Friday, January 30, 2009

Our CPA Could Be Your Life

Last night I knew it was Busy Season, b/c I told the LOML I would be leaving the office around 8:15 (pm), a client issue blew up, I called her and said I’d give her an update on how late I’d be staying around 9, resolved the issue quicker than anticipated, and then was “excited” that I got to come home “early” (I actually left the office at 9). That’s right kids, come get your Accounting Degree right this way!!

But seriously, working longer hours does make the week go by faster. That, and I was deathly ill Monday/Tuesday and stayed home from work one day this week. How sick was I?? Waking up all throughout the night, and “losing” three and half pounds since Monday, sick. The best part about staying home sick??? I got to watch the Flight of the Conchords DVD my sis gave me for Christmas! (I don’t have HBO, so I don’t know how Season 2 is?? They did get some press on this week)

Anyways, sorry to depress and/or gross you out at the same time. Moral of the story . . . not a whole lot of exciting things to blog about this week.

Anything to look forward to on TMFH?? Let’s just say I bought some Pancetta and OXTAILS recently (I ended up having to freeze both) so look for exciting culinary adventures in the not too distant future!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Have Signal

Tonight I’m heading over to, drum roll please . . . Bottletree (big surprise) to see Los Campesinos! and Titus Andronicus, in what p4k is calling “the highest-energy tour of the year”!

I haven’t listened to a whole lot of LC! but they were one half of my favorite Hood Internet mash-up from 2008, The Year This Club Broke (My Heart)!!!

If you’re bored on Monday, check out to see any of my thoughts or pictures from the show . . .

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Captain D, please (and Blog Roll)

I have a lot of friends. A lot of them have blogs. I end up reading a lot of my friends’ blogs . . .

Seriously though, today, my good buddy Daniel (aka Bandaniel) started his very own Music Blog!!! (chk chk chk). Here is a pict of us, with Mrs. Eleanor Langston, from a long time ago (2002??) . . .

I’ve known Bandy since middle school and he has spent the last couple years in L.A. with his lovely wife, Jennifer! After spending one year at SFA in Nacogdoches, TX, he studied for 2 years at the Rose Bruford College where he honed his craft as an ACTOR!!! You may recognize him from his work in assorted Captain D’s commercials or Blake Shelton’s “Some Beach” video!

In addition to being a very talented thespian, he is also a great writer and very funny! He’s been sending us his Music Picks the last year or so and now he’s decided to share this wondrous gift with the WORLD!!

Anyways, I’m glad Daniel has joined us in the world of blogging and to celebrate, I thought I’d give a Blog Roll Call or “Blog Roll” as the kids are calling it these days! Note: I’m not listing the folks I “blog stalk” since I don’t really know them and that would be creepy!

Blog Roll:
Courtney & Charlie
Fef & Clay
Heather & Jonathan
Katie & Scott
Liz & Grant
Liz & JC
Maggie & Tyler
Sarah & Chad
Whitney & Will (note: Will and I have never met, but I feel like we are blogger buddies)
McK (not updated lately, but documented EuroTrip 2K5 – CPA’s Gone Wild)

People I think should start a blog:
Any of my Siblings
Mike (?)
JD (??)
The Bridgers’ (?)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Busy Season

Those two words strike fear (it's actually more anxiety, depression, sickness, cold sweats, etc.) in the hearts of accountants every year . . .

Different accountants might define "Busy Season" differently (there's actually a pretty good definition here on Ask Yahoo!), but it is generally the period from Jan thru March if you're an Auditor, or mid-Feb thru April 15th if you're a Tax accountant (they might have another mini-Busy Season in the Fall, to finish up all the extended returns). For hybrids like myself (actually, I'll probably only touch a handful of non-1040 returns this year) it starts today (1/19) and goes all the way thru April 15th (I started growing my "busy season" beard on Christmas Day and plan on rockin it til my wife's Birthday, at the end of March).

My company has a "One Firm" concept, so we all end up working the "same" hours these next 3 months. Technically, we don't have folks that are 100% Audit or 100% Tax, and since we want to help everyone out and not have the Tax folks feel bad about working so late come April 1st, we all have "Required Hours" each week that will increase as the Spring moves on . . .

It starts this week, where the required hours hit 50, and will increase to 60 in the next few weeks. Now, I know doctors, lawyers, hedge fund analysts, etc. complain about having 70 or 80 hour weeks, but how many of you have actually worked a 60+ hour week?? I dont care who you are, it is not fun!!

I'll try to keep the blog posting semi-regular these next few months, but I can't make any promises :(

On a much happier note, the LOML and I drove over to Greenville, MS this weekend to see Baby Jackson and his parents, Heather & Jonathan!! Jackson turns 1 (month) on Thursday (the 22nd), and we had a blast hanging out with the whole family!! PLUS, I got to try out my SB-26 and 50mm 1.8/f on little Jackson (Thanks, for my Christmas and Birthday gifts respectively, sweet wife!!). I'm still learning how to master the flash, but hope you enjoy these picts of little Jackson!!

But if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down

Now I know some of you (and most of America) are/is excited about tomorrow, and there will be plenty of touching moments, with Jesse Jackson and Oprah crying and what not, but in the words of Ray Arnold:

"Hold on to your Butts"

We're going to have an interesting four (eight???) years ahead of us . . .

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bored?? just posted my Top 5 most memorable Magic City shows . . .

We had a blog “staff meeting” last night and I’m really excited about the new developments to come in the next few months!! Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"It squeaks when you bang it"

I’ve been pretty excited since getting a subscription to Gourmet (Birthday present from my bro/sis in-laws) and Cooking Light (Christmas present from the LOML). It’s fun to flip through the pages, but I have resolved (well, not an official New Year’s resolution or anything) to actually cook some of these dishes this year (or at least after April 15th)!

Well, last night we tried Parmesan and Sage crusted Chicken (substituted for Pork) with Creamy Polenta and Sautéed Broccoli Rabe (or Rapini) out of December’s Cooking Light. I knew this was going to be a juggling act to try and have all three dishes finish at the same time, and I came pretty close. If I had to do it all over again, I would have waited until the chicken and rapini were done, before cooking the polenta (it can get too hard pretty fast . . . that’s . . . what . . . sorry, can’t resist).

For those not familiar with Polenta, it’s basically an Italian version of Grits, and the instant version literally takes 2 minutes to cook. This recipe called for Mascarpone, which was good, because I’m not sure what else I can use the leftover Mascarpone I have for (yes, I realize I could make a Tiramisu, but this is busy season, I don’t have all day).

I had never eaten Broccoli Rabe before, but it’s kind of like a cross between Broccoli and a Turnip Green. Everything I’ve read on the internet describe it as a “bitter” green, but I thought it was very tasty and not bitter at all. I may have just found a new favorite vegetable side dish?? Before sautéing, I boiled the rapini for 3 minutes to take the edge off. Then toss with a little olive oil, minced garlic and lemon juice and you have some tasty greens.

All in all, I’d say the meal turned out pretty good. Sadly, as Busy Season “heats up” I don’t know how much time we’ll have for these meals . . . (cue Debbie Downer “wah, wah, wah . . .”)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PS - I almost forgot!



Bigger Muscles with Brussels

I'm a pretty big fan of food blogger Adam Roberts aka the Amateur Gourmet. He posted last November on “The Best Broccoli of Your Life” which proved pretty popular (Side Note: he’s listed it today as one of his Greatest Hits). This was broccoli that was “better than biting into a steak." Needless to say, I’ve been wanting to try this for a while . . .

On a related note, my good buddy Grant made everyone Roasted Brussels Sprouts at the beach over the New Year and they were a big hit (PS - he posted his recipe yesterday). The roasting concept was similar to the AG’s, but Grant used Bacon and Balsamic Vinegar instead of Lemon and Parmesan. Mmmmmm, they are good . . .

So that got me thinking . . . could I use the AG’s technique on Brussels Sprouts??? Well last night we tried, and I will tell you they were AWESOME! Seriously, before this month, I don’t think I’ve eaten Brussels Sprouts in a good 15 years. This was the third time I’ve had them in 2 weeks!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Preheat your oven to 425. Take about a pound and a half of brussels sprouts, cut them in half lengthwise and remove the core. Toss the sprouts (along with any fallen leaves) in about a tablespoon or so of olive oil and salt/pepper. I didn’t wash the sprouts since the heat should kill all the germs, but I did discard any of the dirty/grungy lookin’ leaves. Next, add 3 garlic cloves (peeled and sliced) and toss them with the sprouts.

Roast your sprouts for about 20 to 25 minutes, until they look “crisp-tender” and some of the loose leaves are browned. I also shook the pan around half way through to roast the other sides of the sprouts. When the sprouts are done roasting, zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the juice (of half a lemon) over the sprouts, add a little more olive oil, and about 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano/Reggiano cheese.

Boom! Brussels Sprouts are back and better than ever!

What did we have with our Roasted Brussels Sprouts?? A roasted Pork Tenderloin of course (Hormel did throw me for a loop though). When I was at Publix the other day, I was trying to find a “plain” tenderloin (I wanted to use my own marinade). There were Teriyaki, Peppercorn, Lemon Garlic, etc. tenderloins, but I didn’t see any plain. Oh wait, over here, yes, a Pork tenderloin that says “Mojo Filet.” That’s nice, Hormel decided to translate “Plain Pork Tenderloin” to Spanish for our Hispanic neighbors. Sounds good, right . . . . Wrong, Friends!! Mojo Filet does not mean plain, it means very strong (and tasty) Cuban spiced marinade. Don’t get me wrong, it smelled really good, just not what I was looking for with my roasted sprouts. Anyways, I poured my marinade over the Mojo Filet and you couldn’t really taste that much of a difference (I could taste the mojo today on my leftover pork sandwich though). Moral of the story, don’t buy a Mojo Filet, unless you’re making Cuban sandwiches for Robbie Brumberg . . .

Friday, January 9, 2009

These go to Eleven

I am not metal.* I am an accountant. There are many pleats in my pants . . .

But that does not mean I can’t crank it up to 11 and furiously complete Financial Statement Disclosure Checklists!! Today I went out and bought “Leviathan” on my lunch break. It will come in handy this spring, when I get review notes as I’m shutting down my computer, and they need to be cleared by the next morning.

Look how metal I am . . . in my J. Crew sweater

*To further prove how un-metal I am, I was listening to Beyonce vs. Fleet Foxes “Single Foxes (Put a Wood on It)” all morning. I can’t believe this was a Hood Internet reject?? This song is tight!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hide the Money Y'all

A few months ago, I moved offices right next to one of our shareholders. Since we’re in one of the quieter corners of our building, I end up hearing a lot of what’s going on in a shareholder’s world. The other night, I overheard him talking to a friend (or somebody, I don’t know, it seemed like a very friendly conversation) about a car he just purchased. He said something that I thought was very interesting. He said someone once told him that “if you drive your car for 10 years instead of 5, you’ll create over $400,000 of wealth in your lifetime

Wha Wha Wha?!?!? I’m sure most of us have auto loans (I do) and don’t think twice about it. I know I’ve caught myself thinking “when I pay off this car in 3 years, I can turn around and get something else and use the (probably 4 or 5K) equity as a nice down payment.” Would there be anything wrong with my car in 3 years?? No (it would only be like 8 years old), but the thought of a new or slightly used Subaru (R.I.P.) just gets my motor running (bad pun alert).

Since I am an accountant, I thought I’d crunch some numbers and see if that’s true. I bought my (used) car when I was 25 and pay roughly $300/month. Assuming I can make 8% on my investment and I save that $300/month in the 5 off years I’m not making a car payment, I will have saved roughly $407,000 by the time I’m 65!!
Just another example of why we need a MANDATORY Personal Finance class in Middle School, High School and College!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Brimful of Deliciousness

I’d say I’m a pretty big fan of “ethnic” food and restaurants. One of my lovely sisters is visiting us this week, and since she shares my love of food and cooking, we decided to try out Taj India off Highland Avenue! Laurie has been to her fair share of Indian restaurants in Memphis, and was eager to see how the Magic City stacked up* (I had blogger dreams of breaking out my 50mm 1.8/f for our meal, but it was raining pretty hard, and I didn’t want to risk it, so you’ll have to settle for my crappy 2 pixel camera picts).

We ordered the Chef Special Thali for Two (I thought that’d be the best way to sample a little of everything).

First they brought out a sizzling platter of various meats (I thought this was the main course). We filled up on Tandoori Chicken, Shish Kabab, and Chicken Tikka, before our waitress asked us if we were enjoying our “appetizer.” What?? There was more?? (I didn’t really know what was what, so I figured this was it)

Next came the main platter of Shrimp Makhni (sooo good), Chicken Tikka Masala (mmmm, even better), Sag Paneer (kinda like a creamed spinach), Basmati Rice, Tandoori Naan Bread, Raita, and Gulab Jamun (dessert). If that sounds like a lot of food, it’s because it was.

Some people might be a little intimidated by the flavors of India (I’m sure Reuben Feffer didn’t do much for the Indian restaurant industry), but everything we had was very tasty and palatable (mild wouldn’t be the right word, because the flavors were not mild, but the food wasn’t of the hot/spicy, heartburn-inducing variety). Laurie even said the flavors and spices were better than anything she’s ever had in Memphis (she actually said “You can quote me on your blog”).

Taj India serves lunch and dinner 7 days a week, and has a daily lunch buffet for those who may want to try out their dishes in a less intimidating environment (I really think I could serve you Shrimp Makhni or Chicken Tikka Masala, tell you it was from Surin, and you’d be asking for more).

In other foodie news, my good buddy, Grant, has recently jumped into the (food) blogging world. Grant is a fantastic chef and gave me a serious case of Food-Envy a month ago when he made Brick Grilled Chicken for a bunch of our friends. You should check him out, unless you like iceberg lettuce salads, with Hamburger Helper for dinner . . .

*We’re also heading to Music Snob Trivia at Bottletree tonight, if any of you stalkers want to join us . . .

High on Fire

For those of you living outside the Birmingham area, you might be surprised to read this, but Birmingham has some really nice restaurants. And by nice, I mean restaurants that “foodies” can get really excited about.

You could say Frank Stitt started this re-food-volution (did I just come up with the word of 2009???) when he opened up Highlands Bar & Grill a little over twenty years ago (and has since opened Bottega (alongside Bottega Café), and Chez Fonfon). Highlands is the place you go to celebrate an anniversary/birthday or to have a drink before a show (the Strokes were supposedly drinking there before they played Sloss Furnace two years ago).

In addition to being a James Beard award-winning chef, Frank is also an accomplished author and has written two cook-books, A Southern Table, and Bottega Favorita.

The LOML (love-of-my-life) and I just got back from a trip to the Beach with our friends, where I really wanted to try out one of Frank’s recipes (Charred Onion Dip) from Bottea Favorita. I could not get enough French Onion dip in my mouth when I was a kid (probably why I was wearing “husky” clothes for most of my youth) and I thought this recipe looked really good. Should I have brought half a gallon of this stuff to the beach?? Was that too much (we did have twelve people)?? When it was gone on the third day, I knew we had a winner. I think the secret ingredient here is Mascarpone, so don’t skip out on it!

Bottega’s Charred Onion Dip

2 cups sour cream
1 tablespoon mascarpone
1 scant tablespoon whole-grain mustard
4 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon finely sliced chives
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

2 red onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick and charred about 5 minutes per side (Frank says too “finely” chop, but slicing up a charred onion can get a little slippery, so I “rough” chopped)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the sour cream, mascarpone, mustard, Tabasco, chives, lemon juice, and Worcestershire in a mixing bowl. Fold in the chopped onions then taste and adjust the seasonings.

We served with Kettle Potato Chips and it was really good! Seriously, go make some for the BCS Championship on Thursday!