Friday, August 24, 2007

Ode to the Tomato

It's been tomato season for at least few weeks now, and as usual, I'm completely obsessed. I dream about this time of the year in darkest February, getting greedy and overbuying when I see the tumbling piles of Jersey tomatoes at McCarren Park on Saturdays. I can't even stomach the mealy, white, year-round supermarket tomato as anything close to a substitute in the off-season. But come high summer, I manage to work tomatoes into pretty much everything I eat for eight weeks, as is this writer in the Times.

To this list of recipes I'd add: tomato sandwiches on soft white bread with tons of mayo, sea salt and fresh pepper; fresh pasta with tomatoes, garlic, brie, and basil (only cooking the pasta); tomatoes stuffed with bread crumbs/tuna/herbs/garlic whathaveyou; tomatoes tucked under baked or poached eggs; spreading them with cheese/tapanade/greens/nuts/herbs before a quick pulse in the microwave; salsa; ceviche with mango and whitefish or scallops; and simplest and best of all, a caprese salad made of the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes you've ever seen from Sang Lee Produce.

Rapturous odes to just-picked summer corn, or peaches, or zucchini, or blueberries, run right alongside tomatoes in my brain, for eating doesn't get any more pleasureable than produce in season. I swoon over cooking in August with an constant overload of options and tastes. If there's ever a time to visit a farmer's market, these are the weeks to be going. All is luscious and ripe and juicy and flavorful. And perfectly amazing, when you realize no one can improve on nature.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Summer Wind (and some braggin')

The weeks of August have been flying by, and I've got not too much to comment on, busy living instead of yapping and typing. There were a couple nice weekends at Shelter Island, complete with SI friend-filled dinners straight out of the old 3 Chase Street house; a nice amount of company, including an surprisingly fun and undamaging hang with the ex-Irish boxer bf for the first time in a couple years; and a surging softball team on a juggernaut towards the WBSL playoffs. Ahem.

Currently in Montreal for the week with my new assistant Sebastian (straight, Brooklyn-raised, rockabilly kid) printing for 115 hours straight through (5+ days) to get the fall issues of V and V Man out.

Nice surprise that I'm pleased about - the mags were awarded two Gold Ink Awards in the 2007 competition, winning "Gold" level awards for both V45 and V Man Spring/Summer.

Now in it's 20th year the Gold Ink Awards recognizes excellence in print reproduction and is considered one of the most prestigious and challenging print production competitions in the printing industry.

Our straight-as-an-arrow, always slow and corporate printer submitted the issues for their own accolades, but damned if they would have won the awards if we didn't push them to the edge of their capabilities, and give them something pretty to print. A week up here is often tiring and frustrating, although at the end of it all, the very good quality I'm getting is almost worth the constant hassle. There is a big fancy printing nerd banquet in Chicago in early September when the awards will be presented. (Probably coming to visit, big brother - Sept 10th.)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Racing Note

The 3-yr old horse I was hot on all spring, Any Given Saturday, is finally starting to blossom as evidenced by his 4 1/2 length win in last Sunday's Haskell at Monmouth Park. The 113 Beyer score he achieved is higher than any number put up by Street Sense, Curlin or Rags to Riches in the Triple Crown races this year.

It looks like he won't be running in the Travers ("The Summer Derby") up at Saratoga on the 25th, but I'm glad to see him becoming the horse we only had seen flashes of. Although I'll miss that Derby, I am hoping to catch a couple days of racing at the Spa at the end of the month, including the Grade 1 Woodward for 3 year olds and up on September 1st.


Love or hate Bonds, it was hard not to be moved by his big record-breaking moment on Tuesday night. I happened to just walk in the door, switch on the live broadcast of his 3-at-bat of the night via Sportscenter. A 3-2 pitch, and BOOM. Did everyone else watching, at least the baseball lovers, also hope this one was going to be gone? It's pretty hard to ignore that many home runs and how GOOD the guy truly is, even with the help he had along the way. As for me, I'm (oddly enough) a bit of a waffler on the steroids issue, but I'm curious how future fans and players will judge Bonds, and the 15+yrs of performance-enhancing drug use in MLB.

Hank Aaron's video message was classy and on point, offering congratulations and a wish that
"(My) hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams."

Was a nice touch to have Hank present, causing the always impenetrable Bonds to choke up, and I, too, got a little shiver watching this bit of baseball history.

Chinatown Breakfast of Champions, P2

Two steaming fresh pork buns from Canal Seafood Restaurant. $.65 each.

I have been ignored briefly in favor of Chinese-speaking customers but it's like that all over Chinatown. Big deal. Good buns.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Tom Terrific

I've always liked Tom Glavine well enough, but reading over his stats (lifetime 3.49 ERA) after last night's 300 win made me realize how good he truly is. On top of these numbers, he's the best hitting pitcher of his generation, is extremely active in the player's union, and he's seemingly a stand up family-leaning kind of guy: an old-fashioned type of ballplayer with no skeletons in his closet. From
If you want to start a good argument, try this: Tom Glavine is the ninth-best left-hander of all time, slightly ahead of Sandy Koufax. Here's the ammunition you'll need.

In beating the Cubs on Sunday night, Glavine became the 23rd pitcher to win 300 games, 135 more wins than Koufax. Glavine has the fifth-most wins among left-handers and the sixth-most wins in the National League since 1900. He made 10 All-Star teams, won two Cy Young awards and has five 20-win seasons, more than Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Barry Zito, Carlos Zambrano and Mike Mussina combined.

The common denominator of the greatest pitchers of all time is durability: Glavine has never been on the disabled list. He has made at least 25 starts in 19 consecutive seasons; only Greg Maddux, with 20, has a longer streak in baseball history.

Glavine also has 14 postseason victories; only Smoltz, with 15, has more. Glavine did all this without throwing 95 mph, but few pitchers have commanded a fastball and changeup better than he has.

Every 300-game winner who's eligible for the Hall of Fame is in. So 300 is the benchmark, but who will be next to get there?

Randy Johnson has 284 wins, but he's 43 and has a back injury. After Johnson, no one else with at least 200 wins seems likely to make it, and no young pitcher is off to such a sensational start that he's a threat to 300 even with mass statistical projection.

So, Glavine might be the last one for a while. And that's appropriate in every way.