A few weeks ago we got Tipsy a nifty new scratching post so she can really stretch out. Instead of scratching it though she likes to perch on it. The photo is kind of blurry but you get the idea.
It definitely makes you realize how strong and nimble cats are. I mean, I can’t imagine jumping straight up onto a poll that’s 3 times my height and landing perfectly (most of the time).
In short, my cat rules, especially in October.
The poll is back this week! Vote for me to make something!
And a few links to get people through the Friday.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls- It’s the month of pumpkin. And these rolls look very amazing. Pumpkin can add some great flavor and bite to your standard dishes and I can see how they would take your average cinnamon roll to the next level. This is a recipe to bookmark! (@ Baker’s Banter)
Every month in 2009, I am writing a post detailing some specific things about food in the upcoming month.
Fall is upon us and it’s finally starting to cool off to a livable temperature in DC. Fall is by far my favorite season of the year. What’s not to love? There’s apple picking, pumpkin carving, and Halloween!
What to eat in October
Watercress - Watercress is such a great ingredient. It can add a ton of flavor and color to any dish. Its peppery, tangy flavor is especially great in soups, salads, and sandwiches though.
I had one of those weekends last weekend where I ate too much junk food and drank too much booze and come Sunday night I needed to hit the reset button on my body.
For me, hitting that button usually means drinking an absurd about of water and making a really nutritious salad that I can eat for the next few days.
Enter the wheat berry salad. Wheat berries give an awesome texture to this really flavorful salad that includes roasted peppers, roasted garlic and a tangy vinaigrette. It’s health on a plate.
If you aren’t familiar with wheat berries, I guarantee you that you are familiar with their most common application: flour. Basically these are just the whole berries that are normally ground down to produce flour, but you can find them whole in the grain aisle. You cook them a lot like you would cook beans or rice and you end up with a very nutritious final product that has a great chewy texture and light, nutty flavor.
I’ve heard a rumor that crispy oatmeal cookies can match or even beat the soft, chewy, raisin-packed oatmeal cookies that I know and love. I was skeptical (very), but I decided to give them a shot a few weekends ago. The idea behind these cookies is that you use a bit more leavening powder to make the oatmeal cookies spread out during baking and therefore crisp up.
But are crispy oatmeal cookies really good?
YES! And they are stackable.
In the cookie universe, I like to think of oatmeal cookies as healthy. Sure, they have some butter and sugar as all cookies do, but the oats lend a real heartiness and lots of fiber. So they’re kinda healthy cookies!
When I reviewed the Red Sage cookbook a few months ago, I bookmarked a few recipes that I wanted to come back to later. While there are some challenging recipes in this book, I picked a spiced pork chop dish to make for a small dinner party a few weekends ago that I thought would be flexible enough for me to substitute a few things so I wouldn’t have to shop for a million specific spices.
That said, the recipe still has some ingredients that may not be commonplace in your kitchen. But, if you are willing to make a few spice investments, this spice rubbed pork chop is definitely worth the effort.
This was a good plate of food.
There’s really three parts to this dish: The spice rubbed pork chop, the blackberry sauce, and the yam fries. I also made a very simple fresh corn salad that I served with it. I’ll give you that recipe at the end.
Every other weekend, I review a cookbook in an attempt to lend some guidance in a field that has become overrun. These days everyone is writing cookbooks and it’s incredibly upsetting to buy a dud and have it sit on your shelf for years – staring at you, mocking your poor judgment.
I would say if there is one recipe that’s pretty much changed my life over the last year and a half or so, it’s no-knead bread. I make about a loaf a week and Betsy and I use it throughout the week for toast or sandwiches or just to snack on. So I was really excited to read (and cook from) “My Bread” by Jim Lahey, the creator of the no-knead method.
Falling in Love with Bread – The first thirty or so pages of this book are inspiring. They tell the story of how Jim fell in love with bread and how he decided to spend his career bringing bread to American tables. And not just through his bakery. You get the impression that he really wants to teach people how to make life-changing bread. And I can vouch for it. And this is the book that can teach you too.
If you aren’t familiar with FoodBuzz, it’s a website that centers around food blogs and online recipes. You can “buzz” around the and find lots of interesting blogs and recipes.
I used to be more active on there than I am these days, mainly because I just don’t have enough hours in the day.
They just announced the 2009 Foodbuzz awards for food blogs! I dig their categories. Check these out:
Best Overall Blog
Best New Blog
Best Wine Blog
Best Cocktail/Spirits Blog
Best Baking Blog
Best Food Photography Blog
Best Visual Blog (graphic design)
Best Writing Voice
Best Healthy Living Blog
Best Green/Sustainable blog
Best Family Blog
Best Recipe Blog
Best Blogger Humanitarian Effort
Best Community Blog Effort (recognizing blogging groups/challenges/etc)
Most Humorous Food Blog
Blogger you’d most want to:
-Take to dinner
-Cook a meal for you
-Be your personal Sommelier
-Create you a cocktail
-Watch on Food Network
-Watch on Iron Chef
-See open up their own restaurant
-See their blog made into a movie
Those are some serious awards! Now you don’t have to be a foodbuzz member or anything to nominate someone for any one of these awards, but if there’s a blog (HINT!) that you read regularly that you think might fit under one or two of these, you could nominate said blog HERE.
A few links to chew on…
McDonald’s Visualization Map – This has been floating around the Internet the last few days, but it is very amazing to me. The idea that you can go basically anywhere in the U.S. and be almost assured to be within an hour of a McDonald’s is crazy. The farthest you could get from a McDonald’s if you tried? 107 miles. (via Serious Eats and Weather Sealed)
BLT From Scratch- No joke. Chef Ruhlman had a competition over the last few months for people to create their own BLTs… from scratch. That means grow your own tomato, smoke/cure your own bacon, bake your own bread and make your own mayo. Pretty awesome stuff. This is his own version and it looks very amazing. (@ Ruhlman)