The Super Bowl came and went a few days ago. As a football viewer, I’ll say it was a decent game. Close until the very end, swings in leads, eye-popping half-time show, better than usual commercial content, etc. San Francisco had a great season. Jimmy Garoppolo could say he played quarterback all season and they ended up on the biggest stage. But they came up short. Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes will wear the crown for the next year.
And then came Monday morning. And with that, the criticism. Jimmy G is a fourth tier quarterback, he’s too old to be developed (he’s 28…), he’s overpaid, he panics under pressure. To clarify, my team is not San Francisco and Jimmy G is not “my” quarterback, but…really?!?
In foodservices we know, all too well, how fleeting fabulous can be. Jimmy G should call us. Any one of us could help him dust himself off, and try again. We’d say, “Learn, grow, improve, man.” Yes. We take disappointment, honest mistakes, circumstances beyond our control…any and all of that…and we try again. Even when we win the Super Bowl we always remember, tomorrow is another game!
1 – 8 oz jar dijon mustard
½ c dry white wine
2 T chopped fresh tarragon
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded
tarragon sprigs for garnish
1. Whisk together mustard, wine & tarragon in large stainless steel bowl.
2. Place chicken in baking dish, season with s&p, coat with marinade, cover & refrigerate 24 hours.
3. Remove chicken from marinade, reserve marinade.
4. Cook chicken on medium hot grill, 6 mins per side (or sauté in heavy skillet).
5. Heat reserved marinade to boiling.
6. Drizzle hot marinade over chicken & garnish with fresh tarragon.
Note: can substitute chicken thighs
So good, nobody notices. When I saw this article title, the voice in my head said: “stop the bus.” Not because I disagreed. But because I felt like it was reading my mind or eavesdropping on recent conversations. I’ve had the chance to get out and see some other operators lately. This is enlightening on many levels, but…as relates to this…I am amazed at what others “get away with,” from the food to the presentation to the customer service. I have said in my head and even privately to others: “if we looked like this at ______ (insert nearly any MG location) for one meal we’d be fired.” We do so many things to make MG dining special…perhaps so consistently special that…it goes unnoticed. But consider for a sec what might happen if we didn’t?
Incremental excellence will never be as sexy as the thrill of the new because the better you get the less noticeable the difference may be. But it can be every bit as valuable.
2 T butter
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1 c whole milk
1 – 15 oz can chickpeas, with liquid
1 – 15 oz can white beans, drained & rinsed
1 thyme sprig
2 sage leaves
1 bay leaf
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4-6 kale leaves, ribs & stems removed, cut into 1″ strips
Garnishes: shaved parmesan, olive, red pepper flakes, crusty bread
1. Melt the butter in saucepan on med-high.
2. Add garlic, cut side down, cook 1-2 mins to golden brown.
3. Stir in milk, chickpeas, white beans, herbs, nutmeg, s&p.
4. Bring to boiling, reduce heat and add kale.
5. Simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 15 mins.
6. Remove herbs & garlic head, cool garlic & remove soft cloves with fork.
7. Serve beans with shaved parmesan, drizzle of olive oil, pinch of crushed red pepper.
8. Spread crusty bread with soft garlic cloves & serve alongside beans.
Some people love fall. Some struggle with it (I know I do). Days are shorter, colors are fading… and, eventually, the landscape will turn to gray. Yes, Mother Nature enters hibernation mode from the bugs to the grass. But work keeps going… and now… without as much daylight! It’s so common to struggle with this that they’ve given it a name: SAD (seasonal adjustment disorder). The change in seasons, holidays, and anticipation of a “new year” can also surface thoughts about where we are in our lives. Sometimes questioning is it too late to do _________. As well, in an operations business like ours, we are always pushing to be better, stronger, more efficient, more effective. We are challenged to change habits, routines, tools, “to start” doing ________. But, is it too late to try? I saw this meme the other day and it stuck with me. Maybe you’ll like it too.
Caramel Sauce Makes 1 Cup
1 box high quality brownie mix
Cook according to package directions
1 c sugar
6 T butter
½ c heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract (optional)
1. In heavy bottomed 2-3 quart pan, caramelize sugar on medium high, stir constantly until melted & amber. (Careful gets very hot).
2. Whisk in butter, until melted.
3. Remove from heat & whisk in cream, continue to whisk until smooth.
4. Let cool & then spread on brownies.
Note: can pour into mason jar & refrigerate for other uses.
Nobody said it was going to be easy… to get through school, to find that first job, to finish that race, to deal with disappointment, to lose a loved one. It is anything but easy. And, yet, as we experience (or maybe better put, survive) these life events, we are growing: up, older, wiser, and perhaps more at peace with the unending number of things we cannot control. Life and even survival, physically and emotionally, call on us to keep moving.
“One can choose to go back towards safety or forward towards growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow
1 T vegetable oil
1 T sesame oil
1 lg eggplants (about 1 ½ lb), peeled, ¾” strips
1 c onion, medium diced
2 t fresh garlic, minced
2 t fresh ginger, minced or grated
2 t asian garlic chili sauce
2 T fresh lime juice
green onion & fresh cilantro (garnish)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
2. Combine vegetable & sesame oils. Toss 4 t with cut eggplant & onion, roast on baking sheet until tender, 10-15 min.
3. Sauté garlic & ginger in remaining 2 t oil. Add chili sauce, lime juice & roasted vegetables, season with s&p.
4. Serve hot with green onion & fresh cilantro garnish.
Makes 1 loaf
1 ½ c vegetable oil
2 c sugar
2 ½ c flour
2 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1 t salt
3 c fresh apples, chopped
1 c pecans (optional)
1 t vanilla
1. Blend oil & sugar, add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well.
2. Sift dry ingredients together, add to egg mixture.
3. Stir in apples, pecans & vanilla.
4. Pour into greased 10″ loaf pan.
5. Bake at 350F for about an hour.
Who doesn’t love to hear a guest say, “that was a perfect meal”? But, how many times have you heard that from one guest, only to have another say “that meal was meh.” This happens all the time because food is personal. Some like spicy, some not so much. Some like steak, some not so much. So to preserve our inner peace, we have to lose this idea that we and our food must be perfect. Perfection, like beauty, rests in the eye of the beholder. And, there are some downsides to chasing it:
- Creating anything without flaw or defect (if it’s even possible) takes more time, doing and redoing. Most people don’t recognize perfection making those redos a waste of valuable energy and resources.
- It’s a “breeding ground for my way or the highway thinking which is a death knell for diversity of thought, opinion, and perspective.” It reduces playfulness and willingness to take risk. Even worse, it can leave people feeling inferior and unappreciated.
- It will make you sick: perfectionists are at greater risk for depression, high blood pressure, anxiety.
So let’s do our very best, treat everyone with unrelenting kindness, accept good enough, and rejoice that tomorrow is…another meal!