Thank You Robin

Written By: Tipsy Table - Aug• 30•14

Watching the 2013 Emmy award show, we were taken with the banality of the acceptance speeches. Most of those honored with the gold statuette seemed unprepared, needing words from an accomplished script writer. Their gushing and stuttering was to us insincere, sometimes incoherent, and almost uniformly too long. The ending music and thoughts of a cane around the neck were highlights. This interested us to no end at a gala where everyone is beautiful, comfortable, well-dressed and adequately fortified with alcohol or their drug of choice. We developed a simple grading system we call S3 for the acceptance remarks: Sincere, Smart, Short. Few awardees came close to meeting this simple standard. Most were neither sincere nor smart, but if the remarks were at least short they were redeemed. From this experience, we wrote a rant that we intended to post prior to the next Emmy show, the recent 2014 event.

What happened to chill us is that the preview listed Billy Crystal as offering the tribute to recently deceased Robin Williams. As most of the viewing public, we are great fans of Williams’ comic genius. His death came as such a surprise, believing him a cosmic force that would go on forever. Just the previous year, Robin had delivered a touching tribute to another comic genius, Jonathan Winters. Though so fitting, it was particularly sad to have another brilliant comic pay respects to Robin and we knew that Billy Crystal would be special. In no way could we post something now seeming trivial, so we just watched.

Billy Crystal was sincere, smart, and short, too short. He held himself together, though it was obvious he was sick with grief. He reiterated what other entertainers have said of Robin, that he was the brightest star in the galaxy. Hearing Crystal say that, one could understand the full meaning of the tribute to a “light that burns so brightly it warms us.” Crystal also told of Robin’s loyal friendship and his unusual generosity to so many.

We did know how popular Robin was in our Sun Valley area where he spent time skiing. We once came across Robin and his pal Arnold Schwarzenegger at Lookout. We tried to follow them down the hill but they blew us away as they were both exceptional skiers. Chris Millspaugh, reporter for The Weekly Sun of the Wood River Valley, wrote this in the August 20, 2014 issue:

Williams was a frequent visitor to the Sun Valley area and the slopes of Baldy. Locals had been touched by his presence many times and always with his impromptu sense of humor. Once, dressed in all white snow gear, Williams ended his run at the bottom of the mountain laughing because he thought he was invisible, and then jumped up on a log and entertained fellow skiers for about 20 minutes. The 17 or 18 lucky ones that day received their own Robin Williams ad lib concert with delight and awe. Several times over the years that Williams spent up here, he would try out new material at The Liberty Theater and invite members of the ski patrol and Sun Valley workers to come judge his new act for free.

You can read the rest of Mr. Millspaugh’s comments here:  http://issuu.com/theweeklypaper/docs/14_08_20_weeklysun_pg_bundled/7?e=0

(Thinking of Robin and his connection to the Wood River Valley, we realize he also shares a birthday , July 21st, with one of Ketchum’s favorite sons, Ernest Hemingway. Papa also fell into depression taking his own life in the valley just 19 days shy of his 63rd birthday. Robin succumbed a mere 21 days after celebrating his 63rd.)

All in all, the tribute was special and it gave such credibility to the award ceremony. It caused us to reflect, as we are sure so many did around the world, on a man who is uniquely talented and who shared with so many. What a legacy of work he left behind.

What can we possibly add? Nothing more than “Thank you, Robin. You are great. And you are good.”

Robin Star

Living in a Spiralized World

Written By: Tipsy Table - Aug• 24•14

Shopping in the Wood River Valley is diverse, eclectic and fun.   Ultra chic, luxury retailers contrast with wonderful thrift shops, benefitting excellent causes. The Barkin’ Basement provides funding to the no-kill Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley. The Community Library in Ketchum was started in 1955 with a one dollar donation from seventeen ladies who opened The Gold Mine Thrift Shop to raise funds to build a library that still today receives no funding from local, state or federal taxes.  The Attic Thrift helps to support the programs of The Advocates, a local nonprofit promoting a compassionate community free from emotional and physical abuse. The universal motto of these thrifts is “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”

Although treasures are found daily in these thrifts, all have quarterly sales to clear merchandise and make room for the upcoming season’s items. During the spring cleanout at The Barkin’ Basement, we spied a dusty box on the lower shelf with an odd name Spirali, an unknown brand Lurch, and a description of the contents in German. Photos on the box depicted vegetables shaped like noodles. Wow, pasta without the guilt.  We snapped a cell phone photo of the box to research, but then decided to purchase as all the parts, including the instructions, seemed to be in the box, and, with the day’s discount, the cost was five dollars.

Spirali Returning home with our new kitchen gadget, I checked the brand Lurch online and found a similar piece of equipment at kitchen retailers.  Little did we know that our new Spirali is the German model of one of the current most popular culinary aids, the Spiralizer.   Our Spirali makes zucchini into pasta, carrots into rice, sweet potatoes into curly fries, and smiles in our stomachs.   The Internet is laden with veggie noodle recipes, and a few blogs are totally dedicated to spiralzed fare.

Our first dish, that very evening, was coconut shrimp soup with yam noodle, with an Asian tofu zucchini noodle salad on the side. Happy, very happy with our new culinary find.

Spiral duo vertical

The leftovers from this  grilled chicken breast with roasted yam fries and a spiral onion-zucchini-tomato salad was our picnic the next evening on the lawn at the Sun Valley Pavilion while listening to the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.  A small child wandered over to pet and talk to our Huskies, spied our salad, and exclaimed, “Mama, I want pasta like that.”  Aha, what a great way to encourage little picky eaters to learn to love and eat their vegetables.  With supervision older children might find it fun to crank the handle to make the noodles, but beware, the blades are extremely sharp.

Spiral with Cjox

These zucchini spinning tops on our shrimp bowl are what is left of the vegetable after spiralizing, making an instant garnish.  The sauce for these yellow and green zucchini spirals is a butternut squash puree with coconut milk and chipotle, served with a scatter of scallions and roasted peanuts.

2014 Spiralized with Shrimp

As Planet Earth spirals on its axis, this unique gadget is fast becoming a tool of choice not only in kitchens, but in beauty shops around the world. Here Sarah Palin™, with first dude Todd, models her spiralized coiffure.

Spiralized Sarah

 

Elks Lodge Happy Hour

Written By: Tipsy Table - Aug• 21•14

From our home in Hailey, ID, we often drive the 10 miles north to Ketchum and Sun Valley resort or beyond to numerous trailheads in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Idaho State Highway 75 is busy with local and tourist traffic, and at times with wild animal crossings including the beautiful wolves. Recently, probably due to the huge Beaver Creek wildfire last summer, deer and elk herds come down from the hills to graze in the lower valley.  Several times a day in early Spring, a very wise and wily bull stands majestically on the roadside berm to the east, seeming to gauge traffic.  As motorists spot him and stop in both directions, clearing the path for their traverse, he leads his herd of about 50-75 elk across the highway and over the fence to a favorite grazing field before heading down for a drink in the Big Wood River.  It is stunning to watch.  Our two Huskies were as amazed and seemingly impressed as we. Pinky captured the moment on camera as we patiently waited their crossing.

 

Swimming to Sullivan’s Island

Written By: Tipsy Table - Aug• 19•14

Sullivan’s Island is an historic small town on Charleston Harbor. The site of a major battle of the American Revolution at Fort Sullivan, this was also the point of entry for many of the African slaves brought into North America. More recently it is just a lovely spot for a beach home in a comfortable community. It seems everyone wants to head to Sullivan’s Island for some reason: successful couples find it an attractive address, the wealthy think of it for a second home, tourists travel there from all over the globe, and even the occasional feral pig will strike out across the harbor for a sojourn. This did get our attention.

Okay, so a family travels nearly 3,000 miles from Seattle to Sullivan’s Island to celebrate Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary. They spend time on the serene beaches, searching for sand dollars and joking about sharks. When out of the surf pops a porker, dazed and confused, looking for a stretch of sand to rest its weary limbs. Not sure the pig can make it to shore, Dad jumps into the waves and saves the swine. Speculation is that the pig fell into the current of a nearby river and floated out to sea. Animal Control arrives and the officers corral the pig for a road trip to an undisclosed location.

Prentiss Findlay, of The Post and Courier, inquires about the fate of the pig, and the Town Manager  sends an email stating “After discussing the matter with the state Department of Natural Resources, the animal was relocated accordingly.”  An abattoir perhaps?

WE SMELL BACON.

A follow up article in The Post and Courier gives no additional information on the whereabouts of the pig, but now another Dad from Concord, Massachusetts is taking credit for saving the swine from the sea.  What’s up with that?  Vying for porcine heroics?  The article states rules and regulations make it illegal to have a pig on the island, and the Police Chief says that pig “was relocated and taken care of according to state law. That’s all the information I can give you.”  An abattoir perhaps?

WE SMELL BACON.Life is too short

In Seattle, our other home town,  “Bill the Butcher, ” who, well you know what he does, has this sign on the sidewalk.   Think those famous Seattle Pig Rescuers and Heroes are still adhering to Bill’s sage advice?

Three little pigs

© Walt Disney

Plus, now we fear that even our favorite petite porkers, Disney’s Three Little Pigs, somehow were aware of their ultimate fate. The photo of FATHER on the wall tells it all.

The Post and Courier has no additional news about the swimming swine.

WE SMELL BACON.

R.I.P.

We thank our CSI Charleston detective, Whistling Dixie, for linking us to this story.  

Also, full disclosure, red meats and that “other white meat” very rarely share the plate at the Tipsy Table.  So, don’t blame us.

 

 

 

 

Fire on the mountain

Written By: Tipsy Table - Aug• 16•14

One year ago we stood in our Hailey front yard and watched the flames rampage over Carbonate Mountain just a few blocks to the west. It was a dramatic and very personal exerience to the wild land fire reality. The Idaho Beaver Creek fire, one of the largest in the West last year, really changed what is usually a relaxing time for all in the Wood River Valley.

During the week we were fortunate to meet several fire support personnel at the local market. They invited us to tour the Incident Command Post just a few miles north on Highway 75. It was amazing how fast this large tent and truck city popped up on the open grasslands, bustling with 24 hour a day activity as crews and equipment cycled in and out. The hotshot crews and other fire fighters from a number of states looked exhausted returning to camp.

Carbonate Fire stitchTT

The massive fire caught the attention of Hailey, already on pre-evacuation warning, when it made its surprise lunge over Carbonate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We watched from our yard as an Erickson Skycrane sucked up water from the nearby Big Wood River and dropped it around the burning tracks for containment. These big birds are odd in profile, but a beautiful sight if one is at risk in a wildfire. The chop, chop of the rotor as the aircraft circled near our house was beautiful music.

Then out of the smoke and ash this photo of a Jason Wu shoe lit up on one of our computer screens. The resemblance is visually remarkable. We thought the Skycrane one of the strangest sights ever, until Jason Wu built his firefighters.

Can you just imagine running away from a wildfire in these puppies?

Wu Sky png

 

 

Wagging tails and tongues

Written By: Tipsy Table - Aug• 15•14

I know, we promised not to get into gossip about celebs, and certainly it is off limits to even discuss someone as strange and irrelevant as Miley Cyrus. After all, we just retired all of our bad jokes about “Achy Breaky Heart” when this twerking, jerking offspring sprung out from Disney to prime time. Well, sometimes we will have to rise above our principles and such occasion is the intersection of popular culture with scientific discovery.

So, here we were, hearing on National Public Radio that a recent series of “elegant” scientific tests had determined that a dog’s tail wagging direction is related to his or her emotions.

http://www.npr.org/2013/11/01/242126859/the-tails-the-tell-dog-wags-can-mean-friend-or-foe

“Dogs can pick up emotional cues from another dog by watching the direction of its wagging tail, a new study suggests. In a series of lab experiments, dogs got anxious when they saw an image of a dog wagging its tail to its left side. But when they saw a dog wagging its tail to its right side, they stayed relaxed.”

You can imagine what excitement this caused around the table. This serious science suggested to us that there just might be some rhyme and reason for the Cyrus tongue wagging.

Compare the tail wagging of dear Django Skyy Blue, circling right. Knowing our sweet dog, this is proof enough for us that this is a signal of friendship that should cause no anxiety.

In contrast, observe Miley wagging her substantial tongue decidedly to the left. This should strike fear into any dog or human. Even before she tries to sing, she is threatening. Though we admit this is not a scientific study, perhaps it could promote more serious study.

Miley tt

© Evan Agostini / Invision/ AP

Cloudy with a chance of Bouillabaisse

Written By: Tipsy Table - Aug• 14•14

Bowl of Clams tt 2Last week the normally bluebird skies of Sun Valley were filled with thunderclouds and lightning. The unexpected culinary adventure was realized when the local market had a ridiculous price of less than $2 per pound on fresh clams from Mexico. We dove into our larder of frozen seafood to find prawns, sea scallops, squid and cod. Perusing our cookbooks, we found The Joy of Cooking Bouillabaisse most similar to our favorite, but somehow missing, recipe. Adding a few ingredients, and serving with aioli, crusty whole wheat bread, and a goblet or two of red wine, it was perfect fare for a dark and stormy night.

Errol Morris fans will remember the trailer couple in the movie Vernon, Florida who cherished their jar full of “growing sand.” This was supposedly some radiated sand gathered during a past vacation driving trip to New Mexico. The duo insisted the sand had grown appreciably over the years in the jar. We have noticed a similar phenomenon with this wonderful faux bouillabaisse. As in its Marseille fishing village founding, it was and can be replenished over several meals. The fishermen would bring in the unsold daily catch to add to the pot and the cook would have another meal.

We venture the tag faux Bouillabaisse Sawtooth in defense of the widely held opinion that this great fish stew just does not travel well to other regions, even port cities, or in the hands of master chefs. Jean-François Revel in his brilliant book Culture and Cuisine-A Journey Through the History of Food lectures that:

Cuisine stems from two sources: a popular one and an erudite one. This latter necessarily being the appanage of the well-off classes of every era. In the course of history there has been a peasant (or seafarer’s) cuisine and a court cuisine, a plebeian cuisine…prepared by the mother…and a cuisine of professionals that only chefs fanatically devoted to their art have the time and knowledge to practice.”( p.18)

Revel feels protective of bouillabaisse marseillaise, branding it truly unexportable from the fresh fish of its port. He admits it is a temptation for this basic, delicious, fresh fish soup to be replicated in other fishing ports, but suggests even these cannot produce the real thing, the special fishes of Marseille. He blanches at adding other fishes, some that cannot stand up to the cooking, or mussels and other shellfish. It is a horror to add lobster and ruin both the ingredient and the dish. By the time the fish dish reaches restaurants, even in its fishing village, it is ruined with pretense and prepared stocks with tired seafood and high prices on the menu. By the time it reaches restaurants in Paris, he finds it a travesty. As for serving it with a rouille, well here in his own words:

                “…serving it with a rouille, an overrated sauce made with hot peppers or mayonnaise with garlic whose link with classic bouillabaisse is as extrinsic as that of mustard with meat.”(p.18)

Bouilliabase TT2Considering all of these restrictions for authenticity, we simply plunged ahead with the fact we met at least one of the requirements: this was a dish made at home. Yes, we had seafood from fish mongers in several US cities, but added fresh Mexican clams purchased a bike ride away at the local market. In fact, these unexpected bivalve molluscs in a small, mountain town leveraged this dish. We did make the aioli from scratch, though it was added at serving and not to the stock as would have been done. When the availability of these clams combined with an unexpected dark afternoon thunderstorm, our home-cooked Bouillabaisse Sawtooth was born and it lived a treasured life.

The following afternoon, the weather in the mountains remained threatening with summer thunderstorms. It was cold, wet, and windy outside. The answer, of course, was to add some more of the daily catch, or cache, of seafood and clams, and serve up again the wonderful fish stew. As the growing sand in the jar, this dish seems to regenerate and can make several dinners and even more lunches.

 

Some great food quotes

Written By: Tipsy Table - Aug• 12•14

We post these quotes courtesy of HellaWella and Laura Van Wert.

“I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for the minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”
— Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader

“How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?”
— Julia Child, chef, author and television personality

“Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”
— Mark Twain, writer

“When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking.”
— Gail Sheehy, writer and journalist

“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”
— Thomas Edison, inventor

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch,”
— Orson Wells, writer

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy,”
— Benjamin Franklin, founding father and a wise man who liked to party

Blame it on the Smartini

Written By: Tipsy Table - Jan• 23•14

Martini WalkingBlame the Smartini. It started this whole mess. Sure, we all need another blog like we need another member of congress. But, what the heck. Throw back one of these great drinks, perhaps another while the ice crystals are still floating in the viscous mix, peruse a few blue cheese oil slicks, get warm and really smart and something good has to happen. “We should have a blog, you know, to share all of these ideas and thoughts and opinions and recipes…” We are adrift, heading somewhere, and there is no turning back.

The Smartini
Ratio:
4 to 1 (If you want those crazy sniffs of vermouth, just hammer a vodka or gin rocks)

Ingredients:
Vodka (we use Skyy) or Gin, yes, some flexibility in this chilled oil spill
Dry vermouth

Garnish:
Large green olive stuffed with blue cheese and toasted almond.

Directions:
Fill glass pitcher with ice, stir in the liquor and vermouth. Cover top of pitcher with plastic food wrap; place in freezer for at least 2 hours.

Fifteen minutes before serving, make the side dish of stuffed olives. Using large green olives—Costco has some of the largest jars and olives—remove the pimento and reserve for your next chili or seafood chowder. Stuff each olive with blue cheese and push in a pan-roasted unsalted almond.

Remove the pitcher of martini mix (which will be the consistency of Prince William Sound near shore in winter) and stir the slurry with the handle of a wooden spoon. Then pour the resulting clear martini mixture through a slotted spoon into the martini glass and there should come along some small, floating ice formations, crystal-like.

Plunge a toothpick into one or two of the plump olives and place into the martini glass, creating a wonderful type of oil slick that has no environmental downside. After a few sips, close your eyes and savor the wonderful olive pickled in a great martini. The experience is memorable.

National Pie Day

Written By: Tipsy Table - Jan• 23•14


Hey Folks, it’s National Pie Day, and these two Huskies, Django and Mascoutah just love pie.

Time to get out that baking dish and fill it with all things hot and bubbly and delicious.  We are planning a savory Shepherd’s Pie with ground turkey, onions, garlic, cannellini beans, mushrooms and spices.

Incidentally, NPD is not to be confused with National Pi Day.  National Pi Day on 14 March celebrates the significant digits 3-1-4.  Surely there is a recipe for Pi Day that includes 3 parts, 1 part and 4 parts of something.  Perhaps a Tasteful Beverage?