India – (Not) The Final Frontier

Stardate: 212016. Bags are like 99% packed…. I think. Just remember everyone, if we forget something on this trip, we are blaming Kevin. Sorry Kev.

I now have a will. I’m now “that guy”. While talking with a family friend he made a comment saying that after a week of India I will want to be home. I think since we aren’t staying in one location for more than 1 or 2 nights, I won’t be sitting still long enough to even think of home.

Tech Free? Not!

I am bringing my phone and laptop so I can keep in contact with family and blog/vlog. Part of me wishes I could just let everything go and just be there. No camera to take pictures, no phone to call family, no laptop to upload pictures and content.

It isn’t because I don’t want to be in touch with people. It’s that I want time that belongs solely to me and my grandfather. I know that the essence of this trip really is that, but it would be nice to just be tech free for a day or a trip.

Just Ready to Be There!

My family Is being awesome about my leaving. I am trying to tone down the true level of excitement I have so I don’t burn them talking about it. As the hours tick closer to takeoff, I am just ready to be there.

I have some goals for this trip

· Come home with a pet Himalayan Blue Sheep

· Do not come home half eaten by the tigers

· Do not get bitten by any snakes

· Take amazing vlogs

· Spend time with family I have never met

· EAT ALL THE FOODS (insert meme here)

· Do not come home with a bride

· Figure out how to make yearly work trips like this

The Food

I made a bad decision last night and decided to look up different foods in the regions we will be staying. I did this on an empty stomach and I was ready by the third page to go to the market and pick up all the ingredients to try everything I saw. Not smart to do at 3am.

Mango-Chutney-Chicken-1-finalMango Chutney Chicken

A Fanged Look At The Snakebite

Growing up I spent a lot of time in the wilderness of Texas and Colorado. I was always told to watch out for snakes so they don’t bite you. I am now well past 21 and I have a snakebite a few times a month.

A Fanged Look At The Snakebite

No Snakes Were Harmed During the Writing of This Post

Okay, so by now you have figured I am probably not talking about a real snake biting me. Then again, I could just be a deranged lunatic who just likes the oh so sweet feel as the venom courses though his vein *clears throat* sorry off topic.

Rum Rebellion

No, I am talking about a drink that I had never heard of prior to finding my new local bar at the beginning of 2015. I cannot tell you where the bar is for fear that ALL of you might magically show up at. You will come and want to buy a round for me, just to hear my old wars stories from when I was in the Rum Rebellion of 1808. I digress. 

History of the Snakebite….NOT!

I wanted to give a little history on the snakebite as part of this review. After exhausting research and finding numerous different stories and variations of the drink, I figured, to hell with that! Who needs history when you have beer and cider to drink?!

Recipe

8oz Stout or Lager beer
8oz Hard cider

Pour your cider first and then layer the beer on top.

I prefer Guinness and Angry Orchard. I suggest it is worth experimenting with different combinations to find out what suits you. The more experimentation, the more fun!

Witherspoon Distillery 2015 Review

I recently had the opportunity to visit my friends at Witherspoon Distillery in Lewisville, TX and interview the owner Quentin Witherspoon. (we apologize for the quality of the audio, it was a hot Texas day and the a/c distorts the sound quality)

Some outstanding recipes to follow!

Witherspoon Distillery’s current line up.

1. Witherspoon’s Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey

2. Witherspoon’s Single Malt

3. Witherspoon’s River Rum

4. Witherspoon’s River Rum Reserve

5. Witherspoon’s Bonfire Rum

Witherspoon’s Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey

 

Witherspoon Maple Old Fashioned Recipe

1.5 oz Witherspoon Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Dash or Two Bitters
1/2 oz Maple Syrup
3 oz Apple Juice

Witherspoon’s Single Malt

When we first opened this bottle, the aroma was very strong and almost it almost tasted the same as it smelled. If you have ever been privileged to drink a fine aged whiskey, you will understand the aroma as you could make out the different key flavors that are characteristic of being aged in an oak barrel.

The single malt was not as smooth straight and I ended up cutting it with 2 parts single malt to 1 part water. This is how I drink it now. I do not like my whiskey on the rocks because this is a slow sipping drink and the ice changes the ratio of water to whiskey.

Cocktail:

This is not a cocktail liquor to me, so I will share how I drink mine.

2 Ounces Witherspoon’s Single Malt
1 ounce chilled purified water

Mix the two ingredients in an old fashioned glass and enjoy.

Witherspoon’s River Rum

Witherspoon Distillery Hemingway Cocktail Recipe

1.5 oz Witherspoon River Rum
3 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 Maraschino Cherry Juice

 

Witherspoon’s River Rum Reserve

I will be honest when it comes to this rum I just enjoy it on the rocks. To me, this is just a nice sipping rum and does not need a mixer.

 

Witherspoon’s Bonfire Rum

 

Witherspoon Distillery Apple Pie Cocktail Recipe

1 oz Maple Syrup
1.5 oz Witherspoon Bonfire Cinnamon Infused Rum
4 oz Apple Juice

Witherspoon Distillery
Witherspoondistillery.com

Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey Review and Recipe

I have been fall down drunk twice in my life. I have been over the legal limit drunk but I have never lost my ability to make wise decisions (that I am aware of). When it comes to going to the bar on a weekend with friends or coworkers I am normally the designated driver. Not because I don’t enjoy drinking, but because I like falling asleep in a comfortable bed and not in a jail cell.

My dog decided to go for an adventure when I was 15. I was lucky and a policeman picked us up and drove us home with  my dog in my arms. That was my first and only time I have been driven in the back of a cop car. I swore never again.

I share these stories with you because I feel like my readers should know what kind of drinker I am. When you read more than one review on alcohol on my website you will understand that I drink because I enjoy the taste. I am not drinking to just drink.

BirdDogBlackberryWhiskeyReview

While I will be the first to admit I am not a connoisseur of any type of alcohol. I am a simple gentleman who likes to taste his drinks and not get completely wasted. I drink more at my house than I do at a bar because I like to know what I am drinking and I like to know that I am not going to pay $14 for a $1.50 worth of whiskey sour.

The Backstory

I was spending a day with my mother shopping (I don’t have a Sam’s Club membership so I use hers and it gives us a chance to spend some time together). On the way back to the house I wanted to stop at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of whiskey for dinner and she wanted to looks for a moonshine that a friend had turned her and my father on to.

I didn’t normally don’t spend time shopping for different brands of any kind of alcohol because I never really thought about it. I am simple I know that I like this brand and this price so I do the straight line for my bottle and the register and then I am out.

Since my mother was with me, we did a little browsing and came across Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey. My mother saw blackberry and she was like YES! we need to try this. The whiskey was $15 for 750ml bottle which seems like a fair price for flavored whiskey in Texas.

The Taste

We brought it back to my parents’ house and we opened the bottle and the aroma was wonderful! I stuck the bottle in the freezer for an hour to chill it down and then we tasted the Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey. This whiskey is smooth. It has all the tastes of whiskey when you first taste it and it finishes with a sweet taste of blackberry.

*Side note: when tasting alcohol I was taught to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. the reason for this is that if you breathe in through your mouth you vaporize the alcohol which makes it evaporate and cause the burning feeling in your mouth.

The Recipe

The Atticus James Whiskey Sour

AtticusJamesBlackberryWhiskeySour

Ingredients
2 ounces Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey
3-4 ounces Jose Cuervo The Original Classic Lime Margarita Mix
Ice to fill glass
Directions
Combine the Bird Dog BlackBerry Whiskey and Jose Cuervo The Original Classic Lime Margarita Mix in a large old-fashioned glass with ice. Stir, and serve.

This makes a great refreshing summer drink.

Overall Thoughts

After buying Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey I am excited to try their other flavors. They have made a whiskey that is not only tastes good just on the rocks but also makes for some mean whiskey cocktails.

Bird Dog Whiskeys are reasonably priced and doesn’t leave you with a bad taste in your mouth

Fajita Recipe

I love to cook. I have always loved preparing meals for myself and my family. Growing up in the BSA I was taught how to create menus, purchase the correct amount of food for a group of upwards of 12 people for a weekend and do it on a budget. For half of my teens, I was the troops cooking instructor which meant I taught the rest of the boy scouts in my troop how to do the same.

My specialty was single Dutch oven meals over coals.   I have friends from my adult life who have been begging for me to take them camping just so they can see if I am as good a camp cook as I am in a fully stocked kitchen. (I give my best friend a pan of homemade lasagna for his birthday and Christmas every year because that is what he asks for)

My review

I use two products on all my grilled beef.

Adolph’s (no MSG) Tenderizer (unseasoned)

and

Fiesta brand Fajita Seasoning

 

I have been using these two on all my steaks for as long as I can remember. If you cannot find these in your local grocer you can pick it up on Amazon (I will link the pictures below to the link online. I am an affiliate and do receive a small compensation if you purchase products after clicking.  Thank you.)

These two together are a simple and tasty prep for your steaks.

The Recipe

Note* While I am prepping beef fajitas in these pictures, the only change when making just steak is the cut of meat. I do this to any cut of meat to insure I get the most tender steak I can. I can prep and grill a cheap cut of steak and a more expensive cut and they will both be tender with my method.

We want the grill to reach 400-500°F max. Depending on the type of grill you have, you will want to start your grill with the appropriate amount of time needed to reach that temp, before you start grilling. I use a gas grill so that is a few minutes, if you use charcoal, you will know the time needed.

AtticusJames.com type of meat to buy

For Fajitas I use skirt steak. When prepping your skirt steak you want to remove as much silver skin and fat without cutting into the steak as possible.

AtticusJames.com cutting of the silver

You want to be able to see as much red meat as possible because the tenderizer does not do a good job of penetrating the fat and silver skin.

AtticusJames.com start to tenderize

Once your meat is prepared you are ready to start tenderizing with the Adolph’s Tenderizer.

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There is no need to be stingy with the tenderizer; but don’t go overboard

AtticusJames.com tenderize both sides

After covering both sides with Adolph’s tenderizer, you will want to have the steak on a tray so when the juices start flowing you do not have a big mess.

AtticusJames.com Times fajitas tenderizer 30 min.

Start a timer for 30 minutes and leave the steaks alone (there is no reason to flip the steaks).

AtticusJames.com Fajita Recipe

After 30 minutes you will see the steak is juicy. No water has been added.

Wash the steaks under cold water until the tenderizer is washed off.

AtticusJames.com Fajita recipe with tenderizer

Reapply tenderizer and leave the steaks with the opposite side facing up

AtticusJames.com Fajita steak recipe

Set timer for 15 minutes and leave the steaks alone.

AtticusJames.com another 15 minutes for tenderizing

After the 15 minutes are over you can see the fibers holding the steak together are starting to release.

AtticusJames.com wash off tenderizer

Wash the steaks and tray off until the tenderizer is gone.

AtticusJames.com start the grill for fajitas.

Now it is time to start your grill

(We want the grill to reach 400-500°F  max so start your grill with the appropriate amount of time needed to reach that temp before you start grilling).

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Now it is time to season with the Fiesta Fajita Seasoning.

AtticusJames.com seasoning for fajitas.

Beef and other red meats have more natural flavor than chicken so season to how you like your fajitas.

AtticusJames.com grill temp for fajitas

Time to start grilling.

AtticusJames.com cooking fajitas 2 minutes

I set a timer for 2 minutes and let the steaks cook on each side for 2 minutes before flipping.

AtticusJames.com fajitas melting on the grill

You can see the steak is wanting to just melt

Atticus James fajitas recipe

AtticusJames.com temping your fajitas

Temp your steaks to make sure they reach a minimal internal temp of 145°F degrees

Atticus James Fajitas

When cutting your steaks you want to go against the grain of the meat. This way of cutting makes the steak easier to chew and makes it melt in your mouth.

AtticusJames.com cutting fajitas against the grain

Atticus James Fajita Recipe

Dinner is Ready!