Bite-Cap3: The Final Chapter

Bite-Cap3 … well, it is Halloween, the most notoriously themed holiday for “sequels, prequels, and new adaptations”.

As many of you know or saw on Facebook – Sunday was our monthly book club. This months book was a Werewolf book; Mongrel by Stephen Graham Jones

So trying to stay in tune with the book and determine what to make to eat – I recalled a recipe for Braised Cauliflower I had been wanting to try. Which when I remembered, it looked a lot like brains. Which I imagine why when it is photographed it gets special treatment. So that started the menu. With some help from Lidia Bastianich’s cookbook Mastering the Art of Italian Cooking, my variation to her standard recipe for Braised Cauliflower is below. I also checked out several other versions including one at NYT and they all offered options and flavors and cooking technique (oven or stovetop). But I stayed with the style that Lidia’s version offered.

But I couldn’t stop there –

Last week I also caught an episode of Nancy Fuller’s FarmHouse Rules For the  Meaty Intestines – and I thought that would marry well with the brains.

Stuffed Bread intestines – this originated from Nancy Fuller’s FarmHouse Rules shown for Halloween on Meaty Intestines.  But since I wasn’t going to make a slow-cooked pork butt, which is what she used to fil her “Intestines”.  I improvised the stuffing some. (Note: The leftover stuffing is what I mixed with the leftover sauce and onion from the Braised Cauliflower and places around the Brain in the pan)

But the ones I served at Bookclub revised as follows:

Braised Cauliflower Brains

Ingredients

1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons
4-6 ounces chopped Bacon (I use a black pepper thick cute sliced)
1 large onion, large diced
1 large head of cauliflower (keep it whole)
1 can 28 ounces can plum tomatoes (San Marzano work well), plus the amount of one can of water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar (or you can use 1/4 cup red wine)
2 teaspoons Parmagrante paste (omit this if you use wine)

 

 

 Instructions

In a Dutch oven over medium heat:

Add oil and bacon, cooking off until almost crispy, then add onions.

As the onions soften, add red pepper flakes. Stirring frequently.

Open and pour the tomatoes into a bowl and hand crush them ( I left some chunks for affect) and pour entire can, along with adding enough water the fill the empty can with water to the pot.

Pour the crushed tomatoes into the pot and then, adding enough water the fill the empty can with water into the pot.

Add Bay Leaves, Thyme, Rosemary, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and pomegranate paste (You can adapt for personal  taste – if you have red wine handy – swap that out for vinegar and pomegranate paste )

Stir and raise heat to a low simmer, place the head of cauliflower in the center.

Spoon some of the mixture over the head of cauliflower, like you are giving it a bath…

Bring back to a simmer and cover.

Cook for 25 – 35 minutes. It is done when a knife slides in easily.

Covered it will keep warm for a while or turn the heat back on to bring back to temperature when serving.

Serve by slicing or break it up as you please

 

Stuffed Bread intestines

– this originated from Nancy Fuller’s FarmHouse Rules shown for Halloween on Meaty Intestines.  But since I wasn’t going to make a slow-cooked pork butt, which is what she used to fil her “Intestines”.  I improvised the stuffing some. (Note: The leftover stuffing is what I mixed with the leftover sauce and onion from the Braised Cauliflower and places around the Brain in the pan)

Ingredients

Two (2) 13.8-ounce package pizza dough (I removed them from the container and wrapped in loose plastic wrap prior to using)
1 medium onion -small  dice
2 Jimmy Dean Sausage roles ( or any kind of ground pork will do)
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
3/4 cup shredded cheese ( I used  a mixture of Cheddar and Provolone cheeses)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large eggs
1 – 2 tablespoons tomato paste
All-purpose flour, for dusting work surface
All-purpose flour, for dusting work surface
1 box of long grain rice and almond mix
1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds (optional)

 

 Instructions

In a Dutch oven over medium heat

Add oil and cook the pork sausage, break it up as it cooks -but you don’t want is so small that you haven’t any texture.

Add onion, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper stirring frequently.

When done, remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds (optional)

Mix well and leave to cool uncovered (you can make this mix the day before and then use the mix on the day you need it for.While the meat cools, prepare a box of long grain & almond rice mix but omit the seasoning packet. Once made – mix it into the meat & rice mixture

While the meat cools, prepare the box of long grain & almond rice per manufacturers instructions mix but omit or use less than half the seasoning packet.

Once made – mix it into the meat & rice mixture

On the day you plan to bake the “Intestines” off:

On a lightly floured table, roll out the dough into so you cut it into 3-4 in wide strips however long you want them to be. Note: One thing I did was removed the dough from the tobe container the day before so I could let it breathe a bit and soften to room temperature before rolling.

Lay the meat mixture down the center, add shredded cheese alongside it, and the cilantro.

Now seal the edges, keeping the tube affect. Don’t worry much id they look a little ragged -that helps the effect.

Place on parchment covered sheet pans.

Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 25 – 30 min, switching pans 1/2 way through the cooking.

Hints

I especially love the tip from on the recipe – about using a wash of  1 – 2 eggs and 1-2 tablespoon of tomato paste whisked together to make the pre-bake glaze. That is what gave it the “intestinal” color.
Another hint is to use some of the tomato paste and dab it on the precooked bread to give it a “gashed” look.

Afer 5 min cooling, remove and let cool on a rack

Once baked and cooled a bit I laid them out as you saw to create an affect. I also mixed the leftover rice and meat with the sauce to serve it around the “brains” to help soak up the liquids and used a small rack, under the bread, in the serving pan, to keep them semi-dry.

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

Bite-Cap2: What a week! with visits to Academy of Science for Nightlife

Bite-Cap2: What a week! – Part 2

This morning I posted my “What a week! – Part 1” and included a Bite-Cap of the week’s happenings.

  • The launch of the #FoodMemories17 Guest series earlier last week,  
  • A follow up of my TechInclusion “TED” Style talk on Mentorship and LGBT at SF Armory building,
  • Getting a chance to listen to blogger and cookbook writer Cenk from www.CafeFernando.com talk about his newest cookbook “The Artful Baker”, dinner at some fun spots around town, a 5.4 mile local urban hike, an educational trip to the Academy of Sciences for a “Nightlife” event, a look back with a chocolate chip pie and wrapped it all up today with some killer themed food for the monthly book club (but that gets it own entry later this week). It’s no wonder I will be ready for bed early.  So here is a quick visual Bite-Cap…
  • The 5.4-mile local urban hike, and of course the Cholate chip cookie pie

But as I had so much more to share, Bite-Cap2 was required (and yes there will be a Bite-Cap3)

Bite-Cap2 starts with the fun night we had at the Academy of Sciences, Halloween themed Nightlife event …

A few weeks ago we saw the posting NightLife as a Thursday night activity; being a big Peaches Christ fan, it was an easy sell to check it out. But after reading up on the event, we decided to check out how the creatures come out at NightLife with Bay Area Science Festival and Peaches Christ Productions. Now they really did a great job at transforming the place into a perfect freakshow then topped it off with it’s supernatural tribute to ’80s horror movies and creatures even stranger than life. It included a tour of a “haunted museum exhibit” full of scientific curiosities and monsters then wrapping up with the centerpiece of the night—a STRANGER QUEENS drag show and costume contest hosted by local drag legend Peaches Christ.  Overall it was the perfect marriage or crowd, space, and planning.  It for sure has me inspired to check out more of the Thursday night events in the future at Academy of Sciences.

The has lots of fun stuff to see in and do on any day of the week, but the off a Thursday program series called “NightLife, billed as a new adventure unfolding every Thursday night from 6–10 pm” which holds my attention; great for date nights or peoples night out.

Academy of Sciences  (https://www.calacademy.org/) and on Facebook

Not to be outdone – the exhibits themselves were pretty marvelous! My personal favorites were the jellyfish, as part of the Steinhart Aquarium and a visit to the Swamp to meet Claude the albino alligator was pretty cool. I grabbed a few shots without a flash, topside shots but later found out that below the surface they prefer you not take pictures. Luckily the Academy supplies you with them online include a cool video of feeding time with Claude! Note: Claude isn’t white- rather he lacks any pigments at all!

A quick video of those Jellyfish in action

I didn’t take a lot of shots that night. OK, ok,  I took some. Check them out in the carousel below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life on Earth. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum—all under one living roof.
GOLDEN GATE PARK
55 MUSIC CONCOURSE DRIVE
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 94118
Note: Save 42% on admission to the Academy and three other must-sees San Francisco attractions with CityPASS—plus 3-days unlimited Cable Car rides & Muni bus Passport.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Bite-Cap — get it, a Recap my BiteTheRoad week.

What a week!

From the launch of the #FoodMemories17 Guest series early in the week,  some follow up at my TechInclusion “TED” Style talk on Mentorship and LGBT at SF Armory building, getting a chance to listen to blogger and cookbook writer Cenk from www.CafeFernando.com talk about his newest cookbook “The Artful Baker”, dinner at some fun spots around town, a 5.4 mile local urban hike, an educational trip to the Academy of Sciences for a “Nightlife” event , a look back with a chocolate chip pie and wrapped it all up today with some killer themed food for the monthly book club (but that gets it own entry later this week). It’s no wonder I will be ready for bed early.  So here is a quick visual Bite-Cap…

Bite-Cap: 1 Food Memories; Telling Our Story

I had wanted to add a new feature to BiteTheRoad decided to use a more “crowdsourced” approach with a new guest feature called ‘Food Memories Stories Told. The overall idea was to offer a larger scope of unique stories through the common experience of food and eating and invite others to help grow it. (You can also read my initial post about Food Memories here.)

Yes, everyone is welcome to participate. From the novice to more experienced blogger, the home cook to the professional.  Each guest storyteller will share personal themes of food-related memories, recipes, moments of healing, love, transitions, and reflection and post them during the next few months. We will use the hashtag #FoodMemories2017 and all guest posts will be featured on the BiteTheRoad website and on its companion Facebook page Facebook.com/Bitetheroad. I will also share it out via my twitter account @FVStrona,  the BitetheRoad Tumblr and  Instagram pages and of course, I encourage you to share your post to your networks. Our first guest feature went live with Travis’s 81-layer Biscuits.

Bite-Cap: 2 Talking about Mentoring LGBTs in Tech at TechInclusion

I did a 10 min “TED” Style talk and used storytelling as a way to share about the importance of mentorships and mentors for the LGBT person in Tech. It was a great afternoon with so many very cool people present, that it would have been as nice to attend and not speak. I had forgotten how I enjoy the process of planning using the storytelling technique and coaching through humor. It was fun to be back in the San Francisco Armory in this other role, even it I always enjoyed it from my regular one. As a venue – they do a great job with hosting programs. One of the folks snapped a picture of me in motion and I dressed it up a bit and shared about my social media hubs as well. You can check out my post on Monday afternoon of the MentorSF.com/Engage blog to read more and see some of the slides.

Bite-Cap 3: Omnivore Books and The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker

Omnivore Books, (Omnivore Books has a Facebook page as well) here the Bay Area, often hosts book and author events. My pal Brad suggested we check it out last week, and I am so glad we did. This months offer was the newest cookbook from Cenk Sonmezoy, the mastermind and home-schooled blogger behind the food blog Cafe Fernando. With cookbook author and blogger for www.EatTheLove.com, Irvin Lin serving as local Interviewer  – Cenk did some great storytelling behind his masterful cookbook and the powerful images he took himself in addition to the recipes he wrote. If I hadn’t already purchased my copy, I would have put this on my Christmas list. Its a classic trilogy of storytelling, recipe sharing and visual enticements.  The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker is available at Omnivore or on Amazon.

Of course , hile I have finished reading the Artful Baker (Yes, I read them cover to cover like a novel), I did get inspired to pop out an old school Chocolate Chip Cookie “practice” pie. “Practice” as in it’s a recipe I hadn’t tried and it’s that time of the year when I start working on the menu for the Holiday Orphans party in December..

Bite-Cap 4: The weekend wasn’t all about food….

I did manage to get a 5.4 mile urban hike in on Saturday. This trail was a new one for me, but it has been part of Pauls exercise path previously, so it gave me a chance to explore parts of Glen Park that I hadn’t seen before. But I think poor Dino’s little legs might not have been as happy with the walk! I think other than the obvious – it’s what you don’t expect to see that always catches my eye.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

81 Layer Biscuits from Travis

This memory for 81 Layer Bisquits comes from my pal Travis.

Travis and I met here in the Bay Area, and some time back he decided to go back home to his roots in North Carolina. Through the magic of facebook, we stay in touch and he was eager to share for #FoodMemories17. Remember –  If you want to submit your own memory – check out the Sharing Our Memories Post or visit the #FoodMemories17 page for more detials

81 Layer Biscuits

Frank: So Traviswhat is your food memory you want to share?
Travis: I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, and when I think of food memories, one food comes to mind immediately: biscuits. My mother always made fresh biscuits with every meal. We never had biscuits out of a can.
F: So you mean you never cheated and used a can? or those frozen bagged ones?
T: hmm not unless you count playing with store bought biscuit dough instead of playdough at a baby sitters house; hence my nickname “Mama’s Little Dough Boy.”
F: <Smiles> You do know that this will come back to haunt you now that I know that…
T: Yes.. I know.. ok so back to Bisquits.. Several decades later, I still like playing with dough. I often try different recipes. Like many other home and self-taught bakers, at some piont I decided to alter a recipe for biscuits that had become my “go to favorites”. My goal was to see what woudl happen if I added a variation of a flaky pastry technique called lamination.
F: Is that the one that you layer butter between dough for what seems like forever and role it out?
T: Pretty much. If you’ve ever made homemade croissants or puff pastry, you’ll have used this trick. Lamination creates layers of butter in a pastry so that it will “puff” in the oven and give unparalleled rise to dough. If you’ve never laminated dough before, this is a really simple process and the result is so gratifying.
F: Did it work?
T: Sure did. This variation of biscuits have layer upon layer of flaky deliciousness and are perfect paired with any of the classics: tomato biscuit, sausage biscuit, gravy biscuit, ham biscuit, fried chicken biscuit or just the simple perfection of some homemade honey butter. Honestly, I had two of these babies today with nothing on them at all. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. Fair warning, they’re slightly addictive. 
 

81 Layer Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 ¼ Cup Heavy Cream
  • ¼ Cup Unsalted Butter (melted & cooled to room temp)
  • Self Rising Flour for dusting

Recipe:

To make the dough

  1. In large bowl, whisk the AP (All Purpose) Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder & Salt together ’til well combined.
  2. Add Heavy Cream & stir with wooden spoon to form dough. (Note: At this stage the dough will seem slightly dry.)
  3. Knead in the bowl for about 30 seconds.
  4. Lay out a tea towel and dust heavily with SR (Self Rising) Flour.
  5. Turn dough out onto tea towel and form into roughly 8×12” rectangle. (Note: you can do this by hand or a floured rolling pin)

Laminate Dough:

  1. Brush the top of dough with the melted Butter and sift a layer of SF (Self Rising) Flour on top of the butter.
  2. Fold into thirds by taking the bottom third of the dough and turn it onto the middle, then pull down the top third down to create 3 layers, exactly as you would fold a piece of paper to place in a legal envelope.
  3. Press out (or roll out) the dough into a rectangle again & rotate 180 degrees.
  4. Repeat this step 3 more times, remember to brush with Butter & sift with SF (Self Rising) Flour before folding.
  5. In all total you will end up with 81 fold. (First fold creates 3 layers, second fold creates 9, then 27 & finally 81 with fourth fold).

 

Ready for Baking:

  1. Heavily butter an 8×8” baking pan and press dough into pan in an even layer.
  2. Cool in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. 
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Turn dough out upside down onto wax paper.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, cut 9 squares with single quick press through the dough, this will ensure a nice rise.
  6. Place onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper, roughly 1 ½” apart.
  7. Bake approx. 15-18 minutes rotating pan halfway through cooking.

 

Note – the orginal of this recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Cream Biscuits Recipe

 In case some of you have never done the layered dough/butter combination – I found a few youtube videos that will illustrate the different techniques – but in the end, get your hands in it and try for yourself!

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Get Your Food Storytelling & Memories Ready To Share!

Sharing Our Food Storytelling 

That’s right – starting this month I am adding a new feature to BiteTheRoad.com; a communal shared collection called Food Memories Stories Told 2017 that promotes other peoples stories of food, recipes, success and fails. Several folks who already read the blog, had commented about wanting to share ideas and food they themselves had but weren’t up to the managing of a full blog. So I thought it would be fun to allow   BiteTheRoad to offer the “food storytelling” equivilent of my work on Mentorsf.com for the months of October – December. Then revisit it for the New Year.

The Food Memories; Telling Our Story  and Food Memories Stories Told 2017 is part of the BiteTheRoad Guest Series and will be a open format that invites everyone to have a place to share that special recipe, moment, rememerance and even that food mishap still told when people gather. I plan to make super easy –

1) You contact me by filling out a short web-based form,

2) Answer a few strategic questions that will help me figure out what you want ot post, how will be the best way to collect and share it

3) I respond by email or phone with next steps.

Once your content is ready, I work with it to create a post like this and share it out on the BiteTheRoad website and on its companion Facebook page Facebook.com/Bitetheroad. I will also share it out via my twitter account @FVStrona,  the BitetheRoad Tumblr and  Instagram pages and of course I encourage you to share your post to your networks.

So.. Are you ready to share? Come on.. you know you want too….

Get started by visiting the new Food Memories; Telling Our Story How To Page for more instructions. As the posts come in they will be gathered and posted and can also be found Food Memories Stories Told 2017

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Fire & Brimstone week

Early in the week, I started off with some “mummy wrapped” sausage patties. I found this silly recipe on one of those cooking magazines with a Halloween theme and couldn’t resist making them for Paul’s breakfast.

Midweek, with the fires still high and smoke and smell string, I stayed in as much as possible and tossed in a batch of Banana Bread; one to trade with a pal and one to save for us. For our version, I tried a recipe from my roommate’s grandmom of peanut butter frosting and tucked in a few Trader Joe’s peanut butter cups for fun.

With the rest of a busy week on deck, between some planning for two presentations and a “TED” style talk at Tech Inclusion this week, transitions in my own life and workplace and the dramatic unfolding of the devastation North of San Francisco from fires. I have been stockpiling my posts for tonight.

Anginette’s have been on my mind and I wanted to get a test batch up and out. Especially after a pal summed it up so nice on Friday; about it being time for cookies.  So Friday night I mixed up the batter for a batch of old-school anise #anginettes.  Then as the smoke settled back on Saturday, I gave them a quick 10 min bake to cool before glazing them in several colors and flavors. Pickled Avocados. I am gonna blame Ryan Knight’s mom on this today. Tried hers several weeks ago and was amazed. So put up a jar to Sunday dinner.

On Saturday I tossed up some quick Pickled Avocados. I am gonna blame my friend Ryan’s mom on. I tried hers several weeks ago and was amazed at the taste. So put up a jar to Sunday dinner.

😋 Don’t judge till you have tried them.  Note: it’s a perfect solution when you have several not quite ripe enough to eat and not sure you will get to them later in the week.

 

 

Princess Cake meets the bookclub boys with some help from a few friends

For the September Bookclub, we read; Spilled Milk. A story based on the real-life experiences of surviving child abuse, offered challenges for theme food. Especially so as not to also minimize the theme and subject matter.

After some thought, I latched onto a moment in the story where she gets to go shopping and while initially offered a chance at a new doll, she instead opts for a journal. A place to put her feelings and thoughts inside while keeping the outside what others expected of her.

I decided to attempt a retro “Princess Cake”, with a marshmallow fondant, as the dress base for the “pretty outside” covering what the story ultimately illustrates is the more complex and rich inner core. In this case, a cherry–almond nut cake. Ok now shopping for this, I did notice that my bags looked like I had 10-year-old girls at home… but I digress

The recipe I used was an adapted version but you can see a similar one here in the New England Today Blog from Yankee Magazine the only change I made was using almonds and I tend to like dark cherries, so I used the canned version instead of the super sweet maraschino ones they recommend.

As a backup, because every Princess needs a “plan B” I also made a Hot Milk Cake which was from my Mom’s Cookbook, as I had never made this recipe before I wasn’t sure of how it would taste initially. But after some sneaking and testing of the bottom – I found I liked the flavor as well, and while my initial concern was it was underdone – in the end – it had a good texture and could have come out a bit earlier. Since it was already made, it got gussied up this morning to take to our pals “10 year anniversary of meeting” brunch. It also being Castro Street Fair – I figured some pink sugar glitter over a simple milk & sugar glaze with lemon zest would do the job.

In the advent that she didn’t come out, I also knocked out one of my favorite adapted recipes from Martha Stewart for a quick Cheddar Bread. Today’s version had two other kinds of diced cheese and was laced with ground pepper, garlic powder, and herbs to give it a nice savory taste with brunch. topped with some honey-herbed butter – we were packed and ready to walk down to the Castro!

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave