Eat your way, through the day.

There are some days when I just throw in the towel and embrace the oh so satisfying food coma. Yesterday was one of those days. It was a day when I got to spend time with my favorite people and enjoy sharing conversations over big plates and sweet treats, only to then tuck myself in with my food baby and my forever memories.

With Mama in town for the day, although always special but recently more frequent, I was so happy to have my eating buddy with me. Even though the two of us could spend every minute of every day talking about food, we are uncharacteristically indecisive when it comes to picking a restaurant, especially when lunch is involved. Maybe it is because I have lived along the Main Line my whole life, and she spent 22 years of married life as a Main Line mommy, but it always seems difficult to settle on a place to have more than just a fast casual lunch!

After much consideration, the feeling was Asian and the choice was Azie on Main, something lunch fancy, but high quality.

Or so we thought…..

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Updates.

I am spending as much time as I can find today updating the different pages a top the site! The content needed a bit of a revamp and of course I had a few new photographs to add to the mix, especially of the GtoG mascot.

Thank you for reading!!

And the winner is…. !!

If you ask me do I get a thrill from competition? Yes. Do I like to compete? Truthfully, I would much rather be a fan. It’s not that I avoid competition, but it isn’t something I hold as an important part of who I am.

When it comes to dealing with my recipes though, putting on the gloves sounds just fine to me.

It is time to reveal a few of the big ideas I have baking in my oven right now, or shall I say, let me reveal a few ovens I hope to find myself baking in someday soon.

The Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest 2012.

(About the Contest)

Image from examiner.com

Even though the final rounds of this contest take place a year from now, and I must admit I never use pre-made pillsbury rolls, or crust, or dough – I have been enamored with the Bake-Off since I was a little kid. After further investigation, I am absolutely game for this one, as there are a ton of different products I can use to create a million dollar recipe!

 

The Jelly Belly $10,000 Cupcake Challenge

(About the Contest)

The arrival of Spring means one thing to me, the beginning of cupcake season. Jelly Bellys come in the most beautiful colors and flavors, and it seems that with the focus being on the design and not necessarily the taste, this might be the be the perfect opportunity for me to take a dive into the decorating world. $10,000 for a work of culinary art? What’s not to love?

 

The Real Women of Philadelphia Contest

(About the Contest)

Image from recipegirl.com

Camera friendly, not so much, but I guess there is a first time for everything! Getting a chance to meet the queen of “just add a stick of butter” Paula Deen, and also being able to represent the 215, just by videotaping the piecing together of one of my recipes using the best of the best, Philadelphia Cream Cheese? Yes I can! (I just might need a videographer… Sign ups are open!!)

 

Promise me you guys will be in the bleachers cheering me on?

🙂

 

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When in life you achieve a goal, you celebrate with pasta.

Yesterday was cause to finally cook the pasta I splurged on last month while perusing the aisles of DiBruno Brothers. I never buy speciality pasta for that exact reason… there always has to be some sort of occasion or reason to let these handcrafted, fancifully packaged pastas see their best friend, boiling water. You spend an arm and a leg on some varieties and then they just sit there, like the prince of the pasta shelf waiting for the perfect moment to shine. Well, my Farro Fettucine finally had its 15 minutes of fame as yesterday I really had something to celebrate.
Recently I have fallen in love with the spin bike, something you would not have caught me saying a year ago. It intimated me, it hurt my booty, and truthfully, I was always convinced I was going about it incorrectly. As with everything else in my life, practice makes perfect, and yesterday I finally accomplished the goal I set for myself …. 26.2 miles in under 60 minutes.

My legs were like a blur in the reflection from the window next to me and once I knew I had the finish line in sight, it was one of the best feelings in the world. A marathon plus close to 300 flights of stairs, I clearly earned my R&R for the rest of the night, and for some reason I was also craving a giant bowl of good job pasta.

Favorite Food of the Week.

In my household there is a drawer devoted to chips. The true test of a chip is how long its shelf life, or shall I say, drawer life is. If you see a bag in the drawer more than a week after its debut… chances are it’s a bad chip…. unless it is a Costco sized bag of chips (we aren’t heathens for goodness sake). The stamp of approval comes when a bag is consumed two days after you embark on the usually frightening separation of the seal. Maybe it’s just me, but I have images of chips flying everywhere haunting me each time I break open a new bag…. because I’m a klutz perhaps?

Image from seasonssnacks.com

 

Michael Season’s chips don’t even last a few hours in the vice grip of any of my family members. Credit to Dad for their discovery, and credit to Whole Foods for being our supplier … the first crunch is all it takes to understand why the tag line is “feel good snacking”. You can give them a try in a variety of flavors, like salt and pepper or unsalted, styles, such as ripples or thin and crispy, and they even offer a baked or a kettle cooked option. I think the only thing Mr. Season and his chip factory does wrong is that they are a bit too humble …. time for them to change their tag line to “Feel AMAZING snacking.”

Red Velvet…… Ice Cream?

Tonight’s dinner was amazing.

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I made an oven roasted lemon chicken, seasoned with just some salt and lemon pepper and glazed with a bit of butter and olive oil!

And what is the perfect side to roast chicken? Pan fried red potatoes sprinkled with paprika and sea salt…the extra bit of flavor to complete the meal!

A helping of sautéed edamame with red and sweet onions and a glass of wine, I couldn’t have been any happier.

Until I found this in my freezer…..

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I didn’t even have the proper thought process to grab a bowl before my spoon stuck its nose right into the icy cold treat. Ben and Jerry, you got me! I never fall to your adorable fonts and ice cream names… But this one? Straight into my heart!

If you haven’t tried this delectable pint yet, you are in for a real treat. Described as red velvet cake batter ice cream with real cake pieces and cream cheese frosting swirl ……. I’m a little angel in heaven.

Passed Down: 5 Great Kitchen Tips from the Old World.

We are a people that is constantly editing. We cut and paste, we drag and drop, and we delete and save. If something is bad, there are multiple forums to hem and haw about it. If something is great, word of mouth could be enough to make it extraordinary. If we want to forget something, that is easier said than done, but it is done, every day.

But what about how we save something. We write it down, sure, but we also enlist the beauty and power of practice.

The most worthy traditions of the past are saved through action. Each day I spend in the kitchen I act out so many wonderful and incredibly useful pieces of advice that my Great Aunt Tita brought with her from the Middle East to America, from her childhood, relatives, and housekeepers and from their families and and their youth. For this, I will forever be a better cook, and I will always have a connection to my family and where I came from. Share in them with me… and continue the action of saving something precious.

5 Old World Tips for a New World Kitchen

  1. To remedy a burn on your finger …. as soon as you feel it happen …. quickly put the burn area right onto one of your ear lobes and the stinging will vanish!
  2. To prevent yourself from crying when you chop your onions ….. make sure that the sun is behind your back as you chop! No tears.
  3. To save an accidently burned pot or pan …. fill the damaged dish full with water mixed with baking soda and allow it to simmer on a low fire. The pot will slowly be saved!
  4. To remove the smell of onion and garlic from your finger tips …. after the prep is done, rub your fingers on a metal spoon. No more reminders of the day’s meal left behind on your hands.
  5. To keep your dishes hygienic …. Never clean a dish that had raw meat, fish, or eggs with hot water … always rinse them first with cold water to remove the residue, otherwise it will cook the ingredients on to the dish.. leaving germs and smells.

 

Have other great kitchen tips from your family that you want to add? Comment and let me know! or tweet me @gradtogourmet

 

West Chester Dining: The Pale Horse Gastro Pub.

There is something so enticing about the word NEW. New implies a sense of excitement, curiosity, and originality that no other adjective has the power of gifting to what it precedes.

Although new is not the first word I would use to describe The Pale Horse Gastro Pub on Gay Street in West Chester, it deserves all of the well wishes of that word. Open for 6 months, but just recently graced with a beautiful red sign on its historic facade, curiosity and excitement are definitely part of the vibe. But it is the originality that deserves a chance to shine too, if it doesn’t already just from the slightly morbid, but definitely different name. You aren’t going to find The Pale Horse just trotting into West Chester, it is cantoring, bringing the town that is quietly bubbling to a boil with some of the most delicious cuisines the burbs have to offer, a menu of dishes that stand apart from the other eateries in the neighborhood.

Credit to the owners, a young group of guys, all approaching 30, for adding a spin on what it means to be restauranteurs. The Pale Horse isn’t on its way to becoming just a neighborhood spot, it really could become a second dinner table for families, friends, couples, or beer and wine aficionados alike. The atmosphere lends to it, quaint and simple, but so does the menu and quality of the dishes… you feel like they thought them up just for you.

Tomorrow, the Spring Menu debuts for dinner.

If this beautiful season, signifying the epitdome of the word, new, wasn’t your favorite before…. it will be once you have your fork or spoon head on into some of these items. Fresh, colorful, and totally loveable…. from soups to sinful sweets!

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Strawberry Crumbley Parfait.

For those of you that have sworn of dessert for lent, I give you your oasis…

Just think of this as breakfast (and eat it after dinner!).

In true “Spring Cleaning, Clean Eating” fashion, these past few weeks have involved a lot of research through all my healthy lifestyle books scattered around my room. One of my favorites go-to reads is “The Probiotics Revolution” by Gary B. Huffnagle, Ph.D. He provides quality insight into how consuming a certain balance of probiotics and prebiotics can help your body manage any issue from allergies to immune system disorders, or even just plain old eczema.

Today I am not eating to solve any ailment, thank goodness, but I am eating to take care of myself.

Amongst advice and information are scattered recipes. Crafted by the Dr. is the ultimate recipe for a complete, yet indulgent, way to enjoy the beautiful fresh fruits and berries that are slowly trickling into the produce department. He calls it Fresh Fruit Crunch.

I prefer to think of it as the Strawberry Crumbley Parfait.

Print and Dig In!

 

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Sprin(G)rad) In(T)o) Cleanin(G)ourmet).

It takes a certain kind of person to eat duck fat fried potatoes, handmade pastas, and red velvet everything on a daily basis.

I admire that person. I also am not sure how that person does not have heart failure walking up a flight of stairs.

I love food, yet there are moments when I have to remind myself that it is probably best to love your health just a teensy bit more. As much as I aspire to be the person with the iron clad metabolism and the endless Mary Poppins carpetbag for a stomach, my body is quite revolutionary and would throw up an armed protest if I attempted to play that role….

Spring has sprung and so must I .

I find that Spring is the perfect time to promise yourself a more steadfast conscience when it comes to your kitchen decisions. It is the season when one remembers that yes, there is more than root vegetables and warm comfort food… and settling for hothouse fruits and veggies becomes an overpriced gut rencher of the past. After a season of crop freezes, crappy lettuce, and incredibly expensive produce, I know for sure that I am not the only one that is looking forward to the beautifying of the produce market.

So, for the next few weeks, if you need to find me I am stage left with a daily fresh fruit smoothie, my issue of Whole Living, the broom to brush cob webs off of my running shoes, and a very adorable dog that smells sunshine and waits by the door every afternoon begging for what can amount to, oh just a half marathon through the Main Line.

The new GtoG mantra?

Spring Cleaning. Clean Eating… and of course

All things in moderation.