check back this week! If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

PS: I got a little note last week busting my balls about content. Regular rants and posts will be back in a few weeks. Remember, I do this part time and other things going on in life. School and some other personal things are taking priority at the moment, but I will be stepping it up again shortly.

Twitter | Facebook

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 23

( #SundayLeftovers )



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! Had a decent week on the blog with a few solid posts (that Fist City song has been in my head all weekend). If you had not noticed, I have been cutting back on the re-posts from other blogs - some of my readers commented that I was filling up the blog with other people's stuff, so I pulled it back. I will post interesting video clips and songs, but I will try to group them in unique ways. Enough pandering, let's open the fridge and see what is leftover...

[The Back Window]


CREDIT: Tropical ToXic


CREDIT: Vulture Whale - Land It

[Recipe of the Week: Joey's Meatloaf]

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 cup diced onions
2 cloves garlic minced
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 cups ketchup
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

NOTE: You should use a 9x5 Meatloaf pan if possible

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Mix the ketchup, hot sauce, and apple cider vinegar in a bowl.
2. I like to mix all of my dry seasonings together ahead of time, so get the cheese, salt, pepper,thyme, paprika, garlic powder, bread crumbs, and cheese in a bowl and set aside.
3. Get the ground beef in a big bowl and add the egg, the Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup of the ketchup mix, the dry ingredients, the onions and the garlic. Mix it all up with you hand.
4. Put the mixture in the loaf pan and add the remaining ketchup on the top of the loaf.
5. Place in over for 60 minutes. TRICK: I add a pan of water under the loaf to keep it moist - total game changer.
6. Remove from over after 60 minutes and let rest for 10. Might want to drain off the excess fat/juices.

Enjoy!

[DIY of the Week: Lights under bed]

This is more of a good idea than a DIY. This couple put soft lights under their bed due to frequent baby feedings (no need to fumble for a light at night). I think rope lights would also work really well.

More information: Ikeahackers

[Video of the Week]



[Conclusion]

That's all for today, I have to work on two posts for Drinking Made Easy and I am trying to come up with a rant to post later in the week (I have no venom in me this month!) If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Friday, April 15, 2011

Loretta Lynn: Fist City

( #TGIF, #LorettaLynn )

Any ladies messing around with Loretta's man better watch out for all the weapons she has hidden in that hairdo...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Storm: Animated Poem

( #TimMinchin, #Storm )

Here is a very interesting animated poem by Tim Minchin:

DME: Interview with Flying Fish Owner Gene Muller

( @jerseyfreshale, @drinkingmadeeasy, #beer)


Drinking Made Easy published my interview with Flying Fish's Gene Muller. Gene is a really nice guy and I appreciate the time he spent with me talking about his company, product, and industry at large.

Check out the interview:
DME: Joey Interviews Flying Fish Owner Gene Muller

Update: DME's links are broken, so here is the full story...

Interview with Flying Fish Owner and Brewer Gene Muller

After watching Beer Wars a few months ago, I wondered how some of my local breweries were doing and how they got started. Thanks to Drinking Made Easy’s reputation, I reached out to Flying Fish head brewer and owner, Gene Muller and he graciously agreed to an interview. During our conversation we talk about Flying Fish’s history, how they survived the first few years, and the current market.

Gene, what made you decided to start a brewery?

I was a reluctant entrepreneur. I was home brewing and just got the idea to go to brewing school. I wanted to open a brew pub and wrote a business plan. That morphed idea morphed into the actual brewery.

I went to brewery school, in 1994 I did a short class and went for a longer degree class in 1995. After that, I decided to start a brew pub but had never ran a business or a restaurant and had never brewed. Financing was difficult, so we morphed the idea into a production brewery but we were still struggling.

The Internet was just starting to happen, so I got the idea to build a website. I had some friends that were artists help me out with some of the art stuff and we got a site put together. There was no beer, we only sold t-shirts, pint glasses, etc. I was able to learn HTML and keep it going.

Basically it was the worlds first virtual microbrewery. I sent out press releases and sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Like I said the Internet was just happening; we got a lot of media coverage for that. That drew the attention of a bank and some investors. That happened in August 1995 - in April 1996 we got the final financing and started brewing in August 1996.

How hard was it in 1995 going up against the big 3?

When we first started brewing in August of ‘96, it was when the whole craft beer bubble blew up. There were little brew pubs from Colorado sending bottled beer to New Jersey and we came out into the market just in time for it to crash. Everyone thought craft beer was just a fad and there was too much out there, so it wasn’t against the big 3, it was just trying to get into the market.

In South Jersey, if bars had Sam Adams or Guinness, that was considered good beer. Nobody was asking for craft beers. People that were into better beer went to Philadelphia where there was a better selection. It took two years just for us to get traction and slowly build. For instance, its only been the last couple of years at the Jersey shore that we have built a following.

Shore bars only have 120 days to make money, and they know how much Coors and Yuengling they can sell, so they didn’t want to take a chance on something new. Eight years ago there weren’t any beer bars in South Jersey and now they are all over the place.

There are thousands of small breweries, but the big 3 still take up most of the market share - what is it like to run the brewery in today’s climate?

It is exciting that people are looking for more craft beer, but its a fickle audience. There are so many beers coming in from other parts of the country, you get some places that always want something different. It will be interesting to see if that is the new normal. It is an exciting time, especially in New Jersey because we were on the trailing edge of this industry.

What’s weird in New Jersey is that you have all the imports coming into North Jersey or Philly, and there has always been such a good selection, it initially kind of hindered local beers. I feel like now it has turned around, but it was difficult at first to get someone to try something they never heard of.

What is it like running a brewery in New Jersey? Is it hard knowing you can’t sell your beer in big stores like Walmart in your own state and in Philadelphia?

Every state has its own weirdness, so it’s just a matter of figuring out the regulations for each one. Brewers go to New Jersey hoping to get legislation to reduce some of those. It is a highly regulated industry, and stuff has just been cobbled together since prohibition. If we are at a beer festival in New Jersey, I can’t stand behind a table and pour somebody a beer and talk about how it pairs with food. Hopefully we can get some of those regulations more consistent.

Is it better for a smaller brewery to be sold at the bigger stores or the smaller ones that know your product better?

The states we are in (PA, DE, NJ, MD) are more controlled by smaller stores and smaller chains, while in other states - everything is bought out of the super market or drug store.

With the little liquor stores, you can deal with the individual. If it got to be like other states where you can get beer at convenience stores, it really will shut out a lot of the smaller brewers. The smaller brewers are better served by small businesses.

I am a local customer, but Drinking Made Easy has a world wide audience. What is your current market reach? Can international customers purchase Flying Fish beer?

Right now most of what we make, we sell within 100 miles of our brewery. We also just made a partnership with Total Wine, so they are distributing in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Virgina, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. It is about 65 stores, and it is a way to test the market in other states.

We are also trying to purchase another building to triple our size. Right now we are at full capacity, if not more, so we can’t really expand where we are distributing.

Your “Exit” series of beers are great. Where did you come up with the concept and the naming ideas?

We came up with a bunch of concepts and one was the Exit series. Everywhere you go, as soon as you say you are from New Jersey, everybody asks what exit you are from. At industry events, everyone we encountered had a New Jersey connection.

It is tough being a brewery in New Jersey. You hear about a beer brewed in New Jersey and it is not always going to be the same image as a beer brewed in Colorado or Oregon. So its a little tougher. We wanted to have fun with it and let people know there was a lot of good stuff in the state. It is still a work in progress; we don’t have the whole thing mapped out. The series evolves as we decide which ones to do next.

Running a brewery can’t be all sunshine and roses, what are the biggest headaches?

We are a highly regulated industry so there is a lot of record keeping and paper work for the feds. Two years ago they came into audit us for beer taxes; they were really nice people but here for five weeks. Running the brewery is like any other small business: you are doing manufacturing, marketing, personnel stuff. A lot of people think “all I want to do is make good beer”, but you have to be able to sell it.

There is a lot of good beer out there but nobody knows about it because its not getting out. We are dealing with every kind of regulator: waste water, FDA, etc. Most of the rules were made for big companies so you have to figure out how to deal with it and be in compliance.

Issues aside - what is the best part about running your own brewery?

At the end of the day when I finish my paperwork, I can have a beer and say I’m still working. Quality Control. It is a collaborative industry, I was down in DC doing legislative stuff, and pretty much everyone is open with each other and share information, they are friendly. I can pick up the phone and call almost anybody with a question I have or ask their thoughts on something we’re doing. Since we pretty much all came to this industry from somewhere else, its not our grandfathers owned breweries and we all grew up feuding. We are all kind of in it together.

What is your future focus?

Hopefully by this time next year we will be in a new home and have new beers coming out. If the legislation changes then all the brewers can have some more flexibility, which would be great for marketing New Jersey beer.

--
As mentioned in the article, Flying Fish has been running its website since 1995 (flyingfish.com). Besides basic information about the company, the site provides a wealth of knowledge about brewing and writing business cases. I highly recommend it to any beer enthusiast.

I want to thank Gene Muller for giving up his time to talk with me and the Drinking Made Easy audience, keeping those Exit beers coming!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rant: Fantasy vs. Real Life

( #FunnyPeople, #GrowingUp )



Last Wednesday I caught Funny People on HBO. I have seen the movie a few times, but I happened to tune in during the scene where Adam Sandler is giving a Thanksgiving toast (can't find a clip). The point of the scene was that all of these friends who were fighting are reminded that this is their best time—so they should enjoy it.



This scene rattled in my head for a few days and merged with a year-long meandering thought about my own social circle. I don't know if I am scratching this itch the right way, but I need to get it out of my head. I always expected my social circle to hit that sweet spot of enough career to have some savings, but not completely overwhelmed with jobs and children to be able to go on a few life changing vacations/experiences. It never really happened. We went on some trips, but never an ADVENTURE.

By the time the weekend rolled around and we had dinner with a few friends, I decided to let my group adventure fantasy go. Too much wine on the deck beats 13 hours in a car to Panama City. I think it is better to enjoy and savor the things our lives afford us, rather than wishing for the things that were never going to materialize. The ADVENTURE is a fantasy; it doesn't matter what I do or where I go, it doesn't ever satisfy the intangible expectations I put on it.

Instead of being unsatisfied, I'd rather re-think what true satisfaction is. Here is my advice to my peers: If you are sitting around thinking of what you want to be when you grow up or fantasize about quitting your job and opening a bed and breakfast. Grow the fuck up.

DID I JUST PISS ON YOUR DREAMS?

Good.

While I am sure you can reference some long shot example to prove me wrong, the statistics are in my favor that you are not going to be a professional athlete (even golfer), a rock star, a cowboy (do you even know what a cowboy does?). Do you have a business plan for that bed and breakfast (and do you like working 24 hours a day)? When I was 4 I used to tell my mother I was going to own a hamburger stand in space (this predates the Spaceballs diner scene). I am pretty damn glad I did not pursue my astro-culinary dreams because space is full of radiation and zero gravity doesn't do much for your health either (35% bone and muscle mass loss after 6 months).

What is so bad with an average life? This is assuming no abusive domestic situation, not in jail, or had some other horrible thing happen. Maybe there are a few simple steps that can turn a shitty life into a perfectly average one? I guess what I am saying is just because you have a dream, it doesn't mean it is a very good one. Find pleasure when and where you can, and be glad you don't have a cell-mate named Bubba that offers to toss your salad.

Sweet Dreams.

PS: One more bit of advice - don't wait around for other people to do what you want to do. There are so many places that I want visit that my friends have no interest in, but luckily my wife does. Its good to have a partner, but I would go myself if I had to and I suggest you do the same. Be strong!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 22

( #SundayLeftovers )



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! Again, sorry for the lack of posts this week, school is entering the final phase, but of course everything but the kitchen sink is getting thrown at me. It won't be long until I am back on a regular schedule. With that said, lets open the fridge and see what is leftover!

[The Back Window]


CREDIT: Justin Cherry



CREDIT: The Replacements - If Only You Were Lonely

[Recipe of the Week: Veggie Burgers]

Credit: Kitchen Daily

INGREDIENTS:

1 16-oz. can black beans, drained
1 16-oz. can kidney beans, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, finely diced
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking

FOR GARNISH:
8 round pineapple slices, 1/8 -inch thick
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves
8 whole grain hamburger buns, toasted
1/2 cup jalapeno ketchup*

DIRECTIONS:
1. Mash the black beans and kidney beans together in a large bowl and set aside.
2. In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute the carrots, onions, and peppers in the olive oil for about 6-8 minutes, or until softened. Add the corn and saute for one more minute.
3. Add the vegetables to the mashed beans and taco seasoning. Mix well, then add the beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Stir well to incorporate and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and form into patties. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the grilled pineapple and jalapeno ketchup. Grill the pineapple slices on a hot grill or grill pan for 1 minute per side, until grill marks appear. Set aside.
6. Heat a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat; remove the veggie burgers from the refrigerator. Drizzle 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the pan and cook 4 of the veggie burgers for 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining 4 burgers.
7. Serve the burgers on toasted buns with the grilled pineapple, sliced avocado, and jalapeno ketchup.

[DIY of the Week: Prevent Birds from Nesting]

I have a bush in front of my house that every bird in my neighborhood lives in. I thought they would go away in the winter and I could put some kind of chemical in there so they would not nest in there in the spring. Problem is that they never left. The birds chirp early in the morning and are right next to my bedroom window. My buddy sent me this simple hack. Put a mirror in there. Read more:

Prevent Birds from Nesting near your house

[Video of the Week]



[Conclusion]

Thats all for this week folks. The interview I did with Flying Fish brewery owner Gene Muller has been done for a few days, so check on DME or here for publication. I have a few other posts in my head that I am planning on working on today. If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 21

( #SundayLeftovers )



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! I feel like I need to address the lack of posts on the blog: One, I have been busting my ass on my MBA, and I am just trying to get it knocked out (might be done by June). My other issue is that I am not feeling particularly inspired at the moment, the Japan situation is terrible but I don't think my comments will add any value, I don't care about Charlie Sheen, and I am not ready to start commenting on the political scene developing just yet. So from a personal writing perspective, I am in a bit of a funk. It won't last long, I just need to clear some other things from my plate so I can focus on a few long form projects I have been meaning to do. With that said, lets open the fridge and see what is leftover.

[The Back Window]




CREDIT: Cory Chisel - Born Again

[Recipe of the Week: The Perfect Bloody Mary]
Credit: io9

This is a recipe that the American Chemical Society revealed as the PERFECT Bloody Mary mixture. Don't mess with scientists who drink!

1 oz vodka
5 oz tomato juice
1/2 oz lemon juice
pinch celery salt
2 shakes Worcestershire sauce
2 shakes Tobasco sauce
ground black pepper

Serve it over ice and garnish it with a celery stick and a lemon wedge

[DIY of the Week: Keep your razor sharp]



I saw a guy do something similar to this using his forearm. It never worked for me, but perhaps the jeans will. Another suggestion is to keep your razor blade in rubbing alcohol to keep the water away from it. I am willing to try any little trick to keep these blades lasting longer. Let me know if it works for you!!!

[Video of the Week]



[Conclusion]

I am still waiting on that cool interview situation to come together, so I am going to have to find something interesting to write about on Drinking Made Easy (suggestions please!). If you need to reach me, you can do so here. As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook