Posts tagged ‘food’

Panini and other thoughts

My lunch on Tuesday was a frozen (well…I microwaved it before I ate it…) Hot Pockets panini.*  What’s my excuse?  Turns out my wallet was at home, precluding my ability to go food shopping after work.  At any rate, it was fairly edible, if you like that sort of thing.  I’m really not picky about what I eat in practice, though I like to complain a lot about it.

At any rate, I have plans to go create something else for lunch for tomorrow before the day is out.  I don’t like cooking for just myself…or an ambivalent audience.  But I need to get over that.

Okay, I’m done whining now.  For real.  Because despite my occasional cooking and writing block, its wonderful to be part of conversations that could involve an “epic internetborne foodsplosion,” as mentioned in this mental_floss post about the fact that everyone in food blogger land is writing about bacon (except me, of course).  Mostly, I just couldn’t resist working that phrase into this entry.

*Apparently, Americans are all wrong and the correct singlular word for such a sandwich is a panino, panini is plural.  At least, that’s what my uncle told me, and Wikipedia backs me up, so it must be true.


January 28, 2009 at 3:37 pm 2 comments

Lunchtime Revelation

Some days I feel better about my eating and cooking (and this blog) than others.  I’ve made some good meals over the past month with no real failures.  I’m much more comfortable in the kitchen and plan to continue improving my skills.

At the same time, I’m still torn about the purpose and function of this blog.  My most popular posts are ones discussing television shows, which puts me in an awkward place.  Do I just post about television, and “give an over generalized recount of events on a given television show,” as one commenter phrased it?  It’s clear  from my stat reports that is what gets my visitor count up.  Only one of my top 8 viewed posts isn’t connected to a show.  So, should I spend more time in the kitchen, creating and sharing the results, even though no one’s going to read it?  What’s the point of keeping a blog if no one’s going to read it?  It’s a difficult situation.

All that said, I’m obviously running out of steam in the kitchen.  This morning there was nothing of interest to bring for lunch, so I grabbed a frozen burrito on my way out the door.  Sitting down to lunch in the teacher’s room, another teacher commented, “Do you actually like those, or was there just nothing else in your house?”  And it made me think–I mean, they’re certainly edible but they’re definitely not good for you and obviously not vegetarian.  I can eat better than this and I should be eating better than this.  It isn’t that hard to make something decent to bring to school; I just have to be intentional about it.

I’ll be stopping at the supermarket on the way home to remedy this travesty.  No more frozen burritos.

January 26, 2009 at 1:42 pm 1 comment

(Almost) No Waiting Pizza

In my search for pizza recipes, I found many crusts which required kneading, waiting for the dough to rise and letting the dough rest.  This recipe needs none of the above.

You’ll need:
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
1 and 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon saltingredients
2 teaspoons oil
1 and 1/12 tablespoons cornmeal

Other ingredients (amounts vary based on personal preference):
Tomato/Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Toppings of your choice (I used onion, mushroom and green pepper)
Basil and oregano (optional)

food processor
pizza stone or baking sheet
measuring cups and spoons
small bowl (which is easy to pour from)

  1. Combine the yeast and sugar in the warm water in a bowl (or Pyrex measuring cup, in my case).  Stir to dissolve and let stand for 10 minutes.img_02841 Note: make sure your bowl or measuring cup is large enough to hold the yeast when it expands.  This is a lesson I learned the hard way.
    Use the 10 minutes to prepare toppings (cut up vegetables, grate cheese, etc.)
  2. When the 10 minutes have elapsed, insert the blade attachment into your food processor and add the flour and salt to the bowl of the processor.  With the food processor running, pour the yeast mixture in through the feed tube and process for about 45 seconds, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add oil through the feed tube and process for about 60 more seconds.  If the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add more flour 1 tsp. at a time and process for 10 seconds after each addition.
  4. Remove the ball of dough from the food processor bowl.  Hand stretch and shape the dough into a disc.  Sprinkle pizza stone with cornmeal and place the dough onto the stone and roll out with a rolling pin. crust The dough should create a pizza crust of roughly 14 inches.  It won’t be perfect, I promise.
  5. Place pizza crust in 425 degree oven for 6 minutes.  Spend the 6 minutes to finish prepping toppings, if you need to.
  6. After 6 minutes, carefully remove the pizza stone (it’ll be hot!) .  Spread the crust with tomato sauce (leave an area around the edges as crust), cheese and vegetables…or whatever toppings you’re in the mood for.  Return the pizza to the oven and bake at 425 for 18 minutes, or until the rim of the crust is golden brown.img_0289
  7. Enjoy!

As you can see, my pizza baked a little unevenly, but I’m sure that’s my oven’s fault.  The crust is thin and crispy and the pizza tasted excellent.  I really appreciated the fact that the dough was quick and easy to make.

I confess: I used preshredded mozerella and jarred tomato sauce, but that gives me something to work towards in the future…I just wasn’t up for making the tomato sauce from scratch that required 15 tomatoes!  Pizza is the perfect meal to make if your family is picky or can’t agree-its easy to put different toppings on each section of the pizza.  Plus it can be vegetarian!

January 25, 2009 at 9:02 am

Sunday’s Dinner: Potato, Spinach and Artichoke Soup

Potato, Spinach and Artichoke Soup from the February 2008 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray.


It tastes better than it looks, I promise...

Substitutions: Surprisingly, I only made one ingredient substitution for this recipe!  My silly supermarket didn’t have any frozen artichokes (but had more kinds of frozen broccoli than anyone could ever need), so I bought a can of un-marinated, “ready to serve” ones.  As far as I can tell, they worked just fine.

Recipe comments: I made a pretty big mess of the kitchen with this one.  Honestly, that’s par for the course, but this one seemed especially bad.  I neglected to thaw the frozen spinach, so I spent a while thawing it in the microwave, which somehow resulted in a lot of it getting all over the kitchen.  Furthermore, even though this recipe was found in the 30 Minute Meals section of the magazine, it took me over an hour to prepare.  I don’t know why.  Either Rachael’s crazy or I’m slow.  Maybe both.

Reaction: I liked this soup a lot, though I’ll amend that by adding that I love soup, especially when spinach and potatoes are involved.  At any rate, it was pretty light and tasted great.  Even my dad, who I’d been harassing for days about the fact that artichokes were included (“eww…”) had two bowls.

Also, I just need to share this photo of the bread I made, from a Pillsbury can:


I have no idea why it came out that way…I just popped the can and put it in the oven, as per the directions.  It tasted fine and added some humor to the meal.

January 19, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Restaurant Review: Frontier Cafe, Cinema and Gallery

Despite the fact that I frequent the mid-coast college town of Brunswick, Maine, I had never heard of Frontier until a student mentioned it to me a week or two ago.  I immediately checked out their website (  and was intrigued.  It looked different, modern and delicious.

My family and I got the opportunity to check out Frontier today.  Located inside Fort Andross, a refurbished mill on the Androscoggin River which also houses Cabot Mill Antiques, the cafe immediately felt warm and inviting to me.  As I mentioned, I’d never heard of Frontier, which left me initially concerned that they might be struggling.  However, the place was practically full when we arrived at 2 in the afternoon and remained as such.  I’m not worried for them; if there’s a recession going on, it’s not apparent at Frontier.   The bulk of the cafe is open and spacious, with thick wood tables and benches.  The walls are deep reds and yellows and the big windows overlook the River.  Black and white artwork of loggers ran along one wall.  I’m big on atmosphere and to me, the place seemed comfortable, friendly and hard to be unhappy in.  Another draw of Frontier which we did not explore today is their cinema.  I didn’t count seats but I suspect it holds about 50, with counters in front of each row of chairs for enjoying your food while watching an indie film.

One orders at a counter immediately upon entering the cafe; menu selections are written on chalkboards suspended from the high ceilings.  I had previewed the menu several times online and was especially interested in the “marketplates”: themed platters of various ingredients including French, Italian and Cheese.  However, once we arrived at the cafe I couldn’t resist the creamy potato dill soup being offered.  My parents ordered the pastrami sandwich and a Frontier Italian sandwich.  Everything on the menu seemed appetizing, however and they also have a large selection of bottled teas, sodas, beer and wine.  The wait for our food seemed a little long for soup and sandwiches, but they were busy.  My soup arrived in a ceramic bowl with two slices of crusty bread.  It was very thick, very tasty and very filling.  The rustic sandwiches looked delicious as well.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Frontier to someone looking for a refreshing dining experience.  My soup was great and so was the atmosphere.  One of my parents said “it was good but not stupendous.”  I agree-it’s not gourmet cuisine, but it was really quality, original, fresh cafe and deli food in a great location.

Also, check out the reviews from the Portland Press Herald and Down East Magazine.

Frontier Cafe, Cinema and Gallery
14 Maine Street, Brunswick, ME

January 17, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Website: is a fun website that allows the user to search for recipes based on what ingredient, dish, cuisine or mood they’re craving.  Enter as many terms as you want (of course, fewer terms result in more results) and the results appear as a visual collection of recipes.  Click on an image for the corresponding recipe.

Cookthink has a number of uses, from satisfying cravings, to pleasing friends and family, to using up the ingredients already in your house.  The recipes come from a variety of sources,  but “About Cookthink” says that all their recipes are tested by “top food bloggers, cookbook authors, the Washington Post food section and more. … If we don’t test them, someone we trust does.”
I appreciate the clarity of the recipe formatting and the list of required tools.  Furthermore, there’s a reference section with tips and articles, such as “What You Need To Know: Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder”.  If you need a recipe or have a craving, Cookthink is definitely a good place to look.

January 14, 2009 at 7:11 am

The cool thing to do?

The longer I work on this blog (a whole two weeks now, but it seems like longer), the more I realize how un-unique it is.  The “FoodBlogger on FaceBook” group on Facebook has 703 members.  703 other people who are probably a lot like me doing the same thing I am.  Furthermore, a lot of food blogs are more creative than mine, such as Obama Foodorama, which is  “A Daily Diary of The Obama Foodscape, One Byte At A Time”.  Where do people come up with this stuff?

In a way, that’s frustrating because it means that I’ll probably just remain in internet anonymity writing a blog that only my sister and my Man read.  But I’ll still be improving my writing (I hope) and compiling all my thoughts on food and food television and the like, which I think has some intrinsic value.  And I like teaching too much to really consider blogging as more than a hobby, even if it is the only thing I think and talk about in my spare time.

On the other hand, joining the world of food bloggers has opened my eyes in some ways.  It’s amazing what you see when you’re looking for it.  It seems like everyone’s talking about food and a lot of it is really interesting.  Rarely a day goes by that I don’t use Google Reader to subscribe to another food blog (check out the blog roll to the right) and its exciting to be part of that conversation.  Even people who don’t typically talk about food are talking about it.  Case in point, Tim Buckley of the excellent Ctrl-Alt-Del webcomic reviewing Personal Cooking Trainer for the Nintendo DS and mental_floss’ post this morning about The History of “American Cheese,” from Colonial Cheddar to Kraft Singles.

At the very least, I’m loving blogging and I hope you’re loving reading.  Thanks!

January 7, 2009 at 11:19 am 1 comment

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