Teeny little cinnamon rolls

This tasty dessert (or breakfast?) is so quick and easy, it can barely be considered a recipe. Because I didn’t think of it myself, I’ll assume you didn’t either. And here we are. There are a multitude of very slightly different versions of this exact recipe everywhere; this is the version I prefer.

” Swearing helps during this step “

One of the other nice things about this recipe is that it can be made normally – in other words, unhealthy – or in a reduced guilt version. Just substitute reduced fat croissant rolls for the regular ones and omit the butter, and just like that you’ve got yourself a low(er) calorie treat that’s equivalent to about one Weight Watcher’s point each.


Ingredients

  • 1 8oz container of crescent rolls
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp milk
  • a double-wide trailer with an oven
Normal people don't assemble their ingredients ahead of time. Only bloggers are this weird.

Normal people don’t assemble their ingredients ahead of time. Only bloggers are this weird.


Directions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Sorry about the double-wide remark in the ingredients list… It was out of line. You can bake these cinnamon rolls in a single-wide just as easily. Anyway, open the tube-o-crescent-rolls, unroll the dough, and separate it into two sections as shown below. Using your fingers, seal the perforated seams so that you are left with two solid sheets.

The contents of a pressurized dough tube, known on the street as a 'trailer park stun grenade'.

The contents of a pressurized dough tube, known on the street as a ‘trailer park stun grenade’.

Mix together the cinnamon and granulated sugar in a small bowl. Brush the first section of dough with half the butter and sprinkle on half the cinnamon sugar mixture; repeat with the second section of dough, using the other half of the butter and cinnamon sugar. Roll up the sections of dough starting with the long sides, keeping the roll as tight and even as you can. Don’t feel bad if you screw one of them up, because there’s an above average chance you will. I did.

Seal the trailing edge of the dough against the rest of the roll by pinching it into place with your fingers. Cut each roll of dough into 10 sections, making 20 miniature little rolls. Place the miniature rolls on a cookie sheet, standing them on their ends. You may need to smash them down a bit to get them to stay upright. Swearing helps during this step.

Each one of these rolls would be a feast for a leprechaun.

Each one of these rolls would be a feast for a leprechaun.

Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. While we wait for the oven to do its thing, let’s mix up the icing. In another small bowl, slowly add the milk to the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, whisking constantly. Stop adding milk when it looks like it’s supposed to. And what’s that, you ask? Oh come on, you MUST have had a cinnamon roll at some point in your life. Remember what the icing was like? Well, make it look like that.

Mmm, frosting. Or is it icing? I can never keep them straight.

Mmm, icing. Or is it frosting? I can never keep them straight.

Remove the rolls from the oven, place them piping hot on a plate, drizzle some icing on them, and… I’ll let you figure out the rest.


3.. 2.. 1.. Gorge!

3.. 2.. 1.. Gorge!


See also



Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


Pappadeaux – See food and eat it

meter-great+I’m glad I don’t live near a Pappadeaux. If I did, I’d be so huge you’d need a forklift and one of those canvas slings for transporting orca whales to get me out of the house. Pappadeaux isn’t exactly the last word when it comes to Louisiana-style cooking, but this restaurant chain based in the Southern U.S. sure does know how to put together a great plate of food.

” I’m going to blow out an O-ring. “

I pretty much grew up in California. This means that I take quality Mexican food for granted, I have no idea what a calzone is, and I think jambalaya is supposed to be made with pasta. One day, many moons ago, I got the chance to visit New Orleans and do some restaurant hopping in the French Quarter. My eyes (er, taste buds) were opened to the world of Creole cooking, and it immediately became one of my very favorite types of food. Although I don’t find myself in New Orleans very often, I do visit Houston regularly with my Texas-sourced better half. Every time we go I beg and plead and whine and grovel until someone drives me to Pappadeaux – my favorite Louisiana style restaurant not actually in Louisiana – just to shut me up.

Pappadeaux, pronounced 'poppa dough'. I think.

Pappadeaux, pronounced ‘poppa dough’. I think.

The menu at Pappadeaux is fairly extensive, but I don’t really care about most of it. It’s all very good indeed (yes, I’ve tried quite a number of dishes), but for me it’s all about the crawfish. Mmmmmmmmmmm, crawfish. Crawdaddies. Mudbugs.

Get. In. My. Belly.

For the sake of my fellow clueless Californians, I’ll explain what crawfish are. They’re small freshwater lobsters with a flavor similar to both prawns and saltwater lobsters, but as far as I’m concerned superior to both. They are less rubbery than regular lobster and more flavorful than prawns – a perfect balance. Pappadeaux prepares their crawfish a few different ways, but my favorites are fried and étouffée. Both of these appear on their “Crawfish Platter” along with a heap of dirty rice. Bingo.

Oh yeah, salad. I guess it's important.

Oh yeah, salad. I guess it’s important.

Shortly after taking my order, the waiter brings over… a salad? Oh, right, someone else at the table must have ordered a Pappas Greek salad. Wait, since when have there been other people at my table? Hm. They were probably the ones that drove me here, so I suppose I should be nice. Ok fine, I’ll play along and eat some green stuff.

Hey, it’s not bad! It’s severely lacking in crawfish of course, but besides that it’s excellent. There’s plenty of olives, peppers, and feta to go digging around for, but not too much. The dressing is tangy and well-portioned, and the lettuce is as fresh and crisp as can be. It’s a nice way to wile away the time until the star of the show arrives. Ah, and here it is.

Crawfish! Just looking at this picture makes me happy, happy, happy.

Crawfish! Just looking at this picture makes me happy, happy, happy.

Finally. I love this dish so much it’s hard to describe. Not because I lack the words – I’m just too busy eating it. The fried crawfish are crispy, light, flavorful, and not the slightest bit greasy. The breading is beautifully spiced and has a bit of a kick to it. The étouffée is creamy, rich, bursting with flavor, and not at all bursting with annoying vegetables or sprouts or any of the other silly things Californians feel obliged to ruin their food with. They know how to do things right around here. Speaking of right, the dirty rice is also very excellent and serves as a perfect complement to both styles of crawfish.

Ok, ok, time out. Take some deep breaths here. I have to slow down on the chowing or I’m going to blow out an O-ring. Pappadeaux is one of those places where I would stuff myself unconscious if I didn’t specifically make an effort to stop eating halfway through the meal and take the rest home for leftovers. As long as you use a gentle hand with the microwave, crawfish will reheat pretty well.

Even taking into consideration my irrational bias for both crawfish and Cajun food, Pappadeaux earns a glorious 28 out of 31 fried mudbugs. They really know what they’re doing in the kitchen at this place, and they are consistently above average – especially for a chain. Pappadeaux is a 100% for sure recommendation, so if you are traveling in the region you really should try and look one up. There’s even a Pappadeaux inside Houston Intercontinental Airport, should you find yourself on a stopover there with a grumbling stomach. As for me, I will definitely be back. Oh yes.

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
Multiple locations throughout the U.S.
www.pappadeaux.com
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen on Urbanspoon


pappadeauxlogo3



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.


All Kitchens Great and Small

So, I moved. That’s as close as I’m going to get to providing an excuse for not posting since December. If you’ve ever moved, you know what a soul-eating experience it can be, and if you haven’t I envy your blissful ignorance. Of course I would have been much happier cooking, eating out, and posting about it, but instead I wiled away the months spackling, painting, rewiring, repairing, and doing all sorts of other unpleasant fix-it monkey work that comes with selling a house from the 1920′s. As Tolkien once wrote: “I had many other duties that I did not neglect.”

And that’s what I have to say for myself. Excuse over. Now, back to blogging.

” It’s like our very own miniature convenience store where everything is free. “

My wife and I decided that our old house, although overflowing with charm and history, was also overflowing with our stuff. Combined with a severe case of new house envy, the fact that our garage was turning into a passable representation of the warehouse at the end of Indiana Jones pushed us over the edge. And just like that we decided to get rid of our old house and empty a bucket of cash on a shiny new one. Fast forward a seeming eternity later, and we are finally settling into our new home. Our furniture is all here, we have found most of our clothes, and although there are half-unpacked moving boxes everywhere we seem to be winning the war against chaos. The pantry is full of food, the refrigerator finally works, and the kitchen is all set up and ready to go. Halle-frickin-lujah.

The new fridge is bigger than our old closet.

The new fridge is bigger than our old closet.

As fortune (and our checkbook) would have it, our new kitchen is considerably larger and more fabulous than our old one, and it’s packed to the brim with all the latest and greatest features a slightly competent home chef could want. I have (somewhat arrogantly, I suppose) begun referring to the kitchen as “my office”, because it’s the first place in the new house that began to feel like home. Actually, the couch was probably first, but that’s neither here nor there. Besides, this is a food blog, not a place where I gush about how awesome Sony flatscreen TVs are. They are awesome though, the 3D definition is remarkable.

Sorry, distracted by electronics. Where was I? Ah yes, kitchens.

All of this got me reminiscing about the kitchen in our old house, and the eleven years of cooking, mess-making, dish washing, successes, failures, and quirks that I grew to know and love. There was that back burner that never seemed to want to light, and the unevenly heated oven was always about ten degrees off. The bottom drawer in the island had a cruel sense of humor; it enjoyed suddenly slipping off of its rails in gleeful attempts to crush one’s toes while one was rummaging around in it. And how could I forget about the microwave? That stupid, stupid microwave with only a handful of working buttons was the bane of my existence on more than one occasion; I won’t miss it.

Happiness is an alphabetized spice cupboard.

Happiness is an alphabetized spice cupboard.

In spite of the faults of our old kitchen, I find myself remembering it fondly. It did certainly have character, no doubt about that. I don’t mean to imply that our new kitchen doesn’t have character, it’s just that I don’t know it as well. We are close acquaintances on the way to becoming friends, and I do very much enjoy spending time there. The well-made cabinets have loads of space for all my plates and measuring cups and nerdy kitchen gizmos, and none of the drawers seem interested in playing sadistic games of “This Little Piggy”. The walk-in pantry is a godsend, and honestly I have no idea how I ever lived without one. It’s like our very own miniature convenience store where everything is free.

The image isn't distorted. The walls actually curve like that.

The image isn’t distorted. The walls actually curve like that.

The rock-candy-like countertops look good enough to eat, and they stretch on for what seems like miles. All the better for making messes upon. There is room enough for all of the spices to be in a single cabinet (gasp!), and the gas stove has twice as many functional burners as I’m used to. There are two ovens (three, if you consider the fact that the microwave is also a convection oven), which means both the main course and dessert can be burned to a crisp at the same time.

As much as I’ve waxed poetic about my old kitchen, I’m looking forward to a fresh start in the new one. Here’s to many upcoming evenings and weekends puttering around in the pantry, experimenting with the bevy of different ways my new fangled ovens can become hot, and generally just getting to know my way around. I can see the future, and it looks delicious.



Nothing says elegance like a bouquet of spatulas.

Nothing says elegance like a bouquet of spatulas.


Rico’s Hacienda – Mostly suave

meter-goodRico’s Hacienda is not the type of place you fly all the way to Texas to visit, but it does make for a solid dinner choice. The menu offers a good variety of authentic Mexican dishes to choose from, and the food itself is decent but perhaps a bit unremarkable.

Braving air travel during the holidays is not my very favorite thing in the world to do. Call me crazy, but being herded through mazes of security ropes while people take blurry X-ray photographs of me in my underpants is just not my cup of tea. Follow that up with several hours of being confined in a straight jacket cleverly disguised as an economy class airplane seat, and you have a perfect storm of misery on your hands. The one thing that makes this ordeal worthwhile for me is looking forward to the abundance of amazing restaurants located in and around the destination – in this case, Houston.

” The real test of a Mexican restaurant is the quality of their refried beans “

The flight was joyful. Someone had thoughtfully stuffed the seat pocket in front of me with about a thousand used snot rags, and it made a very nice cushion for my knees. After touching down in Houston, we waited a perfectly reasonable 35 minutes on the tarmac while we enjoyed the fragrance of jet fuel. We were then treated to a delightful half hour of relaxation at the baggage carousel, and by that time I was ready for murder. I mean hugs. I was ready to give hugs. Trying to think happy thoughts here.

My wife and I finally met up with the car load of relatives that had come to collect us from the airport, and as we fled the mayhem we discussed our collective dinner plans. Our primary focus was agreeing on a place that wouldn’t be too crowded on a Saturday night, and if they happened to serve decent food, that was a nice bonus. Appropriately, we settled on Rico’s Hacienda in The Woodlands.

I'm not sure what a hacienda actually is, but I don't think this is one.

I’m not sure what a hacienda actually is, but I don’t think this is one.

Rico’s was exactly as I remembered it from the last time we’d been: Bustling, festive, and dimly lit. The whole place oozes with (relatively) authentic Mexican flair. We were seated immediately and served piping hot chips with fresh salsa. So far so good. Our competent and mostly prompt waiter visited shortly afterwards and took our drink and meal orders: Skillet queso, grilled tilapia, a couple orders of beef fajitas with bacon-wrapped shrimp, and an enchilada plate.

Queso is just better in Texas. I have no idea why.

Queso is just better in Texas. I have no idea why.

Our food arrived after a short wait, and in no time flat our table was jam packed with plates, bowls, and mugs of frozen margaritas. Our waiter caught a mistake with my order before it even made it to the table, and in less than a minute the replacement was sitting in front of me. Bigtime kudos to the waitstaff for being on top of things.

The bacon wrapped shrimp were very flavorful but perhaps a bit dry, and it was the same story with the bed of beef fajitas they sat on. My enchiladas were ever so slightly on the plain side, but the beef was seasoned well, the rice was excellent, and everything was sizzling hot.

Traditional bacon-wrapped shrimp and fajitas. Whose tradition exactly is a mystery.

Traditional bacon-wrapped shrimp and fajitas. Whose tradition exactly is a mystery.

For me, the real test of a Mexican restaurant is the quality of their refried beans. Good beans don’t always equate to a good restaurant, but ill-prepared beans are the kiss of death as far as I’m concerned. Rico’s refried beans were just barely on the acceptable side of average, which is a shame. They did seem to be scratch made – a critical factor – but they were also lumpy and a bit bland. The beans weren’t meh enough to prevent me from coming back, but I wouldn’t exactly say that they passed with flying colors.

In the end, I like Rico’s Hacienda. I didn’t love absolutely everything about my most recent visit, but there were enough high points that I’d be happy to come back for another meal and a frosty margarita. My rating falls somewhere in the range of 3 out of 4 pounds of queso dip. If you’re looking for a decent, friendly restaurant that won’t be too crowded during peak hours, Rico’s is the place to be. If you want the very best Mexican food in the Houston area, there are probably better choices.

Rico’s Hacienda
8000 Research Forest Drive
The Woodlands, Texas 77382
(281) 465-4820
www.ricosgrill.com
Rico's Hacienda & Bar on Urbanspoon


The holy grail of Mexican food: An enchilada platter.

The holy grail of Mexican food: An enchilada platter.



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.


Stan’s Donut Shop – Glaze of glory

meter-haIf donuts are a religion, Stan’s Donut Shop is the Vatican. It’s as simple as that. This tiny hole in the wall has people lining up out the door just about every day of the week, and once you’ve been here you will understand why. Be warned: A single Stan’s donut will spoil you for life.

As far as I’m concerned, every single Friday is Official Donut Day. What better way to kick off the weekend than with a sugary hunk of fried calories? Unfortunately, you can’t really eat donuts every week; it’s what medical professionals refer to as “unhealthy”. Party poopers. The best way to justify a donut fix is to invent an excuse to buy some for somebody else, and that’s exactly what I did.

” It’s everything a donut shop should be and nothing it shouldn’t “

My wife and I are having a new house built in Sunnyvale. Lately I’ve been bothering the dickens out of the construction crew with helpful bits of advice like “Don’t forget to install the front door” and “Please stop screwing things up”. They must love it when I visit. I want them to do a good job on the house, though, and because I’m not above petty bribery I decided to bring the guys some Stan’s. Win-win.

This is one of those places you'd never visit unless someone told you to.

This is one of those places you’d never visit unless someone told you to.

If you look up “hole in the wall” in the dictionary, you will see a picture of Stan’s Donut Shop. I wouldn’t quite call it a dive, but it’s close. Everything is clean and relatively well maintained, but exactly zero effort has gone into decor. That’s fine by me though – screw the ambiance, focus on the eats. The whole shop is barely wider than the doorway to get inside, and there is a simple glass case with a cash register immediately to the left of the entrance. There is also a bar to sit at; there you can ponder how many donuts to order and whether you’d like decaf or regular coffee. And that’s it.

1974 called. They want their leatherette and wood-like veneer back.

1974 called. They want their leatherette and wood-like veneer back.

Alright, forget about the decor and everything else. First impressions are what matter most, and the first impression you’re going to get is that lovely, lovely display case I mentioned earlier. Just look at it. Ssshh, don’t say a word. Just… look.

Cue the Barry White music.

Cue the Barry White music.

Ahh yeah.

Can’t decide what to try first? I’ll help you choose. What you’re really looking for is whatever it is that they’ve just dragged out of the fryer, and chances are that it’s a batch of plain glazed donuts. Stan’s glazed are so wickedly, incredibly, absurdly good that you really have no choice in the matter but to dump the contents of your wallet onto the counter and plead shamelessly for the nice people to hand you one.

A hot glazed donut from Stan’s is, without question, a bucket list item. They simply melt when you bite into them, and they are… Well, they’re perfect really. Even the very best Krispy Kreme donut you’ve ever had will seem like a distant, disappointing memory after experiencing a Stan’s plain glazed. Remember how I said earlier you’d be spoiled for life? I meant it.

If you’re lucky, you might even manage to get your hands on one of Stan’s legendary cinnamon rolls. They go fast, so you’ll need to get up early if you want a shot at one. They are very similar in texture to the glazed donuts, only curled into a spiral and cinnamon-y. Apparently, because the dough needs to rise overnight, only one batch a day is made – when they’re out, they’re out. You need to be super duper lottery-lucky to snag a cinnamon roll right out of the fryer, but let me tell you… It’s worth the chase, it truly is.

A Stan's cinnamon roll can beat up your cinnamon roll.

A Stan’s cinnamon roll can beat up your cinnamon roll.

Lady Luck must have been more than just smiling on me on this particular Friday, because I somehow managed to obtain a dozen glazed donuts straight from the fryer AND a hot cinnamon roll. Double score! I also picked up some additional assorted donuts, as well as my own personal favorite: A plain buttermilk.

No, this buttermilk donut is mine. You can't have it.

No, this buttermilk donut is mine. You can’t have it.

If you’ve never had a buttermilk donut before, you’re missing out. It’s like a cake donut, only a bit more substantial. Stan’s buttermilks are somehow both denser and fluffier at the same time, and the perfectly golden brown exterior is delicate and ever so slightly crispy and crunchy. Mine was absolute heaven, just as I knew it would be.

I pulled up to the construction site with my bounty, and there didn’t seem to be anybody around. Strange. I got out of my car and grabbed the donut boxes, and suddenly the crew started coming out of the woodwork. Literally, I suppose. They were like a swarm of cats that had just discovered a crashed sardine truck – I was fortunate to escape with my life. I drove away to a chorus of thank yous and many gracious waves; I had done my good deed for the day, and I had ended up with a couple Stan’s donuts for myself to boot. I strained my arm a little patting myself on the back.

As much as I hesitate to hand out a perfect rating, Stan’s Donut Shop deserves one. I give it exactly 471 glazed donuts out of 471; it’s everything a donut shop should be and nothing it shouldn’t. Stan’s has taken a single, humble food and elevated it to a level you’d hardly believe was possible. If your travels land you somewhere vaguely in the western hemisphere, you absolutely must, must, must go here.

Stan’s Donut Shop
2628 Homestead Road
Santa Clara, CA 95051
(408) 296-5982
Stan's Donut Shop on Urbanspoon


A dozen doughy little angels, living in a box.

A dozen doughy little angels, living in a box.



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.


Beer can chicken

There is something deliciously hilarious about this recipe that appeals to all men. Beer combined with bored hillbillies is guaranteed to result in either disaster or hilarity. In this particular case, depending on whether or not you are the proctologically doomed chicken in question, it’s a little bit of both.

” I have no intention of finding out what Schlitz logo ink tastes like “

In a stroke of blind luck (or pure genius), it turns out that this is one of the easiest ways you can imagine to cook up a juicy, tender, and flavorful bird. The basic idea is that you’re steaming the chicken from the inside while roasting it on the outside, and there a number of different ways to accomplish this. In addition to using beer as the “steaming medium”, you can also use wine, cola, broth, lemonade… the list is endless. I’ll detail my own favorite recipe below, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors.

A bottle of booze and a couple things from the yard are all you really need.

A bottle of booze and a couple things from the yard are all you really need.

Truth be told, I have never tried using an actual can of beer; there are all sorts of things in and on aluminum cans that were never intended to be exposed to high temperatures. I have no intention of finding out what Schlitz logo ink tastes like, so instead I use a specially made porcelain steamer thingy called a Sittin’ Chicken. There are a number of different options that also accomplish the same thing, most notably the Poultry Pal. Choose whatever gizmo you like best and start getting your ingredients together.


Ingredients

  • a chicken!
  • white wine
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 or 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • olive oil
  • poultry seasoning


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a drip pan or disposable aluminum tray
  • a wooden skewer
  • a meat thermometer
  • a steamer to sit your chicken on (can of beer, Sittin’ Chicken, etc.)
  • someone to take incriminating pictures of you sticking things in a chicken’s butt


Directions

You can use either a barbecue or an oven to prepare this recipe. A regular old charcoal barbecue or grill is preferable, but anything capable of maintaining medium heat for a few hours will do. This recipe does best when the heat is concentrated below the chicken, so if your oven will do that sort of thing (sometimes called a “baking” setting), set it up that way. If you’re using a smoker or barbecue, you want direct heat right on the bottom of the chicken. Not tons of heat, but it should be direct as opposed to indirect. What we want to do is get the liquid in the steamer (or can) as hot as possible, preferably boiling. If you just roast or broil the chicken, the steamer will be the last thing to heat up and will only reach about 165 degrees, doing a poor job of providing flavor and steam. So, set up your oven or grill for direct, bottom-only heat and start it warming up. Aim for about 275-300 degrees F.

Cut up the lemon and the onion into rough chunks and put them in the steamer, filling it loosely about halfway. Place the rosemary sprigs in the center of the steamer, standing them up like a bouquet. Pour in the white wine, filling it almost all the way to the top. Place the whole thing in the center of your drip pan.

Please have a seat and enjoy the sauna.

Please have a seat and enjoy the sauna.

Rinse the chicken with water, inside and out. Remove the giblets and any other nasty bits you find inside and throw them away. Or, if you have carnivorous pets, throw the giblets in the drip pan instead and they will become delicious and disgusting treats for later. Sprinkle a healthy amount of your poultry seasoning (I sometimes just use thyme and oregano) inside the chicken cavity. Carefully sit the chicken on top of the steamer, making sure all the rosemary sprigs end up inside the bird. Rub the skin thoroughly with olive oil and sprinkle or rub more of your seasoning on the outside. Using the skewer, “sew” the neck of the chicken shut so that none of the steam can escape. Put your new best bird friend in your oven or barbecue and begin rubbing your hands with glee.

The dinner guest has arrived.

The dinner guest has arrived.

Start checking the internal temperature of the chicken after about an hour. You will want to probe multiple locations with the meat thermometer, namely the legs, back, breast, neck, and cavity. Poultry is considered done at 165 degrees F, so make absolutely sure there aren’t any spots on the bird below that temperature. I tend to go a bit above that when making this recipe, mostly because you don’t need to worry as much about the meat drying out thanks to the steamer. I prefer my chicken (especially the dark meat) falling-off-the-bone tender as opposed to barely done, but that’s just me. Once the chicken is done how you like it, remove it from wherever it’s been cooking and try not to drool on it. Depending on the size of the bird, your particular grill or oven, and the type and degree of heat, it will take from 1 to 3 hours to cook completely. It’s done when it’s done; trying to force a specific timeline on it will only lead to tears.

Remove the chicken from the steamer and serve sliced, quartered, pulled, or just get in there with your bare hands and devour it like a wild animal.


Now that's what I'm talking about.

Now that’s what I’m talking about.


See also



Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


By-Th’-Bucket – It’s something alright

meter-ok-goodBy-Th’-Bucket is truly my kind of place, curious punctuation aside. It’s too bad really, because my last visit was about as uninspiring as Paris Hilton’s intellect. My love of anything and everything pasta usually means that I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to classic Italian eateries, but the permeating sense of ordinary just couldn’t be ignored.

It was a typical Saturday evening. Just like any other totally normal family, Shawn and I had spent the day walking the dogs, running errands, and using a power drill to fling natural rope fibers across the dining room. We decided that an awesome dinner was in order, and so we drove down the street to By-Th’-Bucket.

It's Saturday night. Where is everybody?

It’s Saturday night. Where is everybody?

” It was approximately as satisfying as not peeling the plastic film off of a new remote control “

I’ve been to this restaurant a number of times, and I’ve always liked it. It’s a blue-blooded seafood and pasta joint that’s been around for over 50 years – what’s not to like? Over the course of my last few visits, however, I’d started to wonder if they were slipping a little. No, that’s nonsense. I love all Italian food, and I love this restaurant. There can’t be anything wrong with it.

The menu at By-Th’-Bucket is extensive; there’s seafood, rotisserie meats, specialty pastas, pizza, steaks… The list goes on. I picked out gnocchi with meat sauce, and Shawn went for a Macho Man pizza. I wasn’t sure if I should feel amused or threatened that her meal would be manlier than mine. I decided instead to start humming the Village People hit of the same name, which resulted in a satisfyingly annoyed eye roll from across the table.

It's gnocchi I guess.

It’s gnocchi I guess.

Our food arrived after a slightly longer than average wait, and we dug in. My gnocchi was… Well, it was just extremely meh. It was about the same temperature as bathwater, and the sauce tasted like it came out of a jar. I didn’t hate it, but I could quite literally go to the grocery store and make the same identical dish with two basic off-the-shelf ingredients and a microwave. No, wait, it had a dried parsley garnish as well. Ok, so three ingredients. Ho hum.

This sure seems to be a pizza.

This sure seems to be a pizza.

Meanwhile, Shawn was enjoying – no, eating – her pizza. “Do you like it?” I asked. She shrugged, rather unimpressed. I tried a piece and shrugged in exactly the same way. Just like the gnocchi, it wasn’t bad so much as it was just sort of… there. The ham, pepperoni, and salami toppings were all exactly what you’d expect to find for sale in a gas station. The crust was bready but acceptable, and I couldn’t tell for sure if it was handmade or not. The sauce was red and probably made out of tomatoes. It was approximately as satisfying as not peeling the plastic film off of a new remote control.

I was at a loss for what I thought of the meal, because there wasn’t really anything at all to think of. Shawn, reading the expression on my face, said, “There are just too many other really good restaurants around here to bother with this place.” Yep, that was it. She’d nailed it.

In conclusion, By-Th’-Bucket isn’t a bad restaurant. I give it a middle-of-the-road 20 out of 40 armpit temperature gnocchi, making it more or less worth a visit if you find yourself stuck in the immediate area without a car. Sadly, By-Th’-Bucket’s biggest downfall is that it just isn’t up to snuff with its peers. I’ll be giving them another chance at some point I’m sure, but who knows when that will be. If you’re looking for awesome Italian food in San Jose, head a mile down the road to Tony & Alba’s instead.

By-Th’-Bucket
4565 Stevens Creek Boulevard
Santa Clara, CA 95051
(408) 248-6244
www.btbbarandgrill.com
By-Th'-Bucket Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon


I made it the whole post without a Bucket List joke.

I made it the whole post without a Bucket List joke.



Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.