Category Archives: All About the Eats

2014 Round Up (Food Style I guess)

So… blogging. Like many others in my field I’ve reached, continually, the “too busy for blogging” threshold.

http://www.freshandnew.org/2014/12/busy-blog-short-2015/

https://exhibitdev.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/2015-thoughts-and-plans/

http://reganforrest.com/2014/12/a-reflection-on-blogging/

Just to show a few…

Like they all say, it hasn’t been because I’m not busy or because I don’t have anything to say (YOU ALL KNOW that’s not true). It’s because blogging takes a lot of time. Not only to think about, but to write, and to remain well-read on other blogs to make sure you aren’t just regurgitating a bunch of stuff people have already figured out.

2014 has been a very busy year for me, unfortunately it went out with quite an awful ending being sick with all the flus for a month and capping it off with a bacterial infection in my sinus. BY MY BRAIN! If that doesn’t freak a person out and make them reflect on their year.

Believe it or not the reason I decided to post tonight was, well because, I made something unbelievably delicious. I’ve always wanted to be a food blogger, because I love cooking and I’m damned good at it if I don’t say myself, but I don’t have the patience to photograph every step of what I do. I wing, fling, and often garbage cook (throw whatever I have around in, but more responsibly than my Grandma Rose’s Garbage Soup, that lady seriously put EVERYTHING in there!) so I never think about photos until I’m done and the spoils have been mostly demolished. I’ve been so sick the last couple of weeks my menu has basically been tomato soup, mashed potatoes, and oatmeal (not all together). Thank goodness for my parents taking care of me or I may have shriveled away to nothingness in a heap of agony and not being able to chew. Tonight, I’m either getting better or was at the right point in my med schedule that I felt I had the gumption to chew real food. However, I haven’t been home in a few weeks, nor have I been grocery shopping. That left me to the devices of the cupboards I’d been trying to run out before I left. I made Buffalo Chicken Quinoa. Sounds weird right? It’s amazing. It’s the second best quinoa I’ve ever eaten in my life, right after my lemon, sun-dried tomato, asparagus, edamame quinoa that I make. The biggest annoyance in making quinoa is titling the dish, that’s why I just list almost every single ingredient included anyways. Here are a few of my faves from the year:

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Mediterranean stuffed beef tenderloin, rosemary potatoes, homemade sun-dried tomato bread.

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Not going to lie, these were not a win! I made these for Joel’s birthday because what about 40 rolos on top of a brownie sounds like a bad idea? It was, unless you like getting your teeth ripped out with every 1,000 calorie filled gooey but delicious bite.

20140302_171803The 70s themed Oscars party (right?). This was not my own doing, I had a lot of help in creating all the delicious and terrible things we consumed that night.

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Taught myself how to make pua’a in a crock pot. One of my new favorite recipes, and the ever beloved cheesy hashbrown casserole that is a family staple.

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Made cornbread from scratch for the first time, attempting to model it after cornbread muffins I had in Atlantic City. Sorry Showboat, mine won out. Also, made a lot of these style breakfast sandwiches for Marco. Wet yolk grosses me out, but does that man love him some breakfast.

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My crepe recipe had been perfected for years, but again in an attempt to copycat, I recreated the Cheese Shop’s Rosemary Ham for my crepes. For the major win! Also, perfect my pumpkin seed roasting technique so that they are crunchy instead of weird and chewy. Buffalo Ranch, go figure.

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Last but not least, I reinvented Long John Silvers’ chicken and hushpuppies (but with a green chili and cheddar spin). I really don’t attempt a lot of copycat stuff but this year I was pretty successful whenever I set out to do it. My friends whine at me because when we go out to eat I say I could make it at home, well, sorry. There are a few things I’ll never make quite the same as the original though:

My mom’s chicken dumpling soup

Bareli’s (New Jersey) Buffalo Filet Mignon

Eddie Palardy’s Broccoli Rabe and Pasta

Campbell’s Tomato Soup (though I think I may have beaten this with homemade this year)

Last but the most important, my Grandma Martha’s Blarney Stones.

I didn’t set out for this post to be entirely about food, it was supposed to be about my 2014. As usual, food played a big part. Again, I hope to be better about blogging this year, on all fronts, personally and professionally. Here’s looking at you 2015.

2015 Food Resolution – Get better plates to photograph food on. I mean seriously.

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The secret is in the brûlée

Anybody who has ever dated me, lived with me, or really has known me knows that my two most favorite desserts (in this order) are my Grandma Schwartz’s Blarney Stones and then crème brûlée. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate so when dining out my first go tos are the aforementioned and then cheesecake. I have had brûlée twice in my life that actually WOWED me. I may be an atypical brûlée eater in that I love a super caramalized top, but I also like the creme to be just a little bit warm. I don’t want my dessert straight out of the refrigerator.

Related, but on a different note, it is also VERY hard to find what I feel is exceptional pizza. So, my quest begins to create the perfect pizza and the perfect crème brûlée. My roomies will find their role as taste testers arduous I’m sure.

However, today’s post IS NOT about crème brûlée, it’s about grapefruit. I love grapefruit, I grew up having it fed to me bite by bite via spoon by my grandmother (much past the age when said action was necessary, mind you). Carefully layered in sugar, after every last bite was scraped out, we would squeeze the thing to death to make sure we got each little droplet of juice either into the spoon or sprayed onto our face.

So, when the “broiled” grapefruit trend became popular I was like “NO WAY!” grapefruit is fine just as it it. But, my curiosity got the best of me and I tried it. Gross. How DARE anybody take a beautifully crisp citrus thing and make it into a warm mushy acidic sullied mess! I threw it away. I couldn’t even bare to look at it let alone eat it.

Months later, I no longer remember how the topic came up, I was explaining to a friend my dismay with wanting it to be delicious and having the result be quite the opposite. This dear dear friend of mine, whom I joke with as being my soul mate (because let’s be honest, we are) Sharyn Jackson informed me that to prevent the nasty warmness but still get the caramalized crispy sugary coating (that smells like cotton candy!) just use a crème brûlée torch to toast the top.

GrapefruitFolks, my life has been changed forever.It was delicious, a duality of crispy citrus and caramelized sweetness, warm crusty top and cool juicy below. Give me all the brûléed grapefruit.

That’s it. That is all there is to this post. Just try it, your life will be more delicious because of it.


It’s all about the food

My life, in general, is lived for food.  Yes, I have many aspirations, but on a day to day basis grub is my emphasis.  I’m attempting to alter my eating habits to a healthier standard but am also working towards only eating GREAT food.  No more eat this because it is easy or because I like it okay.  This has been going very well for me.  I have lost weight and am enjoying a better quality of life.  Occasionally I dedicate entire blog posts to food.  This is because the food deserves it.

However, when I eat something delicious it might not constitute an entire blog post so I’m forming a “Eat Joy” section.   You’ll be able to read about any new cooking endeavors I have tried or great restaurants I’ve been to. You may even find a recipe from time to time.

Eat Joy

Grub I’m Lovin
Goat Cheese/Greens/Peppers Combos – I love this combo in all forms! It can be a pizza with spinach and red peppers, toasted multi-grain baguette with arugula and yellow peppers, all with goat cheese all very tasty.
Purdue Baked Whole Grain Breaded Chicken Nuggets – Chicken nuggets? Really?  I know it SEEMS simple, but they are SO GOOD and a quick fix under the broiler.
Magner’s Hard Cider – It isn’t Kopparberg but it was pretty tasty.
So I’m cheating a lil’ bit this week because I’m including a couple of food dates that happened earlier that I just haven’t had the chance to write about.

Cuban Pete’s in Montclair, NJ Highly Recommended
Situation: My friend Marie-Agathe came to visit from Philly before she moves home to France.
Atmosphere: Busy and loud but very popular/hot
Eats:
Empanda De Queso (Manchego cheese and spinach empanada)
Pernil Con Tostones (Crispy pork with fried plantains and garlic mojo)
Pollo Cubano (Half boneless chicken with Cuban garlic mojo, white rice, black beans & sweet plantains)
Rating: Love. Everything was VERY good and portions are huge!
Cuban Pete’s, TASTY TASTY FOOD!
Village Diner in South Orange, NJ Breakfast Not Recommended/Lunch Recommended
Situation: Breakfast with Marie-Agathe before she went back to Philly.
Atmosphere: Very breakfast at a diner-y
Eats:
Buttermilk Waffle w/ a side of crispy bacon
Rating: Could have easily been Eggo waffles, very sub par.

Situation: Lunch after class with Danielle
Atmosphere: Loud and hoppin’
Eats:
Grilled Chicken Panini (Grilled Panini with chicken breast, baby greens, roasted red peppers, mozzarella,   balsamic vinaigrette with AWESOME French fries, pickle and coleslaw)
Rating: They have a large/varied lunch menu and this was a HUGE tasty dish.  Danielle had a beef gyro and that was also quite good.

Famiglia Pizza, Times Square,  New York City MEH
Situation: Catching the bus home after going to the King Tut exhibition in Times Square so I grabbed a slice for the walk.
Eats: Big floppy delicious looking piece of cheese pizza
Rating: I t was incredibly mediocre. I hate when pizza fails me.

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

This blog is inspired by the show of the same name on Food Network. I’m sure I’ll forget something here but as of now I ‘m going to write about some of the best foods I’ve ever had. I have so many so this may turn into a first edition.
Winner Takes All: Manny’s Pizza in Savannah, Illinois.
This is my take all final supper meal. Its thin, chewy crust and grease dripping cheese is THE PERFECT mating of crust, sauce and cheese you’ll ever find. Anywhere, period.
Soups Up from a Can: Campbell’s Tomato Soup made with Milk
A childhood favorite and I don’t care what anybody says, it always taste better when Grandma Taplin makes it and you eat it with a serving spoon like Grandpa did, not just a regular spoon.
Soups Up Home Edition: Chicken Dumpling Vegetable Soup
This soup made by my mother herself is true soul/home food. No matter where I eat it or if I make it myself, it isn’t as good as my mom’s, her dumplings are perfect every time.

Simple Breakfast for Super Cheap: Waffle Stop in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
It’s easy to get stuffed for less than $7 here. I recommend a FULL ORDER of Biscuits and Gravy and when you order their warm cinnamon rolls the icing will make you weep.

Breakfast with All the Options: Café this Way in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Hash browns. That is ALL you need to eat here. A delicious mound of hash browns with an insane amount of fixings you can have loaded on top. Yum! I recommend goat cheese, roasted red peppers, bacon and pickled jalapenos!

Dessert from the Heart: A chocolate malt made by my Dad.
I’m really not biased to my family’s cooking but he gets it perfect every time, it is always the ideal ratio. Recently he made a Mocha Coffee Malt that rocked my world! Second Place, colored or carmel popcorn made by Grandma Taplin

Cakey Dessert: Blarney Stones made by Grandma Schwartz.
These are a labor of love and my fave.  I had them at my graduation, I want them at my wedding!  If you don’t know what these are you are truely missing out.

Restaurant Breads: Popovers at Jordan Pond Restaurant, Acadia National Park, Maine.

These are legendary and for good reason. Simple but perfect.

Homemade Breads: Dilly Cheesy Onion Casserole Bread by the Iron Hill Church Ladies?
Mom correct me if I’m wrong here… I don’t remember what the exact name of this bread was but we used to buy it at Farmer’s Market in Maquoketa, Iowa and it is DELICIOUS! I will recreate this.

Pasta at Home: Roasted Red Pepper Rotini Caesar
Recipe compliments of my sister Jenni. My only addition is asparagus. I can eat this dish for an entire week and I just did.

Pasta Whoa!: Ravioli at One Eleven Main in Galena, Illinois.
Handmade asparagus and asiago filled lemon spinach ravioli with a creamy parmesan broth. What’s not to like.

Sushi/Maki Stuff: Asparagus Maki Rolls at Soho in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
I don’t like sushi so I stick to maki, they make an AMAZING asparagus roll with a soy wrap, grilled asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, goat cheese and balsamic reduction sauce. You all KNOW I love Balsamic Vinegar! They used to make a mean chicken satay but they took if off the menu so I stole the recipe. You can now find it at my house, mmm.

Thai Food: Thai Lagoon in Chicago, Illinois.
I don’t even know how to explain it. I have eaten A LOT of Thai food and this has always been the best.

Potato in Chip FormOld Dutch Dill Pickle Chips, unsurpassed by ANY other brand.

Potato in Fry FormFrench fries and burger sauce, Camberwell Kebab, London, U.K.

Runners-up, Staples and Other Notables – My spinach dip recipe, brown sugar bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, Green Bean Casserole, Cheesy potato hash brown casserole, Strawberry Meringue Kiss Cookies, Popcorn