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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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Deep-Dish Pizza



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…


I know a good handful of people who’ve traveled to France in the past few months; in my French class alone three people, including my teacher, have visited Paris and other amazing cities in the country. Unfortunately my own plans to travel there have yet to come to fruition but all of the unbelievable stories I have recently heard have me itching to get there more than ever. Though I’ve been lucky enough to hear several accounts of trips to the country, all different but equally dreamy, I’m beginning to have the “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” complex regarding French travel.

A few weeks ago, upon his return from his trip, my French teacher brought a stack of material out of a giant briefcase and reviewed with me maps, guidebooks, and brochures of the amazing places he visited in just over a week in France. Using a guide to the restaurants of Paris, he showed me the places he ate and described for me in detail his meals, which sounded très délicieux. The visions of fresh fish in butter and herbs; sweet, pillowy macarons; and carafes of red wine have had me craving the tastes of France ever since. Even more so, I’ve been itching to expand my repertoire of French recipes.

Bistrot La Minette, a French restaurant located on 6th Street between South and Bainbridge, does an excellent job of bringing authentic French flavors to Philadelphia and the ambience adds to the experience – they have a beautiful, romantic outdoor garden with seating underneath white string lights that makes you forget you’re only several blocks away from the kitschy South Street shops. Of all the unbelievable things I’ve tried there my favorite is their Flammenküche, a rustic French pizza with crème fraîche, onions and lardons (thinly sliced, small strips of bacon). This grilled version of the dish, with homemade crème fraîche, is a great way to incorporate outdoor cooking with French flair. Read More…

Brown Soda Bread with Honey Butter

Planning ahead for Saint Patrick’s Day I did zero research for a recipe, banking on someone in my mom’s family sharing an ancient family dish with me. After all, her maiden name is Brady, so someone had to have a stained, faded, chicken-scratch written Irish recipe hidden in their vault, right? Good food is inevitable at any Brady celebration, and Saint Patrick’s Day is no exception.

My major specifications were: I didn’t want to make a potato dish (because if it serve 6, I’ll eat 3 servings); corned beef and cabbage was out (I have my fair share of each throughout the year); and I wanted to bake. I contacted my Aunt Colleen, thinking if anyone had an original Irish Soda Bread recipe, it would be her. No such luck- though she has many specialties in the kitchen, it seems a Brady family soda bread recipe simply does not exist.

My next inquiry consisted of only Google and persistence; requesting recipes from the popular search engine requires endurance and an open mind. Google’s new “recipe” search function helps a bit, but still, with a return of over 70,000 Irish Soda Bread recipes I didn’t even know where to begin. Before I could develop a list of groceries, or head into the kitchen, I figured I needed to learn the history and tradition of soda bread and why it is important in Irish culinary culture.

According to The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread, the product we see packaged in grocery stores and markets around this time of the year is, most likely, not even bread. Traditional soda bread consists of solely flour, buttermilk, salt and baking soda. Some conventional versions will go as far outside the box as adding butter, but anything with dried fruit, sugar or honey, eggs, or even whiskey sounds more like ingredients for cake. The appeal of soda bread, when it was first created, was that it was inexpensive, practical, and required very little time to make. Additionally, the loaves were baked in bastible pots, or dutch ovens, over a fire. This authentic recipe can be whipped up in less than an hour, including baking time.  Read More…

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