Put This on Your Pizza and Smoke It

Need a little inspiration for your next pizza creation? Look no further. This is a pizza topped with jalapeños, soft cooked eggs, and Lil’ Smokies. WHAT? Yup. You could easily recreate this masterpiece at home… the original is from East Side Pies in Austin, TX. You’ll never want another type of pizza again.

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The Last Gasps of Soup Season

I love soup.  My husband does not.  He likes it okay, but he considers it to be mainly a side dish, whereas I would happily eat soup for dinner most nights of the week, particularly if it is accompanied by some nice, crusty bread.  Still, despite his anti-soup-as-main-dish bias, I can usually get away with one day a week where the main course is in liquid form.  I also use a side of grilled cheese as a selling point.

But all that is about to change.  Once the weather officially becomes summer, which here in DC should be in the next week or so, soup is officially off the menu. I understand that, I do.  Who wants to eat hot soup on a hot day?  As for cold soups, well, not so much.  I can’t really refute the argument that gazpacho is basically like eating salsa with a spoon.

Nature has given me a few cold and rainy days these past few weeks, and I have taken full advantage.  My go-to soup recipe is, like most of my recipes, not really a recipe at all.  Don’t blame me, though.  As you can see by the ancient sticky note below, this one has been handed down to me from my mom.

Just in case you can’t make out her scratchy, water-splotched scrawl, I will give you my interpretation.

Cream of a Vegetable Soup

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Grilled Cheese Gone Wild!

Sure, mom’s buttery white bread and American cheese version is a classic, but these days grilled cheese has hit a whole new level. Here are some of our favorite crazy grilled cheese options.

1. Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

Can’t decide between your two favorite cheesy snacks? Have them both with Simply Scratch’s simply amazing jalapeno-cream cheese-onion-sourdough-colby concoction.

2. Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese

Fried inside fried? Yes and yes. Life’s Ambrosia has the recipe.

3. Bechamel Grilled Cheese

You thought rubbing a layer of butter on grilled cheese was indulgent? At Firefly in D.C., chef Danny Bortnick’s cadillac grilled cheese has bechamel sauce spread in between white bread, with garlic-herb butter, aged Cabot, and Gruyere.

(Photo: Dakota Fine)

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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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Gridiron Grub: Roasted Tomato and Chevre Chiles


I can explain the merits of a 3-4 versus a 4-3 defense. I know the 3rd string running back on your favorite team, what college he went to and can discuss why I think his downhill running style will compliment their style of offense. The first professional photograph I ever took was a 10 month old Borracho in a Philadelphia Eagles sweatsuit! I love football and have watched countless hours of games and been to numerous stadiums.

Fans go to stadiums hours (and sometimes days) before games to tailgate. They set up in parking lots across the country with everything from disposable charcoal grills to elaborate set-ups of culinary ingenuity that fill the pre-game air with delicious scents. Once you’re inside a stadium, there are always options; different towns have their own signature foods and some stadiums even go as far as: sushi, Rocky Mountain oysters , lobster rolls, ahi tuna sandwiches and even pork chops on a stick!

While the hospitality is great,  I have seen too many burnt wings, lukewarm dips, stale chips and flat beer. This is the year that I say no more! I am on a quest to sack traditional edibles and up the quality of football food. Some will be familiar gridiron grub, some tributes to various cities and some will come from your suggestions.  Because sometimes you need to call an audible to make something happen.

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I’ll Take that as a Condiment….


Salsa! Like any good condiment — ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, sriracha, horseradish, kimchi, hot sauce, chutney, etc… — we’ve all got a jarred version in the cupboard that we turn to when needed to cover up a dish that would otherwise be a mistake. But a good condiment shouldn’t just enhance our food, it should also be good enough to stand alone.

Salsa, of course, just means sauce, and can come in many varieties. At their best, they’re straight-forward to make, but their beauty is in the abundance of fresh local ingredients available this time of year. Here are my four favorite recipes using the season’s great tomatoes, tomatillos, avocados, corn and more…

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