“I’ve been on so many blind dates I should get a free dog.” Whitney M. Young, Jr.

I love the food blogging thing. It introduces me to new tastes, new people and new products. One of the benefits and surprises is when you get an email supporting your efforts and offering you support. I keep saying that food is love and I still maintain that Stone Grilled Date and Goat cheese stuffed Chicken breastsphilosophy.  There are things you like and don’t like and it’s not until you try them that you find out.

This month Medjool Dates sent me an email and offered me product to do something with, anything I want!  What could be better than that? Well, I’m still waiting on the liquor companies! Hint, hint!

What can I do with dates on a BBQ? Actually, what can’t I do? You have to get down to thinking with flavours in mind. I was introduced to serving cheese with fresh honey on the side as an accent. The smoothness and bite of a strong cheese offset with a burst of sweetness. It was something I first had in Las Vegas as an appetizer and then ordered it again as dessert. Cheese is and has always been my favourite dessert.

Remembering the flavours I came up with the creation for the grill. Chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and dates. Pockets were sliced in the breasts and stuffed with the diced dates mixed with goat cheese that had been smoothed with a little olive oil, then rubbed with olive oil and seasoned for the grill. That would be my granite grill.

Then the appetizer dates stuffed with mascarpone, rosemary and wrapped in prosciutto.  Since everything here was already cooked, they only spent minutes on the grill to crisp up the prosciutto and warm the cheese.

So maybe a little too much date for one meal but when you’re exploring tastes I don’t believe there is too much. I adapted the stuffed dates later in the week. Having run out of prosciutto, I crisped up some bacon, blended it with the mascarpone and stuffed those wonderful little taste explosions.  Imagine the sweetness of the date offset with a little smoky bacon and the perfume of rosemary.

It’s all about exploring flavours.Date Stuffed Chicken breasts with golden honey rice

Be well and eat well

Scott

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BARBEQUE COMES TO THE BEACH!

So the weekend that was was spectacular!  For the 6th year straight, the air smelled of smoke, the grills were sizzling and the beer was flowing. Music transcended the days and night, and community and visitors occupied Woodbine Parks grass and grounds.  It Beach BBQ and Brew Festivalwas a great way to spend the Father’s Day weekend.

Teams from the US set-up their massive rigs and started burning cherry, hickory, and mesquite woods to begin the low and slow process of everything that is true BBQ. This year the CSBBQA sanctioned the Amateur Ribbers contest. It was wonderful to see dedicated Canadian teams entering the arena and offering up their versions of traditional BBQ.

Friday started with the Firefighters Command Cook-off. Each team was given a t-bone and a beef strip loin. The T-bone had to stay pure to judge their grill technique. Grill marks, taste and tenderness were the key. The loin however was free form and whatever they wanted to create as their side accompaniments was limited by their creative minds. I had the pleasure of being one of the judges and quite honestly, the competition was so close that there was no clear run away from the pack. The four teams represented the North, South, East, and West from the Firefighters community. Every team produced amazing plates, but as always, there needs to be a winner. The West pulled it out with Vlad’s clean and smooth presentation,flavours, and his grilling skills.

Saturday was Grilling Tent time. Ted Reader, Tonia Wilson, and I took to the stage to offer technique, ideas, and advice on how toLet's talk Fatty add some creative twists to the grilling scene. As always, Ted took the crowd through his unique and entertaining recipes and showed why he truly is the King of the Q.  Tonia brought creative sauces and a how to on transforming a boring flank steak giving it life, flavour, and taste. Me, I decided to introduce the crowd to a Fatty. Sausage meat, stuffed with cheese and rolled in a weave of bacon.  Everything disappeared!

Last day, Sunday, were the 2 competitions. The CSBBQA Amateur Ribber Competition and the North American Ribber Competition. I had the pleasure of judging the NA group. All the vendors that there present during the 3 day presented, served ribs, and this year an additional twist. They were asked to serve something out of the box but still utilizing the grills and their BBQ skills. Burritos, sliders, flat bread and pizza creations were all outstanding, not to mention their ribs. Bernie from Camp 31 MC’d the event and showed not only his BBQ knowledge, but his fun and skills at entertaining a crowd.  Ribs and the alternate were served every hour for 6 hours and I was looking for a place to crash as my food coma started kicking in. The winner was Swine Fellows with Jamie and Zack earning the trophy. Honourable mention to all, Bibbs, Hawgs Gone Wild, Camp 31, and Sticky Fingers. Your skills and food were off the cuff!

Chef ToniaThe first Beach BBQ and Brew Fest CSBBQA Ribbers Competition winners were White Bread BBQ. I wished I could have tried your stuff but I was a little full from the rest of the day. Congratulations guys!

I haven’t mentioned the music, the crowd, or the craft beer because if you weren’t there, you missed it. It was all phenomenal!

At the end of the day you realise what the BBQ is all about, community, good food, and fun. The phrase there is no bad BBQ came up during the day and I completely agree. If you like it, if it makes you feel good and you’re having a good time, then its good BBQ.

Kudos to Jen and Jeremy for the organization and the weekend, well done!

Hope to see you hear next year!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

 

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The Weekend Starts Today!

BBQ and BrewsThe weekend starts today!

The Beach BBQ and Brews Festival starts at 3pm this afternoon.

I’ll be there judging the 5th Annual Toronto Fire Fighter Command Cook Off tonight. I have my stretch pants all ready to go.

Saturday the Grilling Tent offers the talents and entertainment of Ted Reader, Chris Doepner, Tonia Wilson, and Me!

Sunday, Father’s Day is the Ribbers Contest.

Music fills the night with Paul Reddick Band with special guest Paul James Friday,  Fire Sound Band,  Frank Ryan  and

Michael White and The White – The Ultimate Led Zepplin Experience on Saturday, and  Lazo and BIG SUGAR finishing out the event on Sunday.

If you haven’t been before, make sure you come and get your fill of BBQ, Craft Beer, Music and community!

It’s a wonderful way to spend Father’s Day!

See You There!

Scott

Can you Smellllll! What the Beach is Smokingggg!

Hey everybody!

This weekend is the Beach BBQ and Brew Festival.
Great Food, great music, and great craft beers!
I’ll be doing a demonstration at the Grilling Tent at 5pm on Saturday June 14.
It’s a wonderful day and a great way to spend Fathers Day!
I hope to see you there!

Festival Hours
Friday June 13th 3:00pm-11:00pm
Saturday June 14th 12:00pm-11:00pm
Sunday June 15th 12:00pm-8:00pm

http://beachbbqandbrews.com/

Woodbine Park is located just north of the Beaches Boardwalk on the North-East Corner of Lakeshore Blvd East and Coxwell Avenue.

Too much smoke! Just a little! What I do for my art!

Too much smoke! Just a little! What I do for my art!

“I will not tease Fatty” Bart Simpson

Who you calling FattyIf you’re from the Seventies, a fatty has a totally different meaning than the one I did the other night!

It’s called a Fatty, or a Bacon Explosion, but whatever you call it, a lot of pork gave up their lives for it. I’ve been trying to find the history of the Fatty and have to say I have come up empty. It seems to be a southern US invention and has its roots in the smoking community. That seems appropriate! In general it’s sausage wrapped in bacon and stuffer with cheese, jalapenos, and onions. I don’t think the Surgeon General knows about this yet because it should come with the warning, “Please consult your doctor before consuming!”

If you haven’t heard of this or experienced it, you have to try it at least once.

Weave a pound of bacon the same way as you would have at summer camp to make a mat or coaster. If you have a macramé practitioner or basket weaver in your family, get them to do it. Assemble the bacon wrap on parchment paper or plastic wrap, (it makes the process easier).  Then spread your sausage meat on top, (7 or 8 de-cased sausages), so that you have an even layer covering approximately ¾ of your bacon mat. Along the one side of the sausage, add your cheese, jalapenos and onion. If you don’t like the heat, just use the cheese.  Then skilfully using the parchment (or plastic wrap), start rolling into a tight uniform tube.  Tightly bind the entire roll with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge to set-up for at least an hour.

My favourite wood to smoke this with is apple or cherry with a little hickory mixed in. When you’re ready, and your grill or smoker is at about 275f, place the Fatty of the grill (remember to take off the plastic first).  You’ll want to do this offset with a catch pan underneath for the drippings. There is a pound of bacon and sausage cooking there so be aware of flare-up and keep the grease away from the flames. It should take a couple of hours depending on your grill. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165f.  Just before you take it off and the excessive fat is now in your drip pan, place it over the direct flame to crisp up the bacon. Watch this because you will get flame.

Let your Fatty sit and rest at least 15 to 20 minutes before you slice.

You can serve this as an appetizer or as a main. A little BBQ sauce drizzled on top is wonderful.

Don’t tell your doctor this came from me!

Be well and eat well!

Scott TaitCheese Stuffed Fatty

Beach BBQ and Brews Festival! Saturday June 14th Grilling Tent Schedule!

Here is the schedule for the Grilling Tent Demonstrations at the Beach BBQ and Brews Festival!

Saturday June 14th – Grilling Demos
1:00PM – Chef Ted Reader
2:00PM – Chef Chris Doepner
3:00PM – Chef Ted Reader
4:00PM – Tonia Wilson
5:00PM – Scott Tait

http://beachbbqandbrews.com/

Hope to see you there on Saturday!

Be Well and Eat Well!

Scott

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