Tag Archives: featured

#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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Creamy Pumpkin Rigatoni

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The seasonal obsession with pumpkin definitely caters to those with a sweet tooth. Flavored lattes, baked goods, and even the scent from a candle all represent the squash’s affiliation with dessert. While its natural flavor when cooked is mildly sweet, similar to that of butternut squash, the flavor most of us lust after this time of year isn’t really pumpkin at all. The spice squad of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice, collectively known as pumpkin pie spice, are all used to create that notable “pumpkin” taste we’re so familiar with.

I’m not one to pass up a pumpkin scone, but I actually prefer mine in hearty recipes, like soups or sauces. This pasta recipe uses autumnal herbs to flavor a rich sauce and coax canned pumpkin to the savory side.

fall ingredients

Best of the fall.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas

I love showing off the many benefits and highlights of living in Fishtown, and the extensive list of restaurants within walking distance is always the first thing I boast. When my husband and I take friends out, Loco Pez never fails to impress; their kitchen is speedy, and the food is phenomenal and reasonably priced. With a group of people, though, we face a predicament: do we order our usual number of tacos and risk looking like gluttons?

Joe and I easily eat eight tacos each and leave feeling satisfied, not stuffed. It’s hard to hold back from ordering more, so we’ve learned our lesson and share chips and guacamole, too. In a group setting, we first attempt to read our dinner-mates to see how comfortable we can be – Do we order our usual? Should we play it safe and order four tacos each? What if we’re still hungry? In the end, our appetites usually conquer our doubt and we convince our dinner companions to not be shy and follow suit.

This slow cooker recipe produces a slightly spicy shredded chicken reminiscent of the amazing pollo taco at Loco Pez. A homemade version of one of my favorites, I could stuff my face without thinking twice. Read More…

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…

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