2007 Retrospective / A Look to 2008

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Eating Local, Holiday, Life

Well, here it is the last day of the year, and I’m looking forward to a ton of changes in my life. The same time last year, I made a bunch of “foodie promises”. Let’s take a look at those promises, and see how I did in fulfilling them.

I’d like to have a healthier relationship with food in 2007. I’d like to gain enough control over it to lose 100 lbs. by this time next year. This will mean more moderation on my part, something which I severely lacked in 2006, and also increased activity, which means I’ll need to incorporate exercise into my life. Kalyn’s post about the South Beach Diet is almost enough to convince me to give it a try, especially considering my known insulin resistance problem

Okay, I did alright with this one. I lost 33 pounds, which is better than gaining weight. I’ve arranged surgery for next week that will allow me to lose more than 100 lbs. in 2008. For me, developing a healthy relationship with food meant not obsessing over it, or dieting, and letting my appetite and cravings guide me. I sucked at exercise, since the hernia and knee/back/ankle pain got worse, not better. The hernia is getting fixed next week, and the weight loss should help the other pain, so no excuses for 2008! And the surgery will pretty much force me into eating lower carb if I don’t want to have my body declare a mutiny on me. :)

I’d like to attend more food related functions this year – last year I attended the North Market Apron Gala and Taste the Future, which I hope to attend this year as well. I’d like to attend more industry functions and more festivals next summer.

I went to both of these, along with a couple of other food related events this year. I didn’t make it to any festivals at all this year, unfortunately. No industry functions either.

I’d like to learn how to take better photographs, which means learning how to use my new photo in a box for lighting, and acquiring and learning to use a DSLR by the end of the year.

I didn’t get a DSLR, because I figured that the need for a smaller camera that I could carry everywhere was more important than photo clarity or “wow” factor. I did set up the Photo in a Box, and improved the lighting of my pics this year.

I’d like to learn how to preserve food, either by canning or cold storage, so that I can enjoy nature’s bounty in the months of no local food.

I acheived this one, in spades! I learned how to can this summer, and my basement is currently chock full of jams, pickles, tomato products and more local bounty than I can dream to use by myself before summer. I hope to do a lot more canning this upcoming summer.

I’d like to expand the site to include links to more restaurant menus, more local resources for foodies, and more things that make this a Columbus-centric site rather than having the focus so much on myself and my family.

I nearly doubled the number of menus this year – in the next year, I plan on scanning in the menus of restaurants that don’t have a web presence, and adding a section that gives information about local food producers and how to acquire their goods.

I’d like to get to know more local artisans and food producers.

Again, this is something I’ve done a lot of this year, especially at Denise’s party on Saturday. I’ve spent more time talking to the people who grow my food.

I’d like to either establish or join a supper club this year.

I didn’t do that this year, but I did set up a Meetup group for local foodies. Maybe there are some in the Meetup Group who are also interested in something like this?

So, all in all, I didn’t do too badly. Here are my foodie resolutions for 2008!

- I’d like to learn how to bake bread from scratch, kneading by hand. This also includes learning how to make sourdough bread, either from my own starter or one someone gives me.

- I’d like to learn how to make my own cheese and butter using local dairy products.

- I’d like to try my hand at container and small scale gardening, using my deck and part of my back yard.

- I’d like to make at least one 100% local meal per week. In similar spirit, I’d like to try to find as many local sources for food as possible.

- When in town, I’d like to review at least one new restaurant per week.

- I’d like to uncover at least one new to me “hidden gem” in Columbus per month.

- I’d like to host at least one dinner party and/or one potluck this year.

- I’d like to take at least one cooking class this year.

- I’d like to have at least one romantic picnic lunch/dinner in the park with my husband this year.

- I’d like to hit ALL of the local farmers markets (not just North Market, Clintonville, Worthington) at least once this summer.

- I’d like to put together a cookbook including my recipes and pictures to give to family and friends.

And there you go, my wish list for 2008! What would you like to do next year?

2Silos 3rd Annual Holiday Wine Party

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Adopt a Hen, Eating Local, Events, Holiday

I really wish I had taken pictures…I had a FABULOUS time last night at Denise’s (of 2Silos fame) wine party last night. I feel honored that she invited us, and am so glad that she did. In addition to feasting on homemade cheese, delicious chicken paprikash (Denise, I *want* that recipe ), muscovy duck, lamb, and much more, I got the opportunity to try tons of wine I would have never had the opportunity to otherwise, and met so many cool people, like Ginger, a jill-of-all-trades who in addition to growing garlic and horseradish, makes her own local vinegar, bakes amazing bread (trust me, I tried some!), and plans on teaching classes of all sorts at her farm in Morrow County. And then there was Vanessa and her husband, who raise organic turkeys and cows. And the lovely couple (I’m sorry I didn’t catch your names!) whose delicious duck I’ve tried already in many of my favorite restaurants. (Update: After a bit of research, I’ve discovered that the lovely couple is Dennis and Angela of Cota Farms in Cardington). I’m telling you folks, that party was a locavore’s heaven. :)

I can’t wait to communicate further with my newfound friends. If the knowledge and kindness and dedication to their work is representative of what our local food producers are like, I feel even better about my decision to try to eat as locally as possible.

Best of all, I got a chance to see Sweetie, my “adopted” hen. I’m going to miss all those eggs while I’m gone. I’m homesick already.

Cashew Brittle

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Food Porn, Holiday, Recipes

For the most part, nothing I cooked on Christmas turned out right – I used a new au gratin potato recipe that sucked, the ham turned out dry, the turkey roll was cold by the time we ate – well, you get the idea. My family grinned and beared it and was gracious in calling it delicious when it so wasn’t. I love you guys. :)

But there was one recipe we made this year that rocked my world – cashew brittle made in the microwave! I don’t usually make candy because there’s something about the hot sugar=liquid napalm thing that freaks me out a bit, but this recipe is so easy, and comes out so well, that even I will make it.

cashewbrittle

Cashew Brittle
recipe courtesy Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 1/2 c. dry-roasted cashews
1 tsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda

Lightly grease a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan and set aside. Stir together the sugar and corn syrup in a 1 1/2-quart casserole. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Stir in cashews.

Microwave on high an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until brown. Add butter and vanilla and stir.

Microwave an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Cashews will be lightly browned and syrup very hot. Remove from microwave.

Stir baking soda into cashew mixture. Stir gently until light and foamy. Pour mixture onto prepared cookie sheet and let cool for 30 to 60 minutes.

When brittle is completely cool, gently flex cookie sheet to remove brittle, and then break brittle into small pieces. Keeps for several weeks in an airtight container.

Makes about 1 lb, or 20 servings.

Columbus Foodie in a Nutshell

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Admin

If you’ve come here by way of the Dispatch article, welcome! Have a seat and look around.

I’m pretty casual, as you can see. :) As the article says, I’m a thirtysomething woman who likes to eat – what you see here is a reflection of what I eat. Whether it’s something I cook at home, a new discovery of a local gem, or a really good restaurant, I’ll try anything once.

Current entries will appear here in the center. You can see my archives by clicking on the dates, or clicking on a subject to narrow down entries by categories.

As for the other sections of the blog:

The Central Ohio Restaurant Menus section has a constantly updated list of menus for various Columbus area restaurants. If you don’t see your favorite here and they have a web presence, let me know and I’ll add it!

In Eating Local I have a comprehensive listing of local farmer’s markets. Later, I’ll expand this section to show my favorite independent retailers and places to get local products.

The Food Blog Directory has a comprehensive listing of over 2,500 food blogs from all over the world. It is broken down by geographical area, which you can access directly by clicking on a continent.

The Ohio Food Event Calendar has a listing of current food-related events at both the local and state level.

The Recipe Index is a list of recipes that I’ve featured in my blog entries, for easy access.

All of the Restaurant Reviews I’ve done are also grouped together so you can access them more easily. I generally, on a good month, review 3 or 4 restaurants.

One recent development was the formation of a Meetup Group comprised of Columbus food bloggers and food lovers alike. The next meetup is January 6th at Little Dragon, so please feel free to join in!.

Further down the sidebar is a list of other Ohio bloggers and Columbus-centric links so you can find other blogs similar to mine. Once again, welcome – and I love your feedback. Send any comments or suggestions to me at columbusfoodieATgmailDOTcom.

November 2007 Roundup

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Charity, Columbus, Events, Meta, Monthly Roundup

I apologize for the lack of posts this month – I’ve been really distracted with making arrangements for my upcoming trip, and food has really been the farthest thing from my mine. Eating this past week has been all about cleaning out the perishables before the end of the year. But there should be some upcoming posts about a couple of things I’ve made this month, along with an overview of our Christmas Eve dinner with family.

A couple of quick notes…

Today is the last day to buy your raffle tickets for this year’s Menu for Hope. Check out Pim’s site for the master list, or just go directly to the Firstgiving site to bid for the prize I’m offering, UC05 – the Penzey’s $100 GC.

The Food Lover’s Meetup group will be getting together for Dim Sum at Little Dragon on January 6th. I’ll be out of town, but the other organizer, Rosie, and nearly a dozen other folks will be there – the more the merrier. Check out the details of the event and feel free to join in!

Now, for the roundup…

In savory recipes, Apple Turnovers from A Consuming Passion, Karen’s Home-Made Noodles from A Fridge Full of Food, Black-Eyed Pea Stew with Kale from A Mingling of Tastes, Winter Squash Quiche from A Thinking Stomach, Butternut Mac ‘n’ Cheese from A Veggie Venture, Roasted Tomato Soup from Annie’s Eats, Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Panini from Baking Bites, Makhani Sauce for Leftover Turkey from Cooking in Westchester, Cauliflower Gratin from The Cooking Ninja, Taco Ring from Delectables and Other Adventures in Food, Aegean Baked Potatoes with Lemon, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt from Figs, Bay & Wine, Slow Cooker Cassoulet from Just Recipes, Ramekin Turkey Pot Pies from Love and Olive Oil, Turkey and Wild Rice Soup from Making Food. Eating Food., Chicken Pot Pie from More Than Burnt Toast, Cream of Cauliflower Soup from Not Eating Out in New York, Roasted Acorn Squash with Spinach and Gruyere from Superspark, Murgh Makkhani from Trial and Error, Butternut Squash Lasagna from Urban Drivel, The Other “Other” Mac n’ Cheese from VittlesVamp, and Celery Root Soup with Bacon and Apple from yumsugar.

In sweet recipes, Cranberry Bliss Cupcakes from a whisk and a spoon, Butterscotch Pudding from A Year at Oak Cottage, Pecan Pie Cheesecake from Bake or Break, Sweetest Raspberry Shortbread from Confabulation in the Kitchen, French Toast Bagels from Confections of a Foodie Bride, Salted Caramel Cheesecake from Cream Puffs in Venice, Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Cranberry Walnut Streusel and Chocolate Marble Chunk Cookies from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, Toll House Pie from Gulf Coast Gram, Buttered Apple Cider Sauce from Just Recipes, Deborah Madison’s Pecan-Coffee Tart from Kitchenography, Coconut Tapioca Pudding from La Tartine Gourmande, Deep-Dish Pecan Pie from MattBites, Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Butter Cream Cheese Icing from Ooh you tasty little things, Mayan Chocolate Boca Negra with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream from the pie lady, Gluten Free Lemon Tart from Restaurant Widow, Pumpkin Pie Brulee from Serious Eats, Tiramisu Cake and Caramelized Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats from Smitten Kitchen, Spiced Pumpkin Mascarpone Cupcakes from Tartelette, Chocolate Pots de Creme from Technicolor Kitchen, and Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Pie from The Experimental Gourmand.

Well, that’s it for me for now…more later as I am able.

Scary Saturday and New Discoveries

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Columbus, Eating Local

I really tried to make it to the farmer’s market in Worthington on Saturday, I promise I did!
The problem is that we had a ton of errands to run on Saturday because our trip to Brazil was moved up 2 weeks – I had to go to the bank and get some forms notarized, go to the post office and get 4 money orders, go to the drugstore to get passport pics, go to the shipping store to FedEx Express out the tourist visa applications, and then I’d be able to do the foodie errands – I had planned on going to Thurn’s to get some sauerkraut, and then off to Worthington. On a normal Saturday, getting a 10am start, I would have been able to get all of these done no problem. But this was no normal Saturday. No sooner did we leave the house than it started snowing. Hard. My husband isn’t the greatest of drivers in good weather. Every time he hit the brakes, the antilock kicked on. Every time he hit the gas, we skidded. And it wasn’t just him. This was happening to EVERYBODY. The roads were beyond horrible. We were on Georgesville Rd. and a firetruck almost skidded into us. Scary.

So we had the pharmacy and the bank out of the way, I walked into the post office, and the line was snaking around the place. I knew that my husband wasn’t going to go for driving to another branch, and the form specified that it had to be a postal money order, reciept stub attached, thankyouverymuch or they wouldn’t process my visa, so I waited. And waited. And then waited some more. 40 minutes later, as I finally got to the person manning the counter, some jerkoff decided to start making threats against the postal employees and refused to leave when he was told to. So I ended up waiting some more. Eventually I got my money orders, and after sitting in the car for nearly an hour, my husband decided that he would attempt the trek across town to the shipping place, but only if we took Broad Street. By the time we made the 8 miles, nearly an hour later, Thurn’s was already closed. By the time we finished filling out all the forms we needed for the Brazilian consulate, it was almost 2pm. So of course, Worthington was out of the question.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a wasted trip from a foodie perspective. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very familiar with that part of town (Broad Street, just past Bexley, east of James Rd). My first discovery was the Broadmoor Market – we had passed by it, and I wanted to check it out – I’m a sucker for family run groceries that have been around 50+ years because you can find some real treasures in these places. This is no exception.

broadmoorsign

The second we walked in, we were smacked in the face with the smell of the most mouth-watering rotisserie chicken EVER. We couldn’t resist the call of the chicken, and decided to get one to share during lunch.

broadmoorchk

At $5.99 each, it’s certainly not the cheapest rotisserie chicken in Columbus, but it’s certainly the best tasting. They use WondeRoast methods and seasoning, and don’t ask me why, but unlike most rotisserie chicken I’ve had, the flavor isn’t just on the surface of the skin – it permeates through the meat down to the bone. Finger licking good, indeed. Broadmoor Market is worth a stop for the chicken alone.

But they have tons of other stuff too – cheap but really tasty sandwiches (the sausage sandwich with mozzarella is a steal at $1.99, and uses their terrific homemade Italian sausage), other hot foods, deli meats, and some of the most beautiful tenderloin I’ve ever seen in my life. I didn’t need any Saturday, but I’m definitely going back soon for both some tenderloin and ribeye steaks. They carry a large assortment of groceries, but the right side of the store is where it’s at. :)

In sort of the same shopping center is a Block’s Bagels – I’ve been looking for good bagels for a while, and while Panera is okay in a pinch, they aren’t NY style bagels by any strech of the imagination. These are. They have a plethora of flavors, and their own homemade spreads (the vanilla is excellent!), more combinations of sandwiches and salads than you can shake a stick at, and defintely the best bagels I’ve had since moving here from NJ (where one can easily get a proper NY-style bagel). I got some bagels to take home with me on Saturday, and this morning when I made this sandwich (chive onion-cream cheese, green lettuce, turkey, munster, bacon, vine tomato, and sun dried tomato spread on a garlic bagel), the bagel was still fresh as ever, and absolutely delicious.

bagelwich

I need to find more places like this, or at the very least, visit parts of town I’m not familiar with. I wonder how many other places like these Columbus has that I’m not even aware of?

If you’d like to go: Broadmoor Market, 3521 E. Broad St, Columbus, 614.231.2924; Block’s Bagels, 3415 E. Broad St, Columbus, 614.235.2551.

Quick Update

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Admin, Travel

Just a quick note to let you all know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. Due to a HUGE jump in airfare cost, I had to reschedule my surgery for earlier in January (I’ll be leaving January 2nd, and returning January 23rd), and the past week has been all about arranging travel, trying to score tourist visas for Brazil, and general craziness. I’m heading to the winter farmer’s market at Worthington today, and will probably be blogging about it soon.

Sorry for the lag in posts, and thanks for being patient with me. :)

Menu for Hope 4

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Charity, Food Blogging Event, Meta

 

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I’m pleased to be able to participate in this year’s Menu for Hope fundraiser.So what is Menu for Hope? This description from the organization’s Facebook site explains it so much better than I could:

“Just for $10, you can feed a hungry child (for over a month), and, if you’re in luck, Ferran will show you his toys. Yes, as in Adrià.Menu for Hope is an annual raffle in support of the UN World Food Programme, with fabulous prizes from food bloggers, food lovers, restaurateurs, and chefs from around the world. Last year, Menu for Hope raised over $60,000 for the WFP.

Here is how it works. You donate $10, we give you a virtual raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Try your luck at lunch with Harold McGee, or a visit with Ferran Adria at the fabled elBulli test kitchen in Barcelona, or get a virtual sheep your very own, or many other amazing foodie prizes from food bloggers around the world. The more you give, the better chance to win.

Our beneficiary, the World Food Programme, is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good.

Funds from this year’s Menu for Hope will go specifically to support the school feeding program in Lesotho. We chose to back this particular program, not only because providing food at schools help the kids, particularly girls, stay in school, but also because the WFP is making a concerted effort in Lesotho to source food from local farmers practicing conservation farming methods. We feed the kids and support their parents farming. What’s not to like in this? See more information here

Menu for Hope 4 will run for two weeks, from December 10-21.

Go to Chez Pim on December 10 to check out the prizes, or to Firstgiving directly to donate.

 

UC05-250
 

My contribution to this year’s Menu for Hope is a $100 gift certificate to Penzey’s Spices, which can be used in one of their many retail locations, online, or over the phone after looking at their catalog. They ship both to the US and internationally, so this one is open to anyone worldwide. They have over 250 spices, herbs and seasonings, awesome quality and selection, so there’s something here for everyone.

In the morning, you’ll be able to visit a complete list of prizes at either Chez Pim, or the list of all Central US prizes at Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Update: I’ll be out of the country on the 9th when the winners are drawn, so I’m sending the certificate to Kalyn to forward to the winner – if you are the lucky one who wins, contact her directly to arrange for delivery of your prize.

Here’s how to participate in A Menu for Hope:

1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at Chez Pim. (Check the morning of December 10 to see all the prizes.) – if you’d like to choose the Penzey’s gift certificate, my prize code is UC05.

2. Go to the donation site at First Giving and make a donation.

3. Please specify which prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form. You must write in how many tickets per prize, and use the prize code. (Each $10 you donate will buy one raffle ticket toward any prize.For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02. Please write 2xEU01, 3xEU02.)

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win.Your email address will not be shared with anyone. Check back on Chez Pim on Wednesday Jaunary 9 for the results of the raffle.

Good luck, everyone – and thank you in advance for your generosity!

HomeGrown Gourmet #3: Roundup!

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Eating Local, Food Blogging Event

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I had the honor this last month of hosting the food blogging event Homegrown Gourmet #3, with the themes of pies and tarts. I received 4 great entries, mostly using pumpkin. So without further delay, here’s the roundup:

Lisa's Kitchen's Pumpkin Pie

Blogger Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen in Ontario, Canada made a lovely Pumpkin Pie out of local pumpkins.

P1010198-tarts2

Sarah of What Smells So Good?, also in Ontario, Canada, contributed these tiny Canadian Decadence Tarts, which is a butter tart (kind of like a cross between sugar pie and pecan pie), which she filled with raisins. This recipe is characteristically Canadian.

Columbus Foodie's Apple Tart

I made an Apple Tart Normande with mostly local ingredients. It turned out very buttery and tasted great using local Ohio apples.

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Gretchen of Canela & Comino in Lima, Peru made Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Pastry Crust using a Cooking Light recipe that she’s had for years. She also used fresh local pumpkin to make her pie.

And finally, the contribution that I chose as this round’s winner :::drum roll:::

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Michelle of the blog Greedy Gourmet in the UK sent in this Creamy Leek Tart, which is her first attempt at a pie or tart! So simple, and looks delicious! As the winner, I challenge Michelle (should she choose to accept the honor) to pick the theme for the next round, host it and judge the results.

Thank you everyone for contributing these awesome dishes, and for adding to my collection of recipes I’ve got to try. :)

HomeGrown Gourmet #3: Apple Tart Normande

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Eating Local, Food Blogging Event, Food Porn, Recipes

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For this edition of Homegrown Gourmet, which I hosted this month, I decided to make an apple tart with mostly local ingredients. I sort of expected it to be a little more custardy on top, but it was delicious and buttery nonetheless. Stay tuned for the roundup of the event coming within the hour.

Columbus Foodie's Apple Tart

Apple Tart Normande
recipe courtesy Recipezaar

For the sweet tart crust:
14 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2 1/3 cups flour
1 pinch salt
3 tablespoons sugar
4-5 tablespoons ice water
2 egg yolks, beaten with the ice water

For the tart filling:
1 1/2 lbs tart apples, peeled and cored
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the custard:
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons calvados or cognac
confectioners’ sugar

To make the sweet tart crust, in a food processor, cut the butter into the flour. Add the salt and sugar. Do not overwork. Add the egg yolk and water mixture little by little. Process 15-20 seconds. Turn the pastry out onto a floured board. Blend the pastry by pressing it into a ball and kneading it quickly with the heel of your hand until no lumps remain As with the pastry, work as quickly as possible, and use as little additional flour as possible to avoid toughening the dough. Chill the dough at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Prepare the pastry and line the tart pan, line the pastry with aluminum foil and weight it with dried beans or rice or pie weights, bake for 12 minutes.

Slice the apples into 1/8″ lengthwise slices. Mix the apples with the sugar and cinnamon and arrange in concentric circles in the tart crust Bake for 20 minutes or until the apples begin to color.Cool while preparing the custard.

To make the custard, beat the egg and sugar until thick and pale yellow. Add the flour and beat until smooth. Add the cream and Calvados and beat until smooth. Pour the mixture over the apples and return to the oven. After 10 minutes, sprinkle the top with confectioners sugar. Continue to bake 15-20 minutes until the custard is set and the top is browned Serve this tart warm.