Saturday, January 24, 2009

I've been dreading this post for weeks. Maybe months. 
I still eat/breathe/love food. I still love the food scene in this beautiful town. I still devour my food magazines and my cookbooks and favorite sites with the relish that I did before, I'm just not exploring like I once was. I'm not out and about and excitedly telling everyone about the newest places we've been and the newest dishes we've tried. I'm not writing blog entries in my head anymore. And if this blog can't be the blog it once was, the (regularly updated) one that I'd want to read, I'm not going to do it anymore. I'm still looking for the perfect outlet for my writing habit, and when I do I'll let you know. 
I appreciate all of your support and love over the past 2 1/2 years. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Food Tornado

I've been cooking up a storm this week. We may not eat out very often anymore, but I'm trying to expand our repertoire of deliciousness around the house so that maybe we don't miss it so much.

Two of the highlights included this totally insane apple cake (from Smitten Kitchen), which made the very best use of the big bag of Jonagold apples in my crisper. The recipe is so wonderfully adaptable - I didn't have OJ, so I used a little whole milk, and I wanted to decrease the amount of sugar so I subbed in a little Alaskan fireweed honey. I used a tube pan for the first time to great success; this whole charade where I pretend that I'm never going to be good at baking is starting to crumble. I'm getting good...

Does anybody need an Apple Cake? I'm ready to make it again.

The other home run was the Pumpkin Polenta with Chorizo and Black Beans (from Rachel Ray). Making polenta was as easy as making a pot of couscous, and far more satisfying in this cold weather. It makes me sad for all these long polenta-less years here at my house, when I was still convinced I wouldn't like polenta because it was mushy. I want to top it with everything - mushrooms, red sauce, sauteed fennel, grated cheese, even old shoes. I'd try it.

Monday, November 10, 2008


It is really too cold to follow up a post about frozen yogurt with one about ice cream, but I can't help myself. After weeks of casually searching any grocery store we happened to be in for the new Shatto Ice Cream, we finally found a pint of chocolate at the Hy-Vee North of the river (207 NE Englewood Rd, to be exact) and brought it home for a taste test.

At first taste, I wasn't in ice-cream heaven. The texture is different than I expected - less creamy, more chewy - but the flavor was a really pleasant mellow chocolate. Much like the milk, but even lighter, less rich. As the pint started to melt a little in my hands, it got even better. I have the most pleasant aftertaste in my mouth now and I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh the ice cream tasted. Yum.

Now I'm just waiting for them to come out with root beer ice cream. Their root beer milk could only be improved by making it into a frozen dessert treat. Root beer ice cream in a root beer float? Words fail me to describe how awesome that would be.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Yesterday was an astoundingly beautiful and warm day, and after eating a leisurely meal outdoors at Grinder's we headed North to the P&L to grab a treat. It's hard to tear myself away from Murray's ice cream this time of year, since I know that a long cold Murray-less winter is approaching, but I wanted to try Yummo, Chef Dalzell's new self-serve frogurt parlor to see if it would be an acceptable wintertime substitute.

The good thing is, I was interested enough in thefrozen yogurt flavors I didn't try to go back and give it another go. The bad thing is, I didn't try anything sufficiently weird or bizarre enough to warrant the feeling that I wasn't eating anything remarkable. I like the layout - I like choosing my own yogurt and toppings and I liked that there were lots of frozen yogurts to choose from. (Next time I'm having a little dollop of all the things I wanted to try - the gingerbread, pumpkin, peanut butter, and pistachio.) But for the first try, I wanted to stick with the basics and so I grabbed a chocolate and a vanilla. They were both sufficiently creamy and met my need for something cold and sweet, but the flavors seemed off to me. In lieu of being really good, they just seemed a little too much - a big burst of vanilla and chocolate right at first which gradually faded to something artifical tasting. I was also a little annoyed that none of the toppings were labeled. I can identify fruit and candy on my own, but I'd rather know what I'm looking at and not pester the pretty girls behind the counter.

All in all, the concept is there - it's like getting our very own Pinkberry - but I'm not quite sure about the product yet. The price is right (49 cents an ounce), the location is great, and I'll try it again. My advice: go, and go with your gut...maybe your gut likes green tea. Or a strawberry smoothie. Or white chocolate yogurt and Cap'n Crunch. You deserve dessert.

P&L District - right next to Chefburger

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oktoberfest: The Meat

While we managed to serve the perfect amount of both pretzels and beer at our Oktoberfest celebration, we bought twice as much sausage as we ended up cooking. We had way too much meat, and a good chunk of it is sitting in my freezer. Not a bad thing, just a classic case of me overestimating what we needed to serve; I would always rather have a little too much.

We served meats from Werner's (Cheddar Bier Brats, Polish Sausages, Bockwurst & Weisswurst), Bichelmeyer Meats (Garlic Knockwurst & Hot and Spicy Knockwurst), and Krizman's House of Sausage (Bratwurst and the sausages they make for Oklahoma Joe's). The overall favorites appeared to be the Hot & Spicy Knockwurst from Bichelmeyer (which were actually both hot and spicy), the Oklahoma Joe's sausages from Krizman's and the Polish from Werner's. I simmered all of them in either water (with onion for flavor) or beer until we were ready to grill, and then they were grilled by people more skilled in the grilling arts than I. They were all delicious.

Totally worth it was schlepping around in the car to all three places, talking to the people behind the counter and really feeling proud of the foods we had to serve. I always remember that KC is a great town to eat in, but sometimes it takes a hunt for great local something to remind me what fun eating here is as well. By the third stop, I would ask the boy what we were there to buy and he would exclaim "MEAT!" It was a crack up.

I think our first annual Oktoberfest will not be our last.

(Stay tuned for my next post, featuring potato salad with ungodly amounts of bacon.)

5736 Johnson Drive in Mission

Bichelmeyer Meats
704 Cheyenne Ave in KCKS

Krizman's House of Sausage
424 North 6th Street in KCKS

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oktoberfest: The Pretzels

I made 64 miniature soft pretzels for our Oktoberfest party on Saturday night and not one of them made it to the end of the party. I'm glad they didn't; when you're serving 5 different types of really tasty beer, it's best to have some pretzels on hand to soak it all up.

I'm so craving soft pretzels today I might just have to whip up a non-miniature batch and eat one right when it comes out of the oven. They were so soft and chewy and salty and delicious it was easy to overlook how horribly shaped they were. We had many a laugh during our marathon pretzel baking session about all the poor horribly misshaped little pretzels that we had created. They were like little Frankensteins - really delicious Frankensteins.

Despite the work involved in baking them - they were worth it. The dough comes together easily, and rises easily, but right about the time you're putting your 4th or 5th batch in the simmering baking soda bath to poach, you start to think that maybe they're not going to be worth all the work. You're wrong, silly person. They're totally worth it.

(Click here for the recipe, which came from Martha by way of Smitten Kitchen.)

Thursday, October 09, 2008


We've been planning this big Oktoberfest party for over a year. Late last summer we had a long meandering conversation about having a big party in our backyard with beer and sausages on the grill and how we could finally use our outdoor firepit and how wonderful it would be to celebrate our favorite month, October. This party has been in the back of my mind since then. It's been really really big, and then a little more manageable, and now it is almost here. I'm very excited.

I'm making obatzda, and soft mini pretzels, and soft pretzel sticks, and we've got sausages out the hoo-ha (from Werner's, of course), plus a bunch of different kinds of mustard. I'm even attempting my Great-Grandmother's German Potato Salad recipe for the first time. I'm hoping to make Lena proud, but am expecting to be a little disappointed. Nobody made it like Lena.

Expect a wrap-up of that next week - with recipes and photos!