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Archive for the ‘A Matter of Opinion’ Category

Matter of Opinion: The simple gastronome

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

If ever you need, or want, to cook for another individual I feel every man should be able to offer something of quality.  What I mean is that every man should have a handful of dishes that they can cook by memory or close to it.julia-child

There are few things that can impress or satisfy people more than quality food.  As I have never met someone who doesn’t enjoy eating, having a small catalog of recipes that you can draw from provides you with the ability to satiate your guests or guest in a variety of scenarios. roast chicken

If throughout your life you have consistently failed in your culinary endeavors I still say, “push on”.  There are dishes that require very little skill and those that cannot be learned without a little trial and error.

As far as what sort of dishes you should learn, try and learn some dishes in different categories.  For example: a few things I pride myself on being able to cook are barbecued ribs and pork shoulder, German pretzels, a great piece of salmon, a roast chicken, and molten chocolate cake.  Knowing a variety of dishes allows you to provide for a more diverse collection of situations and people.pretzel

It is also important to note that I have learned all of these recipes and techniques myself by simply doing some research and practicing them.  Some great resources to find and learn recipes and techniques are the Internet and cooking shows.  Much can be gained through the collection of cookbooks but I recommend exhausting what you don’t have to pay for first.

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A Matter of Opinion: The Bow tie

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

In the past few decades the bow tie has unfortunately been reduced to the mark of an eccentric or dandy.   This I feel is an unfortunate fact that has been bred from the slow decline of the average man’s sense of style and the promotion, by films and TV, of the bow tie wearer as an “uncool” or “nerdy” individual.

I am comforted by the fact that there has recently been resurgence of bow tie wearers in younger men.  This I feel is partly a backlash to the common notion of bow tie wearers as being a little odd and the fact that they give the wearer the opportunity to stands out from the crowd.bowtie

That said it is my opinion that more men should find the courage to work bow ties into their tie rotations.  If tying one poses a problem, practice some, it is not much harder than tying a necktie.

city bowtie

Just like neckties, bowties come in a variety of widths and shapes.  If the mere fact that you are wearing a bow tie is a stretch for you then start with more conservative colors and shapes and work in more variety as your confidence increases.

Break away from the pack and stand out as an individual by increasing the versatility of your wardrobe with bow ties.

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A Matter Of Opinion: Cocktails

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

I’m starting a new, repeating post that I am calling “A Matter of Opinion”.  It will include things that I think add to a man’s overall style and class, but are by no means required to achieve them.

I think that every man should have at least a basic bar knowledge.  What I mean by this is that men of style and class should know how to make a few of the great cocktails, even if they prefer beer or wine.  If a man has a small liquor cabinet at home then it should be stocked with the ingredients needed for these cocktails.  If you don’t drink them or at all then you liquor cabinet will stay stocked for a very long time and if you ever need to make anything for a guest, you will be well prepared.

Equipment: Corkscrew; Bottle opener; 1/1.5 oz. Jigger; Ice bucket with tongs and/or scoop; Cocktail shaker; Long spoon; Toothpicks, skewers, stirrers, etc.; Muddler; Assorted glassware (rock glasses, highballs, cocktail, etc.)

Ingredients: Gin, Vodka, Bourbon, Rye, Brandy, Scotch, Dry vermouth, Sweet vermouth,  Triple Sec, Angostura bitters, Orange bitters,  Lemons and limes, Simple syrup.

I’ll start with my favorite cocktail.

Manhattan:manhattan

1-2 dashes Angostura bitters

2 measures rye whisey

1/2 measure sweet vermouth

ice

Put ice in shaker, add a 1-2 dashes of Angostura bitters, pour vermouth and whiskey in stir and strain into preferably chilled glass.  You can garnish with a cocktail cherry but it tends to add a sweet cherry hint that I like to skip.  Can also be drunk on the rocks.  Pour into cocktail or rocks glass

Martini:martini

3 measures of gin

1/4 measure dry vermouth or to taste

ice

Put ice in shaker.  Pour in gin and vermouth and stir.  Strain into preferably chilled cocktail or rocks glass and garnish with an olive.  For vodka martinis just substitute the gin with vodka.  I like to garnish a vodka martini with a twist of lemon.

Sidecar:

2 measures brandy

1 measure triple sec

1 measure lemon juice

ice

Put ice in shaker.  Pour in brandy triple sec and lemon juice.  Shake energetically until frost forms on the outside of shaker.  Pour into rocks glass.  Garnish with a twist of lemon or orange peel.

Mint Julep:

3-4 fresh mint leaves

1/2 oz. simple syrup or two sugar cubes

3 measures of bourbon

crushed ice

Put syrup, or sugar, and mint in highball glass and mash well with muddler.  Add crushed ice to fill glass and add bourbon.  Stir well and garnish with mint sprig.  This drink is best on a hot summer day.

Scotch:

scotch

ice (optional)

Add ice to rocks glass (optional),  add scotch. Enjoy.

There are more drinks you can make with these ingredients and other ingredients you can get that will help expand your drink library but I think these will give anyone a good start.  For a pretty good list of other cocktails try this Link.

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