Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tasty Meal...

I promise that I will post about NYC soon, but I haven't had enough devoted time. With that said, I wanted to post briefly about my dinner last night. A few weekends ago, Mike Brown and I made a ridiculous amount of veal stock (more on that in a later post). All I can say is man this comes in handy. To further set the stage, I ordered some duck products for Jennifer's Christmas with a few bonuses for myself. When I arrived home yesterday, I was greeted with a package from Hudson Valley Farms containing a 1.6 lb Grade A fois gras, 6 confit duck legs, 1 double duck breast, and a 2 lb container of duck fat. I didn't have the time to make anything elaborate, but I had to do something with the duck fat!

In my fridge, I had some flat-iron steak, some white button mushrooms, some of the aforementioned veal stock & duck fat. In my pantry were same potato, shallot & garlic.

JW's Steak & Potato
serves 2

1 flat-iron steak about 1 lb
salt & pepper
Canola oil
1 shallot, minced
8 oz thinly sliced mushrooms
1/2 c red wine
1 c veal stock
1/2 tsp thyme
1 T butter

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Cut steak into desired portions, pat-dry, salt and pepper liberally. Heat skillet over medium high heat, add enough oil to coat bottom of pan and sear/cook steak about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and put in the oven to keep warm. Saute mushrooms until they brown and give up most of their moisture then set aside. Next saute the shallot for about 30 seconds, then deglaze the pan with the wine until almost dry. Add the veal stock with the mushrooms and reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Add the thyme and swirl in the butter to make the sauce shiny and delicious.

Potato cut into 1 inch chunks about 2 cups
salt & pepper
1 T duck fat
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup heavy cream
Dijon mustard

Place potato & about a tablespoon of oil in a microwave safe bowl cover with plastic wrap and vent. Cook 50% power for 6 minutes tossing about mid-way through. Drain. Heat another skillet over medium heat with the duck fat. Add potato and saute until GBD. Add shallot and garlic, cook about 1 minute, then swirl in the cream & a spoonful of mustard, mixing well.

To plate, spoon a little sauce on the plate, top with the meat, then top with more sauce and mushrooms. Serve potato on the side.

Even Jen agrees, Emeril is wrong...DUCK FAT RULES!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The tech game, and the State of the Bulldog union otherwise known as 'six notes on a trumpet'

We are all just observers, and we should always keep that in mind. With that said, I think there are some significant things that are worth mentioning about this years football team's performance. There has been an inexplicable thing that nobody can put a finger on that seems to be missing from this team. It's something that the coaches haven't ever mentioned in any of the press conferences, and frankly I have rarely if ever heard them say this out loud about any of our teams unless it's going well.
I'm sure my wife will appreciate this, but once again, maybe it all boils down to chemistry. Since I don't get to personally attend the press conferences, hang out in the locker room, nor do I get to interview coach Richt, I know I miss out on a lot. That's why I'm not a professional reporter, and I do have a day (and often night) job. The coaches do a good job of protecting the student athletes, and they are pretty unified on not throwing any players under the bus. Is it not possible that even with a talented group of players, team chemistry falters, there is no distinct leader in certain key situations, and the players just flat out don't do what they're told to do or what they learn and practice? If you think that's not possible, then I would refer you back to the men's USA basketball team of the previous couple of Olympic games. Is there any question that they are not superior basketball players? No, but again the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.
So what does all this mean? It means that we're close, we are recruiting the right talent level, and when we can click with the right kind of team chemistry to bring us through on-field adversity, we will be dominant. This year clearly was not the year.
Do you think Martinez told any of our players to arm tackle and not wrap up? Do you think Bobo coached anyone into running the wrong route or not blocking somebody that was coming on a blitz? Is someone teaching Blair Walsh how to kick low hooks on purpose? Could it be that out of all the possibilities, the directional kick has led to fewer problems than we might have experienced otherwise?
I will say also, that I noticed something from fans this year that has been missing for several years and that is continued enthusiasm despite some optimal performance and outcome. Remember the Alabama game? The fans stayed in the second half despite being blown out of the first half, because we really thought that we had a chance. Personally, I watched the whole game taking the same exact thing. that said, remember the fans can be very fickle, and that support may not be there. If you don't believe it, why don't you ask Phil Fulmer. On Saturday, despite the weather, the stadium was packed and the fans were loud. How many times can the defense ask the crowd to get into the game, only for the crowd to watch them pull a bonehead and let some idiot nerd management major in a piss-yellow uniform go tearing down the field for a touchdown on third and long? That's the last time I go to that game without some alcohol my pocket. What else is there to say? The trumpet player played all seven notes, the fans were all there screaming their heads off, being loyal till the end--it might have been nice to see a complete game be played on the field.
At the end of the day or season, I have no where else to turn other than to still love them 'Dawgs. I mean, we get mad at our family from time to time for stupid things, but they're still our family.