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All posts for the month April, 2009

Monster Cookies in Puff PastryMonster Cookies in Puff PastryWelcome back!  It’s Day 9 of Dancing Deer’s CEO Trish Karter’s 1,500 mile bicycle trek from Atlanta to Boston, which she is doing to raise awareness for family homelessness.  Hopefully you’re following her progress on Dancing Deer’s website and hopefully you’re also following these recipes because I’ll keep giving you a new one every day!

Today’s recipe is the second to use Dancing Deer cookies:

Monster Cookies in Puff Pastry

I love puff pastry.  I love absolutely everything about it: the richness, the butteriness, the calories.  Well, maybe not the calories, but whatever!  If you haven’t had a monster cookie, the Dancing Deer monster cookies are amazing treats stuffed with nuts and raisins.  They were really good.

They were better in a puff pastry covered in caramel.

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So I can honestly say that my wife is loving all the Dancing Deer baked goods we got! This recipe came from her!

Lavender Cookie Crusted Lemon Cheesecake

My wife pointed out that lavender and lemon make a great combination, which was the inspiration for this recipe. I have made a number of Oreo and graham cracker crusts, but never lavender cookies. Then the cheesecake makes the perfect complement.

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Okay, so I said I would blog one day for everyday Dancing Deer CEO Trish Karter rode her bike. That includes as I sit in the terminal and type this on my iPhone. (KC internet appears to have a cost associated with it. 🙁 )

The good news? I have a recipe!

Ganache Dipped Shortbread Cookies

Okay, so this is hardly the most inventive recipe, but I want to save the good stuff for when I have two hands to type.

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Grilled CakeWelcome back!  It’s Day 6 of Dancing Deer’s CEO Trish Karter’s 1,500 mile bicycle trek from Atlanta to Boston, which she is doing to raise awareness for family homelessness.  Hopefully you’re following her progress on Dancing Deer’s website.

When I started this crazy adventure, I had no idea that Dancing Deer was more than just brownies.  At my local Whole Foods, all I had ever seen was Dancing Deer brownies, to point where sometimes I want to call the company Dancing Deer Brownies instead of just Danicng Deer.

With that being said, sometimes what you don’t know can hurt you.  As I found out when I learned Dancing Deer makes cake.  Which I turned into

Grilled Meyer Lemon and Raspberry Cake

At first, I just wasn’t sure if I was going to like meyer lemon and raspberry cake.  While I do like lemon cake, I’ve found that the addition of fruit (especially raspberries) can overwhelm the flavors of the rest of the ingredients in the cake.

Ha!  I had no reason for concern.  None.

Quite literally the meyer lemon and raspberry cake was head and shoulders the best cake my wife and I have  ever tasted.  It was moist, delicious, crumbly…it was simply divine.  So it was with a sense of awe that I struck out to improve it.

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I know I’ve been talking a lot about Dancing Deer’s CEO Trish Karter’s ride from Atlanta to Boston over the past week and I will continue to do so for a while longer because I vowed to post about it once for every day she’s on the road.

That includes these little vignettes I call Where Life Meets Lunch.

Today I want to talk about waste because I think it fits into this topic and it’s something with which I am intimately familiar as a food blogger.  I think food bloggers waste food all the time playing with new flavors and generally wasting food in plating and making things look presentable.  Also, maybe I am just talking about me, but I know I cook recipes I don’t necessarily intend to eat just so I can snap a picture.

For instance, a recipe I wrote is going to appear in The Kansas City Star Magazine (maybe even today), and a professional photographer had to come by and snap a pic.  However, I didn’t have the time to fix the recipe so I bought all the ingredients, assembled the dish and let the photographer take his shot.  Then I threw the ingredients away.  Yes it was wasteful, but I simply didn’t have the time for anything else.

In general, I should be more disposed against waste.  Still, as I spend the next week or more writing recipes and sharing facts about children and families who are going without… well… maybe I should be a little more concerned about giving and a little less about consuming needlessly.

As I do this, I also want to just give more.  This, in many ways, will be easier to do than stopping overconsumption.  To give more, I want to remind everyone about kiva.org and the BlogWellDone lending page (I took this idea from 101Cookbooks.)  Also, shortly Anna Bassaham and will be doing a service project involving food and fashion.  And in general, I think I’ll just try to give a bit more food to others less fortunate than I.

Not much of a Where Life Meets Lunch, I realize, but I find when I promise things on the blog, they happen.

Enjoy!

Best Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich EverWelcome back!  It’s Day 4 of Dancing Deer’s CEO Trish Karter’s 1,500 mile bicycle trek from Atlanta to Boston, which she is doing it to raise awareness for family homelessness.  Hopefully you’re following her progress on Dancing Deer’s website.  As a point of personal pride, I would like to say that I did, in fact, post on the 22nd.  WordPress has it recorded on the 21st.  Just sayin’.  🙂

Anyway, for today’s entry, we’re going to make:

The Best PB&J Ever

Why are they the best ever?  Because we’re making them with Dancing Deer brownies.

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Peppermint Brownie ParfaitAnd we’re back!  It’s Day 3 of Dancing Deer’s CEO Trish Karter’s 1,500 mile bicycle trek from Atlanta to Boston, which she is doing it to raise awareness for family homelessness.  Hopefully you’re following her progress on Dancing Deer‘s website.

Anyway, family homelessness is a sour subject, but maybe we can add a little sweetness with:

Peppermint Brownie Trifle

Now, I realize technically my picture is a parfait, but you know, this is my blog and I get to make the rules!  And yes, I don’t own a trifle glass so I can’t really make a trifle.  But the concept is the same.  Take delicious Dancing Deer peppermint brownies (for which my wife pines during the year since they only sell them in Kansas City during the Christmas season), add layers of peppermint whipped cream, and crushed peppermint candies and you have dessert.

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Caramel Brownie Phyllo CupsWell this is officially of Day 2 Dancing Deer’s CEO Trish Karter’s 1,500 mile bicycle trek from Atlanta to Boston.  She’s doing it to raise awareness for family homelessness while I am writing for the next fourteen days to both share her story and to evangelize Dancing Deer products.  Even before I found out about the ride, I loved Dancing Deer brownies.  Now I’m proud to tell the world about their products and to share this recipe for:

Caramel Brownie Phyllo Cups

So me, the master un-baker, really got excited about this recipe since it was a way to use that oven thingy to make a dessert without actually having to bake.  Yay science!  I also got to use the little decorative phyllo cups you can find in the freezer section at your local grocer, which I think look cool.  (BTW, we’re not done with phyllo.  Not by a long shot!)

Now, for this recipe, I used the peanut butter brownies because I like peanut butter and caramel.  My wife (who ate about 8 of the cups) said she would have preferred caramel or chocolate chunk brownies, but obviously she wasn’t too concerned.  🙂
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Dancing DeerSo, there’s a lot going on in this blog post today. Let’s start with:

Dancing Deer Brownies (@DancingDeer) Tagged Me

First and foremost, I was tagged to talk about comfort food and home. Which you know I think I might just be able to do! But I’ll get to that in a second.

Dancing Deer Tagged Me For a Good Cause

Dancing Deer CEO Trish Karter is going to be riding her bike 1,500 miles from Atlanta to Boston in order to raise awareness for family homelessness, in particular this cause (see: http://tinyurl.com/dzynh5). She’ll also be recording stories from the women she meets along the way asking them about their experiences. One question she’ll ask them are what foods remind them of home.

And I Get to Eat Brownies

I could not be more excited that for the next two weeks, I am going to be writing about Dancing Deer brownies everyday and doing what I can to help raise awareness about family homelessness.

Then Share The Recipes With You

Dancing Deer was great. They gave me more brownies and cookies than I have ever seen in my life, so stay tuned for some recipes made from some of the most AMAZING brownies, cookies, and cake in the world. (Seriously, I’m not just saying that.) We’ll be featuring brownies baked in phyllo, ice cream sandwiches, brownie ice cream, trifles, and who knows what else I have up my sleeve.

Even better, all the recipes are made from cooked brownies which means no baking for people like me!! Cooked brownies FTW.

Okay, with that said, I’ve been tagged and it’s a sacred obligation.

Foods that Remind Me of Home.

More than anything, the food that reminds me of home is Cincinnati-style chili. If you don’t know what that means, apparently Cincinnati started what you might know as chili mac, or taking macaroni or spaghetti noodles and covering them with meaty chili, cheese, and raw onions.

Let it be known that for years, I despised Cincinnati-style chili. And I blame my father.

See, at first I liked it just fine, but as a young boy, WE NEVER HAD SPAGHETTI WITH MARINARA AT HOME. We only had spaghetti topped with chili. I would beg my father to make regular spaghetti… but no. It had to be chili. And half the time it was chili from a can.

(At this point I’d like to thank Dancing Deer for dredging up painful childhood memories. ;))

So fast forward a few years to my adulthood. See, when you fly back from Columbus, OH to Kansas City, MO you have a layover in Cincinnati that is usually long enough to grab dinner. A very tired me is in search of dinner when I happen to come across a giant mural that reads “Cincinnati Style Chili” with a hunger-inducing image of a big steaming bowl of noodles, chili, cheese and onions. And I start to drool.

At that point, all I can think about are all the great times I’d had as a kid eating Cincinnati-style chili with my Dad. I guess sometimes travel delirium makes it so you only remember the good times. And there for a few minutes in a busy airport after I’d been traveling for several days, I knew that I had found a little piece of home a nice person could serve me in a bowl.

With that being said, I still vow to never serve Cincinnati-style chili in my own home, but at least I have something to look forward to when next I travel.

And I Choose to Tag

Okay you Stupendous Seven, here’s who I am going to tag:

  1. Anna Bassham www.shoesmitten.com @ShoeSmitten
  2. Kristin www.dineanddish.net @DineAndDish
  3. Gourmet Girl www.gourmetgirlmagazine.com @TheGourmetGirl
  4. Cook Local www.cooklocal.com @CookLocal
  5. Anne Coleman www.cookingwithanne.blogspot.com @Anniepooh
  6. Rachel Ferrucci touchd.net @RachelFerruci
  7. Courtney Ferrucci cferrucci.blogspot.com @cferrucci

**And the rules**
Link your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
* Share what food reminds you of home
* Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
* Let them know that they’ve been tagged
*Please Copy and paste the description below:
Dancing Deer’s Sweet Home Initiative raises money for scholarships to help educate homeless women and end family homelessness. As a part oft his initiative, our CEO, Trish Karter, will be riding her bike 1,500 miles from Atlanta to Boston visiting family shelters in each city to raise awareness about this cause (see: http://tinyurl.com/dzynh5 ). She’ll also be recording stories from the women she meets along the way asking them about their experiences. One question she’ll ask them are what foods remind them of home.

Good luck! Now, come back tomorrow for my first recipe. You won’t regret it!

So last week I got the chance to eat at The American Restaurant where I had a pretty darn good meal (read my review here.  I actually used the word supercalifragilisticexpealidocious.)  And while Chef Debbie Gold was the star of the evening, there someone else whose company I found very enjoyable: Mister Willie, who has tended bar at The American from the day it opened thirty-five years ago.  In fact, he was handpicked by the owners for the position even before the restaurant opened.

Willie is everything you would expect a man who had worked thirty-five years in one of Kansas City’s finest dining establishments to be: calm, courteous, patient, and quick with a story.  He was more than game for the challenge of keeping my water glass full.

When we weren’t sitting and listening to the piano player fill the restaurant with soft melodies, he and I talked about food and life.  He told me how he taught himself to cook and where to buy a deep fried turkey.  He told me about his grandkids.  All his grandkids. 

We talked about the twelve to fifteen chefs (by his recollection) who had run the kitchen since it opened (he gave thumbs up to Chef Gold) and we talked about the interior design of the restaurant.  He assured me that The American looks now how it did when it opened and that it would look the same fifty years from now.

Chef Gold taught me about lamb belly, molecular gastromy, and ramps.  Willie taught me about the restaurant’s soul.  I am deeply grateful to both.

I don’t think there are many Willies left.  Do you anyone who has worked in the same place for the last thirty-five years?  How about someone who has worked at the same place six nights per week from the afternoon until the late hours of the night?

No, probably not many Willies left.  But for now, you, too, can meet Willie and shake his hand.  He’ll serve you with a kind word and he’ll hum to the piano whether he realizes it or not.  In all the glamor, finery, and great food that is The American, Willie will be at the top of the steps, keeping people’s drink glasses full and their faces smiling.

And despite the spectacular view, when next I go to The American, I’ll be sorely tempted to take my seat at the bar instead of at the table so that I can talk some more with Mister Willie.