Gridiron Grub: Gearing up

This has been an odd year to be a football fan. With college football ending last January and the NFL lockout lasting through the summer, sports fans have heard incessant talk about the sport but seen very little of it until the last few weeks of preseason games. Because of this, I was ecstatic that I was able to spend last Saturday at the home opener for the Penn State Nittany Lions. I am from Northeast Pa. and Saturday pilgrimages to Beaver Stadium are practically a birthright. The early morning wake-up; the drive through pristine mountains and countryside until the stadium appears on the horizon; thousands of tailgaters sharing food, drinks and stories…..there is nothing quite like it.

Tailgating was in full swing at 9am, the university band was blaring, crowds were cheering and even the first kick-off was returned for a touchdown. There was really only one thing missing at last week’s game: fall weather. At kickoff the temperature was peaking at 90 degrees and felt even hotter with 100,000 of my closest friends packed around. Besides an opening day win, the only thing that made the heat easier to bear was the vendors climbing up and down the stadium stairs with water and fresh-squeezed lemonade for sale. Which got me thinking.

Spiked Basil Lemonade

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100 Ways to Use an Apple

It’s hard to believe it, but September is already here, which means apple season is ripe for the picking. But this year, don’t think just apple pie and apple sauce. Think apple jelly and apple pizza. Apple soup and apple grilled cheese. If you must, go ahead and think apple pie, but at least top it with bacon.

From Endless Simmer and all our favorite blogs around the web, check out 100 ways to use an apple.

Click on the photos for full recipes.

Also Ripe for Fall:
100 Ways to Use Tomatoes
100 Ways to Use Pumpkins
100 Ways to Use Sweet Potatoes

All 100 Ways — 1,200 recipes and counting! — found here.

(Top photo: alvimann)

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ES Haiku

standing in the yard
small hands hold giant slices
juice drips in the grass

I came across this cute little haiku the other day on Garden Path. It was a brief, nostalgic take on the ultimate summer fruit: watermelon. This led to a search of haiku meme and a few minutes looking at various haiku attempts by people all over the web. Most of the haikus I came across were simple and sweet, though I  came across some snarky ones on Twitter called #twaiku. One of my favorite examples was by Twitter User MJ:

Black socks being shown/at the 4 seasons cafe/pure class man. Pure class.

These cheeky twaikus were more my style and so I decided to try a few of my own that were a little more appropriate for ES:


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At the Root of It….

Summer is only halfway over and yet I am already seeing ads for school supplies. I lamented that fact to a friend and it got us talking about the relative simplicity of times when all we had to worry about was new classmates and teachers, purchasing Trapper Keepers and writing essays about what we did on our summer vacation. It’s a shame because it hasn’t been until recent years that my summer’s have been worth writing about.

This summer, in addition to a few vacations and long weekends, I have tried to take some trips right in my own kitchen. You see, earlier this year, our local grocer made a concerted effort to rotate in small amounts of “exotic”  produce that are typically not found in upstate PA. Because of this, I decided that each week I would purchase whatever was new and figure out something to do with it.

There seems to be little rhyme or reason to how each week’s produce is chosen and so my results have been hit or miss. At different times I have been greeted by  tamarind with its beautiful brown pod and fleshy fruit,  pungent salsify, dragon fruit and the kiwano melon (which looks like it is straight out of a 1970’s Star Trek movie). One of the more successful attempts I have had with this rotating produce experiment was when I walked in to find dozens of waxy, starchy pieces of yucca root piled high. While I had never worked with it before, my produce guy Brett said that it was similar to a potato and could be prepared as such.


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Friday Food Porn: Time for the Money Shot

Without a doubt we all have our guilty pleasures when it comes to food TV. For today’s Food Porn, we thought we would share some of the guiltiest pleasures of all….the overdone “money shots” at the end of every Food Network recipe prep. Enjoy!

*Warning- You may want to watch on an empty stomach*

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I’ll Have What the Doctor Ordered

I must admit, I have probably spent more time in hospitals than someone my age should. Whether it has been for professional reasons, my own health needs or to visit others, it seems like every month I am walking along sterile hallways with my shoes squeaking. Despite these regular visits, whenever I think of hospitals, more than anything else, I always think about hospital food.

Truthfully, I love hospital food! At this point you probably have the image of lukewarm, processed fare being wheeled down the hallway in a large blue cart—and immediately think I am crazy.

Typical hospital food is the same as any institutional cafeteria: half cooked grilled cheese, jello, aluminum tasting tomato soup, stale coffee, etc… Not particularly inventive or interesting, but that is part of why I think I love it so much. Hospitals are always stressful and this familiar food is comfort. Maybe it’s even more than comfort. Maybe it is that hospital food allows us to step away from a family or friend’s bedside to find the cafeteria and forget about things for a few minutes while eating chicken fingers and watery honey mustard. Maybe it’s the reality that when you’re admitted to the hospital, it is extremely monotonous and mealtime is one of the few things to look forward to. Maybe it’s just the ironic fact that a lot of hospital food has enough salt and fat to sedate an elephant. Whatever the reason, bad hospital food is a wonderful thing to me.

After I had eaten some overcooked carrots, roast chicken and a lil plastic cup of cranberry juice the other day, I began to think about all these things. We ask a lot of our food. Besides expecting it to taste great, we expect it to nourish and excite us. We derive parts of our identity from food and impart a great deal of emotional heft to it. Sometimes it serves to expand our horizons and sometimes it just brings us a sense of comfort and safety. The fact that you’re reading Endless Simmer today is proof that food means these things to you, and probably a lot more.

As a few weeks pass, I will start sharing some other food and drink experiences and may even find myself railing against the large conglomerates that oversee industrial food services, but for today, I will give them a pass. I suppose that  comforting isn’t always what’s best but sometimes it is just what the doctor ordered.

(Photo: Jayneandd)

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Earth Day Picnic: The Deviled is in the Details

While we have already spent some time on Easter and Passover here on ES, I thought I would spread some love to Earth Day and in particular Picnic for the Planet. This year on April 22nd, in addition to all sorts of Earth Day activities and media stories about kids planting trees on your local news, people across the world are being encouraged to go outside and eat. Picnic for the Planet has organized community picnics in cities throughout the world to get people outside. Heavyweights such as as Mario Batali and Alice Waters have already voiced their support by publishing picnic-appropriate recipes and PSA’s.  I assume my invitation to share recipes was lost in the mail so I decided to just share them here on ES.

I have a complicated relationship with deviled eggs. When they are good, they are divine and when they’re bad, I have to eat a few to confirm my initial opinion. They always take some time to prepare but are simple enough that they  pop up at every picnic and spring gathering  before disappearing quickly. Bite sized, tasty, and with limitless variations, here are a few ideas to spring you into action.

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