Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I'm Running Away to Join the Carnival(s)

As I mentioned over the weekend, my recipe for grilled chicken with a cordon bleu-like twist was in the latest Carnival of the Recipes. I saw the biggest one-day spike in reader traffic in as long as I can remember. Now, I am not as driven by stats as I used to be (a phase all Bloggers go through), but a little positive reinforcement is always a good feeling. So you can bet your assets I've already submitted my shrimp taco recipe. Heck, if I ever post ANYTHING that's remotely related to a Blog Carnival, I'm submitting it!

Well, today I got even more of the same kind of attention. Last weeks post on Britain's proposed knife ban, and the connection to gun control, made the latest Carnival of Cordite (if only with a cursory Reynoldsesque "heh"). This is not normally a topic I Blog on, but not because it doesn't concern me. In fact, I'm quite a staunch supporter or the Second Amendment. But prior to last week, I didn't feel I had anything useful to add to the conversation.

One of my readers, and a dear friend, suggests that my views will changew as The Lad gets older. She may be right, but as it stands now, I highly doubt that. In fact, if you read the comments to this old post, you'll see that it has been fatherhood that has changed me from being a supporter of the Second Amendment to considering actively exercizing my rights under it. As I told my friend Vulture Six on the phone this weekend, if it became necessary, I would end the miserable existence of anyone who tried to harm my child.

I suppose my friend's concern has to do with the possibility of a gun in the house itself being the danger posed to The Lad. To that, my response is to remind my readers about my main annoyance at the article about knives in Britain -- Personal Responsibilty.

For the record, I grew up in a household which contained firearms, and yet I am here today having never shot anyone or been shot by anyone as a result of a tragic accident. In fact, the only life I ever ended with any of those firearms was that of a harmful four-legged varmint damaging farm property. The secret? I was taught at an early age not to go anywhere near those guns without my father's supervision, and when I was old enough to handle them, I was taught HOW -- never point a gun at anything you don't intend to shoot, always treat every gun as if it is loaded, keep your finger off of the trigger until you are ready to fire, store guns and ammo separately... if you have guns, you'd damned well BETTER know what I'm talking about.

To be fair, I do intend to practice even more stringent safeguards in my household than my father did, including keeping the guns locked when not in use. I most certainly don't want my son to be put at risk as a result of MY negligence.

But by the same token, I am painfully aware of the numerous and growing thrats outside the home, and refuse to limit myself to the options available to me to protect him from them.

More from the Grill

despite yesterday's foibles and Sunday's work, and the fact that it rained Saturday, Friday night I did get a chance to use the grill, and Saturday the smoker. On saturday I tried my hand at making jerky. It worked out ok, plenty smoky and the right consistency, but the flavor was weak. I think I need to work on my brine recipe.

Friday, The Feared Redhead wanted a break from red meat, so I suprised her with a seafood dish. I whipped up some grilled shrimp, then served it on tacos. I wanted to try something different with the salsa for it -- standard hot sauce or salsa didn't seem to really do it justice, so I created a Cocktail Salsa -- a combination of salsa and cocktail sauce. It worked surprisingly well. Enjoy.

Grilled Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos

For the shrimp you will need:
1 lb. raw 26-30 count shrimp, peeled & de-veined
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 cup tequila
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro

For the tacos you will need:
Grilled Tequila Lime Shrimp
6-8 medium corn tortillas
Shredded cabbage (most grocery stores carry bags of pre-shredded cabbage in the salad section, often labeled as Cole Slaw Cabbage. This does quite nicely.)
Grated cheese (Mild or medium cheddar, jack, pepper jack, Colby jack, or your personal favorite)
Cocktail Salsa (see below)
Cooking spray or vegetable oil

For the cocktail Salsa you will need:
¼ cup ketchup
1 tbsp. Mexican hot sauce (Tapatio and Cholula are both popular choices.)
2 tbsp. chunky salsa
2 tbsp. horseradish

In a glass mixing bowl, combine the shrimp, taco seasoning, tequila, lime juice, and cilantro, mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, salsa, hot sauce, and horseradish. Refrigerate.

Preheat the grill to medium/medium high heat. Lightly spray both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray or lightly rub on a small amount of vegetable oil. Place the tortillas on the grill, cooking for only 30 seconds to a minute on each side. They can then be wrapped in foil and kept warm on the grill away from direct heat.

Remove the shrimp from their marinade and grill. You can probably use skewers, though I use a grill basket. Cooking time will vary, usually around 5 minutes a side, though you definitely want to watch shrimp closely, and if you are tossing them in a grill basket it can take a bit longer. Once the shrimp are a solid pinkish color and no longer translucent, remove them from the grill.

Place 4-5 shrimp in each tortilla. Spoon on some of the cocktail salsa, and top each tortilla with cabbage and cheese. Makes 6-8 tacos.

The Last Thing I Wanted to do on Memorial Day

I'm a big believer in NOT making Memorial Day just another excuse to shop. But I'm also married to a redhead and have a keen survival instinct.

TFR's sister and her husband live up in Portland. Our youngest nephew just graduated from a crib to a toddler bed, and The Lad is read to move from a Basinet to a crib, so it was decided that we would spend Sunday driving up north to pick up their crib. We decided to meet about half way (or thereabouts). The SIL came down with a case of stomache flu on Sunday, so the rendezvous was postponed until Monday. It was decided, furthermore, that we should meet a bit farther north than half way, in Woodburn. This suggestion immediately caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand up, because Woodburn is home to... an outlet mall (cue ominous soundtrack).

Yup, sure enough, that mall's parking lot was picked as an ideal meeting spot, being easy to find and all. I made it clear that I didn't want to spend all day there, especially since the day before had been spent on chores and housecleaning. It was agreed, a little time with the SIL, an hour or so of looking around, and then home. We arrived promptly at 11 AM.

We got home at 8 PM.

So for all those who got to spend Memorial Day, Y'Know, Memorializing, or even just resting, you have my undying envy.