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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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Beer Macaroni and Cheese

I’ve been participating in races for several years now; I love to run 5K’s to support a great cause, the Broad Street Run is permanently on my calendar the first Sunday every May, and I even have a half marathon under my belt and look forward to many more. This past weekend, my family participated in the first annual St. LauRUNtius 5k to support St. Laurentius School. Since we live on the same block as Fishtown’s only Catholic school it was extra exciting for us and the positive energy was contagious.

The busy corners of our neighborhood were lined with volunteers that not only helped direct runners and walkers along the route but also supported participants with encouraging cheers and chants. As I crossed the finish line I felt a huge grin form across my face, not because I completed the course, but because Berks Street was filled with our neighbors and friends applauding each runner racing through the final stretch. I had even more to celebrate when I discovered I was among two award winners: my younger brother placed first and Joe received an alumni award for being the first St. Laurentius graduate to cross the finish line.

I have to admit, running does not come as naturally to me as my loved ones who leave races with ribbons, medals and trophies. For me, running is a healthy activity that allows me to indulge every now and then, and I make sure I reward myself after each race. I may not have won an award, but I felt like a winner with this Beer Macaroni and Cheese. Read More…

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Food plays such an integral role in my relationship, to the point where I may apply romance to things that don’t necessarily ooze love, passion, and all that good, mushy stuff. Every New Year’s Day we order takeout for dinner from our favorite Chinese restaurant and lovingly share noodles from styrofoam containers while we watch old movies in our PJ’s. Sundays for us are usually filled with errands and chores and I sometimes don’t have time to prepare a hearty dinner to prepare us for what’s in store that week; in a pinch, we turn to Taco Riendo for my favorite burritos. Joe’s preference, if asked what he wants for dinner, is always pizza, and the oven baked, Italian flatbread has been a main character in our love story. Read More…

Blue Cheese Walnut Crackers

petizers and hors d’oeuvres are my weakness. Trays full of delicious, petite sized snacks are enticing and I’m usually the girl at the party standing by the displays with a plate full of shrimp tails and used toothpicks. Though I have my favorites, I don’t discriminate: everything from dips to cheese platters to nuggets is fair game.

Last week, I catered an Open House at a beautiful three bedroom home at 2310 Susquehanna Avenue. Thankfully, I have a wonderful place to live and am not looking to pack my belongings to move around the corner, but the capabilities this house had for entertaining caught my eye and were straight out of a home cook’s daydream.

The spacious living room and classy kitchen were a selling point alone, but the rear room of the house, which lead to the large backyard, featured cabinets and countertops with separate beer and wine fridges, a dual stainless-steel sink, and a cable hookup for a flat screen television. Like I said, I’m not in the market for a new home but I couldn’t help but picture myself showing Phillies games on the flat screen while I served family and friends cold ones from the fridge and burgers and dogs from the grill out back.

To highlight the back room I decided to make some Clean Plate favorites and add a few chic additions. For the new recipes, I turned to my Barefoot Contest cookbook. Ina Garden has become a respectable culinary figure due to her show on the Food Network, and thank God she’s allowed the rest of the world in on her tips and tricks for hosting anything from an elaborate dinner party to stylish cocktail party. These blue cheese and walnut crackers added simple elegance to the Open House spread. Read More…

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