Standin on a Corner

The Eagles were big when I was growing up and the Song “Take it Easy” was one of their hits. So, last month my wife and I found ourselves passing through Winslow Arizona on our way to California and decided we couldn’t pass up stopping there. Winslow is a small town on historic route 66 just off of Interstate 40. We found Winslow to be a nice little town with very friendly locals and tourists alike. We intended on just a quick stop for some fun photos and moving on but we wound up staying for more than an hour. The photo below is a HDR image of the “Standin on a Corner park“. While we were there we met a lady who’s husband was on the city council and was instrumental in the parks creation and a group of people out for a drive in their ’32 Ford Roadsters. In all it was was a fun diversion during our trip west.

This is a timelapse using my iPhone. It is the traffic on I-635 in Dallas as seen from my office window. I wanted to test the capabilities of the iPhone for doing timelapse videos and i think it did fairly well. I used an app called Miniatures available in the iTunes store.

Grand Cru Homebrew

A few months ago I decided to try my hand at home brewing (beer). I figured I would ease into it by starting out with a Mr Beer kit. It has low investment and easy to follow instructions. I did sort of deviate from the kit in that I used the West Coast pale ale liquid malt extract but I tossed the booster pack in favor of a pound of Bries amber dry malt extract. Additionally I used Fermentis Safeale S-05 yeast instead of the yeast provided in the kit. The first batch was such a success that I decided to give it a second go. This time around I decided to go with the Grand Cru kit from Brewferm. I’m pretty excited about it because it is one of my favorite styles of beer. It’s now in the bottles conditioning and I have about another month before it should be ready. I thought I would get fancy this time and I made a label for it just for fun. Here is the label image.

This is my first attempt at doing a time lapse video. The main purpose of it was to teach myself the mechanics of what i needed to do to get good results before I hiked out in the middle of nowhere and sit in the cold for hours. Hopefully with the data I gathered I will get some better results and a longer video soon.


I am so happy I finally was able to find this beer.

The Grand Cru from North Coast Brewing Company is a limited release ale brewed with agave nectar and aged in bourbon barrels. This is a strong ale with very subtle flavors. The bourbon barrel aging imparts a sort of caramel color and flavor to this beer. I certainly hope this becomes an annual tradition from North Coast Brewing. I’m still bummed that I couldn’t get a bottle of the Old Stock Ale Cellar reserve. Getting the Grand Cru makes up for it… some.

This pizza started with a home made crust and sauce. The sauce is made from fire roasted tomatoes, garlic and shallots with porcini mushrooms. It was topped with apple wood smoked Italian sausage, fire roasted shallots, sliced fresh mozzarella, and finished with shaved asagio cheese and fresh basil.

These steps can be performed at different times and saved for future pizza making. I roasted the tomatoes, garlic and shallots at the same time that I was smoking the sausage so the sauce picked up the apple wood smoke as well.

Fire roasted tomato, garlic and shallot pizza sauce

10 medium vine ripened tomatoes

5-10 cloves of garlic peeled

4-6 medium shallots peeled

3-5 TBSP Extra Virgin olive oil


Coarse ground black pepper

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

If you are going to roast this on a smoke then you may want to pick up a disposable aluminum pan with a medium lip.

Slice the tomatoes in half and lay cut side down in your pan. Drop the garlic and shallots in between the tomato halves. Drizzle liberally with olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.

I cooked this on the Big Green Egg using natural lump charcoal and apple wood chunks. I smoked the ingredients for the sauce with the Italian sausage for about an hour and then left the tomato, garlic and shallot mixture for another hour after that. The grill was set up for indirect heat at 225 degrees.

you will notice that in the photos below there is more garlic and shallot than I suggested using in the sauce. I didn’t want to waste the cooking effort so I cooked as much as would fit on my pan. You can put away the extras for making other things. Save half of the roasted shallots for topping the pizza.

When the tomatoes, garlic and shallots are done pour any liquid off and reserve for cooking the sauce. Put the porcini mushrooms into the liquid to re-hydrate the mushrooms. Let everything cool to room temperature. Puree the tomatoes, garlic, shallots and mushrooms in a blender or food processor. Cook the puree in a saucepan over low heat until reduced to desired consistency. Let cool and put up until ready to use on your pizza. This sauce can be frozen for future use. It makes enough for maybe 6-8 pizzas depending on how much sauce you like on your pizza. This would also make an excellent base for other dishes that use tomato sauce .

For the crust… there are so many pizza crust recipes on the internet I’m not going to put one on here.

I cooked the pizza on the BGE as well. I set it up for indirect heat and a temperature of around 450 degrees. It works best if you have a pizza peel to get the pizza on and off the grill.

lightly cover the peel with corn meal. spread your dough out onto the peel then top with the sauce, sliced Italian sausage, sliced shallots and mozzarella. Cook for about 15 minutes. after about 5 minutes you may want to rotate the pizza to make sure there are no hot spots to prevent burning. After you remove the pizza top with basil and shaved asagio cheese.

Mesquite Tree