Archive for April, 2011

clip: sofi Awards Judging at foodspring.com

April 27, 2011

Judging for the sofi Awards, an esteemed annual food industry badge of honor, took place at our office last week. I hovered over the panel of nine judges as they coursed through more than 1,000 entries. That’s a lot of vinegar, pasta, candy, and cookies. And 20-odd other categories, tasted over three days. Palates of steel, these judges. Finalists have been announced, and winners are declared in July at the Fancy Food Show in D.C., hosted by Cat Cora!

More here.

i made that same gurgling moan when i saw it too

THAT, friends, is King Cake Ice Cream. You can imagine my delight. Or do, please, imagine my delight.

not sure how he feels about avocado, but the devil sure loves cholesterol

April 26, 2011

I made these for a double-birthday-easter-superniceweather extravaganza Sunday. Avocado Deviled Eggs, adapted from here. My avocado was a wee early for the ripening, so I added milk for mushiness. And paprika for pizazz. It’s like tiny, flaming red confetti!

… And I just realized the irony of making deviled eggs on Easter. At least my Passover contribution was legit (thank you, shmura matzo).

under construction

April 25, 2011

I’ve been delaying the presentation of photos of my apartment until it feels “ready”—though I know, realistically, it never will. But in the meantime, with all the photographing, the lighting, the dramatic angling and macro tweaking, I’ve had an urge to attempt a relaunch of my Etsy page. So I found myself playing around with Photoshop one evening, learning a few tricks here and there, and dug up some old photos to play with (and to continue delaying the apartment showing just a bit longer … ).


home, again

April 16, 2011

The wet sky peeled away just long enough to allow an uprooting and replanting of our lives and belongings, conveniently just up the street. Already I feel more at home than at the place in which I nestled for the past five months. Already I find myself losing track of the days (it’s been two), and the evenings (all two) blend together as though we’ve been here for ages. A few cardboard boxes and fattened bags litter the floors, but this is as home as I’ve ever felt.

It might be the now-familiar location, the now-familiar pieces of furniture, the now-familiar face next to which I wake up. But something, if not everything, is quite right here.

Everything looks better …

… against a brick wall.

bits and pieces

If I have learned anything from this move, it’s that we have very different packing styles.

who said pizza has to be round?

April 10, 2011

T-minus four days until Mission: New Apartment launches. What this means is our final grocery trip for the current apartment, and carefully planned meals for the next few days until the kitchen (along with all else) is meticulously packed away. Though, inevitably, come Wednesday night we will reach that point where the final items are tossed and subsequently crushed and crammed into the last available cardboard box or canvas bag, telling ourselves we’ll remember exactly where we put the stamps. Or the bottle opener. Actually, the bottle opener I will remember. If there’s any way to christen a new apartment, it’s with beer.

The first of the planned meals: pizza. Mind you, it’s hardly homemade; rather, the combination of toppings is what was memorable from this recipe. I did this a month or so back, using what we had in the fridge—note, this is something I rarely do, i.e., combining ingredients willy-nilly, sans recipe or general guidance. We devoured it before the thought even crossed my mind to snap photos and share with the world. This time, however, I had the camera ready to go the moment the pie came out of the oven. Chicken-apple sausage and red onion was the prize pairing, with a little spinach from an overflowing container for color. No specifications on amounts, as it depends on the size of your pizza and how densely packed you like your toppings!

Apple-Chicken Sausage and Red Onion Pizza

Ingredients:
Chicken-and-apple sausage links, sliced
Small red onion, halved and sliced thin
Fresh spinach
Pizza dough (I used Trader Joe’s—perfect portion for 2)
Pizza sauce
Shredded cheese (I’m a cheese snob; my only guidance is not American or anything that says “Kraft” on the package; I used a four-Italian mix in the photo)

1. Preheat oven to 425° or whatever your awesome pre-made-dough instructions say.
2. Roll out your dough. (Tip: No rolling pin? Use a tall glass. I did!) Use flour to keep it from sticking to hands or work surface/baking sheet. Create a distorted shape the comes nowhere near resembling a proper circle, because you’re no square. (See above image for reference.)
3. Sauté the sausage and onion over medium heat, until a bit golden-brown. Toss in the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat.
4. Spread pizza sauce on the adorably misshapen dough. Spread a layer of cheese. Spread the sautéed toppings evenly over the pizza, then top with another thin layer of cheese.
5. Pop it in the oven, bake 8-10 minutes (or per dough instructions), until the crust is golden-brown and the cheese melted and a little bubbly.

and then there was cake

April 3, 2011

My earliest memory is from New Orleans, where my family lived until I was four. This memory takes place at Mardi Gras (the youth-friendly daytime part). I am sitting on my father’s shoulders, and a festively made-up, bead-swamped cheerful parader (man or woman, I cannot recall) reaches down from a float to hand me a small panda teddy bear.

Many mental images of my life at that age are false recollections—I think of them as memories when really I’m recalling the 8mm film or photographs documenting those times that I’ve seen countless times since. But this memory of the bear is very real, cobwebbed and dust-faded, because it’s the one memory I play back from my direct line of sight. My bulbous toddler eyes look at this figure, as beads fly around my head and music rattles my little ears, and I am stretching my diminutive arms to grasp this soft gift being proffered to me and only me, and I beam with pride.

If not in motion-picture format, our brains capture fragmented sound, touch, and taste memories, rich and lucid on their own. My other earliest memory is the taste of King Cake. I discovered this fact less than a month ago.

not quite king cake

While researching an article on regional and seasonal candies and other sweets for work, I browsed the website of a shop in the French Quarter. The moment I saw an image of the purple and green and gold sprinkled pastry, the memory of its taste—which I have not had since I lived in Lousiana, over twenty years ago—flooded my mouth, my nose, my emotional receptors. It was inexplicably vivid, as if I’d just had a bite. Some precarious tower of memories toppled over to reveal this water-damaged, crumpled piece of the past, long forgotten.

Needless to say, I had to have this cake again. And fortune smiled upon me when, in perfect New York fashion, New Orleans came to me. To promote its post-Katrina series Treme, HBO was holding a little live jazz party on Thursday in Union Square, complete with Mardi Gras themed treats (despite the famed parade having been almost a month ago). King Cake they claimed to have, so there I scurried after work. The energetic live music encouraged my anticipation, but I couldn’t hide my disappointment on seeing plastic-wrapped “King Cakes” being distributed from a cardboard box. In retrospect, I’ve no idea why I expected the dense, fresh cake to be handed out in thick slices, rife with plastic babies (just google it). Defeated, I grabbed a sample and, after taking in some brass, headed home.

I stared in dismay at the hapless excuse for a flicker of my childhood. The look was all wrong (appropriately colored sprinkles aside), and I lazily took a bite.

To my inexplicable delight, the distant memories crash into my taste buds, fleshing out every ingredient and nuance of that which is impressed in my mind. I devour the rest of the pastry that looks wrong but tastes just right, and I beam with pleasure.

big re(a)d book

April 2, 2011

done.

1030 pages. 89 days. I may require a debriefing.