Shortnin’ Bread Rock

Dang, Etta James died yesterday. She was one of my favorite singers – so soulful and passionate. She went through a lot in her life, and when she channeled that pain into her music it was magic.

Anyways, this is a food blog, but it’s my only blog and I wanted to post something to honor Ms. James. With that, I present to you Shortnin’ Bread Rock. I mean, it is a song about bread. At least I’m pretty sure.

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Three Secrets to Perfect Cinnamon Sugar Toast – For Dad

Scrambled eggs. Bananas in milk. Cinnamon sugar toast. The Holy Trinity of my father’s culinary capabilities, the only “dishes” he was really able to make with complete confidence. Their beauty was in their simplicity. When I think of the comforts of my childhood I often think of these foods.

The power of food to define a place, a person, a time, a memory – it’s incredible. Have you ever tasted something that seemed to transport you to somewhere in your past? Smelled something cooking and thought of the person who used to cook that for you? Seen a favorite food from childhood and remembered what things were like when you were a kid? I have. Food engages so many of the senses; it’s no wonder that cooking and eating can be highly emotional endeavors.

Tonight I made some cinnamon sugar toast in a small effort to remember my dad. He died two years ago today after a lengthy illness. I think of lots of things when I think of him. I think of his laugh, his catchphrases, his voice, his quirks, his handwriting, his talents, his love for me and my brother. And I think about the food he made us – so simple and yet so full of love.

My dad approached death with courage, humor and grace and I try to approach my life like that. I miss him all the time, but he left me with many lessons and memories. And so without further ado, I present to you the Three Secrets to Perfect Cinnamon Sugar Toast.


1: The Bread

Make sure it’s something hearty and tasty! I used a big old hunk of sunflower whole wheat bread. Toast until brown and crispy. You know how to make toast.


2: The Butter

Spread a generous amount of real butter on it while it’s still warm! If I see you using margarine I’m coming after you.


3: The Cinnamon and the Sugar and the Eating Part

Sprinkle lots of sugar. Sprinkle as little or as much cinnamon as you want. Spread it all out with a knife. Enjoy.

Thanks Pops!

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Sweet Potato Pizza Time

When I was a kid, I hated pizza. I thought tomatoes were gross and vegetable toppings were not for me and the cheese couldn’t compare to the completely natural, unprocessed glory of Kraft singles.  How times have changed. Now pizza is one of my favorite things to make from scratch, and I love the opportunity to get creative with it.

Enter my latest endeavor: Sweet Potato/Onion/Rosemary/Ricotta Pizza! Oh man you guys, this was good. I got the recipe from Real Simple and added my own twists, substituting the Parmesan cheese with Ricotta and making my own honey wheat dough. You too can make pizza magic – follow me on this epic journey.


Sweet Potato/Onion/Rosemary Pizza

Definitely makes enough for 3-4 people, depending on how hungry you all are.


Step One: The Dough

Make it or buy it, my friends. I can tell you that making your own dough gives you a great sense of satisfaction and a healthy dose of smugness. As I mentioned, I made honey wheat dough. Recipe at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. I used three cups of flour all together, half whole wheat and half all purpose. I just ended up adding a little more oil to get a good consistency.

The honey wheat dough is great for this pizza – it balances out the flavor of the onions and rosemary really well.


Step Two: The Pizza

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough, obviously
  • About 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced – I used a sweet onion
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1ish tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • As many dollops of ricotta cheese as your heart desires
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 475° F.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons or so of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, just a few minutes.
  3. Using a baking sheet is fine if you’re like me and have yet to invest in a fancy pizza stone. Roll out the dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet. You’ll want a nice, even crust.
  4. Assemble that pizza! Spread your sauteed onions out over the dough. Layer the sweet potato slices however you want them and then evenly sprinkle the rosemary. Dollop ricotta cheese all over the place. Drizzle the pizza with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and generously season with your salt and pepper.
  5. Bake 16-18 minutes – the edges should be crispy and brown and your kitchen should smell heavenly.

It’s as easy as that! The end result:

I am pretty and delicious.

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Bittman Asks Why We’re Eating Less Meat

Allow me to draw your attention to a great piece in the New York Times from Mark Bittman about one of the most treasured of all American pastimes: meat consumption.

We’re Eating Less Meat. Why?

It’s a great article (most articles from Bittman are, check out his site here). In it, Bittman attempts to explain why meat and poultry consumption in the U.S. is projected to be about 12.2% less in 2012 than it was in 2007. Bittman is not himself a vegetarian – he is the author of How to Cook Everything, after all – just an advocate of a more mindful, sensible approach to cooking and eating.

So why are we eating less meat? There are lots of factors, but he thinks it mostly comes down to consumers wanting to eat less meat. Imagine that! I can say that in my experience with friends and family this is definitely the case. There seems to be an enhanced awareness that meat doesn’t have to be the center of attention at every meal.

Anyways, check out the article, it’s a great read for carnivores, omnivores, vegetarians, flexitarians, fruitarians, utilitarians – whatever floats your boat.

What about you? Do you feel like you eat less meat now than in previous years? If so, why do you think that is?

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Back to the Blog!

In a bold, original move I have decided to take up blogging again in the New Year. I know that you’ve been anxiously anticipating a new blog post from me, so I apologize – I don’t know how you’ve survived these past two months!

I’ll have a few new posts up this week. In the meantime, take a look at the photo below of my existential crisis in the cheese aisle of Whole Foods. What’s a girl to do? Is it an “Extra” or “Seriously” kind of night?

2011's Greatest Decision

In case you were curious, I went with Extra. I didn’t think I was quite ready for Seriously.

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Five Things: Friday Food Lust

Oh, hey boys and girls. It’s time for a new segment I like to call Friday Food Lust. Expect photos of delicious things I ate this week and explanations of how you can eat these delicious things too. I’m going to invest in a nice camera soon, but for now you’ll have to deal with my iPhone photos. Without further ado, here are five photos of delicious things!

 

1. Multigrain Toast with Peanut Butter and Raisins (and Apple Slices)

Sometimes I eat like a toddler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As if you needed further proof of my immaturity, look no further than putting raisins and peanut butter on multigrain toast and pairing it with apple slices. I also love Ants on a Log (celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, duh).

 

2. Dessert Crepe

Crepe and berries and syrup, oh my!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contrary to what it may look like, I did not take a photo of this crepe in a German sex dungeon. I ate this crepe at Tapeo in celebration of National Dessert Day last Friday! It was good. I’m pretty sure the syrup was just Hershey’s, but I happen to love Hershey’s syrup, so I was happy.

 

3. Drizzled Black & White Kettlecorn from Popcorn, Indiana

POPCORN WITH CHOCOLATE. AH MAH GAH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This stuff changed my life. It’s indescribably delicious. It tastes like happiness and sunshine. Go buy it.

 

4 and 5. Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza and Roasted Asparagus and Baby Bella Mushrooms

Simple, healthy, delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was one satisfying meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was pretty pleased with this one. I highly recommend the pizza – no hard-to-pronounce ingredients and even though it’s dairy-free, it should satisfy your pizza tooth.

The roasted veggies were super simple.

Roasted Asparagus and Baby Bella Mushrooms

One bunch fresh asparagus

One package baby bella mushrooms

Rosemary olive oil (amount depends on your preference, I probably used about 1 1/2 TBSP)

Two large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Trim asparagus stems. Place asparagus and mushrooms into large glass baking dish. You should have one layer of veggies, try to avoid too much overlap.

Add oil, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Coat evenly.

Roast for about 10 minutes. Voila!

I paired all this with a Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale, because it’s fall and pumpkin beer is a seasonal requirement.

 

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s edition of Friday Food Lust. Happy weekend!

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Food and Occupy Wall Street

Since this is a food blog, I’m guessing my millions of readers are not interested in my opinion on the Occupy Wall Street movement. As hard as this is for me to accept (who wouldn’t be interested in my opinion on something?), I will refrain from expressing my thoughts and instead direct you to a really interesting article from the New York Times. Check it out – it’s about the development of an “Occupy Wall Street pop-up restaurant” of sorts.


Protesters at ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Eat Well


The article reveals how the protestors are managing to stay put, yet expand their palates. Regardless of your opinion of the movement, it’s fascinating stuff. Food donations are coming from all over and people are getting together to share provisions and ending up with some pretty creative dishes in the process.

It’s worth mentioning that there is a push for the food movement to join in the protests as well. Take a look at this post from Civil Eats.

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