Add Some Sizzle to Your Steak

Barbeque the Perfect StateBarbecue.

It’s a noun.  (I’ve just bought a new barbecue.  I could go for some barbecue tonight.)

It’s an adjective.  (Pass me some of those barbecue beans.)

It’s a verb.  (I’m going to barbecue some burgers for dinner Saturday.)

In its simplest form, to “barbecue” simply means to cook something with fire.  It can be as primitive as roasting a hot dog on a stick over a campfire or as sophisticated as throwing Kobe beef steaks on the grill of a high-tech, state-of-the-art, freestanding Lynx grill.

In the US, “barbecue” is often considered merely a summer pastime while globally, it’s just another method of food preparation that ends in year ‘round yumminess like kalbi (Korean barbecued short ribs); South American asado (considered the national dish of Argentina); or African braai.

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10 Interesting Facts about California Wine Country

winefactstoastNorthern California wine country is one of the most renowned wine producing regions in the world.   We, at Outdora, are proud of our wine country origin and would like to share some interesting facts about our homeland.

1)      Northern California wine country consists of Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties.

2)      Sonoma Valley is considered the birthplace of California wine country.

3)      “Sonoma” is a word derived from Native Americans which means “Valley of the Moon”.

4)      Sonoma Plaza is the largest town plaza in California today. It is 8 acres in size and was laid out by General Mariano Vallejo in 1835.  It’s also only a half-block from the Outdora showroom!

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Delving Into the Psychology and Power of Sound

Sound waveSound is all around us in some form or another.  Rarely do we ever experience complete quiet and even then the sound of our breathing and heartbeat are faintly heard.  But sound is so much more than just a background for life.  It can be used to balance a body, heal diseases, alter moods and communicate.

Music for Your Mood

Music and song are almost a surefire way to alter your mood.  Mostly that change is for the positive – an upbeat tune that cheers you, a soothing rhythm that relaxes you or an energetic song that gets you moving.  There are also times when music will make you sad, lonely or even angry.

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Soy Glazed Salmon recipe with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes from the Kenwood Inn and Spa

Chef Jon MortimerWhat better way to celebrate a heat wave than with a spicy dish to awaken to your palate? In honor of balmy 109˚ temperatures in Sonoma on Tuesday, we’re excited to share this delicious Soy Glazed Salmon with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes recipe contributed by Chef Jon Mortimer of the Kenwood Inn and Spa. The Kenwood Inn is the ultimate destination in wine country for indulgence—whether it’s an Italian-inspired meal or a decadent therapeutic massage.

As a Certified Executive Chef and adjunct Professor at the Boise State University School of Culinary Arts, Chef Mortimer’s accolades include cooking apprenticeships in Norway and Italy, and authoring the cookbook The Idaho Table. His restaurant Mortimer’s in Idaho has received the renowned Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator, and Chef Mortimer is KBCI’s “Culinary Tip of the Day” correspondent.  Check out Jon’s blog for a plethora of grilling recipes.

The savory Soy Glazed Salmon can be prepared on a standard charcoal grill or a more sophisticated gas grill—simply browse a range of luxury options at Outdora and start enjoying true cooking excellence.

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Maintaining the Perfect Summer Lawn

Mowing the LawnMaintaining the Perfect Summer Lawn

Lawns are one of the most widely used garden features across the world. Made up of a complex mix of different grass species, they provide the perfect backdrop to show borders and pots off at their best. They are used for sprawling suburban driveways, bringing welcome green to the front of houses. And for even the most amateur of gardeners, they provide an easy option for turning any backyard into a lush and thriving oasis.

However, whilst lawns in commercial settings and public spaces may be immaculately cared for, most gardeners have little time to ensure that their own patch of green receives the perfect treatment. And with the summer sun beating down upon tender shoots, devastating consequences can often occur. A few simple steps however, can ensure that your lawn stays fresh and green, avoiding the bare, cracked, and brown grass that can become so common in the height of the summer months.

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Whooshing Through Time on a Windy Day

Wind UmbrellaBattling the coarse winds is no easy feat. You feel as though you will turn into Mary Poppins at any moment and fly through the sky with your parasol steering the way. But instead of reliving this lovely Disney moment, usually what happens is the wind rips through your carefully styled hair, kicks up your skirt for all to see, and ferociously turns your umbrella inside out so it will never work again properly. Although we can’t see the air, it’s an incredible force that can either tickle your cheek or bring your house to the ground.

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the U.S. currently uses the wind to generate power for approximately 9.7 million households. In 2009 almost 10,000 megawatts (MW) were generated through new wind power projects. Although your home might not yet be powered by wind, this alternative energy is in use as much as natural gas.

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Mystery has a new home in Sonoma

Sonoma Mystery Tour by Arcanum: The Wrath of GrapesThe choices of things to do in wine country just got richer this month.

It’s being billed as part mystery, part interactive theater, part walking tour and a whole lot of fun. It’s called The Wrath of Grapes and offers a brand new take on what it means to do wine country.

The Wrath of Grapes will introduce you to a mysterious whodunit world you never knew existed in wine country. In small groups, you will work your way through and around the Historic Plaza District of Sonoma, California on a 2 hour mission. During your mission you’ll visit unusual shops, taste wine at secret locations and interact with intriguing characters who will engage you, challenge you and ultimately help you as you solve one of Sonoma’s most scandalous secrets.

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Tracing the Development of the Big Green Phenomenon

Dr. BBQYou can’t miss this one.  If it has nothing else going for it, the Big Green Egg certainly stands out from the crowd.  Shaped exactly as it’s named, this unique smoker and grill has an almost fanatical following that seems to only be growing.

Where did it all begin?  Who are the “Eggheads” that rave so loudly about this product?  What’s behind the legend and when did this outdoor kitchen appliance become an industry icon?

Way Back In History

Truly a phenomenon in the 21st century, the Big Green Egg comes from humble roots.

American soldiers returning home from Japan after WWII brought cargo planes full of items from the Eastern world.  In the midst of that crowd was a unique rice steamer used in Japan for ceremonial purposes.  The “mushikamado” had a simple clay pot design that included a removable lid, a damper at the top and a draft door on the bottom.

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The History of Rain & Why Harvesting the Cloud’s Tears Matters

Rain puddleDrip, drip, drip…the sound of your faucet dripping when not in use should definitely make you cringe. The United Nations predicts that by the year 2025, 48 nations or 2.8 billion people will experience a freshwater shortage. This projection seems far out of reach, because in the United States, freshwater seems to be readily available almost everywhere — park water fountains, bottled water in stores, public and residential bathrooms, etc. Where is our water going to go in the next 15 years?

Humans require water for a variety of activities — drinking, bathing, swimming, etc. For each bath we take, approximately 151 liters of water is dirtied. If you take a five minute shower every day, you use more water than what a person in a developing country uses in 24 hours. Along with personal hygiene, a large part of our water goes to agricultural purposes — hydrating livestock and irrigating the land.

Water has always had a significant role in our society, but now it’s time to show our appreciation for this renewable resource and conserve as much as possible.

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White Wine Pizza Dough recipe compliments of Mario Batali

White Wine Pizza DoughHere in Sonoma, we like wine with everything, even in our pizza dough.  Celebrity chef and media personality, Mario Batali’s recipe for white wine pizza dough is an interesting and delicious alternative to traditional pizza dough.   While the official name of the recipe is “white wine pizza dough”, it can actually be made with red or white wine.  Outdora carries the full line of Mario Batali outdoor  pizza ovens to help bring a unique cooking experience to your outdoor space.

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup light red wine or white wine
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1-1/2 packages yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups double zero flour and 1/2 cup AP flour, sifted together

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