Tuesday, April 27, 2004

5 Random Links

1. Word HTML Cleanser

2. DigiPen Institute of Technology

3. Internet Radio 1 | 2 | 3

4. Circuit Bending Video

5. FoodExpert-ID Array

Kitchen Confidential

Despite some of the back room kitchen drama on Saturday, I should point out that the front of the house had no idea (unless they read this) of the equipment failure -- they just liked the food. While it was hardly a tragedy, it was just enough to throw me off for two courses. But, if that's the worst thing that happens while doing these tastings, then we're doing OK ;)

The good news was that we sold the second most amount of wine in two years of tastings -- almost 17 cases...

Monday, April 26, 2004

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Italian Tasting Wrap-Up

Well, where do we start?

First Course: The power goes out three times killing both the microwave and the stove while trying to serve the first course (rici e bisi soup). The wine has been poured -- and there's no hot food. So, the lukewarm soup goes out. Not Good (although it does taste good) Later, we determine the culprit to be a dehumidifier plugged into the same 15 amp fuse. We do not even look at the microwave for the rest of the evening.

Second course: Polenta Stack (polenta, spinach and roasted red bell pepper) -- the oven is back, and I start to cut out the polenta, but no matter how many times I cut the damn red pepper with my knife, it does NOT want play nice, and slides around screwing up the first 15 pieces to the point where I have to grab them by hand and plate them. Once again tastes good -10 points for presentation.

The third course is the chicken w/ almonds, so I get a breather while Monica and Patrick get that together, but course four (stuffed savoy cabbage, with gnoccetti and peas served with a carrot cream sauce) follows quickly on it's heels.

At this point, we notice that we're absolutely flying through these courses, with almost zero prep time inbetween. We beg Bob to have winemaker and importer Martin slow down or talk longer. He does, and the listing ship finally comes to balance...

The rest of the evening and dishes (Lasagna w/ Mushroom and Lentil Ragu, Roasted Eggplant stuffed with Pesto and Steak w/ Tomato Confit and Basalmic Reduction sauce all follow without any further problems. Even the desert (Hazelnut Torte) is blissfully quiet.

Thanks to Patrick (as always) for getting the antipasto (Zucchini Carpaccio) together before I arrived and more importantly, for not panicking when I was about to ;)

Hello, Mr. Apocalypse? I Think I Have One For You...

I'm not sure where this one falls in terms of "signs of the apocalypse", but it must be wedged in there between number 4 and 5...

Armed with 2 turntables and a spatula, celebrity "DJ CHEF" Marc Weiss will bring the party to Food Network come this June. The new, primetime Food Network show "What's Hot! What's Cool!" will be featuring DJ CHEF on one of it's debut shows. Weiss' unique concept of fusing food & music is buzzing around entertainment circles as he has been performing his red hot "cooking class parties" for the past five years.

"Cooking classes are the hot thing. Marc turns your cooking class into a party, whips up the margaritas, turns up the music and gives you the whole package." Says Kathleen Finch, VP of programming at Food Network. Weiss has been a regular on TV news morning shows and has hosted a NY radio show ---"DJ CHEF FOOD 411".

Next on MTV... "Pimp My Food"

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Tasting Review

Last night went really well, and only came home with a small amount of food (always a good sign of judging the food/people ratio). Charlie Meeker was very entertaining, discussing not only his wines, but also his days an entertainment lawyer, movie producer and head of MGM studios for three years. Turns out he's been a vegetarian for 20 years and was even vegan for five. So he appreciated the food -- note: always good to make the winemaker happy ;)

here's a brief rundown of the foods we made

Five Spice Glazed Almonds
Sushi (avocado and tempeh filled)
Olive Tapanade
Tofu Salad Sandwiches
Hoisin Tofu Rice Paper Salads
Curried Tofu Phyllo Cups
Stuffed Grapes Leaves
Black Bean Salsa in Endive Leaves
Chipotle/Tomato Pizza (Patrick)
Chocolate Brownies

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Time to make the doughnuts

We spent most of yesterday afternoon getting ready for today's tasting at Riverside. Usually Friday's include making sure all the recipes have all the ingredients (it's always a pain to have to run out to the store Saturday morning), there's some prep work, making the desserts (brownies) and preparing a few of the dishes that will improve overnight (roasted almonds w/ five spice powder, olive tapanade, black bean salsa).

Tonight's tasting is buffet style, so there's not as much late afternoon work to be done -- by late afternoon, I mean dishes that need to be prepared just before leaving to go on-site. The kitchen at the tasting site is circa 1952, electric (not gas) and is only really good for reheating -- but it's reliable. We'll be making sushi, stuffed grape leaves, curried tofu in phyllo cups and Hoisin tofu in rice paper salads.

Also, one less thing to worry about tonight is that Patrick is making a dish (Chipotle/Tomato Pizza) for the buffet. That saves us about a half-hour.

Next week is the biggest tasting we've done to date -- 32 people crammed into the house for an eight-course northern Italian wine dinner. It should be a good test to see if we've learned anything about catering in two years ;)

Friday, April 16, 2004

Swine Verite

Via BoingBoing comes this site from Germany where you can watch (and listen) to the goings of wild boars.

From what I've listened to today, you can hear trucks, cars and church bells in the distance, some very spooky bird sounds, but as of yet, no boars. If nothing else it's a good way to get some nature sounds in your work space...

Random is better...

An interesting article from Wired called "Music Magic Found In The Shuffle" -- I had this conversation with my wife yesterday about the random button on my mp3/cd combo player from RCA. Although it "only" holds about 180 songs per CD, putting it on random has been great -- songs I've forgotton about, songs I haven't heard in ages, weird (and occasionally brilliant) segues, complete mash-ups... I really like it when I take my daily walks.

Saturday, April 03, 2004


A great show last night at the Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls. Matt Borghi & Jason Sloan, Steven K. Smith and myself played at the opening night reception for the "Self-Portrait" exhibit.

My set was all improvised and the gear consisted of:

Roland GR-300 Guitar Synth (w/ E-Bow) plugged into
GSP-21 Pro Guitar rack (delay/reverb)

Roland R8 Drum Machine running into
Korg KMS-30 (MIDI -> DIN) syncing with
Roland CR-8000 Drum Machine triggering
EH Sequencer feeding
Boss SYB-3 Bass Synthesizer

Casio SK-1 (circuit bent) running through
EH Bass Micro Synthesizer
EH Memory Man Delay/Chorus

There were some confused looks from some of the older patrons, but the overall response was very favorable and Steve will start booking other shows there very soon...