Friday, October 31, 2008
IT COULDN'T BE DONE, By Edgar A. Guest
Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But, he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.
Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
At least no one has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle it in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "couldn't be done", and you'll do it.
Have a great Halloween and weekend. Amy S.
But on the very day when I was working on said post, in my mail arrived a large, glossy sales brochure featuring WSJwine - and everything stopped. Because even I could see the possibility of a conflict of interest between what they recommend and what they will be selling. While the disclaimer says they "operate independently from The Wall Street Journal's news department", it still opens a door of distrust for a publication that has an enviable reputation for integrity in reporting.
Today's article about "The Dow Jones Lamb Chop Challenge" brought this back to mind. While it anonymously solicits wine recommendations from wine retailers in six cities, the actual judgement of what "worked" was still done by WSJ writers. None of the 10 wines that were tasted were located on the WSJwine website as being for sale. But that doesn't mean that tomorrow the "partnership" might not sell it, after all some were recommended by the writers of The WSJ, isn't this what the partnership was formed for?
This very blog cross-markets, you see Sevy's Grill news every so often. But I disclose co-ownership on my profile (as well as in many posts), and I don't consider this a news venue - more of a "stories" venue. I try to be factually accurate, but have never represented myself as a journalist.
So that leaves me with two new questions: 1) to The WSJ - why do this?, and 2) to friend John R. at Sigel's - why even carry these wines that are cutting out the local business?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I was assigned to a group of five 4th graders and teamed with a great Hexter mom, it turned out we had some things in common. Her daughter was on Math team with the same coach my kids had at Kramer, she helped with book fair like I did back in the day - making new friends was like a whipped cream topping to the day.
But the kids, boy, they were sharp and well behaved. And curious. They listened patiently to Meaders Orazow talk about making bread. How the yeast works, different flavors of bread, and of course they loved it when they got to sample the sourdough, wheat and rye breads she brought to share. Then chef Tina Wasserman took them on an exploration of flavors; salt, sugar, citric acid and cocoa (salty, sweet, sour and bitter) and they had "tasters" of cheese, chocolate, pickles, rosemary on a plate for them to try individually and in combinations.
We were the Green Pepper team, and headed out to the market - each child received $1 to purchase their vegetable(s) of choice. Many of the vendors were kind enough to split baskets, or let kids buy only one of something. By the end, we had: corn, cucumber, banana pepper, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, strawberries, apple, watermelon slices (a very nice man let us have some "samples" which we threw in a bag), banana.
Returning to the resource center, the staff washed the veggies while the kids washed their hands, then the chopping and trading began. One group wanted some of our corn, which we traded for half a red pepper, another group traded a few strawberries for an orange, and I don't remember what we traded for some brussels sprouts and carrots. IJS, one of the boys, "Mr. J" showed amazing trading skills, we would send him off with half of something and he'd come back with something else.
While I chopped, "Miss A." helped her mom with the dressing. Buttermilk mixed with mayonnaise (which all the kids thought looked gross), and each one got to add an element - garlic, pepper, cayenne, until we had......Buttermilk Ranch dressing, which they thought was very cool. Everyone had a part in making a pasta and veggie salad which was devoured, the fruit salad was for dessert and we had enough to share with others.
"Big D" said it was the best he ever had as he gave me a gigantic hug on his way out. My smile's still there, I hope his is too.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Update: Tomorrow I'll be cooking, forgot to change the date on my calendar. Will be working with friends Paula and Meaders greeting students from Hexter Elementary. Looking at the bright side (as I laugh at myself), at least it was a beautiful day for a drive - and at least it wasn't a drive to Canton on the wrong date (been there, done that).
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
So I've pulled out my vodka jar, a large glass sealed "barrel" that holds three large bottles of Absolut. While things are marinating, I'll start looking for some smaller vintage bottles (in Canton this weekend) to pour the finished product into. Along with the vodka, the gift bag will include 2 small cans of V-8 for mixing, and some homemade hot chocolate mix for the kids to enjoy.
And of course you don't have to use Absolut, but "Amy's Monopolova Outrageous Bloody Mary Vodka" just doesn't sound as catchy.
AMY'S "ABSOLUT"-ELY OUTRAGEOUS BLOODY MARY VODKA
3 1.75 bottles of Absolut vodka
2 bunches of fresh dill
1 large horseradish root
1 clove garlic
6 whole black peppercorns
Peel the exterior of the horseradish root to remove dirt and exterior skin. Score (do not cut open) the jalapeno 2 - 3 times to release flavors. Place all ingredients in jar and keep in the refrigerator. Periodically taste - if the jalapeno has added enough heat for you, remove it (conversely, if it's not hot enough, throw another one in). Same with the other ingredients. The flavor of the output is determined by what you like - but be forewarned, this stuff by itself tastes pretty nasty, it "blossoms" once added to a mixer.
I make my potion very strong, and then cut it with unflavored vodka to increase the yield. I have a lot of friends to give it away to and only so much production capacity.
The interior print is black and white as are photos and sketches, all on a heavy paper stock which totaled 48 pages. The writers, well they use the word "I" even more than you'll find in this very blog, and the publisher (Edward Behr) wrote a 12 page report on his personal selection of 9 "mostly French and Italian cookbooks" called Throwing The Rest Out. Hell, Edward, I'd need a couple of semi-trucks to take my collection away. But thanks for showing me a couple more that I need.
Articles? Well take your choice, from "Medlar: The Rotten Fruit", yum, to "Brown Sugar From Okinawa", to a restaurant review of Da Maria, located in Fano, Italy (in the Marche region of Italy - I had to get a map, did they assume I knew?) who's tag-line was "Come if you're prepared to make do with what we've got". From letters to the editor, previous articles have included the merits of Andouillette and Blue Star vs. Lancanche ranges. A common factor in the articles - the length, I lost interest in the subjects after more than 12 paragraphs of detail.
So a word for improvement, because I did like the cover art enough to make this initial purchase, it was just a disappointment inside. Take the advertising money you shun, it will help you hire a good editor, maybe Bethany?
The ceremony followed a menu of tradition that typifies scouting - Call to Order, Presentation of Colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Scouting Oath. While formal, it serves a purpose of signifying the elevation of one's station through achievement. There was an invocation by Father Etheridge of St. Luke's, and several scoutmasters came forward to speak for "Mijo" and his hard work. Then it was time for his remarks.I was not prepared for his honest expression of how very hard it had been to make this climb, how growing up in a single parent (grandmother) family with younger siblings had undermined his belief in his abilities. How every other Webelo from his pack gradually dropped scouting, which seemed like a good idea to him at the time because he didn't want to be alone in the group. But people came to him, encouraged him to stick with it, see it through, kept reminding him that he COULD do this. Some even welcomed him into their own families and helped him see a future beyond his life now. I was not the only one unable to stop crying.
I was prepared for him to fly, even at a young age he understood honor; he honored his family by his achievements and he honored the time many have spent with him by completing his scouting endeavor.
Take the currently released report (10/27/08) which covers August's sales - but some early payers have September data included as well. I've included in my calculations every Dallas licensee who has both September and August 2008 figures available - which means only those who paid their September taxes early. I didn't break down by size or classification ("upscale", "clubs", or "topless bars" - who appear to be doing EXCEEDINGLY WELL in this economy). Nor will I specify information about any specific licensee - except to say that Ounce did pay their August taxes - early.
August to September sales data represents in this industry the end of the summer "drought", when many patrons are traveling on vacation. The kids are returning to school and everyone wants to enjoy the end of the 100 degree temperatures. So one would normally see tax receipts rise as sales increase. Sad to say, it's just not so.
Of the 119 Dallas licensee figures that are available for both August and September there was a drop of $67,475 in taxes paid, or a decrease of 9.5%. This translates into a decrease in (beverage) sales at these locations of $481,964, plus change just based on August-to-September numbers, imagine what the September '07-to-September '08 numbers will end up. These early payers represent approximately 11% of Dallas's licensed purveyors, and only those that could send in their taxes early.
So of course, my next question is who is going to be making up the tax shortfall? You guess.
Monday, October 27, 2008
With the weather much cooler, I'm anticipating large crowds, meaning lots of those mechanized scooters blocking the shed alleys. To avoid this, I've got a secret plan - shhhh, I'll share it if you don't tell everyone. I'm going out there on Thursday to avoid the crowds. While there won't be as many vendors in the flea market area, the shed vendors pay more rent - so they'll be present and selling their goods.
My other recommendation? Buy - don't wait, there's no guarantee that any items will be around at the next Trade Days in November/December (let alone later in the day), they are looking to sell out their stock this weekend. Several times I've gotten home, wishing I'd bought a second, third or fourth of something only to return later to find it all gone.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Oh, the menu? Here it is:
This parade thing ended up being a miracle. Myself a newbee to the job, with a co-chair who was new as well, we managed to get it done, make it fun, and it all went off at the right time. There were a few last minute additions, deletions and some extra convertibles had to be sourced - who knew we handled flowers for the homecoming court as well? But the community came through, the City of Dallas Special Events handled all the police and permit stuff (this is a really well run department from my perspective), and kids in the neighborhood came to catch candy and wave. And our Parade Marshal? None other than Hillcrest fave dad, Kevin Sherrington, writer extraordinaire for the Dallas Morning News.
Here's the recipe, as requested by Anjelica Gonzales of the Hillcrest HS (award winning) yearbook:
1. What are the challenges of getting ready for the parade? - Probably the greatest challenge is you don't know until right before the parade how many VIP's, groups and floats will be participating. You sometimes have to beg, borrow and get creative to get everyone a ride in a convertible, but we were very fortunate to have had several cars loaned by our neighborhood community.
2. What was the most stressful part of organizing the parade? This was my first year co-chairing the parade (with Ms. Atwell), and it's no different than any new job or task you take on, the first time is always the hardest because you are learning an entirely new thing. We were very fortunate that we had the Voice of Knowledge (and former parade coordinator, Ms. Bailey) to help us through the beginning steps.
3. What are the steps of putting the Hillcrest Homecoming parade together? You have to get a special permit from the City of Dallas Special Events office at least 45 days before the event, then once the theme of the event has been decided you begin contacting feeder schools for floats and neighborhood VIP's to ride in the cars. The parade would not be a success without the help of the numerous volunteers who help with handouts, invitations, RSVP's, float building, convertible driving, truck hauling, trailer pick up/drop off, and VIP reception room "goodies" cooking.
4. How do the parents and students meet the deadlines for the parade? We try to be flexible, many groups weren't sure what they were going to have in the parade until the last minute, and one VIP let us know he could make it the day before the parade. However many groups, like band, Panaders and the class floats can always be counted on to be participants. For most volunteers the only deadline is showing up to drive or direct traffic the day of the parade.
5. How do you plan a float? As a parent who has hosted the float building in previous years, I let the kids do all of the building and construction themselves. That having been said, they probably could have made a more professional looking float if I'd given them a little advice before cutting wood: "Measure twice, cut once" comes to mind.
6. Where do most of the materials come from for the floats? The only necessary part is a trailer with a truck to pull it. You can use almost anything depending on the theme that is set for that year. A constructed backdrop is nice but not necessary.
7. What is the most important reason to have a parade? Parades seem kind of cheesy until you get to ride in one, or stand next to one, or help put one on. Then you can't stop smiling because it really is fun to watch and wave.
8. How do you decide the order for the floats for the parade? This year I kept the "best for last" and put the floats at the end, with the class floats right before the feeder school's. This gave them the maximum amount of time in the parking lot pre-parade to get the final touches (and minor fixes) done.
A special shout of "THANK YOU" to Sewell Auto Group, who provided us with some tremendous Hummers, convertibles and a hot little car for our honored guest, U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions. And another big thank you to the HHS parents of Lightning Motor Sports for sharing their convertibles with us as well.
The only downside? Unfortunately in the excitement of conclusion (with no major incidents), I volunteered to do this again next year.
Monday, October 20, 2008
So with Thanksgiving coming up, how was a turkey prepared 141 years ago? Well if you were lucky enough to live in a home that could afford a book on cooking, you likely had a spit and could roast a bird over the fire. For those less fortunate a recipe for boiling said bird is also included.
A turkey should be well singed and cleaned of pin-feathers; then draw the inwards. Be sure you take everything out that is inside. Lay the turkey into cold water; clean the gizzards, liver, heart, and neck; let all soak one hour if you have time. Wash all very clean, wipe the turkey very dry, inside and out. Make a dressing of two cups of bread-crums (sic), one teaspoon of salt, two large spoonfuls of sweet marjoram, two spoonfuls of butter, one egg, and mix them well together. Cut the skin of the turkey in the back part of the neck, that the breast may look plump; fill the breast with the forecemeat, and sew it up. If you have any more forcemeat than is required for the breast, put the remainder into the body, and skewer the vent; tie the legs down very tight, skewer the wings down to the sides, and turn the neck on to the back with a strong skewer. Baste with salt and water once, then frequently with butter; fifteen minutes before dishing, dredge with a little salt and flour, and baste with butter for the last time. This will give a fine frothy appearance, and add to the flavor of the turkey.
To make the gravy, put the gizzard, neck, and liver, into a saucepan with a quart of water, a little pepper, salt and mace; put it on the fire, and let it boil to about half pint. When done, braid up the liver very fine with a knife, and put it back into the water it has boiled in; then add the drippings of the turkey and a little flour, and give it one boil, stirring it all the time. Dish the gizzard with the turkey. Allow twelves minutes to a pound for the time to roast turkey.
A turkey weighing ten pounds requires two hours to roast with a clear fire, not too hot. Turn the spit very often.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I'm the first to admit that I'm no wine expert, but I like a lot of wines. And if a place doesn't sell a decent wine, you may as well stick with beer, at least that's my motto. Still, after all these years in the business the jargon of wine remains as foreign to me as the Spanish my kids speak fluently. So, as they say, pardon my French as I explain.
Of a clear beautiful deep garnet color, the wine contained no sediments. It smelled sweet, unidentifiably, like when you smell alyssum or abelia in bloom and wonder what it would taste like. The flavor, well it was, well, sweet, but it was not a sweet wine - see this is where I get into trouble. In fact it was rich and peppery, but mainly it lit up the "sweet zones" of my tongue without tasting like a sweet wine. Neither Jim nor I could place a description to it's flavor, not cherry, not grapey, just full and delicious. And at $28.95 a bottle a far better value than more expensive California Cabernets.
I found out while I was there that they will do private wine tastings for groups (up to 16 people, includes light appetizers, approximately $20 - $35 per person depending on what you want) . I think I'm going to have to get a Mommy Monday Wine Tasting over there before the holidays.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Do your worst, call me an optimist, but I believe that things can be different. Every day I read my favorite calendar quotes that I've torn off and stuck to my bulletin board next to my computer. I really think I need to share them.
* "One person can make a difference, and every man should try." John F. Kennedy
* "Some people look at the way it is and say why, others look at the way it could be and say why not." George Bernard Shaw
* "Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it". Dwight D. Eisenhower
* "Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." John Wayne
* "Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine." Anthony J. D'Angelo
* "A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn." Unattributed
* "Be the change you want to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi
* "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
* "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." Dolly Parton
IJS, Amy S.
Update: Many of the comments on the linked web log above were removed by the publisher. Good.
The "How To Cook" series has really nothing to do with actually cooking:
How To Cook An Eagle
How To Cook For Kids
How To Cook For Your Wife
How To Cook For Dogs
How To Cook A Smile
How To Cook For Old Friends
How To Cook For The Boys
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The cook book drive for Conrad High School is about wrapped up, total donations came in around 300 books! A big huge thank you to the Dallas community who helped, some book clubs kept giving, and giving, and giving. These resources are being put to use at Conrad High School's Restaurant Management magnet as I speak (write?).
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The menu for this event is finalized around mid-month, if you would like it emailed to you, please let me know at ChefSevy@aol.com . Reservations are required for this dinner and may be made at SevysCatering@aol.com .
Monday, October 6, 2008
Well, there is not much on the internet about Golumpki soup, but in my Polish Cookery Book (by Marja Ochorowicz-Monatowa), there is a Stuffed Cabbage Roll recipe called "Golqbki de Slodkiej", Bingo! Also called Golabki, it is a Polish dish of cabbage stuffed with ground beef, chopped onions, rice and tomatoes. So I'm marrying various recipes together to create something new, going to vet it by my personal chef first, of course.
1 qt. beef stock
1 qt. water
1 TBL. olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
3 strips bacon, chopped
2 TBL. butter
2 c. chopped fresh cabbage
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 c. cooked rice
Salt and pepper
In frying pan, cook bacon until crisp, reserving 1 TBL. bacon fat. Clean pan and brown beef in reserved bacon fat, drain and set aside. In large pot, melt butter and saute cabbage, onion and garlic. When softened, add stock, water, beef, bacon, tomatoes, and rice. Let simmer 45 minutes and season to taste.