I hope your having a Happy Holiday.
This week on The Table Set Nathan, Andy and I naturally decided to tackle the subject of Indpendence Day. We had intended to share some fun ideas to make this year’s holiday a party to remember. But we quickly veered off course. Nostalgia took over and we spent a lot of time talking about the ‘fourthajuly’ celebrations from our childhoods
For Andy, it was the annual bike parade. I can just see him tricking out his bike with flag-inspired frills and hear the simple, joyful flick-flick-flick of a playing card snapping against the spokes of his bike. Or maybe that’s my memory. Still just the thought of it takes me back to the sulpher smells of neighborhood fireworks, and the sting of sunburn on my nose. Some 4th of July long past was the one and only time I ever puffed a cigarette, and it was at my dad’s insistence. Tune in and and get the details.
But Nathan’s memories of fireworks in the desert are the images that most resonate with me now. Desert holidays have become the norm in my life. Palm Springs is just a hop, skip and (a traffic clogged) jump out the 10 freeway. In fact Palm Springs (last year) is where I made this simple holiday celebration video for you. Have a happy, safe (and sane) ‘fourthajuly’! GREG
You are probably amazed that I can write a cookbook and still post 3 or more times a week. Today’s Pan-Fried Catfish Tacos with Mango Salsa prove that there are three simple facts accounting for this seemingly amazing feat:
- My posts aren’t as good as they used to be. So sue me. Sue me. Shoot bullets thru me.
- My brother Grant is coming up to the plate and providing wine notes for some of my posts. Do you know how much real estate a wine notes box takes up? So much that my posts don’t seem quite as inconsequential as they might have.
- I am a blog obsessed freak. I simply have to post or I become irregular. Yeah, that kind of irregular!
Of course there is also the fact that I have been attending quite a few of the wonderful blogger events that come my way. These events provide content. Because they are new experiences about the things I love about blogging. The very things that energize me. Things like my week in the Amish country of Ohio. My trips to Driscoll’s Berries and California Avocados were geeky food adventures that still occupy my dreams at night. Really.
I am going to do this backwards today. I am going to start with a recipe and end with a story. The recipe is a cocktail I tasted at Pebble Beach Food and Wine. It’s a Bellini made with super sweet Driscoll’s raspberries.The story is told through video. It’s the story of my day stomping through the mud at a raspberry farm.
I learned lots of cool stuff, but the coolest is this: You can trace the journey of your package of fresh Driscoll’s Berries all the back to the farm where they were grown. Turn over the package and you will find a label featuring a code that tells you about the farms where your berries were hand harvested.
But I promised the recipe first. And here it is. Raspberry Ginger Bellini serves 1 CLICK here for a printable recipe
- 2 T (1 ounce) domaine de canton (ginger liqueur)
- 1 T (1/2 ounce) lemon juice
- 1 T (1/2 ounce) grenedine
- 6 driscoll’s raspberries, plus one for garnish
- 6 T (3 ounces) chandon rosé or sparkling rosé
In a cocktail shaker half filled with ice, combine the Domaine de Canton, lemon juice, simple syrup and 4 raspberries. Shake vigorously.
Add Chandon Rose or Sparkling Rose in a champagne coupe glass. Strain shaken contents into glass with Rosé.
Recipe adapted from Driscoll’s Berries.
Thanks to California Avocados I now have a story to tell, and a short video to share. The folks at California Avocados invited me on a tour recently. I did more than just consume massive quantities of avocado while I was there. I consumed lots of information, and I am here to regurgitate it all over you!
I am a geek. But you knew that.
I am particularly geeky when it comes to collecting useless information about things that interest me. Things like avocados.
This is the time of year we can all be geeks when it comes to avocados. Because, for avocado geeks, this is prime season. In California the famed ‘Hass’ avocado is at its peak. Meaning geeks everywhere can get quality avocados grown in California at a rate of 90% of the domestic US supply.
We love avocados for their rich, fatty oil content. In fact if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s why we love all foods. Our DNA makes us crave fatty foods to prepare for times of hardship. The fact that hardship today is a different sort of drama than it was tens of centuries ago accounts for our love-hate relationship with fat. But I digress. Because when it comes to an avocado. Fat is your friend. Half an avocado has 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
Which is geeky fact number one!
I am getting excited for Camp Blogaway!
There is a lot going on in my life right now. I am at the tail end of writing a cookbook on Savory Pies for Ulysses Press (in stores Nov ’12). The most difficult time in writing a cookbook is the tail end (in case you wanted to know). I probably should have passed on camp this year. But how could I?
Camp Blogaway is where I fell in love with blogging and bloggers.
So when Lindsay Olives asked me to attend camp and represent their product, there was no way I could say no. Lindsay Olives is a quality whole food product. A product I use anyway. Camp Blogaway is my favorite blogger activity of the year, and I do a lot of them so I can say that with some authority.
In case you are not familiar with the original boot camp for food bloggers, please watch my video from the first year. Or maybe you prefer the video from the second year.
But this time I am coming to camp armed with recipe cards from some of the bloggers I fell in love with this year. These recipes feature Lindsay Olives and are a great way to introduce myself to the new bloggers I know I will meet this weekend at Camp Blogaway. Everyone loves a blogger bearing gifts!
You know Grumpy Greg, right? He shows his grumpy face here every now and again. Well, he’s got an even uglier cousin named Lazy Greg. I rarely invite Lazy Greg to anything I do on this blog. Because he and I have different standards of excellence. But lately he has been showing up here univited.
That’s ‘cuz Regular Ole Greg (me!) is super busy writing, cooking, food styling and photographing a Savory Pie cookbook. There is no team. There is no staff. There is only Regular Ole Greg (me!). Which means Lazy Greg has had a free reign on this blog for well over over a week now. Lazy Greg brought you a post that was really nothing more than a love letter to Los Angeles. Even the video on that post was purloined. Borrowing spectacular content is the ultimate in lazy blogging.
Before that there was a Chocolate Cake. Sure it was beautiful, but it was from a box. I know. I know. Lazy with a capital Z!
And while we are on the subject of chocolate did you notice that there were two other posts devoted to chocolate right before that lazy chocolate cake? Those were designed more to attract traffic than push myself culinarily. That was from Slutty Greg. He’ll do anything for a little love.
But today is the last day that Lazy Greg will show his face around here. He made a collage and I have agreed to let him show it. Really it’s a teaser about the upcoming book. A few pics to whet your appetite. I can’t even tell you what they are, except they are Savory Pies. Duh… GREG
Our final full day in the Amish country of south Ohio was spent in West Union, at The Murphin Ridge Inn. This is where I began to form some opinions about all I had seen in this uniquely beautiful part of Ohio.
A stay in this part of the world should include at least one night at a bed and breakfast like The Murphin Ridge Inn. You’ll enjoy all the amenities that come in a comfy room, tucked under an authentic Amish quilt. A visit to Amish country can be a rewarding and fascinating experience. From tranquil farms that run without electricity to the clip-clop of horse-drawn buggies– there are plenty of opportunities for a glimpse into the Amish way of life. Though their lives may seem strangely different than your own, please remember they are not actors playing a part. They are ordinary people who choose a different way of life.
In fact it is these differences that led to some of the introspection I mentioned earlier in this series. It might just be human nature to look at strangers suspiciously. I suppose it may even be some sort of primitive throwback woven into our survival instincts. But as modern folk we have the opportunity to push aside those fears and look to others for inspiration and even guidance. I find it interesting when cultures, religions, races, sexual orientations, heck even genders live and work together. Because by celebrating our differences we highlight our interconnectedness. Now I am not just spouting all this to impress you with my knowledge of the Amish way of life, what I don’t know about Amish people could fill a stadium. I am just trying to make a point about the interconnectedness of life. Which was my big take away from this trip. It coalesced during a visit to an Amish dairy farm during my stay at The Murphin Ridge Inn.
Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Columbus. Ohio.
Columbus, Ohio is a great place to visit. It’s a sophisticated city with just enough enticing things to do to get you out and energized. It has a strong restaurant scene, with a lot of interesting options. In fact, if you like you can get a good taste of Columbus’ culinary scene with a tour of all that is delicious. Bethia Woolf leads just such a venture at Columbus Food Adventures. If you have the time and a keen interest in peeking under the lid of the metaphorical soup pot of Central Ohio I suggest you take one of the five adventures she provides the culinary tourist.
But what if you feel a little less motivated? What if your goal is strictly a lazy weekend in a lovely city– determined to relax, unwind, and reconnect? Well, the last thing you have time for is a disappointing restaurant. After all, a good meal is the prelude to all the other good things you may have been hoping for when you decided to take a long romantic getaway.
Which means, there just isn’t enough time in the day for poor choices. You can scour YELP. Sometimes YELP is very helpful. But sometimes YELP makes me cry for HELP! Just who the heck is Sweet Pea from Tallahassee? And what does she know about locally-sourced organics in Ohio??
In instances like this I turn to bloggers. I turn to bloggers I trust. So here I am, trying to return the favor. Because I like to think you can trust me…
I spent some time recently in Columbus, the guest of Experience Columbus. I had some good meals. I had some okay meals. Some were pricey. Some were cheap(ish). Now I am home and I’d like to pass along my Ohio restaurant trifecta. Breakfast, lunch and dinner in Columbus, Ohio.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s celebrate with an Irish Coffee from The Buena Vista.
I featured this cocktail, if that’s the right word, yesterday on The Back Burner. Which is the blog I contribute to at Key Ingredient. In researching that post I got in contact with Larry Nolan at The Buena Vista and he gave me permission to reprint much of text and photos you see below. It was so generous of him that I decided I should present the story of the Irish Coffee here at Sipiity Sup as well.
The story of how the Irish Coffee came to be associated with The Buena Vista in San Francisco is very interesting. But it was not invented there. In fact it’s authentically Irish, and indeed the second most famous alcoholic import from that Emerald Isle– just behind Guinness. But when it comes to the United States of America, it’s hard to beat an Irish Coffee from The Buena Vista on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Especially after you know the history.
But if you’ve never had the pleasure of this uniquely San Franciscan treat, then I think today will prove enlightening. I am hoping that this post and video, with words and photos straight from the source, will help you understand the draw of this classic cocktail and the allure of standing shoulder to shoulder in an iconic spot, experiencing a wee-bit of Irish American history. So just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, here is how the phenomenon got its start in America. GREG
Arctic Char with Minted Sweet & Sour Pan Sauce is another example of something I have noticed swimming around on a lot of blogs lately. I am talking about sustainable seafood.
The state of the world’s oceans is a topic of great interest to me. Because I love all the tasty tid-bits from the sea. Do you love seafood as much as I do? I hope you do. I actually hope you love it enough to stop and think about the consequences of that love.
Love, indeed, has consequences and condoms are not always the answer.
Because these last few decades, the way we get seafood to market has begun to drastically alter our marine ecosystems. Overfishing, environmental degradation and destructive harvest practices are becoming cataclysmic.
But I am proud to say we bloggers seem to be taking a lead on this subject and I think the word is getting around.
Organizations such as Seafood Watch have been trying to educate consumers about many of the collapsing fisheries in the world. I first got involved with Seafood Watch in 2008, and made my first post on the subject (with video) in January 2009. Because without healthy eco-systems the seafood we all love will simply disappear.