Hunting for Something?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 Knows How to Make Fire

Yeah, you know where to find the best Heat-Resistant Gloves around, but what good are they if you have no heat?

We pampered 21st Century kids certainly take fire for granted. Push the striker on the grill. Turn the knob on the stove. With the right app, I'm sure you can get flames to shoot from a smart phone.

But out in the woods, especially if the weather is non-Bahamas, staying warm and cooking food is no longer automatic.

It takes the right gear.

That's what the people at Gear We Are specialize in: helping you buy the right stuff for all your outdoor adventures.

From tents to kayaks to dog toys, they have you covered.

But the categories that put the twinkle in my eye all relate to fire.

No, nothing is wrong with me.
Image via Gear We Are
I have a couple of camp stoves but none are as cool as what they've reviewed. I'm personally charmed by the simplicity of the portable Grilliput. Up in the woods and cooking over gas? No thanks. We're grilling over coals.

No spark, no dice however. I used to hike in fear my matches would get wet and it would be game over. Fear no more if you have the Polystriker XL by Exotac. Then you can harness the inferno-causing power of 5500Fº molten globulars.

Image via Gear We Are

I'm not sure what molten globulars are exactly, but I'm sure I don't have enough of them.

The Gear We Are people are dedicated outdoors-folk serious about separating the good stuff from the junk.

You can learn it from them or you can learn it ten miles up a trail.

The choice is yours.

Friday, March 10, 2017

When is "Barbecue Weather" in Finland?

Johannes' outdoor cooking setup in Hyvinkää
Image via by Johannes Leppihalme 

It's been a long winter here in Eastern Washington. It snowed on Monday. Again. It's March already.

I'm itching for Summer. Or Spring, even. I want to take my kids for a walk without spending 15 minutes getting dressed.

But waiting for Barbecue Weather? Silly, in my book. I eat in the winter, therefore I barbecue and grill in winter.

I won't let the weather tell me what I'm going to eat or how to cook it.

You know who else cooks outside whatever the weather?

This guy:

Image via by Johannes Leppihalme 

Meet Johannes Leppihalme from Hyvinkää, Finland. Up at the 60th parallel winter days can be less than six hours.

If you're waiting for a long sunny day to cook some meat outside, you'll be eating a lot of canned beans in the dark.

We met on Twitter and I realized we had a lot in common. We'll both cook outside whatever the weather. He doesn't like to lean on sauces or glazes, and neither do I. And we're both launching new things into the BBQ and Grilling world.

My wife and I have Dragon Knuckle.

He just launched his website Arctic BBQ today.

Is Hyvinkää the Barbecue Capitol of Northern Europe? Not exactly, but I'll let Johannes explain it.

"I live in Finland, which is not considered as the heart of the world's BBQ scene. However, there are a few BBQ enthusiasts here who are pretty damn serious about it. I have cooked outdoors since 2011 throughout the year, rain or shine, cold or warm, storm or calm, about hundred times a year.

"In my blog I try to share my experiences of BBQ near Arctic Circle through four seasons. I will share some of my favorite recipes, give insights to various BBQ equipment and accessories and share data on my grill and fuel performance. Data is something I would have benefitted from in the early days but I could not find it anywhere. I hope this will help new hobbyists to get started.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Image via by Johannes Leppihalme 

"Most importantly, I try to get connected with other BBQ enthusiasts around the world and learn new things. All feedback on improving my blog is warmly welcomed."

What are his favorite things to cook? He cooks a lot of fish, especially smoked or grilled salmon. He loves to do chicken, pulled pork, pork tenderloin, ribs, brisket and tenderloin steaks.

He says he's particularly well known for his grilled Christmas ham.

He's working on his moose technique. He's had success with smoked moose ragout, but this four pound moose roast was a challenge:

Image via by Johannes Leppihalme 

I imagine, like deer or elk, it's very lean and tricky to keep juicy.

He's going to two different BBQ Camps in May and will have a lot to share.

Check out his site. He's a Dragon Knuckle kind of guy.

Image via by Johannes Leppihalme 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Jen's Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast Casserole

I've known Jen since college. She was always the most outgoing and fearlessly social member of our gang.

We joked she should have "HI I'M JEN" as her license plate.

She's still getting to know people, understanding them and helping them be successful together. Now she's a career coach.

Since 2009 she's been building better careers and stronger teams through her own consultancy Career Coach Jen.

She started as a recruiter in 1998. Then she realized most businesses didn't really have to hire new people, they just had to do more with the talent they had.

I appreciate this, but she really had my attention when she told me about her food blog:

She features many great recipes, but her Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast Casserole is one of my favorites.

I'll let her tell you the story:
Image via by Jen Anderson
At the young age of 41, I became a mom and step mom for the first time. Every other weekend I find myself in a position to entertain and feed kids and I want to build special and unique memories with them too. I'm not their mom, but as their "bonus mom" I want to positively impact their time with us. So, cook for them, I do!

This Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast Casserole is a HUGE hit around here. The kids love it and hover around the kitchen as the smells permeate every taste bud in the house!

It means the world to me to have time with these great people, and it is an honor to cook and help their growing bodies develop. I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as our crazy bunch does!

1 12-oz tube refrigerated biscuits
4 Tbsp. butter
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb cooked sausage – I used maple and the touch of sweetness was really yummy
1 cup shredded cheese

For the gravy:
4 Tbsp. flour
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups milk

  • Cook sausage in pan. Instead of links, I use a tube of Jimmy Dean which is crumbly and easy to spread in a dish.
  • Cut each biscuit into 8 pieces. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix the eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper, and slowly add the 2 cups of milk. Simmer, stirring, until it’s thickened. This can burn easily so keep stirring. Should only take 2-3 minutes.
  • In a greased (I sprayed a light layer of Pam) 9×13 glass baking dish, layer the biscuits, sausage, cheese, egg mixture, and gravy.
  • Bake at 350°F/180°C for 35-45 min, until the eggs on the bottom are cooked.
  • Allow to cool 5 minutes, if you can wait that long!

Serve with Frank’s Red Hot sauce for an awesome vinegar-y kick. Enjoy!

I’ll see you at the table!

Next time I'm in Utah, hook this up, Jen. I love a big hearty weekend breakfast. And a nap.

Just don't burn your hands taking it out of the oven.