Tag Archive | Robert Clement

Thunderstruck

Kevin DurantLet’s play a little game. I’ll describe two scenarios, and you tell me which one is more messed up. Before we begin, let’s be clear on something: The NBA is fixed on many levels. They’re a multi-gazillion dollar business, and if you think they don’t have their best money interest in mind, then you’re either really naive, or you haven’t been paying close enough attention. The following list is just a few obvious examples of when the fix was in:

1985: The Knicks get the #1 pick in the draft, Patrick Ewing.

1992: The Magic get the #1 pick (Shaq) in the draft when there were questions and doubts about whether or not putting a team in Orlando was even a good idea.

1995: Michael Jordan gets suspended… errr… I mean leaves to play minor league baseball as a cover up for his gambling issues that were on the verge of getting him Pete Rosed right out of the game.

2000: The Lakers 37-16 free throw advantage against the Trailblazers in the Western Conference Finals.

2002: The Lakers are gifted the playoff series over the Kings (video below), most notably in game 6, when they were awarded 40 free throws overall, 27 in the fourth quarter alone. A game in which referee Tim Donaghy later admitted to helping fix in 2007.

 

 

2003: The Cavs get the #1 pick (home town boy LeBron) in 2003, and then handed more #1 picks after he left.

2006: Dwyane Wade shoots 97 free throws in 6 games against Dallas. In game 5 alone, he shot 25 free throws, the same amount as the entire Dallas team.

2007: The Tim Donaghy (NBA Referee) gambling scandal that landed him in prison for 15 months. A scandal in which he also admitted helping to to fix the previously mentioned Lakers/Kings series by order of commissioner David Stern.

2008: The Bulls get the #1 pick (hometown boy Derrick Rose) despite only a 1.7% chance.

2012: The New Orleans Hornets get the first pick after the NBA nixed the Chris Paul to the Lakers trade.

2012: The ridiculous free throw advantages the Heat were given against the Knicks in the playoffs. The 28-5 advantage in the first half of game 1 alone and LeBron’s flopping was so blatantly obvious that multiple NBA players actually tweeted about it. Klay Thompson said he’d “never respect floppers.” Patrick Patterson wondered, “What kind of league are we becoming?” You know the game has turned into a joke when at halftime “and the Oscar goes to” is trending on Twitter.

2016: Dikembe Mutombo congratulates the 76ers for getting the first pick in a tweet 4 hours before the lottery.

These are just a few examples in a ridiculously long laundry list, and they always seem to coincidentally favor the bigger market or star power teams that would benefit the NBA, both prestigiously and financially. So make no mistakes, the NBA is rigged on some levels.

But let’s get back to the game. I’ll give you the following two scenarios, and you tell me which one is worse:

Scenario #1: A player gets drafted out of college to a REALLY bad NBA team. Nobody has any idea he’ll become one of the top 3 players in the league, but he works his ass off to become just that. In addition to becoming one of the top 3 players in the league, he also lifts that very franchise up from the dead and turns them into a legit title-caliber team, one in which the NBA conspired against to deny them a fair chance at a title. He exceeded all expectations by playing above and beyond what anyone could’ve ever expected of him coming out of college. When his contract was up, he did what every player not named Wade or Duncan do in this day and age of basketball, and accepted the best available job offer on the table.

Scenario #2: A kid in high school is hyped up as the best basketball player in the world. We were told he was going to take the NBA by storm and become the best player the sport has ever seen. Already ridiculous, and I haven’t even gotten started. The NBA, as they have repeatedly done, rigs the lottery draft so he can join his hometown team. He hasn’t even played an NBA game yet, and the NBA (and HIMSELF, I might add) are already declaring him God, and promising the league, the franchise, and the city all sorts of ridiculously presumptuous things. He then falls wayyyy short of what was expected of him. People even started to question his competitive fire. Even his biggest fans and supporters. He failed in nearly every aspect of what was expected of him. He then bails out on the very franchise, city, and fans he promised so much to in order to latch onto an established winning franchise just so he could ride coattails to a championship.

Now you tell me, which scenario is worse? The guy who exceeded expectations by a longshot and lifted a franchise and city out of the grave, despite having to combat a conspiring NBA on top of his opponents? Or the guy who has been catered to by the NBA his entire career, yet not only still fell incredibly short of expectations, but turned his back on the very city, franchise, and fans that he made so many promises to?

Media and fans alike are getting all over Kevin Durant for his decision to join the Golden State Warriors. The comparisons to what LeBron did when he left for Miami are flying all over the internet, our radios, and our televisions. The problem is, it’s not even close to the same thing. Durant exceeded expectations. He gave his heart, soul, bDurant & Currylood, sweat and tears to a franchise that was left for dead, and he lifted them up into a signifanct force only to be denied by the NBA. The big money was in a Warriors/Cavs finals this year, so the NBA did everything they could to make sure that happened. They let the Warriors get away with murder to mount that series comeback against OKC. Draymond Green should’ve been suspended, paving the way for OKC to advance, but he got a free pass for acting like a straight thug… but yet, all he did was call LeBron a pussy and he got suspended in the Cavs series. Why? Because it was in the best (money) interest of the NBA for the Warriors to advance past the Thunder. It was also in their best money interest (by way of publicity and buzz) for LeBron and the Cavs to beat the Warriors. It’s what they wanted YEARS ago when they fixed the draft for him to go to Cleveland in the first place, but LeBron failed to live up to expectations and deliver.

The NBA does what the NBA needs to do to keep itself thriving and as lucrative as possible. Even the mighty Jordan got his share of phantom calls and help from the refs to all but guarantee the best possible scenarios the NBA wanted and needed for sport popularity and financial gain. Make no mistakes, the NBA is a business, and businesses do what they have to do to succeed and make money, even if that means making teams like the Kings, Thunder, or various others their sacrificial lambs. So don’t hate the player, hate the game. Durant is not a villain. He did more than was ever expected of him for the unfortunate (for him) city and franchise he was drafted into. When his time was up, he took the best available job offered to him. Who can blame him? It’s not like he was appointed the King before he ever even stepped on an NBA court, had the NBA in his corner rigging things in his favor, then failed to deliver anything even close to what was expected of him before turning his back on the franchise and city that went all in on him. On the contrary, he over-achieved and turned a struggling franchise into a powerhouse. NBA and Thunder fans should appreciate that, not criticize it. When his time was up, he took the best available job offered to him… something any one of us would do.

~Jamie Capria

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Slow Cooker Beef Paprikash

Slow Cooker Beef Paprikash1 medium Onion, sliced
2 pounds cubed Beef Stew meat
2 Tablespoons Flour
Salt and Black Pepper
2 Red Bell Peppers, coarsely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Beef Broth
2 Tablespoons Sweet Paprika
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon Caraway Seeds, crushed
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Dill and Parsley, freshly chopped
Egg Noodles, cooked

Spread the onions in the bottom of a slow cooker. Toss the beef with the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and place on top of the onions. Top with the bell peppers and garlic. Stir together the broth, paprika, tomato paste and caraway and pour over the beef. Cover and cook until the meat is very tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Uncover and let stand at least 10 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and dill/parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over egg noodles.

~Robert Clement

Corned Beef and Cabbage in Guinness

Corned beef and Cabbage in Guinness3.5-4 pounds flat cut Corned Beef Brisket
1 bottle or can of Guinness Draught
1 medium Yellow Onion, peeled and cut into wedges
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 head Cabbage, cut into wedges, rinsed & drained
6 medium White Potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 pound Carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Rinse the meat under cold water, and pat dry. This will help to remove some of the excess saltiness.

Heat a heavy stock pot over high heat with some oil and brown the meat well on all sides. Pour the beer into the stock pot and top it off with enough water to just cover the meat.

Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and pepper to the stock pot. Bring it to a boil and skim off any foam. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and simmer for about 3 hours.

Add the carrots, then potatoes and then the cabbage wedges to the pot, in that order. Cover the pot again and continue cooking until the meat and vegetables are tender.

Remove the meat to a cutting board and the vegetables to large bowl, leaving the liquid in the stock pot. Over high heat, bring the cooking liquid to a boil,and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by half.

After the meat has rested, slice it against the grain in strips about 1/4 thick. Serve with the vegetables and the sauce on the side.

~Robert Clement

Marsala Pork & Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

Creamy Marsala Pork Loins

Seared Pork Loin Chops in Creamy Marsala Sauce
White
Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus  with Parmesan
Fried Pierogies Smothered in Marsala Sauce

Creamy Marsala Sauce:
4 thin slices Prosciutto, chopped
1 Shallot or 1/2 small Onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup Marsala Wine
2 teaspoons fresh Chives, chopped
1 teaspoon Dry Oregano
1 cup Heavy Cream

Pork Chops:
4 Pork Loin Chops, boneless
Salt and Pepper to taste
Flour for dredging
Oil for searing

Asparagus:
1 bunch Asparagus (White or Green)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Drizzle of Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
5 or 6 thin slices Prosciutto, cut into 1×3 pieces
Parmesan Cheese, freshly and coarsely grated

Pierogies:
8-12 frozen Pierogies, any flavor
2 Tablespoons butter

Season the chops with salt and black pepper, then dredge them in flour. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat with a little bit of oil. When the pan and oil are hot, brown the chops on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Take them out and place them on a plate to the side.

Prosciutto is going to add great flavor and texture to the sauce. Add the prosciutto and onions to the pan and cook them until the prosciutto is brown and the onions are just turning brown, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Add 3/4 cup of Marsala wine to the pan along with the chives and oregano. Scrape the burnt pieces off the bottom of the pan and bring the liquid to a boil.

Next, add the heavy cream and stir occasionally until the sauce has thickened, about 3 or 4 minutes. Return the chops to the pan and lower the heat, then let it simmer about 5 or 6 minutes. Turn the chops often to heat them thoroughly, but also to get that yummy sauce all over them.

Serve the chops topped with the sauce and garnished with some freshly chopped chives.

Rinse the asparagus and trim at least an inch off the bottom of each spear. Line a baking sheet with foil and lay the asparagus down in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil, lemon juice, and sprinkle the salt over the asparagus. Turn the spears to coat them.

Place the prosciutto pieces out on a flat surface and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over them.Lay the asparagus on the prosciutto evenly, so the same amount of the tip and base of the spear sticks out. Roll the spears to wrap them and then place them back onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle a little more Parmesan over them and then bake in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the asparagus is slightly roasted.

For the pierogies, heat a pan on medium heat and melt the butter. Add the pierogies, still frozen, and cook on both sides just until they are thawed, but cooked just as crispy or tender as you like them. Use some of the leftover Marsala sauce on the top.

~Robert Clement

Chicken Saltimbocca & Spinach Salad

Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicken Saltimbocca
Spinach Salad

Take chicken cutlets, or thin-sliced breast, and pound them until they are evenly flat. Using two sheets of waxed paper or putting them into a large freezer bag works well. Lay a slice of prosciutto on each flattened piece of chicken. Next, take some chopped spinach seasoned with salt and black pepper and toss it with a couple spoons of extra virgin olive oil. Don’t use a lot of oil because you don’t want to make spinach pesto, you just want to moisten the spinach. Spread the spinach over the top of the prosciutto, making sure it is evenly covered. Generously sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese over the spinach. Starting from the short tapered end, roll them up like you would a jelly roll. Use a couple toothpicks to secure them. Heat a skillet on high heat with a little bit of oil.

Place the rolls into the pan and cook until golden brown on each side, about 5-10 minutes altogether. Next, reduce the heat to medium and add about 1.5 – 2 cups of chicken broth and the juice from a fresh small lemon. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the burnt brown pieces on the bottom of the pan. Cover and simmer on medium heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Remove the chicken and place them on a plate, and remove the toothpicks. Turn the heat back up to high and simmer the broth until it reduces down to about 2/3 to 1/2 cup. Reducing it down will intensify the flavors. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken just before serving.

The salad is light, refreshing, and very easy to make. Add to a large bowl about 5 or 6 handfuls of spinach leaves. Add 3 green onions, thinly sliced. Add 1/3 cup of dried cranberries. You can use raisins if you’re not fond of cranberries. Add 1/2 cup red seedless grapes, sliced in half. Add 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts. Add 1/2 Grannie Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced. In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic, salt and black pepper to taste. Mix these ingredients well. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well, until everything is evenly coated and the ingredients are mixed well. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve. Top the salad with crumbled Feta cheese.

~Robert Clement

Reuben & Fried Red Cabbage

Reuben & Fried Red CabbageReuben Sandwich
Fried Red Cabbage with Bacon and Onions

Nothing fancy here, just simple yumminess.

You’ll need to start the cabbage first because it takes longer to cook. Slice a head of red cabbage in half and then cut out the white core. Lie the half head with the cut side down and slice in half again, lengthwise. Now cross-cut it with 1/4 inch slices until all the head is sliced.


Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat and add 4-6 slices of bacon that has been cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook until most of the fat has been rendered (turns into grease) and then add 2 onions that have been cut into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper and stir.

Once the onions have released their juices and begin to get tender, add the sliced cabbage. Raise the heat to medium, stir and cover. Continue to stir every few minutes until the cabbage has become slightly wilted and soft, yet still crisp. Toward the end, season with more salt and pepper and add a couple shakes of red pepper flakes, if you wish.

Now, for the sandwich. Spread butter on one side of two slices of rye bread. On the other side, spread a little “special sauce.” Typically, people use Thousand Island or Russian Dressing. I made my own with available condiments. Basically, I used mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, chili powder, and fresh ground black pepper.

Place it in the middle of your pan on medium-low heat with the buttered side down and dressing up. Cover with a slice of Swiss cheese. Add two slices of corned beef. Spread some sauerkraut that has been drained and then repeat the process in reverse, with two slices corned beef, one slice Swiss cheese, and the second slice of bread with the dressing side down.

The reason for cooking on a lower heat is to give the heat a chance to transfer into the middle of the sandwich, melting the cheese and warming the sauerkraut. Cook both sides until golden brown. Slice in half and serve.

~Robert Clement

Bleu Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops

Stuffed Pork Chops & Sauteed Turnips Bleu Cheese-Bacon-Chive Stuffed Pork Chops
Sauteed Turnips and Wilted Turnip Greens
Cheddar-Bacon Twice Baked Potato

First, you’ll need to fry a few slices of bacon and crumble them, then set them aside.

In a bowl, combine some crumbled bleu cheese with fresh chopped chives and some of the crumbled bacon. Using a filet knife, cut a pocket into the side of a boneless pork chop. Thick cuts, like what I used, are much easier to do. Spoon some bleu cheese mixture into the pocket. Be careful not to over-stuff. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chops. Garnish with fresh chopped chives.

Scrub the potato until it is clean. Stick a fork into it in a few places, then brush it lightly with oil. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, then let cool. Slice the top 1/3 off the potato and then spoon out the insides, leaving about 1/4 inch on the skin. Mash the insides in a bowl and add chopped green onions. Also, add a little milk or sour cream to give it moisture. Mix in some of the crumbled bacon and a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese.

Fill the potatoes with the mixture and top with shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. Add them to the oven about 15 minutes before the pork chops are finished.

Dice some turnips and heat a large pan on medium-high heat with olive oil. Add the turnips and cook, stirring occasionally until they have become tender and slightly browned. Lower the heat to medium and add some turnip greens that have been roughly chopped. Add salt and pepper to taste and cover. Simmer until the leaves have wilted, stirring occasionally. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice and mix, then serve.

~Robert Clement