Sunday, December 25, 2016

Portobello-Shallot-Wasabi Meatball Burrito

THE GAME: Warriors vs Cavaliers

Remember when I wrote about the Kentucky-Louisville game the other day and called the collection of talent staggering?

That was a pickup game at the local YMCA compared to this game.

That was my friends and I drunkenly playing H-O-R-S-E in the backyard at 1 in the morning compared to this game.

Let's ignore the fact that this was a rematch of last June's NBA Finals - a series that ended in a Game 7 on Father's Day with an estimated television audience of more than 30 million people (a number that had not been approached since Michael Jordan was in his prime).

The players in this game are what made it special. Curry, Durant, Klay, Draymond, LeBron, Kyrie, Love. That's a combined 7 MVP awards and something like 1200 All Star game appearances.

NBA Finals rematches on Christmas Day are usually kind of a letdown. But I had a hunch this one was going to be different. I thought Golden State would be intent on proving that last June was a fluke; that, with Durant on the team this season, they are once again the best team in the NBA.

And I thought LeBron would do anything he could to prevent that. Five years ago - hell, two years ago - I would not have said that. But after last spring, I will never doubt his competitiveness again.

NOTES ON THE FOOD: 
  • While Christmas shopping in a local boutique last week, I spied a bottle of Portobello Shallot Chop Sauce. The proprietor told me she had an open one somewhere and I was welcome to try a sample. I told her that wasn't necessary; I had zero doubt I was going to like it. 
  • I cooked some of those beloved meatballs from my butcher, roasting them in the oven for about 40 minutes. 
  • Then I rolled them in the wok with the sauce until everything was hot. 
  • I caramelized shallots for about 25 minutes
  • First the meatballs went into a tortilla with a ladling of sauce on top. 
  • Then the sweet, caramelized shallots, with wasabi sauce for some spice.
  • I wish I'd had wonton chips for some crunch. If it wasn't Christmas Day, I might have run out to the store to get some, but I'm not entirely sure which stores are open today. And really, there was enough flavor going on here that fried wonton pieces wasn't going to make a big difference. 

NOTES ON THE GAME: 

  • Am I the only one who wants the NBA to cut their season by a dozen or so games and start on Christmas Day every year? Remember after the lockout ended a few years ago and Christmas was the first day of the season? Why can't it be like that every year?
  • I'm not a Cavs fan. I certainly wanted Golden State to win the Finals last season. But I will never, ever get tired of seeing LeBron's Game 7 block on Andre Igoudala. 
  • Did you see Richard Jefferson get a technical foul for winking at a guy after dunking? Jesus, it's like the NBA wants to give the NFL a run for their money in the "these-are-grown-men-playing-a-game-but-nobody-is-allowed-to-have-fun-under-any-circumstances" department. Speaking of technicals...
  • In high school, I once received a technical foul for hanging on the rim during halftime warmups. Seriously. The game wasn't even going on at the moment. The ref looked at me when I complained, shrugged, and said "Come on, you know you can't do that." The other team shot a free throw before the half even started. I was thinking of that while watching LeBron hang on the rim for what seemed like 90 seconds after dunking in the 4th quarter. I guess that was a makeup for the quick whistle on Jefferson. 
  • Last June was the biggest collapse in NBA Finals history. Steph Curry - the reigning back-to-back MVP - got a bigger free pass than I have ever seen a professional athlete receive. Today, he was pretty bad once again. I wonder if that will be brought up or if we're just supposed to ignore it every time he plays poorly in big games. 
  • Curry was also pulled out of the game (legally - despite what the announcers were saying) on the biggest defensive possession. Feel free to draw your own conclusions about his "value."
  • According to ESPN, the Warriors led for 42 minutes and 11 seconds, and lost. The Cavs led for 42 seconds, and won. 
  • Instead of Lakers-Clippers tonight, can we just have these two teams play again? 

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