Monday, September 29, 2008

KITCHEN STADIUM IN PICTURES (where all related to marrow bones will be revealed)

Prior to Kitchen Stadium Visit - Having Diner with Styling RM and the Physics Avatar

Before any major event can take place at Kitchen Stadium, a thorough organizational meeting is a requirement.

Management Meeting Prior to Kitchen Stadium Event

Head Chef - Iron Chef Engineer

Iron Chef - Immigration Law
Iron Chef - Emergency Reponse

Iron Chef Engineer providing final instructions to Iron Chef Law Student
Sourcing of local food to be used at Kitchen Stadium is part and parcel of providing the best in gastronomic experiences.

Working the Aquaculture Pond

Harvesting fresh Grenouilles

Kitchen Stadium Action Shots

Iron Chef Engineer roasting peppers

Marrow bones soaking

Sauteing squash for a green bean, squash, and roasted pepper salad

Prepping the salad

Crab cake mixture

The Flavorings for the Bouillabaisse

Marrow bones ready for roasting

Crab cakes being pan fried

Shelling the oysters

Marrow bones roasted

First Course set-up

First Course
Crab cakes and Roasted Marrow Bones
(the marrow of the later is scooped out and put on the toasted bread with salt and pepper)

Oysters on the Half-Shell

Final prepping of the salad

Bouillabaisse Ready for Serving

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Wife and I are on our whirlwind trip through the Mid-Atlantic and New England visiting members of our families. We arrived on Thu evening in Baltimore and met up with niece Styling with Renee Michelle and new husband The Physics Avatar. We went out for a lovely meal in Baltimore at Cingale, a restaurant recommended to us by niece X of the BCD girls.

Friday it was off to Taylor's Island Maryland where my Brother and Sister-in-law have just moved to their long-time dream home, Blackacre, a wonderfully designed home on the east shore of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. As I've mentioned more than once, eating, dining, cooking are mature parts of our family's culture. We went out Friday to nearby Easton, MD to Restaurant Local. My nieces are going to post their usual detailed and wonderfully photographed review and I will put in a link when it's up.

Saturday during the day we're off shopping for the dinner cooking festivities at "Kitchen Stadium". We're scheduled to make the following:

  • Fresh Oysters
  • Roasted Marrow Bones
  • Mini-Crab Cakes
  • Green Bean, Squash, and Roasted Pepper Salad
  • Boullabaise (Mediterranian Fish Stew)
  • Cheese
  • Fresh Fruit Granita
I've been taking pictures and will be making a full update of this extravaganza next post.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Morning Walk

Now that the days are getting shorter, it is dark when I leave the house to go on my morning walks. This is nice in that it reduces greatly the number of people that I find out and I do enjoy my solitude. Also it opens a new set of visual experiences that highlight the enjoyment of living here.

Today's walk took me up to the outskirts of the city on the edge of the mountain.

Looking over the city as I return back toward the house

The morning beginning to light up the sky looking back toward the mountain.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Are You Ready For The Heat Of Kitchen Stadium

I mentioned in a recent post that we are visiting my Brother and his family in Eastern Maryland. My Bro and family are serious gourmands - serious gourmands. Just visit the daughters blog, Black Coffee and a Donut, and you will see what I mean.

Bro and SiL have build there dream house on the East shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Blackacre...including a totally kick ass state of the art kitchen his blogging daughters have titled Kitchen Stadium. Being a frequenter of the BCD blog, I was having many a dream of what great meals that Bro and family might be dreaming up for us - especially when I got an email almost two months ago from Bro telling me they are already dreaming up what to eat. (I might mention that Mrs. de-I thinks our family is just short of totally loony in this respect). I see myself on the porch of Blackacre with a Johnny Walker Black, legs up, watching the sunset on the Bay while the BCD family does their magic.

Then things started to take a dark turn. I get an email from Bro detailing the idea of a family cook together. I like cooking. I love cooking. Going down the list there's the spot for the girls doing the first course. SiL doing the salad, Wife doing the dessert, and the main course - ME!

What I'm suppose to be the headliner? They're the super-gormands. I'm just a schelpper. Me the headliner in Kitchen Stadium like in Iron Chef! Will it be the Japanese version or the American version. Will they have a little vignette of my cooking history (Maybe pictures of me in my Army apartment in Huntsville AL with my first paperback James Beard cookbook)? Do I get to walk in with a retinue like the Japanese version or with the smoke machine like the American. Will we have someone playing the little Japanese announcer with the bow tie? Who plays the roll of expert commentator Yukio Hatori. Do the BCD family rise up from underneath the kitchen floor and I do get a chance to choose who I will be competing against? "I choose Iron Chef Law Student, Erin!)

Am I ready for the heat of Kitchen Stadium?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Training The Goths

As part of out tribute to the Visigoth Family (the official name of our daughter Pulisha, husband Tim de Buffalo and grandchildren, C, J and A) , I am assigned the duty of taking C out for hiking training. So this weekend we went tromping through the foothills.

C making her way up the hill

C taking a well deserved rest on the hilltop

Looking to the East from the hill towards the main mountain

We're now looking back across the valley looking toward the direction we took the previous picture from

Our 1.5 hour hike took about an hour longer because C was obsessed with knocking of every prickly pear she found left on a prickly pear cactus.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Holy Frequent Flyer Miles Batman!

If you're looking for ole de-I over the next 30 days, I'd suggest you check just about anywhere but Albuquerque.

Of course you're asking, "Where are you going to be de-I?"

Well nice of you to ask.

First Wife and I are leaving this Thursday and are gone for a week doing an East Coast swing. This is mostly pleasure. We arrive in Baltimore Thursday night and will be having dinner with newly wed niece Styling with Renee Michelle and husband, Andrew Qui Mange Les Tetes. Then we go on and visit my brother and sister-in-law at their new abode on the Maryland Eastern Shore where their daughters, the BCD girls, will be joining us. Then we drive up to Connecticut and a visit to my Dad and Sister. We end up in Boston where I have a business meeting before we come home on Oct. 2.

On Monday afternoon Oct. 6 I run up to Chicago for my monthly business trip and will catch Motherrocker and family. Back Wednesday night the 8th.

On Friday comes the zinger as Wife and I are off for a two week trip to Amsterdam and Israel. This came totally out of the blue a few weeks ago. I have a client I've written about in the past. He has what turns out to be a major business opportunity which is too complicated to explain but involves hydroponic technology and and investment firm in Israel. As a result I have a fairly exciting transaction to work on and Wife get and expense paid trip to Europe and Israel...and we will get to see daughter AinA and mysterious boyfriend. Hard to beat.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not So Good - But I Still Count My Blessings

On top of my multi-day, stay in a different hotel every night trip, I managed to catch a small case of food poisoning from dinner on Wed night. As I was scheduled to give a talk for an organization the next night and had an important client meeting as well, I spent the day going from meetings to naps to meetings to naps. Fortunately I was able to get into my hotel room early for the napping purposes. And I had enough energy to give my talk which was well received (entitled The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling - What to do in to Manage Change in Troubled Times)

It is Friday and compatriot Terri will be coiunting blessings so I am thankful it was only minor food poisoning - no puking guts out or glued to the throse.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Don't Panic - Be Resolute

Daughter One and Three along with partner Lakeview Coffee all had posts today about the economic situation and what were people thinking, doing, and what could happen if...

I am not older than dirt, but I am old enough to have experienced -
  • Two gasoline crises where we had to wait in lines for up to an hour just to fill our tank of gas (right here in the USA)
  • A year when the prime interest rate was OVER 20% - think about that - think about all your loans based on 20% or more interest rates.
  • An almost 10 year period where interest rates never dropped below 8%
  • An recession so bad that everyone predicted that Ohio, Michigan and the rest of the Mid-West would have to be shut down never to return
  • Black Monday 1987 when the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 22.6% of its value in one day!
  • The recessions of 74, 80-82, 89-92
  • The bubble bursts of LBO's in the late 80's, housing in California in the early 90's, two REIT busts in 74 and the early 90's, oil and gas in the mid-80's when Houston looked like a ghost town, and the bust of 2000
Also interspersed with all that I also fit in getting fired with three kids under the age of 5 and a wife who was not working at the time and a business failure where I had leveraged just about everything I had.

I can tell you with great authority -

Good times follow bad times follow good times follow bad times...if it's up it will go down...if it's down it will go up.

Everyone has a choice. They can mentally get caught up with every wave and disturbance that occurs or they can understand that though they are not the master of the world around them, they are the master of their own resoluteness.

In the end when things are tough those who are resolute and who can stay calm and who are determined to make the best of whatever situation, tend to ride out the storms.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grinding It Out in So Cal

I've just started a five day business trip to Southern California. I went out on Sunday and had dinner with a comrade in arms who has been having issues with his practice. This is one of those trips that I particularly dislike with having to stay in five different hotels in five different cities over the course of the week.

So get out the old Google maps and zoom in on the Greater Los Angeles Area. Map out this itinerary.

Arrive Burbank
Drive to Oxnard (overnight)
Drive to Thousand Oaks
Drive to West Hollywood
Drive to Santa Monica (overnight)
Drive to LAX
Drive to Woodland Hills (overnight)
Drive to Burbank
Drive to Pasadena (overnight)
Drive to Ontario (overnight)
Fly home

How Bad Can It Be When You Have This

OK - so we had our little wallowing fit their last week. But I got my ass in gear business-wise by doing the tired and true getting on the phone and calling up networking contacts and in general just getting the psychic wheels of the business development process going.

One of the nice side effects of my donation operatio is meeting via the blogosphere a couple of other fellow donors who are really nice, thoughtful people. One of these, Terri, a working mother of three, once a week puts down all the things she is grateful for that week.

I think gratitude is really important especially for us that live in such blessed circumstances.

Put on the top of my gratitude list being able to live in a situation where I can work the way I want, have access to travel, but still be right fricking next to the mountains in a place with great weather than I can hike almost every weekend the year round.

I LOVE being in the mountains, pushing my body, getting the work out, being away from people. The last couple of weekends have been great and though I've taken pictures from most of these trails before, here are some of the latest.

A rather washed out picture heading up the Embudo Trail

Looking West from the same spot over the city

On the South Crest Trail with a friend who also loves geology like me we found lots of neat examples of deep ocean limestone and various sandstones from different environments.

Looking West toward the city from the South Crest Trail

I've shown this to you before but man do we have clear blue skies.

And you can see so far. That mountain is about 30 miles away

Friday, September 12, 2008


Workin' - that's about it.

Heading to So Cal on Sunday and will be working their until I get back Friday morning.


Trying to get the revenue flowing after being down for almost two months for the operation has been really hard.

Onward Ho!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Big HIking Plans

I have pretty much fully recovered and am back to hiking as normal (except for the nap requirements afterward). I also have ensnared two new compatriots into the hiking team (Cabinet Lady and Crazy Craig) so I am no longer dependent upon just Wild Bill's bad judgment when I cook up some wild ass hiking plan (I love you man).

We are coming into prime hiking season with the real heat of the summer coming down and the monsoon ending. So I am trying to organize some really challenging hikes. I would love to do the South Crest Trail again (16 miles and 4,000 feet climb) which I've done twice. Or the North Crest which is 12 miles with the same altitude gain. Then there is the Whitewash trail we did last April.

So many choices - all I need to do is convince my compatriots how easy they all are (bwahahahahahahahahahaha)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Trash Me For No White Dishes No More - Return of the Tin Chef

Oh ye who would mock I, de-I, the Tin Chef (please don't hit me with that hammer! I'm not made of Iron you know.) for having tableware not worthy of my cooking. Tremble as I unveil Wife's handiwork - her exhaustive search for white tableware.

The New Tableware
What better way to baptize these wonderful dishes than to have an "Iron Chef" style dinner. When I do these, I invite friends over and instruct them to buy food without giving me any hints as to what they are buying until they arive. The challenge is then for me to prepare a dinner and match it with wines that I have.

Invited for this dinner were hiking buddy, Cabinet Lady and partner Crazy Craig. Talk about lucking out, both these two fine gourmands are avid gardeners. And in addition to plundering Whole Paychecks they brought with them a bounty of phenomenal just picked produce including bell peppers, jalapenos, New Mexico peppers, small red onions, green beans, tiny grape tomatoes, roma tomatoes, red and golden beets, and small prune plums. From Whole Paychecks they had Sea Bass steaks, blackberries, figs and orzo pasta.

Look at all this food!
What's a Tin Chef to do?

The taste of the produce CL and CC brought was unbelievable. When you have great ingredients it makes everything easier. Ideas started flowing with the food prep right behind.

The Menu

First Course - Three Salads

Second Course - Pasta

Main Course


Tin Chef de-I peeling roasted peppers

It was hard to believe how sweet both the grape tomatoes and the little red onions were

Cutting the Beets
Microwaving them cut the cooking time by 2/3rds

Let's hear the catcalls about colored plates now!

The Three Salad First Course

Pasta Course

The Sea Bass
When I tasted the blackberries they were very tart and I had the idea for using them instead of citrus in my sauce.
Berbere (on the green beans) is an Ethopian spice mixture I picked up from Saveur Magazine and use in just about anything.

It was a fabulous eveing and the whole dinner was served al fresco

Plum Claflouti
Claflouti is a dish where fruit is baked in a crepe like batter. It requires great fruit like our plums. Having some Austrian Plum Brandy to macerate the fruit in didn't hurt.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mythical Remodel Not So Mythical After All?

It has been over a year since we began our process of pursuing the remodel of our home. We have gone through two bouts of "we're on/we're off" with one remodeling contractor. We finally gave the person the heave ho just before the operation in May (or vice versa since he just refused all contact with us). Fortunately for us, we were about even in terms of money compared to work.

By good fortune we were able to go to the remodeler who is considered to be the best in town and he, because business is soft, he was able to give us a relatively short lead time (3 mos compared to the 12-18 mos he was quoting when we started this whole process). Thus far the process with him has been a very pleasant change. This guy says, "I will have the plans to you on Wednesday", you have the plans on Wednesday. "I will call you the first of next week", you get called the first of next week.

On Wednesday we got his contract. This goes to the bank who now has to do an appraisal and give final approval for the construction loan.

Do I dare think this may actually happen?

Friday, September 5, 2008

What's Your Perfect Day?

Busy week. It is taking a lot of effort to get my personal business production back to the level it was when I shut things down for the operation. But slowly it's starting to pick up.

That means lot's of pounding the pavement, meetings with all kinds of people to try and rustle up business. Breakfasts and lunches are ideal networking times because they are not the times that you can do any meaningful client work. On Thursday, I had one of these lunches with my new partner Holistic Ken, a wealth manager and an estate planner (sounds like the beginning of a joke - a consultant, a wealth manager and a lawyer went to lunch...just can't think of what the punch line would be) where I was introducing everyone to the other.

The wealth manager who has been a client of mine for years and I of his pops this question out -

"What's your perfect day?"

For a moment nobody said anything, because it isn't the the kind of question that usually pops out in these kinds of business meetings. But soon everyone was getting into it. We divided the question into your perfect business day and your perfect non-business day. It was really interesting to hear everyone's responses. I take my hat off to my wealth manager colleague because it was inventive and creative.

So what would your perfect day be?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Loving Is Not Liking

I'm re-reading a novel of ancient Rome. In the opening scenes, the daughter of a family is married off to an older nobleman to ensure the financial viability of the family. The daughter is totally understanding, actually likes the older man and is ahead of her parents in the understanding of what needs to be done. The father of the family says,

"Isn't wonderful when you find that you truly like your children? Loving is expected but liking has to be earned."

I like my children.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Rites of Late Summer

Labor Day - not the real last day of summer but for most people the last lazy day before the Autumn start the fourth quarter work wise/change of seasons/school start/etc, etc, etc.

For me August was a very tiring month with lots of business travel and a much effort to get my business income going again after the enforced slow down from the operation. I really needed the three day weekend and made good use of it doing things that well are pretty traditional for the season.

I suppose hiking really doesn't really qualify since I hike all year round. But it was a really nice day for it on Saturday with the temperature starting to cool off. I know most of you live in the northern climes but the that whole thing about 'dry heat' is a bunch of hooey. Go out and do physical exertion in 80 degree plus/under 10% humidity/totally sunny weather, and you become dehydrated and exhausted in no time. So we we really enjoyed the break in the weather.

We went on my old friend, the Embudo Trail, and I was accompanied by Wild Bill (previously starred in such hiking hits as "I didn't think there would be any snow up here this late" and "Wow this was a lot harder than I thought" and "I thought we'd be done by now but evidently we've got two more miles to go") and new hiking buddy, Cabinet Lady.

I'm happy to say that I did the hike well within my pre-operation time though as a result of the effort I was a vegetable for the rest of the afternoon.

Wild Bill expounding on something that must have been very interesting

You folks who don't live in New Mexico (our mottoes - "Just like Old Mexico but further North" and "Carpe Manana) have no idea that it is chile time - and spell it correctly with an 'e'. One of our few claims to fame other than having lots of land, very few people, and lot's of atomic weapons is we have the perfect climate for growing chile. At this time of year people by sacks of it (I mean 10 and 20 pound sacks), have it roasted, then prepare it and freeze it for the rest of the year. We even have an official state question, "Red or Green?" meaning do you want red or green chile sauce on your food - seriously

As expats here we do this on a minor scale. Mrs. de-I has found chile to be one of the better things that grow in the garden. So we just pick them from there and process them.

The Chile is broiled until it chars, then enclosed in something (foil in this case) until the skin loosens
On the left you see a chile with the skin on, in the center the skin off, and then being de-seeded

No three day weekend would be complete without our traveling East up the hill to the Visigoth compound (Children and Grandchildren) to pay our regular tribute. Since I had the Chile I thought I'd whip up some Chile Con Queso.

Yes folks that is a bottle of Cheez Whiz - I was tired and if Jacques Pepin uses prepared food so can I
It's been a very tiring and stressful August for the Visigoths what with this being the plundering and raiding season so none of us were up to our usual cooking and culinary best - heck we didn't even finish two bottles of wine! But one of our better dishes was Jumbo Shrimp over the grill
Small pieces of scallion inside, marinated in a little soy and mirin, wrapped in bacon and grilled

Most of the little Goths were tired too but not middle Goth J. I managed to get a picture of her not going like crazy.

I hate to say this but as J is a bit of a terror and she has red hair and the only person in her blood line with red hair is Mrs. de-I - draw your own conclusions.

Finally, as all you gardeners know, an ultimate glory of late summer are your fresh tomatoes.

(Terri - forgot to answer your question - MR's big heirloom tomato was interesting in flavor, sort of mild, neither too acidic or too sweet).

Wife has been fighting real battles with the pests this year including some virus that originates from tobacco (you know who you are!). And while she had to rip out a number of plants to save the others, those that remain have been producing wonderfully delicious fruit. One of my favorite ways was something I picked out of Saveur magazine a couple of years ago. Just a slice of really good bread, a little mayo, slices of tomatoes literally minutes from the garden, salt and pepper.

Goes really well with the plates too :)