Over the past few months, I’ve been writing for a new lifestyle site called Seattle Refined. It’s in partnership with KOMO, the Seattle ABC affiliate, and the focus for Seattle Refined is on all the great things that Seattle has to offer. As the tagline says ‘Life is different here.’ And I concur. I’m fortunate to be on a roster with other great writers, like the vivacious GastroGnome. My beat has been mostly about wine and the culture of wine. But there have been some random posts too. Like ‘Where would Aziz Ansari eat in Seattle?‘ Or my farewell to Madison Park Conservatory. So far, so good. Come check me out over there and enjoy the ride. Cheers.
Here we go! It’s the 2014 Piglet from Food 52, their annual tournament of cookbooks, has started. I love it for a couple of reasons; because cookbooks are awesome and the judging panel adds a unique perspective to the books. The lineups of books that go through cookbook bracketville are always notable and this year is no different. And the judges are always interesting and neck-deep in the world of food and moving the conversation of food along.
For the 2014 Piglet, I’m backing Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee. Most know of Edward Lee during his time on Top Chef Texas and he’s been plying his trade at his restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky for some time. What I enjoyed about his book was his storytelling and his perspective from learning in New York to moving to Kentucky and embracing the culture, lifestyle, and purveyors of the Bluegrass State. And the recipes I’ve cooked from his book have been great.
Until we know about a winner, there are three weeks of decisions to be made. I, for one, look forward to reading along. As one does with books.
Here are the books:
- Balaboosta by Einat Admony
- Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from our Restaurants to your home by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner
- Flour, Too by Joanne Chang
- Fresh Happy Tasty: An Adventure in 100 Recipes by Jane Coxwell
- Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes by Nigel Slater
- Roberta’s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parachini, and Katherine Wheelock
- Robicelli’s: A Love Story by Allison and Matt Robicelli
- Saving the Season by Kevin West
- Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stores from a New Souther Kitchen by Edward Lee
- Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality by Anne Quatrano
- The A.O.C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin
- The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz
- The Art of Simple Food II by Alice Waters
- The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia
- Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
- Whole-Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon
Here are the judges:
- April Bloomfield
- Brian Boitano
- David Chang
- Amanda Cohen
- Nicholas Day
- Kerry Diamond
- Tad Friend
- Andrea Gentl
- Aran Goyoaga
- Evan Hansen
- Kat Kinsman
- Liz Larkin
- Joshua Malina
- Tejal Rao
- Maxwell Ryan
- Sam Sifton
- Christina Tosi
- Emily Vikre
(ed. note – This is part two of a two-part series comparing professional athletes to fruits and vegetables. Part One was about basketball players and citrus. It is here)
Not exactly sure what crossed my friend Lisa’s mind when she thought of comparing NFL quarterbacks to squash, but here it goes; we’re comparing NFL quarterbacks to squash. I suppose I can see why squash; autumnal, hearty, the backbone of any good cornucopia. Because squash. It’s go time.
- Russell Wilson = Kabocha – Lisa gets credit for this one. Kabocha has an awesome name. Russell Wilson is awesome. It’s overlooked by the more well-known squash (butternut, pumpkin, spaghetti), but it has its own style and personality, yet can fit in any scheme. Like Russell. And we love both. Added bonus for the underdog status both have. #GoHawks
- Matthew Stafford = Pattypan – A pattypan squash looks cool; bright yellow, funky shape akin to a flying saucer, fun name, fits in your hand. But it really sucks. No flavor and it just ends up taking space in your CSA. Just like how Matthew Stafford takes up space on your fantasy football team.
- Tony Romo = Pumpkin – We know the Tony Romo narrative; brilliance balanced by boneheadedness. There are two camps; Romo Haters and Romo Apologizers. One side thinks he’s the greatest QB ever. The other thinks that he’ll never be good. Just like a pumpkin. And what happens in that fairy tale when the clock strikes midnight? Sorry Romo fans.
- Colin Kaepernick = Spaghetti – You want to like the idea of spaghetti squash. It’s a vegetable that you can carve out to replicate spaghetti noodles. But you know what? It’s not spaghetti. And it’s barely even a vegetable. Just like Colin Kaepernick is barely a quarterback.
- Peyton Manning = Butternut – If you look at the word enough, butternut is goofy. But it’s also excellent. Impressive body of work. You can find it in Costco. Best in warm dishes. Ergo, Peyton Manning.
- Drew Brees = Acorn – Diminutive in size, but more than makes up for it in ability. Adaptable and squeezes every ounce out of its ability. Much respect for Acorn.
- Aaron Rodgers = Delicata – A near perfect squash. Fine on its own. Yet the rare squash that is complete and comfortable in its skin. Stayed in the background and bided its time while a much more boisterous (and annoying) squash took the limelight; zucchini.
There you have it. A quick rundown comparing NFL quarterbacks to squash. And not to leave out Tom Brady as he’s a buttercup. #GoHawks
What started out as an innocuous tweet to kill time (as most tweets are wont to do) has morphed into this odd rabbit hole trip down my psyche. And now I’m sharing this with you.
Here is the tweet:
I lost a few followers after this (haters from Cleveland or haters of greatness?), so I naturally wanted to go further down this spiral:
Which led into a talk with my dear friend Lisa Kennelly about citrus and squash and how to place their attributes onto professional athletes. This is that breakdown. Why citrus and squash? Citrus was because I was having a Satsuma mandarin the morning of the Lebron tweet. I started thinking of how great Satsumas are, but they also get pigeonholed with Clementines, which I find inferior (in this scenario, the current Dwyane Wade is a Clementine. Chris Bosh will never be a Clementine). Squash because Lisa suggested it. Here we go. We’ll start with NBA and we’ll do NFL in a couple of days… (ed. note – I don’t even watch the NBA anymore, I tend to follow headlines and the general feel of players from conversations. Why don’t I watch NBA? Because of Howard Schultz. Want the whole story? Watch this.)
- Lebron James = Satsuma Mandarin – I feel this way because a Satsuma borders on perfection. In the depths of winter, this little dollop of citrus deliciousness is the perfect tonic. Much like Lebron. Instead of delicious, he’s enacting a perfect storm of basketball. No need to say more, it’s Lebron James. Or a Satsuma.
- Paul George = Meyer Lemon – Paul George doesn’t get enough credit for being awesome. Which he has in common with Meyer Lemons. A touch of sweetness with enough of a pucker punch, Meyer Lemons have such a round acidic flavor that add a ton to any dish. Paul George’s game is so tight, he leads an Indiana Pacers team capable of knocking off a Satsuma. Meyer Lemons are that good.
- Damian Lillard or Stephen Curry – Key Lime – I’m still not sure who should be Key Lime; Lillard or Curry. Take it this way, both are so sneaky good and hard to find. Both are integral to their team. Imagine making a Key Lime pie without the Keys; it’s just a lime pie. People don’t want a lime pie. People don’t want the Warriors without Curry or the Blazers without Lillard
- Dwight Howard = Navel Orange – The idea of a Navel Orange is good. It’s an orange. It’s healthy. But it pretty much stops there. It’s really only good for zest. The peel is a pain in the butt. You have no idea if the fruit will taste any good. It’s rather insipid. Which is why it’s Dwight Howard.
- Kevin Durant = Bergamot – Let’s focus purely on the nose and aroma of a Bergamot. Fragrant, nuanced, amazing. You can be utterly taken with a bergamot. You don’t realize how good a bergamot is. Ladies and Gentlemen, Kevin Durant.
- Michael Jordan = Sumo – Don’t know the Sumo? You better get on that. It’s the GOAT.
There you have it. A brief rundown of comparing NBA players to citrus. Stay tuned for later this week where we compare NFL Quarterbacks to squash. Bring Back our Supersonics.
Photo by Garagiste
Want to get a special bottle of wine for a gift for this weekend’s dinner party? How about wanting to try a new wine from a region you’ve been curious about? How about a bottle of utterly unique wine from one of the very best wine purveyors in the nation? At killer prices? Look no further, Garagiste has opened up a pop-up shop for the holidays.
If you’re not familiar with Garagiste and you love wine, you really should. Started by Jon Rimmerman and based in a nondescript warehouse in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, Garagiste is sort of a like a flash sale site but more carefully curated and under the watchful palate of Mr. Rimmerman. Jon writes this lush and rich descriptions of each wine in an email newsletter that goes out a few times a week and you’ll want to order almost every wine. His taste is renowned and his business model is very unique, so much so that The New York Times took notice. You should really sign up for the email list. Some of the wines are out of reach or a bit esoteric, but they are all very interesting and you’ll learn something in each email.
Here is where it gets better; this holiday season, Garagiste has opened a pop-up shop in their warehouse called the ‘Garagiste Lair’. I went on opening day and had to be sensible and not go overboard with buying as much as possible. The wines are segmented in pricing tiers; $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, and so on. At each level there are sure to be interesting wines. I partook in some Morgon for $5 and some Prosecco for $20. Was also able to scoop up some Quilceda Creek for $40. Yup, forty bucks. Some Touraine. A bottle from Mencia. But I look forward to going back to see what else is new. The inventory will be rotated and that is part of the fun about this pop-up; finding treasures amongst the stacks and bottles of wine.
If you’re in the Seattle area, love wine, or know someone that does, a visit to Garagiste’s Lair is in order. Their hours are Tuesday-Friday 11am-6pm and Saturday from 10am-5pm at the Garagiste Wine warehouse at 707 S. Lander St, Seattle 98134. But hurry up and head there soon, the pop-up is only open through the holidays.
Thanksgiving really is the best holiday. While I do love Christmas, Thanksgiving is wonderful in that you’re around friends and family and the centerpiece is food. And not just any level of eating; completely gorging yourself on food to incapacitation. And then you nap. Glorious. Here is what’s new to my Thanksgiving menu this year:
-Herbed Roast Turkey with Lardo – You heard me: Lardo. The fatty and unctuous cured fatback of pork will be used to add flavor and richness to the turkey. How so? You know how it’s suggested to add butter between the layer of skin and the breast meat? Why don’t we do our best Emeril and kick it up a notch with lardo? Butter melts so quickly while lardo will render slowly releasing its fat into the turkey. Yeah, it’s not really French to mix protein sources, but I’m not French. And neither is Thanksgiving. This lardo idea is a tweak from the sausage -laced turkey idea I did last year that I learnt from Michael Symon during an episode of The Chew. We loved this. But the sausage gave up so much of itself during the long cooking process that while the turkey was great, the sausage was less so. Lardo to the rescue.
-Rotisserie Turkey – Yup, another turkey. We’re feeding 12, another turkey is a must. The property where we spend Thanksgiving has a huge outdoor grill with a rotisserie. We’ve never used the rotisserie and figure no time is like the present. I’m looking forward to tending the bird as it does its slow rotation to deliciousness over heat and smoke. Thanks goes to the folks at Serious Eats for the guidance.
-Gluten-free dinner rolls – My friend, the Gluten-Free Girl, recently had this post on Food52 about a gluten-free dinner roll that also happened to be dairy-free and egg-free. I’ve taken this for a spin and it turned out great. Look forward to adding this to Thanksgiving dinner as there are members of our group that have allergies. But we’ll be subbing the almond flour for millet flour as there is also a nut allergy in our numbers.
-Fried crescent rolls – You heard me: fried crescent rolls. The tableside favorite, but with a twist. The inspiration behind this was the famed Cronut ™ (trademarked name to Dominique Ansel) from New York City that was explosively popular when it was first introduced in the spring. The idea for the cronut was to have a croissant-donut hybrid. Take the best of both worlds for each and voila; the Cronut™. But I’m not about to make a laminated dough, so I’m going to take Pillsbury crescent rolls and reshape those to my leisure. Here’s how to do it; par-bake the crescent rolls for six minutes at 375. Pull them out of the oven and drop them into frying oil that’s been heated to 350. Make sure they are golden, brown, and delicious (about 2-3 minutes total) pull them onto a plate lined with a paper towel and there you have it. Feel free to drizzle chocolate, a glaze, or decorate with powdered sugar or a cinnamon sugar sprinkle. You’re welcome.
The menu is still being finalized, but these are the dishes I’m excited about this Thanksgiving. What’s on your menu that you can’t wait start cooking? Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy the company of whomever you’re with, and see you around the table.