Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Delicious and Nutritious


No one likes Mondays. But leftovers can help the cause...

Cauliflower, Zucchini and some other veggies fried in Sunflower oil and then covered with Arugula pesto. I don't need to tell you it was Nicole who came up with that one. It was awesome.

Also, leftover Lemon Thyme Risotto and some fried up chick peas. Risotto is the gift that keeps on giving.

Monday, August 9, 2010

What's for Dinner?

Nicole came up with the idea, and I think it is a good one: write down what we eat. I like it because it provides content for blogging, plus it is appropriately narcissistic. I mean, who cares what The Chose's have for dinner? Well, more people should, that's who. And as anyone who sees my facebook entries knows, I very much enjoy taking pictures of the food I cook and eat and showing them to everyone.

Mostly I am hoping that is will create some kind of an archive of foods we consume, which will aid future meal planning. I don't plan on creating any sort of fancy rating system - that just impedes blog posting. I will occasionally provide pictures. So here goes:


We made pizzas. We have a pizza stone which I highly recommend purchasing if you like making your own pizzas. It will change your life. I don't know how much they are because we got ours for our wedding. Whether you use pre-made (Boboli) crusts or make your own, you will benefit from using one every time you make pizza at home.

Normally we make our kids eat exactly what we are eating. You might think that's because we want them to grow up eating normal food and acquiring a wide range of tastes. In reality it is because we are too lazy to make two entire dinners, one for us and one for them. Anyway, for this round of pizzas we made two kinds, one for us and one more for the kids. JVC really really really really likes to put pepperoni on pizza. So we had her do a very traditional pepperoni and cheese pizza, although we did add squash from the farm share just because.

For the adult version of the pizza, we used pizza dough purchased at the bread store. I've also used Trader Joe's dough, which was fine, but this is better. I've also made my own, which is really fun and satisfying, especially if you like to eat dinner at 10 pm. Olive oil, basil, squash and fresh mozzarella were there as well - it was delicious.

Kids Pizza: Boboli - Pepperoni - jack cheese
Adult Pizza: Great Harvest Dough - Basil - Tomato - Fresh Mozz - Squash from Farm share


Brought out the smoker for a pork loin roast we got when we were participating in the meat farm share this spring. Brined and rubbed, it was ok. I need to work on smoking pork - it's coming out tough and I don't know why. All the chicken I have done has been awesome. Is my smoker too hot?

The star of this meal was not the purple beans (yes, they turn green when you cook them). It was the Lemon Thyme Risotto which is delicious and healthy. Ok, it was not healthy, but it was delicious. I made a lot so I can eat it all week.

Pork Loin - Lemon Thyme Risotto - Purple Beans

Oh yeah we also had chocolate ice cream that we made - it was pretty good but not as creamy as it usually is - I think I over cooked it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Twins Fever

I am no Twins apologist. In fact, you could call me Mr. Negative at times when it comes to the hometown 9. There's been plenty not to like about recent Twins teams, although hardcore fans who never went away during the mid- and late-nineties will disagree with me I am sure. Yes, the Twins have not been awful. Yes, they have done it mostly with homegrown talent. But have they really contended for a title in any meaningful way? Ron Gardenhire is a great manager, but his lifetime playoff record is 6-18. They have been close a couple of times against the Yankees, but I think we would all agree that winning any of those series would have been shocking. Since they lost in the ALCS to the Angels in 2002, I don't think that any of us could be honest with ourselves and say that we really thought the Twins could win it all.

But this year is different. On April 5th, 2010, I really think that the Twins have an honest chance to win the World Series this season.

Is it some kind of new stadium euphoria that has gone to my head? Is it a man crush on Joe Mauer (unlike Joe Smith, Mauer really is no ordinary Joe)? Is it the face that our off season acquisitions were more than just other teams retreads who we knew would be cut by the end of May? (I wouldn't recognize JJ Hardy or Orlando Hudson if they walked up to me in uniform, but I love them already.) It's some of all of that. I am more excited for this baseball season than I have been in a very long time.

Maybe it's the thought that I am going to get to take my daughter to her first baseball game this summer, and we won't have to sit inside and talk about what a beautiful night for baseball it is outside the Dome. She has not one but TWO Twins shirts now (Morneau and Liriano), and I almost cried when Nadia got her Joe Mauer #7 for Easter. First pitch tonight is at 9:05 local time, and I will probably turn off the NCAA title game to watch baseball, even though it's just 1 out of 162.

For once, I am not going to be negative the first time Baker the Bomb-maker gets shelled, or the first time I have to watch little Nicky Punto come to the plate when need a hit late in a game, or when Jon Rausch blows his first save, or when Denard Span hits his own mother with a foul ball. This year is going to be filled with POSITIVITY, excitement, and hopefully October baseball under the stars. The biggest question mark facing the Twins this year is going to be whether or not we still wave Homer Hankies during the playoffs.

Twins fever? I've been infected, and I don't think there is a cure.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Divisional Playoff Picks

Last week my picks were 2-2. I was right on the Cowboys and Ravens, wrong on the Bengals and Packers. All I can say is that the Bengals played like they were the crappy team, although I had to turn the game off because the annoucing crew was so awful. And the Packers game, well, I did say if 1999 Kurt Warner came to play, the Packers would be in trouble. Whichever team lost that game was going to be pissed because they both knew they had a chance to win. On to the games for this week - which is, as others have said, the best week of football all year.

Game #1 - Arizona Cardinals @ New Orleans Saints

The Saints didn't look very good down the stretch, but they had very little to play for, and remember, 2 months ago, after they destroyed the Patriots on Monday Night, they looked like one of the great teams of all-time. They are home, in front of what will be a very loud crowd. Drew Brees could have been league MVP this year. The defense creates a lot of turnovers. And the Cardinals gave up 45 points last week, and it looks like the Saints have an even more explosive offense than the Packers did.

Of course, I am picking the Cardinals. If the past two years have taught us anything, it's that Kurt Warner needs to be in discussion as one of the great Quaterbacks of the past 25 years. If he were to somehow get the Cardinals all the way to the Super Bowl this year, and even WIN it all, I think you would have to put him on a list of the greatest of all-time. Against the Packers he threw 5 passes that resulted in TDs. He threw FOUR passes that landed incomplete. That's just shocking. If you are gambling on this game, I just don't think you can put yourself in a position where you lose money because Warner had a huge day. You would feel stupid.

I am picking Cardinals +7, and I think they will win it outright: Cardinals 38, Saints 30

Game #2 - Baltimore Ravens @ Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have lost in the playoffs at home after a bye 3 times in the past 10 years. They quit playing for keeps during the regular season, and that was about a month ago. Honestly, had they NOT won the Super Bowl a few years ago (which they DID win, I understand, but remember that Rex Grossman was prominently involved), they would be on a short list of biggest chokers in history.

The Ravens made it all the way to the AFC title game last year, and look even meaner than usual, especially last week against a crappy Patriots team. No, I don't like QB Flacco - he looked old last week and he's not old, so that's a bad sign. I think the Ravens will play with more emotion. Look out if the Colts D gets after Flacco too much, but I think the Ravens running game will keep that from happening. And let's face it, I don't think the Colts are too happy about playing the Ravens this week. The Colts won a lot of close games this year, and I think they will lose this one.

I am taking Ravens +6.5, and to win outright, 24-17

Game #3 - Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings

I haven't had this amount of anticipation about a game in a long time. It's almost more than I can handle. This game will come down to how well the Vikins offensive line plays against the Cowboys defensive line. If the Vikings can control that line of scrimmage, they'll be fine. If you see Favre running for his life and getting a lot of pressure, it will get real quiet in the Metrodome real fast. I think that having the extra week to prepare will be a big advantage for the Vikings in that regard.

On the other side of the ball, I am not scared of Romo. He's been ok recently, but he has been a choker in the past. If our defensive secondary can tackle, the Vikings will be fine. Fat Pat Williams and Kevin Williams will be important, too. As always, if Jared Allen has a big game, the Cowboys have no chance.

Vegas seems to like the Cowboys, only giving a customer 3 points to the road team. I don't htink it will be that close.

I am taking Vikings -3. Minnesota 35, Dallas 20

(There's nothing better than beating overconfident Cowboys. It's very satisfying to watch them cry as they leave the field).

Game #4 - NY Jets @ San Diego Chargers

Look, this is a VERY good Chargers team. This is the week that we see the Jets exposed as a very borderline playoff team. I don't see any way that the Chargers can be stopped - they are my pick to get to the Superbowl in the AFC right now. The Jets had a nice run, but their rookie QB isn't taking them any further, and the Chargers have too many passing weapons for the Jets to stop. This looks like a blowout.

I've got Chargers -7. San Diego 38, Jets 13

All you know now is that at least one of these predictions will be wrong. Proceed at your own risk!

Friday, January 8, 2010

First Round NFL Playoff Picks

Since I know you all care so much, it's time to release my picks for the first round of the NFL playoffs. We all know that the NFL playoffs are the best playoffs of any sport. I encourage all of you to devote yourselves fully and completely to the NFL playoffs - you will NOT be disappointed.

For the purposes of these picks, I am using the Las Vegas Hilton lines as of Friday morning. I am doing this because I actually won money once on the only game I have ever put down a real bet on, and it was at the Hilton.

Game #1 - NY Jets @ Cincinnati Bengals

These teams played last week, but only one of them was playing for something, so the domination by the Jets should be completely disregardd. The Bengals have all the emotion on their side in this one, having dealt with two deaths close to the team this year (the Defensive Coordinator's wife early in season and WR Chris Henry just a few weeks ago). Professional football is an emotional game, and playoff football only intensifies that. Add to that the fact that the Bengals are at home, which will mean something in this game because...

The Jets start rookie QB Mark Sanchez, who was ok this year, but is clearly the worst QB in the playoffs this year. The Jets only hope is to run the ball a lot and shorten the game, because if they ask Sanchez to win it for them, they are cooked. The Bengals know this and will make it impossible for the Jets to run. Once the Jets get behind and are forced to start throwing the ball, look for this game to get out of hand.

I am taking the Bengals -2.5, all the way to the bank. Bengals 28, Jets 10

Game #2 - Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

Eagles coach Andy Reid is 7-0 all time in the first game they play in the playoffs. Wad Phillips and Tony Romo have never won a playoff game for any team. Everyone hates the Cowboys all the time, because they have one of the richest owners, and most of their fans are really annoying. Any team that calls itself "America's Team" should be disbanded on general principle alone. Plus, these Cowboys are classic underachievers.

So of course, I am taking the Cowboys. There's no way that Reid can continue his playoff coaching streak. And these teams played just last week, with the Cowboys winning 24-0. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise, the Eagles DID want to win that game. Had they won, they would have been the #2 seed in the NFC, gotten a bye and a home game in the playoffs. Instead they fall to #6 and find themselves in the first ever playoff game in the new Cowboys stadium. The Eagles have more injuries than can even be listed in this space, including key injuries on the offensive line (playoff football often comes down to who can protect their QB better). In spite of all the factors listed above, the Cowboys are just the better team, and the better team usually wins these games.

I am taking the Cowboys -3.5; Dallas 31, Philadelphia 17

Game #3 - Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots

Like everyone else in America (even some people from Boston), I am sick of Boston teams. I am sick of Tom Brady (hot wife, illegitimate child, lame haircut). I am sick of Bill Belichek. I am sick of Boston getting all of Minnesota's good players (David Ortiz, Randy Moss, Kevin Garnett). They are just thoroughly unlikeable in so many ways. But beyond that, they just aren't that great this year. With the loss of Wes Welker last week, the Baltimore Defense will be able to focus on containing Moss, leaving it up to Fred Taylor to carry the load for the offense, and this isn't 2001 anymore, so I'm not buying it.

The Ravens were much better than their record would indicate. They lost at least 4 should have won games (including the game against the Vikings). They have a young QB in Joe Flacco, but they made it to the AFC title game last year, and this team is better. Ray Rice is as good a young, all-purpose RB as you will find. And Willis "The Father of America" McGahee is just a stud. This is not the same Baltimore Defense of years past, but they are still getting it done, and I don't think the Patriots can protect Brady long enough for him to do anything. Patriots fans know that this isn't their year.

I'm taking the Ravens +3.5. Ravens 24, Patriots 17

Game #4 - Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals

We all know the league is going to do anything it can to get one more Packers/Vikings game this year (and you KNOW the Packer fans would love to have one more crack at Favre, especially in the playoffs). The Cardinals surprised everyone last year with their Super Bowl run, and I don't think I can live in a world where the Arizona Cardinals go to the Super Bowl two years in a row. The Packers are a much better team than they were earlier in the year, and are healthy on the offensive line, which the Cardinals are not. The only word of warning here relates to Kurt Warner. If he starts to party like it's 1999, all bets are off. Also, if man-child Superhero Larry Fitzgerald has a game like he had in any of last year's playoff games, the Packers could be in trouble.

I'm taking the Packers +1. Green Bay 38, Arizona 34

So there you have it. With this information there are two things that are certain:
  1. At least one of these picks will be wrong. Probably more than one. So tread carefully.
  2. Years from now someone will stumble on this blog and wonder why someone would have a blog with only 2 posts in the past 4 months.