A Facebook friend of mine asked me today how to add variety to her goal of feeding her busy family healthy food. Here’s my response, formatted for clarity:

Breakfast

Baking whole grain muffins in advance and then freezing them works well. I strive to make batches of 24, and favorites include banana chocolate chip and fig/goat cheese. I generally use 2/3 white whole wheat flour and 1/3 AP for other muffins, which gives a really mild whole grain flavor.

Lunch

Make tuna salad or tempeh salad in bulk and keep it around for the week for sandwiches.

Dinner… continue reading

Pan-sauteed fish (or fish in a foil packet) with microwave steamed vegetables.
Whole grain pasta and sauce
Burgers (grass-fed is actually really healthy)
Main dish salad
Roasted chicken (takes an hour, but very little prep),
Nachos (which works great for using any meat leftover from another prep–just put it on chips,

Piada Italian Street Food is a recently started chain started in Columbus, and a new location just opened near us in Cedar Center in South Euclid. Some have dubbed it an “Italian Chipotle,” which is a fairly accurate description. The flavors are completely different from Chipotle, though, and there are many unique, tasty aspects to the restaurant that we have enjoyed over a number of visits.

One chooses an entrée of either piada (an Italian flat bread), angelhair pasta or salad. My favorite is the piada, which resembles a tortilla but, based on the cooking process and yeast, is far more flavorful. Main filling items include fried calamari, fried chicken, rosemary lemon chicken, sausage, steak, vegetarian (all around $7), or salmon ($8.95).

The rosemary chicken and steak both work well as a good base but are not particularly flavorful on their own. The sausage is nicely spiced, and the calamari … continue reading

Lately, this blog has basically been restaurant reviews*. Most days in our house, though, a person has to go to the kitchen and cook something, preferably something that makes the rest of the family happy.

We have many sources to choose from: How to Cook Everything, Food Network, Eating Well or whatever cookbook we’ve been into lately. The list had been getting stale, but Lucky Peach–published by the literary mag McSweeney’s and helmed by David Chang and Peter Meehan–renewed my excitement about food and cooking.

The scope of the magazine is thoroughly catholic–with a small “c”–including literature, anthropology and food science. The most recent issue includes a story by David Simon of The Wire on his journey back to eating pickles and sour cream from his childhood. There’s another story a couple issues ago about the the history of the microwave coffee mug chocolate cake, along with a great … continue reading

For Flag day, a homemade red white and blue popsicle. The two top layers are based on strawberry and lemon sorbet recipes from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop (reprinted here and here). The bottom layer is mixed berry sorbet, the recipe here with some strawberries and blackberry jam thrown in. The lemon layer was especially refreshing with an added subtle sharpness from lemon rind boiled in the sugar syrup.… continue reading

Sarah noticed Melt’s June monthly special was a Bahn Mi. We both work from home on Fridays and are within walking distance of the East Side Melt, so we decided to split one for lunch.

The sandwich contains tender roast pork with plenty of vegetables and complex flavors all around it including pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro and a zingy ginger pesto. The havarti cheese is mild and adds a nice melty element without getting in the way of traditional Asian flavors.

A typical Bahn Mi includes pork pâté. Some people have an issue with this (Sarah does; I don’t), and some places (e.g. Umami Moto) skip it. To me the pâté adds an important moisture and savorinesss. Melt uses vegetable pâté as a workaround, which I thought was just as good (if not better) than pork and reminded me of very good tempura. The only downside was that the … continue reading

I’ve recently developed quite an appreciation for cocktails. During an unseasonably warm 90 degree day, I whipped up a Tipsy Arnold Palmer (using homemade lemonade) that truly hit the spot. And I gained a new appreciate for egg whites and sours from Michael Ruhlman’s Rye Whiskey Sour post.

During all this, I started to doubt my dedication to beer. What could compete with the refreshment of the first cocktail or the complexity of the second?

As Spicehound points out, the roasted malts of beer make it equal (at least) to wine in terms of both complexity and food pairing. And there are plenty of good summer beers for hot weather.

So here’s the giveaway, for two free tickets to the IX center international beer fest. Explain your appreciation for a specific beer in one of the following categories:

(1) Complexity. Example: Dogfish Head’s Santo Palo Marron is the best … continue reading

As a blogger, I tend to be quite concerned with presentation. The key to food and drink, though, is flavor. The picture below of the beer I just brewed isn’t great, and I didn’t take the old labels off any of the bottles I used.

Despite this, though, it’s been one of the tastiest and best-received original brews I’ve made.

Black Ginger Lager

6 lbs. dark malt extract 1 lb. extra dark malt extract (or more dark extract) 1/2 lb. black patent malt 3–4 oz. freshly grated giner 1 oz. Perle hops (boiling) 1/2 oz. Perle hops (flavor) 1/2 oz. Perle hops (bitterness) 1 oz. Tettenang hops (flavor) 1 oz. Tettanang hops (aroma) 1/2 oz. Cascade hops (flavor) 1/2 oz. Cascade hops (aroma) 1 vial liquid lager yeast 3/4 cup corn sugar for bottling

Combine black malt with 1.5 gallons water and bring to 150–160 degrees. Hold for 20 minutes, … continue reading