Sunday, April 11, 2010

Long Time Gone

It's been a long time since I last posted, and I hope that this post ties into that theme. As with all my posts, you'll have to bear with me until I get there.

Once upon a time, I was a dog trainer and co-owner of a training, boarding and day care center for dogs. Let me make one thing clear - I make no claim to be an expert on dog behavior (no more than I've ever claimed to be a wine expert). Over the years, I've read extensively about teaching dogs, and talked to as many different dog trainers as I could find, but that wasn't my role in the business.

My friend and business partner, Drake Parker, provided the expertise in dog training. The business we created, Top Dog Academy, is still going strong and is now run by Drake and his wife, Angela, with the help of other trainers that have studied with the man I call the "Maharajah of Dog Training."

Drake and Angela came to visit E and I this weekend. It's been far too long since we last saw each other, but - as often happens between old friends - we picked up right where we left off. Just as I can talk your head off about wine, I can talk about dogs until the cows come home.

No visit to our home goes without some Southern hospitality, even if it's served up by a couple of reformed Yankees. Some of the highlights were E's lasagna, my Eastern N.C. style barbecue and homemade pimento cheese spread.

E's lasagna recipe is top-secret, so I can't reveal that here. My pointers on making crock-pot barbecue are in this post. I know it's heresy to the pit-cooked-whole-pig crowd, but it's awfully good all the same.

I have a bad habit of getting wrapped up in the day-to-day minutia of life, and losing touch with my friends - both online and offline. I need to be better, and that goes for this blog as well.

For some blog eye-candy, here are pictures of a couple highlights from the gift basket (put together by Jefferson's) that came with our guests.

Narcissus in clay pot from New Growth Designs

Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero 2006

Pimento Cheese for Spreading from the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled
8 ounces finely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 ounces softened cream cheese, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (I suggest Duke's, if it's available where you live.)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice roasted red pepper. Place diced pepper and any juices in medium bowl. Add cheddar, cream cheese and red pepper flakes. Blend ingredients with wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Season with salt and pepper.

It's not good for you, but it sure is good to you.

Cheers, y'all.


Dr. Debs said...

Wonderful--as always--to hear what you've been up to. Enjoy spring!

John said...

Thanks, Deb. I've been enjoying following your tastings via Facebook.

Wine in Thyme said...

Very nice. Thank you for sharing!

John said...

Thanks for reading, WIT.