Friday, November 21, 2008

The tale of two eggs

I always hear and read that the ability to cook a good egg shows the ability of a good cook. My eggs are usually good, sometimes brilliant. The top left picture is of a simply boiled egg on a piece of toast sprinkled with some cajun seasoning. Simple...but brilliant...and I made it look good which is unusual for me. The other picture is of scrambled eggs with spinach, onion and bacon at my desk. I made that and actually lost $110 trading currencies...expensive breakfast!

Anyway, the best eggs I have ever had were in Spain. Huevos estrallados. There is a popular restaurant in Madrid where the King eats that serves these huevos estrallados. Basically, it's two or three eggs, sunny side up, over a bed of french fries...that's it. And the Kind of Spain swears by it. I have tried to copy it, but it just isn't the same. Maybe it's the oil...maybe the ambiance...maybe the 6 Heineken's I had.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Him, the man from Richmond

I am passionate about soccer. I love FC Barcelona. They are not only a club, but a nation, a community. "Mes que un club" - More than a club. If Barca does not win, the people get emotional. However, not only must they win, but they must win with beauty. 1-0 grind it out games are not only boring to the Barca faithful, they are not tolerated. The fans demand a graceful, classy performance. There is something to be learned by that. Not only win, but win with class and entertainment. There is also something to be said by the headlines that the Spanish speak with and their overall manner of speaking. Just imagine a Spanish radio announcer when the local team scores a goal. GGGGooooooooooooooooaaaalllll!!!!!!!!!!!! Passion at it's core. Maybe it is just the romance of a latin language, but I strongly believe this passion is easily transferable to food (By the way, the best food in the world can be found in Spain.). The best true chef's in the world are overrun with passion (Mario Batali, Gordon Ramsey, Jacques Pepin). From now on I will have FC Barcelona on my mind when I am writing about food. A RITMO DE CAMPEONES!!! To the rhythm of the champions!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you what you are

Food is life. It gives us energy, it makes us who we are. I have friends that eat merely to provide proteins and nutrients. I have friends that eat because because they enjoy a good meal. I have friends that eat too much because they are gluttons. And I have friends that eat for the pure joy and exhilaration that it is to enjoy a good meal with good friends and family. Nothing brings friends and family together like dinner. The most amazing meal I ever had was in Umbria, Italy when I was 16 years old. I sat at a table with my father, his friend Marcelo Manfroni, a few of his family members, a few business associates, about 20 people in all. It was summer time. It was about 8 or 9pm, 70 degrees, amazing, life changing for a 16 year old boy. We ate in the garden with an epic view down at the valley and up at the rolling hills. Beautiful trees everywhere, a cool breeze, and the scent of poplar trees and the forest in general. I suppose it looked like the picture here. Everyone there was either Italian or could speak Italian except me, but it still remains in my mind as my best dinner experience ever. I sat by my dad at the middle of the table and some of the Italians tried there English with me from time to time, but it didn't matter. I was happy.

Anyway, remembering this dinner (I could go on for ages about the meal, spaghetti, rabbit, vegetables, etc), made me think of a place that would inspire good cooking and good eating. A condo in Orlando FL, while quite a nice place to live, doesn't really inspire mind altering meals. Umbria, Italy does. Great views do. Good people who also love to cook do. So I thought of 3 things that do inspire me to create a beautiful meal without the scenic vistas and perfect ingredients outside your back door in the garden.

First of all, remembering your past culinary failures is counterproductive. Don't worry about the meals you've messed up and focus on your previous achievments. Move forward. I seriously doubt that anyone who reads this has friends that would go hysterical if your short ribs were overcooked or overseasoned. Do you? Second, create a structure in your kitchen. Know where your materials are. Know where your spices are, your knives, your sauces, your vegetables...know your oven, how it cooks, you pots and pans, etc. Know when your guests tend to arrive, on time, late, early, and cook accordingly. Know your environment so you can focus on creating a good meal rather than focusing on where the heck the potatoe peeler is. Lastly, have a mentor. Mine has been, and continues to be my family, mother, father, brother, (my mother in particular). Someone you can bounce ideas off of and who can give you new ideas. Someone you have no fear asking questions of. These 3 things will hopefully provide consistency in your culinary adventures. Because remember, what you put in your body is who you are.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Results of the big day

Well, here are my mostly positive results from the previous day. Barcelona tied against a relatively weak Swiss team (still qualified so that's okay). I made 13% on my money shorting the EUR/USD in 8 hours (I shorted it at 3pm and closed the trade right in the middle of Obama's speech). And the food I made was quite extraordinary if I may say so myself. I made spicy teriyaki wings and my moms Swedish spare ribs. The wings are on the left side of the plate in the picture and the spare ribs are on the right side. I ate too much like my normal glutonous self. Unfortunately, only one of the 6 people I invited showed up so maybe my cooking isn't as good as I thought it was. They are republicans though, so maybe they were just in a bad mood. Maybe I should concentrate on trading rather than entertaining!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Big day

Big day today for me. We're voting for a new president. Barcelona plays in the Champions League. I shorted the EUR/USD. I'm not really anxious though. I've done what I think is right and hopefully it goes the way I'd like. All I know is that I'm throwing an election party tonight and serving some snacks. I'm planning on zucchini fritti (zucchini cut the size of french fries, into egg, then flour mixture that has spies and some parmesan cheese in it), spare ribs (with prunes, salt and pepper...simple, but amazing), teriyaki chicken wings (no idea, got it off, caprese salad (tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, olive oil), french fries (shoestring), and anything else I can find in the fridge that might taste good. We'll see how it goes. This evening, I could be wealthier and happy, or not. Either way, my stomach will be satisfied.