I was perusing Cake Wrecks this afternoon, and found out about a contest that Threadless is running called “ThreadCakes.” The subliminally creative shirt-makers are hosting a competition for fans to recreate one of their designs into cake-form. While some are refreshingly amateurish, so many of these cakes are absolutely, ridiculously, phenomenally well-constructed. Check out the site to see the corresponding T-shirts they go with (which are ingenious!). Here are a few of my favorites:
A co-worker turned me on to this incredible foodie newsletter/website called Serious Eats. It’s chock full of little news bites here and there, featuring new trends, old trends, new restaurants, old stand-bys, easy recipes, and just general musings on food. I usually take a few minutes out of every lunch break to scan their forums and articles. It’s sublimely entertaining, and written in a casual, conversational tone that really encourages reader feedback and interaction.
My “find of the day” on the site was this Oatmeal Brulee. Simple, quick, and involves fire (which always intrigues me).
photo via seriouseats
Then, for laughs, they posted this video from Funny or Die that features the Blue Man Group (whose particular brand of entertainment I still can’t get behind… sorry, I seem to be the only person alive who really doesn’t have any interest in seeing a BMG performance…) in a “Before They Were Stars”-style video. The Blue Man Group serves up the unsuspecting public some McBurgers… to some hilarious consequences.
All right, so perhaps it’s not the most summery of culinary exploits, but last night, I had a hankering for some creamy risotto. In fact, I’ve been craving risotto for a while, ever since having an out-of-this-world risotto experience this past winter at L’Espalier in Boston. It takes me a while to get around to some things. Of course, I pick the muggiest/hottest week of the year to slave over a gas stove.
My camera battery is dead, so I wasn’t able to get a good shot of the dish. I have to admit, it’s not exactly “pretty.” But man, was it delicious! Slightly sweet, perfectly savory, it’s a great switch from the traditional Pumpkin Risotto.
Sweet Potato Risotto
**Note: Ingredient measurements are approximations**
3/4 tbsp olive oil
2 pats butter, unsalted
1 cup arborio rice
2 cans chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen broccoli
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 can sweet potato puree
Salt and Pepper to taste
Grated pamesan cheese for serving
1) In a frying pan, warm 2 pats of butter and olive oil over medium-high heat, add rice and saute for roughly 2 minutes (stirring every few seconds). Add frozen broccoli one minute in. Stir every few seconds.
2) Add one can chicken broth, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Stir frequently, watching the rice as it soaks up the broth. About five minutes in, start adding in second can of chicken broth in steps, until rice is tender.
3) Fold in sweet potato puree and heat through. Serve with grated parmesan on top.
I just wanted to share the New York Times Magazine piece that Michael Pollan wrote, “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch.” It’s quite a lengthy piece, and has a lot of information to digest (in true Pollan-canon fashion), but is infinitely enlightening when it comes to talking about the cultural divorce we’ve all taken with cooking.
No one cooks anymore! We like to watch cooking, we like to talk about cooking, but ultimately, we like the cooking already done for us. Our appreciation for food has shifted from the process to the final product. And it’s disturbing. This is most scathingly evident on the Food Network where I can bet you 7 times out of 10, you’re more likely to find a cooking game show (like Chopped!) than an actual cooking show. It’s horrendous! And is primarily why I no longer watch that channel. However, I am no saint when it comes to practicing what I advocate (which is cooking).
To be honest, unfortunately, I saw a lot of myself in the Pollan article. I watch cooking programs because I enjoy the spectacle and the sensuality of cooking… but when it comes down to it, I’m more likely to pull out a bag of frozen vegetables, some pasta, and some sandwich meat than attempt the creme fraiche-and-cilantro-topped crab cakes I was just salivating over on the television. I enjoy shows like “No Reservations” and “Man vs. Food” because they sensationalize the act of eating rather than the process of preparation. You would think writing a food blog would make me more apt to cook, but honestly, there are some nights I get home and the task seems so daunting that I just don’t have the patience to figure out a recipe, cook it, photograph it, write about it, and then (finally) eat it. Which is why my posts can be pretty scant/brief/improvisational/pathetic at times. However, I’m sure you’re not interested in excuses. The fact is, our societal view on cooking has changed, and to the detriment of our culture. I am hoping that articles like this, and a bit more dedication from people such as myself, will encourage a cult-of-cooking revival.
College Mogul is having a contest between five Babson College entrepreneurial start-ups. Winner gets three months of free advertising on the College Mogul site, and we’re in the running! Please vote for Recipe Key!