Yes, just to set the record straight—since I have gotten a flood of e-mails about it throughout the last few days—my father-in-law, Bill Haas, is indeed the same Bill Haas running for governor of our great state. He announced two weeks ago. There is a bumper sticker on my car now that reads, “left wing Lindsay liberal Jews for Haas.” I believe it’s one-of-a-kind.
I am very publicly about as left-leaning as it gets, any more left-leaning, and I would fall over. My father-in-law served for decades, both as the Mayor of Champlin and later as State Representative, and is a staunch Republican. Dinner time at our house is a strict politics-free zone, but Bill is the most honest, caring, hard-working guy I know and would make a superb chief exec of our great state. There is a lot of ocean to cross, but if he should make it through to the primary, and if he should get the nod from his party, and if he should then win the general election, well, let’s just say I have an extremely aggressive series of public policy initiatives that I plan on pushing across his desk. I will do all my negotiating through his largest avenue of weakness: his grandson. Smart, don’t you think?
Our friends Tim and Debbie got married last weekend and are honeymooning in Cali. The reception was at Create, the food studio run by my friend Philip Dorwart (who also blogs on this site) and his wife. It was my first time there, but boy was it a slick facility—and the food was delightful. It’s the perfect place to host a dinner or event.
I know I don’t post recipes on this site any more, but I have to tell you that I got a new grill and rotisserie, and I put two ducks on the spit last week after marinating them with salt, white pepper, fresh OJ, ground star anise, and ginger juice (grate a bunch and squeeze ). I put them over low heat and roasted them for several hours, basting as I went with a reduction that is so insane I needed to pass it on.
Bring a bottle of good sake, 2 tablespoon grated ginger, 1 minced hot chile, and 4 cups fresh pineapple juice (puree and strain fresh, ripe pineapple) to a boil, and simmer until reduced almost to a glaze. Pull from heat, season with sea salt and lime juice, and baste your birds. You can reduce a little more and drizzle over the top before serving. Holy Moly.
Anyone watching Top Chef Masters? I am obsessed and, of course, with this group of contestants, I get to cheer for my pals. Couple of issues. First, for many of these chefs, it’s the first time in years they are “losing” anything. My friend Tim Love (check out Lonesome Dove and Love Shack in Fort Worth next time you’re there) got waxed in the first week, and he has been on an amazing ten-year roll (deservedly) that was best summed up by the look of shock on his face when he left early along with Michael Schlow from Radius (and others) in Boston. Schlow cooked a birthday meal for my wife two years ago that remains her all-time fave, and trust me, she gets some killer meals . . . all my chef pals would much rather impress her than me.
Hubert Keller is a force and has the talent to win it all, but truthfully, so do all the contestants, which is what makes this “bring it hard or go home” thrill ride fun to watch. GE Bowles and Wiley Dufresne getting creamed in ANY food competition is staggering to contemplate considering the rules play to their strengths as chefs in the sense that creativity, unusual technique/flavors, edible puns, and culinary humor get noticed by judges in a grand way, but Ms. Tracht’s win last week proved that this group of judges appreciates subtlety and finesse above all.
My last meals at GE and WD-50 were so ridiculously, amazingly superb that when I saw them walk out for episode two and saw that they were facing off against Tracht, I almost screamed “walk-over” at my TV set. I have eaten at Jar in LA several times, and the food is farmhouse simple. Superb but simple and homey in the extreme, but I knew she would win the moment I saw those Frito-crusted shallot rings in the quick-fire challenge. Her focus and sensibility make her a serious potential winner in this thing because the judges are all in love with food that reflects her sense of restraint. And as hot as Gael Greene’s hats are, what the **&&*%$#*@*@* is up with the new host? She looks like she has about five active types of eating disorders and is so annoying, I can barely watch her. Kelly Choi? Where did she come from? Someone please find her some calories in a hurry. And unlike Padma, who—believe it or not—loves food, knows her way around a table, and is one of the all-time great stone-cold foxes, this new Padma ‘wannabe’ is anything but.
Make sure to pencil in September 25 and 26 as Mpls.St.Paul Magaine holds our second annual Taste! event. This year, we will be the first public event in the new TCF Bank football stadium, which is amazing btw, and I can't wait for the first Gopher home game. The beneficiaries of our event this year are Junior Achievement and U of M Athletics, and the focus is on local culinary talent. The two-day food and wine party should be pretty fun.