In honour of National Day of the Cowboy, we here at the K-Double-T Ranch held our own Cook-Along dinner party on Saturday – and boy, did we eat up a storm! The menu was entirely composed of recipes from Greg Swenson’s marvelous Recipes for Rebels: In the Kitchen with James Dean cookbook. The only hitch in our plans was that it became a party of two, as some plans had to be changed last minute. But that was fine by us, because we have healthy appetites and don’t often leave leftovers. So without further ado, here’s how our cook-along dinner unfolded …
Rustlin’ Ryan rustles up a cocktail
Kornball Kitt dug out her best red ribbons for the occasion
Keepin’ an eye on matters was this ol’ fella
I made the Giant cocktail for Ryan as he likes sweet drinks and I had the Bull Shot because, frankly, I like trying oddball things. Ryan loved his cocktail and, I have to say, the taste I had of it was yummy. (Though the fact that I now have a can of Hershey’s chocolate syrup in the house may prove dangerous.)
I used the Texas shot glass on the left to measure out my drink – and the one on the right for Rustlin’ Ryan’s.
… Okay, that was a lie. The one on the left in this pic is the one I actually used:
Liz Taylor and Rock Hudson’s Giant cocktail (Vodka, Kahlua, Chocolate Syrup):
Our ranch is so fancy, we use a mason jar for our cocktail shakin’.
Musso and Frank Grill’s beefilicious Bull Shot cocktail (Vodka, Beef Consomme, Worcestershire sauce):
Don’t be fooled by that Tequila bottle in the background – this novel cocktail was made with a slug of vodka.
As for the Bull Shot, it was actually pretty good! It was only towards the end of the drink that I thought “I think I’ve had enough consomme to last me a bit.” My one note: I think if I make it again in the future, I will rim the glass with the celery salt rather than mix it right into the drink. It might help distribute the salt more evenly.
After her Bull Shot cocktail, Kornball Kitt was emboldened to vamp with a blade of grass – alas, the overall effect is more like a Salvador Dali moustache.
I made Eddie Albert’s Guacamole and very sadly it was the one failure of the night – but through no fault of the recipe. I was cursed from the start by my avocados. I’d bought some several days beforehand to be sure they’d ripen in time. Now, I don’t know what alien planet these avocados were from but they never got soft! The mere act of separating the halves caused the firm flesh to pull the skin off the pit inside – can you believe that? That’s how hard they were. Mashing them with a fork was impossible, so instead I used my food processor. They refused to yield even then and, rather than being creamed, they broke up into hard, tiny pellets. Oh the shame… In the end, what I had bore more semblance to a salsa than a guacamole.
THE MAIN EVENT:
For the side, I made L. Q. JOnes’ Cowboy Corn and boy, was it incredible! The bacon fat I used was from Maple Smoked Bacon and I think it added an extra depth to the sweetness. In a flash, Ryan ate two thirds of the entire bowl.
Chill Wills’ Chili was the main and I can’t say enough good things about it. This one impressed us both. We couldn’t get over how tender the beef was. I don’t believe I’ve ever succeeded in cooking such beautiful, melt-in-your-mouth beef before.
Chill Wills’ Chili in the skillet. Ain’t it purty?
As I was bringing out some plates before dinner, I caught Ryan rustlin’ a piece of it (hence his nickname) and he stopped, dead in his tracks, not even bothering to look guilty and said “Oh my god, that’s so tender.” If you’ll notice, in the main photo of all the dishes, the amount of beef looks rather scant. That’s because he was sneaking pieces while I was prepping. Sigh…
Anyhow, because the recipe was so simple and bare bones, I was concerned it wouldn’t be much of meal on its own. As pointed out in Greg’s recipe note, it’s really just stewed meat – so I decided to serve it on warm corn tortillas. We garnished the little tacos with jalapeno cheddar, diced onions and cilantro. I even managed to find a use for my sad (but still tasty) guacamole by using it as a salsa on them. Incredible. I will definitely be making this again very soon and very often.
All in all, the dinner was a great success! My only wish is that I’d had a larger gang to share it with. Though, come to think of it, we managed to polish it all off ourselves – so I don’t know what I’d have fed anybody else.