Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Feeling All Grown Up...and a Little Lost in the Real Dot Com Sea, Introducing www.4RFood.com

Oh boy, what did I get myself into? My lovely web developer husband was kind enough to help me on my next step of the internet blogging yellow brick road and set me up with my very own dot com. I can hardly believe that I got the domain, and the site is up! Of course it is still in progress since I am learning as I go...man this stuff is complex.

Starting something completely new, that I have no mastery of, makes me feel like I ventured out of my little fishbowl for a swim in the ocean. The tide takes me away to another, disorienting, strange and different local that takes some getting used to.

So if you wanna see me baby step toward the next step in my journey, please check out www.4RFood.com, (oh my gosh, there is no Blogspot behind that, woo-hoo!) and let me know what you think!


Friday, November 12, 2010

4RFood Posting Updates

follow me somewhere new...
Hello out there! Working on my new blog 4RFood, and really enjoying it. Finally having some organization and a format to work makes me feel like my head is finally screwed on tight (for now at least...). For those of you who follow this blog, I would love you to come on over and become a follower on 4RFood!

Here are some links to the articles this week. Click on the links to get there directly. There is a Revelation about Pam Anderson, a Review of Trader Joe's pre-made pie dough, and a Rant on beige food and cavemen (troglodytes).

Again, thanks for checking it out!!!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Confessional, A New Direction 4RFood

Hello to all the wonderful people who take time to read this blog. I must take a moment to express my appreciation to you - thank you for your support, encouragement, for everything. In the time I have been writing this blog, I have learned so much, and you have been a big part of my growth as a writer, cook, and person.

But you know, there are just so many amazing food bloggers out there. Ones that take amazing pictures that make your eyes drool, post recipes every day that inspire cooking and baking, people who do that so much better than I do.

For example: Grace's Sweet Life, La Mia Vita Dolce, look at those homemade baby donuts. Please, if this picture doesn't make you want a little pink-iced sprinkled mini donut, get your eyes checked.

Image from La Mia Vita Dolce
Or this chick, Bellalimento, who makes the most amazing authentic Italian fare and takes pics that make you want to jump into the computer and eat. 

Image from Bell'alimento

I got to thinking that I am trying to fit into a shoe that doesn't fit me very well. I have recipes yes, but not all have really amazing stories behind them. Not all have gorgeous food porn images (excuse the term) to accompany. And it just doesn't really interest me to write recipes, take pictures, tell the story of me and food all the time. Honestly, my hat is off to the people who do this so well - it is not easy!

Beyond the regular food blog recipe, picture, personal story action, like the weird stuff about food, food news, cookbooks, the food bloggers that make me want to cook and bake. I get tipsy with this cool information, I want to share it.

So I got to thinking, and while I started Owl Cook to be a food blog journey to food mastery, I think it was also a path to figuring out what I am actually good at. To figure out what I may have to say that other people would find useful. To tap into the teacher in me, the learner in me, the baker and cook, but also to connect to people through this amazing world of food blogging. And really, who ever can become a food master when Julia Child herself didn't proclaim to be one?

So what is my point?

I have started a new blog about food called 4RFood which fits me a lot better. The 4 R's are Recipes, Reviews, Revelations and Rants about food. Each post will bring you the most interesting information, reviews, news, and opinions on food out there. I hope you will follow me to 4RFood, join in the conversation, and find something useful to your food life.

Again, thank you to all that have supported me through Owl Cook. Here is to allowing ourselves to find the right fit, regardless, and to a new place to be together for our food.

Lindsay Natale

Monday, November 8, 2010

Beware of Trader Joe's Imported Penne Pasta - Stow-Aways on Board

Prepare to be grossed out - yes, I know Halloween is over. This is serious. I do this for public health reasons, and because it made me want to swear off pasta and Trader Joe's for a long long long time. Doesn't that suck? Yes, yes it does.

A few days ago I made a sauce for pasta and grabbed the package of Trader Joe's Imported form Italy Penne. The water had not boiled yet, so I put down the package and then I noticed something moving. Black and moving. Lots of black and moving and some dead, black and not moving.

The completely sealed pasta bag crawled with who knows what kind of little black bugs (see picture below and fill me in if you know), made me lose my appetite. I got out my camera and shot these pictures, but the pre-flash made many of them hide (guess they don't like bright light).
I am sooo thankful that I hadn't just opened the package and poured the contents into the boiling water - how many times had I done that...not looked at pasta before pouring it in? Hundreds. I usually buy Barilla brand in the blue cardboard box, and bugs could totally infiltrate that barrier, but to my knowledge, this is the first pasta bug issue I have had. In a sealed bag to boot. Anyways people, check your pasta before you pour it into the water ESPECIALLY if it is from Trader Joe's.

I am going back tomorrow to return the bug bag of pasta and I am sure they will be as shocked as I was. On the whole, Trader Joe's is a pretty excellent place, but this pasta thing...not cool.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Best, Most Versatile, Biscotti Recipe - FINALLY!

About a million and two years ago, I told you I would post my favorite biscotti recipe, and I am finally making good on that promise! This recipe is sooooooo versitile, you can put any kind of nut (though I suggest chopping them up first), any kind of extract, dried fruits, chocolate chips, pretty much anything, and they will come out amazing. Now go be creative! 

3 eggs
1 cup of canola oil
1 cup of sugar
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons almond extract
1 cup slivered, blanched almonds
1 cup dark chocolate chips.
(option: omit the chocolate chips, and add melted chocolate to the bottoms of biscotti after baking)

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Beat the eggs, oil, and sugar in a Kitchen Aid stand mixer until well mixed and creamy looking.
3. Add the extracts and mix until incorporated.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, then add to the wet ingredients. Do not over mix.
5. Add the nuts and chocolate chips or whatever else you want to add :).
6. Spread the dough onto the baking sheet in two logs. Bake for 18-20 minutes. 
7. Let the logs cool and turn the oven down to 300 degrees F.
8. When cool enough to handle, cut logs into 1 inch wide pieces on a diagonal. Lay them flat on the cookie sheet. 
9. Place back into the oven for 10-15 minutes until they are hardened slightly. They will harden completely when they are cool.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Iron Foodie of 2010 - Coming Straight on for YOU!

Marx Foods and the Foodie BlogRoll are hosting a fabulous contest - Iron Foodie 2010. Let's put it this way, I can't think of a cooler moniker than being called an Iron Foodie. I am in!

Why do you want to compete in this challenge?
I love a good challenge, and a food related one takes the cake. The title of Iron Foodie 2010 alone is well worth giving it a go, but I also want to challenge myself to be creative and share my creations with the readers of Owl Cook. 

Limitations of time/space notwithstanding, whose kitchen would you like to spend the day in and why? Julia Child, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, James Beard, Marie-Antoine Careme, or The Swedish Chef?
Julia Child and the Swedish chef have the best chef voices of all time. It would be awesome to see them try to communicate with each other, wouldn't it? If I had to pick a chef to cook with, I would pick James Beard hands down. He was unapologetic in his personal life and career - I love that confidence and would want some of his bravado to rub off on me like garlic on a crostini.

What morsel are you most likely to swipe from family and friends’ plates when they aren’t looking?
The innermost curl of a cinnamon roll - there is nothing more scrumptious on planet earth.

Sum your childhood up in one meal.
A whole meal, huh? My grandma's mashed potatoes with evaporated milk and jello with banana slices, my mom's chicken pot pie, and grandpa's microwaved vegetables (that I never ate, but appreciated their appearance at every family dinner). Pure Americana.

The one mainstream food you can’t stand? 
Frankenstein pizza (like pizza with hamburger toppings, or barbeque sauce and chicken, or pizzones). Please, keep it simple people!

Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me:
MarxFoods.com -- Fine Bulk Foods The Foodie BlogRoll

After Picture of the 321 Pizza that Started with Raw Sausage

AS requested, here is a picture of a 321 Pizza baked off with sausage in the raw.  You can see how gorgeous the little morsels brown up :) This pizza also has roasted red bell peppers, capers and mozzarella cheese.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Where do you Find Good Ideas for Kids Party Foods?

Google 'Kids Party Food' and what a pathetic lump of links come up. Where are the adorable ideas? The fruit critters? The irresistible hidden veggie something-or-other? I am planning my four year old's birthday party this weekend and want to make things little eyes will be excited to see. One site suggested chicken nuggets. Originality award goes to you my friend! Kids like chicken nuggets? They like pizza? The revelations keep on coming.

Some suggestions go the completely opposite route and suggest celery with avocado dip in place of chips. Yeah right.

I finally found one with promise, Menu in a Box, but to access the recipes for the super cute food, membership is required. I don't blame them - I am getting to the point where I may just join to get some new ideas.