There are so many benefits to living in a college town. The fact that every September there's a new influx of excited, ernest young people gives the city a vibrancy that's hard to find in "regular" communities.
Mostly what it gives you though is an embarrassment of choices. The sheer variety of options is staggering. Whether it's sports, the arts or food, there is always something new and interesting to explore. And, because the city is filled with poor college students, a side benefit is that nothing is outrageously priced.
I've sat 20 rows from Wynton Marsalis and his band. I've seen the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform "Rhapsody in Blue" from the first row of the first balcony. I've seen Dee Dee Bridgewater, Arturo Sandoval and Elvis Costello. I've watched the Royal Shakespeare Company perform "Julius Caesar". Normally the cost is $50 - $75 for the best seats in the house, down to $10-$15 for the 2nd balcony (though I did once pay $150 a ticket, for the Shakespeare, but that was a fund raiser that included a dinner).
We get a lot of headliners in this town. They're only here for one night, but I've always been able to get a seat. Last Friday was no different; Diana Krall, aka Mrs. Elvis Costello, was in town, promoting her latest album "Quiet Nights".
Her performance was spectacular. The music alternated between swinging hot jazz, sultry bossa nova and smoky, spicy love songs. Anyone who writes off Krall as some middle of the road, pop-jazz creation is an idiot. Go see her live, there will be no doubt in your mind about her jazz "chops".
Now I'm sure you're thinking, oh cool he's going to transition into making chops. Sorry, wrong answer. Chops would be a good idea, but I thought something a little spicy, a little smoky was in order. Mesa Steak Sauce is a recipe from Food Network Chef Bobby Flay. Known for his use of hot spices, this recipe doesn't disappoint. The only problem with the recipe is the name; Steak Sauce is too limiting, this sauce would go well with grilled chicken, shrimp or pork. So crank up Diana Krall and enjoy...
by Bobby Flay
1 cup ketchup
2 TBSP freshly grated horseradish
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP maple syrup
1 TBSP chile powder
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
Salt & Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
Huh? You call that a recipe? Well crablings, things don't have to be complicated to be good. This sauce is smoky, sassy, spicy and faintly sweet. It's great with steak but try it with some other foods. I suspect a drop or two with good vodka could make for a great "Bloody Mary Shooter".
Well, I'm outta here. Until next time, remember, you can do it, you can cook.