October 31, 2008
Halloween 2008 with Timelapse Movie

Halloween is today. We gave out full size candy again this year much to the delight of all the trick or treaters.

Once again, I set up my timelapse photography gear and made video of the door from 6:15PM to 9:15PM as I sat there handing out candy. We had some friends stop by during the evening I had help with logging costumes and handing out candy.

Halloween 2008 Timelapse from Michael Pusateri on Vimeo.

As I have in 2005, 2006,and 2007 I asked every person what they were dressed as and wrote down the answers.

Here are the top ten costumes for the last four years compared.

Batman makes a triumphant return to the list and the scream mask disappears.

Here is this year's costume list, with a total of 150 people.

6 Batman
5 Cat
5 Pirate
5 Skeleton
5 Vampire
4 Snow White
4 Witch
3 Bee
3 Devil
3 Fairy
2 50s Girl
2 Angel
2 Ariel, the Little Mermaid
2 Banana
2 Basketball Player, Lakers
2 Buzz Lightyear
2 Cinderella
2 Darth Vader
2 Jason Vorhees
2 Minnie Mouse
2 Sleeping Beauty
2 Spiderman
2 Tinkerbell
2 Werewolf
1 70s Girl
1 80s Girl
1 Alice in Wonderland
1 Baby
1 Bart Simpson
1 Basketball Player
1 BMX Rider
1 Boxer
1 Bunny
1 Captain
1 Chip & Dales
1 Clown
1 Dark Angel
1 Dead Guy
1 Death
1 Death Joker
1 Dinosaur
1 Dragon Warrior
1 Elephant
1 Elphaba, Wicked Witch of the West
1 Eyore
1 Fireman on Vacation
1 Frankenstein
1 Ghost Lady
1 Glam Witch
1 Hannah Montana
1 Harry Potter
1 High School Musical Cheerleader
1 Hot Rod
1 Incredible Hulk
1 Injured Skater
1 Insane-o Man
1 Invader Zim
1 IT the Clown
1 John McCain
1 Karate Man
1 Kim Possible
1 Knight
1 Leatherface
1 Little Bo Peep
1 Little Dutch Girl
1 Little Red Riding Hood
1 Luchadore
1 Maid
1 Monk
1 Monster
1 Nerd
1 Ninja
1 Olive Oyl
1 Optimus Prime
1 Pink Poodle
1 Pipi Longstocking
1 Policeman
1 Popeye
1 Power Ranger
1 Power Ranger, Blue
1 Power Ranger, Green
1 Power Ranger, Red
1 Princess
1 Ringo Starr
1 Sailor
1 Sanjaya
1 School Girl
1 Scream Mask
1 Secret Jedi
1 Sharpei from High School Musical
1 Skeleton Punk
1 Skunk
1 Supergirl
1 The Hamburglar
1 The Riddler
1 Tofu
1 Ultraman
1 Vampire Priest
1 Wicked Witch
1 Winnie The Pooh
1 Wonder Bread
1 Zombie
1 Zombie Skate Punk

Posted by michael at 09:57 PM | Comments (1)
October 27, 2008
How to smoke ribs

This weekend I decided to smoke some ribs. There are a hundred different ways to prepare ribs. I like to smoke mine.

I bought spareribs which need a little butchering to become baby back ribs. This video describes how to butcher them and this video describes how to remove the membrane.

I save the removed pork to make into my version of burnt ends.

Next, I rub the ribs down with my smoke rub. My recipe for rub is here. I let the rub soak in while I prepare the smoker.

Here is my propane powered smoker. The wood chips go in the iron box just above the flame. I tend to use hickory wood, but for non-BBQ style you can use other kinds of chips like apple or pecan wood for more subtle flavors.

The propane smoke allows me good control of the temperature. You can do it with a traditional two chamber smoker with logs/charcoal and chips, but the temperature control is harder.

The ribs and extra pork placed and ready to smoke.

After two hours of smoking, I take the meat out and place it in a baking tray surrounded by foil. The smoke has flavored the ribs and now the trick is long slow heat to melt all the fat and connective tissue in the ribs.

Placing the wrapped ribs back in the smoker at around 250. You can also cook them in your oven inside, but my wife usually insists on me doing this outside. When you do it inside, it tends to make your whole house smell like a BBQ for hours on end.

I let the ribs cook a long time. This time I smoked the ribs for 2 hours (9 to 11AM) and let them smoke 6 hours (11AM to 5PM). The longer the slow cook, the better.

Here are the ribbed rested and ready to be cut.

You can see the smoke ring on the edge of the rib meat. It is the reddish tint in the meat. This is where the smoke has penetrated the pork and left flavor.

Ribs this tender can be difficult to slice as the meat tends to slide off the bone easily. Be sure your knife is extra-sharp to make the clean cuts.

Here are the leftover bits from the spareribs. I cut them into little bits and they are quite the crowd favorite. Also, the 'juice' in the bottom of the baking tray can be saving and used as a sauce.

I tend to like these ribs 'dry', while my wife loves to put some BBQ sauce on them. My dog like the rib bones a lot. Not much goes to waste.

The only way to perfect your recipe is to try different things and find what you like.

Posted by michael at 09:20 PM | Comments (4)
Lame Halloween Candy

On a recent trip to 7-Eleven this weekend I spotted some Halloween themed candy.

Obviously, I was intrigued. Did these candies have something new to them? Could it be peanut butter & pumpkin, together at last?

First I tried the Snickers Creme Pumpkin. New mold in a nice jack-o-lantern shape. But the candy itself tasted just like a regular Snickers. Nothing special at all.

Surely the Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkin would be something special. Alas, the mold was lame and the taste no different than a regular Peanut Butter Cup.

We need something more than a new mold folks. Color me unimpressed.

Posted by michael at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)
October 21, 2008
Continued Traveling

I've been traveling quite a lot. Two more hotel rooms.

My Hotel Room in Washington DC from Michael Pusateri on Vimeo.

My Hotel Room in Southington, Connecticut from Michael Pusateri on Vimeo.
Posted by michael at 04:41 AM | Comments (0)
October 17, 2008
My Hotel Room in New York

The Millennium Broadway in Manhattan

My Hotel Room in New York from Michael Pusateri on Vimeo.
Posted by michael at 06:39 AM | Comments (2)
October 11, 2008
Mac & Cheese Pancakes

I saw a link to making Mac & Cheese Pancakes on kottke.org. Of course, I had to try it.

Mac & Cheese Pancakes from Michael Pusateri on Vimeo.

Here's a photo of the pancake from the second batch.

Crispy brown outside, gooey warm mac & cheese inside, fluffy pancake. Breakfast perfection.

Needless to say, Mac & Cheese Pancakes has been added to the menu here at Cruft Manor.

Posted by michael at 12:17 PM | Comments (6)