Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lake Zurich Fishing - Two for Four

Went fishing this morning from 6 AM to 11 AM with my friend Jim at Lake Zurich.  I got four hits, but only landed the last two.

The first two came off the hook after a short fight.  The first one, I believe I did not set the hook properly to hook the fish.  We saw that it as a large mouth bass (as were all the others) when it broke through the surface of the water.  Same thing happened with the second fish.

By the time the third one was on the line, I made sure the hook set was good and we landed it.  13" Large Mouth Bass... which broke my dry spell of last year.  All last year, I didn't get any fish!  The fourth fish was a 14" large mouth bass.  All fish were caught with Gary Yamamoto's Senko plastic worms (6") that were Texas rigged. (photo courtesy of the internet):

Both fish were released back to the water.  Felt good to get something finally!  Jim wasn't as fortunate and didn't even get a nibble.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Brookfield Zoo - Field Trip with Balanced Exposure Students

Another fun field trip with my students from Balanced Exposure!  We had a very nice day today with temperatures in the low 70's.

Students learned to shoot and compose their shots, deal with color balancing and even how to take a photo of a waterfall properly (you can see two versions of a waterfall above... which do you prefer?)

Click on the photos to see a larger version.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

ThermoWorks RT-600C Super Fast Pocket Thermometer

Several weeks ago, I purchased the ThermoWorks RT-600C Super Fast Pocket Thermometer on sale directly from Thermoworks, but did not get to try it until yesterday when I barbecued chicken breast and chicken legs on my new Weber Spirit E-310 gas grill.

In the past, I'd cook up food on grills and judged its doneness by the way it looked.  However, I always felt that the best way to do it would be to measure the internal temperature of the food, but I never had a thermometer to do it with.  With this inexpensive thermometer (approx $19 on sale), I finally had the chance to see if I would improve on my grilling skills.

I checked the internal temperature of the chicken and stopped cooking when the chicken's internal temperature reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit (the recommended doneness temperature).  To me, the chicken looked a little under done as I'm used to grilling chicken until it was a lot darker (which also meant much more dried out!)  But going to an internal temperature of 165 degrees actually made the chicken juicier and it was cooked enough!

Going forward, this little device will be the way I judge whether the things being cooked on the grill is done or not.  Well worth the money!

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Lodge 10.5 Inch Cast Iron Grill Pan Set

Always wanted one of these, so I picked up this Lodge 10.5 inch Cast Iron Grill Pan set from Costco for $19.99.  It comes with a silicone handle holder and a black grill pan scraper.  Not a bad deal!  I hope to use it on my new Weber grill for times when I don't want to grill directly on the grill grate.  Obviously, the silicone handle holder must be removed before putting on the grill!

Here are the first burgers using the grill pan.  Nice grill marks!

One side note... I'm not thrilled with the silicone handle holder.  When the handle is hot and you use it to lift the pan, it tends to want to slide off the handle due to the weight of the pan.  That's not good when you have a hot pan and can't grab the pan to prevent it falling without an accidental burn!  I much prefer the standard cloth handle holders to the silicone!  Be sure to use a cloth handle holder and wear an oven mitt on the other hand when transporting a hot grill pan!  Using the silicone handle holder is only good if you are not going to lift the pan while it is hot.