The New Year always brings about a thought for looking back over the past year. 2016 was a fun year for The Angry Man. Allow me to take a stroll down the ole memory lane if you will…..
First, we launched this site in 2016. My cooking took a few twists during the year and I’ve not posted as I had desired – that certainly pushes up some anger! There is a commitment to more regular posts this year – we have some great plans ahead.
One of my highlights of the year was cooking with Chef Michael Salmon at The Hartstone Inn in Camden, Maine.
We adore Maine – the Pleasant Lady and I try to go up as often as possible. The Hartstone is a wonderful B&B style Inn right in the heart of Camden, one of the most beautiful towns you might ever find. The Camden harbor is one of the most picturesque, and thus most photographed, locations in Maine. More on that in a bit.
So, during our June trip up I had the great pleasure of spending a day in the kitchen with Chef Michael. It’s always fun to be in the kitchen with a great cook but this kitchen – well, Julia Child had a home nearby and visited Chef Michael in this kitchen. It’s almost one of those take off your shoes you are standing on holy ground kind of moments to be in the Hartstone kitchen! Chef Michael enjoys telling some of the Julia Child story for his guests.
Anyway, I’d packed an Angry Man BBQ apron for Michael and we started the day with an apron swap. Here we are each sporting a new look – and this is how we looked cooking. I assisted in preparation for the evening. Honestly, we were having too much fun trading stories and cooking to stop for pictures – really, I didn’t make a single pic! Highlights for me were preparing the “tidbit” (small polenta cup with seared tuna and aioli) for the evening meet & greet for guests and also the Chocolate Soufflé with Amaretto Anglaise for the evening dessert. The Pleasant Lady and I were “celebrities” in the dining room that night as we enjoyed some of what I’d helped prepare and more.
Here’s a look at Camden. We have made summer and fall trips up but never have attempted a trip in a Maine winter. Perhaps that comes this year!
Just outside of Camden is Cellardoor Winery. Bettina Doulton has transformed a tiny almost defunct business into one of the premier wineries in the U.S. Winemaker Aaron Peet has created some wonderful wines utilizing both Maine grapes as well as grapes from other locals. We love the wines and ship some back whenever we visit. Bettina is jewel – a breast cancer survivor who has reinvented and renewed her life in amazing ways while touching many lives around her. With over 10 years of involvement (including chair of the board) with the Atlanta 2-Day Walk For Breast Cancer I have a soft heart for survivor stories, especially when the story is as magical and reaches so deeply into other lives as does Bettina’s. She’s also an inspiration to me – meet her: https://vimeo.com/146402616
If you get to Maine you need to check out Cellardoor. The winery is near Camden and they have a beautiful new shop in Portland as well.
Enough for now about Maine – though we will return to that story. Not only did I cook with Chef Michael this year, I had the joy of spending some time with other well-known and some not-so-well-known cooks.
In February I had a chance to get to know and learn some Texas BBQ tricks from Matt Pittman of Meat Church. Matt taught a 2-day class at the BGE Culinary Institute that was fantastic. While most classes at BGE are attended by Georgia folks we had Eggheads from all over the US attend this one.
Additionally, this year I’ve had the joy of getting to know Ryan Lane of Lane’s BBQ in Bethlehem, GA. Ryan turns out some of the best packaged rubs and sauces around. He doesn’t use artificial stuff in his rubs and his blends are great. You will read more about his spices soon on this blog. I particularly like that Ryan’s rubs are not as heavy on salt as many packaged rubs seem to be these days. Sure, you need salt but some are way out of proportion. Take a look at www.lanesbbq.com.
Regularly through the year I share the Angry Man BBQ test kitchen with my wonderful sister-in-law Pam. She’s a great southern cook and a gracious soul to cook beside. We’ve partnered on some wonderful meals together at the lake. The family may tease us both a bit but they never complain when we put the food before them.
Though we didn’t know each other at the time it appears that Kim Youngblood and I grew up together in Albany. He’s a super Egghead who has helped countless folks with learning how to enjoy the BGE. I’m grateful for his invitation to cook with the North Georgia Eggers at the Mountain Eggfest in Hiawassee, GA this past spring.
Many thanks to Chef Amanda Edigio at the BGE Culinary Institute for taking me on as a part of the team there. It really bites that working for a living keeps me from helping out with the classes there even more – but it’s a blast when I am able. I’ve met great folks as I’ve helped and learned. Take a class somewhere as often as you can. Whether it’s learning more about cooking or another passion altogether you need to keep learning.
Many of you know that the Angry Man BBQ test kitchen is situated on the shore of beautiful Lake Hartwell just outside of the booming metropolis of Hartwell, GA. We’ve been blessed by this wonderful haven of peace for almost 14 years now. It’s home to 2 of my 4 BGEs (lg & xl) a Traeger Texas Elite and a Weber Kettle. And there’s a spot for me to pull in the trailer-mounted tank too. We tend to eat well at this little slice of heaven we call Lighthouse Lane.
One of my favorite restaurants is in Biltmore Village at Asheville, NC. The Pleasant Lady and I celebrated our 36th anniversary at The Corner Kitchen in September.
You should have seen the earlier post about The Big Pig Jig but I have to include a pic of my friend Bo and I in this look back at 2016. There is a serous amount of great Q at The Jig!
I bake too! No year is complete without some cake along the way. My pound cake is a favorite for me and for family and friends. That “willie-noma” Pineapple Upside-down Cake pan is lot’s of fun too.
OK – back to the Maine trip this past June. We fly into Portland and head out from there. This time we stopped in at a little place that was on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives: Duckfat. Always fun to experience the places you see on TV and think you’d like to try that. Fries cooked in duckfat!
When in Maine we have a “Maine Rule” – it’s to eat at least a lobster a day in some shape, form or fashion. Lobster Rolls are a great way to get some of that required crustacean onto the plate. While I agree that Red’s Eats in Wiscasset has a fabulous roll, there are many great lobster roll joints Maine. In fact, I have the Maine Lobster Finder App on my phone! In Kennebunkport the winning roll is at The Clam Shack. Kennebunkport is also the birthplace of one of my favorite brews: Shipyard. I do like visiting Maine.
While we totally enjoy the “fine dining” experience at Hartstone with Chef Michael we also like to sneak off to other great places and enjoy some great basic dining: just a whole lobster and some butter – in my opinion it doesn’t get better!
And….we always wrap up the year with the family and lobsters at the Angry Man BBQ Test Kitchen at Lighthouse Lane. These guys made an express trip from the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound in Maine just for the celebration.
Hope you had a great 2016! Thanks for taking this little tour back through the year with me. I tried to pick & choose and not include so much that it got your boxers in a bunch wading through.
2017 is ahead and it’s going to be a lot of fun. We have some great cooking planned, some posts ready to go and look forward to sharing the year with you!
Glenn (aka The Angry Man)