Friday, October 26, 2007
OG: I have to admit that I never get tired of this. It's sad, I guess, especially considering that we've lost 15 of 17 games to the Gators. Hopefully it will be 15/18 after Saturday, but I wouldn't put any money on that. First one to 20 wins, that's how it usually goes. I like our chances this year. Anyway, you could save this post and have it set to come up every year at this time, and it would mean the same. I admit that I scarfed this from other websites...
I guess the real question would be what should I eat/drink during the game?
From: "Don't Sit Under The Grits Tree With Anyone Else But Me" - 1981
God Is a Bulldog
Jacksonville, Fla. - Dorsey Hill, the world's biggest Bulldog fan, left here Sunday afternoon, bound for Auburn, Alabama, where Georgia's undefeated football team next appears.
"I don't think you can get from Jacksonville to Auburn," I had said to him.
"You can change buses in Waycross and Columbus," Dorsey answered.
"You aren't going home first?"
"Home?" He screamed back. "I haven't worked since Texas A&M, and I haven't slept since Clemson. You expect me to go back home when we play Auburn in only six more days?"
I lost my head, I suppose.
A lot of people lost their heads here Saturday afternoon. Georgia played Florida. Georgia won the game, 26-21. It's a lot more complicated than that, however.
Georgia came into the game ranked second in the nation. To continue to compete for its first Big Banana ever, the national championship, Georgia had to continue its winning streak. Florida ( "bunch of swamp lizards and beach bums," according to Dorsey Hill), wanted to step on Georgia's dream.
Dorsey arrived here Thursday afternoon with thousands of others who made the early departure south from various points in Georgia. Many of those individuals were as drunk as five eyed owls by the time they reached the Florida line.
As local wit Rex Edmondson says, the Georgia-Florida game is the "annual celebration of the repeal of prohibition."
Dorsey waited until Friday to get into his serious pre-game drinking, however.
"I stopped at the New Perry Hotel Thursday for lunch and filled up on collards," he said. "It's hard to drink on a belly full of collards."
Now that I have had time to digest all that did eventually happen in college football Saturday, I think I can say without fear of charges of blasphemy that the whole thing was a religious experience. "Deacon Dan" Magill, the "Baptist Bulldog," read a prayer to the Georgia faithful in which he beseeched the Almighty to help the Bulldogs "smite the Florida Philistines."
Then there was the game itself. Georgia behind 21-20, ninety-three yards away, time running out.
"We need a miracle!" screamed Dorsey Hill, now fortified with more than collards.
Georgia got its miracle. Buck Belue to Lindsay Scott, for ninety-three yards and the winning touchdown with only seconds remaining. If that wasn't enough, there was the astounding news from Atlanta. Georgia Tech had tied No.1 Notre Dame. Surely, Georgia will be ranked first in America when the ratings are released.
"A tie was a gift from Heaven," said Dorsey. "Notre Dame gets knocked out of number one but Tech doesn't get a win. God is a Bulldog."
I must make one confession here. I did it, and I must suffer the consequences.
I gave up at Jacksonville Saturday afternoon. Florida had the ball. Florida had the lead. There was only three minutes to play. I left the stadium. I was in the street when the miracle came.
"You are a gutless disgrace," Dorsey Hill said to me later.
He detailed my punishment: "We're going to a tattoo parlor in this very town tonight," he began. "And you're going to have '26' tattooed on one of your cheeks in red. And you're going to have '21' tattooed in black on the other cheek. I don't want you to forget what you did."
I won't, but which cheeks is between me and the tattooist.
Thanks to K. Daniel for supplying this column! GO DAWGS!!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Mise en place: Easy. Chop your parsley, pancetta, and garlic. Be mindful of the raw pork.
- In your soup pan, get your onion and garlic going, until translucent. Cut your veggies, and once the onions/garlic are good, add the veggies, letting them sweat for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock. 32 oz is the lower limit that you can use here, you may need to add more. Boil, add the bouquet, tomato, and season, reduce to simmer.
- Make your "pistou." Crush basil and garlic in your mortar/pestle or molcajete (if you have one). Add olive oil to get a nice pesto consistency, and then add parmesan. Adjust oil to the right texture. Wait until just before serving to add.
- Back to the soup. Be careful with the past that you add. Honestly, rotini may do better than the elbow macaroni, because those things keep getting bigger and sop up a lot of liquid, so add judiciously. Or, you can leave it out altogether because the beans will be carby enough. If you use canned beans, add them towards the end. If you don't add them as soon as you add liquid, as they will be the rate limiting step. Let this go for a couple of hours, depending on your bean/pasta addition. When you're ready to serve, add the pistou. The longer it sits, the stronger the pistou gets, so eat or freeze within 48 hours.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Classic streetside French Quarter, a little bit of a wait, but everything moves through there pretty quickly. What they do have is char-grilled oysters! Primo, dude. Hard to beat the Po Boys. Solid but not jaw-dropping. Well known for what their name implies.
- The waitstaff. These guys (and they were all guys) knew what they were on about, were confident in their menu (as they should have been), and were spot on with the recommendations. No expert, but read Kitchen Confidential. If the waiter thinks it's good, it probably is, but if he thinks it's bad, then avoid it like the plague.
- Redfish. Seems to be making a comeback, as there is a limit to what you can catch in the wild. More and more, they're growing them like catfish on farms. Done with a brown butter sauce and covered with fresh crabmeat, it was near perfect.
- Appetizer with fresh boiled/chilled shellfish. Only qualm was that they included fried oysters, which didn't seem to fit. Again, the crabmeat was awesome, no matter what sauce they served it with.
- The menu. It looked a little bit overwhelming at first, but then the more you looked at it, it was systematic. There were several meat choices, and they could all be cooked in standard French/Creole fashion. Hard to argue with successful tradition.
- Desserts. The best thing that they had was a banana bread pudding. Better to me than Foster bananas, but that's just me. More of a comfort dessert.
- No reservations. Come whenever.
Good food, reasonable price, alcohol everywhere. Hard to go wrong! Sadly, we missed out on the Emeril restaurants and Commander's, but you have to draw the line somewhere. My liver and girlish figure are glad to be home from Vegas and NOLA in the span of 2 weeks. So’s my wallet.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The next day, I started by warming the onions in my regular dutch oven, and when the solidified butter had melted sifted the flour into the onion mixture. I then added all the liquids and the satchet and adjusted the heat for a brisk simmer. As the mixture cooked I skimmed any scum off the top about every 15 to 20 minutes. After about 1 1/2 hours the soup had reduced by about 1/4th and was finished.
To serve, I sliced the bread into ~ 1/2 inch pieces and baked in a 400 degree oven until cripsy and crouton like. I then filled large ramekins to about 1/2 inch from the top with soup, floated a few of the croutons and topped with a slice of cheese and finished with some grated cheese. It is important not have any of the crouton exposed as this will char under the broiler and taste awful. The ramekins were then placed on a baking sheet and under the broiler until the cheese was browned and bubbling ~ 2 minutes.
I served with a simple salad of bibb lettuce with a champagne vinegar, vinegarette and for a main course, some grouper sauted with slivered almonds and brown butter and simple boiled potatoes.
Of course I burned the hell out of my mouth on this soup, but I have been told by all that it was delicious. The soup was very sweet and I didn't think the store-bought broths affected badly whatsoever. I would make this 100 times over...it was good! Next time, I will just have it with a grilled cheese sandwich and will curtail my hunger until the temperature drops below magma!
Monday, October 15, 2007
You'll never need to buy salsa again if you stick with this pretty easy formula, although you know me and my taco bell sauce.
Basically, there are a couple of types of salsa: those that use tomato and those that don't. The trick is deciding what to make based on your peppers. Within the tomato groups, you can do raw or cooked, depending on taste, and a few other factors.
Basic raw red tomato salsa:
- 23 oz can crushed tomato (not diced or whole, too much liquid)
- 2-3 jalapeno peppers (3-4 if serrano), lightly seeded, minced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bunch of green onions, diced
- cilantro, 1/4 to 1/3 of a bunch, minced
- juice of 1/2 lime
- Roast the peppers first. I really don't think this makes that big of a difference, but Bayless recommends it.
- Roast the garlic. This might make a difference, but I don't do it in the interest of time and because sometimes to salvage a salsa that's been sitting around and wasn't eaten in time, I'll cook it to get it going again.
- Out of green onions? You can use shallots (1-2), white/yellow/red onion (1/2), or onion powder for that matter.
- Short on good peppers? You can sneak a little red cayenne pepper powder and/or red pepper flakes to give a little extra heat.
- Leave more seeds/membranes for extra heat if you're short on peppers.
- Leave out one jalapeno and add a couple of canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Gives it a nice flavor.
- If you have nice avocado, you can dice one up and mix it in. Eat it soon, though.
There're a couple of tricks to this. First is you don't want to pick out tomatillos that are too green. Don't use the canned stuff for this, it does make a difference. Good red tomatoes seem to me to be harder to find which is why I opt for the canned ones. Second, you have to oven roast the tomatillos under the broiler until they are black and half of them have exploded. I've tried to skip that step or to just sautee them, doesn't work, it comes out too watery and raw tomato flavored.
- 8-12 tomatillos, husked
- 1 bunch green onion or 1/2 medium white/yellow/red, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced, which you can oven roast with the tomatillos
- 2-3 peppers, minced (I use either Serrano or Jalapeno or both)
- 1/2 lime
- cilantro, 1/4 bunch minced
Broil the tomatoes, take them out and stick them in the blender. Pulse it to reduce it to runny jelly consistency. Add your other stuff, and you've got it. I tend to make this one hotter than others, but you don't have to. I haven't tried too many variations of this one, because I don't want to screw up the tangy taste, and if you anything red to it, it turns it brown and makes look like something you don't want to eat.
Georgia fans made up over half of the stadium. Sadly, I guess there is no such thing as a home game for the 'Dores.
Offense: Again, couldn't get anything going when it seemed like we really needed it. It's so frustrating to watch those boys drop passes that hit them right in the numbers. Sean Bailey and Kris Durham, for example. Those were drive killers. The running game didn't get going until the second half when we had worn them down a little bit. We still come out and run a stubborn offense, but I can see the value of wearing them down for the second half. Line was blocking so-so until second half. Stafford had what I thought was enough time to get rid of the ball, he just seems to hold on to it forever. If it's because the routes are slow developing, then I would like to see us do some stuff that is quick hitting to generate tempo/rhythm. Stafford again makes passes that are jaw-dropping and others that make you take your hat off and slam it on the ground. SLOW feet in the pocket, but ran OK when he kept it on the option. Play-calling actually looks a lot more like Richt than Bobo, unless Bobo has drunk the Richt punch. What happened to the plays that we were running against OSU? The quick hitter passes and let your fast receivers make a play and get some YACs. We still would line up in I-formation, twin receivers and bring one in motion. Used the tight end, Chandler had a great game, and the crowd got fired up for/with him. Knowshon is pretty awesome, hard to say anything bad. Demiko had some great catches. Tony Wilson is just plain lucky, because we almost certainly would have lost the game if the Vandy defender did not kick that ball back to him. We haven't been using the fullback very much this year, such as catching passes on play-action in the flats.
Special teams: I don't know if you saw this, but Coutu was hitting field goals from 60-61 yards in warm-ups. His accuracy was great on the one that counted, but we missed the first one, BONK right off the upright. We are not doing great in kickoffs, and letting them get the ball around the 30-35 everytime. Meanwhile, we haven't been returning all that well, starting 20-25. You would have that with all that practice last week against Tennessee returning kickoffs, that we'd be better. Punting is better than it has been in recent years.
Defense: Couldn't break through their line until the 4th quarter. We just seem to get manhandled up front and I couldn't tell if it was a scheme problem, or that we just come with plain vanilla "Kill The Man With The Ball" and don't stunt and drop back, etc. We would not blitz until the end, and it worked. Pass coverage was average to worse than average. Overpursuit again, seemed to be killing us with the option, which BTW UF runs pretty well with T-bone. We really need some fire out there. We need some big hits, and Kelin needs to keep his head in the game. He roams around and wants to make a play, but a lot of the time just doesn't
Coaching: 12 men on the field always drives you crazy, doesn't it? Offense: line may not have been playing lights out, but I thought they were giving Stafford plenty of time, and I don't know if they just weren't open and that's why he got forced into some bad throws. We seem to run the same plays over and over, but where's the Bobo inspiration? He doesn't look like he's doing anything different than CMR. The most fired up I've ever seen CMR was when he was out there stopping those idiots from jumping up and down on the Vanderbilt V at the 50. He was pissed! Finally!!! Defense :<> Where were they? The adjustment at the half worked great, but we still gave up a huge play that almost cost us the ballgame, and if it hadn't been for punching a ball out, we might easily have lost. I don't know what it is, they just don't play with fire, and look lost out there half the time. CWM, what's going on? Is it just that we have bad players?
Sunday, October 7, 2007
OG and I decided to do a foodie blog and hope to atleast post one recipe per week that was atleast edible if not a wee bit different. For the UGA game, as Jennifer is way pregnant and is experiencing the GERD, I decided to make a Chile Verde. I was skeptical while making this, but it turned out to be rather tasty.
~2 1/2 lbs pork (I used country style boneless ribs from the shoulder)
1 lb poblano
1 lb cubano
2 oz (about 15 cloves garlic)
2-4oz cans chopped green chili
2 bunches of green onions (white and light green parts only)
2 cups Swanson's 99% fat free chiken broth (the kind that comes in the 32 oz box is best)
Juice of 2 limes
2 T masa harina
2 T corn starch
Mise en place: trim ribs and cut into 1/2 inch cubes, pat dry; roast poblano and cubanos, peel, seed and chop finely; seed and dice serrano; chop garlic finely; chop onions finely.
Start by searing cubed pork in small batches in a cast-iron enamal dutch oven. Don't overcrowd the pot, else the pork will steam and not sear. Leave the pork untouched until a well browned on one side and releases easy from the pot, then stir to lightly grey the other sides. Remove, wipe the juices from the pot and repeat with the remainder of the pork. Once all the pork is browned, add 3/4 of the roasted peppers, the garlic, the canned chilis, the onions and the broth and simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Next add the remainder of the roasted chilis, the serranos and cook for another 30 minutes. At this point the chili will be more like a soup so this is what I do to thicken chile verde. Take the juice of 2 limes in a small bowl and whisk in the masa and corn starch to make a slurry and add to the chili. Crank up the heat on the stove to medium-high and bring to a light boil and the chili will thicken. Turn the heat back down to low for 10 more minutes and you will be ready to serve. If the chili is too thin for your liking, add more of the masa/corn starch mixture in 1 T amounts, but always bring to a light boil to know how thick the soup will be...
Finish with some grated jack cheese, mexican crema and cilantro. Wash down with a Pacifico or other tasty Mexican lager :)
Saturday, October 6, 2007
In my opinion:
We really got our D-line exposed this year. I think they're undersized, and from what I recall, there were a few injuries that kept us from having the full complement. This front four was not at all capable of breaking down their O-line and crashing through to make a play. I can't remember a single player's name (except for Weston) off our D-line. They got manhandled. Linebacker play was beyond pathetic. So many missed tackles, they seemed to be on their heels the whole game. Ellerbee is like the only guy that I saw make a single play on whatever rare blitzes we made. Secondary was in a word pathetic. In three words, pathetic as hell. Kelin Johnson looks lost out there at times. We couldn't stop the run so we made up for it by letting them pass all over us, all day. No sacks, right? What I noticed was that we would give them a defensive look, often a 5 man line made by rolling a linebacker over and playing what looked like a 5-2. If Ainge like what his play looked like, he'd keep going. If not, he'd look over at the sideline, and they would signal him in the new play (definitely from Cutcliffe) in the same formation and then they'd kill us. We would never fake a defensive look to lure them into a bad play. What's worse, is that we knew they were audibling, and I never saw us change our defense. They really don't look like they have any idea what they're doing. They're not instinctive at all like some defenses we've had in years past. The other thing that we're sorely missing (other than a dominant defensive line) is a punishing, big-hitter (i.e. Greg Blue, Odell, Thomas Davis). Nobody's scared of us at all, anymore, and they shouldn't be. What was our halftime adjustment? We looked pretty much the same to me. We just won't blitz, and when we do, it's so obvious, that the other team changes the play and burns us. That's not a reason to not blitz, it means that we're showing our cards so soon that we easily get outplayed. That's a coaching problem. You get the sense that our defense does a good job of stopping OUR offense, but no one else's. They're used to stacking the box to stop the run up the middle, but when they hit us outside we get torched, especially when we blitz in the middle or from a safety or corner from one side and announce over the PA system where we're coming from. The bend-but-don't-break concept works when we've got a dominant D-line, smart linebackers, and can adjust on the fly. That ain't the case this year.
In the end, we have to do something from the coaching side. I'm not saying that we HAVE to get a new DC, but come on, how many time has this happened, just like this with CWM? We play without fire, uninspired. We need an Erk Russel to headbutt 'em and bleed and light a fire under their asses. I'm trying to think of what we did right on defense, and I'm having a hard time figuring it out.
We have one of the most stubborn offenses in the country. It's like watching a kid try to pound a round peg into a square hole. Look around the country. I love the I formation as least as much as the next person, but the defensive solution is stack the box and stop the run, forcing you to pass quickly. Check this out, posted on RockyTopTalk....
4. Georgia got out of the gate well with a 35-14 win over Oklahoma State and then lost 16-12 to Steve Spurrier (we don't call them "South Carolina" on RTT). What did the Gamecocks do that the Cowboys did not?
PWD: The Cowboys are poorly coached, and they apparently didn't watch a minute of film on us. The scouting report on UGA is simple:
1. Run delayed draws straight at us and hope our talented DTs don't step up.
2. Run stretch plays behind your OT directly at our smaller DEs. Then use those plays to set up Play Action crossing patterns.
3. Blitz the hell out of us on defense.
4. Hope we drop passes and don't make you pay for blitzing.
Against OSU, they tried to run wide on us and roll their QB out using slow developing plays. Our super fast DEs ate them up. SC didn't do any of that dumb stuff. They ran right at us. UT will do the same. We also caught the ball extremely well vs. OSU. Stafford had some shaky passes, and the WRs dropped at least six passes by my count. Georgia lost b/c Georgia couldn't pass and catch. Not because of anything genius that Spurrier did.
That sums it up for gameplan. Back to offense, we keep running this bullshit up the middle and it doesn't work. How long have we been doing that? What's even more incredible to me is that the OSU game, I saw some play calls that I hadn't seen for a while with the quick passes and WR/tunnel screens, and they really seemed to work well. That looked like a Mike Bobo offense. The last few games have looked a lot more like CMR offense. I set, run up the middle. You can't play ball control when you're down by 28 points in Neyland Stadium. Again, uninspired. More later...
Monday, October 1, 2007
What was good: The meeting was great, I saw and visited with a lot of friends and made several new ones. We stayed in Summerlin which is a few miles off the strip, but it really did not make that big of a difference because we had a car that we could get back into the strip when we wanted. We also went to a new show entitled Le Reve at Wynn which was like O made more abstract on steroids.
What was disappointing: What remains obvious is that good food can be purchased for a reasonable price. However, great food comes at a staggering price and is frequently over rated. I think part of the problem is the typical Vegas mentality that more is always better. We all know that frequently is not the case. For example, a prestigious restaurant at Caesar's palace that has frequently received rave reviews, I and my fellow diners found to be quite average. And that really is a disappointment. The wine list was bizarre, especially for a place that had several steaks on the menu and offered less than a half dozen Cabernet offerings. The service was condescending, and this may be because of the clientele usually received. Not my fault, but despite the number of fantastic restaurants that have opened in several casino hotels around town, there will always be a market for great food with amazing wine that doesn't have to cost over $200 a person served by people who know what they're talking about, and don't treat you like you're in Jr. high.