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Cinnamon Toast

One morning, I sat at my grandparent’s kitchen table and watched as my Pop-Pop put a few slices of bread in the toaster and slathered them with butter when they were golden brown– not a notable breakfast by any means. He then grabbed a shaker filled with a combination of cinnamon and sugar, sprinkled it on the buttered, crunchy toast and put it in front of me. I can distinctly remember thinking I was beating the system because I was essentially eating dessert for breakfast and, from that day forward, cinnamon toast became one of my comfort food staples.

One of the most basic breakfasts I make, cinnamon toast is effortless and practically impossible to mess up. It can, however, get better with a few extra ingredients, a couple extra steps and way more butter.

The man who introduced me to cinnamon toast deserves lots of kisses.

The man who introduced me to cinnamon toast deserves lots of kisses.

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#TBT: Kenzo Bread

This throwback isn’t all that vintage – the recipe was previously featured in the September 24th issue of The Spirit. Better late than never, right?

Each September, Joe and I attend the Newtown Beer Festival with my friend Kate, her husband, and their family. They live close to the location of the event and graciously host an after-party that’s always more fun than the actual beer sampling celebration, complete with plenty of food to absorb a few hours’ worth of sample-sized brewskis, a great playlist, a bonfire and, of course, more beer.

Things have drastically changed for Kate and I: she is expecting her first baby and, as for me, caring for a two-month old and all-day beer sampling aren’t  a good combination – especially the following day.  This year, Kate served as designated driver and we both hung at her house as the rest of the group celebrated the annual “tour de beer.”

We didn’t exclude ourselves, however, from the awesome menu typically served at Kate’s house, and she and I spent the day eating, chatting, and enjoying the beautiful weather on her back porch as Joey was lulled to sleep by the gentle breeze. In the spirit of tradition, I made an easy bread with the help of a bottle of Kenzinger, which was the perfect companion to Kate’s apple laced, fall salad.

Kenzo bread.

Kenzo bread.

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Brownie Cookies

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting with my sister-in-law Jeannine’s 5th grade class at Horatio B. Hackett Elementary School. The students are learning the concept of word choice and are practicing using descriptive words and phrases to convey specific thoughts. At the beginning of my visit, Jaime Cheafsky, one of Hackett’s student teachers from Temple University (and, coincidentally, our cousin) read aloud from Stone Soup, a fable translated across various cultures in which hungry soldiers progressively persuade villagers to access their personal depository of ingredients and add to a stock pot full of boiling water and stones in order to make them dinner. The class then read aloud from a previously published Clean Plate article as Ms. Beck engaged them with questions regarding vocabulary, context, and the use of metaphors.

Hackett's 5th graders developed descriptive words for these brownie cookies.

Hackett’s 5th graders developed descriptive words for these brownie cookies.

The students’ assignment is to provide their own recipe and incorporate a personal narrative and description, and before they delved into their work I was able to discuss the background of Clean Plate, talk about my writing experiences, and share some tips on how I create my articles each week. The class was incredibly intelligent and interactive, and before I left for the day I figured I would take advantage of the creativity flowing throughout the room and enlist their help for this week’s recipe. I passed around these Brownie Cookies and the students used their senses to help me develop some key words that could paint an accurate picture of what this recipe is like. Read More…

Deep-Dish Pizza

Hefty.

Hefty.

Food competitions based on geographical area are always entertaining. For starters, we all know Philadelphia is the only place on the planet you can get a real-deal, authentic cheesesteak. Imposters in other cities selling “Philadelphia-style” cheesesteaks are frauds and true Philadelphians know better than to even think of ordering the sandwich outside the area, otherwise you’re up for disappointment. New York claims their bagels are something special and even attempts to participate in the soft pretzel category. Personally, I don’t think that’s even worth arguing; Philly’s perfected soft pretzels, too.

We even have a good shot at the best pizza outside of Italy. Fishtown alone has some of the city’s best spots – from Pizza Brain, to Pizzeria Beddia, to the handful of other small shops the neighborhood has been home to forever –  I would say we are lucky enough to never have trouble finding a place close enough that they’ll deliver a quality pie to your door. Until recently, though, our city was not typically thrown into the mix when it came to the great pizza debate.  Read More…

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