Tag Archives: Food-Competition

2013 in review

So Lindsey and I have been out of commission due to major life changes…moving, new jobs, graduating from grad school, etc. You name it, its kinda kept us from posting. We didn’t stop cooking though…or home-brewing beer…or curing bacon. We’ll be back soon and would like to hear from you. What things would you like to see us post about? In the meantime, I’ll leave this here…

Thanks for being loyal!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 720 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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How do you end a crappy work week?

Scrap the happy hour and get Joe Squared wasted!!! Earlier this week I was checking out Food Network’s Twitter feed and saw that a local spot had received the honor of being one of the nation’s 50 best pizzas. The crazy thing is, I’d been driving past this place for years, (for as long as I was able to drive really) and never once thought to stop. And I’m not sure if the reason I didn’t stop was because this silly Baltimore geographical thing, but I’m going to attribute it to that. There’s this thing where if you’re from the West Side, you don’t really do things on the East Side and vice versa. Luckily for me, the vast majority of restaurants, chain or otherwise are located on the West Side…my side of town. Well Jesus take the wheel!  I no longer have to deal with the likings of Dominoes and Papa John’s for my pizza fix.

See this city's crazy mixed up jigsaw lines...

So anyhow, after I make my daily trek back from the DC area for work, I planned to have a date night with myself…some pizza, a few beers and Rio. “Lionel Ritchie works every time.” I get to Joe Squared and it’s a beautiful evening. They’ve expanded since the last time I drove and even noticed the place. There was a nice little outdoor patio section where people where enjoying drinks and pizza (of course). But once I got inside, this place was far from your average corner pizza joint. They serve everything from pizza to gumbo to cheesesteaks and everything in between. A gentleman was setting up in the corner to play his guitar, live. The bar was fully stocked and with what seemed like more import than domestic choices. Score!

Setting up...

Now based on Food Network’s choice, I ordered the Flag Pizza. And it doesn’t take an Einstein to realize that the pizza is an homage to the Italian flag. The red stripe was made with red sauce and five, count ‘em five cheeses (Asiago, mozzarella, Parmigiano, provolone and romano). The green stripe was a fresh and light treat, made with fresh mozzarella and pesto sauce. And my favorite out of the entire masterpiece was the white stripe. I don’t know what exactly it was, but it was divine…I plan to go back and just order a pizza made like the white stripe. It was white sauce with cheddar, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses. I’m going to assume that the ricotta was seasoned a bit more than everything else, but it was perfect! I wish I hadn’t gotten a small. *sad face*  All six slices and two Stellas later, I was in heaven.

Of course I had to get it with extra cheese. Please and thank you!

Yeah…all of that said, blame it on the alcohol that this ending is a bit abruptly… I’m pregaming before I get ready to go to my friend’s 29th birthday shindig. This shall be one for the ages. And in typical fat girl fashion, I’m hoping that she has cupcakes!!! Happy birthday Quiana!


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Second Place is First Place Loser…

Well not necessarily in this case, but with my competitive nature, anything less than perfect is unacceptable.  So we just had this meatless cookoff competition at work.  I believe it was called “Meatless Mondays Cookoff” to be precise.  Anyhow, that’s not the point…the point is that after much pestering by my friend Allison (who would by the way sell her mother for a free meal) I decided to enter the contest.  I would like to add a little in her defense though that she actually did think I could win and that was a minor factor in her pushing me to enter.

Strangely, the week came and went and the weekend was on the brink of being over.  Somehow I managed to forget that I signed up for this thing, so after playing two long softball games and getting caught in a torrential downpour, I managed to make it to Safeway to get the goods.  My delightful lack of memory left me in a bit of a time crunch, so I decided to make a slight change in my recipe and use fresh spinach instead of frozen.  I think that’s why I didn’t get first, but I’m not gonna harp on it.  Moving along, I picked up this organic, fresh spinach only became it was on sale and I figured I could use the rest in a spinach salad I planned to make for my brunch that upcoming Saturday.

I eats me spinach!

Once I rinsed my spinach and patted it dry, I set out to create the contest winning meal.

Just a few tidbits:

  2. You may just want to use thawed spinach instead of fresh and reach out to me if you have questions.
  3. Please do not lick the screen.

You want to start boiling your lasagna noodles and creating your buttery, creamy béchamel sauce at the same time.  For each tablespoon of butter, you will want flour and once less cup of milk…I use cream for an extra rich sauce.  My formula typically is 5-5-4.  Many recipes will encourage you to heat the flour and butter mixture until is a golden sandy color.  I tend to cook mine til its close to a caramel color, then add the milk cup by cup and it will lighten up.  Cook the milk until its right before boiling (you’ll have to eyeball this).  In between stages and to ward off vampires, I love to add garlic to everything along with a pinch of salt and nutmeg!  Smash some garlic and add it to the melting butter, also to the near boiling milk.  And this is something that you can choose to do, add to or change, but I muddle some basil and add it to the cooking béchamel.

The bitchin' béchamel sauce

Moving along…you should have all of the ingredients together, ready to layer.  Start out by pouring some marinara in the pan.  I kicked it up a notch by adding a sundried tomato paste of sorts.  I just ran some tomatoes, oil, a pinch of salt and some garlic through a processor.

Spread it like so...

Then continue to layer until you complete the last set of noodles and cover thoroughly with sauce so the top layer does not dry out.

Tuck it in...

Bake your masterpiece for about 40 minutes at 415°F.  As I sat in the house smelling the cheese bubble and sauce spill over, yes I said “smell” instead of “watch”, I had to go out for a drive to keep from snatching the oven door off and devouring the pan before it made it to work in the morning.

The dish managed to make it to the office and onto the judging table in one solid piece.  After taking out a few pieces to share with my team,

The Tasty Goodness of My Bitchin' Béchamel Lasagna

I left the pan and my reputation upstairs…after all, the email of the top three was going out to the entire office.  A few satisfied/no longer skeptical teammates and a day later, I was awarded 2ndplace in the Meatless Cookoff.

The could have at least spelled it right...but isn't my manicure nice!

Was I upset that I didn’t bring home 1st, kinda.  But the prize was a $75 Apple.com giftcard…SCORE!  I’m well on my way to that iPad2!!!

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