"One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends."
~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'
For todays segment of Fridays, Feasting with Friends I am excited to tell you more about my good buddy Teradon, or TD as he is commonly known. You all met him last month when he shared that incredible Captain Morgan BBQ Sauce with us. TD was my first friend when I moved to Cambridge, MA. My parents had come up with me to help with the move. They had just left so I could get myself settled in on my own; I was lonely and unsure about living in a place so far away from the home I knew. I went to sit outside in my courtyard and who did I run into but TD. I told him I had just moved in and he asked if I wanted to hang out with him and some friends to play Trivia Pursuit. (How fun is that?!) This moment was a perfect example of the type of person he is. Being a transplant himself he understood what it is like to start over in a new place. TD and his wife, Caryn are such lovely people. They are incredibly warm and inviting, right away making you feel as though you've known them for ages. I miss them dearly, and look so forward to our next vacation in New England so we can catch up and I can finally meet their handsome son Cassidy!
TD is a big time outdoorsman. I will never forget the time he asked if I wanted to go along on a camping trip with their group of friends. I said sure, thinking it was an invite for the future. Turns out it was for the following weekend. It was the middle of winter. There was snow on the ground. Lots of snow. OK, I love being outside. Camping is a blast. But I have to admit the thought of sleeping in a tent with a few feet of snow on the ground sounded crazy to me! I thought he must be joking, but no, not a joke. I told him I was thrilled to be included BUT to just please ask me again when the weather was a touch warmer (OK, a lot warmer) I admit it, I'm a baby. He told me no problem, but it is really no big deal. See, they had extra boot and hand warmers and we would be sleeping under a lean-to, so there would be some shelter... Yeah, still sounding not so enticing. Sorry TD, I like to hike and camp but this was just a little too much for me!
But over the two years I lived there I did do a bunch of other really fun, new things with him. He taught (alright, tried to teach) me how to rock climb, which is another big passion of TD's. I gave it a really good try, and if I had lived there long enough I would hope that one day I would actually be good at it. Bouldering was also a ton of fun- much more my speed (climbing rocks without the use of ropes and harnesses) and I took to this really well. At most cookouts, TD would always pull out the slackline, which is I guess pretty similar to tightrope. You balance on a 1" rope that is just a foot or so off the ground. This pastime is common with many rock climbers and helps to improve strength and agility. TD was awesome at this (me, not so much). But goodness it was fun to try! I got halfway a few times, but never all the way across. One day, maybe! TD is adventurous and brave, but also a very patient teacher. These traits are going to make him an excellent father to his son. Goodness are they going to have fun as he grows up! Cassidy is one lucky little man. So for today's Fridays, Feasting with Friends I an thrilled to bring you my friend TD.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
That’s a very seasonal thing. I guess being summer right now it would have to be BBQ. Pulled pork, ribs, homemade sausage and brisket, oh and all the sauces that you’d like to go with it. In the spring I do a summers worth of about 5-6 different varieties. Pulled pork freezes well in vacuum bags, so you can always have it later. I buy ribs in 3 packs from BJs and vacuum seal them with the rub on. They smoke up very nice in my grill. I finally came to about 90% satisfied with my brisket. Took 2 days and 18 hours, but my friend who is a certified KC BBQ judge gave me 8’s and 9’s.
How about your least favorite thing to cook?
I try not to cook things I don’t like. So I guess that would be veggie burgers on the grill. You bring them, you cook them after the meat is done.
What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
My wife and I have never really eaten out much. We’re homebodies who like to cook. So I guess it would be a pub, not really a restaurant. The Thirsty Scholar on the Cambridge Somerville line. Best eggs Benedict and best fish and chips I’ve found and those are my two judging points for pubs.
I’ve been dying to try Oleana in Cambridge. The chef focuses on an Arabic Mediterranean cuisine and tries to serve as many in season foods as possible. She sources a lot from her husband’s farm. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this place and the difficulties in getting a table attest to that.
Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
Well we played nothing but the Grateful Dead for our wedding cocktail hour, but my go to for a dinner party is Buena Vista Social Club. It’s just so good and becomes part of a nice sit down meal so easily.
What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
Dry aged rib eye, rare, twice baked potatoes, extra crispy French fries, bowls of au jus, smokes ribs, NYC pizza, fresh fish tacos….I could go on. If I was going out, it wouldn’t be pretty.
What are you currently reading?
Just started I, Alex Cross, by Patterson last night. Not a huge Paterson fan, but it’s the only book I have left that I hadn’t read yet. I think I read about 3-4 books a month, mostly mystery/spy novels, aka don’t make me think books.
What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
Oh, so many! Depends on the meal really. But the number one is my knives. We put together a great set after we got some at our wedding. Best thing is, Caryn had them sharpened for my birthday this year!
This could be a column in itself with me. Recommended is Alton Brown’s double chicken wing steamer. So easy to make, such a great outcome for your wings.
Do you have a signature go-to dish?
Not really. I guess in the summer if friends are coming over I’d do some ribs up. Since they take about 3 hours on the grill, it leaves plenty of time to hang out without having to worry about the cooking process.
Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
Mom’s fried perch was definitely one of my favorites. Alas, I don’t make it at all.
Top 3 Movies of all time?
So hard to do. First three I think of watching anytime are, Dazed and Confused, Saving Private Ryan and Half Baked.
What was your happiest moment in life?
Cliché and all, but Feb. 14, 1996, the day my wife and I started going out. That day has led to a great life, a wonderful son and dog and too many adventures to count.
Where do you do your grocery shopping?
Stop and Shop mostly. BJs for a lot of my meats and Whole Foods if I can’t find what I need anywhere else. They are the only place I can find Juniper berries and dry aged steaks.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
Tiramisu from Whole Foods. Overly expensive, so bad for you, only buying the super large portion, hiding it and knowing that this is going to make you want to eat it forever. So yeah, Tiramisu.
Can you tell me about what you are most proud of?
My desire to learn how to do everything myself. From carpentry, wiring, sewing camping gear, brewing beer to cooking. Most of the money you pay in life is for someone else’s labor. I want to set a good example for my son like my dad did for me and I think I’m on the right track.
Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
To keep working on my knife skills, learn to make eggs Benedict from scratch (even the muffins), perfect my brisket and eat more biscuits and sausage gravy.
One word that best describes you is: Tall
Two for the price of one, since I always make these us as I go and have never measured anything, so adjustments may be warranted.
Grilled Tuna Steak with Asian Apricot Sauce
2 Tuna Steaks
1 Can apricots
2 T honey
3 T Rice wine vinegar
2 T Cider vinegar
2 T Fresh grated ginger
1 t Wasabi powder
½ t salt
Rinse the heavy syrup off the apricots, crush them up well. Add them to a pot and simmer for about 20 min. with the rest of the ingredients up to the sesame seeds. Cool sauce. Marinate tuna in sauce, setting aside some to top off the steaks. Coat steaks in sesame seeds and grill to rare. That’s rare, nothing else, its tuna not chicken. Spoon remaining sauce on top of steaks.
Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos
Corn or flour tortillas
4 Mahi Mahi filets (at least)
½ C fresh chopped cilantro
4 T Vegetable oil
2 1/2 T ground cumin
1 T Chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
Add the fish, cilantro, juice of 1 ½ limes, oil, cumin, chili powder, onion and garlic powder to a bag. Toss and marinate for 1 hour. Slice havarti thin, chop lettuce. Wrap tortillas in tin foil. Use two tortillas per taco when using corn. Grill fish, using marinade to coat as they grill. Warm tortillas on grill. Break fish apart and make tacos. Slice remaining half of lime and squirt on tacos.
This can be done in a pan as well. Shrimp works well and we’ll often do a mix of tilapia and chopped shrimp in the winter as tilapia doesn’t hold up on the grill. You can also toss in some OJ and tequila for a different flavor.