Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Food for the Soul

Usually I'd post some Wednesday food news links today, but food news was a little thin this week. Perhaps it's because we're still in between seasons here in the Midwest, with cauliflower and squash nearly behind us, and asparagus, fava beans and fiddlehead ferns just around the corner. Instead, I thought I'd post a little food for the soul today from a book I recently started re-reading: My Life with the Saints, by Fr. James Martin SJ.

Here's some food for thought:

For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.

~Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

I am quite happy to be called an optimist, but my optimism is not of the utopian variety. It is based on hope. What is an optimist? I can answer for myself in a very simple fashion: He or she is a person who has the conviction that God knows, can do, and will do what is best for [human]kind.

~Pedro Arrupe, SJ, One Jesuit's Spiritual Journey

Monday, March 26, 2007

Easter Candy

Yes, yes, I know it's still Lent, but it's certainly not too early to start coveting:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A new flavor at Jeni's

I stopped by Jeni's Grandview shop last night after yoga, planning to purchase a pint of her lemon yogurt to pair with a blueberry crisp I'll make this weekend. But of course I walked out with not one but three pints, including a fabulous new flavor: Butterscotch and Cocoa Nib. The butterscotch flavor is very natural-tasting, and I loved all the little broken-up nibs--so much more interesting and varied than uniform chocolate chips. Cocoa nibs are cocoa beans that have been roasted and husked, but not yet turned into chocolate. They have a chocolatey, smokey, slightly bitter flavor that pairs very nicely with the butterscotch. I suggest stopping by.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wednesday Food News

  • Paella in the Dispatch. (One of the recipe ingredients will shock you.)
  • Rosemary popcorn in Lake. In case you haven't heard, popcorn is the "it" starter in restaurants these days. Bid adieu to the bread basket.
  • News flash: You can cook with cheap wine. From the New York Times.
  • This year's James Beard Award nominees have been announced.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

St. Patrick's Day Recap

Being married to an Irish lad has its benefits, especially when St. Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday. My companion spent the day cooking, and fruits of his labors were delicious: corned beef, of course, cooked for three hours and served with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and onions, and, my favorite, Irish Colcannon and Thyme Leaf soup from this month's Cooking Light. I chipped in by whipping up this Irish soda bread--the recipe, written by Melissa Clark, was in last week's New York Times. I purchased her book The Skinny earlier this year and have made nearly all of her "brown-bag-it" recipes for my weekday lunches. She really knows how to write recipes--I haven't had a bad one yet.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Weekend Eats

I'm grateful for a weekend that was filled with good eats--some made by moi and some made by mes amis. I recommend all the recipes I'm about to mention: Ham and cheese scones paired with sweet corn and smoked salmon chowder (made with Alaskan smoked salmon I picked up while working on this story in Anchorage this summer). Tortilla soup with cornbread from Fresh Market and pineapple coconut cheesecake squares for dessert. (Made by our friends Em and Brian for a Sunday dinner.) We kicked off the night with pomegranate champagne cocktails made with Pama, which I bought at Whole Foods. (Went there on a Saturday--never again!) It was a festive occasion, as we were celebrating the guys' birthdays. It's hard to beat good friends and good food--it just makes me feel like for a few hours at least, all is right with the world.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Salty or Sweet? Try both.

I've been cooking my way through the March issue of Cooking Light at lightning speed. In part this is because the current issue includes lots of quick weeknight dinner recipes. (And in part because brand-new cooking magazines in my mailbox always make me sprint to the kitchen.) My favorite feature this month is a story on salt, with a couple of great recipes of the sweet-yet-salty variety. I baked the sweet and salty peanut chocolate chunk cookies--with fleur de sel being the key ingredient, and my companion made the peanut butter banana cupcakes (called King Cupcakes in the magazine, as they're inspired by Elvis's fondness for peanut butter and banana sandwiches). I highly recommend both these recipes, especially if you like that sweet-salty flavor combination.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Spring is on its way...

...if not outside, than at least at Piece of Cake in the Short North. These cupcakes look like they burst into bloom moments before I stopped in to pick up my companion's birthday cake yesterday. Though the cupcake craze hit other big cities a couple of years ago, it's just now coming to Columbus. Even Starbucks has them. Alas, when I asked if I could take a picture of their bakery case, the staff told me I'd have to go through media relations first! I'll be on the prowl for cupcakes in other locales in the coming days, and I'll be sure to post my findings.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Going beyond Three-Buck Chuck

While listening to Good Food on my morning run I heard about Quaffability, a guide to Trader Joe's wines. I could have used this last Saturday when I made the mistake of shopping at the Sawmill Rd. TJ's a few days after the new fearless flyer came out. Never again. I couldn't even get through the aisles, and they were out of everything. Chicken broth. Sliced mango. Coconut ice cream. Whole wheat pasta. [Yet another reminder of why I hate Sawmill, and only go there under duress or when compelled by a tiramisu gelato craving.] I'll make a weeknight return visit so I can shop for wine in peace, Quaffability's wine picks in hand.