What is the Fed talking about?
Kenny Polcari has more than 30 years of experience on Wall Street. Combining his passions for the markets and food, "What's cookin' with Kenny Polcari" offers up his seasoned advice on the market and a bonus recipe du jour. In this installment of "What's cookin'," Kenny makes champagne chicken and wonders if the Fed is dressing up its recipe for the economy. Bon appétit!
Are investors becoming a bit reluctant to "jump in" at these levels?
The markets received some strong data out of China on Tuesday — unexpected strength in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing gave a boost to commodity names — but the lack of interest and low volume is a direct result of the news ahead this week from the European Central Bank, Bank of England and Reserve Bank of Australia, as well as several initial public offerings and Friday's U.S. job report.
(Read more: Like the Fed, ECB expected to keep on pumping)
But first, we've had the march of the Fed presidents.
To start, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher gave a speech in Australia, in which he criticized the U.S. government for the "ineffective and counterproductive" band of legislators in DC.
"The inability of our government to get its act together has countered the pro-cyclical role of the Federal Reserve," Fisher said. "We have had to carry the ball solo. This is an unhealthy thing for any central bank and comes with not insignificant risks."
He's right. Washington policy makers have left the Fed to fend for itself. They have refused to compromise or discuss appropriate fiscal policy during the past four years, which has been frustrating for Chairman Ben Bernanke, as he has said many times. But it seems to fall on deaf ears as the current band of legislators can't get out of their own way.
Then St. Louis Fed President James Bullard seemed to speak on both ends when he appeared on Tuesday's "Squawk Box."
"Eighty-five billion dollars is a torrid pace, I will give you that. And a trillion dollars a year is a torrid pace," Bullard said. "I'd rather get out it if we can, but I'd like to meet our goals."
(Read more: Fed's Bullard: $1 trillion a year QE pace 'torrid')
Meet our goals? Did he mean moving inflation up to the 2-percent range and lowering unemployment to below 7 percent? How's that working for you?
"The unemployment rate is down almost a full point from when we started this program in September 2012," he continued. "We've had faster job growth. Every jobs report that continues to show more jobs being created and a tick down in the unemployment rate is going to make the probability of a taper go up."
The unemployment rate is lower because we have had faster job growth? Every jobs report shows more jobs being created? What planet is this guy living on?
Unemployment has not gone down due to faster job growth — job growth is weak and Americans are DROPPING out of the work force, thus they are no longer counted as unemployed, which by default causes the unemployment number to fall. That is Econ 101.
And then, just to prove that the other end was working, he went on to say that despite this "torrid" stimulus, he considered $4 trillion ofquantitative easing a perfectly conventional action from the FED, particularly because interest rates are near zero.
Is this guy on medication? Interest rates are near zero precisely because of this Fed action!
(Read more: Fed taper in 2014? That's just 'wishful thinking')
For Bullard to say that current QE policy is nothing unusual — that it is typical conventional action from the Fed — is an outrage. Four rounds of QE and some $4 trillion later is the most unconventional monetary policy in the history of the Fed. How exactly does Mr. Bullard suggest we begin the withdrawal process? Will he still be a St. Louis Fed President when we do? You just can't make this up.
Is the Fed beginning to feel the pressure over a now failed monetary policy? I mean, when they kicked it off in 2009 it was what the country needed. No doubt. QE1 and then QE2 and maybe even Operation Twist. But current QE policy is proving to be more of disaster. Macro data points continue to weaken, global leaders are now frustrated with U.S. monetary policy and the effects it is having on their countries and the $4 trillion of stimulus is no longer in fact helping the economy. Banks and financial institutions? Yes. But the economy? Not so much.
And now from the kitchen of Kenny Polcari, here's his recipe of the day!
Pan-seared chicken breasts in a champagne cream sauce
A classic dish. Easy to prepare. Presents beautifully on the plate on a bed of sautéed spinach. Will leave your guests wondering how you did it! (Just like they do with the Fed!)
Start with skinless pounded chicken breasts dredged in seasoned flour and salt and pepper. After you have dusted all of the breasts, set aside.
On medium heat, melt 3/4 stick of butter and a splash of olive oil in a large sauté pan. When almost sizzling—yet not burning—add the breasts and sauté for about 4-5 minutes. At this point, turn the breasts over and add about 1 1/2 cups of champagne and sauté for about 10 minutes more. Next add 3/4 cup of heavy cream (or lite cream if you must), chopped Italian parsley and a bit of rosemary powder and continue cooking until it thickens up.
As the chicken is cooking, sauté some fresh spinach in garlic and oil and then make a bed on each plate. When the chicken is done, transfer the breasts to individual plates and top with the champagne cream sauce.
A nice mixed green salad garnished with cherry tomatoes, red onion and cucumber dressed with champagne vinaigrette finishes off this meal. Choose a lighter bodied red or even a chilled white wine to complete the presentation.
—By Kenny Polcari, director of NYSE floor operations, O'Neil Securities and CNBC contributor, often appearing on "Power Lunch." The author is not compensated by CNBC for this or any other written materials found on CNBC.com.
About Kenny: Kenny has more than 30 years of experience on Wall Street. Currently director of NYSE floor operations on behalf of O'Neil Securities, he has also worked for Icap and Salomon Brothers. You can follow Kenny on Twitter
@kennypolcari and visit him at kennypolcari.com.
Disclosure: The market commentary is the opinion of the author and is based on decades of industry and market experience; however no guarantee is made or implied with respect to these opinions. This commentary is not nor is it intended to be relied upon as authoritative or taken in substitution for the exercise of judgment. The comments noted herein should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any financial product, or an official statement or endorsement of O'Neil Securities or its affiliates.