Archive for January, 2013

How to Cook Toast Properly

Posted: January 27, 2013 in Randomness
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Toast Me Thanks to a small boy named Eric, I was forwarded this happy little picture that needed some more attention. I guess it goes along with the title of this blog quite well. Happy toasting!

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White PizzaJanuary 2013

Let’s Start with the Pizza

Although my list of favorite toppings runs short, there seems to be endless possibilities when it comes to creating pizzas. Give me the standard pepperoni pie, maybe add in some bacon. How about a zesty barbeque chicken pizza (without onions) or a meat lover’s option?

They all force me to munch on at least half of the round, delectable object. Yet this time I craved a white pizza. So we were “on the road to” Publix to purchase some random cheeses, and our cart filled up slowly due to my inability to make decisions.

With Martha White deep-dish dough mix created and in an 8-inch pan, it became layered with Parmesan, feta, goat, bleu then mozzarella cheese. The feta, goat and bleu cheeses were of the crumbled variety, and I cannot wait to use more crumbled cheeses in other meals. It did not take long before the kitchen smelled with dairy delights.

Using marinara as a dipping sauce, the pizza brought out a lot of my taste buds. The amount of each cheese used gave it a perfect balance (Cooking shows love that term, balance. It’s like watching people searching for the perfect house on TV. They always say, “this room would be great for entertaining.” Yeah right, like you actually do a lot of “entertaining”). The decision to go with a thick crust was a smart one as well. One change for the future will be to add some Italian spices to the crust, as it did end up to be a tad bland just by itself.

Mac & CheeseOn to the Mac & Cheese

A week or so later and looking to get rid of some of that cheese before it started boasting wonderful smells, I could not figure out how to manage the situation. My original thought was some type of sandwich, or to use the dairy products as condiments on a burger or two. When I opened my cabinet, the answer filtered into my body: mac & cheese.

Using odd choices for this dish can ruin one’s culinary effort, but I still wanted to give it a shot. The end result proved what I already knew, and that was you have to pick your cheese carefully.

Emptying the containers of crumbled feta, goat and bleu cheese, I tossed in a bunch of shredded cheddar to the group. It definitely provided me with a cheesy experience, yet the goat and bleu cheeses were a bad choice. I ate half the plate until deciding that the rest of my appetite should be devoted to cookies.

All in all, using crumbled cheeses was a good choice as it provided a different texture to the cheese sauce. And I’ll stick with normal cheeses in the future.

What You’ll Need – Five Cheese White Pizza

Dough

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Goat cheese

Feta cheese

Bleu cheese

Mozzarella cheese

The Steps

1)      Set oven to 450, and make the dough according to the package’s instructions. In this case we used Martha White’s deep-dish pizza crust

2)      After moving the dough to an 8-inch pizza pan (or circular pan), brush with olive oil

3)      Add about ½ cup Parmesan, then ½ cup of goat, feta and bleu. Toss mozzarella on top. I didn’t measure the cheese, just put on however much I wanted

4)      Bake for about 8-10 minutes.

What You’ll Need – Miscellaneous Mac & Cheese

Your choice of pasta

Margarine

Flour

Salt

Pepper

Milk

Lots of Cheese

The Steps

1)      Boil water and add pasta

2)      Toss in 2 tablespoons of margarine to a separate pan and melt it

3)      Add 1 tablespoon of flour along with a little salt and pepper and stir frequently until it bubbles

4)      Pour in 2 cups of milk, stir frequently and bring it to a boil

5)      Remove from heat and add in about 2 cups of whatever cheese you’d like – or add however much cheese you like – and stir until it becomes saucy.

6)      Sauce doesn’t have to be smooth, and add it to the pasta after it has been cooked and drained

BriarpatchJan. 5, 2013

Neglecting my blog for most of the fall due to work, I was not sure how to pick this back up. I could focus on several eateries I frequented during my travels to places such as El Paso, Tulsa, Toledo and West Virginia (wow, what a disturbing list). From supreme nachos and numerous burgers to basement bars and craft beers, I have a lot of delicious options for my brain.

However, after the meal that currently rests in my stomach I have elected to touch on an establishment by the name of Briarpatch.

Located in Winter Park near the city by the lake called Eola, Briarpatch specializes in brunch. I have never been a huge supporter of this brunch thing, maybe because I feel that breakfast should be available in every restaurant at all hours of the day. Why Sausage McMuffins are not on the menu at 10:31 a.m. is beyond my comprehension.

By the time it is 11 a.m. I usually have transitioned to lunch mode yet on this day Jessica desired to take me to Winter Park for brunch and my craving for breakfast was strong. We attempted to find a table at Briarpatch in the fall only to discover the line resembled the time it takes for me to decide if I want a mint chocolate chip shake or a brownie fudge shake from Steak n’ Shake. We did not want to wait that long.

On this trip, we waited for about four minutes until they sat us in the very back corner, probably because they could tell I would be an annoying customer. The front side of the menu placed in front of my eyes displayed breakfast along with a small adult beverage selection. That included a variety of omelettes, waffles, French toast, fried green tomatoes and scrambles.

Always on the lookout for scrumptious pancakes due to my high school days of chowing down approximately 30 one night in Toledo (and throwing them up 10 minutes later – they were small and gross but I loved them), I ordered up the chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes with home fries. I did not think that would be enough to please my hungry appetite. I was deadly wrong.

When they arrived, the pancakes had chocolate chips on top and in between each layer. The warmth melted them to a smooth richness that blended elegantly together. I barely even touched the maple syrup provided to me. I did not need it. Bring the home fries to the party and my opinion of brunch quickly started to change. Three pancakes proved to be a ton, and I only could chomp on 75% of what laid on the plate. The best pancakes in my lifetime? Quite possibly.

Giving that this restaurant situates itself in Winter Park, the prices were a touch high, but I ultimately admit it was still worth it. A future visit will likely bring me either a grafton white cheddar & sugar cured bacon burger or the blackened grouper. And of course a toasted lager.