Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Split Pea and Ham Soup

Paul | November 13, 2012 in Food,Fun | Comments (0)

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Recipe By: Paul Harsha (adapted from package)


1 ham bone
1/2 pound ham, chopped (if not enough on bone)
1 lb. dry split peas
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablepsoon butter
2 quarts water
2 bay leaves
1 lb. baby carrots, cut in thirds
1 can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon flour
salt, paprika, and white pepper, to taste


1. Empty package of split peas into a colander or bowl. Sort through well, removing foreign matter and imperfect peas. Rinse well. Soak for two hours in 2 cups water.

2. Cut any remaining ham off the ham bone, reserve.

3. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté minced garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until garlic is golden, but not brown in color. Add ham bone, paprika, split peas, soaking liquid, 2 quarts of water, and bay leaves.

4. Bring to a boil for 1 minute; skim.

5. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour.

6. Remove cover and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Skim again.

7. Remove ham bone and bay leaves. Pick any meat off the ham bone and add to reserve.

8. Process soup using an immersion blender. Add baby carrots.

9. Simmer soup for 30 minutes.

10. Remove one cup of liquid.  Whisk flour with liquid.  Add back to soup.

11. Remove another cup of liquid.  Puree with frozen peas and stir in to soup.

12. Stir in evaporated milk.

13. Remove any fat or gristle from reserved ham. Chop roughly and add to soup.

14. Cook 10 minutes, or until soup is at desired consistency.

15. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chili Watermelon Gin (and Tonic)

Paul | July 5, 2012 in Food,Fun | Comments (0)

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Chili Watermelon Gin (and Tonic)

Recipe By: Paul Harsha
Serving Size: 8


Watermelon Syrup
16 ounces seedless watermelon, cubed
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 serrano chiles, seeded
Pinch of salt
Gin & Tonic
1 ounce watermelon syrup
2 ounces gin
3 ounces tonic (Fever tree) or club soda
Lime slice for garnish


1. Puree watermelon, sugar, chiles, and lime in a blender.

2. Strain watermelon mixture through a sieve

3. Transfer to fridge to chill (at least an hour).  Pour liquid off any solids.  Save liquid, discard solids.

4. Fill a tall glass with ice.  Add Watermelon, then Gin, then Tonic (or club soda) to taste.

5. Garnish with lime slices.

Pink Sangria (and Happy 4th)

Paul | July 5, 2011 in Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (3)

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1 bottle Rosé or White Zin, 750 mil
1/4 cup orange or peach flavored liqueur (Grand Marnier or Mathilde)
1/4 cup cachaça
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 orange, sliced
1/2 lemon, sliced
1 peach, pitted, sliced
12 white grapes
1/2 cup lime flavored sparkling water


1. Combine orange, lemon, and lime juices in a small bowl. Add sugar, stir to dissolve.

2. Combine wine, cachaça, liquor, and fruit juices in a pitcher.

3. Thinly slice orange, peach, and 1/2 lemon. Add slices and grapes to wine and chill 4 to 6 hours.

4. Just before serving, add sparkling lime.

the obligatory Stanley Cup Final pic

Paul | June 20, 2011 in Fun | Comments (0)

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It almost seems like a dream…

Fruit Salsa

Paul | June 19, 2011 in Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

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2 peaches
2 plums
1 small onion
3 tablespoons cilantro
1 clove garlic
2 serrano peppers
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
white pepper


1. Put lime juice in a cuisinart.  Add the seeded peppers and garlic, process until very fine.  Move to medium bowl.

2. Use cusinart to chop onion, then peaches, then plums. Put in medium bowl with lime/chili mixture.  Be sure not to over chop. Pieces should be scoopable, but not pulverized.

3. Use cuisinart to chop cilantro until fine. Add to bowl.

4. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper, and Tabasco.  Mix well.

5. Chill for an hour to let flavors blend, stir.

6. Serve with blue corn chips. Also good on fish.

Yield: 2 cups


The ingredients are variable — basically two firm tart fruits and two softer sweeter fruits.  I use nectarines in place of peaches when available, but basically anything ripe and in season.  Even pear.

My most recent variant was mango/peach.  Two mangoes (peeled) and two peaches (unpeeled).

Smoking the Controversy

Paul | June 4, 2011 in Food,Fun | Comments (2)

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The latest Dizzy Pig newsletter contains this little bit of heresy:

Using wet wood is the easiest way to over smoke your food. There is almost nothing good about the smell of wood that is trying to burn, but can’t. The smoke is brown and thick, it burns your eyes, and your meat only needs to be in that smoke for seconds before it lays down a nasty flavor on your meat that won’t go away.

So now you know what not to do, but what DO you do? Use dry wood and don’t put your meat on until the smoke is burning cleanly. Generally the smoke will start off as a brown or tan color, and as it dries the smoke will tend toward a blue color. Clean burning wood doesn’t always produce visible smoke, so you don’t need to see the smoke to taste it. When in doubt, put your face in the smoke and smell. If it burns your eyes, smells strong, or has a tan or brown color then wait.

All my life, I’ve soaked my woodchips before use.  It even says to do it on the packaging.  NOW, I’m being told it’s actually hurting my BBQ.  I use a box for the chips, anyway, so should be fun to try out.  Maybe tomorrow…

While I’m on the subject, here’s a good chart and a slightly more in depth comparison of wood chips. I used to be all about the hickory and mesquite, but the last few years have gone with pecan or cherry.  I use Cowboy Charcoal in my Big Green Egg because it’s easy to get, but Naked Whiz has a whole page of brands they like better.  Royal Oak, for example.

for Memorial Day: a simple rib recipe

Paul | May 27, 2011 in Food,Fun | Comments (0)

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Paul’s Smoked Pork Ribs


2 to 3 racks of fresh pork spare ribs
1 cup yellow mustard
Heavy duty grade aluminum foil
Pork Rib Rub (I use Dizzy Dust)
Apple Juice
Apple Cider Vinegar


1. Rinse ribs in cold water and pat dry. Use a table knife and a paper towel to remove the membrane. If ribs are not already trimmed, then trim according to your preference, taking care not to cut too much off. I remove the bone side flap, square the ribs, and scrape off excess fat as needed.

2. Use a barbecue brush or a spoon to coat one side of the pork ribs in mustard. Shake your rib rub over the rib racks, coat well.  Let liquify for 45 minutes, then rub in.

3. Repeat for other side. Let rest at least 30-60 minutes. Refrigerated, of course.

4. Put racks on a large cookie sheet or pan, cover loosely (make a foil tent so as not to knock the seasoning off) with foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

5. Bring Grill to 220-210 degrees.  Soak wood chips and add to coals.  Mix water, apple juice, and cider vinegar in a drip pan and place under ribs.

6. Smoke for three hours, naked.  Start bone side down and flip once an hour.  Spritz with cider vinegar and apple cider at each flip. Sprinkle with dust as needed.

7. Smear honey in aluminum foil.  Add a splash of apple juice and a splash of cider vinegar.  Wrap ribs in foil.  Smoke for 2 hours.

8. Unwrap ribs and smoke for an additional hour, bone side down.  Spritz as needed, or you can add sauce during the last half hour.

There are some helpful pictures here, although the recipe differs:

and now for something completely different

Paul | May 7, 2011 in Food,Fun | Comments (0)

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Chiffon Cake

I love the LA Times food section:

Heralded as “the first new cake in 100 years” when it was introduced, the chiffon cake — one of the darlings of midcentury cuisine — became famous for its wonderfully light and airy texture, seemingly weightless as angel food but with a moist tenderness almost like a rich butter cake. And the delicate creation was originally developed by a Los Angeles insurance salesman.

Back from Germany

Paul | April 26, 2011 in Fun,Travel | Comments (1)

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Great trip. Still not convinced that cold cuts are breakfast.

Dear Marathon Visitors

Paul | April 17, 2011 in Fun,Transportation | Comments (1)


The whole “Boston has no traffic laws” thing is a JOKE. Crossing three lanes of traffic in a rental car while talking on a cell phone is just as frowned on here as it is in other cities. Nor do you get bonus points for not using your turn signals.

Enjoy your visit!