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It is possible that this summer, I am leaving Boston. As of right now, I have no idea. Even if I stay, I will likely not live in the same apartment, same neighborhood, the same job…

this has two food-related implications.

A) I have started a mental Eat This Before You Leave List. All the places in Boston I’ve been meaning to try out…

and

B) I am already getting nostalgic for my favorites and wanting to eat them all the time, knowing that my time might be running short.

Add those two together, and it is clear that I will be leaving Boston quite plump and quite broke.

Today, an ode to the Clover Foodtruck that parks outside of my school.

Chickpea fritter sandwich, I love you.

Hummus, warm falafel, carrots, cabbage, pickle, tahini sauce, whatever else is in there…

you’re the best.

I will miss you.

 

 

When I was in Cleveland Park this weekend, seeing The Hunger Games (I could wax poetic about it FOREVER but I’ll let Jessica do that; it’s more in her wheelhouse), my moviegoing buddies brought me to a shop I’ve never been to before. Vace is an Italian deli, meaning: Homemade pasta, pizzas and meats.

Photo from DCist. Thanks guys!

I don’t have to tell you about how tasty homemade pasta is (the nice folks at Urban Spoon can do that for me), but I did pick up some pistachios and a bake-at-home spinach lasagna. Hoooo-leeeey poop. This lasagna has lasted for days, and the noodles were so fresh, even though the thing was near-frozen. They didn’t go overboard on the ricotta or sauce, and everything stays together and doesn’t slop around when you cut it. It has been delish. Three pounds anything is probably too much for a lone wolf like myself, but it has been more than worth the money. Will definitely be stopping by to try the pizzas, bags of noodles and homemade pesto in the future.

Any neighborhood joints calling your name?

-Lindsey

When last we checked in, dear food blog, it was the beginning of Lent and I was all aglow in paczki memories. I must admit to you, however, that last Friday, I knowing committed the Catholic faux pas of eating meat. (NOTE: Mom thinks this is a bullshit rule, and so do I. Mama Woho’s take: “God doesn’t judge us for eating meat.  That is a man-made rule….it is not a commandment or beatitude….and come to think of it, they may be man-made too.” She is so wise!)

I figured God wouldn’t mind, regardless, because I was going to be having real Texas barbecue.

A few months ago, my dear friend Alesa and I were talking about places we had never been. We both mentioned Austin, and she said, “But what if we just went? NO SERIOUSLY. What if we went?” And that’s how our trip to SXSW happened. Couple this with an interview I did with a really cool guy named Boyd Bush, who mentioned at the end of our conversation, “If you’re ever near Austin, my family and I will take you for a great barbecue.” Do not idly offer me food, sources! I will take you up on it, every time!

So on Thursday, Alesa and I scooted on down to San Antonio, stopping at the Alamo and Riverwalk for the afternoon. Then we drove on up to Austin, where her friend graciously put us up. We went downtown for all the hot sxsw action. I was food-truck focused: I wanted to find the truck Paul from Top Chef owns. Alas, it was not meant to be, but I did enjoy fried chicken, wrapped in a waffle, taco-style, from a Lucky J’s trailer. The chicken had a kick and the waffle was just the right amount of malty. Plus, the girl working the window had an amazing skull-and-crossbones tattoo on her leg. The crossbones were bacon. Bless.

Friday morning, I met with Boyd and his family at the Salt Lick in Round Rock. If you didn’t watch this season of Top Chef, a) I don’t know what’s wrong with you, and b) you missed out on the Salt Lick episode, where the contestants cooked on the restaurant’s all-night outdoor barbecue pit. I was super-stoked for the MEATS, of course, but the real reason for the trip out to Round Rock was to give Boyd his copy of the magazine: He’s on the cover in April! And he’s my first cover story! (I’ll link to the story when it’s published online in a few weeks.) I don’t post too much about my work, but this was an exceptional occasion, and Boyd and his family were just so warm and genuine. He seemed pretty tickled with the story and photos, too.

Boyd and me, with our cover story. His lovely wife took this photo! Please excuse my rumpled appearance; I was about to rock out later that day.

The Bush family advised me on ordering, and let me tell you, they did not lead me astray. I had brisket so tender you could weep, pulled pork that could never be created in a crock pot, and a rib that made me want to gnaw on the bone for days. DAYS, I tell you! Plus, the sides were pretty good, too (coleslaw had no mayo; potato salad was almost cold mashed potatoes). But nothing beats eating food outside in great company, so that may have clouded my judgement somewhat. Bush family, thank you for taking the time to introduce me to Texas BBQ!

Other big food hits for the weekend:

  • The pad thai taco from The Peached Tortilla. Delightful!
  • Butter pecan pancakes from The Old Pecan Street Cafe. The maple syrup was so real it hurt Log Cabin’s feelings.
  • Homemade warm chocolate-cinnamon-ginger cookies with ice cream at The Snack Bar, which is just too cute. South Austin, I could move to you.

Sorry I didn’t take pictures of, you know, FOOD. But I was really in Austin to meet good people, and rock the hell out. And to that, I’d say: Mission accomplished.

Bonus Ben Kweller picture. He is wasted and ready.

-Lindsey

paczki day!

We’re already a week into Lent, but I can’t get paczki out of my head. Where I grew up, paczki are king. EVERYONE eats them. But when I moved to DC, I was shocked to find out that paczki aren’t “a thing,” and that many of my friends had never heard of these delicious treats. Maybe you’re one of those people. Let me explain.

Y’all know about Fat Tuesday, right? The day before Lent begins, it’s full of delicious food and debauchery, a kind of last hurrah before 40 days of fasting. Paczki are like super-heavy donuts filled with delicious jelly. Traditionally they’re made with lard, and one paczek (that’s the singular) sits in your tummy like a lead weight of regret… and yet, you want more.

I am so lucky to have beautiful, talented, hilarious friends who also love to cook and eat amazing food. My dear friend Ania is Polish, and also misses the “real paczki” you can get from a Polish bakery (as opposed to the imposters you can find grocery stores across the country). So this year, she proposed we make out own.

We spent an afternoon together whipping these bad boys up with our adorable friend Meghan. Ania’s puppy, Buster, served as sous-chef.

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Here‘s the recipe we used. I will walk you through the steps.

You’ll need:

1 1/2 C warm milk

2 packages active dry yeast

1/2 C sugar

1 stick room-temperature butter

1 large room-temperature egg

3 large room-temperature egg yolks

1 TBSP brandy or rum (we used brandy)

1 tsp salt

4 1/2 to 5 C all-purpose flour

1 gallon oil for deep frying

Powdered sugar (optional)

Jam for filling (the recipe says optional but it is lying. Traditional filling is prune but you can use any good jam. We used strawberry and raspberry preserves from Bolton Orchards, near Ania’s parents’ house)

Optional needs: mimosas for enjoying while cooking. Meghan demonstrates:

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Here’s what you do:

Add your yeast to the warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside. Using either a stand mixer or your hand mixer, cream the sugar and butter together until fluffy. Beat in eggs, brandy and salt until it’s all mixed together.

Do that thing where you alternate dry-wet-dry-wet-dry with the flour and the milk-yeast mixture. Beat it all together until it’s super-smooth. The recipe said five minutes, but I say when the dough starts to climb your mixer, that’s a sure sign. Grandma Woho didn’t teach me bread for nothin’. 

Put the dough in a greased bowl. Cover it and let it rise until it’s doubled in size, then punch it down to rise again. Note: The recipe says you can try to cut the rise time down by nuking everything in the microwave. Maybe don’t do that, because when we did, I think we lost some of the air out of the dough.

Ania demonstrates more patience than I have:

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When your dough has risen twice (that’s what she said), roll it out or pat it down to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut little rounds with a biscuit cutter, or, like grandmas do, a drinking glass. Let them rise for about half an hour. Ania’s gran covers hers with a towel, so that’s what we did. While that’s happening, pour your oil into a deep pan and heat it to 350 degrees. When it’s time! Your oil is the right temperature, and your paczki have plumped up a bit, slide them into the oil. Flip them so you can see they’re uniformly browned, then pluck them out and let them drip-dry on paper towel.

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When they’re cool enough to handle, poke some holes into the sides of your paczki so you can pipe in the filling. We didn’t have pastry bags, so we used the very unscientific method of poking holes with a meat thermometer, then spooning in the filling. We dusted the whole thing with powdered sugar to make it delicious and cover any imperfections.

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So next year’s Paczki Day seems far off, but if you’re craving sweets, these little buggers are worth it. And if you can cook with your friends? So much the better.

-Lindsey

So I was checking out the stats on our li’l blog here this morning. Jessica’s posts, overwhelmingly, are the ones people search for, particularly her take on Mark Bittman’s quinoa and her transformation from vegetarian to paleo. By and large, I can only assume that people come to my posts by way of “remy the rat cooking,” “cake ruined,” “homemade poop shit cake,” and a bizarre number of people researching blood in their cats’ stool (though, to be fair, Jessica has a cat, not me, so that might be her too). Whoever came to us via searching “pretty women,” thank you, you made my day.

So I’m not really a hit on the blogosphere! Doesn’t bother me, because a) I always forget to tag my posts, and b) I gotta do me, and “me” is baking. I’ve tried to shy away from it for the last few months, mostly because I don’t want to tempt myself with a whole cake in my house, and also because I’ve started seeing a personal trainer at my gym and I want to prove it’s worth the TOO MUCH MONEY. So I’m only baking when I have somewhere to bring my treats and leave them.

Vegan dinner club this month was Presidentially themed, so because I love Catholics and sluts equally, I thought I’d honor the Kennedy clan with a Boston cream pie. I adapted the recipe I found here, which was very, very thorough. I made my tweaks mostly because I couldn’t be bothered to deal with a few ingredients or steps. It seemed to be a hit last night, so you should absolutely try to make this at home. Fun fact: It does not “taste vegan,” i.e. of twigs and dirt. But nothing at vegan dinner club ever does. They’re champions.

For the cake, you’re going to need:

1 1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 C cornstarch 

2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk (at room temperature)
1 C sugar
4 TBSP Earth Balance
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (you can go crazy here and add a little more; who am I to stop you?)
1 tsp almond extract (ditto!)
4 1/2 tsp of Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 6 TBSP room temp. water (equiv. of 3 eggs)
3 TBSP oil
Here’s what you do:
Preheat your oven to 350. The original recipe calls for a 9″ cake pan, and then cutting the cake in half, but why do that if you have two 8″ or 9″ cake pans? You’re a smart cookie. You tell me what’s easier. Whatever you decide, spray ‘em both with Pam and set them to the side.
In one bowl, you’re going to sift your flour, baking powder and cornstarch together. In a different bowl, add your fake butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and almond extract. (The original also calls for butter extract, and you know me, I frickin’ love my butter, but I was not spending five dollars on 1/8 of a teaspoon for this recipe. Deal.) Beat those guys together until they’re fluffy. Now add your fake eggs and oil and mix it up again. Now you’re going to do that thing your granny taught you: Put in a third of the flour, and half the milk, then mix, do it again, mix, add the last of the flour and mix until smooth. So simple. Pour into your pans, make sure everything’s smooth on top because you’ll be layering later, and pop in the oven. I checked at 30 minutes and they were nearly done. Things may differ in your oven.

This is not a "clean-as-you-go" kitchen.

While that’s happening, make your “custard” and your chocolate sauce (say it like Epic Meal Time!).
For your creme filling, you’ll need:
5 TBSP Earth Balance
5 TBSP shortening (I used butter-flavored Crisco. So vegan!)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1 tbsp tapioca powder (it asked for soy powder, but naaaaah)
3 TBSP tofu sour cream
Just mix this. Yay!
For the chocolate sauce, you’ll need:
1/2 C light coconut milk (it asked for vegan unsweetened coconut creamer, but whatever)
1 TBSP light corn syrup
1 C vegan chocolate chips
pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
So here’s what you do:
Put the coconut milk and corn syrup into a small pot, like your Paula Deen butter warmer, for instance. Let it cook until you start getting a few bubbles around the edges. Quick! Take it off the heat and add the rest of that shizz, and whisk until smooooooth as silver.
To put this delightful beast together, you may have to cut your one cake in half, but if you were the smartest cookie in the land, you’ll just pop your two cakes out of their pans. Pick the ugly one, and cover it with your faux custard. Then, pop the pretty one on top, and cover it in your delicious chocolate sauce. Let that business run all over the sides. We aren’t prim here. You can chill it or not, but you will not be able to stop yourself from eating it.

All that was left at the end. Yours will be prettier, I promise.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe I have some paczki to make. Details to come.
-Lindsey

You guys know I’ve been a part of a Vegan Dinner Club basically since I moved to DC, right? We’ve been over this. It’s a pretty good crowd, and it’s a nice reminder that I don’t need SWEET, GLORIOUS MEATS in every meal. It’s also good to step away from my weekends, which, if I’m not passed out on my couch in front of a Chopped marathon, are usually pretty busy affairs. I think we’ve made a pretty solid argument for “food as communal event” on this blog, so I don’t need to bore you with those details.

That’s why I’m so bummed I missed tonight’s VDC. The theme was “Spreads, Schmears, and Dips,” and I had a hankerin’ for veggies and bread with STUFF on them like you wouldn’t believe. I even had a dish already made! Knock-off vegan Nutella. Sorry dudes and ladydudes, I could not share this Tupperware of what looks…. pretty gross actually.

Tragically, I had a boatload of stories that weren’t going to write themselves for work, so I had to stay home and eat this alone. It’s not as good as the real thing, but it’ll do. I modified the recipe from here.

You’ll need:

1 1/2 C hazelnuts (I would toast these if I were you, to get some oils going. I didn’t, and I regret that decision.)

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 C powdered sugar (I used way more than this, because it wasn’t sweet enough for my taste. Maybe I just haven’t had Nutella in a long time?)

1/4 C powdered cocoa (Ditto)

3-4 TBSP veggie oil (a sweet almond oil would work nicely here, I think)

2 TBSP soy milk (again, use more here for your texture of choice)

What you’ll do:

Pour the hazelnuts (which you’ve toasted like a champion) into your food processor, and process the hell out of them. If you have a powerful food processor, ALLEGEDLY they’ll become liquid. Clearly, my food processor is not that good. Add the rest of your ingredients and kind of mess around with it until you’ve got a consistency you’re cool with. Mine was kind of like peanut butter, which is good for sticking your finger into the Tupperware and eating sans other food. It’s legit, OK?

In all seriousness, I wish I could have shared this with the vegans, if only for them to tell me where I went wrong. Until then, I guess my morning smoothies are  getting hazelier.

-Lindsey

inside my fridge.

Hello! Did we all make it through last week’s super heavy but therapeutic (at least for me!) post? Good. Thanks for sticking around. I’m going to talk about my fridge.

It looks like this on the inside:

 

Not too shabby, right? Probably too much food for a single lady who lives alone, but whatever, it’s my money/house/body, I do/eat what I want! (That includes keeping tomatoes in the fridge, I know it’s a sin, sorry I’m not sorry.)

You’ve probably noticed a plethora of soup in there. I frickin’ love soup so much it hurts. My mom makes the best chicken noodle in the world, and as much as I whined about weeks’ worth of soup dinners as a kid, there is something comforting and easy about a soup lunch or dinner. I’ve been making the magic soup we made in December about once every seven to ten days or so, and then bringing it to work most days. I’m not even bored with it yet! I think there are two reasons for that:

  1. It reminds me of the Polish kitchens of my youth. Aww!
  2. I change it up every day.

Since the base of the soup is super simple (you’ll recall: garlic and onions, any green/crunchy veggies you’ve got around the house, whole cabbage, diced tomatoes) you can play around with it. I’ve been doing half of a spicy chicken andouille sausage some days. Rice every once in a while. I threw an avocado in there a couple of times and it was like tortilla soup without the tortillas! That was pretty great. In the leftovers bowl on the middle shelf there, I’ve got some ground beef (leftover from tonight’s attempt at homemade bibimbap; it was… not the most successful). With a little rice, it’s going to be my lazy woman’s version of golabki (pronounce this go-WUMP-kee), or stuffed cabbage.

You’ll also see a lot of juice in the fridge, left over from my weekend of perpetual sniffles and Patty and Selma voice. Part of my “clean livin’” attempts include healthy breakfasts, so I’ve been doing a smoothie on the way to work, then a small bowl of oatmeal or a Luna Bar once I get there. Don’t worry, I still go to town on Bagel Day at the office. My daily smoothie recipe: plop of yogurt (about half of a little cup or a big ol’ scoop of Greek yogurt, whatever), a handful of strawberries, one small banana, maybe some sorbet (I really like coconut because obviously that’s the least healthy option), and OJ. Blend with immersion blender. 

Also seen but unlabeled: Plum sauce that has been in the fridge since the week I moved into my apartment, sour cream that I only used for mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving and prune juice that I haven’t been brave enough to open yet.

Not pictured: my fruit basket (holds mostly citrus and garlic), cabinet full of baking supplies and the multiple stashes of Gummy Tummies tucked around my kitchen and living room. I promise, real recipes will return at some point. I turn 27 this week so expect some sort of “almost 30!” crisis coming down the pike! I predict: more whoopie pies.

-Lindsey

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