Saturday, June 26, 2010

Beef Brisket

After spending a day at the beach in San Diego we stopped at Kula Sushi in Irvine for dinner, then decided to hit the Korean market next door. While I was looking at the beef briskets Liz asked me if I knew how to cook it. "No," I said, resignedly placing the packet back into the refrigerator. But just as we moved on impulse hit me and I grabbed it back out and threw it in the cart.

Back home I wondered "Just how does one cook a beef brisket?" so I decided to hit up someone I was pretty sure would know. The Man came through, suggesting that because my cut was the Flat (lacking the layer of fat along one side) I should do a beer marinate to keep it tender while cooking (the role the layer of fat normally plays when one barbecues a brisket). He also recommended I slow cook this cut in the oven, covered or wrapped in foil, to keep it tender.

Alternatively, if I didn't mind a tougher cut, I could still marinate it and barbecue, but glaze it, and glaze it, and glaze it some more. That sounded like a lot more work than I was prepared to do. Not that I'm not afraid to stand out over the barbecue, tongs in one hand, beer in the other, but I'm rather partial to the "slap it in the slow cooker and forget about it until the house smell delicious and you start drooling" method of cooking.

Of course a beer marinate is not as simple as it sounds. What kind of beer are we talking about here? Lager? Ale? Draught? Bitter? Stout? It turns out Guinness is one of the most preferred beers to use as a marinate, as are English ales. Problem is my house currently has no beer, but we'll probably go shopping later so at least now I know one of the things we'll be looking out for. I also now know how to cook a brisket, but more importantly, how to shop for one. Thanks Daniel!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quick Review: UFC Undisputed 2010

I had a chance to play the PS3 demo of UFC '10 at Best Buy on the weekend, and I liked it. It was very quick and easy to pick up the basics, especially as it used Tekken-like controls with each of the 4 primary buttons being for left punch, right punch, left kick, & right kick. It made it very easy to string combos together while also demonstrating the infeasibility of throwing right roundhouse kick after right roundhouse kick after right roundhouse kick, etc.

Being UFC the game is more than just striking and fighters do go to the mat and can attempt submission moves. Not knowing (at the time) how to get out of a submission (or apply one) I settled for knocking my opponent the fuck out! Hey, it's UFC, right? It's not figure skating. So for the most part I was throwing combinations and going for a knock-out punch, and if I happened to knock my opponent to the mat I'd move in and hammer him with left-right-left strikes to the head until he pushed me away and the referee broke us up, or I broke through his defense, broke his nose, and knocked him the fuck out!

To demonstrate the engine's eloquence and subtlety my son took his turn and made it through the first round after cutting his opponent up (strikes to the head can cut while blows to the body leave nasty looking welts). When the bell sounded to start the second round my boy slowly backed away from his opponent while throwing several big, right hands that found nothing but air. But the fourth or fifth punch he threw finally connected and it must have found the sweet spot because his opponent went down like a poleaxed steer. One punch and Bam! (And we're not talking Margera) Knock out. Lights out. Game over. Thanks for coming.

Unlike my victories which came after several devastating head shots this was one, perfectly thrown punch that just knocked the recipient out for the count. So you can brutally beat your opponent into the mat, you can finesse your way to victory, or, as I'd find out in one of my matches, you can yield to an arm bar or some other various submission hold.

It's apparently getting quite high reviews and having played the demo I can understand why. It's controls are easy to pick up and it's probably loads of fun at a LAN party or just when you get a few mates around, but it also hints that if you're prepared to put in the time it could rival the fighting games of yesteryear for depth and complexity.

If I had a PS3 (or XBox), this is definitely one I'd be adding to my library.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How Country are you?

If you're real Country, you know what usually happens shortly after the lambs drop. If you need a subtle hint, think Barbecued lambs' tails and Rocky Mountain Oysters. What? That's subtle. Country subtle ;)

Many years ago, after getting the lambs into the holding pen there wasn't anything left for us boys to do so we decided to play Rodeo with the Ram that had been locked up in the nearby stable.

My mate climbed on top of the Ram and grabbed a couple of handfuls of wool, but the Ram just stood there, chewing some hay, probably wondering what was going on and why this fool of a kid was sitting on his back.

Now being a Ram he was not only responsible for impregnating the whole flock of sheep all by himself, but he needed to get the job done in a real short space of time. In order to tackle a big job like that all by himself a Ram needs a big set of tackle, and our Ram was no exception.

As my mate sat on the Ram's back and kicked his heels trying to get the Ram to start bucking, the Ram moved around and two things became very obvious.

And I got an idea how to get this Ram Rodeo underway.

I stretched out my foot and tapped these two things with my toe (really, it was just a tap.) and the Ram exploded. He leaped into the air and spun around and my mate went flying and as he crashed to the ground my mate's little brother and I roared with laughter.

We each took a turn riding the Ram and it didn't matter how good a handful of wool you got, each ride ended with the same result. That Ram did not like anyone touching his tackle, but who could blame him? With what the men were doing to the lambs outside maybe he thought it was finally his turn, and over the years he'd probably become real attached to his balls ;)

Imagine a dirt road, full of pot holes
With a creek bank, and some cane poles,
Catching channel cat.
I’m a little more country than that.
- Easton Corbin