Monday, November 1, 2010

Oh Hey! Look at that Popcorn Party

It is a party. A party in your popcorn bowl!

Stove top popped popcorn. Sea salt. Bags of Skittles.

Skittle Popcorn Party + Walking Dead = Perfecto.

In the first five minutes a sheriff's deputy made a cold and calculated shot to the head of a small girl carrying a doll. Long blond hair, crazy eyes, and a mouth and teeth covered with blood.

(popcorn, popcorn, red skittle, purple skittle)

Within the next five minutes the same deputy- now clad in a hospital gown, encounters a decomposing woman with her legs torn off and guts trailing, crawling on her hands, desperate to eat his flesh.

Crunch. Crunch. Chew. Yes!

Skittle Popcorn courtesy of Jenna Rogers.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mexican Sundaes by Jack Wickes

Photo by Jack Wickes

Just lovely.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tales from a Greasefire

***Due to me just not having my camera around this is just a re-enactment. The role of my pictures will be played by randos from the internet.

It was Sunday night and the Mad Men season finale started promptly at 10. Things were moving along swimmingly, Jenna & Ryan had just put the two Shepard's Pies into the

(one lamb and one ground beef)

hot hot oven set at 450 and my sharp cheddar buttermilk buiscuits were right on schedule to join them. I had just dumped in the baking soda when we noticed that the room had gotten a little smoky.

"Geez, the smoke alarm is going to go off"

We waved towels below the smoke alarm and opened the kitchen window

"Is it supposed to be smoking so much? What is that? "
"It's the shepard's pie. It is dripping oil."

I looked back from the window and dark gray smoke was pouring out of the oven. We continued waving our towels and dancing around, blind from the smoke burning out eyes. No, no - it is just a little oil- it will be FINE.

"Is that fire, like actual fire??"

"Yeah. It is just the oil it will be...OH god. Wow, that is pretty bad."

"Just put a some water on it" said Ryan. in unison.

"NOOOOO, the four of us screamed in unison."

"Wait...grease fire. Is it baking powder or baking soda?"

"I don't know....ooooh i don't want to use the wrong thing."

Smoke was now all over the place and the fire alarm was going on with a vengence. The teaspoon meant for salt I had in my hand with my towel fell to the floor.

***not actually our apartment. Found for free on the internet titled "Greasefire" That guy up there is not true to life either- just funny.

"OH god. Somebody call someone's mom! NOW!!"

Camille raced to the living room. Ring, Ring:

"MOM, Grease Fire - what do you do?

Then with a long drawn out pause and absolutely no sense of urgency....
"Wait, what? A greasefire? Yeah, just a some baking soda....maybe a wet towel"

The minute she said baking soda Matt threw the full contents of my newly purchased baking soda all over the bottom of the oven to save the day! We watched it sputter and die.

Thank god the Shepard's Pies were on the top rack They were delicious and with just a hint of smoky flavor. Thanks to Moms everywhere and bye bye Mad Men. I love you Moms, Shepards pie, and Mad Men.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I am Back and Still Eating Breakfast Sandwiches

This time a Southern one. I have been gone for awhile, I know but I am back and I brought you this. It's a Southern Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon.

1. Biscuit

2. Bacon Bacon Bacon

3. Two Eggs Overhard

4. American Cheese - nothing fancy, please

5. Biscuit

Served by our lovely waitress with tightly cropped hair, multiple face piercings, and a genteel Southern drawl. 3 in the morning, a huge Diet Coke, and side o' these.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cajun Encounters is Not An Ad on Craigs List : New Orleans & Southern Candymakers

If you call to make an reservation to see some bayou wildlife, and a man named Rene wants to meet you at a rest stop next to Lake Pontchartrain, you have called the wrong phone #. Trust me. Dodged that bullet. Image by Mark Laita.

Actually Cajun Encounters was a fantastic non-air boat tour of the Honey Island Swamp, led by a tour guide chock full of eco-knowledge and tall tales. His tales included-
1. raising an alligator in his backyard as part of a conservation project
2. the reason babies don't get eat in Louisiana by gators, but do in Florida
3. finding his old Cajun grandfather dead while fishing in a swamp (just like he had always predicted he would die)
4. The correct manner to harvest the interior of antique upholstery.
5. forcing his friendship on his neighbor Brad Pitt in the French Quarter.
How much was true? All of it - or so I prefer to believe. It is more fun that way.

We saw some of these.

And then- one of these which threw my friend in convulsions. A dragonfly. Spooky scary, I know.

Then back to the French Quarter to Southern Candymakers where we saw some of these:

And the country's best pralines - so says Southern Living Magazine. I can't vouch. Pralines have just not ever been my favorite. But the candy sure was lovely...

More tales for the New Orleans. Thanks blog- I have also been wanting to tell that Cajun Encounters joke for weeks!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


This is a live, breaking report from the opening of "Andy Warhol Enterprises" at the Indianapolis Museum of Art by cub reporter Julia Z. Wickes. Going we type. Based on local NBC affiliate WTRH, this exhibit seems to be an overview of Andy Warhol's career from commercial art to the his death- emphasis on the commercial (P.S. don't read this article. It is really stupid). You got me, IMA. I want to see your exhibit.

It is then only fitting that Shrimp with Tabasco is served at this event. How appropriate that this delicious looking shrimp is served with an individual mini bottle of a branded hot sauce. If Andy Warhol ate or cooked, this is what he would make. Commercial it up! Well done caterer. Well done.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lean Pocketbook Stew, goes perfect with Taylor Ham

When money is tight, my cooking always gets better. I get more creative, resourceful, and frugal, then my Pop's going, money having self would ever be.

I accept this challenge. I will utilize the items in my pantry and STILL make something delicious on the cheap. I made the below list and decided to base this off a South Beach Diet recipe someone posted somewhere.

What I had:

-1 big can of black beans
-1 reg can of garbanzo beans
-1 baby can of tomato sauce
- 1/4 of a yellow onion
-1 medium sized potato
-chicken broth
-Taylor Ham ***seriously, the only protein I had
-chili powder

What I bought:

-1 large yellow onion
-1 clove of garlic
-1 can of diced tomatoes

What I regret not buying:

-fresh tomatoes
-more Daryl Lea Strawberry or Green Apple licorice

I Call it: Fall Time "I Went To New Orleans" Stew

-Peel and cube 1 medium potato.
-Cut up 1 whole medium yellow onion.

Cook up the potatoes and onions in a pan with high sides with olive oil, rosemary and a little sea salt (and Greek Spice if you are related to me)

When the potatoes are about 83% cooked through

-add rinsed off black beans
-add rinsed off garbanzo beans
-add 2/3 cup of chicken broth


-add tomato sauce
-add chopped tomatoes

Stir, stir, stir.

-add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. I like a lot of all those things.

Keep at a medium heat to cook off some of the liquid and then simmer for about 20 minutes or so. Test every now and again to see how cooked through the potatoes are. No one likes a partially uncooked potato, my roommate and I both agreed. Also add in more chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper as you want.

Taylor Ham Part!!

Fry up slices of Taylor Ham given to you by your friends from New Jersey. 1-2 per person.

When the stew has simmered down and the potatoes are cooked through, cut up 2 pieces of porkroll (taylor ham) and spread around the bottom of the bowl. Spoon the stew on top.

Ridiculous. The stew is hearty and savory- and mixed with the ham is too good.

See Virginia, there really is a silver lining to every lean pocketbook.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What We Ate That Day: New Orleans

We arrived early. I arrived at 12 ish and my Chicago friend and my Hawaii friend at 2:30. I arrived hungry but determined to wait. They arrived starving and determined not to wait. We got to the hotel and then...waited. Are fourth friend was just arrived so we then became determined to wait. Our Denver friend arrived. Hurray!

We struck out into the quarter and stopped at the first place that looked delicious. Please note that a mixture of hunger, fatigue, and frozen cocktails has remove my ability to remember the names of any of these places.

We started with the above - fried green tomatoes & shrimp

Mine. I would prefer to eat this all the time.

My Chicago friend (I think) got this one. Shrimp Po'Boy with Fried Green Tomatoes.

Due to my Chicago friend's fantastic job perks we came home to this! This is the best ever, super special Marriott HAWAIIAN CHEESE PLATE! Only for super special people. Thank you Marriott!

Several hours, several frozen or brightly colored drinks, and many dance parties later we decided to eat this.

Thanks for the lovely trip friends!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sbarro Ready Does Have the Perfect Width-ed Pizza: Post Nola Breakdown

I know I am just returning from New Orleans and should be waxing poetic about the crawfish etoufee & beigeighs. But I am not gonna.

I was stewing in the sort of mild depression that can only be brought on by saying goodbye to old friends without any idea of the next visit. Then I was brought to my knees by the news that my connecting flight from Philadelphia to New York-Laguardia was going to be delayed 1 hour. So, completely unlike Buffy St. Marie and Wounded Knee, I decided to bury my heart at Sbarro in the F Concourse at the Philadelphia Airport.

Please note that my pizza did not look like this.

I will say that after 3.5 days of rich foods and fruity drinks with undisclosed amounts of alcohol, the somewhat cardboard-y consistency of a piece of Sbarro's Pepperoni Pizza and a well mixed fountain Diet Coke was a welcome change.

Oily-topped and warmed up in the “pizza oven,” a slice and soda was exactly what I needed. The cheese was lukewarm and the pepperoni was slightly spicy. The crust lacked the beautifully salty taste of New York street slices, but was crispy and the perfect amount of bread. Slices should have a crust that is the width of 1 medium mouthful. Any less and it tastes like a cracker, any more is too much bread.

Hey Sbarro. I admire your mediocre food, bad service and perfectly width-ed crust that only a robot could make. I heart your fountain Diet Coke and I truly respect your business plan of servicing the tired, the frustrated, the hungry, and most importantly the captive audiences of the mall and airport.

New Orleans foodie love is coming. But in the meantime, please bring on the saltines and Alka Selzer for a bit.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stagger Lee & Lloyd Price & New Orleans

Like sands through the hourglass, these are the last hours before I leave for New Orleans. In celebration, here is a cut paper and crayon show to Stagger Lee by native Lloyd Price. First discovered in the movie "Shag," and beloved ever since. Tick...Tock.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Friends of Sweets Society: Jacques Torres Wicked Hot Chocolate Cake

To counteract my baking lazy I have created the Friends of Sweets Society. Or FOSS. I pleaded to my friends and family to please send me their sweets, their baked goods, their tired, their poor, their delicious. We are creating an America for things that cause cavities- one nation bound together by sweets, baked goods, deliciousness, & a childlike need for instant gratification.

F.O.S.S. #1 : Jacques Torres 3 layer Wicked Hot Chocolate Layer Cake

Made by Julia Zollman Wickes on the occassion of John F. Wickes' 59th Birthday

Recipe Not Disclosed for super secret reasons. However, see below for the Jacques Torres description of their Wicked Hot Chocolate.

Wicked Hot Chocolate features allspice, cinnamon, ground, sweet ancho chili peppers, and smoked, ground chipotle chili peppers!

Three layers of cake. Whipped Cream Filling and Chocolate Frosting. Oh. My.
F.O.S.S. #1 just happened. Whether homemade or just particularly neat please send them our way. Calling all sweets, friends!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh the Cheesesteaks We'll Eat: The Philly Fieldtrip

So the other night we drove to Philadelphia on a whim to see Ludo. We heard about pirates and trampolines and zombies. Our faces were melted , frankly. My friend even drank something called Gray Brain Gush.

And then I ate this. To be honest, I had mine with provolone but the version with the whiz made for better photography.

And I ate it here: It was not a Misteak.

We almost went here but did not.

We came and ate and put some Whipped Cream on it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Salted Praline Cookies: When French Potlucks Attack

I have been baking lazy these last few summer weeks. Literally, I have been hot and baking and lazy. The sun was high and cantaloupe was super sweet & a dollar- plus my stove kicks off mad heat. Then Labor Day came and went and I wore a sweater the other day. And THEN I got invited to a French potluck.

I no longer go to school but this time of year makes me want to sharpen pencils and challenge myself. So, the oven mitts went on and Salted Praline Langues de Chat commenced. Sort of. Makin' my own candy, MacGuyvering the piping bag...challenge, challenge, challenge! Why thank you Epicurious!

For praline
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds (preferably with skin), toasted

For cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup sliced almonds (preferably with skin)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
5 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract ***didn't so just didn't use. Added 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon.
Sea Salt for sprinkling

Equipment: a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch plain tip***Def do not have that. I just used a Ziploc w/ a corner cut off.

Make praline:
Put a large sheet of foil on a heatproof work surface.

Heat sugar in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is golden. Add toasted almonds, stirring until coated well, then carefully pour onto foil (mixture will spread) and cool completely, about 15 minutes. Peel praline off foil and chop with a large heavy knife. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Make cookies:
Preheat oven to 325°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour and table salt. Pulse almonds with sugar in a food processor until finely ground.

Beat butter and sugar mixture with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in egg whites and extracts. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches until just combined well.

Transfer batter to pastry bag, then dab some batter under corners of parchment to secure to baking sheets. Pipe 6-inch-long strips (about 1/3 inch wide) 1 1/2 inches apart in 2 slanted rows (so they will fit) on each baking sheet.

Bake until slightly puffed but still pale, 7 to 9 minutes, then sprinkle generously with praline and lightly with sea salt. Continue baking until cookies are baked through and golden-brown on edges, 7 to 11 minutes more. (Turn baking sheets if cookies are browning unevenly.) Slide parchment with cookies onto racks to cool completely (cookies will crisp as they cool).

Form and bake more cookies on cooled baking sheets lined with fresh parchment.

For God's sake people, please pipe small. I piped way to big and ended up having to cut these into squares. The praline was the best part and do not forget the sea salt. Lovely!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Once a year, farm animals, odd horse and buggy races, 30 year olds in Rascals, a broke down midway and, most importantly, various fried food stalls descended upon the near Northside of Indianapolis- just blocks from my childhood home. For a solid 10 days my world was covered in humid, Indiana-in-August, FRIED FOOD air. Each year features yet another unthinkable deep fried food. Thanks to Brandon Conovitz for this Midwestern special report.

Oh Yes. Come on in...

An Indiana State Fair Classic and a father favorite... THE PORK TENT.
Two of my favorites : Lemon Shake-Ups and foods with faces on them. Seriously, look at his hands.
State Fair Salt Water Taffy. Several THOUSANDS of miles from any sort of salt water. And hundreds from any major body of water. Indianapolis is the largest city in North America on a non-navigable body of water. Bank it for Trivial Pursuit. I regret not being able to take my picture as Twinkie the Kid.
My mom actually had one of these. A burger in a doughnut. Sorry Mom. I had to tell.
I can't believe I didn't know I wanted a Pig in a Pancake. Oh wait. That is just a corn dog...LAME.
I appreciate your honesty Round Boys Concession.

Thanks Brandon ! I won't tell anyone about that Rascal you rented.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pizano's is What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Tired, thirsty and extremely hungry; the zealous amount of champagne I had at the wedding the night before was beginning to catch up with me. We had been turned away from the Chicago Architecture River Tour and were now eagerly seeking pizza, "something Chicago-y and delicious," and a restroom. Urgently. Finally on the third try we stumbled upon Pizanno's. It was instant gratification.

Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and we ordered 1 large Chicago style and 1 medium thin crust, 1 order of garlic bread, 1 order of cheesy garlic bread, 5 Shirley Temples, 3 Sprites, 1 Dog'n'Suds Root Beer and 17 glasses of ice water. For 5.

57 minutes later we rolled out with 70% of the pizza and a sense of contentment. It was delicious, it was Chicago-y. The pizza was perfect and the service was both unique and fantastic. Pizano's is Reason #3 I love Chicago, please see the attached pics for any needed evidence.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lake Forest Special Report: Gerhard's Bakery Cute.

"When will you have the almond macaroons again?," inquired a bespectacled 10 year old boy standing next me in inquired while jangling a handful of coins.

"Oh honey, I just don't know. We make them to order and sell the extras. I've got a list. When your flavor comes in we can call you," replied the energetic woman behind the counter. She was obviously IN charge, and on this Saturday morning was directing this bustling Lake Forest bakery like a zebra print skirt clad symphony conductor.

"Tell you what, honey. We will place a special order just for you. Come back on Friday and we will have them." The boy rushed out with glee. I was impressed by her customer service and her fantast ic skirt. I was also very impressed by this boy's knowledge of designer treats. When I was 10 I was using my allowance to buy Fun Dip and Little Debbie Nutty Bars (still only 25 cents. Score).

That is just how it goes at Gerhard's, the cutest little bakery in the cutest little town. Stop by and try the Almond Macaroons. They came HIGHLY recommended.

Please note this is a picture of white chocolate pretzels, NOT Almond Macaroons as they were not available today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dessert Music

Enjoy! Don't let them give you a cavity.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Present to You This Rose Because I Think You Are Neat

On top of a delicious muddled something-or-another mojito from Chai on N. 6th. Thank you are sure neat, you have great taste, and that shirt is very flattering on you.