Limoncello/Arancello

Posted in Uncategorized on July 26th, 2012 by Tice

Two years ago I decided to make limoncello (an Italian lemon liqueur) as Christmas gifts for everyone, scratch that, for a few lucky people.

Limoncello

Christmas presents for the lucky few!

It was a great hit and the people who got their hands on a bottle of this liquid gold were very pleased and most of them graciously handed an empty bottle back to me asking that it be refilled if I happen to make some more.  Well, last year I decided to make it again.  This time I opted to make arancello (orange liqueur) instead of limoncello. Personally I preferred the arancello over it’s counterpart, mainly because it had more flavor.  Maybe I just got better at making it….  Here’s how I did it.

Arancello

Round two: Arancello

I got my recipe from a produce purveyor of mine when I lived in Orange County, CA  (Thanks Theodoro!!!!) He was from Sorrento, Italy, which is one of the largest produces of limoncello in the world. Anyway, I got the recipe from him and he got it from his mother who would make it every year when the lemons were ripe. He said that she would use an alcohol made from sugarcane, very similar to rum, but with a much higher alcohol content. The closest thing that I could find was Everclear grain alcohol.  This is some strong stuff! 95% -190 proof.

Peeling the fruit

Luckily for me, when I lived in Southern California, lemon trees were everywhere! So I asked some of my fellow co-workers, who I knew had trees in their yards, to bring me some our their fruit. I knew that they were all organic and not sprayed with pesticides. So I started out by scrubbing all of the fruit with a vegetable brush, just to get all of the dirt off.

 

 

 

Washed lemons

Washed oranges

After that I started the painstaking process of peeling all of the fruit with a vegetable peeler.  Since the peeler took off some of the pith as well as the rind, I had to go through every peel with a flexible boning knife and remove as much of the bitter white pith as I could. If I hadn’t gone through that monotonous task, the pith would have imparted a very bitter taste to the finished product.

 

 

My bitter enemy

Removing the pith.

 

To be honest with you, I never really followed Theodoro’s recipe to the T. I basically just used it as a guideline.  So I can’t give you an exact recipe per se. But what I did do was this. I poured all of the grain alcohol in a non-reactive container and kept putting in lemon/orange rinds until they took up about half of the alcohol. So a 2:1 ratio- liquor to rinds.

Lemon rinds steeping in the grain alcohol.

Once I threw in the rinds, I covered the container very tightly with a double layer of plastic wrap and the plastic lid, so the alcohol wouldn’t evaporate. I let is sit in a cool dark place, like a basement or closet for about 2 weeks to a month. Obviously the longer it sits, the stronger the flavor. During those weeks, I would check it everyday and give it a good shake, just to mix things up a bit. It was interesting to see the change in the color of the liquid.

Orange rinds steeping in the grain alcohol.

After about three weeks, I strained the alcohol into a clean container, through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheese cloth, just to remove  any debris or sediment that may have formed.

Strained alcohol, ready to mix. Looks like Tang!

The next step is making the simple syrup. There are different ratios/recipes for the syrup. The one that I use is two parts water to one part sugar (2:1).  Most recipes call for equal parts  of sugar and water, but I like to add more water because it stretches the alcohol and leaves you with a larger batch, it also cools down the burn from the grain alcohol.

Me mixing in the simple syrup.

When I mix, I usually use two parts of simple syrup and one part alcohol.  As you mix in the syrup, you’ll see that it becomes cloudy.

Ready to mix the limoncello

Mixed and ready to bottle.

Ready to bottle

I usually adjust the level of sweetness to taste.  But after a few tastes of this, you are definitely feeling it.  Put your finished product in clean, resealable bottles and chill them before you enjoy them!!

Finished Product

Finished Product

Finished Product

Maybe this year I’ll try a limecello!!

BBQ from Texas to Tennessee

Posted in Uncategorized on June 18th, 2012 by Tice

BBQ

 

 

The first stop on our whirlwind BBQ tour of the Southern US was at Dyer’s Bar-B-Que in Amarillo, TX. Dyer’s had some good ribs. The brisket was tough, and the kielbasa was too fatty.  I can’t say that I don’t like Texas Bar-B-Que, because I’ve only had one, but for the one that I have had, I wasn’t too impressed. I’d imagine that to get a real taste of Texas Bar-B-Que, I would need to spend a lot more time than one day, more like a week.  A challenge that I would gladly take up one day.

Dyer’s Bar-B-Que Amarillo, Texas

Our next BBQ stop was in Fort Smith, AK. It’s just over the border of Oklahoma into Arkansas.  The first place that we tried unfortunately was closed. But, we took a picture anyway.

Pink Flamingo BBQ, not open the day we were there.

All I can say is that in hindsight, I am mighty pleased that Pink Flamingo was closed. Because the BBQ joint that we found later that evening was amazing! It was called Whole Hog Cafe. They are the winners of way too many awards to mention, and I found out why. They had a six pack of BBQ sauces sitting on the table. They ranged from sweet to hot to South Carolina mustard based (my favorite) to North Carolina vinegar based, and they were all delicious, but the swine was so good, it could have stood alone.

Whole Hog Cafe in Fort Smith, Arkansas

I had a platter that had a pulled pork sandwich and a half of a rack of baby back ribs. And after I finished that plate, I ordered another half rack of ribs because they were that good!! I’m a sucker for good ribs!!

Whole Hog Cafe, Fort Smith, Arkansas. Damn good ribs!

We got up and drove the entire next day to Memphis, the home of Elvis, Blues music and the dry rub rib. We started out at B.B. Kings Blues Cafe on the corner of Second St. and the famous Beale St. The blues were blaring and the place smelled of hickory…my kind of place. Now even though Memphis is home of the dry rub rib, I opted for some sauce on mine. And since we crossed the Mississippi River from the west, we were able to get our first taste of Yuengling in a while!

BB King’s Blues Club

BB King’s Blues Club, The sauce was a tad bit sweet, but good.

Even my son, Grady, got into the action at BB’s!!

Grady at BB King’s enjoying some ribs!

After we left BB’s we went to Pig on Beale. We saw BBQ trophies in the windows and needed to try what all the Memphis dry rub hype was about.  The flavor was fantastic….but it seemed like my ribs were sitting for too long after they had been in the smoker and were dry.  I was very full and a little disappointed.

Pig on Beale. Flavorful ribs…but were dry.

So after walking around Beale St. for a bit, we decided to try the place that is epitome of Memphis BBQ, Charles Vergos Rendezvous. Now I’ve seen this place on countless BBQ shows and read about them in many books, so needless to say, I was very excited to finally get the chance to go there. You have to walk down a little ally to find this place

Charles Vergos Rendezvous Alley

Legend has it, that some of the staff have been there for over thirty years and the younger guys have only been there for ten to twenty years!

Charles Vergos Rendezvous

This place definitely has history! After eating ALL day long, to be honest I wasn’t even hungry. But we only had a few hours left in Memphis and we wanted to make the most of it.

We started out with the sausage. It was good! Dusted with their rub, served with pickles, saltines and cooked to perfection.

The sausage plate at Charles Vergos Rendezvous

I had to get the ribs. No matter how full I was, it had to be done. And I’m glad I did, kinda. The flavor was out of this world! There was no sauce, just rubbed and some jus on the plate to dip the ribs into. But I must say they certainly weren’t the best that I had that day. They seemed like they needed some more time to cook. They were tough and gristly. Some more time on the charcoal would have done justice to those ribs, in my opinion.

Ribs at Charles Vergos Rendezvous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were glad that we went and would return to Rendezvous, next time we are in Memphis, to give it another shot. The service and ambiance were great.

Charles Vergos Rendezvous

Our next stop was for lunch while driving across Rt. 40.  We stopped in Dickson, TN. This place was a gem! Bart’s Bar-B-Que and Catfish Cooker.

Bart’s Bar-B-Que and Catfish Cooker

This place had it all! Fantastic ribs, great braised greens, awesome beans and moist cornbread! And the server was as sweet as the tea. I can honestly say, if this place was anywhere near me now, I’d be there a couple of times a week.

Ribs and pulled pork platter at Bart’s Bar-B-Que and Catfish Cooker

My wife, Hayley, got the fried catfish platter, which was crisp and flaky and the mac and cheese was flavorful.  I learned a saying from a Southern “gentleman” couple years back when I asked him how to cook the fish I had recently caught, he said that  ” you can either fry it, or f*#k it up” .  This place must have read the same book.

Catfish platter at Bart’s Bar-B-Que and Catfish Cooker

Grady and me at Bart’s Bar-B-Que and Catfish Cooker

The BBQ Gods shined some light on us and saved the best for last. Our last stop was later that same night at Big Boy’s BBQ.

Big Boy’s BBQ

Unfortunately by the time we got there, they had sold out of ribs.  But that was just fine because the pulled pork was awesome!! The beans were porky, sweet and full of flavor. If I were to ever own a BBQ joint, this would be the role model.

Pulled Pork at Big Boy’s BBQ

Delicious smokey, porky beans at Big Boy’s BBQ

The place was filled with BBQ and pig memorabilia.

Big Boy’s BBQ

Big Boy’s BBQ

So, that was a lot to pack into five days, especially driving across the country with a nine month old. After we left Tennessee, we drove to my family’s home in North Carolina and stayed a few days and cooked some BBQ of our own. Next time we decide to do a tour of BBQ across the South it will be more planned out and over an extended period of time. I imagine that I could spend a few days in each state and still not even scratch the surface of what they each have to offer.

Good Bye SoCal, Hello Philadelphia

Posted in Uncategorized on June 18th, 2012 by Tice

As my wife and I say good bye to our great friends and 8 years in Southern California, we start our journey with a little BBQ Festival at the O.C. Fairgrounds.

Our son even made the Orange County Register

Grady at OC BBQ

Grady at Orange County BBQ Festival

Jon & Hayley @ OC BBQ

Hayley and I at the Orange County BBQ Festival

On August 5, 2011 we embarked on the next adventure in our lives and drove across country to Philadelphia.

Jon in the POD with the Honolulu Fish Moving Boxes

Me in the POD with the Honolulu Fish Moving Boxes

Thanks to Bill Yun from Honolulu Fish Company for shipping the Pacific Club’s fish in such sturdy boxes. It made our packing a lot easier.

Beautiful Sunny Costa Mesa, California

Good-bye sunny blue skies, no humidity, no pesky bugs and fresh sea air. We miss you dearly. We also miss our incredible friends Mike and Tina Webb, Sandy Shirgaokar, Justin Paulson, Adam Keough, and the list goes on.

5 days and numerous BBQ stops later (BBQ tour post coming soon), we stopped in North Cackalacky to see my parents and brother.

The Tice men in action

Me, my nephew Gregory, Papa Tice, my brother Matt and Grady

On Wednesday August 17, 2011 we rolled into Philly, our next chapter.

Welcome to Pennsylvania

I had a couple of interviews lined up already when we arrived. The interviews all went very well, and luckily I was able to pick the best position that fit me.  More on that position in a later post.

 

 

Bresaola

Posted in Uncategorized on July 3rd, 2011 by Tice

 

Bresaola. Air dried beef, cured for 14 days.

After it cures for 14 days, it is hung to dry for 30 days.

Just checked in on some of the ones that are still drying. These have been drying for one week.

Bresaola sliced and ready to enjoy.

After it dries for 30 days, we slice it thinly and serve it with heirloom melons, burrata cheese, wild arugula, mint and basil.

Making Head Cheese

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7th, 2011 by Tice

It all starts with a pig head

Brining the head

Final product

Absinthe and Arlequin Cafe, San Francisco

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24th, 2011 by Tice

Tice’s Spices has been added to the menu at Arlequin Cafe in San Francisco. Arlequin Cafe is a sister restaurant to Absinthe Brasserie and Bar (recently mentioned in the April 2011 Food & Wine Magazine).

This is how they used it…

“Tice’s Spices” Roasted Chicken frisee & watercress salad, roasted fingerling potatoes, sourdough croutons, yellow wax beans, grain-mustard dressing.

Check them out on the link below.

http://www.arlequincafe.com

http://www.absinthe.com

 

Arlequin Menu Cover

 

Culinary Institute of America – Food & Wine Pairing Class

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24th, 2011 by Tice

CIA Greystone campus in St. Helena, California

Team collaboration with Chef Tod Kawachi

Butchering a Goat

Posted in Uncategorized on April 12th, 2011 by Tice

Tice’s Spices

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14th, 2011 by admin

Tice’s Spices is a blend I created for a summer BBQ tri-tip about 5 years ago, but it is good on everything. It works well on pork, chicken, beef, vegetables, potatoes, popcorn, eggs, fish, dough, corn, cake… hence our motto…Everything Rub, Rub Everything.