Happy Halloween

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Ahhh, it's that time of year again - Halloween. Changing seasons, colorful leaves, crisp air - all of the fall goodness.

As you can see, I carved a fun little pumpkin this year - the Deathstar. I decided on this because my pumpkin from last year was, well, quite honestly, a disaster. I went to last year's carving party without a plan, and the results clearly showed.

So for this year, I decided I was going to be a little more tactical. I researched "interesting pumpkins" online and stumbled across a few Deathstar examples. As a huge fan of Star Wars, I thought this would be a great option. Unfortunately, there are no templates for such a design... so, I went to the local craft store, bought a flexible tape measure and some clay carving tools, and did my best to design a Deathstar. I think it turned-out fairly well.

The Green Egg

I love my Big Green Egg. It's so awesome. Having owned it for a few years now, it was in need of a minor tune-up. There are two gaskets between the main body and the lid, and they were starting to leak fairly heavily. Apparently the original gaskets are made from wool, and need to be replaced quite regularly. I did some research and found that an aftermarket company makes a gasket set from Nomex and Kevlar, which are designed to last for several years. Nice!

What wasn't so nice was removing the original gaskets. Holy cats. The Big Green Egg makers attach their gaskets with some type of industrial-strength adhesive that apparently welds itself to the ceramic body and lid. I spent a solid 3-hours removing the original gasket and adhesive material... the process included scraping with a paint scraper and a single-edge razor blade, lightly grinding with a sanding/flapper wheel, sanding with 80-grit paper on a multi-tool, and soaking with acetone. Not fun.

But the results are stellar. I fired-up the Egg over the weekend and am happy to report that it is free of leaks, and it rocketed-up to over 800F during warm-up, and that's a truly great sign.

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Speaking of cooking...

I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not, but I started teaching cooking classes for a store in Stoughton. I was approached in the spring by the store owner (who knows me through Yelp) about teaching a series of grilling classes for her. She has a great little kitchen/house goods store, and offers nightly cooking courses (6-classes per week).

The facility is outstanding; the classes are held in the lower level of the store, where she has a large gas range, several in-wall ovens, tons of awesome cooking gear, and a large island that seats 12 students.

She wanted me to focus on grilling, so I came-up with a three-part series: BBQ 101, Mastering the Art of BBQ, and Earning your BBQ PhD. For each class, I had to develop a curriculum, complete with hand-outs, recipes, and lessons. I chose to focus on three meals/techniques for each class, which worked-out really well. I did all of the grilling on an outdoor charcoal grill, which was fun because we'd move around a bit during the 3-hour classes. The classes cost around $45 each, and included the food as well as free beer and wine.

My first three classes sold out in less than a week, so she suggested I add additional classes. I wound-up teaching a total of nine classes over the summer, including two private parties. It was great fun - I met some really awesome people (I had a group of "regulars" who attended every class and gave me a really cool gift at my final class). I later learned from the owner that I was the only instructor to receive a 5-star rating from every student in every class. That's crazy to me.

Here are a few pictures of some of the bounty from the classes... grilled ribeyes with garlic lemon asparagus and roasted mushrooms, followed by grilled pound cake with peaches (and a rum-butter reduction on the side).

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Packers Game

My friend Chris once again offered-up some Packers tickets, so we made the journey to Lambeau a few weeks ago and got to see the Packers route the Panthers. It wasn't much of a game, but the trip was fun, as usual. We had great weather and great seats - no complaints!

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Guitar

Man, I'm loving my Mesa Mark V set-up. I'm also loving the new strings that my pal Jeremy recently turned me on to. They're so smooth, so silky, and sound incredible. He came over a few weeks ago and we restrung all of our guitars in one sitting... He's a professional musician, so he knows the tips and tricks for restringing - this made short work of what would otherwise be a tedious task. Thanks, Jeremy!!

Here we are, about to begin...

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Even with only two strings on his guitar, Jeremy is amazing - he's also been giving me some lessons, which have helped a ton. I still stink, but I stink a little less than I used to.

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Here I am, enjoying the fruits of our labor. If I had a better way to post video, I'd share the actual sound... until then, you'll just have to trust that it's quite mediocre at best. I do also love that Gibson Les Paul.

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And finally, a shot of some of the guitars after the restringing. And with that, I bid you farewell for now... that's about all that's going on in my little corner of the world.

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I almost forgot... 10-years!

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Can you believe this crummy blog has been online for 10-years? Wowser - I can't. Thank you for hanging around and reading my mindless drivel. Who knows if it'll be around in another ten years... there'll probably be some newer, more awesome method of sharing ideas and thoughts by then. But seriously - thank you for the support and for visiting on a regular basis.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on October 28, 2014 7:16 AM.

Two fish frys: Avenue Bar, Mickey's Tavern, & Baldwin Street Grille was the previous entry in this blog.

RIP Regis aka "Brownie" - 1/1/2001 - 11/17/2014 is the next entry in this blog.

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