How I Cook Salmon

This is not really a recipe, as my method of cooking is far too simple to be called a recipe.  The most important step is getting high quality salmon.  I generally prefer Coho and Sockeye, both are delicious.  Must be wild-caught.  Watch out for when you see the sign says "color added," who wants color added to their food?

The other necessary ingredients are coconut oil, my preferred method of sauteeing, along with salt and pepper for seasoning.

I sliced the salmon into four pieces, as it was a rather large fillet

Put a couple scoops of coconut oil into the frying pan and turn it onto medium.  I like non-stick, but its mostly because I am lazy.

Throw those steaks in there and let em cook

When one side looks like this, you flip em over.  Usually takes about 5 minutes or less.  You don't want to over cook salmon.  I prefer to eat skin on, but thats your preference!

Warm up some veggies for a side, I went with kale and broccoli.  A couple tabs of butter and some salt and pepper when they are cooked

Voila, healthy paleo-friendly dinner!

Pair with red wine, seltzer water, or an IPA


Frank Pepe's Pizza and Beer

Frank Pepe's is a New Haven Pizzeria that makes in my opinion some of the best pies in the world.  Thin sliced, cut in a ridiculous fashion, and cooked in a wood oven.  You can accompany this pizza with cheap red wine or beer.  I chose to go with an IPA on its last legs, given as a gift from my brother on Christmas.  He doesn't know that IPAs need to be super fresh to really be top notch, but I cant blame him.  The head is certainly wrong on this pour, but I let it cool down while digging into the pie.  Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop IPA and a Pie with Cheese, Bacon, and Mushrooms.



Christmas is great, family, gift-giving, basketball, food, and drink.  Cold weather outside, warm clothing inside.  Everyone in good spirits.  College kids on break.  People returning to their hometowns.  Silent Night.

My wonderful wife gave me a bottle of De Proef x Hair of the Dog Flanders Fred and an Ibex Shak.  Looking forward to enjoying both of these great gifts!

Celtics won convincingly.

Bloody Maries were consumed, with sriracha.

200th post...


1st Quarter Mark of Boston Celtics Season

All the readers of this blog know and hopefully tolerate my constant ramblings of my favorite team in sports: the Boston Celtics.  The 2012-2013 version of the team is not the powerhouse of years past, but I started the season very confident.  In the offseason, the Celtics lost Ray Allen.  Obviously this upset me, and I named my fantasy team Judas Shuttlesworth for the year.  However, we had a great draft including getting Jarred Sullinger late in the first round, which is pretty impressive since he had been projected as a lottery pick just a year ago, but slipped because of injury risks.  Also, they added Jason Terry and Courtney Lee in the backfield, resigned Brandon Bass, and got Uncle Jeff back from his scary heart condition. 

They did not start all that hot and are at approximately .500 winning percentage at the quarter mark of the season.  Unimpressive defense, lack of big men, and falling apart when Kevin Garnett go to the bench are the main gripes I have been hearing.  Rondo was suspended for getting in a pushing match with Kris Humphries and we are still awaiting the return of Avery Bradley.  Pierce has been disappointing this year, but he is likely to improve as the season continues. 

As the new guys get more comfortable, the defense has improved, and the offense has consistently been good, which is a welcome addition.  In the past few years, we had struggled to create baskets, being forced to run Ray off a ton of screens.  I am still cautiously optimistic about the year, but increased competition from the two teams in New York within our Atlantic division may challenge the Celtics winning their fifth straight division championship and being relegated to the wild card.


Beer Review: Founder's Breakfast Stout

Founder's Breakfast Stout is one of my favorite beers.  Clocking in at a heft 8.3% ABV this "Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout" probably has more calories than some breakfasts. In addition, it is absolutely one of my favorite winter beers, regardless of what time of day.

The beer pours a dark black, with a big, brown, fluffy head that dissapates fairly quickly.  Definitely a handsome looking stout.  I poured this at about 55 degrees, which I think is the appropriate temperature for this beer.  Sticking my nose into the tulip glass, I pick up all kinds of chocolate and coffee flavors.  I have had this beer many times before, but the smell is really fantastic.  The beer is not overly thick in mouthfeel.  It has significant booziness, but it is still quite drinkable.  Definitely a bargain at $12.99/4pack.

I have already professed my love for 4 packs before, but let me take a moment to emphasize the value again!


Beer Review: Smuttynose Zinneke

Smuttynose makes damn good beer.  Produced in charming Portsmouth, NH on the Seacoast, this brewery makes one of my favorite everyday IPAs.  Their Big Beer series features a rotating cast of higher ABV beers.  They are more complex than the everyday beers, and come in 22oz bombers.  I have had some success in the past, and was in the mood for a stout so I grabbed Zinneke.  Touted as a Belgian Style Stout with a portion aged in Bourbon barrels I wasn't sure what to expect.

Pouring into a Harpoon tulip, the beer appeared to be fairly dark, small tan head, and fairly carbonated.  Smell was complex and remnisicent of their Robust Porter.  Taste was much stronger, and there were a number of flavors present including chocolatey malt and a very faint bourbon twang.  The beer was quite carbonated which is my only real downside with the beer.

Stouts are not my favorite style, and an oddity like a Belgian-yeast based Stout with some barrel aging is unlikely to be heavy in my drinking rotation.  With that said, this beer is one hundred percent appopriate for a late fall/early winter evening.  Check out ratings at Beeradvocate and Ratebeer.


"Productivity" is Overrated

I have followed various "productivity" systems over the past few years.  Get It Done, note taking, to do lists, tracking progress, measuring each step are all tenets of "productivity."  I find that these systems are all well and good for those of us who just need a kick in the right direction, but there are many downsides.  You get so caught up in measuring your progress, completing tasks, making gains and so forth.  All of those phrases could be put in quotation marks, because what is "progress?"  Also, what good is completing tasks and making gains if they don't matter.

This post is the opposite of the Negative Nancy first paragraph.  I think its important to get away from productivity systems.  People who are most efficient are those who are doing what they truly LOVE.  For these people, they often don't need productivity systems, because they know exactly what they need and want to do.  I think being passionate about what you are doing, and completing the tasks that you are most passionate about is the most effective productivity system.

When you stop worrying about measuring, tracking, completing and all these other tasks you can slow down and enjoy the moment.  My advice: take a deep breath, and go do what you WANT to do.

Further reading:
Untrack: Letting go of the Stress of Measuring (ZENHABITS)
The Upside of Inefficiency (LIFEHACKER)


How to Tie a Tie - Four in Hand Knot

I went to an all-boy's Catholic High School with a dress code.  Although we didn't wear ties on a daily basis, they were required quite frequently.  I learned how to tie a tie from my father at a young age, but I was always shocked by how many of my peers could not complete the simple task.  There are many more fancy knots, but I always tie the four in hand knot.  It does not make a perfectly symmetrical, massive knot, like the full or half windsor, but each knot has a unique charm.  If you are in the market for a lovely tie, check out the Kiton Sevenfold (above) I have listed on eBay.

First, from Sette Neckwear:

Next from TM Lewin:

The ever important dimple @ GQ:


2012-2013 Celtics: Game 1 vs Miami Heat

The 2012 - 2013 Celtics are a whole new team.  Their extended bench consists of Jeff Green, who is not a completely new face, but was unable to play last year based on health reasons, and new faces Courtney Lee, Jason "Jet" Terry, rookie Jarred Sullinger, Leandro "Leandrinho" Barbosa and a few other minor players.  This brings significant increased depth to the guard position for Boston.  The only notable absence is the future Hall of Famer Ray Allen, who left to join the Miami Heat to help Lebron defend his title.  Most Valuable Celtic is going to have to be Rajon Rondo, the capable Celtics PG.

Game 1 was in South Beach vs the Heat and the Celtics did not emerge victorious.  Lebron and Wade had massive games and Ray Allen's first game wearing red and black was a memorable one.  It really hurt to watch that smooth jump stroke count against the Green.  I think the line was fair at Heat -6.5, and probably would have taken the Celtics with the points.  However, the new pieces of the Celtics are not yet clicking as I think they will be as the season winds to a close.  This Celtics team is constructed a lot differently, the offense is going to be much improved, and the defense, which has been the hallmark of this team since we acquired KG seems to have fallen off a bit based on the first game.  They will need to improve this as the season moves forward to be competitive.

I am very confident that the Celtics will emerge as the #2 or #3 seed in the Eastern Conference and the success of our new players will be critical to any post season success

Celtics coach, Doc Rivers, looing stylish with the window pane SC, nice tie and french cuffs.  Doc Rivers tends to favor Ermenegildo Zegna.


Review: Farnum Hill Semi-Dry Cider

My uncle gave me a bottle of this cider from Lebanon, NH based Farnum Hill.  I have had their ciders before, but not in the past 2 years.  The stuff is fairly pricey, but for a truly artisanal product, it is great value.  Made from true cider apples, grown on their own apple orchards in Western New Hampshire, and brewed using traditional methods.  Available in beautiful corked and caged 750ml bottles. 

The appearance is not so dissimilar from apple juice, but the carbonation is extremely lively.  The aromas in my tulip glass are outstanding, and feature almost a tropical fruit smell.  The sharp, bitter taste of apple is followed by a very clean, crisp finish.  This stuff is extremely drinkable, and not at all sweet like a Strongbow or other industrial cider.  It compares very favorably with a white wine or a saison.  I am going to try it with some goat cheese as I am a little hungry, but it can definitely stand on its own.  I am going to look into some other ciders that are from MA, and will report back in the future. 

This is a fantastic beer for autumn.


ATL Essentials: Autumn Edition

Autumn is getting into full swing, and it is a welcome reprieve from the heat of summer.  I did an ATL Essentials: Summer Edition and decided that now is an appropriate time for autumn.  These items all coincide with the cooler weather.  As usual, there is a New England-style leaning for these picks.

Pants: Charcoal Wool Flannel and Corduroy.  Although, I still wear plenty of khaki and denim, these two materials are featured most prominently in the fall.  Gray pants are the standard, but the nice warm flannel material is best suited for cooler weather.  Corduroy is fantastic as well, particularly in a green shade as pictured above.

Red Wing Boots are my favorite type of work boots.  I prefer the 875 model, and these are relegated mostly to the weekend.  Sturdy and practical.

Patagonia Fleece.  It is no secret that I am a big fan of Patagonia.  I really like their understated styling and great outdoor gear.  Fleece is perfect for this season, regardless of the model.

Tattersall shirts.  British country style tattersall is a great pattern.  It is obviously more on the casual spectrum, Barbour is the gold standard, but I own a couple shirts from Orvis and Land's End that are nice as well.

Stouts.  My favorite of which is Goose Island Bourbon County.  Perfect beer for the season, bit of a meal in itself.

Beef Stew.  The perfect fall food.  Potatos, peas, hearty meat all together.  Enjoy with stout.

Check out other ATL Essentials posts.


Michigan Brews

On our hike up in New Hampshire, I mentioned that my uncle brought me some beers out from Michigan.  I sent him on the way with some Jack's Abby Lager and Mystic Saison.  None of these beers are particularly mind-blowing, just solid craft brew.  Below are them in reverse of order of what I liked best.

Bell's Brewing - Amber Ale:  My uncle said that this beer is as ubiquitous in Michigan as Harpoon IPA is in Boston.  I can see why, it is definitely a solid amber ale, great for outdoors and everything else.  With that said, there are many other better Bell's beers (almost all of them).  This bottle was also not particularly fresh, too bad.

Short's Brewing - Pontius Road Pilsner - Another decent beer from a well respected brewery.  They have actually distributed in MA from time to time, but they are known for making all manner of oddball beer.  This beer is actually a pretty straight forward pilsner, definitely an upgrade from the yellow fizzy stuff, but nothing mind blowing.

Founders - Dirty Bastard - Founders is a brewery that is actually 100% available in MA.  I have had this beer before and it did not disappoint, high ABV at 8.5%, this scotch ale is great for the fall/winter.

Bells - Two Hearted Ale IPA - Bell's most famous offering is their IPA.  It is absolutely fantastic, and this bottle was pretty fresh, so it had that great hop character I desire!  If this were available in cans 365 days a year, I could consider an exclusive relationship...


Hike: Mt. Martha, New Hampshire - Twin Mountain, NH

This past weekend my wife and I went up to New Hampshire and stayed at a condo in Lincoln, NH with my uncle, aunt, and my parents.  It was a great weekend, good food, good beer, football, and hiking.  I couldn't really ask for much more.  I haven't done much hiking since Mount Washington in the winter, but I always love it.

We hiked Mount Martha, which is located in Twin Mountain, NH.  It's off Rt. 3 up over the Franconia Notch and is a 40 minute drive from Lincoln.  The hike is extremely reasonable, although you certainly do get a full workout.  I feel bad that we did not take Martha's mile over to Owl's Head, but would certainly consider it in future hikes.

After the hike, we watched the Patriots handle business against Peyton Manning and the Broncos.  We enjoyed a beautiful pot roast dinner that my father and uncle collaborated on.  Delicious.  Washed it down with some great beers that my uncle brought me from Michigan.


Craft Beer: 4 Packs >>>

Ahhhhh the 6 pack, a lofty goal to many fitness enthusiasts and a man's best friend to many others.  The Beer Nut is a local blogger, based out of the Worcester, MA area.  He talks all things craft beer, and I frankly almost always agree with both his tastes and his points of view regarding the industry.  Recently, he posted about his gripes regarding 6 pack pricing.  I tend to agree with this view.  It is neither a large enough quantity to warrant a significant discount or a small enough quantity to warrant the increased price.  Unfortunately, it is the most popular distribution model for craft beer.

I tend to prefer purchasing single bottles or 22oz "bombers" when I only want to try something.  That way, I don't get stuck with 5 bottles of beer that are mediocre.  If I want to pick up something for sessions, I am probably going to go with a craft beer that is available in 12 packs, which offer significant savings for a small quantity increase.  Great for a long weekend, and not so many beers that you are inundated with beer, like with a case of four 6 packs.

However, my personal favorite is the four pack.  It is a large enough quantity that you are able to sample a beer multiple times, but not a commitment to six.  I typically only have one or two beers a night, so this is an appropriate amount for me to sample over several days or even weeks.  I understand that I will be facing a premium, but for the beers that typically come in four packs, which are made with often better or more ingredients and resulting higher gravity, the value is there.  There are tons of $10 six packs that I am not interested in, in the slightest, while a $10 4 pack means just $2.50 for each great beer.  It is the superior distribution model.

I always love the Sixpoint 4 packs, recently picked up several Green Flash 4 packs, and another favorite New England Brewing Ghandi Bot comes in 4 packs, when you can find it.  Let's support this movement with our wallets!



Steve Kamb, the fantastic blogger and world-traveler behind Nerd Fitness, posted an article yesterday that really hit home with me. Titled "The Mario Kart Guide to Momentum," Steve talks about how lately he has been slacking on strength training.  I can relate to that, as I have recently moved, continued studying for my CFA, helped house and cat sit for 2 weeks, and my gym membership expired.  In addition to that, my eBay business has been doing quite well, all on top of my normal hectic work schedule!

For all that, I have continued to stay on track with my diet and eating habits, as the article says, this is the equivalent of capturing coins.  Diet is responsible for 80-90% of your weight loss/gain, and like getting the coins consistently, it will get you most of the way there.  However, to really get an edge, you need to hit the boxes and powerups, which he considers strength training.  I have been trying to stay active by walking and being on my feet on the weekends, but that's really just like grabbing coins, or leaving banana peels (maintaining).  I need to get back to my strength training routine to build muscle and burn up some extra calories.

I totally recommend you check out Nerd Fitness, as it is a great site, and this article in particular showcases the tone and content of the blog.  My wife and I are also huge fans of Mario Kart, particularly the N64 and Wii versions!

Although I have been keeping up with my mostly paleo diet, my notable exception is good craft beer.

Green Flash Le Freak: a little heavy for a Belgian IPA at 9.2% ABV.  Excellent beer, but a little too much for a weekday.

Green Flash Friendship Brew with St. Feullien: Interesting "Black Saison" seems a little hot, could maybe use a few more months of age.  Don't know if it will last that long though!

Sixpoint Brownstone: Hoppy brown ale, fantastic beer.  Good deal at $10/4pk


PICKUPS: Hermes & Vineyard Vines Ties

Although I never wear ties, I love picking them up.  I hope to be able to transition out of the back office world of ill-fitting polos fairly soon, but who knows.  While I see good deals, I have to pick them up!

Many of my items come from thrift stores and eBay, I simply can't afford retail for the type of stuff I like. In addition, I am a member of several forums in which the members post their recent finds.  There is a number of sales and trades behind the scenes via private message as well, and I tend to partake if I spot something I like, and the price is reasonable. 

Both of these ties came from such transactions.  The first is a wonderful Hermes from a thrift store in Colorado.  A forum acquaintance sold this to me for the reasonable sum of $50.  This is the most I have ever spent on a tie, but I really like the graphics, and Hermes ties tend to retain their value.  I would have preferred navy blue, but this forest/army green is quiet pleasant as well.  This tie is in absolutely MINT condition as well.

The second tie came from another forum acquaintance located in the Chicago area.  It is a Vineyard Vines tie, which I mentioned as one of my summer favorites in a recent article.  It features a lovely bee graphic in a beautiful aqua color. A great tie!



I have been fairly quiet over the past month, and I apologize for my absence.  I have been extremely busy in my private life, and both my eBay business and blogs have suffered.

There are a bunch of reasons.  Most importantly, I moved from Enfield, CT to South Hadley, MA.  We moved because it is closer to my wife's school and it is much cheaper than the location where we were before.  In addition, it is quiet, in a great town, a different apartment.  Hardwood floors, a large living room and kitchen are the benefits, while a small bathroom, smaller kitchen and old neighbors the downside.  Second, I have been studying hard for my CFA exam that will be coming up in December.  It requires a ton of hours on a daily basis, and both my healthy routine and the rest of my life has suffered.  It should pay off in the end.  Finally, work has been busy, so some of my spare time for blogging has dried up. 

Moving was a pretty fun experience.  Two of my good friends came, and although it was a rainy day, we were able to move all of the big furniture.  It's great exercise as you are carrying, coming up and down stairs, and working as a team.  I consider it extremely paleo style excercise, because it is quite primal in nature.  It is remniscient of a barn-raising, as you get a group of people together doing physical activity for the good of one of your community members.  I am definitely indebted to both of my friends!

I have drank a ton of great beers lately, although I have tried to keep that to just the weekend.  My weight loss and body building have been at a moderate standstill, but I don't think I am gaining anything back.  I will continue to try and make progress and meet my goal of 190lbs by the end of the year