Guest Post: Stromboli with Chris

You may remember Chris, my sister Allie’s boyfriend, from when I was in California for Chad’s wedding this October. Chris raved to me about his brother’s stromboli, so I asked him to document the process for guest posting purposes. Nearly two months later, I’ve finally gotten it together. Enjoy!

These pics were taken at my house, soon after Sarah was there. My brother Dave was the chef, and his experience comes from cooking for a ton of kids at scout camp and spending time learning to bake in the kitchen of a local college growing up.

You can see the ingredients in the first photo: olives, cheeses, Italian sausage, onions, pepperoni, mushrooms … anything you want really. Experiment!

After cooking the sausage, Dave put a bit of olive oil down on the table and then rolled out some dough. He said that Italian bread dough works best, but he had to work with what we found in the frozen food section of our local grocer.

Next step is to load on all of the ingredients …

… and then roll it up into a log:

We ended up with two of them:

He popped it into the oven and waited for it to turn a golden brown…

(We  just baked the third package of dough as bread.)

Once golden brown, Dave took it out, sliced it up, and … STROMBOLI!!

It was yummy — you can ask Allie if you need a witness!  Blog on!!!  Chris

Thanks for putting this together, Chris! I REALLY want some stromboli NOW.

And yay for guest posts 🙂 Anyone else have contributions for me?

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Lightening it up

By the morning after Christmas, I had pledged to stop getting full!! However, I had breakfast plans at 10am, and breakfast doesn’t just eat itself. Sarah Whiting picked me up at 9:45, and we headed over to Goochie’s to meet Kerri, Katie, and Katie’s husband John.

John ordered a taco omelet, and I thought it was beautiful:

I ordered a large egg white omelet with spinach and mushrooms and a fruit cup on the side:

It was delicious, and I did not feel overstuffed and ill when I finished it. Imagine that!

Once I got back home, I set to work making two pies for the big group dinner at my dad’s house (just like last year!).

I worked on the pumpkin pie (two cups pumpkin, 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta, 1.5 cups fat free ricotta, 2 eggs, 7 figs boiled and blended, agave and spices to taste):

While Sarah Whiting and mom worked on the apples:

I made a millet crust for both pies (recipe here) and topped them with cranberries:

The pies went into the oven for 45 minutes at 375. To be continued (if I feel like it) …

Do you ever get tired of eating?

Festivities

I know I acted all like I was blogging again and then went and disappeared for a week.  Apparently I am not reliable anymore. I didn’t think anyone would notice, but my siblings called last night and expressed their need to know what I am eating, Chris wants to know what happened to his guest post about stromboli (soon, Chris, soon), and my friends want something to read in their downtime. So here I am again 😀

On Wednesday, my early childhood department at work had our Secret Santa swap and potluck breakfast. Belkis taught me how to make mangu (it’s right next to the bagels)!

I love mangu and speak of it often. And it seems that making mangu is not a challenge at all! The night before our breakfast, I made the onions the same way I’ve done them before to accompany yuca. I thinly sliced two red onions and then fried them in olive oil and the juice of a whole lime until tender (this is my coworker Maria’s method — most places use vinegar instead of lime). Belkis picked up the plantains, so I met her in the work kitchen at 8:45 Wednesday morning for my lesson.

We started by peeling at least 10 giant green plantains. Belkis peeled 8 of them in record time using her time-honored authentic Domincan green-plantain-peeling technique handed down for generations in her family. In the same amount of time, I peeled two.

We sliced the peeled plantains once the long way and once the short way and then threw them into a big pot of boiling water with salt. 45 minutes later, the white plantains had turned a brownish yellow, the indication of readiness. Belkis poured out most of the water, and then we went to work mashing. Belkis added some butter and olive oil and a touch more salt and proclaimed our delicacy ready. I heated the onions and served them on the side in a bowl because some people don’t like onions, hmph. 

We had a few kinds of cheese to go with the mangu. Deborah decorated:

We sat around and chatted …

… and then did our Secret Santa exchange:

Pansy was my Secret Santa and gave me a lifetime supply of Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolate balls. I almost cried. From fear or joy, I don’t know which.

Here’s my plate of food (though I obv had some seconds and eighths): three little pieces of Dunkin Donuts (blueberry, pumpkin spice, Christmas sprinkles), Pansy’s fish cake, lots of mangu, champagne cheese, Maria’s Dominican-style eggs with jalapeno, slice of cinnamon roll, and grapes.

And then I was full for the next 24 hours. Sadly, I was forced to eat again a mere four hours later.

Frances has been volunteering at my agency for the past 25 years, and she just celebrated her 80th birthday this past week. We had to celebrate with food, of course.

And especially with carrot cake:

The decorating crew did such a lovely job!

The party started at 3:30, but Frances didn’t get there until 4:20. Dorothy, Lucia, and Elsie regaled us with Christmas carols in the meantime.

I am pretty sure that I grabbed a dark chocolate covered pretzel, broke off a piece, and gave the rest to Deborah.

Finally, Frances arrived!

Of course, I had to leave at that moment to catch my bus to Massachusetts, but I’m glad I got to see her grand entrance. Happy Birthday, Frances!

I zipped down to Port Authority with my too-many-presents-stuffed suitcase and headed north via Peter Pan so I could keep eating too much food forever and ever.

How many food events can YOU squeeze into one week?

Frosted

Thanks for such a warm welcome back!

As planned, I braved the “blizzard” last night so that I could attend Joey and Nicole’s annual Christmas Party. I’ve been hearing about it for ages from Erin Gunn Brennan, but this was the first year I was actually able to go. After an intricate commute involving the subway, PATH, and NJ Transit, I finally arrived to this beautiful sight:

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Nicole had cooked up a storm, and more food kept arriving with every guest. I obviously had some of everything, with everything including cheese and crackers, baked brie, risotto balls with marinara sauce, 3-later bean dip, bruschetta, celery and cheesy buffalo chicken dip (the best!).

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The party had two requirements for entry. First, every guest had to come attired in an “ugly sweater.” Erin Gunn and Allan modeled:

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(Allan decorated his sweater all by himself!)

The appetizer table continued to grow, with spinach artichoke dip …

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… and bacon-wrapped cream cheese toasts …

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… and a taco roll:

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Of course, I was full by the time dinner came out. (Oh wait, did you think all that was for dinner??) There was a 6-foot salami and cheese sandwich, but the real star was Nicole’s penne a la vodka and meatballs!

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I made myself a plate (with tomato-mozzarella salad, too) because I loooooooooooove penne a la vodka:

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And then, Santa arrived!!!!

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Everyone was SO excited:

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Which brings us to the second requirement for entry: a gift for the White Elephant (aka a Yankee swap, headed up by Santa himself).

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I picked lucky #19, and the gift I chose contained two bottles of Jameson. But I’d had my eye on #2’s present:

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Obviously, I swapped my two bottles of Jameson for the cheapest ice cream maker ever.

After the gifts, some brave souls bundled up to go sledding in the backyard:

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Others were less bundled:

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Significantly less bundled:

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Brrrrrrrrrrrrr!!

Rationally, I stayed inside and watched the dinner table transform into this:

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I made myself a dessert plate including red velvet cake, Erin Gunn’s red and green cupcakes, an oreo ball, and a macaroon:

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Mmmmmmmmmm.

A broom became available after a few ornaments met an unfortunate fate, so AK demonstrated his broom bass abilities:

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I finally broke into the liquor supply around midnight:

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The chocolate liquor supply, that is!

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I love everything mini …

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… but it was cuter than it tasted.

Meanwhile, the boxes of beer on the porch primped for their photo shoot:

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Just like in the commercials, as Erin Gunn pointed out:

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Eventually, everyone started to feel too old for this craziness:

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We moved the party downstairs, where I napped on the floor until Erin Gunn gave me permission to go to bed for real.

This morning, there was a mad rush to inhale the breakfast of champions: penne a la vodka, macaroons, meatballs, and PBR:

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I had two plates of pasta, a meatball, and approximately five macaroons. I hope I don’t have to eat again for a long time!

Aftermath:

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24 hours, 30 pounds of food, and unquantifiable amounts of fun after I departed from Brooklyn, I was home again (with my ice cream maker safely in tow). I think a nap is definitely in order 😛

Distractions

Hiiiiiii there! It’s been AGES. I’ve obviously been very distracted from blogging. What has kept me away, you ask? Here’s a summary.

HOMEWORK:

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I had ten million cazillion trillion papers to write and presentations to create. Because I was not interested in doing any work, however, I spent a lot of time staring at mostly blank word documents such as the one pictured above. The homework gave me an excellent excuse to try out some charming coffee shops in my neighborhood. Evidence: cappuccino from Red Horse Cafe and chai latte and vegan peanut butter chocolate cupcake from Roots Cafe.

Another distraction is that I may not have been going to the coffee shops alone, but rather with …

THIS GUY:

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… who happens to be an excellent eater himself:

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And speaking of coworkers, I would definitely consider another blogging distraction to be …

MY JOB:

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And, of course …

MY OTHER COWORKERS:

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But just because I haven’t been blogging, don’t think I haven’t been living a riveting gastronomically social life.

Wine and cheese night at Di’s apartment:

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Brooklyn sightseeing in Fort Greene Park:

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A scoop of Earl Grey and a scoop of cinnamon

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… on the last nice day in Prospect Park:

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So, now that you know where I’ve been for the past month, hold on tight! I am headed out to a Christmas party in New Jersey tonight, and I am under strict orders to blog about it. Maybe I’ll get a post together sometime next year 😛

Do full months ever bypass you completely without asking your permission?