Flowers are nice, but give me a good bunch of pencil sized asparagus, morel mushrooms, ramps and all of the other wonderful spring forage items. Some say that spring arrives when the daffodils bloom, me I like the edible crescendo that starts with maple syrup and keeps growing till all a sudden you can stop buying produce at the grocery store. When the precipitation turns from flakes to April showers they bring a ground swell of goodness. So get outside and taste the bounty to be had.
Come and get your wild on with Chef James at Riveredge Nature Center this fall stay connected menu to follow in coming moths. . .
With many things if everyone would experience other peoples lives you would probably treat others with more respect. When is the last time you tried to understand what a trash collector/sanitation worker aka garbage man’s day truly involve. Or the postal carrier, the high rise construction guy but what I think everyone should try being is the maple syrup making guy. You get to spend time outdoors, listening to the drip, drip of sap into buckets, tending to a fire, skim. strain and bottle. As the saying goes as slow as molasses well I think life needs to be more like maple syrup, slow, sweet and a little work. Which is the recipe for great syrup and in my humble opinion a pretty good way to live life. One drip at a time, savoring everyone.
Check out a tasty salad how to, would you like to see more of these?
Spring must be right around the corner. We, as a strong/resilient/season loving group of northern Mid-westerners, can handle all that Mother Nature throws at us. But really?! With a high of zero and no break in sight, it hardly seems like March. Hang on fellow mid-westerners; there is a ray of hope. The boys of summer are flocking to the training grounds, and the cracks of bats will be soon follow. I have my own “spring training.” I polish my tongs, spatula, and the grates in the grill and dry clean the “Kiss the King of the Grill” apron. Way before the first sighting of robins, the inaugural 2014 “Lighting of the Grill” will take place. And if you live in the northern climates too, remember to put your beverage in a cozy for the early season grilling—not to keep it cool, but to prevent it from freezing.
Have you ever stood in-front of the cabinets, refrigerator, pantry and stare into the abyss wondering what am I going to make for dinner? Many of us have excluding the proficient ones of us who diligently write weekly menus that correlate to coupons in the local paper and have it down to a science. Well not I, how the hell am I suppose to know what I am hungry for on Friday on Sunday afternoon? I have always slightly admired individuals who could script their lives like that but I am too, what I like to call, a lighting strike thinker. As an example you walk past the fish counter and the just got freshly delivered striped bass and it looks amazing which the idea hits you like lighting to do an orange tarragon cream sauce with mushroom risotto and the eggplant look great this week blam lighting you see eggplant parmesan in your families’ future. How does the instant creative spark come into play with the neat list? No matter how you get there I applaud you all for taking the time to make it at home with love. As always making a meal nightly, from a list or a storm cloud called your brain.
As I went grocery shopping this week I wondered what is the most used ingredient in the kitchen? While battling a wobbly wheel and a “I want to walk” stating three year old I noticed piles of potatoes and then onions turn the corner a whole pallet of flour then valentine’s day candies. Which begs the question is there a universal most used ingredient or is it a household to household debate? I might even go as far as saying it might depend on what week you are asking me. I go on baking blitzes and smoked meats for supper then stuffed peppers or other vegetables throw in a pizza night and what is the common ingredient? If you can figure it out here’s a beer to you which reminds me I need to write that on the grocery list.
Cold crisp air, cracking of leaves and the smell of charcoal in a grill. Really, does it get any better then that? Maybe except when the foods being grilled are pulled off the grill and enjoyed.
To truly claim the title of “king of the grill” you need to use the grill for more then just burgers and steaks. Smoke a chicken, roast a pork loin, do a clam bake think outside the box, which reminds me bake a pizza from scratch out on the grill you will never go back inside the oven. So grab a sweater your tongs and a bag of charcoal and get out and have fun and truly taste the season.
I have come to the conclusion that birds do not flock together, rather they attract other flocks. Have you ever noticed that people that entertain have friends and associates that like to attend parties but for the most part do not host. Or the ones that attend events, like finding individuals or couples who like to host parties and get-together’s. Heck even couples are that way, one loves to entertain the other curls up into the fetal position and starts a mental breakdown when an event is planned.
So what can we do with this info? Hire out. . . find event planners, caterers, dj, decorators anyone who can help you in hosting a gathering. Life is about living together and sharing the good things that this world has to offer. So as Wyane and Garth so elegantly declared, “Party on Wyane, party on Garth.” And I say to you party on and happy holidays.
The passing of Charlie Trotter hits home to me, not that I knew him or that he even new I exist. But in a professional, creative manor he was one of three look up to’s.
When I was a poor college kid going to culinary school, I would save up to buy the new Trotter cookbooks. Entertain using his ideals, techniques and most importantly flavors. During the second year of schooling I convinced a couple of other poor classmates to save up and shoot the moon with me at Trotter’s. I still have the signed menu hanging in my house. It is, to this day, the most awe inspiring dining experience I have ever had. What really made it was what happened after a conversation I had with our head waiter, “that this table is filled with culinary students, whom are wanting to be like Charlie.” Chef Trotter heard about our conversation and took our experience for a ride of magical and mystical proportions. He added four or more plates to the menu each more delightful the the last. After the meal Chef Trotter sent someone to personally give us a tour of the restaurant, gardens, wine cellar and kitchen. Once we were in the kitchen clad in stainless and copper with an aroma of heavenly proportions surrounding us, while still be in the middle of the rush, he paused to shake our hands, introduce and sign our menus. The energy, calm, control, poise, and dash of arrogance melded together so perfectly to give three budding Trotter-esk Culinarians a moment and meal that will last a lifetime. I hope I can give someone a moment in time they too can cherish forever.
Charlie Trotter September 8, 1959~November 5, 2013