31 Days of Food - A December Recap / by MEAT ME

That is Right! 31 Days of Food. Last December I had so much going on with being booked almost everyday for work, becoming a mad obsessed baker, and friendly get togethers filled with excitment I really didn't have time to blog that much.

I do not like to disappoint so I decided to share with you my 31 days of food, fun and frustration. I hope you enjoy!

December 1st - I heard about this local butcher shop Lindy & Grundy. Found out they had Pork, Beef, and Lamb Bacon along with ground beef & bacon. They don't know it, but they are soon to become my best friends and will be featured in my "Moo to Mouth Meat: A True Love Story!" Coming out on Valentines Day so look forward to that. Check them out at: http://www.lindyandgrundy.com/

December 2nd - While I was at Lindy and Grundy I noticed Fat Dog. They had tasty mini burgers, a spicy lobster mac and a ferocious 18" hot dog that ended up at the bottom of my stomach. Check that post out at: http://meatmeblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/im-not-leaving-without-sticking-that.html#.TwT2O5jntRs

December 3rd - I had become sick of those pies in the grocery stores and decided to start making my own apple pies. Being a visual person I discovered Chef John's apple pie on his blog Food Wishes Video Recipes. Best site for people who love classic American dishes and have no idea what they are doing. It took forever to cut the apples, I had no idea my oven was 50º cooler than it said it was, and it boiled out all over my oven because I forgot to put it on a cookie sheet. None the less it was retarded good(even though it was a little soupy from being under baked but I totally recommend his stuff. Check him out at: http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2009/11/classic-american-apple-pie-warning-this.html

December 4th - Finally got out the the beef & bacon meat I got from Lindy and Grundy. Grilled myself up some burgers on my Griddle and it was mighty tasty. More flavor than I could have ever imagined. It is probably the only burger that could stand on it's own with out any bacon. Of course that is only because it is in the MEAT. Winning!

December 5th - I don't know what I was doing here, but I ended up making apple sauce. I took Chef John's (from food wishes) recipe for Strawberry Sauce and subbed the strawberries for apples and added cinnamon. This is what I ended up with. I tried another apple pie, it is still soupy, and I haven't figured out the temperature issue yet. I still strive for perfection so I try again.

December 6th - I had to go back to Lindy and Grundy for some of their Beef and Lamb bacon that I cooked up to go on top of a pasta dish. It was delicious. It is so nice to experience flavors that you have never tasted before it is as adventurous as going to a place you have never been before. It's exciting!

December 7th - I was not kidding I am totally obsessed. So I decided to make the same pie again. This would be number 6 and I decided to try out Chef Johns favorite apple pie receipt along with the classic apple pie. Only this time I used the Pillsbury premade dough for the new recipe. Peeling apples is killing my hands I discovered the most beautiful contraption "The Apple Thing That Peels, Cores, and Cuts Apples!" All at the same time. This was amazing something that took me 90 minutes now would only take 12 minutes. I also found out that if you put a tablespoon of salt in a bowl of water and throw your cut apples in they would not turn brown. Amazing. Unfortunately the new crust didn't cook all the way but the classic pie finally made it as I left it in the oven a little longer. Only one in the trash and the other in my mouth, and my apron was so dirty I had to use the girlfriends. Here is the Chef John's favorite apple pie receipt: http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2008/10/my-favorite-apple-pie-recipe-getting.html

December 8th, 9th, and 10th - Time for a break to enjoy some apple pie. I went to Detroit Style Coney Dog on Sunset and that hit the spot as usual. I made a sandwich in the oven and of course more apple pie. Check out Coney Dog at: http://meatmeblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/i-put-ketchup-all-over-my-coneys.html#.TwUUMJjntRs

December 11th -  I had an extra apple pie left over so I took it over to Lindy and Grundy for them to enjoy. I ran into Egg Slut the breakfast food truck. Their food was amazing. I was told that if I had gotten there earlier they make an eggs benedict that is made in a jar. It takes 20 minutes to make so next time I will have to get there a little earlier. You can follow them on Twitter @eggslut

December 12th - It's birthday time. It was my friend Esther the hair stylist's birthday. If you have seen my fashion work on her website you can see she is pretty awesome at what she does. We decided to celebrate at El Cholo in Los Angeles a fun Mexican restaurant and I had my first shrimp fajitas which where way better than I expected. You can check out Esther's work at: http://www.estherharville.com

December 13th - Short Order nice organic burgers and fries at a price. Yes it was very very good but a little on the pricey side. But the shake I would have paid twice what it cost it was that good, made with custard to top it off. You can check out this write up at: http://meatmeblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/dont-get-frustrated-with-your-food.html#.TwT-zpjntRs

December 14th - Time to get the christmas tree. Got to Home Depot nice an early and found a great tree for $40. The key was getting there early so you don't have to wait in line. Then I am off to work at the Auto Club Speedway in Pomona to work on the new Ford Mustang Catalog. As a digital tech/retoucher I am often stuck in the motor home. Don't feel bad they leave we with all the catering food where all the magic happens.

December 15th - Finally after my 5th try at The Burger Lounge they were open. Very well worth the wait. Organic food at a great price. Nice and affordable and super delicious. Nothing to hide here they have a giant window into the kitchen so you can see everything they are doing. Check out this review at: http://meatmeblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/go-with-your-gut.html#.TwUAHpjntRs

December 16th - Another day on the job in the motor home but this time in the hills of Malibu. If there is one benefit to working on location it's the view. So after I leave the beautiful beach and hit the depressing ride home I cheer myself up with the juiciest burger in town at Hole in the Wall Burger Joint. This place is slowly becoming a favorite of mine. Their custom thousand island dressing is to die for. Check out this review at: http://meatmeblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/remeat-hole-in-wall-burger-joint.html#.TwUA8JjntRs

December 17th - Let the holiday parties begin! I went over to my friend Kara's place who is also a foodie friend and as always loaded with party treats. If there is one benefit to rarely ever drinking it is getting to eat all night at these events, deviled eggs, dates wrapped in bacon. It never ends. I also decided to try the "sunrise" strawberry cheese cake on Chef John's site. Guess what I under cooked it. Well, one of them at least, and that was the one I took to Kara's party which ended up in the trash. The cheese cake that was cooked was absolute heaven. I learned that it should brown a little on the top and you can stick a fork in the middle and if it comes out clean it is done. Here is the receipt for the cheese cake: http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-york-style-sunshine-cheesecake.html

December 18th - FINALLY! I bought a fucking oven thermometer and guess what... 50º off. Sometimes, other times it was dead on. So i have to check every 5 minutes but I did it. The strawberry sauce on Chef John's site was not what I was looking for until I stumbled upon a GLAZE on someone else's site. I didn't really like what everyone else did so I made my own from different sites. I wanted something thick and shiny and poured all over the strawberries and cheese cake. I used 2 lhs of strawberries (tops cut off), 1 cup of sugar, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Boiled for 10 minutes while mashing strawberries. Then straining juice from strawberries and returning to pot, I added 3 drops of food coloring and 3 tsp of corn starch dissolved in 3 tbls of cold water. Add bring to a boil and let cool in fridge to thicken. Put your favorite strawberries on top and pour slowly until satisfied. At this point I am just making apple pies in my sleep and this time there was no soup-y-ness it was perfect.

December 19th - Break Time! Girlfriend's turn to cook and she made fried chicken and gravy. She gets her recipes from the Food Network. It is nice to be fed and she is really good at it. I could just sit back and enjoy!

December 20th - I decided to go to The Griddle Cafe which will be my next review so I don't want to spoil it... Stay Tuned. Laura was on such a role with cooking she made chili from The Better Homes and Gardens cook book. She added a little sour cream and cheese to show me some love on top. The only issue... She could not stop crying because of the onions. So i suggested the snorkeling goggles. As ridicules as it looks, it worked, so don't knock it till you try it.

December 21st - Another day on the JOB except this time it is advertising and it is for Russian Marlboro Cigarettes... Who would have thought? Aside from the fact that I was stuck in an out door tent in Downtown LA all day, the catering is always at it's best on advertising gigs. As boring as it may get I have the luxury of stuffing my face. I know your jealous!

December 22nd - Day 2 of Russian Marlboro and were in San Pedro and it is early. I don't mind getting up before the sun as long as there is a giant tub of bacon waiting for me when I arrive and there was. Heaven I tell you, can't get enough of this great food. In the evening I had the opportunity to try and stir up twitter with my fake UFO photos but no luck with that.

December 23rd - I am exhausted. Long work days and now I get a box of meat in the mail and I have to shoot my first YouTube video with no energy. I met Petit Jean Meats through Twitter and they sent me their Dallas Cowboys meat package and I just had to do an opening for them on YouTube. Of course it arrived the night before at the end of a long day and I don't want it to go bad. The very next day I cooked up some of their peppered bacon and smoked ham and made myself one of the best home made sandwiches ever. My friend Dan saw Santa Clause at a bar in North Carolina and I couldn't resist sharing it with you... He likes beer by the way, so don't waste your cookies. Check out Petit Jean Meats at: http://meatmeblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/gift-of-meat-petit-jean-meats.html#.TwUJr5jntRs

December 24th - Time to hit the road for Laura's parents house but not before revisiting the Burger Lounge on the way out. Hot Damn their food is good. Once on the road I notice to men behind us with mask's on. How ever people want to travel is up to them. I am guessing they had Tommy's for lunch and they are just being respectful to one another. That's all I can think of. Buddy is always up for a trip.

December 25th - Christmas! My favorite holiday and let's be honest it s the only day I get stuff. You can always tell which gifts are mine because they are wrapped in BACON!

December 26th - Jack Pot! Got exactly what I wanted. My own fryer! I am quick to make french fries and fried chicken. I think... It is nothing like what the girlfriend made the other day but it looks cool. I got all the fried chicken stuck to the fryer basket cause I just let it sit there. Lesson learned. I could not get the chicken to cook all the way through with out the fried part turning black. The fries were not even close to crispy. I tried 8-15 minutes with the chicken at 370º with no luck. Still working on it. The fries are supposed to be slightly cooked at 250º and then cooked all the way at 350º to be nice and crispy... All still a WIP.

December 27th - After spending 4-5 hours cleaning up after the fryer I decided to go back to the left over chili and add the sausage that I got from Petit Jean Meats and make a sandwich too. All together it was a tasty success. My parents gave me a box of Poppycock which still cracks me up. I guess it has been around forever but it still makes me laugh that at some point in that product development meeting someone said this is it... This is our next product. How they even came up with that name makes me laugh even more.

December 28th - Time to get down and dirty with Grandma aka Baka. That is Croatian for Grandma, it is what we call her. It was time to figure out how to make the family apple strudel and Cream Puffs. The strudel was awesome turned out great I will post soon on how to make it. Turns out the Cream Puffs were from a magazine and made with vanilla pudding. Which blows me away because it was my most favorite thing in the world. I did buy a french fry cutter but had the same results as before with the chicken. Someone told me the frier was too small to do whole chicken but was more effective with smaller items like buffalo wings... I have a feeling she's right.

December 29th - Back to The Waffle for my favorite shake and biscuits and gravy sub the biscuits for waffles and I am good. Can't get enough of this fabulous master piece. The girl and I were shopping and walked by the Godiva store they had that mountain of goodness so I just had to share it with you. Check out more of The Waffle: http://meatmeblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/remeat-waffle.html#.TwUR3JjntRs

December 30th - I sat down with my fishing buddies at Chabuya in Santa Monica for some lovely asian cuisine and remade Chef John's favorite Apple Pie... Again. Nailed It! I also got a book of 175 cheese cakes to make for Christmas and lets just say it is getting there, but at least the temperature is spot on. This was supposed to be Chocolate Fudge, Caramel, Pecan, Cheese Cake. It was mud and when I cut into it, it bleed fudge like a pig. The second one I made was a success so it is possible.

December 31st - Finally it is New Years! I made a Peanut Butter Fudge Cheese Cake which was also a stepping stone to a better cake some other time. My friend Dan loved it and at the party my Apple Pie was a hit which couldn't have been better described by my friend Niki, "Save that foodie bullshit for Yelp mother fucker and cut me a piece of your fucking apple pie!"

I look forward to a NEW YEAR of MEAT!

Screw Resolutions,
Sean Rice