Fall, PAZAZ™ Style

This season is my favorite. Fall says “good-bye” to summer and ushers in the changing of colors in the north, east, west, and south. The blooming of flowers in hot climates that stood down during the heat of summer aspire to bloom again. And finally there are the wonderful events that open the door to the holiday season.

Bright red and yellow maple trees begin their sojourn into the realm of majestic display. A wave of color sweeps over landscapes of green creating a pastel interlude witnessed and appreciated by all those that are blessed to experience God’s brushstroke on the canvas of life.

Perfect weather for many, the ending of wheat, berry, pear, and other harvests for some, and the beginning of wine grape harvests for vintners. Wine grapes glisten in the sun waiting to be picked at just the right moment revealing the perfect brix content while bringing an explosion of flavors giving rise to the hope of another great vintage.

Farmers that have worked so hard from late winter to late fall bask in the fruits of their labors as others benefit from all the earth provides under the hand of those that put their knowledge and expertise into the bounty of the land they work. This fruitful endeavor by all those that are involved brings the season of “thanks” to the forefront of timeless expression.

Fall is not just the changing of colors on trees, harvests, and weather but much more than that. It is the changing of lifestyle for many. School begins, vacations end, and of course fall is the conductor of sport. The ending of the baseball season, the beginning of football, hockey and basketball engrosses the populace engaging in the hope that their team will be crowned champion. This sports “mania” is the culmination of societal evolution that revolves around where you were born, who your family roots for, or maybe just the color of a uniform.

Whatever fall means for you, enjoy the moment, and live in the experience of the beginning of this joyful season. This season however would not be complete without those wonderful holiday dishes that put the exclamation point on the events we have come to cherish over the course of our lifetime.

I will have recipes for you to enjoy in the upcoming blogs that center around family and friends. Of course these recipes will include the PAZAZ™ products that introduce an amazing quality to produce the perfect holiday expression through the food we like for the people we love.

Birthday Dinner PAZAZ™ Style!

 

Over the course of our lives we start with birthdays that are really fun. We can hardly wait for that special day (unless your birthday falls just before or just after Christmas… then your screwed).

Our birthday’s were events! Invitations go out to all our friends… there are balloons, pinatas, pin the tail on the donkey, hide-en-go-seek, capture the flag, and a myriad of other fun activities. We get to see all our friends, there parents, our parents, and siblings, all engaged in an event dedicated to you. What could be better then to be the center of the universe?

The other thing that makes 1-21 so special is that you are excited about getting older. This trumps everything because then you can do more things. Up word mobility into the educational system (hopefully) as you are instructed by past teachers about the up coming grades you are about to embark upon. At 16 you can drive a car, at 17-18 you’re going to college and possibly away from your parents, at 21 you can drink… and then what?

You then get a job after college (for some) for others you’ve been working since you got out of high-school. Then, some get married and have kids etc. The one thing that is constant after the age of 29… you are reminded (by your close friends, and some family members) that you’re getting older.

The birthday then becomes a day of reckoning destined to eventually be hidden from others and swept to the outskirts of your mind (just like tax day… but different). The older you get the more you realize (and are reminded by good friends and family) you can’t do the things you once were able to do.

However, I have a solution for this downgrade in the birthday celebration. First, celebrate for a full month, not just one day. Embrace your journey and reflect on the wonderful things you have experienced and the amazing people you have in your life, both family and friends. Then, for that one special day, have a dinner that honors your past, present, and future.

I’m talking “Go Big or Go Home”! This dinner can be as exotic or simple as you want it to be. It should reflect your persona and honor who you are. You should not be cooking it! If your spouse or best friend can’t cook, then go out to dinner. Drink that special wine, scotch, port, madeira, or other world class beverage (don’t cheap out on this) paired (ideally) with the meal.

Here is a sample menu (without the recipes)… recipes can be acquired when you purchase my PAZAZ™ kitchen tools, for the discerning chef. Just go to www.pazazshop.com

    1. Cauliflower soup with baked apple, cinnamon, and caramelized banana (wine pairings included in cook book I wrote).
    2. Veal Chop with a blue berry ponzu sauce
    3. World Famous PAZAZ™ carrot cake

Bring the substance of your life to light as you enjoy a fantastic dinner with friends and family. You are the architect of your life and so you should create that very special “event” that reflects more than a meal but a statement that will create a very special memory.

When Events Become Memories

I play the violin as many of you that read these blogs will attest to. My dad introduced me to the violin when I was seven years old and from there I performed my first concert when I was in the third grade. I was the only stringed instrument in a band that played for our school, Deer Park elementary school.

Believing that playing the instrument wasn’t enough my dad would periodically invite my mom and I to enjoy wonderful concerts performed by the Marin Symphony (which my dad played in). These were memorable times as my dad loved the symphony and became close to a number of members of the Marin Symphony.

As I progressed with my talent and acumen for the violin my mom and dad would train and teach me in the finer points of the instrument adding to my knowledge and appreciation for the violin. Learning to play the instrument takes on many different levels of accomplishment which includes but is not limited to music camps, private lessons, and auditions for chairs in orchestras.

My first year in high school my parents took me to an event I will never forget. My dad got us tickets to enjoy the performance of the San Francisco Symphony’s newest conductor, Seiji Ozawa. Ozawa’s attention to detail, lively motion (swaying to the beat of the orchestra), and interpretation of the score was an inspiration to watch. On this occasion the San Francisco Symphony performed Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet. Twenty one minutes of sheer joy as I became immersed in the melody and engrossed by the technique of the musicians executing the perfect balance between horns, woodwinds, and strings.

Watching Ozawa point to the different musicians in specific sections to highlight passages of importance was a moment within an event that has created a memory that has lasted a lifetime.

Music and the culinary arts go hand in hand, like bow upon string. The art of creating a dish that transcends all others is a performance to be acknowledged. The preparation and technique of a chef are of equal task to those that have chosen the livelihood of a professional musician. On one such occasion a dish prepared by celebrated chef Jackie Robert (prepared inaugural dinner for President Regan) became a symphony unto itself.

Dining at Amelio’s located in San Francisco in the late 80’s was an amazing experience. Each plate was designed for the food that was created specifically for that plate.

Each table was adorned with a single fresh orchid resting in a glass orchid filled with water. The table cloths were the finest linen, the silverware was real silver, and the water and wine glasses were crystal. Each dish presented to the patrons were presented with cloche service. This means every appetizer, salad, soup, entree, and dessert was mysteriously covered with a silver dome. At the placing of each dish on the table several captains would (in perfect synchronized service) unveil the silver dome to reveal the dish.

On this occasion the unveiling led to several gasps at the table as the presentation was quite simply, a work of art. The particular dish I am referring to was an emerald green and bright yellow woven pasta in the form of a tapestry sitting center stage on the red and black fine china plate. On top of the pasta sat a perfectly prepared Langoustine surrounded by a lobster reduction sauce finished with squid ink. The presentation paled in comparison to the flavors orchestrated by its conductor, Jackie Robert. I have not spoken with Jackie over the course of these many years but if I had I would tell him that he created a dish, on that magical night, by which all others have been judged.

This blog is sponsored by PAZAZ™ “The Magic Of Cooking” Kitchen Tools for the discerning Chef.

Please go to pazazshop.com to purchase these amazing Kitchen Tools!

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