Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pap Pap's Birthday

Let me tell you a little bit about my Pap Pap (Grandfather, in case you didn't know) - he loved food!  I'm pretty sure he's to blame for my food obsession :)

He passed away in January of 2007, but I still think of him everyday.  Most of my fondest memories with Pap involve food:
  • The cookie tin in his living room that was never off limits
  • Sharing Klondike Bars - I ate the chocolate, he ate the ice cream
  • Eating olives while walking around downtown with him, but secretly spitting out the purple ones!  Later when he spent time in a nursing home I'd bring him olives when I visited, and shortly after he passed away I'd tear up at the olive bar in the grocery store (I still do some times).
  • Thinking he was crazy for scraping the salt off of a soft pretzel and eating tomatoes right out of the garden like an apple (I've since gotten over my hatred for both purple olives and tomatoes!)
  • Eating the biggest crab legs you've ever seen in California at Uncle Joey's house
  • He loved chocolate and preferred it because "You can't see the dirt!"
  • His room was always stocked with secret snacks:  Pringles, Bugles, nuts, etc.
  • Pap and my Dad (his son-in-law) both share a birthday, September 19, and also were forced to celebrate Father's Day together.  Both holidays always involved seafood fests which stunk up the house and/or cabin!
  • Eating calamari - another sharing experience, I'd eat the rings and he took care of the (yucky!) legs.
  • There's a certain place in Pittsburgh that sold tripe (cow's stomach) and we'd always pick it up and he'd eat it in the car, gross!  The smell would make me want to hang my head out the window like a dog!  He always tried to get me to try some but I never did.
  • He had a fig tree in his yard and I was always dying to get my hands on them as a kid.  He'd tell me "they'll be ready when it's time to go back to school!"
While he was in the hospital I was home from college for Christmas break.  We tried to make sure someone was always there with him throughout the day, so one night I took over for Mom and was there with Pap for his dinner.  I fed him his salad, coffee, chicken sandwich, and canned peaches.  He was totally loopy from what I thought was the medicine, but I should have known it was something bigger when he threw his chicken on the ground!  The man who ate the leftovers off of my plate for my whole life threw food on the ground!!!  Mom came back later that night and I left.  Pap passed away at 4 a.m., that dinner I fed him was his last meal.  This post has gotten TOTALLY sad and I apologize!  My point is this:  I was happy to be there with him to give him his favorite thing, food, for the very last time.

So, fast forward to this week: what would have been Pap's 88th birthday.  Drinking in his honor is dumb, the man drank 1 beer a year.  So I honored him with a good, Italian meal:  Italian turkey sausage with onions and polenta - and my favorite dessert ever - cannoli.  Happy Birthday, Pap!

Turkey Italian Sausage & Polenta


Pap & Me

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Assistant & Food Tester

Otherwise known as Bryce, my boyfriend!  I must say he's a lucky guy to reap the benefits of my food obsession!  He's been known to complain about a few extra pounds he's put on since we met, but I have no regrets.  "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach," right?

When we first started dating I suggested we cook and enjoy dinner together at his house.  His place at the time consisted of one health-conscious girl who ate her own grub, and 3 - 4 meat consuming men at any given time.  They would make a huge pot of brown rice and either A) ground beef or B) chicken with one condiment (BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce, ketchup, etc) every single night!  Gross.  So I selected a yummy/healthy recipe for whole wheat pasta with green beans & tomatoes, lemon, and ricotta cheese and we ate dinner together saving plenty for leftovers.  The next night I went over to find the boys eating the leftover pasta which they had added ground beef to!  Way to ruin the light and healthy recipe.

Needless to say, his food intake has changed a bit since then.  I do most of the cooking but I do ask for his help from time to time.  Who knew Bryce is fantastic at icing cakes?! 

He normally won't admit if he doesn't like something I've made, but he'll spend all day picking capers out of a dish!
Telling the mushrooms who's boss.

Enjoying some homemade mac & cheese.
Making deviled eggs on Easter!
Displaying some fried rice.

Taco night!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Potato Pizza

Last Tuesday Bryce and I returned from our trip to the East Coast to an empty fridge.  After an emergency trip to 7-11 to get coffee creamer, it was still a food-less situation on Friday.  The work day was finally winding down and I decided I wanted to cook (in an attempt to do something enjoyable before babysitting Friday night, working Saturday morning, and babysitting again Saturday night - EEKS).  A quick search on the Food Network's website and I came across a recipe for Potato and Pancetta Pizza, MMM! 

I printed the recipe and headed to the store along with hundreds of other we-just-got-off-work-and have-no-food shoppers...  The store didn't have pancetta, taleggio cheese, or pizza dough - 3 major players in the recipe!  After carrying around a package of prosciutto for 10 minutes trying to remember what the hell the difference is I finally gave up.  In an attempt to improvise I bought an already made crust, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and salami.

The result was delicious!  I'm a big fan of potatoes on pizza, which Bryce had never had before but now likes, too.  We added some fresh basil from our neighbor which makes everything better, if you ask me!