Here’s the deal. I have been doing my best to eat better, save some money and try to make all of my Crossfit efforts count. So this is what I have been doing. I cut the sugar. I cut eating wheat, grains, booze, soda and, you know, all the good stuff.
But you want to know something? It has been much easier than I would have thought. The only thing I truly miss is a little something sweet. So I sometimes indulge with a small bite of something, small being the big word. So what I have been doing is making food I really want to eat. So tonight I made a really good, really simple, really chopped salad with sausage and kale soup.
Here is the ingredients for the salad. I am not going to give you the amounts for anything because it can be as much or as little of each ingredient as you like.
Cucumber, cut into chunks
Celery, cut thinly
Brussel Sprouts sliced very thin (think coleslaw)
Green onions, chopped
Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, med diced and roasted in a 350 degree oven until soft. Let cool
Green Grapes, cut in half
Romain Lettuce, chopped fine
Combine all of this in a large enough bowl and toss. Add the following dressing just before service
Dressed with Honey Mustard dressing
1 tablespoon mustard, your choice
1 tablespoon honey
1 part white vinegar or your choice
3 parts EVOO
Salt to taste
I can tell you straight up. It is freaking good. I hope that you enjoy this.
Remember what our founding fathers said, “We the People, in order to form a more perfect salad…”
P.S. Please take a survey that I am conducting for a project I am doing. Please click HERE. Thank you in advance.
The City Guide
It’s 7:10 in the morning not so long ago and I am headed into work. A year ago that would have meant getting out of bed, maybe taking a shower, putting on my guide shirt, grabbing my vest and rods, load up the truck and be at the fly shop with a total of an 8 minute commute. I would meet my clients for the day and go fishing wherever I felt it would be great on the Gold Medal waters of the Fryingpan and Roaring Fork rivers. That was my “work” for 18 years.
Today, I get out of bed, definitely take a shower, get dressed in my monkey suit, grab a coffee, get stuck in traffic, get aggravated and then try be the best employee I can be in the new city job I have recently taken on. I like the first paragraph of this story much better.
The changes I have made to move to the big city are all for good reason, I was fishing for love and I landed her in Denver. So I made this commitment and moved from the Roaring Fork Valley to the “Big D” to begin my life with my bride to be. All of that is good. Here’s the catch though. This change of lifestyle does make guiding and my love of the river a bit, if not a lot, more difficult. So, it begs to be asked, how does a mountain guy, fly fishing guide adjust to his new surroundings?
He doesn’t. What he does do, is try to view the world through trout colored glasses.
This summer, I was pining to go on the Fryingpan River, remembering the how the water rushed around my waders with the occasional caddis fly going up my nose. I had to get a fix. So I went down to South Platte River right here in downtown Denver and found an eddy behind a trashed grocery cart freshly thrown into the river. I took a number of big inhales through my nose to get a whiff of the fresh smog from a nearby factory to help transport me back to the place that I love. To my surprise it didn’t work. But I was still optimistic.
Just the other day on my way into work, I stopped in the coffee shop directly across the street from my house called Stella’s. I go there every day to get a medium cup of danger monkey dark and chat with whoever is behind the counter. This place is just like any other coffee shop in any other small town. The other morning I noticed a pick-up truck with the license plate ‘6X20RS2’ (referencing the fly pattern, an RS2, and the size of the fly and tippet). Now that is a very specific vanity plate. A big smile came across my face and I just had to go and find out who this person was. I strolled around and found the only guy (this is not sexist statement, there was only dudes in the coffee shop) that fit the “I like getting a line wet” look.
Let me stop here for a moment. There are always two perspectives when you live in a destination resort area; the locals and the tourists. I have always been a local, very rarely a tourist. So, it is not uncommon for us locals to strike up a conversation with someone that you might not know and talk about anything – fishing, skiing, biking, whatever. They are often just excited to be there and to get an inside scoop on what’s going on out there and what bug is hot.
I say to this guy, “Dude, is that your truck? You must fly-fish. That’s pretty light tippet.” This is when I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. A curt “Ya-and…?” is all I got. Nothing, zilch, nada. I found myself standing there awkwardly, not as a knowledgeable local guide with an information starved tourist or as tourist with tourist getting ready to swap fish stories, but instead as the guy interrupting said dude with newspaper. Awkward. So I mentioned that I was a guide – still nothing. I got my coffee, did the customary guy head nod and went on my way somewhat jaded.
But I am not discouraged; there is hope.
The great part of moving here is that I live by Wash Park. An incredibly beautiful open space in the center of Denver, filled with volleyball players, freshly parented 30 somethings with BMW baby joggers, yoga pants and iPhones. Off in the distance I see two people, both with fly rods, casting on the grass, horribly. “A-ha” my inner guide senses whispered to me. I walk up and ask, “How’s it going?” sheepishly, doing my best not to look like weird random park conversation guy. “Where are you going fishing?” I ask. They look at me and mutter, “Nowhere yet, just practicing.” the worst caster say’s. “That’s cool. Can I show you a couple tricks that might help? I do a lot of this……I’m a guide out of Basalt.” I say. “Ya, so you fish in the pan? Come on over.” they reply. The guide in me is satisfied.
I wouldn’t be telling you the truth if I said it has been easy to be so far away from the activity that I love so much, but I will say that it will always be a part of me. Guiding is so much more that just taking somebody fishing. It’s about relationships and sharing common interest. I may not be near gold medal waters anymore but I can still share and teach the art of fly fishing. That is, if fly-fishing in a random patch of grass, doing my best to be a city guide counts.
18 year Taylor Creek guide, 1st year city guide, life time teacher
Aspen. The mere whispering of the word congers up images of Paris Hilton, Man-Furs, Range Rovers and million dollar homes. And for the most part, that would be 100 % accurate. But Aspen, like any mountain resort town, is also filled with mountains and rivers that provide great outdoor activities. Many wealthy people enjoy that – as a matter of fact, most people enjoy that. Unfortunately, that “access” to the great outdoors, indirectly costs money.
You have to find a creative way to live in one of the most expensive places in the U.S.. Common sense told me that since I loved the outdoors and mastering legendary trout waters like the Frying Pan, Roaring Fork and the Colorado, becoming a professional fly fishing guide for a living was an obvious choice. But we guides are dealt a difficult set of cards.
First card: Getting on the shop roster is not always an easy task, even if you do happen to be one of the best anglers in the valley. I have been a guide with Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt for the last 18+ years and I only landed it because a) I got a good referral from a buddy that was a guide there, b) I spent so much money there on new rods, flies and every other thing I needed to “fish properly” (besides, I felt it gave me a bit of credibility) and c) I was able to “talk the talk” and “walk the walk”.
Second card: You need money both for a place to live and so you can eat. This lifestyle can be especially difficult if you are on the bottom of the guide ladder. It’s only when the senior guides are not available when you get the trip. Being the low man on the totem pole, you have to hope for a last minute booked trip or wait by the phone all day hoping you’re next on the list to call. The lack of consistent last minute trips or senior guides calling in sick or being on vacation, can lead to financial stress and inconsistent diet. The only known consistency for a guide is understanding that the last minute bookers are not typically the seasoned fishermen you hope for. And chances are, these people will have recently watched “The Movie” and now they want their spoiled 5 year old daughter and disinterested 14 year old son to experience what catching a 20 inch rainbow is like – “just like the one Brad Pitt caught in A River Runs Through It” while yelling across the river, “You haven’t caught one yet?” only ten minutes after hitting the water.
But I digress. What I am trying to say is that guides need money. So I’d like to share with you my ten survival tips on how to live, eat and breathe fly fishing as a professional guide when you are broke and have to make it in an expensive area.
Tip # 1: Be nice, polite and humble. Nothing will keep you from getting trips or moving up the ranks more than arrogance. Chances are, you are not the greatest fisherman alive and you didn’t really “land a hundred” or “get the biggest cut-bow in the Pan”. The fact is, the guides in “real” fly shops are ALL great fisherman. The best thing you can do is go fishing with the senior guides and prove you know how to fish. But most importantly, be cool about it! This will pay off in spades. You are more likely to be the first one asked to accompany the senior guide on group trips. That equals no bottom of the totem pole which means more money.
Tip #2: Top Ramen is not all that bad. Really. Throw in some fresh vegetables and soy sauce and you’re golden.
Tip #3: Having a truck is helpful. It provides a comfortable ride for your clients as well as a great place to sleep. The forest service provides camp areas for up to 10 days or more. Not only is it a practical mode of transportation and lodging, but that it just makes for a good story when you decide to give up guiding in order to finally use your Political Science degree.
Tip # 4: Beer is not food. Once you get a couple of trips and you make your first tip above and beyond your guide fee, try not to turn that extra money into a series of cocktails for the boys. You need that money. It won’t be there in a few months. (Note to the veteran guides: hang around the new guides, they’re rookie enough to always be buying! By doing so, you can keep your tips.)
Tip #5: Network and always carry business cards. This is a must. Anybody on the river that isn’t already a fishing guide, wants to be. That instantly makes you the most envied and the coolest person they know. Use that to your advantage. Your perceived coolness, especially if you make the client think they caught that brown all on their own, equated to referrals, shop status and money. Don’t be a slacker trout bum, it’s still abusiness. Always be selling (yourself)!
Tip #6: Remember, the rich are different. Embrace it. It is likely that a fleet of Range Rovers show up and they all step out with enough gear to stock a new shop. That doesn’t mean a thing. The fish don’t care and nor should you. They’re people – just like you (but with a lot more money). There’s no need to suck up. Treat them like you want to be treated and, trust me, you will be rewarded by either a great tip or a new regular repeat client.
Tip# 7: Practice the three “T’s” – Teach, Therapy, and Tolerance. Being a great guide is not how good of a fisherman you are (although it helps), it’s more about how well you understand your client. I did a trip one year with a client that I had guided a few times before. This trip she wanted to fish a little bit, but what she really wanted to do was to learn how to drive a stick shift. So our day was planned out where we fished for an hour, teach her how to drive my stick shifted-car for three hours, then fish again for an hour. She was a client for years. She booked consistently and always tipped well but what I found the most rewarding was never knowing exactly what we were going to do the day I was fishing with her.
Tip#8: Don’t sleep with any of your clients (see fishing above). Nothing good can come from this. Worst of all, you have turned a paying client into a non-paying client with “benefits”. And if it turns bad, like it always will, and their husband or wife finds out, there goes all of their referred client friends and any potential for new referrals from them.
Tip# 9: Have another skill. It can be anything from tuning skis to bartending to instructing snowboarders to practicing law. Also, being a trust funder, salt-water fly guide, or a chef, will work. It is not only important to have a plan, but as a fly guide in a touristic, seasonal, resort destination, with unpredictable run-off and conditions, you must also have a Plan B, and C all the way up to Z. Sure, some people can and do make it as a full time guide, but only if you are willing to budget. Unfortunately, most guides are fiscally inept and easily led astray by being surrounded by pro-deals and new gear in the shop – there is always that new reel or new 9-weight rod you might need for that Christmas Island trip you’ve been saving up for. This one I know from experience.
Tip # 10: If you really love fly-fishing, you love the river and everything it offers. Remember that you weren’t born an expert fly fisherman and your clients want to learn from you. You’re on the right path. It’s not hard to survive if you’re smart about it.
So if your ambition is to become a wealthy, full-time fly fishing guide, traveling around the globe and living the lifestyle, go for it. The fact is, I live that life style. I may not wear Man-Fur or have enough money to date Paris Hilton, but I am rich in experience and I have made a bank load of friends. The only cash I have is a CD in my truck of Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues. To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Dear diary, 10/16/12 morning
It was a beautiful sunny day, kinda warm but not hot but kinda chilly but not bad really and then I got up and had granola and yogurt for breakfast and the dogs sure enjoyed the leftover steak I gave them and I hope it agrees with them, that might be a problem, but thats ok, I am sure that it was worth it to them..and
BTW, New and very exciting things have made their way to life Completely unexpectedly and out of the blue. The stars aligned and opportunity was presented in a major way.
Dear Diary 10/18/12
Denver, I am looking forward to becoming part of your amazing culinary scene. The dogs are ok
Check out this article on Eater.com today
The pancakes above is not in the plan anymore.
Yes it has finely happened, I have let my Crossfit habit mingle with my professional life and it is about time. I have never been one of those guys that was or ever thought would become a gym rat, I’m not a rat more like a crack habit. But over the last two years I have been doing Crossfit- first at Roaring Fork Crossfit under the suggestion of my good friends Mark Fisher and Lari Goode and now at Broadway Crossfit and South Denver X-Fit. Why this is relevant is that Mark and Lari are food people, Mark is a Chef and Lari runs the world. Their restaurants are six89 Main, Phat Thai and The Pullman, which I helped designed and built.
Both of them are and always have been very fit, truth be told, most people in the food industry are really not in good shape. It’s the food, booze and hours that get us. So when you find people that are so dedicated to healthy living and the food they prepare is neccessaruly not. This meaning, calories, butter, oil, sugar, etc. even portion size. I take notice.
I bring Crossfit into this for a reason. It is really hard work, work that I don’t take lightly. I have been involve in Xfit for 2 years and have had remarkable success. I am not the strongest guy in the gym/box but I am not the worse. I have thing that I am really good at and others I just SUCK at, I’m talking to you squat snatch! But the point being is that I am really trying my hardest to get good at this, become stronger and look good, yes, vanity. I think it’s working.
I bust my ass, I am in pain and I don’t want to throw all of my efforts away just because I WANT pancakes or dessert. That, in the nature of evolution, is making me WANT to eat better, eat healthier and think about if I really want to drink my hard work away. I pretty much have given up drinking all together. I love beer and I love great scotch but the toll it takes aren’t worth it to me. I thought I would never say that, but I did and I mean it.
I will not become one of those people that act holier than thou about this, but for me, it have made all the difference in the world. I still cook with butter, bacon, cream, whatever, but it is now done with a softer hand.
If you haven’t noticed the recipes I been posting are 1 bowl 2 pot recipes. I found that if I make it easier with a few really good ingredients and flavor, every meal is a success! So keep on following this blog and I promise I won’t cult like on ya!
Have a good week and I will talk with you this weekend
Here is a quick recipe for the dinner I just made, Super easy and delicious:
Cannellini bean and roasted chicken
1 Roasted chicken, either your own or a store bought one, 1/2 shredded other half saved for an other time.
1 can Organic Cannellini Beans, drained
1/2 Red onion diced
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped smoked bacon
1 broccoli florets sliced
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon oregano
salt and pepper
In a med saute pan on med heat. when pan is warm add bacon, stir and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is almost cooked
Add red onion to bacon and cook until onions are tender.
Add chicken and garlic, saute for 3 minutes.
Add broccoli and toss and sauté with bacon and chicken and stuff.
Add beans, stock and oregano, turn heat down a touch and cook until beans are hot. (if needed, add more stock to keep moisture)
Taste and season to your taste, remember that there is bacon in there so be light handed with the salt, unless you love lots of salt.
Serve in bowls and top with parmesan
Serve with french bread if you like.
Great food can be simple and quick, just remember, texture, flavor and balance.
It was Sunday evening; the sun was going down and the first thing I felt like doing was getting on my website to blog about the great weekend I had in Palisade and Grand Junction area enjoying the The Mountain Winefest.
With an estimated 7000 tickets sold and countless Colorado winemakers, live entertainment (as opposed to dead entertainment) and chef demos all thru the day, what is not to love? I had the pleasure of being the feature celebrity chef and the 12 noon demo guy, flanked by other great chefs and Local Culinary students, (I will provide a link to the school as soon as I get the proper link). Any whooo, It was a smashing success!
For my demo, I was very lucky to have over 100 people in attendance, it must of been my lucky day-I may have only offended 10% of them. Yee Haw!
I prepared an Asian BBQ pork short rib with a Gala apple ‘salad’. So, by request and my promise, here are the recipes for those delicious little niblets.
1 rack of pork ribs, cut in half by your butcher
Some carrots, celery and onions all chopped
TB of whole black peppercorns
A couple bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh ginger
What to do:
Oven: 300 degrees
Heat a grill or large saute’ pan, season ribs with salt and pepper and sear meat side until nice and browned. Place ribs and all the other ingredients in a roasting pan and cover the ribs with with warm water. Cover the pan tightly with foil and place in oven. Cook for 4 to 6 hours or until meat is very tender.
Remove from oven and let cool overnight in broth in the fridge. Save for later.
My Asian BBQ Glaze
1/4 cup sesame oil (any oil is ok)
1/2 cup chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped ginger
2 dried ancho chilies (again, any dried chili is fine, just be careful of the heat. Marilyn Monroe knows “Some like it hot”)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups Hoisan sauce
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup fresh cilantro
How to make it:
In a med sized sauce pot, heat oil over med heat. Add ginger and garlic and sweat and stir and sweat and stir until very fragrant.
Add and melt in brown sugar
Add the seeded dried chilies
Pour in the apple cider vinegar and bring just up to a boil
Add the Hoisan sauce, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stir ever so often, DO NOT BURN.
Add the cilantro,and lime juice and turn off the heat.
Blend in a blender or food processor and strain.
Now, the hit of the day – Gala Apple “Salad”
2 Gala or Granny Smith apple, 1/4’d and sliced very thin
2 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced fennel root
1/2 cup each of fresh mint leaves, cilantro, and chopped green onion
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Miran
1/4 fresh lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss. Chill until service – only if service is within 30 minutes. Best to chill all the ingredients separate and combine just before service.
Time to put it all together:
Take ribs and cut into portion size, in a bowl, toss with some of the bbq sauce so they are well coated. place on grill and cook until hot.
Remove and sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with apple salad. Feel free to glaze with more sauce to your liking.
I really had a great time cooking for all the food lovers in the grand valley. I will be posting on Wednesday the Corn soup recipe I did for my chefs dinner at the Doubletree Hotel friday night,
Love ya all! Be sure to subscribe to my blog and comment