It has been a very interesting couple months in my world. In short I had a job drop into my lap perfect and not perfect all rolled into one. I’ve been cooking my ass off. I have been attempting Stand Up comedy in Denver with moderate success, but I made my charity, LOVE HOPE STRENGTH some money, I’m happy about that. I have been collecting more than my share of speeding/parking tickets. My cars been hit. I am in the best shape I have been in….let’s see what else?
It’s been a pretty good end of the year, everything and skill I have, I did!
So here is my big plans. 2013 is the year of getting out of all of my comfort zones. I am going to do ANYTHING, all pride aside, all ego aside and live this midlife crisis to the max, as we used to say way back in the day.
Here is my list of 2013 tasks;
a) Start a design firm
b) Restore at least 2 vintage motorcycles
c) Get my foot in the door of a custom furniture maker
d) Get to know Brooklyn better
e) Get even more fit
f) Help somebody and do good
g) See one Deepak lecture
h) Learn one song on the piano
I) Get a one man monologue show written
j) Continue to prove to my lovely bride to be how much I love her
k) Get my niche in the food world (I can assure you oddly enough, that it won’t involve working a line anywhere)
l) Get off Facebook
This is just a small starting list for the next 365 days ahead. All I can hope for is that the Mayan weren’t correct in their prediction. I’m looking forward to next year.
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
“I love the idea….But I don’t get it? How it will make money?”
This is a statement that I have become very accustom to hearing. I as well as many others have ideas come to them and we believe it will be a big thing. Be it a new widget or the next Amazon.com, you believe that it is viable, attainable and EVERYONE will love it. It’s needed, It’s wanted and I haven’t seen it yet.
Sure, until you open the magazine you just bought and your idea is there, smack dab in the middle of the ‘What’s Hot” section staring you right in the face, as your self esteem gets crushed by that dog-eared page that you felt was rightfully yours. Then your ego does the quick scan to see if the person that made this fill in the blank, were sitting at the table next to you somewhere or even worse, you know them!
More than likely, not.
Great ideas are a dime a dozen. New ideas are nothing new.
So what do you do? I am probably the worst person to advise anyone on this but I am going to do it anyway. This advice is coming from the guy who believes that he was ahead of the curve by wanting to franchise coffee shops in 1981, after spending my youth in a coffee house in the dumps of Denver and thinking “hey, college kids would love this!” in short, Starbucks you owe me. The reality is, this idea has been strong since coffee has been born.
What I should of done was just do it or do something. I pitched the idea to some friends and some friends parents (because I didn’t have any money) the same response came up, “Well how does it make money? people just sit there for hours and drink a bottomless cup of coffee for hours…students don’t have any money anyway…what are you thinking?” F–cking analysis got in the way, again.
Why am I even bring all this up anyway? I had a few eye-opening thing happen recently, one being that I have really good ideas, two is, they are really good ideas that I analyze to death and three, Why?
Here is what I have come up with;
What I reason-I don’t know, it sounded like a good idea but…..
The reality- I haven’t even tried it, how do I know?
Reason: It will cost a lot.
Reality: I don’t know that…
Reason: It will fail.
Reality: So what! It might, it might NOT.
Reason: It must not be that good of an ideas, someone else would of done it already?
Reality: So what, they are not you.
I’m not trying to write a self-help book here, but what I am doing is trying to do is foster inspiration. Cooking is a great and safe way to develop your confidence, try to do something that you have never cooked before, Buy something you have never tasted before. This will give you the opportunity to take a risk, experiment and taste your successes. What do you have to lose? A few buck maybe, but you are now wiser and know what you capable of. Bring this experiment to all aspects of your life and WILL BE RICHER for it.
Trust me, Look for the next big thing and I am sure I had something to do with it.
What is the right Knife for you?
Chefs take great pride in their knifes, almost to a cult, better than thou level. I am one of them. I love the beauty of a the perfect knife, the look of the steel, how it feels in my hand. If any of you are a Kill Bill fans and understand, even fictionally, the admiration on “Hatori steel” you will get the feeling an passion of what chef is searching for. We spend lots of money, we travel to far away lands, looking for just the right blade.
In my lust for knifes, I offer some advice…There are some factors that you must take into account when you hunting and are being ‘fit’ with the right knife;
When you are shopping at knives, DO NOT LOOK AT BRAND NAMES! Have a bunch of different kinds and lengths all put down on the counter top and start handling them. Don’t worry quite yet about the cost or kind. Pay attention to which one you keep on grabbing or going back to, set them aside.
1. Is it the correct size?
Bigger is not always better. It’s not bad, but make sure it is something you can handle, will use often and want to touch. [Insert joke anywhere]
2. The Handle.
Also, an important feature. Some are made of plastic, some wood, some metal, bone… Well, here are my thoughts, Get the one that feels best in your hand, the one that has a bit of girth, the one that won’t get slimy, the much over looked feature-the one that wont get Hot.
Also think about cleaning, Solid handles are best for that, high end knives are made without gaps or seams around the tang, I like that.
3. The blade.
I like steel, I like Japanese knives. Thin kerf, great looking but take extra care and a really good knife sharpener to keep an edge. I had a guy I didn’t know take mine and attempted to sharpen it and turned my $180 Shun knife into something I open paint cans with now, Still pissed!
Some like the ceramic blades. They are shape but I worry every time it falls off the table of gets chipped. I guess they are good.
I do not like a thick kerf of a thick blade. Some people do because it is easier on your fingers and hands, Toughen up, thin is in.
This is the biggest issue. Buy what you can afford, but remember, if it’s the right fit, you will use it. A knife will last a life time, (I have had some knifes for over 30 years, and I still use them).
Spend more than you should. You do it for your coffee and the photography equipment that you barely use or that carbon fiber mountain bike that you absolutely needed to keep up with your buddies. If you think about it, an expensive knife might be the cheapest good thing you bought that you might actually use. Don’t cheap out.
I made a fun little video explaining my thoughts on knife choices, Click the link and enjoy
He said boner (a video on chefs knives)
There are a few things in life that are hard to openly admit. Things that you really enjoy.. that may be basic or simply uncool. So in public, you find yourself preparing for the backlash for your naiveness or wait to hear their hipster condensation in one simple word, “really?!”. Let me give you some examples;
Top of the list is Deviled Eggs, you love them…but wouldn’t order them in a restaurant with people you didn’t know very well.
Second is Katy Perry, she’s easy to hate, but damn she has catchy songs. You would dance to any of them if ‘I kissed a girl’ came on and your closest friend had the slightest sign of head-bopp’n going on…you would be the first out on the dance floor just to save them from making a fool of themselves.
Then there is Judge Judy, period. Enough said.
You’re probably wondering why I even bring all of this up? Well, I just went to a pot-luck party recently and I was asked to bring a side-dish. Everyone was bringing heirloom tomato this and slow braised that, Whole Foods cheese of the day and wine just north of Portland. That’s cool, all delicious, all ‘upscale’, all gastronomically current, but…
I brought coleslaw. I love coleslaw and if you are new to this blog, I always will do what I like, not in an “I deserve that ” kind of way, but in an “I really like it” kind of way. I love great cheese as much as the next guy, but if you personally ate this cheese on someones front porch, have a great story about it and it was memorable, to me, it adds to the flavor. I have found that not much flavor comes from a $8.99 a pound salad out of the deli case at the market.
So I showed up with this coleslaw.
What I heard was “I usually don’t like this but it’s really good.”… aww good old blast from the past moment. This is what I love about hidden loves. It’s coleslaw, cabbage and other stuff, made with good ingredients, mixed with pure ‘kitsch’ and served with quiet satisfaction. Honestly, my favorite kind.
Here is that recipe, all dressed up and ready to become your next, hard to admit favorite thing. Trust me, your friends and guests will enjoy it secretly as well.
2 green apples
2 fennel roots, fronds removed (for another variation, substitute jicama, peeled)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Slice apples and fennel root very thin. A mandolin works best for this. Make small stacks of apple slices, then cut stacks into thin matchsticks. This step is not necessary with the fennel.
In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Toss apple and fennel with some or all of the dressing, depending on how creamy you would like it.
Here lies a bit of visual poetry and a beautiful poem depicting one of the things that summer means to me….Thank you Poet Grace Riffle
The Old Peach Tree
Under the old peach tree
Hearing the buzz of bees
Looking up at pink blossoms so sweet
Watching pink petals fall at my feet
Under the old peach tree almost fallen down
I can hear every sound as the sun goes down
I hear somewhere the song of a mocking bird
The sweetest song I ever heard
As I lean against the old peach tree
I think of things that used to be
This old tree brings me back to my childhood
And the many peaches I ate that were so good
Old peach tree I wish you could talk
Whisper to me some of your thoughts
But instead you fill my heart with your beauty
As I smell the perfume of your blossoms so fruity
I wonder how much longer you’ll be here.
How much longer my heart you’ll cheer
I hope to lean against you many a spring
And feel the peace that you bring.
This is always a refreshing way to look at the wonderful bounty that feeds us, both ways. Enjoy and share with your friends preferably whilst eating a peach.