Category Archives: Culinary

March

Made a habit to start using my lunch breaks effectively. Five days a week, I’m making about half an hour of progress through Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. It’s fascinating. To say I think it will change the way I eat is an understatement.

I’m also coming close to finally finishing Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy. His comments on what it means to be a student –a disciple– of Jesus strike a challenging balance between “wow that’s really profound” and “why aren’t I already doing that?”.

Behind on the podcasts, because my earbuds are out of comission. Totally gimpy reason– just missing the little foam cover on one bud. But it won’t stay in while riding my bike without it. And that 30 mins a day to and from work is prime podcast time. So what I’m saying is you still have plenty of time to recommend a new podcast for me to try to work into my rotation. Daily is great, but I’m open to weekly. Writer’s Almanac is daily, and I could supplement it with a weekly for Monday, a different one for Tuesday, another updated on Wednesdays, etc.

Family in town a lot recently. That’s been great. Lots of time spent out at Red Rocks. Pictures here. Dad’s coming at the end of March!

Considering a joint blog-through of a book sometime on the horizon…

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August Post #2

Just by posting today I’m surpassing my monthly totals for each June and July… Way. To. Go.

And so much for that “Time to Get Going Again” idea, huh? That’s ok, blogs aren’t about guilt trips. Besides, I don’t want to be a word-trader (see previous post). …well, maybe I concede there’s some sort of middle ground.

I’ve spent the past few weeks in the employment of a company called AppleOne. It’s a temp agency. I don’t think companies like this are below me, but I never imagined working for one. It’s been interesting. My first assignment was holding cue cards for a video that the local teachers’ union was making for all the new hires. Easy. Observed a little bit about union politics and whatnot in the discussions between shoots.

Random info: Listening to the Crowes, B.B. King, O.A.R, and SRV right now.

The next assignment was the Las Vegas location of Barney’s New York. My fellow males, think Macy’s and then go up the retail food chain about 15 levels. Fancy stuff. It’s inside the shoppes in the Palazzo/Venetian here on the Strip. I worked in the shipping/receiving area. Very reminiscent of a job I had at Macy’s in Monterey during high school. Open tons of boxes of incoming merchandise. Sort it. Hang/fold garments. Prep some for the floor, some for storage. And actually, I spent most of my time organizing the storage space there. SO in need of it! I think that the most pleasant surprise was a reminder that the salespeople were mere mortals like us in shipping/receiving. I guess I was assuming them to be as snotty as the stereotype of their clientele, those who have enough money to shop at Barney’s. How’s that for judging?

Tomorrow I’ll be starting with The Apollo Group, specifically the University of Phoenix. The branch here in Las Vegas, that is. Apparently the world’s largest private university. I could see that. My job will be that of an enrollment counselor. Following up and meeting with prospective students who have contacted the university to express interest. No cold calls, thank heavens! Those that know me wouldn’t say I’m right at home in a classic sales position. I’ll be on contract with the university (henceforth UPX) for the first three months, still employed by AppleOne. Then after that time, if both UPX and I think it’s a good fit, I’ll move over to being a permanent employee with them. Now I know that some people have plenty of dirt on UPX… I’ve read it. Pressure for overly aggressive tactics with prospective students. A special “boiler room” for underperforming enrollment reps. Numbers-based pay incentives. From what I can tell, a mix of these types of things happened at various UPX branches, and they got called out on it, and it’s not going on anymore. So I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. I am absolutely in favor of adults getting serious about education, no matter where they’re at in life. Also, I could really stand to improve my “sales” toolchest. The simple skill of asking people to do something. My struggle here is part of what killed me with my work in Durango. Couldn’t just directly ask people to volunteer with the youth ministry stuff. Couldn’t sell involvement. And if I’m serious about getting back in to pastoral work, I’ll be better prepared for it by being a better salesman.

I just started the coals on the grill. And I must begin tending to myriad culinary preparations. BBQ chicken sandwiches tonight.

Ahi

┬áThere’s a lady that sets up shop next to Anina’s drive-thru every Friday. She sells super-fresh fish… way better than anything you can get at City Market or Alberstons. Last Friday I biked over to see Nina for my lunch break, and she reminded me that I should go check out the fish shack. I got a half-pound sushi-grade yellowfin (ahi) tuna steak for $7. Nina kinda gave me the “how much?” look but hey, I’ll just have this be a once-in-a-while indulgence. Anything good enough to eat raw probably costs a little more than normal…

Anticipating a nice easy Saturday grilled lunch, that morning I coated the tuna with some sesame oil, garlic, black pepper, and brown sugar, and put it in the fridge to come back out in a few hours. Well, Saturday was busy. We weren’t home at all.

This morning during the worship service my stomach was audibly complaining; I hope I didn’t disturb the folks in the surrounding pews. You can guess what was going through my mind at that point…

As soon as I got off work, I started the charcoal briquets and began the final phases of the anticipation process.

Then I just seared the steak for about 3 minutes on each side, pulled it off the grill, and was happily savoring the ahi within a minute’s time. Mmm, sooo good!

So if you’re ever in the north end of Durango on a Friday, look for the little fish shack by Joe’s and the Post Office, and stop in and pick something up! You won’t be disappointed…

(thumbnail below… click to enlarge)

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Reviewing 2 Single-Malts

I’ll come straight out with it: I think single-malt scotch whisky is the most perfect, most divine, most satisfying distilled spirit to ever grace this planet. My “Bachelor (un)Party” centered around tasting and educating myself with a range of scotches… in moderation over a period of many hours, of course! I’ve had a sentimental attachment to certain distilleries’ offerings since then. One of my favorites is Oban, a potent whisky from the Western Highlands distilling region in Scotland. West Highland scotches tend to have an earthy/peaty quality in the aroma, and a taste that starts off sweet and leaves you with a dryish, peppery finish. A related single-malt is Talisker, about which someone said, “Talisker is not a drink, it is an interior explosion, distilled central heating; it depth charges the parts, bangs doors and slams windows. There’s nothing genteel about Talisker.” Wheee!

So last night, I said goodbye to my beloved bottle of Oban, finishing its last ounces off in a side-by-side comparison with a new single-malt that I picked up with some birthday money, a Glenfarclas. Below are my tasting notes, taken with assistance from a great site, scotchwhisky.com.

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2002 Fawnridge Zinfandel

Fawnridge Winery made the Zinfandel and Chardonnay that we had at our wedding. Anina and I kept a few bottles of the Zin because it was just so good, and because it has a custom label made just for us (ok, maybe the sentimental attachment and the label are the primary reasons). For the past year, we’ve had 2 bottles here at the apartment, on display in the kitchen as decoration. The plan was to open one on our anniversary, but I ended up with an intestinal virus woohoo! We had already brought home the bottle of Copolla Shiraz that I blogged about last time. So anyway, I was healthy for Saint Valentine’s Day, and I whipped up some pasta and red sauce with Italian sausage. Of course, that calls for red wine!

I think this may be the oldest bottle I’ve ever had… that sure shows my wine (in)experience, eh? But this zinfandel fulfills the oft-misinterpreted adage about wine getting better with age. In 50 years, it will supposedly taste like vinegar, but at press time, it is primo.

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Rhythm

Rhythm. I’ve been out of it for a while, as far as blogging goes. I guess the rhythm has actually become silence. But before I wax poetic (<– aren’t non “-ly” adverbs cool?) about how I’ve lapsed into total blogging failure, I’ll just update you on a few things. Continue reading

2004 Coppola Diamond Collection Shiraz

This entry has been a saved draft for a couple weeks, and now I’m finishing and posting it.

At our anniversary dinner we ordered a bottle of a sentimental favorite, a 2004 Shiraz bottled by Niebaum Estate (formerly the Coppola-Niebaum Estate Winery). Normally I’m suspicious about celebrities getting into fields like wine-making and whatnot (cough cough Greg Norman cough cough), but hey, it’s Francis Ford Coppola. I think the man behind the Godfather trilogy might know a thing or two. Well, actually, I can tell you he does.
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